Thickness of blood, water, and marriage

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2006
Thickness of blood, water, and marriage
20
Tue, 09-18-2012 - 12:37pm

I am courting a woman with a 16 yr. old daughter whose father is deceassed with and no other relatives who are 'overly' concerned about the daughter. Hence, her mother is all she has and they are very, very close which I can appreciate.

I have 4 kids, ages 14-23, and I don't foresee my exW creating any real problem for me regarding this second marriage.

However, I want my new W to put me ahead of our collective brood and I want to do the same for her. Basically, just like any married couple would/should do if all of the kids were biologically shared between them. The woman I am courting agrees but I'm questioning whether or not she realizes just how enmeshed that she is with her only daughter.

What are the potential barriers to accomplishing 'spouse first' and what might facilitate it?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-2012
Wed, 11-07-2012 - 3:33pm

Tough issue. I would suggest seeing a step-family counselor to work through problems ahead of time. Don't wait until you are fighting about it. I would also suggest, you don't try to co-parent her 16-year old daughter. You can both establish "rules for the house" that would apply to all the kids (homework, chores, no drinking, etc). But since she is so close to heading off to college or on her own, it would serve you well to just show love to her mother and present a positive role model for the house. It would be rare that you are going to change how someone parents their child after 16 years, especially when it's been just them.

Having said that, your new wife has to agree to give your own children the same leeway, and let you deal with any issues involving yoru children. She has to understand that she can't have it both ways. 

These are not deal-breaker issues but going unaddressed they will lead to resentment and frustration. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-21-2011
Wed, 10-17-2012 - 7:27pm
Glenn, are you just over here messing with these nice people who are just trying to help you? Because just a few months ago you were on the mismatched libido board, lamenting the demise of your relationship with a 22 year old, who needed to have more sexual experiences than being with just one man (you). And then you were talking about a co worker hitting on you. So I'm a little confused about where this "year long" relationship came from....
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Wed, 09-26-2012 - 9:38am
quote:

I would let my kid walk across/down the street and get the food they wanted and bring it back to eat with the main group. Mom did just that and her daughter was more than happy with that arrangement. In fact, we all sat down at the exact same time with our food. Hopefully, that will be the rule and not the exception. Despite being over indulged, I think that her daughter has good character based on what her mother has instilled in her so I remain hopeful.

Sounds like things will work out OK.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2006
Mon, 09-24-2012 - 1:16pm

How far away do they live? They live in the Dominican Republic and her daughter has stated that she is looking forward to moving to the U.S even though their standard of living will drop some due to them being members of the 3% upper class in their native country and the cost of labor being what it is there among the lower class.

I think your DF "gets" that completely. A 16 yo, however,.....is a different story. This is still a concern for me. Last night after taking all of our kids to an amusement park, her daughter wanted to eat at IN-N-OUT (burgers, fries only), despite being a vegetarian. After arriving and looking at the menu however, her daughter wanted to leave and eat elsewhere. Her mom took me to the side, rather angry at her daughter for being so ungrateful and rude (my kids were looking forward to it) and asked me what I would do if this was one of my kids. I asked her what she wanted to do first and she replied 'let her starve.' Naturally, that was emotionally based and mom would never let her daughter go hungry (even the one hour until we got to my house) so mom was in a pickle. She then told me that after spending two full days with my kids, she had realized just how she had over indulged her daughter by comparing their attitudes and behavior to my kids. I laughed some and replied that I would let my kid walk across/down the street and get the food they wanted and bring it back to eat with the main group. Mom did just that and her daughter was more than happy with that arrangement. In fact, we all sat down at the exact same time with our food. Hopefully, that will be the rule and not the exception. Despite being over indulged, I think that her daughter has good character based on what her mother has instilled in her so I remain hopeful.

MY way of handling that work dynamic, the times I had a job with those dynamics, was to scour the employment classifieds EVERY DAY until I found a different position (no kidding.......!!).

My 30 some years as a middle manager have shown me that there are very few people that can not be persuaded to cooperate for the common good of all once it is properly explained to them and measures are put in place to bring a balance between reward and punishment should the common good be disregarded but looking for a situation where everyone is already on board is another option I suppose.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 09-23-2012 - 7:34pm
laurena82 wrote:
Hi Glenn---

----DF arrives with her DD tomorrow----
How far away do they live?
If the 16 yo is leaving her hometown to spend weekends at your place, what are her thoughts/feelings re: that? 
What I've found most with teens and parent's new spouses,....is that the teen can be fairly accepting if the spouse is viewed as mom/dad's BF/GF----eg, it's someone mom/dad hangs out with when I'm not around (they have friends/they understand this part)........but BF/BF is not someone really affecting MY life.......


I think you hit the nail on the head.  My DD was complaining once about my 2nd DH.  My exH had also remarried and I asked DD if she also gave a hard time to her stepmother or complained about her like that.  DD's response was "well I don't have to live with her."  If SM was very neat and had rules about not wearing shoes in the house (about the only thing I could think of that she might have done that affected the kids) well how bad is it to put up with that for a few hours around dinner and every other Sat-Sun?  And many times SM wasn't even home since she's a nurse and would work nights or weekends so they had dad to themselves.  Very different living with someone new every day.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Sun, 09-23-2012 - 9:31am
Hi Glenn---

----DF arrives with her DD tomorrow----
How far away do they live?
If the 16 yo is leaving her hometown to spend weekends at your place, what are her thoughts/feelings re: that?

RE:
I think one of the greatest determining factors is justice. Are those who hold authority over us using their position to gain an advantage or are they truly a servant-leader? Thoughts on that?
I think your DF "gets" that completely. A 16 yo, however,.....is a different story.

What I've found most with teens and parent's new spouses,....is that the teen can be fairly accepting if the spouse is viewed as mom/dad's BF/GF----eg, it's someone mom/dad hangs out with when I'm not around (they have friends/they understand this part)........but BF/BF is not someone really affecting MY life.......

RE your question:
I, personally, would NOT like to be living in a situation where I am frequently feeling "pulled" between my new husband and my child. I would get real tired of having to be a peacekeeper because of that. I understand there are as many differences as similarities in this comparison but, how does a middle manager deal with this same dynamic in the workplace without feeling pulled and getting tired?
I am only giving you MY thoughts/experiences re: above. Your DF may be very different (or not).
MY way of handling that work dynamic, the times I had a job with those dynamics, was to scour the employment classifieds EVERY DAY until I found a different position (no kidding.......!!).

Anyhow, ............it's good you're thinking ahead...........bottomline is talking with your DF is what needs to happen..........

RE:
Quite possibly they have pre-marital workshops that address these issues as well? DF arrives with her DD tomorrow and I will suggest this.

Be sure to bring up your concerns there as well.

ALSO, I was going to make same point Serenity did re: if sex is the reason you feel marriage SOON is needed................................and, you both feel ready for that committment---then, by all means marry.
Just remember there is no law saying married people MUST live in same house. Take your time re: merging the households, and things might (?) go smoother?

Be Well---
BEST WISHES---and keep us posted!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 5:42pm

All good advice as usual, Music.  Something you said brought it right home...

<<they figured out where it was coming from anyway and it did cause a lot of resentment.>>

This is exactly what has happened 3 times with my DDs.  I'd tell dh...no matter how I spin it, they KNOW me better than he does and they KNEW it was not decisions I would have made had it been just me.  My resentment of him and anger at myself finally caused me to blow a month ago and we almost ended it.  Luckily, dh heard me and even told me I could get a cat!  (Long story.).  Dh is controlling, but I'm also lay-back which is why we get along  well.  I finally told him though that I needed to do what I needed to do and not give in to him all the time because then resentment did build up and it definitely has caused problems with DDs and me.  It makes me sad they don't like dh, but they have reason. I just felt that since they were all grown that I now would live life MY way and make hard decisions whether they liked it or not. 

I always tell dh he's LUCKY he never had to live with MY kids, but I'm STILL living with one of his.  :smileysad: 

I hope Glenn takes to heart everything everyone's said on these boards.  Lots of food for thought from those of us who have "been there, done that". 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 2:12pm

I was in thee situation many times where I felt that my 2nd DH wanted to complain or criticze something that my kids were doing & I didn't want their relationship to be negative.  We went to counseling a couple of times and agreed that if something my kids were doing bothered him, that he would mention it to me and I'd tell them.  I figured this would be better, but as Laurena said, my kids figured it out.  if they were able to do X for years and it didn't bother me, then all of a sudden (after 2nd DH moved in) they were told they couldnt' do X any more--well, they figured out where it was coming from anyway and it did cause a lot of resentment.  My DD was the difficult teenager (13) but my DS was young (6) and initially liked my DH--well after living together, that tunred into a lot of dislike.  I'm not saying that it can't be handled but it is difficult if both adults have a different style of parenting.  I think I'd limit disagreements or you putting in your 2 cents to things that actually affect you--for ex, if she were going to have friends over and make a lot of noise & it would be interfering with your sleep, or if she was leaving all her stuff over the house and you were tripping over it--then that is stuff that bothers your life so of course you have a right to say something about it.  If it's something like whether her DD can go on a date or stay out til 10:00 or 11:00 that doesn't really affect you, then I'd say stay out of it.  I also agree with trying to keep most of your money separate--you can have a joint account for household expenses, but you should each have some of your own money to spend as you like so you aren't always picking on each other about every dollar you spend.  I think that you can have the ideal of putting your marriage first, but when push comes to shove, I think the parental feelings usually win out--I think that we really only have unconditional love for our kids--the spouses, not so much.  That's why you can't really compare it to a work situation--people aren't that emotional at work because no one is in "love" with their bosses or employees.  Being a mother & feeling that either your child or spouse is going to be unhappy with you is just not fun.  It's one thing when the mother herself has to discipline her own child and makes a decision that's unpopular, but we get kind of used to that from the age when we're telling them to go to bed & they don't want to.  But if the mom isn't on board with stepfather's decision and has to enforce it on the DD, that's when the unhappiness sets in.  so I'd really suggest doing a lot of talking about what both of you feel about parenting.  Obviously my kids were relatively young when I remarried, but now I'd definitely agree with Serenity since my youngest one is in 11th grade--no way would I have a man living in my house while my son is still at home.  For some reason it seems to me that the man always want to get their way--and you actually said it that you want to be the "boss."

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 12:47pm

I am a little late to the party, but wanted to welcome you to the board, Glen.

Not sure what else I can really add, except to say that it is great you are looking at this stuff before marriage.

I had a friend, who for similar reasons you have stated, wanted to get married and not "play house" with their kids.  For various reasons surrounding their children, they got married kept their separate homes.  He had a special needs child, and had visitation.  She had custody of her kids and they had their own schedule with their dad.  I think 3 of their 5 children were almost done with high school, so they waited to live together full-time until the older 3 had moved out or left for college.  They were also doing family counseling before living together. 

I also know someone else who in their second marriage, had houses in separate towns an hour away from each other.  Partially due to their jobs, and partially because of their children. 

Not saying this is what you should do, but throw it out there as an "out of the box" idea. 

I have gone through this twice.  And to be honest, if me and my SO (of 6 years) broke up, or if he were to pass away, I would wait to ever live with a man until my DD12 was out of high school.  Yes, my SO has been with us since my DD was 6 and now that she is 12, it is even harder than ever. 

My DD12 is for practical purposes is an only child, as my older two are 23 and 26 and long gone from the home.  My SO would probably tell you to "Run!  Run away as fast as you can!"  If we broke up, I doubt he would ever venture into this kind of thing ever again with another woman.

Okay, I know I am sounding negative.  I don't mean to be.  Just being real.  When I say it is hard, I don't mean that it is bad.  Me and SO have a great R and thus far have been able to walk through the hard stuff with DD12 (and stuff with his kids, too).  And don't be fooled into thinking because yours are older that it won't affect your R.  Trust us, it still can. 

I don't have a full understanding of the submissive aspect you describe between a DH and DW, but I do have concerns how that would work with a SD.  If the BD were alive, I don't know that it would. 

So I guess all of my rambling brings me to this: 

It is hard, but possible.  Only the two of you can decide what your role is as as step-parent.  We have found here that it is usually best to simply be an adult in the house and only enforce house rules or rules you and your DW have discussed specifically.  The step-parent being more like a babysitter if BM is not home.  Just our experience.  I think it is great that you see the importance of the marriage, in some regards, coming before the children.  I read Boundries for Children by Cloud and Townsend and there is a part in there where it talks about sometimes it is NOT a parenting problem, but a maritial problem.

Good luck and definately stick around and keep us posted. 

 

 

 

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-05-2006
Thu, 09-20-2012 - 11:46am

I would be resentful Glenn was in my/my mom's life and interfering with my life . And, if I were the MOM in this situation, I would begin to be unhappy that my relationship with my DH is causing a rift between myself and my child. I more than understand the potential for this as well as myself becoming resentful/unhappy if I were to allow my DF and daughter to go ahead with something against my wishes. However, it is our choice how we deal with not getting our way and each of us does so multiple times on a daily basis. We can choose resentment or accept that which is otherwise out of our control. I think one of the greatest determining factors is justice. Are those who hold authority over us using their position to gain an advantage or are they truly a servant-leader? Thoughts on that?

I, personally, would NOT like to be living in a situation where I am frequently feeling "pulled" between my new husband and my child. I would get real tired of having to be a peacekeeper because of that. I understand there are as many differences as similarities in this comparison but, how does a middle manager deal with this same dynamic in the workplace without feeling pulled and getting tired?

Not sure what denomination you belong to, but I'd suggest asking your pastor re: workshops/resources re: blended family resources that you could work on with your DF. Quite possibly they have pre-marital workshops that address these issues as well? DF arrives with her DD tomorrow and I will suggest this.

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