Do step-parenting support groups exist? If so, I need to know when and where and if there isn't, I should start one.
It is not an easy job...being a part-time-sort-of-parental-type-person. You (think you) know what you are getting yourself into, but at the same time, you don't at all; every family is as different as its individuals.
You have to remember why you chose to be with your partner AND their child(ren, in my case) when the going gets tough. You are allowed to provide basic care (ie: feeding, grooming, purchasing of things to feed and clothe them with) but beyond that, it gets murky, especially if the child's other biological parent goes out of their way to be difficult on a regular basis.
You can love the child(ren) immensely, but don't expect to be well received if things come up about how they are being raised and/or taken care of when with the other parent. You can worry about them, but you can't do more than volunteer solutions to your partner when it comes to problem solving issues with the other parent.
I always said I didn't want kids, but here I am, step-parenting away, which I am honest-to-goodness starting to believe can be harder than parenting in its own way. I am convinced being a parent is the hardest role anyone can have in life, but emotionally step-parenting has to be at least, on the same page as parenting, if not more confusing at times. At least I could be 50% of the decision making if they were biologically mine. Right now, I'm about 10% of one half (I suck at math, so you figure that one out) and all I can do is give my opinion to my husband, whether he takes it or not is completely up to him....and even if he does, the mom still has veto power.
My husband and his girls were a packaged deal from day one, and I thought long and hard before we got serious about how him having kids adds an additional layer of life-complicating situations. I wouldn't trade my life right now for anything, but some sort of step-parenting manual would be helpful. Perhaps there exists a "Step-Parenting for Dummies" manual? I need to research this.
Bottom line: It is hard to care so much but keep your mouth shut at certain times. It is something I am still learning how to do 100% of the time. I try my best to be a positive role model for the girls, and enjoy the fleeting moments we get to spend as a family of four; every other weekend never seems to come soon enough.