You are here

Newbie asking for help (Long post...)

opticvmd's picture

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. Smile Again, I'm REALLY sorry about the length. I just had to get it all out.

Willow2010's picture

hmmm. I am actually trying to find a reason...any reason...that you would stay with this man. Sorry, but really, what do you find attractive about this situtation?

LostInTheMess's picture

Oh goodness - a readymade family at 22 - and a large one at that...

As a SM and BM, my first instinct is to tell you to run, far and fast. It seems like your SO doesn't want to share himself with you as fully as he must in order to make your relationship worse. I think SPs NEED that extra attention from a BP. I mean, it is a huge sacrifice to help raise someone else's children. You should hold a certain value because of that if for no other reason.

If you are concerned about his feelings for his X you need to address that with him immediately.

Don't be upset, but I do have to give him kuddos for not skipping time with the EOW kids. My son has EOW with his dad, which is more like EO month because BD regularly must attend a wedding or some other function that he feels requires him to skip his weekend. I offer make up time, etc, but to no avail. It is devastating for my son. It's another story however, if he can bring the EOW kids to visit you, too.

Perhaps he would make more effort if you bailed on a weekend or two every now and again. You have to have time to study - don't let school take the back burner.

If he doesn't step up, then that should answer a lot of questions for you. He has to be as invested as you are before you try to figure out the SM/SK relationship. Is he?

KirbyKat's picture

Please be honest with yourself, he is not going to change how he feels about kids being a liability, and the fact that he tells me that indicates that he is still very immature. You also say the women screwed him over….seriously? Sounds like he screwed them over too leaving them with his kids. Of course the the kids will change towards you once you’re living in their home and telling them what to do. Sweetheart, please don’t take this the wrong way, but at age 22, you have NO CLUE what you’re stepping into. Seriously! You’re young, find someone local and with no kids. You won’t just be dealing with the kids, you’ll be dealing with baby mamas too, and if they’re as bad as he has you believing, then they are going to be a pain in your arse too. But remember, he’s only telling you his side of the story, and he’s miles away…you really don’t know what the truth is. I just really feel you’re going to ruin your life heading down this path. I hope you’ll spend some time on this board and read everyone’s frustrations and reconsider your next moves. My DH stepkids are saints compared to most of I read about on this board, and I STILL have plenty of days where I wish I’d stayed single. What you’re heading into, I wouldn’t send my worst enemy to.
Now you’re worried he has feelings for his ex, and he claims he can’t love you as much as you love him, and you’re still even considering this???? Really??? Wake up!! You may not run from your problems, but this isn’t your problem yet to run from, and I wouldn’t go there with a ten-foot barge pole!

jaohlund's picture

You say that you knew what you were getting into - the truth is that you never really now until you are FULLY into it! I thought I knew too when I met my SS at the age of 4. BM was fairly reasonable then and he was a piece of cake. BM has since become a royal pain and SS is now 12.
I'm with Willow and AllMitchell - think long and hard! You're young!

CalgonTakeMeAway's picture

AMEN to that, jaohlund! I was almost 48 years old when I married DH, and my skids aren't nearly as bad as a lot here, but you don't really know until you are fully in it! I don't really have a problem with the skids, it's the BM. Thankfully, I have a mature, loving DH who does love me as much as I love him, no question.

At 22, you barely know what you want out of life. What if you wake up one day and decide you really do want your own kids? Why take that option away because your bf evidently never heard of condoms? I don't mean to sound harsh, but this situation, as you present it, is a train wreck! I can barely handle one you really want to deal with 3??? Because you will have to deal with them. Then the kids turn into teenagers. I really believe you have to give birth to a kid to be able to love them as teens! LOL (only partially kidding)

I think you got some good advice here...RUN. If this situation is bothering you now, just wait. It WILL get worse. You're making excuses for your bf's bad behavior. If he still has feelings for his ex, he cannot love you. Why would you pour so much energy into somebody who doesn't return it? There are good men out there closer to your age with no kids. Please consider starting fresh with somebody who deserves somebody as devoted as you seem to be. You're walking into a nightmare, in my humble opinion.

KirbyKat's picture

Just to add, I know it’s not easy breaking up with someone you love, but the pain of that now will be nothing compared to the heartache that you’ll be stepping into. Please, please, please reconsider this. Just the fact that he has feelings for his ex would be enough for me, let alone the huge amounts of other baggage you would be taking on.

Jsmom's picture

You are too young to be in the middle of this much drama. I would seriously reconsider it. This is hard enough when we live in the same house and are old enough to know who we are. You are still figuring out who you are. He is already expecting you to put in all the work in the relationship. That is going to get much worse. Trust us that have been here and done that...

alwaysanxious's picture

You don't want to face it, but this is not the guy for you. He won't come see you once a semester? Yeah you are putting in all the effort and he is just happy to have someone.

At 22, I didn't want kids either. I am and was very career driven. I promise you that will go away in about 10 years. You are going to want kids, find a nice man who is in the same place you are in life.

stepfamilyfriend's picture

My suggestion to you is similar to what you have already received, but I add something. When you get involved with a whole family, you need to think even harder about it before you get in very deep. Two single people.....give it a try, if it does not work, move on. A man with several children...put waaaay more thought into it. It's more than the two of you that will get burned, disappointed mad etc. You may suffer the consequences of the fact that other women have come into the kids lives and left; don't take it lightly and be another person like that in their lives...

Dramadramadrama's picture

Sorry, but you have a long life ahead of you! You need to have children one day of your own, and alot of girls at your age change their minds later on about wanting to have children of their own. Get your study's out of the way- focus on your schooling, get a good job and find a man who is also focused and doesn't have so much baggage, as sweet as his children may be it sounds as though he has serious relationship issues, if it happened 3 times before you it is only a matter of time before you start seeing the true colors. Stay friends but your living close to 9 hours away is God's great way of telling you that your in the place you should be. You may be sad for a time, but you will look back and realize that you saved yourself a lot of stress, money and much drama that you WOULD have with all the ex-bm's:) Good luck!

so_f-ing_over_it's picture

Oh honey, please run far & run fast. You have so much to look forward to besides being saddled with someone else's children. 4 of them at that!! And even if the kids are ok, all those BMs won't be.

I didn't enter a step situation (no children of my own, by choice) until I was 32 & I still didn't have enough sense to run for the hills. If only I had known there was StepTalk before I said 'I do'. Sad

Please put A LOT of thought into what you really want out of life & your career & whether or not you will be able to achieve these things if you are married with 4 step-children. Also think about how you will feel if you decide you DO want children & your BF says 'Nope. I told you I was done.' Then you have wasted all that time raising HIS kids & here you are with a ticking biological clock & a BF that couldn't care less about what YOU want or need.

Oh, and then there's BM hauling you back into court for more child support, which will mean that by the time he's done supporting all these kids, you will be paying more than your share of EVERYTHING. You will be supporting him, while he supports BM. It gets old REALLY FAST. Trust me on this.

You seem to be a very sweet & intelligent young lady. If nothing else, look at this situation from a logical stand point. Do a 'pro' & 'con' list, whatever helps you to take away the emotional aspect of this relationship & see the reality of what you will be facing 5, 10 or 15 years from now. Because if his youngest is 5, that is how long it will be before you can even hope to have a relationship with your BF that does not revolve around his kids in some way.

I'm sorry if this sounds really pessimistic, but as soooooo many of the folks on this site can tell you, you only THINK you know what you're getting into. There are many things that do not come to light until it's too late to walk away without having to hire a divorce lawyer.

ScotsGirl64's picture

You have stated my sentiments...EXACTLY!!! I was 29 when I married and there were neon signs that pointed to bad things with this blended family stuff that I completely ignored! Your comment, "You only THINK you know what your're getting into" hit the nail on the head! Thank you for your comments! Smile

opticvmd's picture

Maybe I didn't clarify well enough - out of the four kids, he only sees three on a regular basis and is only in a "parental" role for three. The second little boy's mother is happy with the family her and her husband have created and my BF is not on the birth certificate. She just thinks it's right to keep him updated on his flesh and blood. So, only two BM to really deal with.

DS12's mom is interesting. She pays no CS, doesn't talk to her son on a regular basis and then wonders why he's not banging on her door to spend time with her. My suspicion is that she had PPD when she turned custody over to my BF when DS was 6 months old. I have not met her yet, but I don't think she's going to be making too many demands. I actually met her family...heh, that was awkward, but they were good people.

DD9 and DD5's BM - I've met her and yes, she did size me up a bit. She's not a bad person, she wasn't given the tools to be a confident woman as she grew up. She was peddled for her looks and her bust by her own mother. She thought she couldn't have kids and my BF gave her a "miracle" baby, so she's protective of them. She loves her children and truly only wants what's best for them. But with what I have seen/heard, she molds herself to be what she thinks her man wants her to be. I have to wonder how much of her withholding the kids was her or how much of it was her husband. It is a sensitive subject for my BF, but I also respect how much courage it took for him to even TELL me he was fighting feelings for her. And he told me early on too, so it's not like I found out a month ago. He was planning to confront her about it before he found out she wasn't with her husband anymore.

And truly - I don't know if she'll be a terror. Maybe I've read too much here about terrible BMs. No one is perfect but I need to remind myself to not pass judgement before I've seen something to pass judgement for which is the exact opposite of what I did in my original post. The girls are very polite and they're hygienic so she can't be that bad.

I have to remind myself that everyone makes mistakes in life, but that doesn't always mean the person is bad.

With me having kids...I know I'm young and yes, I may change my mind. But I've never been big on being a mom. I have a fantasy of the perfect child in my head when I think of how my child would be and that's not how it turns out. I'm only really baby crazy if I'm around babies too much. And that stops once they start crying...

As for raising his kids...they don't get to switch living situations until they're 12 according to what I know. And the littlest is a momma's girl, so it's likely she won't come to live with my BF. And I'm not doing any raising. Ive already voiced that my position is I make sure no one kills themselves, but day to day discipline will fall on him.

Just venting here gave me the courage to approach these subjects with my BF this afternoon with tact and honesty. Reading my raw emotions hours later is really clarifying. I feel much better now and feel like I can think logically about my situation without blowing it out of proportion. And I'm glad I vented to you all and didn't release this on my boyfriend. Because...yeah some of that is really bad and judgmental and I'm disappointed with myself.

Thank you to everyone who responded, but I think I'm going to ride this wave a little longer. Most if not all of you will probably shake your heads but I want to see where this goes, especially now that the XW is adhering to the EOW schedule so there's no worrying about when he will see his girls again. I may want my time with him, but I am also so glad he can see those kids and actually build a relationship with his DD5. I'm hoping to be slowly incorporated into the visits so no one feels too overwhelmed.

I'll keep on lurking and reading and maybe I'll post some updates as time goes on. Best of luck to everyone with your families and thank you again.

ScotsGirl64's picture

I agree to so much of this advice. One thing I regret is not being in a relationship and having a real "courtship". He always had to have a conversation where my SD would be mentioned! You may be over the moon right now with the guy, but honestly, find a guy with less baggage or no baggage. You are too young to have to have so much of his issues to deal with. I have been dealing with just one SD for 18 years and there has been little honest to goodness joy...its easy to get caught up in the excitement and challenge of issues with a BM, but its not worth it in the long run!!!