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Couple's counseling

Frustrated future SM's picture

So I started couple's counseling with BF 3 weeks ago and its been going okay so far. I like the advice she's given us about our relationship, and it's working in the sense that it's helping us rebuild our relationship and make it stronger. She's given us great tips about what we can do to improve ourselves and we've both been taking action, so there's hope for us. We are actually going away for a couples weekend this weekend, and for the first time in over 8 months, I'll have BF all to myself for an entire weekend!!! No DD (though I love her dearly and will miss her) and no skids!!! We both needed it and it should be great for our relationship.

However, what I don't appreciate is how so far during the sessions the spotlight is mostly on me, and BF gets to sit there barely saying anything, when it comes to talking about his 2 kids. Everytime I mention things his kids have done that I don't like it's always about what I could've done better and never about what BF could also have done better, I mean they are HIS kids after all. I actually stormed out of the session for a few minutes today because I felt like once again we were talking about his kids and she just kept pointing out everything I did wrong and what I should've done but never once mentioned what BF should've done too. I have had to defend myself and I know I need to be better at setting my own boundaries with his kids but BF needs to step in and correct them too. Why should it always just be me?? I mean She didn't say anything about him needing to set rules, change his parenting ways, and stop being a guilty Disney daddy and allowing his kids to disrespect me. Does she think because I'm future stepmom that I'm supposed to be doing the parenting, while dad gets to sit back and do nothing??


Monkeysee's picture

It sounds like you’ve gotten one of the many, many counsellors out there who know nothing about step dynamics. You may need to search around for a new counsellor who’s actually well versed in this area, or you’re just going to remain frustrated in these sessions. 

I had one counsellor years ago say to me, ‘well of course your DH would go to BM’s to fix something if it was broken, she’s got his kids!’. (Note, he has never & would never do that, so I’m not sure why this was her example). I laid it out how inappropriate that actually was & under no circumstance would my husband be taking ownership or responsibility for anything in BM’s house, ever. Then I fired her. 

Despite their training, a lot of them still have no clue. Keep shopping till you find one that genuinely works for you!

Aunt Agatha's picture

Maybe turn it around.  Don’t focus on what the skids have done, but on what your DH didn’t do.

Your ultimate frustration is with him, and his lack of parenting.  Focus on that, with skids more as props in the story. 

Pammyc27's picture

Oh I would be looking for another counselor immediately. If you want to stick it out with this one you need to TELL her how these sessions make you feel and that it seems to be all on you when you’re not responsible for these kids. Your bf is. My step daughters tried their hand at disrespecting me my fiancé did not allow it and it stopped. Him letting his kids disrespect you I feel is almost as bad as him doing it himself. Speak up about how you feel or the sessions will keep playing out the same way. I’m sure your bf is fine with it he’s not in the hot seat 

tog redux's picture

I'll be honest - needing couples therapy before you are even married does not bode well for you having a successful marriage. If you guys can't communicate and work this stuff out on your own now, it's not going to get any easier when you are married.  And if your BF won't listen to your concerns and isn't willing to modify anything to make you happier, that's a huge red flag.


beebeel's picture

Well I think they already share a child, so it's good that they are trying counseling.

tog redux's picture

Yes, I agree - that would change it.  I'd stop thinking about marriage though, until this is sorted out. 

Dovina's picture

You need a new counsellor ASAP. Hello its couples counselling, that means your therapist should be focusing on both of you in relation to HIS kids. You are a team (supposedly), and the dynamics are not just you and the skids that need working on.

Be wary, has she counselled step families before? I had a counsellor who was a SM and a SD, and I thought I hit the jackpot, and have both perspectives with an educated therapists input. Oh boy was I wrong. I was told to stand back and let SD play the wife in work/social situations in which I attended. It was awful, she further made me feel like I was not the an adult middle aged dd. Sounds like this one has the same skewed mindset.

Good luck

susanm's picture

We went through 5 counselors and finally found a woman who heard me as a person rather than an interloper into a fully formed family that didn't want me and I was lucky allowed me to set foot through the door.  And that included my DH.  Apparently I was supposed to be thrilled to the gills that childless old me was given the boundless blessing of the presence of children in my life....who hated the fact that I was breathing and had their mother's encouragement and their father's silent approval to use my money, personal possessions, and initial hope for a happy family until I was wrung dry of every drop of joy.  Of course, the final counselor, who told my DH that he was acting like an ass and needed to get his kids and ex in hand or he was going to lose the best thing that ever happened to him, came rather late and at that point making major changes was an effort like holding back Niagra Falls.  Hopefully you will find one who will listen to you and see you as the individual you are before things become too entrenched in your home.  Or they GTFO soon.  Mine are blessedly physically gone now and I just have to deal with the constant pleas for money, crisis management for stupid things, and DH pouting when they ignore him unless they need something.