My girlfriend and I met in November 2013. Around about January 2014 she and her daughter had moved in with my son and I (although, at the time I had my son 33% custody as he spent the remainder living with his mum.) The first 6 months of our relationship went well and we often talked about having a child together. Around August she quit her bar job and started her Masters degree at a University. She had warned me how busy she would be and also that her main two priorities were her school and her daughter of which I accepted. Our relationship suffered a lot and I did feel very neglected but continued to support her through the end of her first semester. I also felt her personality had changed from easy going to non-stop complaining and criticizing me.
I loved her and wanted us to stay together but I could feel the relationship starting to fall apart so a few weeks before Christmas I decided to buy an expensive engagement ring and I proposed hoping it would keep us together. She accepted and things went well between us for about a week then the arguments started up again. She threw the ring at me several times and after the 3rd time I kept it but later gave it back as we found out that she is pregnant. Throughout our relationship I had learned rather quickly that my girlfriend and her daughter seemed very much attached to one another, very often when we would argue she often slept with her daughter and even when we didn't argue she would encourage her daughter to sleep in the same bed as us which I found very annoying. After several months of arguing about this situation I gave in to her daughter sleeping with us. Our sex lives were going down hill pretty fast by the time December came around. Another thing that hurt my feelings was my girlfriend would often want to have a one on one time with her daughter instead of the four of us. As I mentioned earlier I only had my son part of the time and I work 12 hour shifts night and days where neither my son or I was at home. So I did feel that her actions divided us up of what I thought was family. Furthermore, I realized she treated her daughter much nicer than my son and was a lot harsher toward him. This happened on a daily basis. This was getting out of hand that even my girlfriends daughter was recognizing she could bully or torment my son knowing her mum would side with her. My son would cry over the littlest things.
Suddenly, in December my son's mum was taken to hospital and for the next 6 weeks I had full-time custody of my son. This is when I noticed how much my girlfriend disliked my son. She was constantly mad at him and also me finding faults with both of us. When he was sick and I was at work she called me to say that she was put out and had enough she eventually moved out as she couldn't or rather wouldn't mind my son whilst I went to work even though I was paying for all the rent, utilities, the majority of the groceries and spending money on meals out and clothes for her child as well as mine. When she moved out I have to pay for a child minder now as she let me know that she wasn't a nanny. She has moved back home to her parents and says she will move back in if I get a bigger and better place for us to live as a family. We have found out that she is 12 weeks pregnant. She says she still wants us to be together but we only see each other maybe once or twice a week. We do not have any real romance/intimacy between us although I wish we did. I do find her to be very selfish, uninterested or liking me much let alone loving me...I don't know what to make of it all. She now wants me to join a budget website to see what my income is so she can see what I can afford for a nicer place for our family she says...until now we aren't even friends on Facebook as she still has me blocked from 6 weeks ago. She does not work as yet but mentions she would contribute from her child support or her school allowance.
I would let her go if I knew she wasn't pregnant but she is so I want us to work. If we do try to move in again I fear she will continue to resent my son (even though she denies this...but admits she can never love him like her own which I understand this. I just don't like her ignoring him or treating him unkind or indifferent) She also says she doesn't want to live back home but I feel she doesn't want to be with me or left with my son whilst I am at work...she recommended that I continue to pay for a child minder. I'm thinking she will probably move out in the New Year when she has her own income but I'm not certain...I just don't feel any love from her. Shall I continue with this dysfunctional relationship or surrender to child support payments...Your advice is greatly appreciated.
Blending families is a difficult process and it sounds like there have been a lot of complicating stressors in your relationship. You moved in together very quickly and you each had children of your own. Integrating two families like that is always a challenge and having your son only part of the time created an imbalance. It’s understandable that she wants to focus on her daughter, but being part of a blended family requires a lot of work on making everyone feel welcome and included. It sounds like that’s been a problem.
I could comment on a lot of the specifics of your question individually but I think it all comes down to the same thing. If you guys are going to be a family and live together, you’re going to need to get some help. And I would suggest getting the help before you move back in together. It’s hard bringing two families together and its okay to throw up your hands and say “what we’re doing isn’t working” and seek help in finding a healthier way to live. You now have a vested interest in making this relationship work, even if you don’t end up together because you’ll be sharing a child. And that’s not just about child support. That child will need you in his or her life just as much as your son does.
But here’s the bottom line, your first priority right now is to provide a stable and healthy home for your son. None of this is his fault, and he shouldn’t have to live in a home where he feels he is less important. If you get back together with your girlfriend, she HAS to understand that, for his sake. It’s one thing to have different feelings for your biological child vs. your step child. It’s another thing entirely to act on those feelings. As the adults in the situation, you both have a responsibility to provide safety and security to all your children and protect their emotional well-being as best you can.
I empathize with your girlfriend in that being a mom and a student at the same time can be maddening, and being pregnant on top of that has got to be hard. BUT, those were choices that she (and you) made and you need to figure out how to deal with those choices without being mean or disrespectful to one another or to the children you care for. I also understand where you’re coming from. You’ve got a new child on the way and you love your girlfriend so you want to make it work. But that’s just it…it has to work. And the way things are going, its not working. Find a family counselor who can help you deal with all the complexities of this relationship (and there are many) and maybe you’ll find that being a family is possible without all the dysfunction.
Don't be shy! Say what's on your mind and get a good dose of perspective in return.