How many of you Step-parents...?

(47 Posts)
fubar74 Thu 30-Jan-14 10:20:00

Would think twice about getting into a deep relationship with your DP/DH/DW if you had hindsight?/knew how hard it was going to be?

TheMumsRush Thu 30-Jan-14 10:24:59

Yes, I wouldn't have done it

uc Thu 30-Jan-14 11:43:20

Yes, I would have thought twice, or three times! I think I would still have done it though.

lunar1 Thu 30-Jan-14 11:45:57

If it counts I was a step child. If dh and I were to separate I would not bring a new partner/ step parent into our life I very much doubt he would either. I would also never go on a date with someone with a child.

FrogStarandRoses Thu 30-Jan-14 12:11:17

Tricky one.

My DH brings a huge amount to my DDs life, as does her DSMum; they really are "bonus parents".

But, I've been through the mill with his DCs - it's been very hard. If it wasn't for DD, I probably would say that with hindsight I'd not get involved - on balance, it's been worth it because both DD and I have benefited.

LtEveDallas Thu 30-Jan-14 12:17:54

If you had asked me 4 years ago I would have said NOT A CHANCE. But actually, with the benefit of hindsight, it wasn't that bad - as soon as I realised I needed to 'detach detach detach' it got better.

DSD and I have a great, if not loving, relationship. I'm not another mother or bonus parent, just a friend/older aunt type figure and as long as she doesn't hurt DD, then we are fine. I don't get involved in her spats with her dad, except at times to support her when DH is being a dick. I'm just consistently 'there' if she needs me and she knows that.

Her relationship with her mother has improved over the last couple of years and I can see now that a lot of the angst we were all going through was related to that. Now she has moved away from her they get on better which means DSD is happier and doesn't feel the need to hurt anyone else.

I don't think we'll ever break the "Bank of Eve and Dad" expectations though!

ellenjames Thu 30-Jan-14 12:22:23

no way! I was only 21 with 2 step children, then had 3 of my own. 10 years down the line yes it has been worth it as I have my dc's and a dh I love and who loves me, but God know I would steer well clear. If dh and I were to split now my children are 9, 8 and 5 and I would not start another relationship for years, as have been a stepchild too, and that is painful.

ellenjames Thu 30-Jan-14 12:22:54

*no, not know

fubar74 Thu 30-Jan-14 13:00:07

I am undecided as I have put mine through so much with other partners I have been with,but my DH is brilliant with them and infact its better than I've ever had with anyone, or for my DC, but my experiences with him being the NRP esp since his DC weren't on the 'scene' for a long time came as a shock how he has NOT handled the situation well has almost broken me, partially because I love him so much and also how good he has been with mine, but the lack of trust in me with his hurt so damn much. I sometimes think that i wouldn't have done it had the problems been more evident at the beginning, purely because I would have gotten to this point sooner.

Xalla Thu 30-Jan-14 13:07:25

I generally warn all my girlfriends off dating guys with kids these days.

I adore my DH and we have 3 much-loved babies together but not in a million years did I imagine being a step-parent to his DD would be such an unrewarding, thankless and exhausting task.

Newdaynewpants Thu 30-Jan-14 14:32:44

No way. Not ever. No. Way. Ever.

Nothing to do with being a SM, I have all the time in the world for my DSD. It's DP, moreover it's his ExW who after all this time is still calling the shots. He spent so many years supporting her that he doesn't know how to stop. I think he wants to but how do you tell another adult that they're not good enough as a parent and they need to change? I do believe that everything he does is for the good and benefit of his DD but I get sick and tired of always playing second fiddle to a fully grown adult who should be able to manage perfectly well on her own but can't/won't.

His whole family have told him he needs to detach and stop being her 'go-to' person. But he hasn't and he won't. So for now I put up and shut up and every so often we have a barney about it. But it always comes round again. I do a lot of soul-searching as to whether it's me being precious or paranoid, but she's been so manipulative previously that honestly, I don't think I am being over-sensitive.

I don't even really blame his ExW, although if she grew a spine it would help. I blame him for not doing anything about it. I blame him for being ruled by guilt. I blame him for not being able to move on from the past and look forward to the future (this damages DSD too unfortunately as she gets drawn into the depression).

If I knew then what I know now, crikey, I would about turn and walk away quicker than he could say "I've just got to go and fix a shelf for ExW".

Maybe83 Thu 30-Jan-14 16:20:26

No I wouldn't change a thing.I was a single parent for 8 year s while my dd had a sm. I now have a child with dh and ss.

IMO being single parent was as difficult as being sm I still had to consider my dd relationship with her father his partner and step sister. Now I have to consider my ss his relationship with us and his mam and siblings. It s much harder I think for my dd and ss being raised between 2 families than my child of my marriage will have it.

If my marriage broke down I wouldn't have any more children or enter a relationship with somebody else who had children. I think the children I have already have enough of a family mix going on with out increasing it further and I imagine it would be extremely difficult for me to negotiate another blended family.

Kaluki Thu 30-Jan-14 16:32:15

If I knew back then how hard it would be then I don't think I would have tbh. I had a DSD before and she was such a dream so I assumed it would be the same but DPs kids are so messed up and his ex is just .... Evil!!
But I can honestly say DP is the love of my life so in a way it's been worth it - just a bit tougher than I expected!,

FeelingTheFire Thu 30-Jan-14 16:32:38

This is going to sound hypocritical from me (as I have DC) but I don't think I could get in to a relationship again with someone who has kids. And it's nothing to do with the fact they'd have kids - it's more hidden stress that I just didn't think of with the ex.

I accept that the above opinion is based on what I know from personal experience and that every situation is different but I couldn't go through everything we're going through all over again with a new partner. I just haven't got the strength for it.

princessalbert Fri 31-Jan-14 08:49:36

Yes. I would have postponed moving in together/getting married until all the DC were post 18.

it's been a tough few years for me.

DH is far more patient than me - and accepts my DS readily. I find his DC (2) much more difficult. And his ex is constantly in our lives.

I have come very close to just giving up on our relationship. Fortunately DH is very understanding and lets me vent. He knows that I don't find it easy to spend time with his DC.

They are all in their teens now - so am a bit calmer knowing that in a few more years our need for so much input/involvement will be significantly less.

But if any of my friends was considering a relationship with a man who had children already - I would most definitely warn them off. All the friends I have who have had SC in their lives have struggled. Some more than others - even the one who I thought had the ultimate in patience and tolerance.

I am a SC myself - so I should be more accepting. But..

lunar1 Fri 31-Jan-14 09:03:01

Can I add something to my post, just a positive one for people in step families! I know I wouldn't chose to be part of a step family for my children, but my step dad is probably the parent I am closest to and without question the one I trust.

When my (step) grandma got older and developed dementia it was me she came to live with, even though she had two children and other (biological) grandchildren. She was with my family till we lost her.

My children see my (step) dad as their grandad, and it's been amazing to see him have the unconditional bond with them that he had to work hard for with my brother and I.

In our situation the problems were all caused by my actual parents. So while I wouldn't want anyone to have a childhood like mine it isn't all bad.

shey02 Fri 31-Jan-14 09:17:39

For me, my dp is absolutely wonderful with my dc. There is an equal measure of love and attentio between them, humour and effort is all reciprocated naturally. My relationship with my exh is good as is the dc's with their dad, so I would say that from my dc's side, they have benefitted and are very well adjusted and happy.

However, the thing that makes me say no, is my relationship with dp's dc... They have a controlling, bitter, angry mother for no reason other than the fact that she has a depressive, controlling personality and is deeply jealous/unsettled by dp's happiness and acceptance in my family. So you can imagine the trials I have faced over the 2 years, very little that I ever do is right/enough and it's hard when you get no feedback from dsc that is positive. When after 2 years, they still walk past you in the street without lifting their heads or don't even bother a hello when you walk in a room! I blame my dp's guilt parenting for this and for setting up an environment now (as he is scared to lose them) where I barely see them now. I think his parenting skills have let us down to be honest. The only way I cope now is by detaching........ But it doesn't bode well for the future and sometimes I fear I'm investing in a relationship that has no future.

Would definitely warn my friends against it.

Eliza22 Fri 31-Jan-14 09:19:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Eliza22 Fri 31-Jan-14 09:28:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fubar74 Fri 31-Jan-14 09:31:43

Newdaynewpants, your story could be mine, the ex who 'just can't cope' and the DH who runs to her disposal everytime she winges. now I got that out of him, and have ended up telling him to be a parent instead of trying to be their bestest buddy and maybe they'll start towing the line, and thats all of them including her.

overthemill Fri 31-Jan-14 09:32:51

I married bloke with 2 kids. We have our own dd too now. What I didn't realise at the time was that I was also marrying his ex and her new partner as well! And with hindsight maybe I shouldn't. It has been an intensely rocky road and even now, both steps are 18+ it's hard. Eg we can't have a family holiday in the summer holidays this year cos DH's ex has booked hers and if totally clashes with dates we had available. She didn't ask, didn't check, just booked. After 16 years of negotiating each and every bloody holiday!

fubar74 Fri 31-Jan-14 09:39:54

from what I have read, it seems most of our woes come from ex-W rather than our own relationships, I think mine with DH and my children as his SC has been easy, maybe cause I am the ExW, I am independent, I am not a burden on my exH, infact the total opposite of what a lot of seem to have experienced with our DH/DP's ex's, and also my DC were older although my son, who has had it hardest with step-relationships (with my partners) did hold off and was very distant with DH for a long time, but DH was very patient with him and let him go at his own pace. Whereas DH's DC were still quite young, plus the fact that their mother has fed them all a pack of lies to make them hate him because he got into another relationship even though she was the one who had the affair with her cousin, who she then married and is pregnant by. His oldest now knows the truth but she is a master manipulator. We only got peace of mind when she took them away 350 miles and stopped all contact, unfortunately this had to happen for us to be able to make a go of our relationship, if the status quo had stayed I don't think I would have.

shey02 Fri 31-Jan-14 11:56:05

All very similar tragic stories, I have nothing but my dp's dc best interests at heart, but the exclusion/rejection is very hard to take. And when you feel always second in your relationship, that's a bitter pill. Detachment is the only thing that is working to keep me happier. I do also feel that dp is the one for me, the one I should have met before, married, had a family with. So that is why I keep going and I hope that dp will learn and evolve as a parent. It's strange because he 'parents' my dc in a loose fashion, but still naturally and confidently and they absolutely adore him. But he parents his own dc as if he is scared of them and just does what the ex says time and time again. Lets them all talk down to him, I hate seeing it. He's like a different person..... and it's not healthy. So living together, marriage seems like a fairytale that will never happen under these circumstances. There's so much more to consider than first time around, boy mets girl.......

Kaluki Fri 31-Jan-14 11:59:51

How different our lives would be if we had met these men 20 years ago!!!

Eliza22 Fri 31-Jan-14 12:50:41

Indeed nods head in wise old sage fashion

croquet Fri 31-Jan-14 13:50:21

But in a way what most people are saying is that they wouldn't ever again get together with someone whose Ex still had a prominent/controlling/really any role in their life.

I agree with that, but it's not about these men being dads. NRP dads can detach from a crazy ex and give your relationship the space to breathe. But it takes a v. strong man and also, probably, older kids.

Eliza22 Fri 31-Jan-14 15:34:00

Agree, it takes a strong (guilt-free) man but mine were all teens when I met them. They have not improved with age and wisdom.

I sometimes resent the social stigma of being a step parent, but I don't wish that I hadn't become one.
That said, I think I have been very lucky because my DSS is a very sweet boy and we have always got on, and his mum has always been friendly towards me, so no hard feelings there. I know it must be much harder for those of you with horror stories.

Serobin Fri 31-Jan-14 16:13:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FrogStarandRoses Fri 31-Jan-14 17:08:33

berry It says a great deal about society that despite a positive relationship between you, your DSC and their Mum, you still experience that social stigma.

Tuckshop Sat 01-Feb-14 09:18:43

I'd do it again. And I have, although this time round I'm a step-granny too.

It was not any easy ride at all with dsd. There were many times when I thought she hated me, her mum was a nightmare and xh set no boundaries with dsd. But we are through that now and I wouldn't change a thing as its brought me to who I am today and where I am again.

I'd actually be more wary of getting involved with a man without children I think.

flowerpotgirl12 Sat 01-Feb-14 09:36:19

I wouldn't change a thing with my dp or dsc. I would probably warn people how hard it is going to be anf how it's never just dsc and dp, , it's the ex and his family involving themselves and having an opinion. it's realising that the ex can do no wrong in his families eyes even when she is being appalling. so whilst I wouldn't change dp and dsc I would happily never have his family being so involved

overthemill Sat 01-Feb-14 10:04:10

What makes me sad is hearing my dd talking as if she is in second place to the older 2(her half siblings) because DH always makes sure he's home early on nights they come, we only holiday when it suits them, we moved counties when DH ex moved so we could keep having as much contact with them. She never gets a say in anything . So for her sake I know we got something wrong

fubar74 Sat 01-Feb-14 10:55:19

It's all very sad when I read all these responses, at least I do think feel alone in my heartache, all we really want is an easy life but that will never happen when you are in effect living someone elses as they (exW/DP/DH) arein charge of what happens in your life and how you live it and for a woman with her own children that's something I won't ever be able to do

Tuckshop Sat 01-Feb-14 11:08:16

I know that feeling about not being in control but I do wonder if it would have been easier for me if I had not allowed dsd's mums actions and views to influence me so much. I learnt in the end to detach but it was a lesson in "accept the things you can't change" for me.

I think this time round I am different. It isn't quite the same as dp's children are adults. But I think the lessons I learnt with xh I am now putting into practice with him and his new gf when they are being stroppy and trying to cause difficulties for me. I refuse to allow them to negatively affect my life, I find it easier to focus on what is great instead of whether what they are doing is fair or otherwise.

People ask me why I can be do calm that he pays nothing for either our dd or his dd who also lives with me. I decided I could be angry and have no money, or happy and have no money. I choose the latter.

It's not easy though, took me years to get to this point. I do think that focussing on what is good in your life instead really helps.

Zamboni Sat 01-Feb-14 11:14:09

I wouldn't change DH or my own DC for the world. I have a good relationship with DSD and her mum.

But if a friend was getting involved with a man with DC, I would caution them against doing so in the strongest possible terms.

It's hard, relentless and draining, even when it all sort of works. And when it isn't working, it's truly miserable.

fackinell Sat 01-Feb-14 11:17:34

Nope! I wouldn't have gone there. We are making the best of it and generally get on ok most of the time now, but the whole thing has been a giant ball-ache. Not just DSD, it's the hatred from her DM's family (I'm
Not an OW btw) and DP's Disney parenting. I could handle her strops if they were backed up with consequences.

Two years in and I'm not sure even now that I'll stay...

babynugget Sat 01-Feb-14 13:47:27

I think I would always base my decision on my feelings for the person in question. I knew when I got together with DP that it was going to be hard. I never expected it to be this hard but even if someone could have given me a glimpse of the future I wouldn't have been able to deny myself being with him. We have ups and downs and yes the downs suck big time and make me feel like I'm going crazy but at the end of the day I am with him and I love him and therein lies the silver lining. We argue about his ex, rarely about the DSC themselves, just her negative influence on them. But we get through it and hopefully always will. Having previously been married to a man with no kids and none of our own I know only too well that every relationship is hard and each one with its own unique problems. I know everyone on here has had their own experience and differing degrees of nightmares with DSC/DP/ex but sometimes there needs to be perspective. But in saying that, To those of you having a crappy time right now I hope there are better times round the corner for you and try to remember why you are with that DP of yours - it might make you smile! Xx

GTA5MASTER Sat 01-Feb-14 18:21:01

I love my husband so much but no with hindsight I wouldn't do it again and that's all thanks to his eldest using his sisters laptop to spy on us when he decided he didn't want to be part of our family. So hurt and upset about it still sad

fackinell Sat 01-Feb-14 20:37:06

GTA What?! shock

Would love to say mine is worth it but he's really not making an effort at all in this relationship. I'm pretty close to planning my exit route. Ah well, plenty more fish, if I can be arsed. grin

matana Sat 01-Feb-14 23:11:44

Yes I'd think twice. And probably come to the same conclusion. We've come a long way and ultimately it's been worth it, despite being young and naive when I met my dh. I have the most wonderful dh and ds, and dsd is part of that family unit. She's amazing and i'm a better person having come through it 11 years on.

shey02 Sun 02-Feb-14 00:06:15

What makes my situation worse is the ex and the guilt-parenting from the dp, it is destroying our once perfect, loving, passionate relationship. Wish dp would find a forum or read a book to help him parent better. Giving all the power to the dsc has been a massive, massive mistake and I question my resolve.

fackinell Sun 02-Feb-14 00:20:13

Well if I do go, there will be no more Dads for me. One was plenty to confirm what I already knew. No matter how desperate the situation is that I'm in, I will be dropped like a steaming turd if it comes down to it. wink

LJL69 Sun 02-Feb-14 11:29:48

I would still do it..but I would do it differently. I would be clearer about me expectations I think

fubar74 Mon 03-Feb-14 11:10:53

Shey02 I agree that our DP's/DH's should try and find someone/somewhere they can talk and find out about parenting the way we women do, I told DH that because he doesn't talk to anyone about anything that our situation with his family has become bitter, mainly because people are just making their own minds up about what has happened rather than being told how it really is. In effect he has destroyed the family not his DS.

Kaluki Mon 03-Feb-14 11:18:40

I think with hindsight I would be with DP but I wouldn't have moved in with him but insisted he keep his own place and I keep mine.
Its the lack of personal space that has caused many of our problems!

shey02 Mon 03-Feb-14 23:01:12

Fubar, I had another frustrating convo with dp, me tears and all as usual... I suggested rather than me having to say the same thing over and over and defend myself from criticism. I suggested a book or two, to help him parent a bit differently as being a NRP is very different to being a res. parent to which 'I'm the same dad I've always been, everything's fine'. Really!!?!! Ostrich, head, sand.....................

Kaluki, I'm not sure even that we have much of a choice, most men of a certain age have been married and had kids. Maybe a toyboy is the answer! Seriously though, you make a fair point, I'm starting to think that's the only simple way. I always wanted to be a family again with dp, but realising that's just a dream that he has no idea how to make happen.

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