Conflicted Step Dad with past
Fellow Corny Joke Folk,
I am a 33 YO stepfather (NY native) to my 35 YO partner’s daughter (12yo) and I have finally found happiness in my 2 years and running building a life with them. My partner’s life story and mine parallel and intertwine like a love helix and I couldn’t be more thankful for our relationship.
When I was 22, I had a son with a woman in a state not native to mine, but I moved up there to start a life with her at the time. After 2 years, I decided to move back to NY to finish my degree and find employment. Long story short, she “re-married”, had another child, moved to NC and has done everything in her power to literally remove me from my son’s life. She successfully terminated my parental rights by serving the wrong person (my father shares the same name; I’m a Jr.) and by taking advantage of my work schedule (I’m a freelance sound engineer)
During this time, I fell into a deep depression soothed by alcohol and drugs. I almost lost grip of reality and life several times and it wasn’t until I met my partner many years later that I was able to finally turn my life around. I met my partner after one of the lowest points in my life and she saw the me that I am now becoming. The me I never saw in me. After developing our relationship, it was like there was a second paternal wind that I wasn’t going to miss; a second chance. I’ve even started the legal process to be able to contact my bio-son.
My affliction lies with the guilt that I carry for not being a better dad the first time around. I’ve done things in my past I’m not proud of and can’t even talk about because I am not that person. Sometimes, I feel selfish and doubt whether I’m merely trying to make up for lost time or if this is genuinely my shot to be truly happy. My partner and is very supportive of me and my fight to try and at least establish contact with my son. Some days I lose sight and faith but they bring me back. Anyone else going thru this bull-ish?
If you read this far, thank you. Being a dad is tough; being a stepdad is in it’s own category. Most of my friends and coworkers either don’t have kids or are in worse situations with their bio-kids and former partners and have done virtually nothing to reconcile their situation. Thanks again fellow Dads; any words of wisdom are welcome. Or just tell me to stop complaining and man up, son
that’s a joke.
Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing. I can see it has not been an easy journey for you, but I would like to encourage you to keep looking ahead, as you are clearly trying to do. It is good to hear about your partner's love and support, and about the opportunity you now have to play an important part in your step-daughter's life. Talk to your partner about how best you can do this. Simply spending time together with your step-daughter, maybe heading out for a coffee, going to a movie or just an evening in at home - whatever seems to suit - this will allow you to build a good relationship and will show you are keen to be involved and to be there for both the good and bad times going forwards.
It is also so good to hear that you are trying to reconnect with your son. It is never too late to seek to rebuild and restore a relationship with your child. You may need to be patient, and there will undoubtedly be challenges ahead, but I very much hope you will be able to reestablish contact. I'm guessing he is about 11/12 years old, and so will be entering the ups and downs of puberty soon......so all the more reason to give your son the chance to have his Dad in his life. It may take baby steps at first, but don't be afraid to tell him how you feel, and that you'd like a fresh chance to get to know him.
You are certainly not selfish in your desire to be a better Dad / Step-Dad.
Feel free to keep in touch with the forum.
I wish you well.
Parent Support Volunteer