unexpectedly becoming a full time step parent

hthrJune 18, 2009

I was just wondering if anyone else has words of wisdom for me, I feel in a real panic and don't know what to do/how to deal with it. I have been with my boyfriend for 2 years, he has a 13 year old daughter who has lived with her mum and he has had her every other weekend, sometimes more often. We bought a house and moved in together for the first time 6 weeks ago and a week later his ex partner was taken v ill and has been in hospital since. It seems that she will not be able to look after her daughter again. Therefore of course she will have to live with us. I guess I knew this might happen one day but it is not what I want for my life, I know that sounds selfish perhaps, but I like her, get on with her but I don't want to be a step mother. I am 38 with no children of my own. I am trying all sorts of things, counselling etc and trying to get my partner to support me in trying to make a home for all 3 of us, despite it not being what I want, and I feel he is not supporting me. He won't see that we need any time to ourselves at all. I hope that my feelings will change and it will be ok eventually - has anyone been in this situation and how has it turned out? Thanks.

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Well it sounds like your going to be a stepmother if you stay in this relationship. With that said you have two choices. Accept it or end things with your boyfriend. You are being proactive by going to counseling and trying to talk to your boyfriend about the changes.

Now, will sd go visit her mom every other weekend when she gets out of the hospital? Is this expected to be a temporary situation?

As a mom to one and full-time stepmom to three I know parenting can get overwhelming. Your boyfriend needs to realize that your relationship with eachother is still important. You need "date nights" still!! Hire a babysitter, send stepdaughter to stay with a relative for a night occasionally, etc. Parenting is a full-time job, but does not have to be without occasional breaks for yourself. You will go nuts otherwise!!

Sometimes we just send the kids to bed early and spend time watching a movie or something. You need that couple time. You also need to have time for yourself. You need to be able to go out with the girls...or even just go get your nails done on occasion!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 9:35AM
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His first priority is his child. If you know you are not ready for that, or to be a custodial step parent, then you need to consider that in your decision to stay or go.

It's troubling that you are making very strong statements:
"I don't want to be a step mother"; "this is not what I want for my life"; "he is not supporting me" and the one I can give an answer to "I hope that my feelings will change and it will be ok eventually"

Your feelings may change, or not. You may warm up to the idea or you may resent it more. If you change your attitude about it, things may get better and it may be ok eventually... but it may not. It won't happen without a lot of patience, understanding, and hard work. If you feel this way now, I don't see how you are going to change your entire perspective on the situation to make it work and the more selfish thing to do is to stay and feel like you are in competition with his daughter. He is her father and that will never change and he has an obligation to her first. Time to yourselves is secondary. Eventually, you will resent the time he devotes to her... if you don't already.

It's hard enough when you WANT to be in the situation and when you WANT to be a good step parent and you are willing to sacrifice alone time and be secondary to the child's needs... but when you are not married yet and you know you feel this way now, I can tell you that it won't get any better... if it's not deep within your heart what you want.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 10:01AM
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Sorry Heather -- But in the "My Life Sucks so I need Support" contest, your hand is the loser in this round. BioMom is very ill and in the hospital, her daughter is totally uprooted, Dad's life has gone totally upside-down plus he needs to deal with sick Ex and anxious, uprooted daughter. You, at least, have options.

I'd be very surprised if Dad has any extra support to give at this point.
In fact, I'd suggest that at this time, YOU are the one who should be trying to emotionally support him and his daughter.

My best advice at this time (offered with kind intentions, not critical ones) would be for you to move right back out.
Not to break up with him or move out angrily,
but to do it out of compassion for his situation and to not create more upheaval for his daughter.
The LAST thing she needs right now is to have Dad's girlfriend all over the place (even if she likes you),
and that will create the kind of destructive dynamic in your relationship that IS a love-killer.
So keep your love relationship healthy and move out!
Tell him and his daughter that you're moving out because you DO care -- not because you don't,
and that you'll be around and eager to help for whatever they need, whenever they need you.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 10:40AM
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I agree with everything Ima said.

The fact that you are having such strong feelings is worrisome. I applaud you for getting into counseling, and think that shows you DO care and are trying. But sometimes wanting things to work and "trying" aren't enough. Do you really want to have to TRY so hard in a relationship? I am not saying that relationships and marriage aren't hard work, nor am I saying that you should throw in the towel when the going gets rough. BUT I think sometimes people stay in situations that they know aren't good for them--and they spend so much time and mental energy trying to *force* themselves to feel a certain way. Yes, I am speaking from personal experience here.

It is one thing to work on issues but it is another to spend your life working against something very deep-seeded and trying to make it "work."

One thing about being a stepparent is that you cannot assume that things will remain the way they are. Custody can ALWAYS change. A parent can die. Or, in your situation, one parent can become extremely ill and not be able to care for the child(ren).

We have my SS 50% of the time. But that could change. When he gets older, he might want to live with his dad full-time. He might want to live with his mom full-time. BM could die. Things can change in the blink of an eye.

I understand this isn't what you *expected* and sometimes things do happen that we never really thought of---and things can happen and turn out to be not what we expected AT All. Hindsight is 20-20.

I personally would give your BF and his DD all the space in the world right now. This is all SO NEW, and your SD's world has been rocked by the *loss* of her living situation and her mother being very ill. Tough, tough things for a child to deal with. Your BF's focus needs to be on her to help her feel as safe and secure as possible. The last thing he needs is to feel pressure from you.

OF COURSE you guys need time to yourselves for your relationship, but your SD has only been living with you for 5 weeks, and under very sad circumstances. Give it TIME.

If you push too hard now, you will wind up creating a world of resentment and upset for everyone.

Most of all, think long and hard about what YOU want. You are having problems now and maybe you will work past your feelings. But what if you don't? Can you handle feeling like this the rest of your life?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 11:00AM
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if you do not want to have children full time, then you should not be in a relationship with anyone who has children because no matter where and how old chidlren are they might end up with you full time. I suggest you end it right now. his daughter is the one who needs support in this, not you. if your boyfriend is a decent person then his daughter is his priority, not you.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 11:25AM
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I agree with Sweeby and Finedreams.

However, I noticed you didn't really give exact reasons why you feel this way? Do you think you will be doing the heavy lifting of parenting? Is your boyfriend a proactive or passive parent?

Every stepfamily is different, your boyfriend may do all the parenting and leave you free to be a friend/aunt like figure. It is all up to him. Have you had any talks about rules/boundaries/roles etc? A game plan set in place? I get the feeling it's not so much the daugter living with you, it's that you don't know what is expected of you and you don't want to be a mother. And there is nothing wrong with that. You just have to make clear to your boyfriend that you don't want to parent and as the daughter is 13, she probably doesn't want you to either lol. This could be an ok situation, you will just have to talk it out honestly.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 12:09PM
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I frankly do not want somebody else's young children living wiht me so i avoided dating men with young children, it is either grown children or none. If i wanted to have young children at home (or ettenagers or any minors) i would try to have more of my own i guess. In any case it is OK to be honest with what you want. unfortunatelly people do nto know what they want until it is too late and they face major decisions.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 2:58PM
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I have read your post and the replies from others. Some of them seem harsh, but I must say to you I understand. I know things happen, but as humans we tend not to dwell on the negative things that could happen. You were aware of his daughter and supported him fullfilling his obligations, but what you didn't bank on was having his child there full time.

I find your post chilling, because I have those same feelings. My husband cheated on me before we got married and as a result a child was created. My theory was out of sight out of my mind. I knew it took alot from my husband to respect those wishes, but it was what had to be done for our sanity. Ti clarify though,I did not stop him from seeing her or supporting her financial, it just wasn't a situation where I felt like I wanted to be apart of. Once again--I kept it separate. Just recently, 11 years later BM has decided to file for child support. I feel that my husband should pay it, but he feele that he should just get custody.

I resent that fact, soley because know of all of a sudden she is a bad mother, but she wasn't bad enough when he was sleeping with her. To me his motives are selfish. He wants me to take up the slack for a slack baby mama, somebody by the way he choose to sleep with. I could go to counseling, but I don't think that would change my mind. Because I don't want to be a step-parent.

Any takers, your advice, your thoughts?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2010 at 8:13PM
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11 years later? So, he hasn't supported the child for 11 years.. if she's just asking for child support, it will be very obvious to the court that he's seeking custody to avoid paying child support. I doubt he'll get custody anyway. What has the mom done that all of a sudden makes her an unfit mother? She's been the custodial/caretaker parent for 11 years, no court is going to change that unless she has done harm that can be proven or if the child wants to live with dad. From your post, I can't tell if he did or didn't see this child for the last 11 years, but it sounds as if he didn't, in which case what 10-11 year old girl is going to want to leave her mom to live with a dad that hasn't supported her? I just don't see it happening. In the mom's defense, you say "He wants me to take up the slack for a slack baby mama" but if she's been taking care of her child for 11 years without any help from him, I would not call her a slack baby mama... even if she didn't do a terrific job, he has very little room to complain if that's what he thinks since he hasn't done his part.

My advice (and it may sound harsh but if you want the truth) is if you do go to counseling, instead of trying to get help accepting this child into your home/life... you may want to get help trying to figure out why you would want to be married to someone that cheated on you, abandoned his responsibility for what he created, and would rather uproot the child from her home with the mom that has taken care of her so he can avoid paying support... and he wants to drop his responsibility on you? Sounds like a catch! (sarcasm intended!)

    Bookmark   December 25, 2010 at 10:43AM
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