Struggling to bond with 4yo step son(74 Posts)
Hi, New to mumsnet but have found some articles in here previously that have made me feel "not-so-alone".
I feel as though I'm in a really desperate situation at home with regards to my 4yo step son. I am 26 and my partner of 2years is 41 and had a 4yo son from a previous relationship.
At the beginning, I had a fantastic relationship with my step son and couldn't get enough of him, now I struggle to even show him any affection.
He really is a lovely little boy, very well behaved, never plays up, but I am repulsed by the idea of being maternal towards him.
I don't have children of my own, but would love to have children with my partner, however, I am terrified that if I discuss my true feelings with him about his son, he will leave me.
From my point of view, I see my step son as a symbol of the fact that my partner once loved someone else enough to have a child with them, and the jealousy that this creates within me is eating me alive.
The 4yo is incredibly intelligent, and he talks about "mummy" all the time in my presence and how much he loves her, and even ignores me when I am talking to him, or will give me total silent treatment.
My partner recognises that his son is territorial, and takes control of the situation when the 4yo is winding me up (so to speak), but this doesn't seem to help.
I know a lot of people here would tell me to grow up and realise that this is what I "signed up for" when I started a relationship with a man who has a child, but I feel totally isolated.
I feel that everyone would hate me if I made my true feelings known, and that it would be the end to one of the most loving relationships I've had with another person.
In short, I feel instinctively repulsed by this child - he is not mine, he never will be, and I would never wish him to be. I feel like his presence in the relationship is a burden and it is slowly driving a wedge between my partner and I.
Childish it may be, but I wish he didn't exist!
I'm very sorry if anybody takes offence to that, but deep down, that is how I feel about this child and I feel like I'm going to have a nervous breakdown if I can't get these feelings off my chest.
Is anyone else in a similar situation? I feel very alone and don't know what to do.
Woah. Struggling to bond, I could possibly empathise with, but repulsed and wishing he didn't exist?! Really?
You sound like you have significant issues with jealousy and insecurity. Don't displace your issues on a four year old.
Oh my gosh. You have to leave for the sake of this little boy. Being a step parent isn't for everyone, that's fine, but don't hang about when you feel like this.
Sorry, I think YABVU!
You are essentially jealous of a 4 year old child? You'd rather he not exist?
He might well feel the same about you!
At the end of the day, your partner is always going to be the child's father, so either get over yourself and make more effort, or leave the relationship.
It's fine to feel that way. They are your honest feelings. Unfortunately the consequences of feeling like that are you have to leave. You cannot have those feelings about a child and live with his father. You cannot mother his siblings. You are an adult with a choice about who you spend your time with. He is a child who has no control and needs his caregivers to, at minimum, feel positive about him and treat him kindly.
If you cannot do that you have to go. If you want to make the relationship work you must put some serious effort into shifting your attitude e.g. by going to counselling.
At your age I'd say better off cutting your losses. Start again with someone unattached.
It's fine to feel that way and you can't help it, but it does mean you're a very unpleasant person. Basically you were ok until the novelty wore off. Poor little boy. I'm sure he knows how you feel.
The best thing you can do is tell your DP how you feel (hopefully he'll do the right thing and dump you) or just bail out now.
I had to post, because I feel exactly the same way, and from searching the internet I think it is a taboo topic, but a fairly common way of feeling.
I don't like my dp's 6 year old son either...I hate that he's unable to eat normal food and is so fussy. I hate that he behaves like a baby, and cries when he doesn't get his own way. I hate that my dp coddles him so much, gets him dressed, wipes his bum etc...His presence at times makes me angry and resentful towards my dp.
Due to having a son, the mother and her family by default hang around like a bad smell, and the child is the symbol of my dp's past. The fact that he looks absolutely nothing like my dp, and everything like his emotionally absent mother, just makes it all the more worse really. It's a constant reminder of his life before me.
I understand that the issue lies with me. I think some kind of counselling would help, but I have no access to that at the moment. If you can it's something I would recommend.
The way I deal with it at the moment is just to have ground rules, about how he parents his child in my home, and what he expects from me while he is here, that really enables me to tolerate him being here.
You are not adult enough to be in a relationship with someone who has a child
Thank you HighTrousers, I'm not asking for sympathy, but it's reassuring to know that someone else has a similar situation.
I have a DSD and it is difficult to see them as a reminder of what they had before you, but reminder or not he has had a life before you came along. This hold had no say in that, and needs his fathers home to be a loving place he wants to be. You are only in your 20's, it would probably be sensible to leave and find someone without children. You have some extremely negative feelings against a 4 year old child, how will you treat him when he is 8?12? 15? He isn't going anywhere and neither should he. It is hard being a step parent sometimes I get that, but what you are describing isn't a difficult situation, it's your honest feelings and I don't think anything will change them. I honestly also feel that with the way you feel now, if you had your own child with this man your feelings towards your DSS would worsen.
OP is not necessarily a horrible person at all. Children can be irritating and dislikeable for various fair/unfair reasons. It is fine to dislike someone. The issue is OPs position in relation to the child which is untenable if she feels this way. The child has to come first; that's just the way it is.
Reading this makes me hope nothing happens to me or my relationship which might mean my DC and for that matter DP were in this situation.
If you can't work the feelings out and being honest is absolutely the first step in this then i think you'd have to step away. And hope you don't end up having to leave any young child you may have in the future with a woman who finds him or her repulsive!
Firstly, well done for being honest.
I agree that you're not mature enough to be in a relationship with the young lad's father. If you love him, you take on his son. End of.
How on earth you can feel jealous of the fact that your DP had a relationship with someone else which gave him a son, god alone knows. I'm sure you have a history too and is your DP hung up on that?
How on earth can you feel repulsed by him, he's just a little boy.
I don't understand why you'd stay with a man if that's how you feel about his child.
Genuine question: Why not just go and meet someone else with no kids if you feel that strongly?
I'd be distraught/mightily hacked off if someone talked about my dc in such terms... repulsed... hate etc etc
hope you don't end up having to leave any young child you may have in the future with a woman who finds him or her repulsive
Good point please
Anyone who feels jealous of the relationships their partners had before them is fairly immature. Not to mention the feelings towards the child
I feel that everyone would hate me if I made my true feelings known
I think you are right and I urge you to do it sooner rather than later, Please leave this man alone and let him enjoy his child without you in their life.
They both deserve so much better than you.
On no account have your own child feeling like that- there is no way that you could treat them equally.
Perhaps counselling could help you understand why you are so insecure and help you overcome it.
Oh wow. I'm a stepmum, and have been since my DSS was 4. He's nearly 7 now.
I agree with PP that you're not emotionally mature enough to handle the baggage that surrounds being with someone who has a child from a previous relationship. Being a stepparent isn't easy - I do believe stepmums find it harder than dads, but either way, your feelings towards a little boy who has no choice over what's happened to his parents is quite shocking. You basically resent this little boy not for his behaviour, which you've identified is perfectly normal, but for the fact his dad has been intimate physically and emotionally with someone else.
To be honest, you don't sound as if you'd deal very well with anybody who has a past - and would be better off picking someone who has very limited relationship experience or past baggage for you to be jealous at. You are young enough to carve that kind of life with someone equally as inexperienced, rather than getting involved with an older man with a child that you resent simply because it poses a threat to your idea of having a man all to yourself.
I really think the answer to this is leaving the relationship, sorry.
Leave. For the sake of the kid, leave.
The reason why there is no support for people in your situation is because it is not a situation which warrants any support.
You don't like your partner's child, therefore you are not compatible with this relationship. That is the only answer which is relevant here.
You're not cut out to be a step parent, that's fine, step parenting isn't for everyone. But the fact that the man you want to be with has a child means that you are not cut out to be in a relationship with him and therefore the relationship needs to be over so that A, he can move on to someone who will accept his child as part of the deal, and B, you can seek a relationship which will better meet your needs.
If you don't want him to hate you, then you just tell him that you feel that step parenting was something you under-estimated and therefore you feel this relationship isn't for you.
Then walk away and never get involved with someone who has children again.
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