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April 19, 2014 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Relationships

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My stepson gets special treatment
Question:

I have been married for 17 years. When we first got married my husband had an 8 year-old son. He had little contact with his mother. This child, Trevor, was a severe bedwetter and did not do well in school. Needless to say, I raised him from when I was 24 years old until he was 18. At 18 he went back to Kansas where his mother was to live with her. It didn't happen. He lived with his grandfather and grandmother instead. He stayed in Kansas for 6 years and got married while he was there. My husband flew back for the wedding and did not take me. He felt that since I didn't give birth it shouldn't be that big a deal. He was the real parent.

During the time that Trevor grew up, I attended all basketball games, took him to the dentist, cleaned up all of his messes, etc. I did everything I could, and my husband let me. Every year when Mother's Day comes, Trevor sends his 'real' mother flowers and candy and never even wishes me a 'Happy Mother's Day'. When I mentioned it to my husband, he felt I was competing with her and I'm not. It just hurts my feelings that I am so unimportant to them. My stepson's wife constantly tells me that we owe them things because Trevor left when he was 18 and we didn't take care of him. It was his choice. My husband now employs my stepson, pays him $20 an hour, bought him a brand new truck, and pays his child support for his other son who he left back in Kansas.

Do we owe them anything? I think not. They are 26 and 27 years old and should be taking care of themselves. My concern is with my two children who are 11 and 16. They see everything that my husband does for my stepson and my 16 year-old constantly says, if Dad did it for Trevor he should do it for me too. Am I being petty, wanting equality for my kids? Everyone seems to think I am. Should my stepson always come first just because he was born first? This has been driving me crazy and the best way I have been dealing with it lately has been to just ignore them and walk away when they are at my house.

Kelly (41 year-old woman)

Answer:

Wow! What's wrong with this picture? Why did your husband take Trevor with him way back when and leave his sibling in Kansas? Why did you provide all those services and never bond with this youngster? Why are your children so focused on Trevor?

Some other questions: What does your husband do that he can pay his son so much money and to do what?

Your husband flew back to Kansas for the wedding and didn't take you, did he take Trevor's half-siblings, your children?

Having pointed out all these questions and inquiries, what would I recommend? First, I'd talk with my children and ask their feelings about your marriage and their father. Assuming that they are going to be as negative as your question sounds, I would then get a good lawyer and serve your husband with divorce papers. When he asks why, say 'because I'd be better off as your ex-wife and my kids would be better off if they were the children of your ex-wife.' See if he wants to get family counseling or not - not by asking him, but by seeing if he suggests it, if he doesn't go with the divorce. If he does, insist that the entire family - including Trevor and spouse go - at least to start things.

If he's still in love with his first wife, then you haven't been married for a day let alone 18 years. If he isn't in love with his ex-wife, then he better start proving to you that he is married to you.

Sadly, my guess is divorce court. As to what he owes Trevor, he owes him the honesty of working through all this mess with you. But, Trevor isn't the issue.

Good luck

Ken Weene

This question was answered by Kenneth A. Weene. Ken Weene is a graduate of The Institute For Advance Psychological Studies at Adelphi University is a licensed psychologist practicing on Long Island, New York. His orientation is holistic and eclectic. In addition to a variety of contributions to the professional literature, Dr. Weene has published a number of poems. Before entering private practice, he directed Children, Adolescent, and Family Services for The Counseling Service of The Long Island Council of Churches. Ken's central belief is that life is a gift to be experienced, enjoyed, and celebrated. He knows that this is sometimes difficult in the face of physical, emotional, and other forms of distress and sees his goal as helping people to find their inner peace and joy in the face of stress and anguish.

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