Reconsidering becoming a stepmom:

hummy1969July 6, 2011

I love my fianc�e but we are having a hard time blending his 12 year old and my 7 year old son. I knew from the start that he has a large financial commitment to his ex wife, and I initially thought I could handle it being a professional myself and earning my own income. However, I did not understand the magnitude of the commitment nor that he pays to keep his ex in a very large house in a very wealthy area so that his 12 year old son can have a full time caregiver (his ex wife does not have to work) and go to one of the best schools in the state. My son in the meantime has to be juggled between me and my ex and babysitters as we struggle to make ends meet, his school is not that great, and he cannot participate in extra curricular activities. Again, I knew the deal from the beginning and cannot nor do expect to change a contract that was agreed to long before I met my fianc�e. However, over the months emotions have built up to resentment. When I tried to express my feelings to my fianc�e I was met with what I felt was a very unfeeling and disturbing response. He basically said that he sees no problem with the amount of money he spends because he wants his son cared for by his mother, living in the best neighborhood and going to the best schools. He suggested that if I had any hard feelings about that, then perhaps we should not be together because those feelings would build up and come between us. Also at issue is that 80% of the money paid to his ex is for alimony not child support. He fails to see that he is paying to keep her in a luxury lifestyle while I have to work at a grueling job. He says it is worth it because it is for his son. My issue is not with his son but with the fact that he thinks this is completely fair and I should have no problem with it. I guess my bigger issue rather than the economics of it is that he fails to see how this situation could be hard for me to handle and that I should just accept it. While I am not his "wife" yet, he asked me to be yet it seems perfectly acceptable that me and my son have to accept a lower standard of living than his biological son and his first wife. I am so conflicted by this that I am considering to call off the wedding.

Are my feelings valid or am I being completely unreasonable?

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I feel that you are being reasonable. He fails to at least acknowledge your feelings. Sounds pretty insensitive to me. I'd definatly reevaluate your relationship. The resentment will only get worse. I know that I could not stay in a relationship like this. You are right not to be able to change the contract between them.... but also right to know that you don't like it.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 3:56PM
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Well, you said it yourself. You knew the situation going in. So what has changed? The guy is being honest. He has committed to following through with his first son. It is his responsibility and he does not intend to go back on whatever he and his ex settled on and agreed to when they parted ways.

It's not his fault that money is different for you and your ex. Why are you blaming you must work on your to be husband? If you never met him you would still be working and taking care of your child as best you can. You obviously did not have the finances that he did previous to your break-up with your child's father.

I will assume that if you marry the guy, he will provide a house for you, along with the basics of utilities, food blah blah. Are are you to pay 50-50? I also assume that he will begin a savings toward your future together? Yeah, it might be more of an amount each month if he was not giving his son/ex so much...but you knew the waht and whys and hows going in.

If you really think you will resent his child because Dad chooses to well and fully support him (beyong necessary in your thinking, best schools blah blah) than by all means call off the wedding. If you feel you will resent your partner for choosing to well and fully support his initial committments, than call off the wedding. If you feel your partner is unfeeling towards normal and realistic emotions and feelings (aka does not give a damn what you think/say) then by all means call off the wedding.

To resent the ex wife based on the fact she does not work and you do is something that you may want to look at differently. When she signed on to this guy, the goal was to be a fulltime mother/caregiver, live in a nice home and supply their child with educational levels to their liking. Nothing has changed for her (well except now the guy is missing from her home)'s also what they agreed on when they parted ways.

This guy is being every honest and upfront about his feeling towards his previous committment and that he intends to honor it. Right or worng, reasonable or does not matter. What matters is if you feel this marriage can and will make you (and your child) happy. Go into the thought process knowing that if you do walk, you still have to work, you still will send your son to a lower level school, blah blah.

2 cents to think about and mull over.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 5:33PM
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I'd have to agree with Justmetoo.

It's his money -- you knew going in -- nothing has changed but your feelings -- I think it's awesome that this man is financially able to keep his child in the same lifestyle he always intended him to have. My boss is this way. He is a billionaire so he can probably afford it but his ex wife never worked while she raised their children. She lived in a nice huge home and drove a nice car. His second wife worked for a while but now that all the kiddos are grown and out of the house/in college, him and his THIRD wife live in a very nice house and she doesn't work, she plays at the pool, travels, wears Tiffany, and plays with grandbabies all day. I'm betting wife # 2 wished she had sucked it up, accepted what he had already laid out for her as his wishes for HIS money... Cause apparently wife #3 ended up enjoying the very things that wife #1 enjoyed, making wife #2 a jealous wreck...

I don't care much about 'alimony' vs. Child support. I received spousal support for a while because my exhusband provided a lifestyle for my daughter and I financially that we had to adjust from. I had to find a job, meaning I couldn't ease my way in to a professional wardrobe from a SAHM wardrobe of shorts and flip flops. I had to move into my own place meaning, I did not have a job yet but needed to show income to qualify for an apt, I needed a deposit, 1st months rent, utility deposits, enrollment fee for Dd to start daycare, etc. Yes I think years of alimony is ridiculous but it depends on how long they were married and the circumstances. My mom was married to my biological father for 14 years and had 3 children. They have been divorced for 27 years but once he retired from his cushy government job, she has and will until forever receive a portion of his retirement pension. That was the law back then. His third wife/my Sm hates that my mom gets a portion of 'their' money each month until mom dies but ... That was in place 20 years before she came along and it can't be changed.... She just needs to accept it or move on.

I say the same to you. He was honest with you, accept it or move on. Do not try to come between him and his obvious desire to provide for his son. If he can and wants to, I applaud him

This reminded me of something else. I adore my lawyer. He is the cutest little country cowboy with a sexy Matthew McConehay (sp) kind of look. His wife is just as adorable and sweet. But he has an ex wife with three kids. They live next door to each other. They have lots of land so obviously they don't look at each other through the breakfast window but they are close. He 100% provides for that household so that their mother can be at home to raise their children. His now wife works. She works for him but she is working... And not at home with her son. If she had never met wealthy lawyer, she would not be living in a home that size or driving that vehicle but she would still be working and sharing custody with a jerk who barely pays a dime. She has told me before, this is just the way it was when she came along and she would not want it any other way. Those are his kids and he wants them at home with their mom and he provides that for them. It's odd for some people to see it this way but there are 'some' divorced people that just didn't want to be married anymore but still think the other parent is an excellent parent and they support them 100%. We are all just used to the drama of divorce and shared custody it's like a foreign language ....

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 11:55PM
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"He suggested that if I had any hard feelings about that, then perhaps we should not be together because those feelings would build up and come between us."

He already answered your question. Why are you still there? That is a very direct & powerful statement... take it or leave. Yet, you are still there.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 12:39AM
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Funny how child-support/alimony laws (that are so in favor of the women in a divorce) seem messed up to a woman when it is not benefiting her, but rather their guy's evil-ex. Now you know why so many men have wanted to put a bullet in their head over how messed up the system is. It basically gives stay at home moms that are set up in nice houses the ability to give their husband the boot for any reason and not have their day-to-day life change at all, except for their choice of the man in their life. Most men who support their stay at home wives do not have this option...if they are unhappy and end the marriage, the ex wive will usually get primary custody and then the alimony and CS payments will be tailored to preserving THEIR lifestyle, with little concern for the man's standard of living. I have known many guys who's lives where completely destroyed by this system, while their exes simply found a new guy and their lives where barely affected.

I was fortunate to not have been part of ex and I went thru mediation and figured out our own deal. But if she wanted to go thru the courts, I am sure that because she was a stay at home for the first 10 years of our marriage, she COULD have made it so that I supported her existing lifestyle, while I would have been resigned to renting an apartment for many many years. I have a very good career, but don't have a salary that could support two single family houses without help.

Luckily my ex is very independent and wanted to support herself. She also realized that since I was an very involved father and we both worked full time, the best thing for the kids would be a 50-50 legal and physical custody agreement.

As much as I hate her for cheating on me twice and eventually leaving me....I will always have some respect for her for this.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 9:12AM
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Clearly MKroopy, you don't live in MY state! There's no such thing as alimony here, though child support seems to be somewhat higher than the norm...

OP - While he does sound a bit 'unsympathetic' to your feelings, I think what your fiance really means is a simple "This is the way it is, the way it's going to be, and, for what it's worth, the way I think it *should* be. So you need to acknowledge that, come to terms with it, and make a decision that you will be able to live with in the long run."

And he's right about that last part. He's telling you that he wants his own son to continue to lead an advantaged life -- that's actually a good thing. The less-pleasant by-product for you is that less of future-Hubby's cash is going to be available to supplement your income to support you and your child.

So how important is that to you? And how much of a NET financial impact will future-Hubby have to your household? Given his preexisting commitments, will he be a net positive? Break even? A net cash drain?

Only you know what value you place on all of this.

But I'd cut the guy some slack for his 'lack of sympathy' on this issue, and gauge his concern for your feelings on his behavior in other areas.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 4:44PM
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It's pretty easy if you reduce it to "what happens?"

What happens if you marry this guy is that your lifestyle will be lower because of the money that goes to his ex & his child.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 7:00PM
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Hummy, I also pretty much knew the "deal" when I went into my marriage....I really didnt resent money going for CS, but it stuck in my craw everyday that BM was living off it, and still does..However, I have stuck it out for all these years and reckoning day is coming in a few short weeks.."Baby" is into his twenties now, BM still has no means of support other than CS..They live in a backwards state, a hearing is scheduled to see if DH is done...I have no doubt BM will be in court to try to extend CS for 2 more years...DH has told me if its not over, he will go to jail before paying another dime, I will probably have to go on tranquilizers. I cant take another(probably have been 20 court visits in the last five years alone)2 years of this woman dragging to court and still able to interfere in our lives with petty nonsense if they dont cut this man/child loose...Please think of waiting to marry this man for a year or so, until you are sure future DH is worth the grief and stress this situation causes...The only funny thing about it , it has dragged on so long, when the judge looks at MOM asking for child support, she looks more like a GRANDMA....Good luck....Kroopy, your comments are dead on....I know alimony is becoming obsolete, but I wonder how many states where it is still applicable? My judge said it was possible to award me life time alimony in my state(really LONG term marriage) but I didnt want to be tied to EX and also make it a factor in any future re marriage...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 7:47PM
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