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The more he has his kids, the less I want to marry him
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An_243456 posted:
He's a good father - don't misunderstand me. And they're pretty good kids, honestly. I treat them with respect, take care of them, and pretend to care, but I don't enjoy it. Let me start from the beginning...

When we first started dating, he really didn't see his kids that much. Which was good...because I wasn't ready for my own kids. In fact, I wasn't even sure I ever wanted kids or could even biologically have them. Anyways, they were still finalizing their divorce (which took a LONG time), and in the end, the child custody agreement gave each parent 50/50 custody. So he gets the kids every other day and every other weekend. Which is good for him...he's a good dad and he loves them.

Soon after the divorce was final, my fiance (and his part-time kids) moved in with me. My townhome was bursting at the seams and we wanted to upgrade. Plus, my fiance wanted to be closer to his ex so he could cut out driving time back and forth with the kids. So we got engaged and moved to the other side of town. I love our new home (maybe minus the long commute from work and friends), and it's nice that the kids keep their mess up in their playroom and their own rooms instead of the living room, but I'm still not ready for kids! We are supposed to have at least every other weekend to ourselves, and for months now, we have had the kids at least part of the time EVERY weekend except one. And the trend doesn't have that ending anytime soon. He travels a lot for work, and he has classes on nights he doesn't have the kids. So the only time I get him alone during "normal" hours is on those rare weekend days. When we don't have his kids, I don't miss them! I know this makes me sound horrible...but I don't. I don't feel what he feels. I want "adult-time," not "kid-time." I have no desire to play with the kids or watch their little shows...but I pretend for them. (I may not want to do these things...but I would never make this obvious to his kids..that's just mean). I miss my friends. I am sick of doing their laundry and being woken up at 3 am because somehow the 5 year old forgot where the bathroom was and has to tell us they need to go potty. They're kids...so they're loud and they fight. And they make messes. They're kids...and they're not mine.

I didn't want to be a mom yet when we were first dating, but I accepted his kids because I loved him...and honestly they weren't around a lot so it didn't really impact "us." But now he has them more and more and I am feeling overwhelmed. Is it possible that I can love him and not his kids? Does that make me the horrible step-mom? Is our marriage in trouble before it even starts?

And yes - my fiance knows all of this. He knows how I feel about having the kids around all the time and that I'm not ready for full-time kids. He's supposed to ask me if it's "ok" if they stay over on off-weekends or off-nights, but somehow it's always phrased to where I feel too guilty to say no or he forgets to mention how long they will actually be there.
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transferedhere responded:
The thing that really bothers me about what you just posted is that this poor 5 year old little boy forgets where he is at night. Can you imagine not having a stable living situation and having to sleep in a different bed every night? Going back and forth every other day is a terrible plan and it doesn't sound like either parent was putting these kids first. Forgive me if my first thought went to these young innocent children, I don't even know them and know that I would be a better step mom.

Don't marry this man. If you do it would be selfish and unfair to his kids. They were there first, they should come first and as his wife, if you can't put them first, you don't deserve to be in their lives.
 
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An_243456 replied to transferedhere's response:
Ok...first of all...the little 5 year old doesn't "forget." I was being funny. She wakes us up to tell us she has to go, but she knows where it's at. That's the joke. Then she wakes us up again to tell us to turn on the music. Then she wakes us up again because...uh...um...yeah my leg hurts. She keeps coming up with excuses. It's what little kids do to get attention. And I imagine it's because her mom lets her sleep in her bed at night.

And thank you for being judgmental about my abilities of being a step-mom. I was hoping for some advice...not telling me I don't "deserve" to be in theirs. I have been dealing with depression, and hearing things like that just make it worse. Thanks...

If anyone has some real advice, please respond. If not...keep your judgmental remarks to yourself. You don't know my situation any better than I know any of yours. I am looking for advice and help, not a lecture.
 
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3point14 responded:
How many kids are there? How old are they? How old are you two? For how long can you realistically deal with this?

Have you told your BF that you're pretending to care? How does he feel about that? If he can't be fair enough to let you know for how long and when they're coming over, that really has nothing to do with the kids. That's him failing you, not these children overwhelming you. You two simply have to work out a schedule, even if it seems like, kid-heavy to you. Having consistency might make all of this seem a lot less overwhelming.

And not to be a jerk, but you are going to feel guilty working out this compromise. Like, period. These are his CHILDREN, and that always does gloss things a certain way that the person who doesn't like/want/have kids is in the "wrong". Just let go of the guilt. You're not a bad person for not wanting kids or wanting to deal with some other ladys' kids. I mean, you do have to deal with them because they're part of the package to the person you love, but not being a "kid" person doesn't make you a bad person. Don't feel bad about saying no, but try to be empathetic to him as well. He could feel guilt for the dissolution of his marriage, and having them around a lot could be trying to alleviate that. He could fear losing a relationship with them. Maybe discuss these things with him, get to the "Why?" of why he guilts you and doesn't plan with you. I think it'll be more satisfying to both of you than he being inconsiderate, you faking to care about these kids, and you two possibly growing to resent each other. The "Why?" might also make it more bearable for you to be around his kids, and instead of seeing the whole situation as an annoyance you can see it as another venue in which to appreciate him.

I don't think your relationship is doomed, per se. But you've always known that kids were part of the deal and it sounds like he's a really involved Dad. It really sounds like you're going to have to put a lot of effort into compromise so you don't feel like you're overwhelmed with kids, and he doesn't feel as though he isn't there for his kids. I don't think you are, but you obviously know you can't ask him to put you before his children.

Depending on their age and how many there are, you might not have long to put up with this, but if there are like five of 'em under ten, this could be your life for a long time. Is your relationship worth feeling this way? Is it worth it for you to see your friends less and raise these children with your BF to continue to have a relationship with him?

I wish you the best of luck, and you have my empathy. I don't want kids AT ALL either, and I too sometimes feel like the bad guy when I just can't get all worked up about first steps and stuff like that. Not wanting kids doesn't make you a bad person, but letting stuff fester in your relationship would make you a half-assed girlfriend so work that stuff out!
 
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fcl responded:
Honestly, there isn't very much you can do to change this situation other than modify the children's schedule. I agree with the PP that alternating days is not a good solution - neither for them nor for you. I wonder if you couldn't set it up so that you had them for alternating weeks or for two weeks (and two weekends) at a time? That would probably be a lot less stressful on the children. Also for you - you don't get out of your stepmum role with the alternating days so you might as well lump them all together and then, after that, have a glorious week or two off! Just imagine the relief! Also, you'd probably feel less overwhelmed and more accepting of them when your next week(s) comes around. (Does that make sense?)

To your question " Is our marriage in trouble before it even starts?" I can only say that it is up to you.

Best wishes
There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
 
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An_243456 replied to fcl's response:
Thank you both for your suggestions. It sounds like I am going to have to have yet another serious talk with my fiance about "why" he needs to see them so much and why he doesn't care to have any alone time with his future wife.

When my fiance sticks to the 50/50 schedule, it's not a big deal. It's when he goes to the 70/30 that I get frustrated. We are always picking up "extra shifts" for the ex so she can go travel or do things for fun (the things I want to do as someone who decided not to have kids yet). We were supposed to have come to a compromise some time ago- I had a serious talk with my fiance and we agreed that if we need to pick up an extra weeknight - that's fine...I support it and he can do this whenever. But I said extra weekends he needs to include me in part of decision. I said I won't always say "no," but I want to reserve the right to say "no" sometimes so we can have time for us (because I hardly see my fiance as it is). Well lately he makes it so I can't say "no" or he finds a way to muddle the actual time they're going to be over.

And I don't think I can have any control over their shared parenting plan. My fiance and his ex do what is best for them (two nights off during the week so they can work or go to school on those other off nights). I have no say in the matter. My fiance would never go for a week on/week off. He can't stand being away from them for more than 5 days. I get that he loves his kids, but I have put aside a lot of things to support him and his kids, and I would just like a little in return. I don't feel like a first, second, or third priority with him.

It bothers me that there are no "Step-Mom" communities on WebMD. It's hard when the little girl tells you that her mom told you not to call you "step-mom" or "mom" and to only call you by your name. Or when the kids refer to you as the "babysitter" even though you're the only one bothering to teach them how to read. Or when you find out the ex makes jokes about your age and other things in front of her kids. I have never said anything negative about her in front of them...yet I feel like I'm going to fight this for the rest of my life. And when I tell my fiance, he just stands up for his ex saying that I'm overreacting and he can't imagine her ever being like that.

ugh- sorry...a lot of frustration and venting. I need some advice from other step moms. I love my fiance, it's just hard being a parent when you feel you have all work and no reward.
 
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Foreverinyoureyes2 replied to An_243456's response:
Anon,

I could not resist this thread. I am married to a man that has 3 children from a previous marriage. (I have 2, so we are not in identical situations, just similiar.) My step kids are 8, 10 and 12.

I have grown to love these children like my own. But it wasn't second nature, and it wasn't without struggle and soul-searching.

My first recommendation is to throw your resentment about the constantly changing schedule out the window. I know how hard that is. When my husband and I got married his kids were 3, 5 and 7. They were little and needed a lot of care and supervision. His exwife was overwhelmed by it, so would also ask us to pick up extra days almost every single week. I quickly realized that I could allow that to tear us apart, or I could embrace it, and work dilligently towards loving these kids, and welcoming them into my life.

In order to do this, I did a lot of self talk and self motivation by reminding myself of things like. I will have been in these kids lives for so long by the time that they are adults that we will genuinely have a positive, loving adult relationship, if I design it that way. They are only kids for a short time, but will be adults for a long time. There kids will call me, "Grandma" and I love the idea of having 5 adult children. In order to get there, I have to lay the foundation here and now.

We did the every-other-day thing for over 4 years with both my kids and my husbands. It is a TERRIBLE plan. I didn't realize it at the time, because it seemed so "fair", but it is only fair to the parents, not to the kids. When I think back about those poor little kids having to drag there "stuff" from home to home every other day it makes me ashamed of myself. They had no roots in either home. They didn't have enough time to build them. My 10 year old step daughter is now showing signs of hoarding and OCD, and I am convinced it was because she had anxiety about constantly having to make sure she had her belongings at the right house. If I had it all to do over again, I would come up with a much better plan, so that the kids were allowed time to settle in and feel at home and again, feel those roots at both homes.

And if you cannot see yourself ever truly bonding with the kids and being then there is no shame in acknowledging that. It isn't a character flaw to not be able to love someone elses kids. It is a hard life.

You must must must have your husbands full support and understanding as you navigate through this.

I wish you much luck.
 
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fcl replied to An_243456's response:
Have a look at www.cafemom.com . There are several groups that might interest you - they have a thriving step-mom community
There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.
 
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stephs_3_kidz responded:
I don't think not wanting kids makes you a bad person. I do commend you for helping him take care of his children despite your misgivings.

Having said that--

His children are always and should always be his #1. Why? Because he had his kids long before he met you. You knew he had kids, and you are choosing the life you have now with him AND his children.

There is a chance you will become resentful down the road when things get tough (and trust me....they are NOTHING at five like they are at 10, 15..). There is the chance that he will resent you eventually for knowing how you feel about his children.

I'm just speaking from my own feelings as a parent. IMO, if you love me you'd better love my children, because we are a package deal. And if someone couldn't handle that, I would want them to move on. I couldn't handle being in a long-term relationship with someone who couldn't stand my children, even if they were nice to them.JMHO

You asked why does he need to see them so much? Because they're his CHILDREN. They need their father. Sorry to be so blunt but you need to get over it. I'd like to see anyone tell my husband that he needed to stop spending so much time with his own children.
 
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stephs_3_kidz replied to An_243456's response:
I wouln't allow my children to call another woman "mom" because *I* am their mother. I gave birth to them, I love them, and I am and always will be their only mother. I don't care how good she was to them, how well she helped take care of them...*I* am their only mom.

If you don't care for the children and you're just pretending, why do you care if they aren't allowed to call you "mom"? It's not very nice of their mom to say things about you given that you do spend so much time with them and are active in their care. You really are not overreacting if you're upset that she's saying negative things about you and your fiance needs to address that.

Your last sentence bothers me:
"..it's just hard being a parent when you feel you have all work and no reward."

Really? What type of reward are you looking for??
 
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kristinmarie722 responded:
I didnt read anyone else's response because I wanted mine to be unbiased.

I have been with my SO for 11 months. He is 9 years older and has 4 kids (19,18,16,12) from a marriage of 16 years. He had his kids young. He is 39 and I am 30. I have a son who is 6.
When we first got together it was all -Oh I love your kids and they are so awesome and it's so much fun and blah, blah, blah. But then reality hit. Everyone started "being themselves" and being how kids really are. My ex used to take our DS every other weekend and a day during the week, but then he moved an hour a way and has him maybe a weekend every 6 weeks now. And once my son started being around more, SO started coming over less and less. For him, he doesnt want to get off of work and deal with a 6 year old. He hasnt had to deal with a 6 year old in years......... Even thought HE KNEW I had a 6 year old, even though he knew it was always a possibility that I would have the 6 years old full time....
As far as his kids, the oldest is in college, the 18 lives with him until he finishes highschool and the youngest 2 live with their mom, but come every other weekend. But there have been talks of them living with him and that scares the HECK out of me. I have never raised teenagers. I almost feel TOO YOUNG to parent his kids, at their ages. And the fun, sweet teenagers that they were at the beginning have turned into snotty, ungrateful brats.

Blending families is SO HARD. What was the situation at the beginning, may not be the situation forever.

I always thought I could deal with step kids and a blended family, because I came from one. It has been the hardest thing on me. I finally found someone that I love 100% and its the kids that are coming between us.

You have to really think, can I be part of these kids lives and do the right thing for them? Because they are the innocent ones in this. You sound like you are a caring person and care about what happens to these kids. It can be very hard to love somone else's kids. I have 1 kid and for me to "take on" 4 kids.... I think- I didnt sign up for all of that. But life happens.

I think I have a lot of growing up to do and maturing before I can 100% committ to being married to my SO and taking on his kids as my own. Because in a marriage, that is the only way you can do it, for it to have a chance.

And I get the time together part. This weekend my DS is going with his Dad for the first time in 6 weeks and my SO has his kids. We are so in need of "us time" and it's not going to happen. I am dissapointed and my first reaction is to be mad, selfish and angry. But I have to remember, his kids need him and need time with him. Kids need thier father more then I need a boyfriend.

(((HUGS))) I dont know if I offered any real advice, but know you are not a horrible person.
 
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kristinmarie722 replied to stephs_3_kidz's response:
Your last sentence bothers me:
"..it's just hard being a parent when you feel you have all work and no reward."


I can actually understand this. With my DS when I do EVERYTHING for him, I know he is MINE and that is what I am supposed to do. My "reward" is he does love me and that makes me feel good. But when I do stuff for my SO's kids (take time, energy and money away from my DS or myself) I am a little peed off that it goes unnoticed or without any "reward". Obviously they dont "owe" me anything. But I can understand that feeling of being taken advantage of or being resentful.



 
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kristinmarie722 replied to Foreverinyoureyes2's response:
You are always so insightful!

I need to have a 1 x 1 with you, so you can help me
 
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stephs_3_kidz replied to kristinmarie722's response:
I totally understand what you are saying, Kristin. I do get that. With our own children we get the hugs and kisses and all that good stuff . Your SO's children are older, and old enough to know to be grateful for things done for them, and I think it sucks that they can't appreciate what you do!

I am under the impression that the OP's fiance's children are young and just at a different point. It sounded to me like she was just mad because she wanted the reward to be that they call her 'mom' and think of her the same way they think of their own mother...? If I'm wrong I hope the OP corrects me.

I'm still baffled by the idea that OP has an extreme amount of resentment about BEING a stepmom yet is angry bc the kids aren't allowed to call her "mom" or "stepmom"...Hmm.
 
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kristinmarie722 replied to An_243456's response:
Another thing about the schedule.......

When my Ex and I first split up we do the week on and week off and it was AWFUL! And it was awful on my son. He never knew where he was going.
Then we switched to a schedule like this:

Me: M, T, Friday-Sunday
Him: Wed, Thurs

Then we switched. That worked good for us, because we weren't away from DS for more then 3 days at a time.

However the BEST has been my ex having DS every other weekend and one day during the week. He was spending more "quality" time with DS when he had him. DS knew exactly when he was going with his dad.


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