6 Things Remarried Dads Owe Their Stepmom Wives

This article by Joel Schwartzberg originally appeared in the Dec. 2009 issue of StepMom Magazine.

When Hollywood superstar Sandra Bullock married TV celebrity Jesse James, she took on the most challenging part of her life – not just his wife, but stepmother to his five-year-old daughter Sunny. Fresh from playing a reluctant romantic partner in The Proposal, Bullock jumped into her reality role with complete commitment, slowing her career, facing down a trouble-prone ex-wife, comforting a stressed-out husband, connecting with James’ two other children, and by her own admission, putting personal motherhood plans on hold for Sunny’s benefit.

But even without these complications, stepping into a pre-existing family condition is still an awkward and precarious fit for any new spouse. The stepmother is probably the least-defined role in the contemporary family structure (though well-defined in the movies as an evil, manipulative agent of interference). A stepmom is a parent, yet not the parent. A caregiver but not always a care-getter.

She donates considerable time, space, attention, resources, and family income to people from another life. She has not only willingly opened her private life to the one she loves, but allowed it to be invaded by needy, willful, attachments with whom she has no biological, legal, or dependent connection.

And what does the stepmom get for her trouble (while the woman from another life gets a regular alimony check)? Probably not as much as she deserves — certainly less than she imagined when she first considered her romantic future.

This is not to say that all stepmoms are miserable and masochistic. Often they dearly love the children brought into their lives. But their needs are too frequently overshadowed by those of her husband. She is there for him. She is there for the kids. But who’s there for her, and is it enough?

In my experience as a remarried father, I’ve identified six things dads with children need to realize they owe the new loves in their lives. I’m recommending them directly to dads in the hope that it will help them A.C.C.E.P.T their partner’s needs alongside their own.

Appreciation
As a remarried dad, you may feel you’re the one being pulled, stretched, and needed — and you undoubtedly are. But consider the stepmother: Her life has been invaded by forces she agreed to but never signed up for. Like you, she is physically anchored to your children. Being with you means she cannot pick up her life and move somewhere else. Being with you means sharing an income with your last partner. Being with you means relinquishing more privacy than she ever thought she’d have to give up.

Commitment
That ring on your finger says nothing about children, but too many couples let parenthood absorb and flatten their marriages, wounding and sometimes killing it. Regardless of the status of your dadhood, your wife deserves a full-time partner who is unequivocally committed to the one-on-one relationship. For that matter, so do you. Being committed means doing everything you can to protect and preserve your marriage.

Compassion
Compassion means knowing your children bring their joyous, funny, wonderfully curious life-force to your wife’s world… but also their germs, dirty dishes, sleeplessness, and incessant noise. They leave raisins and Apple Jacks in between couch cushions, toilet seats up, and toothpaste on the sink. Your wife’s formerly pristine car is now a repository for used tissues, melted lip balms, sippy cups, library books, random toys, and bulky car seats. Compassion means knowing your wife pays a price for devoting herself to you, and making sure she gets a return on that investment.

Empathy
You may know what to say about your ex in front of your new wife (hint: NOTHING), but your children don’t see those boundaries. They will constantly compare your wife to their mother – hairstyle to hairstyle, cupcakes to her cupcakes, jokes to jokes — a constant reminder that while your wife may love your children, she will never in fact be their mother. A spontaneous gift now and then will show you’re paying attention. But listening, understanding, and not defending yourself when she expresses frustration is infinitely more valuable.

Patience
Your wife will have moments of understanding and willing sacrifice, and other moments of impatience and deep frustration. Be patient and have faith that any love you offer her, especially when she’s down, will be returned to you in time. In a solid relationship, love is a default state.

Time
Children gobble up time like they do M&Ms. But make sure their appetite doesn’t consume too much one-on-one time with your partner. Whether you book it in advance or create it spontaneously, your time is the best thing you can give your wife, especially when you have children in the house otherwise demanding it.


If you liked this article, you’ll LOVE the monthly magazine.

59 thoughts on “6 Things Remarried Dads Owe Their Stepmom Wives”

  1. Aside from the heterosexist “dad” instead of partner and “stepmom” instead of stepparent, the message of awareness (not what’s “owed”) is a great one. Stepparents rock. Family members who make a point to stay aware and appreciative rock even more. Great article.

  2. Nine years ago when I became a step mom, it was impossible to find information anywhere for the husbands of new stepmoms. I’m glad to see the literature is catching up. I wish I had had these things to show my husband nine years ago. Thank you for the article!

    1. I feel the same way! Where was all this help 10 years ago? There wasn’t nearly as much support and encouragement back then for stepmoms let alone for their husbands… I’d love to see realistic depictions of stepfamilies on TV and in movies now. That’s the next step! 🙂

      1. That would be awesome! A TV show where it wasn’t all roses. It’s true…most people don’t realize what a difficult time it is to be a step parent.

  3. “You may know what to say about your ex in front of your new wife (hint: NOTHING), but your children don’t see those boundaries. They will constantly compare your wife to their mother – hairstyle to hairstyle, cupcakes to her cupcakes, jokes to jokes — a constant reminder that while your wife may love your children, she will never in fact be their mother.”

    I would say the constant reminder is that she’s forever being compared to another woman and is always, always found wanting. No matter what she does, this other person does it better, and the stepmother is not safe even in her own home from this constant reminder that she’s Lesser Than. People don’t get how wearing that is, year after year, and if the stepmother dares to say something about it, SHE is the problem.

    (good article though! It’s nice to see some recognition of how hard it is)

    1. Took the words right out of my mind!!! I always felt I couldn’t be myself in my own home as what I said and did went back to bio mom

    2. I totally agree with your statement. No matter what a “stepmom” does, she will NEVER be good enough. (In my experience anyway) Being called vindictive, satans spawn, pure evil & countless other things (by the mom & children) sticks with stepmom years later. The on/off relationship with the kids depending on the latest word vomit to poison the kids against you can almost be too much to handle. Stepmom starts to hold relationships with the kids at arms length bc of past hurts and now trust issues. Who wants to have their heart ripped to shreds and handed back time and time again? This is part of being a stepmom no one tells you about.
      I am thankful for articles and magazines like this.

        1. My husband’s wife left him for his brother. My first husband was emotionally & physically abusive. Together we fit perfectly. I like to think God put us through that to find one another.

    3. It is soo hard. I am a step mother of a 7 year old whose bio mom went on a five year hiatus and now suddenly wants to be super-mom. I have to now back off… It is a daily struggle to be a step mom…

  4. If you know the package deal your getting into both he or she and can’t or arnt ready to handle it don’t get in it

    1. Unfortunately, Jim, it’s not that easy. Stepfamily life is complicated and to assign blame and shame by telling couples they “knew what they were getting into” only exacerbates the lack of support and understanding stepfamilies already feel. Without support, information and resources to help them work through the most challenging (and common) stepfamily problems, the divorce rate will continue to climb. It’s rare that anyone in our society tells parents struggling with a temper-tantrum-throwing two-year-old or a rebellious teenager that they “knew what they were getting into.” You can’t see a whole room by looking through a narrow keyhole.

      1. Sad to say – I understand the dynamics of a divorced situation and a step mom – but what about when children lose their mother at 40 – and father remarrys a person 20 years his junior and is very close in age to the three chirldren? the stepmom tears up the deceased mother’s pictures, removes all the mothers pictures from the house, they are not allowed to talk about the past, the husband and new wife go out almost every night to eat and tell the kids “they are on their own” – they don’t ask if they can bring anything back for them – if cooks once or twice a week and do not even sit at the table with the children but rather sets up at a bar or takes their food to another room – what is this stepmom saying? That she does not want them around is what the children are hearing. what about that gals? Do you think that is very compassionate? This treatment is not what I have ever seen from nutruring parents or moms or any caring person in a household – – are you mothers like that? I would bet not. . . . the good Lord made women to be loving, compassionate, and nurturing and my bet is on all of you that you truly are deep down like that or what to be like that to even your stepchildren. Yes the EX person often is bitter and brainwashes – but of a deceased parent – how can they brainwash? They are gone. I have a friend that married a guy with children after their mother passes and she created a “mom wall” with pictures of the past – of their mother. Did this make it easier – not always, but the kids had to eventually come to know that she was not trying to take their deceased mother’s place but rather wanted to honor their mother as she should be.

    2. I disagree. Not all step parents know or knew. I, for example, did not nor did my husband. See, the biological mom in our situation told my husband that she had miscarried my stepson. It wasn’t until after his birth and my husband and I were already living together that he found out.
      You can’t judge everyone’s situation the same. No matter how you cut it, step parents usually get the short end of the stick.

    3. I had no idea what i was getting into. The way things are when you’re just dating someone with kids, when you’re only around sometimes, when you’re not a threat yet, is different than the way things are after you become a part of the family, someone who is percieved as replacing a bio parent. Both the kids & my partner changed how they treat me once we became a family & moved under 1 roof. I never saw it coming.

    4. I’m sorry, but how things were when we were dating and how they are now, 6 yrs later are completely different. Our BM has gone off the deep end because she has not remarried. Therefore she kicked up her tactics to alienate her kids from dad. Being a stepparent is hard, plain and simple

    5. Well Jim, I became an official step mom 2 years ago but I have been in my 3 stepdaughter’s lives for 4 years now. I knew what I was getting into with regards to marrying my husband but no one could have prepared me for how to deal with and process the emotions that go along with an ex wife that goes out of her way to make most mundane things difficult. I’m glad you feel it is so easy to jump into another life, good for you. As for the rest of us, we are learning and figuring things out on a daily basis. Falling in love with children that can never be ours and having to debunk the lies that are told about us during their brainwashing sessions gets tiresome. My only hope is that by being consistent and honest MAYBE these kids will see the truth and understand the sacrifices made to ensure that their childhood not be taken away too soon, all while we bite our tongues and never speaking of their mother negatively. It is not an in or out situation.

      1. So..so..so true. I’m so glad I am not alone. Bio mom went on a 5 yr hiatus and wants to return as super-mom. I am no longer needed. Everytime step daughter is with mom everything is so tense… Tense is what I would describe my life now that bio mom came out of the no where..

      1. When I stepped into this, I signed on for every other weekend and every other holiday with my stepson. How was I to know 8 years later his mother would skip out and drop a cantankerous teenager full-time in my lap. But I love my husband enough to take on the roll.

        1. Amen to that! We were dating and he saw the children on weekends. We moved in together and several months later the bio mom kicked out the teenager. We made room in our apartment. 6 months later she dropped off the 10 year old and now we have both kids…full time while she is off living her happy care free life. I fell in love with him BEFORE the kids came to live with us full time. Its a whole new situation now. The kids are trying to cope with the abandonment issues and I am smack dab in the center of it all, here to help pick up all of the pieces.

    6. Being a full fledged stepmother is harder than being in a relationship with a man with a child. Before the I do’s you have no real responsibility for the child although you may love them and care for them. So you get married believing it’s not really as hard as it seems. As soon as you say I do though kids often times have their dream of mom and dad getting back together or just feel like they need to compete now even though the only thing different is a piece of paper. Being engaged and being married makes for two separate circumstances. So you may think you’re ready and you’re not. But you love them so you do your best to figure it out while playing second banana to everyone..literally

    7. @Jim your comment doesnt surprise me. As ignorant as it is, I’ll keep scrolling because as a stepmom of 19 long YEARS, my reply would be to long to write. To the others….
      Being a step mom doesnt mean we have to take responsibility for their failed marriage and the children who come along with them. Unfortunately my step kids were taken from the state and placed in our home. Being the person I am, I cared for them into adulthood as the best mother I could be. We went through every emotion anyone could think of. It took a toll on our marriage and my emotional health years in(eventually it got better). Step mothers are not given the true appreciate they deserve for everything that they do. I like to consider my husband a very lucky man to have found a woman who was willing to raise his children entirely from 1-2yrs old to 19 and 20 now. Mother was never present and didnt try to contact them once. So Jim had I known what I was getting myself into, I would have kept on driving… AND TO ALL THE STEP PARENTS OUT THERE, MUCH LOVE & RESPECT!

    8. Jim … The funny thing is, I didn’t know what I was getting into. I had bonded extraordinarily well with the children and thought I knew what I was getting into. But then things changed, and 3 psychologists + judges have cited that parental alienation is a factor in our case. It’s been over ten years, and I came into the children’s lives when they were very young. Their mom could not accept the situation and began a campaign to destroy any semblance of a relationship between the kids and their dad and me, as well. I have actually been exposed to long-term abusive interactions from the children and their mom. The children’s mom recently acknowledged to a court-ordered specialist that she has been attempting to break up our (my husband and me) relationship for years. Some of the behaviours I’ve been exposed to include complete ostracism by the children, where they are friendly with each other and acknowledge other people but pretend I’m not there and don’t exist. My best features that I’ve been complimented on all my life are talked about loudly and ridiculed and cut-down — day after day. I’ve been told to my face that I’m not anybody’s real family (by a 5 year-old). I’ve been sworn at, I’ve been physically hit and over-powered, and I’ve been told by the children and their mom that I have no right to address the kids for any reason, even while in my home, or to establish or maintain household expectations, express emotion of any sort (as my items are gone through and broken, vandalized, or damaged), and more. I’m constantly put in a no-win situation: if I cook, I am criticized for my cooking, and if I don’t cook, I am criticized for being a lazy good-for-nothing drag on my husband. If I plan an event, and the kids know I planned it, they have to “hate it” and disparage it. If I don’t plan events, I’m called selfish and cheap. If I’m at home alone with the kids and choose to spend an hour or two of my time on my own activities, I’m called self-absorbed and an incompetent as a parent, but I’m also often met with resistance when I engage with the kids. There is more, but I am simply trying to create a glimpse of the situation. Nobody signs up for this day after day, month after month, year after year. The challenge that my husband and I have been working together on for years, is how to create health and love in this poisonous environment. We were told by a court-specialist that the children would have completely aleinated from us years ago but that we had done an amazing job of keeping the connection given the parental alienating factors (including brain-washing, parentification, and more) that the children had experienced. Preserving the relationship between the children and their father has come at great cost, and, as I said, no-one chooses this reality.

  5. Stepmom wives with female kid(s) to care for need more assistance, care, love and understanding from the man.

    Here in Nigeria, stepmom wives are happier if the kid involved is a girl. (Less trouble in future)

  6. When a coupe is expecting Their frist child, and are looking forward to it, People often say, “just you Want and see… You dont know and Can never be prepared enogh to become parents”

    1. Agreed – no one says to parents going through difficult times with their children “you knew what you were getting into!”

      Every marriage comes with the risk of divorce or death – and therefore with the risk of a stepmother entering the picture – so one could argue that everyone who has children must accept the fact that their child might one day have a stepmum. But I’ve yet to hear anyone say about the mother, when she complains about the stepmum, “Hey, she knew what she was getting into when she had a child!”

      My husband’s first wife died – they didn’t divorce – and yet I find my experience as a stepmum very similar to that of the stepmums-by-divorce that I have met, in terms of the challenges and judgement we face. An awful lot of the problems stem from prejudice and assumption.

  7. Our families problem consists with the new wife constantly expecting the family to hate the old wife just cause they do not get along. The new wife seems to forget our brother divorced and married again we did not. And demanding the family cut ties with the mother of our niece and nephews mother that we have loved is not acceptable

    1. I understand however, it is hard enough coming into a family where somebody already existed never mind her husbands family is still hanging with the ex. How can she ever feel a part of the extended family unit when the ex is always lurking about. If it’s truly about the nieces and nephews then maintaining a relationship with your brother will ensure a relationship with them. In most instances a divorce effects everyone, not just the people who divorced. It’s a new world, new boundaries, new rules. I don’t blame the new wife for being upset. She’s constantly reminded that she came second. I suggest seeing the full picture through her eyes. Her role in the new family dynamic likely means a lot to her and is already stressful. Help her out a little 🙂

    2. I wonder if you give the same loyalty, respect and appreciation to the stepmother of your niece and nephew? If not, I’m sure she knows….thus, making the stepmom, who probably does more than she needs to, feel “lessor” as the article states…

    3. It is when she’s the one who cheated and had an abortion with the other mans baby and then made him bitingly feel like it was his fault for her decisions by then keep it from everyone, even their counselor, and then over her guilt of a second abortion (she aborted their first one because she thought her parents would disown her) she decided to skip her birth control and have a child when he specifically said they, he, still could not trust her and didn’t know if he wanted to stay married to her yet let alone have a child with her. She is a selfish, manipulative person and I have to hear about her not only when we talk schedules etc, but from my step daughter who’s life I was begged to be apart of and given the name “mommy Tina” by her at age 2. I immediately moved across the country away from everything I loved and knew and dreamed and decided to stay home from work and school to support my future husband and build a relationship with this little girl that obviously needed me in her life to be an example of a real woman, one of God, one of self sacrifice, one of love. A mommy. Now at 5 years old, just 5 months after court and her mom deciding to live just far enough away that having her equally is not possible for kindergarten (having no family even remotely close to her, let alone the state) she gets custody because she’s bio mom by our nasty judge who doesn’t know her, who doesn’t know this innocent child was created and drug into a situation of torment and who is just about getting back at her dad for leaving because he was literally withering away from her abusibe personality even after getting the baby she wanted, who is a better daddy because of it. This woman, her mom, who she’s cried and screamed not to go back to at exchanges, who who has watched her daughter latch onto my neck screaming and crying and her dads because she didn’t want to go back to her mom, now since court is over, makes her call me by my first name in their house, not the Mommy Tina she named me and has cried about wanting to call me but is now in fear of getting in trouble even over FaceTime…She did nothing to deserve this. She has 26 cousins on our side, most in the state, she feels so much more loved with us she tells us she wants to be with us all the time and just visit her mom. She will now have to wait until we can afford to go ask to court or 12+ years old when hopefully the court listens to her heart, since she was denied a Guardian Ad Litem this time, to be where she so badly wants to be…with her daddy and I, and her future siblings she begs for every week she’s home. All because this mom, this selfish, child of a mom birthed her. What are they going to do with divorced lesbian/gay moms/parents? Is it really fair to say that bio mom gets child because she’s bio mom, what about adoptive parents that get divorced? God placed me in her life for so many reasons, I know He will tags are of all of us, but do you have a clue as to what you as a mom or judge are saying or doing because you hold one of those positions?
      Do you, a sibling of your brothers have the right to even make the statement you just did? I don’t think so. You don’t know went on behind closed doors, the words or decisions made, the person you think you knew as his old wife. My brothers and sisters in law didn’t either, but they do now, and they respect that there is enough tie between old and new with a child, leave it to the past, because your sibling needs your love and support in his new marriage and so does his wife…without you having a relationship with the old wife. After all, she’s not your family, he is, and now his new wife is.

      1. I literally have been a stepmom mom since I was 27, and am now 34. Been through it all and seen it all. Judges suck because they do not know what is truly going on. My husband got custody of his three kids with the held of a CFI, child family investigator. Through them we found the conditions at mom’s house were worse than we knew from our kids. Beg and plead for one. They are for the kids and find what is best for them. Good Luck!

  8. I appreciate this article, and many of the articles on this site. It’s good to know that my problems aren’t uncommon, and that many stepmoms have the same daily struggles I do. As a stepparent, it’s easy to feel left out and abnormal. I told my fiance the other day that I feel like I will always be a “satellite” of his former family. Yes, I chose him, and yes, I “knew what I was getting into”, but you can never be fully prepared for how the family dynamic is going to change. For instance, out of the blue, a sweet little preteen girl will turn in to a multi-headed, hormonal she beast who hates you and everything you do (for no reason), while deciding her mom is the greatest thing since high heels and getting matching bikinis with her (also making sure you know how much greater her mom is than you). There’s just no way to prepare yourself, especially if you don’t have kids of your own, for those emotional phases that will inevitably happen. I find myself “hiding” in my room a lot… waiting for this phase to pass. Maybe not the best way to deal with it, but geez… a girl’s gotta keep her sanity somehow! Thanks, Stepmom Mag for making me feel a little more normal.

  9. It’s also important to set boundaries with the ex. She may text, call, all hours of the day most days a week… And start arguments with the husband. He needs to set boundaries and not only not engage in conversation, texts and arguments with her- BUT TELL HER TO STOP CONTACTING YOU ABOUT EVERUTJING UNDER THE SUN. You aren’t married to her anymore- so stop giving her the time of day!

    1. I fully agree with you Shannon
      I unfortunately had the same problem
      my husband didn’t see anything wrong with it
      and his ex was already married to another person when we got married, but she felt the need to control my husband and that almost cost us a divorce
      boundaries are very important

    2. The best advice we received from a therapist was to set boundaries. Most divorced men feel like if they stand up to their ex, she will not let him see his kids. In fact, men need to set boundaries so the new wife won’t up and leave. The ex wife has no place trying to control what happens in your home and your life. Communicate about the kids and that’s all. If she calls to yell and rant and rave, tell her to call back when she’s ready to be civil and act like a grown-up. She lost the right to treat YOUR husband like crap when she kicked him out of their house and wanted a divorce.

  10. When I met the love of my life he was raising his two children sans mother who had left them when they were 2 and 5. Just left. He had been raising them by himself for 7½ years. I knew when I married him they were part of the bargain. There were some very tough times, his family did not approve of his choice in me and he, for about a year, took a well deserved holiday from being in charge. But, I loved them as best I could. We eventually had a child of our own which gave me some great insights into what I missed of their early years. He died 11 years ago, and they’re all mine now. I can’t imagine life without any one of them and am so grateful for his ‘accept’ness toward me. It’s been the adventure of a lifetime which never would have happened if not for ‘accept’ness on my part as well. Granted I never had to put up with an ex, but his family came awful damn close.

  11. What about when his kids are older and already on their own……….I love his daughters but one daughter will not let her 3 small children call me gramma! I have looked after those children since they were babies……..my husband says nothing, that maybe i need counselling because it is totally breaking my heart! I disagree, thinking maybe she needs some counselling on dealing with additional step-grandparents. She knows how i feel but still refuses to let them call me Gramma………..i don’t go out there to see them and take them out as often because of this. I’m having a hard time getting past this……the kids love me as i do them. I guess i just assumed when we got married i would automatically become grandma.

  12. Great advice to dads/husbands! I feel lucky in that my husband was always open to hearing me and supporting me, but this type of advice still would have been helpful back when we were just starting out. I’m thankful that we are seeing more and more support and help for stepfamilies! I love Stepmom Mag!

  13. Being a stepmother aside, I’m am ex-wife who recognizes the importance of fathers as well as their responsibility of financial support of both parents. I waived alimony, but believe in many cases it is needed, necessary, and fair. If the less-earning partner sacrificed career and supported the other to build a business or wealth, he/she is entitled to a portion of that as defined by the law. That person shouldn’t be forced into poverty while the higher wage earning former partner moves on to bigger and better things. I’m very tired to this stepmother complaint- get over it. You marry that person with all the baggage…ex-wife too. Listening to women whine about the financial situation chosen by remarrying is old. My new husband doesn’t a great deal of money..we live working our means and I went back to school and looking for a better job. His kids were there first and I knew this going in…and I pay one of the student loans. My choice. No complaints.

  14. I’m been married for 18 years. When we got married I had my 3 year old son and my husband had his 7 year old. The children click and the boys loved both my hubby and hubby’s son loved me. But unfortunately outside influence from his mom changed him. We are fine now, but I cannot have a relationship with my SS’s mother. I tried but I got hurt too many times.
    I have 1 question though, I’m researching blended families. What is your opinion regarding it. Do you regard ex wife or ex partner as part of my blended family ?

  15. This is a great article for the stepmom. But, it can most definitely be applied to the stepfather as well. My biological daughter comes over every other weekend. My wife’s 2 children live with us full time. Their father is no where to be found. So in my situation, everything you described for the stepmom I feel as the stepfather. I never call them my step kids and always a dress them as my kids, or my children. But I very much feel the weight of step parenting. Its not easy, it’s hard and requires a lot of work, but you can have a successful marriage. Don’t throw in the towel. Press through it.

  16. My biggest problem is that my wife ha her own thoughts on everything. Regardless of what I tell her my opinion or fact. She has her preconceived bias. She constantly under minds my parenting and thinks she can come in after 8 years and fix everything that’s broken in my household. She wants to raise my children threat she was raised she doesn’t take into account that my children have gone through a lot in therir time on this earth. Honestly I want my wife to put herself in my children’s shoes and then address issues that might arise. Also I wish she stops with the disrespectful ex-wife crap and how she’s plotting to destroy the children and our relationship. My wife thinks about my exwife more than I do and it’s killing me mentally. I asked he to do some research and seems as though she only pulls from information that considers with her thoughts.
    I guess a lot of what she reads relates to fathers with shared custody. I have been at this for 8 long years and I really though she would make things better for all of us, but focuses on foolishness like that dreaded word disrespect. She sees problem that are a direct result of my parenting, but she doesn’t understand that over the years I have been worn down by her immaturity and just being a prideful single dad. I though I wanted help but now I just want to raise my babies alone. So you thinks it hard on you. Think about the people lives your entering.

    1. Then leave your wife and allow her to find someone better than you please. You seem extremely full of yourself, probably why you are divorced in the first place to the first ex. Your wife deserves better and someone who appreciates her. Or better yet, go back to your ex? Your wife comes first not the ex….and if you allow an ex to be disrespectful what exactly do you expect? The day you married her is the day she became a step parent and yes that means parenting you should not have gotten married..your message screams how much you do not care..

  17. This is the best. Describes my feelings to a T, and I feel validated. Whenever you even try to talk to a friend or someone who is not in the situation, you can almost immediately see a judgy look on their face as if you are a bad person. This makes you not want to say another word. Sometimes it is frustrating not being able to just vent! Blended families can be incredibly complicated. Thank you!!!!!

  18. I definitely can relate to not wanting to be around the child and even her “side” of the family. Over time I have found out that she, along with her mother, perpetuate a story that I am mean to her and mistreat her, my stepdaughter is always the victim. I have two children of my own, and it also adds to the dynamic. I somehow owe a duty to lavish time, money, and attention on my stepdaughter equal to the time and attention I give my own children. It is always pointed out that I don’t do this by my stepdaughter and her mother. This has been going on for some time. I feel extremely disrespected. She has a mother and father, as do my children, and the parents are legally and financially responsible for their kids on both sides. Why is it presumed that I must go above and beyond when her mother is 15 minutes away from the house and her Dad is in the next room? Overall I attempt to treat all the kids the same, but my kids do have a different father and we have reared them and planned for them differently, because of this, I am “bad”.

    When I do attempt to go above and beyond and treat her to something nice, it is rarely considered for more than an hour or two and then it feels like my stepdaughter is on to some other need. She rarely is fulfilled and without the appreciation overtime one just feels used. This creates a desire to distance myself even farther. My biological kids just love me, my stepdaughter does not, I think that is what is so difficult. So it feels like my stepdaughter is always on the make, trying to get her needs met, even if it means manipulating situations to make it appear as if she is victimized.

    The hard part is that I do love her father. I can relate and empathize to how he must feel because I have my own children with whom I have a very tight bond. I understand he wants his daughter near and overlooks many of the issues in her that are undesirable to me. I am sure he does the same with my kids. He does struggle with my children at times and somewhat perpetuates his daughter’s “story”. In general, my kids are spoiled, his child is not; my kids have an easy life and his daughter’s life is much harder, for a multitude of reasons.

    The name-calling and back-biting that I have experienced with my stepdaughter and her mother has recently escalated in her teenage years. I feel like taking my son and leaving (my daughter is now in college). I don’t feel comfortable in my own house when she is here. When somebody gossips about you or spreads outright lies or shares private matters of you life with a person you want nothing to do with, it make you want to leave the situation.

    I have recently called my stepdaughter out as I have caught her messaging her mother when I could not drop everything I was doing in the morning and take her to school one hour early. Because I could not accommodate this in my schedule, I was somehow “evil” and did not “support” my stepdaughter or at least that was the message sent to my husband by the mother. I explained to my stepdaughter that it makes it difficult for me to want to be around her, which quickly turned into, “I told her that I don’t like her…” to both parents. She then went to the school counselor and made a big fuss about it. I had to receive calls from my husband at work and was basically cross-examined about the entire morning routine (my husband was out of town). Not really enjoying the drama and wanting to eradicate it from my life. At some point I am an adult and she is a child. Where do I finally draw the line and say, “This stops here and I will not have a child interrupting my day and causing unnecessary drama?” How does a stepparent do this in a healthy way?

  19. After 9 years married, and 13 years together. With all adult stepchildren. The disrespect is beyond repair. Didn’t matter what we did or didn’t do to make this blended family work. It was how his girl’s were raised by their mother. And it’s not just the dysfunctional relationship we had, it’s all their relationships they have. They have no respect for anyone, and talk about and treat people horribly.

  20. I got with my now husband 5 years ago and he had been divorced for almost 2 years before we got married. We were childhood neighbors he moved away started a family and then returned home after he retired. When we first got together and started to become serious,his ex wife told him, ” I hope you never end up having children with her as your children they will disown you.” I was beyond hurt by this statement as I would never want them to disown there father for wanting more children. We eventually got married and his ex wife came up with a reason she could not bring his girls to the airport. Long story they didn’t show up to our wedding. I wanted them to be apart of our lives so badly. I am not trying to take the role of there mother but want to be another positive influence in there lives. They ended up coming that summer but it was very cold. They haven’t been up since covid. Don’t call for any reasons. When we try to call there is just reason as to why they can’t really talk or don’t want to for that fact.

    Well we ended up having a baby and they have shown no interest what’s so ever witch is fine with me but at then end it hurts there father and there brother.

    I am at wits end almost ready to give up not have a relationship with them because of my bitterness this has caused. I know I am the adult have even considered writing them a letter. I almost feel like there biological mother has influence over them… what happened to being civil to one another we don’t have to be best friends but if you have a women that wants to be a positive Influnece what is so wrong with that! Any advice for this would be greatly appreciated!

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