I have been going through a major life shift in the past 4 years and I feel like I’m just holding on by the tip of my fingernails. After my first marriage ended (of which was 17 years married to my high school sweetheart), I was on my own for the very first time in my life and found who I believe is my one true love. The issue is with his ex-wife and children (daughter 10 & son 14). His ex wanted the divorce because she found someone at work she wanted to be with. She wanted my fiancé to move out & encouraged him to move on (date). Until she found out he had moved on. She’s very jealous (I assume) & controlling of the kids. She’s dragged us into court the past 3 years for everything under the sun, to basically have control over our lives.
Needless to say, the kids don’t really respect me that much, and I assume it’s because she’s told them I’m not their mother & they don’t have to listen to me. The kids & I had a great relationship until the past summer when his daughter figured out she could go home to Mom & tell her bad things about me (yelling at her, being bossy — which is normal, right?) to get sympathy & get things she wanted, basically playing her parents against each other. This, along with losing a very dear young family member tragically 2 years ago, overcoming an alcohol addiction, and fearing losing my job (due to budget cuts), has made me a shell of myself.
I do not look forward to the few days a week with the kids because I feel abused & used. My fiancé has an easygoing way about his parenting that includes letting the kids mouth off (because it’s funny), flipping the bird & cursing. He has to tell them multiple times to do something & they blow him off. The problem is they hurt my feelings & I don’t know how to renew my passion for loving them. I feel on guard about voicing my disapproval because of what the kids will go home & tell their mother. I feel lost & trapped. I love my fiancé very much and look forward to marrying him, building our life & eventually (in 8 years) the day the kids will be gone. I try very hard to just love them, but sometimes I can’t see past their arrogance & brattiness. I don’t have kids of my own. Maybe this is how all kids are. I’m just tired of complaining to my fiancé & I know he’s tired of hearing it. He is going to counseling with his ex to work on their co-parenting issues. My fiancé & I don’t really believe in therapy, but he’s doing what he has to do to deal with his ex. Please help me. Any guidance would be appreciated.
A TDL Reader