AIBU to be furious with EXP for upsetting DS regarding partner being called a step-dad(80 Posts)
Brief background: split up from EX a good 5 years ago. He was an awful partner but we have a wonderful DS, (now 9yo), and I wrongly clung on and tried to fix a very dysfunctional relationship for too long. I did this for DS but with help from friends and mumsnet I eventually realised it was him not me and finished it.
I was sad for DS but felt relief from the moment that it was over. I was glad to be able to slowly build my life back.
I met a lovely lovely man. He has shown me what a loving partner should be. We took things slowly regarding DS, and eventually all moved in together last year after almost 4 years together.
DS' Dad has been difficult, he is angry and unpredictable and he has gradually reduced the time that he spends with his son, and insists DS fits around his new relationship (e.g. Only visits when girlfriend has own kids, can't visit with a sniffle). There is no financial support whatsoever. I have bit my lip and facilitated the closest relationship that I can between DS and his Dad- as a child of divorced parents I know it is important to put DS first. As such I would say EXP gets away with pretty poor parenting.
DP has always been very respectful of DS' Dad, he is very anxious not to tread on his toes. He is very helpful and supportive to me as a mum and his relationship with DS I would say is a bit like a good old uncle.
Fast forward to this week. DP proposed to me, and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world I said yes. To top it all off DS seemed pleased, he was playing with my best friends daughter last week and she messaged me to say he was gushing about it and the kids were busily chatting away planning the wedding!
Last night DS stayed with his dad for the first time since our engagement (I had already told EXP). EXP called at 9.30pm to tell me DS had been really upset about the wedding and especially about having a new 'step dad'. I told him I thought the use of the term stepdad was unnecessary and implied he has some sort of additional dad- this is not the way we see it- DS has a mum (me), a dad (him), and my partner is known by his Christian name. EXP disagreed, saying DS needed to accept the term step dad. I feel like he had deliberately tried to put a negative spin on the situation.
DS returned home early this morning (as arranged). I chatted to him, he got very upset and he admitted (very unusually for him as he doesn't usually talk about feelings), that it felt like his dad was being replaced. I have reassured him as much as I possibly can.
He now says he's not happy about me getting married, he's not sure if he wants to share in the day, he says it's all weird.
I am so sad for my little boy. I can't and won't try to persuade him to be happy for us, but I so wish that he was. I don't know how to help him.
I'm angry with EXP, I want to tell him as much but I'm attempting not to engage- it won't help.
I feel sad for my lovely partner too. He's tried so hard not to tread on EXS toes, he provides so much for DS and I feel guilty that things are so complicated.
I don't know what I expected from this thread. I guess I just needed to get it all out....
Not really brelevant but your ex should be paying maintenance i would get onto the cms.
Unfortunately stepfamilies are always going to come with complications. You sound like you've done all the right things. I would continue to reassure and comfort DS as much as possible.
At the end of the day when he grows up he will realise his Dad was a bit crap.
Btw your ex should be paying maintenance, that's outrageous.
It seems it's not do much the term "step-dad" (which, btw, your family is under no obligation to use), but that fact he's made it a negative thing.
Does your DS have friends at school with blended families of relatives he could talk to?
That sounds awfully difficult for you all!
I don't really have any good advice, it sounds, to me anyway, that your exh has been manipulating DS and has now made him very upset and very insecure.
Obviously you need try and help your son with the upheaval/worry/feelings of replacement a new marriage will cause. Could you look at a couple of talking therapy sessions with a counsellor for DS?
I do hope you can still enjoy your engagement, I am sure DS will be ok with the new marriage it may just take a little time.
Why are you angry at your son's father? What has he done?
Is this a reverse?
What makes you think the term 'stepdad' has originated from your ex? It's a very common term your son could have heard on TV, at school etc. Of course you don't have to use it, but why blame your ex for that?
Concentrate on reassuring your son and stop trying to make this your ex's fault. If your son already thinks his dad is being replaced this will only make it worse.
I do think it's weirf to have your children at your wedding so I can understand him feeling a bit confused. But if you are all living together now then just reassure him life carries on as before.
Don't get pp comment about having your own kids at your own wedding being weird?? I'm getting married next year (2nd time) and both my kids from previous marriage will be there. My DS is giving me away (both my DF and stepfather are deceased). Would be more weird to exclude them.
Just reassure him that nothing will change. It's literally just a bit of paper and a party! If he was excited about it up until the point he stayed with his dad it seems his father has been feeding him ideas. So yes, op is right to be annoyed at ex.
I'm struggling to see why you're angry at your sons father. Have I missed something??
Thank you for your replies.
I am angry because EXP did bring it up himself (he admitted it), and rather than reassuring DS that nothing would change he said he needs to get used to it.....
I realise it's a technical term, but I feel it's unnecessary to use it especially as DS is not comfortable with it.
Blended families are a challenge and a balancing act, I know that- I'm just sad that DS has gone from being happy and excited to sad and confused.
I do think it's weirf to have your children at your wedding so I can understand him feeling a bit confused.
Wtf? Did I read that wrong? You think children should be excluded from their parents' weddings?!
"I do think it's weirf to have your children at your wedding so I can understand him feeling a bit confused."
I chose to ignore this post- everyone is entitled to an opinion on here but this is unhelpful.....
Slightly random suggestion - and feel free to bash - but you say your DP is like an uncle to your son? You could suggest to your DS that, when you get married, he calls him "Uncle DP" (insert his actual name, obviously!) if he'd like to? It may ram home to your son that DP isn't ever going to be "dad", but that it's okay for him to be a really important person in his life?
Could your son have been the audience of Act one of 'sad dad who feels pushed out' and so now he's feeling like he's betraying his dad?
redhelen you think it's wierd to have your kids at your wedding?
Wow, I really hope you don't have kids.
In think the exp has been winding DS up about having anew dad tbh.
We called my step dad uncle xxx
Why isn't he paying anything towards him? I'd be onto that now
Banty, yes sadly I do think that was the case.
I understand it's difficult for EXP. We are well and truly over, and he was an appalling partner but I can empathise with him that it's hard for someone else to live with your own child, and marry their mother. However, in DS' interests he should man up about it and not sow this seed of 'dad replacement / betrayal'.
I think your ex is a twat.
Just keep reassuring your DS that things will not change.
Congratulations on your engagement
Natalia, interestingly DS did use to call DP uncle xxxxxx. We sort of got out of the habit, but could suggest reintroducing it.
Regarding maintenance, EXP is mostly self employed with serious debts run up from a gambling addiction. I can't chase for any money as on paper he cleverly looks skint.
I do feel that I must not let the lack of maintenance affect DS' relationship with his Dad.
Ironically I can manage just about, thanks to DP.
I agree with Banty, sounds like your ex is manipulating your son.
redhelen you should watch Marrying Mum and Dad. You'd properly lose your shit.
Seems clear to me that your ex has out a huge guilt trip on your son and he is a pure cunt for doing so.
Ask your son what he would like to call your partner. Tell him you can't help that the law will see him as his step father but you are more interested in feelings and if he wants to carry on closing him Pete then he can. The only things that have to change are things he wants in a day to day basis.
Then rip your pathetic ex a new one, sort out maintenance, stop pandering to him and enjoy your marriage.
Ex p has clearly been influencing ds. I used to have something similar with an ex, ds would be really positive / excited about something ( new school for example) would go back to see my ex and return in a state, red eyed spouting lots of scare mongering nonsense that had clearly been drummed into him. I decided to cut contact right back in the end and everything is much much better. Feel for you op. Just make sure you and dp stay positive and up beat and ds will make his own mind up what's what.
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