New Here! Long, sorry! :(

smashleyNovember 11, 2009

Hello all :)

I've been reading through this forum and it seems like a wealth of good advice, so I feel like I should share my situation, get some feedback, etc.

Well, I'm 19 and my boyfriend is 21. I'm at school in Georgia, where my family lives, and he's in Tennessee, where his school and family are. We have been friends for 6 years, together for one, and honestly, I know I'm young, but he's the one. He recently gave me a promise ring, and he wasn't even ready to take this step with his baby mama.

He has a daughter, soon to be two years old, with his ex-girlfriend. I have only met her a handful of times because he took a parenting class that taught him to wait until we had been together AT LEAST 6 months to even bring me around the baby - Megan is her name. All the times I have met her, it has been me and him, and sometimes his mom. We don't hug or kiss or anything, and honestly, she seems to really enjoy her time with me. And when I'm at school and her father calls me, she loves to chat with me on the phone and practice saying my name. I have heard from my boyfriend and his mother that Megan doesn't exactly seem very attached or bonded to her mother - that when her mother and her aunt used to come pick her up, she would go running straight to the aunt, same thing with her maternal grandmother.

The baby's mother and father have had a very rocky relationship, and I have been dragged into it. There have been instances where the mother has confronted me and screamed terrible things at me. She is extremely manipulative and has targeted me on AIM and Facebook and MySpace and etc before. Now, she is blocked and we are not friends, but I am constantly fearful. I hold a lot of anger against this woman because she is one of the reasons my teen years were so screwed up because of her manipulation of me. And she is also the reason my boyfriend has gone through a lot of what he has - she pushed all of his friends away, and just hacked away at his life until she was the only one left standing.

In August, my boyfriend and I went on a trip to NYC. Right before the trip, he found out that the babys mother had gotten a new tattoo, which made him very angry because he had lent her $400 that she still hadn't paid back, yet got an elaborate tattoo. He sent some mean text messages, which he knows I didn't approve of, and he regretted them the next day. We went to NYC and had a great time. On our return, BM had taken out a restraining order preventing him from seeing/talking to her or Megan. It took him 2 months to get Megan off the order and be able to see her. The BM and my boyfriend have no contact for now, but we are going back to court on December 2nd to talk about the restraining order.

Recently the BM got engaged to a man in the Navy and we fear she will try to take the baby away with her to Charleston. They have 50-50 custody, but this woman has been in psychiatric hospitals three times, has had several suicide attempts, and is currently medicated for bipolar disorder, and shes not very compliant with her meds.

If anyone could give me some advice on a) how to start bonding with Megan and forming a true relationship with her, b) stay close with Megan through a long distance relationship, and c) just find a way to put all of my anger and anxiety about the BM to the side, I'd be SO appreciative.

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Hi there, I'm not sure how to comment, but I think it's important to let you know that it's better to not name names and places. This is an anonymous forum. Just be careful.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 11:47PM
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oh wow! i didn't know that! is there a way i can maybe delete this posting, then re-do it with everything being anonymous?

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 11:07AM
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Smashley -- So long as Megan is still a tiny child, she'll happily bond with you and find joy spending time with you.

But as soon as she is old enough to understand the poison her mother will spew about you (and from what you've said, that's a given), Megan will believe Mommy and you'll get a baffling and hurtful rejection. Perhaps, with extra sweetness, you'll be able to reach Megan and get her to forget what her Mommy said for a little while. But then she'll remember again, get confused again, and strike out at you again. And again and again and again.

With BioMom unstable and hateful, Megan's long term emotional health is a very poor prospect. And the chances of Megan's being able to sustain a close and loving bond with any potential StepMother are very, very small.

Read more posts here from StepMom's who are several years further down this road, and ask them what they'd advise if they had a 'do over'...

Betcha a lot of them will say what I'm about to say:

Run! Run fast, run far!
It's OK to be a friend to Baby Daddy, but for goodness sake, don't make a lifetime commitment to this man because that also means making a life commitment to crazy BioMom and soon-to-be-damaged-beyond-repair baby.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 11:39AM
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ditto sweeby!!!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 1:20PM
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My gut agrees with sweeby. . .

but my heart and head are wondering if, with her long list of mental problems, if it might not be worth trying to get full custody? I know this doesn't mean you won't have to deal with her at all, but at least you would be in charge of Megan's upbringing.

I would start compiling all the information you have about her mental problems, any irrational or violent behaviors, any illegal behaviors. Keep track of everything. You don't even have to tell her dad if you don't want to, Just keep a file someplace- in case you need it!

or you could just run, you are awfully young to be subjecting yourself to this. Love always seems worth it in the beginning . . . when you're still so blind.

Oh, and I thought "...and just hacked away at his life until she was the only one left standing. " was poetic.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 2:42PM
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Hi Smashly and welcome. Looks like you have received a lot of great advice. I have kids your age so I hope I won't sound like a lecturing old biddy, ha. The main thing I would advise you is to move slowly. I know when a person feels like they have met "the one," they want to throw their lot in with that person, that the impulse is to close the deal as soon as possible.

But I would counsel you to do something that I know from experience is very difficult when one is 19, and that is to assess what you want down the road, for the next 10, 20 and even more years. And then as you continue your relationship with your SO, keep that in mind as you evaluate whether it will be a good pairing, for you, for him and for his child. AND, especially, for any children you might have with him.

If you don't want kids for a while (or at all), then your main concern is Megan. Will she be hurt if she accepts you as a mother and then you just can't take the stress and the not-feeling-like-number-one that can come with your situation? And you decide to move on? That can be so painful, to lose a stepchild or a stepparent that we are bonded to.

You might want to read Lovehadley's post of today. Lovehadly is stuck with her husband's ex and so is her daughter. Bottom line, when you marry a man with children, you marry them to AND their mother. It's complicated!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 3:15PM
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Thanks so much everyone for your input. I guess one of the reasons I don't want to leave is because I have been in love with this boy since I was 13 years old. He was who I turned to when my parents split, when my dad remarried and all of the sudden I had these 4 step-siblings, when I went through all these growing pains throughout the years. He has been my shoulder to cry on, my rock, etc. And it's not like I haven't dated around. Ha. I've had boyfriends since the 7th grade. And my first year in college I definitely had my party, go out and just meet guys and date and everything phase, and while it was fun, I always felt like there was something missing, and that feeling went away when my BF and I got together. Trust me you guys, I hear all of this from my mom, and while I can see that all of you have a point, I'm going to go with my heart and gut for now.

ulrilke1 - I definitely can hear you about the main concern being the baby (I'm going to stick with anonymity from now on). And I have talked to my BF about that - because not only is my concern her getting attached to me...but me getting attached to her. I am a kid freak. I'm studying to be an occupational therapist and I want to specialize in pediatrics. I've nannied, interned in hospital nursuries, etc etc. I LOOOOOVE kids. That's why we've actually went ahead and waited for so long. The few times I have interacted with her have been very short, non-committal, the way his friends act around her. Now we're talking about taking it to a more serious level.

sweeby - trust me, I have had those thoughts about whether or not a relationship could truly form between the baby and I because of BM since day one, and I'm very open about them with my BF. From what he has said and what little I have seen, the baby seems very very advanced for her age, and she's eerily good at reading people. The first time I ever met her, she just sat so still and stared at me, which threw me off because I'm used to happy, cuddly babies, or crying ones. The next time, she assessed me for a few minutes, then was happy to let me hold her and gave me her cheek to kiss before I left, and its been that way since. My BF said he is hopeful that her apparent intelligence and ability to read people will benefit her as she grows, and that she will be able to see through her moms histrionics. In addition to that, at BMs house, its her, her mother, stepfather, sister, and brother. From what I can tell, it's the BMs mother who does the majority of the care. In fact, the BMs mom has said she rarely leaves the BM alone with the baby, she prefers to leave the BMs YOUNGER sister with them, and that if the BM ever tried to leave, she wouldn't be leaving with the baby. Essentially, the hope my BF and I have is that with a good support system around the baby, we can cushion the detrimental effects of the BM. Both my BFs and the BMs moms are very involved with the baby, and from what everyone can see, she is happy and doing well, which is a blessing. We're taking it a day at a time.

stepmomof4 - I have been doing EXACTLY that. Every time she has IM'd me, i keep a record. Any time she has messaged me, I've kept a record. And thankfully, any interaction between the two of us (and it has been minimal) has been in public places with plenty of witnesses. And it's sad to say, but it's true - she really did tear his life apart. He had all of these friends and he was in a band, and one by one she pushed them out of his life. She made his relationships with his mother and sister very unstable, and he fears that if they hadn't have broken up when they did, he and his mom wouldn't have made it. We honestly think she has either antisocial or borderline personality disorder. Shes one of those people who just plays up emotion to this big level, but when you really look, its very clearly an act. It's as if she acts out emotions because she can't feel them. The two times I have ever had interaction with her are as follows: I had been with my boyfriend for almost two months. I was in his place of work just studying for my finals because I had about a week of break before I had to take them. The night before, we had been at one of his friends houses, and he accidentally left his phone. The friend called me from it when we got home, letting us know he'd bring the phone by later. So I'm sitting and studying when I hear a "Uh oh..." from one of my BFs coworkers. BM comes storming through the door, guns blazing. She was SCREAMING "I have been calling you ALL morning, YOUR CHILD is sick. Blah Blah Blah. Oh (she gestured to me) but I can see that when she's around you just don't care." he kept going on and on and finally a police officer who was eating there forced her to leave. And on her way out she looks right at me and goes "Oh, and he's already cheating on you. I slept with him last week" and I just didn't even grace that with a response, which made her even more angry. The second time was over this past summer. She asked my BF and I to sit down with her to "clear the air" about the past. For the first of three hours we were there, it was her talking about things that I didn't need to be involved in, such as the baby's insurance coverage, yadda yadda. Then it just was her talking about how she didn't want my BF anymore, I shouldn't feel threatened about their attempt at friendship for the baby's sake, she hoped we could be civil to each other. I walked away from that feeling pretty good, like we had all had a chance to clear the slate. That night, I dropped off my boyfriend at work (he had left his original place of work to take a job somewhere else...then the BM got a job at the same place. vomit.) and she asked him where his car was. He responded with "oh, _________ drove me to work. She has my car." She flipped out, thinking we had driven from my house to his, and that he was going to have to drive me home. When he corrected her, saying that my car was at his place, I was just using his car around town to save gas, instead of a rational, "I'm sorry, my mistake" she was snide and snotty and rude, and that was the start of the downhill relationship, leading to the restraining order.

So, sorry this is so long everyone. I just feel like all of you really know what's up and can help me in ways people that haven't gone through this can't - like just answer my questions and talk about my of which is court coming up. The first date was very simple. The judge read over the case, said any threats or mean comments made in the texts were not aimed towards the BM and that he should enjoy his parenting time as stated in their parenting plan, the end. Now, we're going back to court to not only decide if the order will become permanent, but some other custody things. This time I apparently will be called to talk about the incident that propagated the order, as well as my past interactions with BM, to prove that she gives just as good as she gets, and the order should go both ways, if that. The only reason my BF is even fighting the order is because he'd have to report it to any jobs or other college programs, and even if dropped, he plans to maintain it in that the grandmothers will to the transferring of the child, and he will not have any contact with her. Any advice on people that have been in this situation?

I'm so sorry at how long this is, it's just I feel like I have people who will actually understand that I can really tell things to. Thanks

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 9:17PM
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I hardly ever post on this forum but I felt I had to when I read your story tonight. My first reaction is "This young woman can write very well, expresses herself so clearly and seems to be very intelligent." You have completed at least one year of college, and I assume you have hopes of going all the way with your, not years from now when your other responsibilities in life allow you a bit of time to go back to college! If you stay with this man, no matter how much you love him, your college years will come to a quick end. There will be bio-mother dramas without end, you will be called on to be a caretaker for the little girl, you will have little or no control over the direction your life takes. It doesn't sound as if college is part of his life, and that will have financial implications for your future, too. You are not too young to fall in love, but you are too young to make decisions that will tie yourself not just to the man you love, but also his young child and her mother. Please go slowly with this. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2009 at 10:48PM
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I have to agree that you DO sound very intelligent and articulate -- and I don't say that lightly -- ever. I'm somewhat reassured, hearing that you've known and loved this young man since you were 13, and that you've dated around before coming to this point. It's also good to hear that you're well aware of the challenges and aren't 'love-glazed' minimizing them. And it's possible that with Grandma and Aunties around, Megan's future isn't as bleak as it initially sounded.

I hope you will bear in mind the critical importance of investing in your own future right now. The word "investing" is important, because right now -- getting your degree and OT credentials is paramount. Pediatric OT is a wonderful career (my son went to OT for many years), but without those credentials -- well, it's low-paying child care jobs only... And that's not what you want to aim for.

If your BF is worth having, he will agree completely that your future shouldn't get short-circuited to baby-sit his child.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 10:23AM
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Thank you very very much. I truly appreciate your compliments. In response to mragle and sweeby - I am currently a sophomore in college and I'm completing a program in which I spend 3 years (90 hours) at one college, then transfer to a different school where I will spend 2 years and then graduate with my Masters of Health Science in Occupational Therapy. If there is one thing my mother has taught me that I truly believe it's that no one can take an education from you, and I shudder to think of what my life would have been like if my mother didn't have her teaching career to fall back on when my father left.

And while my BF has given me a promise ring and we hope to get married one day - we are looking at that as a very long term plan. It's almost as if the ring is symbolizing that if we can get through what we both need to do, me with school, he with school and working, then one day, we want to get married. But we're both conscious that that is a very long time away and that we need to take everything a day at a time. It is our hope that the day will come when we can move in together and be co-parents to Megan and any children we may have together in the future - and that is why the baby and I are having increased interaction time - because we have acknowledged that through the challenges, this is a serious relationship and we love and are committed to each other.

Trust me sweeby, both me and my BF have been around the block a few times with dating and "hooking up" and relationships and us being together came at a time where we were both just looking for someone to lean on and talk to and have fun with, and it has blossomed into more. My mama always said that friends first makes the best relationship, so I'm hoping she's right :)

Again, thank you for the compliments and for the advice. You are all so nice for sharing your wisdom with me, and I will definitely keep coming to this forum for advice and thoughts.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2009 at 2:08PM
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Take the time to read more of the posts on this board. Pay attention to the ones about teens since baby Megan will eventually be tween Megan and then teen Megan. Also, pay extra close attention to the ones complaining about BioMoms. Now, there are quite a few biomoms who post here and all biomoms are not problematic, they just love their kids, BUT, any relationship that you have with a man with a young child will involve his ex for a long time. Meaning you wil be involved with his ex for a long time. Don't just think until 18 either. At 19 do you really want all of that? You, him, his ex, Megan possibly your kids to be...forever?

Hate to sound like your mom but there other, unattached, childless, fish in the sea. How attached do YOU want to be to all of this? Like, forever? Love is love but this stuff can feel like forever.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2009 at 8:51PM
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