Meeting partners children.....

(21 Posts)
PrettyPurpleTulips Tue 04-Oct-16 19:13:03

So, I'm not quite sure if this is in the right section but as you've all been in this situation I wanted to get the best advice.
Myself and my DP have been together 5months so far, we both have children from previous relationships. However due to my circumstances my DP won't meet my DC anytime soon, however we have discussed me meeting his DC if our relationship continues and have tenderly thought that Feb half term would be an ideal time for several reasons. However I'm quite nervous and hesitant about a first meet as they have already had '2 stepmum types' in their lives previously. One lasting over 2years and another lasting 9months (both times living with them) . They also have their mother too who they see fortnightly (DP has full custody, so I see him when he doesn't have the DC) The DC both know about me which is a great start, but how when I meet them do I make it plain to the DC that I don't want to take their mum's place but I'm also not trying taking their dad away from them?. This is something the eldest has struggled with, with regards to my DP and his previous relationships I gather. I obviously want to be a part of their lives and me and DP see this as a long term relationship. I just want to start on the right foot with being a female role model (kind of step mother figure) I'm not sure if any of this makes sense, but basically what would be the top advice you wish you'd been given (and hope it's ok I posted here) smile

CannotEvenDeal Tue 04-Oct-16 20:02:07

I don't mean to judge your dp but how come he had a woman living with him within a few months?? No wonder the kids are a bit uncertain about things.

I personally met by dss quite quickly but in these circumstances I'd be a bit wary, sorry

Gillian777 Tue 04-Oct-16 20:12:39

I was in the same boat. Met my boyfriends kids a few months ago. I have no kids of my own. Zero experience with kids. I was petrified of messing it up. I surfed the net and read everything I could from others experiences. The best tips that worked for me, were to just be yourself, don't push, let them come to you, don't force things. Take a genuine interest in them, what they like, their friends. Keep the first few meetings short and do something together if you can that will appeal to the kids and show them your fun side.
Leave the parenting/discipline to their parents and enjoy their company.
Things turned out well for me, things are not perfect but I consider myself lucky as I read a lot of posts from SM having a terrible time.

Lunar1 Tue 04-Oct-16 20:25:16

I think your partner needs to slow things down, date fine but his children have a mum who they don't live with and have had to live with two other step mums.

He needs to give them a long period of stability without introducing them to new girlfriends, and certainly not moving them in. You could end up in and out of their lives quicker than the last two the rate he's going.

Are you happy to have a more casual partner. I'm thinking it's him driving this forward if you have no intention of him meeting your children in the near future.

PrettyPurpleTulips Tue 04-Oct-16 21:02:35

Cannot: goodness knows, apparently it was right for them (both partners had children of their own too) .. I don't quite get it myself to be honest. This is why I'm wary of rushing it and I'm definitely more the one who's putting the breaks on so to speak. His DC have had alot of change with various people and the relationships he's chosen haven't always been great. I'm very happy having my own independence so not wanting to rush at all. But know that his DC are a huge part of his life.

Gillian: thank you, those are all things that I would definitely be doing if and when it gets to that point. How are you finding it?

Lunar: my DC is in a residential school due to disabilities so it's a little bit more difficult for that sides of things hence why it would be a long while off before they got introduced as it needs dealing with in a completely different way. This is why I'm trying to make sure that it's completely stable before this even occurs. This dating stuff is hard when DC are involved.

Lunar1 Tue 04-Oct-16 21:43:54

You sound like you have good instincts for the right way to handle introductions. Go with your instincts rather than his!

Gillian777 Wed 05-Oct-16 13:57:16

Well, I was introduced as a friend at first and i would pop in for lunch or we went to the park to ride bicycles or something fun. After a while their dad told them. They had some worries but these were addressed with mum and dad. This may be different for you if the kids know you're his girlfriend already. They also have had a few people come in and out of their lives.
I find the situation v challenging. I still read a lot about step parenting. I have been very fortunate so far, they like me! but things will get harder as the teenage hormones kick in. After they were told I also had v light hearted chats with each making sure they were ok and told them I want them both to be happy. Dad does the discipline and parenting and I do the fun stuff and just enjoy them being kids. It's not easy and I would not and do not take my 'position' lightly. It's hard particularly with no support, no one I know is in this position. One of my friends said to me that there are other men who don't have kids when I talked about some of the challenges. I think it's v difficult. You also are the subject of conversations between bio parents and the kids that you're not part of. I find I feel at times I have no privacy. Other things that others say are problems for them like jealousy over time spent with kids or money spent on them just aren't factors at all that bother me. I have no issues with ex wife/ bio mum. I think each situation is so different.
There are good days when I rise to the challenge and practice my poker face when they're rude or fighting and shrug it off as they are not my kids and other days when the poker face is more gritted teeth but I'm always polite.
You've started out with the right intentions, a genuine concern about his children which shows your heart is in the right place.
Good luck, hope if and when you decide to go ahead that it goes well. Rome wasn't built in a day. So when you're certain it's the right time to meet them, give them time. After a while they will hopefully have another caring adult in their lives who stays in their lives.

swingofthings Wed 05-Oct-16 17:57:01

Don't make the error of thinking too much about it and involving yourself too much emotionally, or you will end up trying too hard, not getting the rewards from your efforts back, and then resenting them for it.

It is your OH responsibility to take into consideration their feelings, not yours. All you have to do is be yourself and go with the flow. Don't decide how you should act on the basis of what you think is right, do so taking vibes from them. If they are friendly to you, start telling you that they are happy their dad has found someone else and they look forward to getting to know you better, than you know that you can take more of an interest in their lives and be more involved.

If on the other hand they are distant, showing little interest in you, and act as if they wish you were not there, then you know that you will need to go about it very slowly and the way to gain their trust is by showing them that you are intruding as little as possible in their lives at this stage and totally respecting that they need their dad's attention. I think the key thing to remember is that not all kids are the same and not all will respond in the same way to the same situation so there isn't one behaviour fits all.

franincisco Fri 07-Oct-16 07:38:53

I think 5 months in is far too early to be even thinking of meeting children who have already had 2 step mum figures in their lives, let alone reassure them that you are not trying to take their mum's place!

I think your DP needs to invest some time/money in counselling for them, rather than rush into happy families. OP you sound like you have your head screwed on, please advise him this is far too early.

PrettyPurpleTulips Mon 10-Oct-16 18:09:18

Thank you all. I'm definitely taking it all on board as being with someone who has DC themselves is completely new to me. I'm just trying to make sure the right thing is done for everyone really.

NickiFury Mon 10-Oct-16 18:17:34

I would be really interested to know why his long term relationships keep failing to be honest and why he thinks it's ok to move a succession of women into his children's home. It does not surprise me that his children are struggling and think this is only the beginning of the issues they're going to have as a result of his behaviour and prioritising "relationships" over his children's well being. I'd really question if you want to be part of that situation and I think it's safe to say that he would soon find someone else to move on in if you decided to bow out.

You sound very sensible by the way, probably far too good for this man.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Mon 10-Oct-16 19:04:22

I don't think it is the first meeting that sets up a good relationship with step children. I think it is a lot of different factors, most of which are outside your control OP. I know you want it all to work and be positive with the kids, but I think that is the first thing you have to let go of.

It's too much pressure on the children. If you have a solid relationship, if you are patient and wise, if you take time to understand what their background is, how your DPs family works, then that will all help. Relax, take very small steps, and don't expect too much from them.

PrettyPurpleTulips Thu 13-Oct-16 19:54:59

Nicki- well he split with his wife due to her having several affairs. Then the next relationship he got with pretty quick (he 'knew' her from an online game and got together stupidly quick!!) They split due to SS involvement and her assaulting his SD, from what I've been told she had multiple personality disorder so quote an unstable mix for the kids to view at times. Apparently a volatile relationship at various moments.
Then 2nd 'long term' relationship where they played happy families they split due to her coming at him with a knife. Also a very volatile relationship with lots of arguments and shouting and throwing things. He has fully admitted to me he only went with women due to being 'lonely and wanting someone'. Which I don't get at all, there has been a few discussions with me trying to understand that point of view as if that's what he wants I'm not willing to subject me of his DC to that with regards to us.

And then there's me who seems relatively sane. But all of this makes me worry for the DC. I don't want any pressure on them at all as I fully appreciate they've had so much to deal with, hence I've stepped back from meeting them. It's more the pressure I've put on myself. It partly feels like I will have a point to prove to these lovely DC (as they really are and none of their dad's relationships are their fault) that not all women or relationships are like what they've seen and they don't have to pretend to feel a certain way (if indeed they do). That it's perfectly fine and that all I want to be is a friend. ( I think I've just rambled on and not made much sense tbh)

swingofthings Fri 14-Oct-16 07:26:23

I don't think it is the first meeting that sets up a good relationship with step children. I think it is a lot of different factors, most of which are outside your control OP. I know you want it all to work and be positive with the kids, but I think that is the first thing you have to let go of.
Totally agree with this. You want to do what is right, but there is little you can do beyond being kind, welcoming, respectful of the impact you coming into their lives will have and patient.

The more you want to do right and the more frustrated you will become as you realise that you have little control over the outcome. The best thing you can do is go with the flow and adjust as you go along. Be prepared to be flexible, to have to bring up issues with your OH that you might want to avoid, but the longer you leave it the worse it will get, and to accept that there will be more compromise to make in your new life than you would have had if you'd fallen in love with a man without children.

Cabrinha Sat 15-Oct-16 09:37:37

Bloody hell.
He's moved 2 violent women into his children's home (sounds like plus their children) and now after 5 months, he's talking about when you meet them?!

I can imagine their mother posting on here in despair at her XH's, um, choices confused

You sound really sensible and caring.
He sounds... sorry OP, selfish and a bit dim too.

I don't think you should be meeting his kids at all for quite a while. I'm a fan of fairly quick but low key intros, but given the revolving door so far of violent girlfriends actually living with them... these kids need a break!

How about he tells them he's dating again and then waits until they want to meet you? ANd then keep it low key - there is no need to talk about not replacing their mother. I would never have said that to my teen STBSDs... they'd have given me a hmm face and said too right I wasn't!

I don't think these children need emotionally intense chats with you - they need their father to SLOW DOWN.

PrettyPurpleTulips Sat 15-Oct-16 11:39:51

Cabrinha- sadly their mother doesn't actually care about them which just makes the whole situation

PrettyPurpleTulips Sat 15-Oct-16 11:53:46

Sorry posted before finishing.

Cabrinha- sadly their mother doesn't seem to actually really care about them all that much which makes the situation even worse really. I do feel slightly in an awkward situation with it all, because I seem to be the one who is trying to steady it a lot more. And having never been in a situation like this I'm only going on what I think is the right and best thing. Thankfully DP seems to be accepting of me leading this which is quite odd really as surely it should be the other way round. I do feel like I need to wrap the DC up partly in cottonwool because of their experiences. His DM knows about our relationship and thankfully is very much of the same opinion as me (with regards to taking it extremely slowly). I haven't yet met her, which I'm wondering if I'd prefer to do that first rather than the DC. Both of us seem very wary due to DP's previous relationship fails about meeting and getting to know one another. Did any of you meet other family members of your DP before meeting the children?

PopFizz Sat 15-Oct-16 12:15:55

Hi Pretty

I met my DPs whole family basically before I met his DS. I met his mum/sister about a month or so after we started dating, and fairly regularly, before I met DSS. DSS has also had a fairly large number of additional adults in his life (from both sides) so we took it slow. He knew I existed from about tbree months in, And chose to meet me about five months in? But was still very slow - I spent Christmas day with DP and his family (our children with respective other parent) for instance, but went home before DSS arrived.

How old are his children?

PrettyPurpleTulips Sat 15-Oct-16 12:27:02

Hi PopFizz-
Sounds quite similar then to what I'm going through. Both DC obviously know about me which is kind of a start I suppose. His DC are 10, (11 next month) and not long turned 5. So different ages and levels between the 2 of them. Eldest DC is obviously alot more aware of things than the youngest which is quite tricky.

Keeptrudging Sat 15-Oct-16 12:36:57

My alarm bells would be ringing, sorry. He says his ex wife doesn't care about the children, his other 2 exes are apparently unhinged/violent? I'd be more concerned about a man who apparently can live in multiple dysfunctional/volatile relationships and have his children around that too.

I'd be wary of any man who has multiple 'crazy' exes. Is it them or is it him? My DH's ex wife may be tricky at times, but he's never slagged her off and is generally respectful about her and admits there was fault on both sides.

PopFizz Sat 15-Oct-16 12:43:03

Sometimes they are telling the truth though, like women who sometimes repeat abusive relationships, so can men. DP has had two past relationships which multiple incidents, which I kind of put down to over embellish on his part, one sided story etc. Until I knew more from his family, and have seen the crap since first hand.

Pretty, I think your idea of Feb half term could work, if the DC are ready then. You'll be together what, 9 months then? And obviously not rushing into this one feet first like he did in the past. Just because he's messed up in the past with women doesn't mean he will do it again or rush again - as you going slowly now shows.

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