Just found this site and very excited to find some people that have grappling with the same issues as me. I've been a SM for almost 4 years now, and it seems to be getting harder and harder for me to deal with it. I have no close friends that have skids, so no experiences to learn from other than my own upbringing (which was less than ideal!). My skids really couldn't care less about my existence. Their BM is a jealous and pathetic woman (she really is a nightmare), even though my DH and I have bent over backwards to make our situations work as best we can. I can't believe he had 3 CHILDREN WITH HER!!!!
Anyway I'm feeling more and more overhelmed by the fact that I've sacrificed so much, including uprooting my whole life so their BD can live near them. I look after them, try to connect and play with them, feed them, clean up after them, take them on holidays and buy them gifts, and yet they can barely even remember to say hello to me when they come over. I never say a bad word against their BM even they repeat horrible lies about me that she tells them.
Why am I killing myself to make it work? I love my DH so much but I'm starting to question how our relationship can continue when I resent his children so much. I never wanted kids, and I'm realising that I want skids even less.
Does it ever get better?
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Welcome to the site!
Many of the aspects of your story would be echoed by many people here - including me - ie jealous and pathetic BM, moving far away to be with your DH, hostile and sullen SKIDs. It might be worth considering disengaging. There is a section on it on this site - and you can also read articles about it on the internet. https://www.stepmommag.com/2017/09/25/5-signs-its-time-for-a-stepmother-...
You also might want to read the book "Stepmonster" by Wednesday Martin. However, if things are really bad for you, you may see no prospect of them getting better any time soon - it depends how old your SKIDs are. Things got better for me when my DH had a bit of a revelation about boundaries, and also the SDs stopped coming over every other weekend in their late teens.However, this is not the case for everyone - you only have to read the Adult Stepkids section here to realise problems don't stop when they turn 18. You have no children with this man, and leaving might be the best prospect for a better life for you.
Thank you for the references.
Thank you for the references. I had come to a conclusion (of sorts) on my own that I would have to disengage in some way in order to keep my sanity... I didn't realise "disengaging" this was a "thing" with a support community and resources about it, so I appreciate the guidance!
My SKs are 7, 10, and 12 and are with us every second weekend, plus an additional 6 weeks over the year (4x1 week blocks during school holidays plus 2 weeks either Christmas or Easter on alternate years). My DH and I work full-time, and we have just returned from 2 weeks away so the SKIDS could visit their grandparents in another state. Losing all my precious leave time to his children is really adding to the pressure I feel at the moment *sad*
I too couldn't believe my SO purposely had 3 kids with the BM! My stepmom experience was rather short in that the BM sucessfully poisoned all 3 against us (known as Parental Alienation Syndrome or PAS) in a matter of a little over 4 looooooonnnnnnnnnngggggggg years where they stopped coming to visitation and we didnt have tens of thousands to fight the BM-centric courts here in NY so my SO (Chef) ended the struggle and "dropped the rope." At the time, I was making 40K a year and Chef probably 30K but was bringing home $60 A WEEK after non arrears child support (CS).
I still have nightmares about it to this day more than a decade after they stopped coming over albeit fewer. Their horrible actions guided by the BM (Girhippo) and her family as well as Chef's guilty/disney dad routine is indelibly inked on my psyche.
Success is based on one thing usually: who does your DH/SO side with? You, his spouse/adult partner or is he still pandering to his previously enjoyed failed first family's demands which test the boundaries of human patience daily?
If it is the latter, and it usually is, then you must separate all finances and disengage. Disengaging is kind of like going on strike in other words DH and his failed first family can't have their cake and eat it too.
OMG what a nighmare for you!
OMG what a nighmare for you!
Both my DH and I have definitly been the recipients of some PAS over the years.
Whilst my DH has been generally supportive of me and understanding of how much I've struggled to be a SM, a major point of strain between us comes from his unwillingness to confront his ex, even when it comes to the wellbeing of the kids.
When they first split, she took off and DH had to come up with +$20K just to get custody every second weekend. He has court-ordered co-parenting rights, but she breaks the orders ALL THE TIME, knowing that for us to register it with family court will cost thousands, and nothing ever comes of it anyway. BMs family also has BIG MONEY behind them (allowing her to not work and spend all day at home using CS to get drunk/high). If we do anything to upset her (like asking if we can pick up/drop off the SKIDS a day early), she'll punish him by disappearing and not letting him see them until she gets over it.
For the past year or so, she's been fairly stable (probably because we've done nothing to rock the boat), but is not caring for the children well at all. He lets it all slide, including much of their resulting bad habits/behaviour when they're with us, because a) we can't afford to take her to court and b) he doesn't want to upset her and be punished in some way. Anytime I try and suggest solutions, like for helping to get the kids to go to school regularly, he gets frustrated and says I'm trying to force him into conflict with the BM! So while I'm not encouraged to get involved with major things like their long-term health and wellbeing, he wants me to be a loving SM that has a great relationship with them. The reality is that I'm basically a glorified nanny that hates her job, and he's locked in an ongoing fear cycle of losing access to the SKIDS.
Many come on here resenting
Many come on here resenting their stepkids, and then begin to realize it's the spouse/partner that's the problem, really - why is your DH not expecting appropriate behavior from his kids?
One thing that helps a lot is backing away from being another parent, or trying to win them over, and just focusing on your own life. How often are they there?
A major problem area for us
A major problem area for us is that the SKIDs have no boundaries with the BM. She lets them eat what they want, go to bed when they want, even choose if and when they go to school. Their family also has money, so the SKIDS get whatever they want and hundreds of $$$ at birthdays/christmas to buy anything that might be missing... making them ungrateful for the things we work hard to save and give them.
When they come to us (every 2nd weekend plus 4x1 week blocks throughout the year and 2 weeks at either christmas or easter), we try to instil some structure and boundries for them. Things like eating some vegetables or having a shower every day or doing chores for pocketmoney. DH is reluctant to push anything more than what I consider to be the bare basics of child upbringing, because he doesn't want the SKIDs to resent coming to visit. Already they complain when they have to spend extended periods with us over the school holidays, because they prefer to live lawlessly with their BM.
A result is that I tend to get either really axious or bad tempered when the SKIDS are around. I don't want to be constantly yelling at them for bad behaviour or complaining to DH, and DH doesn't want to be too hard on them (which I do understand to an extent). They are not horrible kids by any stretch, just incredibly lazy and entitled (the youngest SD has some CRAZY attitude though).
Plus I think DH really doesn't understand/respect some of the boundaries that I asked for when we moved in together. He seems genuinely surprised when I react to them being broken (ie. I don't want the SKIDS sleeping in bed with us or spending time in our bedroom).
DH also expects me to be around when the SKIDs are, and makes me feel like I'm not trying to form a good relationship with them if I spend time away from home when they're there. This is despite the fact we agreed I would be away reguarly when I uprooted my whole life to move close to his kids!
The excuse often is
for DH accepting rotten behavior on the skids part, especially if he is non-custodial, is that he will lose his kids if he doesn't cater to them. Most likely he is in a race to the bottom with the BM to see who can have the house with the least amount of rules.
Terrible environment for children but for onlooking governmental authorities it appears everything is great because the kids are being treated like royalty and given everything they want at the expense of the adults. The government agencies have been conditioned to view any sort of discipline, rules or boundaries as "abuse" when quite the opposite is true.
If he is custodial he lives in ever-present fear of the government authorities taking his kids away and giving them back to the BM for instituting any sort of training, guidelines or boundaries.
YES! You're exactly right -
YES! You're exactly right - he's terrified of losing them. AND the skids get what they want because they know how to play both parents.
You will need to disengage.
I too sometimes feel like I have to sacrifice myself for the good of the SD13. But I then pull myself back. DH makes me feel guilty for not working on the house now too.
But hes a workaholic and I am not.
Your DH being disney dad to his children will backfire when the child worship makes him become the ATM dadee.
And any rules or changes will result in pushback from kiddos. So to preserve your sanity you need to have a talk with DH. Tell him you understand his fears and why he is acting this way, but that you need to preserve your sanity and not be as involved. You do not want responsibility for HIS chidlren with another woman.