marriage in danger because of stepchild...

roster212

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Jun 1, 2016
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I have a bio daughter (8). I married and my wife who has a son(6). I do love him, but to be honest, the love i have for my stepson isnt anything near my love for my daughter. I do love him, but i'm not affectionate to him. I hug him sincerely, but i dont kiss him goodnight like my daughter.

I'm in the national guard and am just returning from deployment. i come home in a few days. Its put a huge stress on our family. My wife claims that i dont show the same love to her son as i do to my daughter. For instance, i dont call her and ask to talk to him on the phone. In reality, i dont have much interest to. When i call my wife, i do it to call my wife, not to talk to my daughter or her son. She says i've shown this type of behavior for some time. I've always favored my daughter when it comes to the children. My wife is extremely family oriented. She has a heart that could love anything. She genuinely, or atleast hides it really well, loves my daughter. She expects that i do the same for her son. If i cant do that for her son, then she cant see us together.

I dont know why its not good enough to just be a good parent. I grew up with both of my parents. I have 2 step brothers that my bio dad raised. I know for sure that my dad did NOT love his stepchildren. He raised them as a good father though the best he could. I love my stepson, but not the way my wife wants me to. I'll raise him, protect him, and treat him like family, but inside, he'll never be the same level as my daughter. I dont blatently treat my stepson differently on purpose. When it comes to material things, i always get both children something, so the other doesnt feel left out. When it comes to compassion, thats where it gets biased.

Am i wrong? Is she wrong? Is our marriage worth dissolving because of lack of empathy or compassion to a step child? Am i Supposed to sincerely love him like my own? Is it fine to just love him unconditionally? Am i not supposed to let my daughter know that shes special even though i have to share my love? How do i do that without my wife thinking i'm leaving the other child out? How do i convince my wife my side of view without her thinking i'm being insensitive and putting her child in the afterburner.

I'm not a sensitive or compassionate person unless it comes to my wife and she knows that. She also thinks i use that as an excuse to not show her son the love she expects me to show. She thinks i'll use any excuse to not love him. I cant defend myself...


PS.. please dont use those annoying parenting acronyms. If you dont have time to spell out a word, you dont have time to thoughtfully reply.
 
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cybele

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Feb 27, 2012
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You are wrong.

When you marry someone with a child you get the child too, if you are noticeably not showing care for that child, then you are not doing the right thing.

You don't try to convince your wife, you put your big boy pants on and show love and care for your stepson.
 

artmom

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Feb 26, 2015
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I read this carefully and envisioned your family as you stated.

This is neither a wrong or right dilemma. Normally I would comment the same thing Cybele said. But I don't think you're a case of completely alienating your Stepson. Like you said, you're being inclusive, fair, caring and going about being a good stepdad, but I have to agree with you that you will never feel the same love as will you with your own blood.
The only thing that really irked me was the title of your post. I hope you haven't openly expressed that your stepson is reason for the cause of your relationship breakdown. Because that is not true nor healthy for your relationship nor your stepson.
This has more to do with conflicting idealisms and communication on an emotional and spiritual level. (Don't worry, I'm not going new age on you.)

Take a good look and reread your post, for starters. You will notice that neither you nor your wife are understanding where both of you are coming from. It could help to go to couples therapy. If your wife is concerned about your biased love towards your kids, perhaps it would ease everyone's mind if your stepson made a visit to a counsellor or psychologist or someone who understands these things in kids.
For now, you both should listen for cues of discontent from the boy. Such as asking questions about you treating him differently or pulling away from you. I don't know if your wife actually does this, so I'm not making any accusations, but make sure she isn't letting her son know, either directly or indirectly, about her thoughts of you loving him differently.

This seems to be a common issue couples face when a spouse is deployed for duty, especially for long term. You can suggest to your wife to look for a support group for those who's spouses are deployed in your area. It may help if she can gather with people she can relate to and confide in.

To love your stepson unconditionally is just fine. I wish I had that.
I've been a step-daughter a couple times from my mom's previous marriages and I have a step-mom whom I dislike as she treated me very differently. But I think it's because I'm the only girl out of my siblings and she was either doting over me and making sure I was looking and playing as girly as can be (I was a tomboy at the time.), or she was treating me with resentment.
One step-dad who an alcoholic and he coldly told me, one evening, after a heated argument with my mom, pointed a finger at me and said that it IS my fault that they argued.

Blended families don't have to be that volatile if both sides are can just learn to live with each others differences and build tolerance and understanding. It doesn't happen overnight. When there's a will, there's a way to make things work. I hope I helped just a bit, at least.
 
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Vdad

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May 28, 2016
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Thank you for your service to our country.

To answer your questions: No, you are not "Wrong", and neither is she. It's not a case of that. If you were hitting your step son or otherwise abusing or neglecting him, that would be another story. But what's happening here isn't so much an issue of (your) behavior as it is of emotion. You just don't feel it for him as you do your daughter. Your wife recognizes this and is understandably concerned about that, but her pressuring you is adding a layer of stress that, as you see, is making matters both more complicated and worse. So, to answer your last question about dissolving your marriage...only you can really answer that one..but, no, people don't end marriages b/c they haven't developed feelings for their spouse's children. But, they often end them b/c their spouse makes such an issue over it that it interferes with and ultimately destroys the marriage. I think you and she need to talk frankly about that one.

This is one of those situations where you and she might need to talk with a family therapist to help you sort this one out. You can begin to think about the reasons why you haven't developed the same feelings towards him as you feel (and express) towards your daughter, and you can also begin to think about the type of relationship you ultimately want to have with him, questions that I think the therapist might ask.

One last thing: you didn't mention how long you were married. It takes time to bond to another person, in this case the boy. Yes, they're a package deal, but your primary attraction and subsequent attachment is to the mom. It takes time to develop the same feelings towards the child, this might take some time.

But I think the first step here is for you and she to really talk about the added stress she's placing on you and how risky that is.
 

roster212

Junior Member
Jun 1, 2016
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Thank you for your responses.

I wasnt exactly clear about the dissolution thing. She is threatening leaving me if i dont give her son the same amount of love she gives my daughter.

We've been married only a short time but have been together since Jan 2013. He was 3 when i met him. We've never exactly bonded. He's very loyal to his real dad who i'm sure has a role in this.

Cybele, i disagree with your comment. The love i share isnt the love she expects. I dont mistreat him or neglect him by any means. I just dont go the extra mile to think about him in times like during conversations, or just call to talk to him just because or like i do my own child. My wife says she has to "remind" me to do those things. Face Value, i dont think the kids know there's an argument going on. This is a fight between 2 peoples opinions. Mine and my wifes.

If i told my wife what she is doing is pressuring me and adding stress, she would completely flip out. She believes its too easy to just love someone. Since i have a hard time with it, then obviously i'm just not trying and i dont deserve to be in her life.
 

Vdad

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May 28, 2016
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David, I think the larger issue here isn't just the issue you've discussed about her son, but your inability to communicate with her and work on things, especially if she doesn't exactly see it your way. That she would "Flip out" if you shared your experience of her pressuring you isn't a good sign at all. Two people are bound to disagree or see things differently and it's only a catastrophe if they cannot then listen to each other and work on a plan to resolve it. People often get divorced not so much b/c of the actual problem, but the inability to communicate effectively. Your problem might be bigger than you think.

I think the best course of action here is to acknowledge her concerns and discuss bringing them to a professional who can help both of you to listen to each other and manage the emotion better.
 

artmom

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Feb 26, 2015
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Vdad said:
David, I think the larger issue here isn't just the issue you've discussed about her son, but your inability to communicate with her and work on things, especially if she doesn't exactly see it your way. That she would "Flip out" if you shared your experience of her pressuring you isn't a good sign at all. Two people are bound to disagree or see things differently and it's only a catastrophe if they cannot then listen to each other and work on a plan to resolve it. People often get divorced not so much b/c of the actual problem, but the inability to communicate effectively. Your problem might be bigger than you think.

I think the best course of action here is to acknowledge her concerns and discuss bringing them to a professional who can help both of you to listen to each other and manage the emotion better.
Basically what I mentioned, too.
 
U

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There is nothing wrong with not feeling love for a child who isn't even yours. But the children aren't to blame for the fact that their parents decided to divorce and start living with other people. Therefore, if you really love your wife, try to show some interest in her son. After all, she also will not be able to love your daughter if you don't love her son. And if you can’t even force yourself to pretend that her son is interesting to you, file for divorce. You can through https://onlinedivorcetexas.com or similar sites, it will be faster and cheaper. Don't torture yourself or children.