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Issues with being a single stepmom with difficult bio dad

Lola88's picture

Hi everyone,

Just a little background to get started. I have no bio children. Dating my bf for 7 years. He has two daughters ages 16 and 12. We recently moved two states away so the youngest could attend a prep school geared to her athletics. He currently lives in our home state and comes down on weekends until he gets laid off for the winter where he will find a new job here. Essentially I am a single step mom navigating life where I dont know anyone and have no outlet for myself. I work from home so I literally go nowhere for myself besides the grocery store as I have no free time. Their bio mom has always been in and out and oftentimes unreliable and uncaring in general. 

For roughly 5 years of our relationship I have had no rights to discipline or decisions as I have been told repeatedly that I am not their mother just his gf. I get not their mom..not looking to be. My relationship with him has always been rocky and has also become my relationship with them over the years. Now that I am down here by myself with them it is expected I make decisions that a responsible parent should make. No matter what I do or say I either get an attitude from them if they dont like it(their teens I get it most of the time) and from him because it wasnt right or good enough. They have grown up hearing and watching him berate me for many different things. I have to support him and be on his team but also make decisions without him...basically its a lose lose situation because my choices are never right and its just not in me to have his back on everything because hes just not right half the time and I dont agree. 

So most of the time I check with him to make sure and he will get angry because I cant figure it out on my own and I make him be the bad guy when it comes to not letting his kids do something. The past two years he has tried to drill it into them to respect me and listen to me but why should they when he doesnt.. right?! 

Example..the youngest is an elite wrestler. National champion multiple times. She wanted to sign up at school to be..well essentially a tour guide for new students. Literally the only thing shes interested in at the school. I told her to talk to her teachers and find out when she would be needed so it doesnt cut into practice. She then called her dad to talk to him about it but because I didnt immediately tell her it wasnt a smart idea and this club would not be worth it for anything then I made him the bad guy by having to shoot it down. So now hes mad at me because Im not smart enough to figure that out and he had to be the bad guy. Meanwhile it was ok for me to sign her up for an environmental club which could have possibly cut into practice times until she decided she no longer wanted to do it before it even started. See the issue?! Mixed signals which is why I refer to his input. But I cant say any of this.

So on top of his overaggressive verbal and mental abuse I also have to deal with angry kids who give me an attitude when I left behind my family, switched job all to raise kids by myself for months with no adult support in my area, that arent mine because thats how much I care to give them some semblance of a normal parent. 

There is soooo much more I can go into but I feel like this is too long and possibly noone will read it. I am at a loss of what to do besides wait until hes down here to raise his own kids and pack up and leave. In all honesty...thats been my plan. I love these kids as if they are my own.. him..not so much. I wouldnt have done all this if I didnt love them. But I am a prisoner in my own home with no respect for anyone unless they are having a decent day to begin with. I cant voice my own opinion to him about basically anything because he immediately says im arguing with him. And if I keep doing it our relationship will be over. Honestly I dont think I would be sad about it at this point. Everything I have done and I literally mean everything has been for this family. I bought the rental house we were living in back home so we didnt have to move when they were selling. Its now rented out to another family. I out myself through two degrees while working full time and picking up their mothers slack to give them a better life. I left everything behind to come here for them. Yet I havent gotten really nothing in return. 

I dont know how to get through to any of them. I try to be on everyones side depending on the situation but I faily at every turn. 

If you made it this far I am sorry its so long but I truly appreciate you reading it and possibly offering tips or insight. I know I should just cut my losses and go..and I probably will in the near future but in the meantime I just need to get through this. 

Lola88's picture

I shpuld also note that I did and do everything in the house. Even when hes here on weekends or when we lived in our home state. He never offered to help unless I was having a breakdown from being overwelmed and that was always short lived. I work 12 hour days for two jobs because this family has put me in so much debt and he only get unemployment in the winter. He would rather I quit my 2nd job and be more present with the girls.. but 1. We cant afford that come winter time because of this schools tuition and 2. I dont want to be more present.. no matter what I get an attitude from someone so I feel like Im checking out without meaning to and I cant seem to connect with them or want to anymore. 

ESMOD's picture

You are NOT responsible for making his kid's dreams come true... not responsible for saving them.. not responsible for paying their damn tuition.  If a close friend or family member was telling youthis.. that this was THEIR story? what would your advice be? Get the heck out of course.. no question.

And.. don't worry about him "paying you back" for what you have already borrowed etc.. he won't.. it's just a hook to keep you there..afraid you won't get repaid if you leave.. well.. you probably won't anyway.. so don't let THAT hold you. (though if you have proof of it being a loan to him.. by all means consider legal action to pursue it later).

Make sure your escape money is safe.. that you have what is important and necessary to you (documents etc.. ) and then time your exit appropriately.  Do they ever visit with mom?  perfect time to leave.. notify them both you are no longer there.

Or.. he is on the way there for the weekend.. go ahead and leave before he gets there.. with notification at that time you have exited the relationship.

Others have suggested consulting a lawyer.. and not a bad idea.

Hopefully you aren't on the lease for the home.. if you are.. it's possible you will have to evict them/him? again legal assistance should have that straight.

But.. do not pay one more penny towards financial obligations that aren't yours.. get him to send money for the kid's expenses.. you shouldn't be paying.

Lola88's picture

I dont pay anything towards tuition and he has been paying the rent.The apartments is in both of our names becaus my credit tanked from everything I had to dish out in the past two years. Luckily the house back home is solely in my name. They do go see their mom but only if it is convenient to their sports schedule and on those weekends I have to meet her halfway to drop them off and he is already on his way down. I know I wont get any money back or leave with the furniture I bought. I would have to start over. I am ok with that. My grandmothers money is safe and he doesnt know about it. 

I hate the fact that I have to take his side on things even though it causes the girls to dislike me. Its a lose lose for me either way and the lesser of two evils is the girls giving me crap at the end of the day versus him. I know what he does upsets them at times when it ends up directed at them but again.. I can't do anything about it. 

Kona_California's picture deserve to have someone on your side too. This person is taking major advantage of you. I would definitely lawyer up and start getting the house and other assets in order. I would tell the girls they should reach out to you when they're adults and they have the autonomy. 

Winterglow's picture

Why are you being their slave? Pack your bags and LEAVE, lady this is SO not your problem. And please don't give me the guff about how much you love him. Love is not enough to accept a life of drudgery and misery. 

Lola88's picture

Yea i do not love him anymore. Ive always told myself these girls deserve a normal parent in their life. My idea has alsays been to get them settled here. Wait for him to move here full time and go. I didnt have the funds until recently to do anything about my living situation. Unfortunately my grandmother passed so I can financially start over when I do leave. 

JRI's picture

Lola, I have a question, why are you staying in this situation?  Steplife is hard enough and the reason any of us endure it is because we love our DHs.  I think you are over your BF and I can certainly see why.

It is so hard to split up, I could barely do it at the last minute before my son started a new school year even tho my ex was an umployed druggie.  But you can do it, yes, you can.

Make yourself a good plan and go while he is gone.  As you leave, call and let him know he or BM will have to make childcare arrangements.  Tell him all further contact will be thru your lawyer.  Then block him and the kids.

Good luck, Lola, you deserve a better life.

Lola88's picture

I have stayed because these girls do deserve to have a normal parent in their life. And I know that responsibility is not mine to take on. Your not the first person to tell me to leave and have him figure it out. I just cant abandon his kids here without him also being here full time. I just cant leave them in the lurch like that and I know he would retaliate legally or someway I am sure. He is the definition of a narcissist.

I have gotten a storage unit to slowly move small things out of the house though. And I know when I move it wont be back to our home state and I definitely wont stay in this state. I want to start over completely. I havent been in a position financially to start over until now. Unfortunately that money is only because my grandmother passed away. 

They arent bad kids but they are the product of two not great parents and what they see aimed at me. I guess I am just so afraid of the unknown and admitting failure in such a long relationship even though I know the failure is not mine. 

JRI's picture

You're a good person for not wanting to leave the girls in a precarious position.  But, they are 16 and 12.  I'm sure theyve been left alone for short periods.  All Im saying is, dont let your concern for them put yourself in a dangerous situation.  I am getting a bad vibe about your BF and I would definitely leave while he is not present.  I can tell youre thinking "how" not "if" about leaving.  You can work something out, perhaps departing a couple hours before he is expected.  In any case, take good care of YOU.  I found to my surprise how dangerous leaving an ex can be.  Good luck.

Lola88's picture

Yea I get the bad vibe too from him. I just looked up narcissistic personality disorder and he meets it to a T. I can't have a normal conversation with him because any time I express my own thought or opinion that may be different from his, he immediately gets defensive and says I am arguing with him. Im really just trying to have a conversation but I guess I was raised wrong because that is what my mother does and its wrong. So I am forced to be a mouse in the corner and not help the girls or stand up for them or myself. 

Winterglow's picture

I am so sorry for the loss of your grandmother. ((HUGS))

I know you say you only want the best for these girls and that they deserve better parents but ... you are not one of their parents, you are giving them everything you have and you are not even getting respect in return. It's high time you put yourself first.

Here's what you're going to do:

  • Ensure your grandmother's money is in a safe place where nobody but you can get their hands on it.
  • Make sure you have all your legal documents (bank statements, birth certificate, SSN, anything and everything you might need). Block him from your bank account - yoiu don't want him draining it out of spite.
  • Whose name is on the lease for your home? If it's yours (and I truly hope not), when is the lease up?
  • Contact a lawyer (you can often get a first consultation free) about exactly what your rights, obligations and risks are.
  • Figure out where you're going to go when you leave. Will you find yourself an appartment? Stay with family?
  • If he has a weekend visit planned, pack your bags and leave an hour or two before he arrives. If he has no weekend visit planned, call him and tell him you are leaving tonight and that he'd better come and take care of his daughters before someone alerts the police. He's the one who'll be on the hook for abandonment, not you. He's hte one who is responsible for them, they are nothing to you. You cannot even be considered their caretaker because you are not being paid. Do you have a legal document that entrusts you with their care and gives you the right to make decisions and discipline them? I thought not...

I'm sure there's much more to think of and hopefully others will have good ideas and advice to share. I very much agree with JRI about not being there when he finds out you're gone. I'd also like to suggest you read reedle2021's posts for information and inspiration. She was in a situation where she felt trapped, where she was doing all the work to pay the bills, where she got no appreciation for anything and she got out and thrived.


reedle2021's picture

Thank you Winterglow.... **HUGS** to you and to this poster.... Smile

Happiness IS possible!  Smile

Lola88's picture

My grandmothers money is safe, he doesnt even know about it. The problem is it would take some time for me to get my hands on a little bit of it. 

He isnt on any of my bank accounts, I knew better right from the start on that one. The apartments is unfortunately in both of our names, my credit tanked in the last two years so we had no choice.  The lease wont be up until May 2023. However, the house in our home town is solely mortgaged to me and is currently being rented out to another family.

What kind of lawyer would I even try to talk to about all this? I wouldnt know where to start. 

reedle2021's picture

You would need a family law attorney, mine did divorces, adoptions, grandparents rights and stuff with step parents. 

reedle2021's picture

I don't mean to sound harsh, but I feel like you are using your BF's shortcomings as an excuse or reason to stay in an unhealthy situation and tolerate abuse.  Please stop.  Stop torturing yourself over someone's sh&tty parenting.  Lola, you deserve better and you owe these people NOTHING.  Give your attention, love and caring to someone who DESERVES it.  Not these kids and not your BF.  I say this from a place of caring, not anger or judgment.  These kids are NOT your problem.  As Rags would say, this sounds like a failed breeding experiment.  Walk away.  It's not your problem to deal with.

You have a life full of happiness waiting for you out there. 

Lola88's picture

Your probably right that I use it as an excuse. I just feel like this is all I know and all I am worth at this point. I have raised kids that aren't mine. Gone through so many issues with them as a family and always stuck around. I also know what when I leave - because I will eventually, I have to. That noone will know who he really is and to so many people he is such a great guy. Very few people see it. His kids see it, but they are slowly becoming bullies themselves and I am trying to reverse that but then I am in trouble for being the nice guy when I should have his back.

CLove's picture

I invite you to read some of my blogs.

Stop fighting against the tides.

reedle2021's picture

I know you use it as an excuse - because I did the same thing.  I had an entire grab bag of reasons why I shouldn't leave.  From "we've been together for so long" and "I have so much invested in this marriage" to "they'll change eventually and be nice to me (him and his son)" to "well we have some good times."  Etc.  I said the same thing to my family, "he's a great guy, you just don't get to see it."  But the fact remains, if your BF was a great guy, you wouldn't be on this site and no one who is a great person is only great part of the time and only for certain people to see.  And if his kids are becoming bullies, it is because that is what they are being taught and what they are observing.  And I believe that this behavior is modeled by your BF.  You won't be able to reverse his kids' behavior.  You can't change nature.  My ex husband was lazy and rude and I watched his son grow into the same type of person.  Why?  Because it was learned behavior from his daddy, this kind of behavior worked for his daddy so it works for him.  The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree that it can't be called an apple.


Livingoutloud's picture

Send an email to both mother and father to come pick up their children because you are moving or getting married or decided to become a nun. Reason doesn't matter. don't even have to have a reason 

You have zero legal or moral obligation to raise some boyfriends' children by yourself in a different state or anywhere. Your boyfriend pushed parenting responsibilities on you by sending his kids to you to raise. It's bizarre.Where is this kind of thing is even remotely acceptable.

If you are afraid of him, then it might not be as easy to get him to pick up the kids. If he or mom refuse to pick up the children, call authorities that parents left their kids with you and you aren't even related. Wait for kids to be picked up by CPS and go to domestic abuse shelter so ge can't find you. 

ok I reread your post. You state he is abusive. You must be afraid of him. You need to have s plan that would keep you safe. Call CPS to get the kids and go to domestic abuse shelter. Then get your life back on track  

if you don't want to call CPS, wait when he is in your state and leave before he gets in the house. Leave a note. Go to abuse shelter. Block them all and speak to a lawyer just in case 



reedle2021's picture

Your post made me sad for you.  I have been in a somewhat similar situation.  I had an unemployed husband (I know your BF works), an adult SS who refused to launch.  They both were cruel to me.  I worked and supported them financially while they sat around and badmouthed me and ignored me.  They slept in every day and hung out at home, just lived this fantastic Peter Pan lifestyle, courtesy of me, and all the while, I never had their respect or love.  I was treated like a roommate but given all the responsibility of a parent/adult.  I was not allowed to parent his son or say anything to my husband's son about ANYTHING or I was given the silent treatment for days then berated and belittled.  It was awful.  Your situation is very, very reminiscent of mine.  Please do your favor and walk away from this sh*tshow.  I did and it was the best decision I ever made.  I moved out at the end of May, my divorce was finalized last week.  It is hard to walk away, believe me, I get it - I had invested 9 years total with my ex husband.  But at some point, you have to choose happiness.  Things won't change in situations like these.  I know you probably think if you just keep sacrificing then at some point, they will love and appreciate you (I went through those thoughts and feelings too initially).  It won't happen.  They'll use and use and use you until you nearly break. I have walked down the same path you are.  It's an awful place to be. And yes, I nearly broke. 

Ultimately, these kids are not your responsibility.  Having to worry about their needs and tuition is their parents' problem.  Their sh&tty attitudes = their parents' problem.  Making decisions about their classes, clubs, etc., ALL the responsibility of THEIR PARENTS.  And you're right, they'll never treat you with respect because your BF doesn't.  I watched as my SS became more and more brazen in how rude he was to me as he witnessed more and more episodes of his dad doing the same thing to me.

My ex husband was also emotionally abusive and it was escalating to physical abuse (slapping my leg, slapping my phone out of my hands while he was berating me).  Even without his kids, your BF won't ever change or treat you better.  My ex would do the same with any decision I was allowed to make (never anything about his son though), whatever I decided was ALWAYS wrong and whatever I did WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH.  I can't tell you how many times I went and picked up food for supper because he was mowing the lawn or busy ... and he berated me for it, "the food is cold now," "well that's not what I would've picked."  Or I did the dishes and "you loaded the dishwasher wrong" and "these dishes don't go here!  Don't you know anything?!"  Etc., etc., the list of bullsh*t mean things he said goes on and on... I mean, just absolutely despicable behavior.  I also could never voice my feelings to him because he would just be even more hateful.  Like you said, it was a no-win situation.  Trust me, it won't ever get better. 

Plan your exit.  Save yourself.  Start your life over. Happiness is waiting for you.

Please keep us posted, we're all here for you! 

Lola88's picture

I feel like we are (you were) living my life. Literally everything you just said is my situation. Except that he expects them to be respectful to me. The youngest got snippy at me and he got mad saying she better watch how she talks to me and how dare she, I deserve her respect.. Its laughable really because why? Why should they? He even said one time that just because I talk to her a certain way does not mean you get to- you will show respect to her. 

He hasnt hit me yet.. and I say yet because the threats are there. He has stated that he would beat me or slap me if I keep arguing. I don't consider it arguing but what do I know at this point. Nothing is ever good enough or right which is why I refer to him on decisions about them, but then it gets thrown back at me because how come I cant think for myself. Am I stupid? Are you not an adult? Can you not decide what would be the smartest decision? I ask for his opinion on stuff or help with the girls when they are too difficult and his response is usually what do you want me to do about it, I am two states away, figure it out.

I am just really tired. Of everything. I will leave but I just can't do it until he is here full time. I cant leave them like that. But then at the same time I am scared to leave. But I know I desperately need to. 

reedle2021's picture

Yes, we were indeed living the same life, only I didn't have to move away and be entirely responsible for my ex husband's son.  Believe me when I tell you the behavior and violence will escalate.  I began to see red flags with my ex's behavior but I told myself, "well he wouldn't hit me.  He never has hit me.  He won't become physical.  He really does love me."  I was wrong.  My husband started out verbally threatening to hit me and then he began to slowly get physical, like slapping my leg and then another time slapping my phone out of my hand.  On another occasion, he pushed me (because he said I was looking at him while he was eating).  My ex's behavior became more and more erratic.  Those times where he was physical, I couldn't believe what I had experienced.  It was shocking.  But, the signs were there that he would eventually become physical. 

Again, you don't deserve this kind of treatment and him dumping his kids on you.  I know that sounds harsh, but that's essentially what he and his baby mama did - they dumped those kids on you.  And now your guilt is acting as a restraint to keep you from leaving - I think he is aware you would feel guilty if you left.  He is manipulating you.

You will know when the time is right to leave and you will know what to do, trust me.  You have to do what is right for you.  I started my exit plan early in the game - I would recommend you to do the same.  It helps alleviate the stress of leaving when you have all ducks in a row. 

Winterglow's picture

Are there any grandparents in the picture? Either mother's or father's parents? I don't mean are they active participants, only are they alive and how far away are they?

Are they within driving distance?

Lola88's picture

The whole family is in our home state. The mother doesnt have a relatioship with her mother. He does not have a relationship with his mother and his father was just like him growing up. Neither of them were raised in structured loving homes. We are about 3.5 hours away from any family.

Badger1986's picture

I hate to say this but you're not their savior! With my ss I told my wife that if she ever passes away, he will go to his grandmas. She believes that since I'm the only father figure he has had that I should give him stability. Hell no! Won't do it! I will not look at his smug ugly face the rest of my life is she passed away tomorrow. Also, if he wanted her to go to a prep school, he should've been the one to move because he cannot dictate things from his ivory castle. You should just get another apartment, leave the kids with food, and drop them off at his house! Don't even tell him where you moved to. If my wife ever dies I will leave ss on his grandparents front door, take my bio-child, and have no contact. I would not want him to know where his sibling lives! That's just me

Lola88's picture

Originally he was to move down here first. The job was not at all what was offered to him so he went back to his old job at home because we needed the money for all of this and I moved down here with them. It was always the plan to have all of us down here but originally it was not me raising them on my own since June. Luckily I found a good work from home job in my field. Now I have to wait for him to find employment down here. I don't feel secure leaving the kids without the guarantee that their father doesnt have a job lined up. I know I shouldnt care but that just isnt me.

CLove's picture

its about you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you can help someone else.

Winterglow's picture

No offense intended, Lola, but there is no such thing as a single stepmom... You have gone above and beyond what many bio parents will do for their kids (as you've seen), now it's time for you to take care of you. 

Lola88's picture

Lol I know single step mom isn't a thing. But thats basically what I am. At least it describes my situation a bit. 

Rags's picture

You are right. You are not their mom. You are more than their mom. You are the one who raises them.

As for rights... legally, you have no rights. But in reality you have every right you choose to take.  So, take them all.  Inform your BF that if he does not like  how you parent and discipline the chidlren present in YOUR home that he can get off of his useless failed father, failed partner, and failed man ass and do it himself.  This "not their ....." thing is a deal breaker for me.  As an equity life partner to their mate a SParent is also an equity parnet to any children in the couple home, regardless of kid biology.

The first time someone played that card with me I would give them the immediate choice of gaining clarity to GTF out of my life.  Zero toleranc. A second incident gets them and their spawn gone.

Quit serving yourself up as the sacrifice on the alter to this dumbass and his demanding gene pool.

Move on.

Let this dumb ass go down the drain. Where shit should go.

I am a non breeding SParent btw. I have no BKs.  Though I did raise my SS-30 as my own.   His mom and I married the week before he turned 2yo.  He asked me to adopt him when he was 22yo. We made that happen.  So, you ARE their mom.  You are far MORE than their mom.  Even if you are "only" the GF.  Do not tolerate anything less than full equity partnership from your BF. That makes you an equity parent.  Never forget that. And never let him forget that.

Good luck.

Cover1W's picture

You know you need to leave. Sooner than later. Figure out how to get some of your inheritance, OR bite the bullet and just find a cheap month-to-month place now. You know that when he's moved down (if he ever does!) it will be MORE difficult for you to go. Get your plan together ASAP and go. You have no responsibility to him. You know what? I left an apartment I had with a bf years ago and I was on the lease. I just didn't put it down as a rental on my history - but my bf covered the rent in any case no one reported me to any credit place (lucky).  

Lola88's picture

I have started making plans. I have looked at apartments in another state and got a storage unit to start putting small things away. I know it will be harder to leave once he is here, but I just can't see myself leaving the kids in the wind like that with nothing at home, until he drives down. I will have to lose everything in this apartments. I bought 75% of everything and I have made peace with that. It sucks but it is what it is.

Rags's picture

Have the majority of the contents of the apartment moved to storage and backfill with molded plastic furniture.

Quit letting concern for his daughters be a detriment to your life. Eldest SD is more than old enough to cover oversight of SD12 until daddy shows up.  Put a box of ramen in the pantry, text daddy that you are gone and SD-16 has the ball, and leave.


Cover1W's picture

You don't have to wait long to go if he comes down on the weekends right? Others have noted you can leave an hour or so ahead of when he gets there. Remember that you didn't create this wierd situation of daddy leaving his kids to his gf to raise with no authority or real help in another city. This is not caused by you!  I have a feeling he'll just have to figure it out. I mean, the gall of him to do this in the first place! I'm guessing you didn't have much of a say in it and he bullied you into it. Remember that. 

I walked away from my emotionally abusive ex. I left the house, the vehicles, the camper, the motorcyles, most of the furniture, all the appliances with him. My stuff didn't even really fill a one bedroom apartment. And you know what - I WAS SO HAPPY!  Stuff is replacable. 

reedle2021's picture

I left all the furniture I had paid for too when I left.  It is a small price to pay for happiness. 

Maybe leave when you know he will be there in a few hours.  That might be easier.  It would have been easier for me if my ex had not been there when I left, but he was.  It was scary and hard.  I would rather have left when he wasn't there. 


bananaseedo's picture

Question, when you say winter, how many months, what is the timeline exactly into which he can move there? I do understand the sense of obligation/care for the girls even if it's not-it's what you've been conditioned to do all along. Although I want to tell you to leave the very next weekend he visits, my advise is to take the longer tactical plan. 

You may have less backlash and less guilt it you wait until he's moving there since the girls are already situated in school, etc. Nobody has to be uprooted, drastically change.

In the meantime, go stealth as you can.  Be careful moving to many items/big items the girls could notice and let him know about.  Focus on paperwork/research and valuables- everything else will wait until D-Day (Departure Day). 

Editing as I read some more of your comments:

1) Don't know where you rented the storage unit, or how big the city you live in is.  I strongly suggest getting the storage (or moving to a different one) that is quite some distance from the house, where you know you won't run into him, family, friends, the girls or other student parents you know.  This may mean longer travel times while you take things over, but it is by far much safer.  Pay cash and explain to them it's for safety.  Put a password on the storage account, and explain to not give ANY info to anyone w/out your prior consent.  Also, you said you are on the lease, you just bite the bullet here if he can't pay, it is what it is, you said credit is already bad. Just notify them and ask about your options a day/two before D-Day or even once you have left.  Your home that is in your name only, make SURE he doesn't have any keys to the place, if he does...set up to have locks changed for the tenants on D-Day.  Consult a lawyer about all of this, just to make sure you won't run into any surprises or how best to cover yourself legally.

2) Get a seperate banking account (preferably a different bank) NOW if you have a joint one.  Keep your work check going to your joint for now, but pull out cash in nonnoticeable amounts and put in your other bank account. Idea is to leave only what needs to cover bills and not a dime more.  Once you have the date he's moving there, notify your job so they can re-route your check to the new account. Time it properly so it happens in between your moving out.  Set up a credit notification system/alert so you can see if he tries anything with your information.

3) Change all your passwords now, just in case he has some, for online, banks, pins, social media, phone, etc, utilities. If he tries something and confronts you, just tell him you were recently warned of hacking so you changed everything.  You will do this once again on "D-Day" while he is driving to move there.

4) You said he doesn't know about your grandmother's will (Sorry for your loss!).  If he finds out, tell him it's stuck in probate at the moment and it'll be some time/months  before you know/receive anything.  Hopefully he stays not knowing about it.  

5)PLAY DUMB if he's abusive, act like nothing is wrong in weeks/months leading up to his move.   Stealth mode, operation act as if everything is as usual. Do not tip your hand to him or the girls now that you are unhappy, or thinking of leaving, do not share this with ANY mutual friends/family where it could get back to him. Do not appear to detached, etc.  

6) Notify your employer that you will be moving to a different state around 'x' date to ensure no issues there.  Start researching apartments/housing in the area, and neighborhoods, get in touch with a realtor to start looking for what you want and give them the moving date.  It can always be some time after "D-Day"- you can stay at an extended hotel or short term rental/airbnb at your new location.

7) Get a new cell plan that only you have/know about that you pay from your new account.  Use this phone ONLY for your communications w/realtor, lawyer, moving company, notifying rental place, storage, lock changes, new bank, ANYTHING that has to do with your new life w/out him.  Maybe consider updating it with your job/clients if you don't have a work cell. 

Dirol Days leading up/Turbo plan and "D-Day"  See if the girls can go spend the night/weekend w/friends or relatives, their mom, or even drive them to their dads so they can help him pack/drive back together if you can. As soon as they are gone, get your help that you pre-arranged weeks prior (friends or paid help) and move all the furniture/items YOU paid for to the far away storage. If you have this fall on a Friday, week day, go to the bank and get your name off the joint account, move any/all of your funds to your new account (preferably another bank entirely).  I know changing your phone n is a total pain if you've had it for years, but it's one less way to stay no contact once you leave (which is number one priority after you leave). Switch any/all debit cards on your online accounts for auto pay, to new account.  Change passwords to all your accounts once more (tv subscribtions, amazon, insurance, medical, etc). Make a list of which accounts you need to close, vs remove his name/update passwords.  If the girls are w/their mom, say on a Friday, do all your 'in-person' things that day, including moving furniture, etc. The day he's driving there for good (what time/date in winter?)- take a couple hours w/your laptop and start the switches/updates of passwords. 

IF you want, leave a note to the girls that you are leaving voluntarily, you can spill if you want about their dads treatment of you, and theirs, whatever you feel is best, no wrong answers here.  Be clear you are moving on and will be in no contact, unreachable since you dont 'want them to file a missing person report. If you are feeling generous, you can tell them you love them and will miss them but you need to regain your life and you have been unhappy for years w/their dad.  Just be careful not to blame them, no need to leave and then feel guilt that they feel responsible.  

Block his number as you exit the home for the last time.  Take a good look at what you are leaving behind- remind yourself you are leaving free of guilt, shame and responsibility and you deserve a new, free, beautiful life. 

Acting in haste is imperative if you are in physical danger, but if it's not that, you are better off taking your time to plan/implement safely, securely and covering all your bases, get ALL the ducks in a row during this time, do not tip him in any way!!  Business as usual.  By doing this you ensure your safety, sanity, and a smooth transition out with no regrets. 

I wish you a full lifetime ahead of happiness and joy and freedom from this horrible situation.  Be smart, be stealth, be proactive, be diligent, keep your checklists w/time frames updated....set the plan in motion.  The next few months you will find yourself motivated and happy as you inch closer to D-Day...just make sure to not share with ANYONE that you think for even a sec could get back to him w/your plan.  


reedle2021's picture

YES!  Exactly what bananaseedo said!  This is basically how I did it.  Being in stealth mode is of utmost importance.  I didn't even tell anyone about anything with my situation until a week or so before I think, and it was a trusted work friend.  I did it more for my own safety, like to have someone there or if I suddenly disappeared, she would know what was going on. 

Please be careful.....

Survivingstephell's picture

Since you have no rights can you be charged with a form of kidnapping if you don't tow the line?  Just how evil is he?  Put yourself first.  

Winterglow's picture

He would have to be pretty stupid to try that because because both names are on the lease... 

CLove's picture

I get that you care about kiddos. You can keep being the sacrificial lamb on the altar of the failed first family - thats up to you and we are here for you to vent to whenever you need to. And it sounds like you are making your moves, slowly and carefully in the right direction of out.

MEANWHILE, since you are still feeling anchored down there are a few things you can do in the meantime:

1. Start taking care of YOU. Start disengaging emotionally. Start writing things down like you have here. Start a secret journal, so you can really cement in your head the abuse you are expriencing. Most of stepparents issues are the bio parents. You cannot fight DNA however. Start doing more for you. Get enough rest, eat well, excercise. Keep your immune system boosted. Read more stuff on here about others experiences - so you dont feel so alone!

2. Consult a lawyer if you can. Get that process of getting a little $ from your inheritance.

3. Start building your TEAM. Your BF is NOT on your team. Gather friends and family around you. Long distance is ok. Support is support.

Good luck and keep us posted!

Rags's picture

Their outcome is not on you regardless of what they "deserve".

Quit bailing out their parents.  

Get on with your life.  You deserve that commitment too and from yourself.

tfsimmons's picture

Your house is on fire and no one to rescue you - except you... How you talked yourself into this is exactly how you talk and yourself out while you pack your shit up and save your life!!  You work, you work from home, you can work from your own little place, studio, extended stay hotel - whatever!!  Don't say a word - just be gone before he gets home.  You have your entire life to live - and you've learned a hard lesson... You deserve to be RESPECTED - and it starts with you respecting and loving yourself.  Love and Blessings on your journey!

DPW's picture

No. No. No. No.

Time to pull the seat eject button and bounce. I am sorry to tell you this but nothing good is going to come from this for you. You need help. Please care more about you than them. Plan your exit, give him a deadline to arrive in your state and move on. 

Keep posting please. 

Kona_California's picture

You should know that watching someone stay in a relationship like this is a lot like watching someone overdose on drugs. It is maddening to the people around you because they can't understand why you are doing this to yourself.

Definitely seek therapy. It helped me so much. I realized my behavior was a little bit rooted in seeing myself as a victim. Deep down I kept thinking one day I will be rewarded for my incredible selflessness. I will tell you, Lola, that reward never comes. All you are doing is staying where it is comfortable, as a victim. It is valid you feel this way because this guy sounds abusive. But in your situation you can decide you aren't a victim anymore and take action for you. 

The lease thing is a very small obstacle that really isn't an obstacle. Cut everything that connects you from him, even if it means you lose money or your credit takes a hit. Get a new phone number. Lean on this community any time you need to. You can do it and you deserve to enjoy your life. Good luck <3

Elea's picture

I don't know the whole story but keep in mind that if your SO is a personality disordered narc he likely made it very difficult if not impossible for the girl's BM to stay an active participant in their lives. If he doesn't really want the parenting responsiblity and he no longer has the free babysitter (you) then she may be able to step-in and take care of her own children.

Birchclimber's picture

Hun, read your post back to yourself...slowly and carefully.  Now, imagine that you did not write it.  Imagine for a moment that someone else wrote it and is asking for your advice.  What would you say?  Would you tell that poor soul to "Hang in there; you'll be fine."?  Or would you tell that person, "Time to make a good solid plan to leave this situation!  These are not your children.  This is not how you should be treated by your boyfriend or by his kids or by ANYone for that matter!"  I'm guessing that your response to the writer will be the latter.

You've only been given one life.  Don't find yourself having to look back on it with regret. 
There has been some great advice given to you.  Please take it.  Reedle2021's past posts are well worth reading and her advice is well worth heeding!!  Hugs...