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Advice needed about dealing with hyper step child

Bigdan780's picture

I'm currently struggling at crossroads in trying to figure out if I should stay or should I go in my marriage.   I meet my current week almost 3 years ago who has three kids of her own.  The kids ages are 9, 8, and 6.   When we first met she told me about her middle child and how he has a special form of autism and he's highly ADHD and that in her last marriage her ex-husband was abusive and when he hit the middle child, CPS got involved which subsequently ended her marriage.  She told me stories on how he never let her have a job, she couldn't have any money, and whenever she bought something she had to return the change and receipts, and he supposedly hit her and cheated on her.  Upon hearing all these stories, well my heart melted, and I was in a state of tired of going out on dates, living the single life, and was really ready to settle down.  And I vowed that I would let her have her freedom and independence and helped her out financially.  She and her kids were living in a house that was run down and in severe disrepair and she ended up moving into my house after her rent house caught on fire and was forced to move out.  We got married about 6 months later.  I was concerned, with her refusal to go to premarital counseling saying they wouldn't tell you anything you don't already know and felt it was a waist of time.  But I'm the early days, things seemed to be happy and under control and my fiancé and the kids were getting along fine,  the middle hyper child was difficult but at least manageable.  Two of the kids got enrolled at school in an awards winning school district.  I had lived at my house for 8 years at that time  and was happy to see my propert taxes going to use.  I was warned and asked my family and friends that if I was really sure about what I was doing and strongly encouraged me to possibly postpone the wedding and attending premarital counseling.  But she still wouldn't budge, for a few reasons.  She wanted to get married as soon as possible because she was having a constant custody battle with her two boys between her and the boys' dad.  I should've seen problems from the start, but I was so infatuated with my fiancé and I was bending over backwards for her and the kids I would do anything.  I helped her pay to modify her divorce agreement to let her boys lived across state line.  According to her, the boys' dad would do anything to take her to court and get custody of her boys.  She was more scared to lose her boys than to lose me, I know I was being a pushover.  I think she kept turning down premarital counseling because she was scared the counselor was going to convince us to hold off the wedding or possibly try and discourage me from getting married since we weren't comparable.  When we first met everything was fine, we didn't have a lot of common interests but we got along great and she let me do what I wanted to do and let me be the leader of the house.  But once we got married, she started taking charge.  She told me and complained his much she missed her independence, and wanted to make financial decisions concerning the house and the kids.  She also wanted to homeschool the kids, but I opposed it because I knew we were in a great school district and the kids needed to go to school for structure and make friends.  It gets worse.   So let's get i yo the marriage. We started by living in my house a 3 BR/ 2 Ba house which was decent size for me, my wife and her three kids.  Her eldest daughter who will be 10 this April has a different biological dad than the boys do.  I would eventually adopt the daughter in November last year since her biological dad relinquished his parental rights, and to be honest, that's the only thing I'm really proud of this whole marriage, l.  Well during the first few months of our marriage we had our great moments, and our challenges which I thought were all typical.  This is were problems start coming in.  We agreed to move and find a bigger house when the boys got older and needed their own room.  At our 3br/2ba house it was tight but the boys shared a room and the girls had her own.  This is where things get out of control, one day we decide to go out and look at houses just for fun, we weren't serious about moving but wanted to get an idea of what to look for.  Well before you know it, my wife is talking to realtors, and told her to slow down, and she had this way of making me feel guilty and was strongly encouraging me to buy a bigger house and we wanted to find a good school to accommodate for our middle child's learning disabilities and kept claiming that their current school wasn't doing enough, despite giving them tutoring and extra help.  She's a very strong personality and knows how to manipulate my weakness until I give in.  She said that her needed like a teachers aide or assistant to give him one on one help.  So although reluctant I finally gave in and agreed we needed to move.  So we sold our house and moved to a bigger one about 2 miles away where they would go to an highly rated awards winning elementary school all three kids, so I felt well at least we are established.  So here's the current situation, we had $50k left over from selling my house and in less than a year we barely have a $1,000 remaining, our house payment went up $1,000 unexpectedly, we are getting financial aid from my parents.  When my wife had money, she knows how to spend it and spend it fast.  We enrolled our kids in scouts, football, cheerleading, horseback riding, did all sorts of repairs to our house and the swimming pool which we don't even use now, and are planning on filling it in.  I know this is about step talk so I'm sorry for getting all worked up, but I'm sure you all can see my frustrations.  I think this'll make a great story to let you know what will happen if you defer decision making to your spouse. And I know I have to take the blame for this for letting it get out of control.  Well let's get on to the boys.  The middle child who is now 8 yrs old  I've noticed he's becoming more and more difficult to handle.  At the end of the school year last year, teachers told my wife that he would have to repeat 1st grade because his reading level is so far behind, or take summer school. Her youngest son my step son who is 6 almost 7, would also have to repeat kindergarten because he barely can write or read even his ABC's.  So my wife tried to get them after school tutoring or put them in special education classe, but to no avail.  They said our school doesn't offer any special education classes because apparently they want to keep their test scores up or so she says.  My wife didn't want to put them in summer school because it would mess up their summer visitation with their dad.  So she talked me into letting her homeschool them for a year to see how things go.  This was in April last year.  Now she told me the boys' dad who lives in OK, was wholeheartedly opposed to her homeschooling the boys but said she had the final say so.  Well at first it seemed to go ok, but I noticed our expenses were going up because of all the supplies and school work she had to prepare for them and food for lunches.  So far we are completely maxed out on all of our credit cards, barely have anything in savings, and last summer my wife and her kids got a bunch of dental procedures especially with her, the middle son and her daughter which added on to our debt.  These procedures were urgent, or so she says so my wife finally said it was time for her to get a job. So back in October she started working the graveyard shift at Walmart and that was good as far as helping our finianced but I noticed it really was hurting the kids' homeschooling because if she had to sleep during the day she couldn't school the kids during the day so the kids had free roam of the house and all they did all day was watch tv and play video games or play on their tablets.  My wife said she would try giving them assigned work folders, but was never consistent about it.  Now I'm not a big fan of homeschooling but I do have friends that were homeschooled and have come out very successful.  But I firmly believe that homeschooling should be for older kids, younger kids need to be in a structured school where they have boundaries and rules to follow.  At home homeschooling for us has been a disaster!!! The kids are more defiant the house is always messy we don't Gabe people over anymore, when I tell them to do something they give me an attitude and I can't turn my back on the boys for more tan 2 mins it seems because they are either fighting or getting into something they shouldn't.  And I talked to my wife about possibly putting them back into public school over Christmas, but she said she really didn't want th put her bids back in public school fearing their dad would give reason to take her to court, but here the problem, the youngest will be 7 in May and her still doesn't know all his alphabet letters and he should be in 1st grade, and the middle child barley knows any 5 letter words, and he's already on par to repeating first grade next year when he should be advancing into 3rd grade.  They can't sit still for more than 5 mins, it's an absolute mess!!! Now the daughter I've noticed she can read normally but I've noticed she's having severe attitude problems and she won't do as I ask to get her to clean her room or read a book,  but if we end up ending our marriage, I will have joint custody and have to pay child support and she would live with her mother and brothers. As far as the boys go they both need to be on medication but my wife took the middle child off his medication because it was $200 a month and that's after insurance.  This medication is like taylor made for a child like him.  Ritalin and Adderall doesn't work for him.  So since he's been off his medication, it's been an absolute nightmare!! He can't sit still ever, it seems I hate to give them my phone or tablet to keep them quiet and whenever I try and get onto them my wife intervened and says it's my fault I'm not being effective or I'm yelling at them to much.  The boys go to their dads every other weekend and believe me it's a major break for me to not have to deal with them for two days.  Now I love my wife and lately my wife and I are doing great, but I don't know if I can do this for the next 10 years. I think the middle child especially will get worse and more do to handle when he gets older especially a teenager which terrifies me.  I'm starting to think my wife married me because I could tolerate the boys and asked me if I was sure this is what I wanted.  Well when he was in school and on medication he was hyer and sometimes difficult but he was manageable, but now this has become unbearable for me.  And I want a happy marriage and right now I feel I'm being taken advantage of and being walked on, and when I try to take charge, my wife makes me feel like the bad guy when I say no to getting another pet which at one time we gad 5 dogs and 4 cats, and they wanted more and she would say I'm being negative and make me feel like the bad guy and I would find myself giving in or saying no to the movies or going out and spending more money.  I'm about to explode I'm getting upset just writing about this.  I need some advice please and I only told a fraction of this,  there's a lot more to tell for the sake of time.  I really just want to end this now, but my fear would be having to sell our house for a loss because who knows how much they devalued this house with the kids writing on walls, the dogs chewing on stuff.  Our grout yard, looks like a run down junkyard maybe not quite, but there always trash and food all over the floor place. Another fear I have is if I were to leave, my wife would have to quit her job and she would have absolutely no money to move anywhere and I don't have any money to file for divorce and the expenses would force me to file for bankruptcy.   I don't know what to do I'm completely feel trapped and I need help and advice,  what I'm hoping will happen is when the kids get tested for homeschooling at the end of the year not sure how it works, but their test score will be so far behind the boys' dad might threaten to take my wife to court and that would force her to move back to OK, and give me a reason to step out.  I have a very good solid job right now which I've had for over 16 years now and I can't afford to quit it and move to another state.  But I really feel trapped right now and I honestly feel I'm enabling my wife and her kids, and I feel something has to be done I need to do something for the well-being on my daughter and the boys.  Any advice?


tog redux's picture

Hey - I'd love to read your post - can you go back and put paragraphs in? You'll get better advice that way, people won't miss what you said.  Just go the Edit tab and then hit save when you are done.

Gimlet's picture

Whew, OK Big Dan, I made it through that wall of text.  As Tog said above, paragraphs will help a lot.

So, from what I've read I think your wife presented herself as someone she isn't, and I think that is a big part of why she didn't want to go to counseling.  Even if she didn't misrepresent herself intentionally, what you saw wasn't what you got. 

So her ex was abusive to the kids to the point that CPS was called in, but she doesn't want their summer with him ruined?  Have you seen any documentation of all this?  I'm not saying she isn't telling the truth, but that feels off to me.  It sounds like she used the stories about her ex to explain why she was moving so fast. 

She's manipulated you into buying a bigger house, letting her not work so she can "homeschool" the kids (and the level they test is appalling, by the way), and then has spent all your money on things like a swimming pool?  Then she and her kids trash your home to the point that it's devalued?  And she has 9 pets and gets upset that she can't have more?

She wants to spend money on going out, but not on her son's medication? Yikes.  Your SS isn't the problem, your wife's selfish and awful parenting is the real issue.  Instead of truly advocating for him, she's letting him fail and looking to you to pick up the pieces.

Whose idea was that adoption, by the way?  Because you're right, now you are on the hook for child support and you know this woman is coming after it. 

I'm sorry but it sounds like she saw you coming a mile away and has taken you for everything you have.  It looks like your family and friends saw it clearly and wanted you to postpone the wedding, and the fact that this woman pressured you into it is a huge red flag. 

I would talk to a lawyer to get an idea of what you would be facing with a divorce because she's going to keep driving you into financial ruin.  This sounds miserable. 

SteppedOut's picture

Yep. All of this. 

She sounds like a con artist, tbh. 

ElleP23's picture

Sounds like she is taking advantage and doesn't seem to care about you (not enough anyway). Your gut knows this, but it's one of those things where it happened slowly, and you love her and the kids so you want to do the right thing. But you are right; it sounds like you are enabling her. That's not the right thing. But what is? Or what are some good and ethical options for you? 

You could ID some boundaries (that have consequences when they aren't followed). This could give you a sense of control and also feedback for yourself. If she doesn't respect your boundaries (like expecting her to stay in x budget so that there is enough $ for his meds), then that basically tells you what you need to know--She either isn't capable or doesn't care, and either way, I hope you do what's best for YOU and your daughter, and exit the relationship. as stepparents we often forget that WE are just as important as any other person in the situation. You may have to pay pretty hefty child support, but your sanity and the ability to date someone who is worthy of you is also worth something. And maybe when you sell the house you will get more than you realize. All is not lost. You can get past this. But it does suck. A lot. I feel for you.