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Scared, from South Africa (submitted Aug '09)


Name: Scared

Home: South Africa

I feel so uncomfortable at the moment. Only through God's grace, was I able to contain myself and decided not to leave my husband and rather give him all the love I can. We have been married for 13 years now and have 3 wonderful boys, 6,10, 12. My husband has been married before and has one daughter out of that marriage, who is 17 years old now. From the beginning, the child from a previous marriage was very hard for me to accept. I grew up in South Africa, where divorces are still very uncommon and combined families extremely rare. Stepfamilies are simply something you dont deal with over there and basicly it is a shame to be divorced. I grew up in this very conservative culture.

Before we got married, we moved away from my husband's little girl, and shortly after moved back to SA. Therefore he had no contact with her over all these years, and honestly, it suited me. Now we are back in the States and all of a sudden his daughter started to make contact with him again. This is extremely hard for me. I really started to resent her when we had to give up almost all our savings in order to pay child support with the exchange rate.

My husband is in heaven right now with this new found relationship and cannot understand that it is very hard for me to accept. He even told his daughter that it is because of me that he did not have contact with her over the years - which is not exactly the truth. He also wants to force our 3 boys to have a relationship with this girl. They just learned about her a year ago and have no interest in someone that they all of a sudden have to share their dad with. I feel like this thing is braking our unity as a family and that it is no longer just us any more. He has told me so many times that his divorce is something of the past. Is this child not something of the past also. I mean, he can have a relationship with her, but why do we have to be involved. He sees no wrong in her and everything about her is just GREAT. How do I deal with this. Please pray for me. I do not want to loose my husband.

Dear Scared-- your husband's daughter is a "thing of the past," but in stepfamilies, the past is always present. The stability of your family has been disrupted significantly by her renewed presence, but you cannot go back. She is his child and part of his life. You must accept that and work with him to incorporate her into your family--otherwise, you jepordize your home. Remember, an inclusive attitude connects and shares grace; a jealousy, possessive attitude divides. Take it one day at a time. RLD



Comments ( 3 )
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#3: by cbishop on 04.28.2010 @ 04:26pm CDT

I would like to say if you know he had children from another relationship/marriage, there is always a possibility of them coming back into their lives again. It is a package deal when you marry someone with kids like it or not. The child is probably she has finally found and caught up with her dad. Give yourself time to adjust and let your husband know your concerns and how you and him can work through this for your familie's sake.
#2: by Jenny Basson on 01.20.2010 @ 08:15am CST

I would just like to say I am a step family counsellor located in Jo'Burg, South Africa, and if anyone needs some advice I am freely available. I am at Rosebank Union Church and have been in the counselling centre for the past 9 years. My focus is on blended families and my passion is to help people go thru these difficult times they face in a step family.
#1: by Sheena South Africa on 08.31.2009 @ 03:36am CDT

I know how you feel, I feel the same way, my husband's daughters never bothered about him & now all of a sudden they are in my face, he is overjoyed at the prospect of them wanting to be with him, all they want is money, they make him spend a fortune, & they hate me, I cannot handle them, they are manipulating, I just want to leave most of the time. Just like you I'm from South Africa, my family have nothing to do with me, because they feel I threw my life away by marrying a divorcee, & then his ex family dont have the best reputations, they have no discipline whatsoever, & when I say something to him he starts shouting, So now its my fault that they dont like me. Its very difficult, I pray that God gives me the strength because I feel like i'm pretending most of the time. I'm just wish that in SA there were people we could chat to0 to help us.

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