Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Welcome to the reason why I have this blog!
The members of my family:
My Knight in Dented Armor; my boyfriend, my life partner. He is a kind, loving man who has made a lot of mistakes throughout his life. As a result, he's been beaten up by life in the metaphorical sense, which is why his armor is dented and a little bit worn. This particular blog entry does not really paint him in a positive light because he was young and for lack of better words, made a bunch of crazy choices that had less than positive outcomes. I do believe that if someone shows true remorse and works to right the wrongs that he or she has done, that person deserves a chance to redeem themselves. Their actions have to remain consistent, and they have to continue to make efforts to improve themselves and the circumstances around them.
Our 16 year old daughter. She is an artist; she loves to draw in the style of anime. It's looking like she wants to pursue an art major in college, maybe animation, but something that definitely encompasses illustration. She is turning into a beautiful young woman and it's pretty exciting to watch how she's evolving into a young adult.
Our 15 year old son.
Our 5 year old daughter. She is a darling little girl! She is very sweet, kind, smart and very energetic. She loves dresses, unicorns, mermaids and essentially anything that's pink. If you add glitter, that's even better!
All my boyfriend's children have different mothers. I have 3 mothers that are in my formula. It's a lot and the idea of joining this family was extremely daunting and intimidating. Considering that all the articles I was reading online about "How to join a blended family" assumed that there was only one mother, and almost all advised not to do it, one could only imagine what was going through my head knowing that I'd have 3! I do not have any biological children of my own yet. So why in the Hell would I want to take this on??? I didn't. I really didn't. I'll explain how I got to this point in another entry. This post is to just explain the structure of my beautiful blended family.
This might be a bit comical and may come across as a little crass and offensive: I refer to the mothers of my bonus children by number. There's #1, #2 and #3 and they go according to the oldest child down to the youngest. I do this because it gets very confusing when I have to tell people about things that are happening within the family.
#1 is an ex-girlfriend and she is our 16-year-old's mother. She and my boyfriend dated when he was in his early 20's. I would say that her parenting style is the closest to mine and I can usually follow her thought process on the decisions she makes.
#2 is also an ex-girlfriend, she had dated my boyfriend on and off for years prior to getting pregnant. I'm sure you've noticed that I did not have a summary to describe her son. The unfortunate situation is that I have never met him. There has been a complete break down in the relationship between #2 and my boyfriend and as a result, my bonus son does not wish to be around his father. This has been going on since 2016 and it is my sincere wish that he will find forgiveness for his dad soon.
If you've been doing the math you may have paused, raised an eyebrow and/or said, "Now hold on a darn minute! Did he break up with #1 and date #2 while #1 was pregnant or had just given birth???" No. This scenario is what can happen when you're a man who cheats and doesn't adequately protect himself. Fatherhood started for him at 22 and no, he was not ready! If you've read my Philosophies, you will know that I am pro-choice. A woman should have full autonomy over her own body. #1 claims that she was on birth control but was on antibiotics when our 16-year-old was conceived. Most women are aware that antibiotics can inadvertently affect your body when it comes to your birth control regiment. She did not realize she was pregnant until she was about 6 months along. For those who are thinking, "How did she not know she was pregnant?" There was a television series titled, "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" and it was broadcasted on TLC and the Discovery Life networks for 2 seasons. Apparently not knowing you're pregnant is more common than you'd like to think. I am in no way implying that any of my bonus children were mistakes. They are all loved and wanted. However, there can be that gray area between conception and pregnancy where you don't think of the fetus as a person. You think of yourself and you question whether or not you can take on the responsibility of a baby. Discovering that she was 6 months pregnant, #1 felt that it was too late to abort her pregnancy. Knowing where my boyfriend was mentally, emotionally and financially at that time, it appears that she knew he was nowhere prepared for fatherhood. She had already discovered that my boyfriend wasn't being faithful. However, in her mind, life had progressed too far for termination so she kept her pregnancy.
#2 knew about #1's pregnancy. Oh, and let's add that at this time, there was a third woman who thought that my boyfriend was also the father of her child. I'll name this mother X. As it turned out, X's daughter ended up not being my boyfriend's. They did not find this out until the little girl was 5 years old. That child is no longer in the picture, but I digress. So the information that #2 knew prior to getting pregnant:
1. He had 2 children
2. He was a student, he was not financially stable and lived with his mother.
3. He was dating multiple women (despite having brand new babies) at the same time. To be fair, there was a lot of movement and confusion going on. The women my boyfriend dated were also seeing multiple people on the down low, including #2, who claimed to have been faithful, but my boyfriend had and still expresses doubts about that. The only person who wasn't messing around was #1 who unfortunately, was truly a victim in all of this. She thought she was in a monogamous relationship and I can only imagine how hurtful it was when everything just exploded. Full. On. Chaos. Yet, #2 thought it was still a great idea to keep her baby when she found out that she, too was pregnant. Again, her body, her choice. She claimed to also have been on birth control and was also on antibiotics when her son was conceived. Okay... I mean, at the age of 18, which would have been a year before #1's daughter was born, #2 had told another family member that she wanted to have my boyfriend's baby, so yeah, none of this seems suspicious at all! (Sarcasm.)
"Do not have a baby because you're trying to lock down a man in a relationship" and/or "Do not have a baby because you're trying to save your relationship". My boyfriend, since he was making great choices at this time (sarcasm, again) decided not to be in relationships with any of the mothers, instead opting to be with a different girl who was aware of the drama and still wanted to be with him anyway. (I literally can't with this story. If there weren't witnesses to all of this, I would've thought this was a soap opera.) When I was first told this history, I was really trying to root for #2 because I felt sorry for her. Multiple family members have told me that she was aware of everything that was happening because at the time, she was a close family friend. Bringing in another child to an already chaotic situation is like putting kerosine on a forest fire. The only redeeming thing I could say about her judgement, is that maybe terminating a pregnancy was not an option for her, ever. Perhaps she was truly in love with my boyfriend and thought that a baby would bring them closer? Maybe it was to assert dominance that she was the special one??? I have no idea. I cannot understand why someone would willingly connect themselves to an incredibly complex and heart-wrenching situation. The next few years were rough for everyone. I'm sure it was painful for both #1 and #2 to be aware of each other. It was certainly a nightmare for my boyfriend and his mother to handle the children, their mothers, trying to organize schedules so that the mothers didn't have to cross paths and trying to earn a college education. Due to the circumstances, the women obviously had animosity towards each other. Everyone was in their early to late-20's so the capacity for emotional maturity was probably a struggle. When it comes to the breaking down of my boyfriend's and #2's relationship, I am very sure that my boyfriend didn't handle things well. I'm sure she too, was responsible for a lot of the poor decisions that were made. To be clear, there were a lot of situations my boyfriend didn't handle well with both mothers. Yet to her credit, #1 kept the lines of communication open so her daughter could have a relationship with her father. #2 was not as successful with keeping the lines open. I don't know all the details of #2's story since I've only heard my boyfriend's side. I know that there was a lot of hurt, anger and jealousy as she believed that #1's child was considered "the favorite". There are probably a plethora of other reasons as to why she cut ties and I'm sure she's justified with many of them.
Moving along to about a decade later: My boyfriend is single again. He has had a couple of relationships since the birth of his kids. Life, however, is hard. I would think that the responsible plan to have children would include a stable job, money in the bank and a stable home. My boyfriend had none of these in place. He did pay child support when he could. He was struggling to balance fatherhood and pursuing his dreams. He had discovered theater and the stage! He wanted to become an actor! The realities of being an actor: It takes years to build a career. For most of those years you don't work consistently and you don't earn a lot of money. An actor's life is generally not lucrative for many years and unless you have other jobs. It is unstable. You'll book a job where you'll earn your entire annual income within a week, then you'll be financially dry for the next two years. It's unpredictable. My boyfriend had kids and was living a life that wasn't financially stable for them. He was being told that he needed to "come back to reality", "to get a real job", that "he was a terrible father" because he wasn't earning enough to support his kids. As a fellow actress, I, too have been told to "get a real job", been asked "When is enough, enough?", "When are you going to stop dreaming?", etc. However, my decision to continue on with my career aspirations carried less shame because I didn't have children to feed. I should mention that both my boyfriend and I have booked gigs throughout the years. At one point my boyfriend earned $10,000 in a day for booking a role in a video game. So our stubbornness to continue on our career paths is not based on thin air. We have credits on our resumes, which are signs of encouragement and justification to continue. Yet, one must ask: What happens to a man who isn't being the head of his family and financially providing? What happens when he's following an unstable career path that feeds his soul but doesn't guarantee success? Depression. And the one thing that was able to momentarily pull my boyfriend out of depression: Women. Now we bring ourselves to #3.
#3 and my boyfriend were friends with benefits. I really like her personality and I totally see why my boyfriend was hanging out with her in his darkest hours. She doesn't judge people. She is very accepting, warm and friendly. She is younger than my boyfriend and I, by about 8-10 years. Since her child is very young right now, we are in contact with her the most out of all the mothers. I am extremely thankful that she was very open to getting to know me when we finally met, and she's very generous with her daughter. She has fully embraced me as her daughter's second mother and when it comes to parenting, we are mostly on the same page. Her daughter tells me on a regular basis that she loves me and enjoys her weekends with her father and I. This tells me that #3 has never said a negative word about me to her daughter, which shows extraordinary maturity. We get along and things right now are very amicable. However, I would say that my feelings about her are very complex. Keeping in mind that people evolve and grow over time, know that my opinions will shift as I see changes in behaviors. While #3 has displayed high levels of maturity, there are other areas where this maturity seems to be lacking. Similar to #2, #3 knew that my boyfriend already had two children and that he was struggling to be the father that he wanted to be. My boyfriend had made it very clear that he was not looking to have more children. He has said, "If I knew she would've kept the baby after getting pregnant, I wouldn't have had the arrangement I had with her." ... Um, what? Okay... then why even bother with her in that way at all then? (*Insert face palm here*) I am not justifying his behavior, just merely explaining it. #3 also claims to have been on birth control. (I really do inwardly scream, "Boyfriend, ever heard of a condom?!?" but that's really neither here nor there now.) #3 also has a son who is 4 years older than her daughter. His father is an ex-boyfriend. If you already have a baby, you are unemployed, not in school (after having expressed wanting a college degree), living with your parents and knowing about your soon-to-be second baby daddy's struggles, it raises the question as to why you would want to bring another baby into the situation? Okay, her body, her choice. Here we go again. Round 3!
I believe that #3's pregnancy was a surprise and completely unplanned. Keeping the pregnancy, I feel, was calculated. When I first started coming around I had suspicions that she had lingering feelings for my boyfriend. My conclusions were based off of gut instincts and observations. As I started to get more immersed into the family, I started to hear more information from family members. She told one of them, "We both have children with other people. No body wants us! We're destined to be together!" (I can't even begin to unravel the layers of that statement, but I digress.) She had also been calling my boyfriend's mother, "Mom" (this was not my boyfriend's mother's idea. She is the perpetual peacemaker. After having to deal with so many mothers, my boyfriend's mother will pretty much do or allow anything if it helps keep the peace). I also heard that #3 has had a couple of pregnancy scares with other men after having her daughter. This makes me question whether she was really on birth control. I mean, if you know you like men (and God knows I do!) and you know that having another baby will put you under water, metaphorically speaking, you would think that you'd put yourself back on birth control stat! Maybe that's just me. #3 has told me that she never had feelings for my boyfriend and never wanted a relationship with him. Again, my boyfriend, his family members, even his older daughter has said that they observed otherwise. This might explain why she kept her pregnancy: she caught feelings and was hoping to make a relationship happen. Again, "Do not have a baby because you are trying to lock a man down into a relationship". It hasn't worked in my situation, twice.
My boyfriend has been clear the entire time with me, that they were never together and he never intended for them to have a future together. Of course, I initially felt protective of my relationship from whatever was going on between them. Over time, I saw that my boyfriend completely had no romantic interest. He had drawn a clear boundary and did the work to make me feel secure. Once I felt safe and sure that #3 was of no threat to my relationship, all the defensiveness went away. However, I have felt that #3 has once (or maybe a few times) tried to manipulate me by planting seeds of discord in my head. I am writing about this part of my story, not because I want to paint #3 as a manipulative and conniving person, but to share that we did (do) inevitably have a little bit of tension. I'd find it difficult to believe that two women in my situation wouldn't feel a certain way about the other. We're not fighting over the man, we're trying to figure out where we stand with each other and what the dynamic of our relationship is. My oldest bonus daughter has a great relationship with #3. Of course, the alpha ego in me wants to put a stop to this relationship because I'd like to isolate the family away from #3. Realistically, this would just be petty and controlling. #3 will always be the mother of my youngest, who is my oldest's baby sister. They are now tied by blood. Apply "Don't try to compete with your child's mother" here. It is better for the family unit as a whole that they get along. One of the times I felt #3 was trying to undermine me, maybe test me, was when #3 told me that my oldest was not happy about meeting me. My oldest allegedly called her the evening that we met to vent about how disappointed she was that #3 wasn't going to be her step-mother. #3 then apparently talked her down and convinced her that she had to give me a chance. Now my oldest is so happy that she gave me that chance because we now have a wonderful relationship. Yes, this scenario is entirely feasible from a then 14 year old girl. However, A) this did not match the narrative of what I was experiencing and witnessing and B) no one else in the family mentioned that my oldest was upset and was working through anything regarding me. Coincidentally, earlier that day, my oldest and I had a heart to heart about meeting each other. My oldest never mentioned being upset about meeting me. She mentioned that she was nervous and that she hoped that I would be nice. She had explained that #2 was never kind to her, so when she met #3 she was very trepidatious. Since she and #3 were able to develop a positive rapport, she was more open-minded about meeting me. Knowing this, #3's story was odd to me. It was like she hadn't had the forethought to think that the family would tell me their side if I wanted to verify. Not really sure of what to make of the story, I decided that #3 wanted to 1) tell me of her standing in the family - that she was there first and 2) in a weird way tell me that she was on my side because with her lie, she convinced my oldest to give me a chance? It was very strange but I knew that if I let this weird story bother me, it might cause chaos in my brain. Unnecessary drama, no thank you! I just wasn't going to give this story any credibility and I just moved on with my day. My relationship with my oldest daughter is mine, separate from the relationship that she has with #3. Their relationship is not a reflection of how #3 is better than me. It is its own entity. Their relationship exists and it really, has nothing to do with me.
Having incidences like this definitely does create a feeling of mistrust. I don't always believe everything #3 tells me right away (or at all, for that matter), but I do keep what she says in the back of my mind. As time has progressed, these type of petty white lies have become less frequent. Perhaps it's because #3 doesn't feel the need to tell me tall tales anymore? I would hope that it's because she's more comfortable around me and knows that I'm not here to attack her but rather to work with her in the interest of our daughter. As of now, I do like to keep an amicable distance. Most of all, I hope that as we move along in our journey with this family, we both become more comfortable in our skins and are able to trust each other more as women and as mothers.
If you're still reading, I'm sure you'd want to know: "Why are you with this man? Was there no one else with less drama to choose from?" Based off of how he conceived all his children, those questions are completely warranted. He is far from perfect. I suppose he is what society would call a "bad boy" and a "ladies man" with the way he is with women. A redeeming quality that he has developed over the years is a sense of morality, where he recognizes where he has been wrong and does his best to make amends. I don't make any excuses for him. I let his actions moving forward speak for him. The one thing that absolutely stands out to me is that he has a good heart. He'll get distracted or the executions of his intentions may lack, but without a doubt, he loves his children. I will do another post about my relationship with him, explaining why I chose to stay with him. I will also talk about my awareness of my own self-worth because my self esteem is far from low. I know that I could do "better" but I also know that I haven't settled. If you feel that I am trying to make excuses for myself, that's fine. I don't need anyone else's validation to feel confident with my choices. Hopefully one can derive something positive from my journey, which is really my only reason to share my story.