Stepfamily stories? Live out relationship?

(18 Posts)
lunatuna Wed 26-Feb-14 13:55:40

Started thread in relationships, sent here, thanks Talisa!

I'm dating a lovely guy, been seeing him for 6 months, all wonderful. Turns out we both want the same things in the future: marriage, living together, happy ever after...

We both have kids from our 1st marriages, mine live with me, his stay over twice weekly (as do mine with their dad).

Not rushing into anything, early days, and wouldn't plan to move in with him for a good couple of years, if I even want to... but just trying to get my head around a future life together...

So has anyone got any stories or advice on moving in with someone with kids, with your own kids? It all seems a bit alien and complicated to me. Almost impossible to imagine. I've got no experience of step families, don't really know any very well.

Starting to wonder if it would be more realistic to plan on living apart til kids are grown, though that would be years and years! Has anyone done this? Can a relationship survive so long without being live-in?

Snoozybird Wed 26-Feb-14 15:31:42

Hi Luna and wecome smile

Glad to see you are not planning to rush into living together. I imagine you'll have read a few of the threads on the Step-parenting board by now, if not then have a look through.

By nature of this board you will see a lot of problems arising with blended families so don't let it frighten you into thinking it won't work out for you - however what it'll give you is an idea of what issues tend to cause the most problems and will therefore be vital for you to have ironed out before moving in together.

Biggest issues seem to be differing approaches to discipline (especially "Disney" parenting), interfering exes, finances, and the dad assuming that the stepmum will take care of his DCs whilst he's at work or out with his mates etc whilst still insisting that access takes place that day (sorry for the gender generalisation but have never heard of it the other way round). Lots of stuff that goes on in "together" families is way more divisive in a stepfamily, there nearly always seems to be resentment bubbling under the surface from somebody somewhere (adults or DCs).

I have four DSCs and no DC of my own, although my DH and DSCs are all wonderful I still find it bloody hard. Hopefully some of the more experienced posters will be along soon (a couple of whom I think are in LTRs but live apart from their DHs?).

How old are all the DCs?

purpleroses Wed 26-Feb-14 17:45:35

We moved in together 18 months back after having spent a couple of years getting to know each other and the kids getting used to each other. Reading the boards here was hugely helpful - as like you I don't really know any other big blended families in real life.

And spending lots of time getting used to each other's routines, working out where the differences lay and trying to move towards a similar set of house rules prior to moving in helped a lot too.

Life now is complicated, sometimes challenging and often messy. We've had a few moments when one or other of us has really doubted whether it was a good idea. I think treating the children fairly when you don't have the same love for some of them is probably the hardest challenge. But overall all's going well - we're getting married in a few months time smile

How old are all your kids? And do either of you have a house that's big enough for you all?

lunatuna Wed 26-Feb-14 17:53:37

thanks for replies... 5 kids are aged from 5 to 12, fairly evenly spread out!
Neither of us have a house big enough, would need at least 4 bedrooms, ideally 6... this is totally mental to even think about!

lunatuna Wed 26-Feb-14 20:22:48

anyone else? smile

louby44 Wed 26-Feb-14 21:01:35

I'm one of those people whom it hasn't worked out for.

I met my now exP in 2008, he had 2 DD and I had 2 DS, they are all now 16, 14, 14 & 10. All the kids got on and really embraced the step-parent thing. I got on with his girls too, it was HE who had the problem!

My exP moved in with me after 6 months, which in hindsight was too soon. We then bought a 5 bed house 6 months later. We were very in love and at the time it was all we wanted.

To me he was always wonderful, very loving but he struggled to make a relationship with my DSs who lived with us fulltime. As my DS14 got older he couldn't control/discipline him the same and problems began. He was/is VERY strict, ex-army and had a different parenting style to me, I'm much more laid back.

we split last Dec after nearly 6 years together. The boys still facetime/text the girls and we are going to meet up with them soon for lunch. The boys and I miss the girls very much.

We had some lovely times together and it was a great period of my life. I shall never forget him or his girls and I'm very sad we couldn't make it work. But he has issues he needs to address (not likely now as he's moved onto a new woman and her 4 yr old daughter). I was willing to do couples counselling but it never happened.

Good luck.

MsColour Wed 26-Feb-14 21:43:53

Blended family here. Moved in together last September after being together 18 months. I have 2 dc, he has one. There are lots of positives - my dd7 and his ds7 are inseparable and the 3 them have a great rapport. We love each others' kids (but not as our own). It's great being able to support each other bring up the kids.

There are lots of challenges: exes - one interfering, one resentful, trying to be fair to all the kids, trying to fit in time for us to all to do stuff together as well as time just with our own kids, having to compromise over parenting, lack of space...

For us, i think the key is communication - always talking everything through and saying how we feel. We did talk about how things would be before they moved in and had sleepovers etc. Having a holiday together before also helped us see how things might be and iron out potential problems.

It's not an easy ride but wouldn't change anything.

lunatuna Wed 26-Feb-14 21:51:29

louby, that's so sad. I don't think I could face another separation, and I guess that is the risk you have to take if you move in together. Great that the children are still in touch,and will have those relationships moving forward.

MsColour, that's really interesting. So many potential problems... ultimately supporting each other bringing up the kids is exactly what I want

purpleroses Wed 26-Feb-14 22:03:33

That's very much what I wanted too - to support each other bringing up the kids, and that side of things has worked really well. What's hard is losing that autonomy you have as a single parent though - eg my DD wants to go out in the garden in bare feet in February - DP tells her to put shoes on, she looks at me knowing that I would have let her previously, but I feel I need to back up DP so tell her to put shoes on (then argue with DP later about it).... but you need to be able to cope with compromising, and have a DP who will do so too, as you can't live in a house with two sets of house rules for two sets of kids.

We have 6 between us, aged 6-13 when we first met, now aged 10-16. Younger ones get on great. DP's elder two teens find the larger family a bit full on at times I think, and I've had a steep learning curve with parenting teens (as my oldest was only 10 when I met DP). A large house is really helpful, though we do have two sharing a room and that mostly works out OK.

MsColour Thu 27-Feb-14 00:18:03

I second the lack of autonomy. Ds4 wet the bed last night, I was just going to change him and let him cuddle up with me, dp got up and started changing the bed before he had a chance to get too comfortable.

ElenorRigby Thu 27-Feb-14 08:38:39

Protect your financial position in case it all goes tits up. smile

humptydidit Sat 01-Mar-14 07:01:22

hate to be negative but I never got past the living separate bit.

when things started to look serious with exp I moved closer.... just round the corner and that was when reality hit.
my dsd was hugely insecure and felt very threatened
couple that with exp and his extreme Disney dad behaviour and it was a nightnightmare.
exp always favoured dsd over all of the rest of us including his own ds. result was huge resentment on my part.
dsd held all the cards and called the shots dictating when or if I could visit their house or when exp could be with me with or without the kids.
I have now walked away and we never got as far as the moving in together part.
what I am trying to say is that it may be better to have a compromise to begin with so kids see you are serious about each other and you can get a taster or what real life would be like. .. maybe a holiday os something.
however somebody said to me that there comes a point when you need to decide if you are in or out and get on with it.
kids sense your uncertainty and will home in on it. so please do your research and talk talk talk it over first. look at this board to see the common themes and try your best to iron them out beforehand to give yourself the best chance.
and also have a very frank discussion about your parenting styles and values. i always believed exp had the same goal as me but in practice it was very different. These were very hard lessons for me to learn so please take the time to think first.
trust me it hurts so bad when your dreams are smashed because the relationship with a man you thought was a soulmate is ripped apart by Disney parenting, interfering ex's, insecure kids etc....
this is why you see a lot of folk on these boards who say if they knew at the start what they know now, they would have walked away before they fell in love.
sorry to be so negative. you just need to go in having done your homework with your eyes wide open.
good luck x

shey02 Sat 01-Mar-14 09:34:38

Stuck in the living separate part and starting to think that it is for the best.

Eliza22 Sat 01-Mar-14 14:09:31

Very early days, for all of you. I'd say enjoy the living separately bit and really consider how everyone feels about the idea of 'blending' in the future. Even when all seems well you never really know how it will work out. This morning, after a tearful exchange with eldest SD (with whom I thought I had a good relationship) I really wish his kids would just leave me in peace. I've had it after 9 years of trying.

Good luck, whatever you do smile

littlegreenlight1 Sat 01-Mar-14 17:20:59

This is very interesting!
Im a year into our relationship. It IS hard and the only only only (!!! I cant express this enough!) problem we have encountered at all, is his eldest DD. She is a nightmare, at 12 years old has awful tantrums that we as yet cant control. Theyre infrequent, theyll come late in the evening (Im talking bed time) when SHE decides she doesnt want to stay at mine/do something. She doesnt tow the line like her sister (10) or my children.... all the other children are soooo laid back, for example we have decided to go toa festival together in the summer, she is kicking off already about being "bored". She cant entertain herself at all and will get up in the morning at the weekend and sit outside her dad's bedroom shouting "Im bored" until he either gets up or shouts at her!!
His "Disney" parenting got to me a few months ago and I had a breakdown (not literally but I cried in the swimming pool) and I told him there was no way I could be with someone who gave in to tantrums etc. I told him I understood that I had no right to tell him how to parent, but that was the way I felt and I wasnt prepared to live like that.
Things have got better but we get no back up from her mum, who just fights with her, then gives in.
Argh, needed a rant what Im trying to say is I spent at least the first 6 months thinking we would never have a problem and though I am madly in love with him and I do love the girls, it is never simple and blending two families is hard. I am quite tough and he is quite soft so it was clear one day our styles would clash. He does listen and he does acknowledge she cant behave this way. Touch wood, things are ok at the moment.
I really do want to live together one day, but I need to be positive that he has her behaviour under control because they would stay twice a week. Eek!!!
Good luck, stick with it if its what you want, it will be worth it - I am so so glad we have worked through our issues and can talk everything through.

AlbertsJoy Mon 19-May-14 22:39:13

I have 5 dc's with 3 still at home. DP of 4 years has 1 "princess". 17 years old, she tells us off if we speak when she's watching tv (in my house or theirs) does what she wants at all times, stays out all night frequently. He never challenges her about her behaviour and almost bows when she enters the room, lol. Drives me insane. My kids (and I know I would think so but it's true) are pretty well behaved and polite. Needless to say we still live separately after 4 years, though we have discussed "blending"

TheMumsRush Tue 20-May-14 14:35:56

Albert, I hope you tell her to not be so rude when she is your house and telling you to be quiet!? I would be showing her the door if she doesn't like it,

rosepetalsoup Wed 21-May-14 10:44:53

Hi - I grew up in a stepfamily, and am now in my 30s. Everyone is still together, my parents (one of whom is step) are very happy, all us kids grown up and married.

It was a bit of a nightmare at times but the reason it worked was that the adults always backed each other up in front of us (which I felt a massive betrayal at the time of course!) and also found a balance between bunching us together (as 'the kids') but also still giving us time with our own parent too.

My original parent would be the one who drive me to my clubs, disciplined me, sorted out any personal problem, gave me their attitudes about education etc.

BUT pocket money, chores, and general rules were standardised across us all.

We always went on one long (1 or 2 week) summer holiday together as a family - no separate hols (except maybe to visit relatives on each side).

Extended family all co-operated and sent everyone cards, b-day fiver etc. That was important too.

We had a real home with pets etc. It can work!!

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