Newbie asking for help (Long post...)
Hi everyone, I just recently joined. I'm not exactly a SM as myself and the BF aren't even engaged yet but I hope I won't be shunned 'cause my relationship is on a cusp and ready to go off the deep end. I hope this is appropriate and I apologize for the length...
My BF was quite frankly, an idiot in his younger years. He has four children by three different women. Son age 12 (full time), daughters ages 9 and 5 (EOW) and a son age 8 (no custody). He was married to his daughters' mother for approximately four years or so and they divorced before his youngest daughter was born. I'm going to use the DD/DS abbreviations for his kids since they're not Ss yet...
I have no children of my own and likely never will simply due to my obligation to my career and the fact that he's "done" having kids. And why not - 2/3rds of the women he's had kids with have screwed him over. Having kids with a woman is a liability to him, something that I hope will change, but I feel that it won't.
So, here I come, 22 years old into this while he's 30. He never lied about his children to me. He put it out there immediately that he had four. I knew what I was getting into and I figured I could handle it. I moved to school and he moved several times before finally landing somewhere, hopefully permanently. There is an eight hour difference between us and previously there was a five hour difference. I have done most of the travel in the year we've been together. So there is tension there - I'm still a student and losing all that studying time during the school year just isn't feasible.
I've only met his daughters once. They warmed up to me instantly, playing with me and including me in their kid activities. And they actually didn't mind me being around their father - something they hated with the woman he had previously been with (who is a piece of work but luckily has NO KIDS WITH HIM). Now, do I think that will change? Maybe. Most likely. My goal is to show them that they don't have to be doormats for anyone and that they can achieve almost anything, not to be a replacement mom. Their BM went to school and wasted her money by never doing what she studied. She made her choice to be a homemaker which I respect. But what I don't respect is the fact she let her new husband (not BF) control her children and that she used BF's daughters as a prize for four years.
Daughters' BM allowed her husband to forbid pictures of my BF and his son in the house. He threw things away that either my BF or my BF's mom bought for them. The kids had to HIDE things that their daddy bought them so they wouldn't be thrown out. And BM is surprised when DD9 wears what her dad bought her constantly and why DD5 has no emotional attachment to my BF. Now I admit, I don't know the whole story so I don't know if BM was being coerced by the threat of violence and if she was, I'm glad she got out.
Now, DS12. He is a piece of work. He's the possessive, clingy one because it's just been him and his dad. Last month he started crying three times because he was away from his dad for ONE NIGHT. IN THE SAME HOTEL BUILDING. The poor girl watching him didn't know what to do. He constantly interrupts our conversations to tell his dad stupid things. Or he'll interrupt just to tell his dad he loves him. Great, but he doesn't have to say it three times in ten minutes. I used to stop when he interrupted but now I just keep talking. All he does is play video games. When I was there a few weeks ago, I tried to play with him, but whenever I made a mistake he pointed it out and spoke to me like a slow child. Next time, I'm not going to play if he's going to be a brat.
The funny thing is - I gave him the XBox he was playing with me on, because it wasn't being used by my younger brothers anymore. He at least thanked me (actually several times). And he mentioned that he was glad that I played with him. I don't know what to think. Part of me feels terrible that women have just come and gone and I want to be a stable influence in his life. But I refuse to coddle him and his separation anxiety. On my birthday he was pouting because his dad spent the day with ME. He even sent texts asking when we would be home. So of course BF feels so guilty...he's 12. He can deal with the fact that you're hanging out with your friends. It's not my fault he doesn't want to go hang out at the pool and make friends!
DS12 is also emotionally screwed up. He acts like he's eight at times (He skips. WHAT 12 YEAR OLD BOY SKIPS??) and says things that are really violent at times. I don't know if it's because of all the video games he plays or if he's truly thinking seriously about some of the stuff he says. Maybe he's not stupid either, just totally oblivious to the real world. I think the kid needs to go to some serious counseling for his abandonment issues at least. I haven't brought that up with BF yet, because I do have a bad tendency to psychoanalyze. And I want to observe some more just to make sure it's serious before I bring up the 'your son is mentally screwed up' talk. 'Cause I'm sure that will go well...
Overall, his kids aren't as annoying as they could be. They don't hit me or barge in or shove me away when I show their dad affection. They don't mess themselves to get attention or do any of the really bad stuff I've read on here. They're just grating to me on occasion because they're NOT mine and haven't been raised in a way I would raise children. I do what I want with them but nothing more. If BF asks me to do something, I may do it if he absolutely can't. If I'm home alone with his son, I do the bare minimum catastrophe avoidance child watching.
But now that you've slogged through all my background (thanks!), I present the current issues in my relationship.
- 'Well, I get the kids EOW and I only have two weekends a month off. You're good at math.'
That's what my BF told me when I complained about him not driving to see ME. I'm not asking for once a month - I'm asking for once a SEMESTER. Is there anyway I can calmly and rationally explain this to him? I just get hurt and then I get an attitude which he HATES when I try to explain. His current excuse is that he hasn't seen them in 2.5 months (oh look, XW breaking the CO). It's not my fault he didn't go to court and report the violation! He also pulls the guilty dad 'I can't pay attention to you with the kids around' thing.
- XW is now single again! And BF still has feelings for her because he didn't process the divorce properly before jumping into his relationship with the girl before me.
Yep. So I'm not only hurt because he doesn't want to take three days off for me once every four months, now I'm worrying about him going back to his XW. Why he would want to after all she's done...the only reason I can think of is him getting to see his kids everyday. And he won't talk to me about my fears. I fear his children resenting me and hating me because I'm an "obstacle" to their family more than anything else. So of course, I'm defensive and likely just driving him back to her.
- He claims he can't love me as much as I love him because of his kids.
I saw another thread on here dealing with kids asking if their parent loved their SO more/less than them. I really like the "different kind of love" explanation. I plan on using that when it comes up again. Because if he loves me like he loves his kids...there's a problem.
I do love him with everything I have and I want this to work. I could run far, far away and some would say I should do it and never look back. But I've never been one to run from a problem.
I know I will never love his kids as my own, but hopefully I can eventually love them like I love my friends' children. I want to be a good stepparent when we get to that point. Sometimes I wish I had come into the picture sooner, but I never wish anything terrible on the children. It's not their fault...they're victims of circumstance just as I am and they don't have a choice. I find myself feeling jealous of them and that makes me feel sick. I cried as I admitted that to him...because I don't want to be jealous of children.
I just have to get the BF to understand that I have to be important to him AS WELL and I'm not usurping his children from their spot in his heart if I'm important too. And I'm just not eloquent enough to express that properly yet.
Any help/advice/wise words would be appreciated. You all have helped me already as I lurked, I hope you can help me now that I've stepped out. Again, I'm REALLY sorry about the length. I just had to get it all out.