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How do I save a marraige with lying and manipulative stepchildren?

I am married to a woman that wants to end our marriage of 4 years. We have two beautiful boys that are very young, 1 and 2. She has two children from a previous marriage and they are now 16 and 14. Her previous marriage failed when they were 3 and 1 respectively and my wife’s parents split when she was very young. I feel like we are doomed and it’s not me that I am concerned about, it’s my boys. I have great desire to raise these guys with my wife. I still love her and when my stepchildren are not in the house it’s a peaceful and loving place. Unfortunately, when they are there it is tense and uncomfortable.

The boy is now 16 and been diagnosed with a learning disorder and ADHD but has a tested in the high 120’s for an IQ. He’s quick to brag about it too. He is admittedly lazy and does not like to work. I find him to be dishonest and arrogant and extremely manipulative. The girl is 14 and also manipulative. She wines about not getting a $12,000 harp and when I try to develop a plan with her about making money she resists because she has been conditioned to believe that if she wants something she can get it by manipulating her mother and father.

The father is a workaholic and seldom does things with his children. He is often not there when they go to his house on nights that he has custody. In the 4 years that we have been married I have made mistakes as step-parent but I try to make it right. I have done more things with these children than I see their biological father doing but everything seems to have backfired.

I’ve listened in on their conversations about how they will handle their Mom and Dad to get what they want and I know they lie to her about our interactions. They will tell their Mom that I yell and I’m mean and that they can’t take it, they act like their world is being destroyed by me. They have driven a wedge between us and know it. My wife wants me gone but I will not leave and I’m willing to try to make it work. We were in our 4th counseling sessions when she stated that it is over and wants to be separated from me. I asked her to consider her children engaging in family counseling with us because if we are to survive this they will need to be part of the healing process but she will not have it.

I can’t stand the thought of not seeing our babies’ everyday and the impending life they will have with a woman that is accustomed to divorce. I don’t know how to protect them and if she gets her way everyone will suffer the consequences of her inability to co-parent with me and keep a united front. Help!

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5 Responses to "How do I save a marraige with lying and manipulative stepchildren?"

  1. Me says:
    WOW! Not trying to be a dick but good luck with that. At this point about all you can do is be a good dad to your kids, always be honest with them but without badmouthing their mother, and move on in life.
  2. Marine_Wife says:
    Get a good lawyer. She is not fit to be a mother if she cannot handle her two older children. Yes, teens are hard, but they can easily be punished and put into counseling to stop their behavior. Since she does not want this marriage anymore, her loss, hire a REALLY good lawyer who will help you win custody and prove that she is an unstable parent who sets no boundaries. You may need a private investigator to help out with showing proof. There is no saving this marriage if she does not want to work at it. I’m sorry for this and I know you truly love her because if you did not, you would have already filed. However, you need to file and you need to find a good lawyer before she files.
  3. luvlisteningtomusic says:
    You married your wife knowing she had two children from a previous marriage. I am only going by what you wrote in the letter. You write down that you and your wife an two beautiful boys which is very nice but you have three beautiful boys and 1 beautiful girl. You are not counting your stepchildren as your children. You state in this question that it is quite and peaceful when the stepchildren are out. What part of this are you responsible for? Are you trying to find things that are wrong with these kids and that is what is causing chaos? Her son has ADHD most kids are diagnosed with that now a days hard to believe if you ask me. He has a high IQ this kid should show confidence and you should be encouraging him to show his talent to the best of his ability. The way you explain her teenage kids sounds oh so normal if you ask me. Teenagers are all into themselves and think that money grows on trees. Most teenagers are lazy and watch when you kids grow up they are going to be lazy too at least one of them will. You are just looking into those teenage kids and finding negativity and fault. Those are the kids today and you kids will be even more extreme when they get older. You stated thier father is a work a holic and doesn’t spend any time. I give you credit on this at least you are trying to do things with them. You cannot expect anything in return though just like you won’t expect anything in return for your two biologicial children. It is not easy being in a blended family but it could be easier. Treat those stepchildren like you would treat your own. Everytime they make a mistake make sure you are not the first to critisize it. Doesn’t sound like they are on drugs or out there stealing cars or money from you. I am just guessing but I bet you are very hard on these children. They are not going to act like you want them to act and even if they did you would still find fault. Don’t let every conversation to your wife about the kids be negative. Do not let the teenage kids life make you crazy that each conversation has to be about how bad they are. Those kids do need to respect you. You ask them to do something they should do it and they should do it right. This is where Mom comes in. She needs to back you up when she knows the kids are wrong. It isn’t going to be easy. You want those kids to grow up and not resent you. At least try to love those kids like if they were your own.
  4. jonathan st.thomas says:
    Family Therapy with all the people involved as soon as possible!!
  5. forehowe123 says:
    Teenagers can be challenging even when living with both of their parents….add in a divorce with blended families and it gets even more complicated.

    Teenagers can resent being disciplined by someone other than their parent. Communication is the key. However, if your wife has already decided she wants to separate and doesn’t want further counseling I think your heads are tied.

    A good counselor could maybe help everyone to communicate in positive ways and make it a part of your life, but it needs to be something both you and your wife want. Even if you do separate, it would be great if you could continue counseling to help your children deal with the coming changes.

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