You are here

I can't love my stepson :(

mkjh8's picture

My fiancee have been together for 4 years. My daughter is almost 5 and his son turned 4 a couple months ago, they are 6 months apart. We are getting married next year. The thing is, I can't stand his son Sad
This is how the story goes. I was friends with his baby's momma. She decided to go psycho and go back into doing meth. He left her when their son was 3 months (my daughter 9 months). We got together shortly afterward. She took their son and abused him till FINALLY the courts woke up and granted custody to my fiancee when his son was a year old. But during those nine months life was hell. She threatened to kill me and my daughter, stalked our apartment, and sent her friends after us. She keyed our cars and slashed our tires and a whole bunch of other stuff. After my fiancee got custody she has been a real pain pretending like she actually cares for her son but she doesn't even bother with visitation most of the time because she is too busy getting high.
My fiancee and I have been blissfully in love for 4 years, but I can't get over those first nine months. It has caused me to resent his son. I feel like if he had never been born than my fiancee and I would have eventually got together and had a happy, stress-free, tweaker-free life. My fiancee loves my daughter as his own and cherishes her. He has raised her and been an amazing father to her (her bio-dad is no where near in her life, he doesn't care for her at all). I too have raised his son, but it's been a lie. Everyone believes that I love him as my own but only I know the horrible truth. I pretend to love him because I love my fiancee with a passion. I can't imagine a life without him. I know that marrying him means accepting his son as my own, but I am really struggling with it. His very presence annoys me. It's so sad that an innocent small child can invoke these kind of feelings in me, but I know it is his mom's fault. Every time I look at him I see his mom's face and I hate her with a passion. You would hate her too if she threatened to kill your baby and sent people after your baby. I try to brainwash myself by saying "you only hate him because he is hers and because of him you will never be rid of her, it's not his fault, it's not his fault" but it's hard. His face annoys me because he looks like her. His voice annoys me because he sounds like her. I feel soooooooo bad and like a terrible person because I can't love this child. I don't know what to do Sad

mkjh8's picture

But he doesn't know that I don't love him. He calls me mommy and loves me much more than his BM. It's only a deep dark down secret of mine. I don't treat him any different from my daughter. I'd say I am a grade A actress when it comes to him. He is already going to be messed up because of his BM. I see her letting him hit the pipe and smoke cigarettes and get a tattoo and piercings all at the age of 9 or something. SHE is the problem, not him, and that's why I feel so bad. It ISN'T his fault and he deserves a loving mother, which I have tried to be. He believes that I love him and he has really improved a lot (he tends to go backwards in development whenever BM bothers with a visit).
Ripley, I have tried for years to block BM out of my head and "heal" but I am really REALLY struggling. I have never hated anyone but her. I wish her dead. If I had money for a hitman I would definitely hire one. I know, I KNOW that if she were to die I would finally let go and love my stepson. But until she OD's or gets caught in a bad drug deal I will have to keep pretending Sad

dledden's picture

I carry the same deep seeded secret, you aren't the only one who doesn't love their stepson. I don't think my acting skills are as good as yours, but I try to be caring and attentive to his needs. I don't think i'm very good at it though. I am never affectionate with him, cuz I just don't feel that way towards him. I tolerate him at best. Has nothing to do with his mother i don't think. I think it's just that he's NOT my kid and I don't believe he's my fiancee's BIO kid either(LONG STORY) He's autistic and has motor coordination disorder and a host of other problems that dad leaves for work everyday and leaves me to deal with. So, ther's a lot of resentment there. Don't beat yourself up, you're not the only one 'pretending' Smile

jennyppi's picture

I can't stand my SS's BM either. She sucks as a mom and won't pay enough child support. She abandoned her kids last year and moved 90 miles away so now we have the 2 SSs 24/7. The younger SS is a joy but the older one is just a jack ass. I have spent so much time hating this woman and making myself miserable in the process (and everyone else in the house at times). Some days I can let go of the hate and try to not let her control my life and other days I just want to punch her in the face. But she has never lost sleep over me, she never cared about what I was doing, she is too selfish to worry about anyone else but herself. So I am the only one that suffers and it is all my own doing. Hate her as much as you need to until you can let it go. And try not to take her actions out on the child. Pretend you love him and maybe one day you will.

Stinacard's picture

I so know how you feel!! My fiancé has three kids and one stepson that he raised as his own. His SS (17) has hated me since day 1, I think he is scared that my fiancé doesn't want to be his dad now that he doesn't 'have to'. This is NOT the case, we even voluntarily pay child support for him ! Even so , he's never even been to our house and openly displays his hate for me. I can not stand this child. What's worse is now my youngest SS (6), is starting to say the same kind of stuff as his brother! He constantly says he hates me, that he already has a mother and father and there is no room for me or my little boy (5). He is terrible. He hit me on Sunday, and refused to apologize, wouldn't even acknowledge that he did anything wrong. He acts , sounds, and even looks like his mom (who is a piece of work as well), and I can't stand having this child in my house every weekend. I love his other brother and sister, and they at least treat me well, but I am so hurt by SS6 that I feel like I hate him.
I am so happy that I found this site because I felt so alone, and so disgusting for hating the boy, but it seems like there are many others just like me . Thank you all so much for reminding me that I am not alone, step parenting is HARD!

hippiegirl's picture

That's sad....I feel for the kid, but I also see your point. It's hard to love the children of someone who has been a thorn in your ass for so long. I have no advice, but my heart goes out to out to you. I struggled with these feelings 17 years ago. It does get better with time.

twopines's picture

Let yourself off the hook from thinking you must love this child. If you're not treating him differently than your own child, you're already ahead.

stepmomto3bioto1's picture

Id try to switch up my mindset on this one. Try to find qualities the SS has that your DH has. Then try to look at your SS & see your DHs face instead of the BM Try to focus on the good traits your SS has.

I know its hard. I have a SS that is hard to get along with. Other then his horrible behaviour, it took me awhile to realize that when hes like that I see his BM. Shes been ruthless to me in the past. So that makes it hard.

Perhaps you could also find some one on one time with your SS. Do something you both would really enjoy together. Perhaps you could try to focus on the good times with him.

LRP75's picture

^ great post! so many wonderful words of wisdom. thank you for sharing!

LRP75's picture

"My fiancee loves my daughter as his own and cherishes her. He has raised her and been an amazing father to her ..."

To the OP:

How to do you know for sure? Maybe it's a lie for him too. This site is full of step-parents that fake it (or not), because it's near impossible to feel love toward someone else's child.

Out of curiosity:

How would you feel if you found out your fiancee were faking his love toward your daughter?

I'm not trying to be divisive, I really am just curious. Here's why (and this is the long way around of getting to my advice):

To my DH, I made no bones about the fact that I don't love his kids. They aren't lovable (or even likable) in the least. I told him that I was working on finding a way to "tolerate" them. Naturally, he was really, really hurt. Really hurt. Thus, in an attempt to justify myself, I asked him if he really loves MY son. His response, "Yes." I couldn't believe it. I mean, WHY and HOW could he have love for a child that wasn't his own? I still don't get it.

BUT, the moral of the story is, what if my DH had told me that he DOESN'T love my son? How would I have felt?

I would have been devastated.

I now regret telling him that I don't love his children. The look on his face when I told him I don't love his children - haunts me 'til this day.

Moral of the story?

Some things are better kept as secrets.

So come here and vent - WE all get it. Do whatever types of Jedi mind tricks you have to do to get through the day. (And for God's sake, if you find something that works - please share with the rest of us!)

But, at the end of the day, don't ever tell your fiancee that you hate the sight of his son. It's NEVER a good thing for a parent to hear about their own child.

dledden's picture

There are so many occasions when I feel like telling fiancee that i can't effing STAND his son....this reminds me of why I can't ever do that Smile Just one secret i'll go to my grave with I suppose....that's why I have this board, I can say it here as often as I like and not be judged Smile

mkjh8's picture

I know he loves her because he told me that he wants to adopt her. I was totally blown away by this! He genuinely loves her as his own. They have the closest father-daughter relationship out of anyone I have ever seen. He never favors his son over her or makes her feel like an outsider. And he is always on his family about accepting her too.

clenettec's picture

Please don't feel bad. In similar situation. I have no good feelings about my husband's child either. She is only five. My husband and I never fight. When we do she is the subject of all our arguments. Every other weekend on Friday, my stomach turns; I feel my pressure rise; and I automatically get defensive. I hate to see her coming and count down the minute that he takes her back to her mother. So when I look at her, I don't see a five year old child. I see the source of every fight I have had with my husband. We are still basically newlyweds - married for only 14 months and only been living together for 10 months. So, I would try to talk to your husband as delicately as possible. Try to focus on the positive if you can. In my case, there has never been a positive moment since we've been married when she is visiting. I just try to hold my peace until she leaves, then all is right with the world again.

foxc's picture

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for sharing this post! I am in the exact same boat as you. My husbands son is 5 years old and we never fight, the only subject of all of our arguments is his son. We are newlyweds and have been living together for almost 3 years and we have been married for only a few months now. I could never and will never love his son. I have been to therapy and have been advised that it is OK to feel this way. I am just so glad I found this forum to vent.
My SS is very very spoiled. It has been an ongoing thing since my husbands divorce with his ex. Him and his ex compete on buying things for their son and it drives me absolutely nuts. My SS gets whatever he wants whenever he wants it and throws a tantrum if he doesn't get what he wants which is obviously a problem! We can't go grocery shopping without my husband buying him a toy because he doesn't want to go and it's just completely wrong to raise a child this way! Not only is this a problem, the SS really has no rules, he doesn't have a set bed time at either residences (BM and our place) I have raised suggestions and ideas about rules/discipline and my husband gets more than defensive, so I have decided to step back and do things of my liking on tuesday/thursday and every other weekend, this has only caused my husband to be more than upset with me.
Recently I told my husband that I am having more than a hard time with his SS, especially since there are no rules when he comes over. Nothing has changed and even though we sat down and have drawn up lists my husband asks me for help to enforce these rules and then he just lands up getting upset with me. I have since then alienated myself and find it better this way when he has his kid over, but my husband has major issues with this. I have no idea what to do anymore. The kid has major issues, I'm not talking about just tantrums, he has been in fights in preschool (physically punching kids) getting sent home and there is absolutely no discipline! Also, he has been taking stuff and hiding it, or maybe even taking it to his mothers place, I have yet to still find a diamond bracelet as well as a pair of diamond earrings that were a wedding present from my husband Sad
I have almost considered leaving..................

mkjh8's picture

I wish I could do that but we have custody of him. I am the stay at home mommy so I NEVER escape from him.

oncechoosetosmile's picture

I feel for you, but also for your SS.You were both victims in BM being so abusive and mean,that is horrible!
I think maybe a therapist could help.You both need to heal from BMs threats and abuse.
It is very obvious that your strong resent doesn't do yourself and SS any good.
I don't say that with judgement, but I believe in your case the really tough start may have caused your feelings.
Please keep in mind that you don't have to love SS at all, but resenting or hating a child is not good Sad
There must be a way to learn how to look at SS without all what he represents (eg BMs offspring).
Because I felt sometimes a bit resentful towards SD7 and couldn't stand her role of the overcoddled princess when we started dating I suggested a while ago a family therapy, but SO believed we could solve those issues ourselves.He actually did so many positive changes here that I was able to drop my resentment a lot , eg treated the adult rs with much more priority.
In your case and with your history though, maybe a family therapy would be good for all of you?
I hope you can sort that out, you are NOT a horrible person, just a human being, dont self punish yourself more and focus at the positives!!!

jennyppi's picture

If you know of someone that is engaged and will be a step parent soon have them read some of this. Had I known it was going to be this hard I would have stayed single!!!

shmily12's picture

I can't seem to love my SD either just for the things thst she purposly does when she comes over our house. I also do make sure i feed her, buy her clothes, interact with her, etc. just because she's my husband;s daughter. So therefore i'm only cordial, and respectful. But the big delimma that i have is that she is an 11 SKID whose trying to ruin my marriage, and relationship w/ my husband by being so manipulative, egnorant, greedy, self centered, you name... It hurts because no matter what i tell my husband he doesn't see it that way, he thinks im making it up or simply being to strict towards the girl... But she is a grown 11 1/2 year old lil girl playing dumb, sensitive, and naive. But like i see what others had mentioned, i guess only with time it will get better, and remember when we marry our husband w/ kids, we not only accept them for who they are, but also everything that comes in their package(like their kids, family, etc) like it or not unfortunately!

kristinf's picture

I tell my DH that I love our 4 yr old SS, but honestly I'm not sure if I really do. I once called SS "a visitor" and DH was very hurt by that so I can't imagine how hurt DH would be if he really knew how I felt.

Let me explain the "visitor" comment. We were having yet another arguement about SS. SS is very hyper, loud and rambunctious and when SS is over at the house it becomes very loud and sometimes very stressful (SS has no rules or boundaries with BM and tends to be very rough with my BD). I was explaining to DH that the house is in chaos when SS is here and that SS is "a visitor" in the home because he does not live here permanently. That was all I said but I still feel bad as it caused a lot of pain for DH. Which is why I dare not say how I really feel to DH.

peryam's picture

My husband and I have been together for over 8 years now.
We have no children together but he has an 8 year old daughter and a 10 year old son.
Things were actually much better when the kids were younger. I love my SD, and although I am not as affectionate with her as my husband would like, I think we have a pretty solid relationship. MY SS is another story all together. He goes out of his way to make my life hell. He intentionally disobeys and breaks rules, and is just plain rude and inconsiderate (His bio mom is the same way!) to everyone. I have gotten to a point where I get annoyed as soon as I hear his voice, and I just dread dealing with him each day.

My husband has custody of his kids, but they stay with BM on Thursdays and every other weekend. Those days just can't come fast enough for me. I really look forward to my "days off". I see them as my moments of sanity, and I look forward to the alone time with my husband. Unfortunately, my husband becomes extremely depressed and sometimes angry each day that the kids aren't home with us. Even though I am feeling happy and free, I can't act on any of it because he is in the exact opposite mood. As soon as the kids come home his mood perks right back up, and I get depressed again. He then gets angry with me when he sees that his "can do no wrong" children are the cause Sad

I just don't know how to deal with my SS and stay sane. I have tried being super nice, super strict, backing off all together and trying to let my husband deal with things, but nothing works. He can look me right in the face and tell me that he knows what he did is wrong but he doesn't care because he knows he won't get in trouble. He is only 10 now! I am so afraid of the years to come.

I love my husband with all my heart, but he expects me to be a perfect mom and to love both of his kids as my own. Any indication otherwise causes a fight. Even the slightest mention of my frustrations makes him angry and this whole situation is really having a bad effect on our marriage. He is scared to death that his kids will choose BM over him, so he won't do anything that he thinks they won't like. I can't ask him for help with enforcing rules or manners or with discipline because he won't be the "bad guy". I am forced into the role of being the "bad guy" the "evil step mom" etc. I am the only one who enforces a bed time, or makes sure "please" and "thank you" aren't forgotten. I am a stay at home mom, and any punishment that I might give during the day (like no computer tonight) is just thrown out the window when Dad gets home. My husband immediately assumes that I overreacted and my SS really shouldn't be punished. My SS knows exactly how to work this work little system!!

The whole situation is just making life miserable and I don't know what to do. I want to be with my husband, and I really regret skipping over that entire newly wed stage. I jumped right from the fun single girl to the stay at home about a system shock! I miss the spark that our relationship used to have, and I miss the freedom i used to have. I gave up the life I knew because I fell in love...maybe I just didn't know what I was getting myself into but every day my resentment toward my SS grows. I don't want to leave my husband, but I don't want to stay with his son either.

How can I deal with my SS and save my marriage?

Mixed.feelings's picture

Wow! I really thought I was the only one going through these feelings. I thought I was a bad person. I am actually in therapy 2 times a week trying to understand my feelings. My husband had a baby with a girl who he had been dating and it turns out she is a hooker and a crack head. My husband had broken up with her then found out she was pregnant. He tried to be supportive through the pregnancy. When the child was born he tested positive for drugs and children services took him from the hospital. He is now over 2 and I am the one with legal custody. My husband is my a US citizen so courts would not grant him custody. My step son came to live in our home at 18 months old. I felt bad because he had been in 3 homes already an I would make 4. I did what I did because my husband is my world. I love him with everything inside me and can't stand to see him hurt. So here we are a year later and I am struggling inside so much. My step son looks just like his mother. And I can not stand to hear my husband say how cute he is. How he is so beautiful. I hate to see him love all over him like he does. I feel like my husband is loving on the bio mom. I always wonder if he is thinking about her. We have a son together too. He is 6 months old. I figured my husband would have a special closeness with him since really he is experiencing the first baby moments with him, but I don't feel e does. I feel he shares more closeness with my step son and I hate it. Some days I ask myself why did I ever do this?! I have no clue where to go from here. Will it ever get better?

oldone's picture

I know this is a really old thread but it is so relevant.

My problem is that my SS is an adult - a pathetic, worthless adult (nearing 30). I do not want to care for him. BM is the tramp who had him. She won't take care of him so why should I?

I do not want to be responsible for anything to do with his welfare. Why? It's not because I hate him or wish him ill at all. But he just does not have it in him to turn his life around.

Genetically he inherited a predisposition towards alcoholism from his maternal grandfather. He GF though was a highly educated professional who managed to be very successful in spite of his drinking.

One thing is certain about alcoholism NOBODY can make someone else get sober. It has to come from within. I don't know how much more rock bottom one can get than his being sometimes homeless, jobless, in jail, etc.

He could still get his life together and make something of himself but I will not put forth one penny nor one minute of my time in what is 90% certain to be a total waste.

I can't even be an actress and pretend like I can tolerate him. And I did such a good job acting with the son of a friend of mine (that I detested) that she still talks to this day about what a special relationship we had.

I LOATHE BM and at best have indifference for SS.

Christmas2009's picture


I have a stepson who has been causing me such anxiety and it's really affecting my marriage... I have been his stepmom for a little over 3 years now and it never seems to get any easier. He is hyper and causes trouble ALL of the time.. He whines about everything and to be honest just hearing him talk makes me want to lose my mind. I'm not sure how to handle my feelings anymore. His bio mom is a flake. She doesn't parent like a "normal" person should. She talks to him like he's 2, everything is "my baby boy" (And said with a tone that you would honestly think she's talking to a newborn. My husband has gotten better with disciplining him. He's stepped it up a notch in not treating him like his ex does. We just can't seem to get him to listen or behave most of the time. I have started to notice that I am constantly waiting for him to screw up. Every time we go somewhere or do anything I'm waiting for the day to be destroyed because literally without fail whenever we do anything fun with all of the kids he has some sort of outburst and it ruins the day. I find myself ignoring him and not talking to him because I just feel like I'm going to start to cry because that's how much anxiety I feel when he's around. My husband and I have been talking for a couple of years now as to whether or not we want to have a child together. When we bring up the topic I have this overwhelming sense of resentment towards my stepson because I feel like he is the very reason that I really couldn't handle another child. He requires constant attention constant discipline and without it he is just a ticking time bomb. I've been reading that people have had similar feelings towards their stepkids but now my question is what do I do to change this. Sometimes I feel
Like walking away from my marriage is the easiest solution. I think a lot of my resentment is also that my husband never confronts his bio mom on any of the issues that my stepson is facing because my husband thinks she's just a lot cause. That we will go nowhere if we try to get her to help us coparent him better. My husband is constantly saying that he will talk with his ex that he's going to lay down the law with her and hold her more accountable for things since most things revolving these kids lands in my lap. I am the one who brings them to the docs, I watch my stepson more than his bio mom and more than my husband. I work from home so I am
The one all of this falls on and I just can't take it anymore. Please any suggestions that you may have I would appreciate it!

deekay11's picture

you dont have to love him and you cannot force yourself too. but it may come in the meantime do not beat yourself up too much. perhaps airing it on here will help you a little too as well as some therapy. you are there for the child, that is a good and kind thing that you are doing.

Rags's picture

I believe that there is a mammalian rejection of other people’s children. Many if not most mammals do not usually tolerate the spawn of another person in their den, nest, etc....

I struggled with this for a while with my own SS-21 when his mom and I were dating and were first married. However, I made a decision to get over that crap in a hurry. I wanted to marry his mom and to be fully committed to my DW I had to be committed to raising her son as my own. So, I did and he became my son. His mom and I met when he was 15mos old and we married a week before he turned 2yo. Raising our son is one of the most rewarding things I have accomplished in my life.

IMHO you should consider that by hating your Skid you are being disloyal to his father. This is not a manipulative young adult. This is a 4yo who you hate for no reason other than he represents your DH's past and the disdain you feel towards his BM. Which has absolutely nothing to do with the 4yo.

Here is what I suggest you do. Grow up and maybe you will be worthy of your DH and even more importantly worthy of the love of your own 5yo DD and your DH's 4yo DS. The choice you are making to hate your 4yo SS is not one that an adult of character would make. So step up and be an adult of character.

Try it. It may very well be one of the most rewarding accomplishments of your life. It was for me.

IMHO of course.

Good luck.