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Can someone offer some good advice?(6 Posts)
I need some advice and hope someone can help. I've been in a relationship with a man I love for a while now, and we are both very happy together. But he has two children and we're struggling to work out an agreement about childcare. At the moment one of his children stays with us on a Monday, thurs, fri night and we see him, and his brother all day Saturday. So whilst it's not 50% of the time it's close enough. The younger child is with us as often as the older child - but he just stays overnight occasionally. The other younfger child doesn't really want to stay with us as he's very attached to his mother. I'm happy with this arrangement as to me it's healthy for the children to spend time with both parents nd I know my boyfriend is a parent first and foremost before he is a boyfriend to me. If he didn't care about his children I wouldn't be with him. I don't have children and I do value getting a break from the children as not being their natural mum can be tough. For me it's important that these children have equal time with their mum and dad. But my boyfriend wants an open door policy where his children can come round anytime. I do get why, as I can't imagine how difficult it is separating from your children - but I have needs too and I'm trying to balance what's best for his children with my own need for some child free nights and making my boyfriend happy at the same time. I want my own children soon but I also want to enjoy what time I have left before I can hopefully become a parent myself. Am I being unreasonable in wanting a more formal agreement about the nights the children stay so everyone knows what nights are mums nights and what nights are dads nights? Is this normal? Is the current arrangement of almost 50% fair given the younger child won't stay regularly stay overnight with us? If boundaries about who's staying where and when are blurred, will this cause confusion? I just need to know what's best for everyone involved and what's fair? Can anyone out there advise?
Just because he only has his children staying X number of nights doesn't mean that they're not his children all of the time.
While I do understand where you're coming from in your thinking, the reality is that if you enter into a relationship with someone who has children then you do so on the understanding that those children could end up being with you at any time, and even full-time.
When I got together with my DP my DS was Staying 50/50 between me and my ex. In the past year this has changed signifficantly and he is now more or less full-time with me. If my DP had started to make demands on wanting to know when he would get time to himself I would have given him all the time he needed, in the form of showing him the door.
Your BF is rightly putting his children's wants and needs first, and reality is that this may change anyway as they grow up etc.
When you accepted this man as your DP, he came as a package. If you love him you should accept that he wants his children there as much as possible.
My advice is to embrace him and his children fully or walk away now.
You don't have a relationship with someone who has children if you have strong feelings about needing child free time.
It's so unreasonable to want a more formal arrangement to suit you when it sounds like such a comfortable arrangement for the children. You don't want what's best for everyone involved. You want what's best for you really at the expense of what's best for the children.
It's totally fine to want to balance your needs and that of his children. Just not to do that by limiting how often they visit!
My fiancé doesn't have children. He's reading lots of books on step- parenting in the run up to moving in with me and my kids (who I have 100% of the time as I'm widowed). One of the things we realised from his reading and our many conversations is that we both need to be okay with him having 'time off' from family life without me. Thankfully he has lots of friends and other things going on in his life. That's good for him, and good for me and my children - we need time on just on our own as well as time with him. And we've also discussed that if we have our own child this won't really be the case any more. Then he'd need to help with all of them or just our child while I have the others and we'd have equal amounts, but much less, 'time off'.
I guess what I'm trying to advise is that you go out and do your own thing more. Go out with friends on a Friday night. Or have a lazy Saturday morning at your own on home while they're at the park and meet them for lunch. All their time with the dad shouldn't be with you too.
Ultimately though, my experience from seeing friends is that even those with tight arrangements generally need to loosen them when the kids become teenagers. Teens want to be free to roam between two loving, supportive parent's homes - between their two homes. If you can't get your head around that (and there's no reason you should - not everyone is cut out for step-parenting. Not sure I would be myself to be honest) then don't have a child with this guy. Move on. It's not fair to you or any of them to do otherwise.
Somerville sums it up perfectly!
Both my DP and I have our own DCs, me 6 days a week, him 50/50. It is a struggle to get some time to ourselves but it is so important to make time for each other.
I can understand your dp wanting an open door policy. Sometimes my 16 y.o sometimes swaps his days with his dad around to fit in with what is going on and I will sometimes have them for an extra night if it helps xh or the DCs.
DP often swaps his days around to make sure we get a night to ourselves as he has realised over the years that I need him to prioritise me sometimes. I know his DCs will always be the most important people in his life, but if he wants a relationship too he has to put a bit of effort into that and accept that a few times a year, I will want to spend a weekend with him just the two of us.
So as he has his DCs every weekend, once in a while he will swap and give me a weekend and spend some of his weekdays with them instead. I think that's fair and I think that although I am prepared for him to have them 100% or at least as often as I have mine, that is all the more reason to get a babysitter once in a while or make time during the day when the DCs are at school to get together.
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