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CH9341's picture

Hi, I'm brand new here. I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend for about 8 years now, and he's got 2 kids that we have 50% of the time: one week with us and one week with their mom. I searched for a support group because as the kids get older, I'm feeling more frustrated and alone. in the very beginning things were great, kids were 5 and 7 and we all got along well. As we've gotten older, relationships have changed, and the pandemic took a toll on everyone. They are 13 and 15 now, and total opposites, except that they are both emotional rollercoasters. One wrong word or look and they can go off the deep end. I never wanted children of my own, but then I met this guy and he was great, but Im not really sure I thought it through entirely in the beginning. I struggle mentally on a daily basis. My SD does not know how to have a relationship with anyone. My SS stays in his room playing video games with his friends the majority of his days. I don't have a strong relationship with either child and I feel my relationship with my partner is dwindling as well. I guess I'm just looking for some advice or someone to talk to that is going through something similar. Thanks for reading. 

JRI's picture

Steptalk can help you.  First thing, how is dad?  Is he consistent?  Is he what we call a Disney dad, parenting out of guilt?  What his relationship with the kids?  Is the bio mom stable? Are the kids respectful of you?  What's your role?  Sorry for all the questions, just want to help.

CH9341's picture

Dad is good. He's not always consistent but for the most part he's pretty good with that. I wouldn't say he's a Disney dad, but the mom is pretty difficult at times. She doesn't drive so we have always been responsible for getting them to any sports or other events they need to go to, even when not at our house. This can sometimes lead to him trying to make it up to the kids for her crap behaviour. He has good relationships with both kids, but as I mentioned before, say or do one wrong thing and they kinda freak out. SS will yell and scream and slam things, and SD will just retreat to her room and not talk to anyone, even if you attempt to talk to her. They are mostly respectful to me; they (especially SD) use a lot of sarcasm, and it's not always nice things that come out of her mouth, but she thinks cuz she says it sarcastically then it's okay. My role has never been as a parent, but I have had to take them places, do activities with them, etc. I'm told a lot that I need to approach the kids for things, for example, when it comes to gifts for holidays, birthdays, etc for their dad. I was okay with this when they were little. Now they are older I don't think I need to be chasing them down asking what they want to get their dad or when its it a good time to go shopping. Neither of them will come out with me now anyway because of their ages. (This is the one that seems to bother me the most lately). 
When they are with us I always dread it and count down the time until they leave again. And I spend the majority of my time away from everyone now, as that's where im most comfortable. 

Winterglow's picture

When you say she "doesn't" drive, do you mean she can't or she won't? Either way, I'd stop driving for her and let her figure it out. Her shortcomings aren't yours to make up. Or start charging her for your time and mileage for each and every trip, payable up front, of course.

CH9341's picture

She won't drive. Apparently she was in a minor accident when she was younger so she doesn't drive anymore. I don't do things for the mother, but I would of course would help dad out by picking up or dropping off a kid when needed. 
I think We will be having a very heavy conversation soon about my responsibilities (or what will be lack of responsibilities) very soon. 

Winterglow's picture

Then stop doing it on her time. It's her responsibility and she can either face her fears or pay someone else to drive them and her there. It's not fair on the kids that their mother never attends any of their events. 

Rags's picture

It is her choice to not drive so it is also her choice to sit her ass at home and starve, have the kids bug the shit out of her to get off of her ass and schlep them around, etc.....

You nor DH should do anything to mitigat her idiot choices regarding driving.

Nope, not a thing.  Pick the kids up for visitaiton and she can come get them to transport them back to her location, or... she can set up and pay for the Uber/Lift.

Quit enabling her shit.  The kids will need understanding that her shit is entirely her choice and not anyone elses fault nor is it anyone elses problem to resolve.


Loxy's picture

There is a lot of guilt that comes attached to step-parenting and I have suffered my share over the years. We put expectations on ourselves that are usually unrealistic and others do the same. It's not easy bonding with children that are not your own and who often make your life difficult and unpleasant. And then we feel guilt for not bonding but the reality is it's not something you can force. 

I've been a SP for 14 years now and have never bonded with my SD who is now almost 17. SD has become much more aware of my feelings as she's got older and our relationship is a lot more strained and distant than in the past. I have felt, and still do at times, enormous guilt about it all but in the end I've had to let it go. I don't like SD, I never have and I never will. I HATE living with her and am just counting down the days until she finishes high school and hopefully decides to live with BM full-time. Then I think we can get along fine, it will never be a deep relationship (SD isn't capable of that with anyone anyway) and I'll never like her. But I can pretend / be pleasant much more easily with her when I don't have the stresses of living with her. 

The other side of this is I've bonded completely with my SD15 and love him but it did take many years to get to that point and it will never be like the love I have for my bio son but I view SS as family and one of my children - I don't see SD that way. 

Someoneelse's picture

Don't be down about you "not really thinking it through" NOBODY knows what it is going to be like to be a step mom. Skids are the WORST! kids in general are tough, but STEP KIDS, they "aren't yours" so there is a level of detatchment right there, and don't worry it goes both ways! they feel it too. and then there is pressure from movies, to family and friends, to complete strangers to "love them like your own" but that's literally impossible, ESPECIALLY when BM is in the back of their heads poisoning their feelings and thoughts of you, and they are loyal to BM regardless of ANYTHING,  and you are ALREADY feeling the detatchment... it makes it 1000000 times worse! now you feel GUILTY about it all, then you try to talk to DH and then he could go 1 of 3 ways, TOTAL support, ANGER that you feel this way, or GUILTY that his kids made you feel this way, and then he sulks for weeks!!!! so then you question if you should even SAY anything, but then he tells you that you should feel OK to tell him things, but in the past whenever you tell him that his kids suck (of course telling him in the nicest way you can POSSIBLY think, and choosing EVERY word VERY carefully), he sulks for weeks afterwards...


But as long as NOBODY tells DH that his lying manipulative theiving bully of a daughter is anythign other than perfect, then and she doesn't manipulate situations to get everyone (including you) in "trouble", then we are all one big happy family.... *cough* fake *cough*

at least that's my life!!!

CH9341's picture

This sums it all up. I 100% feel guilty all the time. About the thoughts I have. About not "good enough" for everyone. And I'm told to let him know when things bother me but then when I do. Oh well they're just kids, oh don't let that bother you. Oh you're the adult and they are the child, blah blah blah. I don't know how to navigate it anymore. I feel done, too tired to keep it up. 

Someoneelse's picture

THIS is when I've disengaged, and learned to not care, not do anything for them and let DH take the reigns on everything. I set boundaries for MYSELF... I will reroute ALL of skids questions, requests to DH. "SM can you take me to the mall?", go ask DH, "SM, can you take me to the store?", ask DH..
I use the excuse that I'm tooo busy, or I'm too tired

CH9341's picture

I am going to have to set those boundaries and say I'm no longer taking responsibilities for anything. I can't take the guilt and feeling this way anymore. I'm almost to the point of leaving... :( 

Someoneelse's picture

It is hard, but once you realize that you can take more of an Aunt role in their life, it gets easier. the guilt will go away, and the "I am a grown woman, and I get to decide what monopolizes my time and energy" feeling starts.

shellpell's picture

Aunts generally like/love their nieces/nephews. I never thought this made sense unless there was authentic affection between sparent and skid. I wouldn't take on a aunt role to an unlikeable skid. Civil and detached is best for most sparent/skid relationships.

Rags's picture

So stop.  How you feel is entirely your choice. Make a better choice.

This is not about  you. It is about ill behaved and ill parented failed family progeny.

Focus on the behaviors. Apply consequences for deviations from reasonable behavior and performance.

Quit victimizing yourself.

Good luck.

CLove's picture

Read up on it, search on it. There are loads of posts about Disengagement. On facebook they call it "The Nacho Method", meaning Not Your Child, Not Your Problem.

Husband likes to get mad if I ask him to ask SD to do something. Because then he has to parent. I used to pick up SD for visitations because Toxic Trolls apartment was on my way from work. After April's School-gate where SD15.5 Backstabber/Munchkin activated her mother against me, I told him "not going to give her rides anymore, I was fired from that job remember?" I do not buy or do or help. "oh? asks your father". If she needs a ride, and hes not around, I might do it, but he pays me. yup. $$$$ talks.

Basically you do not have a skid problem, you have a partner problem. He is not parenting the children, and when you step into the parenting role, you then become the easy  target ie "the scapegoat" the "bad guy". And then they push back. I came into SD22 Feral Forgers life at 15.5, and now SD15.5 Backstabber/Munchkin (shes a true Gemini) and I am here to tell you that I hate 15. Its the worst of the worst ages.

Feral Forger is emotionally stunted and doesnt have a drivers 22. Just recently started some new jobs, after not working for a year, just crashed on Toxi Trolls couch (that we gave her). No college or anything like that.

Rags's picture

At some point the only thing to address is behavior. This entirely filters out emotion and feelings. There is absolutely zero reason to feel guilty about applying discipline for a shit behavior.  They choose to perpetrate the behavior, they choose the consequence.  A relationship takes two people to engage with adequate equity and quality of effort.

If the human, or in many cases for SSpawn and the toxic opposition, pseudo-humans that we interface earns respect with reasonable behavior, great. Of if not, why choose to feel guilty that they are reprehensible dumb asses?