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About to make the leap and my anxiety is getting out of hand-Very Long need tender touch with advice.

KawiGirl74's picture

This is going to be long, detailed and somewhat uninteresting but, I want to hear from anyone that understands this and wants to weigh in.
I have been dating my boyfriend for 2 1/2 years now. We do not cohabitate. I have 1 daughter. She just turned 18 and is graduating from high school in less than 1 month. He has 4 children. The oldest is 16 1/2 (boy) the other boy is 13 and the youngest 2 are girls and they are 10 and 7. Their bio Mom doesn't care for me purely based on appearance alone. We have said maybe 20 words to each other ever but she has determined if you are female and wear makeup, these items alone make you a "prostitute".
I am not actually a prostitute. I am a 42 year old woman that works hard to stay in shape and I wear make-up for me. She has even went as far as to tell the girls that makeup is made of dead baby skin. That's beside the point but just ridiculous.
Most of any issues these kids have ever had with me has been perpetuated by their Mother. It has been confusing for them all along as they are with their Dad weekly Thursday-Sunday afternoon. They are told by her terrible things about me but then they are with me and they see things for themselves and they see that I am not what they have been told so they are observant and standoffish-because their Mother is perfect and would never lie to them. But, I am not special by any means as their Mother also does this with their father. She has them scared of him, treating him as a liar and someone they cannot trust and they are not authentic with him. She left him 6 years ago. She has moved homes 4 times until he let her live in a home his family owned for free so that the kids would have a stable home. She has now moved them and herself into a home with her now boyfriend. She has not told him that she moved out of the free house he was providing and they have obviously been told not to tell their Dad as there is no water or electricity to the house and hasn't been since February yet she is still there at that house to get them on Sunday, she just is conveniently always outside on the porch because she likes fresh air when he brings them home. She doesn't know one of the kids slipped in front of him talking about moving so he went in the house and it was empty in February with windows all boarded up. So he has not asked the kids or her why or if they moved but they have. When he eludes to dropping something off to them during the week at their house, they no longer need said item that was important as boyfriends house and free house is 40 minutes apart so Mom does not want to drive 80 minutes to get a bag that he can take to school the next day.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Problems most recent stem from oldest son.
Mom uses taking phone as a form of punishment. When son acts out, she takes his phone. Asks his Dad to also carry out this punishment. i.e. Text Dad "Don't let child use your phone this weekend, I took his for bad grades."
In January, son spending time with Grandmother and Mother more. He out of no where confronts Dad asking him why he was always mean to Mom. He was accusing him of being a liar and mean yet cannot name anything his Dad has done to him personally. He then pulls out how his grandmother's dog hates his Dad and dogs see the true inner workings of a person. Dad explains that his mother's relationship is not his with him. Yes, they didn't work out but nobody was mean to anyone. Son states he only pays child support because his Mother makes him and she had to go to court for that. Dad explains how he works for the government and even if he wanted to not pay he couldn't and he offered her more money in the beginning but she wanted half of retirement and half of house so he pays exactly what is the decree that his mother was fine with even though he provides them a free home and pays for all school clothes and other items on top of child support. Son constantly taunts Dad trying to make him mad and accusing him of all kinds of things. Not helping grandmother, that his grandfather told son he hated Dad before he died 4 months earlier, how grandmother is leaving all her assets to son instead of Dad and how she hates him for being mean to him and his siblings. List goes on. Dad never raised his voice or got angry just let child vent and corrected what he said that was untrue.
All of this conversation the son recorded on his phone and he text to his own Mother, grandmother and Aunt. Aunt (Dad's sister) calls and tells Dad about it. Dad is furious as he feels son was malicious in his intent to record this and share with others in an effort to ruin relationships. Sister states Dad was not out of line and was upset with Son about his intent. She talks to son. Few hours later grandmother calls sister and tells her that she must apologize to the son for telling Dad about recording the call. States she broke trust!!!!!!!
Next week when son comes to Dad, Dad tells son he must put his phone in a locked box when he is there. He can use Dad's phone to communicate with Mom and he can take his own phone to school etc. but he wasn't going to let others have their privacy invaded and it was disrespectful for him to record any conversations secretly. Son refuses. Dad says that is his rule, Mom takes phone as punishment all the time no difference. Son storms out to go down the street to grandmother. Grandmother calls Dad and says he has no right to take phone, it's no biggie to record people,etc. Bio Mom calls and says if Dad didn't do things to warrant son feeling he needed to record him there would be no need to record and now Son doesn't feel comfortable coming there so until she can get him calmed down he won't be coming. This goes on for a month. Mom saying every week that Son is still too upset to come. 3 of those weeks she also keeps 13 year old son because "brothers need to be together and they need each other" Dad sees an attorney, she states he can get them with Sheriff and divorce papers. Dad doesn't want to upset the younger girls or force them to come and be miserable and make everyone else miserable. Finally after a month Son comes back keeps phone like nothing ever happened.
Dad requests counseling for all kids. Talks to therapist tells her he feels they are being alienated from him and tells her what all happened. Mom brings kids, they won't say what is wrong, why they hate their Dad even why they are there. Therapist tells Dad she doesn't know if she can even admit them as they won't say enough to give her anything to admit for.
Since Thanksgiving we have been telling them of our plans to get married and move to a new home. It is the same distance from their school just in opposite direction of grandmother. They have been excited and had no issues with it. Last week he shared photos of house with them and they chose furniture and paint colors. Oldest Son states he won't ever come there, he hates his Dad doesn't care either way about me but he will not live in another house. Dad states he will get him no matter as there is a court order in place and if he wants that changed he can have his mother file for that change. Son rages, leaves goes to grandmother. Next morning he comes back for breakfast, acts like nothing has happened and asks to pick paint color for his room. LIKE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED!
I am exhausted by all of this. It's just 3 days a week but damn they are killing me. The oldest sets the tone for all this with the other children. Not one has stated anything negative about me all this time. They just act weird about their Dad. Use words grown women say and you can tell they are not their own thoughts.
Dad states to me he doesn't care if son comes at all because he occupies his time with all of them in a negative way and it's unfair. I just don't want to be the reason any of them refuse to come to him and if we weren't getting married and sharing a new home they wouldn't be moving period so I feel in some way this is my fault.
To answer the questions- Yes, I love them all and I want this even though I may be crazy.
Yes, I know I am stepping in it all but eventually they will see the real me and they will easily dismiss what they have been told and feel whatever they feel toward me genuinely.
No, I am not currently posting this from a mental health facility. LOL
Any insight on how to work around kids being secretive and sneaky and reporting back please advise.

yolo222's picture

4 kids = no deal. I'm sorry but my advice would be to cut your losses. Your daughter is grown. Why on earth would you want to move forward with this life. I wouldn't even date someone with four kids. Oh hell no.

yolo222's picture

4 kids = no deal. I'm sorry but my advice would be to cut your losses. Your daughter is grown. Why on earth would you want to move forward with this life. I wouldn't even date someone with four kids. Oh hell no.

ybarra357's picture

"Yes, I know I am stepping in it all but eventually they will see the real me and they will easily dismiss what they have been told and feel whatever they feel toward me genuinely."

Don't count on that.

24 years as a SM's picture

So the 16 1/2 is allowed to throw a temper tantrum, then walk out of the house and go pout at his grandmothers house? I am sorry, but if that was my kid or skid I would be going to Grandmothers house and kicking his ass all the way back home. That skid may hate his father, but he damn sure needs to have some respect for him in his own house. Your DH needs to step up and teach that skid some respect.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

This is a completely toxic situation being orchestrated by others, therefore you have zero control or ability to improve it. It is already negatively affecting you, so why would you willingly turn up the temperature on the hot water you're sitting in by marrying and moving closer to it?

Plenty of divorced parents recognize that timing is crucial when planning for the future, and that's why many choose to wait until their kids leave home before they remarry. Your SO's kids are much younger, and he's in the midst of a war for them, so he's at a very different place in life from you. Given the choice between marrying now and having a thirty percent chance of success or waiting a few years and having a seventy percent chance of a successful marriage, why not postpone wedding plans, support your SO while he battles on, and enjoy being the parent of a successfully launched adult child for a while?

ldvilen's picture

I will give you the tender touch you asked for, in the best way I know how. My best piece of advice is you should not care at all what these kids and others think of you. You are going to be your DH's wife. If that is what you choose, that is your choice. However, I see far too many examples of you having great concern and anxiety for how these kids and others are going to view you. You need to let that go.

First of all, whether or not you are a good person or no matter how hard you may try, the SKs will think what they think. You could be a wonderful person and even have a supportive husband, but if BM is going around poisoning the well and acting like you are the dirty ho who took her ex- from her (doesn't matter if you and your DH got together years and years after the divorce), then the kids will more than likely pick this up and run with it, even well into adulthood. Even if BM is not so bad, there is research that shows the nicer SM is to the kids, the more they are going to be resentful, because SM is placing a conflict of loyalty on them.

In other words, for the most part, there is absolutely no way for you to guarantee how you and your SKs will get along, regardless of what you do or don't do. SO, let that go. Be yourself and concentrate on your marriage. And, take this advice to heart, because believe me there will be many, many people, even so-called experts, who will try to imply that you are some kind of A$$ and not doing things right if the SKs are unhappy or if even BM is unhappy. To say that SMs usually wind up being the scapegoat for all of the family ills is an understatement.

You need to see yourself foremost as your DH's wife, hold your head up high, never let anyone challenge your marriage and the fact that you and DH are a couple and are married or going to be. You need to assert, and this may even be to your own DH, that you and your DH are a couple and a team. DH and BM are parents, but when they chose to divorce they gave up the right to be considered a couple. Unfortunately, SKs, and many others, get confused and think that parents = couple. NO. You and your DH are a couple. Married people = couple. You'd think in the year 2017 that would be obvious, but it is not. DH and BM may have had a child together, but that doesn't mean that anyone else they may go on to be involved with or marry has to settle for being screwed for life or put up with being treated like sloppy seconds. Their divorce, does not = your problem, and don't ever, ever let anyone else tell you or convince you otherwise. Let DH handle issues with his children as much as possible, and this includes cooking and cleaning, etc. Sure, you and your DH and kids can get together and have fun together, but at the end of the day remember SKs will think what they think, and this could change for better or for worse over time thru absolutely no fault of your own.

In other words, You need a HUGE backbone to be a SM. People will tell you you have to "suck it up and take it," "take the high road," etc. Ignore them all and go with your gut. If it doesn't feel right or if it feels like you are being treated like the family doormat, it is probably true. Also, this may happen and it may not: "Eventually they will see the real me and they will easily dismiss what they have been told and feel whatever they feel toward me genuinely." I can tell you, more than likely, it will not.

Rags's picture

Time for daddy to find and keep hold of his balls. Any time the kids do not visit per the CO he needs to nail BM with a contempt motion. The kid does what he is told when he is told. The Kid can refuse to give up his phone but if that happens daddy needs to take it. Every time. Daddy needs to effectively neuter this kid and make sure his current polluted perspective does not pollute the younger 3 kids. If the eldest won't submit.... he gets purged and his influence on the younger three minimized as much as possible.

No kid gets to dictate whether or not they will visit the NCP and it is the CP's duty to deliver the kids per the CO visitation schedule.

No more free house. Daddy needs to sell the vacant house and let BM figure out how to be a real parent on her own

And for God's sake DH needs to get his bitch of a mother under control. She gets no say in how he raised his children and no kid should be able to march out of dad's home to gramma's as a manipulation tactic. Grandma can STFU or never see her grandspawn again IMHO.

The whole time I was reading your dissertation I was grinding my teeth with frustration. This situation exists only because your DH tolerates it. He needs to stop that and jerk a knot in BMs tail, his own mother's tail, and put his foot up the eldest spawn's ass and keep it there. It is time for a come to Jesus/clarity session with all of the kids. They need a full review of the Court Order, divorce decree, and any documentation showing DH's support level and BM's depravity. Those kids should have no choice but to live the facts of the polluted maternal side of their gene pool so that they are fully versed in the facts and reality of the situation. This is the only way he can prepare them to deal with BM's manipulative crap when they are adults. IMHO.

Facts and confronting BM, his own mother, and his children for any inappropriate behavior is the only way to address this IMHO.

Tolerating it solves nothing and damages everyone and everything associated with this toxic situation including you and your relationship.

I hope your SO finds his balls soon.

Good luck.

Acratopotes's picture

This is actually very easy -

First off ignore the brat, he's father basically is thus so can you, and secondly... SS16 does not get to pic colors for his new room, if he can't behave he can't pick... I simply should've asked him, why do you want to pick colors for a room if you are never going to come there?

Stop walking on egg shells around this brat... it's 2 more years and if he does not want to visit, DH should simply still collect the other minor children as per CO.

Tuff Noogies's picture

o/t - welcome. and pretty please put an extra space between paragraphs - this is REALLY hard to read, i've only gotten through about a third of it. i will try again in a few minutes.

ChiefGrownup's picture

This will be an absolute nightmare if you marry him now. Many, many, many of us experienced ramping up of bad behavior at the time of the wedding, never to ramp back down. So what you are seeing now is the BEST you are going to get.

Do not have faith that one day these kids will see the "real you." There are untold instances of bioparents never even getting that lightbulb moment they are hoping for from their own children who have been pased by a hostile other parent.

So go into this not envisioning a better future than the present. Go into this envisioning a worse one. If it's still worth it to you, ok. But you as yet have no idea how much worse it can even get. Wait till those little girls take on the family mantle. Then you will see some real misery.

SMforever's picture

I can't imagine anyone in their right mind taking on such a complex situation while actually thinking it could work out happily.
Why on earth does anyone reach adulthood still hoping everyone will like them? This BM has shown you clearly that she has a twisted, specific agenda against you.

Enjoy the freedom you finally have with your DD graduated from your care...and seriously consider why you are willing to take on a 7 and 10 year old now, effectively roping you back into domestic service for the next ten years. Little wonder your fiance treats you well, since he stands to get free housekeeping, babysitting, sex for himself, and food service for his flock. Sorry to be cynical but he has a heck of a lot more to gain from this than you do. You are giving up your freedom for what - the company of a man whose time going forward will be dominated by conflict with the crazy ex, by worry about his kids, by stuggles over custody and residency, not to mention continual bills.

Goodluck's picture

This, below was well said, direct and soft. :

Little wonder your fiance treats you well, since he stands to get free housekeeping, babysitting, sex for himself, and food service for his flock. Sorry to be cynical but he has a heck of a lot more to gain from this than you do. You are giving up your freedom for what - the company of a man whose time going forward will be dominated by conflict with the crazy ex, by worry about his kids, by stuggles over custody and residency, not to mention continual bills.

Goodluck's picture

Oh and one more thing. Your husbands children will not see the real you. They see you the way they want to see you.

Ma'am you sound like a very nice, lovely lady who is at her wits end. Since your boyfriend is allowing this to occur it will continue to be the same when you marry. Maybe worse.

A step parent can be the most kind, caring person in the world but to some step kids YOU will never be that way no matter what you do. THEY will make sure you are not.

So sorry Sad

thinkthrice's picture


Even if you are Mother Teresa, the BM WILL hate you and PAS out the skids. DH is FAR too passive and you WILL be blamed when every last skid PASes out.

My youngest was about your DD's age when I met Chef (my SO). He had 3 kids, the youngest being a toddler. CS goes to 21 in this state. Chef has been impoverished by CS for 12 years with 7 more years to go.
Are you willing to pick up the slack financially as the BM, although HATING you WILL EXPECT you to be a walking ATM to her kids (100% responsibility 0% authority)?

RUN!!!!!! The love you have for DH will soon turn to resentment and hate. And he will resent and hate you, too.

Is_What_It_Is's picture

I married a man with 4 kids - but there was no BM, she had passed a few years before I met DH. With that being said, it was (is) still hard to blend a family consisting of THAT many kids and outside forces at work as well. If I would have had to deal with a BM too - especially one who did not like me and set the kids up against me, we would not still be married today.

There is just too much going on in your situation, too many others with too much say. You will lose yourself in this circus. Do yourself a favor and put the brakes on - no matter how much you may love a person, their baggage can make you eventually resent the very things that made you fall in love with them in the first place. The worst time to blend a family is when there are kids involved between the ages of 10-16.

Spend a lot of time here, reading what others have posted, what others have gone through. Don't ever let yourself start to think "yeah, but that wont happen to me! That won't happen to us!" because yes, it will happen to you and it will happen to the umpteenth degree.

2Tired4Drama's picture

Since you haven't posted back, I am assuming you are not getting the advice you want - you want affirmation that this will work out and you should go forward with this relationship.

There is no logical advice you will listen to, no matter how many of us post and no matter how many valid, legitimate reasons we give you that this is an absolute disaster.

Nothing we can say will dissuade you. You have said yourself. Which is:

"I want this"

In my time on earth, I have found that most people pretty much do what they want to do, no matter what it is.

So go off and marry this man. Print out all this advice and then go back and re-read it in a couple of years when you are in the middle of your step nightmare.

Especially re-read your own words, "I want this"

toohard's picture

I'm new to this forum too but I would advise you to RUN! Honestly, it isn't worth it, if you love him so much you can't give him up then date him until his kids are adults.

I say this from the perspective of being married almost 19 years to DH, who is truly a dear, but his 3 kids, now ages 34, 32 and 29 made our lives hell. I also had my own bio kids now ages 32 and 29 who lived with us full time.

I was so enamored of our situation, that despite red flags with the kids all over the place, I married him. There followed about 10 years of grief due, in particular to my older SD and middle SS. Had I known what I know today, I would have dated my dear husband until the kids were adults.

Why do I say this? Because their bio-mom had it in for me from the get-go. She undermined everything we tried to do, particularly anything that I had any hand in. The result is that the skids were manipulative, ran hot and cold all over the place, lied, stole from us, led DH to lose a good professional job (long story).

I really thought that with time all would be well but you know what? Almost 19 years later we are still dealing with crap, the only thing that got better is that they are adults and I am just now (like last week) completely disengaging from their drama. I'm talking arrests, abortions, substance abuse, in addition to the lying and manipulation that was part of my day to day life.

And yes, I didn't blame the skids because they were KIDS and I felt they were not to blame for the situation which was exacerbated by jealous bio mom who actually was the one who left DH for another man. However, she was accustomed to having her cake and eating it too, which meant that to her I was competition and she never let her kids, my skids forget it. To the point where my skids would come over and berate DH and tell him "well now that you have a new family".

So if you love him, date him until they are all grown. You can have your time together on his weekends off and when DH has the kids you can do something for yourself NOT WITH THEM. Believe me, it will be better for you in the long run. I speak from experience and heartbreak. Good luck !

KawiGirl74's picture

Thanks to all of you that offered items of advice and of general mental well-being. I have put all this on hold. We had intended to get married in June but instead will use the non-refundable deposits as a way to get away this summer. Mini vacation.
After further conversations we just think it would be best to wait. I am heartbroken because I hate the 2 hour drives to see each other one way and the fact that will be ongoing for another 11 years. But, like everyone here states, this is a terrible idea and the relationship can last 11 years more long distance or be over in 6 months because of hate and discontent. Just makes me resent most everyone in the equation.
Yes, I am a great person, yes, I want to be with him and yes, I know this is what I want, but I will have it in time.
Who knows, maybe things can change. Maybe not but at least or won't have been used or resented any more than has already happened.

Just to clarify a few things that some mentioned in questions and such.
He pays CS to the tune of $2000.00 a month.
He HAS THEM Thursday-Sunday EVERY WEEK
He provided them a home to live in for free because she has moved them constantly and he always wanted to know they at least had shelter.
He agreed to this crappy arrangement when he thought he would never have a life and he would always just provide for them and wait Monday-Wednesday for their arrival. I realize this is ridiculous as you cannot just wait for life but he was depressed for 2 years almost to get the divorce final and was worn out and just wanted to see his kids.
I so appreciate the honesty and it truly did help me see that I wasn't being ridiculous in what I thought was crazy behavior.

My ex and I are great friends. We truly co-parent. I do not come from divorced family and everyone gets along. I have never been in the middle of constant chaos and I am very passive and try to understand all sides. This sometimes makes me dismiss things and not see some things that are inappropriate or just plain wrong until after the fact. I just wanted insight and you have all helped with that.
Thanks Again-

ChiefGrownup's picture

You've done a very wise thing.

I can understand your dh's depression at the time and why he thought he was doing a good plan. But the next thing he can tackle when ready is that if the mother cannot provide a home for them after a fair divorce settlement and 2k in cs then he can go to court and argue she can't care for them ergo full time with him. 16 year old boy is probably too far gone but the rest can still be de-programmed from the PAS if they don't see her so much. The 16 year old can stay with mom and then she can be able to find a much smaller apartment.

Glad you came back to tell us. Very good decision.