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Does anyone else ever feel like this?

(36 Posts)
HormonalHeap Thu 09-Jun-16 22:08:39

As I'm writing this I could write the answers I know I'm going to get. Im guilty of trying to replace ds 16's useless non-interested dad with dh who is an exceptional dad to his own kids.

Does anyone else feel irrationally hurt when it's plain your partner doesn't feel the same about your kids whilst they adore him? Dh forgot to ask ds tonight how his maths gcse went, but still found the time to call both his dcs to discuss how their regular day was.

He's a great person and normally goes over and above what any parent would do. But it just makes me love him that bit less. Anyone else or am I really alone in feeling this?

Wdigin2this Thu 09-Jun-16 22:46:07

You know, I've asked myself this a thousand times....but, I just don't feel the same way about my DSGC, the way I do about my own DGC! I feel guilty because my DH seems to do so....but I just don't!
I love and care for them, but I just don't feel the same, so maybe that's just the way it is!

Findingpeace Thu 09-Jun-16 23:06:29

When did your DH come into your DS's life?

My DSD's lived with me from the ages of 12 and 15. They are now 18 and 21. I love them both but my love is very different from my DH's love for them. I don't have memories of them from when you they were sweet babies and young children who freely gave their love, hugs and kisses. I don't have these memories to sustain me through the difficult times. My love isn't unconditional and encompassing. When I go on holiday with DH I don't really think about the girls or feel the need to talk to them, it's a week for crying out loud! But DH has this need.

However, it is usually me who asks them how their first day at a new job went or remembers the names and history of all their friends. Some of this is just a woman thing I think.

Wdigin2this Thu 09-Jun-16 23:23:58

I've been in DGC and DSGC life since before they were even thought of...but I still feel differently about my own!

crusoe16 Fri 10-Jun-16 05:43:16

I agree with Findingpeace that it's a woman thing to some degree - I'm going away for the weekend and leaving DH with all the kids, the reason I'm up at this time is because I'm typing up a To Do list for him with all the kids activities and various parties they have over the next couple of days - he hasn't got a clue.

It tends to be me that asks DSD how her day went, how her Maths test went, who she's hanging out with etc. DH doesn't really know what her day-to-day school life is like because I deal with that side of things for all the DC while he works.

I'm her SM, I have 3DC at the same school. I ask them the same questions because I'm anxious to know the answers. I ask DSD because I'm conscious of not leaving her out and actually, to make conversation with her because unlike with my own DC, silences with DSD are awkward (for me). I don't have the same burning desire to know how her day went as I do my own children because I just don't feel she's my responsibility. On a practical level I'm responsible for her in many ways (I've taken her to the doctor and the dentist in the last 48 hours) but I really don't feel responsible for her on an emotional level - the person she ultimately becomes....I don't feel able to take that on, partly because it's 'not my place' and party because there just isn't the connection despite her having done 50:50 or more with us for the majority of her life. I have to remind myself to be enthusiastic and interested whereas for my DC, the questions sometimes spill out uncontrollably at the school gates...much to my DS's disdain. I spend a lot of time feeling guilty about it. I sought professional help for it a few years ago and was advised to 'fake it 'till you make it". I've done a lot of faking but am yet to truly make it.

I suspect my DH feels like you OP. Sad that the connection isn't there. He's never said it as such but I'm certain he feels it. I'm not sure there's much you can do. What's important is that there is kindness I think.

Wdigin2this Fri 10-Jun-16 08:50:40

Crusoe that's it spot on! I've always tried to fake it till I make it With DSC and DSGC, but I've accepted that biologically I'm not programmed to feel the same. Like you though, I'm the one who remembers to do and ask things, and I was the one to change nappies and feed the DSC when they were young!

swingofthings Fri 10-Jun-16 08:53:43

How long have you been together? A lot of it is habit, nothing else.

Saying that, would you feel the same if your ex acted as a proper dad to your DS? I don't think it is fair to expect DP to feel as a dad would towards his SS just because his dad doing so.

You can't force feelings on someone, you can only expect respect and them being prepared to make efforts when there are issues.

AndNowItsSeven Fri 10-Jun-16 08:58:35

The biological thing is crap. adoptive mothers treat their dc as their own.

Wdigin2this Fri 10-Jun-16 09:05:32

Andnow I would suggest that adoptive mothers generally don't have DSC to compare their feelings with!

Wdigin2this Fri 10-Jun-16 09:08:02

Swing I agree, feelings are what you feel...they are not reasoned or necessarily rational! But how you treat your DSC/DSGC is what matters most...kindness and care is a love in itself!

AndNowItsSeven Fri 10-Jun-16 09:17:45

A fair number have birth children to compare with.

Peach1886 Fri 10-Jun-16 09:21:46

But Andnow there is a big difference between adopting kids who become yours legally with their birth mother not much/not at all involved in their lives, and step kids who already have a mother and thus it's not appropriate for you to take on that role. I have been actively involved in my DSCs life since they were very young, but because their primary care-giver (to use the jargon) is not me, however much I care them them, it's not the same feeling as I have for my own DC.

MeAndMy3LovelyBoys Fri 10-Jun-16 09:36:08

Andnow An adopted child is not the same as a stepchild. An adopted child you choose to be their parent in every sense of the word and that child is your child. There is an expectation that you will feel the same towards them as any biological children because you are their mum/dad.
As for stepchildren, they are not the child's parent. Some people do adopt their stepchildren and that takes me to the paragraph above, but in the vast majority of cases people do not adopt their stepchildren and therefore they are not the child's mum/dad because they haven't add that choice to do be. Of course, people who don't adopt their stepchildren are more than welcome to feel the same towards their stepchildren as thy do their own, and some do. All I am saying is that there should be no expectation put on to them like there would be if they adopted the child.

But the biggest point for me is that the children who still have both parents in their lives, there shouldnt be any expectation at all that the stepparents feel and act maternal/paternal towards their stepchildren.

Tatiana11235 Fri 10-Jun-16 09:47:27

Lower your expectations OP.

I am a step parent. I never felt like my DSS is my DS. I care about him, I look after him, I ask how thing are but he's got his mum to mother him.

Don't expect you DH to be a new dad to your DS. They can be friends, your DH can be a bit of a mentor or whatever but remember it's hard to devote yourself to somebody else's child. Adoption is different because you actively go out looking to become a replacement parent. I doubt your DH had this in mind when you got married.

AndNowItsSeven Fri 10-Jun-16 12:48:51

I know an adopted child is not the same as a step child. I was making the point that biology is irrelevant in loving a child as your own.

lateforeverything Fri 10-Jun-16 12:58:17

biology is irrelevant in loving a child as your own

AndNow, I hear you loud and clear!

I'm in the minority as I'm adopting my stepson and to be honest all the comments about it 'never being the same' etc etc etc are so dull to me that it's actually a bit like white noise... I just tune it out and my husband just laughs at (some) people's sheer ignorance.

I am fiercely protective of my stepson and adore him. If I eventually have a baby then so be it, I'll be a mother of 2... or 3 lol. There are some people who you will never convince though so in the nicest possible way, stop wasting your time with them; I have smile

OP try not to force things, it's totally understandable to feel hurt but at least in general your dh goes above and beyond.

FastWindow Fri 10-Jun-16 13:04:40

I love my dss'es. But i am not tied by the heartstrings to them in the way i am to my own dc. Its not possible for me. Not saying others cant do this, but the programming is to favour your own dc. Simply nature, doing what it does, not putting anyone down whatever kind of parent they are.

I may not have got my point across too well. Adoptive parents are saints, I think.

barkinginessex Fri 10-Jun-16 13:10:19

I'm a SM and I find these comments awful and I feel sorry for your DSCs, surely you must all realise that they will pick up on your feelings?

AllegraWho Fri 10-Jun-16 13:28:26

Could it be that your knows that your son has a great mother who will attend to his needs, yet does not feel that his DC have the same and therefore need him more?

Alternatively, it could be just habit, and a new habit needs building regarding your DS.

Either way, it might be a good idea to gently point out that DS might get hurt if DH though he doesn't care as much about him.

One DD here, DP not her dad, but in her life since she was 6. One DSS, I've been on the scene since he was 18 months old. We've had our ups and downs, but we talk a lot, and don't expect anyone to have telepathic powers - issues are raised immediately and dealt with.

MeAndMy3LovelyBoys Fri 10-Jun-16 14:25:03

barking it's not a horrible thing to not love your stepchildren or feel maternal towards them like you do your own. It isn't synonymous to hating them to not feel maternal towards them. Some stepparents have more of a friend relationship with their stepchildren rather than a mother-daughter etc... one. That really is ok.

HormonalHeap Fri 10-Jun-16 15:29:18

Thanks so much Findingpeace, Crusoe and everyone else. I know I'm being out of order, and I probably need counselling as this problem comes up again & again, stemming from guilt over how their dad's abandoned them and how they're second best for my dh. Totally unfair I know to dh who does so much for my kids, does his best to treat them equally.

He came into their lives ten years ago when they were 6 & 8. Tatiana I know I need to lower my expectations, and my friends tell me that. My dh's kids don't live with us and are extremely close to their mother. They have always made it clear I am tolerated and no more, so perhaps it's doubly unfair to put this on dh as he's never made me feel bad about not being close to his kids.

I wonder how much of it's biology and how much is having memories of them as babies. I've heard people say men in general find it easier to bond with step children; not sure that's true.

Wdigin2this Fri 10-Jun-16 15:38:04

Meandmy I agree how can anyone say it's horrible to not feel the same way about DSC as you do about your own....they're feelings by definition you have no control over them!
However, you do have control over how you react to/treat your DSC\DSGC, and provided you try your best to ensure everyone gets the same level of attention and nobody feels left out or undervalued...well that's as much as you can expect!
Latefor congratulations on adopting your DSS, and good luck to you....but until you have a child of your own, how can you actually know how you'd feel?

Wdigin2this Fri 10-Jun-16 15:39:58

Hormonal I truly do think it's easier for men to bond with's only my opinion, and no doubt it will be critised, but there you go!

lateforeverything Fri 10-Jun-16 16:14:13

Thank you Wdigin but what's the point of asking me a question that you know I can't answer? It's not the first time you've raised it with me and it's like you get a kick out of it, but I'm sure that couldn't possibly be the case smile

Peach1886 Fri 10-Jun-16 16:24:38

Wdigin2this - many studies say that is exactly the case, but it's not necessarily because the man finds it easier (although obviously that would help) but because the children find it easier, possibly because they have different expectations of a relationship with a male step-parent, possibly because there is not the same comparison/perceived threat as can exist between a mother and a step-mother.

OP I really hope you can resolve the tension between what you'd like your DH to do, and what he is able to offer; as you can clearly see, the reality is that however good a step-dad he is, sadly he can't make up for the inadequacies of their original father.

I'm in a similar situation and it's very hard, you want to do the absolute best by your DSC, and care for/nurture/love them as much as you are able, but it is a very difficult role to get right; sometimes it works brilliantly (and I love it) and sometimes the best I can hope for is a relationship "held in tension" between the needs and expectations of the DSC, the expectations of my DH and those of his ex-wife, and my abilities as a parent, step or otherwise.

It ain't easy, and people who criticise step-parents for not loving their DSC "enough" just add another knot in that tension; speaking purely for myself, I feel am doing the best I possibly can mostly by responding to everyone's needs except my own...

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