Childless step mum support

(22 Posts)
Oddoneout22 Mon 21-Apr-14 13:05:12

Hi all, I have just found all these forums and thought what wonderful support they offer! My husband has a DSS of 6 years old and I have been round since just before his 2nd birthday.

My DSS is lovely, very well mannered and well behaved so I'm very lucky in that respect. It's the way my husband makes me feel sometimes that upsets me and there is no point talking to him as he just sees it as 'you've got a problem with my son'....which is not the issue what so ever!

We have DSS every weekend and have done for years, no weekends off! I work in education using the week full time so although it seems selfish I sometimes just want time to myself during the weekend or even better with my husband! We don't often go out on the weekend as my husband always says no I've got DDS and I'm not sacrificing that...which fair enough, but this does mean we never get to go out as during the week we both work sad

I don't know anyone else that have step children so it's quite hard to explain how I feel. I just feel like I'm looking after another persons child, like I do during the week....that sounds awful and makes me feel guilty! It doesn't help that my husband always makes comments such as "I love you second best" or like for example this weekend we've spent the whole weekend with DSS going out and doing fun things as a family (I was enjoying spending the time with both of them) until last night he said "I've really enjoyed this weekend, it's been lovely spending time with him - I love him so much" etc etc. I'm not jealous...it's just sometimes I feel like 'why do I bother!?' I'm pretty much invisible every weekend and my husband just panders to everything DSS wants eg. To watch TV for 11hours none stop and DSS never goes to bed until midnight every night he's here so there is no break from it! If I dare say anything I'm 'criticising' and get cold shoulder.

Sometimes being a step mum can be the loneliest, unrewarding job in the world!!!

JumpingJackSprat Mon 21-Apr-14 13:16:06

I really feel for you op. I totally get why dss comes first sometimes I feel like I'm going to go mad if I have to watch another programme that dss wants to watch or to do something he wants to do when I'm doing something else. My dp is fantastic though and has never said anything like your dp has said - he gets how hard it is for me at times. We went down to eow when dss started school and being very selfish, I prefer it as we now get time to be a couple and get that child free honeymoon time before we have kids of our own like other couples do. We have him more at school holidays which is nice because them it feels like we area a real family and is much more relaxed. I love dss though but you have to think like a parent without the instinctive love that his parents have and always put him first. For a childless person that's a very difficult. It's worrying that you can't address things like bedtime routine. Since I moved in dss now has a mostly set bedtime because I didn't feel he should still be up at 10pm, or allowed to fall asleep on the sofa while we watched tv. With very gradual changes driven by dp, I think dss enjoys that he has a routine around bedtime. Hes certainly much better behaved. Does your dp ever put you first? I don't mean over his child, just if you need him would he be there? Can you start a hobby for yourself at weekends so you get a few hours downtime,?

Oddoneout22 Mon 21-Apr-14 13:52:10

During the week my husband seems like an entirely different person. The problem is DSS is picking up on this and I think he's well aware he's 'more loved' as such...again fair enough, but what will happen when I have children I dread to think?? I worry how my husband will be as well, as his DSS is 'perfect' and so well behaved and I'm not sure how we will deal with having a child full time. I can vision him comparing them sad

I have thought about getting an hobby. I sometimes go out with friends, but this doesn't really help much as I still feel like I'm not getting much time with my husband. I think DSS got it very good considering we have him whenever she dictates and every weekend/half terms too sometimes!

Thanks for your reply, just didn't know if I was being petty! Was hoping other people must be in my situation!!

Blueuggboots Mon 21-Apr-14 14:02:14

When I got together with my STBXH, his dd was 4. She was a lovely kid and I still have a great relationship with her now, even though me and her dad are no longer together.

He used to tell me I was second best and she was allowed to do whatever she wanted, eat what she wanted, stay up until she wanted......

I began by telling him he didn't need to point out I was second best, I knew it when I got involved and told him that really, I wasn't second best because the love you have for your partner is different from the love you have for your child.....

I also suggested that keeping a 4 year old up until 11-12 at night was irresponsible and whilst I understood he wanted to spend as much time as possible with her, it would affect her health as kids need their sleep!!

It didn't go down particularly well, but he did start to see sense after a while.

What is your relationship like with your dss? How old is he? What is your relationship like with your dp's ex?? That might be a way of changing things a little? Me and my dad's mum communicated and changed things between us where we could but this wasn't without friction!!

I had a child with my STBXH and he was compared to his older sister continuously, and rarely in a positive
way!!

Now we have split, my STBXH doesn't see my DS anymore, and sees his daughter about once a month.

Blueuggboots Mon 21-Apr-14 14:02:44

Sorry, stupid phone autocorrected dsd for dad!!!

Blueuggboots Mon 21-Apr-14 14:04:16

I have a friend whose husband has a daughter - she organises to go out or away for the weekend when she comes and let's them get on with it, but not EVERY weekend!

Oddoneout22 Mon 21-Apr-14 14:24:54

Yes I've noticed most people on here have their DSC EOW not every week. I think Id struggle to go out every week and that would not solve the problem unfortunately!

DSS mum was awkward towards me at first and treated me like I was thick. Although over time is ok, but I don't see her as I'm not given any opportunity to be near her (think this may be deliberate!). She also doesn't really want to be involved with me (which is fair enough) so wouldn't be easy to set up that scenario. Routine at her house is probably different, I'm under the illusion that my husband over compensates! And he's nervous she will stop access! (Can't see that happening though as she seems to love shipping him off to our house regularly!). I think I need to take a 'tougher approach' of last minute outings with mates etc, maybe he will then see I don't have to follow suit whatever him and his DSS are doing every weekend!

Malificentmaud Mon 21-Apr-14 14:26:36

This sounds awful, OP. What are you actually getting from this relationship? He sounds like a great Dad but he is a failure as a person as he doesn't have the capacity to love a child and a woman simultaneously.

What's his plan for when his son turns 18 and flys the nest? That time will fly by and your relationship (if it still exists) will be in tatters. Does he think you'll just be there waiting for him?

Also, on the point about wanting to spend as much time as possible.. Plenty of dad's work long hours and only really see their kid at the weekend. But they still share their time out with their partner/ friends/ personal interests etc. he is bordering on obsessive with his need to indulge his son the entire time. And he's being irresponsible to boot.

In fact, I started by saying he sounds like a great dad... But he's actually pretty crap isn't he?

Oddoneout22 Mon 21-Apr-14 14:32:52

He always say to his DSS things like 'you don't need a job you can live with is forever, you'll always be my number one special boy' etc. and if I say something like 'oh no, you could be a fireman or doctor and get money to buy a house' (to deter the situation) DSS agrees with husband which doesn't help!

I couldn't possibly explain how much I love my husband and the weekdays are worth it, but at the weekends I just get this crushing feeling of being unloved and left out sad

croquet Mon 21-Apr-14 14:53:49

Seriously you do not want him telling his son he could live with you forever!!!! Do you know what broke his first marriage? Was it that he was too obsessed with his son and didn't attend to his wife?

I am a massive believer in children's bedtimes. Adults need time together, and there's no reason a child under 10 should be up past 9pm. Don't be afraid of a few sparks flying -- your DP will feel massively criticised if you say the child should be in bed by 9 for sure, but just say that even if DSS was your child, you'd still want him in bed by 9.

I read that the only second relationships / second marriages that survived are those that put the marriage strongly at the centre -- all this stuff about pandered-to child with completely invisible, almost apologetic stepmum is bollocks.

NewNameForSpring Mon 21-Apr-14 17:20:54

Would you consider couple counselling so you can discuss these issues in front of a third party? To be honest, the way your husband is parenting his child sounds bloody awful.

What is he like during the week?

hollyisalovelyname Mon 21-Apr-14 17:45:31

Your dp sounds like a prat.
An irresponsible one at that.
Allowing his ds stay up till all hours.
Letting him watch tv for hours on end.
Trying to compensate for the fact he's not there with him during the week.
Basically building a rod for his own back when the boy becomes a selfish, spoiled, indulged brat.
Perhaps your dss begs to go to his dad's each weekend because he's allowed do what he wants.
Poor you OP.

purpleroses Mon 21-Apr-14 17:59:28

We have my DSC here every weekend. It does feel quite full on after a week of work.

But your DH's attitude to DSS sounds very odd to me. If he's with you every weekend, why on earth can't you go out sometimes and leave him with a sitter? Normal people have a night out from time to time with friends or with their partner and leave their children home with a sitter. And they also put children of that sort of age to bed by around 8pm. I guess if you've not got DCs yourself you maybe don't have many friends to compare your DH's behaviour to, but it sounds very odd to me. I don't envy DSS's mum trying to get him up for school on a Monday morning either if he's been up past midnight at the weekends. Telling you that you come second is rude imo - and suggests your DH doesn't understand that a child and a DP don't occupy the same place in your life and don't need to be in competition. He can love you completely without loving his DS any less. Not healthy for DSS to feel he's in charge of everything at all.

If your DSS's mum wanted more contact she could probably reduce it to EOW - so the fact that she hasn't suggests to me there's no danger at all of your DH losing contact with DSS if he doesn't indulge him in every way - though you may be right that this is what he (irrantionaly) fears.

Flexiblefriend Wed 23-Apr-14 11:08:09

I feel for you OP, this sounds very hard to live with. I think you and your DH need to have a serious talk about the way he is being towards you and his son. Behaving like that is not good for anyone. Most people know that they come second, to some extent, when they get into a relationship with a parent, that doesn't mean it needs to be thrown in their face on a regular basis, and it certainly doesn't mean they should be treated as of no consequence at all.

I am surprised your DSS is well mannered, and pleasant if he is regularly allowed to stay up until midnight, and watch TV for 11 hours at a time, that can't be good for him! I think you need to be very clear in telling your DH that something needs to change. I would certainly not have children with this man until this it resolved. It wouldn't take much. If DSS was going to bed at a sensible time, that would give you evenings together, and the potential to leave him with a babysitter, without your DH missing out on any time with him. If your DH really won't see your side of this, I'd have to wonder what future the relationship has. Can you put up with another 20 years or more of this?

dogfish22 Wed 23-Apr-14 11:39:40

I feel for you OP.... your husband is a prime example of a Disney Dad. He will produce a very spoilt and incapable adult. Boundaries are very important for children, and at the moment this child doesn't have any.

In fact your husband is setting the two of you up to compete, which is not viable for an adult relationship. You are not in competition with his son, hence you can not be second best.

It is important that children get to see a healthy adult relationship. In a nuclear family there would never be a question on "who's first or second best", the parent (adult) relationship comes first as it is the core of the family. Your husband is not making any effort to build a new family unit (hence separating weekends and weeks) and therefor moves his son to the decision dais that must belong to an adult partner.

I have to wonder what you are getting out of this relationship. I would not stay a minute with a partner who does not value my presence and treats me like a maid and gap filler in the time his precious son is around.

I would seriously reconsider this relationship if your husband is not willing to change, and strongly advise to look into therapy.

Goldmandra Wed 23-Apr-14 12:46:33

He always say to his DSS things like 'you don't need a job you can live with is forever, you'll always be my number one special boy' etc. and if I say something like 'oh no, you could be a fireman or doctor and get money to buy a house' (to deter the situation) DSS agrees with husband which doesn't help!

You need to think about things like a child. A six year old isn't going to be thinking in terms of buying his own house. He isn't capable of imagining wanting independence because, in his world, he needs his parents to keep him safe. This isn't a genuine plan. It's just a way of expressing their love for and commitment to each other.

I am concerned that he is falling asleep so late every weekend. Unless he's sleeping in late in the mornings he is not getting anywhere near enough sleep and it will be affecting his concentration, behaviour and long term health. Why not kill two birds with one stone and try to address just that?

Blueuggboots Wed 23-Apr-14 16:10:31

My stepdaughter used to tell me she was going to marry her daddy when she grew up.

purpleroses Wed 23-Apr-14 17:01:30

Blueugg - I think that is normal. My DS used to say he would marry me and have children with me when he was older. When I told him people didn't usually want to marry their mums when they were old enough to marry he said "but I love you!" so sweetly!

(He's now 14 and absolutely cringed when I relayed him that story to him recently grin)

So young child's fears around growing up, leaving dad, etc - quite normal. Parent indulging them, not so much.

Blueuggboots Wed 23-Apr-14 18:16:06

Yes, I agree, normal for children to say lovely things but not so normal for parents to indulge so heavily.

Goldmandra Wed 23-Apr-14 20:19:53

not so normal for parents to indulge so heavily.

Maybe not in every way that it's happening and certainly not in terms of bedtime but that whole conversation is perfectly normal, including your DH's side of it. I can see why it would feel like they were making plans to exclude you forever but it really wasn't relevant to reality in any way.

I have these sorts of conversations with my DDs. DD2 is 11 and tells me how she's never going to leave home and get married and she's going to live with me forever. I give her a big hug and tell her that's a great idea and what a lucky mummy I am smile I know full well this is no predictor of the future in the slightest.

No sensible parent is going to expect a six year old to understand the emotions they will experience when they are adults and ready to fly the nest.

You need to worry about more important aspects of your DH's behaviour than this.

prawnypoos Thu 24-Apr-14 14:01:41

I completely understand. My DSD is 4 and I've known her since she was 2. We have her 4 or 5 nights a week, two full days during the week and all weekend. Unlike your DSS she is badly behaved-especially when her dad is around and they act more like friends than father and daughter. She can be the loveliest, most adorable little girl when she wants to be but for the majority of the time she is little miss awkward arse. I try to discipline her where her dad fails to do so for her own sake and as a result, when we are together she behaves. It's sounds like your DP views you two as competing for his affection and is treating it like a competition which is wrong. I would pull him up on it when he says it again and tell him that life is too short to be sec

prawnypoos Thu 24-Apr-14 14:02:03

I completely understand. My DSD is 4 and I've known her since she was 2. We have her 4 or 5 nights a week, two full days during the week and all weekend. Unlike your DSS she is badly behaved-especially when her dad is around and they act more like friends than father and daughter. She can be the loveliest, most adorable little girl when she wants to be but for the majority of the time she is little miss awkward arse. I try to discipline her where her dad fails to do so for her own sake and as a result, when we are together she behaves. It's sounds like your DP views you two as competing for his affection and is treating it like a competition which is wrong. I would pull him up on it when he says it again and tell him that life is too short to be second best is any

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