AIBU about this?(51 Posts)
I've banged on about this on here before so sorry for repeating myself.
DP has DSD 50:50. But in fact we have her with us way more than that because her mum is always pissing off to parties with her new boyfriend.
So let's say it's more like 60:40.
Anyway, DP always agrees to have DSD for extra nights without checking with me first. It's not that I don't want her there for those extra nights. It's just that I want the courtesy of having a say in what's happening in my own home rather than just being told.
DP thinks I'm BU because I should know that he'll always say yes to extra days so what's the point in even mentioning it to me beforehand. Because if he ever felt I didn't want DSD there or wanted to stop him from seeing DSD where had an opportunity to do so, he'd end the relationship with me anyway.
How can I explain to him that I just hate not knowing what he's agreeing to without consulting me?
This weekend DSD was supposed to be with her mum but she's got a party on Friday got so she asked DP to have DSD. DP said yes, but only if he can have her during the day on Saturday too.
Now he comes home tonight and it turns out we're having DSD on the Saturday night too. I knew nothing of this. Even though we don't have any specific plans I'm still pissed off that he's presented me with this fair accompli.
It's not about whether DSD is here or not, it's about the not involving me in the plans.
How can I explain it to him? Assuming I'm not BU?
This is tough but I understand how you feel as I too am sometimes in the same situation.
I suppose you have to look at it from his point of view and think how you would feel if it was your child.
It's hard because you don't have DSC every day so you might have made plans,etc. i don't think YABU but I think it's one of those things you will have to just smile and agree with if you want your DP to be happy and feel you accept his DC.
Maybe ask him to just send you a quick text of something when contacted by his ex to let you know what's happening? I suppose If he is put on the spot about having his DC an extra night he might not want to say he needs to discuss with you first in case his ex takes that as you dont want DSC there, or that she might stop offering the extra time?
It's a tough one
You should be consulted about what is happening so that you can plan ahead.
Your DP is being way too harsh on you. Surely he is aware that its not that you don't want his daughter there, but just that you'd like to be included in the plans as it is your home and you are family. He seems like he is willing to throw that threat out every time you put "a foot wrong" in his eyes. Not good.
He's being very unreasonable with you.
Your DP should treat you as a 50% stakeholder if you share a home together.
He doesn't actively threaten the end of the relationship if I don't suck it up or anything like that. He's not an asshole. He sees it as it goes without saying that he wouldn't be with me if I ever made it difficult for him to see DSD.
And also, any extra time with DSD is brilliant for him so why wouldn't i want him to have it?
And that he thinks of DSD as living here so why would he need to tell me what's going on? I should just always assume she is here unless she isn't.
Except that would all be fine if it wasn't actually his ex's social life driving the timings. But however much DP wants it to be true DSD doesn't 'live here'. She's just here more often by default because her mum keeps ditching time with her. So we're all actually at the mercy of her mum's calendar.
With that in mind I just want this tiny, tiny bit of control over what the plan is. Just so I don't feel completely like a non-entity in this set up.
I think you need to say just what you've said here - that you are OK about him having DSD for extras, as long as you've not got plans that get in the way of doing so. But that you like to be asked. I understand completely the difference between being asked about something (on the understanding that you normally agree) and not being asked. But maybe your DP doesn't understand it.
I'd expect DP to ask me if possible - especially if the request came from his ex rather than direct from the DC. Could he not just text you quickly - and do your best to reply quickly - and then he can get back to his ex? Or could he say to his ex - "I expect that will be fine - I'll let you know shortly when I've checked with Madonna"
My ex went through an annoying phase with his DW when she used to oppose having the DCs any extra nights unless they were "swapped" - which really upset me as it felt like the DCs were a chore to be endured (and in our case also quite unfair as he has them a lot less than me). I do now always email or text requests for any extras, so that he has time to check the dates with his DW, but in return she no longer demands "swaps" for any extras (and I am flexible with them in return if there's a time they can't have them) That seems to work for us. If your DP's ex is putting him on the spot - eg by phoning him - could you ask him to ask her to email or text instead? Or if she won't agree, then just ignore the phone and let her leave a message so he's got time to check with you?
I think she always texts. But he just says yes straight away.
Even if we don't have plans it still bugs me because there I am looking forward to a weekend of lazy lie ins with him, maybe sharing a bottle of wine down at our local, and all of sudden my weekend's completely different and I've had no say in it.
I don't think that's fair. Even if he knows I'll always say yes.
No, it's not fair Madonna. Your social/home life is basically at the mercy of the ex by the sounds of it.
That's interesting about the 'swaps'. DP never wants to do swaps because then he doesn't 'accrue' all that extra time with DSD.
My only thing about swaps is that then we'd have as much free time to have social lives and indulge ourselves in our relationship as his ex does.
But that's cos I don't have kids of my own I guess, so my focus is DP.
DP thinks his ex misses out because his ,ain focus is DSD, not his relationship with me.
I never turn down extra time with my children, never have, and never will.
Before you know it they'll be off and this time can never be got back.
I also don't do swaps, surely this comes with the territory of having a relationship with a man with children.
I don't like "swaps" - especially when it's time without the DCs that's being swapped. It's impossible to do it without the DCs being aware of it, and feeling they're a burden. And it means that their routine (and yours) is disrupted twice as often as it needs to be.
But if the ex is asking you to have DSD for extras, then you should feel completely able to ask her to do the same at times that suit you - flexibility should work both ways. if you don't do this, then maybe you should talk to your DP about the possibility? Try to carve out the odd bit of quality time with your DP when you've agreed that you will NOT have DSD.
Dadthelion - do you really mean that? That you'd cancel going to a party with your DP - for instance - so that your ex could go to one with hers? Your whole life is something that goes past and can't be got back. But DCs are not the only thing that makes life worthwhile. And you owe it to other people in your life too not to let them down by changing plans.
I'm not fussed about swaps per se. But DP refuses to ask his ex for any favours ever.
He always gets his mum to babysit if necessary but she lives miles away so it always involves her staying over at our place. So I get a night out but then I get to wake up to the MIL! Hardly ideal. Plus she fusses and flaps so arranging her to babysit is always a real headache.
Ugh. I dunno. I really resent being dictated to by his ex's social calendar. I just can't see how I can get any control over my life back without it looking like I don't want DSD around. Which isn't the case, obviously.
Thanks for all helpful suggestions btw. Am taking all on board and thinking about them.
I could have written your post myself when dp and I moved in together. To me it felt like we were doing the ex a favour and she would just assume we had no plans. I lost sight of the fact that actually it didn't matter why, dp got more time with his Dd and that was what mattered.
I don't think you are being unreasonable but I can understand where your dp is coming from too. Try making plans with your friends some times so that you don't feel your weekend has been mapped out by the ex.
It is frustrating but when I relaxed about it things got easier. I wouldn't expect dp to tell me when I can or can't see ky children I. My own home so why should I have a say in his.
Dadthelion, I'm assuming you're a man? Do you have a partner, and if so, does he/she mind if plans get cancelled all the time if you get the chance for extra access?
Madonna, I felt very sad for you, when you commented that your DP's primary relationship in life is his daughter, not you. This is where step families go wrong; in a together family, a man and woman get together, establish a relationship, then a child comes along. Meanwhile, the primary relationship in the family is still that between the man and his wife, the child has a different place in the pecking order. But in a step family, the dynamics are often all wrong; it's the parent and child who are the primary relationship, the new wife takes second place.
As "wife" I expect, at the very least, to be first amongst equals. Anything less is just wrong.
Thanks purpleroses. It does make me feel a bit sad sometimes that it 'll never be me and DP together on our own like that before DCs come along. Nothing I can do about that though.
Petal - I quite agree.
Op - yes it's awful to look forward to a child free weekend and then have it snatched away for EW's convenience. Equally it's dreadful to look forward to a weekend with children and have that cancelled at the last minute.
Can I ask how you all plan food, for example I tend to buy 2 chicken breasts if there is just 2 of us us or 5 when we have the step children, how can you meal plan?
It's all about control and you feel that the mother's social life is controlling your social life.
I used to feel like you did before my own dc came along, there is a vast difference between a child free weekend and a weekend with your sc.
I think you need to be upfront if you feel really hurt resentful about this. It will eat away at you. What would happen if you'd made plans for a weekend away together as a surprise? YANBU he needs to accept that you are a human being with feelings not just a sm and you need to feel involved.
If you're really upset and he can't or won't accept that then I think you need to reconsider the future.
Sorry to be harsh
I think you should challenge your DP's refusal to ever ask his ex to have any extra. You might feel a bit better about having DSD for extras if you knew it was a flexibility that worked both ways - and that you and DP could get time together when you want it.
And refusing to ask his DD's own mum to have her if he can't, and asking his own mum instead is just petty game-playing trying to "win" over his ex. I'd have no time for that.
Yes it does feel petty. Which is weird because it's so unlike him normally. He's such a good person - a better person than I am tbh - so it feels incongruous with the rest of his character.
To answer the meal plan question, we always have a lot of veg in. And we have a lot of stuff in the freezer like chicken breasts or mince, that can be defrosted and thrown together to make a meal at fairly short notice.
DSD has started refusing dinner at her childminders or at her mum's if she's there during the day. She waits for DP to pick her up and eats with us. Which means I have to always cook for all of us. Just a small thing but means if i was planning a curry or something spicy (which i love) I often have tp change plan at half an hour's notice.
Sounds like your DP is trying to recreate what he's lost - a home with a DW and DD that lives there too full time. And where the DW is the DD's mother - which just isn't the same relationship as you have with her as SM.
A book I read "Mum's House Dad's House" I found good at helping me to see that co-parenting between two houses is something different and not all bad. If your DP is not otherwise a petty person, and able to reflect on things he does, maybe reading that, or something similar would help him?
You say she doesn't live with you, but if she spends more time with you than her dm, then maybe you should start to think of her living with you. Else, where is her home? It may be easier to assume she is at yours, like your dh said.
OP I get the feeling that you spend the majority of your social time either with your DP (when your DSD isn't there) or with the two of them?
What would happen, for instance, if you planned to do something that didn't involve him at a time when his DSD wasn't scheduled to be with you - and she didn't arrive at the last minute, so your DP ends up spending time without you or his DD?
One of the first things I learnt as a SM was the importance of having my own life independent of DP, and not compromising that just because his DCs weren't around.
I used to get this at the start of my relationship - where, despite contact often being an uphill battle, the ex was all too happy to "offer" the children up if it suited her social life. DP understandably grabbed these opportunities as he'd argue that otherwise he wouldn't be sure when he'd see them next. However, it used to rile me no end - despite sympathising with his position - because once we'd enabled her to have a weekend away or whatever I knew we'd then go back to the more familiar routine of her obstructing contact, being unnecessarily difficult about pick up times, refusing to confirm arrangements until the last moment and so on.
And yes - no matter what the background, and me understanding that of course he'd want to see them, it still felt I dunno - demeaning, inconsiderate and/or as if I didn't matter, when presented with a fait accompli which took no account of any plans we may have made (which were then either cancelled, or turned on their head), meal planning, or the simple courtesy of me being part of the process which determined who was going to be in my home at any given time. I wouldn't expect DP to refuse to have my mum over for example, genuinely good reasons notwithstanding, but at the same time I wouldn't dream of inviting her round without speaking to him about it first.
If I ever raised an eyebrow I used to get what I felt was emotional blackmail in return - e.g. it's not doing ex a favour (although it clearly was as at other times she made contact v difficult) it's an opportunity to see my kids, or don't you want me to see my kids, or I can't say no or she'll tell them I don't want them etc - which I felt was unfair and missing the point. What used to get me in particular was the fact that if his kids were ever "offered up" - and yes, appreciate that makes them sound like commodities but then the ex has always treated them as her possessions - at a time when he, specifically, had plans of his own such as a night out "with the lads" all of a sudden he wasn't quite so keen to have them and it was at times like those that he was far more likely to decline, regardless of the ex's reaction. Obviously, that made me feel total crap - and bottom of the pile ... it was okay for him to decline seeing his own kids when he had something he'd prefer to do yet I wasn't allowed to object to unexpected contact even though I wasn't their parent.
It's taken a lot of remonstration and pointing out stuff like I've just described to get him to see my point of view. I am always "asked" now even though it feels like there's only ever one "acceptable" answer. It is, for example, very hard to veto his kids coming over unexpectedly when I'd hoped to have a quiet child free weekend after a hard week's work. Still, it's far far better to be involved - even if you have little real choice in the matter (unless you want to start WW3) than to find out after the event.
This guy has never put you first from the start He's not going to change now. I found your comment about his main focus not being you very sad.
I really feel for you, I've also been in this position.
Dp does now ask me and it feels better but certainly not perfect.
It is one if the most difficult things about being a step parent. Having no say about what happens and when in your own home.
Could you show him this thread?
We all know that these dads love their kids but unless we took up home with those kids full time from day 1, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect child free time and look forward to that. Not have child free time as something to think of as a second best to having the children. As a parent, I've enjoyed both times, and can freely express that. As a step parent I am supposed to only enjoy my time with my step children. That is simply not the case.
I think most parents with a strong relationship with their kids enjoy time away from them. I think he ones who are insecure and scared cling onto the children and it does no one any good.
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