MamaTo2 - posted on 03/31/2011 ( 7 moms have responded )
Sorry this will be long but I really need *support*, encouragement, or positive advice and there are a lot of factors involved so please bear with me!
Our situation has been extremely difficult from day one because of details I can't go into, but my fiancé's ex left him shortly after getting pregnant, we got together a few months later, she then said she didn't even know if he was the father, and made no further contact with him...until she needed money and a babysitter a month after baby was born. My boyfriend was happily involved from then on, taking the baby overnight twice a week, paying child support weekly in an amount she stipulated- much more than the state requires, to the point that we were going broke because it was so much of his paycheck, and before there was even a paternity test. Eventually he started buying her groceries instead until it could be set in court. But he bought whatever she wanted, the most expensive brands, no questions asked. He's always done whatever she asked with no complaint. Usually her demands are unreasonable and no benefit to his daughter; just selfish requests to try to control him and test whether he'll bend over backwards. I've told him it's not smart to let her manipulate and control him because it'll get worse over time, and sometimes it affects not just him but our whole family and that's not fair to us. Instead of standing up to her he'd defend her, fight with ME about it, then admit later he knew it was a bad idea and that she was just being a spoiled bitch, and says he only did it because he didn't want to fight with her. But she never says anything to his face so basically he'd rather fight with me than get her nasty texts that he could just ignore. I don't get it.
He's always taken excellent care his daughter, was excited to buy things for her, had to pick just the right colors and patterns, cared for her attentively and tenderly. All without much help from me, because he and BM have both said their daughter is none of my business and I'm to stay out of it, so I did. With both my pregnancies he wanted no part in the preparations, said he just "doesn't get excited about that stuff," doesn't care about colors or patterns, had no interest in my ob appointments or ultrasounds, sometimes doesn't even respond to our boys needs. He claims he just doesn't know how to take care of babies, doesn't know what they need and doesn't have the nurturing instinct so I should just do it. I've told him how much this hurts me because I know better, I watched him do it all for his daughter and had to listen to how brokenhearted he was when his ex didn't involve him in HER pregnancy. When I ask for anything our sons need (which isn't often) I have to ask several times, make a good case for why they need it, and then he'll almost always let me get it but I get the cheapest possible stuff and then still have to listen to him bitch later about spending that money.
When I got pregnant BM got jealous and paranoid saying he'd forget all about his daughter, that he'd stop giving her money because I "wouldn't let him." (I never once told him not to.) She spread rumors about him, accused him of being a deadbeat, and blamed me and our unborn son. She sent texts telling him their daughter comes above our son and he better always put her first because she *deserves* to come first. She cut down his visitations saying it wasn't good for his daughter to be around a bitch like me, even though she knows nothing of me because I'm not from around here and we have no mutual friends. Then took away all visitation until he could get a court order nine months later, in which SHE requested visits be short times, and now bitches that he doesn't spend enough time with his daughter (i.e. when she needs a sitter). Whenever he tries to accomodate for me and our boys in any situation she tells him he shouldn't have had more children. So she alone is a big part of the frustration! And the fact that he'll bend over backwards to keep her happy but doesn't mind fighting me on every little thing.
His daughter is now 2 1/2, our first son is 1 1/2 and we just had a second son. When his daughter starting coming here again she bullied my son endlessly for the first 6 months. She was constantly smacking him, shoving him down, taking toys. When he'd crawl to something she'd run ahead and lay across it, making nasty faces at him over her shoulder. It went on all day whenever she was here. When I'd point it out and ask my BF to address and correct the behavior, he'd get mad and say he didn't see any of it. He said *if* she was picking on our son he'd soon be big enough to fight back. I know it's normal kid stuff, but I believe it should be corrected not ignored! To make it worse his ex would be sending texts saying things like he better treat his daughter like the angel that she is.
It didn't take long for my son to start defending himself. I'm certainly not saying he only does it when provoked. Like any kid that age, he throws his share of smacks and steals toys too. But I stop it, correct him and am actively teaching him it's not ok. And of course my BF isn't ok with it. He is constantly scolding our son, calling him "bully" and "brat" and "spoiled" which he's definitely not, he doesn't get whatever he wants and when I say no I stand firm, and he's not a bully either. His motive isn't meanness, he has on his "play" face as opposed the awful glares she'd always give him, and he does it far less often than she did, yet for some reason it's a much bigger deal to my BF now that it's our son doing it. She has now stopped physically bullying and just constantly bosses him around, yells at him, and tattles over nothing. She completely freaks out if he touches something she *thinks* is hers, even if she wasn't even interested in it before. She refuses to share or play *with* him, which I know is also normal but shouldn't this be taught? The other day she was doing a puzzle, my son picked up some pieces she wasn't using, and she freaked out, telling him "no!" and whining to my BF. Whenever that stuff happens I say there's enough for both and suggest we show them how to play *together*. My BF gets annoyed, makes some snide comment about our son, angrily gives the whole thing to him, and gets her get a different toy to play with alone. Whenever I said a word about her picking on him before or her behavior now my BF says I'm "mean" to her--I have never even raised my voice at her. I just tell her gently but firmly to be nice, leave him alone, etc. Same as I do my son, and he doesn't think that's mean! So now usually I only scold when my BF's not in the room to get into an argument over it. Since he wants me to stay out of it, he should teach her to behave, and since he doesn't she gets away with all the same stuff (and more) that our son gets in trouble for. I feel like he lets her basically treat our son the way his ex treats HIM! She is allowed to do whatever and talk however she wants to him. But if our son does any little thing my BF is all over it. When he whines my BF is immediately annoyed, has no sympathy and tells him to knock it off. He's one and a half! But with his daughter his response is a gentle "what's wrong sweetie???" And it's not just about seeing her less--he works long hours so our son is in bed when he leaves and when he gets home most days. He only really has a day and a half each week with us, so he doesn't see our son much either. He tells people our son is such a handful and his daughter is so easy in comparison! Our son isn't bad, just energetic. Everyone who babysits says he's the best kid they've ever watched. He does act out, but it's mostly when my BF ignores him. His daughter only seems easier because he simply doesn't deal with the problem areas!
It's to the point I dread his visitation days because it's exhausting constantly trying to defend my son against such behavior and having no authority to teach her better. Plus the contrast in daddy's treatment of each of them completely breaks my heart for my son!! It's not that he's *always* angry with our son or never gives him any attention at all, he's just much harsher and a million times less attentive with our son, and that striking difference I see with his daughter shows me it IS in his nature. I'm afraid my son is going to grow up angry and resentful toward his dad when he starts realizing he's treated unfairly. The worst thing is, I get the impression my BF doesn't really want us all to be a family. I feel like he wants to keep her separate from us, like he sees himself, me, and our sons as one family, and him, his ex, and their daughter as another family instead of incorporating his daughter as a PART of this family and trying to foster good relations and fair treatment among everyone. He didn't even let me go to court with him, he had me drive him then wait in the car the whole time because he said it made him uncomfortable for me to be around his ex. Why?? And I feel like his ex has him brainwashed into really believing their daughter is perfect and above us. When we first got together, I thought I'd love being the stepmom, I imagined a happy little family! I used to be a very confident, secure person. But now I feel such bitterness, resentment and insecurity over the whole situation. I'm constantly wondering if he truly wants to be a family with us or just stays out of a sense of duty. He reassures me a lot verbally but I tell him I need his actions to back it up and he says he doesn't know how to do that. I don't know how to make things better.