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WHY can't I love my stepson?

young_step_mom's picture

I don't even know the point of this post, maybe just to get it out because I've been feeling so overwhelmed here. 

I had a very difficult time with my SS when he was younger. I've been in his life since he was two, hes now 13. When he was younger, I attributed a lot of my feelings, dislike, resentment, whatever, to his mother. She has always been problematic. It was so hard for me. When my stepson was 8, my husband and I moved away for work. I know it was really hard on my husband and SS, going from seeing each other every weekend to every third weekend, sometimes once a month, it was an adjustment. Honestly, for me it was such a relief. When we lived near BM, at least once a week we had some issue come up. Once we moved, the issues seemed to only come up when we were going for a visit or when holidays would come up and SS wanted to come spend longer stretches with us. There have been so many ups and downs, but it's been five years since we moved away and I feel like we have all adapted to this new routine. In this time, I feel like I've grown to have a better relationship with my SS.

Now I'm pregnant. Because I can WFH, we came for an extended stay in my husband's hometown. SS has been staying with us since we've been here (almost two months now). We left once for a couple days because I had a doctor's appointment, but SS came to stay with us as soon as we came back. Now I'm getting close to my due date (a little over 6 weeks out), and we're going back on Friday. We won't be coming back before baby is born because it's too far to travel. I have to be honest, it's been hard for me to be here for so long. I had forgotten how needy my in-laws are (especially my mother-in law, she's a sweet woman but whenever my husband is here she acts like she can't do a damn thing herself and needs him to come help her every day).  Thankfully we haven't heard much from BM, she's been surprisingly nice about letting SS stay with us for so long, but I have to say I've been very annoyed with my SS. He's 13, but still very clingy with my husband (possibly because of the baby?) and we haven't had any time alone. He's afraid of everything. He can't come upstairs/downstairs by himself because it's dark. We need to leave the hall light outside his room on until after he falls asleep. He cried because he wanted to see my FIL and he was working and couldn't come over for dinner. My husband's cousins had a baby shower breakfast for my SIL and I this weekend (there were 8 of us total) and he pouted and whined because he wasn't originally on the guest list. Honestly, I'm ready to go home. I was so so looking forward to it, but now my SS is pouting because he wants to come back with us. I overheard him and my husband earlier and I've been pretty much hiding out in my room since. I don't know exactly what happened since I don't want to discuss it in front of my SS and he's stuck to my husband like glue all day. I heard BM call DH and I heard him talking to my SS after the call. SS had called/texted his mother and told her he wanted to come, didn't say anything to DH about it, just reached out to her for permission.

I don't know exactly what was said, but I am stressing out about him coming back with us. BM had given him permission to stay with us when we first got here, but he was supposed to go home 3 weeks ago. Then 3 weeks ago, he called her and said he wanted to stay longer and she she said one more week and that "one more week" has now become three weeks. I heard DH say BM only gave him permission to come out for two weeks, but I'm sure those two weeks could turn into two months and it stresses me out. I'm worried about how he'll get back here, DH would have to drive him back and honestly that stresses me out too -being left alone and possibly going into labor on my own. If SS is still with us when I go into labor, what do we do? We have no one to watch him and he can't come to the hospital. Again, me in labor alone. One of my ILs could come get him, but again we don't live close and it would take them 6+ hours to get to us and my SIL is due about two weeks after me, so they could be busy with her (they're watching her 5 yr old when she goes into labor) and not be able to come out at all. I'm also stressing about money. DH has been out of work for two months (one of the reasons we were able to come for an extended stay) and being here has really cut into our savings. SS eats like an adult and I'm spending so much extra money on groceries alone. And of course, we're still paying CS so it's like I'm paying double. Our savings (which I had sort of set aside for pregnancy related expenses) have taken a huge hit. And although all of these are issues and all stress me out, the bottom line is I am just annoyed with my SS and want time away from him. I feel so guilty. He is not a bad kid. He's been so excited about his baby sister and he's been attentive and nice to me but I am so annoyed all of the time. I don't know how to love him or at this point even really tolerate him. I feel so badly for feeling this way, I don't know what to do anymore.


tog redux's picture

First off, stop beating yourself up for not loving him - he's not your child, and he sounds fairly annoying. 13 is an annoying age, so be happy if you even like the kid.

Second, why don't YOU get a say in whether or not SS comes back with you and how long he stays? Why doesn't your DH care about your worries and feelings about possibly being alone in labor and having to deal with his clingy son while you are heavily pregnant? You should have a say in these matters.  I hope you have spoken up, because if you haven't, your DH might think you are okay with everything.

Third, if you are accepting that he's going to come back with you and stay (doesn't he have to go to school?), then make plans for when you go into labor.  See if a neighbor would let him stay with them, or hire an older teenager in the neighborhood to come stay with him when you go to the hospital.

young_step_mom's picture

Thank you for your reply. I did speak to DH about it just now and he was on the same page about him not coming with us, but I can totally see SS crying and my husband feeling guilty about it and trying to find some compromise. He says he doesn't think it's a good idea but it still stresses me out.


As for some one to watch him, we genuinely don't have anyone. Our city has the highest number of cases in the country and any friends/neighbors that could possibly watch him have left the city. I have an aunt who lives in the city, but she's older and high risk and I don't know that she would be willing to watch him (they've never even met). 

tog redux's picture

Then DH needs to man up and deal with his guilt - and send his son back to BM. I agree with those below that BM is more than happy to ruin your first child's birth for you by playing on DH's guilt.  It won't kill SS to not get his way.

SteppedOut's picture

So your husband is blowimg through your savings for maternity costs while he isn't working (but you are) and keeps adding on costs by letting ss call the shots....all while continuing to give bm cs... which, he has to due to the court order... but come on.

I can definitely see how a whining, immature 13yr old is annoying... but if I was you, I would be LIVID with with my husband.

You have to have a very frank conversation with him about allllll this nonsense, including ss NOT coming back with you! If he insists I would be damn well tempted to tell him to stay and you will find someone reliable and available to help you during birth and the first couple weeks after. 

Enough of this bullcrap.

young_step_mom's picture

I definitely feel like SS has more say than he should. I know we won't get this opportunity again (extended stay with SS) which is one of the reasons I agreed in the first place, but I didn't think it would be this long. We budgeted before coming out here but it took me about a week to realize we were way way off on what we thought we would be spending. He appears to be on the same page about SS not coming out but we'll see if that lasts once SS starts crying and making sad eyes at him.

Picardy III's picture

You say "Thankfully we haven't heard much from BM, she's been surprisingly nice about letting SS stay with us for so long."

Think the more likely explanation is she *knows* SS's presence encroaches on your end of pregnancy and labor, particularly DH's availability to you when you need him most. And she's happy as a pig in sh!t to make SS a thorn in your side at this time.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

And get a break from parenting while getting paid to do parenting. 

JRI's picture

A win-win for BM.  SS out of her hair and CS coming in with the added benefit that however it goes, she's ahead.  If SS goes with you, more freedom and cash.  If he doesnt, she can play the "poor SS, mean ole Daddy" card.

You must sit down with DH and have a serious discussion about money and how now is not the time to have a houseguest when you ate getting rrady to give birth.

young_step_mom's picture

I was pretty shocked with her attitude. I thought at best we would do one week on one week off but nope, nothing. I did consider the CS thing, she hasn't had to spend a dime on him in two months and she still has money coming in. I did bring this up with DH a little while ago when we talked about this and he did agree that we've gone through more money than we had anticipated, he says he agrees about SS not coming out but we'll see.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Like Tog said. Your opinion should matter with regard to drastically changing custody. Also, the fact that you have to worry about finding a babysitter for a 13-year-old and him being afraid to go upstairs alone, afraid of the dark, etc., makes me think he is either developmentally delayed or has been coddled and babied way too much. No wonder you don't want to be around him. His behavior is not normal. Does your DH even admit there is an issue with his behavior, or is he too flattered by the attention that he doesn't see that his teenage son is acting like a preschooler? 

young_step_mom's picture

He does see the behavior and he's been trying to push him on the sleeping with the light on and that stuff. The clingy part he assumes is because of the new baby, honestly he had dropped the clingy attitude years ago so I'm not sure if it's the baby or we just hadn't noticed because we hadn't done an extended stay like this. He has definitely been coddled, especially by BM and FIL. 

ESMOD's picture

It's really nice.. your husband has had an extended vacation.  The truth of the matter is that at this point.. with a baby coming and savings dwindling.. he needs to refocus his efforts on bringing home a paycheck.  He won't be able to do that if his son is tagging back along with you.  Also, being so advanced in your pregnancy.. you don't need the extra work/stress of caring for another person in your home.  The logistics don't really work in this case.

I think your husband needs to be honest with his young teen son who is old enough to hear the truth.

"Son, I am so happy we were able to come for this visit.  We have all had a great time, but I need to get back to work and it isn't a good time for you to visit because I will be busy job hunting and working.  Maybe we can work on having a longer visit with us next summer when school is out for the year"


young_step_mom's picture

This was originally more or less the agreement we had made. We made a budget and planned our trip out here, I calculated how long we could live off savings, etc. and then we were going to go back and DH was going to start looking for work. The issue is we didn't account for SS eating more than DH and I combined, and for him to be with us the entire two months. Not even one night with BM! We spoke last night and again this morning and it looks like we're on the same page, I just hope when it comes down to it on Friday, DH doesn't let the guilt get to him!

Rumplestiltskin's picture

The more i think about it, the more it gnaws at me.

"Why can't i love this boil on my butt? I mean, as boils go, it's not at all a bad one. I've heard about worse boils, and this one isn't nearly as bad as some. But it hurts sometimes and it smells! I have tried soaking it and putting medicine on it but for some reason when i try to deal with it myself it makes the boil get worse, at least at first, and it makes my spouse mad. I think if he would just let me try to deal with it i might be able to make some progress, but he keeps getting in my way!

When i want to go to the doctor he tells me i must be doing something wrong to need to go. Wtf?! Everyone in my life tells me to stop worrying, that i should just love it. I feel like i should, but i can't. Why can't i love it? There must be something horribly wrong with me!"

It would be ridiculous to be expected to love anything or anyone else that is hurtful to you. And to feel like you have no control over this situation, to be undermined when you try to exert any kind of control or effort to make the situation better, who could love anything about that? There is nothing wrong with you. 


young_step_mom's picture

Thank you! This is so spot on. I don't think SS is a bad kid but he is annoying and you're absolutely right in that I feel like I have so little control over the situation. It's overwhelming and makes me feel completely powerless!

advice.only2's picture

That's two months your DH could have been looking for a job, or working, even part time minimum wage.

young_step_mom's picture

We had agreed to come out here when he got laid off, so I can't blame that on him.  If things had gone the way I had pictured (SS with us half the time and eating like a normal person, not a teenage bottomless pit) maybe I wouldn't be so frustrated. I just feel like it's been one change in plans after another and it's definitely making me stress.

JRI's picture

Its not a question of you loving SS or not, it is logistics.