Why Children Come First in a Blended Family

Children-Come-First.jpg
Courtesy Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images

 

Children Come First in Blended Families

 

Question:

My husband and I have been married a little over a year. Until recently everything has been wonderful. I thought I was the most important thing in his life but it has become clear to me that his loyalties lie with his children from his first wife.

He has two sons who are 27 and 30, we did our wills and he left most of his estate to his sons. When I told him I felt hurt that he was more concerned about how they would fair if he should die he told me, “They will always come first.” I always thought a wife came first.

I thought I was the most important thing in his life. Why is he putting me second to his children?

Lori

Answer:

Lori,

Your email made me think of a conversation I had with a friend who was a stepmother. She came to me one day upset and with the same feelings you are expressing. Seems she wanted to go out to dinner but her husband was choosing to attend a school play his daughter was in.

My friend was frustrated, according to her, “we never spend time together, the girls always have something he wants to be involved in.” I’m going to tell you the same thing I told my friend. The time will NEVER come when a parent puts a spouse before their child. Maybe one has to have children to understand and see things from a parenting perspective. 

Most parents’ top priority in life is meeting the needs of their children. Once a parent, always a parent and that parental instincts don't end with divorce and remarriage.

His children have been in his life for 30 years and he has, more than likely, been willing to give up his life for them from the moment they were born.

He is putting his children first because he has a paternal bond with them that he will never develop with you. I’m not saying he doesn’t love you and that you are not important to him.

I think you are making the same mistake a lot of step-parents make instead of accepting the reality of the situation.

You are his wife, they are his children. The love he feels for each of you is different. Just because it is different doesn’t mean it is less love. It is, however, a different kind of love. A parent has unconditional love for their child but, not for a spouse. 

Your husband has spent decades of his life building financial security for himself and his children. I think a better question would be, "Why would he leave me the majority of what he has after a year of marriage?" He has a 30 year bond with his children. As bothersome as it may be to you, you will never be able to compete with that bond. And, in all honesty, should not wish to compete. 

You need to try and accept that this is a man who honors his role as a father. Instead of feeling left out or less than, respect him and be glad you’ve married someone who knows the importance of fathering. If you have children with him also, you can feel safe that they will always be taken care of by their father.