Dear Husband

I hereby resign the title of stepmom.   It is a foolish title that brings more heartbreak and frustration than one can possibly take.  With it comes the life of a moving target.  Blame for all that goes wrong.   Rejection if you try to get to close.  Resentment if you step back too far.  Damned if you do; damned if you don’t.  It’s no way to live.

I am a ghost in my own home. I don’t exist, I get ignored.  I am brushed off with curt politeness.  I feel lucky in some respects that I am not cursed out or the insulting things he may be thinking or saying to his friends aren’t said to my face.  But the brusk manner in which I am dismissed is just as hurtful.  At least if he could articulate his feelings, we’d have a place to start a conversion.  There would be emotion there. Passion.  Attachment.   But the manner I am treated is cold and removed.  Warmth is almost non-existent.

I am a good person. I am a loving person.  I deserve to be cared about.  I deserve to be treated with respect. I care more about him more than he’ll ever know, but he is just not interested in me. I am the mom “he doesn’t like,” the villain to his fairytale hero, the one to blame for all his discontent.

My only crimes are that I want some structure in my house.  I want our home respected and cared for.  I want discipline when rules are broken.  I want consistent actions and consequences (actions and consequences don’t always equate to negative.  Positive actions have positive consequences too).  I want to see him grow up to be a good man who is thoughtful, expressive, responsible, courageous, strong, and self-sufficient. A person who knows what he wants and understands he has to work to get it.  A person with values who won’t cave in to peer pressure  A person who learns from his mistakes and is willing to admit when he’s made them.  A person who willingly accepts the consequences of his actions, and doesn’t try to avoid them by lying.  A person who understands that other people matter too.  A person who isn’t afraid to love, to share, or to reach out for help when he needs it.

You’ll notice that I did not put happy in there.  The only thing you say you want him to be. The reason I didn’t is because happy too nebulous too qualify.  The goal of happy doesn’t always get people what they need.  A strong personal foundation is more likely to get to happy.

I may not see him in the way that you or his mom do.  I see flaws in him, which I know you hate about me.  Although I do think he’s great: funny and smart.   I don’t put him on the pedestal.  Maybe that makes me a bad person.  Maybe that’s why I’m shunned. Sometimes I feel like maybe I can’t accept him for who he is because I don’t like who he is in our home, and it seems like I’m liking him less and less with each rejection.  I’m tired of reaching out only to have my efforts dismissed or minimized.  Think about it.  If someone consistently treated you like less of person on daily basis, you wouldn’t want to be around them either.   Yet, I’m constantly wracking my brains to try to figure out how to win his favour.   I’m tired.   I’ve cried too many morning’s worth of tears.  I’m tired of trying to figure out who I should be in his life, when he clearly doesn’t even want me there.

Losing our babies didn’t help the situation I’m sure.  I shut down after the second miscarriage.  I couldn’t bear to look at him.  I feel worthless in our home.  I thought a baby might make me feel like at least another being in the house loved and cared about me.  But it doesn’t look like this is going to happen.

I’m tired of torturing myself.  I know I can be a great mom, but I’ve been forsaken on both the bio and step fronts.  So I need to just give up that ghost.   I won’t be a mom.  I can’t be a mom.  That part of me needs to be shut down.  It’s only causing more stress in our home.

The hard cold truth is that I don’t agree with your parenting.  I hate the results I’m seeing.  I see him becoming lazy, unmotivated, rude, uncaring, messy… all the things 13 year old boys usually are.  But I don’t think that should be written off like that.  I know he can be more.  I don’t see anyone holding his feet to the fire, making him accountable.

He’s not a kid anymore.  He’s used to being catered to.   He used to getting his way by pretending not to listen or pretending to forget or being a drama “queen” with a feel so sorry for me act.  What confuses me is that we see results when you take a more disciplined approach, but then you back off again, which leads us right back to same place.
I’m tired of fighting about him.  Our fighting only fuels his non-acceptance of me.   I read a study that said step children are more likely to see their step parents as good people if they make their parents happy and if a loving relationship is modelled for them.   The opposite is true if they feel their parent’s spouse does not make them happy (and they equate fighting to this).   I don’t want to fight… especially with him in the house.

If it’s the title of stepmother that does it, then I’ll do away with it.  [He] will no longer have a stepmom.  I won’t take a parental role with him.   From now on I’ll just be your wife.   A role I know is appreciated.  That doesn’t mean I won’t be interested in his life.  I’ll just have little to say about it.

  • That also doesn’t mean that everything should go to hell.  As a partner in this household, I’d like:
  • Our house to be clean and well cared for
  • Our things to be respected and treated with care
  • Peacefulness and civility and boundaries that are respected
  • Well-mannered people coexisting
  • To be acknowledged as a human being

I don’t want:

  • A constant mess that doesn’t get cleaned and consequently create permanent stains that ruin the value of our home
  • Clean rooms
  • Things treated carelessly that are broken and never fixed
  • Loud noises at all hours of the day
  • Swearing, cursing and complaining
  • Policemen at our door or school principals calling our cell phones
  • Crime or lying of any kind.

How you make those things happen is up to you… as long as they happen.  In return, I won’t stress or worry about his schooling or future.  Complain or comment on about how he’s raised. Insist on balanced food choices.   Question your parenting in any way.  I won’t give a hoot what [stepson] thinks about me.  I’ll just be your loving wife.  A role that I’m pretty good at.

That doesn’t mean I won’t help.   If you need me take over a task or chore in order for you to get results, by all means ask.  I will help.   I won’t be involved in parenting, but I’ll be there for you.

~ by Stepfamily Letter Project on October 19, 2011.

3 Responses to “Dear Husband”

  1. It is such a difficult position to be in, I know. Roles seem to be defined at the moment that role is needed and then it is taken away just as quickly. Love the child as it was your child – I don’t have kids tell me what the heck that means PLEASE. The answer to that question is always I don’t know. Well, if you don’t know how am I supposed to know?
    No one really knows what one is getting into when having the “step kids” in our lives. that fine line we walk every day of who we are. The feeling of loneliness and not belonging because we have no blood ties. Although we are willing and able to do when ever and what ever and there is always a need for more.
    It seems to be a never ending battle – but yet we are still in it. Mind heart and soul and more is always expected.
    our opinions don’t count when it comes to behavior, discipline but boy do we count when cleaning is needed or the woobie needs to be washed.
    And yet, here we are living it, breathing it, struggling with it and only a few get it.
    I am so sorry for what you have gone through. Been there, doing it. I have no answers only my own outlets. I am fortunate my BF gets some of it, the struggles. I laugh because most of my struggles are with the BM and keeping her nose out of my life and her out of my home even though she has never been in it. I have fought and struggled and I finally typed it all out 2 years worth of biomom crap. And my last sentence was – if it is your life’s mission to make your x-wife happy and to make sure she has everything she wants then by all means please go back there. Becuase I was NOT put on this earth to make sure she has what she wants, what she wants – not me.
    Keep the faith, stay strong – good luck

  2. I just want you to know you’re not alone. You are doing right by this boy. You do what you need to do protect yourself. You’ll be OK. you seem like you’ve got it figured out. I’m so sorry for your miscarriages. Dont give up. And I mean dont give up loving your husband, realizing you can make a difference, and on having babies. Good luck to you and know you’re not alone.

  3. Pam – you completely turned this into a Mom problem. This writer’s problem is her husband, not his ex… Lol but I know the ex is usually to blame.

    OP– I feel for you – I do. I can’t imagine what it’s like. I don’t know how to love someone else’s kid like my own because I just can’t. My kids are so precious to me and it’s not something I can place on another person’s child. However I was raised by a man who loved me unconditionally as his own and my husband is doing it as well. BUT I believe it starts with your husband. He has to support you and he has to have expectations for his child that include respecting you. I wish you the best, I hope that your husband fixes this for you and for your marriage. Big hugs

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