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Stepparenting and relationships?


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  #1  
June 3rd, 2011, 12:59 PM
Brighteyed & Caffeinated
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I'm pretty much at the point of being stuck. I don't know what else to do to try and fix my situation, at this point I am very doubtful of it ever changing though.

I've been married to Dh for 15 months now. Our home is the primary residence for his 3.5 year old child. The birth mother has just been given interim access every Sunday for two hours; step-daughter has now seen her birth mother twice since June 2008.
I've been raising step-daughter since she was 18 months old; she is now 41 months old.

Step-daughter does very well in my care and in the care of her daycare; she acts age-appropriate in most situations, aside from her speech/language and personal/social skills. She completes tasks given to her with minimal help and carries on through her day with not much problem. I like being around her when it is just us moving through our day.

Dh understands that she is delayed in some areas of her development, but continues to "baby" her. She has him very wrapped around her finger tightly. When he is home, she can not carry out any tasks on her own and requires his help with everything that she does. There is not a minute of time where she is not climbing on him, hanging off of him, or acting like a baby.

Dh gives in to her behavior 100%, although he knows that she is fully-capable of acting her age as opposed to acting like a baby. He feels that if she is asking for his help, then he must give it. Even though she completes these tasks on her own throughout the day with minimal assistance if any, and completes them very well for her age. He seems to have no problem encouraging her to be completely helpless when he is around.

He puts in so much effort to adhearing to every whim and demand that she has, that he says that he is too busy and she takes up all of time - and therefore, can not have a relationship with me. He says that children come first.

He feels that we have our jobs. He is out there busting his *** making us money and supporting our household, while I stay home doing my wifely duties and raising his child.
We now have an 8 week old baby together. I had hoped that this baby would help us mesh our family together, but instead this house is completely divided - dh and step-daughter/son and I.
From the time he walks in the door until the time she goes to bed, he is 100% hers. On Saturday and Sunday, he is 100% hers.

I really want a family. But I want to feel like I am loved and belong here. I feel more like a roomate/housekeeper/nannny type thing.

I don't know what to do. I want this to work, but I don't see any possible way of it happening. I also have a baby to look out for now and raise the best way I can. I want my son to grow and develop in a family with healthy boundaries, healthy relationships, and of coarse, lots of love and attention. I want him to have a bond with his parents, but not have a bond that is so overbearing that it becomes an obsession or an addiction.

ETA: while we've only been married for 15 months, we have been living together for 2 years. This has been an ongoing situation that has been going on for as long as I remember.
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Last edited by mommy2olliebeans; June 3rd, 2011 at 01:48 PM.
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  #2  
June 3rd, 2011, 01:36 PM
K.A.T's Avatar Enjoying her Sticky Bun
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Give it time, maybe he feels that your son is still too young for him to fully interact with. Also, your step daughter is only 3, maybe your DH wants to spend that extra time doting on her. There's nothing wrong with that. You shouldn't go to the negative right away. You're marriage is still fresh so to speak and you just had a baby so you have a lot of hormones driving you in all sorts of directions.
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  #3  
June 3rd, 2011, 02:18 PM
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If it were me, I would get him into counseling. You cannot parent his daughter effectively if you are not on the same page. And his lack of boundaries with her is actually IMPEDING her development. It's harming her. Although it's important to love a child and spoil the heck out of them - it's also equally important to allow them autonomy and independence. You know she is capable of these things given your experience with her.

If this isn't nipped in the bud, it will be worse on your marriage as she grows older and your resentment of her AND your husband will get worse - as will her knowledge of how to divide and conquer in your relationship with her.

I'd get help.

If he won't go, I would go on my own. Just to make sure your feelings of not being loved aren't soley about you - and the therapist may have some tools to help you better detach from the things you cannot control in your relationship.

Also, if you have boundaries with your son - he will learn them. Sadly though, if your husband has none - he will learn similar divide and conquer techniques that could be hazardous to your marriage going forward. I'm of the opinion that "wait and see" generally doesn't work in these scenarios - but I could be wrong. I've just seen an AWFUL lot in step situations...

Have you read any books on step parenting or blended families?

xoxo

Last edited by katiemama; June 3rd, 2011 at 02:21 PM.
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  #4  
June 3rd, 2011, 04:31 PM
Rachel's Avatar Just Rachel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K.A.T View Post
Give it time, maybe he feels that your son is still too young for him to fully interact with. Also, your step daughter is only 3, maybe your DH wants to spend that extra time doting on her. There's nothing wrong with that. You shouldn't go to the negative right away. You're marriage is still fresh so to speak and you just had a baby so you have a lot of hormones driving you in all sorts of directions.
I agree with this, but if things don't change soon, I would definitely do as Katie suggested and seek counseling. The most important thing you can do for both children is to present a united front with your DH. If you can't work together with him in parenting the children, it will not work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemama View Post
If it were me, I would get him into counseling. You cannot parent his daughter effectively if you are not on the same page. And his lack of boundaries with her is actually IMPEDING her development. It's harming her. Although it's important to love a child and spoil the heck out of them - it's also equally important to allow them autonomy and independence. You know she is capable of these things given your experience with her.

If this isn't nipped in the bud, it will be worse on your marriage as she grows older and your resentment of her AND your husband will get worse - as will her knowledge of how to divide and conquer in your relationship with her.

I'd get help.

If he won't go, I would go on my own. Just to make sure your feelings of not being loved aren't soley about you - and the therapist may have some tools to help you better detach from the things you cannot control in your relationship.

Also, if you have boundaries with your son - he will learn them. Sadly though, if your husband has none - he will learn similar divide and conquer techniques that could be hazardous to your marriage going forward. I'm of the opinion that "wait and see" generally doesn't work in these scenarios - but I could be wrong. I've just seen an AWFUL lot in step situations...

Have you read any books on step parenting or blended families?

xoxo
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  #5  
June 3rd, 2011, 07:17 PM
Brighteyed & Caffeinated
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Thank you. I definitely think we need some counselling.. But I also think someone professional needs to explain to him how relationships and families really work.

I know something needs to be done asap, like now. I hate evenings, I hate weekends - I am just really beginning to hate being at home, but I have nowhere else to go. I've lost all my friends and pretty much left my life behind when I got together with him.

I can't stand that I can't say a word to him or even go near him without her climbing all over him, and apparently its acceptable because she comes first. When he walks in to the kitchen, so does she. When he walks up the stairs, so does she. When I talk to him, so does she and she takes my space/place, ect....

I don't eat dinner with them anymore. I don't like going out in public with them anymore... I am just not happy.

His parents are so obsessed with the step-daughter, that they have not made one attempt to even visit our son... Everything is about the step-daughter.
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Last edited by mommy2olliebeans; June 3rd, 2011 at 07:20 PM.
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  #6  
June 3rd, 2011, 09:36 PM
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Would he be open to counseling? His daughter is so important, but your marriage needs toncipome first. Try reading "Stepmonster" or "Step Coupling.". Good luck!
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  #7  
June 4th, 2011, 11:56 AM
Brighteyed & Caffeinated
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Thank you Katie........

I mentioned it yesterday after your post and he didn't seem to in to it.... However, last night once we started fighting again, he brought it up.
So I'll be looking in to it on Monday and hoping to find something suitable for us.

I do agree his daughter is important... She means a lot to me too as I've prettty much raised her..... I just feel that the kids should be treated equal and that one person should not be the main focus within the family.

I'll look in to those books. I have read two books lately. One is called "Raise Happy Kids: Put Your Marriage First" (it seemed very true to our situation) and I can't remember the title of the other book but it was more about step-parenting...
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  #8  
June 4th, 2011, 07:03 PM
Rachel's Avatar Just Rachel
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It sounds like he's been overcompensating for her having only one parent. Not that that justifies his behavior now that you're a part of his life, but I'm familiar with the concept because I did it for a long time with my older kids.

I really hope the counseling helps! ((hugs))
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  #9  
June 5th, 2011, 01:08 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Ohio
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I have been through the same things with my BF and still go through them to a certain extent. He believes that since his son is from a "broken home" that he needs special attention and can get away with more. We have had countless arguments about it because I try so hard to set boundaries and there are just some behaviors that I will not accept in my house.

Counseling is a great idea. Shortly after I had a miscarriage, I was dealing with a lot of depression so I went to see a counselor and after a couple of sessions our talks turned to more of the issues I'm having with my blended family and my relationship with my BF. I won't lie and say it's perfect now, but things are a lot better. I've even convinced my BF to go with me after we had another HUGE fight about discipline and rules.
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