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How to disengage from the skids without your DH feeling separate from you?

Posted by on Dec. 28, 2013 at 11:38 PM
  • 15 Replies

I'm a childless SM. I disengaged from my skids a long time ago. When my DH and I first married, I tried too hard to compensate for the disparities between his role in their lives and mine. I made all the rookie mistakes of thinking that if I just got them to like me, then I wouldn't feel so separate from my husband, we could actually feel like a family. But it never happened. 

In the first year of our marriage, my infertility was harder to deal with than it'd ever been before. There were nights that I would just cry myself to sleep because it was so hard to see my husband live the life that I wanted to be living, only he was living it with another woman, the woman that gave him his kids. The unconditional love, affection, and attention he got from his kids - knowing that I would never get that - was too difficult to watch.

So I disengaged. I do often feel like I'm living a separate life from my husband, but I've learned to deal with it and accept that this is just how it will be until his kids are grown and/or we have our own together.  

So now, a year and a half later, when his kids are here, I pretty much stick to myself. I talk with the kids when they talk to me, and I'm nice to them, but I no longer go out of my way to try to form a "relationship".

I'm content with the way things are now. But all of a sudden now my husband is the one feeling like we're living separate lives, because of my standoffish behavior when his kids are here. But that's because they're not here to see me, they're here to see him, and I don't think of them as my family.

And when I tell him I don't think of them as my family, it upsets him and makes him feel like we're living separate lives. But the whole reason I disengaged to begin with was because we were so separate before, and disengaging was my solution to it. 

So my question is, how do you disengage from skids without feeling separate from your husband, considering the kids are obviously a big part of his life?

by on Dec. 28, 2013 at 11:38 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Humility1
by on Dec. 29, 2013 at 12:01 AM
Hi there the way that I disengage from my stepson is like you I'm also nice and respectful towards my stepson, and I don't try to form a relationship with him. Stepson lives with me full time, Dh splits his time between me and stepson. Dh spends 1:1 time with me weekly, an he also spends 1:1 time with stepson. Dh balances his time with me and stepson. This is the way tht I disengage and it's helpful for me, not only this causes me less fights but it also lets me know that dh cares about our relationship because he does spend time with me on a weekly basis.
korra2013
by on Dec. 29, 2013 at 12:29 AM
That is tough. I wish I had something to say that would be helpful. The only thing I can say is that you and him should try to sit and talk. Maybe over a good dinner. Men don't always understand our feelings let alone the reasons we do things. It might help for you guys to talk about this. Set some ground rules like not speaking out of anger. No blaming, if it's too much then you leave the table for a moment to gather your thoughts and cool off. I agree that they are there to see him not you, but it would still be nice if you could view this as a positive. Try to find the silver lining..
chanizen
by Platinum Member on Dec. 29, 2013 at 4:32 AM
3 moms liked this

I guess I would start looking at them as my family, but not my kids.  And I would turn it back to him.  If he wants ME to feel like part of the family. Then he needs to be the catalyst.  The one who is making certain that my wants and needs are also fulfilled.  The one who reaches out and pulls you in.

Otherwise, if he is ignoring you and focusing entirely on his kids then you won't feel like you are an important part of it.

And, if the infertility has become a barrier and a focus of your sadness, then perhaps some you time and counselling or meditation is in order.  That is a tough cross to bear and my heart goes out to you.

whatIknownow
by Emerald Member on Dec. 29, 2013 at 7:49 AM
1 mom liked this

I think your husband is clinging to the unrealistic expectation that you will be that kind of family. You are a family, it's just not the fantasy brady bunch kind that many people expect. there is nothing wrong with the family dynamics that you described.

Ask him if he can identify a specific task that he would like you to participate in, that would make him feel like all of you are connected. going out to dinner? going to a movie together? going shopping together? something like that.

and remind him that the kids are there to see him, as you said. It sounds like you are polite to them and not rude..  actually he should count his blessings that everyone gets along.

He should also be more understanding of how your infertility issues play a role.


CrunchMaMaBear
by Queen Crunch on Dec. 29, 2013 at 8:31 AM
2 moms liked this
Before I had a child, I felt very similar. I felt like whenever his kids were over, they out numbered me and they would be in their own little dad and sons world. What helped me was disengaging. It had a similar effect, my hubby wanted to know why I was so quite when kids were over, why I didn't try harder to have a relationship with them ,, exc exc. I finally told him I felt separate and that they out numbered me in MY home. ( I lived there 3 years alone with a room mate.) He really listened and tried to include me in things and the boys followed his lead. Things got alot better after that. I started to feel like we were more of a family type, I've never been a sm to try to be mom with then, but I've developed a good bond. Once my dd was born , I worried about her solely. And let him worry about his kids. I can't begin to understand the pain of infertility. I pray that things get better for you
zannahdeux
by Silver Member on Dec. 29, 2013 at 8:56 AM

You can like them as people, you can go to the movies and dinner with people right? I think there are things you can do to not be distant but also not try to be the "stepmom" be creative. I think you can find a middle ground if you want to.

also did you discuss adoption? 

leegirl_jm
by Ruby Member on Dec. 29, 2013 at 10:08 AM
1 mom liked this

 What does your husband wants to do to make you not feel separate? Is what he wants realistic? Start there. It is his job to make the 'togetherness' because he is the common relative you share with his children.

runinpinkshoes
by Silver Member on Dec. 29, 2013 at 12:13 PM

He usually is pretty good about understanding that these are not my kids and doesn't hold unrealistic expectations about our relationship. They're normally only here every Tuesday (overnight) and every other Friday-Monday. And when they're here in such short bursts it's easier to handle. Everyone mostly tends to do their own thing and sometimes we'll play a game on Fri or Sat night.

I think right now the issue feels larger because we've had the skids since Wednesday because of the holidays. When they're here, it's always "Dad, Dad, come do this with me, etc"... Being left out and always overlooked so much is part of what used to hurt my feelings, but now I've just come to expect it so I'm kind of hardened to it I guess. 

But it gets overwhelming for me when they're here for so long, and the left out feeling just grows. I spent all day yesterday in my room, and the only time I saw the kids is when they came down to ask me where their dad was.

I do purposely avoid interaction sometimes, and I'm sure that's hard for him, but it makes if easier for me. But I know I could be doing things to help the situation - I could go initiate a game or something. Sometimes I'd rather feel sorry for myself I guess. 

Quoting leegirl_jm:

 What does your husband wants to do to make you not feel separate? Is what he wants realistic? Start there. It is his job to make the 'togetherness' because he is the common relative you share with his children.


runinpinkshoes
by Silver Member on Dec. 29, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Thank you. It is nice to know other people have felt this way. I read this to my husband, and I think it helped it him understand my viewpoint a little better. 

Quoting CrunchMaMaBear: Before I had a child, I felt very similar. I felt like whenever his kids were over, they out numbered me and they would be in their own little dad and sons world. What helped me was disengaging. It had a similar effect, my hubby wanted to know why I was so quite when kids were over, why I didn't try harder to have a relationship with them ,, exc exc. I finally told him I felt separate and that they out numbered me in MY home. ( I lived there 3 years alone with a room mate.) He really listened and tried to include me in things and the boys followed his lead. Things got alot better after that. I started to feel like we were more of a family type, I've never been a sm to try to be mom with then, but I've developed a good bond. Once my dd was born , I worried about her solely. And let him worry about his kids. I can't begin to understand the pain of infertility. I pray that things get better for you


leegirl_jm
by Ruby Member on Dec. 29, 2013 at 12:32 PM

What are your hobbies? Do you have girlfriends that are single? During the long periods that the children are over, do things for you, make that your 'me time'. Have girls night out. I think with the challenges you have, you need to focus more on you, you will need time to recover too, until you take care of you, the times the kids are over and Dad is being Dad will always have some hurt for you.

Quoting runinpinkshoes:

He usually is pretty good about understanding that these are not my kids and doesn't hold unrealistic expectations about our relationship. They're normally only here every Tuesday (overnight) and every other Friday-Monday. And when they're here in such short bursts it's easier to handle. Everyone mostly tends to do their own thing and sometimes we'll play a game on Fri or Sat night.

I think right now the issue feels larger because we've had the skids since Wednesday because of the holidays. When they're here, it's always "Dad, Dad, come do this with me, etc"... Being left out and always overlooked so much is part of what used to hurt my feelings, but now I've just come to expect it so I'm kind of hardened to it I guess. 

But it gets overwhelming for me when they're here for so long, and the left out feeling just grows. I spent all day yesterday in my room, and the only time I saw the kids is when they came down to ask me where their dad was.

I do purposely avoid interaction sometimes, and I'm sure that's hard for him, but it makes if easier for me. But I know I could be doing things to help the situation - I could go initiate a game or something. Sometimes I'd rather feel sorry for myself I guess. 

Quoting leegirl_jm:

 What does your husband wants to do to make you not feel separate? Is what he wants realistic? Start there. It is his job to make the 'togetherness' because he is the common relative you share with his children.

 

 

Career Woman, Wife and Mother of Two Children, a Girl and a Boy.

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