50 answers

Divorce Because of Step-child?

I am having so much difficulty with my step-daughter and her biological mother that it has given my thoughts of divorce from my husband. Does it get better? Should I give it more time or just call it quits after not even a year?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all for your advise. I knew what I was entering when I married my husband as I had a good relationship with his daughter. But I think things actually hit home for his ex-wife when we "officially married at the church." My step daughter was not allowed to attend the wedding and then things went from okay to bad to worse. It was an eye opener for me but I am dealing with it every day. She currenly lives with us and visits her mother on the weekends. I pray for it to get better and hope it will. I love my husband and hope love will see us through.

Thank you for your input. Some days it feels as if I am fighting a losing battle and it takes people to remind me why I should continue to keep going.


Featured Answers

Trust me it will get better. i have been with my husband now for 8 years. we both came from a previous marriage and both have 2 kids each. it was extremely hard. i kept thinking why am i doing this. but it eventually got better. i am now able to go to my husband and let him know about what is going on between me and his son.
so stick with it. the first couple of years are going to be hard but don't let that get you down.

More Answers

I had the exact same thoughts a few years ago. I did not know if sanity would exist with the antics of his ex-wife.

I'm not sure of your specific issues but, in my humble opinion, know since you married a divorced man, you will experience strife in various forms even though your relationship with your husband may continue to be very strong. I personally believe your trials will last about 7 years; forgiveness must be a part of daily life so her behavior will minimally effect you and your husband's relationship.

If you and your husband do not have a full understanding of boundaries, study them as they are critical for you and your family.

Make sure YOUR step-daughter knows she is loved and welcome in your home. She is living in the middle, as the adults you and your husband are to present unity; be firm but warm. Homes are run differently so she has to adjust to life at your home and then life with her mom. This can be difficult for her. Anger is often a fruit of hurt.

Never talk bad about the mom in the presence of the daughter. You can be honest when necessary but make all the statements factual without personal opinion involved. This will be a blessing to your step-daughter. Be aware of your actions and do not take your frustration out on her.

Good things can come out of your situation. I've experienced fantastic personal growth because of his ex-wife. I learned you had to ask for wisdom!! (Ask for it) My relationship with my daughter (step-daughter) is very strong. I'm a good influence for her. I'm with a man that I can spend the rest of my life with and that was the foundation of my committment.

You are a young woman with big responsibilities; still have fun and embrace what you are living through. -M.

p.s. A few examples of what was required for our household to take to ensure boundaries were present.

1. We blocked her phone numbers from being able to call our home phone line. She could only call my husband's cell.
2. I blocked her email from my personal in-box. She could email my husband.
3. We took the divorce papers to the school with explicit typed instructions that she could not change the address and personal information on the kids.
4. After 10 years of marriage, our 14 year old daughter asked us if she could live with us full time. We did not go to court for this but typed up an explanation and request. Our daughter, her dad and her brother met with the mom. It went smoothly. If the mom had not agreed, we would have gone to court.

Life is full of joy.

1 mom found this helpful

The way I dealt with my 3 step-daughters when I first came into their lives was patients and love. They saw how great and happy their dad was with me that they decided to love me too. I always let my husband enforce the discipline without me getting in the middle and would not allow him to yell at them or discipline them loudly while I was in the room as to not cause them embarrasement. They were all 3 great girls already, so I didn't have any big troubles aside of overlooking to place trash where it needed to be, picking up after themselves,etc. Nothing worth leaving for. There were issues w/the x but we never discussed it with the girls nor in front of them, so they never felt their mom was being attacked. Not too much later, they found out things their mother was wrong about but they got to see it themselves without us influencing any negativity vs. her. They do grow up fast and before you know it, she'll be a young adult. Hopefully by staying strong and being there for her, she will come to respect you and appreciate your contributions into her life. Be an example to her instead of pushing her away. Her dad will always be her dad. Unfortunately, wives can come and go. I always made clear to them and my husband that if ever it came down to having to choose, I would expect him to choose them because I would not want him to choose another woman if it were my child in the middle. Maybe you should encourage the dad to have some "alone" time or activity with her to make her feel she's still as important as before you came along. It will get better, but only if you work hard at it and put love before convenience (of getting out of the marriage). They will both appreciate it and you'll be proud of yourself once you've accomplished this. I know this because here is how my life is now: we are a great family now and the grandkids are starting to come. They see me as a grandmother and love me so much. This may seem weird to some, but we even share time with the X and her husband now. We have a 5 yr. old and she goes over to their house with her older sisters on some holidays and they all love my little girl and we all get along now (not best friends by any means), but we make the effort so that all our girls can share time with all the parents. Good luck to all of you, hope you will be as blessed as we are some day real soon!

I would suggest family counseling for your family.The bio mom should also get some help.From my own experience it will only get worse if you do not nip it in the bud now. Ex wives can be very vindictive and use their children to get back,therefore teaching that child very bad habits. I married a man w/ a 12 yr. old daughter and she tried for years to break us up but didn't,we have been married 25 years and guess who is not in our lives because of her failed marriage and walking away from 3 kids? She followed in mom's footsteps deciding she was tired of being married and not wanting to raise her children(we ended up w/ her at 15 yrs. old) because her mom was tooo busy and didn't want to "DEAL" W/ HER ANYMORE. Parents do not realize the impact divorce has on children and children need to know all parents can communicate and get along. I hope your husband is understanding of your position and not siding w/ the mom and child,if he isn't then you are really in for a rough time. If you don't have children together I WOULD WAIT ! Good luck

Hi G.,
I'm sorry you are having to go through this. I married my husband when I was 22 and he had 3 children from his fist marriage. They were 5, 8 & 10 and I will tell you things were definitely rocky at times. They are now 11, 14 & 16 and at times I didn't think we were going to make it, but like every one has said, you have to set boundaries. My step-daughter and I still clash at times but she also feels she can come to me for help and to talk when she needs too. It also helped to sit down and talk to my husband, too. (not yell and vent, which I did at times). Keep your head up and things will get better.

I am sorry to hear about your problem. I would have adviced you not to marry anyone with minor children. But now that it is already done, you should try to find a way of relating better with your step child. She is probably feeling that her place with her dad has been replaced by you. Your husband probably is also not stern with her because he has the guilt that she is not living with him and has contributed in breaking her home. My advice will be that you do not do any disciplining. Leave it to the Dad. Secondly try to do some girl stuff with her. Just you and her. That should build trust and respect. Also allow her and her father to get one on one time. They need it. So start from scratch to build your relationship and regardless of how hard it might be, do not try to be her mother by giving orders and chores. Let dad do it. It is his place.

If my home was broken, I would be mad too

I was in your shoes plenty of times over the last 11 years. My step son's where spoiled and controlling and their mom was a nightmare everyday - even when my husband then fiance got custody of them. We fought over it all the time and I never could see the light at the end of the tunnel but over time we established our own personal boundries and figured out a way to co-exist. I started interacting with the boys (his two I had two boys myself) and hanging out with them just us and getting to know them and letting them know I was not going anywhere. We also let them know that we were a united front and there would be no secrets between their father and I. This started when his boys were 11 and 12 and mine were 4 and 8. Now the kids are 23, 21, 18 and 13 and his two have moved on to start their lives and we could not be happier. Was it rough yes but not all the time. Your husband has to handle his ex. Just keep neutral and never say anything bad about their mom in front of them. Focus on why you married your husband and try to find commom or even not so common interests with the step-child and be honest with the child. I am not replacing your mom but I am here to stay so how can you and I make the best of this situation. Ask the child to be honest with you and you be honest with her - it might be the new start you need.

Were you aware that he had a child before you started living together? If so, then you must have known that there was a child that would be a part of the package you were getting.
I don't know you, but if after 4 years of playing house, I get the impression that you are not commited to this relationship and you want someone, anyone to give you the OK to bail out.
For the sake of the child, make your exit and learn from you mistakes.
A little about me.
Mother to 3 stepchildren from husbands two previous marriages. Soon to celebrate 31 years of marraige.

I know it sounds old fashioned, but I believe that the best chance we have at a good marriage is the one we are in. I am a child of divorce, and I know that it is hard to accept someone else as an authority figure - especially if the mom is not supportive of you. i just want to encourage you. 20 some odd years after my parent's divorced I am closer to my stepmom than to my bio mom. Age does change things. I'm glad that she stuck it out and that we can laugh now. It wasn't easy for her, but I know she helped my Dad a lot when we were "terrors". Stick it out if you love him, and you will reap the rewards. The kids will appreciate that you didn't give up and you will become an example to them of what true commitment really is.

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