Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stepchildren add stress to childless marriages

In last Friday's post, I asked whether having stepchildren made you a mother. For me, it's part yes, part no. Fred's kids have been in my life for almost 30 years, but their biological mother is the one they think of as Mom. And that makes sense. If my father remarried, his new wife might be the most wonderful woman in the world, and we might love her very much, but she could never take the place of our real mother. That's just biology, plus family history.

If your partner has children from a previous marriage, he will always have a connection to them that you can never have. They are his kids, not yours. When a conflict arises between you and the kids, who is he going to side with? The new wife may find herself competing for her husband's time and attention, as well as his money. This can put a real damper on a marriage.

When he (or she) has kids and you don't, that can add to the stress. As several readers have commented here, it gets even worse when his children grow up and have babies of their own. Now he gets to be a grandparent and you don't.

Now some couples have no problem with any of this. They and the kids become one happy family, and they don't even think the word "step." They're all "our kids." They are blessed. I hear from plenty of people for whom having stepchildren makes a painful situation even more difficult.

How is it for you? Does your partner have kids from a previous marriage? Do they live with you or with their other parents? Do you get along? Does having them make your childlessness more difficult? Let's talk about it.

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98 comments:

doubleme said...

My husband didn't want any more children. I use the line on him "You didn't want to be bothered with anymore kids, I don't want to be bothered by your kid." Any time his daughter [who is alot a trouble] acts up [even at 29 yo] I pull out my line and that usually pulls him to his senses with her.

I often wish if I couldn't of had children that I could of least of had a decent [decent being the key word] step-daughter. She has been a nightmare [drugs etc]

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

I'm so sorry, Doubleme. Stepparenting is not easy, and it's a very lucky family where everyone gets along. I wish you peace.

Anonymous said...

I can't thank you enough for this post. I am a childless step mum, my husband had a vasectomy after having two children with his ex and just before they broke up. We tried for a reversal, but it wasn't successful.

I am almost 39 and every day without a child of our own is a painful and lonely journey. I am lucky in that my step children are lovely, they accept me and I get on well with them but at the end of the day, I am just the wife of their father. I will never be equal to their parents and every weekend that they are here I have to see everything that I want but know that I can no longer hope for.

Struggling to come to terms with life without a child is so much harder when step children are involved. There is the fact that your partner already has children and doesn't share the desperate need or disappointment that you do. There is also the terrible sadness that sharing in their wonderful experiences brings. The fact that they love me but don't need me, I will never be called on when they are sick or afraid, they will never make me anything at school, I can see them rehearse but I will never see a school play, I can help them with their homework but I will never meet their teacher... the list is endless. The special and beautiful bond is the one that they have with their mum and dad.

It is an impossible task for a biological parent to see a situation or to understand an issue without feeling protective of their children. I understand this, but I long for a conversation with my husband about what infertility means to me and our future that doesn't get translated into criticism of his children. It's such an emotive subject but wanting a child of your own and feeling sad because I can't be as integral to his children's lives as I want to be isn't the same as rejecting them. I just want more.

I am afraid of what it will be like when we get old and they have children of their own and that adds terrible sadness to thoughts of growing old and grey with my husband that really should be happy and wistful. The thought of it doesn't fill me with warm feelings, it makes me sad because my step daughter will experience pregnancy and being a mother but I can't. I know that I will be a grandparent of sorts, but it just isn't the same and this just isn't something that my husband can understand, he feels that I am cutting myself out and not that the experience really will be different for me than it will be for him.

This isn't the dream that we grown up with, having step children doesn't sate the terrible burning and all consuming hormones that the biological clock brings. It amplifies them.

It's all terribly selfish stuff,it hasn't been long since I found out that I can't have children and that my step children are all that I can hope for. I want more from them and our relationship than I can have or that they can give me. Maybe it will get easier in 10 or 20 years time. At the moment it is heartbreaking and bleak - for both my husband and myself. He wants me to be happy and love the experience and joy that his children bring us every day. I can't do this though, I'm not sure what future I have anymore and it is hard to enjoy the present when it is such a reminder of what I want and the primary reason why we'll never share the experience ourselves is due to the decisions that he made with his ex.

It all boils down to utter complicated confusion. I wish that I was the infertile one and then I could see his children as such an added bonus. Life in step families never seems to be simple but this one is an absolute doozy.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Oh Anonymous, I'm sorry it's so hard for you right now. I just wrote today's post before I read your comment. You say many of the things I have said. It is hard when your husband has kids and you don't. Mine had three from his first marriage, and he had a vasectomy. That biological connection is something we'll never have, and that just hurts. For you, the wound is fresh. I hope you can find peace in time and appreciate having his kids in your life. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I'm in basically the same boat, but, as my husband has been married twice before, I became a step-grandparent this same year that I'm also somewhere between the bargaining and depression stages of grief and existential crisis I've been managing, while also the stepmother of his three teenagers from his second marriage. I think I've moved beyond most of the anger, most, not all. I haven't been included in his grandparenting experience thus far. I've been kind of detached and doing my own thing when his kids visit, joining in on a meal or an outing when I feel like it.
It was a real gift to read what you wrote this day, knowing that right now I'm not so different from an another woman right now. I've finally accepted that I should probably see a psychiatrist. I don't even want to talk about any of this stuff; but, you know it's hard, so if you haven't I suggest you reach out to a mental health professional. Take care of yourself. Don't be so miserable. My husband is just beginning to realize the support I need from him as I keep myself away from the verge of a nervous breakdown. A good husband can make all the difference. I'm hoping I can continue to count on him. Talk with your husband about what you need from him as your friend right now, setting the "why's" aside for the conversation. Try to reconnect with him to help you through your current angst.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous #2, thank you for reaching out to help Anonymous #1. We need each other to get through this. And yes, sometimes we need professional help. It doesn't mean we're crazy; it means we just need someone impartial to talk to.
Hugs to you both.

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone, I'm 32 years old and am with by boyfriend for 4 years now. We live together and he has a son from his ex-wife who is 6 now. My boyfriend is still not divorced over fears of a custody dispute. Right now we share his son equally down the middle everyday. When he and I first met he wanted kids with me and romantaised them with me , now he doesn't talk about it and if I do he just stays silent. I asked him if he changed his mind and he doesn't tell me straight. I want kids of my own and can't handle the uncertainty of not knowing what he really wants anymore. I don't mind his kid and love him regardless. But I hate that he has this bond with his kid and his ex wife that I will never have. I hate that i never can make discipline decisions, or decide if we should Put him in soccer or karate, or go to his school functions or teachers meetings. I often feel like a housekeeper and babysitter for When its convenient to them. Sometimes it feels like My boyfriend and his wife are closer than he and i are because of their experience of having a child together. This makes me upset. Sometimes I wonder if this is what I really want and I answer "no". I know I'm young, but it can take time to have a kids. Its straining our relationship right now because my boyfriend often goes to sleep with his son in his bed because he says he misses him too much. I know I shouldn't be jealous, but I am. I feel like I'm being jipped of my own happiness and a chance that he and I can have a more happier and fulfilling life together if he would just consider having another child with me. I love him, but I feel betrayed that he promised something and now is backing out on something this important to me. He's had his kid, and that's all that matters. I put everything into his relationship with his son and have raised him for 4 years. At this point I just don't know what to do anymore. I don't want to run out of time. Help?

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anon, I'm tempted to tell you to find another boyfriend, one who will be willing to have a child with you and put you on at least an equal footing with his children. But only you can decide that. Would your life be better with him and his son or without them?
Readers, what do you advise?

Anonymous said...

Dear 32 yr old anon,
Your home needs better boundaries. Would your boyfriend be happy if both of you were his son's biological parents and you chose to sleep with your son? And, he needs to complete the divorce post haste and stop putting his son, his future ex-wife, and you in limbo. Regardless of all your other issues, the stringing you along while not proceeding with his divorce is a deal breaker - relationships have enough issues without legally being committed to someone else. It's disrespectful. Please find the courage to set this boundary and leave him 6 months from now if the divorce hasn't progressed to the finality of "in writing" legal negotiations. You could also tell him he's responsible for birth control, stuck in a rubber, until he's fully committed to you and allow him to be reminded of and feel the weight of the consequences of reproduction.

doubleme said...

I had the same problem with my husband. It took him years to get a divorce. I finally couldn't take any more and we broke up. He wanted to get back together 6 months later and I said NO till he got divorced. Only then did he get the the divorce.

Anonymous said...

Thank you both for responding. To answer your question Sue, I don't think I can live without either of them. I do love them too much. All I want is a little respect and equality. I was in a marriage before and we both met while he and I were separated. We both agreed to divorce, I did mine but he didn't. His theory is that she should file the divorce do that it doesn't look bad on him incase she asks for custody. But year after year she doesn't do it, creating excuse after excuse. She's a school teacher and has lots of time in the summer to get any legal paperwork going, yet somehow she doesn't. I cant tell if she wants him back or what else is up with her inactions. She knows I'm his girlfriend and that we have home together. Maybe something is up her sleeve?

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

I think the worries about custody battles and child support payments stop a lot of people, mostly men, from starting the divorce process. But it isn't fair to us if they don't.
Anon, I don't know about letting the ex have all the power in what happens to your whole family. I hope something changes soon.

Anonymous said...

It's difficult because I don't want to force him or give him the ultimatum. I do honestly believe that he is stressed because of his custody situation. I don't want to put more stress on him. He tells me he lives me and that he is committed to me and maybe I Should just accept it as is. i don't want to lose him.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

It's good that you know that. Love him all you can, but make sure he knows what you need, too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for listening and giving me some perspective. It has really been helpful to bounce this off other people who don't know me and are objective. I will have a heart-to-heart with him when things are calmer for him. Maybe he needs to remember all the reasons he wanted me in the first place. Thanks again, I'll keep you posted on the developments!

Anonymous said...

I am in a similar situation. My first marriage didn't produce children. I divorced him after learning of his infidelity. I married when I was 30 and divorced three years later. I married again at 40 after a two year courtship.

My husband has two, wonderful children from his first marriage. He had a vasectomy following his divorce and many years before we even met. He is an amazing husband and he was upfront about not wanting more children. I made the decision to marry him rather than risk losing him for a "maybe." (Maybe I'll find someone else, maybe he will want children, maybe I will get pregnant despite being over 40.)

I have a good life, but every now and then I feel like an outsider. The children understandably seek and prefer their parents. They don't call me unless they need something. My husband sweetly acknowledges me on Mother's Day but it's not the same. I would NEVER say it to him but not having kids with me feels like he's announcing that there was only one woman on the planet that he wanted to have kids with. I know that's not true but it still hurts. It also hurts knowing that as much as I do for his children, they probably still view me as just their Dad's wife. I don't have anyone to talk to about my feelings so it's nice to express them within this blog.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous, I can identify with 100 percent of what you say. Bet I'm not the only one. I too kept my second husband who didn't want any more kids rather than take a chance on a "maybe." Besides, he was the best husband a girl could want. But stepchildren are rarely the same as your own, and sometimes it hurts that you were not the one he had kids with. One thing to consider, at least for my husband, is that he was older when we got married and past the parenting stage. Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for responding and acknowledging my feelings. My husband is nearly 9 years older than me. I understand his position. If I was aproaching 50 with two teenagers, I wouldn't want to start over either.

I often feel conflicted because there are times when I am happy about being childfree. Then there are days when I feel grief and an overwhelming sense that I am all alone. Sure, I'm a part of my parents family but I don't have a family of my own (if that makes any sense).

Again, thank you so much for listening and responding. It means alot to me.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

You're welcome, Anon. I feel exactly the same way.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Thank you so much for writing this article. Anon #1 - you put into words feelings that I have been struggling to voice for so long. I am 35 and have two young step children. My partner was initially open to the possibility of a new baby but has since changed his mind. It hurts me every day for the same reasons you expressed. I feel that im running out of time and have to bear the weight of this stress alone - probably why I've been awake since 4am! I love my partner and step children and im scared to say that its just not enough. I feel there is no exchange - I have invested in his children, but he wont reciprocate the 'investment'. I dont feel as though im part of a family like this.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anon, Thanks for sharing this. You're right. For most of us, stepchildren are just not the same as having your own.

Anonymous said...

I am 41 and childless by choice, I like kids but have never felt bloody or wanted my own. I got sterilised as I was sure of my feelings and I do not regret my choices at all. Now I am in a relationship with a lovely man but he has a 10yr old daughter who he sees every other weekend and I am finding it really hard to adjust. She has really taken to me which should make life easier but she's like my shadow, following me everywhere and it's doingmy heahead in! I just don't know how to fit in with child inclusive weekends when all I want after a hard week of work is to kick back and relax and make the most of those 2 precious days. I expect to be called a selfish bitch etc!!!

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Well, Anonymous, you feel what you feel, and that doesn't necessarily make you a bitch. Btw, I'm assuming you mean "broody" or something like that in your first sentence, not "bloody."
Stepchildren are challenging. I had my own experiences with them, some good, some not so much, but they definitely cut into your free time. Mostly my husband minded that more than I did.
You're lucky that your stepdaughter likes you. Maybe you could arrange for your husband to take her away some weekends so you can have your days off?

Anonymous said...

Haha yes, it should've said broody, damn spellchecker lol! Thanks for your comment, we've had a long chat and agreed that on one of the day's each child weekend they'll have a day out together or I'll have a day out, then we'll all spend the other day together. And he's going to talk to her about being so clingy with me and say he feels a bit left out when she wants to hold my hand not his etc etc so hopefully the pressure will ease off a bit. Thank you :-)

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous,I'm glad it worked out so well. Sounds like your husband is totally willing to cooperate, so enjoy your days off and keep coming back.

Ashley B. said...

Hello, I am feeling exactly down to every word you said the same way. I am only 26, but instead of spending my time getting my own life straight I have taken on a step parent role and I really long to have my own and what it all represents. His hard earned money goes to his ex, she doesnt have to work, I do and Im still poor and still pay to help raise this child that is not mine. My man's attitude is basically " deal with it or hit the road". He is a great guy, we have a wonderful bond together but I am depressed to the core I dont have the bio mother role and have to watch the other woman have it all while Im just in the background having to just shut up and "deal with it." I dont know what to do or how to cope and Im rock bottom inside even though I try to just hide it because I have to to keep this man.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Dear Ashley B,
Step-parenting sucks, doesn't it? Let's just be honest about it. Some people get lucky and have a great relationship with their steps, but for most it's a very uncomfortable situation, especially when you don't have your own kids.
I find your last sentence interesting. "I try to hide it because I have to keep this man." No you don't have to. You could leave. But which would be worse, losing him or the situation you're in now? I pray you find the answer.

Anonymous said...

I have been in a relationship for five years, for most of which I thought he wanted children, with me also. The youngest was a baby, in a crib, in my room. There is a bond that grows--a sugar cookie smell--when they are babies and cry in the night for you to care for and love them. And the second oldest, called me mommy straight away. I didn't dissuade it, because I never wanted to have a difference between my own kids and these beautiful, loving children. But, truth be told, they are not my kids. I can list 18,000 examples here of how externalities make that so. And he told me first, that he "would never take motherhood away from me". Should have been a red flag.That was five years ago. Then he told me that motherhood would ruin my body. That was years 3-4. Then he said that kids were nothing but work. They are not good, only work (nice). Last year. Now the newest one, since we have reduced ourselves to hate apparently, is that I am not fit to be a mother of my own. But I looked after his kids five years, paid all of the bills for almost two, did everything possible and now everything has just disintegrated into nothing. I love these children and I love him despite the shitty, selfish behavior. I don't know what to do.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Oh rats, Anonymous. What is his problem?
Well, I'm sure you know the choices. Leave him. Keep taking care of his children without having your own. Or find some way to insist on having your own babies. If the relationship is dead, there is no real choice, is there? I'm so sorry this is happening to you.

Anonymous said...

Hello, my fiance had a vasectomy during his first marriage. We both have two children, however my children's father is deceased. I want to have a child with the man I will marry and hopefully live the rest of my natural life with. I've spoken about it, and it's been about 9 years since his procedure. I just get really frustrated at times when I think about the fact that he gave his first wife children and because of a previous relationship, I just get to wonder what a child created by God and the two of us would be like.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anon, you are going to have to decide whether this is a deal-breaker. Do you love him enough to marry him even if you never have a child together?

Anonymous said...

I do love him, and we have talked about this. We have concerns about how long ago the procedure was done. I'm generally ok, however when his children visit, I can count on being in a funk all weekend. It makes it harder for me. Almost makes me feel like I'm cheating myself. Guess I'm on my own here. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to your post. I, too, have spoken to a professional about how I feel. It is really hard. I love my guy he is great . I am not sure i should marry if i have to marry them too. I am financially independent and want to stay that way. I want to be able to travel and save for a house or retirement without guilt or having to worry about helping his kids for school, car or insurance. I make a decent living but i am far from rich. Maybe dad should work 2 jobs and mom should get a job. Why is this harder than i thought.

Anonymous said...

You are not alone. I feel a little funky when his child comes every week too. It is hard when you are used to doing your own thing and then a kid comes and takes everything over. Sometimes i am not in the mood or not feeling well. I am 38 and a homebody and feel forced to my room so i am not being a grouch. I feel like i have to be someone else just because there is a child around. Sometimes i miss my own place and privacy.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Boy, Anonymouses, you expressed what I often felt when the stepkids came around. It sounds selfish, but it's so true, isn't it? It's just not easy. Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

All of this expresses my feelings so well.

I am married to a great guy and just turned 35. We've been married for almost 5 years. He has 3 children from his first marriage (now 18, 16, and 14).

He keeps saying that he wants to have kids with me, but there always seems to be something better to do with our money. He's clearly not nearly as desperate as I am...and why should he be? He has 3 already.

Also...he and I are starting a business together, which is finally starting to pay off, but for the first four years of our marriage, I worked full time at our business and part-time freelance writing / consulting to pay the bills while he just worked at the business (to be fair, he took on occasional freelance work, which was helpful, but he never committed himself to a regular 15-20 hour gig on top of our business the way that I did.)

That means that, for 4 years, I've been paying most of our household bills, including child support for kids who aren't mine. To top it all off, his parents are incredibly wealthy and they spoil the kids to no end (clothes shopping trips twice a year, $300 at their birthdays, the two who are 16 or older each got a car on their 16th birthday, thousands of dollars worth of gifts...laptops, iPods, cameras, etc. at Christmas...a special 13th birthday trip...etc., etc., etc.)

I feel like I just got stuck with all the financial worries of the household by default because I am the one who will worry...while he's free to be the creative genius entrepreneur. He lives like a childless person and I scrimp and save like someone who has kids...even though I don't and I desperately want them. Then my stepkids walk in for the weekend wearing the newest everything and send me Christmas wishlists via Pinterest with (no joke) $800 dresses and $400 boots on there. It's maddening.

Now, I should mention here that my husband is a creative genius...and I'm pretty good at what I do...and I think our business is going to pay off in a big way in the next year. I should also say that my husband is incredibly grateful and thanks me constantly for all that I do, the influence that I have in his kids life...for keeping "US" afloat while we try to build this career.

I'm wondering though...when our business is successful...will I finally get to start a family of my own? I'm also wondering if I'll want to. I'm not nearly as materialistic as my husband and his kids...I don't like the way his kids are turning out. I'm worried that, by the time we get to that point, I'll be so exhausted and resentful from slaving away and putting my life on hold to pay child support for kids who wear $200 shoes that I won't be able to be happy in this marriage / family anymore.

I also recently thought about the becoming a step-grandparent thing. The 18-year-old is a nightmare with a serious boyfriend. If she turns up pregnant before I have a baby...I may just walk out the front door and never look back.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous, It's a challenging time, isn't it? But I read between the lines that you love your husband and you're fully invested in your work together. Stepkids are challenging and expensive. I think step-grandparenting is kind of fun. Wait till the little ones arrive and call you "Grandma." My advice is to be open and honest with everyone. Those kids are plenty old enough for you to tell them you're sorry but you can't afford the kind of expensive things they get from their grandparents. And be honest with your husband if you feel like you're carrying too much of the financial load. Talk to his parents, too, about how they're overdoing it.
Give them what you want to give them for Christmas. Don't fall prey to their Pinerest-communicated demands.
I wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

I feel guilty all the time because I'm not sure no matter how much I love my boyfriend, if I'm willing to give up all my "first experiences". We shared custody with his ex-wife, his children are young and I've known them since before the divorce so I love them very much and they love me, but as time goes on I'm feeling this strong depression coming on. I always think to myself is this it? I'll never be a bio "mom" I'll never have a child of my own, my parents won't have grandchildren, I'll never have bio grandchildren either, mother's day is not for me. I have to hear all the time, my kids come first, I'll do whatever I have to for them, you'll never understand you don't have kids. Really? So I have all the responsibility of raising your kids, (financially and emotionally) but I can't love them like my own, because they're not my own? I love love love my boyfriend, he is great and I can't see myself without him or the kids, but this pain deep inside is pushing me away when we fight or I hear the words, they're not your kids you don't understand. Honestly, I just think about walking away, sometimes I just want to be selfish, I want a wedding, a marriage, a family, I want to experience all the "firsts" that come with being with someone who hasn't "been there done that"... I don't know maybe I'm just afraid of commitment, or maybe its my subconscious telling me, no matter how much you love him and the kids, its not going to be enough to keep me happy forever. I don't want to resent him or the children 5 years from now because I gave up all my first for them. Does anyone feel the same way or anything like that before they committed completely to being the stepmom? My selfishness is eating away at me.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous, I'm sorry it's turning out this way. To be honest, I had the same feelings, but I didn't really think about this stuff until after we were married. I knew about is kids, of course, and I was ready to be a second mom to them, but I had also wanted my own kids. This is a decision only you can make for yourself. I wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

I've been with my boyfriend (who has full custody of his two kids) for 18 months. Most nights, I tuck the kids into bed. I go out and buy them toothpaste if they run out, help with school projects and homework. I do laundry and dishes. I took his daughter out do do her Christmas shopping. I pick up groceries, etc.
I don't live with them, however. This is partially because the only time their bio mom sees them is if she stays with them from the time my boyfriend goes to work at 6 am until they get on the bus at 8. I don't know if I'll ever be able to move in. The kids (ages 10 and 8) like to sleep in their dad's bed, and if they get to see their mom, it's because she comes by. She's really uncomfortable with me being there, so I can't be there if she is except for important things like birthday parties.
Yesterday, he told me that it was ridiculous that I got them each $50 in Christmas presents because "they're not your kids." It's been echoing in my head ever since.
I know he doesn't want more kids, and I thought I was ok with that. I have friends who are stepparents who do all the parent things and call the kids theirs etc. despite not having the legal privileges of parenthood. I imagined myself in that position and thought it wouldn't be so bad to not push kids out of my womb.
However, if my partner wants me to stay at arms length with his kids while not having my own, I don't know if I can do it, which sucks because I love all of them so much.
Glad to have a place to vent this.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anon Dec. 23, How frustrating! Maybe in the new year, you need to consider what kind of relationship you have with this guy, whether he takes you seriously enough to really include you in his life. I hope you can work it out.

Anonymous said...

My husband decided he didn't want children again, but I'm still on the fence. It's been difficult deciding whether I want to force it or not, but I don't know if I can go through life always being the step-mom that no one cares about. To make matters worse, my step children have been complete brats to me. They never considered me to be a step-mother, just some women their father married. I've been with my husband for 8 years, so I find it difficult that kids now in their 20's can't have an ounce of respect when it comes to having a step-parent. I come from a separated family too, so I know what it feels like; but I have plenty of respect for my step-father and never once left him out of anything important. It gets frustrating knowing that I'll always be an outsider when it comes to his kids; but the way they have treated me throughout the years just makes it worse. To those of you who have not married into a step-family yet, step back and take a good look at how the children are treating you now, because that's not going to change. Good luck to all of you who are having to fight for your right to have a family.

Anonymous said...

My husband has a 14 year old child from a previous relationship. I am 38 and he is 45 now. We are trying to get pregnant for nearly 6 years now. He is infertile though he has this child :(. It is devastating for me when his child is over as it reminds me of what he can't give to me. I know he isn't infertile on purpose but I can't help but blaming him for my sadness - though I never tell him that as it would not be fair on him. We tried 3 icsi's but they were all negative. I just don't know what to do and it feels like my love for him is fading as he is the cause of my dreams flushed away. I will never be a mother because of him and have to see how happy he is with his child. It breaks my heart ... :(

Anonymous said...

:(

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous, I'm so sorry. I hope you can find a way to accept his situation. I'm guessing adoption is not an option, but it might be worth discussing. Good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

reading all these I don't feel alone I am 35 my step mom of two kids that my husband had in a previous marriage when we first got married we fought for custody of them but were unsuccessful twice later in the years the son came to live with us but the sister didn't one year after he came to live with us who went on a huge family vacation after the vacation the daughter decided to move in with us also needless to say that's when life got rough I never dreamed of having them full time I always thought I would just have them and share that responsibility but we had them everyday every week every year the only thing I would change is how we approached after we got custody of them I think we tried to Fufill dreams that were never even given a chance when they lived with their mom but then we tried to pull the reins back it was a disaster they both were involved with drinking drugs they both can't tell the truth to save their life and for some reason their world that they live in his not anything like what we saw, we've tried to have a child unsuccessful spent thousands of dollars and sometimes I wonder would they have turned out different if we had them from the beginning

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous,
Nobody knows what it's like until they're in it, and every family is different. Thank you for sharing this. I hope you can find peace and success with these stepchildren.

Anonymous said...

I also am going through this same scenario and have been in search of those that can relate. I have been divorced and didn't get to have children. Then almost married and he decided he didn't want more children either. My heart was broken. I have dated and dated in hopes of meeting someone that could share in my want for children. Every man I have met has had a vesectomy. So I have tried to make it a rule not to date them and hope for someone who doesn't. But now I broke my rule and have been dating a guy with 2 kids and a vesectomy. I am going on 40 and fighting an internal battle of what to do. His kids are struggling a bit with a new life. Im his first girlfriend. So on top of my grief of not having children they often bring up their mother which reminds me I won't be theirs or have my own. He is willing to reverse but it is so expensive and I just think if it has been this hard for me to have children then it must not be for me. Not to menation for 4 years I was with a man that said the same thing and his daughter got older as the years past and then he changed his mind. So it scares me. I feel like what I want is a burden. Learning to raise 2 kids on his own is strestful enough but to add one more seems it would make it worse. I'm at a tough place now. I have what I thought I wanted right in front of me and now my life goals have changed. I don't want disapointment anymore and am choosing to let motherhood go. People try to tell me that it is so hard anyway. But I know Im missing out and having his children as a reminder hurts me. It also hurts me to see them miss their mom. I wish I had the answers. I have been patient for God to Show me the way. I dont want to hurt him and I know being alone will be hard again but I think I have to. He deserves more and someone who understands his situation. Heavy heart

Anonymous said...

Hello all,
I'm at crossroads and confused on what to do.
I am the biological mother of a beautiful daughter and am lucky enough to have found a wonderful loving man who has accepted us and loves us both, but he has recently started to make comments along the lines of "you'll never understand how this feels" and "this is difficult to handle at times" and he is correct I probably never will.
unfortunately there is another side to all of this, ithere is so extremely difficult as a mother to look at him and ask for anything for her that I currently cannot provide as I am going to school full time and he is the primary bread winner (her father has taken off and always manages to disappear when confronted about child support).
I am so afraid I am asking too much of my future husband, and that a lot of our problems are stemming from this issue.
Is there anyway to know if I am unconsciously destroying us, I'm afraid he wouldn't be completely honest due to the fact that he does love us. I'm afraid it's too much pressure for him?
Any input would be great.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous,
I have not been in your position. I was on the other side, married to someone who had children. Certainly it's difficult to deal with someone else's kids, but I never once considered leaving him or resented him because of the kids. I was mostly grateful that he gave me this experience of parenting. I think you need to let your future husband decide what he can handle and not take so much on yourself. He loves you. Your daughter is part of the package.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this! I am a 35-year-old soon to be first time mom, and my stepmother does not have children of her own. I know she is really excited to be a "grandma", but it brings up a lot of confusing feelings for me, especially since my mother died 13 years ago. My stepmom means well, but I guess I just feel like I constantly have to set boundaries with her because I know she envisions some kind of "mother daughter" relationship (she's been with my dad since I was 9) that I do not want. I have finally accepted that she is here and in my life, and all that I can do is continue to be kind but also keep setting boundaries. It is working, but I guess what I really wish is for her to just go away. But that's not going to happen, and she makes my dad happy, and I know that all she wants is to be loved and included.
Her deep desire to express her love (she used to send me lots of "I love you" text messages but has stopped since I stopped replying to them) comes off as not genuine and I often think she only wants to be so close to me so that she can talk to all her friends about "being a mom" and "mom stuff". To put it simply, she annoys me and I know that I judge her because she has no idea what it means to be a parent.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Wow, Anonymous May 28, my own stepdaughter could have written this. Thank you for sharing this point of view. I can't help identifying with your stepmother, and I can see how she wants to claim all the goodies that come with being a mother. If sheet you when you were nine, she probably feels she earned them. But I see your side too. She is not your mother and never will be. It's hard on both sides. I wish you all the best with your baby.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Wow, Anonymous May 28, my own stepdaughter could have written this. Thank you for sharing this point of view. I can't help identifying with your stepmother, and I can see how she wants to claim all the goodies that come with being a mother. If sheet you when you were nine, she probably feels she earned them. But I see your side too. She is not your mother and never will be. It's hard on both sides. I wish you all the best with your baby.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I have to agree with a lot of you.

I read the blogpost and all the corresponding comments, and you are all mentioning some very true feelings that
most of us step-parents feel from time to time (or a lot more than that!). I can also identify with these feelings in
regards to my own relationship. In contrast to most of you I am a man, and my wife
has a 13 year old son from a previous marriage. Im 24, and my wife is 33 years of age.

She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she had her baby, and had to have her thyroid removed
after her child was born. We have been trying to get pregnant for the last 2 years.
She had a misscarriage about a year ago, we have been recovering emotionally ever since.

The funny thing is that I grew up in almost the exact same situation as I am in now.
My mother married my younger step-dad and they had 2 kids of their own. He was an emotionally
abusive step-dad, so I never really felt the same connection with him as I did with my real dad,
so I totally understand where my step-son is comming from. I rejected and hated my step-dad as a kid,
and I honestly belive that nothing he did would have made the relationship anywhere nearly as special or
connected as my relationship with my real dad.

Still, I find it very hard to deal with the thought of perhaps never having children of my own.
When we have an argument or a fight, and I get to hear things like "your not my real dad", or
"When me and MY DAD did this or that" , or Its OK mom, don`t get upset, he is just my step-dad"
It hurts, and cuts really deep...

I just hold it in, because I am tired of my wife not understanding, getting upset and telling me
that I should be less selfish, not receiving much understanding or sympathy from my wife, as she can never truly
understand exactly how I feel or how much it hurts. She already has a very close relationship with her real
biological son. I get angry, frustrated and find myself drowning in silent despair whenever the thought enters my mind.
After countless arguments with my wife about it I stopped bringing it up. Just end up holding it in while trying
to deal with it myself. Most of the time it ends up with me being seriously depressed for 3-4 days,
then slowly getting over it, until the next time it happens.

I don`t know if I can handle not having children of my own, as I can`t stand the thought of my step-son
having children and me not being able to.

I don`t know how to deal with this in my life. I have very conflicting feelings about it and the time
passing by, month my month does not make anything better. Any feedback is appreciated.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Mr. Anonymous June 4, Thanks for sharing this. It helps to hear from people in different situations. I sympathize. Stepchildren aren't easy, and when you don't have your own kids, they're twice as hard. You are only 24, so I wouldn't give up on anything yet. By the time you're the age your wife is now, your stepson will be an adult, and who knows, you may have your own kids. I hope so.
But right now, don't bottle up your feelings. It's not healthy. Talk to someone. If you can't talk about it with your wife, find a friend, a family member or counselor with whom you can let it all out.
I hope it all works out for you.

Wv La said...

So I was feeling so alone in this department that I just decided to start researching. I find all these situations to be quite complex. My situation is that I met the love of my life and had to move across the country to be with him....we have an odd profession so we really bonded on that share the same upbringing,values,and hobbies, we laugh constantly even as I type this I smile thinking about him.there is a 13 year age difference that I never notice until I get on his iPod lol. My mother and father in law adore me and my parents nicknamed him Midas because they think he's so wonderful everything turns to gold lol. Then there's the issue of my step kids.....they love me and we have fun together but their behavior would be unacceptable to me if I was there mom....I don't have kids of my own yet I'm 26... And he is willing to start over by having kids with me whenever I want....however I feel he's so blinded to everything they do that when I look at him as the potential father to my kids I think.....omg how is this gonna work?! He says he can't discipline when he sees them once a month because they're teens and they have all kinds of things going on constantly......he can't undo the mothers bad parenting so all he can do is make the best of his small amount of time.....I feel like he's parenting from guilt though, guilt for having to work out of the country while they were infants (mothers financial irresponsibility made it impossible to make sufficient money locally) and for the fact that he had to leave them after his ex wife had an affair while he was out of the country working ...I also feel like his feelings get really hurt if I bring to attention the things they do wrong ....... And I think that comes from his guilt he feels as a failure as a father......so basically when they visit you got their dad with all this guilt....and me with zero authority so the entitlement attitude and not listening and just over all crappy behavior runs rampant.........so my questions are
Does my fiancé parent from guilt? And if so how do I help him with that?
Is this a reflection of how parenting would go with our kids?
Am I horrible for getting so depressed when I know they're coming?
Am I wrong for pointing these things out to my fiancé?
Will they grow out of this,Since they are teens or is this their real personality?
And my final thought is that I feel a tremendous amount of pressure.....pressure to make sure I have everything completely thought out because it is unacceptable to me for this man to ever have to go through this pain of not getting to live with and raise his kids again. And I'm sure that ever step mom out there has one thing in common and that is pressure....pressure to be perfect....pressure to blend....pressure to love children as if they are your own no matter how they may treat you.....the one thing we all seem to be facing no matter how different...is pressure

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

WV La, thank you for sharing this. Step-parenting is hard, no question. You wind up caught between your partner and his kids, definitely a lose-lose situation. Does he parent from guilt? Probably. Would it be the same with kids you had together? Maybe yes, maybe no. Maybe with a fresh start with kids who live with him full-time,your fiance would be a great parent. You are not horrible, but go easy on saying bad things about his kids. Will they grow out of this? Teens are notoriously difficult, so they might. Do your best to love them and help them, but be honest, too. Nobody is perfect. I wish you the best.

Anonymous said...

I suppose it's good to know that there are other people out there who feel the same way I do--or maybe it's just depressing. I married my husband when I was 39, he was 37. He has 5 kids (only 1 or 2 are biologically his) and had a vasectomy many years ago. We tried a reversal--it worked, but I'm obviously too old and it didn't happen for us. I hate that my husband cannot understand how painful it is for me not to have children, and that having stepkids (3 of whom live with us full time) makes it even worse (to me). His daughter (by adoption) had a baby a year and a half ago--I feel nothing for her or her daughter. Which makes me feel bad, but I can't change it. Even my husband admitted to me that the grandchild doesn't mean as much to him because they're not biologically related. That makes me feel even worse, because I'm adopted myself--got me to thinking that's why I never had a close relationship to any of my grandparents.

The three boys that live with us are 15, 17, and 19. They were 11, 13, and 15 when we got married. My husband only knows for sure that the 19 year old is his biologically. The 17 year old might be, and the 15 year old definitely isn't, but my husband is a good man and raised him, anyway (the kid has no idea about his parentage). They're mostly good kids, but I count down the days to when they will leave the house, (my house, since I owned it before I ever met my husband--not sure that was a good idea, because I get pretty resentful when I see MY house and furniture getting ruined by teenagers) and I have no idea when that will be. I feel like most days I just tolerate them, through no fault of their own. But I'm tired. When we got married, I knew one of them would be living with us (the 19 year old), and never imagined all three of them would. All 5 kids dislike and resent their mother. I'd love to smack her upside the head and ask her to fix her relationship with her children, but mostly so that I don't have to be thrown in the position of full-time stepmom. Also, I think it's pretty sad to hate your bio mom.

On top of it, I myself am adopted. I adore my adoptive parents--they are the most wonderful people on the planet--but you cannot imagine how awful it is not to know anybody in the world to whom you are genetically related. I feel like every family relationship that I have is not "real," or is, at best, second-rate. I guess I'm not even sure what it feels like to really be part of a family. I have a brother who was also adopted--he was my best friend when we were younger, but we've grown apart, and I feel little toward him and almost nothing toward his children. While I would do anything for my adoptive parents, partly because I feel like I owe them a debt of gratitude for being kind enough to raise me (something biological children will probably never understand), I feel mostly disconnected from people. I love my husband, but sometimes I even question that--because I'm not 100% sure I understand what real love is. So, for now, I deal with all of us by working a lot (I'm an attorney) and riding my horses just to get away from everybody. Thank goodness for horse therapy. It's significantly easier for me to love my animals more than my stepkids and, frankly, most people. As good as that is, it's no substitute for having a "real" family. At least I assume so, because I'll never know what it's like to have one.

Wvla said...

Dear Aug 14.
I understand your position but feel the need to tell you I think your incredibly selfless and amazing... The idea that you think you could possibly not even know what real love is so far from the truth, what you do every day is the very definition of love.... Putting someone else's happiness above your own... You've put 100% into your husband and made countless sacrifices. As far as being a bio mom goes I have personally had struggles in this department but this is a modern time we are not just baby makers id like to think if I never am able that just means I have a different purpose. Not being a bio mom doesn't make you any less destined for a fulfilled life of happiness. I think your a rock star... And you obviously don't give up on people you love... That's loyalty and loyalty in its own rights is a unique quality these days. Your a gold star in my book every day of the week and twice on Sunday....oh yea and when the last one moves out that hubby and you should take a second honeymoon you really deserve it!You are not alone in how you feel xoxo
Sorry if this posts twice I think I hit a wrong button on my phone.

Sarwat Maqbool said...

I can relate to a lot of comments above.

I have a slight variation to my story. Last year we had a surprise pregnancy. First thought that came to my mind was absolute fear of what my stepson would do and how difficult it would be to have a child in my house.
I wanted to have an abortion and my husband agreed.
Since then every day at home is living hell. I am going through the classic post-abortion depression with feelings of guilt, weakness and blame.
However hard i have tried - things are not improving at home and my SS is not getting physically violent with his father. I stay quiet and do not interfere as I don have the authority to discipline or stop my SS.
I have decided to separate from my husband last night and it feels like a load has been lifted. I know I am gearing up for some very tough months(or perhaps years) ahead. But the sense of relief is overwhelming. At least now I can have some respect, in my own eyes.

PS. My stepson is the only reason for my separation.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Sarwat, that is so sad. Thanks for sharing this. I hope you can find a happier life now.

Anonymous said...

I was 25 when I met my sd when she was 12 and got married with my husband when she was 14. I dreaded her and the things she represented: my husband's x who destroyed his life with her infidelity. He said to me how hard his life
was with her; taken that I know so much about his x, how can I trust his daughter who is brought up with the same principles as his x? Each time I am telling my husband that some bad behaviours she has stem from his x he gets anxious; but
He knows I'm right it's simply a fact that he refuses to accept it. I got depressed, put on enormous weight, lost my willingness to do anything in life. On top of that I was recently diagnosed with infertility issues which began to appear. I love my husband but I must have children in order for this marriage to work. The mere thought of remaining childless makes me consider a divorce as life like this will be a misery for me without children on my own to lean on and substantiate my family.

Anonymous said...

Anon Aug 14: You said it's awful not knowing anybody in the world to whom you are genetically related. If what you said wasn't just a figure of speech, you can easily find cousins through a DNA test with a company like Ancestry.com. Since having submitted my test, I have a list of 3,500 cousin matches. Now, of course they are rather far afield with two 3rd cousins, 100 or so 4th, and the remainder 5th+. However, it is still amazing to see, and I have found out so much about my ancestry that was never known through passed-down family history. You never know, you might strike gold and find a 1st or 2nd cousin.

Anonymous said...

It feels good to read these comments and know that other people are experiencing the same thing because infertility is so isolating and really no one out there can understand except someone who is going through the same thing. All my life the only thing I ever wanted was to have a family, I dreamed about becoming a mother whilst I was still a child. Now I have met the love of my life but we have not been able to have a baby (I am 33 and he is 39). He has crohn's disease and the treatment that he receives for it along with the stress have left him with 99% abnormal sperm. We have been trying for nearly two years and nothing. We have had all the tests done and there is nothing wrong with me.

He has two young boys by his first marriage (4 and 6) which he had before he was ill and receiving treatment. The stress of his first marriage brought about his illness. We met when he was still together with his ex wife and he finally ended his marriage after many years of unhappiness to start a relationship with me.

I find the step=parenting thing surprisingly hard. I had just thought that it would be great because I love children and just assumed of course that we would be able to have our own as well. They are lovely kids and we have a good relationship but I guess I can't help feeling a little resentful about all the things I have had to give up in order to be a step parent. It's so hard to be in a relationship with someone when you know that you are not his first priority and never will be, but he is always my first priority. Being a step-parent you have to give up all the freedoms and positives that you might enjoy by not having children of your own, but you don't get any of the benefits. He's a very supportive and loving man but I guess he just doesn't give me the support every month when I realise I'm not pregnant again and I am devastated. This morning he told me to just not think about it because there's nothing that we can do about it. Easily said for a man who already has 2 children....

I guess my worry is that if we don't have children I will end up resenting him and his kids for making me give up all of my dreams, and it will destroy our relationship anyway. I have such conflicting feelings all the time because I love him so much and our relationship is wonderful, but being a mother is the only thing I ever really wanted in life. I never bothered really pursuing a career because I always just wanted to be a stay at home mum and raise my children and I always felt that you couldn't have both, I wanted to be a photojournalist! And now I guess I feel like I have nothing except him, and I feel empty inside and very much alone because all of my friends are having children all the time. I have cut myself from all of them because it's too painful to be around them and their babies. I'm depressed and don't know who to turn to.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous, I'm so sorry this has happened to you and your husband. A friend of mine has Crohn's and it's an awful disease. Unfortunately, if you love him, you may have to adjust your dreams to find another way of becoming a mom or accept a different life from what you had planned. You can still become a photojournalist. I hope you can find peace and comfort.

Anonymous said...

I've been with my boyfriend for 16 months now. When we begin to date he told me he was going to get a vasectomy, I however talked him out of it. He told me he was scared to be hurt again. Mainly, because his ex wife was awful and cheated on him; they have a son together, now 8, and he's the sweetest boy! I come to love him so much! However, my boyfriend recently came to me and said we needed to have a serious discussion, he said that he wanted to marry me and be with me, but he didn't want more children. I'm 26, he's 29. I love this man so much, I have never been happier with anyone else, we do everything together and he is my best friend! I just don't know if I can go the rest of my life without having a child with him. Besideshis son being my stepson which still won't be mine. I'm so torn between this. I'd like to hear some advice or stories similar to mine and how they've worked out.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous, It sounds like you have a great relationship, and that's not easy to find. Nobody knows what's going to happen in the future, so maybe you need to stop stressing about it and enjoy life now. I can't really tell you what to do, but my story worked out okay with the love of my life and not having my own kids.

Anonymous said...

Hello...I am so glad I found this page. Last night my husband got a phone call from his 15 year old child, who he has not seen since she was 7. He is thrilled, she is thrilled, I am terribly sad. It hit me really hard that due to my age when I met my husband, we will not be able to have a child together. But last night he was forecasting the future how he and his ex (they have not been together for 14 years) will perhaps get to parent this child. OK, so how did this happen? I wanted to have a child with him, and instead he potentially gets to parent with his ex who apparently "has grown up a lot and is really mature now".

Am I worried that he will leave my for his ex? Nope, she has 3 other children, and a hubby who supports them, and I effectively support my husband. They would starve if they were together :-)

Am I jealous? Likely. He has a child and I don't.

Am I sad? Yes. I am sad that he gets to be so happy "having" a child, and I don't. I have nothing to be happy about, although I am trying to be happy for him. Theoretically that should be enough but it isn't!

Thanks for reading me vent. Barely slept last night. Cried today at work. Geesh.

Just call me "DJ"

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Thanks for sharing this, DJ. You don't say where the 14-year-old has been all these years. I can't help but wonder. I'm sure all this is very hard for you. I don't think you have much choice but to try to be as supportive as you can, but do let him know how you feel. I wish you all the best.

Amigo said...

I am glad to find this post. My hubby always said I am crazy to think too much about future. I always think I am crazy. No one like me dislike taking of others kids. I think if I have this kind of thought how can I tell him I want to have babies with him. I know I am more than normal. A lot of woman have similar feeling.

Anonymous said...

I have been in my relationship for about 3 years. I am very open minded and love my boyfriends son. But there's always those days when I feel overwhelmed or taken for granted. I moved in and started doing all the housework as well as everything for his 4 year old. I told him that I enjoy being with his son and doing stuff that makes him happy. I never perceived it would get as intense as it has. It is now at the point where I get up with him for school make all lunches clean and take care of him untill dinner. The odd time that I have to work my boyfriend assumes responsibility again. I know I let myself get that deep in his life, but I always assumed my boyfriend would see how hard I tried and how much I cared and truly want me to do things for myself at times. I wanted to discuss with him how sometimes I get stressed out because I am 24 and have never had a child or been this responsible for one. The mother is in te picture but takes advantage of how much my boyfriend will take his son and only has his 2 days out of the week. When I brought the topic up he immediately told me I was a liar and that I made it seem like I wanted to be a mom to him, and nothing for myself. I was hurt especially because he made comments like if I don't keep doing what I have been doing then he has no problem getting rid of me. I want to be in both of thier lives but I want him to respect my free time and know that I don't ask for time to myself to be malicious. But truly because I know I deserve it and he can't just treat me like I have no Better option then be always be a perfect mother. It has came to the point where o spend all of my money and time caring or worrying about my relationship with him. I wish I was put first once and a while, but instead I am put second but expected to treat his kid like o am his mom. It's a lot of pressure and tilt I will never have the same feeling towards him as his biological parents. I just don't want to be made to feel bad for possibly putting myself first at times.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous Nov. 19, it sounds to me like your boyfriend has found himself a free babysitter and doesn't care enough about your needs. I wouldn't stick around if I were you.

Anonymous said...

What a hateful stepchild you are. It's people like you that make step parents struggle. She's been with your father since you were 9!!!! Seek help, immediately. For your baby's sake.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Easy now, Anonymous Dec. 13. I'm not sure who you're responding to. I'm guessing you're defending a previous commenter, but we all have feelings.

Anonymous said...

First I have to thank you all for your understanding and support for one another, it is lovely. I come from a different scope or lens, if you will. My husband, whom I love and adore, is the one who is childless by marriage. I bring an 8 year old son to the marriage from a previous very bad marriage years ago. We are trying to have a child of our own, but I am 40 this month and desperately afraid it is not going to work for us. My husband was more than happy with our relationship and with what he and my son had together prior to moving in together and marrying about 6 months ago (we dated for over 3 years and the two did not meet until about a year ago). He has all of a sudden regressed. We were so in love, very much on the same page about life, what goals we would like for my son, having a baby, many things. Now he has become very angry towards me because he doesn't feel "he is cut out to be a stepdad" and that is "somebody else's kid". I want to understand what it is like to be in his shoes so I can be supportive but I feel he is being harsh and callous. I never placed any expectations on him--I feel that the two should do what they are comfortable doing and feeling and their relationship will change over time. My son is a good kid and he has the potential to adore my new husband but my husband refuses to let him in. I think my husband would prefer we go back to "when it was just the two of us." I am in such a predicament trying to make everyone happy in the home and I feel terrible because my sensitive, loving child has the feeling that he is not even liked. Any insight or feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous, I'm sorry this happening to you and your husband. Step-parenting is hard. I was on the other side of the equation. My husband had three kids from his first marriage. The youngest moved in with us a couple years into the marriage. I was glad for a chance to be his live-in mother, but I have to tell you he never felt like my kid. I loved him and enjoyed being around him, but there were a lot of things we couldn't share because he was raised in his early years by someone else. He got her values, her lack of religion, her ways of doing things, not mine. And I always had to share him with his mother, who had a lot more right to him than I did. As for his older brother and sister, that has always been a bumpy road. Your son and your husband will both change over time as they grow into the relationship and as your boy matures. The marriage is new. Give them time to get used to it. Meanwhile, God willing, you will be able to have a baby together soon.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am a husband in the same situation as your husband. When I married my wife three years ago her daughter who is our daughter now was three at the time. My wife and I talked about the possibility of having a child together but for health reasons she is nrvous to have another one. I love my daughter very much but it does play with my mind when I realize that she looks more like her birth dad and that I can't have that experience with my wife of having my own child. Although we might not ask for it we just need a reminder sometimes that you really wish you could have a child with us. We also do well with those reminders of admiration or appreciation for being a good dad to the stepchild because no matter how much you love the stepchild it is seemingly impossible to avoid the constant reminder that you've never had your own. Navigating this challenge for men is easier with an understanding and appreciative wife (which I'm sure you are as mine is) who often verbalizes it. I hope that makes sense.

anominous said...

I am a 55 yr old woman in a second marriage. I have no children of my own, my husband has 4 children 3 triplets and a daughter. The triplets are coming up to 21 and the daughter 16. One of the triplets has just become a father. My husband and I have had a good relationship with the ex. We visit each week to see the boys and girl. Now there is a baby grandson I have been told I won't be called Nana. This has upset me as I have helped raise his kids. My husband wants to still go to his ex's house because he says he won't get to see them if he stops going. We live a bus ride away. He says the boys all work and have no time. His daughter isn't allowed to travel alone. What should I do I'm so unhappy.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Why can't you keep visiting with your husband? Come up with something else the grandchildren can call you. There has to be a way to make this work.

anominous said...

The relationship between the ex and myself has changed since the grandson has been born she seems to see me as some sort of threat
I don't really understand the change in her but I feel uncomfortable in her home when we visit. My husband still visits in her home and I see the baby at the mothers home and he picks me up once he has seen his kids.

Anonymous said...

i have been in a relationship for two years with my boyfriend we are both 30 years old.. he has 12 year old from one girl that he had at 17 and a 4 year old from relationship when he was 25 both relationships lasted 7 years. i made the mistake of making him beleive at first i wasnt interested in children ( though he still was) as i am the youngest in a family of 3 who has not had any children of their own yet and to be honest was just not comfortable around them. but i have always wanted 3. i also do believe we should be married first and he agrees aswell. the problem is i feel like he doesn't understand where i stand on this. i do not want to have children when im 35 when there are so many risk i want to start by having the first at least by 32 and he says he understands but i feel like he doesn't because he has already been there done that and it isnt as important to him. he only gets to see his kids every other weekend which i agree isnt alot the 12 year old ios very well behaved the 4 year old ill just say is the poster child for an misbehaving attention grabbing only child. he honestly allows her to do anything she wants because she claims she is a "big girl" but i dont agree that at just 4 she should be taking baths without supervision or going to the bathroom without someone checking that she wiped flushed and washed her hands( she doesn't do any of those, im the only one doing the bathroom check to make sure she is clean) she tears apart her room in the 2 days she is there and actually expects me to clean it for her( came over this weekend and looked at me and said " whi is my room dirty"), i feel disrespected, if i tell him i feel this way he gets defensive and says he has the most well behaved kids ( biased obviously) i just dont know if it is right for me to be upset at this , like she is just a child, but children need rules right? i was raised roman catholic we said prayers before dinner had to wash our hands after were not allowed to eat till everyone got their plate on the table and had to be asked to be excused from the table .( ive actually had many people compliment me on my table manners throughout life) but it doesn't exist in their culture. when the time comes and we do have kids ( hopefully soon)will i be mocked and made fun of by her or will my children be laughed at for having good solid rules ( as they will also be raised catholic and she is not)that i find mold children into respectable adults? am i expecting too much good behavior for a 4 year old? the clock is ticking down for me ( seeing how i want to be married first and the question doesn't look like it being asked soon) and i understand the last two girls were only 18 when they got pregnant but im 30 im not young woman like those girls i know exactly what i want in life and have a great job . he will even sometimes say things like" you should have kids already"" i wish you had a kid then we wouldnt have to worry about this"and that " having a kid young is smart and you should have done it too" like he thinks the opportunity wasn't there well it was but i CHOSE not to have a kid.. anyways this has become rambling i just need to seek advice on what more to do she doesnt get grounded , she doesnt get time outs, she doesnt get punished, and even now i can tell her brother is starting to get annoyed with her he doesnt even get any free time seeing how shes allowed to go to bed at the same time as him!

Janet said...

Hi, I can clearly see where your problem lies, you firstly need to make ground rules for when the children stay. If they are good reward them, if not make yourself clear why you are not happy. I would think up a plan and put it to your partner, explain to him that the situation is going to get worse as the children get older as there is no order in the house. They must be brought up in the way you want in your house or you will just become a skivvy for them rather than a happy relationship with them. Your partner needs to be aware that you will end up resenting them staying, whereas if things are done correctly you will look forward to their visits as you could go out for days and do things together.
As for bed times I would set different times for them according to age, but instead of just sending the child to bed, go up with them, read a story or talk about nice things you could do together like maybe bake daddy a cake in the morning, give them something to look forward to. The older child can be spending time then with dad on his own,
I hope things go well for you as I have been in a similar situation myself.

Nocluewhattodo said...

I'm 34 been with my partner for 4 years his 3 children now 9, 10 and 14 live with us permenantly as they don't have contact with their mum as she is an alcoholic and hadn't had contact in 6-7 years.
I have a wonderful relationship with all 3 kids for which in truly blessed.
Problem is I want a child of my own my partner is refusing and I don't know what to do.
He says he feels too old for another child (he's 43) and that he considers his 3 kids to be "ours" and that they look on me as a mum and we're raising them together and wants this to be enough for me.
We have a very happy family life and a wonderful relationship which I cherish but I
worry that if I stay I'll end up resenting that I never had a child of my own and ruin our relationship.
But if I go I worry I'll never have a relationship as loving or that I'll be unable to conceive anyway.(had 2 miscarriages with ex in mid 20's) and I'll have left my happy family behind for nothing.
The selfish part of me believes he should change his mind about having a child with me as a reward for bringing up his children but the sensible part of me knows that's just stupid.
Has anyone been in a similar situation and how did your choices work out?

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Does your partner understand how important it is to you to have your own baby? He will never get that you have "earned it" by taking care of his kids. Keep trying. Forty-three is not too old these days.
BTW, you might get more response if you take it to the blog's newer site at http://www.childlessbymarriageblog.com.

Nocluewhattodo said...

Thanks I've copied it over to the new site. In answer to the question yes he totally knows how much I want this. We've discussed it at length and he won't be budged. He likes to make logical decisions based on pros and cons and he's struggling to find any pros.
I've told him that I truly love him but I'm worried I'll resent him if I stay and it will destroy us anyway. I've also told him probably a bit too bluntly when he was trying to play down how much I want this that if I knew there was definitely a child in my future without him then I would leave. So he knows how serious I am.
Problem is I don't know that there is or even can be so I'm stuck with that gamble that everyone talks about where I have to decide to stick or twist.
Either way I'm going to be heartbroken and not knowing what the future holds it just seems like whatever I chose I can't win.
To add to this I actually left my ex mainly due to him not wanting to try for kids anymore after two miscarriages but yet ended up in exactly the same situation with my current partner. It just feels so unfair that I have to make that choice again.
I just don't know how to make a choice on something unknown -I.e if I stay will I learn to accept my decision without resenting him or will it destroy our relationship and me in the process.
But if I go will I meet someone I want to be in a relationship with and if I do will they want to have children and even if they do or I decide to go it alone will I be able to get pregnant or carry to full term anyway.
With so many unknowns I have no idea how to make a choice about this.

Childress not by choice said...

I came across your blog as I struggle on this mother's day that almost was. I have 4 step children ranging from 23 to 17. The two younger ones live with us. My husband and I were married when I was 43 but had tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant from about 40. Our final and last unsuccessful attempt with ivf was in August. Had it been successful this would have been my first mother's day. Additionally my brother's wife is expecting their 2nd child this month as well. While my husband tries to comfort me I can't help but think he truly has no idea how I feel bexcuse he has 4 children of his own. He says I'm a role model for his kids (their mom is an alcoholic) they look at me as their dad's wife. I have thought about using anow egg donor. It would be a no brainer if my husband didn't already have kids. Just don't know if I will see the child as more his than mine or ours. His oldest is getting married next year and now I'll have to watch as he becomes a grandfather. I just have no idea how to help him understand what it is like to feel like I'm looking in on his experience as a parent.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Childless not by choice, I feel for you. This is a tough day for us. My stepchildren saw me as their father's wife, and now that their father has passed away, they see no connection with me at all.So it's not the same, and your husband may never get that. Go do something today that has nothing to do with children. Tomorrow will be a regular day, thank God.

Anonymous said...

I have 4 stepkids that live with us full time. Their mom has drifted in and out, and she hasn't visited in over 2 years. Two of the four no longer have a relationship with her for their own reasons.
I've always been close to the kids. I met them before I met my future husband. The youngest was in second grade, the oldest in 6th. When my husband deployed I kept them both times. I didn't come into this trying to replace their mom by any means, but with the way things have unfolded, I think of them as my kids as well. Regardless of their mom, we've always managed to stay close.
The issue is, the youngest is now entering high school. I realize just how much I love being a mom, and I don't want it to end. I want the whole experience. The problem is I struggle with a chronic illness that has genetic links, and I never wanted to pass that on. My husband is all done (4 kids who can blame him?). Now their mom is pregnant again with kid number six, and I'm just filled with sadness. I love my kids, I love also teaching first grade. My whole life is children. I definitely haven't looked back, but being a childless stepmom has some aspects that can break your heart.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous, God bless you for loving all those kids. Yes, being a childless stepmom can break your heart. Try to just be thankful for the good parts. Thanks for sharing this.

Unknown said...

Is it selfish to want a divorce because of step kids who do not listen to me nor their Mom because she spoils them rotten and neither of us can control their behavior?

Anonymous said...

Hi i have a 5 year old daughter. Shes from a relationship before my marriage. Here bio dad left me when i told him i was pregnant. When she was 2 years old i met my husband and the two of them bonded instantly. She only knows him as her dad and his family as hers. My husband wants to have a baby. But i do not want to have another baby. By career is progressing and i would like to study again. I havent yold my husband that i dont want another child. I dont want to hurt him. I know his parents are looking forward to having granchildren of their own and he is looking forward to being a farther. Im hoping in time he could see things differently

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anonymous June 30, you're not being fair to your husband by not talking to him about your feelings. Of course he expects to have children with you and his parents want grandchildren. He probably won't change his mind, and the longer you keep your reluctance to yourself the worse it will get.

Anonymous said...

Anon June 30th. Flip your situation and it is mine. *First without any negative feedback, I'd like to state that I am a lesbian. I met my wife when her child had just turned 2. That was even strange for me to say HER child...I will always think of her as my little girl. I would do absolutely anything for her and I love her unconditionally. Anyways, my daughters father is not in our lives. He is in jail in a different state. My daughter has no remembrance of him (but obviously we can't lie to her). I don't know if it is effecting me more because I am a female, but I am so deeply hurt that I don't think my wife wants to have a baby with me...or well, as with me as it can get. I never got to experience a child being born, bringing a newborn home, sleepless nights...which sounds crazy, but I actually want (although a good sleeper wouldn't disappoint either lol). I need this. My wife and I are both very close with our daughter, but she got to experience all of the things that I did not. AND she gets to be called mommy every day. Some people take that for granted. I hear it every day and all I feel is insane jealousy. My daughter knows that she has two moms and she does make me things for mother's day etc. I am SO grateful for that. But as much as I want her to call me mom, I would not push that on her (she's 5 now). I really do love her like I would love my own flesh and blood. It's something that I can never explain, but it does not mean that I don't want my own baby. My wife is all about how life is easier now that our child is older and that our daughter is her baby etc etc. She even read something recently that was about having a second child and the mom realizing before going into labor that her baby will not be her baby after that day. I have motherly instincts and ever since I was a little girl I dreamed about being a mom. I mean, I also see it as a plus that I'm the sporty one who likes to play basketball and go fishing whereas mommy is more of a cheerleader. My point is, I cannot help but feel disappointed. I don't want my wife to think that I want another child because I want that bond, because I really do feel SO lucky to have the amazing bond that I have with our daughter. But I want that bond from day one...from birth. I want to hold my newborn in my arms and I want to be "mama" right from the beginning. I feel like I think about this every day.... :( help

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Anon Aug. 1, Thank you for sharing this. It's totally understandable tat you would want your own baby and your own mommy experience. Lesbian or straight, the problem is the same in any couple. I hope you can work this out so you are both happy.

Dog mom for life said...

Hi everyone. First let me say that I am sorry for everyone's pain. We may all have different circumstances but nonetheless, it still hurts.

My situation: I've been with my fiancé for 3 years. He has 2 grown sons that arent really friendly to either one of us. At the age of 47, my biological clock keeps reminding me what I don't have .... kids. I can't have children (physically) and he said no more kids for him from day one. I am okay most days, but getting together at parties with a bunch of mom's is brutally hard for me. Especially now. We had a party to go to today at his childhood friends house. I get incredibly sad when I can't relate to the women at the party, who go on and on talking about their families. They aren't doing anything wrong. But my fiancé is being incredibly insensitive. He doesn't understand. As a matter of fact, I've been crying telling him how difficult it is for me and he just got mad for me not going. If I was 10 years older or younger I might be okay but I'm at the point where I just faced the reality that I'll never be a mother. Advice please?

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

Dog Mom,
I wish I had good answers for you. By now you have either gone to the party or not. Your fiance is putting you in a tough spot because if you don't go, he'll be mad at you. If you do go, you'll be unhappy. I would try to go and make the best of it, being very honest with everyone that you need lots of support because it's so hard for you. I wish you the best.
Sue

Dog mom for life said...

Thank you for your reply! I did not go and my fiancé and I are not in a good place at the moment. I am/was just too sensitive to go, especially if women start discussing their opinions about my situation. I never realized how opinionated people can be until no!
I know it things wishe my fiancé could realize I didn't want to go to make life difficult for him.
Thank you again.

Sue Fagalde Lick said...

I'm sorry it went badly. And yes, some people can be extremely opinionated. Hang in there.