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Am I a monster?
63

LaDiDaaa · 16/06/2022 22:32

Was talking to a friend who also has step children today and we got onto the conversation of loving them like your own which she says she does. I said I have never felt that and if I'm being perfectly honest I don't love my DSC at all really. I like them, I want the best for them because they are Dhs kids and my kids siblings but I don't really feel much affection/ love personally.

She thought that was terrible. Am I a monster? 🤣

Background been with DH 7 years since they were 5 & 7 and we also have DC together. I'm very kind and do a lot for them but I don't love them nor do I have any great level of fondness. I don't know, is that normal?

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AnneLovesGilbert · 16/06/2022 22:34

Of course you’re not. And she’s severely lacking in imagination to assume everyone is like her. Is she usually so obtuse?

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LaDiDaaa · 16/06/2022 22:34

Fondness is probably the wrong word, I am fond of them like I am a friend's child. But certainly no longing to see them or I don't miss them for example. If me and H split tomorrow it wouldn't concern me if I didn't see them anymore if that makes sense but I would because of our DC of course and I respect that's an important relationship and there is definitely love between them.

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Youseethethingis1 · 16/06/2022 22:58

I think true "loving like your own" is very rare.
I also think it's damaging and hurtful to set expectations that one day may be seriously tested and found to be lacking.
There's no way I could ever love any child as much as my own so I won't pretend and risk letting people down, especially a child.
Of all the billions of kids in the world who aren't mine, DSD is absolutely #1 of those. My own children are in their own league and I think that's perfectly normal and natural.

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DebussytoaDiscoBeat · 17/06/2022 00:02

Love them like your own is a load of old codswallop. Doesn’t say much for the parental bond if non-parents aren’t considered normal unless they can replicate by default the unconditional love a parent has for their child, with the added challenge that the child is unlikely to love them unconditionally back.

Of course it can happen, but the expectation that it should causes so much unnecessary conflict.

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KylieKoKo · 17/06/2022 00:02

I find the expectation to love them your own a bit weird. Imagine if a sm came on here and said that she expected her step kids to love them as if she was their own mother! She'd be crucified.

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Rtmhwales · 17/06/2022 00:08

I don't believe anybody actually loves them like their own, bar maybe raising them from a young age when their own mother is out of the picture perhaps. I think people say this, and maybe honestly believe they feel this way, but if push came to shove and they had to choose or, God forbid, save one of them, I think their own children would be the quickest easiest choice.

I have two DSS. I'm fond of them, want the best for them, treat them like they're my own and provide for them. But I feel only 1/10 for them what I feel for my own child.

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ILProbs · 17/06/2022 00:09

I think you're completely normal. I think it's perfectly fine to be nice to them, kind, appreciate them as part of your dh, and let that be the end of it. I think this love them as your own thing says more about the expectations put on women and step mothers in particular than it does about the realities of blended families.

I like dps dc. I don't really want to spend the same amount of time with them as I do with my own dc. I don't think I should have to.

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DebussytoaDiscoBeat · 17/06/2022 00:10

@KylieKoKo ah but that’s because the children had no choice in the situation blah blah…. which totally misses the point that it has zero bearing on whether someone “should” love a person just because they happen to be related to the person they fell in love with.

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User3568975431146 · 17/06/2022 00:17

How you feel is how you feel

I feel sad for the children though because to have a step mum who doesn't miss them or wouldn't want to see them again if her and their dad broke up, is a shame. It seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity for a deeper, more fun and fulfilling relationship for all sides.

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DebussytoaDiscoBeat · 17/06/2022 00:47

User3568975431146 · 17/06/2022 00:17

How you feel is how you feel

I feel sad for the children though because to have a step mum who doesn't miss them or wouldn't want to see them again if her and their dad broke up, is a shame. It seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity for a deeper, more fun and fulfilling relationship for all sides.

I don’t think it is sad, as long as whatever relationship that has developed has come about naturally. Take siblings for instance - they might be extremely close, or they might not, without anyone necessarily doing anything “right” or “wrong.”

Your presumption seems to be of poor little children giving love and affection to a cold-hearted step parent who tolerates them at best. The reality is that the child probably isn’t that bothered about a non-resident step parent beyond being treated by them kindly and fairly. It’s also rare that a child receives full “permission” from both parents to get close enough to a non-resident step parent in order for a relationship to form where both sides miss each other.

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Dogroses · 17/06/2022 03:57

You're totally normal! I have two DSCs I've known since they were toddlers and have lived with 50% of the time for years. My feelings for them aren't anywhere near my feelings for my own children. I didn't go through any of the bonding stages with them so I don't have that really strong, instinctive love for them (not to say there is only one 'biological' way to bond. Obviously people love children who came into their lives in all kinds of circumstances). If you add to that the fact that they are being raised half the time by a mother who is nothing like me, that I don't always agree with my partner about how he parents, that there are 100 ways in which my life is much more restricted by being a step mother than it would be otherwise...

I think when people hear stepmothers don't love their stepchildren with a fiery passion they immediately think 'poor children!' But my DSCs live 50/50 with four adults, two of whom are their loving parents and two of whom are kind, supportive people who have helped provide a safe, happy environment for them to grow up in. How much more do we have to give of ourselves?!

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Toughlover2 · 17/06/2022 03:59

This has been deleted by MNHQ for breaking our Talk Guidelines.

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fontime · 17/06/2022 04:42

It's normal to have a different relationship with step children to your own children.

It's normal to love your step children like their your own.

Your friend is strange for thinking everyone should feel the same as her.

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Ravenclawdropout · 17/06/2022 04:47

Your description reminds me that "love is an action" you may not have all the feelings that some others may expect you to have for your stepchildren but if you are caring for them, wanting the best for them and working to facilitate good relationships between all the step siblings I think you are acting in a very loving way.

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ilovemyboys3 · 17/06/2022 05:24

Absolutely normal. I don't feel that way about my DSC. I'm kind to them, make a real effort to engage and chat with them and do things for them when they are here but tbh I hate them coming and can't wait until they stop. They take over my house, eat everything in fridge and cupboards that I've planned to eat and cook for another time, bedrooms are chaotic as we have two DC and they come in and share their rooms, both boys and girl. Our children hate having to have other beds in their rooms and have their rooms taken over when they are round. They are 13 and 15 now and our children are 4 and 7. They all argue and it's unpleasant. That may make me a monster but it's the truth. 🤷🏻‍♀️
People will say... you knew he had kids blah blah. Yea that's true and like I said I'm nice and kind but I don't love them, I barely like them sometimes - not that they will know that! 😂

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BaaCake · 17/06/2022 05:55

User3568975431146 · 17/06/2022 00:17

How you feel is how you feel

I feel sad for the children though because to have a step mum who doesn't miss them or wouldn't want to see them again if her and their dad broke up, is a shame. It seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity for a deeper, more fun and fulfilling relationship for all sides.

They don't need that relationship though. They have the relationship they have and that is also something special. Just because it's not all in extra parenting. OP you're fine don't stress it, it's best to just let the relationship form organically. The kids might not want you to be "like their own." I think especially if your DP is the non resident parent it is a tricky one to navigate so easiest just to let it go and see where it goes by itself and just keep an eye out for icebergs and rocks and then give it a gentle correction.

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FishcakesWithTooMuchCoriander · 17/06/2022 08:26

Does your friend actually have her own children? Thinking you love the SC alike your entirely theoretical own children is not the same as when she actually knows what maternal love feels like.

Making you feel horrible about perfectly natural feelings is not a very nice thing to do.

There are so many barriers to a SM loving their SC like their own. So many. Where it actually happens, it’s pretty unusual. And quite a weird expectation. I’d never expect anyone else to love my children like their own (other than their father!). That’s such a weird expectation.

I would also wager that there is a proportion of SM who will claim they love the SC like their own because they feel duty bound and guilty about not doing so. They won’t admit their true feelings to anyone. And may be a bit more prickly if anyone else lets on that they don’t feel that way about SC.

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aSofaNearYou · 17/06/2022 10:12

Completely normal. How did she react?

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ErniesGhostlyGoldTops · 17/06/2022 10:23

I would be looking askance at your friend.

Maternal love is unique and for good reason.

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ZenNudist · 17/06/2022 10:26

I get how you feel but think its sad for the kids. I have friends who are step mums or who have step parents who they love and who love them and there is closeness and a bond. It might not be exactly like loving your own but surely like loving a nephew or nice. Not your child but hugely important to you and invested in them for life.

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Fullsomefrenchie · 17/06/2022 10:27

I also feel for the kids, and a lot of step parents are like this, they basically tolerate the kids and would rather they weren’t there, and wouldn’t bother to ever see them again given a choice.

unpleasant but not unique.

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DialsMavis · 17/06/2022 10:34

I was also going to ask if your friend has DC of her own? DH has been a wonderful step father to my DS since he was 3 and would say he loved him like his own. Living together full time probably helps too.
But now we have DD and he understands the love a parent feels for their child he probably doesn't think that anymore and I wouldn't ask him.

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DialsMavis · 17/06/2022 10:36

DH treats the children the same and DS has never doubted his love for him, DD is 11 now and DS is an adult so can't see that changing thank goodness

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peonylove22 · 17/06/2022 10:40

I feel the same way about my step kids, I'm care of them as they are my DH kids, but do not love or have a great fondness for them. We have his daughter 80% of the time and his son every weekend.

My DH was shocked when I told him I didn't love his kids, and I was thinking if I monster too 😣

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Parkperson00 · 17/06/2022 10:40

Sadly, as recent child abuse cases have shown, there is much more likelihood of abuse within families where some of the children are not direct kin.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella_effect

Powerful evidence in support of the Cinderella effect comes from the finding that when abusive parents have both step and genetic children, they generally spare their genetic children. In such families, stepchildren were exclusively targeted 9 out of 10 times in one study and in 19 of 22 in another. In addition to displaying higher rates of negative behaviors (e.g., abuse) toward stepchildren, stepparents display fewer positive behaviors toward stepchildren than do the genetic parents. For example, on average, stepparents invest less in education, play with stepchildren less, take stepchildren to the doctor less, etc.

I don't think young women marrying someone who already has children realise the conflict that can arise between the non biological parent and step children.

Obviously there are many step parents that do a good job of nurturing non kin children but as threads on MN show, many step parents find it hard.

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