How Kids Sabotage Remarriages and What to Do About It

How Children Sabotage Your Marriage
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You’re free from your old, poisonous relationship. You’ve found someone new who you love. Remarriage is shaping up to be the best time of your life.

That is, unless your children have something to say about it.

They were happy with their first pair of parents. What do they have to look forward to in your remarriage? Less of your attention, a new adult to boss them around, and a walking reminder of the loss they experienced over your first divorce? Sounds bleak.

Even if they like your new spouse and his or her family, they saw the first marriage fall apart. The threat of being separated from more loved ones, by a second divorce, ominously looms over them. Acting defensively, your children may try to end your new marriage before that bond can form.

And so, the sovereign nation of Yourkidslavia declares war on Newmarriagestan.

Here’s their battle plan:

Reunite Their Biological Parents

Child reunited his parents

Children try to realize their fantasy of their biological mom and biological dad reuniting. Remarriage challenges that fantasy, kicking their scheming engines into overdrive. They frantically scramble for the best way to reignite their bio parents’ flame and snuff out that of the remarriage. This typically happens by building each parent up to the other, while marginalizing their step parent.

Problem?

The children obstruct your family’s merging. They stress you and your spouse out and foment doubt as to whether you can successfully integrate as a family.

Solution

Validate your children’s feelings over the loss of the biological family. Just listen non-judgmentally, without focusing on right or wrong. Acknowledge that you hear what the child is feeling and that they have a right to feel that way, but make clear to them that they do not have the right to act out upon that desire by sabotaging your relationship with your new spouse.

  • Reassure your spouse of your commitment to the marriage.
  • Support your spouse when your children mistreat him or her.
  • Listen to your children’s story about the fantasy they’re trying to recapture.
  • Explain to your children that you’re happier now, with your new spouse.

Share Private Information With Your Ex

Child sharing sensitive information across households

Children try to undermine your present marriage by violating your privacy. They share sensitive information which isn’t necessarily secret, but still material you’d rather keep private from your ex-wife or ex-husband. Your children do this because they feel powerless over decisions made by you and your spouse in your home. One of the few things they do have power over, however, is the leakage of information from your home into that of your ex.

Problem?

It stresses your marriage as you and your spouse struggle to establish boundaries between past and present relationships.

Also, You and your spouse feel violated and betrayed by your children. You feel powerless because you can’t control what the children report or how your ex-spouse uses that information.

Solution

  • Teach your children the values of respect, trust, integrity and honesty.
  • Present your expectations of your children in an emotionally neutral way.
  • Maintain transparency with your spouse regarding communication between you, your ex, and your children.
  • Keep personal information between you and your spouse private. Your kids can’t share what they don’t know.

Set Your Remarriage Back With Backtalk

Stubborn, Backtalking Child

You found your soul mate; your children found a stranger in their home. You found a partner in parenting; your children found a new nag. You found a new love; your children found attention they want instead being lavished on some Jenny- or Johnny-come-lately who’s pushing onerous expectations.

Problem?

Being caught in between your spouse in your children is overwhelming.

Your children are rude and disrespectful to you and their stepparent, causing tension. Your spouse may feel you’re not strict enough in your parenting, and powerless because you have the last word with your children. Meanwhile, you may feel like your spouse is overreacting, critical of your parenting style, and lacking empathy for your children.

Your conversations with your spouse increasingly focus on the children, who aren’t exactly making a pleasant topic of themselves, and so you and your spouse grow resentful and apart.

Solution

This problem is handled on two fronts.

  1. Nurture your relationship with your spouse. Schedule a regular date night and plan activities that both of you on enjoy, during which you focus on your relationship, not the kids. Develop a daily communication routine with your spouse. Make sure to spend 15-45 minutes of uninterrupted time to review pressing issues and daily events, and end with an actionable plan for anything that needs addressing.
  2. Spend time alone with your children weekly to reassure them of your love and commitment. Help them develop a relationship with your spouse gradually. Don’t force your children to love your spouse, but insist on them at least treating him or her cordially. Listen to your children’s insecurities without excusing them.

Closing Thoughts

The couple relationship is the foundation of a happy, successful family. In remarriage, couple unity is especially crucial, as the adults formed the stepfamily to begin with.

On one hand, your children need to see a united couple. On the other, they need a devoted parent. Your commitment to fulfilling both roles may seemingly oppose, but empathy, love, discipline, and good communication will help you strike a healthy balance.


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51 Responses to “How Kids Sabotage Remarriages and What to Do About It”

  1. I have tried several times to establish a relationship with my 20 year old step daughter…Who is married since the age 16,! She just replies to me very rudely every time I say anything to her! Her Dad and I have been together 5 years he even let her choose me for him,when he began talking about marriage she decided she didn’t want us together…I have took her in twice once her mom a banded her and stayed gone at camp just drinking with her friends for a month,And the second time me and her dad picked her up from DHS where she had been taking from her mother allowing her to live alone with one of her moms ex boy friends…step daughter 15 ex boy friend like 3?…She was very rebellious and ugly to me.She asked her dad to sign papers to get married so she wouldn’t have to live with us,So as always she got what she wanted! Since that day 3 years ago she has not been back! She says she wants a relationship with her dad but not me!!! She is my husbands -her dads every thought! I feel very disrespected but at the same time I feel like Iam holding him back from what he really wants which is a relationship with his daughter! What should I Do? Is there any hope for my marriage ?

    Reply
  2. Shiane

    My oldest step daughter and my son, 15 and 13, just broke up our engagement by acting out and manipulating us and causing us to fight excessively. Our wedding is (was) 4 months away and pretty much paid for. Now, I have 2 months to find a place for my son and I to live. Nice huh?

    Reply
    • How awful. I have a 19 year old daughter who is hell bent on stopping an impending engagement. So strange to be on the verge of your dreams and your worst fears at the same time. Hang in there

      Reply
    • Colleen

      My step daughter and her siblings just did this to their mother and stepfather. It’s sad.

      Reply
      • That sucks. I’m so sorry. I’ve been married over 8 years and my 2 stepdaughters still enjoy seeing us argue about them. The literally are the happiest I’ve ever seen them after we fight. Full of giggles and smiles. I just have to remind myself that it must feel terrible inside to take that much joy out of seeing your dad in pain. That’s not love. That’s pure selfishness. My goal is to be the opposite and show my husband what love really is.

        Reply
  3. When my partner and I got together my daughter, 11 at the time, loved hanging out with him, but as soon as she realised he was an authority figure and not just her pal, she started causing problems. Despite my trying to calm the situation, my partner extending olive branch after olive branch and even therapy, things just kept getting worse with accusations of violence and abuse (unfortunately egged on by my parents and his ex). somewhat ironic considering her violent and abusive behaviour towards us.
    In the end we decided we had to get away from my family but my daughter, now 16, refused to come with us and is even going behind her dad’s back to try and live with him all the while making out that she has nowhere else to go even though I’ve been asking her to come live with us. But she refuses to “step foot in that house as long as HE’s there” and throws out another load of vague accusations which, more often than not, are contradictory or massively exaggerated. Whenever she is confronted on one of her half truths, or outright lies, she starts threatening me with calling social services and having my younger children taken away!
    She keeps trying to make me choose between herself or the father of my younger children, with whom I have a loving and mutually supportive relationship, despite everything that’s happened, although
    My daughter is telling anyone willing to listen that we’re being abused by him.
    By now, even though it makes me feel like the worst possible excuse for a mother, I honestly don’t WANT her to come and live with us. I’m really worried that she’ll get pissed off over something and get my little ones taken away or get my partner in trouble for something he hasn’t done.

    Reply
    • Casey Shaw

      This…I’m totally living through your husbands situation. I can foresee in the near future that I’m going to be blamed for things I haven’t done and it makes me want to flee the situation. I fear for my own self at this point and that greatly impacts my ability to be able to bond with any of the other kids. I’m avoiding kids in general because it seems to be the safest route and that only hinders any possibility for relationships to grow. I’m so worried and have no idea how to handle this.

      Reply
      • This is what I’ve been going through for years with my daughter. She made accusations against my husband (her stepdad). DCS has come into our home and investigated and all. My family has acted like it’s no big deal and is planning to fly my daughter out to stay with them for a week to visit. (As she now lives with her father in another state) I’m so sick with hurt and pain because of everything. I really would like to see my daughter when she comes, but wouldn’t that just just validate her manipulative behavior? I’m sorry that you guys are going through the same sort of thing, but it is nice to know that there’s someone else who can relate.

        Reply
        • Yaffa Balsam

          I am so sorry to hear how your daughter’s behavior has traumatized you, your marriage, and your family. I can only imagine how betrayed you must feel by your daughter. When it comes to children I find that it is important to keep the door open for dialogue and healing of the relationship. If your daughter is open to seeing you, schedule a time to see her just the two of you. Keep it light, do recommend a meeting with a therapist so you can attempt to engage in the healing process. Make sure you have low expectations of your get together. She needs to know that while her behavior was unacceptable you are not abandoning her, or giving up on her.

          Reply
  4. Samantha Hoppie

    Help please! My step-children (12 and 10) are doing everything they can to sabotage our relationship. They are winning with my husband and it terrifies me. They constantly accuse me of being mean when I’m doing everything I can to make them happy. I never spend any time alone with them so there’s always somebody who can vouch for me. I am constantly defending myself and trying to tell my husband they are lying but no matter what I say, he won’t believe me. They learned within a month that if they say, “I’m uncomfortable here,” or “I want to go back to my mom’s”, they can have whatever they want and he will get mad at me. Then they look at me with this smug look. They constantly steal from my kids (13 and 16) and destroy their rooms and their stuff and my husband just says there’s no way he’s going to punish them. I’m at my wit’s end and after a year I feel like I can’t take any more and neither can my kids. I’m begging anyone out there for help.

    Reply
    • I feel for you. I’m in a pretty much similar situation. Did you ever get any resolution? I’m still in the middle if it, walking on egg shells constantly scared to go out to work in case I come home to my family tearing each other apart.

      Reply
    • Gillian

      Buy a recording device and add cameras to your common areas of the house. Especially fridge. Kids can do mean things w food.

      Reply
      • Vanessa

        Becoming a stepmom seems to ruin the relationship. How come no one here talk about the husbands? They are the ones who need to take control of their children! Starting with, talking to them first. But they DONT! The children ONLY hear “stories” from the biomom. Husbands don’t like dealing with them and just wish everything will be ok and it just takes time. Meanwhile, your just wasting your life. I understand how you feel I’m in the same situation.

        Reply
    • Richard

      Same problem, but I was the Father of a ten and twelve year old when I remarried. I am still married to the love of my life. My oldest spent six years trying to end our marriage, then he went off to college. That didn’t stop him. During this time I suffered so many panache attacks. Two years later the younger boy started college. Then I took an early retirement, and we moved to Hawaii. He didn’t try to separate us any more, but he did other things. He came to visit with a stripper from LV. He was calling his girl friend to tell here was having a good time with his parent. He came with a few friends, I did’t know, to party in Hawaii. Now he is 38 and married 3months ago. They had a nice wedding in Italy. They invited no parent. For years, when my phone would ring and I see his name, I would feel my blood pressure go up. Then I will be stressed for a week or more . I love my son but I had to put him out of my life.
      Sad Dad

      Reply
  5. My fiances daughter is very jealous and manipulative to her father. She does not like my 2 daughters (who adore her). She makes it very clear to her dad that she does not want to be around them. She breaks things in our home when she comes for the weekend and she is constantly trying to show my fiance pictures of her mother (his ex), my guess is to cause problems with him and I. Im not a jealous person but it makes me feel upset and bad because I feel like after 5 years of us being together she still does not like me. It makes the situation worse when my fiance bends over backwards for his daughter and treats us like we are not there when she is around. Also he lets her get away with bad behavior. I am angry at him for letting this go on and on and mostly feel mad because my kids dont get treated the same as his daughter when she is around. I dont know what to do..I tried addressing the problems with him and he acts as if I am making things up in my head because I dont like his daughter. The truth is his daughter does not like my kids or me. I dont know how to feel about all this but if things dont change me and my kids are gone. Im not going to waste my time with someone being manipulated by a teenage kid.

    Reply
    • Thank you for posting I hope more people comment on this. I was in the same situation. We were 5 months from our wedding day and I called it off. Because of her. She was doing the exact same thing. And he allowed her to disrespect me and talk bad about my son. It was the worst. It doesn’t feel like a huge weight off my shoulders. But it also devastates me that he would allow his 15 year old daughter to do that to our relationship. He was the love of my life and my son is 9 and has never known his biological dad, and says that was ‘the only dad he ever had’. Its heartbreaking.

      Reply
      • Yaffa Balsam

        I can only imagine how hard it was for you to call off the wedding. Good for you for deciding to take care of you and your son. I applaud you for not being in denial, and seeing the situation for what it was. It is so sad and wrong that fathers allow guilt to cloud their judgment about their biological children. They end up hurting everyone including their children.

        Reply
  6. I finally threw my hands up. Threw in the towel so to speak. Marriage lasted 3.5 years. You cant win if your spouse doesnt see past his nose. His daughter was his world and i was accused of lowering myself to her standards. She was allowed to speak out her butt to us both. Spoiled, ruined, and corrupted.

    Reply
    • AAguirre

      Did it get better for you after you left ? I can only imagine it feels like a giant weight has been lifted off your shoulders. I am currently in situation and really just ready to quit. Please tell me it is everything I imagine it could be-freedom, peace, happiness ?

      Reply
      • AAguirre

        ^^^^Sorry that question was for comment above mine ^^^. You said you threw your hands in air…

        Reply
    • So sorry to hear, but thank you for posting. I am in a similar situation. The dad’s who feel super guilty do this. Mine is almost 19 and got married at 18. We are significantly helping her and her new husband and she has completely iced me out. Blocked from FB and refuses to speak to me. Her brother, who I generally get along with, is visiting (they are from EU and we live in the US), is now acting very cold towards me. I am sure it’s because we are getting along and his sister is jealous. I guess it will never change. I mean their mom never acted like an adult; why should they?

      Reply
  7. Lissajo

    Kudos to all of the “steps” out there that can stick it out.
    I have a 30 year old, , yes 30 year old step daughter, that still hates me.
    Her mother died 18 years ago, so there is no manipulation from her, however the step daughter does it enough on her own for the both of them. Her life is a train wreck, and it’s everyone elses fault. . . . (of course) She’s still terrible to me, only responds to me when I’m taking her money. Never says Thank You for anything we do for her, unless she sees her Dad do it, then she’s ” oh thank you so much for helping me i really appreciate it” when I do something for her, I get nothing, nothing. . . . I could expect this from a young child, and a younger child I could win over. This one is a lost cause, her brothers who are also in their 30’s adore me, they are hard working fathers and think I’m fantastic. 2 out of 3 isnt bad right? I’ve been married to her dad 4 years, and we’ve been together 10 yrs. she still tells people ” she married my dad” my step sons, call me “Ma” and introduce me as “my step ma” or “these are my parents”. I’ve had my fill, this weekend, I’m officially throwing in the towel on her, she needs help she can look elsewhere, she needs money, good luck to her, she needs bailed out of her life, so be it, not happening. I’m done.

    Reply
  8. Pierre

    My advice on step families is that it’s only good for the one with the kids if you are childless do not move in with someone with kids… ever you will put in x number of years taking care of kids that have no capacity or life experience to truly appreciate your contribution expect them to try to get rid of you as you are competing for their mothers attention all of your spouses bad habits are replicated in the kids and they will take the child’s side because they can’t see it as a problem there is someone out there that will put you first but it’s not a divorcee with a couple of teenagers

    Reply
      • Weaselina

        Yep. Even if the parent you get involved with promises you that they will not bow to the kids manipulations and crap, in the end, they generally do.
        They take a “not my kid” attitude toward all the blatant crap their kids pull. My partner’s adult teen son has been drinking, doing drugs, and even accused of rape by a girl he dated, and daddy doesn’t do anything about it, but had the audacity to say to me when I demanded he confront this kid “well, I should have known it would be ike this because you don’t have kids and you don’t like kids.”
        Ironically, he didn’t want kids and he can’t stand kids. But I am the better person, because at least I did not make little people and then let them grow up to be obnoxious shits because i am too self-absorbed or lazy to parent them.
        Divorced people with kids should not date or marry if they can’t put their partner first and trust and love them and form a united front against the little manipulative monsters that they bring into your home. This new culture of letting kids run everything is to thank. It is driven by guilt on the parents part, and they do their brats no favors by coddling them and putting them in the drivers seat.

        Then, when these kids fail to grow up and leave him, they keep doing things for them. Always with that crap about how their kid is really a good kid, no matter how many times the kid proves otherwise.

        Reply
  9. I have been feeling so distraught the past 6 or 7 months. I’m in my 40s, childfree by choice, and have always loved my freedom to travel or pursue further education… try new things, etc. I’m financially secure and just bought a house.
    I met my fiance w years ago, he has 2 young kids (8 & 9 boy and girl). The kids love me right now, I think mainly because I never tried to win them over or get their approval. The ex supports me, right now.
    My issue is that I do not look forward to spending time w his kids, and I am disappointed that I had to jump thru all the hoops and spend all my savings to get this mortgage. He couldn’t help bc he’s still on the mortgage for his ex. She doesn’t work, she’s a hippy (just took kids to a grateful dead concert) so she won’t ever be able to refi the house.
    My fiance is extremely loving toward me, the kids are respectful…. but am I kidding myself? They haven’t even started puberty yet. I will always have to be the financial responsible one bc he can’t afford to contribute other than basically paying me rent if they move in. He has kids 50%, 3 weekdays, including Fri night and sat til after dinner.
    My envisions of continued traveling must end if I marry into this. I’m 45 and chose and was responsible not to have kids, and I’m not looking forward to raising 2 young ones that are not mine. He’s even older than me…I always thought this would be time to enjoy life. I Just finished post graduate school, interning, and get made to feel guilty because I don’t spend enough time w kids (I don’t have extra time bc I run my own business in addition to my internship and starting new career). I told him I cannot sit around on a Saturday morning watching cartoons. I don’t ex watch regular tv, let alone have desire to watch mindless cartoons.
    This really sucks bc my fiance didn’t plan to have children, and what attracted me to him was how well traveled he was prior to kids. I know he does understand me bc he’s admitted that his life has been very underwhelming since kids… don’t get me wrong, he’s an outstanding responsible dad and has sacrificed everything for his kids, as he should have.
    I feel horrible bc I have zero feelings for the kids and do not enjoy their company at all. I don’t think I can be happy if they move into my house. I know explaining this to my fiance will devastate him, he’s such a kind loving man. We live together now in a rental, when it’s just us – nothing could be more perfect. When kids are here, I am constantly keeping myself in check. I’m just not used to this, not used to kids leaving their things everywhere, clothes on floor, socks left on couch, dishes in living room… yes i know this is all normal for kids but it’s not normal for me. I’m the only one who cleans the house, if i ask fiance he will help in ybe moment…. but the kids have zero responsibility. I’ve brought it up as sensitively and kindly as possible about him asking kids to put their own things away…. if they are hungry, they’ll sit on couch while watching tv and scream til dad bears from other side of house and tell him they want a bagel or banana… and he caters to them. Can’t a 9 year old get her own banana?
    I’m afraid as they get older, since dad has no organization skills and doesn’t give them responsibilities… that I’m gonna lose my mind.
    I wish I could just move into my house alone and he live w kids and we continue dating until kids on their own. I have a huge fear of kids living at home in their 20s+.

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      Your honesty is refreshing and so is your understanding of what you are facing. You are right, there are no guarantees that your fiance’s children will be pleasant and cooperative, and grow up to be independent adults by the time they are 18. Pay attention to your feelings, to what is important to you, and honor that. Marrying a man with children does require some involvement on the wife’s end. In your case there will be a substantial financial involvement. It is important to have a similar parenting philosophy, even if you are not involved directly in the parenting. Financial stability is important, and you realize that your fiance is not able to contribute to yours under the existing circumstances. Are you able to respect him given the situation he is in? Respecting a husband is a crucial ingredient in a successful marriage. Create a vision of what you wish your life to be, and ask yourself whether it can be achieved with your fiance with the current circumstances.
      Couple therapy with a therapist specializing in stepfamilies will be helpful in figuring out whether you can overcome the differences you have in expectations of your life together, evaluate financial plans, parenting styles, and define the roles in the family. You are getting a package deal, not just a husband. I am available for consultations.

      Reply
    • Gillian

      You are being used. Just knowing you support him shows that. Move on this is a package deal.

      Reply
    • Weaselina

      Nikki,
      You WILL be stressed out and disappointed a lot if you lock in. My situation is almost identical to yours: run my own business, make the lion’s share of money, want to travel and enjoy my life.

      My guy has two kids he did not plan for or want, and he regrets it, but does all the things a decent dad does, short of vacations or doing kid things with them. I refuse to plan that stuff, and he is not a planner, and of course the kids blame me for planning my own vacations and taking him (mostly on my dime) but not taking them (because, why would I?)
      I get along fin with them, but the older one, 19 (going on 12) is increasingly a problem. Mom threw him out 2 years ago and he thinks he is an adult but makes terrible choices and seems to think he can stay forever under my roof. Dad is suddenly showing his true colors as I demand this boy go start his adult life, as he keeps signing up for community college and not going, and parties all his money away doing drugs and drinking and buying expensive clothes he can’t afford.
      The boy wants n relationship with me so he avoids us, but wants to live in my house, never contributing to anything socially or with chores. I am so sick of it. It is literally the ONLY fight I have with my partner. But I am astounded that my partner will never give consequences or discipline, and seems to prefer watching our relationship hit the skids over dealing with his wayward and narcissistic son.
      And i made this man promise me a thousand times before i bought the house for us to renovate that he would not allow this situation. I could see it coming. Trust your instinct, they are most likely spot on.
      It is not right for anyone to ask you to give more to them than they can give to you. It will never be enough for you.
      I end up feeling guilty if we can swing a two or 3 week trip when the ex has the younger kid for a vacation break. Everyone judges us, especially the kid. But she would hate what we are doing, and I will not give up the one thing i was clear about when I got with this guy: my vacations.
      Trust me, you will improve the quality of his life dramatically, and your quality of life will keep going down. Those boys of his will get old enough to be on sports teams, which cost money, and meet all the time, and dad will be there, watching them kick or throw balls back and forth, because this is what parents do now. Like, 5 days a week. So, you have that to look forward to. And you will find that he simply cannot take a decent length vacation without his kids. Even if you pay for everything, his kids will be upset. And taking kids on vacation means 100% kids all day everyday: “look at me!” “i’m bored, i hate this”
      I know it hurts like hell, but if you want to avoid about a decade of bullshit, just walk away.

      Reply
  10. for Nikki

    Nikki, I NEVER post on these sites but after reading your post I cant type a response quick enough in order to warn you!! I was in EXACTLY the same situation 4.5 years ago and allowed it to happen regardless. What I need to tell you is that you are more that just spot on! What you EXPECT is exactly what you will get, but it also wont be the worst of it. You will hit rock bottom so fast that you will feel like an unwanted guest in your own home. You will be exiled into your room in order to have any sense of belonging at all. You will receive NO support and your opinions and feelings will be thrown in your face only to demonstrate what a bad person you are. I am 1 week into finally getting out!! After 3.5 years of fantasizing about it and I cant begin to tell you how amazing it feels. Take my warning seriously as I can only tell you that it really is a hell like none other and I would not wish it on satan himself.

    Reply
  11. NoName

    To ALL of you … GET AWAY FROM TOXIC PEOPLE!!!! No matter what role or age they are!

    What is wrong with you to stay in an unapreciated situation for ever?! Troubled children, whimp dads and wicked exes will not change!

    Reply
    • Gillian

      Exactly toxic. If the husband/ wife sees the kid sabotaging and sends a clear message of “she\he is here to stay. I am the parent you are the child. You do not control my life. One day you will have your own relationships I may not approve but will support you” if you have that mentioned it shoots down that pick one attitude.

      Reply
  12. Claudia Moya

    I am in the same situation and he wants to get married but after living with him and his manipulative stepdaughter I can no
    Longer see myself marrying him. She is disrespectful, takes my personal things without asking, makes me look like I’m lying, then laughs in my face like a bipolar teenager, he doesn’t side with me, he doesn’t work and I’m supporting those two. I have invested a lot of my money living with him and he won’t let me leave without some kind of fight, don’t know what to do!

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      If he doesn’t support you it will not succeed. In stepfamilies the couple has to present as a united front. The bio-dad has to cherish his wife, support her and be compassionate. He needs to maintain a proactive parenting role with his children. Children need to feel safe in their environment. When parents set boundaries, give rewards and consequences, the children feel safe because they know what to expect, and they know that their parents are in charge. I highly recommend pre-marital counseling with a therapist experienced in working with remarried couples, so they can define expectations and develop a plan for success.

      Reply
    • Gillian

      Send them on a long weekend. Move out with all your things including common area furniture tvs. Leave mo note block and do not allow contact. Lesson learned. He will hate his daughter. And get a job. You will be.a beautiful soul who pays for EVERYTHING.

      Reply
  13. louis helbling

    Madly in love with a woman with a 14 year old daughter that occupies 100 percent of the air in the room. We have been fighting through this four 4 plus years and she wants to get married. The daughter started to come around this year to being at least civil, but over the holidays ruined christmas for my grown children, that I raised on my own. Now they are saying that they are not coming home for future holidays if I stay with this woman and her spoiled child. It is heartbreaking for me as we are great together as a couple, but not with her daughter. The father is now out of the picture so it is 100 percent this girl, every moment absorbed with her drama. I work hard, and never quit things, but I am feeling like I should run here…help please…

    Reply
    • Yaffa Balsam

      It is rather unnerving to have a 14 year old rule your home.Your relationship can succeed only if you and your partner are united in regards to your relationship and parenting issues. I assume that the two of you do not see eye to eye on parenting concerns. The 14 yo sees that and drives a wedge between you. There are many reasons why the child behaves this way. However, it is up to her mother to provide her with consistent love, boundaries, consequences and rewards. Family and couple therapy with a therapist trained and experienced in helping stepfamilies will help you heal and decide whether you can make your family successful.
      I do offer consultations in person, over the phone or Skype.

      Reply
    • Weaselina

      I think you should separate for a while, or at least slow down with the woman. let her work it out.
      Maybe write down your thoughts about boundaries and what you need from your partner to be able to feel respected, connected and united. If she can’t give you that now, maybe she can work on it. Or maybe in time you will realize she is incapable and she is going to always have this unhealthy relationship with her daughter.
      Do you want to sign on for that?
      I believe that my partner’s adult teen of 19 is intentionally sticking around just because he wants to sow dissension, and it has been working. I finally set a date for this kid to go. He can join Americorps, or go do whatever he wants, but I am done.
      You need to know your limit and tell your partner. And stick to it. Otherwise you will be four more years in and realizing this daughter of hers will likely stick around just because she can’t stand the idea of you two being alone together and happy.

      Reply
  14. Cathy O'Connell

    I agree..don’t do it..I have looked after step children for 11 years..they were 4&7 when their mother walked out on them and never returned until just recently..my life has been miserable the last few years they have become teenagers and their father gives into them.and believes in their crap..so after 11 years I have decided to remove myself from this situation for my own heath reasons..and have no contact with them..father too!!i have it all..will never get involved with a man again who has children of any age..

    Reply
  15. I remarried after dating a woman 7 years. My 19 year old doesn’t like her and will not speak to me. Before that, we had a decent relationship. She blocks me on her phone- won’t talk.

    Reply
  16. There’s only one solution to any of this: explain to your spouse that unless s/he is willing to present a united front, it’s not really a marriage. I’m in the same boat; married to a man who is consumed with guilt about the divorce, and who cannot and will not parent his children. If you demonstrate that you’re willing to walk,your husband or wife can make the choice to either honor the vows they made or continue pandering to their kids.

    Children of divorce have a difficult time, no doubt. But, so do many other kids; kids who live in poverty, in war zones, kids whose parents have passed on. Children of divorce, being kids,manipulate their parents into feeling badly, play one off the other, lie and portray themselves as victims at every possible turn. Enabling them is a disaster in the making; they’ll carry that same behavior into their own relationships and perpetuate the cycle.

    I’m very empathetic to my husband’s kids (I no longer refer to them as my stepkids because we simply don’t have that kind of relationship). I deal with them fairly and appropriately; but ANY directive, or expectation or attempt at parenting puts me in the situation of being cast as an evil stepmother. So, I leave the parenting to the parents, and wait for them to move on with their lives.

    Reply
  17. Put your foot down!

    I have been married to my husband for almost 4 yrs. His daughter is soon 11 (May) and she has never lived with my husband and her mother (his ex) because they separated right when she was born.
    I have however suffered, greatly, from various “behaviors” created by daughter’s need for CONSTANT attention and her manipulative tendencies to always try and get what she wants while also trying to make husband and I argue. Her psychologcially disbled mother doesn’t exactly help by not realizing she is no longer with my husband. 11 yrs later…

    Anyway, I caught on to the “charades” real early and I also caught on to the weaker sides of my husband which he had so cleverly hidden when we met. He has tendenices to also favor his daughter, 100 % of the time, when she is with us 50 % of the time. It hurt me for the longest time until one day I started laughing, opened the front door and took a walk. I actually thought both of them were pathetic. 11 yrs old and can’t toast a piece of bread alone and when questioned throws a tantrum and making ME look stupid and mean? Please…

    Anyway.

    I no longer have delusional fantasies regarding my husband showing me any type, or little, of respect when daughter is with us and I also don’t expect him to love me the way he promised to when we got married. And you know what? All this is fukcing fine with me because life is short, people are smiling at me out in the world!

    Coffee never tasted so good a Saturday morning while enjoying the early-spring sun. Alone.

    ;)

    Reply
  18. Akeem b Onakoya

    Even satan can’t bear the pains of hateful step daughters and there evil dad I do not wish this for my enemy. Mine are full of oppression persecution hate envyness and they are hypocrites they make a loving relationship a bitter one my loving wife look sad every day this girls are hell bent that we will never be happy the separate between my baby and them they separate our home make it we and them them and us. I pray no one ever go through this kind of life.

    Reply
  19. Noreen

    I have read all of your comments. I too was a stepmom….. i have been married for 22 years… i have 2 sd’s a son before i married and we have one son who is 20 tomorrow…. i bent over backwards for my two step daughters, there mom had passed. I brought them up from 8yrs and 3yrs my son was 18 months…. went to therapy, etc the damage the eldest step daughter wreaked in our family, and her behaviour is still the same. She is now turning 34. My own son took his own life in 2012…. he was 20… she would never accept my children… i have gone through alot of the issues i these comments. Stepmoms look after yourselves and your own children…

    Reply
  20. My child is an adult and out of the home. My husband was cheated on multiple times & even his oldest caught her mother. I met him 3weeks before he received his signed divorce papers & she told her kids that we had an affair (saying this as she was still dating her last affair). I never intruded on his time with his kids for months. So in that time their mother said I didn’t like kids. I came around to show them I was a good person & cared for their dad. The kids constantly rebelled against their dad dating though their mom moved on to online dating sharing her dating with the kids. They accepted meeting several men. We had a reception 2mths after our small (no kids) wedding where all kids could be their and our family & friends. The ex showed up & started a fight in parking lot cops came & party was over! Kids blamed me for their mom getting punched. I didn’t get to the parking lot until after the fight & it was my husbands cousin to which the ex threw the first punch after being asked to leave. The kids refuse to come out of their room in our home. They have recorded myself & husband in conversations. I have tried everything to make every thing comfortable & smooth as possible. They won’t have it & smart off, won’t respond if I ask them what they would like to drink with dinner. They leave their rooms a mess (the only chore they have in the home is to keep rooms clean). Their mom now is with 4th boyfriend and engaged living with the man & his 4 kids & proclaims that she is Godly & forgiven by the lord for her past. That’s perfectly fine, but she will not have kids call their dad back. She laughs when they tell him that they don’t like our home. They refuse pics with their dad only(I don’t push for family photos). We have bought a 4 bedroom 3bath home (my previous home they moved into was 3bedroom 1bath). The home the live in with boyfriend & his 4 kids is 3bedrooms/2baths. Their mom sleeps in a room with 2daughters because she stated she won’t sleep with Bf until marriage. My husband left her the house for the kids to have their own rooms & not to throw them into an apartment. We take them to the river on our boat to my dads river house & they disrespect my 70yr old dad. My husband pays over the required child support & more but still has his children tell him that it isn’t enough. These kids are 16,13,12 & 10. 2 1/2yrs and no change. I almost have anxiety attacks when it is our time with kids because it is never just a good week. Always some drama. What do I do?

    Reply
  21. I thought all is well with a 7 (now 8) year old daughter of my husband. We were living a normal life of family ( I thought). I helped her doing her home works, cleaned her room and bathroom, washed her clothes etc. She seemed happy with me, hugging me, saying I am the best etc. Untill I found her not that says she doesn’t like me at all! I was shocked, heart broken. How come a child of her age could be that fake? She disrespect me by deliberately ignoring me in front of guests and her family. She does everything a competition. Even though she tries to fake things again, I am not a stupid to be fooled again. I stopped doing things for her. Why would I do things for someone who doesn’t appreciate? With all this, my husband sides for her saying ‘she is just a child’ and spoiling her. & she knows that and manipulates it. & he also plays ‘victim’ card of her being swinging between two houses of her mom’s and his. I am not a reason for that & I am not taking any responsibility. Apart from being fake, she is whine and unhappy if she sees us being happy. She becomes happy if we fight and don’t do things together. I made a big mistake of getting married with a man with such a daughter. I didn’t tell anyone about this problem. Because people judge you saying ‘she is just a child’. I am glad I found this thread of people with similar experiences. At least I can get it off my chest. All I want now is to go far …. far away & be alone.

    Reply
  22. Stressed to the max

    I just found this site and can’t believe so many others are going thur what I am going thur. I am at my wits end and dont know if I should throw in the towel or try harder on my part. At first I thought it was just me but as the days go on, I am seeing its not and I am not the crazy one. I have been with my husband for 7 years now, married going on 2 years, my stepdaughter just turned 17 and it is getting worse. She has to have her daddys attention at all times, she follows him around constantly, always touching him and wanting hugs. She lies about things I tell her, stretching the truth and making it sound like i was mean to her and when I call her on it in front of her daddy, she just says well I assumed you were saying that. At first we were ok as long as I was buying her things and doing for her but that all has stopped when she started arguing with everything I said and disrepecting me on everything I asked of her. I could ask her to do this or that and she would totally ignore me and do it when she wanted to or didnt do it at all. She is nasty, lazy and does nothing but lay around in her bed playing on her phone, she has no friends and I mean NONE, I worry she i online with strangers but her dad just ignores me on anything I have to say about her, said he is put in the middle, well duh your her dad, somebody needs to put their foot down and disipline this child. She does as she wants when she wants, she just got her car and she is either in the roads or in bed. She has thrown horrbile fits and on times her dad has gotten on to her she tells him she wants to go to her mom’s, who by the way when is not working is sleeping, does not clean her house or cook. I am so worried this is going to destroy my marriage, he is a great man or at least I thought he was when we first got together. Even his oldest child hates her own sister because of the way she is and my husband is now on the outs with his oldest because she speaks up about what she thinks of her. There are other people who have noticed her odd behavor with him, constantly following him around (even trying to follow him in the bathroom) they think she is a very strange child and its embarrasing. They always hide things from me and are always whispering when I am close by, when she is at her moms they constantly text each other the whole time, she is always saying I love you, I miss you, always something and its gotten to be a real turn off for me. What do I do???? HELP!!! By the way, this is only part of what I go thur.

    Reply
    • To ALL of You….RUN for the sake of YOUR OWN CHILDREN RUN !!!!!!!! It will Not get better. Husband will feel guilty & let them get by with sabotaging you AND your kids due to guilt No Matter How Awful the ex is. Keep your Health Keep your Sanity & let your own children have peace. You can’t win with mini wives No matter How old they are

      Reply
  23. My advice is RUN
    Get Out Now while you still have your Sanity
    Your Health & your hard earned assets
    The Hardest Lesson I’ve learned about being a step mom is that No matter how much you may Love the man & his children…as long as you are together..the Ex’s influence & Boundaries will Never be enough to cover your stress level.
    We were fantastic in the beginning. When the adult daughters now 32 & 30 then 10 & 12 aren’t around were still fantastic. But enter THEM & the manipulation/ guilt/disrespect in Our home/public begins.
    Their mother had numerous affairs even taking them w/her on occasion. She planned 2 years in advance to leave him. Got a new house/new car. He was building a business. And successfully so. Worth over a mil. He ending up selling his partnership interest & committed fulltime to counseling trying to save the marriage. But she had never fully loved him. He was a means to an end. The divorce granted joint custody 6 mos each parent same school district w/all year child support payments. She stayed in the home until it sold whereby she got the equity. In the morning in court divorce granted that afternoon she was at her fathers funeral. In 21 years time I have dealt w/her actively giving the girls alcohol @11 & 13 knowing alcoholism runs in her family. Trying to get additional $$ off the books. Having the girls come to our home asking for her where the child support check was, which I abruptly stopped. I was kind telling the then 13 year old that those are mommy daddy issues & mommy should call daddy. I did not disparage her mother. But He & I quickly set up a direct account w/the county child support agency so further inquiries could be made direct to them. He had changed jobs but there was never a loss of a weejkly check & at that time they were with us 6 months visiting her weekends. I never spoke ill of her to them in any way & our discussions about her happened when they weren’t home. Meantime publicly the 1st 3 years we’d be out in public & they physically shoved me away from him or would hipcheck me out of the way. I encouraged them in school.attended all their events, taught them how to sit like ladies. Took them clothes shopping though it was their mothers place to do so. Meantime they snooped thru everything in our room even though my husband set boundaries. They pushed so hard I ended up in the hospital w/stress related heart trouble. I had a mini heart attack the lower part of my heart is permanently damaged . Everyday since I have a reminder of how they did me when I take my medication. Thankfully the house sold & she got the equity check & moved in w/her mother claim g she was broke. Her mother directly ask us what the child support was weekly. As if I needed to know the ex’s family. Ug. At 16 thru high school the oldest was allowed overnight an boyfriend at her mothers. And at 16 also the younger was permitted the same. Not at our home tho. At college we attended events. Meantime during all our marriage Ex actively flirted, deliberately bent over in microshort skirts in front of my husband. They both graduated college. Now at 32 & 30 both are divorced w/ live in boyfriends and the remarriagemom had ended in divorce recently & so the active pursuit of mentioning mom every call has started again even tho my husband requested not hearing about her. A few weeks ago the youngest had mom being her to our home tho her sister was available. The biggest issue I still have is the oldest brings her friends & new boyfriends to visit & fully expects every time for her father to pay the bill even tho she makes 2 1/2 times more then her father. We are Retired. And in done w/her disrespect. I have 2 sons. 1 is disabled. The youngest son has 2 children we love our grandchildren. The girls act as if the grandchildren don’t exist & they never ask about my sons. 1 of which they grew up with & they alwaystreatedpoorly. The youngest daughter apologized to me when she turned 25 saying she was glad Dad was happy & yes I was right that her sister had tried for years to split us up & she was sorry for participating. But now that moms divorced here we go again. They are disrespectful to me in my own home & still dominate everything when their here & treat me like a maid..leaving the dishes where they sit them. In an artist, college educated in paralegal & commercial/fine/graphic arts & have also done respite care in home plus vet assistant work w/rescue animals. Yet to them in someone to ignore & disrespect. No matter what my husband says to them it doesn’t last. Both my children now 42 & 36 could care less about seeing or hearing about them because of what they’ve done to me. So they succeeded in dividing our new family that way. They are highly narcissistic. When they visit the conversation is completely dominated by their achievements & where they’ve been & what their doing even tho they text & call their Father an average of 3 times a week to maintain control I feel. As of yesterday I am done. He can visit them all he’d like. I however have had enough of their disrespect in my home. How do I effectively implement that without alienating my husband which has been the oldest 1s goal all along ?

    Reply
  24. What about a child that sobs hysterically in the car that she doesnt want to come when it was just me step mom home….when I dont do anything that warrants such behavior

    Reply

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