Help - i feel like i'm a horrible person for having these feelings

I have no children of my own. I recently married a man with a daughter who is now 6. He has a ton of guilt about his relationship with her mother and spoils his daughter to make up for it, which bothers me.


In addition, I feel like he doesn't show me affection or do anything thoughtful. We rarely go out or do anything fun, unless it's with her. And when I see how he is with her, I get jealous. I hate that I even feel this way, being jealous of a six year old, but I can't help it.

He is constantly giving her sweet kisses or caressing her and I rarely get anything. When he sees her, he gets so happy and when I come home, sometimes I don't even get a hello.

I don't know what to do. I don't think he even realizes it. It makes me mental and depressed. I don't want to feel the way I feel, but it's just so hard. I feel like I've fallen into the role of nanny and maid.

If I try to talk to him about my feelings, he doesn't understand and feels like I resent his daughter, which isn't the case. I'm just struggling with where I fit in this relationship or if I even do. I know he loves me, but for some reason, I need validation.

Is this common for step parents? Or is it just me?


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May 27, 2012
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I thought maybe I had written that!!! part 2
by: HN

It's still hard because she doesn't really want to cuddle with me as much and I just can't find the motivation to play with her. I am all for cuddling and sitting outside with her while she plays, or puzzles and watching her swim but for the last few months I can't even make myself get in the water and splash around with her (maybe cuz it's too cold, or maybe my subconscious thinks it is, idk) or run around on the play structures with her or basically anything that requires me to become fully immersed in her game. I feel like I'm a bad stepmom because of this. So even though our other problems with disciplining and showing affection to each other are getting better or are at least in the works of getting better, I still feel like a failure. I know I need to play with her to be able to deepen our connection, but I can't seem to emotionally get to that point where I can immerse myself in her imaginative world. I also still struggle with trying hard not to be too strict with her, as I know it bothers my husband. I just cant stand the blatant disrespect for our requests and her playing the "helpless" card (which she also does alot). I'm trying to work through this because now that I've dealt with the problems outside of my own personal control, I'm struggling with the problems that are coming from within me. I wish I could go to a counselor or psychiatrist just to be able to spill my true feelings without feeling like I'll crush my husband or create more problems.

May 27, 2012
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I thought maybe I had written that!!!
by: HN

I actually just had a conversation with my husband two nights ago about this... I was honest and straightforward with him. I was feeling jealous of my stepdaughter as well and felt he was giving her way more attention than he gives me... She would crawl all over him and he didn't care, he'll stroke her hair and cuddle with her every day as well as play with her. Yet he wouldn't sit with me and hold my hand on the couch... I started to feel resentful and I couldn't for the longest time work up the courage to bring it up to him. Finally, I broke and asked him if he even still loved me. He gave me a puzzled and almost hurt look. I couldn't even look him in the eye, but I had to tell him how I was feeling. I told him that from my view he gives her so much attention and that I felt a little neglected. I went into specific detail of what kinds of things exactly set me off like the hair thing, and the cuddling on the couch, and telling her she's pretty all the time. Then I went on to tell him that I haven't felt like he goes out of his way to make me feel good about myself and validate his feelings for me. Thankfully, he somewhat understood once I gave him specific descriptions of what was going on from my perspective. If he hadn't said at that point that he would make a point to try to make me feel good about myself and our relationship, I would have asked it of him, just to be clear that just talking about it isn't enough, there has to be a change.

As I said this is only two days ago. I am still having a hard time not feeling resentful toward my stepdaughter. I figure it will take a couple weeks of trying hard to make the changes we said we would work toward, but I can't help but feel guilty thinking that maybe I'm just being too hard on her by sticking hard and fast to the rules of the house. I feel as if I've had to be the bad guy for so long that every time I try to speak to her, she gets this look on her face that she thinks she'll be in trouble for something... She is only 4 1/2 but she does know and understand the rules. I try not to be too strict especially because she's not biologically mine and her mother is still in the picture (if only slightly). But because he doesn't readily jump to the diciplining mode, I feel I am always the one to have to say something. I feel that when she is doing something against the rules or if she blatantly disrespects a direct "order" (for lack of a better word) that her father or I give her, the quicker the response the better. He tends to wait a little bit (like 10 minutes) to say anything or let her keep disrespecting our "order" until it starts to annoy him. I just want to nip it in the bud before she starts doing it all the time. Things have gotten better over time, because he used to not say anything.

Sep 01, 2010
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Right there!
by: Anonymous

I completely understand where you are coming from on this. My fiance spoils his youngest daughter beyond it being healthy, he spends more time and money on her than he does anyone else in the family and he has said to me that it is out of guilt for having been deployed for so much of her life and then the divorce from their mother.

My biggest frustration is that now that we are living together, she has been throwing awful tantrums when he does try to enforce house rules (they never had any before I came long but I had to have some structure!).

I tried to discipline her myself because he wasn't doing it when she would break the rules and she came back with that typical step-child response of I don't have to listen to you, your not my boss. I am also frustrated because I don't think he realizes the long term effects of the way he treats her is going to be. I can't imagine her as a teenager! She is 8 now and throws things and yells, hits, bawls when she is made to follow the rules now. She is very disobedient and disrespectful because he has never had a backbone with her until now.

We are also expecting a baby of our own and I am freaked out about his youngest daughter being the most awful role-model for our child! She continues to ask me if the baby will die or if I will die during labor. She hates me, she has made that clear to her dad. I have been frustrated and angry at both her and him and his ex keeps getting involved in our business as well and chews him out constantly for things he has done or not done with his kids.

I have been so close to throwing in the towel with this and raise this child on my own. It is so hard! I am now not allowed to do any discipline of his children at all. This has left me with my hands tied and as the tattle tale as he is not aware of when they are breaking rules because the rules are new for him too! It is so ridiculous! It's as though I am sabotaged from the start. This would explain why any relationships he has had before me and after his ex didn't last.

Nov 24, 2009
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you are not crazy
by: Anonymous

Your situation is very normal. The key is you have to talk about it with your husband, but you also have to be careful about the way you go about it.

I have experienced the same with my husband and stepchildren. Anytime I bring it up directly such as 'why are you so loving and kind with your children but not with me', my husband gets very defensive and immediately angry. I have found the best way to deal with it is to try and indirectly bring it up - like asking my husband to set aside 1 night per week where he commits to it just being us - we have dinner, or see a movie, etc...but with no kids. And if the kids call or ask if they can come over or go with us, my husband will tell them no, that he already has plans with me (this helps if you actually have plans, if you don't he will probably tell them yes).

And sometimes my husband also plans 1:1 time with the kids, without me...and then sometimes we all have family time together as well. But you have to make time for just you and your husband to be alone, or the times you see him being affectionate/loving with his kids will make you feel resentful, like you haven't been getting that. And just remember, that sometimes the child may also feel resentful when they see their Dad being loving with you...so you have to work to even things out.

One more word of advice, the more loving you are with your stepchildren, the more loving your husband will probably be toward you. That works for me also.

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