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Second families are valuable. We do not need you to make a sales pitch, DH!

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

 I had a talk yesterday with DH about why it is so frustrating to hear him attempt to sell the idea of us to his oldest from his first marriage.  Sometimes I feel like he has the voice of an info commercial announcer as he remarks about DS and I.  It is like DS and I are the fruit of a very inconveniently planted tree in SS18’s life. And DH is trying to get SS18 to see how beautiful the leaves are. Painful to watch.

 DH explained to me that he is simply excited about us and wants to share news about us to SS18.  I think that is partially true. But I  also see a long pattern of behavior from DH where he has tried to sell SS18 the idea of us. And SS18 has been harsh and cruel in his responses. “Don’t babies cost a lot?” was his response when he was told by DH privately that I was expecting. He even suggested the baby wasn’t DH’s.

I believe that DH is subconsciously attempting to get permission or approval from his firstborn for divorcing his mother and seeking happiness as a single man. And then further  trying to get approval for hooking up with me and having another child. 

 I stood there yesterday and very strongly told him that we are valuable no matter what SS 18 thinks. And that SS 18 is valuable no matter what I think of him.   I do not want DS growing up admiring and seeking the approval of a distant older brother who never took an interest in him.  I also do not want to see DH struggle for approval from a child even if it is his child.  How can we teach these children to value themselves if we constantly seek their approval? 

Want2, with all due respect, can you please NOT comment on my post? Thank you.


tog redux's picture

I think what's sad is that these men don't realize they perpetuate the problem by not addressing it head on. Your son has been around for EIGHT YEARS, and DH hasn't yet told his grown-up son to just get over it and accept your marriage and DS's existence? Kids of any age will milk this stuff for as long as they can, and while it was fine AT FIRST to allow SS18 to have his feelings, the time has long past for DH to tell him to just knock it off.

They give their kids so much power chasing them around like this, I don't get it.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

Thanks tog. I’ve got to clarify though that DS is only a toddler. SD13 and SS18

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

SS18 has only seen DS four or five times since he was born. I give him opportunities without me around, too. He is not interested.

tog redux's picture

Oh, whoops, sorry - don't know why I made him 8.

My feelings are the same, though - DH just needs to tell him to grow up and accept the kid's existence and not try to sell him on the benefits of having a brother.  SS18 can chose not to be a brother to DS, but DH shouldn't let him have power with his sullen attitude about it.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

Lol, it’s ok. I feelbad for DH. He wants to believe his first born is nicer and kinder than he actually is. He wants to believe SS18 isn’t so swayed by BM’s lies. But the truth is different. I think he realizes it and maybe I should just let DH be sad rather than expecting him to accept an unenjoyable reality so quickly.

tog redux's picture

I have no patience for that kind of denial. By the time his kid is 18, he should see who he really is and what's really going on.

My SS19 is completely enmeshed with BM, does whatever she wants all the time,  and DH sees that clearly and says so (we do disagree on whether SS is just being BM's puppet because it's easier  (DH's view) or actually enjoys the power he feels he has when he lies to DH (my view)).

Of course, all you can do is let him figure it out himself, but I'd have a hard time not pointing out that he's in denial, lol.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

Yes and that is the big question. At what age is the adult SS not “doing it because he is a puppet in fear of his mother” and instead because he believes in his own actions fully?

tog redux's picture

I used to wrestle with that a lot, but I look back, and there was a stretch where SS wanted to live with us, and we fell for it and DH took BM back to court.  During that time, SS(then 14) talked a lot about how he "had all the power" and could just tell the judge what he wanted and he'd get it (he ended up lying about DH so he could stay with BM).

I think, at 19, that SS enjoys the power he gets from withholding and lying to DH. It may partly be because he is so enmeshed with BM that he thinks just like her, and this isn't his real self or his real thoughts, but does it matter? It doesn't to me. It makes him toxic and I don't want anything to do with him.

DH tends to think, maybe because he lived with BM and knows how she is, that SS is just "taking the path of least resistance".

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

Yeah, I predict I will be hearing the “path of least resistance” excuse forever. When i choose to believe it, it does help me shrug my shoulders at the nonsense. But it is hard to believe for me.

SacrificialLamb's picture

It took over a decade for my DH to stop selling me to his adult daughters, now middle-aged. 

I don't believe he was doing it to gain their approval for me....more so they would forgive him for wanting to marry me and disrupt The Original Family Unit. 

A short time ago I caught him still doing it, and I asked him why was he still selling me to them when it has been clear they did not want me in their family? They have made it clear they did not respect his decision.  I was tired of feeling like a product to sell.

The bottom line is I don't need their approval, and he did not need their permission to marry me.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

 Yeah, that is the hard part for me to hear. I am someone who has self value. And I do not want SS 18 thinking that I desire his approval. To me the selling encourages SS 18 to believe he has more power over his father and our home than he really does. 

tog redux's picture

Exactly! It's about giving him power to think he can withhold his approval and DH will chase it. That's the wrong way to handle it, but some of these men can't seem to let it go.

I assume much of this is coming from BM?

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

Oh yes. According to BM, DH abandoned her and he is the source of all her pain and the excuse for all of her household’s problems. Lol

STaround's picture

Having more kids will decrease support for older kids, but with second marriages, kids from first marriages suffer more.  In a first marriage, the mom will typically be concerned if support of her oldest suffers.  Not true with a SM

It is not easy.  Older kids have a legitimate complaint.  No easy solution



tog redux's picture

Did you even read that article? It said that if the biological mother was involved in any capacity, the children got the same care as if their biological parents were together.

That article is talking about kids who are in families with just the father and stepmother, with no bio mother involvement.  That's the exception, not the rule, at least on steptalk.

STaround's picture

And it talks of different values.  SMs want to take care of their kids.  I can see the conflict. 

We will have to agree to disagree.  I have never been in the camp that SMs should or even can treat their stepkdis as their own.  I just dont think possible.  I think that is a natural conflict, when SMs say well CS should cover all expenses, that dad should not spend a penny more than CS.  I understand that conflict.  I do not see any easy answers, but I can undertand why older kids do not see value of younger kids

tog redux's picture

I agree with the fact that SMs don't generally love skids as their own. And I think it's wrong for men to get 50/50 and then have the wife take care of the kids. BUT, I disagree on the CS,based on how it's generally ordered.  17% of income, plus half of medical, half of all activities, half of all tuition, half of daycare should easily cover raising a child.  Many mothers think they don't have to contribute to the child's support.

BUT, that article is written about families where both bio parents are NOT involved.  It appears the effect is not the same if the bio mother is involved. I don't believe that in the OP's case, there is no BM. So the article is not relevant to her (nor does her post say anything about SS's care - he's 18).

STaround's picture

In many states, is capped.  At least NY, Texas.  So an upper middle class man does not pay the percent.  Many mothers are not earning much.  

tog redux's picture

In NY, NCP men pay 17% of GROSS pay.

If their combined income is over 136000, then they add it up and divide that 17% prorated by income. So if the man makes 100K and the woman makes 36K, then the man will pay 75% of that 17%, plus a prorated share of daycare, medical, extracurriculars, tuition, etc. AND, the woman will get the tax refund on all that money.

AND, they probably have 50/50 custody at that, so the man is paying AGAIN while the child is in his home.

Do not argue that Child Support is unfair to CP women. That's a nonstarter. Some men can barely afford to live on their own because of ridiculous child support rates, and they get ZERO input into how it's spent on the kid. I don't blame any man for refusing to give BM one cent more, especially if she's cut the man out of the kid's life.

STaround's picture

After divorce men's income goes up, womens goes down.  Upper middle class do not get a child credit. 

I get it, you do not think men should pay more than mandated.  It works for you.   But do not expect a kid to see what is happening, and the kid may be resentful  That is life

tog redux's picture

Sure didn't happen in our case. BM's income went up substantially after the divorce, while DH could probably not afford our house without me. 

So, no - she won't be getting a red cent more. God knows she would never help DH out, despite making more money.  And if SS is upset, that's because he's been raised to be entitled like BM.


ndc's picture

Generally when a high income formula comes into play, CS is already pretty substantial.  For instance, in my state if you have a "high earner" making $300,000 a year, he would pay $6250 a month in CS for 2 kids under the standard percentage formula.  The "high income" formula lowers that to $4725 a month.  That's a big reduction (the reduction alone is more than what many CPs get monthly), but it's still a LOT of CS.  The CP should be able to raise 2 kids on over $56,000 a year, especially when the NCP is often also ordered to carry insurance and pay all or a percentage of extras.  Heck, that's more than SO and I make combined in a year. When the NCP makes a good amount but not that much (say $100,000 a year), the reduction from the standard formula isn't as much ($2017/mo vs. $2083).  And CS is supposed to be on top of what the CP is earning, so even these "capped" amounts don't seem unreasonable.

tog redux's picture

Correct. And here, the NCP pays FULL support, even if he has 50/50.

The CP needs to work, too.

I think wealthy men should support their children, but not their ex-wives. It's 2019, women need to support themselves and their children, too. Sorry, you are now divorced, you don't get to be a SAHM anymore.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

Yeah i agree with this. No more being a SAHM mom. Although, I think if the BM was actually really a good person and good mom, I’d be OK with her staying home with her kids until they turned school age. I say that because I think being a SAHM or SAHD could be a really important constant in a child’s life, especially during the instability of a divorce. But that isn’t my situation. Thankfully dh’s kids are older.

STaround's picture

That when dad remarries and has another kid, most times there will be less money for him. It may mean community college instead of a 4 year school.  In an intact family, the age differences are not so great and siblings regard each other as family, but in a second marriage, there can be a big age difference, and the older kid does not view his half sibling as family.  In intact family, as kid goes through HS, he realizes family recources; here there is an abrudt change. 

Of course, all people are valuable.  But dad may have to accept that the older kid sees resources siphoned off. How many times on ST do stepmoms write, kid is adult at 18, he/she can pay for his own college (ignoring that the cost of college has increased way more than minimum wage jobs pay), some not even wanting to let kid live at home so kid go to CC (some may have legitimate reasons, some just dont want a stepkid there). 

I do think that OP's DH needs to stop pandering and accept the situation

Monkeysee's picture

Parents resources aren’t a guarantee for any child, ever. I was supposed to have all my education paid for, but my parents (intact) endured a substantial financial loss & I ended up needing to take loans out. 


Raising kids to see their parents as atms who ‘owe’ them money like that exactly how you end up with entitled money hungry adult children. My parents didn’t owe me anything, I’ve never expected a single handout from them, and when they lost their money I was upset for THEM, not for myself. 

So what if an older skid doesn’t have a close relationship with their new sibling? Believe it or not this does happen in intact families as well & everyone learns to adjust one way or another. 

STaround's picture

But your parents suffering a financial loss is not the same as a parent deliberatly marrying and taking on new committments.  Yes, I agree, and I said that, in intact families, there can be conflicts.  I just think more likely when a kid may have been raised wit expectations that fall apart. 

I would also note that the situation with loans has gotten worse as the years go on. 

Of course everyone adjusts, but it may not be in the way that people want. 

Monkeysee's picture

Ummm, I was raised with expectations that fell apart. And I dealt with it, because that’s the person my parents raised me to be.

If a parent gets remarried & wants to have more children with their new spouse, that’s their choice. Any new child in a family will reduce the resources going to the other children, being in a step-family is not license to give children the power to dictate or decide whether new children are welcomed into the world or not. Ever.

tog redux's picture

More kids in an intact family also "reduces the resources" for the older children.  I don't even get this argument she's making. Should everyone only have ONE child so they can send them to the college they want?

Of course the kid resents his brother, that's obvious. But STaround seems to think it's reasonable for him to do so.

tog redux's picture

My sister has a 40-year-old stepdaughter who adores her half-sister, who is 22. So she was 18 when half-sister came along (and she was adopted, yet, no resentment of "loss of resources")

Any kid who only cares that their younger sibling might stop them from going to a certain college is an entitled, selfish jerk. There are bound to be other issues.

tog redux's picture

My stepniece is not an entitled brat. You seem to assume that it's OK for the OP's SS18 to resent his brother because he feels entitled to DH's money.  Sad that you assume most people think like that.

Monkeysee's picture

I’m starting to think your own children must be entitled brats themselves if this is genuinely the way you think. If a couple wants to have a child, they alone make that decision. Period. Dot. 

TwoOfUs's picture


im the oldest of 6. Fourteen years older than my youngest sister...who I adore with all my heart and soul.

My siblings are the greatest joy in my life and a source of comfort and security for me. When we all go out together (which isn’t often because we’re not all able to get together at the same time that often) total strangers will come up to us and tell us they’re jealous of the close relationship we al have and enjoyed watching us talk and laugh together. 

But sure. I guess I could have chosen to “resent” my siblings instead because it meant less for meeeeee!!!

(Of course, a couple my adult siblings have actually bailed me out when I was in a tight I’ve done for them as maybe not...)

At any rate. I’ll look through pictures of my sibs tonight and let you know which one I’d be willing to give up for more “resources” from my parents. 

tog redux's picture

I'm the youngest of 4 - so I'd be a goner. My oldest sister apparently tried to do in my brother after he was born, when she was barely a year old.  She had apparently already started worrying about the family  "resources" and would try to get in his crib to snuff him out.

I guess by the time I got there, she had accepted she might go to state school.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

I think the big point here is that when you have siblings you love them because you recognize they are a part of your family. They are another piece of people you love, your mom and dad. In this step situation, this new baby is part of the dad. But the SS18 does not value the dad as he should. He values his father only for what he can provide, rather than valuing him as a person. I fully believe this is why SS18 has such trouble valuing DS. 

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

You make a good point about the cost of college vs pay rates. 

Quite clearly I should admit that resources are now split further because of the birth of a much you ger sibling. But in our particular situation, the SS18’s life of fancy clothes and international vacations has never missed a beat. He will also attend the college he wants and continue the expensive hobbies he wants.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

I see what you are saying, but DS is a toddler. And SS18 is well, 18. BM makes more money than us and pours it into SS18’s hobbies and carefully planned image. SS18 is in no danger of a lack of resources. 

DH pays double the child support he was ordered to pay. He will help pay for college as well. 

I have no doubt SS18 will never value DS or me until we have something he wants. Financially or networking wise. That may be thirty years from now. But all i will ever teach DS to give SS18 is friendship. Nothing more or less. 

Monkeysee's picture

STaround, so should no SM ever expect to have children with her DH then, to save these precious skids from having to deal with their new reality?

What a crock of sh*t. I’m sorry, but life is going to deal a load of ups & downs, life isn’t always fair, and dealing with difficult situations, or situations you perceive as difficult, is par for the course. What is a parent teaching their child if they give them so much power as to influence their decision to have children with their new spouse. 

And for what? All so junior doesn’t have to deal with sharing daddeeees time? That’s ridiculous. 

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

I remember after having the baby SD13 whining aloud “Noooo” at the joking suggestion someone made over having another baby. I immediately and very seriously said “That is not up to you.”

Why should I limit my life so her next 5 years can be what she has been taught to see as “ideal”? If I want another child, I’ll have one.

It is funny to me that DH’s kids can have such strong opinions when SS18 NEVER comes around and SD13 chose to live at mommy’s FT. Her bedroom continues to be a symbol of her mother’s forbidding nature. She was never allowed to like me or like her room here best. So her brand new giant bedroom is like an abandoned mall. DH and I argued over that this morning after he suggested that I am the reason she does not “make her room her own” because I took down wall art after she chose to stay at BMs. 

What is funny is that i took that art down so she could feel comfortable taking it to BM’s.  But BM must have forbid that. I specifically told SD13 I was taking it down so she could put it up in a bedroom she will actually get to enjoy. She acted happy to have me help. Now the art has sat on the floor for months. SD13 is so confusing because she has no real opinions, only survival mechanisms.

Oh but in this family, we don’t talk about actual feelings. We just smile and pretend it doesn’t exist. Then when I bring up feelings, it is politely suggested it is my fault. Sorry. I’ve been around for almost three years. I don’t get credit for how poorly adapted SD13’s communication skills are. That’s on you DH and BM!

Cover1W's picture

Oh yes I get this too, as a SM with no bios! DH liked to state during dinners that "We're all here as a family..." Or "the family is all together, it's so nice." While I don't think badly of his ideal, it is an ideal...he would like to pretend we are a family of four and that is it, no outside conditions or issues that make it not so.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

Yes! It is so frustrating when DH says with this big smile, “Your baby brother did this or this..” And I stand there thinking “SS18 doesn’t care! Stop being awkward and pretending he does!”

TwoOfUs's picture

Your poor DH. 

He probably just can’t believe he’s had a hand in raising a kid who takes so little interest in his own father. 

You know...I’ll go hang out with my mom and she’ll talk about stuff I don’t care about at all. You know what I do? Find a way to be interested and ask questions...because I love my mom. 

Same with DH’s parents. They have a lot of hobbies we don’t care about. But we’re enthusiastic anyway because we care about THEM. 

Sad your SS can’t love his dad enough to care about the things he cares about.

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

It is sad! And when they do talk it is only about two or three subjects. All very surface level conversations.  TV shows. Music. It is so odd.

Harry's picture

He is guilty that he is spending more time and effort with DS.  Then his DS or your SS.  It’s life, he living with you and your DS.  And see him in the morning and at night and weekends. Has to do more with DS, just life things,  food shopping, buying flowers, repairing the house, with DS helping him.  Washing the car ect.  

Where his DS or your SS just comes over and you try to do fun stuff with him.  But also have to take DS 

Forthelifeoftheparty's picture

I know why you’re suggesting this, but it isn’t accurate. Before the divorce, SS18 never did anything with his dad. DH was a servant to BM and SS’s needs. DH gives plenty of opportunities to SS18 tohang out without baby DS. 

I think DH feels guilty that his son has turned out to be so self-serving and so spoiled by Mommy. But truthfully, DH did all he could to prevent such an attitude of entitlement. SS18 has missed out on a world of practical and social skills because DH was not a strong enough force against the emotional incest between BM and SS18. So here he sees his son coming into adulthood with many hard lessons to learn that he could’ve learned much earlier.

sunshinex's picture

I will say, we gave SD7 about 6 months of leeway after the birth of her brother (now 16 months) and that was it. After that 6 months, we expected her to give up the attitude/jealousy - at least outwardly - as long as we showed her she was still loved and valued. 

I explained it to her before giving consequences for outbursts related to her brother. I told her, look SD7, it's been 6 months. We get that it's a big change and we've accommodated you and dealt with your crappy behavior thus far, but you are no longer allowed to take from ANYONE's happiness about the baby any longer. We've been clear on the fact that we still love you just as much and we can no longer let you throw fits, show disrespect, or any other negative things just because another person is in the household. We won't brush it off, we will send you to your room anytime it happens.

And you know what? After that conversation, she started LOVING her brother much more than before. It's like that conversation somehow made her feel MORE part of the family. I guess it kind of did because she was no longer treated like an outsider allowed to act out, but an insider expected to deal with all of the change the same way we had to deal with all the change. It kind of put her on "our" team again. It was incredible - the change that happened afterward. 

She has such an incredible bond with her little brother now. It's so sweet to see. 

tog redux's picture

It’s because you took away her power and put it back where it should be: with the adults. OP’s DH keeps giving it to SS. 

sunshinex's picture

Yep. We did have trouble with giving her power at first because we did feel sorry for her. It is a confusing time FOR KIDS. Adults like the SS in OPs situation should very well be able to understand it. My stepdaughter's mom abandoned her and barely pays any mind to her, so we did feel sympathy knowing she was watching what a normal mother/child relationship was like without ever having experienced it. But at the end of the day, that's life. Sometimes it's not perfect lol. 

tog redux's picture

Yep - you taught her how to pick herself up and get on with life, not how to get sympathy by playing the victim.

shamds's picture

When he wanted to marry me or have kids. When things started getting serious he told his son that he met someone he really likes and his son giggles out of usual teenager weirdness that daddy was back on the dating scene.

when i fell pregnant hubby told his son and thats it. His son never said anything or insinuated his permission must be sought. Me and hubby were adults, we wanted to get married and have kids and children don’t get to dictate and have that level of control or power to say no or have their approval sought

even when my 2 sd came in the picture mid last year, all hubby did was say yes he did remarry and have 2 kids and they have 2 half siblings now and that he’d like them all to be a n integrated family. My 3 skids already have an awkward relationship with 1 another because of the pas and them being kidnapped by bio mum so they’ve not been around their brother for 6 yrs so expecting they be all lovey dovey with my kids isn’t realistic for now.

but never does my husband seek his kids approval or try to sell me to them. I’m his wife and thats it... others need to accept the reality.

no way would any of them dare to say to hubby well kids cost money and why would you want more or why would you have more at your older age because you’ll be dropping them at school and people will think you are the granddad etc... nope that just wouldn’t happen, hubby wouldn’t allow it. He hates it when people nose in business like that, thats not of their concern.