02-04-2020 10:09 AM
I've been in a messy relationship with a man who has a 6yr old son.
When we met, we were both in other relationships. We were friends who navigated our breakups separately (both of us leaving for our own reasons, not for each other).
He is in the final stages of separation which i've been waiting for anxiously, but suddenly reality has swooped in and I find myself terrified.
Despite having a large family and extensive experience living with and helping to raise children, I've never experienced a step-parent dynamic before. Reading through the subreddit 'stepparents' has left me shellshocked after seeing thousands of people all saying how much they regret letting themselves be in that situation. The primary message seems to be how the bad outweighs the good.
The concensus seems to be the thanklessness of a role where you have all the negatives of child rearing (primarily living your life around the bio-mother's schedule), but almost none of the positives.
02-04-2020 12:26 PM - edited 02-04-2020 01:17 PM
Hi @holdingpattern ,
Thanks so much for posting here, I hope that the community here can be a helpful and supportive place for you.
There's quite a few other members here who are either step-parents themselves, or are co-parenting with a step-parent. Moving into the step-parent role is definitely a huge change, and I hear your fear and uncertainty around it. I can also speak from some personal experience as well, I was a sole parent for 4 years, and then met my partner, who has now been my daughter's step-parent for nearly 7 years.
Whilst step-parenting is definitely a huge adjustment for everyone involved and can certainly come with a lot of challenges, it can also be an incredibly rewarding relationship - it sounds to me like what you've read on r/stepparents has left you feeling like there are a lot more potential negatives and pitfalls than there are positives, is that right? My impression (which may be wrong!) is that a lot of people post in that community when they are experiencing difficulties, which means that the overall impression that you can get from the community is a pretty negative one. My experience has been one that is a lot more balanced - while there has certainly been challenges along the way, it has also been a relationship that has enriched all of our lives so much.
This resource on our page has some really good advice about how to navigate becoming a step-parent
I will also tag in some other members who can speak to their own experiences .
The fact that you're reaching out here shows that you care about this relationship ,and your future relationship with your partner's son, which is a great foundation to build a respectful, caring relationship. The one piece of advice I would give is to speak openly and honestly with your partner along the way, both now, and in the future as you start to navigate things like discipline and boundaries, and the way you want to ultimately co-parent. Building a step-parent relationship is something that takes time, patience and kindness. Your relationship with his child can also look however you want it to look - there are so many different types of step-parent relationships, and your role can evolve slowly. Young kids can sometimes feel worried that a step-parent is going to want to replace their own parent, so it's important for everyone to take things slowly and keep the lines of communication open.
You say that your relationship is messy - do you think having a chat with relationship counsellor together could be something that might be helpful for you both? Sometimes it can help a lot to talk over these issues with a professional, to help you both communicate your expectations, fears, and any concerns you might have about how your lives together with his son will look. It's natural to feel anxious when a big life change is on the way - the community is also here to support you in any way we can.
02-13-2020 06:41 PM
maybe you will ,maybe you wont. My ex made the fatal mistake of having her new boyfriend move in with her as her de facto in the week she left our home. My son was shocked when after our xmas camping trip he found that going to mum's new place meant living with a man he had never met before. He rang me after 2 days and asked to come home.
She demanded he come and stay from time to time and he was the 3rd wheel and his resentment of that situation meant not only did he resist having anything to do with her new partner. Who by the way was a perfectly ok person towards my son.He didn't want anything to do with his mother either. So then I would get the phone call, come and get your son I cant cope with him .
Neither my son or the new partner were in any position to get along together. My ex seriously damaged the love and trust my son had for her prior to the breakup. If this had been approached more sensibly over time an awful lot of the problems would never have existed. Don't be afraid of being a step parent , but don't rush it, let all of you have time to adjust to the new reality before you all try to live together. And much as my ex hates it when I am right she told me later , I should have listened and done this more gradually over time . The defacto has just recently moved out. He knew she had a young son when they started the affair but the reality turned out he didn't want to share her time when our son came for his weekly stay.She made a wise choice and chose her son over a needy lover