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Struggling Childless Stepmom

Popstar's picture

Feeling really unsettled again today basically I have been with DH for 25 years. I have known SD since she was 18 months. DH was never really a family man although stepped up after his divorce and became a good part time parent in that he saw her weekly and provided financially.

I was obviously there during a lot of contact and was always kind, caring and friendly.

However as she has gotten older I feel that she is jealous and resents me. Whenever I go out with her and DH occasionally, she makes it obvious that she only wants to talk to him and gain his attention. For this reason I encourage him to go alone.

Well here is the thing as DH has gotten older he finally acknowledges the importance of family. He now hopes to spend more time with her and wants me on board. I think he is trying to become more involved for when she finally settles down and has a family. I honestly don’t want this and still want to keep my distance. I have tried to tell him nicely several times that we’re just not that close especially as BM has completely monopolised her. However he just doesn’t seem to get it! 

I haven’t got children myself which I find incredibly difficult and painful as it is (DH couldn’t and didn’t want anymore when we met). His spoilt, resentful daughter will never be any substitute.

This situation is making me feel depressed and is putting a strain on our otherwise happy marriage. I just don’t know what to do? Any advice would be really helpful thank youx

Newimprvmodel's picture

I think there are several issues here.  I know the pain of infertility. Do you blame him for this? I know I did with my first husband even though it was not his fault really.  But I did anyway in my heart.   I don't know how old you are but would adoption be something to consider? 

CajunMom's picture

I can only offer empathy on the infertility issue. I can't imagine and just want to give you a big hug.

As for your SD....I have a DH that would want the same your DH does. It's not going to happen. After 12 years of hell with his adult kids, I went in to full disengagement. It's been 4+ years since I've seen any of them. One of my boundaries, set in counseling and DH agreed to, is that he sees his kids away from our marital home.  I have lessened the boundary with his youngest...he's been here twice in the past 6 months but I did not interact with him at all. The others are still not welcome here and I don't see that changing any time soon.

As for this "family" crap talk....I consider visiting and eating dinner very intimate experiences most times. I refuse to waste time being with people I dislike and be miserable. Short of DHs kids making some serious amends, THAT will never happen. The best they can hope for is "civil and superficial" wasy into the future. For now, we stay apart. Stand your ground.

Birchclimber's picture

I had written a reply to this, but I just deleted it after I took the time to read your past blogs.  You have a problem, and it starts with your DH.  He has not properly responded to his DD's manipulations of him, and I can see that this situation has a long history of frustrating you.  Sadly, I know what you're going through. 

Stay disengaged, for your sanity.  When he asks why you are not interested in joining his disfunctional family dynamic, tell him it's because he has a disfunctional family dynamic!  Site examples, but stay calm.  If he defends any actions that you site as being an issue, then tell him that those actions are simply "unacceptable and inexcusable" and that if he can't see that for himself, then he has a problem that needs to be dealt with.  Suggest therapy. 

stepmomnorth's picture

That is exactly what I would do as well. Come right out and give the reason why. If he questions, then elaborate as indicated in that response above. He needs to hear the truth. Focus on words having to do with "the behaviors" that arent tolerable as opposed to "the person". Its necessary to have these boundaries in place, by the sound of it. 

sandye21's picture

Just a suggestion to go along with this, be very specific.  Write a list of dates and issues, and try to make it in chronological order so it is easier to see a pattern of SD's malicious behavior.

When exDH accused me of making SD 'uncomfortable' in my home, I asked for hiim to list specifically what I did to make SD feel uncomfortable.  He could no come up with one thing.  But I had MY list which supported why I no longer wanted her in my life.  If she was uncomfortable, and she didn't like me, she could stay away.

Merry's picture

I am so thankful that my skids live 1000 miles away, otherwise I'd be in this same situation. DH has a complicated relationship with both his kids--from enmeshed to distant, depending on their moods. DH accepts it all.

Fortunately, his kids are always polite to me. But it's pretty clear to everyone but DH that nobody wants a real relationship. And that's fine with everyone except DH but he has accepted it.

We've been together about 20 years, and after spending the first couple of years trying too hard to "win them over" I gave up and quietly disengaged. But I have been straightforward with DH about why I don't want a relationship with them. At least he acknowledges their behavior and doesn't really expect me to ignore the things he's learned to ignore over a lifetime.

Go with honesty. Support your DH in his relationship with his kids, but don't let him drag you into something you don't want. Resentment builds so quickly.


CLove's picture

I too am Childless, not by choice. I have a Toxic Bm, Toxic Troll, and two Skids: SD23 Feral Forger and SD16 Backstabber/Munchkin

Im only 10 plus years in, and am afraid of the future with SD's and the dysfunction Ive experienced. You need to carefully explain the need you have for disengagement. You are supporting his wishes to have a relationship with his daughter and do not wish to participate. Shes sounding like a mini-wife, and I would encourage you to stand firm. In mini-wife situations, the father enjoys the dynamic of two women "fighting over him", and you will be set up to fail in that situation. "Thats my child!" "You just hate my child!" etc. Then the treatment by the "other woman". Yeah. No. Stand firm.

Rags's picture

It is just not natural for mammals to tolerate the presence of progeny that is not theirs in a pair bond relationship.

I came to this epiphany while watching an Animal Planet marathon on Lions in college.  When a new male takes over a pride he usually kills all of the young progeny of his predecessor.  This does two things, it puts the females immediately into estrus and reserves the resources of the pride to raise and care for his progeny.  Females will occasionally kill the offspring of rivals within the pride for some of the same reasons.

It took me a minute to work through this issue when my DW and I first started dating.  While I knew quickly that this was an amazing young woman who I wanted to make a life with there was the side issue of her toddler son who was someone else’s progeny.  Of course I had no intention of getting rid of him, though I did struggle with accepting his presence in my home and my relationship.

Fortunately, humans are not Lions so I fairly quickly worked through my ancient mammal brain issues and chose to be his dad, raise him as my own, and for the three of us to be a family.  I would not change a thing.  I love SS beyond words. He is my son.   SS was 15mos old when his mom and I met and started dating. He will be 30 in a few weeks. His mom and I will have our 28th anniversary the week before his birthday.

If as an adult he perpetrated the crap your SD is pulling, it would be game over. When his mom got through with him there would not be much of him left for me to dispose of.  Neither his mom nor I would tolerate any disrespect to each other or our marriage by a kid or anyone else for that matter,


Miss T's picture

... to realize how much we're driven by ancient biological imperatives. But once seen the facts cannot be unseen, and accepting them makes life much simpler to understand.

ImperfectlyPerfect's picture

No bios, only steps. I understand this. I agree with the statements be honest, upfront and hold the line. However, I also want to let you know that I understand how lonely it feels. Truly. I've wondered "would any family show up to my funeral?" I am unsure. Not likely my adult SSs, maybe one of them. I've also felt the intense burning of painful rejection of being the outsider and when you come to others trying to explain this they have no capacity to understand. There is NO understanding and they will never try to see your side. They are incapable of understanding nor are they motivated. Where my experience separates from yours is I did not have a want for biologicals and boy has it been a price to pay - from family to society, very very punishing. I am sorry for what you are going through. Truly.