New stepmother to estranged adult children - need advise and help


I need some help. I have been with my husband for 8 years now. In the beginning it was just me and my two girls and grandchildren; however, now a son has surfaced that my husband gave up his rights to years ago. I have so many mixed feelings inside and feel like a horrible person for feeling this way. First of all I would also like to say that I was pregnant with his child and he wasn�t happy about it and suggested maybe even abortion back then. He claims the reason he did was because of our age. But, for some reason, when I hear of this boy contacting him, it reverts back to him not wanting a child with me. Truthfully, he was probably right, we were both in our later 30s at the time�

I feel resentment inside and wish the boy wouldn�t have resurfaced. However; my husband wants a relationship with him and he does with him as well. Of course I am feeling sorry for the father who raised him all these years and supported him financially as well.

I need some help on how to be a good stepmother to an adult child. I wasn�t expecting to be in this position when I married my husband, but now it seems I really don�t have a choice or I will end up losing my marriage, not to mention taking away a dad to my 12-year-old daughter who has been her stepdad for 8 years.

I should say, he gave up his rights, as he got behind in child support so bad, that he felt he had no choice back then. His ex and her husband raised both his biological sons for 20 years.

Any advise from stepchildren or stepparents would be appreciated. I don�t want to be the evil "Stepmom" . This is hard on my daughter as well having the conflict between me and my husband. I want her to be in a happy home.

Comments (5)
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Give the son a chance.You don't know him.They want to get to know each other then they should be given the chance..Life is always full of the unexpected.So you didn't expect a grown son in the picture..Now you have one.
Whats so wrong about this grown son? Does he treat you badly? Is he rude or mean to you? Is he taking time away from you and your daughter to spend time with him?
You just might find that hes not so bad after all!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the fact that your husband not wanting a child with you and not raising the children he had, go hand in hand. He apparently never wanted kids to begin with but fact is there is two children (adults) that do exist and aren't going to disappear. Well they might. Who knows.

As a child of a man that never helped raise me, I found it hurtful when his wife's (plural yes) were awkward or found my presence uncomfortable. Maybe they knew about me maybe they didn't but that wasn't my fault it was his for not being a man and a father. I tried to have a relationship with my dad after years of no contact and it didn't work for many reasons. Not because his current wife was unaccepting but because she was too pushy and wanted to be mom and grandma over night to a family that already had a mom and grandma. If you husband wants a relationship with his childrEn just let him. You don't have to be a part of that you can let him go and get to know his son. I know my brother's problem was that the wife always wanted to be right in the middle and granted she did know our dad longer than we did, it would have been nice if we could have built a relationship with him and let him make up for his lost time with us instead of it being 'we're a packaged deal - you Either see us both or not at all' and that just killed the feelings we had for getting to know our biological dad.

I hope that gives you at least one point of view.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would use the term "dad" and "stepmom" loosely in this circumstance. They are biologically related to your husband but they were raised (& supported) by someone else. It sounds like he had very little to do with raising them and getting out of his financial obligation was more important than having a relationship with his children. I'm not sure what kind of "relationship" this adult son really wants with your husband? Maybe curiosity to find out why he didn't stick around? I have a hard time imagining he wants to do father/son things.

My suggestion would be for you to back away & let your husband have room to build whatever kind of relationship he wants... I don't get the feeling he is going to put much effort or energy into it, if I'm judging on past behavior. However, it is more like a long lost relative and most likely will want to get together & "catch up" or see what the other has been doing all these years, When you have to be around him, well treat him like you would with anyone else.. hospitable and pleasant. Bonding & deep feelings may take a long time to form depending on what each of them really wants.

Biologically, they are father & son. That doesn't instantly create a relationship, especially one that you might need to worry about.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm seeing two different issues 1) you resent your husband talking/suggesting aborting a child 2) you can't separate what he did 2 plus yrs ago compared to 8 yrs old. And now he wants a 2nd chance at what he 'blew off' 20 yrs ago.

I actually suggest counseling to deal with your feelings of 8 yrs ago. You have to come to grips that one has little to do with the other. Of course, easier said than done. 20 yrs ago I'll assume your husband was young, stupid, selfish and irresponsible. A living breathing child of that era has contacted him and wants to see what his 'bio-dad' is all about.

The son is not looking for a 'daddy', he's all grown up and he had a 'daddy' all those yrs who loved and cared for him (just not his bio-father). The idea of this son getting to know his bio-dad, perhaps spending a bit of time, should not threaten your husband's relationship with you and/or your kids. Why would the son interupt what your husband and you/kids have built for a family? It's two different things.

Just as the son does not need a 'daddy' he does not need a 'mommy' either. You don't have to be stepmom of the year nor evil stepmom. You're the son's bio-father's new wife, really nothing more to this son. Why would you want to make the son feel like you must be the evil stepmom?

If your husband for example decided to have dinner with the son: three things can happen 1) husband, you and son meet for dinner 2) you decide to stay home and allow the father/son time to discover each other 3) you toss a fit, insist your feelings are hurt and that this somehow endangers your current relationship with between husband and you.

Why feel sorry about the 'daddy' who did raise and support the son? The gentleman does not need your pity. Obviously the guy raised the child into an adult out of love. The guy/son's relationship and bonds are totally different than whatever happens between the son and your husband. The son is curious of who the man who 'made' him is, what happened, why, blah blah. It's a natural curiousity. Who knows what will happen? Maybe the son will decide your husband is a jerk and want little more to do with him after a bit of getting to know him. Maybe son and bio-father will instead have an adult man to man relationship and grow to respect each other. They'll never know if you hold them back from trying. If you hold them back, both perhaps will always resent your 'issues' with the fact the son exist.

You can't wave a magic wand and wish the son away. There should be no reason this son comes in and threatens whatever life your husband and you have built together over the last 8 yrs. One has little to do with the other. This is something between the son and your husband. A relationship may work out, it may not. Unless this son is stating he's moving in with you your life should pretty much go on as it is now. The only difference would be that now that life might occassionally include the presence of an adult son.

Is there more to the son like perhaps drug/illegal issues that he may be bringing to the table? Has the son given any indication that he resents you/your kids? That he intends to come into your life and be mean and nasty rather than simply curious and wanting a chance to know who your family is?

I'm not trying to downplay what happened 8 yrs ago nor your feelings over having/not having children, just saying that if your husband is dead serious about getting to know the now man he walked away from 20 some yrs ago and you really are having a hard time with it, perhaps some counseling to sort out what/how/why you feel may be benefical. It may also help your husband understand your feelings and hesitancy. That it's not about the actual living breathing person (the son) that it goes deeper for you.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't see how the presence of an adult biological son takes away from your daughter's relationship with her dad, but I can see your fears impacting her. Even a few sessions with a counselor may assist you in resolving your own issues so that you can approach this situation in a healthy way.

I agree with previous posters that you don't have to take on any sort of step-mother role. All you need to be in any encounter is congenial and polite, as you would be with any new acquaintance. Only time will tell how the relationship will develop, but even then it rests with your husband and his son, not with you.


Browse Gardening and Landscaping Stories on Houzz See all Stories
Life The Polite House: How to Set Rules for Adult Children Living at Home
Here are 3 important conversations to have, and the language that will help you succeed
Full Story
Organizing Help for Whittling Down the Photo Pile
Consider these 6 points your personal pare-down assistant, making organizing your photo collection easier
Full Story
Bathroom Workbook Standard Fixture Dimensions and Measurements for a Master Bath
Create a luxe bathroom that functions well with these key measurements and layout tips
Full Story