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Dumped for not being a "good enough" stepmom (heartbroken)

megansider's picture

I wonder if anyone can relate. I was recently dumped by my boyfriend of over three years for hurting his little girl's feelings. I was nothing but nice to his kids however he dumped me after he became very angry with me for being sarcastic with her after she kept talking back to me and I had finally had enough. She was rude to me the entire day and I went to the store. When I got back she played the guilt trip on me and said she missed me and I had ignored her by going to the store. I replied sarcastically and said something to the effect of quesitoning her motives. She started crying and he said I was rude and made her cry. She told him I was mean to her when I was not (I was always nice to his kids and they were not always nice ot me in return) and he believed her. I am heartbroken as I put three years into the relationship and had gotten to know his kids very well. He said I was distant with his kids and even his mother agreed with him that I was too selfish to be a mother. This really hurt my feelings and I feel very ganged up on by people who supposedly loved me. I am not close to my family so this really hurt. Please note anytime we had not been getting along he would ignore me as well as his kids and he would take them to do their own thing and completely leave me out like I did not exist and  even for stupid reasons and I felt instantly cut out of his "family". I never thought this was healthy anyways.

ESMOD's picture

Bullet Dodged.

Now, you and I full well know that the relationship didn't end because of that one single interaction. It does sound like his family was a bit like a bird on his shoulder whispering against you already.

Now, while it might not be particularly mature to kind of stoop to the child's level being sarcastic and all... we all say or do things in the moment when we run out of patience.  Clearly there were issues before this with the child and your relationship.  Your BF sounds a bit immature too with his icing you out behaviors.

This is a situation where the accounting concept of sunk costs needs to be applied.  Even though you have spent time and resources on this relationship, it doesn't mean that the relationship is worth spending MORE time and resources on.

My advice would be to cry a little, eat some ice cream, do a bit of self reflection and move on with your life a bit smarter for the experience.

megansider's picture

I agree about the bird on the shoulder comment. I just dont know what I did that was so bad for his kids not to like me and that really hurts my feelings. I was always nice to his kids, took them places, spent time with them, taught them things, etc. Maybe I wasn't the most attentive motherly gf but I tried my best. I'm not sure what he was wanting. I might add anytime I tried to bring up his kids behaviors he would get very anrgy with me and not want to discuss it. He would always assume I did not like his kids for bringing things up, which just was not true.

RLZ0073's picture


exactly this.


he sounds like a child himself! You deserve much more!!!

Doublehelix's picture

Sorry to hear, but on the bright side, sounds like you dodged a bullet. Someone who is so petty is not mature enough to be in a relationship anyway. I'd take this as an opportunity to take what you learned in this relationship to find a truly satisfying one next time!  

AlmostGone83's picture

If he dumped you over THAT than any woman who comes into his life is going to have a real hard time living up to his unreasonable expectations. Steplife is hard and if after three years all you did was make one sarcastic comment that hurt princess’s feeling then I’d say you’re doing pretty good! Three more years of undisciplined back talk and any woman is going to ready to strangle both her and the boyfriend.

megansider's picture

He pretty much said I was only critical of his kids and i never saw the good. Maybe he was right but I see it otherwise. I was always nice to his kids except for the sarcastic comment but that was after long periods of putting up with their poor behaviors and rude comments. They were also very whiney, about most things which I never understood as they had it pretty good. They would complain I never attended enough of their games however I had to work many times when they were scheduled and also they had him, bm and multiple grandparents already attending them. It seems I could never do enough to make them happy. I also made a special effort to attend his daughters school recital and took off work to attend only for her to not attend her own recital because she “didn’t feel well” I quit taking time off after that.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

So he never examined the dynamic and asked himself if the kids were good to YOU?

I'm sorry that you're hurting, and I hope it's mostly your pride rather than your heart. It sounds as if this man did you a favor by forcing you out of a situation that wasnt right for you anyway. Those skids sound awful, btw.

You deserve a man who will cherish you and put your relationship first, with a healthy family that accepts you. So, move forward to better things, and completely erase this jerk from your life.


megansider's picture

I'm not sure if his kids were awful. I was told by him I wasn't used to being around kids much so I didn't realize how most kids are and how good his kids are and when they are not having manners they are just showing off and trying to be funny.. His kids did have a generally whining complaning attitude, as if nothing was ever good enough for them and they were never happy or satisfied. They also talked over us and interrupted conversations between adults regualrly.  Meal time was a mess. Always saying loudly in front of adults at other places if they thought their food was gross without being asked. Never a please or thank you, always demanding more things with no manners and making a mess and they never would take the first no as a no, they always pushed everything. They didn't listen. If they didn't get what they wanted they would cry in order to get their way. Ugh. They were plenty old enough to get their own waters but were used to their parents getting everything for them. When I told them they could get their own I was labelled as mean. They were always tyring to test and push everything constantly. I felt I was being watched nonstop. Not a good feeling.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Look, you sound like a reasonably intelligent woman, so if you were put off by this man's feral kids, then most people probably would be as well. From what you've shared, I would.

This man tried to get you to conform to HIS agenda. He gaslighted you, and tried to make you believe that your own beliefs and standards were wrong  and that you weren't seeing what you were seeing. Does that sound normal or healthy to you?

You were NOT the problem. You were just the fresh meat lured in to a dysfunctional family.

RLZ0073's picture

I should overlook their lying, stealing from me, disrespect, not addressing me with even a hello... talking nasty about their grandmothers and talking back to him with attitude BECAUSE...

they’re good students. (They’re not even in high school yet and neither one is amazingly exceptional either)

Siemprematahari's picture

He did you a favor darlin'! You may not see it now but know that this is a blessing in disguise. He didn't appreciate you and for him to break up with you over that without talking to you first shows how immature he is. Leave that little boy a lone and date a man that will value you. I know its easier said than done but you'll look back on this and be happy it was only 3 years wasted with this man instead of more.

Keep your head up, dust your shoulders off and know that wonderful new beginnings are in store for you.

raindrop's picture

Doooo not any any circumstances let him weasel his way back into your life. And he will probably try once he realizes how he cannot handle all the parenting himself. and he’ll guilt trip you with some bullshit about how much his kids have been crying since you left, etc.  Do not fall for it. 

I am also from a very broken and dysfunctional family and I latched on to an ex with kids because I wanted that feeling of family. I never felt welcomed or wanted or appreciated despite my efforts. He then dumped me after 3 years and went back to BM. Once he dumped me, I was DONE. He didn’t hear a peep from me, and he would occasionally call or text to see how I was doing. Nope, I went full on radio silent. It wasn’t easy the first month, but then I got my power back, I felt in control.  At around 3 months, he wanted me back, he made a mistake, his kids are crying out for me. Still, radio silence. Eventually I met a single guy, no kids, and also from a broken family and it was sooo much better hanging out with him than THEM. Soooo much better.  You’ll heal from this quickly if you go radio silent and keep busy. If you do not have any friends, get out there and do things solo. Take amtrack or mega bussss to cool places, go to a movie, go chill on a beach or water park, or, join a dating website and specify in your settings that you are looking for a man with no children! 


somethingwicked's picture

This BF was searching for the perfect doormat. Thank your lucky stars you did not fulfill all the requirements.


Miss T's picture

This cannot be said emough. Go away, lick your wounds, pretend you're your best girl frend and give yourself the break up pep/recovery talk. Then when you're ready to get back on that horse, find a guy with no kids. This makes finding a guy 10X more difficult. Oh wel! I don't care how hot he is. If he has kids, he's looking for a cheap nanny and a bed warmer. DO NOT GO THERE.

MurphysLaw's picture

BEST thing that could have EVER happened!!!

DO NOT I repeat DO NOT EVER consider getting back with this dirtbag!!!

Jcksjj's picture

Good luck to him finding someone " good enough" aka willing to put up with that crap. Please dont get back together with him when he comes crawling back because no one else thinks his kid is the second coming of jesus either.

raindrop's picture

IKR?! I’ve met a lot  of single daddeees who act like  YOU are privileged to have a chance with him. Lol. I’m over here without any baggage, a solid career, a nice home, and you think I should act honored to be with you and your brats along with your baggage? Nope. The BM didn’t want ya for a reason. I know my worth. 

caitlinj's picture

Love this! Yep these men think they are such a catch but once the honeymoon stage wears off reality hits that they are not.  “It’s so cute that he’s a great dad” really becomes he’s saddled with debt and has spoiled brats for children who are disrespectful, draining and will cause big problems in your relationship. Don't even get me started about the ex and the in laws........

SteppedOut's picture

And then thinks you should be HONORED to drop your career and stay home with his brats! Hell no 

elkclan's picture

Ohhhh yeah... my SO isn't really like that, but BM is. Hey, it's great that she's in her kids' corner - and they're not bad kids - but it's not a 100% unalloyed joy to be with him and it is work. 

My son can be great company, he can be really funny. But is it a privilege to be in 12 yo's company? No, I'm thankful for the help I get from my SO. 


Jcksjj's picture

It would help if people didnt insist that "bonus kids" is how they should be referred to, as if they're a prize they won

megansider's picture

Thank you for the support and I agree. Anytime I wanted to discuss anything to do with his kids it was met with him becoming very defensive and somewhat angry. I felt I never met his expectations if I was not spending time with his children enough but it was hard at times because of the way they acted. There were just things I did not think were cute. Maybe I’m not meant to be a mother? It made me doubt myself. The comment about him treating it like a first time family when it was a second time family was so right! He also kept saying by three  years I should love his kids by now like they were my own. I did not but never mentioned this. I cared about his kids and wished them no harm and there were times I enjoyed being around them. But there were too many times I did not really enjoy being around them mainly because they wouldn’t act good but here were little or no consequences for her behavior. I’m glad everyone on here is so supportive and understands the second family thing. Also to add his mother (mother in law) would always tell him how I should love his kids like my own and treat them like my own which became really irritating to say the least as she’s never been in a relationship with a man who had children from his previous marriage so how we she have that knowledge?

ndc's picture

This has nothing to do with how good of a mother you would be to YOUR OWN children.  You are NOT the mother of his children and as such it's not surprising that you didn't act like the perfect one.  It wasn't your place, it wasn't your job.  

I'm sure it hurts right now, but trust me, you are better off without this man.  DO NOT take him back if he changes his mind and decides that even your "inferior" mothering of his children was better than nothing.  This guy isn't the one for you.  

megansider's picture

Thank you. It is very hurtful as I tried very hard to be a good step parent. I just feel like I failed.

susanm's picture

"Good step-parent" is generally defined as whether or not you are putting his wants and his kids wants ahead of yours at all times and neglecting yourself completely.  Congratulations on "failing" before you were totally exhausted, broke, and bitter.  When he comes back to "forgive" you because he needs your help, don't fall for it.

megansider's picture

Thank for this. Yes there were times after spending a few days with them I felt exhausted from lack of sleep and constantly having to entertain and parents his kids. I also spent money on his kids (because I wanted to) but was pressured to move in and take on bills that were out of my league. If this continued I would’ve been broke. 

caitlinj's picture

Bingo. If being a "good step parent" means neglecting yourself, being disrespected, being undervalued, being exhausted, and going broke in the process then you don't want it and you shouldn't want it. Cherish yourself. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

you were set up to fail by a man and his mommy who had unrealistic expectations of you and the role you should play with his children.

Please stick around, read, and learn the Really real truth about step families. You'll learn that it was never your role or responsibility to become an Instamom to his kids. This man and his momma will cause every woman he dates to run for the hills.

megansider's picture

Thank you. I always thought the whole thing with his mom was a little odd anyways not to mention his odd expectations of a stepmom. They seemed like twins. Sometimes when they were talking it was if I was talking to the same person. He was just an echo of his mother. 

Merry's picture

You did not fail. Please stop blaming yourself. HIS lack of parenting those kids is the fail here. HE failed YOU. 

Just because he said hurtful thing to you doesn’t mean it’s true. 

megansider's picture

Thank you.  When he dumped me he called me all sorts of names and said I was immature, self centered, just like my family, etc. (he knows I have experienced trauma from my family so I did not think that was fair fo him). I never said any mean things to him. I just told him he hurt me and left. He offered me a ride home and I said don't worry about it I had my own way and that made him even angrier. Maybe that was wrong but no one likes to be blamed for everything and iced out for days over a child talking back to them. Maybe I could've been a better mom and better at the "family" thing but I never felt like I fit it because any time we weren't getting along he would go and do things with his kids and intentionally leave me out of it. It was almost punishment for not complying. It felt isolating and lonely.

MurphysLaw's picture

You WILL BE an EXCELLENT mother one day to your OWN CHILDREN. 

And I have NO DOUBT, you were very kind to this arseholes demon spawn! 

I say best of luck to that loser, he will die ALONE after a string of broken relationships, Believe THAT!

caitlinj's picture

That is ok he will have his mommy, his ex and his brats to keep him company. Only mommy won't live forever and he doesn't really want the exes company or they would still be together so he will just be annoyed more than anything by the ex as time goes on. His brats however will likely ever leave home by the sounds of things. They will be 30 and still living at home being waited on hand and foot. That is if they are not in jail, shacking up and/or knocked up.

Gimlet's picture

Hey Megan.

I am from a f*cked up family too.  You don't so much grow up in one as survive it, so congrats to you for coming out of the other side with your empathy intact!   It does cause you to make choices to fill the holes sometimes, so being aware of that internal dynamic (if it applies to you, it did to me) and maybe exploring it in couseling can be quite helpful.

Also, kudos to you for knowing that your BF and his family were unreasonable people (which I think you do know inside, although it helps to have that validated) and having the strength to walk away.   Using your family history against you was a low blow, but it sounds like par for the course for this bunch.

Not loving his kids like your own is NOT an indicator of the kind of mother you will be.  I do not love my husband's kids.  I am polite and kind to them, but other than that I have little real interaction with them and certainly none in a parenting role.  I would fight to the death for my own bio kid, though.  Being and mom is completely different (for most of us) from being a stepmom.

I'll add my voice to the "please never go back to this guy" chorus.  You did the right thing walking away.  Focus on building your own life without the baggage of this unhealthy family.  

Best of luck.

bananaseedo's picture

"I just feel like I failed."  

Hon, know this, step-parenting is never something you can 'win' at.

Frustrated future SM's picture

100% agree with the others! He did you a favor girl. I'm literally dealing with this same exact mess right now. Your BF's kids sound EXACTLY like my BF's kids. And I finally got fedup with their rudeness this past Sunday and stood up for myself. BF did NOT like that AT ALL lol. Only reason he hasn't dumped me is because we have a DD together. You're lucky he gave you an out before you ended up preggo. Just don't go running back to him in a month when he's texting you about how much he misses you!

Harry's picture

He did you a favor.  Just hope he is happy with his DD running his life.  He will blame everybody else for his failed to parent.  No one can live in that circus  Just buy pop corn and watch his Facebook posting of his great life.

JBDmom's picture

I hate hate hate seeing other people being treated like this. You deserve so much better. It isn’t fair for him to talk to you and treat you this way. Especially using his kids against you. I have felt and been in this situation so many times and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. You have a way out and I really hope you stick to it. He’s not going to get better, his kids aren’t going to get better. He won’t ever think your good enough no matter how much you try. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you did something wrong. Let this be a lesson learned and not a mistake you continue to make. 

still learning's picture

It sounds like you chose a man who had a ready-made family since you're not close to your own family.  It's okay not to have a close loving family, the more people I talk to it seems to be the norm. All families are dysfunctional in some way with either everyone being estranged from each other (my family) or overly enmeshed to some degree.  I thought my exH's family was amazingly close, a perk for me since my own family was scattered. What a shock after we got married to see all the cliques, backstabbing, drama and infighting.  

Instead of dating a guy with kids to get that happy family feeling, go to meetups, befriend other "strays" and be there for each other.  Better yet, get comfortable being alone and learn to enjoy your own company. Get some therapy and deal with your issues so you don't bring another roving divorcee looking for a nanny and bedwarmer into your life.  

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ― Rumi


somethingwicked's picture

Wonderful insight,still learning, and that Rumi quote put it over the top!

ldvilen's picture

“He said I was distant with his kids and even his mother agreed with him that I was too selfish to be a mother. This really hurt my feelings and I feel very ganged up on by people who supposedly loved me. . . completely leave me out like I did not exist and even for stupid reasons and I felt instantly cut out of his ‘family’. I never thought this was healthy anyways.”

No, it was never healthy.  Get out and go out and celebrate, and then when you feel ready, find yourself an unencumbered male, meaning one who is not a momma's boy, is independent and capable of thinking for himself, and ideally one who does not have any children from a previous relationship.  As you found out the hard way, women with no children of their own who hook up with a man with children, will wind up giving up a lot more than their BF/ husband ever will.  You'll be expected to suck it up and take it every time for his kids, while he will feel he never has to suck it up for you.

Don't feel bad.  Get out.  And, yes, look at it like you dodge a bullet, because you figuratively did.  Spending years in step-hell is pretty much like taking a bullet to the heart over and over.  No man is better than a man with no balls.

marblefawn's picture

Hey, megansider, you know he is a complete loser. And you know his mother is a nagging, judgmental harpy -- the kind of classic mother-in-law character they write into sitcoms, right? (For we oldies, I'm thinking of "Mother Jefferson" from that '70s sitcom, The Jeffersons! She was awful to Weezie!) Anyway, and WE ALL know raising stepkids is a nightmare on a good day.

Look at that shitshow you almost got sucked into. Instead of thinking about what you're losing, imagine having a mother-in-law who thinks the world of you. And a guy who doesn't have a bunch of kids complicating your relationship with him, which is fantastic and respectful and mutual! This is what you could have, but you're lamenting a bunch of people who treated you like shit.

Why aren't you angry that they treated you this way? Why are you even entertaining the notion that this woman knows what kind of mother you'd be? How dare that woman judge what kind of mother you would be! GET MAD!

And him... Who the hell is HE to deem you UNWORTHY to babysit his brats for free for the rest of your life? That is rich -- here's the guy who couldn't manage to keep their mother happy long enough to stick and raise her own kids telling YOU, the person without that sloppy baggage, that you aren't worthy to raise his kids!!!!!!! Are you kidding me??????


Megansider, forget about this huge mistake you nearly made -- whatever his name is.

Then thank the gods of irony that he set you free because he thinks you're not good enough for him (aka, "dumped" you)!

And then work on your shit so this doesn't happen again. Kick up your self esteem so the next time a boyfriend starts showing signs of being a total douchebag, you immediately recognize it and set him free!

I think your guy was probably always an ass, so try to figure out why you didn't see it sooner and proactively dump him.

I'm telling you, you are a GEM and he knew it when he started dating you, but he stopped believing it because you probably don't believe it. You had power in the beginning of the relationship, but you can't give it away to someone like this guy, who will take it if you let him. And anyway, why date a guy who greedily snatches any bit he can from you? You could have an EQUAL partner, but you have to choose carefully and do your homework, be willing to be alone and not become attached too easily.

So get angry, put this behind you, hit the gym, read a few self help books and get back out there! Show him and yourself that you are NOT unworthy. When you are the new you, you'll enjoy the sweet revenge of happiness!

megansider's picture

Thank you!!!! Smile I know I wasn't prefect but I didn't deserve what I went thru and thank you very much for this post I needed to hear that! And actually I am furious. That is why I refused to let him drive me home and he got even angrier at me for that. (which made no sense)

marblefawn's picture

But it does make sense. Telling him no is the first sign to him that the spell is broken. You're taking back that power he managed to grab from you early on. It sounds ridiculous to talk about a spouse or boyfriend in terms of power, but that is at the heart of all conflict, right?

You'll find someone who is a better fit...someone with whom it isn't so difficult and humiliating. Give yourself the gift of sane in laws and skids (if you can find 'em!) You don't get to choose your first family, but you sure can choose not to be part of this guy's mess.

somethingwicked's picture

Exactly..The "NO" was the indication to him that you were "back" and in control of yourself, your power.He was losing his hold. Narcs HATE that ~they hate to be refuted because they know it all and what is best for you and by way of  controlling you it is  benefitting  them.

I was with an emotionally abusive narc for too many years of my young life and when I finally woke up and refused to go along with his "mandates",what HE believed was the only way ,the only truth ,  that is when he ramped it up from verbal and emotional abuse to physical.

You may have dodged more than you know,OP.

You are free! Celebrate! 

Sandybeaches's picture

I am sorry you are hurt and going through this but in the end you are better off out of this situation.   It was not good for you and a no win for you!!!  No matter what you did you were always going to be wrong and his kids were always going to be right.  Bringing his mother into your relationship is not only wrong it is extremely immature!!  

I agree with the others have a good cry and move on BUT before you do think long and hard about how you want to handle it when he calls you to come back as you don't want to be caught off guard when it happens!!  You want to have your thoughts in order.  He is immature and mad and once he gets over the mad he might be calling you to come back be ready with your response!! 

Rags's picture

Good riddance. Enjoy your new life adventure with that asshole and his entire shallow and polluted gene pool fading behind you and while you live an amazing life.

He did not fall from the toxic tree that is his mother and he continued that sad heritage with his toxic crotch dropping.

Take care of you.  No regrets.