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M.S., from Kansas (submitted Sept '09)


Name: M.S.

Home: Kansas

I am engaged to a man whom I love very much. I have never been married, nor do I have any children. He was previously married and has three children. He shares two children with his ex-wife and one child with a woman he had a non-marital relationship with. His ex-wife became pregnant in college, leading to a subsequent marriage which lasted two years and resulted in a second child between them. They have been divorced for 15 years. He has a relationship with the two children he shares with his ex-wife and pays child support for them. He also pays child support for the third child, but does not have a relationship with the child or her mother.

I am struggling to understand the relationship between him and his ex-wife. She has unfettered access to him and calls/texts/e-mails him on a daily basis asking for emotional support for herself and for financial support in addition to the child support. I understand the importance of co-parenting and support this fully. However, I am not comfortable with the daily contact, emotional and financial access he allows his ex-wife to maitain. I truly feel that the emotions and finances he expends on her is taking away from our relationship. I think she is very purposeful in her actions and is smart and manipulative enough to use these methods to disrupt our relationship. She plays a part in this but he does not have to allow it, so I place the blame squarely on him. I say this because he refuses to go over our respective finanaces and develop a budget for us. He and I do not talk about his kids, his relationship with his ex-wife or any subject involving them. I know they have daily contact and I find it disturbing we don't speak about it at all. I have told him I will not support him living two separate lives, but this does not seem to change and I feel this is exactly what he is doing.

She has made it clear she still loves him and manipulates him with guilt about leaving her and the kids. I make considerably less money than he does; I pay all of the bills in the home and for a majority of the incidentals. He makes financial agreements with his ex-wife without consulting me. He recently paid over $5000 for his half of his son's car who is 16 and does not have a job without consulting me. She is now asking for him to pay the car insurance as well. However, when the son wanted to drive to our house she took his keys to the car. They got into an argument over this, he took it out on me and caused an argument between us. The ex-wife then called back about 30 minutes later and acted as if nothing had ever happened and then he was fine. I told him I had real concerns with this. We ended up picking up the kids over an hour away and had a great weekend. But I don't feel like I should have to pay the price for their dysfuncational relationship.

She complains she has no money, but we dropped the kids off to find new siding on her house. I feel I am contributing 100% emotionally and financially to our relationship and he is not. I feel like I am fighting a losing battle because nobody in this situation respects my thoughts, feelings or the fact I work hard to ensure we have a nice home. I do not want to walk away from our relationship as there are many positive things about it, but this is weighing heavily on me. And, the fact he refuses to talk about any of this with me is very concerning. I could really use some outside perspective on this. One part of me thinks I am being selfish and the other feels totally taken advatage of. Please help if you can. Thanks.

Dear M.S.—In the past I found myself being diplomatic in responses to people about situations like this. I used to think, "Hey, you never know, this guy might change and then they would have a great relationship." Not any more.

To borrow a line from the movie Toy Story, I have but one thing to say to you, "Run like the wind, Bullseye!" You are running toward heartache; I suggest you consider going the other direction. You are more invested in this relationship than he is and it will only get worse after the wedding. The positives you are holding on to are likely fantasy and much less significant than the little piece of hell you are about to marry in to. Your fiancé is still "married" to his ex-wife--not necessarily romantically, but certainly emotionally. The fact that he keeps you in the dark about finances, negotiating matters with his ex, his kids, etc. and how paralyzed he is by his guilt are major, I repeat, major red flags. My friend, Laura Petherbridge, and I wrote about this vary dynamic in The Smart Stepmom; please don't be naive. Get the book, read it, and heed this advice. You are about to walk into a very desperate, powerless situation. Unless he changes—and I mean a lot—proceed toward marriage with great caution.

Stepmoms – what do you think? Did I overstate this? Share your comment below. (Comments will be reviewed by the administrator for appropriateness before posting.)



Comments ( 52 )
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#52: by Peggy on 12.22.2009 @ 09:37am CST

I agree with Ron's advice. Run.

God command's husbands to treasure their wives above all others...and if you're not number one on his list after God, then sweetie, get out and find that man who will love you above all others.

#51: by Sarah on 12.19.2009 @ 01:59am CST

I agree with Ron. Before I got married, my husband gave his ex-wife a lot of control. While we were dating, I expressed concern with that fact. When we got engaged I told him the dynamic would have to change, and he loved me enough to respect my perspective. He did make the dynamic change because he could see that was required for me to be a part of his life and my step-son's. I now have a fantastic marriage and blended family. The ex still gets in the way at times, but my husband understands that he can't love me and keep me in the dark at the same time. Please, no matter how much you love him, DO NOT MARRY HIM until the situation changes! And don't wait around forever for it to change, either! If he hasn't already acknowledged that you're important enough to him that he respects your perspective, he's not likely to. I know how hard it is to do what I'm telling you to do, but know that I've been there. I am praying you have the strength to get out now, before it gets worse.
#50: by Maria on 11.03.2009 @ 09:32am CST

I agree with the pastor too. First let me say that I am relieved that I am not the only person that has had to deal with this situation. I agree with almost all of the advice that has been given you. I think our society has created the illusion that if you love someone enough all your troubles will fade away. This is untrue. Marriage is hard work...and you both have to be moving in the same direction for it to work. You fiance seems to be standing still. I have 2 step children and no children of my own. It was a shock that my husband's ex wife was so manipulative and had no sense of boundaries. (She thinks she should be able to stay at our house when she comes to town! Her parents live in town too!)
We have been married 3 years and I have heated discussions with the ex often. It has taken much time and many tears to get to the place we are now. Believe me when I say, there were times I had a bag packed and was prepared to leave...I realize now that I am married to her too....this is someone I wouldn't choose to be a casual friend! Think long and hard about your decision.
#49: by Tina on 11.03.2009 @ 07:14am CST

M.S. is a smart lady to seek advice before she moves forward. I have been married for five years and if I had known that a spouse can be emotionally married to his ex, I would have waited a few more years. All that he is doing for his exwife might be 100% linked to his children, but he probably doesn't realize it and it will make marriage extremely difficult. My D.H. did change once he understood what was happening, but it took years of heartache for him to see that his ex was a higher priority than I was and that it wasn't right. How much better might things have been had we just decided to wait a year or two while we went through some premarital counseling? My advice would be to live in separate houses and wait, but only if he is willing to do some work. If he is unwilling, then like the pastor said, run. You do not want to be in a powerless situation.
#48: by Megan on 11.02.2009 @ 07:29pm CST

Love can be blind. It can lead you to do things that you know are questionable. In this case Ron is 100% correct. Marriage to this man (and his family)is a sure recipe for disaster. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. There is a jezebel spirit at work here and this man needs serious healing and deliverance.
My heart breaks for your situation, but it won't improve and if there is anything positive about this man you will soon lose sight of it when you find out how much he will allow you to be hurt. The road is hard enough in a second marriage without these horrible complications and barriers!
You are NOT the selfish one in this siutation!
#47: by Michelle on 11.02.2009 @ 05:41pm CST

I am in a similar situation. I was married a year ago to a man who that sounds almost exaclty like your fiance. I wish that someone would have shared with me that it only gets worse after you get married. When dating, you really do not see fully the relationship that the two have, but when you are married, there is no hiding it. I see the daily texts or hear the daily calls. Although I love my husband with all of my heart, I wish we would have addressed this while dating and perhaps held out on our wedding until this was better handled. If running away is too hard, then slow down before making it to the altar. The situation with the ex only gets worse, and my husband and I fight only about the ex. Please heed the advise that you've been given.
#46: by Bill on 10.23.2009 @ 11:57am CDT

I'm surprised no one has commented on these two living together before marriage. That presents a host of problems itself...
#45: by lexxygurl on 10.19.2009 @ 05:53pm CDT

I was in the same situation, manipulative ex with 3 children which she would threaten my husband constantly about withholding visitation if she didn't get her way. Anyway, I got tired of it and I let her have it. She had to know that I was on to her game playing and I didn't give a hoot if her kids ever stepped foot back into my house again. I also had to let her know that what she had with her ex was now over and he is my husband and to mind her own business and take care of her own household. After that conversation, I haven't had any major problems with her. My husband was afraid he would not see his children again after that confrontation but I reassured him that he would. As long as his ex feels that she has some type of control or influence over him she will certainly use it. To date we rarely hear from her because she finally go herself a life and left ours alone.
#44: by Nancy Lee Stahla on 10.11.2009 @ 02:12pm CDT

I agree %100 with Ron. You run, girl. No matter how difficult it is... run!!! I am amazed that you have allowed someone to treat you like this. I think you need to do some deep soul searching into yourself. why have you put up with this? Do this breakup as soon as possible. And stay strong and quit the contact with him as soon as possible so he doesn't manipulateyou back into a relationship with him. There is another man out there worthy of your love and generousity. But he is a weak man that is using you. Run!!!
#43: by Julie on 10.08.2009 @ 12:08am CDT

Please, please listen to all of these women...they know what is going on! i haven't read ONE positive comment about this situation. I believe God is speaking to you thru all of us who have experienced this situation. I am a step-mother of 8 yrs now. The "Ex" still manipulates after all these years! It's so hard for me to believe this! Life goes on...especially when bio-mother & bio-father are remarried! All we (my husband & I care about is if the children are happy) the Ex puts the children in the middle of EVERYTHING! I'm always telling them, "Let's just do the righteous thing" I do not have any children of my own. I think of my stepchildren as my own...which could be good or bad...the bio-mother thinks it's a bad thing...well would she rather have a stepmom that's wicked and vicious to her children or would she rather have a stepmom that treats her children like gold? I always try to put myself in her shoes and both sides are SO difficult!!

I continually pray to the LORD that one day there will be harmony! Yes, my husband does end up playing the games w/his EX, but I know it's due to guilt...which, I believe, is typical, isn't it?

We have been thru SO VERY MUCH that I know God is the only one who has gotten us thus far!!! I praise Him for that!! If I did not have Christ in my life, I would've been divorced....

I just want you to pray thru this and ask the Lord for guidance...based on all these comments from women that have experienced the same or similar situation...i think you know what u should do. I pray for you!

God Bless you!
#42: by Marianne on 10.06.2009 @ 06:28pm CDT

You sound a bit like I did before I married my husband 9 years ago. I was never married, had no children, and had always said I wouldn't marry a man with kids. But I did! I suggested at one point before we married that we should wait until all the kids were out of the house. He had what I thought was a good relationship with his kids, and one of them still lived with him.
It was a nightmare! One year after we were married he apologized to me for not waiting until the kids were out of the house (adults). Things have mostly resolved themselves - after counselling and my life savings paying for the kids. His ex does as little as possible financially. Now that the kids are older it is getting easier.
Would I do it again? I am not so sure. I have learned alot about myself - good and bad- and I now know that I deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. I am a stronger woman, but it was a high price to pay! Run hard, run fast, then take the time to re-evaluate your life. If your best friend were in your situation, what kind of advice would you give her?
#41: by Nichol on 10.05.2009 @ 08:00am CDT

Ron is speaking the gospel! Run like the dickens. I know men can be oblivious to the manipulation of women, especially when they use the children as a pawn. I had to show my husband the "light" PRIOR to us getting married about his ex-wife attempting to mark her territory once she found out about me. It was hard for him to see and we enlisted the help of our pastor. I believe that because he was open to the truth and willing to make the adjustments to ensure that I was priority #1 and to address with hie ex how future communication between them would happen, we were able to get pass her manipulative tricks. I could not imagine going through with my marriage to my husband with all of these issues going on.

I am also concerned as to why he doesn't have a relationship with the third child? Is it also because of the ex-wife? Even if it is not, that is another red flag to me.
She might believe that she has invested too much in the relationship to end it, but it is never to late to grab hold of peace. One thing I have learned: if it is of God there will be peace accompanied with it. Check your peace meter.
#40: by Arelys on 10.04.2009 @ 07:11pm CDT

I MOST definitely agree with Ron, and I don't believe that he spoke too harshly. Sometimes, us women have to hear it like it is. I believe strongly that if you try to cover an issue with one finger, it become the worst nightmare you could even imagine (spanish saying - might not translate). I have been married for 14 years, and we each have 1 child from our previous marriages and I can't begin to tell you how many different issues can arise. Our children are 20 and 24 and we still have "Come to Jesus meetings". If it were not for Ron's seminar a few years ago we would have been divorced right now. Don't think that because the children are almost adults he (your boyfriend) is home free. Children are a life-long commitment and you must require more from this relationship than you are right now. If you don't listen to what we are trying to tell you, you will pay a high price for the little love you will receive in this marriage. If his ex-wife is still in-love with him, she will make your life miserable. Have you ever wondered why he has not remarried in 15 years? AND don't ever think that just because he pays child support for a child he does not see or have a relationship with, that you are home free with this part of the puzzle too. That can become a bigger problem than the current one you have right now.

My advise is to RUN, RUN as fast as you can. Don't look back, let these experiences count for something and have a relationship with someone at your level. You have no baggage, get married to someone that can give you 100% of himself. You don't have to share, don't settle. When we do settle we end up loosing. Typically, we loose something we can't get back. AND when we pay the bills also, that will just leave you broke mentally, physically, and financially. No one deserves that much from you. I don't know you but just by your questions, I can see that you care for these kids and you truly love this man. Give yourself a lot of credit and worth, because if you don't no one else will. I had to learn this lesson the hard way. My heart has been patched up so much, I can't begin to tell you how it can still love. Don't ignore the signs. There are signs everywhere, sometimes this is the way God communicates with us when we don't want to listen.

Believe in LOVE and know that God has someone special for you. Someone that will value you as a person and what you have to offer in a relationship. God loves you enough to only want the best for you. Settling is not God's best.

God bless you and keep the faith,
#39: by MKS on 10.04.2009 @ 04:55pm CDT

M.S., there is one issue that is not being addressed that stuck out to me like a sore thumb. From your letter, it sounds like you are living with your fiance. Please forgive me if I read your letter wrong, but if you are living with him and in a physical relationship before marriage, it will only cloud your judgement. And, if you are a Christian, it is going against God's commandment to practice abstinance before marriage: "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge (Hebrews 13:4).

I have been married to a wonderful man (who is a pastor) for almost three years. He has four children and a bitter, manipulative ex-wife who pulls many of the same stunts that your fiance's ex pulls, and I have three children and a totally absent ex-husband. Both of our ex's were in adulterous relationships and left us. My husband and I chose NOT to have a physical relationship before our marriage because we didn't want that to influence our decisions or our testimonies. Our children, who are in their teens and 20's, were very proud of us. It has been a marriage without regrets.

Please know that I have prayed for you and your situation. God's desire for you is His very best. May God bless you.
#38: by Jamie on 10.03.2009 @ 08:34am CDT

I couldn't read this without my input too. RUN indeed. Things do not change. I have been in the same situation for 6 years and it only causes heartache again and again. My husband's ex-wife is out-of-controland his children have learned from her well. We cannot plan anything as a family because she will somehow change the plans. It is all about her and "her" children. I have tried desperately for all of us to become a family; however, it seeems I am the only one that wants that. Sometimes I feel like he doesn't even want me to have a relationship with his children and I absolutely have no say in anything his children do, go, say, or otherwise. I seriously believe his guilty feelings over his children being the children of a "divorce" cause him to do the things he does. I have two children of my own that are the ones that have been effected by this whole scenario. Again, I say run, things will not change.
#37: by Joslyn on 10.03.2009 @ 08:18am CDT

As with any life changing decision, it has to be entered into with equal or more time in prayer than you do planning & preparing. The Lord will lead you in this and will make it abundantly clear whether this is His will or yours. In the mean time, it would be wise to at least wait until you have clarity. Although it will not seem like it, 6 months (or however long it takes) is nothing compared to the real potential of divorce now for you. You have to force yourself to think about what-if he decides to return to his first wife, etc. We are praying for you sister.
#36: by Linda Woznicki on 10.03.2009 @ 01:19am CDT

Dear M.S.
As wonderful as marriage can be, even under the best of circumstances, marriage is hard work. I was a stepmom for 14 very long and very hard years to two wonderful stepchildren but without any support from my husband, their Father. Our marriage didn't last. You deserve to be with a man who honors and cherishes you. This man does not. Please, please, please....from those of us who have been there, get out of this relationship as quickly as you can. Every moment you spend thinking about this man is a moment lost with the man God has in mind for you. Pray about it and then do what must be done. Guard your heart. YOU DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May God give you peace.
#35: by Debbie on 10.02.2009 @ 07:10pm CDT

I agree with Ron! Marriage isn't 50-50 it's 100-100. Don't know if you are seeking God in this situation, but believe God gives us the discernment you are having. Listening to it even though it hurts is the best thing you can do. It is painful once you've invested so much, I know because I was there. God WILL restore as you seek Him to provide for you emotional.....praying for you dear one..
#34: by Anne on 10.02.2009 @ 03:46pm CDT

RUN! Marriage should not look like this. It will only get worse. Ron is Right! You will be in for major heartbrake. You are seperated from your fiance's past but you shouldn't be seperated from the present.
Get out now and take time to find yourself.
#33: by Anne on 10.02.2009 @ 03:41pm CDT

Ron is Right! Unfortunately, as you can read from those who've been there, this situation will not improve. Blended families come with baggage. If your future husband and you are not on the same page now, this will not magically turn into the relationship you dream of, later. Your reality is that your fiance is living two lives. YOU are seperated from the life of his past and current. The heartache to come is not worth it. End the engagement and take time to find who you are.
#32: by Mary Elizabeth on 10.02.2009 @ 01:58pm CDT

Ron was not out of line at all!!! His comments are the absolute truth. Being a stepmother is hard enough in a good situation much less if you have a partner who is not truthful and hiding things!
#31: by Nylene on 10.02.2009 @ 01:00pm CDT

My dear M.S. please please please listen to everyone here that has posted their hearts. You are going down a path that will most likely not get better. Loving your man is not enough for the long journey ahead. The boulders in your path are going to take so much strength to move that it will leave little energy to enjoy your relationship. The boulders are going to get bigger. You are at the top of a snowy hill and the snow ball that you all have created is beginning to roll down hill and you will not be able to stop it. The issues will grow and grow. Love is not enough to overcome this, girlfriend. Please listen to what we are all saying to you. It is out of love and wishing that someone would have told us what was ahead on this path. Seek the Lord and be willing to give this relationship up when He asks for it. He (The Lord) does want the best for you.
#30: by Holly on 10.02.2009 @ 11:32am CDT

I am married to a man who has full custody of 3 kids and I have 2 of my own that I have shared custody with. I talk to my ex via text, email, and phone every day, sometimes 3 or more times a day.. only because we agreed that it isn't about US anymore it's about THE KIDS! We will always be their Mom and Dad and we need to be adults and act like that. My husband now doesn't have a problem with it and only wishes he could be like that with his ex. I do to, only because raising someone else's children is the hardest thing in the world..for me anyway. My advice would be to go to counseling now and see if you can make it work. He needs to learn to communicate with you. We have been in counseling starting 3 months prior to getting married and still go 1 year later.
#29: by Toni on 10.02.2009 @ 11:21am CDT

It can be hard to hear that the time we've invested in a potential mate is lost but it's much better than another divorce.

Whatever is "not quite right" when dating will be magnified a zillion times once married... nothing goes away it only grows more troublesome.
#28: by Melinda on 10.02.2009 @ 10:05am CDT

Ron is right on! Run like the wind sister. Your fiance and his wife have been in this relationship so long that it is highly unlikely that the dynamics will ever change. You deserve so much more than that and God wants you to have a mutually respectful relationship with the right man. It will not be possible in this current situation.
#27: by Melinda on 10.02.2009 @ 10:01am CDT

Ron is right on! Run like the wind. You won't regret it.
#26: by Stephanie Crawford on 10.02.2009 @ 09:50am CDT

As if you needed to hear it again...RUN! I'm a step-mom as well and speak from experience. You're only setting yourself up for more heartache. My family issues have finally settled down after three years, attending Ron's seminar and many days of hard work. However, Ron speaks the truth...these are major red flags and will only get worse.
#25: by Amanda on 10.02.2009 @ 08:50am CDT

I completely agree with Ron's advice. Marrying a man with children and an ex-wife is difficult in the best situation, but with the behaviors that are being described in this letter already, heartache will be a constant for this well intentioned woman. Offenses will only be stronger once married, as she will naturally will feel loyalties should be to her, his WIFE. This relationship is headed to a dangerous place--and if this couple have their own children? What then? And if it doesn't work out? He already has another child with which he has no relationship.......MANY red flags. YES---RUN LIKE THE WIND!!!
#24: by Patricia on 10.02.2009 @ 08:36am CDT

I am also from Kansas. You need to pray first and foremost. If you are having this much trouble before marriage it will only get worse. I was in a similar situation and I lived in turmoil through 4 yrs of marriage taking a back seat to wife and kids. Like you I blamed him for not putting his foot down and until he does, nothing will change. I know you love him but you deserve a better relationship. You deserve respect and like you matter. RUN FAST! If you believe Gods promises just be faithful in the things of God and all the other things will be added to you. God Bless you in this decision, I know easier said than done.
#23: by R.S. on 10.02.2009 @ 08:28am CDT

I agree with Ron wholeheartedly! Run as fast as you can!!! I know it's a painful thought but in the end you will be glad you did. Being a stepmom is the hardest thing I've ever done and my situation isn't as bad as some that I've heard of. Run!! It will only get worse if you don't!!!!!! The heartache of staying isn't worth it!!!!
#22: by Patricia Lamb on 10.02.2009 @ 08:21am CDT

I agree with Ron 100%. After reading this womens story You would have thought I wrote it about my life with now my ex-husband. If I knew then what I know now, I would have ran myself. I was married to this man for 4 yrs and for 4 yrs I tried expressing my thoughts and feelings about the situation with the EX and children. I told him it was like they were still married and I didn't even feel like the women of my own home because she basically ran my household and hers and she was remarried. He wishes now he would have done things differently but for me its too late. He always said he was between a rock and hard place and it seems his only thing to do was to put his children and wife first and so he did. Until he's ready to admit there's a problem and do something about it expect things not to change. I can go on and on but I think you get the picture.
#21: by P. M. on 10.02.2009 @ 08:00am CDT

Ron stated this very well. I completely agree. It will be difficult for M. S. to end this relationship, but from my experiences (on marriage #3) I can tell you that this is NOT a situation you want to get any further into that you already are.
#20: by Jo on 10.02.2009 @ 07:04am CDT

Dear MS~
I hope you take serious heed to their advice. I am remarried and the whole stepfamily thing blindsided me. If you care at all about your future, you will read and read and read about the day in the life of a stepfamily. You may not want to change your situation, but if you don't it will change you. I honestly think, this is an area you NEED to trust someone else, because your emotions are ruling your heart and mind. If you think its painful now, then just wait, it will burn later. PLEASE take the step toward a future where you may find someone who thinks your worth is more important than his past. I sure do hope you find a ounce of guts and do not marry him. Obviously they CAN get along w/o you, their actions now are showing that.
#19: by janice Mason on 10.02.2009 @ 06:35am CDT

I agree too. If there is any chance for change I think it will only happen before the wedding. Leave this relationship now and be "kindly" honest as to the reasons. If he is willing at all to address this he will at that point and then you can proceed with EXTREME caution. After the wedding it will be almost impossible to address and fix.
#18: by Phyllis Hammond on 10.02.2009 @ 03:07am CDT

Did Ron overstate his answer? Absolutely not, and there is no reason to be diplomatic about this. M.S.'s fiance allows his ex an unhealthy level of access and dependency. The relationship between him and his ex is all about her, not about the kids. This is not the definition of co-parenting. It's the definition of still being emotionally married to her. He sends his fiance's earnings to his ex without her agreement or permission. Believe me, it will get much worse after marriage. M.S., get away now before it takes a judge's ruling and while you still have your finances and mental health.
#17: by Peta Pasfield on 10.01.2009 @ 11:52pm CDT

I strongly agree with the pastor. You are definately heading in the wrong direction. You are not being heard and it will only get worse after you get married. Let him go and ask God to find someone for you who has the qualities you want...He can do that. You need to be totally sure you are going to be happy with this bloke because once you marry it is a covenant relationship. I see red flags already and wouldn't go down that path. If you had peace with the relationship you wouldn't need advice.
#16: by Jocelyn Gifford on 10.01.2009 @ 09:09pm CDT

As a mom and stepmom who has reached the Promise Land after 16 years of marriage and a blended family of 8 children, I agree totally with Ron. Without mutual consideration, a relationship as you described is a recipe for disaster. Please sister, put yourself ahead of the relationship and realize you are more important than this! You obviously have a good heart that will be appreciated by the right guy in the right situation. Believe me, when you give your all to someone who gives his all back, it is like Heaven on Earth.
#15: by Jess on 10.01.2009 @ 08:06pm CDT

As a man who had a child from a previous marriage, I can tell you two things. First of all, the actions by your soon-to-be husband are not uncommon... for someone who just got divorced within the last year or two. However, it has been twelve years! That's beyond a pattern, it's now the norm for him. I had some guilt issues because I felt I had abandoned my son at first; but I got over that very quickly. So, I have one word for you... RUN!!!
#14: by Alisa on 10.01.2009 @ 07:41pm CDT

It's going to be the hardest and the most painful thing M.S. has to do, but she has to do it! I'm so sorry M.S. But the pain in the future will far outweigh anything you are feeling now.
#13: by Gayla Grace on 10.01.2009 @ 06:49pm CDT

I agree - he IS still married to his ex-wife emotionally. The fact that he won't discuss finances, his children, and his relationship with his ex are huge red flags. It's hard enough to be a step mom when you DO get to contribute to decisions, etc. regarding the kids. This is a setup for never-ending disappointment.
#12: by Jennifer on 10.01.2009 @ 05:19pm CDT

Run Forest, run....

I am step mom of 11 years and I can tell you that if you allow this situation to fester and grow - it will indeed.

I agree whole hearted with Ron and no he wasn't out of line at all - he was only stating the truth and sometimes that hurts.
#11: by Jill on 10.01.2009 @ 04:48pm CDT

Hands Down.....it will NOT get better. God is giving you clear red flags that you need to be grateful for and get out as soon as possible. You will regret it if you dont.
#10: by Jennifer Askew on 10.01.2009 @ 04:36pm CDT

What more can we stepmom's say? You are 100% correct in your observation and statements to her.

I am very blessed to be with a man that allows me full input when it comes to our home. I am also blessed to have a very good working relationship with his ex - however, this situation is doomed before it even gets out the door.

You need to run - very, very far away!
#9: by Marie on 10.01.2009 @ 04:31pm CDT

I agree! Run and fast! I am a stepmom in a similiar situation and if I didn't already have kids with my husband, I would not stay in this marriage. It is way to hard dealing with manipulative ex-wives and biomoms! It will be hard to leave the one you love, but you WILL find someone else and have to put up with much less heartache. It's best to leave now before the situation gets any more complicated. It does not get better! Good luck and God Bless!
#8: by Gina on 10.01.2009 @ 04:19pm CDT

The key to your answer is right here: "I feel I am contributing 100% emotionally and financially to our relationship and he is not. I feel like I am fighting a losing battle because nobody in this situation respects my thoughts, feelings or the fact I work hard to ensure we have a nice home." If you invest more time and money in this relationship, feeling the way you do, maybe it's time to look at what your needs are. Are in need of punishment? Do you need to be abused? Do you have some sort of deep seated need to be treated badly. If so, it seems you are in the right place to get those needs met.
#7: by Mary Jo on 10.01.2009 @ 03:43pm CDT

I agree with Ron. If you were to take away the the kids and the ex and try to have your relationship stand alone....would it? Not if there isn't honesty and financial responsibility on his part. If your core relationship isn't as strong as God intends, then there is NO WAY that it will withstand the extra stress of the ex-wife and stepchildren. Overcoming the past relationship baggage is hard in the best circumstances, if you have a partner that hasn't been able to overcome and grow into a more appropriate, healthy person, then he will continue the pattern with you. You are probably not following God's plan for you, I'm sure he has a much better mate in mind that will give you great joy and fulfillment. Keep looking!!
#6: by Melanie SCR Hilliger on 10.01.2009 @ 03:43pm CDT

M.S. an excellent friend of mine bought me 'The Smart Stepfamily' & '7 Keys to a Healthy Blended Family' by Jim Smoke; and I purchased 'The Smart Stepmom' - I believe that if you are stepping into turbulant waters, do as much information finding as you can find on the subject and pertain the info to your select life; NO ONE'S life is the same!!! In all honesty, YOU should take time off and collect yourself with God and spend time with God and see what He thinks. It is not a crime to walk away, many times it is what is needed to gain a healthy perspective on what you are faced with; if you and God are controlling what happens you will be BLESSED! That is what I think Ron is telling you to do...bring God into the mixture and get His take on the situation!
#5: by June on 10.01.2009 @ 02:10pm CDT

I couldn't agree more. I LOVE my husband but when I married him I also "took on" his ex-wife a member of my family too. I don't think I thought about that part long enough. She is very manipulative and has the two children pulling the same thing. My husband just lets it roll off his back for the most part(trying to keep the peace with the ex and kids) and says you cant blame the kids for what they are taught by their mother. If I say something about their behaviour needs to be addressed while in our house, then he becomes defensive. You must have ALOT of LOVE and PATIENCE to walk the step mom path. Seek God first and I know he will guide you down the correct path for you. Pray for wisdom!
#4: by Barb on 10.01.2009 @ 01:55pm CDT

You can not have a true relationship that honors God until "he has left father and mother- and ex". You speak the truth in kindness.
#3: by Ann on 10.01.2009 @ 01:44pm CDT

Ron hit the nail on the head. I've been in a similar situation for 2 1/2 years only not nearly to this degree. I feel that I often take a back seat to the "ex" and my husband purposely keeps information from me regarding the kids and her. He has also come right out and told me that our marriage is less important to him than his kids (which I don't believe is Biblical). All this results in a lot of bitterness and regret on my part. I would hate for M.S. to get trapped in the same unhappy life.
#2: by Carol on 10.01.2009 @ 01:37pm CDT

I whole heartedly agree with Ron. RUN! Her guy either needs to work it out with his manipulative ex, or get counselling so that he can move on...
#1: by Alyson on 10.01.2009 @ 12:27pm CDT

I agree wholeheartedly with Ron's advice. She should run, far, far away. It WILL only get worse.

It is hard enough to be a stepmother when your husband DOES put limits on the ex wife, DOES have boundaries, and DOES appreciate your input and role as a stepmother. This situation has catastrophe written all over it.

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