- 6 years ago
- Wedding: August 2016
I thought I would update on this. My future stepson is moving in towards the end of May. It is causing me some anxiety but I’m working throught it on my own. I’m also slowly preparing my daughter.
Just saw this thread so commenting on the whole thing.
…How well do you know the son? How many times have you met and how much one-on-one time have you had with him?
I’m wondering because there’s a lot in your posts that communicates anxiety over things that seem anticipatory–which is certainly understandable, but I think it might help you to take a step back and recognize that perhaps you are creating some false fictions via your assumptions/expectations of what it will be like? It’s okay to have the feeling, but with anxiety, it helps to figure out if what you have anxiety over is perhaps not reality. FWIW, in my own experiences with the disabled (my DH is a special ed teacher, so that’s where I’m coming from), the reality is far more interesting, complex, and nuanced than what I’d imagined. Yes, it will likely to be challenging to have a stepson with great emotional and physical needs, but you don’t actually know the quality of that challenge.
You do, however, need to come to terms with this situation. You do not have to define what your role will be with your stepson immediately–your relationship with him can and should develop over time. Starting with a good heart and an open mind is the best you can do for now. You do not have to hammer out all the caretaking right now–sometimes, the custodial parent is very protective over their child, but also, you don’t know if the specific caretaking requirements are already spelled out in the custody agreement between your Fiance and his ex–there may very well be a legal reason why your DH doesn’t want you to participate in the caretaking (again, DH is a special ed teacher–there often ARE verrrry cut-and-dry requirements as to who is authorized to administer medication, adjust feeding tubes, catheters, etc. etc. because if someone doesn’t have the training and/or messes up, that could threaten the child’s life).
What I mean by coming to terms with the situation, however, is that you have to at least recognize that you are marrying into this family and you are becoming a custodian of sorts to this man’s son. You may not be as directly involved with the care of your stepson, but you will at the very least have to support your Fiance and his other son and your own daughter, and playing that supporting role can be very, very challenging. Furthermore, you need to consider (not hammer out right now!) but consider that in the future, when you and your Fiance are nearing say, retirement, the custodial care of your stepson will become an issue as your Fiance and his ex will have to start thinking about who will be responsible for their son, and your name will likely come up. Most of the time, parents will put their other child for passage of custody in the event of their passing, but they also like to have a secondary option. I’m not saying that this needs to be something you spend a lot of time thinking about now (and it may even never become an issue); I’m only pointing out that this as an example to impart that this is a real situation and you have to be willing to embrace your stepson as a part of your life in this respect. You can’t enter this marriage assuming that the parents will always be primary; you have to accept that there is the possibility that you will have to step up at some point, in some way.
I know that you aren’t comfortable with therapy, but I do think that you perhaps have a bit of an unclear fear about it. I must say it’s interesting that you fear a therapist judging you, but you’re not afraid of posting onto an Internet message board! Therapists aren’t there to judge you, although they will offer some insight if you have a certain behavior or feeling that you want to change. But they’re not going to condemn you for feeling, no matter how ugly it is. How you feel is how you feel. A good therapist will accept that and focus instead on whether that feeling is serving you or harming you. If it’s the latter, then they will work with you to address it. Not saying you must go to therapy, but I’m not sure you want to dismiss it wholesale out of fear either. If you find yourself struggling, it’s just another tool to try. Group support is also profoundly helpful as well, so if that’s more your speed, no harm in giving that a whirl either.
that being said, i think the build up and anticipation will be the worst part. i am sure that you guys will fall into a routine and you’ll get used to it and everything will work out in the end.
OP, I completely understand where you are coming from. My DH has a son that has special needs/autistic (high-functioning) and learning how to be a (step)parent with no kids of my own was very hard and still has its challenges. He was resistant towards me at first and still is sometimes, though not nearly as much as he was at first. But he’s only resistant now when we (my DH & I) have to set rules and such for his time limits on things such as his electronics and all. It is definitely a change that I will say you can never fully prepare yourself for. The best advice I can give you is to take each day at a time and eventually everything will come together for you. I know that is cliche, but that is exactly what I did. It was/is a learning experience nonetheless, but it has definitely made me learn a lot about not only him, but myself and I mean that in a good way. He really is a sweet child and I guess the fear of the unknown and the anxiety that came with it took over a lot for me. We now have a good relationship and I understand him a lot more. I would say that taking classes would be a good thing for you to do, if you feel it would help…I think it would. Best of luck to you! Keep us posted!!
Going to a therapist would be embarrasing for me for other reasons and as I said before I’ve dealt with tough emotional times before without help from therapists.
Your fiance is adopting your daughter so you may want to try to be just as loving to his son. It’s terrible to see a child as a burden just because he has disabilities.
Becoming a blended family is difficult and there are always some jealousy issues. Your daughter will have to learn to adapt to the situation as her feelings are not more important than those of your fiance and her future stepbrother.
This is an opportunity for you to learn compassion for the disabled. In the past, I frequently worked with children who had severe developmental and physical challenges. My experiences were certainly trying and I get your nervousness around this issue. However, you need to accept your stepson as a family member just as your fiance is treating your daughter as his own.
There is a stigma against receiving counseling. Many people feel that speaking to a therapist makes them weak or damaged somehow. Sadly, those who refuse to see a therapist when it is suggested to them are often the ones who would benefit the most from counseling. This is a very nuanced and emotional situation. Seeing a therapist is a sign of strength. If your pride won’t let you seek help, maybe there are some books you can read about blended families and raising children with disabilities.
God bless you. I think your feelings are understandable and normal. I’ve been on every side of the stepparent relationship, both a stepdaughter and a stepmpther two times–to a daughter in my first marriage and to two sons in my second. What I have learned is that it’s a relationship that takes time, but that the rewards are great. It’s a unique relationship-not quite a parent, but perhaps sometimes something even more important, a loving adult friend who is always in your corner. In the case of my stepdaughter, it took ten years for us to develop a real bond, but even though I’m now divorced from her father I am still close to her. In the case of my stepsons, we are a work in progress; I am closer to the younger one because he was still in high school when I married his father, and still taking baby steps with the older one as we continue to get to know each other. I would encourage you to consider a support group and/or therapy, not because there is something “wrong” that needs to be fixed, but simply because these are complicated relationships and a complicated situation and that therapy is a safe place to reflect on your feelings and get greater understanding for yourself and your spouse and all of your children. Your fiance sounds like an amazing man and I admire his desire to care for his son. I would encourage you to gently continue to encourage him to allow you to be part of that caregiving as the two of you create your new family together. I’ll be praying for all of you.
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