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Feeling understood from an unlikely source

New_to_this's picture

I love this website because here I feel understood. I'm unable to share my frustrations and fears with people in my life for various reasons, so this is the place to I come to to feel a sense of validation and understanding for what I go through as a step mother.

But, this holiday season, I felt understood by the most unlikely person - DH's mom! Although I've visited DH's family during Christmas for seven years now, DH's mom and I don't get a chance to really know each other since we live far away and see DH's family only two times a year, if that.

DH always puts up a front that life is good and doesn't talk about skid and BM issues to anyone. Because of that, I'm reluctant to say anything to friends and his family, unless I feel that it must be said. For instance, I've forced DH to tell his mom about certain issues because she takes the skids for two weeks in the summer. To me, it's unfair to not let her in on what she's getting herself into. She deserves to know and make the determination whether she actually wants to take them on. Because of that, she is aware of some of our issues with the skids and BM.

This year while visiting, just she and I went shopping, so we were able to talk. She had concerns about SD17 and what she thought was a possible inappropriate relationship with a mentor, so I had quell her concerns by letting her know more about the messed up story of our life.

And, I was a little shocked at her response, but I knew she empathized with my situation based on her past and little comments here and there, so it wasn't completely surprising. She had a stepdaughter with her first husband who passed away [she hasn't talked to her stepdaughter in ages and DH and his siblings (those that we visit) are only facebook friends with her]. After being widowed, she got remarried to DH's stepfather and has been with him for over 25 years.

She said to me, "being a step mother is the's absolutely the worst...after [DH's dad] died, I told myself that I would never love someone so much that I'd make them a stepparent."

I felt a comradery like I had never felt before. She completely understood what I was going through. But, like I said, she is remarried and has had more children with DH's stepdad. But, I think that's what happens to all of us. We're human. We all know how terrible step life is, but our life goes on, we find love, and we either forget or we tell ourselves that this time it's different.


Evil3's picture

I have told people, especially my DD17, to never ever ever ever get involved with a man who already has kids. I've had to be careful about how I say it because DD is both my DH's and my DD and SD is DD's sister. DD adores her sister, so it's hard to express why being an SM was hell on earth for me. I have even told people in front of DH to never marry someone who already has kids. I've been vague in front of DH and said that it's because second family is second rate, but I have not gone into great detail about the hell I've been through and the many years of secret counselling I've gone to just to try to save my marriage.

New_to_this's picture

I think that I will also be telling DS the same thing when he's an adult. I'm not the type that is blunt and direct, but I think I need to be.

Dh's mom said those things to me well after I had shared our issues about the skids and BM, so we were actually around family. I know that DH heard the part where she said that she told herself that she'd never love someone enough to make them a step parent. She wasn't making any attempts to hide it. She also wasn't hiding her stories about the lousy things that her stepdaughter did. I sometimes wonder if, instead of hiding how crappy our situation is, DH and I were upfront to people about issues, that maybe I would feel less alone and bad about it. But, that would require DH to see his problem child, SS, in a light that is very unflattering. Like me, his mom sees it and can talk to me about it, but he can't.

SuperStep's picture

I feel your pain. I would not recommend anyone get involved in a step-situation. Stay single. Date the SO and wait out the "kid-years" until maybe they get married, then consider joining more permanently. Otherwise staying single is quite ok.

Tiger7's picture

This is a really good forum and I'm also glad I found it. Feels good to be able to vent when needed and to bond with others.