Thoughts for new marriage?
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kristinmarie722 posted:
I am going to be open and honest here, so please dont judge. I feel though by being open and explaining why I feel what I do, I will get more open feedback.

I am engaged and my fiance has 4 kids (19,18,16,13) and I have a son who is 6.5. My fiance's oldest lives out of town, his son has always lived with him (now me as we are just now living together)- he is a senior in highschool and about to join the Marines. Very low maintence, out with his friends alot etc. They just moved in with me, as we are in the process of buying a house and my fiance's lease was up. His 2 youngest daughters live with their mom.

My "issue" is his youngest daughter wants to live with us.

Before his youngest daughter started to ask to live with him (in the past 3 months?) we agreed, that we wouldnt have kids together, so we can enjoy more time together as a couple. I wasnt 100% on the idea of not having kids, but the thought of us traveling, spending time together, etc I got used to the idea and I am fine with it now. It was a nice thought to think we really only have 1 kid to worry about, etc.

I feel that if his daughter lived with us, I would take on more of the parenting of her then my fiance. He is working crazy hours.(just starting out in the sub contracting world) As well, we also have this routine, where he does spend a lot of time with his friends helping them with house stuff, car stuff, drinking some beers, etc. So we have finally worked out the kinks of everything with that. And I use that time to spend 1x1 with my son and also relax. I feel that I would be resentful if I had another kid to take care of and"cater" too. With my son, he knows my quirks, we know what to expect of each other, so it's nice, it's like when you get out of the baby phase of when your kid is more independent and you can do more. I feel that adding another kid (even at her age) I would be adding more to my list of things to do and have to worry about.

I know for a fact that we would not get child support (or much) from his ex. She only woks part time and my fiance is about to be making more money. With buying a house, having a wedding and my fiance getting his work stuff situated, I feel that adding more to the mix is not good at this time. We need to make sure we can feed ourselves.

Teenagers are just rough. I dont know how well I will be able to deal with the attitude, the laziness, etc. Also she is spoiled, she is babied and I have a hard time dealing with that and accepting it. My fiance had his kids when he was young and I am 9 years younger then him, so I feel almost weird, dealing with teenagers to that extent.

Also, I know that as soon as she doesnt like something that we tell her to do, etc she is going to go and run to her mom and then her mom is going to be up in our business causing trouble. Her mom is very diffcult and likes to cause trouble whenever she can. We ignore her mostly. But I picture it, if I try to discpline the daughter, she will go back to her mom and then there will be issues.

She says she hates her mom and sister and that is why she wants to live with her dad. However, it's not just her dad's house anymore, where she would just lay around and eat all day and be babied. I run a tight ship and I am not going to put up with a lot of crap. I feel that it isnt going to be long until she deciedes she hates living with us. If there was a serious reason that she needed to live with us, I wouldnt think twice about it, but her reasoning is she hates her mom, but dont all teenage girls?

Cont'd below:
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kristinmarie722 responded:
I understand 100% this is my fiance's kid. And we have my son living with us. My fiance knew from the beginning though that my son would always live with me because his dad would never be stable enough to have custody of him, so he knew from the get go that we would always have my son. He never talked about getting custody of his daughter. He always said he wouldnt do it again because at 1 time he had custody of the 3 oldest and it was hard on him with the teenage girls because he wasnt at home as much (cause of work and he was in school at the time).
In regards to my son my fiance and I have this understanding/routine of taking care of him. I do most of it, and he is there as support. It works that way for us.

So here is the thing- I asked him, to talk to his daughter and make it clear, that there would be no discussion about her living with us for at least a year until after we are married.

I feel that there is sooooooo much going on- moving, new school for my son, planning a wedding, house stuff that is going to need to be done, adjusting to living together, adjusting to marriage, that we need to take a year and focus on our marriage before bringing more into it.

He wouldnt agree to it, but told me not to stress about it right now. He said I am over thinking things.

I am stressing about it though. I feel that marriages are hard enough and then to have a blended family. I feel that we need to make our marriage stronger.

I know it's his kid and I want him to do anything for her, I really do. But I also want him to understand what I am saying and where I am coming from. Do you think I am being unfair? Any advice or thoughts about it?

I am not saying she can never live with us. I am saying though that we need time to get ourselves together before adding more, especially considering she is in a perfectly fine home.

Any helpful input is apperciated! Thanks!
 
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queston replied to kristinmarie722's response:
I don't think you're being unfair. Maybe you're being self-centered or unreasonable (I don't know, really), but even if you are, it's fair that he needs to know what your feelings are and the two of you need to work this out.

She's 13--it seems to me that a one-year waiting period for you to get settled into marriage, your blended home, etc. is reasonable. On the other hand, it;s his daughter, and if he wanted her to move in with him tomorrow, that would be reasonable, too.

We all have our own biases here--we do foster care of teenagers, so we have teens moving into and out of our house and changing the family dynamics all the time.

But in your case, have never parented teens before, I can see that this would be a huge transition. Teenaged girls, especially, can really put you through it, to be blunt. They are, IMHO, the rudest people on the planet.

I have no great advice other than that the two of you really need to keep talking about this and get on the same page. If he has thoughts of taking custody of her, you really need to know that and decide if that is a dealbreaker for you or not.

I guess my only real advice would be to talk about the issues in a way that does not assume that you are going to reach some conclusion right away. Just talk about your feelings, concerns, etc. in a climate where you both feel safe to share what you're really thinking.
 
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An_244535 replied to kristinmarie722's response:
queston is right, you are being self-centered. you mostly talk about how the kid will badly affect your marriage and that you got no time for another person to rake care of. but have you thought about how the kid's going to feel because of a rejection by her father telling her she's not welcome to stay in his house for a year or two. that could put a strain in the father daughter relationship. your fiance might also blame you for the that thus putting a strain in yours..
 
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kristinmarie722 replied to queston's response:
Thank you queston! I feel that was good advice. Made me think a little more about the situation in a different light.

Am I probably being self centered? Yeah. I will admit to that. It's one of those things, were you go into something and it's one way and you plan your life around that and then all of the sudden it's another way. So now I am trying to deal with the other aspect of what my marriage may be like.

I am not self centered for wanting to do whatever I can to make my marriage work though. I would rather think these things through, then have all of us living together, trying to adjust, it not working out and then within a year we are divorced and no one is happy.

My fiance has asked certain things of me and my son to make it easier on him. I have adjusted myself and my son to those things. I dont think it's too bad of me to ask him to give me time to adjust to all the changes and to not add more to the plate.

And I dont think I am being unreasonable in thinking it's not okay for the kids to go back and forth from house to house (different towns and school districts) when they aren't getting along with the other parent.

I dont want my step daughter to feel rejected or hurt. But with no real reason to rush this, I think I am being smart to ask for a period of adjusting to be married, so we can provide a happy home for the kids.
 
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Foreverinyoureyes2 replied to kristinmarie722's response:
Kristen,

Congrats on your engagement and your new home! I am so happy for your!

Welcome to the ranks of step-parenthood!

I just have a few thoughts on your current situation. First and foremost, the decision as to whether or not your step daughter should live with you needs to be made like all decisions regarding children. It needs to be based on what is best for her, the child. Although it is tough to recognize, you and your fiance and her mom can't figure into the equasion.

I feel like you and her dad and eventually her mom need to examine the situation and determine what is truly best for the child. Without knowing the true dynamics, none of us on the board can truly know what is in her best interest at this point. If I were making that decision I would look at her current situation, figure out the pro's and con's to living with mom, and do the same with her residing with you guys. How are her grades? Does she thrive and excel at mom's? Would she do better at dad's? Who has the better school district? Who has more potential for stability? Etc...You know where I am going with that.

Although I see where you are coming from, in wanting time to adjust to being a married couple, unfortunately the bloom is off of that rose for you guys. The kids are already here, and they can't be expected to patiently wait until you guys have worked the kinks out and have figured out how to be a couple before they are put back on the front burner.

The tricky part of this, is, that you DO need to be a rock solid couple in order to be effective parents and step parents to your brood. And what that takes is a TON of talking. And a ton of compromise and a little creativity!

I have said before that I don't approach every day with my step kids as working towards today. I approach it as if I am working towards the relationship I want to have with them in the future. I have found my rythme with them, and am able to relate to them as step mom really well. It's such a fine line, because I want to have a close relationship to them, but without making it seem like I am marginalizing their mom, or crossing that boundary.

I am rambling. I have already addressed the question you asked, so I will stop at that, but I expect we will be talking about these issues again in the furure!

Good luck and congrats again!
 
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Foreverinyoureyes2 responded:
Kristen,

One more piece of advice....

We may have already covered this on another thread a while back, so if this is a re-run, please excuse me. I am getting old, you know...

This is the reason that I feel like I am a valuable member of the parenting team for my step kids:

I love them dearly. I would take a bullet for anyone of them. I am proud of them, without them my life would not be nearly as full and happy.

With that said, I do not love them the way a biological parent loves their children. I can't, and I shouldn't. I love them differently.

This different love allows me to be so much more objective and reasonable in my input towards their rearing.

Here is an example of what I mean. If one of my bio kids tells me a story about how they were wronged, bullied or hurt in some way, before I can even engage my brain, I slip into that protective mother place, and all I want to do is defend them, whether they are right or wrong, or neither. I am not immediately rational and reasonable. Therefore, sometimes I do not immediately say or do the right things. I react.

With my step kids, although I do feel protective, I don't immediately go to that place, so I am able to offer advice and solutions on the spot that come from a place of reason.

It is the same with discipline and rules and chores etc... If Steve comes to me with a kid related problem with his kids, I amost always have quick, sound advice to offer. But with my kids, I tend to agonize over small things, because I am simply to close to the problem.

I also have to remind myself that he feels the same way about his kids that I do about mine. This takes some practice. You will get there. Just make sure you put yourself in his shoes.

If your son were 13. living with his dad and imaged to be hating it, would you really find it so easy to say, "Sorry buddy, now isn't a good time for you to move in, lets wait 6 months and re-visit this discussion"??

That is why I go back to my original advice, of making any and every kid related decision with solid data based on what is truly best for them, and then you can back up your decision to the kid more heartily AND you feel good about the decision so even if there is a bit of parent guilt, it is of the garden variety that we all suffer everyday, therefore manageable.

Ok, now I am done again!
 
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kristinmarie722 replied to Foreverinyoureyes2's response:
(((HUGS))) Your advice made me want to cry. LOL. In a good way

I feel that this whole situation has me soooooo stressed.

I think a lot of it is, that maybe I dont think I could do a good job. I think the age difference btwn us is intimidating. She is going to be 13 and I am going to be 31. I dont feel like a mom of a child that old. I am just nervous about being mature enough to handle a child of her age. What if I make things worse for her? What if we do it and it's horrible for all of us? But I also think, what if we do it and it's the best thing ever.

Part of it too is that I feel like not too long ago I was a single mom raising my son and now I have a ring and am about to be a wife and step mom and maybe have more kids to take care of. It's freakin scary. LOL.

I know when I speak openly, I sound like a selfish person. However, what I feel is truly what I feel. But that doesnt mean I dont have an open heart to accept that she could live with us and be fine.

I guess part of it too is that my fiance and I are moving so fast and it just feels like ahhhhhhhhh this is a lot of change. If I could just stop adding more to it, I would right now, ya know?

I know if it was my son and the other way around, I would do anything to make him happy. And I wouldnt respect my fiance, if he didnt do that for her.

I guess as a kid of divorced and remarried parents, I never thought to live with my dad. It was never an option for me. I just knew that my mom had custody and that is who I lived with.

I think that we do have a strong relationship and we just need to keep communicating.

I think too he needs to show me more that he would be an involved dad in the day to day stuff. When he has weekends with the kids, he is a great dad. But like I said in the original post, we have this routine, where he does work crazy hours and is gone from the home a lot. So to me, it would be me raising her. So isnt this a decision that I should have a say in? If I am going to be doing 75% of the raising her when she is in our home? That I think is my biggest concern.

Sorry I am just kind of rambling. I cant tell you enough how much your posts make me feel better and feel like I can do this. I want to do it. I had a great step dad (he passed away in Feb.) and I have a great step mom and I want to be a great step mom to these kids.
 
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Spankyrae replied to kristinmarie722's response:
Sure, you may be thinking from a self-centered place, but I wouldn't look at it as good or bad, it just is. We're human, and so we have this level of thinking sometimes. Your feelings aren't wrong (or right).

Aside from that, I'd be scared too with all the change going on. Even though it's positive change, it's still stress. So try & take some deep breaths and know you guys can get through it all.

What I wonder, is why does his daughter want to live with you guys? Has she expressed that to you both? Have you considered something that would start off as a compromise? Like having her over gradually, say on the weekends (if not already)? And what can he do to compromise so that his daughter gets to spend time with him & he's around more to help?

Every time you post, even if it's a predicament like this, I think back to how much you have grown. And as hard as this all feels, it's also a good opportunity for you & you as a couple to grow even more.
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darlyn05 replied to kristinmarie722's response:
I think your idea to build a more sturdy and strong foundation first off is a great idea, often skipped over when families blend. Which if you are sensing much resistance from your fiance, it could be an indicator that you may become one of the negative statistics. If you look at the Resources on this exchange there is one about blending families that you receive free e-letters. They explain the need for the sturdy/strong foundation, communication, commitment/dedication to stick with the joint/blended couples decisions, couples/parental team support, and one of those include testimonials from the step-children on this very subject from their point of view and most all of the step-children(mostly teen girls & little of teen boys) in a situation such as yours openly admitted their true deviate reasons why they wanted to move in with the New family atmosphere.

Naturally her dad, the bio-parent, might feel as though he is being told he may have to choose between you or his daughter. And more often than not that message is coming from the bio-children. Not the New kid/parent(step) on the block.

I look at what you've written as you 'looking ahead', not being analitical or self centered. You want to have a solid foundation or basement under the new home you are building so it is strong enough to bear the added stressors that may be placed on it.

I feel FIYEs is the/an exception to what could be termed as the 'Norm' for blending families. The situation with her husbands ex didn't leave much if any wiggle room for negotiations, not to mention that she had already known her(now) husband and his children(from her children and playmates) for many(?) years prior to their blending. She definately had an 'Edge' over some other blended families from the start. As her blended situation is an exception she is an exceptional person.

If the 13 yr olds reason for wanting to move in is because she hates her mother and other siblings, that's the wrong reason and I hope her dad can see through that. I also hope he can realize that under those/these circumstances putting that added pressure, stress, and responsibility on you(prominent caregiver) is more than just unfair.

If he wouldn't agree with the 1 yr, maybe you can revisit this in 6 months to discuss it. I wouldn't go from the pan to the fire so quickly. The oil/grease needs to warm up first. KWIM?
 
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kristinmarie722 replied to Spankyrae's response:
Awww thanks Spanky! I feel that I am growing each day. And it is scary, even though it's a good thing
 
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kristinmarie722 replied to darlyn05's response:
Thanks Darlyn.

I am good with revisiting the issue in 6 months.
 
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tmlmtlrl replied to Spankyrae's response:
This has all been a very good discussion. I totally agree with making sure you keep your communication flowing.

I believe there is never really the 'right' time for most things in life. It's just time when it's time. It all happens for a reason.

With that said, Spanky's post got me thinking of the why. What popped in my head was she's the youngest and her daddy is being taken away by another woman, another family.. how scary for her. Being 13 she is at such a delicate time of her life. She's about to go thru so many changes and quickly become hateful of well probably everything!

I'm just trying to take it in from her perspective and maybe I'm completely off base here but maybe I'm not. So how about if you can talk with your DF and see about him having some one on one time with her. Help her feel special, loved, and not forgotten in all these changes.

He's going to have to talk to her about it. "I" don't see her reasons as valid (unless there's much more to it) for leaving her mother's house and would see her using it as opportunity to jump back n forth whenever she gets mad. But I also think he probably sees that too and knows that her being 13 she will probably think differently in a week.

So yeah, the whole give it time and keep talking is the big picture for you. Sounds like you're already doing great with that. It will all work out the way it's supposed to and because you put thought into these things you're not likely to have things fall right apart on you.

You will have a special bond with these children. Someday you're going to be so proud of the relationships you grew with them. There's just so much yet to happen!!

Congratulations I know this is all a stressful time. Try to embrace it the best you can. All the crazy will be over soon enough!
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.
 
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Jumper2011 responded:
I'm gonna throw my .02 worth in if I can.

My wife and I met when we were both going thru a divorce. I had two kids (7 and 3 at the time) and she had none (she's unable to have kids). I was really concerned how she would be around the kids and vice versa. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. They took to each other like fish in water. After a couple of years, we had to move out of state (I'm military) and my kids were going to be staying with their mom. A few years ago, my oldest (17 at the time) wanted to move in with us. After some "debate" with my ex-wife, she agreed to let him move in with us. It was a huge learning curve not just for my wife but for us as a couple. We had gotten so used to being a "couple" and only having to worry about us (except for summers) that his moving in caused us to have to change our lifestyle. No longer could we get drunk in the house and run around naked (not. that. we. did. that... ), have sex when and where we wanted, stay out late, take weekend trips, etc. It actually got to the point we started to experience some stress between us. After a while we learned to cope with the change and made changes ourself that kept that excitement going, just not on the level it was previously. Then about 2.5 years ago, his younger brother wanted to move in with us. Again, after some "debate" with his mom, he moved in with us just prior to his freshman year in High School. Since we had gone thru the change, this time it wasn't "as bad". But having two late teen boys in the house still causes enough stress in and of itself.

My point is this. Your fiance's daughter is his daughter. I tried to make it clear to my wife that my kids were a priority to me. Not THE priority, but A priority and if moving in with us was going to make them happy, then I was willing to adjust. Fortunately I have a wonderful wife who supported me the entire time. If your step-daughter wants to move in, let her. She's getting to that age now where she can be independent enough that you and your soon-to-be hubby can enjoy some "couple" time. I also made it perfectly clear to my sons that my wifes word was gospel in the house. If she said "clean your room", they better clean it. They learned to understand over the years WE were parents and she has just as much authority as I do. That was something I had to learn as well. I had a bad habit of stepping in or over the line when she tried to discipline. There were several times I would unintentionally undermine her authority. I had to learn to step back and let her take control.

What I made perfectly clear to my kids was this: If you move in with us, you will follow our rules. We also said they had to stay till at least the summer after a full school year. I wasn't going to have them move in only to want to move back 3 months later because they didn't like their school. In other words, we laid the ground rules before they ever moved in so they knew what to expect before they got here. Overall, it worked out fine.

But I can understand the "hate her mom and sister" thing. Both of my kids tired of their moms antics (my ex sounds like your STB hubby's ex) so much so, my youngest refuses to move back in with her.

I'm not going to lie. It was a huge adjustment for my wife and I but it's been well worth it. We still find time to be alone with each, we still have date night, we still have a great sex life. We just had to learn to adapt and overcome (cliche' I know...) I agree with your STB hubby: you're over thinking/analyzing this and stressing about nothing.
 
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kristinmarie722 replied to Jumper2011's response:
Thank you everyone! You have provided lots of good feedback!