How Do I Make Her Feel Apprecaited For What She Does

I seen this forum and thought to myself these would be the perfect people to ask. I am 35, have 3 children from a marriage, ages, 6 girl ,4 boy & 2 boy. My girlfriend (she is 30 with no kids) and I struggle allot with some of the issues I have read of here. We live together, I have my children every Wednesday overnight, Monday's until 7 pm and every other weekend (the weekend in extended from the norm because they stay overnight on Sunday).

I have read many posts here and the responses to them to try and get an understanding of what my girlfriend is feeling because I can sometimes sense her frustration and other times she outright voices her frustration to me. Sometimes it comes across mean and harsh but I know it is because she is frustrated.

Anyway, we both love each other and want to make it work. So I wanted to see if anyone could provide me with advice on how to make her feel appreciated and valued. If you are the one that does not have children of your own in the relationship what can you tell me that would have made a difference to you and made it worth it? What can I do on a daily basis for her to let her know that her being in this relationship and the role she is in is very appreciated and that I love her to death. What would make the difference for you?

Your feedback and advice will be greatly appreciated and taken to heart, thank you.
Dad3 Dad3
4 Responses May 7, 2012

hi Dad3 -- another kudos for you! i agree with everything all the women above said, take them to heart.<br />
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one thing i can add is that -- as she's still "just" your girlfriend, have a heart-to-heart uninterrupted talk with her about blended families... a 'meeting' of sorts. what your expectations are, what her expectations are, and what problems you anticipate and your action plan. to have these as 'guide' is very helpful and healthy for everyone when you're in the thick of it when unsavoury situations arise. i think this works because when you talk or 'draft up a plan,' you're in calm and a happy mode, you think better, so you come up with good solutions as guide post -- and so when you're in the problematic situation, emotions are high, and reasoning is out the window, your 'pre-thoughtout plan of action' can become a lifeboat in the middle of a stormy ocean.<br />
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also, during this talk/s (hopefully there is more than one, and continuing), do not sugarcoat things. do not avoid the unpleasant situations or questions. this is the right time to talk about it.<br />
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i was young and happy and independent when i met my husband. he loved me like crazy, and i him, and he was very honest from the getgo about his divorce situation. his kids were 3 and 6 then. we 'courted' outside of his family situation (i lived in another country). over the 10 years, we've had so many 'meetings' together. when we just started out, even before i met his kids, what really helped was working through the book "Divorce and New Beginnings." that saved us a lot of heartache between me and him, between him and his kids, and between me and his kids -- and i'd say our blended family was a success those first 4 years (fastforward 10 years is another story). it gave us the best chance.<br />
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so other than that, to echo what the other women above have said: show her in words, deeds, and in front of others, that SHE AND YOU ARE ONE TEAM. always have a UNITED FRONT, especially in front of the kids. (and if you have issues, talk to her in private, and resolve). <br />
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and especially 'in front' of the ex if the ex challenges your girlfriend's position. it may be hard at first -- it took my husband 3 years to put see the ex's games and put his foot down -- but to consistently safeguard the boundaries to take care of your relationship with your girlfriend (it's new-er and more fragile, you have to give it its best chance to grow strong) is very important especially at the very start.<br />
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i wish you both the best of luck!

How lovely to read this question - a big gold star to you - I wish more people thought in this way; it would make step-parenting a whole lot easier if biological parents thought more like you do.<br />
I would say that making the relationship with your girlfriend as strong and solid as possible will make her understand just how much you value her and everything she is doing for you and the children. If you look out for her, support her and ensure she is ok, then it frees her up to look out for you and the children - everyone wins! It seems crazy but prioritising her means she can prioritise you and the children rather than stressing about things. When I feel supported by my husband its better all round and we all function so much better;the kids have much more fun when I am freed up from 'domestic drudgery' to spend time with them and do stuff - plus its not my job to do everything for them it should be shared (but more for him!).<br />
I have made sure my daughter knows that my husband and I are on the same page and I support his decisions - if you can do this it supports her. I also ensure that he knows I have disciplined her - ie by being in earshot, so he knows i am supporting him.<br />
Time out for her is vitally important, although you don't have the kids full time, be aware its far tougher for her than for you so make sure she gets time out when the children are around. My main problem is I work full-time, have a child full-time and have three step children half the time, and still do the lion share of housework - my husband's ex doesn't work, doesn't do much for the children and I'm expected to do more than her because I 'can cope' and she can't - so DON'T fall into that trap please. Its amazing how step-mums are expected to do exactly the same (and more in some cases) as the biological mum - don't expect that and make her know that you don't expect that.<br />
But more than anything why not just tell her her much you appreciate everything she is doing for you all - she must love you so make her know that is reciprocated and how much you value everything she has done

I think for me it would be lovely to have some adult time set aside....Get a sitter and take her out...Even if its only for a walk and a coffee or a cycle ride...To feel adored and prioritised even if its only for short breaks in the general routine is a massive boost...It doesnt have to be a grand gesture but it does have to be regular!!<br />
Good luck...:)

For me, I want peace and quiet. A break away from them but my steps are with us 24/7 365. It's not fair to have the same expectations from the stepmom as you would for the bio mom. It's unfair and makes one feel forced into something. Make the children understand respect for your home and wife as well. That can go a long way.