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Leaving wife because of stepson

Community Member

Hi all some advice needed please

My wife and I have a newborn (ours) a stepson (hers, he's 5) and I have a daughter to another lady (she's 5 also)

I see my daughter 3 times a week after school for a few hours, by choice on my side.

I knew my wife had a son when I met her, and knew I didn't want to have a step son or another child in my life as I wasn't in a good place mentally. It was never meant to be more then a bit of office flirting I guess as I was enjoying for once being alone and myself

As we started dating, getting more serious we had arguments about him being there all the time, and I told her I'd rather end our relationship...she pleaded and said I wouldn't always feel this way and I decided to stay

Fast forward two years, I still can't stand having someone else's kid around me.

We decided to change her custody arrangements 3 months ago yo fix this issue and give us a chance with our new child..to 3 days a fortnight and more flexible days so that she could have him while I was at work (I work shift work) to minimise our interactions

Its been going great, we are better then ever and our work life balance has been enjoyable

But the other night her ex messaged saying that because he has there son majority of the time as of next year he would be moving him schools to be closer to his home (about 25 minutes from us)

My wife wasn't happy about this and we discussed the options of allowing it and not. The only way for it not too happen was to take her son back 50/50, something I'm apprehensive about at best.

She fought for hours with him and ultimately ended up taking him back 50/50...so now I'm looking at a life with this kid again and being completely miserable

What has led me to wanting to end my marriage now is that after she stopped him changing schools she told me "she's glad she beat him and he lost that control"

I'm very upset and annoyed that we finally were living the life we wanted only to have it taken away because of an emotional battle between them.

I know it sounds awful about her son, it's just how I feel and had my time again I would of walked and never gone down this path, but I love my wife and wanted a life with her.

She's refusing to back down on her stance, not because it's what she wants (she enjoys our life balance now) but for the simple fact she doesn't want him having that full control

I'm just after some 3rd person perspective as I don't see a point in living an unhappy life when it doesn't need to be.


19 Replies 19

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Theborderline

Wow, this is a tricky situation. Welcome to the forum and thanks for posting.

Moms and children have all sorts of bonds which are not easy to see and can be hard for someone looking in to see the whole picture. It seems your wife must give up her husband, you, or give up her son for longer periods. A tough choice. I understand you believe your wife only wants to keep her son with her frequently to spite her ex but I wonder if that is entirely true. Do you think that she misses him being around?

There is also the child himself. How do you think he feels going to his father's home more often because mom has remarried and new dad doesn't want the boy around? That's a huge rejection for a child that age. Then of course there's you and your needs. You want your family to consist of you and wife plus your own children. With the high rate of separation there are many families trying to find a good balance in how long does one parent have the child(ren).

What about your daughter? Could she not come and stay with you at times? She could be a playmate for your stepson.

I don't really have an answer for you. I can see all the benefits for you and your wife in having the boy with you less often. I can also see a young boy growing up knowing mom could have chosen him and let you go, giving all her love to this new baby. It's fraught with difficulty and I don't know how I would resolve it.

Sorry I cannot give advice other than saying remember there are three people in this place. Four if you count the boy's father. May I ask what it is about your stepson that makes you reluctant to live with him? All I can say is, think carefully about the choices you make. The boy will want to be out with his friends in ten years and not underfoot all the time.

I'm certain there will be others along shortly to talk with you,


Hi Mary thanks for your response,

I'm aware it's not nice for either parties involved, but it's how I feel and after two years it's not going to change.

I know my wife she doesn't seem bothered by less time with her son, even when we had him 5050 she would send him to his grandparents or great grandparents at everytime possible.

I don't like him, his appearance (looks only like his dad), personality etc

Yes I can have my daughter around when he's there but I'm not going to use her as a tool to make it seem less awful

I also take issue with his grandparents saying they'll only take him for the day and not my daughter so they can spend more time with him....I don't agree with it and won't put her through that

I don't really care what her ex thinks or feels, he doesn't mean anything to me and I won't allow him to dictate my life

The writing is on the wall it's just a matter of packing my things and going, as there's no other way to resolve this now

Even when questioning my wife about this school and whether she really wants him back it's the same answer.....I couldn't allow him to win again

Community Champion
Community Champion


Thanks for sharing your story.

I started writing a reply then I saw your reply and that you have pretty well made up your mind.

There is one human in this situation that I think needs to be considered. Your newborn son with your wife.

If you leave will you miss out on some of his growing up.?

I respect the way you feel and you pointed this out from the beginning. I can understand you find the situation difficult.

I understand how you feel your wife is having a tug of war with her about who wins and who is control.

Does your wife know you are thinking about leaving?

Thanks again for your honesty and sharing your thoughts.


Hi quirky,

Yes she's well aware of my plans to leave her, but I think after the 7 years of marriage to her ex her hate and emotions towards hurting him are far stronger then us being happy

In regards to my newborn I've had lengthy discussions regarding this and again my failure to bond with my child

He feels that because of my issues with abandonment I won't allow myself to bond with it, my walls are well and truly up and with issues regarding the stepson I won't bring them down to allow them in

In reality I'll have a better with that relationship out of this environment

I think I feel a bit like i was used to make her ex jealous after they separated and still am used for that

Like now I'm in my bedroom with the door shut so that I don't have to see the stepson, if I had another place to stay in the interim I'd have already left

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
 I honestly can’t see how this can work. Out of curiosity do you also have a problem with your newborn or is it specifically her child that you have a problem with? Her child will always be her child and that will never change. Something may be to consider is staying on your own for awhile as planned and perhaps consider counseling in future to address your thoughts and feelings on the matter. The reality is that you have a daughter also and you may find it difficult in future to find someone who is understanding of your situation if you are unwilling to be understanding of theirs.

Hello Theborderline

Thank you for your reply. I'm not keen on giving advice as I am not the person making the decision. Thank you for your honest comments. It seems like a situation where there are no winners, only second best and I am sad that you are in this position.

I can only suggest you talk to a counsellor or psychologist to help resolve this difficulty. I gather you already talk to someone about your upbringing and the effect on your life. I am also sorry that you experienced these traumas as a child. In the end you can only do what you feel is right. If I may suggest, can you have a couple more sessions with your therapist before making a final decision?

In any event, you are welcome to post here as much as you like. We are always around.


Hi Theborderline,

Wow. Just wow.

In a previous post you referred to your baby as "it" and your stepson as "the stepson". That made me very uncomfortable and is why I'm replying.

I see this as a massive problem in itself.

Children are very aware of how their parents or carers feel.

As to your stepson. He is your wife's son and she has a responsibility to him. You may wish he would leave but it isn't a realistic thing to ask of her. Would you give up your daughter if she asked you to?

I wonder if you have spoken to other men with stepchildren at all? About how they maintain a healthy relationship with their step child.

You said a few things that struck me as totally opposite to my expectations of step families such as expecting grandparents to mind your daughter as well as their grandson. I think this is pretty typical from what I know. Do you think it is fair to expect others to accept your child as theirs if you totally reject their grandson? Something worth considering.

You say often that you "feel the way you feel", but you married your wife with both of you knowing the other has a child from a previous relationship and chose to bring another child into the world.

Rather than packing up and leaving have you considered going to family therapy or couples therapy? Relationships Australia have resources available to support blended families and you can phone and ask for support and advice. They even run courses specifically for step parents.


I'm aware my view may be totally unwelcome and that's ok too. 



Hello Theborderline

How are you going? I see you have not posted in the last few days and wondered if everything is OK. I like to think you have read the various posts as expressions of the writer's thoughts which you may disagree with. Please remember these comments are our own thoughts and are based on our own experiences. I know I run a mile from some threads because they set my personal alarm bells ringing and trigger all sorts of memories.

It takes a lot of courage to open up about oneself on the forum and ask for advice. I do thank you for that and hope you will feel able to continue writing here. Whether or not you agree with the comments made here or whether you find them helpful I don't know. I hope they are of value as we try very hard to be supportive to everyone.

Is there anything you would like to talk about? We are still here and happy to talk further.


Hi Mary,

Thanks for your follow up, I can accept constructive criticism and advice from anyone, what I'm not interested in is personal attacks regarding my own views and issues.

I find BB to be a very politically correct forum and that posters will support certain people for immoral acts but others they will flame away.

My stepson is treated like my daughter, I don't treat him any differently and he doesn't know that I feel this way nor do I show it, I was merely saying I preferred an arrangement where we have the children less

When I referred to my newborn as "it" was not because I view them as "it" it was because the original poster referred to my newborn as a boy when she is in in fact a girl, I was only calling her "it" so as not to draw attention to that

There's alot of guys out there who do don't see there own children at all, I was upset that I had been working so hard to use our reduced time on my newborn and helping my self get better.

If further questions were asked about myself, others may have learned that I suffer from fear of abandonment and I push children away so that they can't get close to me (as my psychologist tells me) it's a defensive trigger I have based on my own past

People will praise and support others for posting about how there having an affair on there partners because there depressed and they'll tell them how strong they are and support them in doing these immoral things....

But when it comes to a father clearly struggling to find his place in a blended family he is flamed and sent to the stake (apologies for the theatrics)

Thanks for your follow up