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Resenting SD, jealousy?

MusicDad's picture

Good morning,


I sure am glad I found this place. I'm getting married in less than two months to my wonderful fiance who has a 6 year old. The six year old is a bit spoiled emotionally, but she's a really well-behaved young lady who is very sweet and kind. We've definitely had some minor growing pains, mostly with "I'm gonna go ask my Mom" if she doesnt like the answer she gets from me. Her Mom is very supportive of me and our relationship and has been amazing in this learning process. 

The Issue: The honeymoon phase is wearing off from my fiance and I, and we kind of live in the day-to-day buzz. There are fewer constant texts, less time spent cuddling and being hyper-romantic. I know she loves me, but she's been married before and I have not. Settling in to family life is natural for her, and I'm a total romantic. Lately, I've found myself resenting my SD because of the attention and consideration she receives. I KNOW in my mind that this is how it SHOULD be, but I still let myself get a little sullen because I get jealous of the daughter. 

Is this normal? I adore my soon-to-be SD, she's with us full-time, and I love being a Dad. I guess I just didn't anticipate the honeymoon phase ending and settling into a different routine and level of attention so quickly. 

HowBoutScottyDont's picture

This is a common plight of most stepparents. If this were your child, then you might have had more honeymoon time with your wife before children came along. And then your would have become parents at the same time, transitioning to the new life together. Now, with that said, even in intact bio families, having kids will put a strain on a marriage. Kids are a ton of work. But your soon to be wife has already been a parent so the day to day routine of parenthood is her norm. It's not yours and not many here would begrduge you your feelings - we get it.

Are you planning on having more kids together? Does your fiance know how you feel? If not, I would let her know. The way you described it here is fine - that this is new for you, you are still adjusting, and while you understand how much time and attend SD needs, you miss time with your fiance. Premarital counseling would also help. Set expectations early, make sure your fiance responds in a way that you can live with for the next 10 to 15 years.

I will say that once I had my own bio kids, the dynamic with my stepkids became easier and I felt less annoyance with having to adjust to my stepkids schedules, since my own bios demanded the same. Our home life became centered around all the kids, so I felt less like the odd man out and I understand the requirements of my DH as a parent. 

MusicDad's picture

We are planning on having kids of our own. I talked to her, and she was really understanding and tried to assuage my fears. 

Harry's picture

Really because you have a reason to be Jealous.  She had time with her EX. With out kids to go away together, do thing together.  Her an her EX could go to Burger King for a burger. You have to get a babysitter, pay the babysitter more then the burger just for two hours alone.  She did all the first.  Had the big wedding ,what you will not get. Her family will not want to do that twice, or will compair both wedding. Honeymoon alone with her.  You should do counseling before the marrage, all three of you, just to go over thing.  Remember this is the best it’s going to get.  You can see it already !

my wife always said that I was a very Jealous person, I always said, yes, don’t I have a good reason.  Then you get, “ you knew what you were getting into”. Wrong, You really don’t know what you are getting into.  You get blamed because BF is a loser,  He doesn’t get blame because he could not help himself, or that why I left him. 

susanm's picture

I object to the "this is how it SHOULD be."  Why exactly SHOULD the new spouse simply accept that, once we have been reeled in, our partner suddenly becomes a different person?  They go from love and roses and attention for us to complete parent-mode and now we are just kind of.....there and considered irrational if it annoys us.  Were they not a parent while we were dating?  Did they not need to take care of their kids then or did they flick some sort of off-switch and stick them in a closet somewhere?  They could make time for us when they chose to.  Dinner, movies, texts, sex......somehow they managed.  But now that we bought in, often quite literally with mutual investments, property, and real estate, not so much.  I believe this is called in the advertising world BATE AND SWITCH.

Yes, things cool off naturally over the years.  Yes, children need care.  But already going from lover to mommy with two months before the wedding is to take place?  I am sorry to say this but I think your intended has vastly overcalculated the security of an engagement and let down her guard two months too soon.  You are not legally locked down yet.  You may want to give this some serious thought and possibly postpone the wedding.  Premarital counseling could be helpful but if she is smart she is going to know the "right" answers to give to assuage your fears of the future.  Paying attention to actions more than words would be wise and possibly save you from the "who is this person???" whiplash that many of us have experienced.  

justmakingthebest's picture

Does your SD go to her father's? What is the schedule like? 

I know that for DH and I the weekends that we have kid-free are really where we work on us. We date those weekends, we go to festivals, we go to movies, out to dinner... that is when you have sex on the couch in the middle of the afternoon! All the things that normal couples do before kids. Yes, our time alone is limited, but you have to make the most of that time. Otherwise you do get lost in the shuffle of kids. It is just a fact that kids can consume relationships, even the good kids! 

MusicDad's picture

She goes to her father for four weeks during the summer, and every other major holiday, so we really have her all but about 6 weeks of the year. The biodad lives about 6-7 hours away. 

justmakingthebest's picture

That is rough. I think it may be time to encourage longer visitation if BD is up for it. There is no reason she isn't doing 2 big chunks in the summer at BD's - 3-4 weeks each. Still a break in the middle to see mom. 

Every spring break should go to him.

1/2 of Christmas break every year should go to him (rotate who get's Christmas/who gets new years)

Every other Thanksgiving should go to him.

Honestly you guys should also meet 1/2 way for long weekends from school. Yes, it sucks to do that drive. I did it one weekend a month with my kids dad living 3.5 hours away. He is getting ready to move to the other coast so we are going to an extended holiday schedule. BUT! If you were able to throw in some weekends, it would give you so much more time alone! Even if it really is only 2 days and a lot of driving. 

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

Stop trying to settle yourself into the "dad" role. I assume the kid has a dad and you don't need to take on his domestic mantle just cause you're the man of the house. You are marrying and having a life with your fiancé, not her daughter. Kids grow up and move away, your spouse (ideally) will be there forever. 


Secondly, don't jump into this marriage either if you and your partner aren't on the same page with your role and the level of romantic intimacy you expect. You shouldn't have to change who you are to shoehorn into her pre-made life. You are starting a life together and should be able to meet in the middle. 

The good witch's picture



This is perfectly normal. You need to take a deep breath and allow yourself to be human. 

And also play a bit of advocate for the SD. Think of this: 

Her entire world is changing now. And her world is tiny! While she might be loving to you and kind and sweet, she does not understand your role fully and will go to her mom for reassurance. Kids need their parents' attention much more when going through changes like this. They'll want hugs and talks and confirmations and it's natural.

Also, it's the age. Your SD is in-between the complete dependence to the parent that she had up until now, and the recently found independence of being capable to do a few things herself. It's new and scary and the attention from your SO is like her training wheels. It lessens with time. 

Be patient and consistent with SD. Be fair and understanding with her. She'll rely more and more on you as a care taker. My SD is 8 and it took 2 years for her to fully accept me as a caretaker. 

And also... it might seem like the honeymoon period is gone. Blended families get real very fast. However, if you work together with your SO and have patience, the rewards will amaze you. The moments in which you'll get teary eyed with joy will make it worth it. 

Last but not least, discuss with your SO. Tell her you need more romance. Tell her you would like to keep the flame going and lead by example. She might've gotten married and had a family. But she hasn't been married to YOU. That experience is completely new and wondurous to her.  (my SO has been married before, and i've heard myself say the same things you wrote Biggrin so I know the feeling). 

Hope this helps! Good luck!! 

MusicDad's picture

I really needed to read this today. I talked to my SO, she could tell something was up, and we talked about how the honeymoon might be winding down, but that she is still very much in love with me. She really seems to understand. 

I really needed to read “She’s been married before, but she’s never been married to YOU.” She’s mentioned before about “Ive done the big wedding, I don’t need that, I just want you, but I know you haven’t and I want that for you”...she gets it, and even though the child SEEMS really well-adjusted, I have to remember she doesn’t know how to voice her motions yet. 

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

You are not THE DAD. If you want to be a Dad have kid(s) of your own or adopt. If you’re childfree run for the MOFO hills! Get out now while you still can.

StepHell is a mistake.

SecondNoMore's picture

I was also the never-married, no kids partner dating someone who was divorced with one child. I personally ended it and would never do it again. These people have already experienced the firsts and their priorities have shifted, so they tend to be more interested in domestic life than the fun that comes with dating... I'm not even sure they have the energy for it.  I wasn't willing to not get the full courtship experience and play second fiddle to the kid, so I moved on and this site helped a lot because it was pretty clear from other's experiences that it would not get better.

ldvilen's picture

The ironic thing is that this is what so many divorced moms and dads pray for: The never-married, no kids partner.  They pray for someone who can just take on their situation with kids (while they don't have to bother with anyone else's).  They want you "free" to be there for them and be there for their children.

And, that is a large part of the problem when you are a never-married, no kids partner.  The tendency is for your partner or spouse w/kids to think that you are "free," and they don't have to put much work into the relationship.  You, as a never-married, no kids partner are expecting a full-fledged SO or spouse.  In the case of marriage, you even exchanged vows with your spouse just like every other married person did.  You are expecting a full-fledged spouse, which granted, is possible, even if your partner has children.  But, this is usually not what occurs.

Usually, the spouse with kids has been-there, done that once or more, even.  He's tired.  He may still be trying to learn himself how to live with kids coming EOWE or a nagging or controlling ex-.  As a SM, you will be giving up a lot more for him, than he will be for you.  Same for step-dads too; although, step-dads usually have it a little easier, since mom is generally the primary custodial parent and mom is usually getting child-support, etc.  Nonetheless. . . .

I've come to the conclusion that it really is not adviseable for a never-married, no kids partner to marry someone who is divorced with children.  Granted, you never know, but unless you have been there prior, a step-parent, you have no clue how much you are going to giving up for someone else's children.  I was older when I married a man with children (who were still young).  By the time I married, I got to travel and get a college education and so on.  If I were in my 20s and married a man with children, there would have been little to no travel or I would have had to struggle that much harder for my own education.  I would have sacrificed even more of my own time, money and effort for his children.  And, if I had kids with him, that would have applied to any of my bio-children as well.

And, what is your reward going to be for all this sacrifice for someone else's children?  You don't know.  They may be appreciative.  They may not.  You may think you get along at least OK, and then Pfft.  There is no correlation whatsoever to how much you give and sacrifice for a child to the amount of love or appreciation.  The same goes for bio-parents too, but at least they get to know they got a kid of their own out of the deal, and it happens wa-ay less with BPs than SPs, where your big fat thanks for raising and sacrificing for them winds up being, more or less, a big fat kick in the butt and a much lighter wallet.

Granted, you never know, and there are stories of a single woman or man who married divorced mom or dad and it was all unicorns and rainbows after that.  But, that is far from average.  Also, society as a whole tends to think that when you marry (even if it is YOUR 1st time) to someone who has been married before with children, that your "marriage" is to be much moreso a business-relationship, where there is yours, mine and NO ours.  So, if you have no kids of your own, you will forever be the odd one out and expected to suck it up and take it again and again; and, if you have children with this person, your child, too, yes your own child too, could almost be thought of as sloppy-seconds to the rest of the "family" just as much as you are. 

MusicDad's picture

I talked to my fiancé, and she was really understanding. I’m a needy partner, and I expressed my need for reassurance and for continued efforts to be romantic. She understands, but I realize it IS different for her. I’m 33 with no kids, touring musician, I’ve been a bachelor my entire life. I enjoy our family outings and excursions. 


I know things are changing for the child, and she can’t rationalize her emotions, so she becomes needy, retreats to attention-seeking behavior since it’s been just her and Mom for the last three years. 

Dovina's picture

From everything you wrote, you showed empathy and understanding towards your fiance and your SD. What you are asking for, and expecting is not needy at all. Try not to diminish how you feel, or somehow feel your needs are less than because your fiance has a child, and has done this before. SP's matter! With that thinking you will constantly think your needs need to be shutdown, and then resentment will grow. I am glad you have spoken to your fiance about how you feel. Communication is the key.