Return to the Stepfamily Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

Posted by Lejoy1 (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 8, 12 at 16:09

I could use some sound words of advice & encouragement.

I am 37 & have been with my boyfriend for about 8 years now. We have been living together for almost 4. I sold my house & moved in with him. He has a 10 yr old daughter whom he has residential custody of for 7yrs.

The mother visits with the daughter once a week & every other weekend altho she is not a good parent--thus my bf's status of primary parent. The daughter does often feel neglected by her mom. I help deal with the mom as she won't typically argue with me like she does the dad & I hate for the daughter to see them argue.

I love children..none of my own but love this one as if mine. Her & I have a good relationship. Not always easy...but I've worked hard at it over the years & I've long gotten over MY hangup of the fact I'm not a REAL mother...I take her to every doctor appt, attend school conferences, praise & punish her, constantly searching for ways to help her grow, feel confident & develop into a caring & successful woman. I love her, teach her, hug & comfort her daily. Just as if she were my own..but never speaking ill of her mother nor do I try to take her place. I remind her you only have 1 mother & 1 father. I'm her "Me-Me" she calls me.

My boyfriend is a good dad-loving, hands on, spends quality daddy-daughter time and he is also good to me. He's affectionate, provided for me when I was laid off for 2 years, we vacation, he sends me to the spa, we still make each other blush & he consciously makes time for he & I as well as family time for the 3 of us.

He has a good but stressful job (has been unhappy for over a year now)and he's trying to finish school taking class Mon & Wed night & every Sat this summer so he has more options (he is 38). His daughter's mother & tenants keep him in & out of court but I'm always by his side. I share his stresses as he has mine. I don't mind chipping in where needed & I am often home with his daughter as he is at school or home but studying for school. He's a straight A student in difficult subjects so he puts in a lot of study time.

My problem is this..I want to get married & although he says he wants to he has not proposed. I have no fantasies of an elaborate wedding...I just want him & the commitment & security I feel that comes with marriage along with the respect of the title for taking care of him, the house & his child. God forbid something happen to him I'd be homeless & I'd probably have no rights to his daughter. Money for a ring is not an issue for him. I realize all his needs are being met & I'm the only one with a problem here. Marriage is probably the last thing on his mind with work & school but I'm tired of "playing" mother & wife. I feel disrespected. I do all cooking, cleaning, laundry/ironing, work a full-time myself, drop off & pick up his daughter everyday & everything else in the house except pay bills. I buy all grocceries & clothes.

When I mention marriage he blows me off or it usually turns into an argument like "here we go again"...like he has no time to think about it. I have reached a boiling point. I am mindful not to show frustrations to his daughter as she has it tough enough being away from her parents & its not Her fault. It's difficult on days she talks back, challenges me & is just basically being a 10yr old. I take it all in jest though. I'm furious that he doesn't take this seriously. We talk about everything else but he just has no conversation about marriage. We've looked at rings & he'll tease every now & then but nothing. I can't tell u how many false alarms I've had where my heart breaks..which he's aware of. We've been together so long his daughter tells people I'm her stepmom & I've started to do the same. I'm embarrassed by it..I'm hurt & questioning does he REALLY love me?? How can he not see or understand my pain. I don't want to be foolish & leave a relationship that makes me happy otherwise & I realize it would not benefit me to give an ultimatum. I don't know what to do. Please help!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

Hello Lejoy! Welcome :-)

I'm not sure I'm going to be of any help here, but I'll share what I think. To me it sounds like you're in a loving relationship with a great man. You describe yourself that you two are happy together and living a good life. But then there's the marriage issue..

I've been with my partner for almost 8 years, and although he did propose last year, I'm not really feeling any different or 'more secure'. I just don't believe that making that sort of commitment really provides any more security or status. I would not look at you and your role in your family any different whether you'd be married to your man or not. You're still the same person; doing the same things, right?

I know most people feel different about this and I respect that; each to their own, but I'm thinking maybe your BF is a bit the same and just doesn't give it the same importance as you do. It would be a terrible shame if this one issue would come between you two. And what isn't now could still come later on, right? You say he sometimes gives you a hint, so it's not like he's against the idea?

Good for you for taking care of his daughter the way you do, it's not easy being a stepparent and it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job!


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

In most states, you will still be a legal stranger to the girl, even if you marry your BF. If anything happens to your DH, he can not will away the child like property.


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

What sticks out in the post is.... God Forbid if something happens to him and I m homeless....And KKNY is sort of correct, if you had yourself designated as guardian in a will, if no one contested it, you may get to keep raising SK... All up to a judge of course at that point...Why dont you ask him to at least make a will if he doesnt want to get married..May be the security you seem to be looking for...Also you did not mention his immediate family, mother , father, they could also keep you from making next of kin choices in a hospital setting...


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

In any relationship there are things that are important to one partner and not important to the other.

I don't think it matters if marriage is "logical" in your circumstances or not. What matters is that for you it is a crucial symbol of your mutual commitment to this relationship.

I don't know what the resolution is, but I do know it's not good when one partner laughs off or minimizes something very important to the other.

I think at the least, despite all other stresses and pressures, you deserve a serious "sit-down and listen" from the other half of your partnership. Otherwise this will grind at you and leave you feeling frustrated, diminished and angry.

I know you have told him that marriage is important and he laughs that off. Have you told him clearly how his response makes you feel?

If he can't honor your deepest feelings by a sincere and serious consideration (though you may still end up disagreeing), this signals a bigger issue - that you're not an equal partner in this journey and that he likes holding the cards.


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

Why does your BF need to marry you? He already has you taking care of the needs of a wife, and a mother to his child, but no obligations and responsibilities. There is a saying "Why buy the cow when you can get milk for free?

There are difference between "marriage" and "live in relationship", otherwise, why gay couples are fighting for the right of having marriages?

Your BF knows you want marriage, he knows you want commitment; for years he enjoys everything you have done for him and his child, yet "When I mention marriage he blows me off or it usually turns into an argument like "here we go again"...like he has no time to think about it". Wow!!! If you are really in a loving relationship with a great man, he would keep your needs, wants in mind, and protect your security (financial and emotional). To explain away with " just doesn't give it the same importance as you do" is laughable.

Without any legal protection, you are no different from a stranger off the street if something happens to him.
Have you read about what happened to his long term partner after the famous Swedish author Stieg Larsson passed away?

You need to take care of yourself.


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

Quote: "There are difference between "marriage" and "live in relationship", otherwise, why gay couples are fighting for the right of having marriages?"

Oh please do explain what those differences are??

.....

As for financial security: we have a will which leaves the house to me; married or not; and it devides the other assets between the different parties. We made sure his kids have been adequately cared for so his ex can't contest the will. If he (for example) left them nothing she most likely could contest it.

No need to get married to get these issues sorted :-)

Good advice from readinglady too by the way!


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

Thank you all for your posts! You all brought about very good points. Readinglady & azmom you are dead-on!

I have indeed been "frustrated, diminished and angry" and you touched at the meat of my issue---"If he can't honor your deepest feelings by a sincere and serious consideration (though you may still end up disagreeing), this signals a bigger issue - that you're not an equal partner in this journey and that he likes holding the cards."
and "Without any legal protection, you are no different from a stranger off the street if something happens to him".

One of the other things is I would love to have a child of my own, I have fertility issues so don't know if possible but more importantly he doesn't want more. FOR HIM...I can live without having a child of my own--its something I've given a lot of consideration. We travel & I realize some of the things I love about us might change with a baby but I am unwilling to drop this marriage issue forever.

It also bring to mind...would he make such a sacrafice for me? You all have given me food for thought...I appreciate it. In the meantime, I do see areas where I can fall-back & focus on me a little more. I have the bad habit of being a pleaser & doing more & more & more...& at this stage its making me resentful. I've played a hand in making things so easy for him.

Yesterday was a very emotionally draining day for me...today I choose to make it a happy one & remind myself that my self worth is not determined by the absence of a title. Thank you all. Have a great day!


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

You've already been given some very good advice and
there is only one thing I would add. Having been married and went through divorce, I will never get married again.
It costs $30 for a marriage license, THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS to get divorced.

Even an uncontested divorce is $750. No one gets married thinking they will get divorced, but the only way to get out of marriage that isn't working anymore is to have a divorce. Think about that when you think about why you want to be married. Like Yabber said, there are ways to take care of things without having to get married.


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

Getting married and having children may not be for everyone, but if they are what you want, health, emotion, and finance wise you can afford, why do you deprive yourself? after all you only live once, you have right to make choices.

I was happy as single and child free, but being married and being a mother are so much better for me. Life is a lot more inspired, enriched and fulfilled.

Here is one of many articles from internet. The link is
http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/marriage-rights-benefits-30190.html

Marriage Rights and Benefits

Whether or not you favor marriage as a social institution, there's no denying that it confers many rights, protections, and benefits -- both legal and practical. Some of these vary from state to state, but the list typically includes:

Tax Benefits

• Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
• Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

Estate Planning Benefits

• Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
• Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
• Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
• Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse -- that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse's behalf.

Government Benefits

• Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
• Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
• Receiving public assistance benefits.

Employment Benefits

• Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
• Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
• Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
• Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse's close relatives dies.

Medical Benefits

• Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
• Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

Death Benefits

• Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
• Making burial or other final arrangements.

Family Benefits

• Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
• Applying for joint foster care rights.
• Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
• Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

Housing Benefits

• Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
• Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

Consumer Benefits

• Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
• Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
• Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.

Other Legal Benefits and Protections

• Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
• Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
• Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can't force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
• Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
• Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
• Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships

If you are in a same-sex marriage in one of the states where same-sex marriage is allowed (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and D.C.), or if you are in a domestic partnership or civil union in any of the states that offer those relationship options, none of the benefits of marriage under federal law will apply to you, because the federal government does not recognize these same-sex relationships. For example, you may not file joint federal income tax returns with your partner, even if your state allows you to file taxes jointly. And other federal benefits, such as Social Security death benefits and COBRA continuation insurance coverage, may not apply.


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

Qoute:

Housing Benefits

Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."

I didn't know we had them LOL
...

You also have the above rights as a defacto-spouse.
...
I was thinking more of the emotional side and how things don't change once you're married, to me it just doesn't add anything significant. You are still the same person and I don't know about anybody else but I'm not going to change my ways after I'm married, we both are happy with who we are.
...
All that matters is how you treat eachother behind closed doors; when nobody else is there and it's just you two..


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

Well actually yabber, unless you hold your de facto's power of attorney, you may not have any or all of the rights listed.
As for the emotional side, for me marriage is a public declaration that "this is the person you want to spend your life with". Without marriage for me there would be always that tiny niggle that "we could walk away from this".


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

I was thinking more of the emotional side and how things don't change once you're married, to me it just doesn't add anything significant.

I absolutely accept that's how it is for some but clearly that isn't the case for the OP, and she's entitled to her feelings.

Personally, I think it's naive to assume that long-term partnership bestows de facto rights and protections. Which is why in many states, same-sex couples have to go through legal contortions to gain a say in the medical care of an ill or aging partner, to protect parental rights of the non-biological parent, to bestow physical effects of an estate after death.

My BIL has been partnered to the same woman for 18 years. She has stood beside him through thick-and-thin. Now he is quite ill, but has made (AFAIK) no provision for his partner. Her name is not on the title to the house nor his bank accounts. She has no claim on his SS as his survivor, which would be considerably more generous than her meager benefit as a motel cleaner and eldercare worker.

As far as I can tell, when he goes his effects will be distributed through probate, his siblings will be the beneficiaries and she will be out-of-luck.

But these are financial matters. The larger point is that regardless of how important or unimportant a symbol marriage is to any of us, it matters to the poster.

It isn't particularly helpful to tell her what she feels is wrong or to trivialize her deeply felt beliefs. She already gets enough of that at home.


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

You have good points. Me and my partner have a Power of Attorney so I didn't really see the diifference. You are right in saying that you don't just get these rights by being a couple, you have to go see a lawyer and get that sorted out properly.

Quote myself and readinglady: I was thinking more of the emotional side and how things don't change once you're married, to me it just doesn't add anything significant.
I absolutely accept that's how it is for some but clearly that isn't the case for the OP, and she's entitled to her feelings.
...
I was more thinking of OP's partner when I wrote that. Not trying to tell her that her feelings are less valid or wrong. As per my initial post. Maybe he sees things that way and finds nothing wrong with it. What if they just have a different outlook; each of them as valid as the other. It's all about how serious they take each others feelings and how they address these issues, right?


 o
RE: Frustrated girlfriend playing role of wife and mother

It's all about how serious they take each others feelings and how they address these issues, right?

Absolutely.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Stepfamily Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here