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#180998 - 04/27/09 08:44 PM Stepchildren are causing so much heartache
Zee Offline


Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 3
I've been married two years now to a wonderful man. But our four children in one way or another are driving us crazy. My main problem is that I don't like his kids! I struggle daily with the fact that I adore my own children (21 and 16) and know that I will never love his like my own. They are 22 and 17. The older girl has caused us so much pain and argument; she has been a wild child. Plus, they get free college tuition where he teaches, so they never leave! AGH. I feel guilty all of the time because I want to avoid them. Now, two graduations are coming up (one from high school and one from college), his ex-spouse is coming to town for both, and I don't want to be a part of it at all. I love him and know he wants me there, but I don't think I can fake it for an entire day, two weekends in a row. HELP!

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#181001 - 04/27/09 09:46 PM Re: Stepchildren are causing so much heartache [Re: Zee]
Di Offline
Member

Registered: 11/15/05
Posts: 2785
Loc: NM, transplant from NJ
As a step parent, I'd put aside your feelings and "be there" for your husband. I went to my SD's graduation and even went up to her Mom and shook her hand! My feeling was that I did not cause the divorce; therefore I have nothing to feel badly about.

Granted, I adore my S-kids, but that is beside the point. You are married to their Dad. Be there and do your best. We're here beside you!

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#181059 - 04/28/09 01:28 PM Re: Stepchildren are causing so much heartache [Re: Di]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Zee, welcome to BWS. I'm sure others will jump in.

I don't have steps, but when I have to deal with people I'm not crazy about, I try my darndest to focus on thier positive attributes. Is ther a way for you to do that with his kids? Sounds hokey, but it works when I can remember to do it.

Have you spoken about what your husband's desires are with the upcoming graduations? If not, you might wnat to ask how he wants you to be involved.
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#181071 - 04/28/09 02:21 PM Re: Stepchildren are causing so much heartache [Re: Dotsie]
Zee Offline


Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 3
Thank you, Dotsie and Di! I really appreciate your advice. The more I've thought about this, the more I realize it's so difficult because there are two graduations happening within a week of each other, so I'm overwhelmed. The truth is, there are great qualities about each of his children that I can focus on. His ex and I are not on the best of terms, but I guess I can struggle through the graduations and the two dinner parties, being as selfless and patient as possible. My husband is extremely gracious and wants me with him because he loves me, pure and simple, and wants me to share in his love for his children and their accomplishments. For the sheer reason that I love him, too, I need to practice some major generosity in this situation. He makes it easier to do that, even if his kids and his ex don't!

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#181072 - 04/28/09 02:59 PM Re: Stepchildren are causing so much heartache [Re: Zee]
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Try to focus on being with him and not with the others. Also, two graduations, regardless of the situation, is overwhelming. I had two graduate from high school the same year and I've been married to the love of my life almost 30 years, and I was overwhelmed. Graduations are good stuff. Try to enjoy them in spite of the hurtful people surrounding you.
_________________________
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#181094 - 04/29/09 03:03 AM Re: Stepchildren are causing so much heartache [Re: Dotsie]
Edelweiss3 Offline


Registered: 11/19/08
Posts: 1758
Loc: American living in Germany
Hi Zee, and welcome. I've seen first hand how mean step children can be. My nephews are really horrible to my brother's girlfriend. They treat her like air and answer in grunts. I don't get it, because they have a life of their own and needn't act like that at all. I think they always see the new one as someone wanting to replace their mother. And they are 19 and 16 years old! It's ridiculous. My brother is strict and demands they be more civil, but it doesn't faze them. So Tricia, my brother’s GF, treats them like air as well. She never greets them first, no more seeking eye contact, no conversations. I think that is the only way for self protection. So I can sympathize with you going to someone’s graduation that you don’t even care for. Hang in there…and see this as a stepping stone towards their independence and leaving the house someday.
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As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
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#181344 - 05/03/09 10:08 AM Re: Stepchildren are causing so much heartache [Re: Edelweiss3]
Dee Offline
Member

Registered: 06/27/05
Posts: 2559
Loc: Alabama
Hi Zee,
Wow...step-kids. Can I ever relate.

Having been a step-child and a current step-parent I can relate to both sides of this coin. You came into the picture when your step-daughter was 15...and now she's 17, a horrible time for teenage girls...they're struggling with who they are, peer pressure, school, image, and add a step-mom into the mix and they're really going to have issues. Add step-sibling teenagers and whoa...dynamite. Any chance the family could get step-parenting counseling? Or at least you and your husband? That would be my first suggestions.
My 2nd would be support your husband and your step-kids's graduations with your head held high. Be strong and show that ex-wife of his that you haven't been beaten down and in hiding. Yes, it's tough, yes it's not what you want to do, but if you love your husband you'll do it for him. He's got to do it for you, too, one day and you want him to be by your side.
My 3rd would be, don't try to love your step-children, just try to be their friend and let the relationship develop how it will. It takes step-families 3-5 years before relationships begin to mesh well together...sometimes longer, sometimes it just doesn't work out, but it's normal, I think, to have stronger feelings for your own children. I'm a step-mom to 2 boys and a girl...all in their late 20's when I met their father. It's not been an easy experience and there's been some downright disrespect shown to me by two of the three so much so that they walked away from their dad and me for awhile. The important thing to remember is you and your husband must always support and stick by one other no matter what. Be on the same page about decisions concerning the children (at least in front of them). If your children or his children find they can put a wedge between you and your husband it will only start to chip away at your relationship and that's not going to help your marriage at all. My step-kids tried that early on and they had to learn the hard way that this was not something that was acceptable nor tolerable and Larry stood by me...they'd been so used to manipulating their dad, so when I married Larry and would not let them do that to him any longer it caused a lot of problems for awhile...but, eventually, they came around and now five years later we're doing pretty well considering. It just takes times, patience, standing firmly beside your husband and him standing by you, and the kids learning they cannot push your buttons and it have an affect on you.
It's still too early for all of the relationships to be at a place where everyone is going to blend well. And the teenagers alone are enough to make issues on their own, not just in a step-situation.
My heart goes out to you and I'll be curious to see how all this works out. Keep us posted and stay strong for your husband and your step-children and your children. Best of luck, sweetheart...best of luck.
_________________________
Dee
"They will be able to say that she stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her away....and surely it has not.....she adjusted her sails" - Elizabeth Edwards

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#181361 - 05/03/09 03:49 PM Re: Stepchildren are causing so much heartache [Re: Dee]
orchid Offline


Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 3660
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: Dee
My 3rd would be, don't try to love your step-children, just try to be their friend and let the relationship develop how it will. It takes step-families 3-5 years before relationships begin to mesh well together...sometimes longer, sometimes it just doesn't work out, but it's normal, I think, to have stronger feelings for your own children. I'm a step-mom to 2 boys and a girl...all in their late 20's when I met their father. It's not been an easy experience and there's been some downright disrespect shown to me by two of the three so much so that they walked away from their dad and me for awhile. The important thing to remember is you and your husband must always support and stick by one other no matter what. Be on the same page about decisions concerning the children (at least in front of them). If your children or his children find they can put a wedge between you and your husband it will only start to chip away at your relationship and that's not going to help your marriage at all. My step-kids tried that early on and they had to learn the hard way that this was not something that was acceptable nor tolerable and Larry stood by me...they'd been so used to manipulating their dad, so when I married Larry and would not let them do that to him any longer it caused a lot of problems for awhile...but, eventually, they came around and now five years later we're doing pretty well considering. It just takes times, patience, standing firmly beside your husband and him standing by you, and the kids learning they cannot push your buttons and it have an affect on you.


Dee gives great advice.
I wish you the very best luck. Are the kids thinking of working or pursuing further studies after they graduate?

I'm sorry Edelweiss for your brother's girlfriend. It sounds like he has half-time child care custody with his children? Our situation was completely different because I chose to continue to live in my own home which I just bought a few months before I met Jack. At that time, I was very determined to own a home and pay for it. But of course, we spent alot of time together in each other's homes. Sometimes the children were around, sometimes not. And for the latter situation, it just gave him better 'space' deal with his children in discplinary matters.

At the start of our relationship, I made a decision not to even pretend to be a stepmother or mother his children (who were in their early teens). There was no need for me to assume this role, when already the children each had a loving birth parent in each home they lived in. So it was easier for me, to be an adult friend with the children, which became easier after their teens. In hindsight, it worked out best between myself and the children. My partner is absolutely relieved we chose this route. smile
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#181511 - 05/05/09 12:27 PM Re: Stepchildren are causing so much heartache [Re: orchid]
Zee Offline


Registered: 04/27/09
Posts: 3
Hi again, everyone. I appreciate the comments so much. The step-parenting issues my husband and I are both facing, with each other's children, are creating some pretty honest and intimate conversations between us. This is very good for us, even though it's painful. The more I can see his children through his eyes, and vice versa, the more we are able to feel connected as a couple and with each other's kids. What a wild emotional ride this is, though. I had no idea such strong feelings would come out of our blending families, especially given that his ex-wife moved 5 states away after they divorced, and left the kids with him! No wonder we're working so hard.

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#181536 - 05/05/09 05:51 PM Re: Stepchildren are causing so much heartache [Re: Zee]
Dee Offline
Member

Registered: 06/27/05
Posts: 2559
Loc: Alabama
Zee...you sound like a very strong and loving wife. It's good to remember that he loves his children as much as you love yours and it's a struggle for everyone. I hope everything works out for you and with time and patience and love your family will begin to mesh.
_________________________
Dee
"They will be able to say that she stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her away....and surely it has not.....she adjusted her sails" - Elizabeth Edwards

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