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New to Step-Parenting!

SORMOORE's picture

Hi Everyone!  I am fairly new to the "wonderful world" of being a step-parent and at first it was all hunky dory and I thought this would be simple as can be.  My fiance and his ex wife have gone through a very messy split since 2015 at which time they got divorced.  Shortly after their divorce they decided to give it another try but of course it failed.  Of course this couldn't be one of those "easy" divcorces (is there really such a thing) where they were both applicable and always had the best interest of their son in mind but that was not the case.  

A court battle ended last year where his ex-wife attempted to gain full custody of their son and relocate him to Arkansas where her family is from.  During that court battle many horrible things were said by both parties (my fiance included) and it became very messy.  Both parties were talking poorly about eachother in front of their son and I did my best to try and shield that and point it out when my fiance was doing it with his family.  In the end, the ex-wife lost the battle and their son had to remain here in Colorado at which time a court order was placed on rules that needed to be followed.  These rules include a set schedule for parenting time, school and outside activities of choice, and "bad mouthing" the other parent in front of the child.  I thought everything would be settled and we could go on leading a happy life but unfortunatley I was wrong.

The ex wife continues to try and start arguments with my fiance and also bad mouths us in front of their son.  Their son has made several comments to us about things that are being said in her home around him but he justifies this by saying "When my mom gets mad she just says mean things, but its ok".  We've tried to explain to him that even when you are made you cannot treat other people poorly and he seems to understand that until he goes back to his moms for a week.  We share custody week on week off, so for 7 days we do not get to see him.  When he comes back from his mom's it feels like we have to start all over again on making sure he is respectful in our home.  He does not like to listen and will throw fits when he doesnt get his way, and he is completely disrepectful to me.  I try and go above and beyond to make sure he feels loved and understood in our home but I find myself starting to resent him because he continues to treat me poorly and he is only 7!  

Yesterday for example, was the first time we have gotten to see him in over a week as his mom asked if she could keep him longer to visit her family in Arkansas and we of course said yes.  When I picked him up after school I asked him how his day was and he said "good" and then I asked him how his trip was and what he did on his adventure and he said "I don't have to tell you anything'".  My heart was completely shattered and I was at a loss for words because I was so excited to see him.  I tried to change the subject and said "Your dad is going to be so happy to see you" and he completely ignored me.  On a very silent drive home after that he asked if he could go play with the neighbor kids and I said not today because we haven't seen you in over a week and we want to spend time with you and he completely ignored me and kept asking to the point where he was throwing a fit.  I was on the verge of crying so I let him go and proceeded to cry in the house because I felt so...lost.  

I am sure I am not the only person who has gone through this and I could really use to input from other people on how to handle this type of situtation.  I've tried being overly nice to his mother by taking him shopping for gifts during mothers day and valentines day but it still seems like she cannot stand me and just wants him to hate me.  I'm to the point where I just want to disengage all together but I know I have to push through because we are expecting our first child together in please help...


Step-girlfriend's picture

You pretty much just described my SO's divorce and relationship with BM. She also trashes us to skids. I get it, it's really hard.

All I can suggest, is stop trying with BM. No matter how much time goes by, most of these women manage to hold onto their anger and hatred of us simply because we are in their kids lives. It's not worth putting effort into. You will only be disappointed, and nothing will change despite your efforts. The issue is in their own minds. I tried with Crazy BM here- no dice. She is still as mean and nasty as when I came into the picture over 3 years ago. I have no contact with her, and it is amazing. I have gotten much better at letting what she says roll off my shoulders.

Next, you need to sort out that disrespect thing, stat. I would not allow a child to talk to me like that without him understanding that it's not ok. He's a kid! Your Fiance needs to address it and make sure SS knows it's unacceptable, and consequences will follow. Don't allow it yourself. When he said he didn't have to tell you anything, I would have said, "you're right, but you do need to be polite. Now you don't need to play with the neighbors until you learn to speak to adults respectfully, so you can go to your room and think about why it's not ok to talk to people like that." I understand it's hurting your feelings, but letting him get away with it is certainly not going to help anything.

Good luck, and I'm sorry you're dealing with this....

ntm's picture

Let him go play with his friends, unless you had special plans. But to make him stay home with parent types when he wants to see his friends is going to make him resent you. 

notsurehowtodeal's picture

Maybe try a different approach when you first get him after he has been with BM. I know it seems natural to ask questions about what he did on his trip - but it is quite possible he has been told by BM not to tell you things. So he ends up in a loyalty bind. Talk to him about something else that interests him like sports or movies or video games - something that doesn't require him to talk about his time w/BM. Or don't even talk at all - give him a chance to decompress and readjust to being with you.

In this scenario, I'd let him go play for a while - it will give him a chance to make the transition from  BM's house to your house more slowly.