And I don’t feel bad about it. I did for quite some time, but I’ve had to reconcile myself to these feelings. About 7 years ago I divorced. I wasn’t opposed to remarriage. I knew I wanted to spend my life with someone. My only child was about to go off to college when I met the man I am now married to. I had a set of requirements for my future man. He was to have no small kids (or dysfunctional ones), he was to have more money than me, he had to have been married before and he couldn’t work at the same company I do. So I’ll go on the record now that I ignored all my own requirements. My husband couldn’t check a box on my list. However I love him very much. I want to spend my life with him. I decided not to let a kid (5 when we met) spoil my happiness for a lifetime.Fast forward to today. He’s almost 11 and I can’t stand this child. He has so many problems. These problems are brought on by genetics, parenting style and perhaps so much more. You see he has Asperger Syndrome or something close to it. Yet his parents refuse to acknowledge or do anything about his problems. Let me give you some examples of my step son’s behavior. He doesn’t make eye contact with adults. He doesn’t have a friend in the world. As a matter of fact kids hate him and pick on him. It’s terribly sad actually. This child has no “normal” interests and can’t engage in a conversation with anyone. He is a know it all. He hates animals (I have 4 I adore). He doesn’t have any hobbies. He’s limited to playing video games, staring at tv or reading his favorite topic of the day. You might be reading this now and saying “why is she so mean”. Why don’t I try to help? I did try to help initially and for a long time. I tried to make suggestions, arrange appointments, talk about the issues and so much more. My husband completely ignored me and my ideas. He’s a wonderful man in many ways, but we all have character flaws. His character flaw is “denial”. He can’t see things objectively; especially as it relates to someone he loves. He buries his head in the sand until he just can’t breathe any longer. After I gave up trying to help, I started ignoring the problems with my step son. I heard what was going on, but just stepped back. This has not proven to be a particularly helpful approach, as I just get frustrated and no one helps the child. I now have resigned myself to being a positive person in my step son’s life. However, I don’t take him to the doctor, reprimand him when he is bad, see that he has showers or take him on play dates. I’m like a “border” in my own house when he is with us. It sucks. Now I’m starting to think about the years ahead … the teenage years. What happens when this awful and neglected child becomes a teen? He doesn’t identify with anyone. He has no friends. I live in fear of this. I worked so hard to raise my son right. This took sacrifice. My step son has two parents unwilling or unable to parent effectively. So I’ll have to go through the teen years with someone scary in my house? I don’t think I’ll make it. If they don’t get him some help or acknowledge his troubles somehow significantly, my marriage won’t survive. It breaks my heart. But it also hurts my head to bang it against the wall over and over again. Step parenting sucks. It really does. The best laid plans have little chance of success. You have no idea what you are getting into. And I can’t blame the kid, but I do. Mostly I blame the parents. I won’t blame myself though for his flaws. I blame myself for marrying someone so incapable of seeing his own child’s cries for help. If you are considering step parenting, think long and hard. Rarely is a love strong enough to overcome the horrible damage done to a child of divorce and neglectful parents. Save yourself. If we all took care of what we brought into this world and ourselves, the world would be a better place.
Updating this post. It is now 2013. I divorced my husband mainly because of his son. The sad part … I still love his dad. The boy is almost 17 now. He would be going to college soon. Truth be told I wish I had stuck it out. Reading this reminds me how miserable I was but I’m miserable now. You have to decide what is right for you.