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Marriage Not What I Expected

TiredMan's picture

Okay so I was all excited a few years ago and was super ready to get married. There were 2 stepkids at the time. Older one and a younger one, both teenagers. The older one had a blowout with mom and moved out, which was whatever. But, since that happened, the younger one is now being babied all the time because I guess my wife is afraid of her leaving too.

Well, this teenager that's left is getting pretty old to be laying on mom or getting hugs every day multiple times. But, the kid figured out the secret to getting anything of course, so any time she wants something it's "I'm going to cuddle with mom tomorrow and get out of school." This happens at least once a week, and chores are barely done.

I want to fix my spot in the family so I went to a therapist and she said some stuff that is making me rethink all of this. First, the child is not mine so of course I don't have a say. So, the whole marriage that I based on the idea that I could be the step father mine never was to me, was not what it seemed.

I know ya'll say to disengage and I kind of was disengaged a little but I still thought giving her advice and being a strong male figure in her life was good. Nope, since she has past trauma I can't be firm with her and I also can't hug or be close to the kid. I don't want to get too into the trauma thing but it's like nobody told me I'd just be paying money into a home and everything else that I'm always going to just be a roommate in.

Seriously, this is the most expensive roommate situation. All my stuff is free game unless I make it a point to say no don't eat or use that but even if it comes up, I have to say yes because they will tell me I'm being a dick. I have PTSD because of some stuff that includes a mean step father, so anything that makes me feel like I'm him is something I can't do, so I feel like I can't say no to anything.

What would other men and women here do? I've had the talks with my wife about how I can't be the father figure I wanted to be but that I think she needs to seriously work on parenting because if she wants me around I'm not going to take care of her kid after she's old enough to move out. I shouldn't even be taking care of her now.

Every few days, I look around and think about just putting my shit in a suitcase and leaving. But then I think about how screwed over they would be if they didn't have me to help. I'm sure they could figure it out but still.

Even if nobody says anything or whatever, thanks for letting me have a place to vent. I keep this stuff inside and it's making me mad. I feel like the only person in our house that has nobody a lot of the time. If we were all on a boat, I'd be thrown to the sharks first. It's like my best friend I married is now becoming my enemy slowly over love for her kid. Love that is good to have, but is very misplaced and not used to make a mentally and physically happy person.

TiredMan's picture

I don't feel comfortable being too specific just because it's the internet, but she has work and had it before I came along. The father is completely out of the picture, nothing like child support is paid to help.

Without me, they'd probably be in a bad spot for a month or two and then could make it. I'd be in a worse situation because it'd be me going to hotels or whatever until I could save more. My work can come with me, so it doesn't hold me back from moving anywhere actually.

We pretty much just share everything related to money. If one account has enough then use it and vice-versa. But, it does seem that more often than not I'm in charge of bills.

ChiefGrownup's picture

Agree -- this is who she is.

She is not a person who can think ahead. She is only in the moment with her kid. She's not thinking, hey, this girl needs to learn to stand on her own two feet no matter what's happened in the past because one day I will pass on and she will have 40 more years to live.

No. In the moment she loves girly girl sucking up to her. That's all she can see.

My SD is 17 1/2 and failing school and bm calls in absences 25% of the school days. Yes. One week out of every four she just plain misses cuz whatevs. There is no sign of her launching in 6 months. No driver's license. No plans. Definitely no college. Has never worked a high school job. Can't even ride a bike.

But it won't be happening at my house. I laid that boundary down when she was about 15. Dh agrees with me but I wonder without that hard boundary I laid, I'm sure it would be different.

Do not allow yourself to be treated like this. You say your SF mistreated you. Well, it's a habit with you now. You are allowing yourself to be mistreated by your wife. Instead of thinking of yourself in the mean stepfather role, think of yourself as still in the scared boy role. Your wife is the one in the mean stepfather role now, not you.

Pack that suitcase and go (unless you own the house). She will either wake up and work hard to repair her marriage. Or she will figure something out and quickly move on to some other guy. Why not rip the bandaid off and find out? Either way, it will be the start of a better life for you.

TiredMan's picture

We had a blowout and I almost left but didn't. You're right, I am still the scared boy and she is the one trying to make me feel like everything is my fault. And I even feel bad for wanting to leave after all of this arguing.

I feel like getting drunk and sleeping. I have a lot of work to do though because we're behind. If there weren't all these bills, I think it would have been a lot easier for me to say to her to eff off. I couldn't live with myself if I found out they were living on the street because of me.

How do you just leave someone? My actual dad did that to my mother and she got through it, but it really messed life up for everyone. I do have PTSD already so maybe all of this shit is just making me feel like I'm myself when I was younger mixed with the people I hated. Like I'm the enemy of everyone, including myself.

There's work I can do online so I can work from anywhere in the world. But, if I leave I'm sure it would be me being the abusive victimize or whatever. I don't talk to anyone from my past any longer, so my only option is a motel nearby for a few weeks and then to take a bus to somewhere with cheaper weekly motels and then to work towards an apartment.

That will be a lot of work, but it's probably going to go a lot faster when I'm not stressed and can work as much as possible.

I'm just venting here sorry, but you seem like you may be able to get it. Do you have any other advice? Have you left someone before and did it work out okay? It's something I think I could work up to, but it's also something I don't know if I want to do because of how bad it would make me feel for abandoning them.

Rags's picture

Welcome, I hope that you find this to be a good place to vent, contribute, and pick up some good advice and perspective from others who are living the dream of the blended family adventure.

In my opinion you are making one of the most common mistakes that most SParents make... and ..... your therapist is a moron.

You and your bride are supposed to be equity life partners and that makes you an equity parent to any children in your marital home regardless of the biology of the kids.

Establishing reasonable rules and standards of behavior for the kids in the home has nothing to do with being a dick and everything to do with effective parenting. The trauma you experienced with your SF when you were a child does not eliminate the need for rules and structure for the kid(s) in your family home. Don't let guilt result in you and your wife not being the parents that you need to be to make sure your SKid(s) tolerable adults.

I suggest that you familiarize yourself with the Step Parents BIll of Rights (SPBOR). It has been around for a long time and I consider it to be a good foundation for SParents to insist upon. It should help you connect with reasonable expectations for how you demand to be treated in your blended family marriage.

One thing that I believe is missing from the SPBOR is that a Sparent is an equity parent in their home and will be integral to the establishment of behavioral standards and the enforcement of those standards in the home.

Here is the SPBOR for your review.

Step-parent Bill of Rights

1-I will be part of the decision-making process in my marriage and family at all times.

2-People outside the immediate family - including ex-wives or husbands, in-laws and adult children - cannot make plans that affect my life without my consent.

3-I will not be responsible for the welfare of children for whom I can set no limits.

4-I must be consulted about which children will live with us, when they can visit and how long they will stay.

5-I will not be solely responsible for housework; chores will be distributed fairly.

6-I will be consulted regarding all family financial matters.

7-Others may not violate my private space at home, nor take or use my possessions without my permission.

8-I will never be treated as an "outsider" in my own home.

9-My husband or wife and stepchildren must treat me with respect.

10-Our marriage is our first priority, and we will address all issues together.

Take care of yourself.

TiredMan's picture

I know this may go unseen but just an update. Started more therapy and the whole stepkid thing I'm just not bothering with. If she needs anything, I tell her mom and if mom doesn't get it I don't care any more. Kid has been staying home from school more now that I don't say anything, but I honestly don't care.

I've decided that I will start to care if she has no job when she's 16-18 and doesn't do shit but stay home. Even then, I'll mostly just save all of what I have to say about laziness and shit to talk with my therapist about it. No need to bring it up with my wife.

If my wife would listen, we could save the stepkid's life from being poor and having to rely on men or whatever else to get by when she finally has to go out into the world (if ever).

I'll make my living and hide back a few bucks here and there, and that way when shit hits the fan again I can just leave. I love my wife but I don't love being a stepfather. It's the worst decision I ever made. Honestly, it's like having a roommate that lives to just spend your money and make your wife hate you.

Rags's picture

I am glad that you are seeking some help. That may not be enough though. In all likelihood you will have to confront this crap sooner rather than later.

Good luck.