Dh married to dss?

(19 Posts)
Notagaindamnit Sun 21-Jul-13 19:40:29

Hello, just to be clear up front, dh and dss (nearly 13) get a lot of one on one time, dss lives with us 50:50 now ( nearly half a year) they do PC stuff together, go to the cinema together, watch TV together, go swimming together...
I anticipated a lot of closeness between father and son when I (readily agreed) to have dss move in, I just wrongly assumed that the "newness" would wear off a bit and dss would do more with my ds or have friends round or visit friends occasionally.
I have read other threads on the same topic and feel that in a lot of the cases mentioned it is the dss either unwilling or somehow unable to mix with peers.
I feel my dh has found his own idea of heaven now that dss has moved in and the two of them can be a "couple" doing all their fav things, without a pesky woman (mum or me) interfering. After all, if I complain then I'm stopping them sharing quality time and being mean and jealous, right?!?
I've recently worked up a lot confidence and tackled dh on misogyny and pull him up on any condescending remarks thrown my way, and felt that he was making progress (he does contribute to housework, etc, that's not the issue) but given half the chance he'd rather spend his evenings sharing inane man PC stuff with dss even when they've already spend the weekend together, like right now.
I feel like going upstairs and asserting my spousal rights to one on one time too, but I'd rather dh felt a need to want adult female company (outside the bedroom), what should I do, anybody with dh who doesn't want to grow up?
I know it sounds a bit petty, but dh recently moved a photo with him and dss to a "special" place, away from the other family photos, including a photo of me? I feel dss has become a rival, through no fault of his own....

Skylit Sun 21-Jul-13 20:12:46

Totally know how you feel. My dp is also obsessed with his dss to the point where he will readily cancel plans with anyone else as soon as dss dictates. He doesn't even apologise or try to rearrange - as far as dp is concerned dss1 comes first and everyone else is insignificant in comparison. If I dare to challenge this I'm the ogre/wicked step mother who is trying to drive dss away and keep dp all to myself. There is no reasoning. A losing battle.

theredhen Sun 21-Jul-13 21:36:00

It seems it's quite common for men to do this with sons in a step situation. I'm often reading similar things on here, so you're not alone.

As a mother who has been quite close to her son, I find it very strange that young men want to do this. Isn't part of being a teenager learning to detach from your parents and become independent? I'm watching my own son do it and I often wonder why these boys on here don't ignore their dads and grunt at them like "proper" teenagers? wink

I wonder if they have never really actually felt close to their dads and don't need to detach from them because there was nothing to attach to in the first place? If a child hasn't spent everyday with dad, do they not feel a need to be independent from them?

I really don't think it's particularly healthy.

Petal02 Sun 21-Jul-13 21:50:37

And I thought it was just me who experienced this ..... I've often said that DH and DSS18 are more like Romeo and Juliet (or Elton and David?) than father and son. If DH fills the car with petrol, DSS has to get out the car to stand with his Dad, and follows as he goes off to pay. DSS would prefer to hang out with his Dad than see friends/girl friends. DH does not usually discourage this. Thankfully DSS starts Uni in September, but they're already discussing ways to have plenty of contact once the new term begins. I suspect time/petrol costs may inhibit this, but I'm just not sure .......,

Petal02 Sun 21-Jul-13 22:05:08

I should add that when DSS is with us, I feel like a gooseberry - he and DH are so enthralled by each other that I'm practically invisible. They'd been on a day out together last Tues, and by the time I got home from work they'd had nearly 12 hours 1-2-1 time, but I still couldn't get a word in edge ways. It's pretty freaky to be honest. And when DSS is back at his mother's they spend hours texting each other. I make sarcastic comments like "I can guess who you're having phone sex with" but it makes no difference.

Skylit Sun 21-Jul-13 22:19:35

It's a bit different in our case - here it's dp who is obsessed with his dss and not the other way around. Dss only really wants dp when he needs something like a lift somewhere or a new computer part/guitar etc. he rarely replies to dp's texts or Facebook messages unless again he needs something. It's quite sad really and I do feel for dp a bit because he just doesn't get it. The lad is almost 18 - of course he doesn't want to be visiting the seaside and going bowling with us - but try telling dp that. Dss has wriggled out of access visits for the past two weekends in a row - only a matter of time before he tells dp that he 's too busy on a weekend and he'll see him as and when he has the time. Dp on the other hand is desperate to cling on to this notion that dss is still his little boy who looks forward to the cinema every weekend with his pops. It drives me nuts.

Notagaindamnit Mon 22-Jul-13 07:56:01

Oh dear, it seems I'm really not alone here.
This is so weird, there has to be a name for it!
I remember when I was having a spot of bother with dsd, how close she and dh seemed to be, how inappropriate her clothes were and a general air of intimacy between them that really bothered me (and me being the typical Irish mother doting on her only son thinking they were weird....).
I asked for advice and mners informed me it was called spousification, or mini-wife syndrome, when divorced parents turn to their children for comfort and they become their confidantes. I read books on this, the more scientific ones call it covert emotional incest. After convincing dh to set boundaries for his daughter's sake, this situation improved immediately and at 16 she has scant interest in spending too much time with dad at weekends (same as my ds, who appears regularly for food and a bit of chat and then off again, as it should be).
So there again, in both cases it is definitely dh doing all the running/ encouraging his kids to be dependent on him, trying to control them, I wonder?
He has problems controlling me as, cheeky upstart that I am, I'm constantly questioning his motives, his attitude (really condescending at times, and when he's backed into a corner gets a bit teary, "poor me").
Do any of you think this could be a control issue?

Petal02 Mon 22-Jul-13 12:49:54

I’m finding father/son dynamics quite tricky at the moment, as DSS finished his A levels mid-June and is now at a loose end til he starts Uni in September. The only thing he wants to do, is hang out with his Dad. DH is a builder, so there have been a some days where he’s let DSS go out on jobs with him. DSS does a few light duties, like sweeping up etc, and DH gives him a few pounds for doing it. Nothing wrong with that as such, but it’s enough to stop DSS seeking ‘proper’ employment. But no matter how much time they spend together during the day at the moment, DSS still wants to come to us for two overnights per week, plus one weekend day. So last week, they were together Tuesday-Friday all day, DSS also overnighted twice, and he was here nearly all day yesterday. It’s driving me insane. DH is very defensive about this, but I don’t think all this intensive Daddy Time is healthy for DSS. Or DH for that matter.

Notagaindamnit Mon 22-Jul-13 13:02:51

Petal, I totally agree. It is damaging to dss self esteem, I think, at this stage (approaching 13) he should be lead towards more independence not less or will end up with dating dad at 18 on a Saturday night (who will then have loads of time as I will have left him...).
Do you at least have some sort of private life apart from dh to keep you together and sane?
I'm learning to drive (again) and my fil recently joked that once I got the hang of driving dh would see little of me in future. Uncanny really how perceptive fil is...

Kaluki Mon 22-Jul-13 15:46:14

I wonder if these men find it hard to be 'traditional' father figures as it is hard to establish that relationship when you only see each other a few days a week.
I have a very good friend who has his dd eow and he tells me that he doesn't feel like a natural father in the traditional sense to her. He didn't have a father in his life as a child so he has no example to go by.
His dd is his mini wife because that is the only relationship he knows. So when he meets a partner (and there have been a few) they usually either run a mile when they meet his dd or they try and change their relationship to something more 'normal' and then get dumped. His current gf has no wish to meet his dd which suits everyone, dd doesn't have to share dad and he gets time with his gf when dd isn't around but I don't think this is healthy.
My DP is struggling a little at the moment because his DS is not affectionate at all with him like he used to be but he is 11 and that is completely normal and healthy at that age as they mature and become independent.
I

orangeandemons Mon 22-Jul-13 15:48:48

My dh was like this. I called it dad on a stick.

However, they do grow up and leave home.....

Trifle Mon 22-Jul-13 15:55:40

What are your domestic arrangements? Did you and your son live in your own house then your dp move in then gradually, after a period of time, his son. Do you feel that you are really just providing them with a roof over their heads so that they can be together. Do you ever go out just the two of you, or together as a family, all kids included. What about holidays and splitting the bills etc. Your stepson cant breathe with his dad being there 24/7, surely he needs some time alone or is your dp clinging onto him as he doesnt want to be with you? Time to evaluate really what you are getting out of this relationship as he seems obvious what he is getting.

Notagaindamnit Mon 22-Jul-13 18:02:28

Trifle, forgive me asking, but are you actually standing outside my window? It seems almost uncanny the way you have asked these questions, because I'd nearly have to answer yes to all of them!

Dh did initially move in with me and ds, but felt his dc would feel uncomfortable so we more or less cofinanced a house (me more, dh less), I'm now feeling a bit trapped as I can't afford to buy out dh should our relationship go belly up. But yes, I've always had the horrible suspicion that dh needed me to afford a nice environment to bring his dc to and eventually dss wanted to move in, I'm sure it won't be long before it becomes even more a fixture, I,e eow at mum's instead of 50:50 (she does not offer the same buddy atmosphere his dad does. She does however do this for their dd...).

We do family stuff/ some holidays together, but I always have to make sure ds or me don't end up with the proverbial short end of the stick. It's a bit sickening how dh will cater to his kids, its actually insulting because they are seriously well looked after!

I'm also an over protective mum, but the dynamic between dh and his kids has never been "normal". They have clung to each other, now dsd has boyfriends she has opted out, but dss now sees this as an opportunity to get more clinging in, and dh simply prefers to do boy stuff (mostly PC stuff).
Dh and I do go out but I FEEL this is rationed out, his real passion is to spend time with ds. Same with money. Dh is careful to mean with his money, but its easier for him to indulge dc then to give me the feeling "I'm worth it" (recently bought me flowers, but had to tell me they were from the mall, not the posher shop opposite where he works...).
I just need dh to need to be with me and not date his son! Not sure how to make this happen, don't want to be housekeeper, nanny and bed bunny, I want to be his partner (have actually told him this, will see now what follows...).

Ragwort Mon 22-Jul-13 18:08:04

Is it 'just' a step parenting issue though? (Sorry to stray onto step-parenting board, I am a step-daughter myself, does that count?).

My DH loves spending time with our son - he got in from work 30 mins ago and he and DS have rushed off to do some sport. Can't remember if they asked me or not if I wanted to join them but I love seeing them enjoy their time together and give me a break. They also love going off for the weekend & share many hobbies - surely that is normal father/son stuff? I don't feel left out at all, but I am very happy with my own company.

Equally I spend a lot of time with my own mother - perhaps I am shutting my father out or does he feel left out?

Sorry if I have missed the point, but I think a lot of parents spend time with their children and not always with their spouse.

Petal02 Mon 22-Jul-13 18:21:21

Ragwort, I think the OP was making a point about NRPs and their children, who are close to the point of obsession, and most definitely to the detriment of other relationships. My DSS wants to do everything with his Dad, and consequently hasn't made friends his own age. And DH is still desperate to over-compensate for the divorce, and totally indulges this behaviour in DSS.

There's an event I'd like to go to this weekend, but I'll bet my bottom dollar that DSS will want to come to (it's not like he's got any mates to do age-appropriate stuff with), DH would be delighted for DSS to accompany us, so I have a choice of bowing out of the event, having been practically displaced by DSS, or have the event marred by having him trailing around with us.

DH always argues that it's ok for DSS to be like this, because at least he's not taking drugs or in trouble with the police etc. But DSS's lack of life skills is very concerning. And just because he hasn't got a criminal record, doesn't mean that everything else is ok.

Notagaindamnit Mon 22-Jul-13 18:21:59

Ragwort, thanks for,your input.
I feel its all a matter of balance. I like dh spending time with dss, as much as I like it when he spends time with ds, or me.
If everybody seems fine with the arrangements you have then its probably healthy for everyone concerned.
My point is just that when the balance is clearly upset, when people are deliberately excluded or should I say "seemingly" invited to join in, then there is something wrong.
And when I address the issue dh gets defensive, mean, but never "oh dear, sorry about that, what can we do to make everybody reasonably happy" ( and not two people being ecstatic and the other(s) sad).
I'm actually a laid back person in RL, haha, you'd never think it though.
I must come across as a hairsplitting, obnoxious harpy, intent on making my poor dss unhappy and causing dh night sweats!

Ragwort Mon 22-Jul-13 18:49:46

I do see (sort of grin) what you are saying Petal02 and Notagain but I do feel this is a real issue with lots of teenage boys; I know exactly what you mean by having days out marred by boys trailing around - it is really hard to find anything that all three of us in our family really enjoy, just trying to plan a holiday at the moment and there is so much compromise involved that quite honestly I would just rather stay at home on my own.

I bet you could get quite a few dads coming on Mumsnet and saying they feel totally left out by 'mums and daughters' being incredibly close.

RinseAndRepeat Mon 22-Jul-13 20:45:33

Reading with interest. DP is a bit like this with DSD. She's only five but I wonder how it's going to be when she's older. She'll play outside with other kids but only if DP goes with her.

I definitely feel like their relationship is close to the detriment of other relationships too. Including mine and DP's sometimes. And I'm worried our new baby will be affected too. I'm anticipating possibly some massive overcompensating on DP's part.

Kaluki Mon 22-Jul-13 22:41:35

Ragwort I think the ultimate difference is that in a normal family if dad and son spend a lot of time together the mum will also have a place in the family and not be totally excluded as is often the case in step families.

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