My relationship with my partner is dependent on the relationship between my boyfriend & 2 kids - is this normal?

(14 Posts)
JessicaF85 Fri 18-Mar-16 16:18:09

Hi, I am hoping to get some sort of advice/help with regards to the challenges I am facing in my current relationship. To give some context, I have 2 kids from a previous relationship which ended in 2011 & the father is still on the scene - however causes a lot of stress & a divide. He tells the kids that he's their only dad & that no one will ever replace him & very emotionally manipulative to say the least. My boyfriend & I are expecting our 1st child together & we've been living together for 2 years & together for 3. His relationship with the kids is ok, used to be much better but when I got pregnant things went downhill, I was very sick & was unable to be really involved in any family activities, our relationship went downhill also. This was around christmas time. We since had a frank conversation, was it worth staying together just for the sake of it. I was a single parent so I know how difficult it is doing it on your own. However, I have learnt never to settle. Financially, I have a great job that pays well so I am always able to cope financially. My worry is that my boyfriend doesn't really put much of an effort with the kids to build a bond. He's very supportive & is always encouraging them & making sure they are happy. But, I know that his efforts are poor & its like he has kind of given up - the fact that my ex buys their love to like him doesn't help. However, they love my boyfriend & they see us as a family unit. They do love their dad, but realistically if they didnt have to go down it wouldn't bother them in the slightest. I don't know if I am being to harsh here or unreasonable but us getting married is completely dependent on his relationship with my kids - which is quite unsettling & I feel that my relationship isn't really secure. Would I be better off on my own & having non of these issues ? What do you do?

lunar1 Fri 18-Mar-16 16:33:23

Do your partner and children get on? Are they all happy with each others role in their lives?

Obviously there could be a huge back story here, but your ex is their only dad and he is right he cannot be replaced.

Your partner doesn't need to be a dad to them, he needs to be a kind adult in their life who brings good things into the mix.

If your children and partner are happy then you are probably overthinking things. However if things have drastically changed since you have become pregnant I'd be wary of them becoming second class citizens in their home.

Sorry, not a helpful post I ended up completely on the fence!!

Sunshine87 Fri 18-Mar-16 16:51:20

I think theres afew things that stick out for me. Your general comments about your ex are harsh.

They have a dad of course they should be encouraged to have a relationship. You come across like you resent him being in their lives.

What do you want from your dp for your DC he doesn't necessary need to adopt a father role it should just come naturally.

My DS and DH have a lovely relationship he calls him lee and looks to him for guidance and advice but he does have a loving relationship with his DF. He is lucky to have two male role models.

JessicaF85 Fri 18-Mar-16 16:54:39

Hi, thanks for your post.. So to answer your question - yes my kids are happy but my boyfriend tends to take everything personally & gets up in a heap over the slightest things. My kids are 4 & 7. We both know he is not here to replace their dad but I guess we were both slightly naive at the start considering my ex had very little interest in the kids when he wasn't aware I had a boyfriend. Then all of a sudden things changed. That aside - I have made it clear as day that my children will not be treated in any way different from his biological child & if I see any slight hint that it's happening then I won't stand for it & I would walk away hands down as to me that is not acceptable my any means. He is a good man, but he doesn't understand the unconditional love of your own child which is why I'm extremely sensitive to this subject, especially when the baby does come along,. I love my boyfriend, but of course my kids are my priority. Things drastically changed because of what my ex was saying to my kids, mentally & psychologically abusive & he confused them telling them that this baby isn't going to be their real sibling & that I (their mother) will be their step mum once he gets married - so it was a mixture of things any child would be confused & at a certain point during this period our relationship was at jeopardy they were very cold with me and angry. My kids are very happy now we've had his access reduced because it was causing more harm than good so they are their bubbly selves again, but my boyfriend does feel like a 3rd wheel because I have a much closer bond with the kids which is natural. I just need him to be a bit more proactive with them I guess.

curren Fri 18-Mar-16 17:04:44

I am not sure what's going on here.

I think it's quite commune for a step parent to feel a bit different about their own kids.

Your dp isn't their dad and doesn't have to pretend to be their dad. He should treat them all fairly but I can't see how you can tell him he has to love them all the same.

He's very supportive & is always encouraging them & making sure they are happy. But, I know that his efforts are poor & its like he has kind of given up

these two sentences completely contradict eachother.

JessicaF85 Fri 18-Mar-16 18:25:25

It's for reasons like this that I was so reluctant to submit a thread. I was only looking for a bit of support & guidance rather than judgement.
My points are based on what I see on a day to day basis & how I can improve mine & my boyfriend's approach to the situation i.e. are we over thinking things, do I need to do anything else etc etc .. Everyone's situation is different, I tried for many years to encourage a relationship between the biological father & the kids & he had no interest, i am not Irish nor do i have family support here & i didn't leave for him to have a relationship with his kids but all of a sudden when he found out that his kids have this new male figure in their life decided to pull his socks up. So, for someone to turn round & say I shouldn't resent but encourage a relationship isn't exactly what I was looking for here.
Having said that, thanks for everyone who has commented & I will take whatever I can out of the comments. Appreciate the response.

WiseUpJanetWeiss Fri 18-Mar-16 23:20:05

I think you may be expecting too much of your DP. He is not and never will be your sons' father, and he is very unlikely to love them in the same way as his own children.

This is not judging you, it's just a fact.

Wdigin2this Sat 19-Mar-16 08:00:08

But Curran is right, your two sentences do contradict each other. However, that's not being judgemental, that's genuinely trying to understand your problem!

Itisbetternow Sat 19-Mar-16 08:03:55

I tell my kids that I am their only mum. I tell my kids that my XH is their only dad.

What is wrong with that?

curren Sat 19-Mar-16 08:15:17

I am not judging you. At all.

But I don't understand your posts. You seem confused yourself. Which we all do sometimes.

You contradict yourself, the point about their dad being their only dad is valid.

I don't think you can expect your dp to feel the same about his own kids as he does his step kids.

I don't think you really know what the issue is or what you really want. And until you figure that bit out, everything else is up in the air.

swingofthings Sat 19-Mar-16 10:26:21

I think the problem is that it is not very clear in your OP what the issues are. You say that your children love your partner, that he is supportive and encouraging, but yet seem to be dissatisfied with their lack of relationship. Can you provide specific examples? What exactly is it that you would like to see? Your partner wanting to spend more time with you and them as a family, more time with them on their own, more patience, less/more disciplinarian?

What I can say is that you expect him to love and be as committed to your children as you are. There are many factors that comes into play with your partner's children and you can't control them all. When I met my OH, it was essential for both of us that he got along well with my kids and vice versa and indeed, it was love at first sight, but as we moved in together, they became teenagers, many things started to annoy my OH which I understood because frankly, if I didn't love my children and was confident it was just a phase, I would have felt the same! He started to interact less with my eldest, more with youngest. Then oldest got over the stupid age, and whilst second went into it and he started to feel closer to eldest and really struggling to get along with the second.

I totally accept that he has his own feelings towards my children (who do have a useless dad, but one they love and see regularly), and that I can't impose that he feels for them the way I wish he did. All I can expect is mutual respect. That means that they don't interact much, but he doesn't moan about them either. We go away on holidays all together and not once has he complained about that and it actually becomes a time when they do interact a lot a more for the best. My kids were very happy when we got married, so I know they care for him and are happy he is in our lives but he isn't a second father to them.

Like many single mums with exes who are not the father they wished for their kids, it is easy even subconsciously to wish your new partner took over that role even if the kids still see their biological dad. It is our dream though, not everyone else and we have to respect that sometimes, all what everyone can do is their best.

Annexx Wed 20-Apr-16 02:42:21

You shouldn't be forcing your partner to act like the father of your children. He is not their father, they have a father. I would imagine he would love his own child more than yours, as you pointed out yourself the love you feel for your own child is different. Would you love a child of his the same as you do yours? It's not easy.

If your love for him is conditional on him acting like a dad to them it doesn't sound like you love him that much at all. I think the way you described it, him making sure they are happy and being nice to them is perfectly fine!

I try to be there for my step daughter, take care of her, play with her, but never in a million years would I try to replace her mother nor would my partner ever force me to take on a more hands on role as he understands she has two parents already. One of the first things he said to me in a discussion a few years ago was that I was in relationship with him, not his child.

You're in a relationship with your partner, ofc the children have some part in that, but there is no need for him to play dad as long as children are happy with mum, dad and your partner. I think in the long run trying to force anything more will drive him away. I know if the roles were reversed and it was demanded if me, I would leave.

wallywobbles Sun 01-May-16 09:37:16

Have you thought about the difference between being a father and being a parent? Is he a good parent? Me ex is a damaging father but my DP is an excellent parent to all 4 of our kids. Certainly a better parent than I am.

But equally you have to allow him a place to be a parent. And that's not always easy for either party. We talk about this stuff a lot - mumsnet is the basis for a lot discussion in our house!

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 01-May-16 09:50:54

I am another one that is confused by your posts.

I am of the opinion that you need to think about what you actually want from your partner.

I am also unsure as to whether you will let him treat all of the children the same.

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