whether to stay or leave this "so called" engagement

KeRashawn - posted on 09/17/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )

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Im 20yrs old, I have a 1yr old daughter and another on the way due in November, a boy. My fiancé is 29 and he has a 4yr old daughter. Lets just start with from the beginning on this relationship. His daughter was 1 making 2 when I came into the picture. Her mother was a dead beat, so I was the one to comb her hair, buy her cute girly clothes, wash her hair, potty train her, and show her the correct way to wipe. I was also the one to take the time out to bring her places to do girly things like get her toes polished, and just was her mother figure when her mom wasn't there. At the time, I was only 18yrs old, now 20. So I took on FULL responsibility of a child that wasn't even mines when I could have been hanging out with friends enjoying myself. We ended up getting engaged, and pregnant. My daughter is now 1. Now this person that I was MADLY in love with, shows me no respect at all. He says its because I don't want to be bothered with his daughter. Well, every since I got pregnant, her mother FINALLY stepped in after the most neediest time in her life. Well, on with the story, he says I don't love his daughter since I had my own. Which is sooo not true. I love both the same, but I had a chance to experience a natural bond with my own child being that I carried her for 9 months. So, to continue, so every time his daughter comes over, we are constantly arguing. Whether its the way I answered her, if I told her she cant have some, if I told her not to pick up on her little sister. It is EVERYTHING that I do. So with me having a daughter of my own and pregnant again and she just wants to cling to me, I'm hormonal from the pregnancy, and us arguing a whole lot, ive became an emotional wreck. We went on family vacation, and we barely said two words to each other. I cried majority of the time. After the horrible vacation we had, I decided to take off my engagement ring until we or our situation had gotten better. Which was in June. He never even noticed I wasn't wearing it!!!!! So now its September, and he went away last weekend and we missed each other so much that things all of a sudden got better when he came back home. we talked our issues out, and we decided to put the engagement ring back on. Now, its OFF again. I am sooo stressed out and confused. I just need to know what actually to do??? Should I call it quits? I'm trying to stay and make it work for the sake of our kids.

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Julia - posted on 09/18/2013

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Once the new baby comes you will give them most of the attention. The least independent child (typically the youngest) always gets the most attention because they can't do as much for them-self. Good Luck.

KeRashawn - posted on 09/18/2013

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thanks so much for all your advice. He really is generally good to me besides the arguments and stress that comes along with having to take care of both his daughter and mines. Also having to hear that I do more for my daughter than I do his. But hey, she is BIOLOGICALLY mines right? thanks so much and were going to try this counseling thing!

Julia - posted on 09/17/2013

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While I don't believe in staying together for the kids I do believe in trying your best to work out relationship problems when you can. Studies show that people who rate their relationships as very unhappy but for things out rate their relationships very high within 5 years. Second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriages in large part because the ability to work out problems is a huge part of the success of a marriage and someone who couldn't communicate effectively and work out problems in their first marriage are unlikely to suddenly gain that skill in their next marriage. Plus second marriages come with a whole new set of stresses when you have a blended family.

It is difficult to give advice on these things without really knowing the people but here are a few things I have noticed with friends in similar situations.

1) Many of my friends who thought they were saints to their step kids really weren't. They we resentful and sometimes mean after the honeymoon wore off. Not to say this is the case with you, but I have rarely seen a step parent who appeared tot he outside world to be as nice to the step kids as they believed themselves to be. If you truly love your fiancé and his daughter try to listen to his observations and not be defensive. Maybe there is a compromise position where he can ask a little less and you can do a little more to meet in the middle. It is really hard to see our own behavior is a realistic way and dealing with 2 kids is a lot more stressful than dealing with one so maybe you have become a little snappier than usual and maybe even if they were both biologically yours you would be snappier, you are pregnant and have 2 small children to care for. If you are stressed and a little snappier maybe you could work on that and maybe he could work on being a little more understanding that things have changed and you are more stressed because you have more kids to care for and therefore more to do.

2) The other bio parent is rarely the slug/dead beat that the ex partner makes them out to be. It might not be that she is better than she was, it might be you have been around long enough to see that she isn't the pycho she was initially made out to be. Whether she has matured and become a better mother or was actually better than your fiancé made her out to be use that to your advantage. Talk to her directly, be honest that you are pregnant and you are feeling stressed. see if you can work out a plan that makes it easier for both of you. Co-parenting is better that animosity, especially given that as the fiancé you don't really have much clout you aren't even legally the step mom. Try to come up with some common rules and some common behavior management techniques for both homes. This will take some stress off the little girl of having to adapt to different norms and expectations at both homes. Work together to keep things consistent and you might find you have a happier less clingy child.

3) help the daughter become more independent using positive motivators. Ask her to help with the younger sibling and the new baby when he arrives. a 4 year old can help change a diaper. she can also dress herself. make sure you fuss over her big girl/big sister abilities. pick 3 colors that all match like pink, purple and white. buy only clothes those colors she she can dress herself and always match.

4) rather than fighting have a heart to heart with your fiancé about what you both think is reasonable expectations of the other. write it down like a contract and reevaluate in 30 days. What do you need from him? more support? does he need to take on a more proactive parenting role? after all the daughter comes to be with her dad not you. You can love her and help but her primary relationship should be with her dad. You should both be agreeing to work and make some accommodations to your behavior if you want your engagement and eventually your marriage to last.

5) try family counseling and be sure to stick with it. The average couple only makes it 5 sessions in counseling. because after 5 sessions you have cut through the bs and the counselor is pretty clear on the issues so it becomes harder because that is when you really have to start working hard at things.

You are very young and you have 2 kids, when you are pregnant and hormonal is probably not the time to be walking out. If he generally treats you well, loves you and is a good dad it is worth trying to work through it you might find you feel differently in 6 months. On the other hand if he is in anyway abusive then it is time to get out.

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