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Am I Overeacting? Is my life perfect or am I being used?

josephcarpenter66's picture

I have been in a serious relationship with my SO for 3 years. Living together for the past 2 years. She has a 7 year old and she has been dialing up my step parent responsibilities little by little. At first it was nice having the little guy around but then I felt my independence being chipped away at little by little. I love both my SS and my SO. However, recently she received a very prestigious job and we moved together across the country with her son. She works long hours and thus I have been doing a lot of the parenting. I am currently not working, she has been supporting me financially which I am grateful for since I haven't landed a job yet. We live in a beatiful home and live a great life otherwise. But I am feeling limited as to what I can do with my life right now seeing as I am taking care of her son more or less full time when he is not at school. She is increasingly trying to get me to take him to various classes and activities. I am lonely having left my friends, career, and family behind. I feel trapped yet conflicted as I love where we live now but can't stomach being a full time stepdad as I can't focus on building a new life for myself. I am ashamed that I don't want to step up in that regard but I do feel taken advantage of (I am sure she does as well since she has been paying all the bills). But our relationship feels very transactional and if she doesn't get her way there is hell to pay and she wears me down until I relent and do more of the parenting. I am proud of her for her accomplishments and success but I do not see it fair to take on the brunt of the burden of raising her son even though she constantly reframes it as "our son" and "you signed up for this." We have been here for 2 months now and haven't had a date night or true time to ourselves. I am a stay at home step dad that feels limited by the jobs I can take on because of the demands of my partner's career. Am I overreacting? If he was my son I feel I wouldn't be complaining about my situation but he is not. I do not feel like a man if I can't support myself or contribute to my family financially. I have been doing a great job with keeping up with chores around the house and helping him with his homework... He really is a magical kid and I want to be involved I just feel like it has been all work and no play and now I feel trapped and or used. I see her as my soulmate but I do not know if me being responsible for dropping him off/picking him up from school, feeding him helping him every day etc is really my Responsibility? I feel more like a Manny than an equal partner. She says things will change once I get a job but I can see her as trying to manipulate me once I do get a job to still be super step dad and her limiting her responsibilities. Should I shut up and just be super step dad and do my best to get a job that fulfills me and see how our arrangements will be? or do I end things and pursue my passions without worry of a family until I can handle my own stuff? There is a lot to unpack here. I am used to being the bread winner and the successful / driven one and I feel less like that everyday.


advice.only2's picture

"...a little too ironic..."

OP you aren't even married, therefore you are not even the stepfather. Short answer yes you are being used.

josephcarpenter66's picture

Is it ironic because I answered my own question?

tog redux's picture

Seems unfair to me that you are supposed to just shut up and do what she says and have no needs of your own. Where is the boy's father?

I don't know if you are being used - but you sure aren't being listened to.

josephcarpenter66's picture

I need to speak up more... the boys father is MIA. 

I do have a lot of time to myself. I am just concerend that even if I do start a job that things wont get better. But I will only know that if I get a job. 


Thank you

josephcarpenter66's picture

Thank you.

josephcarpenter66's picture

Need to step things up to be fair and give this a real shot. I need a job for my own validation. If it doesn't get better after that then I pull the plug. 

Thank you and Goodluck to you as well.

futurobrillante99's picture

If you go get a job (any job) you can chip in financially and she can use the savings to put junior in a daycare or before and after school program.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Your gut is telling you something is wrong for you, and you should listen to it.

Sounds like your gf has arranged things quite satisfactorily - for her. But the child is not your responsibilty no matter how much your gf wants to turn you into New Improved Daddee. She gets to go to work (an activity that contributes to self worth), meets new people and challenges, while you're warehoused playing the role she keeps pressing on you.

Your life is out of balance atm. You are responsible for you, regardless of the golden cage in which you live. Even between commited partners there has to be a level of separateness that allows for personal growth and differing obligations. She's a parent; you're not. Your priority should be deciding what YOU want for YOUR life, creating a plan, and pursuing it. If you're not comfortable with being New Daddee, then don't do it. 

Find a job, even one you're overqualified for while you search for one that's a better fit. Make a living, start creating a nest egg and establishing a social network while you mull this over. Don't be available for daycare service, and double up on birth control. 

josephcarpenter66's picture

The gut is telling me to leave. It is hard walking away from something you have invested in. We found ourselves having this conflicts often with incrimental improvements. I am confused but yes I need to reposes my time and build up something on the side and evaluate things from there. 

ndc's picture

Is watching the SS keeping you from finding a job?  Limiting the jobs you can apply to?  If so, you have a problem.  You have no security with your SO, you're in a new area and you are dependent on her.  Your life will be expanded once you get a job and have co-workers, meet additional people in your new area, etc.  Don't let watching her kid keep you from furthering *your* career.  If she has such a great job, she should be able to afford before and after school care.  She can find someone to ferry her child to activities.  Of course, if you're home anyway, you can do it, but don't put off opportunities or delay putting in the required time to your job search to do so.

Winterglow's picture

It seems to me that your situation suits her but not you. Her expectations of you are keeping you hemmed in at home, stopping you from fully going after a good job, and hampering you finding friends. You made the concession to follow her to her new job, what has she given you in return? She isn't allowing you to stay home, she's keeping you at home.

My solution is that you tell her to find a nanny. The child is not your responsibility, he is hers. I presume her salary reflects the prestige of her job so let her find and pay for one. That would leave your hands free to go out there and find the job that will make you feel like a human being again and less like a slave. It's time for you to build a life for yourself there. Go for it!

Husband's wife's picture

My DH followed me because of my job. Now I do not have any previous kids but I would never expect DH to give up his career, going out with coworkers and friends and sit at home with cooking, cleaning and taking care of our kid.

He first started to try working from home. He was excellent in helping with chores but I could see he was not happy. I was the one who convinced him to find an interesting job. I am happy to see him happy. I didn't marry a cleaning lady and didn't expect him to become one.

Now we have a nanny and a cleaning lady that is also ironing. With my good job and his additional income we can largely afford it. 

If you are unhappy in a role of a housewife, which I understand and would never become one personally, despite being a woman, you should talk to your partner and find a job. 
good luck !

justmakingthebest's picture

Honestly it seems like you really do have more options than you are giving yourself. You can be job hunting while SS is in school. Almost all schools have a before and after care program that is super easy, fast and fairly inexpensive compared to daycares that do before and after school. 

Get a job, get your own money and start having an adult life again. Once you secure that job find a babysitter on and go out and celebrate with your SO!

We are a military family so moving around is par for the course. You utilize what you have and sometimes, until you establish you "village" you use services like to interview and hire a couple of date night sitters!

josephcarpenter66's picture

She asked me to leave.... so I am. New beginnings here I come. Thank you to all for your perspectives.