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Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Posted by almitchell (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 26, 11 at 20:39

To start, I am so glad I found this forum. I lurked for a while before joining because I've run into some very judgmental people out there and no one here strikes me that way. I just need some kind of reassurance that I'm not crazy - and from what I've read here, I'm not.

I'm very new to step-parenting, and children. I'm almost forty, never had children of my own, and this has been a crash course for me. I'm fortunate that the man I'm with - forgive me but we're not married, neither of us wants to be married again but are determined that this will work, and we live together for all intents and purposes though we each own our own homes - is someone I was good friends with in high school (we went our own ways for 21 years) and started dating about a year and a half ago. We'd both been divorced for about 4 years and he has two wonderful and adorable children: SS, who is 10, and SD, who is 7.

I was worried about meeting them until SO and I had established a relationship - I didn't want to be a flash in the pan to them and I made that clear, especially since the woman he dated before me for 6 months had her own children and that went south. If I was going to be in their lives, I wanted them to know that I wasn't just going to disappear one day. Once I did meet them I quickly grew to love them, and while I made it clear that I am not trying to be their mom, I do want them to know that I love them and care about them.

My biggest issue is, of course, BM. The way I view it is that if they were my children, I would want to get to know the person my children are spending time with. I don't want to be her buddy, or her BFF, or hang out with her. I'd just like to be able to have civil conversations with her about the kids. Um, to put it plainly, ain't gonna happen. She mostly refuses to acknowledge me. Anything I give the kids that goes home vanishes, with the exception of SD's Christmas gifts, which were unceremoniously sent back to her dad's with no explanation. After they repeatedly showed up at my house with no socks, I bought them a bunch of socks to keep at my house. She got so incensed that she went out and bought them both dozens of socks - which they still don't show up with - so they wouldn't have to use anything I've bought them. After BM sent SD out of the house in shorts that I mistook for underwear, she can kiss my backside, because they will have appropriate playclothes at my house. Just how it's going to be. I used the excuse that I keep the A/C very cold and I didn't want her to get cold.

I've been nothing but kind and polite and supportive and I would like to think totally non-threatening. But after learning to just listen to them, I've learned that they are not allowed to talk about me at home. They are not supposed to like me, have been told that they don't have to mind me, and were told that anything that comes from me is unwelcome and unliked because it's from me. Apparently there is also something wrong with me because I'm in a relationship with their father.

I just want to know that it's not selfish of me to get frustrated. BM is, sadly, fairly dumb, and I can't really respect much about her except that she has two exceptional kids by my SO - her other three kids from her first marriage are a train wreck, so I worry about the impact she's going to have on the kids now that their father is happy. THey got divorced because she nearly spent him into bankruptcy, plus she is a shrew, and like I said, just not bright. My problem (and it is mine, I've owned it and am trying to get over it) is that I can't respect a woman who has 5 kids and drives a school bus and waits tables at her age because she fully expected that SO would work himself to death to keep her in Ralph Lauren sheets and a 6 bedroom house and never bettered herself to have a career. She gets food stamps and never has money for anything for them - even SO says the money he gives her is child support, not BM support. He'd never say that to her face, though - god forbid. She might get offended.

And golly do I get sick of hearing nothing but stories about "remember when"...I know that this as his life and I would never try to deny it or erase it or tell them I didn't want to hear it, but just damn, sometimes I *don't* want to her about it. Let's make some new memories, kiddos...please?

I don't mean to sound miserable, because I'm not. It's just that sometimes I need to vent and this seems like a very welcoming place. Thanks to anyone who reads and hears me! XO


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

The kids are still young enough that they have memories and those won't go away BUT as they get older the memories will fade.

I hear your same story over and over again from new SMs and as a BM not an SM ... I have to say, I pray to God that I never acted this way. Although I know I was a jerk to SM and to BD, I can honestly say, I never used my child or tried to alienate her because I didn't want to be 'replaced'.

I hope that some SMs on the forum can give you better advice or at least give you some advice. I know in my situation, all of these things happen to dd AT dad's. For example: she isn't allowed to take anything from my house to their house, not even her school bag on school nights. Must stay in the car. Is not allowed to bring anything home. EVER. If dd gets a gift from anyone while at BDs ( remember DD's personal gift) meaning personal property, it cannot leave their house. Even though she may want to bring home her cards from grandma so she can see them everyday. She is not allowed to talk about me while there. Cannot refer to me as MOM -- must only call SM MOM.. Must not speak of any memories or anything that might have happened yesterday at MY house... And we have been in court fighting a never ending battle because of it and I finally give up. You know what I just decided? I can't control it. They are miserable running around trying to control dd's every thought and ruin my relationship with dd and so you know what? I refuse to be miserable with them. They are making dd miserable but I'm gonna live my happy little life, love all over my dd, take advantage of every little minute with her ... And although she is miserable while with them, I still cannot control that. The courts won't stop it and so I just had to learn to accept it and .... Tada... The more I ignore and refuse to even acknowledge that I KNOW what they said about me to dd or that I know what they did to her, it has slowed down to a crawl... At first it was like they amped up their efforts and my ignoring them was igniting their fire... But I just kept moving on... And it's starting to stop. They still do stuff that just infuriates me but they will never know it. If Dd is ever in danger and is really hurting, I will decide then how to handle but for now, I just keep 'empowering' dd to speak up for heralds and to handle her own battle ... And I think it might be working.

Get the book - coparenting with a jerk.. Or parenting with a jerk... It really has helped me to separate MY feelings from my dd's. Famous words... Who has the problem? Who needs to fix the problem? And usually the answer is DD.

Good Luck -- and hang in there..


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

almitchell...I understand your frustration! I have been living with my boyfriend for a little over a year now and the BM does the same things to me. Im learning day by day to not let it bother me, but its hard. Just hold your head high. The children are young and you will eventually make your own memories with them. Create the opportunity and be positive about the time you spend with them and the really good moments will come! In reference to the gifts, I NEVER see the items i buy for my SS. They get lost at BM's house. Just ask the children to pack some of the items when they come back over and make sure Dad reinforces it. They are kids and are forgetfull with things. Good luck!


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Taking a long-term view

Hi Almitchell! And welcome. What you're experiencing is pretty common--and you are doing the right thing by venting here, because having to keep silent about it and bottle it up just makes SM challenges fester. I've been a SM for 14 years now and our situation is quite good, but I experienced very similar things in the beginning. A couple of thoughts:

First, and this is the main thing I would tell any new SM, is to consider the long-term picture. If you and your SO do end up staying together for the rest of your lives, your SKs will be part of that also, and what happens in these early days can have long-lasting effect on your relationship with them. So don't worry too much just yet about all of BM's acting out. She is no doubt jealous, and having a new person in your co-parent's life is always difficult for a birth parent to an extent. Yet believe it or not, that may not always be the case! If things go well, she may start to appreciate you, and you may end up having a friendly relationship, if not a friendship. In the throes of new love, we gals are soooo possessive, I think. Then when our love matures, we feel more secure and then having a peaceful family structure becomes more our focus. If they are really honest, a lot of SMs will admit that early on they were happier if DH and BM didn't get along; but later, having them at odds seems disruptive and actually detracts from our relationship with our partner--and our sense of how our own lives are.

The other thing is, no matter what you think of BM, try not to express it to your SO very much. That is so hard, I know! But it really makes a difference. And you for sure don't want the SKs hearing you say anything negative. The worst mom in the world is still a mom, and the kids identify with her. Criticizing her feels like criticism of them, at least at first. It's a sure road to them resenting you. Instead, suffer in silence on this one, because as they grow older, they will remember who was gracious and who wasn't, ha.

Now the most important thing of all. Does your SO support you? What does he say to the kids when they say they aren't supposed to like you or listen to you? He needs to be the one to handle this, at least at first.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

P.S. to Almitchell--I just reread what I wrote and realize it sounded like I was discounting your feelings! Totally didn't mean to. There is a lot of grief and sadness that goes along with being with a man who has children with another woman, and it can feel so good to discuss that.

The whole things with the memories and the kids constantly talking about the days when their parents were married, or Mom does this and Mom does that...very painful, even if you totally understand why they do it.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Ulriekl you had the very best advice!


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Hi Almitchell! I understand how you feel with all of the "remember when" stories. When my mom first got remarried, I used to hate holiday dinners. My new young adult step-sibs seemed to sit around for the better part of the meal reminiscing about holidays past, while I sat in silence with no idea what they were talking about. Back then my biggest complaint was more feeling completely excluded; if it weren't during dinner I could have found an in-law or someone else to talk to.

Usually I try to think of it this way - when DH and I met we exchanged stories or anecdotes of holidays past or memories of summer vacations or just stories of how our moms both made the same kind of tea on cold rainy days. I think it's one of the ways to help someone understand who you are, what your life has been like, what's important to you. DH and I are adults and are hopefully a bit more tactful than kids are - if the best vacation we ever had was with an ex, the part about "And we were so in love...." may be glossed over a bit, and the listener has the good sense to not ask too many questions! But kids aren't going to do that. If kids remember being a happy family at that time, that's what they're going to say. As you said, they'll soon have new memories as well. In my case, holiday dinners still sometimes include talk of step-family's holidays as kids - but they also now include decades of holidays since then.

It's not selfish to feel frustrated. Especially for those of us who did not have kids of our own when we got married, it can be a rough transition, and I'm sure a lot of us have had a day or two when we secretly think it would be really nice to spend the weekend alone with our new BF/DH/SO. But, instead of curling up with him and trying to convince him to cancel (which some women would do, as we know), we put on our game faces and sally forth to try our best for the kids.

It's a bit disconcerting to start off thinking that while BM may not like you personally, she at least mildly appreciates that you're trying to do your best for her kids - and then discover that your efforts have earned you her enmity instead.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Hearing these things make me feel much better! Most of the time I can deal with it, but sometimes it's a hassle.

The most recent was that SD was sick on our weekend for Easter - coughing, snotty, earache, fever, the works - and BM kept insisting that she wasn't. She wasn't the one listening to SD hacking and constantly blowing her nose and falling asleep any time she sat still. I think it's because she didn't want to pay for the doctor. If I was allowed, I would take her, but so much for that. But we were at SS's ballgame and in what was the first instance of actually speaking directly to the woman, when she said that SD was just "hot from running around", I said that SD was indeed sick and I had gotten her some children's advil to bring down her fever and stop the coughing.

Well, that was absolutely the wrong thing, because the next day SO got an earful about how I am "not to be doctoring her!" and how she knows best and SD isn't sick - I think my blood pressure went up 20 points. So I shrugged. I'm really learning to hate shrugging. Then I told SO that when it goes into bronchitis or strep, maybe she'll let me take SD to the doctor, if she doesn't want to pay for it.

I want a decent relationship with her. Like I said, I don't want to be buddies or anything, but it would be nice to be able to communicate directly without SO having to play go-between. I know that's his "job", but I also view it as we are all grownups here and she needs to get with the program. They've been divorced for going on 4 years and she has her own SO, so get over it. There is no need for stupid conflict when we all have a common goal. Given what I read here though it doesn't seem that rationality plays a big part in these situations.

SO is generally very supportive of me, does everything he can to foster my relationship with the kids, and tells BM that I have the kids' best interests in mind, but it isn't like she listens. I have no idea why she would be jealous, but given some of the stories on here, I guess that's the most likely reason behind her acting like a spoiled teenager. I do think he gives in to her far too often, but he said that after spending 10 years of his life fighting with her he's not interested in doing it anymore.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Rationality, what's that? :)

It does sound like she is feeling threatened. And it sounds like she is not a very gracious or tactful person, to say the least. But even women who are normally pretty classy can have strong feelings when it comes to their cubs. I mean, I hope I am fairly rational, LOL, but I felt some of that when my ex-H remarried. My kids' SM is a great lady and at this stage, I am very pleased she is in their lives. And I myself was dealing with an angry, jealous BM of my SKs at the same time, so I should have had more perspective. I remember one week during the middle school open house when I sensed BM's resentment that I was along with my husband for SD's classes and thought she was being so petty...and then, the next night I bristled inside when my ex-H showed up with SM. Ha!

You said you would have taken SD to the doctor if you were allowed; what about your SO? One thing I would caution you about is taking on too much responsibility for the SKs. Men, bless their hearts, are prone to letting a woman step in when it comes to their kids. You might need to back away some to be sure he is parenting them. It can be a slippery slope that, even if you love your SKs dearly, you will end up resenting.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

why isn't dad taking sick child to the doctor??? why isn't he paying for it? does anyone have health insurance? if child is in dad's care doesn't dad have authority to take his child to a doctor? he can't afford it? where is dad in all this?

I don't understand this situation. When DD was getting sick at dads he took her to a doctor or gave her meds and paid for it if needed.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Because if SO takes SD to the doctor, all hell breaks loose and he won't fight BM on it. In all honesty, I think he wants to force BM to be responsible, but I haven't seen it work yet unless he dangled a financial carrot in front of her. Trust me, I wanted to take her myself. But I can't get in the middle of their struggle. I just said the heck with it and got her the advil.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Wait, he isn't allowed to take his own child to the doctor when she is ill? Is it in their parenting decree, or does she just throw a fit? Your SO needs to learn his legal rights, and exercise them regardless of any attitude he gets from BM about it.

Just be careful; if BM senses that you are behind his new determination to be an equal parent, she may dig in her heels all the more. Not fair, but there it is.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Why can't you respect someone who works 2 jobs (see your first post)? What is not to respect about that?

Did anyone notice this comment????


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Yes, Yabber I caught that. For a change I've been silent here so far(does not happen often LOL). I've not decided what I think yet. But obviously OP thinks driving a school bus full of kids is demeaning and unworthy of a person's time and that waitressing is a bad bad thing. I also noted the part about not respecting someone who has five kids and no time for a career? Suppose we should forget that OP's SO helped create two of those kids that helped hold her back from advancing? Guess SO didn't find BM so much below him or too stupid to team up with (at least for a while) if he helped her out with adding to the bunch .


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Maybe it's just me today, but I can totally see why BM has her back up.

You think BM is a terrible mother and you want to 'save' her children. You might not say this out loud but the message is clear and offensive (Trying to give SD Advil while in BM's care is pretty much insulting BM and 'going over the top of her').

Here's my advice: Why don't you leave the parenting up to your BF? Let him be the one to deal with a sick D and a BM who doesn't take her to the doctor. His kid, his responsibility. Not yours. Regardless of BM being good or bad mother, I can understand why she's annoyed with you. It's up to your DH to do these things, not you. And if he drops the ball, it's not yours to automatically pick up!

I've learned this myself, I'm a SM as well who's dealing with a difficult and neglectful BM so I do know what it's like. But I also know now that it's not appreciated when I'm going to be the one that takes all initiative and not DH. You need to look closer to home and focus on your own situation. Why doesn't DH do these things that you think need doing? Does he not think it's
necessary? Can you live with him as he is, accepting what he does and doesn't choose to do? That is what you really should be asking yourself.

Don't be self-righteous, every time you step in because BM is dropping the ball, isn't your DH leaving it as well? For you? What does that make him? Can you see now why BM would perhaps feel annoyed? Support him, advise him, talk
about stuff, sure, but leave any action up to him. And excuses how he really doesn't have time for these things so you have to do it for him are just excuses. If he was single he'd have to make it work, right? And buying some socks or Advil, he should manage.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

You know, I had typed up a whole reasoned rebuttal, but most of this is absolutely right. I've also incorrectly painted the portrait that SO is completely passive, and that is completely not so. I guess it's more of a pick your battles kind of thing. Why worry about the SD going to the doctor when BM calls at least twice a week screaming about money and how he was horrible for divorcing her and taking away that money? Pffft! Small potatoes.

But you are all right. I should not involve myself. I should stand by passively. I should just keep up the shrugging. I shouldn't care if the kids come over with colds and feel like crap. I should just stop buying them presents since BM doesn't like anything I do for them and sends them all back. I should stop talking to them completely, as a matter of fact, since they're not supposed to like me or listen to me. I should continue to be nothing but bright and sunshiney about BM. I shouldn't be concerned about any of it because hey, like I've seen on here a few times and I personally find appalling: "Not my kids, not my problem."

I came here looking for clarification and validation and I sure got it. Thank you.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Almitchell, I don't think that's what people are trying to say. If you get into power struggles with BM you will lose; the most neglectful BM in the world will trump the most caring SM (unless she's so neglectful she loses custody, and that's not likely). As frustrating as it is, you need to poke, prod and support DH into doing his job as a parent.

I'm not suggesting your DH is lazy, neglectful or uncaring - but he is probably exhausted, and, as you said, wants to "pick his battles". You may also have to start thinking outside the box, and stop trying to reason with an unreasonable person. If DH has joint legal custody, why couldn't he have taken SD to doctor himself, and just paid for it himself? No, it's not fair - but SD would have gotten medical attention.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

The difference in 'not my kid, not my problem' and actually not giving a damn are huge. The bottomline is you can not make/force your BF or the children's BM to parent. Is it that they are not parenting up to your ideas of standard parenting?

Of course sick kids should be taken to drs. office. I'd not want a sick child out at a ballgame myself. But obviously BM does not care what you (or I think) and BF is not up to stepping up and doing anything about it. Curious as to what drs. offices were open Easter weekend...here it would have been nothing but a the ER or one of the hospital's outcenters. But I guess what really caught my notice was that it was a YOU must take her. If you said why BF physically could not take his daughter, I missed the answer. It gives the impression BF and BM found no need and overruled you opinion? That is the point of where yeah, shrug, you can't make them and demanding that if they won't you will is not going to be welcome by either parent.

Some of the other areas of your concern could be compromised on and/or worked out between the parents. Why have clothing go back and forth. That topic has been covered here quite a bit. Let BM have her clothing there for them at her house and BF have clothing for them at his. None of BM's business what clothing bf/you buy and leave at your house. Same with presents. I'll assume you have bedrooms for the kids. Let them have your presents stay in their rooms at your house while they go back to BM. Better to have them either just enjoy the gifts while at your house than to keep buying and whining that BM makes them poof.

It's the little things that you can 'help' make the struggle easier and more tolerated. As far as the BM says to kids things... BF can begin to get a grip on this too. Hey, if the kids are not to 'mind' you then BF best be there to correct them and supervise behavior and deal with it. Dad needs to talk to these kids that if and when he is not around that they do have to respect that there are rules in the home that must be followed. They don't get to do whatever they please. Rules must ve followed whether if he is around at moment or not and if you ask them to stop beause they are breaking rules, Dad expects them to knock it off. Leave the actual discipline discussion to Dad. You asked them to knock it off, they continued behavior and Dad can deal with it when he returns. If BM wants to set Dad up to be the &ss, let her. In the meantime children that are left in your care for the afternoon (or whatever) don't get 'fun stuff' while in your care if they can't mind you. I'd not take kids to a movie if while there they could do as they please and not listen to me. Why subject yourself to it.


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Separating Out Feelings

Almitchell, sounds like you are leaving the board because of some posters' comments? But if I didn't read that correctly, then just a few comments.

You are so not alone in feeling frustrated that you can't, as you would no doubt do in most life situations, simply step in and do what you think is best. I am very much of the "it takes a village" school of parenting; I appreciated other people taking an interest in my kids and wanting to help them. Even their stepmom, though there were times I had to hold my tongue when she made a decision I wouldn't have made. I would always ask myself: "Would I resent this if it were someone else?" Eventually I very much appreciated having her in my ex's home because, like you, she was more diligent about wiping noses, etc., than he was. And it was the same with my stepkids--I just naturally wanted to take care of them when they were in my home, and that didn't seem wrong or overstepping to me. As BM got to know me, she was pretty much cool with that, in most areas.

Which is the thing that's hard for you right now, because BM doesn't want to know you--at least yet. Chances are she will come around (unless she thinks you broke up her marriage or something, and even then she might settle down anyway). But really, life is long and if you stay with your SO, you guys and the kids will develop your own system. For now, do what you can, and try to focus on your own relationship with your SO and your new stepkids and not worry about what BM thinks about you. (I know this can be tremendously hard--this is kind of a "do as I say, not as I do," ha--I would be furious back then, and hurt, by BM's disparaging comments about me. It felt like a huge injustice, and was a source of stress between my DH and me.)

ITA with the other poster who said to let Dad do most of the parental heavy lifting and you be the fun person right now. Of course you can buy them presents, and if the presents come back to your house because BM is jealous, well great, they can have those things while visiting you. If they are ill and seem to appreciate and be comfortable with you caring for them, why not do it? You'll be giving them the message that you care for them, and the older they get, the more likely they will be to see BM's motivations as not in their own best interest, or about their needs.

And as to your feelings, hopefully your SO will be able to get past that male-female communication divide and be able to hear your pain about the situation. Meanwhile, plenty of the posters here (those who are SMs) can appreciate it and identify, I'm sure!


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

"I should not involve myself. " Correct, as in, don't deal with BM, let DH deal with BM.

"I should stand by passively." Correct, when it comes to dealing with BM. But at your place, be who you are, care for the kids, welcome them in your home, build the best possible bond you can.

"I should just keep up the shrugging. I shouldn't care if the kids come over with colds and feel like crap." Who on this forum said that that is what you should do??

"I should just stop buying them presents since BM doesn't like anything I do for them and sends them all back." Partly correct. It's not about BM and whether she likes it or not is it? It's about the kids. Be smart, buy them something that isn't practical for them to take back to BM, so they don't even have to face that decision. For example something for their room at your place, like a painting/photoframe.

"I should stop talking to them completely, as a matter of fact, since they're not supposed to like me or listen to me." Come on, now you're just being a bit oversensitive. If you want to make this work you need to toughen up a bit and don't be so touchy.

"I should continue to be nothing but bright and sunshiney about BM." Who said that? Nobody is going to say that you should be doing that, least of all me.

"I shouldn't be concerned about any of it because hey, like I've seen on here a few times and I personally find appalling: "Not my kids, not my problem." Again, with the dramaqueen!

Look, you need to be a bit more realistic here, don't expect BM to communicate with you directly. Thinking that it's annoying to have DH as a go-between is silly! You are not the kids parent, BM doesn't have to communicate with you. She finds it annoying and rightly so (our BM is a total looser as well but I can still understand that she doesn't want to talk to me, and I respect that even though I don't like her at all) I'm not trying to bash you here, it's more like tough love I guess.

Look, I've got a great relationship with my SD14 now. I've known her for over 6 years, her BM has serious issues. Our relationship didn't just happen overnight, and I've had to learn a lot over the past 6 years. The best thing I ever did was learn to focus on our own home and on what we can control. I don't bash BM, but I also don't pretend I agree with what she does. I care for the kids when they are with us, but I don't try and talk to BM and we don't try to 'sort her out' anymore (yes I've been there too, and guess where that got me? ;-)

My SD14 now knows that she can come to us when she needs a break, she is slowly figuring out what is what and we are there to support her. It's the best outcome.

Taking a backseat? Not really, taking a step back, for sure.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

"I should not involve myself. " Correct, as in, don't deal with BM, let DH deal with BM.

"I should stand by passively." Correct, when it comes to dealing with BM. But at your place, be who you are, care for the kids, welcome them in your home, build the best possible bond you can.

"I should just keep up the shrugging. I shouldn't care if the kids come over with colds and feel like crap." Who on this forum said that that is what you should do??

"I should just stop buying them presents since BM doesn't like anything I do for them and sends them all back." Partly correct. It's not about BM and whether she likes it or not is it? It's about the kids. Be smart, buy them something that isn't practical for them to take back to BM, so they don't even have to face that decision. For example something for their room at your place, like a painting/photoframe.

"I should stop talking to them completely, as a matter of fact, since they're not supposed to like me or listen to me." Come on, now you're just being a bit oversensitive. If you want to make this work you need to toughen up a bit and don't be so touchy.

"I should continue to be nothing but bright and sunshiney about BM." Who said that? Nobody is going to say that you should be doing that, least of all me.

"I shouldn't be concerned about any of it because hey, like I've seen on here a few times and I personally find appalling: "Not my kids, not my problem." Again, with the dramaqueen!

Look, you need to be a bit more realistic here, don't expect BM to communicate with you directly. Thinking that it's annoying to have DH as a go-between is silly! You are not the kids parent, BM doesn't have to communicate with you. She finds it annoying and rightly so (our BM is a total looser as well but I can still understand that she doesn't want to talk to me, and I respect that even though I don't like her at all) I'm not trying to bash you here, it's more like tough love I guess.

I've got a great relationship with my SD14 now. I've known her for over 6 years, her BM has serious issues. Our relationship didn't just happen overnight, and I've had to learn a lot over the past 6 years. The best thing I ever did was learn to focus on our own home and on what we can control. I don't bash BM, but I also don't pretend I agree with what she does. I care for the kids when they are with us, but I don't try and talk to BM and we don't try to 'sort her out' anymore (yes I've been there too, and guess where that got me? ;-)

My SD14 now knows that she can come to us when she needs a break, she is slowly figuring out what is what and we are there to support her. It's the best outcome.

Taking a backseat? Not really, taking a step back, for sure.


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Oops sorry!

Oops sorry about double reply!


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

what's wrong with driving a school bus? what's wrong with waiting tables?

i also do not understand not taking kids to the doctor, so dad is willing to see his child suffer because he teaches BM responsibility. It is his kid too, what does divorce decree say? why can't he take his kids to the doctor? he needs to go court about it. he needs to be the one to take kids to the doctor when they are in his care.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

I'm not leaving the board. I've read way too much here that was way too valuable. I can't help it if I touched a nerve with some people. Over all this is a very caring, nurturing place. I just painted a very narrow picture and got chewed for it. And yes, drama queen, valid call on that.

As for not respecting BM? When she announced to SO that she was getting a job as a cocktail waitress in a strip club to make more money (she said the only reason she wasn't going to strip because "after 5 kids, I don't have the t**s for it"), I actually argued with him against her doing that. While I have no sympathy for a woman who works two men nearly to death so she can have a new Coach purse every month and who used pregnancy to hold onto those marriages as long as she could, I do respect that she works her behind off. She's better than some of the BM's that my friends deal with. And I freely admit that she's obviously doing something right because SO didn't raise those children alone.

And I take the chewing for what it is. I'm not trying to "save" the kids, or replace BM, or be their mom. SO isn't passive, and told me point blank that I am doing the best I can with what I have to work with. But some very valid points were made that made me think. That's why I came here, to get all sides of the picture from people who have done this longer than I have. I don't expect blanket approval or nothing but "you are so right!"

SO did tell BM that she needs to get over the whole medicine episode because it's a stupid thing to get jealous about. Then she launched into money again so he gave up. But he doesn't always let her walk all over him.

And I don't feel too bad. After SS's baseball game we went shopping for dinner and while we were checking out, SS came over and put his arm around me while we waited. That is all the validation that I need.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

what a strange combination: drives a school bus by day and then is a cocktail waitress at a strip bar? it is tough to raise 5 kids alone so it is understandable she does whatever she can, but strip bar and school bus just don't go together..


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

--"While I have no sympathy for a woman who works two men nearly to death so she can have a new Coach purse every month and who used pregnancy to hold onto those marriages as long as she could"--

I just don't 'get' the fascination to Coach bags some ladies seem to acquire, but for those that do 'to each their own' I guess. What I'd find more unnecessary than a handful of Coach would be someone who actually purchases these bags at full price...learn to shop for the things and if you indeed like them you'll have twice even three times as many. The purses are really neither here nor there in the scope of things...what DH does not shut off a free-spending wife long before the point of bankruptcy but instead enables her to spend on designer sheets too? I'd say the hubbies where obviously enjoying the image they were allowing to be created.

Just don't 'get' the trapped and kept in marriages by pregnancy either. At what point does the male begin to accept responsibility for how children are created and do their share in preventing it?

I guess what I'm saying is, if this woman is the way you say she is (and I have no reason to doubt it), she did not become this way and do these things all on her own... she had two very willing males to help her along and thought it was a-okay until they decided they were tired of it. Why does she get all the blame and the males in the story get nothing but excuses and a free pass in the situation? I think that part I do 'get'. It's much easier to blame someone else for a Dh's faults and troubles than it may be to face reality that the males helped self create the 'problem', even fully supported it right up to the day they decided they didn't 'like' it anymore.

--" I do think he gives in to her far too often, but he said that after spending 10 years of his life fighting with her he's not interested in doing it anymore."--

--"But he doesn't always let her walk all over him."--

He's made his decision to let BM call the shots for the most part, only ocassionally to 'battle' her over certain things. Except for shrugging I really don't know how YOU can change that until or unless SO decides he wants to and that he is going to take on more control of raising his children. Until that time comes (if it ever does) you have two choices 1) badger your SO into submission and cause fruitless stress/strain on your relationship or 2) helping with and doing the little things that you can control and have say in.

I don't disagree with you that children should be taken to drs, should be dressed accordingly, should not be told to ignore and hate. I don't disagree that some parents do go out of their way to make life miserable for their children, exs, and exs new partners...what I don't agree with is that you can just expect to stomp your foot, demand these parents 'get over it' and with 'the program'...that tactic just is going to do little but backfire in your relationship with Dad, further deteriorate relationships with Mom, and shoot your blood pressure even higher.

Yabber actually gave you some pretty decent advice "The best thing I ever did was learn to focus on our own home and on what we can control".

--"SS came over and put his arm around me while we waited. That is all the validation that I need."--

There you go. You can't be all that bad (or wrong)afterall, the little guy thinks you're pretty good inspite of it all.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Ralph Lauren sheets are not a big deal, I have Ralph Lauren pillows, they cost 7.99. Around sales times and with appropriate coupons RL sheets are not that expensive either. I just bought Ralph Lauren jeans, they were 14.99, of course it was a Clearance rack and outlet mall, but who would know, people would think i am crazy buying designer jeans. LOL

I also bought Coach shoes last year, I paid $50.00, yes it was on sale, I have problems with my right foot, and these turned out to be the only shoes that I am not limping in, they are exceptionally comfortable. And I don't think 50.00 is that much at all. Even original price of 100.00 is not the end of the world.

I am not saying this woman is not a mess, she sounds like she is a loser, but I wouldn't judge just based on what she buys.

Plus like justmetoo says men willingly participated in created 5 kids with her. She already had three when SO decided to make 2 more with her.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Lol
I should ask my hubby if he feels trapped bc he married me AFTER our son was born. Lol

I have never heard of a man stepping up and protecting himself from pregnancy. I only ever hear men say 'well she said she was on the pill'. Lol when do they learn that they have an obligation to prevent it as well?
I guess the reason we never hear men say 'oh! I prevented pregnancy today!!' is because their lives won't be impacted in 9 months and there isn't anything to place blame for. (not all men, just the ones that say 'I was trapped'. I fell and my penis just fell right in and she trapped me!!)


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

LOL myfampg, you crack me up

I actually know plenty of people who married after pregnancy occurred or even after baby was born but they would marry anyways and live happily ever after. My SIL delivered shortly after the wedding, they've been married for 22 years. My mother was pregnant at the wedding, and they have been married for 46 years and have no plans to ever ending it.

Getting pregnant or having a baby does not mean trapping someone, that does happen but we weren't there so we don't know who trapped who. My SO told me that both times pregnancies were accidental and he didn't feel ready for kids neither time, but what did you do to prevent it? nothing, then be quiet LOL

Planned pregnancies might be better than unplanned but honestly I see no difference in how children are brought up or how marriage is going. My DD was planned and I was married, both I and my brother were born from unplanned pregnancies, and at time when i was conceived my parents weren't married yet there is no difference in how I, or my brother, or his unplanned kids or my planned DD were brought up and we all are just as successful.

And actually my well planned marriage failed but both my parents and my brother with their unplanned marriage and pregnancies are still together.

there are no rules


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Exactly PO1. Both of my children were born before I was married to both of their father's. My two planned pregnancies ended in miscarriage and DH and I have never gotten pregnant since the first time .. And we are married now. Lol so maybe I'm supposed to just conceive out of wedlock, not sure.
I also was on the pill with both dd and ds but the pill failed. I haven't been on the pill in a couple of years and have not had a pregnancy. Lol I think I'm weird.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

That's so funny Myfam. My DD happened *BOOM* but then I was not using birth control for five years with my husband (her dad) and I never got pregnant again.

I agree with PO1... there are no rules.

And I also can't understand the Coach sensation but I spend $100 on shoes (I do try to get them on sale, etc) but if a person spends $30 from Payless they get what they pay for. 2 months later the shoes are crap and you have to buy another pair. The shoes I'm wearing right now I bought for $200 three years ago, they're leather and they still feel and look great. I will have to get them resoled eventually I suppose.

I shop for DD's shoes at outlet malls. Brand name, half price. And she outgrows them before she outwears them every time.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

psst, Silver. I didn't say I myself did not have my own little hang-ups, it's just Coach is not one of them. I'm a jean kinda lady and I must, just must have my Doc Marten and oh, Lucky Brand leather purses and and....


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

LOL Justme... sounds like you're my kinda gal. I'm more of a jean lady too ;)


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

I've always wanted a pair of Lucky brand jeans but I don't think I'm thin enough. YET! I'm working on it!!


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

I never had Lucky brand, are they good? I am not jean type, more skirt/dress, but if I wear jeans the only ones that fit me right are Eddie Bauer or Ralph Lauren (if on sale), they are made for hour glass shapes with big butts LOL


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Ooh that's me Po1 so maybe I should try them.


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myfampg

myfampg, try Eddie Bauer, their proportions are right for curvy women, all my casual pants are from there, their khaki and corduroy are comfy too and they last for a very long time. they also have petites/short/tall variations.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

SO and BM got married because she got pregnant. They had broken up and she gave him the pregnancy test stick as a Christmas present. Seeing as how it was his kid and she already had three, he did the "right thing" and married her. Then, when he told her he wanted a divorce, she got pregnant again. He immediately went and got a vasectomy. They stayed married for another three years until he finally couldn't take it any more.

So yes, there are men who own up to being "trapped" and do the right thing. He could have walked on her but it was his responsibility as much as hers. He could have walked out anyway when she was pregnant the second time, but he didn't. He stayed. In addition, he raised 3 children that weren't his, who all turned on him during the divorce because he took BM's money away when he divorced her.

I found out from SO's brother that during their divorce, the judge refused the settlement the first time because SO was giving BM too much money and SO told the judge he just wanted out and didn't care. BM went through nearly half a million dollars in 6 months after the divorce. She blames me for his decision to have the child support reduced earlier this year. Evidently she doesn't grasp that I have my own money and don't need his, but she insists that he wants to spend his money on me now. I sat next to him listening to her scream into the phone every day for a week about how selfish and heartless he is for leaving her so broke and poor, while we're out "living it up" - and she does this in front of the kids. He finally told her that unless she shut up and acted civilly he wasn't going to pay her a dime. Then she started screaming about sending him to jail and he stopped taking her calls. Then she got nice again.

I have never seen anyone so obsessed with money. It's downright strange, and it isn't like she comes from a poor family. The kids have the same mentality. SD hoards money, she just loves to look at it. She has a little wallet and always shows me how much money she has. SS spends it the second he gets it. Well, that is if their half-brother doesn't steal it first. The kids know every single detail of the child support arrangement. Call me crazy, but I think that is something children don't need to know.

There is a lot more drama than that, most of it centers around the half-brother, and a lot I can't get into here. Sounds strange given how much TMI this post already is, but it just gets worse. The kid is a sociopath and I feel sorry for him, because BM won't admit that he has a problem and won't get him help. SO will not let BM leave SS and SD alone with the half-brother, so we often have to do creative scheduling for dropping them off because of her work schedule. The half-brother steals anything that isn't nailed down, and what he can't steal he breaks. The kid needs serious help and there is nothing we can do about it.

It just makes me tired. I simply don't understand why it has to be this way. I'm usually a go along to get along person, and I am finding myself confused over listening to them wrangle visitation and consulting the settlement and negotiating down to the hour who gets what and when they pick up the kids or drop off the kids.

I'm well aware that the problem I'm having is just that, mine. I'm new on the scene and while I'm divorced I didn't have kids, so it was a clean break. It's no one's fault but mine if I can't understand why you can't just be reasonable adults about things. I'm trying to learn. I always thought I was a patient person, but sometimes it is very hard. I find myself walking away when things get tense, because I don't really have any right to be angry or frustrated. I chose to be in a relationship with a man with children, so it's up to me to learn to cope. Sometimes I just need to vent, I guess.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Almitchell,

Sylvia was quoted recently here as saying "why hitch your horse to that wagon?".

Best advice ever. I wish you the best.

~Silver


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

I agree with Silver. It's one thing to be married and then all hell breaks loose but why marry into the problems. It will not get better. I've read enough here to know that even when they are grown, there are even more problems.
If you are exhausted now... Think about 5 yrs from now or even 2 yrs. Our judge told my exDH this same type of thing. SM causes soooo much trouble and before they were married the judge said, wouldn't you rather find a gal that doesn't have issues with your already made family? There are sooo many other women out there... Pick your battles. Of course he still married her but he's miserable because she's nuts.

There are so many people on this earth, why attach yourself to misery? Til death do you part...


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Why don't I give up and walk away? Maybe because I love the guy, and his kids? Maybe I'm just stupidly optimistic.

I've never said I'm miserable, just confused and frustrated, and trying to understand it all.

Giving up and walking away, the next logical step after learning how to shrug a lot. Something to consider, anyway.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

--"There are so many people on this earth, why attach yourself to misery?"--

I think a lot of women/men don't pay attention during the dating period. Even when they do, I think there is a sense for some that they can change it all. After they come into the picture they figure 'this will pass'. How many times do we read 'get with the program' or 'get over it' , or even 'how long can someone play the victim'?

Then I also think there are some men/women that may actually think they can have their man/woman but not also include all the other things that come along with him/her. He'll/she'll change for me.

They just don't stop and think about it nor longterm. How many times have we heard 'this is not what I married on for'? Examples: when sudden changes make 30% parent into 100% parent or someone goes from xx amount of income and suddenly has x amount and no longer can afford what one thought they were getting plus all expense of household and continued CS and the like.

At times I just don't think there is a whole lot of forethought put into what it may mean to date/marry a man/woman with a history and children and if there is some thought it does not include the fact that what you now see if what you may indeed see/get if not forever at least for years to come.

Love blinds, yet then the blinders come off and the unexpected starts happening, or the crap keeps happening and even ups a few beats and suddenly it is 'whoa, I can't do this'.

I seriously doubt something like --" I sat next to him listening to her scream into the phone every day for a week "-- is something suddenly new and not experienced during the last 18 months. If it was new, how can one be totally surprised to hear a angry phone call of --"She blames me [the GF] for his decision to have the child support reduced earlier this year"--...no maybe the 'sudden change' had nothing at all to do with this particular OP, but if this ex was not expecting a lower amount and had no warning and/or prep time I really would not expect to hear ex is handling it overly well and blaming the only thing she sees as new/different. I will assume SO was paying way more than court agreed and discussed necessity of now lowering payments prior to suddenly cutting CS down? If this BM has been getting xx amount and it'd been agreed to and been the practice since divorce and now suddenly getting a fraction of that her household budget is likely already based on the higher amount and it will take time to adjust to it. I'm not too shy to ask. Why did SO decide earlier this year to slash support? Not saying he should have to pay tons more than necessary or agreed upon , but what was his decision based on and how much notice did ex have prior to happening? All those things could account for her angry outburst.

I see nothing going to change for this poster any time soon, being still young, self sufficient, not yet married, maybe it's time for some serious soul searching. He was not Mr Right the first time around, maybe he's not Mr Right now either.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Well, is it possible to have a relationship with him and his kids without taking on the SM role?? You indicate you have your own home...

My DH's story is similar. They broke up, BM "got pregnant". LMAO. It took me awhile to figure that one out. She just fell on it as he was running away, obviously. Then they got married. And shortly after, divorced.

I'm sure she's a shrew (and insert other euphemisms for female dog here). But the more I know my DH the more I realize he had his hand in the honey jar too. Everyone's sticky and covered with ants. Question is, how close do you want to get before some of that sticky, painful mess gets on you??

My advice (and you go ahead and vent all you want! :) is to remove yourself from the role as SM and go more for "fun aunt" status. It will be a lot more fun for you and the kids both. More work for dad, but he's the one who created this, right? If he absolutely didn't want to have more kids he would have double wrapped and abstained. I'm sorry for him, and I'm sorry for the kids, but you shouldn't have to suffer as a result of his choices.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Almitchell, in this situation, the best advice I could give would be to sit down and think through all of the possible scenarios, and decide what you can live with - and what you cannot. It is always a possibility that one or both of the kids ends up living with Dad, for example - and not necessarily right now, while they are still young and cute, but rather Dad may end up with a troubled teenager when Mom decides she can't or doesn't want to cope.

It is a strong possibility that issues with BM never really go away; that she continually tries to get more and more money from your BF, and that she badmouths you. There are also other possibilities as well; that BF becomes a "guilt parenter" and the kids become obnoxious brats, or that BM tries to alienate the kids from their father.

Are these things that you can deal with? It's possible that suddenly things do a 180, BM becomes civil and begins to co-parent nicely, and everyone lives happily ever after. It's possible - but extremely unlikely. If you love your BF and his kids so much that you're willing to walk into this with your eyes wide open, that's wonderful. The question to ask yourself is if you knew that the next fifteen years or so would be just like it is now or worse, would you still stick it out? If the answer is not an absolute YES, you might want to think about it all some more.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

OR-
There's potential for you getting even more mixed up in this and suffering even worse (anyone remember LoveHadley's story??).

OR-
You could end up with adult kids like PO1...


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You get one life

Oy, I didn't realize what a challenging rack of baggage your SO and SKs come with! Tough one. I would just say, keep envisioning the future as if things don't change (and as all these troubled children grow older, which usually means things get worse) and make your life decisions accordingly. Then if things to get better, great. If it becomes unbearable, you won't have sacrificed your own future along the way.

I think I already said this, but maybe it bears repeating. How does your SO stand up for you? Does he take your needs into account? Does he want to protect you, to shield you from the dysfunctional system he is bringing to your relationship?

And the second question--are you comfortable having an adjunct role to an extent, functioning as a somewhat separate system with SO, removed from his children and their mother? If so, it might all work out OK for you guys. It'll sure be complicated, that's for sure!

This reminds me of a friend of mine, though his case is more extreme. He has never wanted to marry or have children and is a pretty independent person. For 20 years he has been involved with a woman who you could call his SO. I can't say too much without maybe making her identifiable if anyone's from my area, but this woman's ex-husband is in prison for life and she has three adult children and a number of grandchildren, some of whom are pretty screwed up and kind of awful. My friend and his SO do many things together as a couple, and few of their acquaintances know anything about her past life. For him, it works out well because this is the degree of connection he wants. I would describe them as devoted and content.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

I too know people that do not mix their families at all. When the kids are away on the weekends (which happen to be the same weekends each month) this is when they date and go do things. There is so much drama with the ex's neither want to involve the other. They are independent that they live on their own and see each other for lunches, dinner on the nights the kids are gone and spend entire weekends together when the kids are gone. When their kids are home, they are 100% parents to their kids, no SO's to their SO... And although they still have the little dramas that come with divorce, their drama does not include BM drama for one or BD drama for the other. They do not play roles to the children, they are simply in a relationship with each other, no kids involved. When my DH and I were dating, I did not involve my daughter. It wasnt until he started talking about marriage did we decide to start involving dd in very short 'dates'.. We never spent the night together until we moved in together. DH does not play 'daddy' to dd. He is there for her. He does not discipline her. He helps me occasionally with my 'duties' but I think the reason that their relationship is so awesome, is because he doesn't do 'things' that dad should be doing. Although he is awesome with her and she aches for that 'daddy' in her life, he still keeps it clear she has a dad. Bs has never complained about my DH because my DH never interjects himself into 'our' coparenting which is where there is usually friction because BMs normally have drama because they feel that SM is replacing her and it all causes drama. I really think if more mom's were more confident in their own parenting and in their relationships with their children, they wouldn't be threatened by another woman. I used to feel threatened but once I realized that my relationship with dd is my own and I am the one that controls it, my feelings changed and SM playing the mom of the family while dd is in their home, doesn't bother me anymore. It's just her role in that family. Not in this family. Off subject sorry

I also believe that a lot of cs receiving parents will feel threatened by the new so bc then families change and money becomes tighter when you add more people to a house hold. If dad marries new girlfriend they might have a baby and in some states that might take away from the amount mom is getting in cs for her children... So they start getting paranoid. An I agree, if you live your lifestyle based on xx income and then it all of a sudden becomes x income, it can spiral out of control, there is no time to plan for the change and it's like losing your job. You might be angry that you were let go, so you hold a grudge against XYZ company for a while. Same for people with CS that may feel their support was reduced because of XYZ individual (even if not the case).
My exDH has done several things that could get him Fired from his job but you won't see me notifying his employer any time soon.... Why would I want him to loose his job?? He supports our child with that job and I want him to keep it (or take a higher paying one lol! Just kidding)


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

on this board everyone's spouse/boyfriends break up with their girlfriends, then their girlfriends get pregnant and trap them LOL Like everyone.

"like adult kids PO1" what the heck silverswood? there is nothing wrong with my kid, and I only have one. did you mean stepkids? Still see no similarities in kids upbringing: dad wants to pay less support, mom is raising 5 kids alone, and works in a strip bar. It is hard to convey everything in a forum but I am pretty sure it is not even close to our lives. You said your SD is obsessed with money herself so why not say "like my SD", why compare to mine? I bet you wouldn't like i compare all kind of poor upbringing/parenting to "like silvers kids". What the heck!


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Oh for goodness sake. I can't believe you don't understand what I was trying to say with that, but I'll explain. I thought it was obvious I wasn't talking about your daughter but your Skids.

She doesn't have bio-kids, she has future stepkids. She's thinking they are all cute now... but when they are teenagers or adults they probably won't be so cute.

My point was that if she hitches her horse to this wagon she needs to be prepared for dad having an enabling relationship with the kids and exwife. Your DH has enabled his adult kids, you have to suffer the consequences. Which isn't particularly fair to you, but luckily you've been able to come to some sort of arrangement that works for you, and you aren't their SM, per se, so I think it may be easier for you to handle what happens because it's SO's issue rather than a team issue. With OP, if she marries dad, it will be a shared issue and she'll be dealing with the drama forever (most likely).

What I was saying, is look to the future and see if Altmitchell's BM goes bonkers, like Love's BM went, and does a physical assult.... or if Altmitchell's Skids grow up and continue to be thieves from the home she lives in, like your SO's kids...

I wouldn't say "Like my SD" because for one thing, she's 11. She's still cute and fun and even though she may drive me crazy sometimes there's still hope. She really likes money and nice things. That's for sure. But she's never stolen from us, never misbehaved particularly...etc. She's a nice kid and she's annoying as heck. She's 11. Who knows what will happen in the future. I met her when she was six. She was darling. My DH had told me stories about BM. Of course, it's just one side. Easy to see now... not so easy to see then. I'm trying to share the benefit of perspective we all have with Alt, since she hasn't been down this trail before.

I'm not saying your Skids were brought up "wrong" or your SO has bad parenting skills. I'm saying.... Look to the future. There are lots of examples here of what can go wrong, and to be careful what she's willing to get involved in.

That's all. No diss on you or your SO, or Love and her DH or either of your bio kids.

But you have to admit there are parallels between her future skids stealing the ipod and your skids stealing clothes, suitcases, etc. from your home. Some things do not change. If she's willing to accept that this may be her life... she should marry him. But she should go in with her eyes open.


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silverswood

I find your comments offensive. I do not understand me not being real SM, is OP who is just dating a guy is a "real" SM, or you seeing your SD few times a year briefly are a "real" SM? What makes a "real" SM?

Why do you assume that his kids are only his issue and not a team issue? Why are you assuming we aren't a team? We are a team.

I am not sure why you are talking about them marrying. They just started dating, don't live together and mantain separate residences and she said they have no plans to marry. Yet you discuss what's going to happen when they marry and compare to my family? You don't know what plans WE have and what legal status we maintain or plan on maintaining. Why are you comparing my life to hers, it is neither here nor there. What for?

I find your post offensive, uncalled for and frankly upsetting. Why bringing me into this?

Myfampg just posted a thread on this topic about same thing, and now you are telling me I am not a real SM! I think I am more real SM than you because I am actually involved in their lives and see them on a regular basis.

Please use examples from your own life and do not compare other people's dysfunctional relationship to my family.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

I didn't say you weren't a "real SM". I said you weren't their SM "per se".

You have said they are SO's issue, that you didn't help raise them, etc.

I have never said I'm a "real" SM either. I've said time and again that I'm no where near the level of stepparenting as most on this board. However, I am legally married to her father and that makes me a SM regardless of involvement (of which I think I've made it pretty clear where that stands).

You call your SO a SO and have said you're not married. You're right, I have no idea what you're planning to do with the rest of your relationship, no more than you know what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow.

I brought up your Skids because you have indicated they steal. OP's SO's kids steal. I bought up LH's BM because she was off her rocker. It appears OP's BM is off her rocker. For comparative purposes, I illustrated that while the situation is an irritant now, and the kids are super cute, they could grow into stealing adults and BM could get violent.

OP considers herself a SM. She says she does not intend to get married but for all intents and purposes they are living as a married, committed couple. There are kids in the house. She is in the SM role, especially since she is involved in the every day raising of these children. She is having issues with the children, with the BM, and with defining her role in their life.

I'm saying, be careful. The kids are cute now. BM is a irritant now. But be careful. OP is in the beginning stages of her relationship and now is when she defines her involvement.

Honestly, since you've indicated his children were adults (I believe early 20's?) when you met him... and you've had no hand in raising them... It puts you on par with my SM, who I met at age 18 and had no hand in raising me. She's a SM by name only as she does not fulfill the "mother" role. I have a mother. Your SKIDS have a mother. That's what I meant by per se.

Your skids, from what I have heard from you, have given you nothing but grief. I understand you love your SO and your life is with him, much like OP.

But there are challenges. Didn't you have to change your screen name because one of them was in your room snooping and using your computer? Aren't these girls the ones who have access to your home and come and go as they please, eating what they want, dirtying things as they wish, taking things that are yours? Don't you attribute these issues to their BM?


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Pssst, Silver...it's not this OP's SO's children that steals. The child stealer in this post is the half brother of the SO's children, BM's kids from her first marriage.

The IPod stealer was the 13 yr old SGD of Hoakie's in another thread. Almitchell's going to be confused if you don't stop calling the children of her SO little thieves.

I did not get the idea that PO1's SDs are thiefs...more kinda so comfortable at Dad's that they just help themselves to whatever without thought of asking. Just kinda pick up and take without thought...I think they fess up and return non-asked for item when it's called to their attention.

I think there is a major difference between a child/adult who truly steals and a child/adult who just rather assumes mom/dad/sm/ whatever won't care and does not bother to ask.

I think the snooping is similar...so use to coming and going and being at Dad's that they forget there should be some boundaries now that he has a partner living with him. I don't think it occurs to them that they should not still have total free run of the house and everything in it.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

I get what Silver was trying to say. Silver, the more you trie to explain the worse it gets. A simple example becomes a major complicated matter blown out of proportion (like the stealing-thing which I'm sure was only an example of a future possibility, not a crossposting)

Let's move on!
And Silver, what did you have for breakfast??

:-)


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

You are absolutely correct justmetoo.

SD is 22, I have been with SO for 5 years, how could she possibly be in her 20s when i met her? I and SO live as a committed couple, I never said otherwise, we aren't ready to get married yet but it is neither here nor there. OP does not live with her BF, and kids don't live there either! So how is her situation more real than mine????

My SDs do not steal and are not thieves. These are offensive accusations. OSD never took anything of mine or SO's, she is very respectful of me.

YSD is the one who uses things without asking for a number of reasons: she is airhead like my DD, she would look at things and think "it is pink, must be my sister's, let me use it, oh oops it was PO1's, sorry", she always returns it, she would put a shirt on and scream "PO1 look at me, this shirt does not fit, did I lose weight????" "SD, this is my shirt, not yours." "Oh my, it is black, it looks exactly like mine, sorry, let me wash it or buy you a new one."

She is very careless, and she is somewhat immature and it could be frustrating. However she does not steal. Yes she lacks boundaries (not OSD) with my, or other Sd's stuff (she does the same when she visits OSD)or SO's, or her mom's. She got much much better by the way. She has a great personality and is a very warm loving person.
Once again no one steals in my family.

As about "real", I have been with SO for 5 years, as long as silvers was with her DH but I certainly spent way more time with SDs and am way more involved than she with her SD (yet it never occurred to me to refer to her as not a "real" SM but now i think i will).

I am very involved with them, YSD lived with us until last year. She could not possibly be in her 20s when I've met SO, she is 22 now. She attended undergrad close by us and lived with us (she never lived with mom) every year from April to September working in the area, the rest of the year she was at college close by and coming home from every school break and every and then later every other weekend. This is pretty "real" to me.

Now YSD is in graduate school out of state and comes home (to us) every few months, she will be here next week for 10 days living with us. OSD did not live with us because she is older and was done with schooling, but I know her very well due to her frequent visits, vacations together and us visiting her and her DH.

I post concerns here as other people do, it does not mean that they give me nothing but grief, that is incorrect. It means I have a specific concern as everyone else. By this logic your DD gives you nothing but grief because all you post about is her issues. I guess my logical assumption would be that you post about her issues, it does not mean all you have with DD are issues. It would be offensive comment.

Silvers you should not be comparing my family life/relationships to yours. Your blended family experiences are very different from mine, why do you compare? You have no relationship with your mother, you are estranged from her, you hate your SM, you have issues with your dad because he chose her, you never lived with dad or SM (while my SDs did!), you and DH don't see or know your SD. Yes SDs have their mother but they are also close to their father, and they do not hate me. I am very real in their lives. Stop commenting on my life, focus on yours.

I can't believe why would you even bother! I wasn't even talking to you lately. What the heck, find something else to do.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

I think most of us either are currently, or are well on our way to becoming "real" SM's. I know this because I've read The Velveteen Rabbit:

"What is REAL?" asked the Velveteen Rabbit one day... "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

"Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand... once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

I don't think there's anything else I can add. :-)


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

Thanks Yabber. That's exactly it. I had oatmeal for breakfast with raisins. Thanks for asking :)

PO1: You have no relationship with your mother, you are estranged from her, you hate your SM, you have issues with your dad because he chose her, you never lived with dad or SM (while my SDs did!), you and DH don't see or know your SD."

Wow. Just wow.

I'm glad your situation has changed from your original posts here. I'm not going to bring up mud to sling in your face because I'm happy that the issues seem to be resolved.

I wish you would see my post as intended: to show OP that there are people walking ahead of her on this road and there are lessons here for her if she wants to look around and avoid the potholes.

My situation with my mother is tragic. I haven't posted about her in a really long time because the truth is devastating and I've not yet processed it all. I'm not ready to be raked over the coals for it by strangers.

My situation with my SM has improved greatly. We will never be friends, but we've become quite amicable. Remember that this is the woman who spread vicious lies about me when I was a young woman. My stepmother has been awful to everyone in our family and is no longer invited to stay with any of my father's siblings (he has between 5-10). She has been disinvited to weddings. She is a narcissistic woman who does not mind stepping all over someone if they are in her way. But she is not intentionally mean. It's a byproduct of her personality. Once I realized that, I was able to not take it personally and I can navigate around her. This has made our interactions tolerable. But only through extensive work on my part.

My father has acknowledged his role, acknowledged he has been one sided and apologized to me and my husband. We are on very good terms and have been for a couple of years now. There was a lot to work through. As I said, what has happened with my mother is extreme and my father had a lot of information he was withholding. Once we started really talking (and once he let go of demanding my SM be involved in every aspect of our relationship), it was amazing how much was resolved.

You're right. I never lived with my father and my SM in the same house. I was grown when they met. I did not move back in with my parents after high school, mom or dad or SM. I don't know what that has to do with anything.

I never said you weren't real. Ironically I thought of the Velveteen Rabbit story as well when you first brought that up. But there is a difference in the roles we play: between SM's who are a daily force in the lives of underage children, and SM's who meet the children as adults, and SM's who are only weekend or vacation SM's. None is more "real" than the other. There is no way to judge.

And I do know my SD. I know her as well as I possibly could. I would like to know her better. Unfortunately this is out of my control. I can only do what I can do; the relationship between her mother, her father, and her is something I can only nurture and hope improves as time goes on. When she was out to visit a few weeks ago we had a bbq at the beach. After we swam, her hair was wet. I helped her put dad's jacket on over her jacket, and then I said I would take her hair out of the collar and put it on the outside so her back wouldn't be cold. She protested a bit, and I said honey, it's just going to make you wet and cold and the sun's going down, listen to your auntie Silver. And she looked up at me and hugged me and said "you mean mama Silver".

I never expected that. It made my heart melt. I love my little girl. I wish I could spend more time with her.

What was meant as an illustration turned vicious. I apologize for my part in it as that was not my intention in any way.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

I read through the OP & some of the posts, but stopped at this one & had to respond before I continue on with reading the rest of the posts. (so forgive me if I missed something that was posted after this)

"Why can't you respect someone who works 2 jobs (see your first post)? What is not to respect about that?

Did anyone notice this comment????"

I noticed it. My first thought was "at least she's working". I've also had similar difficulty with my own feelings/judgments, etc regarding my SD12's BM. She is 38 and has never worked a real job. She was lucky enough to get a minimum wage office job, instead of fast food... but a real job that gave her some good responsibility, but she screwed that up by stealing from her boss & ended up being convicted of embezzelment. Now, at 38+, how is she ever going to work & support herself? I stuggle with judging her for that because I have worked since I was 14 and often worked 2 jobs to support my kids... she sits on her backside all day, thinking of ways to get others to take care of her. Our values & lifestyles are such a stark contrast to each other, I cannot relate to her at all. It's much easier to judge & criticize her than to try & understand something I can't begin to comprehend. Just as I can't understand her relationship (or lack thereof) with her kids... I loved kids, I wanted kids & when I had my kids, I live for them... there's nothing I wouldn't do for them. I can't count the sleepless nights, how many miles I've driven to do things for them, everything I've gone without so they can have. So, I don't get someone that lets her child run around in the cold with shorts & no shoes. I don't get someone that relies on others to be taken care of when I know eventually, those people will be gone. and what bothers me most, which really ISN'T my problem, is that she is modeling her "everyone should take care of me" lifestyle to her daughter... and if falls back on me & DH. I wonder what it will be like when SD is 25 & has kids... can't keep a relationship together (like her mom) and comes back to us for help. She won't go to her mom because her mom is already nearly 40 and can't even get a minimum wage job because she's a convicted thief.

I guess in a way, my opinion or judgment of BM could be seen that I think I'm better than her... and there is some truth to it. I am proud that I supported my kids, raised my kids, and would do anything for my kids. If I were a BM that wouldn't work, fought supporting my kids, let someone else raise my kids & made excuses every time my kids needed something or wanted me to come to one of their things... then I would feel like a loser. But, that comes from MY perspective from the parent that I am. I can't understand what someone else feels when they do things so differently.

There is no shame in manual labor at any age. There is no shame in an honest day's work at any age. I can only imagine that someone "at her age" chooses to be a waitress because she may enjoy the interaction with customers... she may be a bus driver because she enjoys being around kids & likes the schedule. It's not always about the money or prestige. My aunt started a landscaping company at age 55 when she divorced her husband. It's something I would never do but she enjoys it. I gave up a secure office job with benefits to have the freedom of self employment but sometimes, when the phones don't ring for days & the bank account starts dwindling... and I don't have my bi weekly paycheck to count on, it's scary but I love what I do so it's worth it to me. I try to understand SD's BM... not working, etc. I imagine she enjoys each day, sleeping in & playing games on her computer all day without a worry in the world. I couldn't do it, but I am getting better at seeing another perspective.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

it is so very sweet and right, mattie, thank you very much for posting.

" When [someone] loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

I am as real as they come.

And my hair fell off and eyes dropped out because SD keeps using my hair brush and my make up (kidding LOL). I bought her new beauty stuff for next week visit, will see if it lasts. haha


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ima

I commented on that too ima. I see nothing wrong with people working manual labor or being a waitress or a bus driver. What's wrong with that? I am rather aprhensive about parents working at a stripbar because how does one explain to young kids what they do? But in OP's situation BM is raising 5 kids, dad wants to cut his contribution. If I had 5 kids alone, I would work anywhere out of desperation.


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more to ima

to add to your points, sometimes we expect people to lead lives that we think are normal and appropriate, but their standards are just so different that they don't know whatw e mean...I think some people are bad parents because they do nto know any better. It is not an excuse of course but attempt to understand...


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

It's much easier said than done, but you have to rise above it and be the bigger person. It's still something you have to deal with, unfortunately, but you have to keep at the forefront of your mind that BM is immature and insecure. Perhaps it might be worth it to try to contact her and try to open up the lines of communication for the benefit of her children, and let her know that way things won't get misconstrued. Let her know you respect the fact that she's the mother, you are not trying to take that place, but you'd think she'd want someone there willing to treat her kids as well as you do. But, it sounds like that may be a dead end road.

And I agree with parent of one - we live our own ideals and are completely baffled when people don't live theirs the same - in simple matters of courtesy and etiquette, some people were never raised with manners, unfortunately for the rest of us who have to deal with it.

Someday you will win those kids over. Create your own memories with them - after all they are in your house, and a big part of your life whether they like it or not. And perhaps a long talk with your significant other about how he can communicate to his children what is "expected" of their relationship with you. They need to treat you with respect, or it's going to be a huge strain on your relationship. Establish boundaries about what is and is not acceptable behavior. You don't have to force anything in terms of a relationship, but there does need to be a certain level of respect in your home, and that goes in all directions, them to you and you to them.

Be polite, but don't waver on your boundaries - very important.

And when they talk about "remember when", you should reciprocate by sharing your own memories and experiences. Use it to your advantage in building a relationship with them.

Good luck!


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

I also think people need to give time for relationships to develop, they meet a new person with children and immediately insist on being parts of kids lives and want things to be done certain way. Even on dating stages they already demand to be in stepparenting role and demand kids do things certain way. If someone i dated for a short time wanted to tell me how to parent my child I would tell them to get lost. It is just not appropriate.

Kids (minor or adults) sense when things are rushed, I suggest easing into relationship with someone else's children.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

I agree with PO1. ANY type of relationship takes time to develop, especially in stepfamilies.

Give it some time. I know it's hard, but most bonds aren't instantaneous.

In March, I told my SD I love her. I don't know if she realized it, but that's the first time I've ever told her, to her face, that I love her, although I've felt it for many years. Of course, I've written it in texts, cards and e-mails, but never verbally. I've known her for nearly 9 years now....since she was 7. But it bever felt appropriate or even welcomed until a little over a month ago.

I want DH's kids to decide they want a relationship with me, not have one because it's forced.

However, I do expect the same respect from SD she would give any adult.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

I'm new to the stepparenting forum so I'm just reading over some of the more recent postings.

Sorry if I'm out of line, but I had a giggle at this line:

Then, when he told her he wanted a divorce, she got pregnant again.

"I want a divorce, but is it OK if we keep having sex?"


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

hamilton, it is hilarious, I missed that, we actually get VERY MANY posts here where women say their DHs already broke up or divorced their wives or girlfriends but then they got pregnant (and this one got pregnant this way twice? LOL). LOL

Men tell these stories to new wives to downplay importance of past relationships for whatever reason and women buy it. My significant other was married to his exwife for 27 years, at least he knows that he wouldn't be able to downplay that.


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RE: Hello - my first post, just need reassurance!

almitchell, thanks for your posting and sharing some of your story.

Despite a few side tracked conversations, I hope you were able to get some good advice out of it all. I can really sympathize with you and how you might be feeling. I've been dating my guy for almost 3 years, but his ex wasn't really an issue until they moved here this last august. Since then it's been a real rollercoaster.

Her behavior is terrible most of the time. His behavior is terrible far to often. Sometimes it feels like things are getting worse, sometimes better. If i had known before i dated him it would be like this, i don't think i would have dated him. People told me, don't date a guy with kids! I figured, yeah that might be a sticky situation but he's such a nice guy, and his ex seems pretty reasonable and nice (she's a counselor even!) I figured, it won't be as bad as i've heard, i'm sure if he loves me things will work out just fine.

heh, they were right! It really really sucks. If you could just not have falled in love with the guy, you wouldn't have to deal with the situation. But, sometimes you just don't pick who you love, who you have that extra special connection with.

But all these women are right as well. It's HARD. Sometimes it gets a little better, sometimes a little worse. Sometimes a lot better, sometimes a lot worse. And, everyone has that point in which it's just too much.

But, you said you are 40? Most guys you meet are pretty likely to have an ex, pretty likely to have kids too. So, what i always tell myself in this situation is to think about the man and my relatinship with him when determining if this is something i can handle.

Heck, i'm not even really a SM cause atm i'm kind of banned from seeing/having anything to do with his daughter. Doesn't mean i'm not still dealing with constant turmoil, constant hurt feelings, or emotions. doesn't mean i can't still have victories either, that make me feel like there is progress.

And yeah, like many have pointed out. His daughter is cute and small right now. (6) It's probably going to suck a lot as she grows up. There's going to be some really really really terrible, want to die kind of times. But, how i handle the situation now is also going to determine just how bad those times actually are.

It's been about 9 or 10 months since they've been living here. So, this is still pretty new to me. We are still defining boundaries, we are still figuring out how we all fit in this crazy situation. And everything we figured out so far? is going to constantly change, constantly evolve as time passes, as other people enter the situation (maybe the BM gets a bf...) as the daughter grows up.. if me and my bf ever decide to marry or have kids.. or even not!

That's why it's so hard. It's always changing, and there are more people in the picture that make it even harder to figure out exactly where we all stand and how we are supposed to act, or react.

I haven't been on this forum too long. (maybe a few weeks) but already it helps just to see the other struggles, and sometimes what worked well, or what doesn't seem to be working well. It helps me a lot to see this scenarios and think in advance how i might deal with them before i'm actually put into them.

It's still gonna be HARD. Even if your BM was friendly with you, it would be hard. Being a SM is hard, being a BM/BD and figuring out how to raise a child when you are no longer a family is HARD. Including another women or another man in that mix is HARD. As advice from even a new, or not quite SM, just expect it to be hard. expect it to hurt, and hope it's all worth it. Cause i'm sure there will be a lot of joy along with the sorrow. Just be ready for both. :)


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