A step dad who feels like a fifth wheel...Please help!!
I am new here and any help that you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I have two sons, ages 8 (Michael) and 5 (Cole). I divorced my ex when Cole was 1 month old and Michael has no memory of ever living with his dad. I met Pete when Cole was about 6 months old, and we moved together when he was about a year. We completely function like a family and the boys know no other way of life.
Their father is a complete loser who has no job, no home, no phone and no vehicle. Calls maybe 2 x a month, and takes them on court appointed weekends, when it is convient for him. He pays no child support, and that is ok with the friend of the court because he has been applying for SSI due to a "hurt back" for the last 4 years. He is an alcholic and has serious addictions to Rx meds, thus the reason for the divorce.
The issue came up last night when he did call, and both boys went running. Pete had a complete breakdown and said he will never be anything to those boys, he is just "Pete", while their loser father is "father of the year". I tried to explain to him that they are excited to hear from him for two very big reasons. #1 who knows when he will call again and #2 because when he takes them it is candy and pop all weekend, stay up all night, and no rules whatsoever. He is more like a cool uncle than a father. We are their parents and they do not get excited anymore when I come home than when Pete comes home. Because they know we are the reliable ones and they don't have to show excitement. They know we will be there no matter what. Last night, Pete actually told me he has been wondering if he made a mistake getting involved with me. He will always be a fifth wheel.
I don't know what else to say or do to get him to see that he means the world to those boys. He is the only father figure they have ever known and ever will know unless their bio dad gets treatment. I am at a loss for words because I see it so clearly, and he just doesn't. Michael asked me earlier in the school year, when friends ask who "Pete" is, can he say his step dad. He told me that he made a father's day card for Pete in daycare, but the glue wasn't dry so he couldn't bring it home. Well, it unfortunately never made it home and now Pete says he thinks that was BS. It wasn't and I know it wasn't. I don't know how to get him to see how important he really is, and any insight into how he is feeling would be greatly appreciated.