Difficult decision to make(23 Posts)
Sorry, this could be long so I don't drip feed, and I'm also confused and emotional which doesn't help!
DP and I have been together for nearly 2 years now and friends before that, and due to recent circumstances have kind of decided that now would be a good time to move in together (his tenancy is about to end so he needs to find somewhere, we want to live together eventually and if he moves somewhere on his own now and we then decide on 6 months time to move together, he would have to move again and it would cost more etc. Also, my DD is starting school next year so need to decide where we are going to apply for school).
I have a DD who is 3. Split from ex 2 years ago. He lives 150 miles away and has DD EOW and some extra in the holidays. This will not change.
DP has 3 DSs. 2 with one ex and one with another. Ever since I have known him he has them from 11am until 7pm every Sunday. He sometimes has them stay on a Saturday night, maybe once a month at the most.
All has been fine. DCs all get a long, I get along with his, he gets along with mine. He stays at mine usually so DD stays at home, but we have stayed at his, and when DD is at her Dads, I sometime stay at his.
Not the tricky bit....! His youngest DSs DM has now decided she wants him to have DS every Saturday night, and DP (quite rightly) would like his older DSs more too so they can all spend time together. This weekend, his youngest and him stayed at mine and then the older 2 came for the day on Sunday. Everything was great, everyone got on, we all had a great weekend. However it hit me last night, that it would be like that every weekend. Don't get me wrong, I love my DD and love spending time with her, but I also love my weekends "off". I use the time for my studying, doing household jobs I find harder to do with DD and also to do the housework so I can spend more time with her during the week, and also slobbing out on the sofa catching up on tv and sleeping! Yesterday I didn't sit down at all except for dinner, and spent the whole day cooking, tidying up after everyone, doing more washing and feel like I spent no time with DD on her own.
My first thought when DP started having some/all of his DSs on the Saturday was that was fine when I had DD and I stayed at mine and did what I wanted on the weekends she was away, but if we move in together I won't ever get that time on my own.
Its so hard to explain and I tried talking to DP about it but he just doesn't seem to understand. The thought of never having a lie in with just me and him fills me with dread. He works incredibly long hours during the week and I could never say to him he had to stop seeing his boys as much, and I wouldn't want him to, but it seems to me that it would make more sense to not move in together, but then that doesn't seem like a proper relationship.
I am so confused and don't know what to do. Does anyone have any experience of a similar situation, or any advice. I would really appreciate it. Many thanks.
You need to be really aware of the realities of what you are planning. Can you trial run some more weekends with all the kids and try and work out how you really feel. I think you would be unwise to move in together if you have doubts. It's one thing to take a chance when you are single but another thing if there are kids involved.
If you decide to move into together you need to do it wholeheartedly and with the knowledge that his kids will be part of the household. You have to be prepared for possibility that his kids could even end up living with you 50% of the time if not more.
I don't think you should dismiss the idea of not living together as not being a proper relationship. In someways, I think it is a very practical solution.
My advice is not to rush into moving in because of his tenancy ending unless you are 100% sure, which it doesn’t sound like you are.
Just because he has 3 dc doesn’t mean that you should put up with never having any time to yourself or losing your own space. If you have tried to talk to him and he doesn’t understand then slam the brakes on until he does understand. Can’t he have his dc overnight every other weekend to coincide with your weekends with dd? Then at least you get some time to yourself. There has to be compromise here on both sides – not just from you and dd.
Why were you cooking and washing for his dc all day? What was DP doing? Does he pull his weight or expect you to do all the work?
I made the mistake of moving in with DP before I was ready (and his dc were very spoilt and out of control) and it caused so many problems and nearly split us up. I wish I’d kept my own space for longer and laid down the ground rules from the start.
I found this the hardest bit to be honest. I loved my free weekend when my DS went to his dads and then my 2 DSD's came and lived with us permanently (mother fell ill). It was a very hard adjustment - it was made easier that we all had no choice in it mind. It has taken a long time for me to adjust to not having any free time and I had to make sure me and DP get some time to ourselves. Looking back, if I had the choice that you have I would definitely not rush into such a big change.
Welcome to my world! When my kids go to their dads we have my husbands kids so I never get a break! I am always tired and the only break we get is the odd weekend away when my mum baby sits the kids. I love my husband to death and on the whole his kids are fine, knackering but fine but had I known how hard it would be I don't think I would go there again. We both would just love some time on our own but it never happens and it's makes life harder for us.
You need to really think about this. If you are already wondering if it's such a good idea then I would hold off for a bit and make sure it's what you want. I think couple time is just as important as family time and I think you need to put your foot down and ask for a weekend off a month, if he won't agree then that's how it'll be for the rest of the time you are together and that would suck! Good luck op.
It sounds horrendous and step parents who do this deserve a medal.
Isn't this just the same as what parents who aren't divorced do though? I mean, when you had your DD you thought you'd be with her dad forever, and have her with you every weekend...the only reason you have had weekends 'off' is because you're split from her dad, so it can't have been your original plan. I'm putting this badly, but I think what I mean is that most parents do it 24/7, or think they will (as no one expects divorce etc), so although it's a pain not to have a lie in anymore, isn't it just what you had originally thought parenting was going to be?
A lot of parents never get any time on their own away from their children, or much chance to spend time with their children one-on-one. Obviously you have been used to having it, but that is actually unusual, I would say.
Fair enough to think carefully about whether you want to give that up, as part of wider issues about moving in with your DP, but time on your own is not an automatic entitlement for most parents.
Many thanks for all the replies.
I suppose Antoinette and exexpat are right that weekends off were not the original plan, but then if I was still living with my ex I would get some time 'off' anyway. He may have got up with her one morning every weekend so I got a lie in, or been at home in the evening so I could go out once she was in bed, but I don't get any of that, so I guess EOW is the trade off.
I think I was thinking of something along the lines of what Zombie suggested of one weekend a month he doesn't have any of his DSs stay over. I feel quite strongly that if we want to make a success of our relationship then we need some time with just the two of us too.
To be honest I was thinking I would get more replies of you know what you signed up for when you started seeing him, and I suppose I did, but I just want to be absolutely certain before we make the next step. Also I think part of me would feel bad asking him to cut down the time he sees his DC as I would hate it and think differently if someone told me I had to see DD less.
He does pull his weight to an extent when he is here, but I just find it easier as it is my house to cook etc as I know where everything as it would take just as long to tell him where everything is.
I think you're right though, I need to think about it more. I'm very unsure about it, and I think that in itself is not a good sign of how things could go. Thanks again for all your advice.
But spending 24/7 all weekend with your partner and your own dc Is a whole world apart from spending it with your stepchildren.
With a 'normal' family mum and dad have had their couple time before the dc were born but in a second relationship you are thrown in at the deep end with ready made kids and couple time is vital IMO.
Agree with Kaluki - very different not only when they're not the children of you both and when you are in the early stages of a relationship and you haven't had that couple time - which is what most "normal" families have had. When I raised it with my DP once he said "but all our friends have the kids all the time" - I said "They've been married 20 years, we've only been together 3 years and we have 3 kids between 10 - 16 full time" we are still in the early stages of our relationship! men! Anyway, he's lovely and he understood we need to have time to have our own relationship (even if its' shopping for an hour or two on our own)...
I agree you need time as a couple too.
When me and DP got together i found that we had every other wknd off from my kids but his DS was always there. DP saw this as no issue as he is younger than my teens and easier in some ways, however i saw it as still someone else, and it is hard to explore a relationship properly in these cirumstances.
We now have one wknd every 2 months just for us. DSS goes to granny and i really love that time
I don't think you feel ready to have a live-in relationship and a blended family.
I don't blame you, and in your place I would feel the same.
Do you think you'll ever have kids with your DP? There'll be no weekends off then!
Why can't you and your DP take turns on weekend mornings in the same way you did with your DD's father?
I dont think you sound ready, you cant under any circumstances ask him to see less of his children if that is what he wants. imagine the problems you would have if they found out the reason he had them less was because it was what you wanted. you would be forever branded the wicked stepmother.
What if they needed to live with their dad permanently. Give yourself time to prepare for everything living with a father of three entails. you might feel ready in a year. Look at the long game, if you are all properly prepared you have a much higher chance of your relationship lasting the distance.
I too agree with Kaluki.
He wants to see his dc more, great!
You want 'time off' when your dd is away, of course!
You shouldn't have to spend all your study/down time cooking and you do have options I think.
Can dp afford a takeaway for the sat night all his dc are there? Also nothing wrong with a lazy tea one night a week op, so frozen pizzas or one pot meals such as pasta and garlic bread, or dp fills slow cooker sat am.
Are they old enough to help clearing up after dinner? With the radio on and all 4 in there together they can have fun.
Get the boys a seperate wash basket and couple of sets of clothes each so you can wash stuff more slowly throughout the week.
Is your bedroom big enough for a little desk for your study?
Can you afford multi room, or a dvd player so you can leave them to it a bit?
You can still get to know your dss's and have fun without spending every waking minute with them.
Agree with Kaluki. The difference when you are in a blended family rather than a nuclear one is that the relationship between the adults is also new. You haven't spent several years living as a couple before having children. I realise that nuclear family parents don't get 'time off'. Nor do they have to deal with potentially hostile exes, and many of the other issues that come with step parenting.
I am both a parent and a step parent. Step parenting is a million times harder than parenting in my experience. And I don't even have a hostile exW to deal with!
I also think you shouldn't discount living separately but being together. You could even buy houses near eachother, and spend a lot of time together, but you'd still have your bolt hole.
OP. Think about what works for you.
You dont have to all live together to make a relationship work. My DP and I have been together getting on for 3 years and he lives round the corner from his ex and shares residency for his DS and I live 1 1/2 hours away and nearby to my ex.
The DC (teens) all get on well and we spend some weekends and holidays together, but everyone has their own school friends and lives and we both thought it was better not to uproot the DC, and take them away from their other parent, for the sake of our relationship. I think one of the reasons the DC all get so well on is that they havent been all forced together in a 'blended' family.
Once the DC are grown up we will move in together, but for the next few years it works well for us.
I have a similar arrangement with my ex - and when it is my "weekend off" I don't always hang about to spend it with DP and his son. Often I'll go off for a bit on my win or have lunch with some girlfriends. Doesn't solve the time for your relationship issue, but it does give you a little break.
Same here Becca. If my dc aren't around and the DSC are then I consider that 'my time' and I often disappear
to the pub with friends.
Don't get swallowed up by his family - keep some time for yourself.
Agree that your own time - when DD is away is your own time. I try and make plans for the weekends when my DS is at his dads.
You don't have to do everything together, every weekend.
If you are having second thoughts - wait a while. in hindsight I wished Ihad waited longer before selling up and moving in with DH. A few years down the line and I am still struggling at sharing my space and time with DSC. Really struggling actually.
I really feel for you and it sounds a bit if a nightmare.
BUT when I thought about it, I had 4 kids when I met and married dh and I have them all the time (ex is a twat) we have our own dd now and the older 3 have left home, but I'm ashamed to say I never have it much thought!
We did tho, get to go out a lot as the older dc babysat my youngest and had odd weekends away too.
Tricky tho, I guess you just have to give it some careful thought.
How would it be if once a month he didn't have them which coincided with dd being at her dads?
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