He already has his kids, but I don’t

Ooh, those stepchildren. I was all set to write about something else this week, but then I got this comment on a previous post. I’m dying to share it with you and get your opinions.

The original post, “Stepparents caught between two worlds,” is still drawing comments. For so many of us, our childless lives include dealing with our partners’ kids from previous relationships. Sometimes they feel like our own kids. Note the second book I talked about last week where the author fell completely into the mom role with her two stepsons. More often, we have mixed feelings. We want to love them and make them our own, but they already have two biological parents. They may accept you or treat you like dirt. You may have a good relationship with your partner’s ex or be constantly at war. And when it comes to your partner choosing between his or her children and you, well, guess who loses that contest? Blood trumps love most of the time.

So often, accepting this partner with kids means you will not get kids of your own because that partner has already been there and done that.

That said, let me share what “Honest” wrote:

I’m very thankful I have stumbled upon this blog. I’ve been searching for someone, anyone really, who I can relate to and to see that I am not alone in this whirlwind of step-parenting.

Last year I met a man that I was completely not ready for. He was the most incredible man I have ever met, Kind, nurturing, persistent, caring, understanding, supportive and above all he was completely and utterly in love with me. He had been in a relationship for 10 years and had two kids 9 & 5. His ex had left him a year and a half before we met. He was the bigger man and moved out of the house they had just recently built and moved into a rental, while still paying for the house and all her bills, (which I think is completely and utterly insane. I know if that was me I would not be funding her) But his excuse was he was doing it for the kids as she would not be able to afford the house and bills as she did not work. I have come from a hard upbringing. My father was abusive and my mother worked three jobs to support our family, so you can see why I would have a bad taste in my mouth to begin with from his ex not wanting to work even though both children are at school when my mother raised us all and worked three jobs, but that’s just my view. I guess.

My partner won my heart after months of my hesitation to commit to him. I knew deep in my heart I would be in for a whirlwind of a ride once I committed. He was still going through the sale of his house, she was still living in it, he works away so he was gone for a full week and the week he was home he had the kids for the whole 7 days. So from the very beginning, I knew if I stepped into this I was becoming a half-time stepmom. That when I saw him, I knew I would be seeing the children too, never a moment alone to have our own relationship. But, love won me over.

Three months into our relationship, we moved in together. Not only was he pushing for it, as at the time he was coming home and staying at their ‘old home’ which she still lived in, and would go to her friends the week he was home, but my current rental was about to run out of lease. So we made the plunge and moved into a two-bedroom apartment. As his ex had run him dry of money, I ended up paying and furnishing the entire apartment (which included a room for his two kids, with whom I had only spent a handful of time) and accepting the fact that I was now involved.

The two kids are beautiful. I have grown to love them very much. I take them to school, I pack their lunches, I cook them dinner and put them to bed, do all the things a mother would do. But, at the same time, all I can see when I look into their eyes is her [the ex]. She would call and abuse my partner at ridiculous hours, she would start messaging me abuse, he would try and be reasonable with her and she just would not have it, and that absolutely kills me inside.
My partner from the start told me I was the love of his life and he wants to marry me and spend the rest of his life with me and have children of our own. Up until recently. Now he has decided that he does not want any more children.

When those words came out of his mouth, it absolutely ripped my heart out. I’ve wanted children my whole life. I have had three abortions with exes, because they did not want to be fathers, or the time was not right, and they would not be around if I was to have the child. So I did the right thing ( so I thought) and went through the traumatic experience of having an abortion, because I want my children to grow up in a family with both a loving mum and a dad, and not a dad who does not want them. I know firsthand how many times I wished when I was a child my mum did not have me because of my abusive father. So now I’m 28 and the man who I thought I was going to marry and start a family with has changed his mind on having any more children. Do I leave and attempt to find someone else I will fall in love with and we both want a family, or stay in hopes he will change his mind? It’s not like he cannot see the mother I will be. I’m more of a mother to his children then their actual mother. It breaks my heart to know that I’m 28 and I’m still completely and utterly unsure of what I’m doing in life. I don’t think I could live the next 20 years with his children and none of our own, I feel like that’s taking something special away from me, away from us, that he does not want us to have that connection, and it leaves an awfully bad taste in my mouth.

HERE’S WHAT I SAID: Honest, you’re not going to like my response, but I’m going to say it anyway. Looking at it from the outside, I think your guy is taking advantage of you. You have provided him a place to live and free child-care while he’s preventing you from having your own children and still supporting his ex. Maybe he does love you, but the whole situation sounds messed up to me. I wish you all the best.

What do you all think? Respond here or on the original post, where you can read some other step-situations.

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12 thoughts on “He already has his kids, but I don’t

  1. wow that’s so difficult. She shouldn’t have to accept a childfree life when she has been so clear about what she wants and also the fact that he changed his mind isn’t fair. She is also so young, I would think that she would be able to find someone more suited. Wishing her lots of luck however she decides to move forward!

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  2. Sue,

    I feel for her. She needs to leave his flaky behind and find a man
    with no kids so she can have HER own children. I’ve gone through very much the same thing. Most
    people can’t love stepchildren as their own. Nor should we be expected to.

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  3. Among a lot of other red flags in this relationship; It isn’t fair he said yes to children of their own and then changed his mind. At 28 She has a lot of time.
    Without question leave!!

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  4. I would leave. It will only get harder. The pain of childlessness is made much worse by resentment of taking care of everyone. As a people pleaser and caregiver, you always end up feeling taken advantage of. That will be excruciatingly painful when you don’t get anything you need in a situation. The caregiver role dynamic is what my counselor would consider something to “work on”. That shortcoming mixed with a situation set up to take advantage of you will only end in heartache. If your boyfriend reciprocated to you for all you have done with what you needed, the relationship would be more equal. He is not. This will not change. Trust me that is a character trait. 28 is young, but I know that it seems old when talking about having children. I was the same age. It is tempting to stay because the illusion of having a family is there. I would leave not just because of him not wanting kids but because you deserve a relationship where someone tends to your needs also. When a relationship is more equal, your want to have a child will be just as important to someone else as their wants. I have been living that situation for almost 20 years. It is becoming more and more difficult to deal with. Interestingly, my husband’s role model of making only his needs important has created children who do that. The result? A son that has just gotten divorced after numerous affairs and emotional abuse to his wife. He chose someone who was not emotionally available and they had a child. Neither of them is present. They dance that dance of blame and anger. The child suffers. The other one has been in and out of jail because he doesn’t have regard for anyone. My husband and I are not important unless we are giving to them. This situation did not look any different then yours in the beginning. The children were six and eight.
    No one wins. Today? My husband is sorry we didn’t have children because the reality is he doesn’t have a family either. He realizes we didn’t make anything for them to be part of. He wasn’t modeling a relationship with fair boundaries, respect and appreciation. He created selfish children and empowered a controlling ex-wife who would sacrifice her children to “win” and get what she wants at all costs because she always got what she wanted. I wish I would have realized how selfish and emotionally unavailable these people are. I have come to the conclusion that was my mistake. The not wanting to have children is a symptom of a bigger dynamic. My truth is that when you love someone you either let them go because you aren’t available to what they need because of your life choices or you adapt because you love them. I know there are other options; I live them. It is just painful in the long run.

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  5. Leave him. If he’s selfish about this, he’ll be selfish about everything else. I know from personal experience. His child will always come first.

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  6. Leave him. He changed his mind about them having kids together? Not likely, but if he did that is utterly unfair. And while it could be considered admirable that he supports his ex so that she can be a SAHM, his new love should not be the odd woman out. And used. Being a mom without being a mom is very hard (ask Sue).

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  7. Hmmm tough one! When you share that type of love and connection with someone you really do need to ask yourself, what is more important. Is having your own biological child really that important? If it is, then perhaps broach the question again with him saying that this is something that you deeply want and need in your life and if he isn’t open to the idea then perhaps this isn’t going to work out. Men can get quite distressed, especially if there is a bitchy ex involved. They kinda think with blinkers on that if one marriage didn’t work out, how would the next one be and would adding another child to the family create issues with his own kids etc. Not an easy decision but you can’t sacrifice what you want for your own life either.

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  8. He may have changed his mind because maybe he may still see there is a chance of going back to his ex and suddenly changed his mind. Run away dear find a man with no kids like you

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  9. Be careful. You may be playing the role as the fixer of his marriage with his ex. She may be giving him mixed signals about a possible come back and he suddenly changed his mind. I know someone in this situation. She took care of the man’s child and he never wanted kids with her. This lasted 6 years. Finally this friend woke up and left the guy as he was really wasting her time. And guess what happened? He returned to his ex.

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