honest and possibly sensitive question, but, if you knew then what you know now, would you have got involved with someone who had kids?

(62 Posts)
wannaBe Fri 05-Apr-13 17:57:42

was going to namechange for this but ...

Before I was married and had my ds I was adament that I would never get involved with someone who had kids. It just seemed like a complete nightmare to me, although obviously at that point I had no dc of my own so didn't have that maternal thing iyswim.

Now I have a ds who is ten, and me and h separated in July last year. I am by no means even in the market for dating let alone getting into any kind of relationship, but sometimes I see posts on here from step parents and the issues they have being a blended/step/(whatever the correct term is) family and I think that maybe my resolve to never get involved with someone with kids hasn't actually changed.

But then the alternative is to only get involved with someone who doesn't have kids, who in turn wouldn't have a clue, and wouldn't that make me a hipocrit?

I'm not even sure this is the right place for this, but perhaps I am less likely to get a pasting here than on say ibu or chat...

So - did you ever think about it? and if you knew then what you know now, would you have thought differently?

And just to clarify, I'm not suggesting for a minute that anyone regrets the situation they're in at the moment, just whether or not with hindsight they may have made different decisions...

TrinityRhino Sat 06-Apr-13 22:54:26

its fucking hard but I would do it all again

flurp Sun 07-Apr-13 18:32:54

If there was no ex wife I would definitely do it again.
All our problems stem from her, either directly or indirectly.
My stepkids are lovely kids but they are confused and scared of being seen to take sides in their parents constant battleground of a relationship.
They have gone home after spending a week with us and both have been quiet and worried today because they know they will get the Spanish Inquisition when they get home and if they let on they had a good time she will be cross.
Same as if they mention their mum here DP scowls or rolls his eyes.
Poor things! sad

VBisme Sun 07-Apr-13 18:56:31

It's definitely not the kids that cause an issue, it's DH's ex and her inability to leave us alone.

I wasn't the OW, she kicked DH out for another man, but she's managed to rewrite history in her own mind and is the victim (because DH and I have a nice life together). So even after 5 years we still get abuse, threats to stop contact etc, most of which revolve around her relationships rather than the wants or needs of the kids.

I don't know if I'd do it again, but I would certainly go in with my eyes open, I could weep with frustration at the naive woman I was back then.

FrauMoose Sun 07-Apr-13 20:08:55

I was 35 when I met my partner, who is older than I am. Most people have accumulated a bit of history by this point in their lives. If he hadn't had one or two serious relationships and attempted to 'settle', I think that too would have made things complicated. One of the things that attracted me to him was seeing what a good, caring father he was. (So no regrets. Though I was naive about some of the difficulties of the step-parenting role. Mind you lots of people have very unrealistic ideas about what it will be like having a baby.)

planeticketplease Sun 07-Apr-13 22:00:36

If there was no ex on the scene I would maybe do it again. With an ex still present, I really don't think I would. I wouldn't change having our dc or being with dh, but it has been so hard so often that I've felt close to going under at times. I had absolutely no idea what I was letting myself in for and tbh I think it is impossible to know what step parenting will be like.

I put up with the venom from the ex and the fact that life is so hard because the dsc and I have made so much progress together and all worked so hard at it, because I love dh and because I dont want to break up my dd's family, and because finally the dsc have stability with us. That has all been worth working for, but would I do it again if I knew then what I know now? Frankly, no, I'd run for the hills and never stop running.

Petal02 Sun 07-Apr-13 22:16:56

I've never, ever regretted getting together with DH, he's a truly lovely guy. But if he ran off with the woman next door (or any other woman for that matter) I'd be VERY wary of getting involved with a man with children . Some of my darkest hours have occurred during access weekends.

But if you refuse to date men with children, then you really narrow the field!!

I would do it all over again for DH, but probably only for him. I love him and DSD to pieces, but when we first moved in together, I found it all really overwhelming. And I don't have it half as bad as some of the SMs here!

I didn't have kids of my own going into our relationship, but I have had to accept that my life is going to be a lot more limited than it could be, because we have DSD's needs to consider (and also DH's). That has been taking some time to get used to. My independence and ability to move wherever I wanted - to pursue the next adventure or the next career opportunity, or even pursuing the best local school system - has been curtailed long term so that DSD and DH can maintain their access arrangement. I know that just plain getting married and having children would do that, to a degree, but I think the limits are more firmly in place in our stepfamily because DSD has access to her mom as well. If we upped sticks and moved, it would have to be without DSD, because obviously Mum would fight for her to stay put - and DH understandably doesn't want to leave DSD behind.

Sometimes, I think it would be more convenient for me if DH was a completely single parent, a la Jude Law in The Holiday. But the truth is, DSD and I have completely different personalities and don't always understand each other. We both make a lot of effort to get along, but I'm still headstrong and bold, and she's still shy and sensitive. I'm actually glad her mom's around, because at least DSD has a female in her life who doesn't accidentally run her over sometimes. blush

Petal02 Mon 08-Apr-13 12:57:28

Even though DSD has never lived with us (it was always an EOW arrangement) it's been hard to accept that my life is ruled by a non-resident child and a woman I never met (the ex).

Pinkshaman Mon 08-Apr-13 13:18:43

It was never the child that was the issue for me, it was always the adults involved and how they behaved. If they hadn't been how they were there wouldn't have been the issues that there were.

How my bf felt about his ex was one of the first things I looked for. When he said they were friends and separated amicably, sorting out finances without a solicitor he got a big tick in the box.

NatashaBee Mon 08-Apr-13 17:15:02

No, I wouldn't. It makes me so cross when people say on here 'you knew what you were getting into when you married a man with children'. In reality, you can't predict at all what that's going to be like. Even if you get on reasonably well with the stepchildren's other parent, there are so many dynamics to the relationship that a non-step parent wouldn't think to consider and minor things that happen that can escalate - the child feeling loyal to both parents and not wanting to appear like they had a good time at the other's house, the practicalities of sorting out who 'gets' Christmas/birthdays/mothers day/fathers day each year, even dealing with your stepchild getting upset over their mother getting upset because they bought you a card on mother's day, negotiating all the potential issues that might arise, like whether you should do their washing before sending them off to the other parent, whether it's OK for a step-parent to sign their study diary for school, agreeing acceptable rules for both houses so that both parents are on the same page with regard to discipline, right down to whether you feed your stepchild a roast dinner before you return them to their other parent's home confused.

I feel like I've aged 20 years in the last 4 years - and I generally get on reasonably well with DH's ex-wife, at least to the point that she and I usually sort out all the arrangements rather than her talking to DH. God knows how I'd feel and how tough I'd find it if it was less amicable and there were constant arguments and disagreements. Exactly as Petal02 said, it completely rules your life in ways you'll never even imagine until you're in the situation. When I first got together with my husband, I looked at his relationship with his ex-wife (they managed to at least talk to eachother civilly, so i thought it would be OK), and the fact that DSD accepted me, and thought it would all be fine. <hollow laugh>

DoctorAnge Mon 08-Apr-13 18:34:59

Yes Natasha. I also walked into what looked like a "reasonable " set up that turned into a full on War over the years. I aged 20 yrs in 8. I thought if I was simply kind and loving the SC would like me.... Hollow laugh indeed.....

FrauMoose Mon 08-Apr-13 18:46:36

But then lots of people in non-step relationships think, 'Oh yes this looks like a lovely decent uncomplicated prospective partner.'

And sometimes they're right. And sometimes - well - they aren't....

NotaDisneyMum Mon 08-Apr-13 18:59:48

frau of course they do, but ending a failing relationship in which step-children are involved is a very different proposition to ending one where there are no DCs.

Step children have almost always experienced the loss or separation of their parents already in their life, and step parents are often involved in picking up the pieces from that, which makes it a lot harder to cut your loses and leave if things aren't what you anticipate!

FrauMoose Mon 08-Apr-13 19:53:41

Yes, I'd agree - though an awful lot of people do end up discovering they're not suited after the children have appeared. Uncomplicated separations and divorces appear to be in very short supply....

Yes, I would, but then Dss was 16 when i met dh so it was only a couple of years of turbulence, now Dss is 21, things are fairly harmonious.

I feel v sorry for DH and his previous gf (not ow)- his ex really made their lives hell.

Eliza22 Tue 09-Apr-13 16:58:41

I'm with DoctorAnge. I was naive. I met DH long after his wife's affair that finished their marriage. One of his kids hates me. It has been and continues to be total hell. I am condemned by her and my refuting of her accusations is never heard. The years go by and my confidence is practically non-existent.

Yes, I love DH so yes I'd do it again but I'd be tougher and not take any nastiness.

Fairylea Tue 09-Apr-13 17:02:33

Well I am very hypocritical because when I was a single parent with dd there was no way I would have got involved with another single parent... being a single parent is difficult enough without having two exes to contend with a different contact weekends etc and not to mention two or more children arguing etc.

But...
Clearly I expected someone childless to become involved with me and I've never ever had issues - I've had a few serious relationships, none ended because of me being a parent.

I am now happily married and have another dc with my now dh.

I just couldn't deal with all the hassle of trying to blend two lots of dc. But I know a lot of people do and it's fine.

Eliza22 Tue 09-Apr-13 17:13:16

I did feel that it was a positive if the potential partner had kids (and he was a good dad who was "there" for them) and saw them often. Firstly, because he might be good to my son and secondly, I could think of no reason his 3 would object to be and we'd all be happy/ok/it would work.

I was wrong.

Kaluki Wed 10-Apr-13 12:14:28

NO.
We are fine(ish) now but its been a long hard slog to get here and I still wonder if it was all worth it and if it will ever be 'easy'.
I've been a stepmum before to a lovely teenage girl who was a dream stepchild and it was a breeze so I thought I had it all sussed. I was so so wrong (another hollow laugh!)
In a way though the kids have kept us together, I have invested so much time and energy into this I can't walk away because I couldn't be responsible for putting them all through another breakup so in a way they have made us stronger!!

Morien Wed 10-Apr-13 14:25:16

It's a relief to me to read all these honest answers. The only other SM of young children I know in RL always maintains that life's just wonderful and she wouldn't have it any other way, which makes me feel crap...

DP is without a doubt the most wonderful man I've ever been involved with, and my DSCs are fantastic too - definitely no problem with any of them per se, but it's hard work and a lot of the time I feel quite isolated. I don't have DCs of my own so I feel there's a huge imbalance (although I'm not blind to the fact that my not having DCs has made it easier for us all in other ways), as well as the fact that my DP therefore isn't an SDad. I wish he were sometimes, because he might have a better understanding of my situation.

When it's good it's really good, but I can't help but be aware that our main problems are things which wouldn't exist if it weren't for the existence of my DSCs. Would it make a difference if the DSCs mum weren't around? Yes, I think it would, not because she causes problems particularly, but because then I think my role towards these 3 small children would be clearer, with less scope for feeling taken for granted, resentment, etc etc.

SweetSeraphim Wed 10-Apr-13 18:05:45

Absolutely not. But only because the exw is so involved in our lives... if it were just us, my dc and his dc, it would be almost peachy.

mummatotwo Fri 12-Apr-13 18:17:50

No, no and no!

Although we have our own gorgeous DS...before he was born it was like treading on eggshells not to upset the DSC, not to push them out, not to go on too much about pregnancy incase they felt shunned etc... Then when our DS arrived all the same again

Looking back we never really got around to having another DC and in hindsight I think it was due to all the above and it makes me sad.

DSC are now late teens, hardly see them as they prefer to spend time with their friends, go to parties etc. Which is understandable Have sleepovers most weekends and hardly spend time with us.
So no I wouldnt get involved again as I spent the first 10 years bending over backwards for them and my DH at my own expense

uniqueatlast Sun 14-Apr-13 11:02:05

Absolutely not. I wouldn't be without my children but I wouldn't get involved with someone with children if I knew then what I know now. If dh and I were ever to separate, I'd rather be single than try and blend another family. It's too hard.

ScumbagCollegeDropout Tue 16-Apr-13 10:35:29

I was/am of your thinking too, OP.

Separated last year with 2 DCs.

I don't want anymore children myself and was not really wanting to be a SM to someone else's.

I freely admit I am not the most maternal mother out there. 2 children is my limit.

Thankfully for me my boyfriend has no children and due to health issues is not wanting any of his own. I'm well aware that this may change in the future but at this point in time these are our stances on the subject.

Lostinsuffolk Tue 16-Apr-13 10:58:41

No way. i would avoid a bloke with kids like the plague.

I'm the same as many on here, I love my DP very dearly and his kids, I have none of my own and have days when I realise why!! that said, we've been through hell and back (mainly due to a nightmare ex) have split up once and got back together again with more focus on us and everything's better (apart from the ex!!). Maybe if she wasn't so mental things would be easier?? smile

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