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Looking for some support

811Mom's picture

This is my first time on a stepparent forum but I have no friends or support system who understand the difficulties of being a SM. I have a 9 y/o SS and I’ve been with his dad since he was 3. His dad and i are now married with our own child. SS’s dad has always had partial custody (every other weekend and holidays), so it’s never really felt like there’s much structure when SS is with us... it’s like our house turns into a fun zone for him and my husband is wanting him to not be bored.

Some background: my husband was married to SS’s mom and they divorced when SS was almost 2. It was a nasty divorce and BM did not like me at first but now it’s just surface/amiable, which is fine with me. Luckily she’s remarried and has another child but she’s still very controlling and manipulative at times toward my husband. Also, If husband and I are scheduled to have a major holiday with SS, BM has to do that activity with him first-  Easter egg hunts a week before, 4th of July fireworks the week before, etc. SS has been to Disneyworld 3 times by the age of 6 and always gloats about the lavish gifts and trips he gets from his BM and maternal grandparents. So to me I feel like SS is extremely spoiled and coddled and a big baby. My husband doesn’t necessarily buy him a bunch but he does let him get away with a lot and no chores or responsibilities. (I had to do chores when I was much younger than him and I think that’s good for a child to learn)

So basically I’m just venting because I honestly don’t like my SS. He doesn’t misbehave with tantrums or uncontrollable behavior, but he is entitled and spoiled and thinks he deserves whatever he wants. He’s a huge trigger for me. I thought it would help for me to have my own child (my daughter is 11 months old), but it has made my feelings for SS worse. I don’t want him touching or holding her and I don’t even like that he thinks of my daughter/my extended family and my house as his. Does anyone else feel this way?? Sometimes I just want him to go away and live with his BM full time. I get sad and angry that my husband didn’t have his first child with me and that I have to share my husbands time and affection with SS. Husband and I have had many arguments about SS because husband is very defensive of SS and can’t see what I see about the situation. He will sometimes agree with me but SS is definitely a tense topic, which also makes me angry.

I don’t expect SS to love me and I don’t love him... but I’m just wondering if it ever gets better? More tolerable?? It seems like I’m the one with the intense reactions to SS so I don’t know how I can change that... I don’t want to leave my husband. I don’t like that my husband acts differently when SS is here, but other than that I enjoy my quality time with my husband. But I found it easier to connect with SS when he was younger. Now I just want nothing to do with him and think he’s incredibly annoying and spoiled. I go back and forth with feeling helpless and miserable to just focusing on my daughter and my life with my husband outside of SS. Any advice or feedback would be appreciated! 


Curious Georgetta's picture

Will likely be perceived should you and your husband split or divorce.

Think of another woman looking at your child in the same way and for the same reasons. That alone should give you pause to reflect on the  reasonableness of your feelings.

Your husband , if he is a decent man, feels exactly the same about your daughter as he feels about his son.

Your feelings  are different but his feelings should be the same.

Stop trying to weigh and analyze your feelings. The only thing required of you is that you treat the child with kindness. Love and affection for the child are in his father's domain.

The child should treat you with civility and politeness and you should respond with kindness. Beyond that,nothing is required of either of you.

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

it’s perfectly normal for feelings towards stepkids to change once you have had a bio child together, as indeed it is normal to feel differently about parents, partners and friends. It’s partially biologically driven ‘protect your offspring mode’. You shouldn’t need to tolerate from other people more than you have to. There’s nothing thing like a spoilt stepkid to amplify these feelings, - this will get easier as time goes by. Also, it is sometimes easier connecting with smaller children I found that with my bio kids. They go a bit quiet approaching the teen years, a few years after that they get all moody, then 19\20 you end up with a perfectly nice adult who understands what reason is. 

step to grown children's picture

When I first met my DH his children were about 15, 12, 10... the 15 yr old was annoying but the other two were precious. I used to spend lots of time w the youngest girl doing homework, baking, etc. 

I dont see you say anything bad about the 6 yr old kid besides being spoiled and entitled. most are, even my BK were at that age lol.

I think you should give the little kid a chance and show him love and kindness. He is young maybe you can make the difference we havent been able to in our adult skids.


Harry's picture

you only have him four days a month.  He will not get unspoiled, to many adults are there to. Spoiler him. You have to have a talk with DH to make reasonable rules for your home for SS.  As he gets older, hopefully he will get friends and will not want to come over. 

Monkeysee's picture

Your feelings are valid and normal, though I think slightly misplaced.  Your SS is 9, it's not his fault that the BM plays these manipulative games & spoils her son.  Does it make him difficult to be around?  Yes, absolutely, but it doesn't make it his fault.

I understand though, our BM is a nasty, lazy, crap parent who doesn't know what discipline is and spoils the kids rotten.  They can be lovely & sweet, but omg spoiled brats at times too who've got no concept of respect or money. It's frustrating, and I lose patience at times as well, but do keep in mind that, at 6 & 10, it's genuinely not their fault.

I also understand the repulsed feeling you're describing, I felt this way when I was pregnant with our baby and it was horrible.  I thought I'd want them to feel the baby kick, but I didn't want them touching my tummy.  I didn't like it when people commented on how 'great of big brothers they'll be' and how 'lucky' my BK was to have such 'great big brothers'.  I always smiled & said 'yeah it's wonderful!', meanwhile internally I was screaming 'I don't want my kid to be anything like them!!'.  A lot of it was hormones and it's calmed down a lot lately (thank god).

I agree with the others who've said you should treat your SS kindly, but anythign beyond being civil, polite and kind really isn't necessary.  Let your DH take full responsibility for his son, disengage from any parenting and focus instead on your DD.  I do think you should look into why you're having such an intense triggering reaction to him though, that's not a healthy thing to experience and your mental health will improve significantly if you can sort that out.

Take care of yourself, make sure you get some time away when SS is around (which is good for your DH to have 1:1 time with his kid anyways), and ignore anyone who's telling you you're selfish for feeling the way you do.  Your feelings are your feelings, and, unless they've been in your shoes, they really have no grounds to comment on what you're experiencing.  I never thought my feelings for my SS's would change as much as they did when I was pregnant with my child.  It caught me completely off-guard, and took a ton of soul searching to understand.  Being a SP is one of the hardest things ever, make sure you're making yourself a priority & looking after yourself as best you possibly can.

Doublehelix's picture

Yes, I totally get this. While we don't have our own kids yet, I wouldn't be surprised if I felt the same as you after having our own. I think at lot of it (at least for me) is resentment over all these situations we *weren't* supposed to have to deal with in a "normal" relationship - we shouldn't have had to worry about being 2nd, our child shouldn't have had to worry about being 2nd, we shouldn't be having all these extra arguments about someone else's child affecting *our* relationship...but we found ourselves in this situation bc we chose to be with someone with a kid (a seemingly simple decision that ended up coming with SO MUCH BAGGAGE), so it's easy blame everything wrong on the SK's existence.

I haven't figured out how to like my stepkid more, but I do find that it's much easier to tolerate her (and all the other baggage) the more connected I feel with her father. If her father and I are doing well, super happy, then I don't really care what she's doing or how she's annoying me, lol And at the end of the day, the relationship with her father is what I wanted, and me and her just have to be respectful and courteous of each other.