So tired of being messed about..

(51 Posts)
DizzySometimes Sat 21-Sep-13 03:26:41

Hi there. I know I post sporadically, and I’m sorry about that – do try and catch up here and should do it more.

I guess I just need a place to vent really, as I feel like I’m reaching the end of my tether. I am so tired of my life being so affected by someone who should play no part in it. And I realise that some exes are totally reasonable, and, at times, my DH’s ex can be, but I’m sick of having our weekend plans altered the day or two before we’re due to have my husband’s son by his ex. This has happened the last two times and, the last time my husband dropped his son off, his ex kept DH at her place for an hour ranting about school stuff (not specifically to do with his son, so you know) meaning our plans for the evening went out the window. Now, I know my husband should have interceded and said he’d talk to her again soon (as he was seeing her at an event at school the next day), and I did tackle him about this when he came home, but still I guess I just feel it shows she has no acceptance of the fact he has other commitments, and he’s lax in giving her that message too.

When we have to change weekend arrangements, we give her as much notice as possible, and I wish we’d get the same back. The latest change involves something that happens every year at this time, so it's not like we couldn't have known about this before. As it is, I feel that she treats my husband with such disrespect and he allows her to do it! I actually had some firm words with him today about setting boundaries and stuff, as I feel that her attitude is starting to rub off on his son as well. Of course, this would mean consequences etc, but I think that’s necessary otherwise where will it all end?

There’s a family event coming up in the next few weeks, and we’re still not sure when we can pick up DH’s son because the ex has to make arrangements with school (she is the only one who can request an absence, and school are okay with her doing this, as we’re not in the UK) but hasn’t done it yet, despite being given plenty of notice etc.; other family members need to know when to expect us as well for sleeping arrangements and stuff too, and they would like to know beforehand. Anyway, these arrangements specifically affect me (as I'm going to be driving a few hours to get my DH's son to where he needs to be, depending on what is agreed). I think I’m as important as anyone else in the family, and that we should be firm about knowing soon, or having to make other arrangements. The response I got back was: I’m not going to make changes that would affect my son in any way that might upset him. Now, I understand that, as a parent, you want your kids to have the best, but surely sometimes being firm is also required? As it is, I feel like I can be inconvenienced as much as necessary as long as it means no one else is, and I’m afraid that got me down a bit.

Any words of how to see the bright side here? I’m trying to detach as much as possible, and I think I will have to start just not engaging when he complains about his ex, as he continues to do the same thing over and over, but I also don’t want to appear heartless. I guess, in the end, that’s how I’m going to appear anyway, but any wise words would be lovely of how to handle this continuing issue of plans altering last minute and boundaries.

Thanks if you got this far!

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 21-Sep-13 07:51:04

Sounds like both your DP and ex are fairly free with contact arrangements; which is fine if they're both happy with it, but if your DP is moaning and bitching about it, then something needs to change.

I don't think it's reasonable for your DP to make arrangements for his DS to spend time with his family that require his ex to request time off school - if (for whatever reason) your DP does not have equal parenting responsibility and can't request the time off from school himself, then it's really up to him to plan things within the time periods that he can influence.

This is all down to him - why would his ex respect him, or acknowledge his life with you if he doesn't expect or require it? Sounds like their lives are still very enmeshed. He chose to stand on the doorstep for an hour chatting which ruined his plans with you; would he have done the same if he'd been due at work? It's him who is disrespecting you; she's just following his lead.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 21-Sep-13 10:20:30

Why did your plans for the entire evening go out of the window because he spent an hour discussing their child with his ex? That's rather a dramatic reaction isn't it?

Tbh nothing you've said makes me think you've been unfairly treated, they have a child and things have to be flexible.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sat 21-Sep-13 15:03:19

sparkly Have you never bought theatre tickets, reserved a table at a busy restaurant or even booked tickets for the cinema?

of course an hours unexpected doorstep conversation can hijack an evenings plans - but it's the OPs DP who placed such a low priority on his plans with her in favour of a non-urgent conversation with his ex.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 21-Sep-13 16:10:50

Obviously confused. But I don't agree that an hours convo can hijack an entire evenings plans, unless you want it to.

Is that the case OP? Did you have those kind of arrangements?

DizzySometimes Sat 21-Sep-13 16:23:08

Exactly china - an hour can make a major difference when it's the difference between getting home at 8 and getting home at 9. And, for the record sparkly, they weren't discussing their child. If they had been, I would have understood. I know that there are things that need to be discussed, and I understand that. So, no, not a dramatic reaction at all. And I also understand that things require flexibility, but I don't agree that plans cannot be made just so everyone can be flexible all the time "because they have a child", particularly when arrangements have been made months or so in advance, but the ex only tells DH the week they happen.

china - I totally agree with you, and I'm not excusing DH at all. I do feel that he has allowed her to behave like this for so long, that she now feels that it's okay to change her plans last minute; never mind if that alters our weekend plans totally. I just wonder what to do about it from my side, if that makes any sense? I'm going to talk to him about it some more today, and discuss how to manage this better.

DizzySometimes Sat 21-Sep-13 16:26:59

Yes, sparkly, I did, so, no, it wasn't something that could be altered at the last minute. And, as I said before, I agree with china that a lot of it is to do with DH. And I know I have to manage this somehow; that was the purpose of my post. As you say earlier, yes, there is a child, but the child is not mine. I do what I can when he's at our house and to support DH, but I disagree that I have to be flexible when others are not.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 21-Sep-13 16:37:57

I think you need to grow up quite frankly. Why should your DP have to fling his child through the door and rush off? There's something she wants to chat about re their child, it ends up taking an hour, big deal.

Or else dump your DP and find someone without a child.

But I guess you won't, I am sure you'll just spend the rest of your time with him low level moaning about his child and how him dealing with issues pertaining to that child impact on YOUR life nights out.

Try to remember that child never even asked for you in his/her life, you're just someone that his Dad happened to fancy so stop moaning about other people's FUNCTIONING arrangements with regard to their child.

If step parents stopped stamping their feet and trying to muscle in and force a place for themselves instead of allowing it to occur naturally then there'd be a lot less unhappy blended families.

And if you think I am unsympathetic to SP, well there's a thread running atm in AIBU where the SM who is a new mum has basically been dumped with loads of responsibility for her SD and even says she doesn't like the child. I have EVERY sympathy for that woman because THAT'S a problem! You having to wait an hour to get out on the razz is not.

Rooners Sat 21-Sep-13 16:38:32

I'm sorry you're getting messed about. Fwiw I'm on the other side of it (the ex) and it's the other way round here - they never let me know what they are doing or when they are having him.

It's a nightmare and whoever is acting in this way needs to stop it.

I hope you get some resolution soon.

DizzySometimes Sat 21-Sep-13 16:44:01

sparkly - did you read my post? They were NOT discussing his child. And, no, I would never encourage him to just chuck his son through the door and run. And we were not "going out on the razz" either. Are you projecting something on to my post that wasn't there? Your response highlights very well why stepparents have issues - because other people just expect them to sit down, shut up and stop moaning. Why shouldn't boundaries be set so everyone knows where they stand? And where, exactly, was I moaning about his child? I have been very clear that I know that part of the responsibilty is DH's.

Rooners - thanks for your post. I'm sorry you get the same treatment as I think it's not good whichever side it happens.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 21-Sep-13 16:56:36

I don't expect step parents to sit down and shut up at all, just not to make mountains out of molehills, thus adding stress to an already heavy load of it.

What were they talking about then? That YOU felt was so unnecessary?

Can you not see how easily done it is? Relationships need work especially difficult ones between exes sharing children, he has a coffee and a chat, he probably chatted to his kid too, you're lucky he wasn't there longer than an hour if you ask me.

Good relationships between exes are priceless, it makes everyones life easier, especially the children's. The odd hour here and there and maybe not knowing arrangements weeks in advance is a small price to pay.

Do you have dc of your own?

juneau Sat 21-Sep-13 18:23:23

I am so tired of my life being so affected by someone who should play no part in it.

Er, hang on a minute - your DH had an ex and a DC before you came on the scene - so you walked into this with your eyes wide open. And if you didn't, you should have. Taking on a man who already has a family is not for everyone - if you wanted a single man with no entanglements you should've kept on looking.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 21-Sep-13 18:28:31

If his ex was "ranting about school stuff" how is that NOT relating to his child?

DizzySometimes Sat 21-Sep-13 18:40:55

Sparkly –thanks for taking the time to post. Given the tone of your posts so far, and the fact you’ve read stuff and made up incorrect assumptions/minimalised my relationship (my being a woman my DH just happen to fancy/going out on the razz), I’m not going to interact further with you on this thread.

Juneau – you’re right. I worded that badly. Frustration was high last night. I do think that stepparents are expected to “know what they’re getting into” when, actually, you have no idea until you’re actually living it. I understand that negotiation and flexibility is required from everyone, and I also realise that is up to my DH to liaise with his ex and, as stated in previous posts, he is responsible for that. I am going to talk to him about this today as, ideally, it would be great for everything to run smoothly as possible given the situation.

Sparklysilversequins Sat 21-Sep-13 18:45:04

Well obviously I am not saying what you want to hear and agreeing that you're being unfairly treated and going by the tone of YOUR posts your little mini tantrum is not entirely unexpected.

Good luck but I suspect that if your DP is as committed a father as he sounds you might find yourself being dumped in the not too distant future if you keep whining about non issues and trying to change how he and his family, both current and ex interact.

Stepmooster Sat 21-Sep-13 21:07:44

Hi Dizzy I don't think you are being unreasonable to be frustrated by having contact weekends changed or confirmed until last minute. We've just had a whole summer of this. Although it seems your DH and his ex are amicable but perhaps just things have slipped a bit and not the ex playing control games.

I would discuss this with DH. Perhaps he just doesn't understand how frustrating it is for you.

I find last minute changes very frustrating, because we also try to co-ordinate contact with meeting up with DH family so they get to maintain their close bond with DSS. Its not always possible to get people together at the last minute.

I also find that when something like last minute changes happen it makes me become hyper-edgy. I have to take some deep breaths and try and not let other minor stuff get to me.

I've also started to challenge DH a bit more to change how he responds to his ex behaviour, and how much he expects me to do for him. I can't solve his problems for him. I can't really facilitate contact (driving) as I have a new baby now and it was getting very tiring assisting him.

If you weren't around how would he collect his child?

Am I right in thinking your DH wants to take DSS out of school during term time? I don't think I would allow this, perhaps the ex is dragging her heels because she doesn't agree with it either?

Its all well and good people coming out with the, 'you knew what you were getting into' line. But if you have no experience of step families or children that is unfair. Everyone is allowed a bad day, how many parents have a moan/rant about their own kids/partners? Its unfair to expect step parents to not be allowed to do the same.

DizzySometimes Sat 21-Sep-13 21:41:45

Hi step - congrats on the new baby!

Thanks for your advice. I definitely don’t think it’s nefarious of his ex at all; I think she does not realise the impact last minute changes have (because why would she when DH hasn’t really set boundaries?) and is not as organised as we like to be. Additionally, as said further up thread, DH has not really challenged her on this in the past, but it has been an ongoing source of irritation for him prior to meeting me. You’re absolutely right about making other arrangements as well when we have DH’s son – often we drive to family that live 3+ hours away one way, so if those plans change, other family members get disappointed too.

I have spoken to DH about this today, and we both talked to his son as well, regarding communication and trying, as best as DSS can, to keep us in the loop of what’s happening. DH’s son is 16, so is getting to an age where he wants to do other stuff with his mates or change pick-up times, so we’ve asked if there are specific times where that is more likely to happen to let us know in advance, rather than when DH goes to pick him up.

I like the idea about challenging DH a bit as, like you, there’s really not much I can do apart from listen and get frustrated also! Arrangements for contact are between him and his ex (and his son now, as he gets older), so he needs to try other tacks if certain things aren’t working for him.

If I wasn’t around for this specific event, it would mean his son couldn’t attend. It’s actually for a family wedding, and a Thursday night is the only feasible time we can make it work as DH has to attend rehearsals and stuff on the Friday, hence the taking him out of school. Honestly, I wasn’t sure about this either, but attitudes towards this in the country where I live seem to be different to the UK, and both DH and his son want him to be able to make it, so that was why we were trying to organise that. I don’t know how the ex feels about this – I think she’s probably torn too, although she’s not actually told DH that so I’m not sure.

It’s all a work in progress, so we’ll see what happens. Here's hoping!

ChinaCupsandSaucers Sun 22-Sep-13 11:18:04

you're just someone that his Dad happened to fancy

Even for the MN anti-stepmum brigade, this is highly offensive.

The DC's Dad is married to the OP.

Are you married, sparkly? Are you someone that your DH just happened to fancy?

Sparklysilversequins Sun 22-Sep-13 11:25:02

Well yes China I was someone he "happened to fancy". Not married now but that doesn't offend me. It's true. It's true of any relationship. That's how it begins.

Anyhow to clarify, my meaning was that is all the OP is to the child involved, I wasn't seeking to minimise their relationship at all. The child didn't have any choice in the matter at all, they never do.

Sparklysilversequins Sun 22-Sep-13 11:28:05

The OP was an hour late getting out.
The OP doesn't know the details of a journey taking place in a few weeks time.
Sometimes weekends and contacts get changed at the last minute.

hmm

Nope I am still unable to see a real problem here.

Petal02 Sun 22-Sep-13 11:35:28

you're just someone that his Dad happens to fancy

Well that's just priceless, and totally sums up the anti-SM stance around here. Stepmothers: you're just eye candy, and most definitely second class!!!! Know your place!!

Sparklysilversequins Sun 22-Sep-13 11:48:33

No, I did not say that. Let me clarify, again, that's how ALL relationships start, not just second, third, fourth or even fifth ones.

Petal02 Sun 22-Sep-13 12:07:33

Sparkly, but you were definitely implying that a second wife/partner should simply slot in, accept the status quo and not make any demands of her own, just because she's the newbie in the situation.

Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes (often the eyes of the new partner) to notice that what's already in place is not working, outdated, unfair on the father, or the child, or is grossly inflexible or just plain insane. Lots of men just go along with the exes demands for the sake of a quiet life, but a new partner will often challenge this.

Kaluki Sun 22-Sep-13 13:32:59

So all I am to my stepchildren is someone their dad happens to fancy?
Sparkly that is priceless!
There was me thinking I am someone who cooks for them, washes and irons their clothes, helps them with their homework, drives them about, supports them, does everything their mum does for them in fact!
But if in return I get nothing then tough. I knew what I was getting into! What bullshit! That's like telling a tired stressed first time mum that she shouldn't have hot pregnant because she knew what having kids would be like!!!!

Petal02 Sun 22-Sep-13 13:47:37

Excellent post Kaluki.

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