Do you think your husband fully understands how hard it is

[deleted account] ( 30 moms have responded )

to be a step parent? its the biggest wedge in our relationship. I almost want to leave because of it. If we didn't have a child together I'm sure I would leave. He just doesn't understand how difficult it is to be the step mom.

Am I alone?

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Mary - posted on 02/03/2009

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Not alone. I have been helping raise 3 kids of a deceased mother for over 10 yrs. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. My bags have been packed so many times, I started keeping a packed bag in the trunk of my car. My husband just thinks I am dramatic. I feel so unappreciated for the years I put into this. I raised my 4 boys and took on his 3 when I was 42. They were 8,10,13 at the time.

Devonie - posted on 02/02/2009

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No, not fully. For the first few years, I didn't think he understood at all. Now, he's much better and I know he truly appreciates what I do and he believes with his whole heart that I am more of a mother to our daughter than her bio mom (who has primary custody). I think he understands more and more each day, but I don't think anyone can fully understand a relationship or position unless they're in it. I don't know how long you've been in your relationship, but it should get easier over time, regardless. Just remember to communicate with him. Some guys don't want to hear it or deal with it, but he can't understand if you're not sharing. It's his responsibility to TRY to understand.

Renee - posted on 02/02/2009

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thanks Mika! Yeah we have had conversations about how he knows that he can't let them get away with a lot and how he needs to repremand them more. We've also had talks about how if he disagrees with what i'm repremanding the kids for that we need to step aside, away from the kids, and he needs to explain how he feels and discuss it from there. Things have started to get better and i can see some changes with him repremanding the kids more, but its just aslow process. Then again, any progress is good progress.

Beck - posted on 02/02/2009

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So what happens when you feel you have to keep your feeling silent from your husband about your issues with being a step parent. My husband thinks all is peachy because I can't tell him I feel anything cause it seems like I have an issue with his son. How do you go about letting him know that it is a difficult situation for you to be in? I mean there is 16 years between my husband and me and so he still thinks alot of my problems I feel are because I am not as mature as he is . Not because I am trying to be parent to a child who isn't mine. I think the ex wife is always doing stuff with her son so my husband also is trying to make things when he comes here fun and enjoyable and then I pick him up on things and even though he does them without complaining I can see my husband thinking I should really butt out. but when I don't get involved in things he thinks I am avoiding his son and so being rude. Where the heck is the common ground!????

Mika - posted on 02/02/2009

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My husband and I have had our talks on the whole disiplining of his kids....your soon to be husband needs to respects your feeling when you have the kids at your house if you guys are going to make a commentment to each other then it also has to be about the kids. the kids need direction and disipline no matter whose parents the kids are out....right now he may want to be the fun parent but it will all come crumbling down with the kids are in trouble at school or even by the police, so theres a time to be fun then theres at time to be serious.



he should never take out his issues he has with his ex on you....his ex is history outside of the kids, but he has you now , so he should treasure that he has someone that will take on this responsibility .....Mika

Renee - posted on 02/02/2009

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I can definently understand where everyone is coming from. My fiance doesnt understand why it upsets me when his children don't listen to me, and dont show that they care about me even being there sometimes. It's hard being a step mom and not having any kids of your own with this man that you love. Just knowing that him and his ex have all this history and share this special bond of having children together that you dont have with him, really takes a toll on me sometimes. On top of all of that, when him and his ex get into arguments about the kids and it makes him upset or puts him in a bad mood and he then ignores me ...it makes me upset and he doesnt get it. It also bothers me when he complains about the things i repremand the kids for with them in the room and then turns around and lets them do whatever because he wants to be the fun parent. Kind of like a competition with his ex. So as you can probably imagine, the kids don't ever really listen to me...they run to daddy because he wants to be better than there mom.

Heather - posted on 02/02/2009

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I will rank right up there with he doesnt get it.  They try to say they do but they really dont.  I mean face it - to begin with they are men so that in itself makes them think on it all differently.  It can be so frusterating and you can feel so left out or underappreciated.  Sorry you are feeling like this but know you are not alone

Reena - posted on 02/01/2009

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No, he really doesn't get it. I've mentioned time and again that it takes even more out of a person to give and do for others and get absolutely nilch in return. His response has always been, "My kids don't give me anything back-- they are kids and kids are naturally self absorbed."



Thanks Mr. counselor (yes, DH is a clinical SW). I do know this about kids, but what I am referring to is the good stuff a parent also gets. The "Hi! I Missed you!" the hugs and kisses etc. I get very polite thank yous etc.



We adopted last year and now DH is starting to get what I mean a bit more. I give a ton to my daughter (not so much to the steps anymore). He asked me a few times-- see, how hard it is. I reply yes, and look at all the LOVE I get in return.



I've also backed off some on how much I involve myself with the steps. I do a lot to help out-- largely re-arrange my schedule so I can be home for them most afternoons during the week. But recently I've told DH that he will have to take them with him more often on the weekends when he goes shopping or to the gym etc. Now he is really starting to realize how 'not easy' it is to have the kids around all the time-- but they are his kids and ultimately his responsiblity. I make sure he doesn't forget that.

[deleted account]

i love my partner to death.  but he is also very laid back. I don't think he realises the strain on me that his ex puts us through.  But then again i was looking for a man that loves his kids and he does. so i take the good with the bad.



Kids grow up and move on with their lives soulmates are with you forever.

Lourdes - posted on 01/30/2009

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Amen to all of you! 
I know for a fact that my Boyfriend hasn't got a clue as to how hard it's been for me. I've been a step mom since the tender age of 21!!!
It's getting better, now after 3 years.
Until his X decides to send him some raunchy text message.
It'll never be just him and I, or even just him, myself and my step daughter. The X will always be there to stir things up.
I must say... I've been doing good in terms of dodging whatever grief she throws my way.

Mika - posted on 01/29/2009

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OMG , you are not alone ...i have left my husband twice because of the stress to our marriage caused by the ex, he has custody of the kids so i feel im raising these kids yet i was never being acknowleged for being a good step-mom. the ex always got the benefit of being their mother...she would take them out as a trophy peice when it was convienent. yet my husband and i would put in the work and elbow grease into parenting the kids only for my husband to give his ex chance after chance to be a mom to the kids only to let the kids down......how fair is that?yes  she gave birth to the kids but im sorry it takes alot more than that to be a mother.

Beck - posted on 01/29/2009

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I'm finding it really hard at the moment because he complains to me about the ex wife but if I make suggestions he doesnt wat to follow through as she is too much trouble to deal with. My step son is always talking about his mum too and its getting a bit annoying, "my mum has one of those, oh mum and I did this this week, yeah I been there with mum" My husband is always saying to me he needs to have a him and his son day and I understand that but it feels like the fact that I am not his mum is a real hard thing as I feel left out. My SS always wants time with Daddy and though I know he likes me I can't help feeling like he wishes it was him and his dad again. He gets that just him and his mum time as he is an only child and she can spend that time with him but my husband now has me and our daughter who my SS loves to bits but I feel so left out alot. I have considered leaving but I can't do that to my daughter or my new one coming. I love my husband. But I feel so alone alot of the time and my SS doesnt know he is doing it. How do I get around this? We only have him on the weekends but as my husband works all week I only get a certain amount of alone time with him and the rest is taken up by the kids but I'd like to do family stuff on the weekends, I'd like a little attention on weekends too but I dont get it. I don't know if my issue is my whether my husband understands or wether I am a bit against my SS for taking up my tiewith my husband.

Brandy - posted on 01/29/2009

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You are not alone! I have felt the same way you are feeling many times in the 10 years we have been married! It has gotten easier for me because I have stepped back from all parenting where my stepsons are concerned. Shortly after I stopped doing everything for them my husband began to see the light! So, this maybe an option for you! Good Luck and if you ever need someone to talk to I am here!

Michelle - posted on 01/29/2009

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OMG it is so refreshing to see that I too I am not alone!!!  I'm going thru a very difficult time right now with my SS and his dad has alienated me to protect his son.  I feel so disrespectd and not needed that it is making me rethink the entire relationship.  In my case I do not have an ex to deal with, she passed away 6 mo after giving birth to a premie who is now 20. I see the caregiver/carereceiver relationship between my husband and his son and he has no plans ot let it go.  They both live and feed off of it whereas I woudlike the ss to be more responsible and independent.... what can be done???

Melissa - posted on 01/05/2009

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I was in the same boat.  My husband didn't want to discipline because as he would say  "I only get them 2 weekends a month".  So when they treated me bad or didn't listen I would get so upset.  His ex-wife would call and bitch him out on a daily basis and he would never do anything about it and it would just piss me off.  I finally told him he needs to get some balls and tell her and her husband to mind their own business.  It took him some time to do it, but when he finally did our relationship got better.  He finally laid down the law with the his girls and told them they better start showing me some respect and when I discipline them he started to back me up, because he was finally seeing how bad they were treating me.  He has 3 girls and they are 19 and 18 and on their own so things are going great.  The twins still treat me like crap but they are not allowed in our home when they treat me like that, so life has gotten a lot better!!!!

Melissa - posted on 01/05/2009

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I was in the same boat.  My husband didn't want to discipline because as he would say  "I only get them 2 weekends a month".  So when they treated me bad or didn't listen I would get so upset.  His ex-wife would call and bitch him out on a daily basis and he would never do anything about it and it would just piss me off.  I finally told him he needs to get some balls and tell her and her husband to mind their own business.  It took him some time to do it, but when he finally did our relationship got better.  He finally laid down the law with the his girls and told them they better start showing me some respect and when I discipline them he started to back me up, because he was finally seeing how bad they were treating me.  He has 3 girls and they are 19 and 18 and on their own so things are going great.  The twins still treat me like crap but they are not allowed in our home when they treat me like that, so life has gotten a lot better!!!!

Melissa - posted on 01/05/2009

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I was in the same boat.  My husband didn't want to discipline because as he would say  "I only get them 2 weekends a month".  So when they treated me bad or didn't listen I would get so upset.  His ex-wife would call and bitch him out on a daily basis and he would never do anything about it and it would just piss me off.  I finally told him he needs to get some balls and tell her and her husband to mind their own business.  It took him some time to do it, but when he finally did our relationship got better.  He finally laid down the law with the his girls and told them they better start showing me some respect and when I discipline them he started to back me up, because he was finally seeing how bad they were treating me.  He has 3 girls and they are 19 and 18 and on their own so things are going great.  The twins still treat me like crap but they are not allowed in our home when they treat me like that, so life has gotten a lot better!!!!

Bethany - posted on 01/05/2009

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Yes, yes, and yes. I'm young and have a long life ahead of me, but I know when I die I will say being a step-mom was the hardest thing I have ever done. I'm so sorry it's hard for you right now. My husband and I just started therapy to help with the issues that I have with my step-son. We have five all together and we only ever fight about his son. It's so frustrating. I love seeing all these posts. It's so nice to see that I am not alone!

Annette - posted on 01/05/2009

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OMG!!! Melissa!!!! If I had the time to type I would be here for days!!!!!! I am so with you. With my husband being gone I thought I was going to have to deal with this alone with no one to vent to but....yeah!!!!! I like this site!!!! I love the comment....Only a mother should do those things. I was told that I was not to be involved with the kids at all, and that she doesnt want to discuss anything with me. I told her as long as she left me the responsibility of raising her children then she would have to discuss anything I said with me and good luck with the "not be involved thing" of course that was the day before she called me to find out what doctor the kids saw...and of course....I reminded her that she didnt want me involved or discuss anything with me. I was nice though.....I said "Have a good day" right before I hung up, So she called my husband and he was clueless and told her she would have to talk to me. HAH!!! She hung up on him...Every once in awhile he comes through. My favorite thing is when she blames me for things and tells the kids that I am a greedy B...they know the truth and she only makes herself look bad. Poor her so misunderstood. Ok...I am off my soap box here.

Annette - posted on 01/04/2009

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I think we just need to tell ourselves that we have to be there for the kids and that when they grow up they will realize why we do what we do. I may not do it right all the time but at least I do it and that is a whole lot more than the real mom does. And now I am step parenting without my hubby. He is in Iraq, and if I say anything wrong she can yank the shared custody. Glad I found this site...

Cassie - posted on 01/03/2009

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I don't think anyone can understand what it feels like to be a step-parent, but a step-parent. Until I married my husband, who has 2 daughters, I didn't like my own step-mom and thought she was in the way of my relationship with my father. Becoming a step-mom myself has made me realize and understand how difficult it is to raise someone else's child/children.

Jannie - posted on 01/03/2009

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Annette Shiflet>>> That sounds just like my husband. 'It's not worth going into the discussions' And no it isn't but it gets me so angry to see her control our life and him just taking it. ARGHH! Just like you I wish he would just once in a while get mad and even with her.

But maybe it's impossible to understand, when your not divorced.....

Katie - posted on 01/02/2009

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I'm soooo glad to hear that I'm not the only one who feels this way. I find myself constantly telling my husband that he does not understand what I'm going through. He thinks that he does understand... but he never will because he will never be a step-parent.

Penny - posted on 12/31/2008

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No, I know my husband doesn't know how hard it is for me. I've thought the same thing before myself but I haven't left yet and I've been with him for going on 8 years. We've been married for going on 5 of those years. We have a 2 year old son so, I don't want my son to grow up in a broken home. My step daughter and step son are both teens (18 and 16) so, I'm trying to hang in there until they are grown and in college. Luckily, they are both crazy about their baby brother. We get along well most of the time but we do have our ups and downs (and those can get pretty bad). Hang in there and don't let it ruin your relationship with your husband.

Keri - posted on 12/31/2008

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You are not alone, but it takes hard work. I thought I had it bad until I read some of the other posts on this site. My stepson never tells me (flat out) he doesn't have to listen to me, or that his parents are going to get back together-because they aren't.
They are both happy in their current relationships. Be their friend, give it time, and earn their trust. It's hard, but I have pretty much accomplished my goal. It also helps I have a 5 year old stepdaughter who is my baby and loves me so much and we hardly ever are apart. She is like my best friend.

Annette - posted on 12/30/2008

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NO!...I think that it is hard for anyone to truly know, unless they are in that position. It is really important to find a way to get him to support you. It also makes a difference on what is making it hard. In my case it was his ex..or still is his ex. I constantly have to tell myself that I am doing it for the kids. And I really believe that if it werent for me they would not have a mother. She is thier mom and thier friend but I am the one who disiplines, and guides and does the homework and takes them to the doctor and dentist and plays taxi and and and. She takes them to the movies and shopping and bakes their favorite desert and sends them to me to get them caught up on homework. And calls me to ask me who their doctor is. My husband appreciates what I do and he will listen to me complain and he agrees with me most of the time but...he says very little to her. His favorite comment is...."it just isnt worth it to get into it with her, she wont listen" Although I know he is right...it would be nice once in awhile if he were to just get mad and tell her something!!..ok..now I am venting. It is hard but then the other day my step-daughter told me that. I am a cool mom and that I command not demand respect in a very cool way and that I would be great working with teenagers. So...I guess that makes the last 10 years worth it.

Jannie - posted on 12/30/2008

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I know just how you feel. My husbands ex. is very bitter even though they've been divorced for 9 years. There's always a lot of conflicts concerning the childrens visits. One of the children lives with us and one with her, so it should be simple but it isn't. I don't think my husband knows how much it takes from our relationship when there is a conflict with her. I have to take care of all the planning, because he doesn't care when he sees his kids as long as he sees them more than once a months. So I have to have a lot of contact with her and it's always me who get all her cr*p dumped on me. And sometimes he just do nothing. I have to put up with his teen-daugther who lives with us and though I love her it's hard to be a parent to a teen who thinks her mom is a godess.Especialy because she is socially disfunctional. Not because of her age but because....well of her moms raising when she was younger.
But to return to your question, no I don't think 'the husband' truely understand how hard it is, unless he is a stepdad.

[deleted account]

I totally understand where you are coming from. I really don't think my husband knows or understands not only how stressful it is to be a step-parent but to deal with the ex on top of it. There have been times where I feel as if the ex and all her drama is coming between our marriage and our own lives. It's so consuming, its ridiculous. I just have to pray for my sanity, our marriage, our children, and even for the ex. I'm just thankful we can vent on here. It's nice when you talk to someone who understands where you are coming from. I hope things get better for you.

Jennifer - posted on 12/30/2008

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I have had good times and bad times and really bad times over the last 13 years with my step children. As they get older it gets easier and as time goes by things start to blend together a lot better than when they are younger. At first (I'd say the first 5 years) things were difficult with them wanting their parents to be together and realizing that that was not going to happen. At first they wanted me to go away and time all together was strained. This put alot of pressure on the marriage and eventually hurt all of us in the long run. After we had our children together and the other kids realized that I wasn't going anywhere is when it started to get normal. Now his three are grown and two of them have children and things are a lot better. It seems like eternity when you are going thru all that but now that I look back it wasn't so bad and now we are just one big happy family. Hope things aren't too bad and that you can ride it all out because it is worth it in the end.

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