“No, I didn’t give you the gift of life. Life gave me the gift of you.” -Unknown
Few people take on the challenge of loving someone else’s child and it’s rare to see just how difficult that journey is acknowledged in a meaningful way.
It can eat some people up inside that the love of their life has already shared life’s most intimate moments with someone else.
I guarantee you, this single thought will break your heart if you let it. If you want to forge a healthy relationship, you need to overcome it.
Life isn’t perfect, you aren’t perfect, and neither is your partner. Sometimes it won’t seem fair and you’ll wonder why all these moments weren’t reserved for you?
You cannot allow yourself to get hung up on these thoughts, your relationship will never work if you do. Instead, you must take your time and focus on the child.
The child is the single most important person in your relationship, their wellbeing matters above all else. You will struggle, but you’ll realize that your (and the child’s parents’) main job is to never let the child suffer.
Here are some things to keep in mind when helping raise someone else’s child:
1. Say Goodbye to Solitude.
Remember when you were single and you had all the free time in the world? That’s long gone. You need to sacrifice your past so you can give this child a bright future.
2. Rid Yourself of Drama.
No matter the drama that enters your life, the single most important thing you can do is never let the child see it.
You’re the adult and you need to act grown up when you’re influencing a child’s life. Never let the child feel like they are supposed to make adult decisions.
It is especially unfair to force them to take sides on any issue you may have with their other parent. Doing so will only breed contempt, from both the child and their parents.
3. Don’t Waste Your Time on Other People’s Opinions.
Your situation may not be easy for some people in your life to understand but know this: the more you love your decisions, the less you need others to support them.
I know plenty of people who will not even consider being with someone who has a child. The sad truth is that they’re not only possibly missing out on a beautiful person, they’re missing out on a wonderful child as well.
4. When You Promised Their Parent Forever, You Promised Them Forever Too.
You are never taking the other parents place, always remind the child who you are to them.
You’re their friend who happened to fall in love with their parent. Remind them that you’ll be there for them whenever they need you and stick to your word.
5. Your Relationship Isn’t Just About You Anymore.
You have to be okay with sacrificing. Your relationship can’t just be about parties, fun, and drinks, it needs to be built on the love you have together.
You cannot be selfish. There will be plenty of time for you and your partner to be alone when the child has left home, but for now, you must step up and be the person that child needs.
6. Loving a Child Who Isn’t Your Own Takes Effort.
It takes a special person to let this child in their heart. You are not obligated to love their child, but you do because they’re a part of your partner and you want the best for them.
7. You’ll See Love Differently.
You’ll learn about an absolute unconditional love that many people never experience. The child will grow to love you for who you are.
They’ll love you for feeding them, caring for them, putting on their band-aids, and kissing them goodbye and they’ll grow up knowing you did those things even though you weren’t obligated to.
8. Special Moments Will Remind You Why You’re Doing This.
There will be plenty of time when you want to rip out your hair and scream, but the special moments will be worth it.
The first time they say they love you, when you are the first person they run to with a bloody nose, their smile when you say you’re proud of them; these and so many other moments are why you put in the effort.
9. They are a Blessing.
You feel so very blessed that not only did your partner fall in love with you, but so did their child.
It’s not easy for parents to let someone into their lives. They’re choosing a step-parent and life partner, not just a date. They decided you’re worthy enough to fill in those roles and that alone is a blessing.