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just venting...

lovepizza123's picture

I've been married for a few years now, and have a young stepson. His dad is very involved, which is a good thing. After the horror stories I've heard from my wife (they were never married), I've never seen him be anything but nice.

Despite this, I can't seem to feel comfortable in situations when he will be around--school, sports activities, etc. And it seems like we have to see him almost EVERY day. My wife likes to go every practice, every activity. I feel like if every once in a while I say that I don't really want to go that day, it'll cause an argument. So I just shut my mouth and do it.

I am very respectful of the boundaries that exist in regards to me, my stepson, and his biological father. If I do attend a game or practice, I let his dad take control. Those are his moments that he should be able to appreciate with his son. I play catch, video games, basketball, etc with my stepson at home all the time, but my wife wants me to participate in his extra curricular activities as well. Don't I have boundaries too? If something makes me feel uncomfortable (like participating in an event that his dad is doing), can't I bring this up and put my foot down?

I think my wife wants us to feel like we're the perfect little family, 24/7. But we're not. We have 50/50 custody with his father...and sometimes, I'll admit, I look forward to the time that he'll be with his dad. I look at is a break, a chance for my wife and to have fun. But she insists on going to everything, that we don't really get a break....

Any advice...suggestions...questions...throw them this way!!

Sew on's picture

Tell her that you are the other half of the Marriage not just her son and his activities.

Lavender's picture

It seems like you wife wishes that you were her sons father. I can understand that, it really would be easier if you were Smile
But you're not. He has a father already And you are not required to do anything with or for your stepson unless you really want to. Actually I would strongly advice you not to go to his games etc when you don't feel like it. Because being pressured into this sort of thing eventually will make you feel resentful of your stepson and your wife too. That's exactly what happened to me, and those feelings don't disappear overnight.
Just tell her how you feel. But with a little coat of sugar of course Wink

AllySkoo's picture

Your wife wants to go to EVERY practice? Even those on Dad's time? That's a bit... much. I sort of have perspective from a bunch of different view points, so here it goes.

As a mom, I totally get the desire to be there for all your kid's stuff. Especially if he's an only child. It really does have everything to do with the kid - she's not going because of bio dad, so I wouldn't worry on that score. So, you need to approach this aspect from the angle of what's good for the kid. Having his divorced parents there is probably a bit confusing for him, there's the possibility that he worries about their reaction to each other, or their reaction if he goes to talk to one and not the other. The kid just wants to play, and he may be happier if whichever parent he's with takes him to practice and the other stays home. (Or he may be oblivious - can't know until you ask him.)

As a stepparent, I had ZERO interest in going to my stepkids sports practices. Yeah, I went to school plays, events, that sort of thing. (I actually never went to a game, but neither of the bio parents really did either. *shrug*) But I only went to the big stuff. Your wife is being just a tad unfair in expecting you to have this shared fascination with all things related to the kid, and giving up your time for it. Yes, it's nice if you go to some of the kid related stuff - for both your stepson and for your wife. But not ALL of it, that's silly. Here's where you approach this as what is fair to YOU. Tell your wife you're a little uncomfortable with going to all the practices, that you feel like you're overstepping. Tell her you'd like to go to games only. (She can't read your mind - if you haven't told her this, you must!) See what she says. If she argues with her, ask her why what she wants is more important than what you want your role to be. You MUST have a voice in defining your role as a Stepdad, and it's important your wife listens to that.

Now, as a coach. I actually coach a team, and one of my players has (recently) divorced parents. They both come to every practice and game. Last practice, my player was distracted, staring at the sidelines. His parents were clearly having a (fortunately quiet) argument. The game is supposed to be FUN. And instead of playing and having a good time for an hour, the poor kid was upset and worried. Don't think for a second that just because he's off "doing something else" that he doesn't know what his parents are doing. He knows if they're fighting, or if they're coldly keeping their distance, or if StepDad is pushed to the side while Bio Parents pretend to be a Big Happy Family. This is THE KID'S time - parents should leave him to it as much as possible. I wish I could say something to my divorced parents, honestly, but I think it would do more harm than good.