Step parent resentment

(17 Posts)
updown1234 Fri 24-Jan-20 11:36:51

Hi there,

I was wondering if anyone has any advice of experience on being a step parent. I have raised children of my own and they have flown the nest but I find it incredibly hard not to feel tinges of resentment about the situation I am in now with a lovely and loving step family. I adore my partner and I know this person is truly the love of my life and my soulmate. I also have great relationships with my step children on the whole but definitely more profound with the younger one. I struggle with the absent parent contributing very little and me contributing a huge amount of my income but still not really having much of a say in house rules. I am a bit of a stickler for tidiness and respect on things like short showers reusing towels etc and having friends around when we are not in as parents. So whilst I try and chill and not get too worked up I find if eats away at me inside. Screen time is a huge issue and I am so uncomfortable with the amount of time spent on them by the kids so I try and distance myself by trying to say positive things and offering alternatives. But it doesn't change, so I try and ignore it, but it's in my house that I pay the lions share for so then I feel like I am in an uncomfortable situation in my own home which is crazy right?
I feel like I am the key to the whole thing as if I wan't there we would not be in this house even as I am paid well and I am so totally happy to share this with all of them and actually love them unconditionally but I feel like this.... And I don't want to. Is this normal? How do I defeat it? I just feel like there is no recognition of my role somehow, the father is a deity yet contributes literally nothing and is barely in their life. I go to all the school events and sports stuff and he never does. It just feels thankless and one day I know they will get it but how do i get through this?

OP’s posts: |
user1493413286 Fri 24-Jan-20 11:42:08

What does your partner say about all of this? My stepdaughter doesn’t live with us but when she is in our house there are mutually agreed rules between me and my husband. It’s a fine balance to come in to children’s lives and change the rules but equally it’s your home too and you all need to agree (as well as compromise) on certain things

Magda72 Fri 24-Jan-20 12:02:35

Hi op - can you clarify? Are you a step dad who is financially carrying a stepfamily?

HeckyPeck Fri 24-Jan-20 12:47:35

It’s not surprising at all that you feel the way you do.

It sounds like neither of the children’s parents are bothering being actual parents and just leaving it all to you, but then not letting you have a say over anything either.

Anyone would be unhappy in that situation.

Have you spoken to your partner about how you’re feeling?

ColaFreezePop Fri 24-Jan-20 12:52:00

You haven't said how old your step-children are. A lot of what you are complaining about is children acting like children and your lack of trust of your step-children.

short showers and reusing towels
- well as a teenager as soon as I had to do my own washing and also was expected to launder some of the household stuff I learnt how to resuse towels. I didn't learn about short showers until I moved out and had to share a bathroom with people my own age.

having friends around when we are not in as parents.
- this shows you don't trust any of the children. Don't you know any of their friends', and those friends parents? Nearly everyone I know had at least one friend who was allowed into the house when their parents weren't in.

Screen time is a huge issue and I am so uncomfortable with the amount of time spent on them by the kids
-rather than worry about the time they spend on the screens make sure you have an idea of what they watching and surfing.

updown1234 Fri 24-Jan-20 12:57:54

Hi thanks for your replies. I am not solely carrying the family no. My partner earns nowhere near what I do so naturally I put a lot more in to the kitty. I kind of feel it's somehow 50/50 in terms of what we earn if you see what I mean. I have spoken to my partner but we are on different pages sometimes parenting wise so it's hard and I am not saying my way is correct either. It just little things like I strongly feel that when we are out of the house girlfriends etc shouldn't be allowed to happen as I am just not comfortable with it but they are not my kids so it means I have to deal with it which I do but then try not to feel resentment. To clarify again my kids were just not allowed to do that until 18 and really when they are contributing to the house. I was firm with my own kids but I also was the one goofing around and being daft too. My relationships with them were and are incredible.

OP’s posts: |
SwishSwishSheesh Fri 24-Jan-20 13:03:18

When I begin to feel unreasonably irritated I remind myself the children will leave eventually. My partner and I will still have each other and it's worth an effort. We have also discussed what we expect from each other with respect to the children (we have one each living with us full time) so that we're on the same page.
Ideally you need to have a word with your partner and not let this feeling fester.


2020BetterBeBetter Fri 24-Jan-20 13:11:53

How old are your stepchildren? I think different ways or parenting can be really difficult to adapt when ultimately you don’t get the final say because they are not your children. However, it sounds like your partner isn’t being considerate towards your feelings and looking for a compromise. How clearly have you made it that you have these issues?

Techway Fri 24-Jan-20 14:19:43

but it's in my house that I pay the lions share

This jumped out for me. Do you genuinely feel it is your house only? I completely understand resentment as step families are extremely tough to navigate.

How old are the children?

Generally a step parent has to give more and be more tolerant as the relationship develops later (I.e not from birth) and can be fragile as it is "temporary" even if you married your gf. If you were not with your gf, they wouldn't be in your life and I think all parties have this feeling even if its subconscious. It means that the relationship has to be worked on and will be testing at times. As already mentioned any time with step children is likely to be short lived, matter of years so it might be a case of just letting go and detaching from the irritations as in the scheme of life they are all small matters.

I see step parenting from all sides and it might help to know that the DC are likely to compromise already as they are undoubtedly following some of your rules and practices. You will only notice the ones they don't, which is human nature.

If you get negative emotions, just try to sit with them and don't react in the first instance as generally the intensity does fade. I say this as resentment is a known relationship killer and you seem to want to stay with your gf.

sassbott Fri 24-Jan-20 16:02:52

1) have you spoken to your partner about this and if so what is their response?
2) are you really unhappy about the money, the rules or the recognition that is given to you by the family as a whole? Because to me it isn’t clear and I think it’s super important that you figure it out.

Rules should be discussed and agreed by you and your partner. You raised your children a certain way but that does not mean your partners children need to be raised the same way. We all come into relationships with different backgrounds/ styles of parenting. None are right or wrong, they’re just different. You have a different parenting style and that issue can only be resolved with an open and honest chat and both sides compromising.

The money. I appreciate your position and you sound very loving and generous. You say you love your partners children unconditionally and yet it’s also clear that you have an expectation that the lifestyle you provide because of your higher paid job requires recognition. Understandable. But again does your partner and children understand that? So for what you put in, what are you expecting back? Should you have a greater say over house rules because you contribute more? Or do you just want some respect and say in how things are?

Recognition for your monetary / emotional contribution. The children are going to worship the absent parent like a deity. Either that or they are going to be intensely angry and rejecting. Why? Because as far as they are concerned, if he is absent, then he has effectively abandoned them. And deep down they know that. They don’t need reminding of it and therefore , for their own sakes, they need to bog him up/ make excuses for him. How they feel about him is entirely separate to how they feel about you / react to you. You are not their father.

If you feel you are contributing too much and not being recognised then revisit what you’re doing. Either you attend because that’s something you’re doing for your partner/ children. Or you pull back a little because on balance, they need to learn to be respectful / appreciative. And perhaps they don’t know that?

If I was in your shoes and was the main breadwinner funding a nice lifestyle and most of my rules were being flouted then I would probably have an issue with it. However I would also be mindful that I wasn’t using my higher salary to control people to conform to what I thought was best.

I do think the rule of no girlfriends under 18 is archaic tbh. Kids are going to do what they are going to do. And whether you allow them under your own roof or ban them, they’ll find a way. I’d prefer that by a certain age my children were under my roof, safe. If my children had to be 18 by the time I allowed guests I would question whether I had issues or whether my children were untrustworthy.

Have they ever done anything that warrants your views on the girls friends/ friends over?
My Dc are younger than 18 and their friends come over when I am not back from work. There is one rule. The DC are allowed friends when I am not there so long as they are all respectful of my home. Any deliberate damage/ misbehaviour would mean they are not welcome again.

My DC know that and so do their friends. Touchwood never had an issue.

SandyY2K Fri 24-Jan-20 23:11:38

You've taken a backwards step in your life. Your own kids have flown the nest and now you're dealing with the ups and downs of younger children.

I don't really see the benefit of now having a decent income ...having no financial responsibility for your own kids as they're grown, but taking a financial hit with someone else's kids.... when you should be enjoying what you can do with the extra money.

I can't wait till my kids are out of Uni and working...

It's clear from your post, you'll remain in the relationship as you adore your you need to accept your situation or end it if it gets too much for you.

Ryan54889 Sat 25-Jan-20 09:34:31

I would absolutely make it clear about your expectations, my wife is step mum to my live in daughter & I am a step parent to her daughter. As it is her house too I completely expect rules to be followed as they are house rules and apply to any child living with us. What reason does your husband give for not backing you up? Although I contribute to the household I certainly wouldn’t directly contribute to my step child

Annasgirl Sat 25-Jan-20 09:51:20

I think the poster is a man people. But the advice should be the same.

PGtipsplease Sat 25-Jan-20 10:00:10

Pick your battles.

Screen time - ignore it. To try and change this is controlling if their time.

Enforce the towels and keeping the house clean

It’s totally ok to not have people in the house when your not in - enforce that.

Try and forgot the absent parent - he is irrelevant in this situation.

If you don’t want to leave this is the situation you just have to suck up.

funinthesun19 Sat 25-Jan-20 10:50:50

I didn’t resent my dsc when I was with my ex.
I resented more my role and the situation I was in.
Ex wife thought she was my boss and really rammed it down my throat that I am a “mum” to her child. I must do this I must do that. It became worse when her child became a teenager, and I couldn’t cope with the pressure of juggling her demands and unfair expectations and as a result walking on egg shells, whilst trying my make sure my children were happy and were having a normal childhood. So I had to say enough is enough and put them first.

I found stepparenting exhausting and emotionally draining. All that being said, I have a great relationship with my ex’s child and I do see them a few times a month for tea and so they can see siblings.

I like what we have now. It’s like having a friend/niece or nephew or being close to a friend’s child. You can hand them back and not need to worry about the stepparenting drama or the dreaded ex wife’s demands.

jimmyjammy001 Sun 26-Jan-20 00:40:36

Sorry op but it sounds like your being used financially to provide a better house/life for your partner and their kids, unfortunately if they are not willing to change then you will just have to put up with it, you took your partner on knowing that they have young kids and you would need to provide for them emotionally and financially. If the real father comes back onto the scene then likely hood is your be left out.

Annaminna Mon 27-Jan-20 10:56:55

You confused me @updown1234
You wrote first:
I adore my partner and I know this person is truly the love of my life and my soulmate. I also have great relationships with my step children.
then next line:
There is no recognition of my role somehow, the father is a deity yet contributes literally nothing and is barely in their life. I go to all the school events and sports stuff and he never does. It just feels thankless.

Your soulmate is a thankless, not caring and not contributing man? Really? Would you like to think about your own life values? Maybe you like to be needed and like to be the savior and the one who looks after everything? Maybe you are one of those positive control freaks who has ability to keep everything under control, have outstanding management skills and you just over powering everyone else attempts to do some of the tasks. You can do everything better so you are feeling its easier do those thing by yourself and avoid being disappointed with the outcomes?

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