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Feeling lonely as a step mom

Lynz's picture

Yesterday I had a pretty big meltdown. My stepson was at his orientation for college. Called me and asked me to come down and help him with something. It was an hour walk to the college and when I got there he was walking with the other students to a room to sign up for classes. He walked right past me without saying hello and I asked him how he was doing. He said he didn't need me there after all and he had to go do some other stuff. I told him Id just go ahead and walk home then if he didn't need me and he just walked off without saying thank you or goodbye or anything.
I cried the whole time walking home, I felt heartbroken. I felt like I am less than a human being in the eyes of my stepkids.

I decided to stop at my husband's work because I needed someone. I knew I shouldn't say anything to him about it but I was so upset it all came out. He gave me the response I knew he'd give me because he's said it so many times before. He said his son probably didn't mean to upset me or even know that he did something that upset me.

It wasn't that I believe that my stepson did it to hurt me. My husband is right he has no idea I'm upset. Its that I know he doesn't think about my feelings like he would another persons feelings, he wouldn't have done that to anyone else. It's like I'm not allowed to get upset about anything or have needs of love. It's like I'm expected to mother, and love my kids but if I expect anything in return I'm being mean.

I cried on and off all day yesterday. My husband caught me a couple times. I tried my best to explain how alone I feel. I don't feel like I'm a part of my family. My husband and my kids are the only family I really have.

I feel completely alone. I have no one in my life who is a childless stepmom, that can understand what im going through.
My husband is the olny person I can talk to and the one person I can't talk to about this.
I don't expect my kids attitude towards me to change. I really wish I could make my husband's attitude towards me change. I feel like when I get depressed about the kids he gets defensive like I'm being a bully like I want him to be mad at his kids because I'm upset. I feel like in his mind the kids are perfect but I'm not. even when the kids are being mean they are just kids and we have to except it and be the adults. Thats true but its easier for him because he gets to feel love from them after the fact. If he makes a mistake it's not a big deal if I make a mistake it gets everyones attention. Im not allowed to get upset with the kids or I'm in the wrong. I can't even make a comment to my husband about Feeling unloved by the kids without getting a speech about how the kids are perfect and loving, they just can't show it because of their mom. Anything they do wrong is there moms influence. Most of the time when I ask him to do something about a problem with one of the kids he blows it off. He acts like I'm being over critical. It's like he genuinely believes I'm just being resentful or something.

I feel like I have a good relationship with the kids most of the time. In some ways thats the problem. I let myself believe they love and except me, that they want to see me but I really don't know how they feel about me. Almost every time they come over I feel rejected in some way by one of them. Even when they try to show affection towards me its awkward. Like they don't feel like they should.
I know I'm not there mom and I don't try to be. I get excited for events and holidays only to feel like a 5th wheel. I don't recieve craft projects or gifts for my birthday or holidays. It turns the holidays into a really stressful time were I try to do as much as I can for my family only to feel unloved and unwanted.

I love them like they are my own kids and anytime I am reminded that they don't love me it breaks my heart. 


Cover1W's picture

I hate to tell you this but that's exactly why some SMs here, including me, have disengaged. You aren't the mom, they are not yourkids, you have responsibility without authority and your husband undermines you.

So stop helping with them. They don't want you to. Or, they only want your money and time when it's on their terms.

Be polite and learn to say no, nicely but firmly.





Harry's picture

People on this board do understand what you are feeling.  All of us have been there..   for your own sanity, you must understand you are not there mother.  They have one.  You should be treated better.  Your DH is gaslighting you to keep from parenting his kid. 

That is why you now must disengage,  stop jumping through hoops for SK.  If he wants help.  When you get around to it ! !  He needs something, remember he has a mother and father,  let them handle it.  See if that changes anything ??? 

Disneyfan's picture

Your SS was an ass.

However, it sounds like you are expecting your SKs to fill a void in your life.  You are looking to them to embrace you as family but you can't make people love you.

There are SMs here with SKs that do not give them problems, but they do not love them.   I think the SKs can have the same feelings.  While your SKs should respect you, they are not obligated to love you.

Curious Georgetta's picture

availability.  You are placing an enormous burden on them. You want them to fill a void in your heart. They may be quite fond of you and over time  those feelings may grow into much more.

It is a bit excessive to go to your husband 's job to seek consolation.

A freshman male in college is not likely going to be overly effusive or demonstrative  in front of peers - particularly new peers with whom he has not yet developed solid relationships.

My son asked us to stop kissing him goodbye in front of his friends when he reached age ten.  His standard goodbye now is " later. "

If you have the stamina, free time, and willingness to walk for 2 hours, why not find some volunteer activities to fill some of that void. That would be a way of possibly finding new friends and personally satisfying activities.

The more that you add to your own cup, the less reliant that you are on others to fill you cup.




tog redux's picture

Um- he asked for her to come help him, it's not like she wanted a kiss goodbye in front of his dorm room. An 18-year-old should know better than to ask someone to come help him and then rudely ignore them when they show up.

I'm quite sure you wouldn't tolerate that behavior in YOUR kids, would you?

queensway's picture

Please start to realize this is a place people come to for support. Your post are so rude. This one shows your lack of compassion for people who feel hurt.

sandye21's picture

 "You are placing an enormous burden on them."  "It is a bit excessive to go to your husband 's job to seek consolation."  Again - being offensive but not quite enough to get kicked off of this site.

"A freshman male in college is not likely going to be overly effusive or demonstrative  in front of peers - particularly new peers with whom he has not yet developed solid relationships."  As you wrote, your son acted this way when he was 10.  SS is old enough to know better.

Lynz's picture

So there seems to be some misunderstanding with my blog. The walking for an hour is kind of irrelevant. Yes my ss knew I was going to have to walk and he actually asked me to show up at a specific time. So I was not making him wait while I could have driven. And fyi my husband's work is around the corner from my home otw and he punched out when I got there


I also stated that I'm not putting it on the kid. Hes a teen and doesn't seem to think about how is action effects other people 

I was mainly looking for advice on if any was able to make there spouse empathize with them.  And reaching out because I don't know anyone who is a stepmom. The point of the post is it is lonely when you love your sk and you are regularly reminded of how they don't love you


Gimlet's picture

((hugs)) OP.  It sounds like you put a lot of heart into your relationships with these kids.  Society supports that, because stepmoms are supposed to love their stepkids but nobody expects the same of the kids. I think in a few cases it works out like that but it often ends up being an exercise in futility.

First, if that were my biokid treating my DH like that I would have ripped her a new one.  IDGAF if it's a male or female kid, or how old they are, that behavior is unacceptable.  

" getting a speech about how the kids are perfect and loving, they just can't show it because of their mom" - oh horseshit.  They may feel conflicted and may not feel like they can be affectionate or simply don't want to, but it doesn't excuse blatant rudeness.  Your DH needs to take off the kid goggles, stop making excuses for them, and stop tolerating rudeness.

As for you, I would advise reeling in your expectations.  I suggest you read up on disengagement and consider it for yourself.  I don't love my stepkids and my husband knows it.  They don't love me and that is perfectly fine.  You can have a cordial relationship, but you can't make people reciprocate the effort you are putting in. 

thinkthrice's picture

is an "ostrich."  he will ALWAYS defend his feral brat(s) over you.  Get the book "Stepmonster" and read thoroughly.

Also research stepparent disengagement.

thinkthrice's picture

for your LIFE!!!!

susanm's picture

You said that you did not tell him that what he did was thoughtless, arrogant, and rude.  It sounds like no one has ever told him that anything he does is wrong.  So headed into college he apparently has no idea that the world does not revolve around his immediate wants.  How is that in any way a kindness to him?  He is going to be seriously confused the first time he does something similar to another person and they lose their sh*t on him.  Obviously this is not your issue.  His father should have dealt with this a long time ago.  But this boy has a rough time ahead of him!

If I were you I would completely disengage.  My availablity would reduce to zero.  My cell phone would stop working and I would become far more in demand at work.  The h@ll with the holidays.  Why knock yourself out and get nothing in return?  You are not a Girl Scout or Miss Congeniality.  There is no prize for being the nicest doormat.  If you let them hurt your feelings they will.  They have been trained to do it and will keep it up until someone smacks them down hard enough for it to make an impact.  For some people that never happens and they spend the rest of their life with no understanding of the effect they have on people.  Your DH did them no favors.


Siemprematahari's picture

I'll be damned if I walked an hour to help out a step kid and he turns around like I don't even exist. He would have definitely known my thoughts right in that moment and I would have addressed him ASAP. Your H saw how upset you were and dismissed your feelings like it' no big deal......I'd get in @ss about that too.

Like the other posters mentioned you have to disengage and next time he asks for a favor, you're simply not available. He also may not know and understand that you were upset. If there ever is a next time (hope there isn't) don't just let it go.....

Ispofacto's picture

A few years ago I was working 3rd shift to get my foot in the door with my company for a career change.  I drove home one morning in the pouring rain after working late, in time to see Killjoy12 standing at her bus stop.  By then I couldn't stand her, but should I leave her standing in the rain?  So I pulled up to the bus stop, rolled down my window, and asked her nicely if she wanted a ride to school.  She was mortified, twisted her face with disgust, and puked out a "NOOooooooo!!", and turned her back on me.

LOL.  I guess I cramped the putrid little cherub's style?  She's so cool.  Another kid at the bus stop looked at her like she had two heads.  No wonder she's so popular...NOT...

Good.  Stand in the rain then, little bish.

She did me a favor, I never had to try to do anything nice for her again.

My own kids would have turned to me warmly, with delight, "Moommmm!"

So the answer is:  YES, let them stand in the rain.


concerned2020's picture

I have a SS who lives with us. He did things in the past that were inconsiderate or disrespectful to me.  When this would happen I always took time out of the day it happened to make sure he knew that what he did was not ok with me.  I did not yell or try to make him feel guilty, I just tried to explain to him the right way to treat people in general.  Of course he would huff and puff about the conversation, say "whatever" but I held firm and would tell him that my feelings just like his are not "whatever" and he needed to think about what I was telling him.  He is now 15 yrs old and a sweet, kind heart young man.  Sometimes he slips up but he will realize it very quickly and apologize.  I am not sure if it is just a boy thing and needs to learn this or a boy and step mother thing, but talking with him in a calm manner addressing the actual event seems to have made a big difference in our lives.  I hope this helps.