Possible step-kids? Aiee! Help!

I’m dating someone who has a couple of children. I can’t meet them yet because there’s a clause in the divorce that says that the relationship has to be stable for X months before this can happen (which is fine with me) but…

Quite frankly, I’m scared out of my mind. I really like this guy. I never wanted to have children (biological - there’s the “alien parasite” aspect and the fact that I can’t relate to anything that has no grasp of the language of the realm and isn’t covered in fur). So… I have no idea what to do in this situation. I am not experienced around kids, especially young ones, and have no idea how this is supposed to work. Obviously they’re extremely important to him - to the point where I’ve been told that I’ll “always come second”. (yes, we’ve had the discussion on this irrational statement but the fact remains that he made it in the first place)

Being weaned on a diet of Snow White and Cinderella, how can I not be viewed as totally evil and stealing “daddy”?


Why would he not put his children before you?

He just started dating you.

He produced them.

Yep, it sounds like you’re well on your way to the evil step mom.

Good luck.

Gosh, the fact that I asked for advice on how to do the best I could given a situation I admit I don’t fully understand (i.e. a parental relationship to their children vs. a relationship with another adult) doesn’t count at all?

Nevermind, then. I’ll feed them poisoned apples and be prettier and everything will be okay. :wally:

Don’t panic. Nothing bad has happened yet, you’ve just been told you’ll never come first. Your new man has an life-long committment and emotional connection to little people you’ve never met. He had lots of committments and connections that pre-date you. As you live in his life, you’ll blend in, as he’ll blend into your life.
My step-sons, twin 5 years olds, don’t view me as evil or stealing Daddy. Daddy hasn’t been part of Daddy/Mommy in years, practically their whole lives, since they’re only five. I’ll never be MommyII but I’ll always be their friend. I’m an occasional babysitter, of the sugar-them-up-and-ship-them-home variety. I’m AuntCyn and I don’t drive a mini-van, I’m never ‘tired’ and I don’t make them eat anything they don’t want to eat.
Respect their needs and be a grown-up and you’ll be good.
I may never emotionally come first, but my wants and needs are important to their father. He’s a smart man and can usually find a way to fit us all into his life.

Why is this irrational? i’ve heard it quite a few times from single mothers, and quite frankly i agree with it.

Yeah, I agree. When my mom told my step (now adoptive) dad that, he informed her that he felt the same way about her (she would always come after the kids. The kids should ALWAYS come first. There is nothing irration about it. Perhaps you should reconsider dating this man

I too have to agree with the children coming first! Not only by the biological parent but by the stepparent also.

When I met and fell in love with my partner I knew she had two lovely children. She told me that NOTHING would ever come between her and her children because of their importance in her life. My response was that if she allowed anything at all to come between her and her children then she was not the woman for me.

I believe a parent’s commitment to their children should always be regarded as something very special and very unique. I have become very close to the children since we got together and it has been a wonderful experience to say the least. To have her young son (5) throw his arms around my neck and give me a big hug and a kiss and say “I love you” is truly the most wonderful feeling.

Initially I think the children saw me as a threat to their family unit, but as time has passed they now see me as an important and much loved member of that unit. That doesn’t mean that I take second place in our relationship as it were, just that the children’s needs, and often their wants, are always considered in every decision that we make. We are all VERY happy by the way! So it works fine for us.

That’s great to hear AussieGuy, and let me be the first to welcome to you to the boards!

Thx Jesliegh. I haven’t had a lot of time to do much looking around (this place is huge). This thread caught my eye as I can relate to it freely.

How much do you care for this man? How long have you been with him? If you really, REALLY care then you’ll find a way to deal with the situation. He’s not irrational for making the comment but your “alien” comment might be considered as such (not by me, I know some women don’t want to be mothers, it’s not wired into their program). How do you even know the level that he wants you to be involved with his kids? I bet he’s not looking for Mommy#2 anyway. They have a mother already, you’ll just be a friend if you settle down about all of this and stop worrying.

Does any child that comes within a 5 foot radius frighten you? Or is it just that you don’t know how to handle being near his in the future? How young are his children? I’m very glad to know he told you how important his kids are to him right off. He’s a real man. You should realize how lucky you are.

The age of the children is a big factor on how well they will relate to you. Under 7 is good, or older teenagers. Those middle years can be tricky.

From my last relationship I have inherited a 16 year old boy who thinks I’m his best friend. He grew up without a mum and now feels that everything he “can’t” tell dad he should tell me instead. It is nice to know I had an impact on his life that was more then just “dad’s girlfriend”.

My son, on the other hand, is 12 and very different from the boyfriend. He is shy and does not always find it easy relating to other adults. He got on fine with the bf but has not missed him one bit since he has been gone.

I am certainly not overly keen in finding another bloke with kids…but as time marches on the chances of one without is less likely.

All you can do is be friendly, make the time you spend with them fun and don’t over impose yourself on them. They may very well be hostile to anyone dad likes…you just have to ride that out.
Your bloke is very wise in having a time period elapsed before introduction IMHO…children don’t need to meet someone till you are sure about your relationship.

Just a word of advice:

If you really REALLY don’t like kids (as in, can’t stand to be in their presence for more than a handful of minutes) maybe this isn’t the right man for you.

Frankly, I would find it more irrational if he said, “You (a woman I’ve met relatively recently) will always come before my children (who I was responsible for bringing into the world).”

That statement would freak me out!

As far as advice goes on how to deal with kids: Don’t treat them like adults or pets and you’ll be on your way!

I have had step kids for the last almost 9 years. I dated their dad for a year and a half before we got married. We have our moments. Sometimes they like me and sometimes they don’t. That’s ok. Sometimes my kids like me, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I am not very happy with them. That’s ok, too. I love them. I never want anything bad to happen to them. I want the best in life for them. Sometimes I get upset with the decisions they make, sometimes I get upset with the decisions that my kids make. They are kids, weather they are yours or not, they are going to be a part of your life if you are to be with this man. You must be comfortable with his decision to put them first or this relationship will not work out.

No,no,no,no,no! If you’re not used to being around kids, it’s important that you treat them exactly like adults.

Completely insane adults with frequent mood swings.

Just give them space, don’t ask stupid questions (“I bet your favorite subject in school is recess, isn’t it?”) and let them set the frequency of interaction to start with.

And you CAN treat them like pets, up to about age 5-6. After that, they are less willing to “fetch” for just a “good boy” and a scratch behind the ears. You have to bribe them and they get this whole attitude problem and it’s just less hassle to go to the fridge yourself.

And oh, yeah. There is no such thing as an innocent question for a child between the ages of 13 and 17. Particularly for the females. A simple “How was your day?” can be met with the same suspicion, resentment and anger you’d get if you invited Al Sharpton to a Klan rally.

Males in this age range can be basically ignored, with the exceptions of buying all food items from convenience stores and budgeting for bi-monthly emergency room visits.

Does that help?


I think it depends on the ages of the kids. I was 22 when I became a stepmother and my knowledge of kids was based almost entirely on my memory of being one. At the time, they were 2 and 1. The 1 year old was 13 months, so she was a just turned one and therefore barely past being an infant. They hadn’t lived with their birth mother in 6 months. What knowledge they have of her is unknown, they view me as their mother so I guess I was lucky to get VERY young ones. I’ve heard the older they get the harder it is, but then it also totally depends on your family and how it is set up. The kids (who are now 4 and almost 3) don’t listen to me or like me, but then they also don’t listen to their dad. They do like him more than me, which is hard at times because no matter how mean he might get, he is still Do No Wrong Daddy. Whereas I walk in a room and they scream “Oh no she’s here!” and run.

I think honestly if my husband put them first life would be better. I expect him to put them first. He doesn’t put me ahead of them, though, actually he seems to put everything else ahead of me and them. But I agree, you should always expect that a person’s children will be first ahead of a spouse, even if you really hope otherwise.

If you cannot relate to the kid(s), then you probably don’t want to be in a family with them.

Most people have no choice as to whether they want to be in the same family with their children or not. You do. Use it wisely.

If you can relate to the child reasonably well, and it goes well with the child’s parent, then there’s hope. My wife did not put me second to her child… but she made it clear that she was going to have a say in ALL decisions regarding the child, and that she would exercise a veto power where she felt it necessary.

We’ve been married ten years, and the veto has never happened. Never needed to. And I’ve never felt like I was taking a back seat to anyone.

Then again, I like my stepdaughter, and she likes me, and we pretty much started our relationship on this basis… no complications, no weirdness. It was an easy basis to build on. And I had no real trouble relating to her, as a person or as a parent. I ain’t Daddy, but I am Mom’s Husband, and therefore a wielder of some authority (as well as a source of potential kid spoilage).

The trick is to provide both.

It’s not that I have a hatred for children or whatever, I just don’t/didn’t ever have the urge to have any of my own.

As far as the “they’ll always come first” comment - well, I viewed it as being irrational because I am not in a love-competition, so there is no “first place”. I’m unsure what type of situation would require that sort of statement to even be made. I do understand that their needs/wants/etc. would always be taken into serious consideration when making decisions, but I’m still apparently missing the grander significance of the statement. The absolutes just don’t make much sense to me.

My stepfather placed my sister and I on the exact same level as his own kids. It is only now that I have a stepson of my own, that I realise what a mental leap that was for him, now that I have done it too.

I would throw myself in front of a freight train for my stepchild. I seldom even think about the absence of a biological link. This is not because I’m a hero ( I ain’t), but because it comes naturally. Give it time, and you will feel the same way.

OP you’ve got yourself a real man on your hands. I can’t count the number of divorced men and women I’ve known who bring in new spouses and let them treat their kids badly. If he can live with the fact that you don’t want to have kids with him, snap him up before some other woman does!

If you really like this guy, you’re gonna fall in love with his kids eventually. They’re part of him, and like TheLoadedDog said, it just happens. Lots of stepparents I know love their stepkids the same as their own, it could happen to you :slight_smile:

Look, I understand everything you people are saying. And I’m certainly no supporter of the Al Haig kind of stepparent who marches in and says, “Okay, I’m in charge now and everything’s going to be my way.” But for all that, I can understand how the OP must feel.

Just MHO, but I don’t think “My kids come first” is the same as “You will always come second.” To me, the second phrasing sounds like, “I’m never going to love you very much.” And it also sounds like maybe, perhaps, Mr. Dad wouldn’t discourage his kids from going on an “I hate you; you’re not my mommy” vendetta.

That’s perfectly reasonable.

But so is that.

Maybe lovelee isn’t ready to get into this relationship, but I don’t think her SO is either.