balloffire : So I’ll play evil stepmom and give you some of my situation.
I also did not like feeling like priority #2. It sucked. It was annoying. I felt like I was bringing my baggage free self into the equation and I actually felt slighted (by who.. God? The Universe? lol) that I FINALLY found the perfect man and he had a kid. LIKE UGHHHHH. I carried around this secret for what felt like forever. This deep, dark place where I resented the attention. I resented having to alter my life every week. Resenting having to pretend like I cared about the school project or the small milestones. I felt terrible, because I’m a nice and good person. I love my husband with every fiber of my being, and it felt like I was failing myself to feel this way towards his child.
Finally, I just told my husband that I felt that way, and that I knew it wasn’t pretty. I was actually sobbing when I told him because I felt so ashamed to have those thoughts and to express them. Like, “hey honey you know that kid you have…. yeah I’m kind of not digging it at the moment KTHXBYE”. I struggled for a year before I just let it out that I felt jealous, and like 3rd man in line after his kid and his ex-wife. I HATED the nights we had his kid because, like you, everything was PERFECT… until his kid showed up. My husband, God bless him, is the most selfless man ever and just took me in his arms and understood how hard it was on me. To come “second” all the time, to give up the chance to give him his first child, or be his first wife. He let me cry, and from that moment on we have been brutally honest with one another about our feelings. When I was telling one of my friends about this (also a stepmom) she mirrored almost the exact same story, but said she just blurted out to her husband one night, “I hate your daughter!!!”. It’s not pretty, step parenting can ignite some ugly, ugly behavior.
After that, I delved into step parenting books, forums, OTHER step moms and finally did some counseling on the topic. He was/is the most incredible man I had ever met. And his kid was a good kid, too! Likeable, funny, affectionate… all the things stepparents dream about. The best thing therapy helped me to realize is that you’re allowed to run the gamut of emotions. We RALLY behind parents who struggle and have bad days, but villainize it when step parents do this. When a mom says, “I need a break” it is acceptable. When a stepmom says it, she must not be ready/serious/ jealous, etc.
With all due respect to the mothers who have chimed in and kids of divorce who have offered advice, they really cannot speak to what it actually is to be a stepmom. You are not a monster for feeling jealous. At all. If I met a step parent that told me they never once were ever jealous I’d know for a fact they were flat out a liar. Jealousy is a perfectly normal and human emotion. You’re watching the person you love most in this world devote their time, attention, affection, money and energy into another person that you have no biological tie to. If anyone tells you you’re a bad person for feeling like you’re being left out, tell them to go kick rocks.
In addition to that, it is your BF’s job to foster the relationship between you and his daughter. Another pp hit the nail on the head when she said that it is about nourishing the relationship. He needs to stand in the gap and be the one to help guide her and you together. Yes, it will take effort on your part. Yes, it will take time.
Just keep in mind that all the things you are feeling ARE COMPLETELY NORMAL. Step parenting is not for everyone. I would go so far as to say there were definitely times that it was NOT for me, but I decided my husband was worth it and so I fought through it with a good support system of other stepmoms and SO MUCH COMMUNICATION with my husband lol. We seriously do a “check in” about once a week to make sure we are all on the same page, we are all feeling loved/appreciated/HEARD. It’s a must for me.