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"you knew what you were getting into...." um...none of us did

iamlosingit's picture

I hate the line people give you (especially significant others) whenever you have a grievance about skid:

You knew what you were getting into when you continued your relationship with a man + child

Um....I'm pretty sure none of us did. 

My ex had a child, ss9.  He was nothing like DH.  No visitation schedule, no CS, he rarely changed what he was doing to accommodate skid.  He just brought him with.  I'm not saying that's right, but my first taste of "Step-mom" was to not even be considered a "step mom".  I was a walking checkbook and nothing else.  If it was all "butterflies and rainbows" I was allowed to have an opinion, but anything else? You're not his mom. I'm the parent, not you.  Stay out of it.   

That exists with most Steps today.  But to go from my exes parenting style vs my DH...

Ex boyfriend's BM and I actually spoke three times in a two year period.  She disliked me, but we did talk.  She told me I was "just a phase" and they were going to get back together as soon as he left me.  *side-note: he cheated on me,(I left immediately) married said woman he cheated with because she got pregnant, then BM took him to court for all she had and now his new wife is stuck paying everything because his CS is so high.  Haha. Karma.

Dh didn't have a visitation schedule when I first met him.  He alternated between 2 evenings M-F and one full weekend day or three evenings.  Equaled about 10 evenings/month(3p.m.-930p.m.) and two weekend full days 8a.m.-9p.m. or later.  SS wasn't old enough to be in school yet, and since BM never enforced a "bed time", SS didn't mind being with DH late. 

BM never allowed DH to have any overnights until he brought her to court.  She used SS as a pawn to get what she wanted, guilt-tripping DH and be-little him any chance she got for him leaving her.  Drop off was always a disaster, with SS hitting BM and screaming and crying as he reached out to DH, DH crying as he would walk out the door.  Then DH would be in a snit the rest of the night.  I learned a long time ago to not expect anything from him 3 out of 7 days a week.  Holidays were hell.  He was lucky to get SS for even a few hours if at all.  BM always let DH know how "nice" she was for "allowing" him to see "her son".

  Dh got so tired of the last minute schedule changes and mind F's that he saved up to hire himself a lawyer to establish his rights.  Then everything imploded. 

Now DH saw SS  a minimum of 4 overnights/month and anywhere from 12 or more days of half-day visits. This didn't include holidays.  The neat-freak rarely cleaned.  Errands didn't get done on SS time.  Money flew out the window if it was DH holiday with skid, because he was "making up for lost time".  The holiday schedule caused chaos.  BM, who at first was tolerable, became a psycho when she couldn't continue her games with the schedule manipulation.  Since she could no longer control WHEN DH saw SS, she decided to use everything else involving SS as a weapon.  Random texts, random pictures of SS on days when he didn't have him with some type of "guilt educing message", unlimited doctor visits and requests to come to the appointments at ridiculous times on non-skid days, snide comments at DH during pick up and drop off (if she was even there).

The only people I know personally   that have skids, that got married and are happy: the ones who have an 'us baby' and the OP isn't in the  picture anymore, or the skid has "aged out".  Even my SIL was just over last non-skid weekend to vent about her skid and her ex.  She married a man with two kids and she has two of her own.  They both have a visitation schedule, but as soon as "the exes" found out they were getting re-married all heck broke loose and now they are miserable.  It doesn't stop.  It never stops.   It's like all BM/BD mentality is "I don't want you, but I don't want anybody else to want you either".  The old "if I can't have you, nobody can" is fun too. Not.

I'm sure all of us love our DH or DW very much.  I know skid didn't ask for us to be in the picture.  Well, we didn't always dream of our first family starting off with a skid either.  Add the resentment of not being able to have a child of your own due to $400+ going to BM every month, not including anything extra you have to get for the skids when they are over....hearing about all of skid and BM "awesome vacations" from either skid or BM sending pics to DH.... while you are trying to figure out if you can pay for the repairs on your car and still eat this month....

  But "you knew"...????


We had No. Idea.  


FedupAJ's picture

I feel you. & totally agree.  We didn't know. I didn't know. No my DH wasn't perfect when we got together.  But he seemed to be better than he is now. He at least seemed to want to be a better parent. Now I don't even know.  And I can't take it anymore. I dislike my DH 50/50 of week. Because he acts like an idiot and I KNOW he is better than that. I wish he would realize he is soon otherwise I don't know how much more I want to put up with. 

Thanks for your post. Step parenting is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.  I feel like a failure constantly when deep down I know it's not my fault. 

ESMOD's picture

On the one hand..there ARE some things that we know will come with the territory (or should).  The fact that there is another human being that our partner is emotionally and financially responsible for and that it will mean that at times our homes may be impacted by that obligation.  We also know there is an EX (usually there is one) and that there is a high likelihood that the EX will not be a fan of "new wife".  Then there are the kids.. they may not like us.  All things that we can forsee as reasonably expected to be possibilities.

What we don't foresee is often how poorly our partners deal with the situation.. how there is literally a weight hanging over them at times that makes giving in to the EX a less noxious choice because THEY might take you back to court but your current spouse probably won't.  Or the fact that so many men just haven't been as equipped to actually parent because Ex did that care before.. etc..

We don't foresee our partners' families aligning with EX's.. or the neediness that a kid can have.. even an ADULT kid... or the depths of that interdependance.

Shoot, it's hard enough to find decent people to partner with and then we find these S show guys that have families that make things 1000 times worse.  And.. then there is the rushing in that so many of us do.. having kids with guys that are already not doing a great job with "first kid".. because things will improve how?  Or even moving in quickly and then realizing that life isn't that easy with kids that aren't yours..even if it's just on the weekend.. Controlling Exes that will be jealous of their kid's feelings towards any other person but themselves.. yeah.. definitely it's like we do know on the one hand that it won't be all roses.. but sometimes the reality is so much worse than we can imagine.

iamlosingit's picture

What we don't foresee is often how poorly our partners deal with the situation..

This ^^^^^^


And the sad part is most DH's never thought they would be like this either, or living this scenario themselves.  My DH never thought he would NOT be with the person he chose to have a child with.  He never thought he would have a "schedule" to see his son.  He wanted a family.  BM and DH were engaged before she got pregnant, due to a long engagement she let her "true colors" show after SS was born and they split up before even setting a date (thank god).  DH said if he would have known how she was going to be as a mother, he never would have started a family with her.

Sotired345's picture

400+? Our BM gets 800 a month for child support all day care costs covered by my husbands father, half the rent covered by her boyfriend clothes school supplies also covered and she still wants more money. This type of marriage really kind of sucks that I didn’t know I was getting into. 

Willow2010's picture

Honestly…I think a lot of us DID know.  We just ignored ALL of the red flags.  Well, I didn’t.  I saw them all (well a lot, lol) right off the bat.  No way was I going to move me or my kids into the dysfunction that was DH, SS and BM.  No thank you.  We “dated” for 8ish years.  Did not live together during all of that time. 


There are the rare few that really did not see it.  But in the big picture, I think most did but ignored it.   You see it here every day. 

People going through step hell and STILL getting married.   And I have also noticed that it seems like a lot of SMs, who did not see it, got married to DH in a big hurry, so there was no time to see it. 


iamlosingit's picture

while I can agree with that to an extent, I think one other factor is you see the "red flags" but naively think that "it will get better as the skid gets older".  

How are we to know how skid will be as they grow up?  Some adjust well to the changes, some don't.  I imagine there is a lot of confusion due to separate households, a lot of guilt from both parents, guilt from one parent being able to provide more "fun" due to support and now you can't, (not always the case, but it is with ours), the skid feels "guilt" if he/she shows a preference to one parent over another...the list goes on.  Some skids also use the guilt to their advantage, becoming masters at getting exactly what they want from both mom and dad, refusing to "grow up" because mom and dad have done so much FOR them out of guilt, etc.  It just sucks, 

Also, please keep in  mind: "a lot of SMs who did not see it, got married to DH in a big hurry"....True for some, I can agree.  In our case BM didn't truly become a terror until she found out about DH and I getting married.  She was bad but tolerable before, then she just lost it. And we didn't get married in a hurry, we were engaged over 3 years, together for 6 before marriage.  THEN once she realized I wasn't going anywhere, her focus became "make DH miserable".  Sometimes we are led to believe BM isn't so bad...then once they see DH isn't "coming back"...*poof* angry, spiteful, manipulative BM.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Exactly... We did KNOW they had kids... Doesn't mean we knew all the drama and chaos and they psychotic ex's habits... Neither did we understand the freaking mine field of stepping light so you don't cause too big of an explosion.

Iamwoman's picture

Nice rant!

Yes, DH and I both have kids. 

DH sends $1000 monthly to HCBM for CS. So $12,000 a year.

I love DH and from what I’ve read and seen, he is far easier to deal with than most others when it comes to skids. We are usually on the same page, and he resents the behavior and attitudes almost as much as I do (he just has the love that I don’t for skids).

That being said, we DID have a blow up argument about money this summer (our first money argument ever in 8 years).

DH is a car guy and OSS13 wants a Mustang. DD15 has agreed to purchase my car (a 2005 Jeep that I’ve kept in great condition). She has been working her a$$ off since 2nd grade, earning money here and there to include her recent summer job. She is 6 months away from purchasing my car.

DH said to me this summer that he wants to buy a Mustang for OSS13. I just about flipped my sh!t. I pointed out how DD15 has busted her butt from the age of 7 to earn a car (straight A’s, perfect test scores, chores, jobs outside the home, setting aside birthday money in a savings account, etc). 

I asked him how he thinks it’s fair that OSS13 can misbehave in school, get poor grades, be a complete pain at our home (until this past year but he still messes up in school), and spend his every spare moment sitting on a$$, and it’s ok to just HAND him his dream car??? While DD15 is BUYING a 13 year old car???

Dh’s excuses: well, OSS13 can work on the Mustang and fix it up himself, and DD15 won’t. Besides, we just paid $6000 in tutoring for DD15 (due to gaps in common core learning for her age group), and $4000 for an international educational trip that DD15 is taking next summer.

Iamwoman points out that yes, $10,000 is a lot of money, isn’t it? We have NEVER even come close to spending that much on DD15, but this year we did.

Meanwhile we spend $12,000 a year on skids!! Granted we don’t choose where that money is spent, but it is our money being spent nonetheless. So far, we’ve spent nearly $100,000 on skids since we’ve been together!!

DH scoffed and said that’s child support- it’s different.

NO DH!!! It’s not different!!!! Money is money!!! Just because I choose to send DD15 overseas and pay corn tutoring while HCBM spends all of her CS at Disney and eating at restaurants every damn day (while I cook homemade every day) doesn’t mean we aren’t spending that money on skids!!!

Like I said, this was our first skid-money argument. I used to think my DH was a gem, but after this argument, I’m very worried that he’s no better than the rest of all the DH’s out there who make excuses to spend gobs and gobs if money on skids.

A Mustang?? For a brat??

It is ridiculously frustrating when I go to every effort to raise my own child correctly, and DH decides poor OSS13 needs a Mustang because “it’s not his fault he has a bad mom who lets him behave poorly and do poorly in school, and who most likely won’t make an effort to drive OSS13 to a summer job daily as I did with DD15.”

Ugh. Yuck. No, DH, but it’s also not DD15’s fault. Why should she work her a$$ off while you just hand OSS13 a freaking Mustang?

I hope to God DH doesn’t continue down this thought path. He made the choice to give up full custody of the skids and not be the main parent and disciplinarian and now he feels sorry for them? Wtf?!

blayze's picture

For several years, I endured. “Love will find a way!” Then I picked up my battered heart and left the man and those kids before I said some non-takebackable words that would have scarred the kids for life. 

I wish I had known that some mothers are both overbearing and negligent at the same time... 

...that a woman would fight so hard to destroy her ex’s chance at love and then abandon the very kids she claimed to protect. 

I didn’t know that kids would bite the hand that fed them..and I fed them with my own money, in my own kitchen, with a potfull of love.  But nature trumps nurture. I wish I’d known that I didn’t have a chance. 

I did not know that a father could be such a punk ass!  My male role models loved their daughters, but still sat in the king’s seat of their home. 

While my now-EX sat in the dunce chair, Ringmaster of the Shit Show, without the slightest inkling of how to solve such EASY problems with his kids and their dum-dum-mama. 

And now that we’re going on 2.5 years of living apart, he relishes the quiet nights we share.  And when I well up with emotion about how he could be so effing stupid as to ruin the family we were trying to build, he FINALLY gets it...holds me close...listens to my tirade...tries to comfort me...makes apologies...tells me how much his brats miss much I taught them...

But true to my word, now that I “know what I’m getting into”, I’ll never lay eyes on those damaged goods again. The apple doesn’t fall far from the whore. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

you hit me right in the feels with your post.

I award you Reddit silver for this post. What that? This isn't Reddit? I don't care.

blayze's picture

You and I have had similar experiences, or just arrived at the same depressing conclusions!

marblefawn's picture

I do sometimes wonder how the hell I didn't see this dynamic between my husband and SD before we married.

I guess they were coming out of estrangement, so he wasn't with her often and he didn't want to rock the boat by having me there.

Hindsight...that's all I can say.

Siemprematahari's picture

Being a step parent doesn't come with instructions so everyone that says "we knew what we were getting into" can miss me with that comment. Like any life experience we don't KNOW, we live through them, hopefully learn from them, and try to do better the next time. There is no manual for this. You can't go to chapter 3, page 80 and read about how to deal with "disrespectful Skids, or what to do when they curse you out or don't clean up after themselves". Going in most times you don't know that their mother/father is a psychopath who will do anything to sabotage, lie, and poison their child against you. This is all a learning experience, sometimes you see the red flags and other times you don't.

We live and we learn!

iamlosingit's picture

honestly before I learned about this site, I had no idea "disengagement" was a term/thing.  I thought it was me being an a$$hole.  Now it's saved a lot of my sanity.  The saying "pick your battles" becomes a mantra.  Even that can be a good/bad thing.  It's nuts.  Doesn't help how a lot of the old kid tv shows and movies portrayed SM, there were so many movie plots "dad's seeing someone else, lets make her life a living hell/play pranks/etc to get him back together with mom!" I sometimes wonder if that plays a part too?  I can't think of a single movie where a SM is a "good guy".  I swear there used to be a post about this a long time ago on here.

Major Blunder's picture

For me there were no red flags, when we started out the Skids and I got on great, I took them as my own and treated them as my own, and they in turn treated me as their parent, I only remember once that OSD pulled the “You’re not my Dad!” card on me and never again.

BD was never a problem per se he was just not responsible and still is not to this day, but even he recognizes that I have been the responsible one for them.

Never any problems till they hit their midteens and decided they wanted to followed the paths of stupidity and not self correct did we have problems, I continued to act like a parent like I always had and they decided I was no longer worthy of that title so now here I am disengaged from them.

NO I didn’t know what I was getting into because I don’t have an effing crystal ball and anyone who says that line is a complete imbecile, if we had the ability of knowing what we were getting into everyone on planet Earth would be completely satisfied with their lives since they could make all the right decisions ( ok maybe not everyone, quite a few dullards out there that would still mess that up.)

Even Bio parents don’t have the luxury of knowing what they are getting into with their offspring so how would we as Step Parents have this mutant ability????

I know this originated from a post on another blog and I was ready to lambaste that poster but what’s the use they probably wouldn’t realize it was about them without calling them out by name.

iamlosingit's picture

it was the comment on the other post that made me post this because it reminded me of all the times I would try to talk to DH about something regarding SS.....and if it wasn't positive or he thought I was "being too harsh" HE has said that line to me!

"you knew I had a son"...knowing you have a son and knowing his and DH behaviors?  VERY different.  Lets not get into BM behavior....I'm sure a lot of us could write a book.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

As an added comment... I think more annoying that "you knew what you were getting into" is "well she was there first..." When it comes to the ex. Like the he!!? Reading the comments reminded me of that... 

Iamwoman's picture

I’m so glad no one has ever told me “she was there first.” I think my head might explode.

If we put all of our exes ahead of our spouses then there is no point to being married.

Yes, she was there first, and she effed up, and now she’s not there anymore, except what is commanded by the law. That’s why it’s called an “ex!” They are permanently ex-communicated from your life.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

It about did make mine explode... They're lucky I bit my tongue and walked away from that one. i don't see why I should be seen as lesser in MY MARRIAGE simply because I didn't manage to get here before Psycho.

I got told that about the skids once too. I looked at them like they were insane. I don't care  if they were here first, they're the kids, I'm the adult.

Maria10's picture

So when they say that i tell them that technically I was there first! Lol...bahahahah

Also i would've had to be younger than 18 in order to get there first! 

Iamwoman's picture

I’m I’m the same boat as you Maria. I’ve known DH since we were 12... same technicality!

HCBM absolutely seethed when she found out I was there first after all!! She had a long list of “warnings” and “I know him better than you ever will” phrases lined up to use on whatever poor woman he wound up with. Unfortunately for her (and luckily for me!) DH wound up with me, and her laundry list of spooky, false “warnings” fell flatter than overwhipped merengue.