I have been with my partner for 3 years. He has 4 children. I am 30 he is 41. I have no children. We have lived together with the children for 2 years. Until recently the eldest 3 (16, 16, 14) lived with the mom as the father is quite strict on freedom. The youngest (10) lives with us.
The children have never called me mom and in fact I am not sure if my partner will ever propose. The reason he has not done so is because, to him I cannot get along with the children. However, I continued to take up the role of a wife and a step mom with the daily chores etc.
The complicated part comes on these few issues. I am fully aware of the role and responsibilities of a second class parent. This I have established when my partner decides through the circumstances that happens. He make decisions for the children. Permissions for daily trivial stuffs (e.g.: going swimming etc). There are circumstances that happened when he says to the children "Why do you ask her for permission and not from me" Thus, it is understood to the children what exactly is my role. I have also left the discipline issues to him and I truly respect and have no problem with that. Simply said, I know I am not their birth mother and my role is to monitor, support where I can and nurture.
The youngest child is the barrier between me and my partner. She lives with us and weekend stays with the mother. My partner pampers and gives in to her to everything; even when she wants to skip school for no reason. She is creating this notion that I am bad. She cries whenever the father leaves home for work or meeting. She will tell him that she is scared of me.... when at times I have come to a point not to speak to her at all as she is capable of manipulating things. Either way, this makes me look bad and as though I am not capable of making the child secured at home; although I still put her to bed and such. On top of that, she cant accept anything that I tell her to the simplest advise that she needs to revise her work or take responsibility of her stuffs. This will cause her to throw a tantrum and my partner will side with her. Sometimes, a small trivial, unintentional issue can be magnified, and trust me, she is capable of it.
My partner is still hanging on to take the next step because of this. I believe, it may be a clash of values. I am not idealistic, but perhaps as a teacher of 10 years and a child psychologist, I have to reiterate that I have never had problems handling students/children or my friend's children. They adore and love me but not my step child to be. Why is this so?
I am at a crossroad and am deciding if I should leave this relationship.
Thanks for taking time to read.