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Feeling Excluded - BF and Kids away at Camp - Im left home!

Posted by Karilc100 (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 6, 14 at 0:41

My BF and I have lived together for 3 years and have been together for 7 years, having had a long distance relationship prior to moving in together. We have a great relationship. He has four children and I have none. ( I lost a child as a result of a car accident when I was pregnant with her. She was stillborn.) I desperately wanted to have a child with my BF, however my age, his four children, and his vasectomy make that an impossibility. One that I mourn every day. His children spend every holiday, many weekends, and most of the summer with us - we have a good relationship, and mostly we spend the summer "entertaining" the kids, who do not live in same state (Their mother moved them away). We have had them in our home the past three summers. His ex-wife is extremely hostile, and has alienated the SD (15) almost completely, however my BF has worked hard to maintain excellent relationships with the other children (ages 10, 10 and 12). My issue is this: Right now, all five of them are away at summer camp, for two weeks and I have been "left behind". My BF took an employment position at the camp, to allow him to afford the very expensive ($10,000 for the four kids for 2 weeks) camp experience. He is living and working on site with them. I supported the decision initially as I knew it would be an amazing experience for the kids, and thinking only of them, I was fully involved in the decision to send everyone. I had visions of relaxing, working and enjoying the time to myself. It has NOT worked out that way. I am miserable, to the point of crying myself to sleep nightly, and waking nauseated. I can't concentrate or work. I feel weak and guilty for feeling so left out, and excluded. The truth is my BF is not "on vacation" hes actually working very hard! He took his two weeks vacation to make this happen, and I admire his dedication to his kids to provide this experience for them. (Says my head). My heart says otherwise. The first week almost killed me. I scour the camp website for pictures of the kids -- and post them to my FB page with excited and supportive encouragment. But, in my heart, what I really do... is look for kids that might look like the daughter I lost, wonder what activities she might choose, and cry my eyes out that she is not here to experience what my BF's kids are experiencing in their lives. I'm bitter and depressed that we do not have an "intact" family of our own! I feel that if we had our own children, this week would not be SO horrible for me, and I'd handle it with grace, and with maturity. Instead, I am feeling sorry for myself, angry, bitter, and jealous. And guilty for those feelings!! It seems this camp experience has raised so many feelings of being excluded or left out for me. The kids remind me regularly that I do not share their last name, and when at the in-laws I see family wedding pictures all over his mom's home that include the ex-wife -- whom they all despise -- and none of me. At a recent family re-union a videotape of photos shown, was titled "Past, Present and Future" and yet there was not a single picture of me in the presentation -- even though I consider myself ( and so does my BF) part of the present and the future. The kids are thriving at camp, and I'm proud of my BF for providing this for them. When they return, they'll have just a single night here, meaning they come brimming with stories of camp, and then off they go to their Mom's. I am so distraught feeling that they will forever share memories of childhood summer camp - including their Dad -- and it's yet ANOTHER part of their lives I've missed out on. Ive missed so much already -- met them at ages 7-11, so never knew them as infants, or babies, and never saw my BF as a new Dad. I missed... everything and it's so painful to me. I'm struggling trying to come to terms with the fact that they will most certainly want to attend this camp again next summer, and I don't think I can handle it. I can't. It's killing me, because I'm a strong person, generally, and feel like this is just too much to bear. How do I deal with the stories, and the excitement, and the shared experiences they now have? And worse, how do I voice my opinion of "never again!" I have very little contact with my BF at camp, and texted some of this, and said I could not handle this again next summer. He responded that was "selfish" of me. I'm crying myself to sleep for 6 more nights, and probably many more after that even once they return...... Feeling excluded, left out, and lonely.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Feeling Excluded - BF and Kids away at Camp - Im left home!

Kari, I am very sad for your pain. The phrase I have said so very many times is, "when dreams meet reality". We all have a vision of what we want our life to be like--how we want other people to treat us, and how we want to be lived and supported--but often that dream does not march what life piles on us.

There are three issues:
Your dream does not match reality...you dream of your child and the possibilities and joy that never happened and it's intensely indescribably painful. You know what the options are, but one important aspect is that you must acknowledge and grieve for the life that didn't happen--your child's life. There are groups, such as The Compassionate Friends, that you can find on line to help. I'm so sorry for your loss.

The second issue is that you are childless, and in your present situation, that's not going to change.

The third issue is that your boyfriend's family does not seem to consider you family. Your dream is to have a family, and your boyfriend, his parents, and his children do not treat you like you belong in the family--not in the past, the present, or the future. Your boyfriend did not plan a "family" vacation--he used up his vacation indulging them in a luxury summer camp that he couldn't afford. You have invested a lot of time in this relationship--are you happy with the results? When you express these desires, instead of acknowledging your needs and offering even a single shred of comfort, your boyfriend acuses you of selfishness. If would not have killed him to send an "I love you" text message. Your needs are important, too.

Your present situation is not meeting your needs. You must carefully decide if you are willing to give up your dreams to keep the status quo, or move on.

There are many options, but in my mind, the present situation is not working for you, and I don't see any indication that it will change.


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RE: Feeling Excluded - BF and Kids away at Camp - Im left home!

To add to southernsummer you mention that your BF children remind you that you do not share their last name. The fact that after all this time you are not married may add to the issues. The lack of pictures of you at the family reunions may be because that if BF does not have that much commitment to you they do not feel comfortable doing so. Technically, you are not part of the family. It doesn't sound like they are doing the opposite either of including pictures of his former wife.

No child is going to replace the precious one you lost. I agree that you should seek assistance with dealing with the loss. I am sorry for your loss and wish you the beat.


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RE: Feeling Excluded - BF and Kids away at Camp - Im left home!

Wow. Thank you so much for your reasoned and compassionate responses! I've never posted to a board like this... And was amazed to receive such perceptive replies!

All of the issues you both raise (1-4) are accurate descriptions that parse this into the layered depth of concerns I have.

I'm struggling with the question of whether the situation is meeting my needs. Clearly not. But I see no other "real" option --- other than a fantasy or re-writing of history --- that would do so. I'll never get my girl back - she died. I'll ever have kids of my own-- I'm 49. I do feel oddly envious of my women friends who are infertile WITH their husbands because they are in the same boat with their spouse so to speak and each relate to the others feelings and emotions easily. How pathetic to envy infertile couples, I know! But it's the unity in their journey together that I am missing. My BF is wonderful thoughtful and caring. I don't mean to portray him otherwise. But when it comes to my feelings of always being excluded---- he just doesn't get it. He tries to include me. I attend Parent Teacher conferences and our gifts now say from Dad and Kari (now). He consults me in decisions about the kids. We do take family vacations together.,but this camp... This camp is a wholly other thing. A lifelong childhood experience and memory.. And the times I've NOT been included re-open as wounds. At Cadillac Mtn in Maine we woke all the kids for sunrise. I took a pic of him with the 4 kids. His Facebook post read : "5 Best Friends Enjoying the first sunset in the US." I was the photographer --- and it wasnt until I pointed out how terrible that post made me feel (left out) that he understood. It's not something he gets "intuitively". Do I look forward to a lifetime of pointing out when I'm left out --- and take on the role of whiner? Or Martyr? As for the reunion slide show I was not included in... The ex was included in 4 pictures... So that stung!


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RE: Feeling Excluded - BF and Kids away at Camp - Im left home!

Your time alone this summer while SO & his kids are off at summer camp has brought home the reality that you're alone in this relationship.

You're not part of their family, you're not getting the respect & support you need & deserve, you're the photographer who's never in the picture.

Your boyfriend doesn't *sound* like a wonderful loving person at all.

He sounds like someone who has you where he wants you.

& "selfish" is not a nice thing to say to *anybody* who's alone & feeling abandoned.

"Selfish", in fact, sounds like a very accurate thing to call someone who's having a great time & who doesn't want to hear about anyone else's pain or loneliness.

Children who remind you that you don't share their last name are *not* signs of a good, loving, 'family' environment, & I wonder how it occurred to them to say such a thing;
my very strong suspicion is that they heard it from their mother or their father.

According to my uncle & my brother, both of whom know, grieving for a lost child is the worst grief there is.

& you not only lost a child, you lost her before you knew her.
You lost her when your anticipation was at its height, when your maternal hormones & feelings were at their most intense.

It sounds like he!!, & evidently nobody has acknowledged the depth of your grief & the pain you feel every day.

Although you must make your own decisions, my impulse is to say,
shake the dust of this relationship off your dainty slippers & find someone who is thrilled to have you, who will be ecstatic & honored to share his family with you, who'll be open to marriage & adoption (how many children do you suppose are living in foster care because women who would love to be mothers are tangled up with men who are satisfied with the number of children they have & who don't care if their partners are happy with their position on the perimeter of family life?).

Those nice men are out there, & they'll never get a chance while you're living with this guy.

Take very good care of yourself.

I wish you happiness & fulfillment.


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RE: Feeling Excluded - BF and Kids away at Camp - Im left home!

So, now I feel bad that I'm making my BF out to be insensitive and uncaring. He's not. We have a great relationship. I think neither of us knows how to navigate these choppy waters and my feelings of exclusion. I'm sure the children saying "but Kari isn't a Smith!" while hurtful to me, is their way of feeling out the situation as well. I don't think they mean it to be hurtful, at least not intentionally. They like me and we have fun together. Their loyalty bind to their mother makes it hard for them. And.. What can I say? We're not married and I'm not part if the family technically, true. Perhaps they heard it from their mother - she's capable of anything I've learned - but not from my BF. He tries to be supportive and we've talked about this. My sense is that he gets exasperated with my hurt feelings, pain, loneliness and just doesn't know WHAT to do. So he shuts down -- feeling that nothing he can say will help -- I'll still be sad, I'll still be crying. He tries to "wait it out" till my rational mind takes over from my emotional heart. I'm torn up with guilt about how to handle discussions and decisions over camp next year! They are all already super excited and have made wonderful friends. How can I deny them such an amazing opportunity? Yet how can I cope with not being a part if what will, or would, become a defining memory of childhood and if summers with Dad!? He has them 6 weeks -- so a full third of the time I would be excluded? I'm so guilt ridden, sad, and torn up on so many levels!


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RE: Feeling Excluded - BF and Kids away at Camp - Im left home!

So, now I feel bad that I'm making my BF out to be insensitive and uncaring. He's not. We have a great relationship. I think neither of us knows how to navigate these choppy waters and my feelings of exclusion. I'm sure the children saying "but Kari isn't a Smith!" while hurtful to me, is their way of feeling out the situation as well. I don't think they mean it to be hurtful, at least not intentionally. They like me and we have fun together. Their loyalty bind to their mother makes it hard for them. And.. What can I say? We're not married and I'm not part if the family technically, true. Perhaps they heard it from their mother - she's capable of anything I've learned - but not from my BF. He tries to be supportive and we've talked about this. My sense is that he gets exasperated with my hurt feelings, pain, loneliness and just doesn't know WHAT to do. So he shuts down -- feeling that nothing he can say will help -- I'll still be sad, I'll still be crying. He tries to "wait it out" till my rational mind takes over from my emotional heart. I'm torn up with guilt about how to handle discussions and decisions over camp next year! They are all already super excited and have made wonderful friends. How can I deny them such an amazing opportunity? Yet how can I cope with not being a part if what will, or would, become a defining memory of childhood and if summers with Dad!? He has them 6 weeks -- so a full third of the time I would be excluded? I'm so guilt ridden, sad, and torn up on so many levels!


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RE: Feeling Excluded - BF and Kids away at Camp - Im left home!

People don't change if they're getting what they want, & after 7 years it is extremely unlikely that this guy or anyone in his family will ever treat you any better than they're treating you now.

As I said, I wish you happiness & fulfillment;
I don't think you'll ever get it where you are.


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RE: Feeling Excluded - BF and Kids away at Camp - Im left home!

Your BF is not a bad person, and I don't think anyone here sees him as such. With four kids, he's super busy.

I agree that you need grief counseling. But, you also need to get counseling with your BF. He doesn't understand how you are feeling on too many levels.

Is marriage in your future? After 3 years, I think you should know where things are going. It is insensitive of the parents to not have pictures of you in the slide show, but that might change if you marry. I don't think this living arrangement is a benefit for you.

Our feelings are our feelings. The camp situation seemed good at the time, but you were side swiped by some very strong emotions. To your BF two weeks is a short time since he is busy. You agreed to the arrangement.

You need to sit down and have a long discussion about your relationship and how you are feeling. And again, you need grief counseling.
Good luck.


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RE: Feeling Excluded - BF and Kids away at Camp - Im left home!

I don't think your BF is being a jerk, just a male. Men are often not good at dealing with their own emotions, let alone those of others. So, I think that, in addition to you needing counselling both to deal with your grief at losing your daughter and not being able to have children, and with your BF to get you both on the same page of understanding where each of you is coming from, you need a Project.
Something to occupy your thoughts when such a situation occurs again. Something your BF would not be interested in. "Oh, you're going to be away with the kids for two weeks? Perfect time for me to try out all the spa treatments in town to evaluate which one is best!" or "Perfect time for me to redecorate the bedroom like I've been meaning to get around to for the past three years!" You get the drift.
Just out of wild curiosity, if you've been living together for three years, any plans to marry? This is the obvious and easy way to get rid of the "not having the same name" issue. But, if you are hesitant to do so, why? _That_ could be the crux of the whole ball of wax.


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RE: Feeling Excluded - BF and Kids away at Camp - Im left home!

Kari,

you are clearly a person who cares a great deal about other people's needs and feelings. However, sometimes it's important to recognize that it's okay for people to be at different places in their lives, and have different needs. It doesn't mean that someone is bad or unworthy - just different.

If your boyfriend had found someone with four kids of her own, she'd probably be busy entertaining her kids over the summer vacation period, and wouldn't for a minute feel lonely or sad when the bf and his kids went off to a summer camp. She'd have her brood, he'd have his, and they'd both understand each other's situation.

But that's not you. You are a childless woman, who needs to feel fulfilled in her life. If it's children of your own that you need to complete your life, then it's not too late to adopt a child who would love to have you as a mother. If it isn't children, then you need a partner with whom you can explore interests that keep you both fully engaged. However, spending your fifties hanging around on the sidelines while your bf focuses on his four kids is no life for you.

You are lonely and crying now after 3 years of living together. After 10 years, you will still be lonely and crying, but you'll also be angry and resentful. The relationship will end with a lot of bitterness. That's not a good future to look forward to.

I agree with all the other experienced stepmoms that it's time to figure out what you really need to have a fulfilling and happy life, with no more tears. Then make a plan to get there. If your bf is really the man for you, then he'll join in to make the plan a reality. If not, then it's time to move on.

So3


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RE: Feeling Excluded - BF and Kids away at Camp - Im left home!

I'm so sorry for your pain. I can tell it's really hard.

I'm only writing about the not feeling like you are treated like family, not the children issue (that's a whole other subject). I am inclined to give his family the benefit of the doubt a bit. They may be trying to follow your (and BF's) lead -- you haven't married, so they are respecting that choice. It would be different if, say, they weren't inviting you to holidays and such. But things like inclusion in family photos -- that's not a comment on the quality of the relationship between the two of you or about how much they like you, it's about people's status as in or not in the family. If I were his mom, I'd be worried about seeming to push you. (We just went through this with photos at my daughter's wedding -- do you include boy/girlfriends in family photos or not? It seems easiest just to take shots of every possible combination, but then you might be putting pressure on the couple that they may not want.) Same sometimes with invitations and other things. It's tricky, so maybe that's what they are thinking about, especially if you have a good relationship with them otherwise.

Even your boyfriend himself -- if he thinks that you might not be around for the long haul, he may want to protect his children from the hurt of the possible loss of you from their lives by not letting the attachment feel too "official" now.

So I, too, am wondering why you and your boyfriend aren't married. I mean, if the relationship is so permanent that it feels awkward and cruel for you not to be in family photos and the like, that seems to go with getting married. If it's not that permanent, or maybe not in his eyes, then it is what it is, and you must decide if it's enough for you.


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