Dealing with adult stepkids

end-of-ropeAugust 2, 2007

I am new to this forum and am in need for advise and support.

I have been with my husband for 10 yrs and just recently got married (10 months ago). My relationship with the stepkids was excellent until 1 month before the wedding. Prior to the wedding, my SK invited their dad for supper to advise him that they wanted no part of the wedding (we were having a sand ceremony where everyone was to be involved), their BM still loved him and wanted him back and that they wanted pre-nuptials signed. At first, my DH lied about their meeting,he was very upset about this meeting but made me feel like I counted and was #1 to him. Was he being sincere???? I do not feel comfortable around the SK's anymore and feel like I have to walk on eggshells when they are around.

The middle SD will bring up her BM every time I see her; she never did this in the past. This is the one that wants her parents back together. Her and I were really close, she was always at our house and I looked after her kids often. I do not trust the SK's - is this just my insecurity?

The SK's do not acknowledge that we are part of the family - they do not acknowledge my kids at all.

Will the fairly tale ending of Mom and Dad getting back together ever end with her?

Please help as I am getting very frustrated and do not want to be around them anymore as they make me feel very uncomfortable. I love my husband dearly but am really not sure if this is all worth it.

My DH and my kids get along very well. I would not put up with the disrespect (my kids 16, 15, 11).

Looking for advise on how to deal with them. Do I make myself absent when they are around or suck it up?

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Hi end-of-rope,

First of all, I'm sorry for this sad situation you're in now. I have some questions.

You say you've been together for 10 years but just got married 10 months ago. How old are the SKs? How soon after your husband's divorce did you two get together? Does your husband have a sizable amount of money?

I think there's a lot of other stuff going on here. Speaking as an adult stepchild, I can't tell you how many other adult SKs I've met who tell of things changing after their father's marriage. I suspect the ages of your children have something to do with that. If the SK's father has a lot of money, there may be a fear that minor stepchildren will become the heirs, not just to money, but to family mementos, etc. For example, the father of my friend remarried when my friend was 45. He was his father's only son. His dad didn't have much money and my friend wasn't interested in it anyway, but there was a collection of farm tools and implements dating back to his paternal great-grandfather. His dad promised them to him. He and his stepmother had a fairly good relationship but after his dad's death, his stepmother said all his dad's property was hers to decide what to do with and she gave everything to her son. He told me of this 10 years after it happened and his pain was still evident then.

The mother may be applying a heaping helping of guilt to get her kids to go along with her attempts to "unite the family." Nothing's worse than being caught between your parents.

I wouldn't blame your husband for not wanting to tell you about the meeting. He knew it would hurt your feelings and probably hoped the whole thing would blow over.

At this point, I think the best thing you can do is to have an honest sit-down with the SKs, with your husband involved. Explain to them that their dream of reuniting their father and mother is just that -- a dream -- and is not going to happen. Tell them that you wish you could still be friends. If they're worried about money or family mementos or being shut out of their father's life, this is their opportunity to tell you about it.

Sometimes, it helps just to clear the air.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 3:00AM
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Welcome end-of-rope, Frist of all I feel what your going through. I have been enduring your situation for 8 years. It is a little different, DH and I do not have children together. I do not have any bio children, but DH has 2 adult children SD 26 years old and SS 22 years old. How old are your adult stepkids?

DH got divorced because his X wanted out, she had an affair, married the man, and then divorced him. After she divorced her 2nd husband she wanted DH back, however, by that time I had been with DH over 2 years and we had a very serious relationship going on. Presently, we have been married 3 years and love each other very much.

The one and only thing we fight about is his kids. They have continuely attempted to cause trouble in our life and break us up. I could list all the things they have done but it is way too long. I do know bio mom encouraged them to attempt many of the evil acts to break us up. When they lived with us I had over heard them talking together and to their mother on the phone about various evil acts they would try. By accident, I think, SS & bio mom were recorded on our answering machine with one of they future evil acts, to hurt DH and I. At the time I could not believe what I heard and did not share with DH (erased it) because I just knew it would hurt him dearly. But now after all I have been through I wish I would have shared it with him.

Also, the kids are worried about there inheritance. SS has demontrated this by bring up things like "Dad those are "our" stocks.", Dad this is "our" savings account." etc. I came into the marriage with alot of my own money. Remember I have no children and have worked for over 30 years saving and making money. DH and I combined all our assets so hearing this just makes me angry. My thoughts our that SS needs to put his nose to the grind stone and work hard for his own money. I guess if the stepkids would be nice to me I may leave them all our assets but after what they have put me through we will see. I have nieces and nephews who treat us much better and at the present time they will get all my assets.

So now for my advise. It is going to be a long rough road. My DH has taken the kids aside and explained how much he loves me and he does not want to get back together with their bio mom. I have ignored numerous disrespectful acts over the years. DH does not always acknowledge the evil acts because he loves his kids to dearly. This site has been helpful to vent and get advise from other step parents and kids. There are also bio moms on this site and you can see how they think and feel about things.

Great family support it helpful and my in laws are very supportive. In laws have had trouble with my stepkids too. Counciling was helpful, friends that listen help. So be strong, fined support, keep communication open with DH, come here to vent. Hang in there. I will pray for you and your family. Bless you. Keep posting.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 10:15AM
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Thank you for the replies.
My SK's are 30, 26 and 20. I have problems with the middle daughter. She is the one that hurts the most. We were very close, she and her kids were always at our house. SK's and DH always used to talk badly about BM and I used to stick up for her - I don't anymore.
When I met DH they had been separated for 8 months. BM had an affair with DH best friend and is still with him but very unhappy. DH was on the verge on bankcruptcy when I met him - I worked full time bringing in $60,000 + a year; DH is now very successful in his own company. I agreed to sign prenuptials but DH said "NO WAY". I believe that what we have, we have worked together for it. I can understand them being worried that they would not get anything; and how I feel right now is they only use and abuse us so why should they - I realize this is just emotions talking and I would really like to have a relationship with her again. I did not actually want to get married (because everything was going so well) my DH wanted to and said nothing would change (that is why we were together so long before we tied the knot).
I (and my kids) love them all dearly. His kids do not acknowledge me or mine as being part of their family.
We just returned from holidays to find out that his X was at our house - we live on an acreage and she told the housesiter that she could see lights on - you cannot even see our house from the highway.
My DH is presently with his kids for a few days - I declined to go as I thought them having time alone would be better - altho I do worry about their antics.
Thanks for listening and keep posting.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 10:31AM
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This is why I was so fussy re Xs estate. If you outlive your dh, his children may end up with nothing. And you wonder why they hate you. I realize you say you had a good job. But that doesnt mean to me your kids should get everything. But that can happen with second marriages.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 10:53AM
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Hi end-of-rope -
I am so sorry to hear that you are in this situation and that your SD has chosen loyalty to her deranged mother in order to hurt you. Nothing hurts quite like stepfamily problems and nothing seems to go on and on and on for years like these problems have a way of doing - especially when loyalty issues are involved. The mother sounds like the "bully" and the SD is the "puppet" who is carrying out the deeds. The SD may not even be aware of this arrangement but it doesn't totally minimize her involvement in the process. Your SD has become a destabilizer - one who is actively attempting to break up your marriage.

There is a wonderful book out right now called "Step Wars" and it deals with adult stepchildren, giving both the stepmother & stepchildren viewpoints. It is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. However, the downside to this book is that it does not deal much with loyalty issues that continue to go on year after year.

Your best bet may be to disengage. Be civil & polite but do not try to engage your SD. Step out of the boxing ring and do not participate when/if she tries to engage you. My SD used to reel me in (emotionally) just to slap me down to see my hurt reaction. I stopped participating and it has helped my self-respect enormously. There is no reason (including love for DH) to remain in an emotionally toxic situation.

Just remember that there are no hard and fast rules to say that you & SD must have a close relationship and as much as you might want one, it takes two people with mutual respect in order to have a good relationship. Hopefully one of these days, she will begin to understand how her mother has used her for her own ego trip.
My best to you!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 11:38AM
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That is the way it works with inheritance. Kids are entitled to nothing. Nada. Except in Lousiana. If dad wants to give them something, fine, if not OK too. I am certain dad knows how old his wife is, and who will likely live longer. And if they resent it, they can leave.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 11:46AM
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DH has done up his will - leaving 25% of the family business to each child and 25% to me and my 3. He has also listed what each child is to get for material things. So it is not like they will be getting nothing. I would have gladly signed pre-nuptials BUT I did advise the SK's that I also am a part of this family and that I would not walk away with nothing. My DH was dead set against pre-nuptials. Is that so wrong of me?
I believe this is fair as the business was on the verge of bankcruptcy when we met and he has worked hard to get it to where it is today. I was (am) not involved with the business transactions as I feel it is not my place - we do talk about business stuff but my DH is smart and I believe he makes the right choices to be successful. I would back my DH if the business fell apart (like it did in the past) but don't feel I get any crdit for that.
I believe that the BM has a big influence on the kids and is very manipulative. I wish I knew what the biggest concern was - the oldest one says inheritance, middle one says betrayal to mother and youngest one is indifferent.
Thanks for the posts.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 12:25PM
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Like I said, I am glad I negotatied at divorce. What this says to me is that even though you agreed DH built business your kids get half, his will get half. I wouldnt wonder why there is anger.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 12:29PM
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I think End-of-Rope is saying that each of his children (3 of them) gets 25%, which is 75%. SM and her children get 25%.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 12:50PM
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Sorry, lost track of who had how many kids.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 12:56PM
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Having read End-of-Rope's answers to my questions, I don't believe family mementos or money are part of this debate.

I strongly suspect it has everything to do with the children's mother and the time frame in which they got together after he was separated. His middle daughter was 16 when her parents divorced. It sounds as if DH didn't tell his kids about the gory details of the divorce, but she likely knew about her mother's affair with his friend and accepted that her dad needed some happiness.

Enter the BM 10 years later ... desperately unhappy and looking to stir up trouble. She wants her ex back, but kids are OK with the situation. Until she says, "Well, I only turned to your dad's friend after he started cheating on me with that b**** he wants to marry now. Did you really think he met her 8 months later? No way. She's the reason our marriage broke up."

Now, you know that's a lie. And your husband knows that's a lie, but SD has no idea. All of a sudden, you go from having been the woman who mended dad's broken heart and helped save his busines to the witch who destroyed her happy family and is taking him away. The worst part is, the lies probably weren't even that blatant, but a subtle erosion over several months. Manipulative people, like BM, are good at that.

As I said before, try to talk to your SD. You used to be friends. See if she will open up to you about what's really going on.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:02PM
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On a different note, the fact I have two stepchildren and the fact that my siblings also have stepchidren has impacted what we will receive in terms of inheritence.

My parents set up a dynasty trust, otherwise known as a generation-skippng trust. It was set up to prevent our spouses from getting our portion of the inheritence, should we die first, and then giving the money to their kids. My parents have no obligation to provide for our stepkids. They have their own grandchildren and they want to make sure money is left for them.

My siblings and I will get an income for life, not a big lump sum. When we die, the money goes back into the trust. When all siblings are dead, nieces and nephews will share the principal. They get the big lump sum.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:29PM
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Thank you lilysuzanne40 - i was starting to think if strangers thought this was about money - no wonder sk's are angry.
I would like to have the relationship back to where it was before the wedding. Help me to let go of the mistrust; I am having a really hard time communicating with them - Iwalk around on eggshells and second guess everything I do. I know that I am different towards them and the grandkids - I think fear of getting close and being sh*** on again.
I truly wish I could turn back the clock to 1 year ago. Life was so good.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:40PM
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I concur with LilySuzanne. Talk with your SD. Be easy with her, very gentle...

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 10:01PM
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Letting go of the mistrust is going to be difficult, but remember that your SD may have been manipulated into everything. Adult or not, children are always vulnerable to their parents, especially a parent who has ulterior motives. She may be as much a victim in all this as you are, used by her mother to further a self-serving agenda.

Reach out, even if it's hard. When I was going through all the stuff with my dad and stepmother, I reached out. It wasn't easy and it didn't do any good at that moment, but it helped my peace of mind. I was able to say, quite truthfully, that I had done everything in my power to heal the situation and that my dad knew it. Two years later, my dad reached out to me and our relationship is healing.

Also, keep in mind something that I heard a long time ago about the futility of harboring bitterness and anger:

"Holding grudges, anger or bitterness is the equivalent of drinking poison and hoping the other person dies."

Those kind of negative emotions hurt you and no one else.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 1:59AM
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Hi there! I, too, agree w/ lilysuzanne, who has wonderful insight and a level head on this forum. I'd say she's right on the money - no pun intended!

BM is miserable. You were a girlfriend, although a permanent one, there was still the possibility of it never reaching this point. Now, the finality of it all has sunk in to BM so she started playing the 'poor me' card to the troubled SD, and voila, you have instant turmoil.

It sounds as if your DH has good judgement thus far, so I'm hopeful that he can guide his kids back towards harmony.

I had a similar situation that in a nutshell is this: DH and I worked together for a few years...his now X was cheating on him w/ the middle child's tennis coach...he left and our friendship grew coach dumped the now X...she became miserable...DH and I started dating 1 y 8 m after he moved out - divorce was waiting for the final stamp which came 5 days after our first date....X pinned me as a homewrecker...prior to this, kids and I got along great - knew them from the office (we are both dentists)...several very difficult years followed, lots of hurtful things done to me while I jumped through hoops trying to please them....years later, their mother found religion, confessed her affair to the began to treat me better though not w/o stumbles along the way but they were 12, 14, 16 when we wed - tough ages. We've been married 10 yrs.

Anyway, I just want you to hold onto a little hope as it can get better and I feel it will. You are not a golddigger. You are not taking anything away from his kids and they need to see that - that 25% is really only another 8% each and they should someday realize that you've helped their dad along the way and was there for him in the lean years and have made him happy. Hopefully, you'll have a long and beautiful life together and they'll be grateful you were there for him for so many years.

I agree w/ disengaging the middle DD if she starts. Leave the room if she begins going on about her mom - just politely excuse yourself. If she was once 'normal', she may be able to be that way again. Pray the mother meets someone or finds some happiness (I know it's tough) as she must be a very bitter woman to cause all of this so many years later.

Keep the faith, be yourself, but don't take any abuse. And, your children certainly are innocent bystanders. I hope your DH puts an end to any slights coming their way. My skids did that to my Dear Nephews (largely raised as my own) who were younger and adored the 'bigger kids.' Of all the crappy things the skids did to me over the years, the times they hurt those little boys (who had a lousy hand dealt them in the parenting dept, which is why I took over) are the things I resent the most. I need to let go of all of it, but when you hurt my kids (I have 3 young boys of my own now but view my 3 DNs as mine, too) it's kind of unforgivable.

All the best,

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 12:25AM
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Hi Dana,

Thanks for your kind words about me, but I have to fess up to something: It's easier to have good insights and a level head about other people's situations. Have you ever said, "Wish I'd then what I know now"? I say that to myself all the time. I have told my dad and stepmother, repeatedly, that I'm not perfect and that I've said and done some things I'm not proud of. That's one reason I post to this blog. My SM refuses to admit she's done anything wrong and absolutely refuses to forgive anyone their missteps. If I can help even one SM to forgive, reach out and heal their family, then all my mistakes at least mean something.

I just want people to be kind to one another. As I told my dad one time, "You fell in love with her. We didn't. Give us time to catch up."

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 2:11AM
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You hit the nail on the head in your last post.
As I told my dad one time, "You fell in love with her. We didn't. Give us time to catch up."

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 11:01AM
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Dear Lily & Organic -
I honor you both for taking the attitude to "give you time" to work out a good relationship with your SMs.

I'd give anything for my SD26 to have your attitude but instead, she has taken no responsibility for anything she has said or done to cause hurt to her father and/or me. Your great attitude shows an openness for someday getting along with your SMs. I hope things work out for you and I send you blessings.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 1:36PM
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And what about the hurt my Xs GF has done by having an affair? And yes, X bears responsiblity. But he will always be dad, just like she will always be DD.

It seems to me that so many OW expect acceptance with no sense of taking responsiblity. And then expect their marriages to be respected.

And other posters have noted, even if a guy doesnt tell you he is married, there are clues. And if you accept "oh our marriage is dead, my wife doesnt understand me, yayada" anyone who is realistic will no, they are dating a married man. And to everyone on this board, the kids are going to figure that out, even without the mom saying anything.

You will have to live in the bed you made.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 3:12PM
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And what about the hurt my Xs GF has done by having an affair? And yes, X bears responsiblity. But he will always be dad, just like she will always be DD.

It seems to me that so many OW expect acceptance with no sense of taking responsiblity. And then expect their marriages to be respected.

And other posters have noted, even if a guy doesnt tell you he is married, there are clues. And if you accept "oh our marriage is dead, my wife doesnt understand me, yayada" anyone who is realistic will no, they are dating a married man. And to everyone on this board, the kids are going to figure that out, even without the mom saying anything.

You will have to live in the bed you made.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 3:15PM
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The reason I never blamed the OW in my ex's affair (who is now married to) is I never saw her as the issue. She was just convenient. If it hadn't been her, it would have been someone else. She really wasn't speacial, just available and willing. My ex and I had problems in our marriage and he had a character problem. Instead of hanging in and honoring his committment, he chose the easy way out. People that have character flaws will more than likely fall prey to them, and if it hadn't of been this woman, it would have been the next. And now she has to always have in the back of her mind..."he did it with me, and he will do it to me." And, BTW he has..with a mutual friend of ours and one other woman. He is just not a faithful person, that is all there is to it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 4:31PM
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My X was faithful for most of our marraige. This woman chased him and propositioned him constantly. The only him she saw was the one was one with the big house and the big car and she cared less about anyone else. He was a faithful person until he met her. I think now he is more jaded and in the end, will never respect her.

Like I said she has made her bed and she will lie in it.

Unfortunately, so will others.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 4:38PM
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The OW is certainly not "special" but it is just as much her responsibility not to commit adultery as it is the man's. In my H's case, if it had not been her, it quite possibly wouldn't have been anyone else. There are a limited number of non-smoking, predatory women desperate enough to go after a married man suffering from depression who has tons of young children and quite a bit of debt. Not every woman, even among those who don't hesitate to commit adultery, is willing and able to buy herself an aging gigolo.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 4:41PM
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My marriage wasnt perfect. But I would have stuck it out. It would have been really nice if X would have stuck it out just a few mor years until DD started college.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 5:18PM
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All of us choose to believe things that make our pasts easier to accept. I thought my ex had never cheated either, but thinking back on things, there were many times things just didn't add up, and he had most likely had many affairs. And, there are tons of desperate women all over.

As far as the OW responsiblity not to commit adultery, we can all hope people will do the right thing. However, ultimately your DH is the one who made a vow to you and bears the responsibility for the broken marriage. Please don't use the OW as the scapegoat....your ex's were grown men who should have made better choices. Plenty of men (particularly those who make good money) manage to say no and walk away. And if this woman was constantly propositioning him and harassing him, he had the obligation to protect himself and his family...get a restraining order because she sounds out of control. Plenty of men suffer depression and don't desert their families. This was your ex's was bad, ugly and hurtful and you have every right to be angry, but place the anger squarely with who deserves it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 11:19PM
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Plenty of men suffer depression and commit suicide, too. People make horrible decisions when suffering from depression.

They are BOTH responsible, and both equally culpable.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 12:14AM
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Is one of the SMs here the other woman? I don't follow how this got started???

And, yes, both are equally culpable, but he took vows under God to you - she did not. She's a sleazy, slimy, lower than low character who reminds me of the barmaid my friend's DH left her for - some sick spell she has cast over him - leaving a beautiful, sweet, wife and two awesome young children. Her history was one of hitting on married men as I said before - even causing her to lose her previous position at a different bar.

Still, who's the other woman here trying to gain respect? I guess, me? Cawfe? Wasn't she the babysitter, lol, her DH's X accused? My Dh's X told the kids they could have worked it out were it not for me - when it was her sleeping w/ the tennis coach for years. Yes, I was TOW, I guess since the divorce came through five days after our first date. I mean, in the final stages of a divorce, when minor details are being worked out, you can hardly consider them still married - and to be honest, he'd been referring to himself at work as divorced since the one year mark of his leaving their home. I wasn't sure when the paperwork was finalized, though there was no way they were reconciling. But, he'd been out of the house for 1 y 8 m and, call me old-fashioned, but no one could accuse me of sleeping w/ anyone before my marriage...unlike the X who was 5 m. pg when she took her vows, for the third time...


    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 12:51AM
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I think kkny was referring to her exH's OW, not to anyone here in particular.

I firmly believe that adultery is equally wrong for both partners.

I also believe it is wrong to date while still legally married, and to state that you are divorced when you are not.

I also think it is a mistake to date right after divorce. Waiting one year for each 5 years of marriage is probably an excellent idea.

It is a very good idea to SEE the divorce paperwork before marrying. A local governor's husband had neglected to divorce wife #1 (or maybe it was #2 - the governor was #4) before marrying the next one. Even though he had eventually divorced wife #1, the resulting scandal didn't do much for the governor's political career.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 10:31AM
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Oh big deal. Guiliani is the major candidate for the Republican nomination for president and he announced he was having an affair for a year, and wanted a divorce, at a press conference. So big deal, his kids dont speak to him and wont campaign for him.

His new wife has it all.

it means nothing.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 1:30PM
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What means nothing? Honor? Integrity?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 1:37PM
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Men have a right to move on. That Guiliana is a leading candidate shows that. He owes nothing to x and to children. He has a right to decide his own life.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 1:43PM
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We all have a right to move on, however we need to be mindful of respecting others in the process. I remember Dr. Phil's advice that marriage partners need to "work their way out" - meaning that as adults, we respectfully communicate with one another to dissolve a marriage in order to get "closure". Of course most of the time this doesn't happen.

I know I wouldn't have had such horribly bitter feelings towards my X if he had respectfully communicated with me before getting himself involved with a younger woman. But I've worked through my hurt and bitterness and moved on - which I deserve to do.

I think it all depends on the people involved and how they interact - same with stepfamilies. Of course this board is evidence that there are many hurts and wounds flying around but we can, at least, try to fill our present lives with as much graciousness and cooperation as possible in order to live more peaceful lives with those with whom we live today and, most importantly, for our own peace of mind.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 2:34PM
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He does, in fact, owe a great deal to his wife and his children. Commitment, honesty, faithfulness - to name a few.

James Dobson of Focus on the Family, among others, has stated that he will not vote for Giuliani, because of his infidelity and because of his position on abortion. There are a lot of people, both conservative and liberal, who have serious concerns about his ethics.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 8:19PM
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helenar, are you kidding me? I wonder if you would feel the same way if it was "your" mother or father that had simply "moved on" and had the attitude that they owned "you" nothing.
If your own mom or dad "moved on" and could care less what you thought of their new spouse, and this new spouse's treatment of you.

We have a funny way of changing how we see, or feel about something, depending which viewpoint we are viewing it from, and the people involved. We may see it from your point of view, if we were the "new" wife. You may have a very different opinion if your "dad" is marrying some woman you despise, who you are certain is marrying him for what she can get from your dad. Or your mom has chosen some guy who has never held a job, and now he is going to live off her retirement that she worked 40 years to earn. Life can be like a kaleidiscope, how you see things depends on your viewpoint, and where you are sitting.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 9:57PM
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Okay, back to topic.

You have been together 10 years.
Depending on your state, you are already common law spouses, and entitled to property rights.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 10:19PM
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When we lived in a common law state, you were not married unless you presented yourself as married, no matter how long you'd lived together. As long as you didn't tell people you were married, or file jointly, etc., you remained single.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 10:26PM
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This post has veered wildly off topic. It's about adult women and men dealing with their adult stepchildren. All this talk about the other woman, political causes, etc., is a side matter.

The dynamics involved in meshing a family that includes adult stepchildren are complicated. What end of rope was asking is what happened to the good feelings, how to put aside her own hurt and mistrust over the unraveling of a previously good relationship and how to talk to her stepdaughter.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 11:02PM
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Thank you, lilysuzanne40 for getting us back on-track! How easily we are led astray :)

The way I read it, endofrope was originally asking for advice from a conciliatory attitude - which is great.

There were some very good suggestions that came in for her. We can all learn from good constructive advice.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 12:03AM
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I have been reading Step Wars, which has been helpful.

I have also been reading Loving What Is, by Byron Katie,
which has really helped me to insulate myself from
unappreciation and disrespect, and it has made a huge difference in how my husband interacts with me.
I think it has helped more than any book I have every read.

Also, when I read these books, it stays on topic, and doesn't hurl hurtful comments at me. : )

TOS, do you have step-children?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 7:08AM
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SS...Can you tell me a bit more about Love What Is? It sounds like one I might want to get.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:22AM
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Hi, Lafevem

The idea behind the book is that often it is not
a traumatic event or a situation that causes pain...
it is our feelings about it, and the way we interpret it in our lives. This teaches that we need to understand that some people are just going to be hurtful or unappreciative because that is their nature, and that we aren't going to change it. And that we need to avoid taking things personally, and so on.
A traumatic event is just that...when my SD
failt to appreciate me, it is my interpretation of that which hurts so much, not the event itself.

And so on.

That's so simplistic, but I would really recommend reading it. It has really brought peace into my life.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 2:27PM
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Hi SS -
Thanks for suggesting the Katie book for all of us. I would like to read it also. The Step Wars book was a god-send for me and I have finished it already - learning A LOT along the way. Of course, the practicing part is the hard part :)

I believe you are so right - it is our own interpretation of situations which causes us pain. But it also gives us a chance to look inside ourselves and try to understand where the pain originates from so we can begin to heal ourselves.

I just chatted with a GF of mine last week who is also a stepmom to two adult SKs. She was saying that the rejection she felt from these SKs brought up past childhood rejection feelings in her and she has learned to deal with her own feelings now. This enables her to see her SKs more objectively and can begin to put herself in their shoes instead of instinctively feeling her own rejection in a given situation. Kudos to her!

I've heard it said that when we react emotionally to something, it is usually because we have our own feelings which we need to examine in order to heal ourselves.

Thanks again for sharing the name of the book.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 3:08PM
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I am going to look for it. Sounds great!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 3:08PM
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Not wicked...that is a great observation. I never thought of it that way. It hurts to be rejected and not associate the pain of the rejection with the person. I have also tried to look at my SD's behavior from a more objective viewpoint as of late. I try to keep in mind the pain they have been through and the constant feelings they must have of trying to prove loyalty when they really do love their father. I try to not associate their behavior with them as I know most of it is fed by their BM's insecurity. We went out on another family outing on Saturday and BM continually was texting my oldest SD the whole time asking her what was going on, what we were doing, etc. She even called twice and my oldest SD had to go off and whisper in the phone leading us to believe she was being interrogated. This wasn't my SD calling mom, it was mom calling her everytime. I started thinking about the horrible position my SD is in. Trying to spend time with your dad, but keeping mom appeased at the same time. Trying to never act too happy at your dad's house because then you might tick off BM. It helps me to empathize when I think about their position.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 3:27PM
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It's true that kids can be put into terrible situations by emotionally immature familymembers. It's almost like the children are being emotionally blackmailed. It's very sad when adults "choose sides" and then rub negative feelings onto the children. The children can suffer in this position for years b/c if none of the adults back off, the scenario will continue forever - well into the SKs' adult years.

Good for you that you are seeing things from the SKs' vantage point and that you are refusing to let their actions hurt you - you know the true source - in this instance, the BM. Hang in there!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 8:12PM
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When my kids were younger and still visiting their father, they were not allowed to call home when there. They had to come up with a "good" reason and undergo interrogation. When they got cell phones, one in particular would stay awake late at night until my exH and his wife went to bed so they could call me.

They weren't even allowed to communicate with their siblings at home (they were not allowed to visit simultaneously). On one occasion the new wife impersonated the child who was at her house on IM, which the child at home saw through pretty quickly. Did she actually think it wouldn't be discovered?

I had forgotten that little episode until I started typing this post. Guess this thread is not helping me see the "good" in this woman.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 9:41PM
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Thank you for all the great advise. I just spent the long weekend with the whole family (DH, SK's, SGK's and my DD's). It was wonderful - we all had a great time.

I will definitely look for the book and read it. I also know that sometimes I do take things personally even tho that may not have been the intention. I have to believe in the SK's again but they also have to regain the trust back. Here's hoping we are going down the right track.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 11:38AM
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Hi E-O-R,
The trust issues are what takes the greatest amount of time. Hang in there - sounds like you're on a positive track :)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 11:52AM
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I just read my original post and realized I am still feeling the same. I think it is actually getting worse but I also know I am to blame for that as I have no trust for them as they probably don't for me. Two years of emotions is causing havoc - I am not sure if anything will change, maybe best to each go our separate ways to avoid anymore hurt to anyone.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 12:59PM
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I would be very interested to hear what the adult children of divorce have to say about this.

PS KKNY you still crack me up;)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 1:16PM
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Well frankly it was none of their business whether or not you & your DH signed a pre-nup. Why do kids today feel entitled to ANY inheritence when parents die. It's not like the KIDS worked for the money.

That is ridiculous and you & your DH's finances are none of their business-period. They should focus on working hard and providing for themselves in their adulthood.

Your came into this marriage with money and your DH was ready to declare bankruptcy. I wish you had signed a prenup to protect YOU, however again your & your DH's finances are between you & your DH, none of the kids business!!

Parents don't "owe" grown kids an inheritence. I certainly wouldn't be inclined to leave such ungrateful brats any of my money-Bio or Step.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 1:22PM
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And another thing, it's not our jobs as parents to leave our kids with a "fat" inheritence.

It's our jobs as parents to raise self-sufficient, responsible adults who are productive members of society and can tow their own weight.

I am happy my Mother & Stepfather are having a wonderful retirement with no worries about leaving any of us kids money. I want them to spend it now and enjoy life because they both worked hard to EARN what they have and THEY should spend it on themselves.

Isn't it nice to know some children love their parents because they are their parents, their family, their heart?

Not because they are just waiting for dear old Dad & Mom to drop dead and leave them a pile of cash.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 1:29PM
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I am not suggesting children wait for dear old Mom and DAd to drop dead. What I am suggesting, for the Nth time, is that unless Dad has a good prenup and will, it will be up to mom to decide. So, in all liklihood, moms kids will have a better chance. So unless your the one, Catlettuce, whose DAD has married a younger woman, yes you can be happy that your mom and stepdad are going along as they wish. I realize every one has their own situation, but there is a big difference between saying kids deserve a fat inheritance and saying dads kids should be treated fairly. What if SM inherits all, and then herself remarries? There are too many permutations to work out. My X did agree to a good prenup, etc., and I think it has gone a long way to calming a potentially more stormy relationship with DD.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 1:40PM
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You and your husband and your kids ARE a family and have been for a long time. You're a real family, with your own history. Your family's legitimacy doesn't depend on the attitude or the involvement of your stepchildren. They are grown adults and have their own lives. If they choose to be a POSITIVE part of your family, that's great. If not, then it's time to build new memories without them. Ultimately, it's their loss because it doesn't sound like the BM is very stable.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 1:41PM
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"I would be very interested to hear what the adult children of divorce have to say about this."

I agree with lilysuzanne.

In this case, I think it is convienent to blame just biomom though. She is half the problem, end of rope's husband is the other half.

Affairs, cheating, divorce, bringing in a new SO all while the kids are suffering and grieving a divorce.

Many people just say the kids will get over it, they will move on, they will accept in time.

That's not always the case. These things manifest themselves and everyone is different. Sounds like this SD has been holding on to anger and has been manipulated (not a good combo) for a very long time.

I feel for end of rope, I think she honestly tried to connect with her and is honestly hurt, but the SD has probably been more hurt and let down by her parents all these years.

Another thing I've noticed is that most bio parents do not like to acknowledge their part in the hurts of their child. It is very easy to point out biomoms flaws and I have no doubt that she has them, but not state what DH did or could've done better. Or even just acknowledge that he may not have handled things in the best interest of his children.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 1:45PM
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What about the 60K + a year you earned? You are only getting 25% of the estate that you obviously earned and contributed far more than that.

Were it not for your earnings your DH's business may well have folded. I don't understand why his children would receive more than you & yours combined?

I hope if you are really set on leaving such inheritances you should seek the counsel of an attorney/estate planner. Your so worried about protecting these adult kids but you are not taking protecting your assets that YOU earned.

What happens if God forbid you and or your DH are incompacitated, your kids are not around and your fate is in their hands literally? Will you end up in some crappy smelly nursing home when there is enough money to keep you in a nice private pay facility? Make sure you set up a seperate end of life care acocunt with someone you both trust to be might be surprised how often things like this can happen.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 1:51PM
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A. Nope my Dad did not marry a younger woman-He is dead.

But my Step Dad is 4 years younger than my Mom- Does that count?

B. OP made 60K yearly and supported her nearly bankrupt DH til he got his business back in the black. So why would she accept 1/4 of an estate when she contributed far more.

C. OP's & her DH's finances are NONE of Bios or Step childrens business-PERIOD!

D. I agree OP should have signed a prenup protecting HER!


    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 1:57PM
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My husband's hard work and sweat has made his business successful. Yes, I did earn 60K a year but did not financially help the business. I stayed back and did the wifely duties: let his son live with me, laundry, cooking etc.
His kids work for the company (making damn good money and abusing him everyday) and were concerned that it is theirs. In haste, I said "give them the f**n company if that is what they are so worried about"; hence, where the 25% for each of his kids and 25% for my kids (my name is not in there at all).
I agree that our finances are NONE of anyone elses business.
We have purchased some properties together however, these are either in his or the company name. I have not said anything about that as I thought this would make his kids happy - not so and now I am starting to think it will never be enough for them and I am utimately getting screwed.
For Richer or Poorer???????????????????
I am actually consulting a lawyer for estate planning to protect myself.
If I had a chance to redo - would I - NOT A CHANCE!!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 2:33PM
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"Why do kids today feel entitled to ANY inheritence when parents die. It's not like the KIDS worked for the money."...I don't think this is just an issue with today's kids, it's just that now there are so many family dynamics that were not present in the past. I, for one, don't care if I don't get any inheritence from my parents, I do care that the family heirlooms are passed to either me or my brother, not step-brother, because those are things that are generational to my family, not his.

"Another thing I've noticed is that most bio parents do not like to acknowledge their part in the hurts of their child. It is very easy to point out biomoms flaws and I have no doubt that she has them, but not state what DH did or could've done better. Or even just acknowledge that he may not have handled things in the best interest of his children."...I think this statement is so true. I had a hard time for a long time getting along with my SM because she is a difficult person to be around and because she always had the need to dictate where we went and what we did and how long we stayed when I was visiting my dad, along with other things. It wasn't until my DAD acknowledged her behaviour to me and validated my feelings that I was able to let go of all of that hurt and anger and to try to move on from all of that. I have a better relationship with both of them now, because it's easier for me to let her behavior slide when I know that HE notices it too.

All of that said...It sounds to me that end-of-rope has tried very hard to please her SKs and they really are just being spoiled, entitled brats. I'm just wondering, did you ever do what lily suggested and sit down with SD and talk to her about how you are feeling? Are all the Step kids acting this way, or is it just SD?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 3:33PM
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"If I had a chance to redo - would I - NOT A CHANCE!!!!!!!! "

I hear ya, me too.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 5:58PM
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I?ll try to make this short:
My parents divorced when I was eight, 32 years ago, and I have 5 siblings (our ages ranged from 2 to 13 years old).
This following is how I felt at different stages in my life:
1. Abandoned and unwanted.
2. Lose of dad, relatives, friends, and feelings of betrayal.
3. A. Anger, due to my BM filling my head with lies, it is all your father?s fault. If he loved yall than why did he leave. He has moved on with his new life and he doesn?t include yall.
B. Responsibility for my BM, always told that we were the only ones that loved her and had to defend her from our BF.
4. Defensive towards BF and blames new wife.
5. BM starts inheritance. All he has is going to go to his new wife and kids.
6. Maturity - It took me getting out on my own and realizing that my BM was and is not telling the truth about my BF. This is the hardest realization for any child. Also, it took my BF to sit me down and tell me his side.

I was the worst at pall-parroting my BM?s anger. Now, I live with regrets of how I acted.
But, my advice to you is:
It is easy for kids or adults kids to manipulate divorced parents because they feel guilty. But, this only adds to the problems. The BF needs to be a parent not a friend.
He needs to explain his side of the divorce to his adult children. They do not realize that their parents have feelings or could be hurt by what they do, so tell them.

Everyone needs to stop tip toeing around the adult children and act like adults themselves.
As far as the inheritance, it is NONE of their business.
When they mention it, calmly state: "Do I tell you what to do with your money, so why do you think you have the right to ask or tell us?" or "It is all going to charity, so you don?t have to worry about it and frankly it is none of your business." Keep saying things like this until they get it.

As far as your relationship with your SD, it won?t improve until you make her responsible for her actions. Her behavior is a result of her BM?s misery and she knows it will be accepted by both of you. Call her out each time she behaves inappropriately. "I can?t believe someone as smart as you would act in such a RUDE or DISRECTFUL manner." Or "How would you feel if I treated you this way." Find away to turn the situation around on her because she doesn?t think she is doing anything wrong. When she brings up her BM, just agree with her. Plan a family outing and don?t invite her. Make sure you address this trip with her the next time you see her. "You know I would have loved for yall to have gone with us but I knew if we invited you, you would have felt uncomfortable or just said no because of your issue with accepting all of us as your family. Maybe, we?ll do it some day.

Ironically, I?m in the exact same situation with my husband and his 4 children. But, I?m better prepared than most especially since I?ve been on both sides. I?m like you I don?t trust 2 of his children and would prefer never to see them again. They are now living with us and I?m not going to let them make my life HELL. Tried the nice road first and didn?t work. Now, I call them out each time they misbehave and it works. This has more of an impact if others are around when I do it. Make them responsible for their actions.

This is not insecurity!! You are fighting a battle with not only the SK?s but with the X and your husband.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 11:04AM
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Bad SD - thank you so much for this post! You have given me so much hope!

My SD's situation is almost identical to what you describe. She parrots everything BM says and does. Treats DH like he's a deadbeat dad. Ignores his calls, texts and voicemails. DH's adult son does the same thing. We sent a package for Christmas. Never acknowledged receipt of the package, even when asked in a text and e-mail, but yet the check was cashed.

I keep telling DH he has to talk to his kids. He has to explain his side of the story. But he is too afraid of ticking them off. I've also told him he needs to tell SD how rude it is to ignore people, but he doesn't want to be like that when he gets so little time to talk to her as it is.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 12:57PM
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Thanks for the recent update Bad SD. Things are probably getting worse here. I do not speak to "his" kids at all, I have caught hubby lieing and doing other stuff behind my back.
I realize that this will never change - and am know looking at what is best for my children and I.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2010 at 1:09AM
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OP, How are you now?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 2:43AM
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Things are about the same here - I do not speak to the middle SD; the older SD came for breakfast a couple of weeks ago and it was very tense; SS and I now speak and he seems to understand my point of view.
DH has redone his will - will not bring it home to show me so I am not sure what is in it now. DH still has not put my name on the properties that we purchased together.
Still cannot say anything negative about the SK as they are perfect in Daddy's eyes.
I am still in limbo -

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 5:54PM
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Hi End of Rope, Would like to know what is your relationship with your DH now, how long ago did he do his will and not allow you to see it? I think I d be so angry at him and cant imagine getting past this issue until its resolved..Are you two able to talk civilly? For something as important to your future as his(and your own ) will, I cant imagine day to day life with him with this looming in the backround...I think I personally would be giving ultimatums , wills are something a married couple does together....Thanks

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 7:23PM
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Hey dotz - I found a copy of his will 2 years ago - confronted him about some of the things that were in it (like MY kids going to his parents if we both die); he advised me about 6 months ago that his will is now final and changes have been made. NO - I have not seen it. Our relationship is civil - yes, I am angry and hurt; I cannot get past why he cannot discuss it and it is seriously effecting how I feel about being here and in this marriage. I have thought about the ultimatums, but trust is a big think - he could agree to something and then change it a month later without telling me. I also believe a will should be done together; I have nothing to hide.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 5:13PM
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Unless your DH (and I don't mean "Dear") has legal rights over YOUR children (has he adopted them?) he has no say in their disposition in the event of your death, surely?
I strongly suspect you have been written out of the will altogether, that's why he won't discuss it. It doesn't sound like your relationship is a happy one; frankly in your shoes I would be out of there so fast I would leave a sonic boom in my wake. In a divorce at least you would have more chance of getting what you are fairly entitled to in terms of property settlement.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 10:06PM
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End, I wonder if you did both go make wills together, if your attorney could tip you off if he changed it again behind your back, wonder if it would be legal for atty to do so? To inform you, I mean? Geez, giving HIS parents your kids? I m assuming they are your kids together? Without sharing that decision???? I would also wonder if thats legal? My brother had me on his will as guardians of his kids if anything happened to him (he was a widower) and I had to go in and sign I would do this, did his parents do that???? I think I d approach him again with what you need to be satisfied with will terms, or evaluate the whole marriage..Sad situation for you, for sure...

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 8:59AM
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The kids are mine from my first marriage - and no he did not adopt them. He has been an excellent step-father to them BUT that does not give him the right to say where they go in case our MY death.
I do not ask about the will - why? because i will probably just be told lies and is it really worth it?
It is a very sad situation, as I love him dearly but am really wondering if it is all worth it. Yes, I am evaluating the whole marriage.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 1:09PM
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End, I re read all your posts, you were thinking how unfair it was in 07, 08, 10 and 11....Long time, its probably time to bring it to the foreground with him...Its possible to have a good marriage and not see SKs that are not on board with your relationship( I have 2, one I see, One I dont and havent for almost 4 years..) I suspect a big part of the problems with SK I dont see, he is worried about dads money WAY too much..I love DH too, but if he hid stuff from me, I think its a dealbreaker, it IS hard when you love him and dont want it to be all about the money, but wheres his worry and concern about YOUR future...Good luck

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 6:44PM
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