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Help, don't know how to cope anymore with partners' kids AlWAYS coming first!

(67 Posts)
SusannahHG Wed 27-Feb-13 23:32:08

Hello, I'm new I really need some friendly advice and I need to know what other people think about my situation, am so confused. Been divorced 4 years, 3 kids, youngest is 5, have been in a relationship with a man for 2 yrs 8 months. He is lovely and I thought to start with he was the soulmate I had been missing. However, it has been stormy all the way. He has been separated for 4 years, has always said he will divorce his wife eventually but this keeps getting put off as yet another 'boring chore'. They are still very good friends (unlike myself and my ex who I don't communicate with) and his goal he says is to keep the family unit as together as he possibly can without his wife and himself actually living together, he lives alone, his 3 kids are grown up/teenagers.

Basically I have had two and a half years of him spending Xmas Day, Easter Day, all the 3 kids birthdays in his wife's house, just the 5 of them. This has been tough but have got used to it, just about!

Tonight is the eve of my birthday. We both originally took annual leave to spend the day together, then 6 weeks ago his grown up daughter dropped the bombshell that she was going travelling alone for 10 weeks, departing on my birthday. He and his wife are taking her to the airport which although only a 90 minute drive away is going to take all day, he will be gone all afternoon and won't be coming home until late evening.

We are on the verge of ending things, he says we can't go on with me making him feel guilty and I feel I can't constantly feel at the bottom of the list. I think he has no empathy with how lonely and let down I feel and he just shouts at me about how his little girl is going away and he is worried about her. I do understand this, but just feel there is never a time for any compromise and I am going through life being second best constantly. My colleagues and family assume I am spending the day with him but I have to explain he will actually be at the airport with his wife and daughter all day/evening of my birthday. I feel things will always be the same and don't know whether to walk away. I keep things pretty equal between my kids and the time I spend with him, actually probably get them off to bed quickly sometimes just so I can spend time with him ... I feel like such an idiot. Have seen similar posts where women are attacked for not understanding that their other half is a good person for being a good dad, please don't get at me for this post, I just feel really low and confused....Every time he sees me when only convenient with his kids' arrangements I feel kicked in the stomach....

kinkyfuckery Wed 27-Feb-13 23:36:39

It's his children!

His daughter is going away and you're bothered about a birthday? How old will you be? 15?

He won't change after this long ( and I don't think he should tbh) if you can't handle it then you need to end the relationship.

Helltotheno Wed 27-Feb-13 23:40:09

OP there's no future in this relationship. His family comes first with him and he's absolutely within his right to put them first. He's not fully on board with your relationship and sorry to be blunt, but there's only one thing he's getting from you that he doesn't get from anyone else in his life. That's clearly not enough for you and yes, you should go your separate ways.

About this:
I keep things pretty equal between my kids and the time I spend with him, actually probably get them off to bed quickly sometimes just so I can spend time with him ...

That's a choice you've made. It wouldn't be my choice if I were in the same situation. I'm not criticising you because that's obviously the priority you want this man to have in your life. But it's not reciprocated. You're putting a lot of effort into something that's probably not going to pay off in the longterm. Sorry.. it's not what you want to hear, I know sad

PatriciaHolm Wed 27-Feb-13 23:40:47

It's been stormy from the start, he stil hasn't divorced his wife and he's spending time with them as a "family unit" rather than with you.

I'd say he hasn't moved on, and isn't in the space to have another serious relationship. Of course his kids are a top priority, but there is no reason not to divorce, other than him being quite happy still being married. You just aren't important enough to him. I'm sorry but he doesn't sound like he can be your "soulmate" right now.

I came on to say children come first, but actually once they are adults they don't always come first and can deal with only one parent taking them to the airport (or get the bus). He and his wife still act as a unit and I think that may be more of an issue than his children. He probably won't divorce her and I think it is probably time to move on. You also need to show your children that you are treated with respect, otherwise they will begin to see this and dislike him.

snowshapes Wed 27-Feb-13 23:45:12

I think the fact that his daughter is going away on your birthday is unfortunate, but understand that he wants to see her off. But it is not that one instance, it is the fact that it is also every Christmas and Easter. The kids birthdays I get, but festive days? That said, I have spent two Christmases out of six withSTBXH. I used to think it didn't matter, but you can't create a new family unit when he has still got his feet under the table in the old one.

The kids will always come first, but that doesn't mean pretending you are not divorced.

snowshapes Wed 27-Feb-13 23:47:51

Oh sorry, he is not divorced, just separated. No, this is not going anywhere, I don't think, I am sorry,

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 27-Feb-13 23:49:22

You are on the verge of ending things - i think thats just as well, you expect to come before your partners children - you are too selfish to be in a relationship with a man with children from a previous relationship. I dont mean to be insulting, because I know i would be too and i could never be involved with someone who had children because i know i would resent the involvement with ex and probably resent the children too. So i just woudlnt go there

whattodoo Wed 27-Feb-13 23:49:49

I don't think he will change in the way you want him to.

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 27-Feb-13 23:50:47

oh sorry, im tired and missed that they are grown up kids. I actually think this confirms to me more that he isn't the one for you

AgentFelix Wed 27-Feb-13 23:51:30

It would only annoy me if I thought his children and W were deliberately arranging things on particular dates to interfere with my plans. If not I would accept it, possibly feel a bit pissed off in private, and make other arrangements.

I think I would feel more hurt at being excluded from his children's birthdays/special occasions. It's great that they are his priority but after 2 years I would hope to be included in some way too. Do his children ever spend time with you?

I would need to have a conversation with him about his future plans. His ideal about keeping the family together in every way but living together is admirable but hardly realistic long term. Do they even know that their father has a partner? And what does he expect to happen if his W gets a partner?

jynier Wed 27-Feb-13 23:54:42

Red flags!!! He is using you, OP!!!

allaflutter Thu 28-Feb-13 00:01:37

He does sound like a user (with you), if he is not prepared to get involved in a serious relationship, then he shouldn't be involved! let him look for casual flings instead, not treat a supposed commited partnership as second-best to the rest of his life, with no compromises!

OP, my advice, end it! IF he misses you are realises what he's lost, he'll come back but wil be prepared to compromise - they aer grown-up children, not babies, spending even every Easter with them and the wife is Over the top.

SusannahHG Thu 28-Feb-13 00:02:35

Thanks for all your replies, mostly constructive and probably what I expected, but 'kinkyfuckery' I find your reply offensive. I had guessed that some people would reply like this but as I stated in my post I just don't need this kind of comment right now, just wanted to know if other people had been in similar positions - there are so many divorces these days loads of people must empathise. Would you appreciate it if your other half, if you have one, were to leave you on your own on your birthday and could not make SOME sort of compromise, like maybe lunch if they couldn't make dinner, come on...be a bit more human?

bestsonever Thu 28-Feb-13 00:05:58

As his DC's are virtually independent, I'd say he's just not that into you and you may as well cut your loses rather than wait more years, sorry, it's tough, better to walk away and have more respect for yourself than he is giving

merrymouse Thu 28-Feb-13 00:07:40

If this were going to work out he would have divorced his wife, he would have agreed to let his ex take his daughter to the airport (or you would all be going together to the airport) and you would be spending your birthday with him as planned.

Eurostar Thu 28-Feb-13 00:10:41

Not only does it look like he is not that in to you (which is fine if you are just after a friend with benefits but clearly you are not), I'd even go so far as to say that he could be using you to win points with his family - look everyone, it's Susannah's birthday today but I am with you all because you are all far more important.

Please don't be lonely and miserable on your birthday, just tell your friends/family that he can't be with you and find yourself someone to celebrate with and spoil yourself!

allaflutter Thu 28-Feb-13 00:11:28

No OP, no! of course he should make an effort for you as well as the kids - FGS he could see his daughter the day before she leaves or in the morning if your b-day and not take her to airport (she knew she dropped the bombshell so she probably didn't expect parents goingto airport anyway!) . we posted at the same time, so you've missed my earlier post probably. Just leave and show him you respect yourself - if he needs you he'll come after you.

Viviennemary Thu 28-Feb-13 00:14:22

I think you deserve more commitment from this man than he is giving at the moment. You are obviously not happy with the situation. I don't think the birthday day is that important as a stand alone incident but if it's just part of a situation when you always feel second best then it's no good. But if you have a lot of good times together think carefully about ending the whole relationship.

chickensarmpit Thu 28-Feb-13 00:17:15

So, he made plans with you and just broke them off? Get rid. He sounds like a prize prick.
He's made his choices in life and you appear to be an after thought.
Have you ever spoken to him about where you see yourselves as a couple in the future?

Astelia Thu 28-Feb-13 00:18:35

After nearly three years why aren't you being invited to his family celebrations?

I agree with merrymouse.

He is just using you, the relationship is not going anywhere. Time to move on.

SusannahHG Thu 28-Feb-13 00:26:50

AgentFelix thank you for your reply. He lives on his own but spends lots of time at mine, in normal circumstances. Maybe, I sounded too negative in my original post but wanted to keep it short (failed!) He does help me with stuff at home and we are normally a really compatible couple. Only at wife's for the aforementioned special occasions. She knows about me, we have often been on the same social events and we have talked quietly together once about our relationship where she was kind and even told me that he loves me. She has a new partner and the kids all know about me, all our 4 sons are good friends, that is actually how we met. He thinks that my being there at special occasions would upset the children because their mum, and themselves, would feel awkward - probably true! Anyway, I think everyone else's messages have made me decide to spend the stupid bloody birthday with my head in a vat of wine - is there an alcohol thread!!

izzyizin Thu 28-Feb-13 00:39:32

There's an avoiding alcohol thread but the rest of us carry on imbibing as and when such as now in my case wine

SusannahHG Thu 28-Feb-13 00:41:24

Lucyellensmum95 - Appreciate your comments, I'm tired too, little one having bad dreams! But NO WAY have I said at any time, or thought, that I should come BEFORE his children, however, there has to be some compromise between us and them, without them continually being put first. Adult relationships are important to all of us, as are relationships with children. And it is a fact of life that marriages end and there are not that many men out there without any children...so I don't want to be single for the rest of my life because I am 'selfish' and can't find a childless man to spend my time with, I'm not that old! Just wanted some advice from those that have been there/are in a similar position...

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