Need some support, since I barely exist in my new family.
My name is Nikki and I'm new to the site. I found this place while searching for blended family support. I was a widow, left with 4 children after losing my husband to cancer. But unexpectedly, several years later, I fell in love with a widower that I met through grief group. We were nothing but friends for over a year, then we went to lunch and something just clicked. We got married about 6 months later. He has two adult children, a son and daughter, who are married, with their own families and don't live near us. My own children are now ages 10-14, two girls and two boys.
In the beginning of this relationship, I actually held back because I couldn't imagine anyone interested in being with me having four preteen kids but I also couldn't imagine two adult kids of someone else being welcome to me either. But, surprisingly, my new husband has taken my kids as his own and both his son and daughter and their families were extremely welcoming to me. Yes, they had some concerns, but overall, they were very nice to me. They even asked when my kids birthdays were and gave us all gifts. I was almost shocked that it seemed to be working out so well right away. I decided that because I had lost my husband and my kids lost their father, combined with my new husband having lost his wife, while they had lost a parent as well, connected us in a way that might not have otherwise. It was because of this that I decided to keep going with the relationship. I thought we could all fill the holes together left by the death of the people in our lives.
But moving on, I guess as the newness of us wore off, now, no one in my husband's family seems to remember that I or my kids even exist. Of course, they call their father all the time and talk to him but any time my husband tries to include me in on the FaceTime calls, it's like I'm not even there - especially with his daughter. Sometimes she says hi, other times she ignores me completely. His son is more polite but I always get the impression that he thinks the whole thing is just weird. He never says that, but I just always feel it. I have more of a problem with his daughter. She is very hot and cold. Some days, she'll be so nice that I just about cry with relief. Then, she'll turn right around and ignore me or say something very pointed about her mother or some other little dig that makes me feel like a total intruder into this family.
Here's an example:
She had her first baby back in February. Throughout the whole pregnancy, I was mostly ignored. Due to an annoying coincidence, she got pregnant two weeks after our wedding and I had to spend the first few months of our new marriage hearing all about her. And I could feel how glad she was to have the attention on her instead of us. No one cared about us getting married, no one even congratulated us. Everyone just cared about her and the baby. The only remark she made over our marriage was asking her father what he was planning to do with the wedding rings he shared with her mother.
So, just as I'm thinking of "disengaging" she turns around and FaceTimes with us one night, that she wants to know what the baby should call me because she doesn't want me to feel left out. And we came up with a grandma name for me, (I'm a very young grandma!). I felt so good though that she made an effort to include me that of course, I forgave everything else.
But then, she does another about face and I'm back to not existing. She begs her father to come up and paint the nursery wall with pictures of mountains to honor the camping trips their family used to take when she was younger. My husband, in an effort to include me, asked her to let me do it because I happen to be an artist. She knows this already because I had done a realistic portrait of one of her cats and given it to her as a gift a few months prior that she had seemed to really like. I also handmade a baby quilt and sent it to her for Christmas. (she sent us nothing, however his son sent a late gift, which was nice. She only thanked me through her father and not personally.) Anyway, I commented to my husband that if she had wanted me to do the nursery wall mural, she would have asked me to. She knows full well I am an artist. She sees me on IG and will even put likes on my stuff sometimes. So, yes she knows, but obviously she wants Daddy to do the painting, not me.
After the baby was born, it was more of the same. Her sending picture after picture to Daddy, them doing FaceTime after FaceTime, and me sitting on the sidelines like the outcast in the cafeteria. To be fair, my husband always tried to include me, but she almost always ignores me. I even asked her to please send me pictures too, I would love to be part of it. She did a couple of times, then stopped. It's still like this. I feel completely apart from that whole family. And I feel like my husband just goes along with it mostly. I actually feel more a part of his son's family in some ways, even though they don't talk to me much either. Maybe because he is more polite. He doesn't make pointed little exclusions. In her sporadic niceness, she did suggest that I come visit the baby on my own since we couldn't leave my kids alone and come together. My husband got to see the baby before the whole pandemic started but right after he came back, everything shut down and I never got to go. I asked again for pictures because I didn't get to come see her. Once again, I got a couple, then they stopped. I have now stopped asking.
This has also been exaggerated by the fact that before we even got married, my husband and I talked about having a child of our own together, while I'm still young enough for it happen. But it hasn't happened and only recently, it turns out, after tests, that he is the problem. I had had this hope of having a baby again with a husband who could gush all over it, the way he's doing with his grandchild. I had to quit going on FB and IG because I could no longer stand to hear about the baby. Also, whenever her late mother's birthday or death anniversary comes around, she posts all these pictures of my husband and her mother together. I am just choked with grief and despair over it all to the point where I've all but shut down over it. Other little things: my husband still uses his email that has his late wife's name and their marriage anniversary year. He used to have my pictures on his phone wallpaper. Just recently, he's replaced it with the baby. I felt like my heart was ripped out. He also plasters the baby's picture all over his computer wallpaper. I can't help but think of how my previous husband used to always have us all over his phone and computer screen.
I long for the husband I lost before this marriage still, who loved our kids and who was all mine and wanted a family as much as I do. He always went to great lengths to make sure I was first and felt the most important. He and I had come from families where we felt like outsiders our whole lives. So, now I had to lose that husband and come to a family where again, all I feel like is an outsider. And my kids, who have had to adjust as well, have told me that they don't feel like my husband's family knows that they exist most of the time either.
I've talked to my new husband about all this, and sometimes, he seems very understanding. But then, nothing changes. I'm not even sure what should change or how it should. Probably he's not sure either. His main answer is that it'll take time. He's a good husband and he's good to my kids. He helps them with their homework and takes them places and makes them things he'll think they'll like. They've even started calling him "Dad." (Though, to be honest, it took a long time to get them to even attempt it.)
With those positives, I feel like a terrible person for feeling so much grief and jealousy. But I know I'm not crazy, and our existence doesn't mean much to his other family. I'm starting to wish I could just go back to being alone with my kids and not have to worry about anyone else anymore. I honestly feel like most of my original family dreams were shattered with the death of my previous husband. I also grew up with a stepfather, my own father abandoned my mother. But my stepfather was physically abusive and so I got estranged from him early on. But because of this, one of my biggest dreams was to have that wonderful daddy/daughter relationship that I never got to have. I thought if my girls could have it with their own father, then I would be happy. And my previous husband was perfect. Then cancer had to go spoil everything. So, I not only lost that, I have to sit here and witness a wonderful daddy/daughter relationship that I can have no part of. And not only that, the baby being a girl is like being forced to watch it times a thousand. It feels like someone waving your dreams in front of your face and saying, ha ha, can't get me.
That same kind of closeness is not there with my kids. Yes, they're good to each other, but you can just tell that the other kind of closeness that he has with his own family is not there with mine. We're still too new, I guess.
Anyway, can someone please tell me something supportive? I know I should be grateful for everything I have, because I honestly never expected to fall in love again or have anyone be willing to be with someone with four young kids. But there are a lot of days, I just want to run away. I'm really not sure I can deal with this sometimes. Again, I only entered into this relationship because they seemed so different in the beginning. If they had acted like this then, I would have backed off considerably.
I know this was all a little long, sorry if I rambled on, but thank you so much for any support,