Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?
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Old 02-11-2011, 06:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

It occurred to me as I got off-topic on another thread that maybe you all could lend some advice, insight and experience to this question...

If you were involved in a second marriage, with a stepchild or stepchildren whom you loved and raised for years, and you then experienced divorce, how did you cope with the loss of your child/children -- even though not blood-related?

My stepson is 12 and I've been in his life, helping to raise him, since he was 3. My husband and I share 50/50 joint custody with his mother, who lives in the same town, and we've been joint parenting the whole time. My son tells everyone that he has two moms -- his biological mom and me.

While accepting the inevitability of my unwanted and unexpected divorce from his father, how do I cope with the loss of my child too? I know that as a step parent I have no legal rights to him. I know that this divorce -- the second he's experienced in his life -- will be incredibly hard on him once we tell him. And I'm having trouble with the idea of losing him -- the only child I have, the child I expected would be mine forever.

Has anyone dealt with this? Any advice?
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

i have not dealt with this, nor do i think anyone should have to...

the only thing i can say is have you told your soon to be ex about your feelings towards your stepson? maybe you can organize to see him still, as much as it wont be what your used to, maybe once a month or something? if your ex will let you. maybe even talk to his mother? if you get along with her that is.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

My ex knows my feelings toward my stepson and my stepson will not be short on words for his feelings toward me, I'm sure. The mom may not be as flexible to "give up" any of her time. Legally, as a stepparent, I have no rights. I think my husband will let us work something out for some occasional visits, but still... it's NOT going to be the same as having my child here with me all the time like he is now. No more kid laundry to wash, kid meals to make, no more cuddling during movies on the couch, no more talking about growing up or his pre-teen angst, no more being a daily part of his life. And it's killing me.

Has anyone gone through this???? How have you coped?
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

Bumping this to see if anyone can offer advice? Anyone been there/done that with regard to losing a stepchild during divorce?

It's an awful thing...
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Old 06-25-2011, 03:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

Hi Hopeful,
I had to leave what I considered my daughter after her 7th birthday. She was my buttercup and raised her from 18 months 50% with her father that I never married, but we lived together. I lost all rights to her when he got his new girlfriend pregnant, which also caused the loss of my job as the Director of Business Development and Marketing for his aerospace company.

You have no rights, unless he gives them to you in writing, but your boy may be old enough to request it. I know this reply may be a little late and feel so sorry, as I understand the pain to its core. Besides the verbal and physical abuse I received, I lost my only child, though not bio she called me her Jenn and many tines mom, so I understand what you must be going through. It's been almost three years and I still grieve for my loss everyday and pray for her.

The last time she visited me, just after her 7th birthday, I gave her new caterpillars for a butterfly habitat I got her the last year, a rose quartz necklace and a favorite book of mine about a caterpillar's journey to learn change was meant for him. She is in my heart everyday, and you can't expect new children that are not yours to ever replace them. As I know you raised him from young, nothing will replace, time I hope will heal. But do anything you can to get your Ex's a commitment to visitation. I am sure he needs you, as you were significant and am sure he loves and needs you.

Mizpah,
Jenn
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Old 06-25-2011, 04:25 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

Also, just curious have you experienced friends and family not understanding the loss? That's the hardest for me. People don't get that you can love them and do for them as much as their bio parents and many times doing more...I hope we can connect:-)
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Old 06-25-2011, 07:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

My ex (his natural mom) actually awarded custody of my stepson to me. Unless something is completely outrageous, it's possible for just about any agreement between the two parties to be formalized within the divorce decree.
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Old 06-25-2011, 11:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

I know exactly what you mean, my H and I raised his daughter now 13 since the age of 10. I do not have any children, so she became my lil princess. I love like my own. I have no rights to her and the daddy is ambivalent at best. I did see her and spend some time with her in April for her birthday, but the daddy began to act funny, and we have since lost contact. She is probably going through her teenage things too. I miss her, but I realize she belongs to her parents. Although I truly doubt they will be able or knowledgeable about how to provide the best for her...she is theirs and she loves them to death. I will make it through regardless. Try to talk to your H and come to an understanding about the special relationship you two shared and you would like to continue it. My H was a little skeptical about the closeness and didn't want to lose his time with her. There are a lot of kids to love in the world, I will find another ;o)
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Old 06-25-2011, 01:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

Thanks SO MUCH for your responses!!! I knew I was not the only person in the world experiencing the loss of a stepchild that is, in short, as much your own child as any by blood when I posted this thread in February. Here is an update...

My husband and I are amid mediation. He is agreeing to put in the mediation document his wishes that I continue a relationship with my stepson; his mother, over these past few difficult months has also become an advocate for me and expresses her absolute desire for me to continue a relationship with him. All very positive in the long run. HOWEVER, regardless of intention by my husband, and what is "wished for" in our divorce agreement, there still will be no legal binding obligation on the part of my husband or his ex-wife to follow through with arranging actual visitation. Additionally, I will be moving nearly 3 hours away, which makes visitations more challenging. I'm hoping for a couple of weekend days/nights a month with frequent phone calls, skypes, text messages, etc. But part of this will depend on my stepson's needs -- he is nearly 13 and, like all teens, will start wanting less and less time with his parents altogether. I know this reality but hope that he will still want his time with me sometimes.

My stbx and I are still living together and getting through house renovations to sell our home, while going through mediation. My stepson is with us 50% of the time and has been having a very rough time with the news of the divorce since he was told about 8 weeks ago. He spent the first 2-3 weeks in absolute denial, insisting it would't happen. He filled with depression and anxiety, with frequent anger and crying bouts as he tries in desperation to "fix" things and keep our family together. He's angry with his father for wanting this divorce and for "breaking up our family. My stepson is aware of my pain, that this request for divorce was sudden, unexpected and completely unwanted by me.

But, as my stepson is UNAWARE, it has been revealed recently that my high-40's husband has been having an long-distance emotional affair with a foreign work colleague -- age 22 -- for over a year now (with several foreign "business trips" worked into the lies and mess). He claims to be madly in love with her as she's his "soul mate" and is planning on moving her up to the US as early as fall once I'm out of the house. My stepson is aware of the girl's presence as someone his father "claims" to be only a friend, but does not believe his father. He thinks his father has been cheating on me (BINGO!) but has no proof with which to be certain. He HATES this woman because of his suspicions -- especially as his father chose to take a several vacation to her city/country only 3 weeks after breaking our news of divorce to my stepson. My stepson is not a dumb teen -- he's smart beyond his years and he SMELLS A RAT. I have not let on to any of the information that I know as I don't want to drive a wedge further between him and his father. But his father is doing this all on his own with his poor choices. And, sadly, when/if he tries to move this woman up to live with him and my stepson, just months after I've been forced out of my stepson's life, my stbx will have more than a war on his hands with his son.

My stepson is HEARTBROKEN over this divorce (his second in his short life) and there's nothing I can do to protect him or ease his pain but just continue to be here for him. Several times he has told his father, his mother and his therapist that he wishes his mom and I could share custody -- that he doesn't want to be with his father because he doesn't trust or respect him, thinks he's selfish and a liar, and thinks he's breaking up our family. I know this is anger talking, but he's in so much pain and it's devastating to watch. I hope for the best, but know that more pain is coming his way if his father continues his selfish ways.... I will do whatever I can to keep him in my life, to continue to be his stepmom, divorce or not.

I hope the best for all of you going through similar situations with stepchildren. It is a topic often overlooked during divorce as society still holds to the old ideas of step parents being "less than" important as the blood parents. But in many cases, that's certainly absolutely false -- especially as far as the child is concerned. Laws need to be changed and more support needs to be shown for step parents going through divorce. As someone else mentioned here, even some of my friends don't "get it". They say, "He's not your son -- not your problem anymore" as they are angry with my stbx. I have to stand my ground and say "He IS MY SON and I will NOT let him down." But still I see the negative head shakes, the shoulder shrugs and the rolled eyes. It really makes this divorce process even harder to deal with...

Last edited by Hopeful1; 06-25-2011 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 06-25-2011, 02:53 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

Amen to a lot of what you have said. We are pretty much in the same boat. But I am learning to let go, and not make her feel worse. I know she loves (d) me and I do her, but I also know the blood is thicker than water. I find young people to be very manipulative to getting what they want and will use whatever situation to achieving their goals....getting what they want. I promise to be there for my SD any time she needs me (within reason) and my love for her is conditional. If she continues to treat me the way I like and make good chioces, she as no greater advocate. I pray that God makes all of our crooked roads straight and soon.
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:38 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

I'm struggling with this as well. My H & I both have children from previous relationships but none together.

I always thought my SS was a pain in the arse, but I miss him terribly. I haven't seen him in over 4 months.
My kids miss my H as well, especially my S10. He has tried to text/call my H to talk or to see him, and he doesn't answer his phone the majority of the time. It really pi$$es me off.
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Old 11-24-2011, 04:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

Hi,I'm going through this too.My stepson is 6 and i've been 'daddy' since he was 18 months old and we are so close,we really are best mates.
Split up w his mum for a while and got back together and me and 'son' were elated,truly happy and then mum sends a nasty email-didnt even talk to me and that was that..no replies to any contact i've made and it's just the worst thing thats ever happened to me..im lost and hurting alot and i can do nothing about it.
I just cant beleive she'd do this to me AND her own son who loved me as much as i did him.
The most horrible thing i think anyone could do two someone.If she doesnt want me i could live with that quite ok but not without my lil man around...dunno what else to say.im pretty cut up still 8 months on.
Cheers
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Old 12-05-2011, 12:03 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

Dear Hopeful,

I wish I had advice for you. I am writing to say I have been through your pain. I still live it. My ex and I met when his daughter was 9 months old. I helped him raise her since he split custody with her mom. I was there for the first words, the first steps, every beautiful part of her life, until we divorced last year when she was eight. Since then, I rarely see her. It breaks my heart. I always called her my daughter, and in my heart that is what she will always be. There isn't a day that I don't think about her, and miss her so much. I want what is best for her, and I just want her to be happy and safe. I know the stress of the divorce has been terrible for her. I hope in time, I will be able to see her, or at least talk to her on the phone. Just to know she is ok, and happy.

I wouldn't wish this pain on anyone, and I hope that your outcome is better than mine.
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Old 12-27-2011, 09:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

i miss my girlfriend's daughter. We spent time from age 4 to 7 and now i don't get to see her. I wanted to take my time to get to know her and her mom but things didn't work out with her mom. I didn't realize how attached i got to the daughter.
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Old 01-01-2012, 06:57 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Divorce... What about losing your stepchild?

My wife and I are preparing to tell our children next Sunday about our divorce. My wife wants it and I do not. No abuse, no infidelity... just my wife feeling that she is trapped, that she married to soon after her first divorce, that she needs to be single and her own woman. But this post isn't about that...

When we married my wife had a son and daughter. We've been together for 8 years and the son is now 12 and the daughter 10. We also have a five year old together. I am terrified of how this will effect all the kids.

So far my wife and I have agreed that two to three times a week I can see stepson and stepdaughter (we will have 50/50 with our son). My wife works evenings as a nurse so I have volunteered to watch the kids when she works, two to three times per week. Earlier this week we agreed that the kids could sleep over at my house if they want and it makes sense, even on school nights.

My intention is to take them all out to dinner at least once a week, as our own "mini-family" unit. That at least once a month I will find a weekend night or day where I can take all of the kids to something fun (pottery painting, indoor amusement, swimming, waterpark, etc...). The two older kids' dad is the prototype for two weekends a month ex-husband. He dotes on his son but largely forgets he has a daughter. I'm so worried about the both of them. About abandonment issues, school performance, etc... I've raised stepdaughter since she was 1 1/2. Losing them is crushing me. And ultimately they are still brother and sister to my son, and they all love each other so much.

From reading posts I realize I should be grateful and happy that wife and I have come to the agreement we have so far. Of course the voluntary alimony probably helps too... but it still sucks. I still don't want this Sunday to come because I can't imagine what their faces are going to look like.

Wife and I have committed to co-parenting and doing what is best for the kids... but it's terrible that we're even here.
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