You are here

Am I at fault?

overloaded's picture

Hi, I'm new here, first post. I really need some honest help and insight, and only other people who live this can understand.

I don't know how to summarize this and feel ridiculous even telling other people the whole truth. Here goes: I've been a stepmom for 6 months to two boys (11,8). SS11 has Aspergers, mild but obvious. SS8 is poorly behaved. I have 3 kids at home (18,16,12). They are extremely easy going and I don't have any issues with them.  My DH also has four older kids (30, 24,22,21) from 3 previous marriages. Yes, I'm his 4th wife, he's 13 years older. 

He moved into my house after we married but maintained his farm 30 minutes away. He works from an office there during the day and honestly he keeps it for his DS21 but that's another story. He pays no bills, no mortgage, nothing at my house. He does buy food on the nights he is here and does the cooking when his boys are here and mostly when he is here because he likes to decide what we're having I suppose. Anyway, since we've been married he has had now three different visitation arrangements. By his account, his exwife (mom of SS11,8) is "crazy" and irrational. She texts, emails, and calls nonstop, always in a crisis. Before marriage I told him he needed to create boundaries, limit communication,etc. She would send unnecessary comments or just chatty information, or ask for help with something or have an emotional crisis. ( He has never offered to let me read them and I have never seen them except on occasion if the phone is beside us and she is texting nonstop) DH says he knew after the honeymoon it was a mistake with her and after a couple of months he had papers drawn up and she magically got pregnant. (I won't get into the stupidity of DH for knocking her up three times resulting in SS11,8). Anyway, neither DH or BM want to parent these boys. They let SS11 play nonstop video games (Aspergers quality) and call him easy bc he just drinks soda and eats chips ( and is obese) and plays his video games or watches YouTube and doesn't cause trouble. They trash everything, leaving soda cans, chips on the floor, peeing on the toilet seat, etc. Neither knows how to tie their shoes. In the 6 months they have stayed here during visitation, neither has bathed. Or brushed their teeth. I bought toothbrushes and toothpaste for them. They can't cut up their own food at the table. They snack nonstop. Basically it's like they've been raised by wolves. It's not their fault, it's their parents. BM is constantly telling DH she "can't take it" and he feels guilty and has to rescue the boys because they have a crazy mom and he doesn't want them to have to live with her and experience that (not sure why that didn't cross his mind while he was procreating with her). 

Also side note he pays $3000/month for two kids (NOT court established, he just decided on that) which covers her house payment and bills in a much more expensive part of town than I live in bc he wants them to go to a good school. Heaven forbid BM suffer or have a meltdown over having to move. It would be "bad for the boys". 

So as you can see the entire thing is a ridiculous train wreck. I'm just embarrassed to be writing this. I am an educated, normal, healthy woman in a helping profession and working on my doctorate in my field. But how stupid can I be???

Several days ago DH tells me he wants longer breaks from the boys and to have an entire weekend without them. Currently he has them every other weekend and twice during the week. Also any school holiday or sick day bc he works from home and BM just got a job this year) During the week they stay here bc it is closer to their school and much more convenient than driving from his farm (which grates on me bc I feel like a conveneince to him and BM). Now he wants to change it to Friday-Tuesday, skip Wednesday, get them Thursday til Friday morning and then not get them until the next Friday and start all over again. Which sounds a lot like every other week basically. I objected and became angry that he sent BM an email with this after he knew I wasn't happy when he raised the issue. I don't have a large house ( I made a bedroom for SS11,8) out of my living room and that doubles the number of people in my house. I told him I think it's great he wants to be a good dad and spend time with his boys but they need to do it at the farm. He was so offended that he left, went to his farm, and basically hasn't spoken to me since. Two very brief texts (goodnight, goodmorning). Extremely unlike him in the 3 years we've been together. He has always every single morning and night called since the beginning and throughout the day. My point is he has basically shut me down/out. And I'm not even sure I care anymore. I was relieved he didn't even text me goodnight tonight. (because my responses to him were kind and normal and I said I love you and I don't know if I should even keep being nice. Omg this is like junior high. 

Was I wrong to tell him that I don't want him and the boys to stay here Sun-Wed morning (he'd have them at his place Fri-Sat) and again Thursday afternoon until Friday school? He said he felt he and his children are unwelcome and he had no idea this was such a big problem for me and my kids and he was disappointed and disheartened. I think a period of adjustment is normal and said so. I don't even know if he's mad or hurt or feels rejected or what. 

HE says he doesn't want to raise the boys. HE says he doesn't want to have them, they drive him crazy. BM says the same. So why am I the bad guy for feeling the same way and saying, "That doesn't work for me". 

There is a part of me that wants to walk now. It's my opportunity. I stayed in a bad abusive marriage for 17 years the first time and I don't want to waste life like that again. My boys really like him so I'd feel bad erratically taking that away. And of course it's humiliating to end it after 6 months. But better humiliated than stupid? 

On the other hand, he and I love each other and the two of us are extremely compatible. He's kind, loving, affectionate, etc. and I hesitate to bail because what it I stick it out and look back years from now and we're happy. 

We aren't legally married (another story) so we don't even have to go through a legal divorce. We don't have anything shared- no accounts, nothing. 

I don't know whether to text or call him. I don't feel like chasing him. I didn't do anything wrong. At least I don't think so. And that's what I'm asking. 

I'm sorry it's so long! Thank you for reading. I am open to honest responses. 

MurphysLaw's picture

Oh my Feckin G-d…

They would find me hanging.

I could not even read this whole mess.

Aunt Agatha's picture

Any young female relative if she told you her relationship was like you’ve described?

My guess is you’d tell her to get out now.

You are being used.  Three nights a week and he’s not contributing to your household bills?  And sets it up with his wife - I mean ex wife - before getting your buy in?  

Then tries to gaslight you?

Theres a reason he’s had 3 wives before you came along. He is good at love bombing women - and good at the act of procreating.  He is horrible at the actual adulting parts of things (working on relationships, communicating, parenting his offspring).

If you were my sister who asked for my thoughts? Those would be get out now.  Get your doctorate and focus on doing you.  This man is bad news, and you will only find trouble, disappointment and unhappiness with him.  

You deserve more than he will ever be able to offer. 

SteppedOut's picture

Completely agree! 

His true self started showing when you got "married" (in quotes since you said not legally). Seems like lots of (abusive and/or using) men do not show their "true self" until they think they have you "trapped".

Cut it now. I know exactly what you mean - I also was in an abusive marriage (10 years) and then got into another abusive relationship (it lasted 2.5 years). Thank goodness I got out faster and hadn't married. I already have wasted so much life in bad relationships! And you know what that ass said? Basically that I should stay with him at least 10 years because thats how long I was with my ex husband. So, he should get at least that long to try also. When he made that rediculous argument... well that was the moment I knew it was over. I know it's hard making the "over" decision. That moment will come, just don't waste too much time (life) getting there. 

overloaded's picture

You're right, since we've been married he's had several temper tantrums, there's no other word for them. They're so ridiculous they don't even scare me or make my heart race (like my exhusband's anger). I just stand there for a second and walk off and do my own thing without a word. 

He keeps insisting we ARE married (when I've said we're not really married bc we had a ceremony out of the country but never filed any papers) and now he wants to bc I think he feels threatened that I feel like I can walk without the drama of a real divorce. I think now he wants to secure it (make me more enmeshed) and no way, no how. 

I'm glad you were able to get out of your marriage and were able to escape your bad relationship much faster than the first one. You were so wise. I need to follow. 

SteppedOut's picture

He wants to file the (legal) marriage paperwork only now that you are having issues with all his nonsense? Boy, I hope that is a huge red flag waving for you!

Annoyed1's picture

He wants it legal so that he can file for alimony and you can continue to pay his bills after you're gone. Just leave him. You're not married (thank goodness). Count your blessings. We all make mistakes. How long you decide you live with them is up to you. I wish you all the best. But please, open your eyes. 

tog redux's picture


Dear god woman, make him stay there until you have some clarity.  He's living with you rent-free with his feral children camped in the living room, he pays you bupkis, doesn't want to parent and ADMITS THAT, and you are the bad guy for wanting some boundaries in your home.

This guy is using you. He doesn't move back in period, but certainly not unless major changes are made.

You are not extremely compatible, no - put that out of your head. How can you respect a guy who uses you and neglects his kids this way?

lieutenant_dad's picture

The things you listed off as compatibility are just basic requirements for any relationship to form. I could find those qualities in nearly any person I come into contact with.

Compatibility would be you two agreeing on boundaries. Compatibility would be him recognizing his kids cost money to him, like yours do to you, and contributing a fair share to the household so that they had somewhere *other* than a living room to stay in. Compatibility would be telling you he loves you but needs time away for himself (as I'm sure you'd do the same) and not act like a middle schooler that makes your eyes roll.

Here's the part that you're missing: only kids raised well launch into adulthood. You're dealing with a man who won't raise his kids, who then won't be able to launch. There won't be a time period a decade from now where the little one graduates high school and goes off to college, and none of them ever need help again. They'll rely on Mommy and Daddy until the day they die because they haven't been raised to function in the real world.

Lastly, you're not even married. You can tell him you're done and actually BE done. No court. No separating of anything. Just a valuable life lesson that men who treat you kindly aren't that rare and aren't always that awesome.

You said you're smart, so use your brain here. This is one effed up situation that is only going to slide further into chaos. I GUARANTEE there are better men out there.

overloaded's picture

You're right on every front. You brought up a big thing too, the launching of kids. It's something I truly worry about especially with SS11 and the Aspergers. Why is no one teaching him skills? Limiting his video games? Channeling him toward skills and talents, teaching life skills. He does have some help at school, but if this were my kid I would be doing everything possible to give him the best shot possible at life. So my concern is his dad (DH) is 57 and BM is a little younger (not sure) and he's only 11. What if he can't live independently? Who's going to help him? I'm terrified it will fall on me (I'm younger than either of them), and have considered that I should be helping him with all the things listed above but...they have never even told him he has Aspergers. He thinks he's just "weird" (his words) and that he doesn't have friends. Anyway, the launching hit home. You are right on the money. 

StepUltimate's picture

Trust your gut here & break OFF this insanity.

You don't deserve to be treated like that!

Frustrated future SM's picture

It's definitely obvious that he's using you and you are too smart to continue to allow him to do that. The fact that he doesn't even want to spend time with his own kids but feels you should be more than okay with them living at your house is absolutely ridiculous! If these were actual well mannered, polite kids who were taught to clean up after themselves that would be one thing but these kids have not 1 but 2 parents that can't stand them and won't do the work to get them under control.

This guy sounds immature and selfish, like my boyfriend, who likes to get upset when he doesn't get his way and also tries to gaslight me just as yours is doing. When ever I bring up genuine concerns about his kids, and not in a mean way, it's "you just hate my kids!" And I'm tired of hearing that shit. Next time I'm going to say "yes, I absolutely do!" Just to see how he responds.

My advice is to RUNNNNN before this guy gets you pregnant and you end up STUCK because you guys decide to make it work. Then his kids are never leaving, and what's worse is you'll have to worry about their bad influence on your new child. Let him bring those kids to his farm where they should be going anyway, since he doesn't help pay bills at your place. Oh and it doesn't even sound like he respects you enough to setup boundaries with the ex, so you'll have to continue dealing with his nonstop communication with her, as well!

Do NOT chase him. Continue living life normally, as if he never even left. Trust me, he'll come around. You should go do something fun so when he does you can tell him about the fun you had while he was away. And if he doesn't come around well, you can do so much better love!!!

Curious Georgetta's picture

Is some therapy to address your self esteem issues. How can this man possibly enhance your life in any way that compensates for all of the baggage and drama that he brings ?

Sometimes women are willing to accept any man simply to have a man.

If 4 other women could not  remain married to him, why would you want to invite him imo your life?

If he is in any way better than your previous relationships, please  get some help in sorting your feelings and self esteem issues before you move forward with this relationship.

Surely, you deserve better.



overloaded's picture

Definitely have self-esteem issues. I see it over and over again. I'm making progress- therapy, books, everything I can find- but it's a monster I'm having trouble escaping my whole life... I'm feeling a lot more confident since starting my doctoral program and realizing I have so much to contribute...just can't let him (or any man) derail me from my own life.

Thanks for taking the time to answer

ndc's picture

You're at fault only for letting this man use you and make your children's lives worse.  Why subject your three kids to the bad example and misery of having his ill behaved sons around?  Why subject yourself and your kids to the chaos of living in an overcrowded house where the living room has been turned into a bedroom?  Why allow a man to live with you without contributing while at the same time he's paying thousands of dollars, voluntarily, to an ex?  And why tolerate a man who takes his ball and runs home when you don't want to play the game his way?

You said yourself that you're educated, normal and healthy.  Most women with those attributes would not allow this.  This man is a TERRIBLE parent.  I find it extremely difficult to believe that a man who treats his children as this man does (not parenting them, saying he doesn't want them) possesses the good qualities you think he does.  Perhaps you're seeing what you want to see in him.  

Sadcat's picture

No way in hell would I want that life. This is a nightmarish mess. Get out before it eats you alive. Take your beautiful Children and move as far away from him as you can. He brought insanity to a very sane Women and her kids. Your kids deserve better than this.

overloaded's picture

Thank you ALL so much. I cried when I started reading, because I know everything you all took the time to write is true. I just needed to hear it from someone objective and someone who lives in the stepworld.

He came to my house and woke me at 6:30am today because HE was ready to talk. Not sure what the result of that was, he just wanted an answer as to WHY it's so stressful having the boys around. 

Tonight he called (he is at farm with boys) and hinted around at the sad story of getting the boys things together tonight since they have to leave SO early tomorrow morning for the drive. I don't know if he thinks he's going to show up here with them after school tomorrow, but I'm drawing the line. Even though they were staying here two nights a week before, I am telling him while he tries HIS new plan that it will give him a chance to see how it works and give me a chance to clear my head.

I feel angry and sad. I need to turn that into strong and resolved. It has been really peaceful here, and it makes me realize I miss that. I have repeatedly asked myself "What am I getting out of this?" and that feels like a selfish and shameful thing to ask, but it's true. 

The situation is even weirder than I explained in my first post, but even with what I explained I understand clearly. Now to be strong and see things clearly and wisely for me and my kids. 

Thank you all again!

Sadcat's picture

I asked myself the same thing, what am I getting out of this? My situation was a little different in that I moved to his home and Married. He has 6 kids 2 out of the home, 4 at home. I brought my 2 very uncomplicated 15 and 13 year olds with me. Long story short, it was absolute hell. He also has a farm and has a job that takes him away for weeks at a time. I was the indentured servant and as long as I was fed and watered like one of the animals in that barn that was good enough. I finally had enough and moved out with my beautiful well rounded children. I live in a peaceful home and am at rest. Women who are in an abusive relationship forget their resting place. Abuse takes many forms and its not always physical, and its hard to pinpoint but your gut will tell you something is wrong. Listen to it, its that fight or flight urgency you feel. 

shamds's picture


i married my hubby who had just started building our family home after we met. Even though its fully owned, i do not tolerate his ss20 making it a pigsty.

even being pregnant with my 2nd child and coming downstairs to see his freshly washed clothes hung everywhere on indoor clothesline with this god awful soury sweat smell (that sweat smell thats been for ages), he had done a full load level 10 of laundry with a level 3 of water.

hubby got home and forced him to take all his clothes and rewash again with right level of water and soap.

why are you not standing up for your home have 2 boys that have never showered or brushed their teeth. I’d order them out to the backyard and garden hose the crap out of them and squeeze a whole bottle of shampoo/bodywash and finish with a rinse cycle. Tell them then in your home they will shower and brush their teeth and if they refuse to, rhey are out!!

how is it parents today don’t teach basic hygiene?

Rags's picture

The only text or call you should be making is to the locksmith to come rekey the locks to your home.  You were wise to not do a legal marriage to this man. 

Fortuneately my bride did the same with the SpermIdiot.  They professed their commitment to each other on top of a hill overlooking her family farm before SS was born but never go married.  That was one thing that my ILs did right.  They advised her not get get married in order to protect her VA survivors benefits for college.  Her biodad was killed early in her mother's pregnancy with her. 

This guy is far from being your equity life partner.  Do not sacrifice yourself on the alter of SParental martyrdom for this failed parent and his shallow and polluted gene pool.

Take care of you.