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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?
"dsd is as much a part of our family as my own children"
Well that's the crux of the matter in some cases though. In my DSSs' case, the way they live their lives in reality is that they are very much not allowed to be part of our family.
So for any member of our permanent household, we will have a say over who is in when, what the arrangements are, what is happening any particular day/weekend. If my son is going to be doing something on a weekend, I can ascertain what impact that will have on family plans and accomodate it. DSSs or their mother give us no such notice. For DSSs we have so such say because there whereabouts is completely controlled by their mother. So taking emotions out of it and looking at it in practical terms it's simply not the same as my "own children". There is no 3rd party deliberately making life difficult for me with respect to my own child
I don't know what shifted in our relationship to change my opinion from that of the op, which is how I started, I remember saying all of these things to dp pretty much word for word, to my opinion now of the more the merrier but life is much easier now. There is less stress and less ill feeling. Dp used to be quite offended if I said those things as if I had something against his Dd which was never the case. He would say well I will cook her meal then or make the bed up etc.
I think because we already have 3 resident children dsd being here doesn't actually make a difference, a meal can stretch to an extra child and a bed is easily made but our relationship is much better for me just accepting that dsd is as much a part of our family as my own children.
I actually agree with everything you have written about courtesy and respect and letting op know, maybe I have just been indoctrinated by dp to the extent that I don't actually know why I think he is right, I just do!
Catsmother, I posted before Id read your latest post. I totally agree with your point that theres no escaping the fact that if the step children dont live with you, their presence, however welcome, cant usually be seamlessly incorporated into your usual day to day lifestyle without certain considerations and practicalities being observed.
Very true. Its just the same as if you got a phone call on Friday saying Uncle Bob/Grandma/sister-in-law wants to visit this weekend, you need to collect him or her (two hours journey) and youll need to change the beds and do a Tesco run. Most of us would exhibit some sort of stress reaction, not to mention if youd already got plans for the weekend. No one would think it strange if you had a minor meltdown at this, but when the unexpected addition to the household is step child, its suddenly deemed shameful to have any sort of negative reaction, regardless of the practicalities necessitated or plans that need to be rearranged.
But I do think that a lot of non-resident fathers get so fixated about spending time with their children, that both common sense and courtesy go out of the window. My DH would gladly have extra time with his son, even if they didnt actually see each other (if that makes sense). Hed often agree to have him for the evening, even if he was going to be working that night so DSS would either hibernate in his bedroom if just he and I were at home, or if I were out too, hed spend the evening in our empty house. But everyone (DH, DSS and the ex) thought this constituted access. I thought it was mad, but I was out-numbered.
Also, it used to get to the point (and sometimes still does) that DH spends far more 1-2-1 time with DSS than he would if he hadnt split with his ex. Lets face it, not many together families ring-fence a couple of evenings a week for 1-2-1 father/son time, its neither necessary nor practical. It shifts the dynamics in the relationship; Ive often thought DH/DSS are more like Romeo and Juliet than father and son.
It's not about permission per se. It's about being shown the courtesy usually afforded to equal (in theory) partners. Whatever he feels about his children, whatever you feel about his children, there's no escaping the fact that if they don't live with you their presence - however welcome - can't usually be seamlessly incorporated into your usual day to day lifestyle without certain considerations and practicalities being observed. For example, any extra and unexpected mouths - whoever they were - need to be catered for, which can mean buying extra food and/or buying specific types of food because you know what you already have in won't suit. That may mean extra trips out, extra expense (which you might not have budgeted for) and switching all the meal plans you'd already made. You may need to make beds up too - okay, a 5 minute job in theory but what if all the required linen is languishing in the washing basket - you're going to need to sort that out pretty quick if you're told you have extra "guests" (for want of a better word, no offence intended) with just a few hours notice.
Okay - you can take the view of "his kids, his work" but for example, if collecting them - at short notice - entails a 5 hour round trip (as it does for us) straight from work, then is it really very conducive to marital harmony if you do nothing - e.g. about washing/drying/making up bedding - while the kids are collected so they arrive home at (typically) 11pm and are faced with nothing to sleep on ? My DP would thank me for sorting that out but conversely, would probably feel I was being obstructive and mean if I didn't ...... similarly, after receiving notice of a short notice visit I'd probably be running off to the supermarket as he literally wouldn't have time. It boils down to the fact that if I'm caused extra work and inconvenience then it's absolutely courteous to discuss the proposal with me first.
In addition, although I accept it's unlikely, for all your partner knows you may well have arranged a surprise that weekend on the assumption you'd be child free - which might not be able to be cancelled without losing money. It's also not beyond the realms of possibility that the pair of you have made plans for the weekend - e.g. seeing friends, going to a specific destination, tackling an urgent household task or whatever - and that your partner's forgotten ... I sometimes lose track of time, muddle my dates up etc and so does he ... one of us then reminds the other when we start chattering on about doing something completely different and the same could equally apply when considering having non resident children over. Again, that's where the basic courtesy of discussion comes in as if other people are going to be affected by the skids arrival, such as having to accommodate them as well, or you dropping out of arrangements, it is only courteous in turn to them to give as much notice as possible.
Partners who present fait accomplis whoever is involved, and unless it's literally an emergency, are pretty selfish IMO as it's not always quite so simple as they like to think.
Sorry for jumbled typing, am on my phone whilst bf and ds is not co-operating!
I see what your saying and how the child.could.possibly.end.up very spoilt and demanding. I have never thought about past 'well they are my children, they come first and if anyone tried to tell me when I could or couldn't see them I wouldn't be happy.'
I was exactly like the op at the start of our relationship though until dp pointed out that I wouldn't be hAppy if the roles were reversed.
As it happens we have a baby of our own too and while I am on mat leave I have had dsd a lot so dp's ex makes arrangements with me and dp just finds out when he gets home to see his daughter there.
Also, in regards to how together families are spending all their time together so it's less of a big deal. I disagree. Many families have one parent working long hours and they only see the children at weekends as they are in bed before they are home. However, you are right, they may spend less time with their NRP which is another thing to be taken in to consideration when deciding on who to put first. That is why I would never say no to my dsd coming here - time with her is precious to my dp whom I love very much. But I only feel that way now I know that he is happy to take my needs in to consideration in equal measure to how I take his needs in to consideration. What kind of relationship is it otherwise??
It's not more important. Its not black and white, it's all about circumstances. Together families give everyone access to first place, then they take turns depending on the circumstance. In my example, mum comes first. maybe there would be a discussion and it would be decided that as it was an unusual request from the child for the parents to stay in, they would agree to it in case the child was unsettled for some reason. That would be putting the child first. But both adults would be having a conversation without agenda to decide who to put first in that particular situation.
No woman is going to be happy playing second fiddle to the children, indiscriminate of the situation and without consultation for long. And heaven help the children who aren't learning the lessons that those children of together families are learning about putting others first.
Well I can't see that happening but you are right of course you should go out and your husband should put you first. But in that situation you are a family and seeing your children every day?
Fair enough if the op's husband is expecting her to be available and take responsiblity for the child without giving her an option that is unreasonable but I don't think that deciding that he wants to see his own child in his own home is unreasonable and he shouldn't have to ask permission. Why is the ops preference more important than his preference?
In addition to that, does he consult you before making a decision?
Nippydrips you are missing the point. Assuming you are married to the father of your children, let's say its "date night", it happens once a month and your husband has promised to take you for dinner. Your children new about this way in advance and are old enough to know what it means to you to have some time together. At the last minute one of your children decides they want you both to stay in. No illness, no sadness, just a whim. They go to your husband to ask. What should he do? Who does he "put first"?
YANBU. My 3 DSCs live 50% of the time with us, and really there are only changes to the schedule during the holidays so it's not a constant issue. I would never refuse to have my DSCs for extra days assuming it's convenient (we did refuse one night over Xmas when their mum asked DP that same afternoon, and we were going out), but I want to be asked. Just as a formality. DP now accepts in theory that this is what has to happen (progress, because at first he refused too accept it full stop), but we still need to work a bit on what happens in practice
I am quite surprised by the comments, and there have been a few saying that a partner should come first.
As a mother my children come first before my partner. He is ab adult, they are children. They need me and I should put their needs before my own. I accept that my partner also feels the same about his child. I would think less of him if he didn't.
In fact another light bulb moment was the counsellor saying to him "she is your partner, she must come first" I think society (and often ex wives) have conditioned fathers in to thinkin they must always "put the children first" (which to me has ambiguous meaning anyway) when in actual fact that is not true. My dear old mum said to me that the time we have with our children is so tiny, they fly off so fast and won't take a moment to look back. What point is there in sacrificing all other relationships for them, to be left with nothing. Which is what these silly men will have.
The way I explained it to dp during counselling was that I would always put him first and he should put me first an if that happened then neither of us would ever need to worry about these things. I.e. he puts me first by asking me before making plans for dsd to come or for us to rearrange a date etc. and I put him first by agreeing to dsd coming round. Easy!! It was like a light bulb came on in his head.
Of course if she asks to come at a completely inappropriate time like when we had arranged to go out for my friends birthday meal, he puts me first by not even asking if we can rearrange. God it's so bloody easy when you think about it - but it needs a commitment from both sides to put the other first else one is always giving in and/or having to fight.
If we had firm plans to go away or something then he'd say no to having DSD. But not before he'd looked into whether she could come along with us. And if it was possible to bring her, he would.
What would happen if you had firm plans, like a wedding? Would he cancel?
I'm sure he is lovely man and a good dad and I know "kids come first" and all that but when are you considered? You are his DP and not a time filler for when his dc aren't around.
When DP and I met he was very clingy and needy with his dc which wasnt at all healthy. He wanted to claw as much time with them as possible in case they forgot him and loved his ex's boyfriend more!!!
Now he has learnt that quality time is what is important not just time at any cost and child free time is important too.
unruly preteen DSC was dumped on us with no notice 4 years ago, after their mother had had enough. I say dumped as it was a case of 'take them or I will hand them to SS'. I came home from work and they were there. Although I love them, I was inwardly resentful for a long time as it had a massive impact on our daily lives. (One child, just didn't want to identify too much.) 4 years on things are much better but I'd be lying if I said it had been anything other than stressful for the first 3 years.
Part of me sees it as a compliment that I am seen as a suitable replacement parent and that I can be trusted to put the DCs first. The other thinks I've been massively taken for granted by DH.
Sorry, not sure if that is helpful but I thought I'd share.
I would never say no, but I wanted to be asked
Yes, this is it in a nutshell really.
Except he can't see the point in even asking if he knows I'll never say know.
But it's just the courtesy of acknowledging I'm part of the household too.
Yes it's a respect thing. That's what I keep trying to tell him.
I feel very guilty about the impression you must all be getting of DP from this thread. I promise you he's not an asshole. He's just a very loving, devoted dad who's super enthusiastic about getting as much time with his DD as possible. And that's totally commendable and the way it should be IMO.
I just think that blinkers him to factoring me into the decision making. Because he just has tunnel vision around getting as much time as possible with DsD.
Also I do think there is an element of wanting to recreate the family unit. As if DSD was my child too and we were all together all the time. But that's not the reality. The reality is that we are a couple without children together and so the family dynamic is never going to be like it would be if I was DSD's 'real' mum.
But pointing that out feels really cruel. Because I'm actually desperately in love with both of them and really can't believe my luck that I've got this beautiful family. But I'm just more realistic than he is about how it all works (from my perspective anyway).
This is helping, talking it through here.
Re this Saturday night, I asked him about it yesterday and it turns out his ex hasn't asked him to have DSD. He asked her whether she wanted DSD back on Sat eve or Sunday morning and she said she'd check and get back to him (a bit rich since it's supposed to be her weekend anyway!). So DP said he just decided he was going to hold on to DSD until Sunday anyway unless his ex especially wants her back sooner.
None of this is wrong in principle. I just wish he'd discuss it with me too. Otherwise it probably would've got to Saturday eve before he told me!
I would never say no, but I wanted to be asked
Exactly. And that's the whole point. You just want to be part of the decision-making process.
The issue here is respect.
Leave aside all the emotive commets about not wanting your DP to have the time with his kids etc.
If you are affected by it, if you are the one who has to change their plans, if you are the one who has to cook extra then you should be part of the decision making.
Your DP is not showing you the respect you deserve as his partner and that is the issue here.
We have this issue all the time with DH's ex changing the plans and at the start of our relationship I wasn't consulted. This has now changed as I may have banged on about it endlessly for a few years and now if his ex calls or texts some change to the plan he will always say "I'll just check with Glass if we have anything on for that day".
I would never say no but I want to be asked.
Can you not just explain to him that the dictionary definition of 'communication' is:
- the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium
- the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings
- social contact
All of which are impossible to do in isolation and rely upon the presence of another individuals or individuals.
There is a massive underlying assumption of reliability by you and therefore dependency upon you here too, which is just not on. You are presumably a reliable person who rarely makes plans without consulting others. It's about time he afforded you the same courtesy just in case one day you're not there when needed because you have your own responsibilities/ needs too.
Sorry, bit of a rant but this is about more than common courtesy. I would go mad if my DH did this to me because it shows a total lack of respect and awareness about the basics of communication. I have never shirked my responsiblities to him and my DSDs, and they have always been welcome in our house at the shortest notice, but he has always had the common decency to consider my feelings and opinions before he says yes to his ExW!
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