I need to understand my jealousy and resentment....it has made me miserable - it never used to be this way!
I’ve joined this site because I want to try to understand my feelings, thoughts and reactions to things that have occurred within my relationship of 4.5 years.
I met my partner 1 year after he’d split with the mother of his son, let’s call his son Bob! I didn’t meet Bob until we’d been together for some months because that’s how my partner wished to do things and I totally respected that. From the minute I met my partner we had a close connection with eachother – a bond that seemed it would never break; I adored him and loved to be by him and everything was wonderful. I’d never loved or been in love in this way before – when we were apart I couldn’t wait to see him again. For me, he was ‘the one’.
Part of the reason my partner waited until he introduced Bob to me was because of the mother. Even though she had been the unfaithful one in their relationship, she had decided obviously that the grass was indeed not greener and that she wanted him back and I had to deal with quite an onslaught from her – telling my new partner’s mother that I was just going to get myself pregnant and trap him (!!), trying to befriend his friends and get them to put letters through my door saying he was being unfaithful, throwing tantrums if she knew I was left on my own with her son for 5 minutes, and when I said hello to her, she literally blanked me, and she’d turn up at my partner’s house with Bob and just spend time there – she was trying to force her way back in and it was very upsetting for me to watch. As far as she was concerned, I did not exist. My ‘stepson’ then started to say things to his dad that his mum didn’t like me etc, so who knows the kind of things she was saying to him!
I tried to say to my partner at the time that if he wanted to go back to her and give it a go for the sake of Bob then that’s what he should do. But he chose not to. At the time that meant so much to me, but as time as passed I think I’ve let that ‘meaning’ fade when I shouldn’t have.
Despite all that, I got on well with the son and we found quite a nice little bond. I’ve never been a ‘mumsie’ maternal type, but we had a friendship that we both enjoyed – I used to pick things up I thought he’d like when I went shopping, he’d come and sit on my lap for me to read his books. I wouldn’t say I was trying to hard or anything, it just seemed to happen naturally and I started to have feelings for him and really feel quite protective of him. I also have a nephew and it got to the point where I felt almost guilty that perhaps I was favouring my stepson over him! The situation did get worse with the mum, to the point where she made it very difficult for my partner to see Bob, so I read up into his rights, the maintenance he was paying and realised he was paying almost double what she was entitled but she was still calling the shots! He gave her a chance and said things needed to be sorted, but she made it so unbearably difficult that he ended up looking into getting ‘parental responsibility’ as he didn’t trust her not to take him out the country without his permission. This obviously meant going through the courts, but again he gave her plenty of opportunities to sort it out without solicitors, but she wouldn’t listen. This obviously cost them both of a lot of money, but I was the one reading all the letters, typing up his responses etc; it took a hell of a lot of my time, but I could see he was hurting and would do anything for him. At the time my partner was picking up his son from nursery every day, having him for an hour until the mother finished work and then having him over night on a Friday. Basically he was fitting around her and helping her out – it wasn’t really about her wanting him to spend quality time with her son. After going to court, my partner now has his son Wednesday evenings and every other weekend, from Friday until Sunday evening. This has been a god-send for him and I know he loves spending this time with him.
Even after the court thing she didn’t really get any better and was still difficult – we found ourselves constantly annoyed, angered by her, and she was taking up all our energy! My partner is reasonably mild-mannered, but she tested his patience and I think my anger became even more so because I could see how she was hurting my partner.
Unfortunately that anger has stayed with me. A few years on, the mother has a new partner, and from the moment the new partner came along she has been a different person and is all sweetness and light, almost wanting to be my best friend! She has not said a word of an apology for how she treated me and my partner, and I’ve found that very hard to swallow. I did try to grin and bear it, but I’ve found the sweeter and more cooperative she is, the more annoyed and angry I get, because of the cheek of the woman! But no matter how it made me feel, I wanted to stand by my partner and help him through; I wanted to help his relationship with his son – at the time the mother was pregnant she had wanted to abort the baby, but he had fought and begged her to keep it. She didn’t bond from the start and it has only been more recently that she seems to have a better relationship with her son. I on the other hand seem to have gone the other way, and I don’t know how I got here……
I have been unhappy for sometime with the ‘dynamics’ of the relationship between me, my partner and Bob. Bob is a fairly quiet kid; he can be quite hard work at times, and he is very clingy – to the point where we can be walking around the supermarket and he just hangs off his dads hand…literally hangs which annoys me so much, but my partner just lets him do it. He is not a naughty kid by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve become irritated by his behaviour and my partner’s inability to deal with this clinginess – if anything he almost encourages it, craves to be adored, needed and loved by Bob. I know this is natural, but it has got to the point where I don’t feel part of the equation; like Bob is all that matters and he wouldn’t notice if I stood up and walked out because he is so much focussed on Bob. I am an intelligent person and I realise the bond between a parent and child, but when there is somebody else to include within that ‘family’ it isn’t really on to make that person feel they are standing one side of the room on their own while the parent and child are on the other.
It doesn’t help that I am quite a disciplined type of person and my partner is very laid back – things that I feel need a simple stern word of discipline my partner will ignore; things like Bob kicking the back of the seat while I’m driving, lounging all over his dads arm while eating dinner……..a lot of it really is over the top and irritating to watch. My partner said a while ago I need to help him and just give him a nudge when I feel he should be disciplining, but there have been times where he would say things like ‘Rose wants you to stop doing that’, or he’d tell me to tell him if I’m that bothered about it. I don’t feel like I’ve had enough support from my partner to deal with my role and find my feet. As time has progressed I’ve grown more and more distant when we have Bob round – almost like it’s easier for me to deal with how they are together if I don’t have to see it very much, but at the same time I know that’s no way to go on and something has to change. It is just very hard when my partner does things like arrange to go out with me (he now works shifts, including every other weekend and has Bob on the weekends he doesn’t work, so to me our time alone is precious), and then completely ‘forgets’ he has made those plans and asks the mother if he can have Bob for the evening…..as a one off, situations like this are not a problem, but when you’ve been ground down over years of it, these things become a big deal to me. My partner says things to me like ‘You’re the adult, you need to stop being so hard’ etc etc, but all I want is to feel as important and loved by my partner. I want to feel like he’s not just living for the weekends he has Bob.
I have tried talking to my partner, but it seems like although he hears me, he thinks I’m abnormal and horrid in my feelings of resentment and jealousy. But by reading on lots of these forums I can see that perhaps I’m not alone in my feelings, and they just need to be understood, dealt with a nurtured properly. I don’t like having these negative feelings about Bob – I’ve called him all sorts to my partner – annoying, irritating, spoilt brat to name a few, and I’m totally ashamed of myself and my ignorance in doing so. This has made my partner distance from me and I yearn for that love we all had for eachother a while ago. I do want us to get along, I really do, but at the same time I feel that my partner needs to actually stand in the middle of us, not over on one side – I want to feel united and I want my partner to stand united with me in disciplining and loving his son. I think he just thinks that because he feels so deeply for his son, I naturally should too, but it doesn’t work like that. So many people have said to me that being a step parent is the most difficult job in the world, but it’s something he just expects me to excel in, without any problems.
I know I have issues, a lot of them stemming from the problems with the mother and it’s things I need to let go of and release to be able to move on. Problem is my partner is separating from me and although I’ve told him I’ve realised I’ve not behaved well and would like a chance to put things right, he won’t give me that chance. I just feel that I was absolutely fine for a very long time with his son, so I know it’s not that I can’t cope being with someone who has a child……it’s how I’m made to feel within that relationship that has hurt me and I’ve put up all sorts of barriers.
What can I do – has anyone else been in a similar situation?!!