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How have you managed to turn things around?

Tara456's picture

This is a question for those who have managed to make things come good or liveable/OK? How did you do this? I mean generally, but I'd also really appreciate to hear specifics.

For example:

When there is clearly never going to be a loving relationship between you and the SKs, what "equilibrium" did you find? How did you manage your partner's disappointment/blame about this? Did you disengage? How do you handle your own inner frustrations and disappointment?

When the SKs shown you non-stop contempt, what do you do? From ignoring you, speaking over you etc to leaving their crap everywhere for you to clear up? How did you reach a way with your partner where he stopped believing you both should clean up after them "to avoid conflict"?

How did you cope with feeling like the Outsider? In decision making, in knowing what plans everyone has, in knowing who will come back when, in knowing who isn't going to be around tonight to eat the meal you've spent hours preparing?

How do you cope with visiting OH's family, when the children treat you like you don't exist and ignore you, and all the family sees is a SM who is obviously "cold" to her darling SKs. How do you let the wider family know what you've been having to deal with whilst OH keeps it from them because he never wants his children criticised by anyone?

How did you find a way through never being able to raise any issues with your partner without him going off in a rage?

How did you find a way through your OH refusing to ever discipline his SKs, refusing to ever call them out on their behaviour, refusing to ever have a bad word said against them?

 

Overall, what sort of plateau or arrangement did you manage to reach to remain sane, keep your self respect, repair a damaged relationship with your OH (from so many arguments about things like the above), protect yourself from toxic and bullying SKs, and basically get through this nightmare and manage to come out the other side still together, and keeping the love?

 

ldvilen's picture

Disengagement (on some level).  https://www.steptalk.org/forum/parenting/disengaging

Because as much as everyone seems to think we are supposed to be able to do this as you say--"Remain sane, keep your self respect, repair a damaged relationship with your OH (from so many arguments about things like the above), protect yourself from toxic and bullying SKs, and basically get through this nightmare and manage to come out the other side still together, and keeping the love"--we cannot.  No one can.  

It's pretty much asinine for anyone to have this expectation, but that doesn't stop people from still having it, unfortunately.  Being a step-parenting is truly one of those things that you just cannot understand until you are in it, at least knee deep.

futurobrillante99's picture

I can't offer you anything. I left him and he divorced me. It's all worked out for the better, however. I hope you can make it work, together.

dysfunctionally_blended's picture

I could have written every word years ago.

First, I set clear boundaries with my SO. He already disciplined so that was not an issue. My boundaries were more about BM and skids.

1. Our home was BM free.

2. I would not tolerate disrespect against myself or my bios by skids or BM. He was to handle it and if he didn't I would but my way was all about me. Could care less about feelings of others. Which is why he had first shot. 

3. All things skids are his responsibility. Right out of the gate. I am not a SM I am dads partner. I help him out at times when he asks but it is never expected. 2 parents, me not one of them, you figure it out.

As far as blame, it was clear that skids chose this way of life. Clear that BM loved every minute of it. So that was not an issue. At times there is an argument about yours vs mine but it quickly gets squashed bc skids will do something so blatant the argument has no foothold on his behalf.

My own feelings - I got to the point that I don't care. Its like having strangers live with you half the time. Cordial in passing. I chose happiness and unfortunately they don't want to be part of that. Sadly not my problem.

As for messes that is a house rule. Same as guests. My SO is responsible for making sure they clean up. I do at times just shove their mess back into their room, which looks hellish. And there have been times I just toss it!

When it comes to plans - we follow the CO so it isnt a surprise. But other then that their plans don't affect me. Have no idea what they have going on really. My SO is their chauffer. And many times he just says no because he can't or doesn't want to and he doesn't have me as an option. So they rarely do much of anything.

Extended family is awesome. I have a great time. Skids don't affect that. They used to be overly friendly with me when out because they are weak and hide behind bullshit. Sometimes they still act that way. I just walk away. If extended family notices I have no idea nothing has ever been said to me. But if they ask I would respond with the truth. Ask skids. 

Your last 2 questions are DH issues. I don't have that problem. Mine handles skids and BM well. I can't say if it is due to my hard boundaries but I think it is. For me I made sure I came first. And he puts me first. It wouldn't work if that weren't the case. But it was also known that I would walk if it wasn't Smile

Honestly it is all in how you handle yourself. You put yourself first. Once you figure that out the rest will fall into place.  

skatermom's picture

I handle my life with the Skids just like you.  They are basically strangers that live in our house half the time.  I don't get involved with them unless it directly effects me.  If they leave a mess laying around, I drop it in their bedroom and shut the door, no matter what it is. I'm not mean, I'm cordial, that's all.  I've been a stepmom for 10 years it's the only way to not go crazy.

I don't tolerate disrespect from them, but they gave up trying to compete with me and make me look bad years ago.  My husband backs me up for the most part.

 

Monkeysee's picture

I’ve never dealt with all of that, and to be honest, I never would.

Earlier in our relationship DH had boundary issues with his ex & was doing a lot of things ‘for the kids’, which really meant he was doing things to keep BM sweet & avoid conflict at all costs.  This conflict avoidant BS usually meant he expected me to shut up & put up so things would be easy for him.

I put up with it for a while, but it started grating on me (as it would anyone, because it’s an unreasonable expectation), and we started arguing. He couldn’t for the life of him understand why *I* was giving him such a hard time about the decisions he was making.

Eventually I got tired of the arguing & I broke up with him. I told him I wasn’t willing to play this game anymore & I wasn’t taking a backseat to any other woman, regardless of who she popped out of her ladyhole. I deserve respect & being a father is not an excuse to be a crap partner. We were engaged at the time, I called the whole thing off.

For us that was enough of an eye opener for him to see what a ahole he had being, and he realized that the only person who was benefiting from this lopsided arrangement was the woman he’d divorced. He begged for me to take him back, and I told him I’d only consider that under the terms that *I* was the priority, not the ex wife, and doing things ‘for the kids’ had to actually, genuinely be in their best interest, not just what was easier for the BP’s or ‘well we’ve always done it this way’. I told him that having kids doesn’t mean I’m excluded from the decision making process when it affects me.

From that point forward we’ve had a completely different relationship. We’ve still had ups & downs, but things are really good for us now & I couldn’t imagine being married to a different man.

Had he not changed & gone back to the bullsh*t he used to pull, I’d have left him for good & never l looked back. Life is way too short to put up with that much sh*t just to be with a man. You’re worth more. 

 

Evil3's picture

My SD29 worked overtime to exclude me and even try to get me ousted from the family. She wanted DH to kick me and our infant DD out to prove his undying love for SD. She shunned me for over 7 years while living with us full time and DH did nothing to stand up for me. One day, I lost my crap and I told DH the new rules. I learned them on here. Number one is that I will not be treated like an interloper in my own marriage. Another is that I'm the wife and lead female of the house. DH must treat me as if I'm the one he's f*cking. He must chase after me and not SD (she was a mini-wife on steroids). I banned DH from having private dates with SD on special days like Father's Day, Christmas etc. I reminded him that he has three kids and not two and he has two DDs and not just one. I told him it was a hill I was willing to die on.

DH and I banned BM from the house. We found out that SD (when she was 11 - 13) would sneak BM into our house and they'd watch movies at our house all day. BM would sneak out before DH or I got home. When we found out, it was DH who raged, so I didn't have a problem with DH wanting to "keep the peace" over that one. He can't stand BM, so he was the one who took care of that issue.

I quit cleaning. I went on total strike. I even left my own dishes dirty so that the SKs couldn't find clean dishes to use. If I made something to eat for DD18 and myself, I would clean some dishes and then leave them dirty. The house got really disgusting and DH got depressed over the condition of the house. I simply said, "well, it's not my turn" and walked away. SKs were young adults by that time and perfectly capable of cleaning the hell up after themselves, so I quit cleaning anything at all. Another time that DH got upset and wanted me to go back to my old ways and clean everything, I said, "sorry, but I have completely different parenting values than you do. I do not believe in slaving for adult kids." I walked away. I left SD's overflowing period paddy garbage cans for DH to clean up. They would mysteriously get cleaned up, but I don't know if DH did it or if he told SD she must do it. I didn't pay attention. All I knew is that it wasn't me.

For many years, I thought that since DH's family never said a word that they thought that SD was the greatest thing since sliced bread like DH thought.  One day, DH's niece and my SIL told me a whole bunch of stuff and it turned out that they knew exactly what SD was like and neither one can stand SD.

An issue that I faced with DH's clan was that whenever a joke was made about spouses, they would replace my name with SD's. At home I told DH he damn well better start correcting them or I will and he's not going to like how I do it. I'm the wife. Not her. Well, DH didn't follow through with correcting my BIL when a joke came up about old age. BIL replaced my name with SD's and I very loudly and firmly corrected him and told the family that I am the wife and that SD is the DD and will hopefully have moved on to her own family by the time DH is in his 80s. The looks on their faces were priceless and they never replaced my name with SD's again.

DH's niece is bitter about being single in her 40s. She is jealous that DH and I have been together for 23 years and are happy. To seek revenge on me for having the audacity to have a relationship, she sought out BM and became friends with her. Neice flaunts friendship on FB and talks about BM at family gatherings. I banned niece from my house and she cannot come to family gatherings that are at my house. DH announced that if she brings BM to a family gathering niece will be dead to DH. He also told that family that he feels uncomfortable saying anything in front of niece because he doesn't trust that she'll not tell BM. So, DH kind of helps take care of that issue.

I guess in a nutshell, I found my voice. I will not tolerate being excluded and I will not tolerate coming a distant second because I'm the second wife. I will not tolerate my marriage or role being minimized because of the all-mighty BM being first. I will say without hesitation what bugs the hell out of me. It took a while to get to that point because DH would always rip my head off, but I turned the tables and now he is the one jumping through hoops to please me.

shamds's picture

1. Ss20 lives with us when not at university, me and our 2 toddlers are as usual ignored. There is no affection whatsoever, no acknowledgement of us we are invisible and he intentionally does this. Hubby knows it and is very hurt and upset but never did anything. When i told hubby how i don’t feel at home in my home he would gaslight mesaying mummy and your half siblings are so uncomfortable with the way you treat him when hubby should have said “i see how you treat everyone including me and this is unacceptable and needs to change immediately”.

Hubbys way of handling it was telling ss off, ss inventing imaginary stress syndrome so hubby would give up and shut up and he’d be to his usual self. It wasn’t till end of jan this year when hubby went to pick him from university to bring home on his uni break that no buts, he would change his behaviour, he was told there was a basket of cleaning products in his room, he would have 24 hrs upon returning to clean his room and bathroom thoroughly so no mould on wardrobes. He scrubbed and bleached his bathroom and hubby inspected it to make sure it was cleaned uoto standard. I put this on hubby to handle. when hubby was on the way to pick ss up hubby told me what he was going to say. I had to remind hubby when he did his usual excuses for everything and imaginary stress syndrome that hubby hd to cut him off and nip that shit in the butt.

Ss was told by hubby he was forcibly gonna be out of his bedroom during the day to soend time with our kids. He actually in the evenings would with the kids remote control of their electric car would drive them around the house. Ss was also told he lost the privilege of locking his door, hubby would come as he saw fit and hubby didn’t knock when he came in. If ss came with excuse what if he needs to shower and change clothes and needed to lock the door then.... nope he lost the privilege of that privacy... hubby did in fact on weekends during the day open his door and walk in to see what he did. If he were on computertoo much he would be forced to leave his room. 3 days of this and for the 1st time our 3 yr old daughter came on dining chair next to him to play with stuff on the table. She had never been able to do this before. Ss continues to ignore me but i am past cari g, i have disengaged from that anymore

 

2. Ss was forced end of january to empty trash. Hubby would message him from work to ask if it were done. Ss was forced to vacuum the whole house and sofa... when we went overseas to my home country for 1.5 weeks, ss was made to care for our 3 cats, then he had to daily empty trash etc... healso had to drive us to the airport and back from the airport when we arrived. Hubby said he had a realisation he had pampered this useless kid too much and wasting unnecessary money putting our cats up at vet clinic and having inlaws come over to check on the house etc... ss was made to do all this while we enjoyed ourselves on holiday

 

3. I cook for me, hubby and our 2 toddlers. I do not caer for ss. He always buys his own takeout because he is self centred, snubs me and refuses to eatmy home cooked meals. His mum never cooked in the 14 yrs shewas married to hubby, it was mcdonalds or kfc everyday of boiled whiter rice, a fried chicken or chicken nuggets and some kicap manis (dark soy sauce) and a fried egg... that was rarely she cooked that. Ss does not have a proper palate to eat healthy nutritious food like we all do. I couldn’t care less of it. Hubby has however forced ss to sit at dining table and eat what i cooked, despite his objections he’s full and on an imaginary diet. Ss is too afraid and embarassed to grab any cooking i made until hubby gets home. He’s embarassed because of his shitty behaviour to come and have the nerve to eat my cooking. Hubby forces him to because its the respectful thing.

any plans that affect our usual family time together needs to be agreed by active family members. Hubby doesn’t get to last minute say his daughter with ex want to meet up this weekend and do i want to come. The answer is NO! Hubby needs to check with me and if we have grocery shopping needing to be done, dr appt for immunisation or allergist appt for our eczema/highly allergic son, that takes priority. Hubby does not get to take off from 11am till 8pm on weekends with skids playing imaginary hapoy family when he is not able to commit the same 9 hours of quality family time with me and our toddlers. He doesn’t get to claim he needs to be fair when skids intentionally exclude us and go on and on non stop about their mum and stepdad. This is a meet up with hubby and kids not to be updated on exwife and her new hubby, thats not of hubbys concern. Hubby ended this arrangement 5 months ago, skids were told they would have to come to our home for meet ups as they were perfectly capsble of doing this (still waiting for that to happen).

 

I do not attend family gatherings that stepdaughters will be at because hubby dumps our 3 yr old daughter on them without supervision and they do inappropriate things to herto give the impression she is untidy, messy etc in front of hubbys familyso they look perfect. They also tried to go abovemy authority regarding my kids when i say no... so because of this i refuse to go. My inlaws especially niece and nephews see through ss sudden fake attention to my kids. They ask him has he soent time with them? Has he held them. He will answer yes to which i say NOOOO... niece and nephew grill him how ridiculous and shitty he is being to treat his half aiblings like this when they all treat my toddlers as their family member full of love and affection. In laws see skids awkward keeping to themselves, they aren’t stupid, they know bio mum has pas’d them to the max. I do at times have inlaws asking me about certain behaviours they pick up on ss and sdaughters..

 

5 & 6. Like above in beginning hubby got defensive but he knew i was telling the truth. He’d say often i’m tired of fighting as it was non stop hostility with exwife i want happy life now meaning he didn’t want to confront ss about his behaviour because of the drama and ss excuses and it would mean hubby would have to parent his shitty kid...  i told hubby “happy wife = happy life”. I laid the facts of what was going on, i laid he facts in such a ridiculous and sarcastic manner that hubby was embarrassed and couldn’t justify this crap anymore. He knew then skids were mocking him and disrespecting him and that needed to stop.

I reminded hubby as long as he enabled and encouraged this toxic behaviour, our kids would learn and this cycle of toxic dysfunction would continue as the 3 kids are beyond fuc#ed up for life. I laid the guilt on hubby big time that he married me,  i moved overseas for him, had 2 kids and he has allowed his kids to emotionally bully us and disrespect us and him and i was done. I threatened divorce twice! My exact words were: “as you are incapable of change, have allowed us to be abused and enabled and encouraged ss to do this to us for 4 yrs, i was done. How dare you treat us this way! Our kids will resent you and their half siblings because of the way you let us all be treated. So go back to your precious 3 kids with exwife. I suggest you ask to get back with exwife, a few days with her and it’ll jog your memory how much hell it was to be married to her and how it was heaven with me and it would be too late then because you would have lost your wife to another divorce” i actually reminded hubby at this point he better seek advice from his siblings on how to better cope because i wanted divorce... i told him skids would be happy we’re no longer married and i asked what would happen if i left him now. 

Hubby told me he would grow old alone and none of his kids with ex would care about him. They’d wait for him to die and be waiting greedily for their share of inheritance. They would be incapable of handling his funeral...

At this point i asked him so alienate us and treat us this way purely because skids feel like it. Thats when hubby got into lone and took no more crap.

 

I will say we are far from being there at ideal way living in harmony... but there is still much to do. Skids do not come on holidays with us, due to their unacceptable behaviour, because they only want to talk about biomum and husband #2 all the time, because they intentionally exclude us and sit in awkward silence the whole time so a supposedly relaxing happy holiday is just ruined with them being present. I have told hubby no one wants to be around rude selfish arseholes so if going on holiday with skids is so important then go alone... he refused and said it was torture and i’m his distraction. I told him he better tell his kids that they change their attitude. Hubby doesn’t wanna do this because bio mum is so high conflict its bloody pointless and since she kidnapped the girls 5 yrs ago and cut off contact, hubby doesn’t want that happening again 

 

Exwife does not dictate i must be present at meets with her daughters. She’s totally out of line since i am a mum of 2 toddlers and she does not dictate how we spend our family time

 

The most recent family gathering was a nephews wedding. I asked hubby is stepdaughters would be present and he said not sure. I told him i needed to know and what the plan was because we were not gonna play chauffeur for them as they are perfectly capable of driving sd14 lives with sd22 who can drive and has a car. Where they live is a detour, we should not be expected to drop everything to cater to them since they refuse to meet half way. Hubby assured me they were coming on their own and going home on their own. They would not be staying at family home (last time sd22 early hours of morning banged on our bedroom door shouting at hubby to open the car to get her special sugar she bought for her aunt) something that was not important and could have waited and this banging and shouting was waking up our sleeping kids), hubby assured me we would not pick them up and our plans would be separate and not change. I called bullshit on this because history shows they last minute change their plans so suddenly i think we’re driving straight to my inlaws house which is 2-2.5 hr drive but instead we goton detour to pick them up adding another 2 hours drive and with 2 toddlers in a car carsick, is unacceptable. Well I checked hubbys phone because I suspected he was lying and he was.

 

40 mins after i asked if his daughters were gonna be there as i wouldn’t attend so as not to have to deal with above issues and hubby guaranteed he had confirmed no, sd22 messaged hubby to say she was coming meaning we have to pick them up and drop off and they would stay at family home. They are of line and do not respect our boundaries and our authority regarding my kids with hubby so i wanted to avoid a situation where they would be present.

I told hubby never again will he lie to me. He selfishly intentionally is putting me in a situation where i appear to be the baddy instead of protecting our boundaries and these issues with skids. He claimed he didn’t lie and just didn’t chose me. I said that is lying because you knew what i asked you and right after it changed and you didn’t tell me, thats lying so i refused to attend the event... 

stepdaughters came to wedding dressed in black like going to a funeral... family theme was pink, they just wanted to dress black like they always do and they aren’t goths

 

Since i disengaged this way, its much more bearable but its still a long way to go

 

Tara456's picture

I'm going to reply to some posts above tomorrow - it's going to be a very tough evening.

I'd like to add one more scenario, which affects so much, if not everything. It's such a constant in my life I forgot to point it out.  Has anyone managed to find a way through the scenario where clamping down by you or your OH on the awful SKs results in major meltdown by them, threats of never visiting or seeing their Dad/your OH again, this being carried out and not just threatened for nearly a year by one SK (the particularly cunning and toxic one), and then the threat of this happening again and the resulting collapse of the family/devastation of OH hanging over your heads every single day ever since...  He is just too scared to do anything ever since.

(The only BM issues we have is the effect her parenting and desire for power has on the SKs, she never comes round and my OH hates her. But she lives 10 minutes away, which makes flouncing off round there by the SKs all too easy).

shamds's picture

”how do you feel about that?”

this was in response to hubby telling him he needed to change his behaviour immediately, stop treating us like outsiders, ignoring us, intentionally excluding us, intentionally making us invisible and being rude etc.

hubby couldn’t discipline then because he had so much guilt. His exwife kidnapped the 2 sd for 5-6 yrs, they only reinitiated contact mid last year so hubby was terrified of losing a kid

i had to explain to hubby when you have a child like this manipulating you, they have no respect for you, they have such narcissism that they accept no responsibility. I reminded hubby what he asked for was a perfectly reasonable request to be a decent human, civil and respectful and to do chores.

ss20 is an adult, this isn’t running away from home but leaving like he should as an adult. I told hubby when ss behaved like this and used this gulting tactics, instead of hubby feeling guilty and retreating, this should reinforce hubby his son has major issues and that needed to change. Hubby needed to find the strength and change things and not feel guilty

that was a really hard thing for him to do but when I explained it that way he agreed it was right. I reminded him that behaviour like this is unacceptable. Why does his kids have to behave this way in our home which should be a safe relaxing place. That was when hubby said to me his kids were a never ending source of stress

i told hubby if he didn’t change the environment, i wasn’t gonna be married to him anymore as it was selfish and disrespectful of him to have me marry him and be treated like this purely because skids feel like it when they do not need to behave this way

my husband actually said he wanted to move back to my country and leave his kids with exwife because of all this crap. I told him he had to take responsibility and address he issues since he enabled it to continue for so long. Once the youngest turns 18 and is an adult, hubby will resign at that time and move to my country to retire. His kids with ex are on their own. No rich daddy ti help out. Hubby actually said he intends to cut them off financially cold turkey with no warning because they don’t deserve the respect of a warning.

end of jan when my husband picked ss20 from university, there were no buts, he laid down the law. Told ss how he should behave at home and chores he hd to do. Before he would claim he was stressed having to do chores and be a decent respectful civil human being, it was ridiculous and pathetic and such an embarrassment to mock hubby this way. That shit didn’t fly that time.

hubby needed guidance to change things as i had told him i was leaving him and seeking a divorce as i could no longer expose myself and our 2 kids to this toxic environment since hubby was incapable of change.

it was then that hubby actually managed to stand up and realise his skids were sabotaging our marriage and hubbu had wasted 15 yrs of his life with the exwife, he didn’t want another broken failed marriage on his hands

there was so much anger in hubby that skids and him allowed it to get to this point

my husband knows i have removed myself from skids life. They are too stupid to realise i disengaged from them. They just think their behaviour has made me terrified to spend time with them and their plans have worked.

these 4 yrs of hell i have spent like this being treated this way, there is no apology to make up for that. I am done with skids and refuse to meet or be around them. Thats my boundary so if there is a family event and hubby invited his daughters along, i check and i do not go... its different if ss goes as he’s so awkward and silent keeping to himself.but when its all 3 skids you are overwhelmed at being treated like an outsiders d that everything is done to please and suit them and we cater to them 100%, it makes me feel like we don’t matter 1 bit..

dysfunctionally_blended's picture

This only works when you have a DH who plays into the Drama.

Scenario: Your DH has disciplined skid. Skid screams I am telling BM and will never have to come here again. Your DH's response should be 'do you need me to help you pack?'

I say this from experience. Skids have tried to pull those stunts. And each and every time they were invited to leave. 

At no point in time should a child be allowed to threaten an adult, especially a parent.

Do skids tell BM. Yes. Has BM used the court system needlessly over this. Yes. But it STOPPED when my SO made it very clear to BM and skids that they could stay with her full time. He was done. He would no longer fight. His choice now was to live happily. Skids could join or they could leave.

At this moment they haven't left (BM doesn't want them full time). But they don't join in either. Our philosophy is to live life and leave them at home miserable. 

scook10's picture

I appreciate this post so much. I have all the same questions and will refer back to this post to keep reading responses. 

caitlinj's picture

I was never able to turn our situation around so props to those who are. I think its important that your SO is supportive of you and has your back, especially on issues concerning the skids and the ex. Mine was not consistant about this so that is why we struggled. I think if the SO has good parenting skills, has boundaries with their ex, is a good listener and supports you it can work. Unfortunately mine had only one out of 4 of these things and that never changed so it was doomed. Interestingly enough SS always was the victim. His coaches were mean to him, his teachers were mean to him, his friends were mean to him. I tried to get SO to see a pattern but he got angry and turned on me. Enough with that. It turns out there have been some incidents that have come up that his son was invovled in that were pretty bad. I wonder if he still fails to see what is going on?

Disillusioned's picture

Disengage, this is what I've done

I have zero relationship with my OSD and it suits me just fine

On the occasions we've been around her in the past it was literally smile and wave....I was polite but did not ever for a moment beleive she felt I was family or had any other feelings for me than barely boiling rage and resentment

So I behaved as classy, calmly and detached as I could be

Helped to think of her sort of as a co-worker that I knew had some emotional issues and was dangerous to be around, so politely avoided like the plague

My YSD is actively a part of our life

She is absolutely fine, friendly, even tells me she loves me on a regular basis...I suspect that may not really be the case sometimes and even wonder if she just does a much better job than her sister of hiding jelousy and resentment, but, since she is polite and respectful and friendly to me - I'm exactly the same to her! 

It all works

Another little trick I've learned along the steplife way, is to follow your (adult) skids lead...if they make it clear they don't want you in their life then respect their choice, and do that with a pleasant attitude - it's their loss. Move on with your life and don't let it bother you

And if they chose to be more involved (even if you suspect most of it is phony) as long as they're civil and not causing any major issues, be glad for that, smile and wave Smile

Rags's picture

We made it work because my wire and I are equity life partners. As equity life partners we are also equity parents to any children in our marriage regardless of kid biology.  That made me an equity parent to my Skid and as my DW's husband that makes me far more important than my SSs BioDad and that entire clan.  Period. They had no say in our marriage, our home or in how SS was raised in our home.   Of course we also have no say in how they interface with him when he is in SpermLand on SpermClan visitation but since my DW was the CP it is the structure of our home and family model that is most influential to the discussion.

It is the adult relationship at the core of our blended family that made it all work for us.  IMHO this is the key to keeping things within a blended family on track and key to turning things around when they go off track.

It has worked well for us for 25+ years since we started dating and the nearly 25 years we have had a blended family marriage.  So well that SS-26 asked me to adopt him when he was 22. We made that happen.