My first marriage had lasted 6 years and a half. Until we decided to leave it at that: we obviously weren't made for each other and getting married was a mistake in the first place.
So I rebuilt my life with my 2 little girls. Even if it was a voluntary separation, the divorce wasn't an easy matter. It's always a financial and emotional black hole that leaves you on the knees. Your whole life is upside down and like if it wasn't enough, getting separated also sorting your friends. Sadly enough, people always feel so involved in your life and feel like they have to chose one spouse's side or the other.
Then, you start from scratch again, hoping for better times and keep on going for your children's sake. And they come, those better times. But better isn't synonymous with easier. I met this man 2 years ago. I can tell it's a serious relationship and I want to make (the rest of) my life with him. But as sure as it is, no one ever warned me of what it's like to have/build/patch together a stepfamily. He has 2 boys from a previous marriage. Whereas he gets on very well with my girls, I can't say the same with his kids. Well, it's not that we don't get along at all but i'm always treated as stranger, as an added piece in their dad's life. It's made worse by his ex-wife/their mother who do everything she can to keep me aloof from this family. I get it that i'm not gonna be their mum, I surely don't want that, because that's not what I am. But I have some trouble finding where I stand in all this. Being a stepmother gives you a strange and a bad role on a crazy family scene. No need to point out that the Easter Dinner wasn't a very pleasant moment for me since it just has increased my embarrasment.
Basically, I'm not asking any precise question, but I'd be so pleased if someone has been/is going through a similar situation and to know a bit more about his/her feelings and the way they manage all this.
I'm sure it won't solve your problem, but better than nothing, here's a link:
I'll forward this discussion to a friend of mine who's actually going through some similar experience. I know being a stepfather, he's also having a tough time. Keep heart Laura !
Laura, I hear you. Don't despair. Things will work out. You have to keep doing the right things regardless of what others do or what happens...I am not good with quote, but Mother Theresa said:"... do it any way". You choose who you are going to be to these 2 boys, and you just do it. If you choose to be their great step mother, then do it.
When I married my husband, he was divorced with 2 boys of about 5 and 10. I had no children and was never married before. It wasn't always easy, and I did feel like an outsider at times. But I knew/decided that my role is to support my husband to be a great father and a great ex, so I just did whatever I thought was best. I asked what he would like, I asked what the boys would like, I asked their mother what she would like. And, I didn't lose myself while doing that. We have the capacity to be great to many people.
I had to gain trust and respect from every one. I made mistakes and so did they. The truth is no body had the experience of raising 2 boys who were 5 and 10, who then became 7 and 12 and so on. Sometimes we all see eye to eye, some times not. I was always aware that the children might be getting it from 3 people instead of just 2 or 1 but I was always aware too that they had the benefit of asking until one of the 3 of us said yes. So, communication was key.
Remember this, children can be difficult even with their "real" parents and even "real" parents sometimes don't know what to do and they make mistakes, but that does not stop them from being great parents. So, don't let that stop you. You can still take on the role as a parent, who cares for them, teach them, sets boundaries, and disciplines them. You are just not their mum.
Give every one space and time, it will turn around.
Here is an article on blended family you may find helpful: http://www.divorcemag.com/cgi-bin/show.cgi?template=article&art....
Thank you so much for your reply Martha! Wow, I guess it's quite a change to go from no marriage/no kids to marriage and stepfamily! Did it take you long to find your place in all this? I mean, after how many years did you feel "at ease" in all this family mayhem? (at least it is what it feels like for me).
It's helping to know some people who went through the same and who in the end get a good experience. The only thing is that the communication between me and the mother isn't at its best. She's not making things worst but she isn't very helpuf either. I always thought parenting for their kids is their thing, as it is my thing with my girls and my ex-husband, but i guess things are not as simple as that, because you end up involved in the "other" family anyway, living around their kids.
I know it might sound weird to say, but i'm kind of jealous that it is so easy for my husband to get along with my girls and so hard for me to get along with his boys. I feel like sometimes he doesn't understand what i'm going through.
Anyway, thanks again for you nice and interesting reply Martha.
Be patient, especially in the beginning. I am a step mom, it went just fine for me. Yes, it was strange at the beginning and I did feel a bit like an outsider, especially because I never had children of my own before I married. As long as you stay committed, you will do the right thing. No parents really know what to do anyway, even the real ones, they have to find their way with their children. Just be there and contribute in which ever way you can. Being able to talk to both parents certainly help. Just don't get sucked into bad stories / comments that other people make. If they don't empower you, don't take them in.
Therapists can help as well, even if you go alone or with your husband or maybe even with the other parent and the children
As Martha Chan mentioned it before, be patient. For me, "patience" is a key word in all aspects of my life and it has worked brilliantly.
I've been through a similar situation, but I was that kid who wouldn't accept another father figure to be added to his family. I've got to admit that at the beginning I didn't even know he was my stepfather, I was too young. However, when I realized (don't actually remember how) that he was my stepfather, I took this attitude against him every time he tried to reprehend me, I would reproach the fact that he's not my real father. I was so full of anger and contempt...
It was just a matter of time to become more mature and comprehend that he was the reason why my mom is happy again, that I was being selfish and that the both of them deserved another chance to be happy. It took time to take it all in, yet everything is good now, we've got a wonderful relationship.
This is my story and I hope it helps you gain strength, comprehension and PATIENCE somehow...
All the best!