Try To Overcome Your Jealousy...but Don't Try Forever ;)

Ladies, I can see the drama you're going through when you say how lonely and unhappy you feel in a relationship with someone who has children from a previous relationship. I have been there twice and it was not an easy road. I hope you will all succeed to overcome these difficulties and feel complete. However if after some decent time you do not, you should know that some relationships are for some people but not for everybody and there is a big beautiful world waiting for you when you have tried everything and you think you have had enough. We all like and need to have most of the attention of our loved one, build a relationship together and that means you and him. It's only natural. When we have to renounce to this, it hurts like hell. And on top of feeling unhappy so frequently, one feels that she is terribly wrong and a bad person. You are not. You may be the right person for this kind or relationship or not, that's all. It may happily work for some people but not for others.  

My first boyfriend had two children from his previous relationship, daughter 5 and son 7 and had been separated for 4 years when we met. His ex wouldn't give him the divorce, apparently she was still in love with him and I hated that. Our first six months together were perfect but then he considered like many men do that he shouldn't take care of our relationship anymore and just be lazy, concentrate on his friends much more and his children. I was very in love with him and that change in his behavior hurt so much and I became very jealous of his children, the time they were spending together, holidays, the visits he was making at their mother's house etc. I was feeling neglected, less loved and they became an example of a love he had before, maybe a much bigger love than what he felt for me and this thought hurt so much at that time. I tried to tell him what I felt, that I needed more from him, that I wanted him to be like before at least every now and then but he ignored me. And I really needed his love in order to be able to overcome my jealousy for his children and be able to accept them. Sometimes I felt trapped, wondering if I could face a life like that forever, him having his priorities set on his children and his friends and me longing for love and attention. After a few gestures of gross indifference I decided to leave him and healing myself took a long time, also renouncing to my feelings of rejection towards his children whose memory persisted for some time. Even if he had really neglected some important things in our relationship, I felt that I had failed in loving unconditionally, that I was not the nice person I thought I was and that was very difficult to deal with for a few years. 

My second relationship was with a guy who had recently separated an abusive woman and had a daughter of 3 years old. I wasn't really jealous of her but I ended up disliking her. She proved to be a violent, manipulative and very demanding child in the following years. He sometimes had moments when he said that he was worried because he could see how much she inherited from her mother but most of times he said the opposite, that she was an angel and everything what happened to her because of her erratic behavior was everybody else's fault. I suppose one needs to be a real parent or someone specialized in working with children with difficult personalities or just a special human being with lots of internal resources who would gladly decide to sacrifice so much of her time and her relationship in order to dedicate it to a difficult ungrateful and demanding child and feel love for him/her no matter what. Well I wasn’t any of them and I couldn't forgive and forget and start from the beginning every day. And after a few years I decided to separate of him.

It was one of the best decision ever! I was so happy and so relieved after that. Literally so much of my anxiety was gone from day 1 and I was so much more relaxed. I owned my time 24 hours a day again, I could meet with the people I wanted when I wanted and for how long I felt comfortable. I didn't have to put up with vicious children anymore whenever their irresponsible mother would decide to leave them with me until further notice, or force myself to entertain a rude clever child during holidays that seemed to last forever. I didn't have to analyze and try to transform my feelings every day, smile when I felt lonely and miserable, pretend I was enjoying a moment when I wasn't for the sake of doing what I was expected and not what I really needed to do.  No more evaluation by curious strangers or 'nice' family friends on how well was I doing with an uncontrollable child who wouldn't listen to anyone and wasn't mine. Of course if there had been any little tension displayed in public before, I could sense that everbody thought it was my fault. I was an adult and I was not her real mother, so I was to blame.

I am not encouraging anyone to leave their relationships. On the contrary, try to make them work and may you all succeed to be happy!
A lot of the responsibility belongs to you but so much more to the partner that has the children. He should become aware of your need of love and attention in order to gain confidence and be able to accept his children without feeling that when they are around you are left with nothing else. And little girls or boys who step between a couple when they are having a conversation or they jump right then in his arms trying to cover his face or your face so that he couldn't see you, or demand immediate attention right then repeatedly, should be put in their place. They should also be taught to sleep in their beds most of the time and be respectful in general. You two would simply have a happier relationship like you both deserve and the children will also be better behaved and have happier experiences outside their home life.

I couldn't train myself to be happy in a relationship where I didn't have most of the attention, where so much of our experience together was determined by another woman's plans and a child's moods and necessities and I realized that I was generally unhappy. Once that I accepted that I was free. To be honest I wasn't helped either, their ex-es always interfeared and behaved like they were the only mothers on this planet, the children were left to do whatever they wanted and my two partners were pretty absent and defensive. But in time I stopped thinking that I owed to myself and to life to replace the jealousy with love for all the spiritual values one can think of, that it was all my fault, that I lacked emotional maturity and thinking that in order to get it I had to punish myself and stay in a relationship where I was supposed to serve some little and big selfish people’s interests. I stopped seeing myself like a bad person who wouldn't want to look after a child that needed support and understanding in spite of her unbearable personality, most of the times children didn't want me to look after them anyway but play around their moods. Instead I started seeing myself as a person that tried a lot, worked so much with myself and understood in the end that above anything else I had to be loyal to myself, accept my limits and try to make myself happy.

I did learn though that I don't do well in relationship with children from previous relationships so I told myself that I wouldn't get myself into one of those again. I am now in a wonderful relationship with a guy who doesn’t have children and things are indeed so much easier! I simply am a partner that needs to be a priority in a love relationship and I am ready to give the same in return, as simple as that.

Wishing you all the happiness in your relationships...However if you don't see a positive change after a few months, a year, two years, this is very relative, if your anxiety doesn't disappear in time and if your relationship doesn't become a happy and positive one most of the times, don't be afraid to walk away. You can be really happy without that stress and struggling and have a different kind of relationship and you are still a wonderful person. There is peace of mind, freedom and love out there and YOU deserve it!

Good luck!!!
Lisa2a2 Lisa2a2
36-40, F
6 Responses May 22, 2012

thank you. I have been with a man for 3 years and he has an 8 yr old daughter. I feel total despair and I thank you for your email. It gives me hope to move on. I am afraid to go out there again and find someone new but it makes me so miserable to be around his daughter. what a mess. and why? who knows.

But that's EXACTLY what I'm trying to do. Really I'm trying to find this experience group for married people that are jealous of their spouse's child/children (maybe I'll start one). I suppose all in all jealousy towards offspring is one in the same. I've been with my husband for just over 6 years and happily married for the last 4. I was told about him having a child within 7 months of meeting. So, I've dealt with it for the past 5 and a half.. or 6 years (after 6 years, half a year really isn't as significant as it was earlier in the relationship). And after 6 years, really the 4 years of finally living together and being marriage (first for both of us, which is definitely a plus), I still feel jealous. The author said that the time to work it through is relative, which it is, because if I had read this and taken it to heart, I might've given up before it even had a CHANCE to get better. But the diffrence and reason why our relationship has survived so long is because I am fortunate enough to have his number one undying love and affection. Some would think this is terrible, and some will wish they were lucky enough to have a partner as such; but my husband sacrificed everything and everyone to be with me, including disconnecting himself from his child's life of age 14.

I've dealt with the jealousy and creeping guilt by just not thinking about it, and just living our lives together how we want. My husband wholeheartedly believed this was the best way, and, although it took several years, I do as well . It hurt when they spoke, so they didn't. Recently, I thought I was at the point where I'd be fine with them being in each others' life, but just hearing my husband express the possibility of even sending a message made my heart sink and jealousy flooded in. He was explaining to me that if we took this step now and I wasn't ready and I reverted back to being angry, jealous, and miserable, he didn't think he could take anymore; that it would be the defining factor to the end of our relationship, to the end of our marriage. He didn't like the idea of recommunicating because my emotions tend to be fleeting. He knew I wasn't ready, I took his warning sincerely, and we both know that now is not the time, still.

Point being: Jealousy can last a VERY long time, but with time and both partners being completely committed to each other (and families being amazingly supportive and cooperative), it's conquerable. Agreed, know your limits.

This was beyond inspiring! Thanks so much for the words of wisdom; i plan to keep it in mind, as i'm about to be step-mother status and don't necessarily feel rainbows and butterflies for His daughter.

Wow! I really needed to read this. The whole time I was reading this I was shaking my head in agreement. It is so hard not to feel like a horrible person, and if one more person says, "Well you knew he had kids....". Thank you. I am saving this story so when I do question my wants, my needs, my happiness- I will remember to be strong!

My circumstance right now is so similar to yours used to be. I have contact with just 2 of my friends, which is not at all the kind of support I used to it would be really great if you could message me. It would be nice if I could connect with someone who has been through the same thing that I'm going through right now, and maybe give me the strength to get out of it.

Wow! So much introspection. I hope a lot more people that feel this way read what you wrote because you put so much of the inner conflict that we feel into words. I marked this as my first favorite. Thank you for the positive feedback. It's nice to hear from someone who knows exactly what I am going through.