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Chance3312's picture

Hey guys. I'm new here and I'm not a Step parent. However, my wife is and she's the main reason I joined this page. She's constantly saying I don't understand how she feels, and she's right. I'm hoping that I can get some insight to what she's going through and how to handle these situations in the kindest yet most fair ways possible. It's hard being a parent to children from different women with two completely different parenting styles. And when my wife and ex can't coexist, that's even harder. I'm planning on writing another blog soon to give a little background on myself and my situation, and I'd appreciate getting advice from step parents. If anyone has insight to l how I should handle these things, it would be you guys!   


susanm's picture

I have to agree with Petronella.  Why would your second wife need to deal with your first?  She has to deal with any minor children that you have from your first marriage and that is difficult enough.  Hopefully you do not allow any guilt you may feel about the divorce to get in the way of being a good parent and still require the child to behave rather than coddling them to make yourself feel better.  Because that is the quickest way to cause problems in your household and make yourself a two-time divorced dad.  

justmakingthebest's picture

Welcome! You will get a wide range of advice from some very experienced Stepparents on this site. I hope you are able to use some and improve your understanding of what she has deal with and in turn improve your marriage.

I am with Petronella in regards to your opening though. Your job as a husband is to keep her from having to stress over your ex. Remember- she married you, not your ex and not your kids, only you.

CLove's picture

In addition to reading posts with specific issues and solutions, I would also reccomend that your WIFE, the STEPPARENT also join, because if she is having issues, then she needs to be here for our support. You can glean answers, but she is the one needing the emotional support that this site provides.

notsobrady's picture

My DH from the word GO made sure I never had to deal with his Ex. Messages thru Facebook were forwarded to him and then I immediately blocked her page. At one point she got my phone number from SD. Text messages were forwarded to DH and then immediately blocked. She's a crazy one that can't be trusted whatsoever. If she comes to the door and I'm home alone, I will call 911. DH handles absolutely everything dealing with his Ex. 

BethAnne's picture

Glad you're here. Good for you for trying to see the other side.

My husband always listens to what I have to say and tries to find solutions that work for us. Sometimes he does not do what I would like him to do but I respect his choices on the whole because he has never over reacted to my feelings and has made changes to how he handles things in many aspects to make me feel more comfortable. Sometimes he gets it, sometimes he doesn't, sometimes I get him, sometimes I don't. But we try very hard not to dismiss one anothers thoughts and opinions. The conversation and work is ongoing but by being open and holding a space for each other to be vulnerable as well as appologizing and forgiving one another when things get ugly we are doing pretty well over all. 

My advice on this site is always to read read and re-read. The re-reading is important. People say what they mean here and you get a good variety of opinions. Sometimes those opinions can feel hurtful the first time that you read them. But often I have found that by taking some space and coming back later to re-read them I can see them in a different light and appreciate hearing from someone who thinks differently to me. After re-reading, take the good advice and ignore the bad (there will be some...we are not immune from idiots and trolls here). There is so much wisdom and knowldege here it has really helped me over the last few years, I hope that it helps you and your wife too.

tog redux's picture

Well, I don't want to pile on TOO much - but your wife and ex-wife do not need to ever have even a passing "hello", if they don't want to.  They share nothing in common except you, and it's your job to deal with your ex so that your wife doesn't have to. 

Anyway -look forward to your blog.  Hope you have thick skin.  Smile

advice.only2's picture

Agree with all that has been posted here, I'm waiting to see your next post where you can elaborate more on what exactly the issues your spouse is telling you she is having.

ESMOD's picture

Imagine it like you are in a relationship with someone who has a dog that they used to own with their prior partner.  The dog really isn't trained very well and needs expensive prescription food and a lot of care and maintenance.. The dog poops in your shoes.  But your wife loves this dog.. and she expects you to buy that expensive food for her when you are at the store.  She also wants you to take care of the 2 am walks so she can get more sleep.. and can you take the dog to the groomer for her?  The dog really doesn't like you either.  It growls at you and has even tried to bite you a few times.  What's worse is that her EX still comes around to hang out with the dog.  She even lets him take the dog every few weekends.  

When the EX shows up, he always has some snide remark to make and praises that dog every time he growls at you.  All that hard work you are putting in to training the dog to not jump on people.. not chew the furniture and good housebreaking  seems to go out the window after every visit with your wife's EX.

And the dog is still a fairly young dog.. only 3 years old and that breed can live into their 20's.. so you are looking at 17 more years of this.. 

Add to this that if it were a child.. your wife also might be PAYING her EX to take care of the dog when he is with him?.. 

Can you see how it could stress you?


Aniki's picture

You had me at "The dog poops in your shoes."  *give_rose*

I don't know that STalk has had a skid who pooped in the shoes of a stepparent, but they have certainly left poop in a wide variety of other places!

strugglingSM's picture

Some general pieces of advice, from a wife whose husband is also "learning" how to support me as the stepmother: 

1) Your ex wife is yours to manage. Your ex wife's opinion carries no weight in your home. If your ex wife would lke to make changes that impact your wife, you should discuss them with your wife before agreeing to them. 

2) You alone are responsible for your children. Don't treat your wife as a piggy bank or a babysitter. If she does things for or with your kids, show your appreciation. Don't expect her to do things for or with your kids. Realize that your kids are likely not that fun to be around (this is not a slight on your kids, most kids are not that fun to be around). 

3) Your wife is not "on par" with your children. Your wife is your partner. She needs to be treated differently than your children. If decisions are made, it should be between you and your wife, not you, your children and your wife. There is no "fair" way to divide things like money, time, attention between your kids and your wife. They need to be treated as separate entities. Your wife brings resources into the relationship, your children likely do not. Anyone who contributes gets more of a say in how those resources are allocated. The children may have existed first, but you made a decision to marry your wife and you need to treat her like a wife and not an additional child, if you would like to stay married. 

4) You need to manage all of the issues that come along with your ex wife, your children, your family in a way that they don't impact your wife. Those are your complications and you need to own them. Your wife knew you had children, but she assumed you didn't have dysfunction. If you have dysfunction find a way to become functional yourself and create an emotionally healthy relationship with your wife. 

5) Don't guilt or shame your wife about how she feels about your children. It's not "natural" to "love" someone else's children immediately upon meeting them. Children can be manipulative, demanding jerks. If they are "unparented" they will be unlikeable. As long as your wife tolerates your children, that needs to be enough for you. She may grow to care for them, but she may not. As long as she is not mean to them, that is enough. 

Basically, treat your wife as if she is your partner. Don't let her become an outsider in your own home. Don't give your children or your ex wife the power to make decisions about the home you share with your wife. Don't let your ex wife or your children undermine or disrespect her. If you do these things and support your wife, she will support you in being a father for your children. She will build a relationship with your children. If you don't do these things, you will live with constant conflict. You might blame it on your wife, but it will be your fault. 

Simpleton21's picture

Also, if you want to understand your wife's perspective maybe try reading Stepmonster.  It is a book someone here recommended that I read.  I did.  I think it would be good for you to read if you truly want to see things from a perspective other than your own.  It is nice that you are here looking for advice.  

Thisisnotus's picture

No co existing. Your ex wife is meaningless and irrelevant in your marriage. Literally just a nobody that you are FORCED to talk to ONLY and ONLY because you share children. If you feel differently about your ex wife than I stated then buckle up and prepare for a life time of relationship problems.

you should keep your ex as far out of your daily life as possible. Don’t ever let her dictate what happens in your home.....ever.

your wife is probably treading lightly bringing up her feelings so a good rule of thumb is listen to how she is feeling and multiply it by 10....because that’s how she is really feeling.

i have a lot of step kids and BM problems with my DH....but then main problem in my marriage is lack of DHs communication and him telling me I worry too much....I over react....I over think...I make a big deal over nothing...he doesn’t understand why I’m always having issues...blah blah blah but he will never talk about what it is that it is bothering’s led to resentment and my thoughts to leave the marriage because who wants to be told that their feelings are stupid and don’t matter......

still learning's picture

Love how men haphazardously spread their sperm around and then expect everyone to "coexist."  Like everyone should just deal with the fallout while he takes no responsibility.  Actions create reactions; siring children with different females has complicated consequences for the women, children and yes, even the man involved.  

This IS your monkey, and it IS your circus. You need to man up and learn some relationship and negotation skills. Quit expecting the women to figure out your mess!  


24 years as a SM's picture

Most of us have lived or are living through Step Hell, so very few of us will sugar coat anything. We are not being bullies or trying to insult you. We have hit our limit of Bio parents being an ostrich and not seeing their special snowflakes (your kids) as their true selves. It will be interesting to see your point of view of the issues that your are trying to come to terms with. Read through many blogs and forums on here and you will see a lot of people that love their spouse, but don't like the spouse as a weak kneed parent.