Needing extra support for this weekend!
Hello everyone. Thank you for taking the time out to read about my situation. I apologize for the length, but I want it all out on the table so that I may receive the best insight and advice from you good people!
I have been in my relationship for three years. My boyfriend and I have discussed marriage, but right now I am at the stage of "if it aint broke dont fix it." I know I love him, he loves me, we have purchased a new home together just this past February, have proclaimed our commitment, ect. I mean absolutely no disrespect to those of you in a conventional institution of marriage...but this is my current preference. I view him as my husband; there just isnt an official piece of paper and walk down the aisle that says he is....
With that being said, my boyfriend (who will be further referred to as BF) is divorced with two children, a daughter who is 12 and a son who is 4. Now for those of you who are good at math, I want to explain that BF was already separated and moved out when the youngest was conceived. Call it a last ditch effort, a trick pregnancy, an accident, what have you, but the point is it was not enough to reconcile the relationship.
I met him through a family member (they were best friends), and we became friends, and then it snowballed, and, well, you get the point. The divorce was official a year after we began "dating," and within the first year he wanted me to meet the children, but I did not think it was appropriate with him still being officially married, because never mind the fact that his relationship was already over far before I came along, I knew that introducing me to the children would cement the vision of, "this is why daddy left mommy." And knowing BioMom the way I do now, I know for a fact that this is a storyline she clung to for dear life and a story that was often told to the kids (well at least the oldest, since the younger one was too young to understand what is going on).
Anyway, after the first year came the divorce, and with the second year I reasoned that we should allow the children time to adjust to the fact that their parents were no longer married. Now, if I am being honest with myself and with all of you, I should say that at this point, I was happy with it being just the two of us. I dont have any children, and am perfectly fine with this fact. The ability to get up and go whenever I please suits my nature, and BF had his two hour Thursdays when he would see the kiddos so in my book all was well. At this point BF was not getting the kids for his weekends because the youngest was not able to go on overnights and Biomom is a stickler for if he (their son) cant do it/she (their daughter) cant do it (the story on separation anxiety will come later). It was easier to not argue, and what would I argue about anyway, things were great the way we had them IMO.
So, just last year I told BF enough time had gone by, and the scenario wasnt making sense. I mean, he had his children in one world, and our life in another. I didnt think it was fair to him to have to live separate existences like that, and it was time to have his children visiting him in his home so that he could take advantage of his weekends (the youngest had turned three at this point so we were good to go). It was a MAJOR battle with BioMom of course, she was NOT happy to have them leave her home and come to ours, especially since she is CRAZY attached, and fiercely territorial, but whatever, court rules are court rules.
After a VERY awkward meeting (on both their part and mine, full of nerves and hesitancy), we were off to a decent start. In the beginning I aimed to please both the children and BF. We would go on picnics to the park to fly kites, and his oldest would have slumber parties with her cousins (whom I had been interacting with since BF and I got together and I get along absolutely fine with) with me playing hostess, and making cupcakes with them, and playing Wii games, there were skating parties and all that jazz. BF was happy; here was the blended family he has always wanted.
So whats the problem you ask? The problem was that I was faking it, and then began to get less enthusiastic of keeping up the facade. I assumed that since I loved him so much I would naturally just automatically love his children. "Love will find away" right? I failed to realize that I was not "used" to children, which is a given, since I dont have any of my own and have never had to assume a "STEP MOM" like role, but even further was the issue of dealing with kids that were being fulltime reared predominately outside of our home. The oldest has a mouth on her and that is difficult for me as I come from the old school of no talking back, respecting your elders, ect. Her mother talks to her like a thirty two year old "home girl" instead of the twelve year old young lady that she is SUPPOSED to be. The youngest is SPOILED rotten. I mean, in the beginning I was flabbergasted at the fact that he would not even hold his own cup when he drank his juice, he would say, “I’m thirsty,” and his sister would tilt the glass to his lips! (We have come ALONG way from that lemme tell you, but I wanted to throw that out there to paint the initial picture)....Another issue, which we have made SIGNIFICANT progress on, is the fact that the kids are pretty antisocial. By this I mean that BioMom has them play with each other and ONLY each other. They were co-dependent upon one another, and until they started spending weekends with us (we lived in a townhome prior to buying the house we live in now), had never even slept apart from one another. There was no end of separation anxiety in the beginning. Since she is way older there were things she is allowed to do that he isnt, but she would always pass up those opportunities to stay with her brother (guilt ridden, which freaked me out) until she started seeing how much fun it was interact with her cousins (with are BF’s nieces) and other girls her age instead of only her baby brother (whom she treated like her OWN child, which unnerved me as well, but thats a whole different thread). We have since gotten them to sleep in their own respective rooms, (they live in a two bedroom with BioMom and her boyfriend, and they share a room there, but they each have their own space when they come over here) so that has gotten better, but there are times when he just climbs into his sisters lap and sits there, or clings to her, or she OVERLY coddles him and it is just SUPER annoying to me. I would leave a room however if was bothering me, and I didnt say a word about it, and just leave it to their dad.
After some time had gone by, I noticed that I had taken to retreating from them altogether. Once we moved into the new home I had taken to not wanting to partake of the little circle. Once this began happening, BF became concerned because he assumed we were melding into one big happy family, but I realized I was pretty much playing the part. I was attempting to be "SUPER STEPMOM" but honestly, I was not feeling it, and was not overly excited about the situation. I started being resentful, and I would take to crying silently the day they were due to arrive. I read somewhere where a previous poster stated that they felt like a hostage in their own home, and I am sad to say I understand that sentiment.
BF began to notice my apprehension, which began to give way to arguments as he wanted me to be "more involved". I would take his daughter to go get pedicures, and to the book store (she is an avid reader, as am I). She seeks me out when they come to visit, and I feel that she has bonded with me. As a twelve year old girl, she really has no current connection to her dad. Hes her dad and she loves him, but there will be no talking to him about boys and periods so I can see why she seeks me out when she is here. I dont particularly find her a major problem, I just notice when she tends to linger, I am silently praying that she "goes away and lets me be."
The youngest, well, I dont have too much to do with him anymore. At four he has already started the lying process that some other posters have mentioned and I was AGHAST at such behavior in a child. Especially since it was ME he was lying about, and I DID NOT appreciate it. So, to say there is some dislike on my end for him is a bit of an understatement. Also, to add to the situation, I must admit that the fact that he resembles his mother, not only in looks but in behavior, adds to my "dislike" and resentment. I can admit this and am constantly praying to God to aid me with acceptance, more patience, and the ability to let the stuff I cannot change go!
My main annoyance is the expectation that I be "involved." I mean, they are HIS children, and they come to spend time with HIM. I have no problem giving them their space to hang out with dad when they come, in fact, I PREFER this, but he wants me RIGHT THERE. I believe this is largely out of the dream of melding his two worlds, but also because he is afraid of having to deal with them by himself. He has never had to do this before. I am soooo not downing him, I can just see his trepidation, however I feel it is unwarranted because he is such an AWESOME father.
I am well aware of the fact that I am an adult, and they are children. I am well aware that its a difficult adjustment for everyone involved (I wont say especially the kids, because I feel that grownups have just a hard of a time and there is NO NEED to feel like a horrible person for feeling the way one does). So whats the point? I dont have one. I just wanted to spill my story and let those out there know that, no, they are not alone, and that it is a difficult situation no matter the scenario or individuals involved. There was one thing I read throughout the "shaky" STEP PARENTs posts that was a constant and that was that most of them often stated that they loved their significant other, and I guess I believe thats the main thing that one has to hold on to.
BF and I are currently in relationship counseling. I agree that I need help coping and processing dealing with the issues and idiosyncrasies I have about these children, and I am taking active steps about trying to be better at this. The reason I’m here is because I am also seeking outside support. My BF’s job has him working crazy hours, so he does not ALWAYS have the children on his weekends, and there are times when we may go for weeks without having them. This past month has been one of those times and now they will be here this weekend and I am already feeling the anxiety and apprehension. (I didnt cry today, so thats improvement). I have asserted that I will smile when they get here and grin and bear it and just begin the countdown til Sunday. Will I ever feel completely at ease in this situation? I dont know, but what I do know is, that I cannot NOT stop trying!
Wish me luck.