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Smart Stepfamilies

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Elisabeth, from USA (submitted February 8, 2010)


Name: Elisabeth

State or Country: USA


I don't know where to start.  And I apologise if the sequence of this seems

a bit of a mess.  But such is the state of my mind right now.


I have probably read and own almost every book available on blending step

families, remarriages, step kids, ex wives etc.  Still they seem to cater to

people who have been married before with children.  In our case, we've had

children out of wedlock and in my mind it doesn't amount to the same

thing.  So how do we deal with this?  A marriage was blessed by God and

"legal".  The other relationships were not acceptable in the sight of God

and I therefore believe that ties should be cut in an effort to go forward

in a new life.  But old baggage and ties seem to wear us down that now I'm

almost at the point of giving up.


In desperation I looked for something like "help for stepfamilies etc” and

came across this site. (and have just ordered The Smart Stepfamily)


Ours is what started out as such an amazing love story that I had begun to

write a book about it since everyone who heard it encouraged us to.  But 2

and 1/2 years into the marriage now I'm questioning whether this was such a

wonderful miracle after all, and needless to say, progress with the book is



My husband and I have been married now for 2 and a half years.  We both had

2 children each and now have 1 of our own.  To give you more details:  I was

married before and had a daughter.  After the divorce, custody went to my

husband with one day on the weekend to me.  My previous marriage was very

ugly and the divorce case lasted many years with brainwashing of my daughter

and seeing the damage it was doing to her, I chose to let go and let the

father have custody though it tore me apart.  After much prayer and

consideration I decided it was the right thing to do to maintain both her

sanity and mine.  Many people advised me as to whether to give up / leave or

not.  All meaning well.  It took me a few years to reach my decision, but it

was one made very prayerfully and after much soul searching and I had peace

with my decision as I feel it was in the BEST INTEREST OF MY CHILD and not



I eventually left the country, now seeing my daughter (who is in her teens)

only once a year but I thank God that we have a wonderful and open

relationship and that she bears no resentment to me for "leaving" her.  I

felt that in doing this I was giving her a chance of a normal (as normal as

can be) home life (my ex husband lives with his parents) and a chance to

grow up without being torn apart emotionally by loyalties.  I also

personally think it's so wrong to shuffle kids back and forth between

parents like pieces of furniture.  


I have a son through a relationship which ended before I found out I was

pregnant.  I had occasional contact with the father of my son but as we were

not married, we did not share any custodial rights or anything like that.

He provided for us financially but very seldom sought to have contact with

my son.  I had and have sole custody and authority.  I was/am perfectly fine

with this as I did not want to go through again, what I went through for my

daughter and did not want to put my son through the "back and forth"



By a miracle (a story in itself) I reconnected with my present husband (we

knew each other many many years ago) and were married almost immediately.

We felt perfectly fit for each other.  He has 2 kids from 2 different

partners as well.  But he has never been married.  We had been through many

similar things in the years apart and believe we were meant to be together.

Which I still do.  But it has become so hard now that I am ready to give up.

I feel now that if I knew all this before hand, I would have continued as a

single mother without getting into this.  And I do my best to advise any

person I know to never get involved with a man who has kids unless he is a

widower.  And I so mean that.


My husband is wonderful.  He is the most kind, understanding and loving man

I have met.  When we married, my son was 4 and my husband so naturally took

over as his dad and today they share a bond that even I don't have.  Many

people have no idea that he isn't "really" his.  


He has 2 daughters from 2 different women whom he was never married to.

While he was single, these women still controlled him and his time and he

saw his kids every other weekend.  When I first met the girls, they were

very loving to me - especially the younger one.  And I had dreams of a

perfectly blended family.  This changed shortly after we got married.  The 2

exes who formerly hated each other, suddenly became the best of friends, and

made it a point to gang up against us.  They were jealous that he "suddenly"

married me "out of the blue", when they had had kids together and there was

no sign of any ring.  They were determined to make it break.  We lived in a

small town and it became increasingly difficult for me to even step out of

the house as I was in fear of bumping into one of the mothers.  


As the months went by I became increasingly depressed and withdrawn and

prayed to the Lord for a solution and a move - which in time happened.

Praise the Lord.  We moved to a new place 2 hours away and started out a new

life, new friends and a great church.  God has been good.  


These women have tried all they can to still control my husband and our time

together.  They would call and argue or arrange pick up / drop times in the

middle of plans we had, or change things at the last minute, just to be

difficult.  They have arranged meetings with family counselors to sit with

my husband for hours where they would "come to an agreement" regarding

visitation and then not follow it.  They have poisoned the girls against us.

They discuss adult things in front of the girls and call my husband a bad

father etc.  


We now have a baby of our own and I just lost my job and it's increasingly

difficult to survive as he pays maximum child support to each of these women

(on the grounds that they live with the mother and don't see him), but he

still does, driving an hour one way to pick them up (opposite directions).  


My husband and I have a wonderful relationship and I will not be lying when

I say we never fight.  EXCEPT when the girls are involved.  Almost every

weekend they are here, we end up not talking to each other for days.  I have

this coldness that grips me in my gut when I find out they are visiting.

It's this sick feeling I had when going through the same thing with my

daughter.  I pray constantly, even having "extra" devotions (if possible),

asking the Lord to infuse me with HIS love for them because I have nothing.

When I look at them I see their mothers and the havoc they are wreaking on

our marriage.  Doesn't help that the younger one continues to give me side

looks while saying she will only obey "her" mother and father.


I think they should stay with their mothers as my husband and them were

never married and therefore have no "legal" right (and as both have partners

of their own and a family) and let the girls grow up normally.  And when

they are 18, then they can choose to visit / get to know their father etc.  


And yet at the same time, when I think like this, I feel so wicked.


I am not generally of this nature at all.  I love children and have wanted

to adopt / foster children when the time and finances are right.  But I am

so messed up when it comes to these 2 girls.  How can my husband forsake all

others and cleave to me when these 2 girls and their mothers will constantly

be in our lives?  


My husband sees this problem too and has stood up many a time to these women

saying that they cannot control him or his time anymore and that we have a

family and that is priority.  He has even gone to the extent of looking for

a job out of the country so that we don't have to deal with this.


I don't know where to turn.  We have an excellent church and prayer group

family who are such a support to us.  But no one really who is in this

situation and who would understand or know what to advise us.  WHAT SHOULD

WE DO?  


I have cut off ties with my exes and in my case my daughter lives with her

dad, and my son with me and there's no shared anything.  My kids are very

well adjusted emotionally - so far Thank the Lord.  But I see the mess that

is going on in the minds of these 2 girls and which will continue if this

set up continues.  As its constantly one parent against the other and

goodness me, this is so MENTALLY DRAINING.


I don't try to blame anyone.  Almost to the point of being a martyr, I try to

think that this problem is all about me and that I should be more loving and

accepting etc and etc and I try and ask the Lord to constantly help me, but

when that weekend comes along, it seems it is worse than the one before.


I don't know who or what can help, but it felt better to get this out.

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