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Who here has a genuinely supportive spouse?

Peony329's picture

I seem to read way more stories about steplife being infinitely harder because of unsupportive/oblivious spouses. I mean, this is 'where stepparents come to vent,' so it makes sense.

I am curious, though - Does anyone here have a spouse that's actually supportive? Someone who actually empathizes with the struggles that come with blended families?

LikeMinded's picture

It's funny how SMs get the blame for all kinds of things. I'm glad you stood up for yourself and that he apologized.

LikeMinded's picture

Yes, my DH does. He's extremely supportive. I had a DD before we met, so he's both a bio and a step dad too. We both have exes with issues, so we can understand eachother's plights. His mom was mean to hiis ex-wife, so he protects me from her.

I do feel very fortunate to have my DH. Our lives are so challenging, I'd be long gone if he wasn't the gem that he is.

Cover1W's picture

Pretty much this.
Except I'm quite disengaged with stipulations.
So he's learning to do the parenting, which he is finding is HARD and TIME CONSUMING.
Lazy parenting = no parenting IMHO.

But he generally treats me like gold and I do help him with lots of things, mostly not related to SDs.

notasm3's picture

My DH adores me and wants me to be happy. Not sure if what he is would be called "supportive". I'd be more likely to call it "non-demanding".

But SS30 was already in his 20s when DH and I met. His downward spiral and multiple attempts at rehab had taken place for years and years before I was on the scene. Plus Dh's 2nd wife despised SS (with good reason) and in some ways trained DH a little.

DH asked if I could at least try to accept SS - and I truly did try. But SS30 is a worthless POS that I want nothing to do with. DH pouted for a few days last Christmas when he asked if SS30 could come to the family Christmas celebration and I refused. But it was just a temporary thing that I ignored.

DH has NEVER asked if SS could move in or stay with us for a day or two - even when SS was homeless and we had an empty home. SS has a long history of trashing apartments, etc. and DH knows this.

One of the good things is that DH is aware of SS30's failings. DH had to evict him with a police escort because of his violence when they lived together when SS was an adult.

It helps when your DH truly recognizes what their child is like.

misSTEP's picture

In my circumstances, it was 10000% a mentally disordered BM that brought ALL the stress and issues. My Dh was a good, firm parent. A Disney/Guilty dad VERY rarely (I can think of 2 occasions) and did what he could to keep the skids in his life. The only thing I don't understand about him is why he never expresses to them how it hurts him for them to ignore him for months/years AND why he never demands an apology for the shitty behaviour.

Monchichi's picture

My husband makes his mistakes Smile What is key though, is no matter what he does hi best to stand by me. No matter how hard it has been, he has understood why I won't engage with his son. Why I no longer give 500% of myself.

I can't say he's stepped up as Echo's husband did, he has however tried his damnedest to not allow his son to walk the floor with him and me any more. The same goes for his ex and his mother. My husband has tried so hard in our 4 years together.

His sweetest words are that I make step life easy for him. I am supportive beyond words of him. He says the bench mark I have set is very hard to reach, yet he is eternally grateful at how easy I made his transition in to our lives.

As long as my husband always tries, I will keep at it.

memyselfandi's picture

Many times it either takes setting boundaries..or disengaging; both which I did..the disengaging first.

My husband really wanted me to spend more time with him and the skids, but their disrespect for me regarding the messes they made around the house; my SD's disrespect towards me by giving me the cold shoulder when she was with her was all understandable.

I'm not the mom..nor really the stepmom. I'm the person they're happy their dad married I guess. At one point my husband told me that they already had a mom, so my job was to be his children's best friend.

That really didn't fly with me, so I disengaged at times as there was only so much I could take.

Things eventually got better when the kids knew they wouldn't see me spending much time with them in our home if they kept it up. I wanted them to have quality time with their Dad without me looking over their shoulder all the time as they didn't see him that much.

It takes it's toll sometimes, me being so stubborn, yet I can't take trying to be a family when it's all about Daddy. My SD at 14 follows him everywhere and wants to hold his hand no matter where we go. My SS at 17 does the same as I walk behind them.

It stinks as I really feel I'm just a sidekick. And those are the times I disengage since I'm not going to just sit there and smile while nobody talks to me...

Daddy is on the computer while SD sits at the table next to him. Sometimes we have really great fun conversations. Then there are other times when all of a sudden, SD will ask Daddy to go outside with her. They have their secret things they talk about and it may not even be about me.

My SD and I used to have that type of relationship where she'd tell me her deepest darkest secrets. We still have a relationship like that from time to time; but the times get fewer and fewer and she grows closer to her mom.

Last Christmas I was invited to a family get together of theirs. Felt great to be invited and included. After talking to my SD a few hours earlier, I was really having doubts on whether to go or not, but she insisted. I got there and she sat by her mom all afternoon. When we ate, her and her mom went into a side bedroom, shut the door, and ate in there; leaving me sitting there with people I barely knew.

Thus I disengage and create even more boundaries for myself. This isn't what I signed up for and I've discussed this with my husband. I rarely see the skids because their grandma hogs them the entire few days they're in town. She lives maybe a mile from me and all I can do is appreciate the times they DO ask me to be a part of the family..yet I'm really not and sometimes it just really hurts.

I'd asked the skids a bit before Christmas if they'd like to go see the new Star Wars movie with me when they were here. They were both really excited about it, but I never got a call. Later I found out that they just sat around in their pajama's all day and I knew darned well if I'd asked them to come with me for a few hours to see the movie..Grandma wouldn't like it and I didn't want to put them in that place.

I wish there was a book written completely about how to stepparent in thousands of steps. Wish they had classes regarding this!! Having no children of my was so fun with my SD while it lasted. Her relationship with BM stunk at that time, yet now that her and BM are so close..

Oh goes on. Anyone out there feel the same?

Cover1W's picture

Yes this.
I am engaged with House things, but not Kid things.
I'll help with girl things (SD12 needs help with some girl things lately and DP just doesn't have the capacity to deal and SD12 came to me directly) and some shopping things (like helping them pick out appropriate clothes, but then DP has to purchase them).

You put that really well.

Before we purchased the house and moved I let him know exactly what the house expectations were. He's slid on that, but he's back on it because I don't let up on him (albeit nicely most of the time).

Gimlet's picture

My FDH is very supportive, but it has taken us some time to learn how to communicate on sensitive topics. I take part of the burden of that; I had a lot to learn about blended families coming into the relationship.

I've spelled out exactly what I'm willing to do and the treatment that I expect. Disengaging to a large degree has really helped too, I no longer give my 2 cents about things I can't change. I let him vent to me about things without piling on, and he is getting much better at seeing the real issues with the skids because he doesn't feel like has has to defend them.

He really is my partner in life,

Merry's picture

My DH is supportive. Now. Wasn't always so. Our kids were adults when we married, and he was a friend-parent to SS, and SD was a mini-wife who wanted to take care of Daddy. Turns out they aren't bad humans, but they had lousy parents.

We now have boundaries in place (the incessant Memory Lane sh!t stops, DH and I--and ONLY DH and I--make all decisions about our lives together, our finances are nobody's business, things like that). It works. I have a decent relationship with skids, and I get to be a doting grandmother to the gskids.

Disillusioned's picture

The funny thing is, in all the little stuff, DH has been the perfect weak, unsupportive spouse, but, in the things that REALLY matter - like when OSD gave him an ultimatum at age 19 that it was "her or me" he took a stand and it was not in her favor

Life went on and all the little nonsense continued with her, but again recently, when her and BM crossed the line repeatedly, DH again stood up and said "NO", for all my frustrations with DH and all the times I've felt he hasn't been supportive I guess I have to say that in the few instances where it truly matters, yes, he has been over the top supportive !

notasm3's picture

I think it is very important as HRNYC stated that one defines what one's role in the marriage is BEFORE the marriage.

One does not have to automatically accept the role of "stepmother" or "bonus mom" just because one marries a man with children. This is not the 1800s when a man who had children married another woman to "raise his young'uns".

In today's world there are no predefined roles. A woman who marries is not automatically relegated to being the chief cook and bottle washer. Nor is a man required to be the "breadwinner". It's all up for negotiation and what works for the couple.

So people need to agree on what's what before just jumping in.

My SS was in his 20s when I met DH - so I never felt any motherly feelings towards him. He's a pathetic POS waste of space - but I had no vested interest in trying to "raise him" or produce a decent adult - he was already "raised" and not a decent adult.

But the critical issue is that any two people planning a relationship where children exist is to be clear about expectations on both sides.

still learning's picture

Like others about my DH was a lazy parent, didn't like actual parenting and generally escaped his marriage and children when things got rough. It was easier from him to let them have their way and throw $$ at them rather than have a real relationship.

On the flip side, DH has been extremely supportive of me, my relationship w/my kids, work...everything except ss's. The first 1 1/2 years were rough because ss30 was using our house as a flop pad whenever he was in between couches or had lost a job. ss did not work, clean up, or contribute in any way. He demanded I shop for him, screamed at DH whenever ss was upset, had DH ferry him everywhere. After a summer of continued crap I went to counseling and found the courage to tell DH that "I married him, not his son. If he wanted our relationship to last, his son had to leave." ss left and is still living with BM.

DH and I are doing well though I am about 90% disengaged from his sons and the gskids. I still have to guard my boundaries and tell DH no at times but our relationship is so much better since I set limits w/the ss's.

memyselfandi's picture

My husband used to jump through all BM's hoops ALL.THE.TIME in the beginning.

He too was a lazy parent and because he didn't see them that much, let her and the skids easily have their way; regardless if it took quality time away from us.

And yes, he'd throw $$ at them rather than have a real relationship. This still happens as this last Christmas he told them they could spend $50. Of course his son ordered something from Amazon for $100 (he ALWAYS does this because he knows he can get away with it); thus SD got $100 (and she chose something off from Amazon for $135).

This crap pretty much broke us at the time, as we were on a limited budget. That's when I told him that $50 bucks is just that and anymore; his son is working..and since he manipulates for more, we just needed to find a way to stop it.

Thus the skids get tons of things throughout the year..but we don't do the holiday thing anymore. When his son asked why he didn't get anything for Christmas from us, Dad told him that he broke him the last time he over-ordered on Amazon and that THAT was the last time it was going to happen.

Wow..all of a sudden Disney Daddy strapped on a pair!!

I'm sure they blame it on me..but I can take it. I refuse to raise spoiled step kids!!

Regarding BM:

Waaay too many scenarios where she'd call the shots regarding how we got the skids while she and her hubby moved them 4 hours away. Sometimes they'd only come an hour with the skids and we'd have to drive 3 hours to get them.

Sometimes she'd want to be rid of them early (because her and Grandma wanted to go gambling when she got here), and we'd have to give up quality time for ourselves because she told us the skids just couldn't wait. She'd actually pull them out of school early, and I know it was because she didn't WANT my husband and I to have quality time.

Once, when my hubby and I were driving from Memphis and weren't supposed to have the skids until the next morning; as soon as we got to town (11:30 pm!!), she called and said she had to make a run to Walmart (40 miles away from their home!!). Dropped the skids in our hotel lobby and helped us load all their stuff into the back of our vehicle. As her tires peeled out of the parking lot..phht!!

TONS of situations like this where she'd want to unload the skids early. Used to make me so angry when my husband wouldn't strap on a pair. He was so afraid of her since she used to make all sorts of things up to the courts both before and after their divorce, and causing him to lose time with them.

Finally got to the point where they started blaming my putting a foot down and telling the skids that we need to stick to a schedule. They need to spend time with Grandma..and then with us.

For awhile I wasn't very popular, but at least it took the load off my hubby.

Since then, things have gotten much better. I've always gotten along with BM and Grandma and things have changed for the much better.

They even invite me to family get-togethers while his ex and I sit and talk together for hours. Her and I were friends long before I knew my husband and she told me one day that she was so glad to have me to open up to as life isn't always so sweet in her neck of the woods.

I'm glad to be there for her as she's actually a really good person. Once we got past all the jealousy of her ex getting remarried to me (she told me she'd been hoping for him to marry someone his kids hated, yet when she found out he was marrying me, a good friend of hers from years back...she was soo jealous...LOL!!)

So glad we're past all that!!

My hubby is glad the entire family gets along, yet he wants nothing to do with his ex. Thankful too for the fact that I get along with her and Grandma for the kids sake though..and family life together can actually be peaceful.

Granted, it gets tough sometimes when "Dad" comes home (as he needs to work out of State for the railroad so they don't get to see him much..)

And at that point..I put the skids first. When my hubby comes home for his two week vacation in the Summer..he spends a week up North with just his parents and his kids (and I go up for a day and night with all of them..); and then he spends a week alone with me.

It must be working as SD told him, "I miss (stepmom) not being here, but I'm glad to have you to myself sometimes too Daddy.."


LuckyGirl's picture

Me! And I would not be with him if he weren't 100% supportive. I also support him - that's what relationships are meant to be, isn't it?

TwoOfUs's picture

Mine is 90-95% of the time (pretty high for any husband, I think...not to mention a husband with kids). It took him a while to see things from my perspective, and I think it hurt his feelings at first, but once he got it, he really got it. Also, he's always been a very involved parent, so that helped.

Unfortunately, I still find step-life difficult and am still considering my options due to other factors. But I can't say that my DH isn't supportive of me as a stepmom.