Number of kids: 1
Ages of kids: 5
Problem: My girlfriend and I just recently got engaged about 4 weeks ago. We've been seeing each other for 6 months now. Probably too soon to be engaged, but we really like each other. She knew that I had a child even before we starting seeing each other. I assumed that since she went out with me and got engaged to me that she had accepted the fact that I have a child from a past relationship in which I was never married. She was living with me for 2 months and my 5 year old boy loves her to death. She has now moved out and back home with her parents. She says She doesn't feel like a family and that she feels like an outsider. She says she would marry today if it was just me, but is very jealous of the fact that I had a special moment with another and thus have a wonderful child. She likes my son too, but says she resents me for not waiting for her. I told her I didn't even know she existed then. How could I? Basically, she wanted to be the Mother. I can't change the past and thought she knew that and accepted it. We connect like no other I've ever seen. I usually can out think her before she even knows what she's going to say or do. However, this time I have no idea what to do to make her feel comfortable about the situation. I need help and fast. I don't want to lose this girl. I've been alone for most of the 5 1/2 years that my son has been alive. I've had custody of my son since he was 2 months old. What can I do to make her feel better? How can I make her understand that having children with her will be very special? I know most of you will probably say it's not worth the hassle, but I'm in LOVE and want this to work almost more than anything.
Solution submitted by Josh's Mom from Columbus, OH: Hey Chip I was touched so much by your letter. As a mother and stepparent I must tell I understand how your girlfriend feels. When Josh was born my husband shared the most wonderful experience any two people can have. And as time went on I became just a little resentful about the fact that MY HUSBAND had another child with someone else. Now I know this man loves me completely. At every he lets me know it. Touching me, kissing me, just saying he loves me. What I'm expressing to you is that if this lady love of yours mean that much to you, you will go out of your way to insure she is always comfortable. The love you get back from her will validate this statement, trust me. My husband & I also never let the children come between us. When we are sharing a special moment, neither one of the boys are allowed to interfere. Remember there must be order in your home or it will never be a home. We learned the hard way, God, first then your spouse, then the children, then everything else falls into place. The children always become a part of the twosome, not the other way around. The children will always respect each of you equally. I grew up in a home just like this and we all still have a great open door to communicate with each other. Take care & all the best.
Another solution submitted by Les from Golden Lake, Ont., CAN: Off the top of my head! I recently read a book "Making Peace in Your Stepfamily : Surviving and Thriving As Parents and Stepparents" by Harold H. Bloomfield, M.D. about step-families (I belong to a blended family now) which suggested that jealousy towards the ex can usually be resolved by the two (women or men) developing an understanding between them. This might be premature in your case, but it helps to be prepared, and would probably help lots of other readers also. I know I would have had a lot of the same feelings as your girlfriend myself years ago. In my present relationship I had had 3 children already myself so I couldn't complain about his. But, I still felt much the same. So, I'm touched by your letter. The only thing that came to me was that if she resents you for not waiting for her before, at least you could tell her that you'll wait for her now (without any pressure applied of course). I wish you the best, and don't lose faith. And also to make sure that the real parent (meaning you) shows no signs of attachment or holding on to the previous relationship. Then, supposedly (I'm still working on this too) all three or four adults (if the ex is married too) can interact on an equal level understanding that each has the child's best interests at heart, and everyone's contribution is acknowledged and respected. I think you need to give her time without pushing, but letting her know how you still feel and let her work it out. Good luck.
Editor's Note: You can buy the above mentioned book from The Parentsroom Bookstore in association with Amazon.com by clicking on the title above.