This is my first time on this board, so I'll try to explain in as much detail/as objectively as I can my particular situation. I have read several step-parenting articles and have found that most of the information does not apply to me. I cannot convey the nature of my issues in summary form, so please skip this if you are not into long-winded posts.
I met my wife 5 years ago. We hit it off rather well from the start and married after 4 months. Everything seemed perfect. She, at the time, was living with her parents. She had 3 boys aged 2, 9 and 12 who are now 7, 14 and 17. My daughter was 1 and is now 6. Her mother and I were never married, but we were very good friends and still talk as such whenever I pick up my daughter. My wife had been divorced for about a year after 9 years of marriage. The oldest was the result of a teen pregnancy causing her to quit high school her senior year. Her first marriage ended with her husband killing himself. Her second marriage ended in her husband committing adultery (though she claims to have never really loved him). When we decided to get married, she told me "I could really use some help raising my boys". I loved her and felt up to the task. Little did I know...
She is in property manager, and I am a network architect, so our combined income affords us opportunities to provide well for the children. No to the issues.
Shortly after we married, I began to notice that she really wasn't into disciplining her children. I tried to stay back and let her do it because they were her children and I was just some new guy that lived with them. Their poor behavior went on a few weeks before I finally got onto one of them for throwing a ball and putting a hole in the wall of our brand new home. She looked at me like "who the hell do you think YOU are?". She didn't speak to me for a week. This set the stage for what has been going on for the past 4.5 years.
After the week of silence, I approached her and said that we needed to lay some ground rules for how things will operate in our home. She told me that WE would be doing no such thing. Those were HER children. The words "I could really use some help raising my boys" echoed in my head. I just didn't understand.
99% of the conflicts we have had since we've been married have been over her lack of parenting of her children. She's great at mothering them. I won't fault her there, but she doesn't parent them. Since then, the "HELP" that was required of me has been to take them everywhere (I work from home), cook for them, pay for stuff that they didn't earn, fix and/or replace stuff in the house that they have stolen or destroyed, etc. I have a 5 bedroom home that I couldn't sell if I wanted to because of all the damage they have inflicted on it. I know "boys will be boys" but there is such a thing as excessive. ALL of their rooms have holes in the sheet rock, one of them even has knives and screw drivers sticking out of the walls as well as a poster that promotes drug use. I once took the poster down and she got mad at me. Just for the record, when she gets mad at me for trying to do the right thing, the silence lasts, at a minimum, 3 days and goes on as long as 2 weeks.
The boys are foul-mouthed (even the 7 year old uses the F word and shoots the finger!), messy and completely disrespectful. They are not required to do any chores, yet she dispenses money to them as if it were candy. This usually brews for a few months until I finally can't take it anymore and I explode. Not violently, but verbally. I ask why she is incapable of actually parenting her children. This starts the fight and we both throw accusations back and forth. I try to make it a point not to do it in front of the children, but she doesn't care.
I really hate having my daughter over here every other weekend, because I don't want the behavior to rub off onto her. I have her clean up after herself when she's here. I'm afraid that eventually, she'll resent that because she has to do it and they don't.
I'm not as involved in my daughter's life as I would like to be. I don't even call until it's time to make arrangements to pick her up, simply because my wife feels that if I'm talking to her mother that I MUST be having an affair with her. Yet, her ex-husband calls her EVERY day.
Let me explain something here. I am a strong man (physically and mentally) and I would have never put up with this with any other woman. I was single for a LONG time. Usually, at the first sign of a woman trying to impose her will upon me, I'd say "see ya". Why can't I do that now (other than the financial implications)? Why do I love someone who does this to me? Love is the only explanation I can come up with.
There's more to this, but these are the major issues. In the past years since we've married, she has become violent 4 times and, instead of fighting back, I've simply left and called the police to come control the situation. Not because I'm a sissy, but because I'm a man of logic who knows that if a man fights back with a violent woman, he will go to jail. This is Texas and that's just the way it is.
This year, the 17 year old has been to court 6 times and will be going to number 7 this friday. Charges range from truancy to theft to, now, criminal trespass. He's lucky he hasn't been caught for drugs--yet. I have confiscated 3 water pipes, a smaller pipe, rolling papers, a baggie of ecstasy, 2 baggies of marijuana and a rolling device. She refuses to do anything. I don't talk about it or even involve myself. She tries to complain to me and cry "why did he do this". Certainly, she's not looking for the truth. I'm not going to tell her what she wants to hear if I open my mouth.
If ANYONE has any suggestions, I'm all ears. I'm about to just take a day off, grab a trailer while everyone's gone, load up and leave. To me, this is just not worth it anymore.