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18 Feb 2003

Step children nightmare
I have been married for 8 months to a man who has 2 children from a previous marriage. The son is 19, the daughter 13. We have been together for 6 years already and since the day we met, these 2 children have done everything possible to seperate us. I could tell stories that would make your blood run cold as to how far these 2 have gone to split us up, but so far we are still going strong. Their parents had been divorced for 3 years already before I even met him but they still think that if they get rid of me, he will go back to her. We have tried sitting them down and talking things through with them, we have tried various punishments for their appalling behaviour, we have threatened, begged, pleaded, explained till we're blue in the face, nothing helps. My husband has made it clear to them that even if they succeed in getting rid of me he will never ever go back to their mother and told them that no matter what the situation with him and her, he will always love them and be there for them but that had no effect either. The mother aids them terrifically in their quest as she also still believes he will come back if only she can get rid of me and she eggs them on as much as possible and actually puts them up to telling their father that I have done all sorts of things behind his back, to cause trouble between us. Luckily (??) he has been through this with her before and knows better than to listen to anything she says or does.

Now the mother is having serious health problems and may be borded from work and has decided that she cant take care of her daughter anymore and wants her to come live with her father.

How do I handle this? I am afraid that the pressure of having this child between us everyday will put too much strain on our marriage and I dont know if we could handle it.
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Meg, sounds like a tremendously annoying and frustrating situation. Thank goodness your husband has had the sense to recognize what has been going on, and to remain sensible about i.
Depending on the mother's medical condition ( and there are siome awfully phoney Boardings going on ) it doesn't necessarily mean that she's become a helpless invalid and unable to look after her daughter. If there is a good reason why she can't care for the child any more, then it would need to be negotiated, with it being made absolutely clear that the child can only come to live with you if she obeys the rules of your house, and stops all the mischief-making that has been problematic so far.
And isn't it about time that the 19-year-old started planing to fend for himself, instead of interfering in his father's marriage ? It sounds as if part of the problem could be a perceived lack of sanctions on your side ? Get together as paents and think this through creatively --- any malice from the kids and --- no TV for a week, no computer / internet access ; no prmission to go out to parties ; whatever works.
What do other readers think ?
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