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BioDaddy's picture

As you can tell from my screen name I am a father with a bs15 and a bs8. I have been married to my second wife for about 2 years. My wife does not have any kids and is having a very difficult time trying to find her place within the house. The relationship with my ex is good and there is no fighting. Everything is agreed upon and everything is done with the best interest of the kids in mind. The issue is that my wife is having a big problem adjusting to being a stepparent. She doesn't feel a connection with the kids and has come to be resentful for the fact that WE will never have a family of our own...there will always be the extension of my previous family. To top that off we don't have a child together so she feels like an individual in the house instead of part of the family. We discussed having a child together a couple of years ago but she decided against it because, she now tells me, that primarily she didn't want to bring a child into this situation. This has led to her resentment of my kids. This has now compounded and is affecting our marriage. I have tried everything I can think of from talking, participating in counseling, trying to promote more interaction, and then letting herself have her space to no avail. She is now in counseling by herself and has had 3 sessions. I have realized that I can do nothing to control how she feels and have not blamed her but tried to help her. That is why I am here...soliciting any advice. Thank you in advance.

Jsmom's picture

She needs to be on this website. Mention it to her and then give her the privacy here to vent. It is for Steps and will give her that outlet.

It has helped me tremendously. I still feel like an outsider in this house. I have one son of my own, but I moved into his home and rented mine. That has made a huge issue for me. My DH let me do a lot of remodeling and re-decorating, to make it feel more like my home. As for the kids, that may never come. You need to accept that and not push her. It is so hard to suddenly try and love these kids and then add to the mix that she will never have that bond of children with you. It is great you are concerned for her, but this sounds like she needs to decide how to fit into your life and still make herself happy. You need to support and not push her to love your children.

BioDaddy's picture

I totally understand where you are coming from and I have recommended this site to her. I have not pushed her to love my children. In fact, I have simply had one expectation of her and my children. That is, they respect each others positions within the house. I have also told her that I understand that the feelings may never come. Keep in mind, this is not stemming from me but her emotions are driving this. She is miserable that she doesn't have any connection and feels like an outsider. I am not pushing her. Thanks for you input.

BioDaddy's picture

To answer your questions.

1 do you back her 100%
Honestly, no. But I always back her 100% in front of the kids. Behind closed doors I don't because no one is correct 100% of the time but I don't come down on her...we discuss the issue and I give my input.

2 is your teen respectful of her and talk politely to her
Actually, 99% of the time he does. However, he is a teen.

3 who comes first in the marriage .. her or your bio kids?

My bio kids come first, she comes second, and I come last. To me, that is the way is should be even if we were both the bio parents.

BioDaddy's picture

Good point. Probably could have started off more constructive but I get your point.

The question is whether or not she wants to be. This biggest issue she has as far as I can tell is that. She tells me that she loves her time with me when the kids aren't there and hates the time when the kids are there and then she withdraws.

purpledaisies's picture

Bio daddy how are you with her when the kids are there? Are you treat her the same when the kids are there or do you ignore her and spend ALL your time and attention on the kids? I ask b/c that is a HUGE NO NO! If you are giving your kids MORE attention then her when they are there that is why she feels the way she feels.

I noticed that you said that the kids come first, that is also a big no no. I will tell you why. She will be there for you when the kids are gone, you have told her that the 2 of you will spend the rest of your life together. She will be the only one left standing at your side when your kids are grown. Your kids will move out and have a life of their own. Your wife is there for life not your kids. Your Spouse should ALWAYS come first in any relationship no matter what. IF you love her and want her to be there for you then you need to make her your first priority and your marriage can survive anything.

I'm not saying for you not have anything to do with your kids but man put your wife first!

BioDaddy's picture

I don't ignore her at all. I try to give her the same amount of attention but obviously that is impossible consider that now I have 3 people I am trying to share my time with instead of one.

You are exactly right and I hadn't looked at it that way. I would love to rectify that...any idea how? I obviously could communicate that to her however I doubt that would be enough.

purpledaisies's picture

One of the things you can do is make sure that when you go somewhere such as out to eat that you sit next to her and hold her hand. You can talk to your kids and stuff but make sure you are holding her hand or something.

My dh makes sure that he sits next to me and holds my hands some times. The kids know that they can still talk to him and ask him questions and stuff. Little things like that will help. Just let her know you are thinking of her.

This may not work for you but I work nights so when dh gets home all his attention is on me til I leave then he plays with his kids while I'm gone. But perhaps do this find out when is a good time while you have the kids to have all the attention on her then you can have a time that you spend it on the kids.

She might also be depressed. If she is not wanting to come here saying the same old stuff and that is the excuse you keep getting I would look into depression. good luck. I can see you love her or you wouldn't be here and trying all this stuff.

BioDaddy's picture

Good points. I do this every time at the movie theater for instance but I am sure there are instances where I can focus on this more. I'm sure she is depressed...significantly. And yes...I love my wife and wish I could have had a playbook going into this. It is killing me to see her like this.

shootingstarz's picture

I agree. My DH made comments in the past that his kids will always be #1. I thought that was right for awhile. Then it started to really piss me off. He said it again on Christmas Eve when I was having a convo with him about how I feel when his kids are here, and I put him in his place. I'm his WIFE. And I could have found a man who didn't have kids and who could have made me #1 with a lot less drama. And if he doesn't realize that and respect that I should be #1 then why should I put up with the extra stress his kids cause me to feel? No thanks.

cookies's picture

To add to this,from my own experience,once you directly,and indirectly let the kids know they come first,they will become accustommed to this as adults,and fail to understand 'why' your wife should be seen as an equal, may well end up with another huge set of problems,which could even backfire on your own relationship with them,when you all too late,try to put things right-This is where my DH and his adult kids are currently at,it is very sad to see.

alwaysanxious's picture

AND you have described ME.

I love my time with SO and ME and NO kids.

Here's the thing. Is she allowed to parent?
Do you both get to have "talks" with the kids about important issues?
Do you make all decisions about kids unilaterally while she sits on the sidelines?
Sounds to me like she feels like an observer and not a participant.

Why do you create a hierarchy? Why kids 1st, her 2nd? Why not everyone is important depending on the needs that have to be met at the time?

Send her here. She needs to express what is really getting to her. Third person is a bit hard. We can advise you about her, but she is the one who needs the help.

roseslady2's picture

Yup, the issue is that you put your kids first and her second... The kids and her both know that. I'm SM to SS15 and SS10 and have none of my own. I also had a 2 year time at the beginning when I had a really hard time adjusting. I'm starting to get it now, by the grace of God, but I had to do a TON of praying to get here. If the kids know that they come first, even if they're not disrespectful, they know exactly what buttons to push. It is better for your marriage and your kids if your spouse comes first because the kids will see how to love and have a stable marriage/family to go home to and your spouse will feel the support she needs. She needs to feel like you back her as a parent,because even though she's a SP, she's still a parent. She needs to be able to have her input on everything involving the kids and how the house is run. She needs to know that if the kids get unruly, if your marriage starts having an issue, if something goes up in flames, that you will believe her over hte kids. Because, if I know anything from being a SM to SS15, I know that kids li. They may not know why, but they will someday lie andthat is when it does down to who do you believe, your kids, or your souse? If the kids come first... then you'll believe them and yhou may be losing the only helper you have had.

BioDaddy's picture

I will go buy that book. She has read a couple of books on step parenting but her response to books or anyone's advice is "they are not me", or "they have kids of their own". It just seems like no matter what advice is given she has it set in her head that it won't work for her.

She is currently seeing a counselor with a lot of experience in blended families.

How do the kids treat her? They treat her respectfully but the kids are confused as well as far as what kind of affection etc. to give her.

Who disciplines the kids? We both do...she will send them to their rooms as often as I do and they respect that.

Do they listen to and respect her? They do but she often comes across as nagging rather than nurturing.

Are they supportive of your marriage? Tough one...yes. I think any kid would want their bios to be together but they understand that is not going to happen. They understand that she is my wife and how much I love her and they respect that. They also perceive her in a parental role in the house.

Do you have casual conversations with BM or is it strictly business?
Initially the BM would talk to me about casual things but I told her that we need to only discuss issues regarding the kids. It has been that way for 2 years.

Do you think she wants you to tell her you two should have your own child?
I think that she did want that two years ago but I didn't want to sway her decision. This is something that she struggled with for many years (whether she wanted a child or not). I wanted her to make her decision and not be coerced by me. I told her that if we had a child together it would be wonderful for both of us but that I didn't need to have another child to be fulfilled. This was quit a double edged sword. Damned if I did, Damned if I didn't.

Do the 4 of you do outings together?

Yes, but that is becoming more difficult as she is distancing herself. We have done vacations together, bowling, movies...etc.

BioDaddy's picture

Well, it's probably not too late for her but its getting close and that may be another reason. She is 40 and I am wondering how much the bio clock is playing into this. Also, do you think it may be different for you because yours is a little girl vice two boys? My boys were 11 and 4 when we started dating and a year later we started living together and a year later we were married.

BioDaddy's picture

We have gone round and round with this and I'm sure there are more issues than what I have brought up but these are the major ones as far as I can tell. These are the one's we keep going back to. She keeps telling me that no matter how much she thinks of this she ends up in the same place. That she loves me and loves being with me but is miserable when the kids are with us. She feels like she leads two that is happy and one that is miserable.

BioDaddy's picture

My ex and I have the kids 50/50. The schedule up until recently has been a pretty odd one which I my wife and I have identified may be a part of the problem. From now on it is every other week. Hopefully that will help.

I definitely get what you are saying about "who's first question". I could probably work on that and may even have that discussion with her tonight. Thanks.

BioDaddy's picture

That all sounds great and I could definitely try them. However, we are at the point where she doesn't think she WANTS TO or CAN. I told her that I think she has a wall up that is preventing her from GROWING that relationship.

alwaysanxious's picture

Been there!!! Right there now!!!

Its because she has felt so blocked and rejected that she doesn't want to try anymore. I too am a smom with no kids of my own. I really feel what she is going through.

BioDaddy's picture

I would love to have her on here. I sent her the link and made the recommendation. She said she took a look around and found "the same old stuff" but "no one can feel what I feel". Any suggestions on how to get her on this site?

alwaysanxious's picture

She sounds depressed and hopeless about the situation. Can't say for sure.

Ask her to try looking again. Look at my blogs, there are others on here who are steps with no bio's.

roseslady2's picture

I'm there!! Smile Believe me, itfeels like you're alone, but this site helps a lot. You may need to search out the other SMs with none of their own, but we're here!!

cookies's picture

Many people assume that it will be instant love all round,and the spotlight,the expectations,i have found, are on the SM to just 'make it happen',...often,when it doesn't,it can make us feel that we are somehow responsible,or, to blame,when,from the very start,we are up against alot of stuff that tends to overwhelme us.I have found that i often feel misunderstood,that my feelings are not validated,and that i am the 'bad guy'.
Part of the battle is accepting how we feel,and not feeling like the 'bad guy',and with a supportive husband,it can really make a difference between being able to eventually move on for the better,or,being caught up in more issues that will consume us,and our marriage's.
You sound like you are very supportive of her feelings which is great,and i agree with the other poster's,that this forum would be a great place for her,it has helped me tremendously.

BioDaddy's picture

Do you think that I should recommend she read my post and your comments urging her to blog? I have not discussed anything here we have not already discussed. Granted, I may not be 100% representing it the way she feels but am to the best of my ability.

shootingstarz's picture

Having a child of your own together won't make her feel any better about you already having kids either. Atleast in my opinion. I thought it would, but now that I am pregnant with our first I feel more resentment towards DH's kids. Sounds like she thinks the way I do. Not wanting to and thinking she can't have a connection with your children. That is where I am at. I tried in the beginning. But the feelings just weren't there. And the total disengagement happened when I got pregnant.

I hope she posts a blog on here. I'd like to know how she feels. And she will feel so much better when she finds that she is NOT alone.

BioDaddy's picture

Yep...that pretty much her rationale. She said that she couldn't take doing that to me or my bios. That we don't deserve that. She also harbors a lot of guilt for feeling the way that she does.

BioDaddy's picture

Thank you all so much for your input. The biggest thing that I have realized I have not been doing is making her feel that she is the most important person in my life. You are right...she is the one who vowed to be with me the rest of my life and my kids will not. The pecking order that I have laid out is not fair to her at all. Granted, that is a tough balance to find. Showing my wife how important she is to me without the kids feeling like they just got another raw deal. First, they got screwed because their parents split up and now they are getting screwed again. I think I can pull it off though. There is one thing that I have had to learn throughout all of this is how to adapt and change for the betterment of myself and those I love. There is no playbook and I have just tried to do the best that I can and I see that I have made mistakes. Any further input is valued. I have to tell you this is one of the most helpful forums I have every used before.

purpledaisies's picture

I understand how you feel about *thinking* your kids got screwed but how did they get screwed the second time? B/c you married someone? That might be one of the issues she is having? Thinking you think your kids were screwed when you married her? Your kids did not get screwed, they just got someone else in their lives that can care about them.

Persephone's picture

Welcome!! Wink

Thinking that the kids got a raw deal with the divorce and didn't get a say in their new stepparent drives a lot of our distress... It's that subconscious guilt that plays out in our daily lives.

You mentioned that her disciplining comes off as nagging and not so much nurturing... this might also be a great place to start. Consistent parenting is nagging; the nagging stops when the bad behavior improves. Few dads understand this--divorced or not.

One does not have to give birth to understand how to parent. Just like one does not have to become a dog to raise a dog... she may never have the innate love for you children--she shouldn't have to, she needs to tell herself that it's okay.

She also needs to understand that she does live a double life. Most of us do. I love my weekends off!! So does my DH---it is our time!! Our first years we talked about the kids and our problems on our weekends.. now we don't. Why phluck up our weekend!! We do that during the week. Date night once a week is just for us..weekends just for us!! We repair many fractures that occurred during the week.

I miss my old life and have questioned whether any of this is worth the angst. The first three years I could have easily walked away. I went to therapy and found this site.

Whateva's picture

As a person happily without kids and with a man with 2, I would also like to encourage you to get your wife to come on this site. Actually even if she did not post I am sure just reading some of the post will allow her to see her feelings are not unique.

I think being vocal and verbal about who is #1 or #2 does pose problems, some things are better left unsaid! Even though I feel like my BF's kids and ex wife will always haunt me(us) in some way I can say that my BF for the most part try to make me feel extremely important, however we have our challenges in that area at times.I probably would not stick around if I were made to feel any less important or valued. Knowone expects the kids to be neglected but kids grow and move on with their lives and it would be a shame to miss out on a love with another adult to "guilty parent" kids/teens who might call you once a year when they move on.

I will also say that a lot of times men seem to think that just because their kids are a part of them that the wife should instantly fall in love with them.Knowone can love on demand. No matter how the intelligent side of our mind tell us the kids are innocent the reality is these are beings created by you and another woman and it takes some of us time to get past that and sometimes men tend to ignore that their kids are not as loving and adorable to other people as they are to them as the dad.

You did indicate that you and your ex wife get along and that is great but in your attempt to be the "good ex" are you excluding your CURRENT wife in this dynamic? I guess it is admirable to have a decent relationship with an ex for the sake of the kids but if you ever allow that loyalty to supersede your current wife, trust me the resentment will run very deep.

I wish you luck but more importantly I wish your wife good luck since she is the one feeling a little excluded.


on the fence's picture

Read Stepmonster. Arrow is right. We change when they come because our darling men put us on the back burner. Until you learn to change that and make your marriage #1 you will have this. My BF finally sat his kids down and explained to them that he loves them, but he needs to be with me, that our relationship is the priority in his life as theirs will be some day and it doesn't matter if they like it or not, we're all going to have to be civil to one another. He's reading Stepmonster and for the first time in our relationship I think there might be hope. It takes two. You have to make the room for her, she can't take it for herself without looking like some kind of bitch. She needs your support to make her way here. Read the book. And congratulations on caring and trying. It's those of you who have your eyes and hearts open that make up the 30% of marriages like this that make it!

jennasea's picture

I could be wrong but it seems she may just be an idealist and is having a very hard time accepting the less than ideal situation at hand. Divorce, especially when children are created is a very odd situation for the new wife, sometimes. Seems to me she needs to accept the situation and realize that life is not perfect and she has made a life long commitment to you , so she better make the best of the good and minimize the not so good. You can do your part too. I feel for you both because obviously you both are hurting in this.
Best wishes,

lilmissy999's picture

I'm sorry if I sound like a broken record but you should put your wife first. I got into a relationship with a single parent and I will never tolerate being placed second to anything. What gets to me with single parents is that they expect their life partners to love them and make them first, while the single parents put their bio kids first??? I told my BF that I'm his life partner, I take care of him, will give him children in the near future, help him pay his bills and make his life easy. His kid sucks money out of him, doesn't want to spend time with dad unless money is spent and soon will have his own life and vanish. So when the kids grow up and don't need you anymore who will you lean on? YOUR WIFE. SHE has to come first, feel important and loved and only then she will extend her affection to your children. I can't describe in words how difficult it is to accept another woman's children when you don't have your own (and I want my own). I CANNOT bring myself to even like the SS8 because he is a horrible child (in my BFs eyes though his kid is GREAT, his is a good dad and I'm a selfish woman). The only reason why I refuse to move in with him, get pregnant or marry him is because of his kid. Right now if the kid is getting to me I pack my things and go home and I can't imagine what it's like for your wife living in a household where she is second?