I’m in a very complicated situation. Please understand and if willing leave some advice. I have been dating a beautiful and wonderful woman for 2 years and some months. She has two children both girls. The 1st is seven and the other is four, from a previous abusive relation that ended on the 8th month of the second pregnancy due to the bio dad pushing her out of a car. When I met the guy I shook his hand and came off as friendly as possible and the only stipulation he told me was don’t wrestle with the girls or hold them. I was alright with that because I had met him only a month into the relationship. Fast forward two years: I have received threats from this guy. The kids come back from his mom’s house every other weekend (where he lives, he’s 29 years old and has no car and has never left the nest) and tell me that their “Daddy” told them that I, the stepfather, beats their mother and steals his money. This guy slashed 3 of my tires this week and acts like he’s invincible. Please any advice will help. – Step_Dad_87
You’ve got your hands full. It’s normal for fathers to be a little jealous of the relationship Stepdads develop with their kid, but most guys are reasonable and you can work with them. This guy isn’t just jealous, he’s irrational. You made an effort to be a bigger man by reaching out to him and being civil even though you understand he’s not a good guy. I respect that. It’s usually a positive way to build a bridge with the father. With that said – I’m about to share a few painful truths you wont like.
You’re a good man with an obvious love for these little girls. Prepare for heartbreak. When you marry a woman you marry her entire situation. That means this guy will be a part of your extended family for years –maybe decades. Most of us make an effort to avoid irrational people. You won’t be able to avoid this one. He will have a direct impact on your life, your relationship with your kids -and the stress level in your home. When he says hateful things about you to your children he’s not just being emotionally abusive to her, he’s poisoning the relationship you’re trying to build with her. Your instinct is to save her from him –but you won’t be able to. You have no legal power as a Stepdad. Your wife doesn’t even have the power to force him out of the kid’s lives. The situation is very bad and you don’t have the power to change it.
You Can’t Fix Evil
Understand what you can control and accept what you can’t. Bad men don’t suddenly become good men. The only way this guy will change is if he chooses to. You have no control over that. Expect this man to continue to be the person you see, not the man you hope he will be. For now, all you have to work with is what you know –and what you know is he is a cruel, horrible man. A man who is emotionally abusive to his own child is evil. His actions show he’s not emotionally capable of dealing with others in a mature way. In his world everything has to be about him. His narcissistic behavior should be a huge red flag for you. Irrational people get a sense of power from creating chaos around them. He will continue to chip away at your happiness as long as you have a connection to him. You will be connected to him as long as you are with his ex.
It’s Not Too late
Stepdadding.com encourages and celebrates men like you. Stepdads volunteer for a difficult job they don’t have to take on. Stepdadding is never easy. Given the right situation it can even be impossible. When you marry a single mom you’re making a commitment to her kids as well. Breaking up with her will also mean breaking up with her kids. If you can’t make it work in the home you won’t make it work from a distance. Men should never marry a single mom without first considering the entire situation.
This situation is very bad. You haven’t said “I do” yet. Consider if you should. Any marriage under these conditions will almost surely fail. I think you reached out because you already understand how impossible this is. You’re hoping to find a way to make it work. You’re caught between logic and emotion. Let logic win! It’s time to choose if you will stay or go. If you choose to stay be prepared to be very unhappy and probably fail. Marry this woman and her ex will be part of your extended family. He will make her miserable. A good man cannot be happy when his wife is not. You won’t be able to make her happy because you have no control over her ex’s actions. You will feel powerless because you will be powerless. This will be your life.
Doing The Right Thing
You’re a good man and the girls will bond with you. The marriage will be stressful and will becomes too much to bear. You will probably walk away. The girls will suffer because you tried to do a good thing against impossible odds and failed. If you love the little girls don’t put them through the pain of losing a father figure. Even the strongest men can’t beat the odds.
Many Stepdads have a firefighter mentality. We’re compelled to help those who are powerless to help themselves. The worse the situation, the more we want to help. A firefighter is noble but he won’t knowingly sacrifice his life when nothing can be gained. Be realistic about what you’re up against and you’ll save yourself a great deal of unhappiness. If you chose to stay prepare to sacrifice your own happiness. It’s time to consider your needs before going into an impossible situation.