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I just recently got married and I have two children from a previous marriage (age 2 and 6 boys). He has never been married and does not have children. I'm getting frustrated because I feel like a single mother even though I'm married. My children never see their biological father. My new husband never spends time with them or helps me with them.. he comes home from work and sits on the couch watching tv while I'm struggling to cook for him, get my kids ready for bed and get my son's homework done. He complains that my kids are out of control, but he doesn't take a part in parenting them. He doesn't even tell them good night or greet them when he comes home. I honestly feel like he treats his dog better than my kids.

I know you're probably wondering why I married him.. he has been promising to change. Off and on I've seen improvements, but it seems like it only lasts a short time.

I don't know what to do because I love him and we just got married, but I feel like I'm starting to get depressed and stressed out more every day because he expects everything out of me, but doesn't help me with anything.

What can I do to help him have a better relationship with my kids?
 

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The good news is that your H and kids will probably start to have more connection as the boys get older. My H always loved my kids, but now that the boys are playing little league and soccer and baseball, he is the go-to guy.

But first you have to make it to that point.

My advice:
1) Make sure your H has his own space (a man cave, make your bedroom a kid free zone) so that he can escape from the inevitable commotion that comes with kids.
2) Make sure that you and he have one-on-one couple time.
3) Give yourself permission to cut corners when you need to. By that I mean -- stock the freezer with frozen lasagna, mac and cheese, bean and cheese burritos, chicken tenders; buy applesauce cups, gogurts) so you have quick go-to meals on days that you are overwhelmed.
4) Tell you husband that you have taken steps 1 & 2 because you are committed to making him feel comfortable in the home. Then ask him to do a few specific things -- for example, tell him that you need him to say hello & good night etc to the kids. Tell him that you need him to go with you & the boys to see "Finding Nemo in 3D" (or whatever family thing you choose). Ask him if he'd be willing to go to family therapy with you so you can talk about the best way to balance all these needs. You want to convince him now that with a little (hard) work things can be better for everyone.
 

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He may not change and you need to just understand it. Sometimes step parents don't really connect. They pretend to love the kids while dating you. It is you that he wanted to marry. The kids are not what he wants to deal with yet. So you just be understanding to his needs. You have to balance your time between wife and mother now. Not all children want step parents. Sometimes a child rejects step parents and any step kids too. You need to give your husband some quiet time too. You should give your kids a bedtime.Do you have rules for your kids (you need to). When kids are small mothers do most of the work. Hey does your husband like sports? Your six year old could start playing a sport. That will give your h something to do with him . Also your h does not have any kids . He will need to slowly learn about being a dad. IMHO you need to wait til he connects before having any kids with him.
 

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Well it's a bit too late for this bit of advice but if he didn't connect to them before you got married, why did you expect things to be any different after you got married?

As another poster suggested, he may get closer to them when they're older and he can relate to them more, or maybe he'll never bond with them.

Your kids are not his responsibility, although he could help you out more. Odds are what you have seen is what you're going to continue to get, although he'll probably make a token effort here or there to stay out of trouble.

Ask yourself if that's good enough.
 

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Mine had 2 kids from a previous marriage. It was limbo as far as the kids went for a couple years. I didn't know my role. Was I dad? Was I an authority figure? I didn't really know what she wanted from me as far as the kids went. Do I just back her up? Do I be proactive?
I would go so far as to say being a step dad is harder then being a biological one.
 

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"he expects everything out of me, but doesn't help me with anything."

This one is on you. Do not let your husband sit on the couch watching TV while you slave away cooking dinner. He will keep doing this as long as you allow it. Give him a specific task; ask him to set the table, cook the vegetables, pour the drinks. The kids should have assigned tasks, too. Don't be a martyr; get everyone involved.

As far as your husband with the boys, again, assign him a specific task each night. Have him give them a bath, help with math homework, monitor them picking up their toys. When you do this, do not criticize his methods; just be glad that he is involved and doing things his way.

Each weekend, have him take 1 boy and do an activity alone with that child. Again, you suggest what it should be. He needs to bond with each boy without you there to establish a relationship.

As Joe said, being a step-father is darn hard work. You have to take the lead to show him what he can do to become involved in parenting your boys.
 

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Hi Michelle,
What may be the best situation for you?
 

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As far as your husband with the boys, again, assign him a specific task each night. Have him give them a bath, help with math homework, monitor them picking up their toys. When you do this, do not criticize his methods; just be glad that he is involved and doing things his way.

Each weekend, have him take 1 boy and do an activity alone with that child.
I disagree.

They got married with the circumstances in place, he wasn't showing any interest in them before, and he's not showing any interest in them now. He's not breaking any promises, he's maintaining the status quo.

He's not their father. He is in a relationship with their mother, not with them. Bonding with them, doing things with them is optional.

On both sides.

Him being lazy and not helping out with household chores may be another story but does he work long hours, is he the primary wage earner, is he supporting you and the kids as well?

These things matter.
 

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I find it astouding that you married a man with either knowing this about him or a lack of clarity as to whether he wants to take on a parental role. I can't really even see how a man would want to marry a woman with young kids if he was not planning on being a father to them... It's just completely impractical.

Your allegiance to your children should make you realize that you cannot subject them to a life where they are raised in this disfunctional situation. So you must get out of it. Leaving would be your best option. If your man wants to be a man and work on improving himself, you can hold him accountable to working on it and successfully accomplishing it before moving back.
 

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I disagree.

They got married with the circumstances in place, he wasn't showing any interest in them before, and he's not showing any interest in them now. He's not breaking any promises, he's maintaining the status quo.

He's not their father. He is in a relationship with their mother, not with them. Bonding with them, doing things with them is optional.

On both sides.

Him being lazy and not helping out with household chores may be another story but does he work long hours, is he the primary wage earner, is he supporting you and the kids as well?

These things matter.
I'm torn with this assessment. I do think it's a package deal.

But.....
I also think OP has to do the heavy lifting in regards to enforcing the rules and boundaries with her children. Hubby's views have to be part of the decision on what those boundaries are but OP has to be the bad guy. It doesn't matter if it seems fair.
This makes it easy for step dad because as children get older they have that "your not my dad/mom" attitude and see everything the step parent does as verification that step parent doesn't love them. It's important for this reason that OP is the bad cop and step parent is the good cop.
 

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I think that everyone with kids goes into a remarriage situation hoping for a wonderful blended family, sometimes though no matter how much you want it to, it just doesn't happen. With a heavy heart, I have had to accept that reality. He concentrated on his kids and I on mine.

Your hubby need to have respect though, he needs to come home and at least acknowledge your kids. Its not hard to ask them about their day and interact with them in the most basic way. Thats not parenting, thats just being a half decent human being.
 

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I say give it time. A time limit would be good, let's say 1 year. If after that things don't change, divorce him. It's not fair to your boys. Home is the one place where they should feel cherished, loved and wanted. This can impact their self-esteem and security. If he continues to be an a-hole, you will have to decide what's best for your children. Men like him are dime a dozen. Not fair to damage the young ones. Kids should be priority, in my opinion.
 

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I read your post and really feel for you and for your children. How awful that their biological father isn't in their lives and then to have a step father who is there but doesn't care. When people say life isn't fair, this is what they mean. Your situation sounds very difficult, and I"m sorry you are going through it.

The only thing I can think of is that your husband needs to make an emotional connection with your children. Forget him helping around the house for now or helping with putting the kids to bed. Instead, you'll need to get creative on making memories that matter. Maybe go camping as a family, or take the older one to a soup kitchen to help, or something that puts the focus on togetherness. Maybe that will create a bond. And if you can get him to bond emotionally with your children, maybe that will create a spark for him to become active in their lives.

I hope this works out for you and your boys.
 

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I find that there is always some initial confusion about the role of the stepparent. Do you want him to be the father to these children? Are you sure? Check this scenario:

The kids misbehave and he calls them on it and smacks them on the but once. Do you:

a) Accept his way and be happy that he is parenting them;
b) Don't say anything but then censor him for smacking your kids in private and tell him not to do it again;
c) Immediately intervene and get your kids away from him because he is a "horrible abuser".

If your answer is anything other than a) i can assure you that the normal reaction would be something along the lines of "fine, i don't give a sh!t, they are you're kids anyway!" while he retreats from parenting them completely.

There is no halfway. He is either their paternal figure or he is not. Anything else other than that will de-authorize him and make him not do it.

This is what you need to discuss. You can't have him being "the dad" and expect him not to have a say in how the kids are educated. He will emotionally adopt them as his own or he will never be more than "the guy who is with mum".

If you do decide to have this man as a father for your kids it doesn't mean you can't disagree with him. You can. But if you play the "i'm their mom and you're not really their father" card, you should expect his part in parenting to be over.
 

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I just recently got married and I have two children from a previous marriage (age 2 and 6 boys). He has never been married and does not have children. I'm getting frustrated because I feel like a single mother even though I'm married. My children never see their biological father. My new husband never spends time with them or helps me with them.. he comes home from work and sits on the couch watching tv while I'm struggling to cook for him, get my kids ready for bed and get my son's homework done. He complains that my kids are out of control, but he doesn't take a part in parenting them. He doesn't even tell them good night or greet them when he comes home. I honestly feel like he treats his dog better than my kids.

I know you're probably wondering why I married him.. he has been promising to change. Off and on I've seen improvements, but it seems like it only lasts a short time.

I don't know what to do because I love him and we just got married, but I feel like I'm starting to get depressed and stressed out more every day because he expects everything out of me, but doesn't help me with anything.

What can I do to help him have a better relationship with my kids?
He married you to be his maid/cook/sex partner. You were weak enough to allow him to sweet talk you without any sign of carry-through. The only way he MIGHT ever become a decent husband is if you kick him out and say 'prove to me you respect me.' Odds are, he will just walk away because that's not what he signed up for.

At the very least, stop cooking for him.
 

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This kind of issues happens all the time. A man or woman dates pretends to love all the kids too. But sometimes a person just wants the adult without the kids.The only way to get the adult is to fake loving the kids. OP you and the kids were a package. You can't always think a man /woman will change. Sometimes steps are more damage than good to a child. Do you plan on having kids with your hubby? Hubby might treat his kids (by you) better than yours. Then you have a bigger mess. JMO you can't make him connect to your kids. We have all hear for people about the stepfather/stepmother from H.... I wish you goodluck with this issue..
 
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