Question/help: Being in a role of a step-parent of three children I can honestly say that it canMy current boyfriend and I have been dating for approximately two years. Five months ago we have moved in with each other, including space for the children. A large part of my heart belongs to the kids and honestly has since we first met. There are times I feel they are my own. The current ages are 7, 5, and 3 and I have been a part of there lives since they were 5, 3, and 1; just in the last year it has developed a lot more. There is still an underlying issue though we battle. My boyfriend is still legally married, although the children have a home with their mother and then us I can only imagine it causes some confusion for them. be one of the most challenging as well as rewards situations I have ever found myself in.
They see their father and I together and there are times we do hug and give one another an appropriate kiss. There are times the youngest cuddles with me and tells me she loves me. The 7 year-old and I talk and have a good relationship, I am not comfortable disciplining him, but I do try to correct him when he is wrong. Now the 5 year-ld once my best friend has been on again and off again with me. He is the challenge, it is as if he questions is he has to listen to me.
We both did sit down and talk with all the kid about their thoughts of moving in together. They seemed happy and excited, and loved they got new rooms. We both did sit and talk about rules that we agreed on, but when I am not around he deviates from the rules, of course that later falls back on to me when I try to correct the kids and they turn and say, “but daddy let us do this.” It makes me questions myself, how am I to be successful if their father is not himself supporting us.
A one time I sat them all down and spoke with them about why they weren’t listening to me. I explained to them that I am not telling them no to be mean but it is because I care for them. That I wanted them to know I was only there in their lives as a another person who they could rely on to protect them and care for them. It was then they all said, “like our step-mom.” I can only guess the step-mom came from their two cousins whose parents have been divorced for some time. Their cousins had a large impact on their lives because prior to us moving in together they all lived together.
There are other things that I struggle with. Mostly when the 5 year-old says their father told them, “daddy says we don’t need you.” I have always known kids to not lie but no I question that. They go back over to their mom’s home and have told her things beyond my imagination. I was even asked one time by the 5 year-old if daddy and I was going to get married. Their father says they don’t understand relationships, and I think they may have an idea of it. My response to them when they have questions is to always be honest, so I said we talked about it maybe one day. He then followed that question with, I will still live with my mom right? I without hesitation told him yes, his mom is an important part of his life and will always be there. But two days later he came to me and said, “daddy said he can’t marry you, he is still married to mommy.”
My thought to that was, if he did tell the kids that, why isn’t he thinking of the confusion he is causing. Also he is trying to have this life with me, after all that is why we moved in together so why not help the kids to understand the changes more that is going on.
In the past year I have been a huge caregiver to the kids and loved them as they were my own. I have been forced to miss sporting events because their mom would be there and always argued it wasn’t fair to me. But he didn’t stop to listen or hear my cries. She has expressed to him many times she is over us, but still I feel he protects her there. I sent her an email one time stating I hope there comes a time we can communicate for the sake of the kids and be civil when it came to their events.
I have never had issues with her nor spoken poorly of her to the kids. I have had to hear the wonderful things she spoke of me to them and only done what I could ignore it.
Am I failing as a girlfriend to this man and a caregiver to the kids, because I am handling things wrong? Is his lack of helping the kids understand what is going on with us, a way of him showing he may never divorce her? Am I right her and I will one time need to just learn to talk? We have sent text messages back and forth to talk, but he has had issues about that. He even freaked when I once met her after she called to take her items the kids has forgotten.