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Need some support, since I barely exist in my new family.

NikkiLE's picture

Hi,

 

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,

Nikki

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I can't imagine going through what you have gone through. I'm so sorry!

I don't know how long each of you were widowed before starting your relationship. Maybe not quite long enough? However, what's done is done and it sounds like there are a lot of good things about your relationship.

His daughter sounds pretty clingy. It sounds like she is in very frequent contact with her dad, more so than the normal daughter with a new baby. It has to be hard for her having a baby possibly soon after losing her mother. But, the Facebook and instagram posts with pics of her parents together have to hurt, especially with her knowing you can see them.

This is beyond my ability to give advice, but i just want you to know that with all you have been through, i sympathize and know it has to be hard. Counseling may help. Try to ignore the daughter's possibly unintended insults if you can. The fact that she is doing that makes me think she needs counseling too, but that's her journey. As long as you feel your husband is giving you the attention and care you need, maybe just try to keep a polite relationship with his daughter and try not to expect much else. 

NikkiLE's picture

Thank you for replying. I found what you said to be comforting. I know that it's difficult for her losing her mother. I initially thought that could be a way for her and I to connect as well because I also lost my mother and I wish she was here to see her own grandchildren. But that hasn't turned out to be the case.

I will most likely try to continue ignoring her possibily unintended insults, as you said. Most of the time, I don't think his daughter is even aware of what she does and says and how it might affect others. Unfortunately, a lot of people in the world are like that. It's just hard, I guess, when a family member turns out to be one of them.

Thank you again,

Nikki

Mamabearof3's picture

Prayers sent for you to find peace and love. Contentment is a choice. Chose it for your family’s sake, and yours. Sooooo sorry for your loss. Your husband is grieving his loss in his own way too Im sure. 

JRI's picture

As I read your post, I could feel your intense emotion.  I'm so sorry, you have been through a lot.

But, as a 75yo mother and stepmother of 5 adult kids, your SKs don't sound much different from mine.  Both my kids and SKs, like yours, are polite but self-absorbed.  This was especially true in their twenties and thirties as they established homes  and had kids.  I wouldnt look on their lack of interest as a slight. I'm guessing it's a natural reaction to all the happenings in their own lives.  

You are so very, very lucky that your new husband is doing so well with your kids.  What a treasure!  You are one fortunate lady!

I get the feeling that you pine for a deeper relationship with his family members.  That might not be a realistic expectation, given their ages.  I hate to sound so cynical but, based on what I've been through, if they are polite and civil, you are light years better off than so many stepmoms.

Hoping you find peace.  You have been through so much.  You are blessed with your dear childten and a wonderful second husband.  Good luck, Nikki

 

NikkiLE's picture

Thank you for the kind words. I think you are right about the stepkids just mainly being self absorbed and that it comes with the age. My brother is like that too. I've been mad at him for years because he never sends me pictures or makes an effort after he had his first child, my niece. But he's like that with everyone. He just doesn't think about stuff like that. 

I'll try to concentrate on my own kids. I guess I was just trying to give them some family that they lost along with me. 

Thank you,

Nikki

WickedStepmother_'s picture

Do you think it could be that she's afraid that you don't like her? I know for me with my past relationships I was so afraid that my exes family wouldn't like me that I started to isolate myself from them. I've been fighting the urge to do the same with my current relationship but now we've added our own child to the mix and his sister checks on me all the time. 

NikkiLE's picture

I'm not sure if she even thinks about me much at all, to tell you the truth. Personally, I'm the type who would do what you said and be so afraid of not being liked that I would withdraw. But I don't think she has that kind of personality. I just don't feel like she ever gives me much thought, if any. As long as she's getting attention from her daddy, I don't think I'm of much importance. I could be wrong but that's what it feels like.

WickedStepmother_'s picture

That's a really sad way of thinking about people. You're important and your feelings matter. I hope that your relationship with her gets better as the years go on. I know what your feeling right now hurts but maybe things will get better. 

tog redux's picture

OP, do you have a therapist? What I read here is a combination of unresolved grief for your late husband, and unrealistic expectations for a stepfamily, all jumbled up together.

I think this marriage is salvageable if you get some help to sort out which is which.

NikkiLE's picture

Yes, I have been seeing someone, just for me, because I will have grief issues from time to time. It's been online, though, because of the pandemic. But I've actually liked it more than going somewhere. It does help, and I will continue. 

Endgame's picture

and I am very sorry for your loss. My family has lost a male member of our family every year for six years & I still have no words.

You have more to unpack than gratitude can fix. You & your husband met on a grief course (for you, several years after your loss) & married six months after you became a couple so you both made a major, life decision during grief.

All of the 10 people in your new, extended family are grieving (including in-laws) plus grandchildren & there may be grandparents etc. Everyone is triggered by the new baby & stepfamilies close ranks along biological lines during a crisis.

Your two core wounds, being the outsider & not having a father/ daughter relationship, are triggered multiple times a day, so it is good you stopped seeing the baby photos on social media.

My father died last year. If my mother remarries I don't know what I would do - maybe post family photos on anniversaries. Nothing to do with a stepparent, just my pain & fear of losing my family's history.

Your DH, like most of ours, seems to lack good judgement regarding boundaries. He encouraged you to paint images from his camping holidays with his late wife! Within your first year of marriage he replaced your photo on his phone with the baby's (plus everywhere else, knowing you want a baby).

Many family systems don't have a way to talk about grief. With hindsight, I would have had early couples' therapy with a stepfamily therapist with grief experience (then brought in the children).

I don't have the emotional stamina for grieving & step drama but getaways helped me alot.

Sending you light.

 

 

 

NikkiLE's picture

I am so sorry for your losses as well. Besides my husband, I lost my mother a couple of years before I lost him. So, I have had to deal with a lot of grief for awhile. 

Your comment about husbands lacking good judgement over boundaries was very insightful. I hadn't fully thought of it that way, but you're right. I tried to be understanding because it's only natural for someone to be excited over their new grandchild. I know I would be. I figured that as the newness of the baby wore off, my husband's attention would return to me. Instead, it seemed to be the opposite. So, thank you for telling me that, because now I understand more what I was feeling. 

Harry's picture

And you need a therapist???  Don't think so   They need Therapist,, not you.

Face the facts, for some reason SD does not like you.  Either, she actually doesn't like you, or being loyal to BM. Or in her best childhood dreams there was not one with a SM in it . Or the Happy Family she had and wants for her kids is not happing.

What ever. There nothing you can do about it. You are going to change her.  Plus DH does not have your back.

All you can do is disengage,  like SD who, forgot about her. She the one with the kid   Don't let SD fill and take over your mind.  Unfortunately you are fighting this on all sides. Because DH wants his Happy Family,,  The one he always wanted but did not get because of the Ex. 
As long as you are not giving SD money, in anyway or shape.  As giving money to DH because he's short because he gave DD money. Or you have to buy extra food because he gave DD food. Ect. That all you can do.

Its up to you if you want to live this way. Have to set up the scales and weight your life 

tog redux's picture

Yes, OP needs a therapist to deal with her grief. This skid isn't treating her like crap, she's treating her like Dad's wife that she met recently.  She's not rude to her, she just doesn't see her as a parent or even someone important to her, and that's okay. OP can't expect an instant family. 

NikkiLE's picture

You're right, I shouldn't expect instant family. I think the only reason I may have some unrealistic expectations is that in the beginning they were so attentive and welcoming and I got my hopes up that I would get back the family I lost. 

tog redux's picture

Right. And that's where the grief mixes in with the unrealistic expectations. Respect and politeness is all you are entitled to - the rest may grow with time, or it may not. But it's not a referendum on your worth if they never see you as more than Dad's Wife. 

Ms_Patricia's picture

I don't have much advice for what you've experienced. It seems like how his daughter treats you is more about what she is dealing with and less about you. However, your feelings are valid. Blending families is not easy, but it sounds like you and your husband are working together to make it work. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

I'm so sorry you lost your husband. Cancer is a cruel, cruel illness. Hopefully your children are adjusting and coping well.

Anyone familiar with steplife will agree it's complicated. There are so many moving parts, so many people involved who each have their own needs, preferences, and issues. Add in bereavement on both sides, and your dynamic is even more complicated.

Family trauma like divorce, abandonment, or bereavement often makes the ones left behind draw closer. You didn't mention how long ago your H was widowed, but it's likely he and his kids leaned on each other more afterwards. It's also possible that despite being adults, they weren't ready to see their father move on. Females tend to be more territorial, and his daughter is a new mom, so she's likely feeling the loss of her her mother these days. 

Obviously family is very important to you, and your H really wants you and his kids to get along. But the reality is you're all adults, essentially strangers to each other. Further, you're a constant reminder that their mother is dead. Adults get to decide who is and isn't allowed into their world, and you really are just dad's wife to them. Maybe they were polite at first, but that doesn't mean they see you as family. Think of them as you would coworkers of your H's - his to deal with, and as long as everyone is polite and civil, that's sufficient.

Don't predicate your happiness on them loving you. Lower you expectations, and don't allow your H to push or force you on his kids; men can be oblivious to nuance and it might cause them to resent you. Remember - he's all they have, and it's much easier to scapegoat the "outsider".  Just be warm and kind when appropriate, but not effusive.

 

 

toohard's picture

I agree with most of the comments above. I'm not sure how long your husband was a widower, but it may be that his children are struggling with the fact that their dad has moved on. 
Blended families are difficult. Sometimes it works for some people but for most it's a struggle. I commend you for your desire to want to fully be a part of your husband's family, but I would caution you to lower your expectations.

For right now, I would keep things  cordial  and pleasant, without too much emotional investment on your part. This will hopefully ameliorate any pain you may experience in the future. I think if you reduce your expectations, you may have a better outcome.

Most of us embark on step family life with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, as you can already tell from this forum it rarely works out that way.

It is hard not to take it personally, in your case particularly I would say just wait and see since your step kids experienced a big loss, as you and your own children did. They may not be able/willing to move on. Good luck to you, this is not easy. I've been struggling on this road for the past 23 years and it has not gotten better.

notarelative's picture

Remarriage is not for the weak. Every marriage, and remarriage, has its own set of complications. Some are similar and some are unique.

You are starting off both as having deceased spouses and baggage. You have the 'perfect' first husband. He has the first wife who is part of every email. The perfect spouse would drive me crazy. No one is perfect. Good, great, wonderful, yes. Perfect, no. The email address would annoy, but realizing how much work it is to change my email address I might cut him some slack. He, just like you, doesn't have to stop loving his first spouse. The love he had for her is different from the love he has for you. Just like the love you had for your first spouse is different from the love you have for him.

The big happy blended family is a Brady Bunch myth. Every remarriage has its challenges. His kids are functioning self supporting adults. Count your blessings.

Milestone events bring grief to the surface. It is natural that SD would be grieving the loss of her mom when the new baby arrived. That SD has allowed you a grandparent name means you are not completely cut off. Yes, it's not the way you envisioned, but it's not a complete exile.

A friend gave me what I consider good advice early on. She said to do what pleases you. Buy, give, make the gifts that you want to give. Do it because it pleases you. 

As to closeness. You will never have the same feelings about his kids that you have for your own. He will never have the same feelings for your kids that he has for his. All that can be asked and expected is that both of you treat the other's children appropriately.

still learning's picture

Oh honey, I wish I could give you a big hug. All the wise step advice has been spoken above so I have nothing to add there.  It does seem like you have more healing to do.  Allow yourself to grieve all the losses in your life.  Love those beautiful children of yours and know that they are four testaments of your late husbands love for you.  It's okay for you and your kids to take some time off from the step situation and just be your own little family. It would be nice for you and your kids to do something special in rembarance on their dads birthday or another special day.  You are enough, your kids are enough.  

Best to you and your family.  

Dovina's picture

The entire family has had such loss, there is so much grieving on all sides. However this should not be used as a PASS for poor behavior. The hot and cold, the exclusion from your SD is not adult behavior. I would hope your DH comes down on her like a ton of bricks. We all grieve, we all live in situations that are not perfect BUT we all should be able to treat others with respect. She is not doing that. Especially since you have tried to maintain a warm relationship.

Your DH should be putting you first. He should be recognizing the tremendous hurt YOU are feeling with the treatment you get from SD, and the sadness that you have for not having an ours baby. A little sensitivity and understanding from your DH will go a long way. 

Yes SD is an adult and she has every right to chose to have a relationship with you. Ok then, but the cruelty of the flip flops is very very hurtful to you. Recognize that you count, your feelings are valid. Perhaps an experienced therapist can help you navigate this.

Also read up on disengagement on this site. That is also a helpful tool.

Big Hugs

MissTexas's picture

Along with his passing, your dreams seemed to have died alongside him. How wonderful he put you and  your children together first. I can imagine the hole that's been left in your heart, and the joy you must have felt when your new DH came into your life.

He says it will "take time" however, time will heal nothing without appropriate actions. Yes, it is normal to be excited over the grandbaby. Is it the first and only grandchild? He may be trying to overcompensate since the BM is not in the picture to spoil this baby with the love and attention that a grandma typically provides.

I'm sorry you are not able to have children with him, but honestly feel it is a blessing in disguise. Would you be able to accept the fact that child would also be in the backseat compared to his grandchild?

You're on the right track as far as disengaging, and not asking anymore for pictures, or to be included.

It is not unusual for many men to have these very close relationships with their daugthers, irregardles of their marital history or status that led them to their current wives. Many of us feel like interlopers in our own marriages, and like the husband is married to the daughter and we are just here when they feel like being married publicly.

I really have no great words of wisdom, but your feelings are justified, and perhaps therapy may help, but more importantly if you are telling him how you feel and he is not yielding to that and changing his behavior, in an effort to accommodate your wishes and calm your fears, this will be a long bumpy road.

Guard your heart and your peace diligently. Start by blocking the daughter on FB and all other social media. You'll feel much better just by doing this, and not having random surprises pop up that put your heart in a sad place.

Best wishes.

NikkiLE's picture

Thank you for the supportive words. I hadn't thought of a child taking a backseat to the grandchild. I'm not sure that would happen but I know it would hurt if it did. I took your advice about blocking on social media. I had already muted her on IG, but I still always tensed up when posting there because then I would look to see if she said anything or liked anything. Same on FB. So, I made a full block on FB, so that I don't see anything she posts but also so that she doesn't see anything I post, that way I don't have to think about whether or not she sees it. On IG, they don't seem to have that option of keeping people from seeing a post, so I just made a separate one for my artwork to use instead. 

Thanks again,

Nikki

MissTexas's picture

I blocked SD in every way possible: email, text, calls, FB etc. My life has been so much better since I  made the wise decision to do that. I don't ever have to worry about seeing any form of contact from her.

The interesting thing about that is, SD states to daddy that I am the problem. If it weren't for me, none of her rant would've happened. She obviously has huge issues and cannot take responsibility FOR HER ACTIONS.

I'm so glad I was able to help, and to call to your attention that most likely any child you'd have together would not be put ahead of the royal grands.

Tried out's picture

can block people on IG. Click on the three little dots on the top right of their page and select "block." They can't find you at all, you can't find them unless you're not logged into your account. 

Merry's picture

I can feel your pain through your well-written description of what's going on. Losing a husband so young must be such a heartbreak.

I have not experienced the same, but my SD also runs hot and cold. Sometimes we have cheerful, friendly conversations, and sometimes I'm the outsider. But she is generally cordial. I've come to accept that. My DH's kids were adults when we married, and as adults they get to choose who they have a relationshp with.

We had some rough periods when it felt like my DH set me aside to chase after them. In time, he's learned what I need to feel included (or at least not abandoned), and he's good about it. While neither of us is perfect, DH and I have hit our stride it seems and hurt feelings now are rare.

Bottom line is that you can't make his kids include you or think of you and your kdis as their family. Figure out what works between you and your DH so that you take care of each other and your marriage flourishes.

NikkiLE's picture

Hi Everyone,

I want to thank you all for the support. It really helped me a lot to hear other people who know what blended family issues really feel like on the end of a stepparent, even if the kids are grown. 

I do have a little bit of good news. I did talk to my husband about how upset it made me about what pictures he posted on his phone and on his computer. He surprised me and changed everything. Now I am not bombarded with his family and none of our new family. I told him that he didn't have to banish his completely, I just wanted to feel included and not abandoned. I still wish I hadn't had to ask, but that he thought of it on his own. But I thanked him, because he still listened and tried to change things so I felt more comfortable. 

Thank you again,

Nikki

MissTexas's picture

something in honor of his supporting your wishes. You are so fortunate and that is a great start!

Mine was like that early on when he was still trying to please me, but now he is less likely to do whatever I ask of him.

I'm happy for you. This is a great step in the right direction, and for him to see that you have been feeling left out. It's way too soon for that. You two are still newlyweds. Do you think SD got the pregnant on purpose because you all got married? If not, her timing was uncanny. I know most of these SD will pull out all the stop and stop at NOTHING when it comes to competing with dad's new life/wife.

NikkiLE's picture

I think she got pregnant sort of on purpose, if that makes sense. The thing is, she and her husband have been struggling with unexplained infertility for a long time, even before I was in the picture. So, they'd already been trying. But after I came into the picture, I noticed there was a bigger push to get IVF than there seemed to be before. All of that went into place the month we got married and it happened to work and be confirmed two weeks after our wedding. So, that's why I say it's sort of on purpose.

About us having kids, we have the option to pursue IVF as well. My fertility is fine but my husband has some issues that requires extra help. 

You know, one good thing, I'm sorry to say, about this pandemic, is that no one has been able to really travel so I haven't had to have her baby rubbed in my face even more.

Nikki

Tried out's picture

want a baby do the IVF thing because nothing can take the place of that experience. Sometimes there are less major fertility procedures when the problem is just male fertility which I'm assuming you know about, too. 

Picardy III's picture

I'm so sorry for the losses everyone in your family has been through.

It's notable that you seem to consider you and your four kids as a (somewhat burdensome) add-on to your new husband's existing family. But, *he's* just as much an add-on to *your* existing family. You aren't a charity case brought into his household out of pity: you chose each other to each bring into your respective families.

Is there possibly an imbalance of resources and perceived power in your relationship - does he make most of the money, or did you move into his marital home with his late wife? Moving into a new "ours" home, or you focusing on career development so that your adjustment to a new home dynamic isn't the sole focus in your life now, may help.

 

NikkiLE's picture

Yes, he makes most of the money. But no, we didn't move into the home he shared with his wife. We did, however, remain in the same apartment complex, where we rent a town home in a different section. That wasn't all his decision though, we looked at other places but it just happened to have the best school system of all the places we looked. You mentioned career development, I am in the process of completing my BA (I'm about 3/4 of the way done) and then I may go on to get my MA. 

To tell you the truth, it does feel unbalanced to me but not because of anything my husband is doing or not doing. I just personally would like to feel that independence. So, you're right, that may help. My husband mentioned a couple of times that maybe I could become some kind of art historian (my degree is in art history) and we could move to Europe. And when I thought about that later, I actually thought, hey, not only would that be really cool, but we'd be even further away from his family. And he's okay with it too! 

Picardy III's picture

That makes a lot of sense - congrats on your upcoming BA!

i think being a homemaker is particularly hard for stepmoms, and may be a bad idea for psychological reasons even if it works financially.
There are exceptions, of course.... But for most, it's simply too frustrating to have your primary focus be maintaining a household that has factors (including household members!) so outside a traditional homemaker's sphere of control - even when the stepkids are grown.