Should I continue working at this relationship?

(24 Posts)
Lostsoul231 Wed 09-Nov-16 18:13:39

Today 15:05 Lostsoul231

Today 13:05 Lostsoul231

So where do I begin? I divorced 13 years ago when my children were very young (21 months and 6 weeks old to be precise). I had a tough time, my parents and I became victims of domestic violence at the hands of my ex after I left him and I moved in with my parents with my two babies. I was constantly harrassed by him and got a restraining order against him.
I lost my home through the divorce due to debts my ex husband had incurred behind my back. Despite his behaviour, the courts decided that the children should still have contact with their dad. Maintenance and contact has always been inconsistent on their dad's part. I went back to work when my youngest was 4 months old. After around a year of returning to work, I decided to go to university to study law (I had not had the opportunity when I was younger).
I've worked really hard all these years to provide a stable home environment for my sons.
Anyway, scroll forward 13 years from when my youngest was born and I find myself in a dilemma.
I've had a few failed short term relationships over the years, (never having lived with anyone) and never being able to afford to buy my own home (which annoys me). I've been in a relationship (on and off) for the last 3 1/2 years with a man who I thought I actually could build a happy future with. I know no relationships are plain sailing and I am willing to work at things but every few months I get these awful feelings that i am fooling myself about a future with him and wonder if we should break up ( we have on occasion for a few weeks or months but always got back together).
The problem always comes back to this. He is selfish and moody although at times he can be supportive.
He met my children after around 5 months of us dating and spent that first Christmas with me and my family. The following April, it was my youngest son's 11th birthday and we went away with my parents for the long Easter weekend. Myself and my parents paid for the trip. He didn't even buy my son a birthday card or present. No Easter eggs either for the kids. I didn't mention it as didn't want to spoil the weekend. Once we got home, I felt the moment had gone. He did contribute towards a meals while we were away but complained about taking the kids bikes with us and them but even using them. This kind of attitude and behaviour has continued throughout the relationship.
The following xnas I was not allowed to join him and his family for Christmas Day as it might upset his son, even though his sons had met me by them. This was despite knowing that I would be alone at Christmas as my sons were with their dad). We broke up for a few months over this as I was very hurt.
I feel he views my sons as "in the way" sometimes. They don't have a regular arrangement with their own dad so are with me most of the time. My parents have helped out a lot over the years if we as a couple want a few days away which we have done a number of times. We have had some lovely holidays but it feels that the thing I really want is missing. He has bought the kids gifts at birthdays and Christmas since but this year, promised my son gig tickets for his 15th birthday however changed his mind when my son spoke disrespectfully to me and my bf on one occasion. This is mean. In my mind gifts are given unconditionally. He buys his own sons gig tickets on a regular basis. He has asked for money back from me too for my gig tickets when we have fallen out. He must have had a prick of conscience and paid me back when I transferred the money to his account for my tickets.
He also has two teenage sons who I have met only a handful of times during the whole time we have been together. It was 18 months into the rekationship that I met them. I had to really push for this.
His teenage kids who are similar age to mine refuse to meet my sons. This upsets my 15 year old. After over three years, I am left wondering how we can ever move our relationship on. I've only met his parents twice also and basically had to give him an ultimatum about meeting them, after being together over a year at the time.
This year I have had a lot of problems with my younger son who is now 13. He started to have problems at school and home around 11 months ago and this has steadily declined to the point where he is not in school at the moment (he's not been permanently excluded) and we are waiting hear from the local LEA about a place at a smaller high school that caters for children with emotional and behavioural needs which I feel would be perfect for him. My son will also start to get counselling soon. It all takes so long with CAMHS.
My bf has been extremely supportive of me throughout this and has put up with a lot from my son this year but I find he does not have much empathy for my son and perceives me as just being too soft with him. It appears to me that he perceives his kids as perfect and mine will never match up to them. He has denied this when I've spoken about it to him. I feel resentful especially because of all the holidays he takes with his kids without me. He has lots of holidays every year with his kids and with mates as he is a keen skier and mountain climber. These are not activities that my kids have ever had the opportunity to try as money has always been tight for me. He is a very high earner with little overheads (he does pay child maintenance to his ex wife but only in proportion to his earnings) whereas, until recently, I have been on an average salary with high housing rent to pay. We have had three holidays with my boys over the three years but no where near as many as he does with his boys or his mates.
He also makes a point of reminding me how much he's financially contributed to any holidays we've had (even though I do pay mine and the boys ways).
If we go away, just the two of us, he does foot the cost and I pay for the odd meal out. I can't complain about that. He does remind me however that he is paying!
All the professionals I have spoken to about my son have said what a great job I am doing In dealing with his problems but my bf is very critical of me.
My bf spends 2 or 3 nights maximum at my home per week. The other night, he put the phone down on me (something he regularly does when he's in a bad mood) and has not called or texted since, despite me texting him a couple of times. To add to this, I was recently made redundant and have had to turn down a new job offer because I need to be at home with my son at the moment, to get him back on track. Money is tighter than ever right now and I resent all the trips my bf goes on with his boys and mates.
He is planning to have xmas with me and my family but is going away skiing for new year with his lads and another family. We have been together 3.5 years and I do not feel our relationship has progressed. I always wanted to have a settled family life and after all this time, it still seems elusive to me. I feel that my bf wants to wait until all the kids have grown and flown the nest before we live together.
I know things are difficult with my 13 year old right now but I doubt if things would be much different in terms of progress even if he was the "perfect" child. I just don't know whether I have a future with my bf. This is the same dilemma I face every few months.
I know life doesn't always go as planned but I never imagined I would still be in this situation after 13 years of divorce and aged 42.
My bf is due to spend xmas with me and my family but is refusing to get an xmas present for my 13 year old son because of his behaviour this year. I suggested to wait until nearer xmas to make that decision as its 6 weeks away yet and he has been making improvements lately now that we are getting a bit of help for him. He says no chance.
Any advice please??

LineyReborn Wed 09-Nov-16 18:27:43

I think the way he's being about and towards your DCs is rightly making you feel incredibly uncomfortable.

Resentment has set in and it's going nowhere.

I would focus on your children and be happy.

BlueBlueSkies Wed 09-Nov-16 19:46:42

He does not sound very kind or loving towards you. Even without his attitude to your kids, not letting you into his own family life is a bit odd. That alone would put me off.

From experience I can tell you that his attitude to your boys will not change, and if you resent the time and money he spends on his boys that will not change either.

Ask yourself what you are getting out of this relationship, and if he adds no value to your life and you are not happy, then leave him.

Just because you have been divorced and on your own for a few years, does not mean you should be treated badly.

Oswin Wed 09-Nov-16 19:51:50

God he sounds awful. No Xmas presen, wtf?!

I would give up op.

He will always treat your sons and any future grandkids like this.

Lostsoul231 Wed 09-Nov-16 19:53:58

Thanks for the advice.
With regard to letting me into his family, i have had to push for this. It made me feel second best. I'm always included in friends coupley functions and weekends but family is a different story.
I have my boys pretty much all the time and as his lads still won't meet mine, it makes it difficult for me to spend time with his family. It's all very awkward.

Yika Wed 09-Nov-16 19:58:37

He sounds horrible. No, you should not continue working at it. I think you would be better of without him (and so would your sons).

Lostsoul231 Wed 09-Nov-16 20:01:29

This is my concern. It affects me a lot as he earns so much more than me. It's he holds all the cards and he knows it. I'm not a materialistic person but just feel like my kids are second class to his who live in a big house, fancy holidays from my bf and from their mum while mine are here and I'm now on benefits as I can't work due to my redundancy and youngest son's current situation. Bf has helped me out with money when things have been tight for me. He's not all bad but there are concerns as you rightly pointed out

LillyLollyLandy Wed 09-Nov-16 20:09:42

OP isn't this your 3rd thread today basically rehashing the same issues? I don't think you're going to get different answers. This man'S behaviour isn't good - don't put up with it.

fizzingmum Wed 09-Nov-16 20:19:13

Wow. I could have written this a few years ago. My EXH did not treat my children as part of the family. There was a clear divide between us and him. He made me ensure children time was finished by 7pm and then I was his. He was irritated if the kids needed something, misbehaved or were even ill. They were an inconvenience. He was intolerant and sometimes just plain mean. He would pay for mead but always remind me of his contributions. Eventually he wanted us to follow him to Florida for a new life, pledging to look after us all. However the kids would have to return at 21. So one would return and then 3 years later the other. And I would be expected to stay with him in USA. It became clear that my children were in the way. And with this I chose my children. He turned my life upside down and divorced me because I wouldn't go. Anyway long story short I chose my children. 18 months later I met my DP and we are very happy. A new baby together, just bought a house etc. We have problems with blending our families but overall he is a family and children guy. My EXH wasn't. Don't settle for less than you all deserve. Happiness is just around the corner. This guy will always make you feel a divide. It's not heathy for any of you. Good luck x

Lostsoul231 Wed 09-Nov-16 20:20:13

It was exactly the same thread. I've never been in here before so it's all new to me! 😬
Decided to add it to the lone parent and the step parent group I order to get broad perspective. As I thought, feedback was pretty similar from both 🙂

Thedogdidit1 Wed 09-Nov-16 20:23:24

OP you sound to me like you are doing a great job with your kids, in tough circumstances. If you could read what you've read back, completely dispassionately, i suspect you might see a relationship that doesn't appear to be working for both parties. If your best friend told you about a partner who seemed reluctant to let them in, I think your advice might be not to go carry on with the relationship. What are you really getting from the relationship?
I was a single parent for 12 years, there were a few hiccups along the way with relationships, but basically I was on my own with no ex in sight. It was so hard seeing friends moving on with their lives, buying homes, marrying etc, and I felt stuck in a rut, going nowhere. So I can completely sympathise with the feeling of wanting something else. But you DO have a stable family, maybe not a 'nuclear' family with 2 parents and 2.4 kids but you have your DCs and your parents sound supportive - that to me is a family. From your POV is your partner actually adding to that?
From the things you've said, you both seem to have different values on family, money and what constitutes a relationship. It sounds like you could do a whole lot better than this man. Like a previous poster said, focus on your kids - that's your family. Someone fantastic may be waiting in the wings, because you sound like you deserve someone fantastic, not someone mediocre

Lostsoul231 Wed 09-Nov-16 20:23:28

Thanks for that fizzingmum. That's encouraged me to make the right decision 🙂

Amandahugandkisses Wed 09-Nov-16 20:26:55

He sounds horrible. You'd be happier alone I think.

Lostsoul231 Wed 09-Nov-16 20:28:13

Thanks thedogdidit1. I've always felt cheated out if the family life I thought I was going to have and have always longed to share family life with a partner. In some ways I've felt inadequate for my two boys on my own. They've had a rough deal really from their dad. I thought my be would step up but after all this time, we're still yes further to blending our families. I think he wants to wait till the youngest has flown the nest however he was only 10 when we met!! Unrealistic really

LucyLugosi Wed 09-Nov-16 20:46:11

Honestly he doesn't deserve you and it sounds like he just makes your life harder.
You don't need him.

Thedogdidit1 Wed 09-Nov-16 21:07:49

You are so far from inadequate - you've been doing two parentsworth of parenting! And from experience, as they get older kids recognise that, and sometimes even tell you - that helps with the tough times

Lostsoul231 Wed 09-Nov-16 21:22:12

My boys are 15 and 13 so not at the appreciative stage just yet.
I do like having bf here to just have a glass of wine with at the end of a tough day and cuddle up with at night after my youngest has kicked off with me during the day or has not come home at night (which he has done recently)
Just having someone to support me a little is better than no one. It's going to be really hard to let go of that even though I realise this relationship is not going where I want it to

swingofthings Thu 10-Nov-16 18:26:07

I think it is clear that he doesn't want to commit as a family. It sounds like he loves you as a woman, but not so much as a mum maybe? It sounds like the relationship he has with his kids is very different to that you have with yours and he doesn't believe they would have much in common or get along, so he has separated the two parts of his life: the single well off dad who enjoy time with his mate and his kids, and the boyfriend of a mum with two teenage boys.

I would say that there is a small chance that he could grow to become more committed to you when all the children are gown up, but that's a very long time to wait. From what you've written, I'd be very surprised that things will progress as they stand because I feel that he has no interest in becoming one family mixing his and yours.

Lostsoul231 Thu 10-Nov-16 22:27:13

Thanks.
My sons were only 10 and 11 (nearly12) when my be snd I met. His sons were just turned 12 and just turned 15.

I felt they were young enough to bring us all together then but his youngest wouldn't see him for the first 9 months of our relationship as he didn't like the fact that his dad had a girlfriend. After that, it was almost a year before my bf allowed me to meet his sons. I think he is scared that his youngest will "spit his dummy out" again if he progresses things with me. I also think he's scared of getting close to my boys for fear of his son getting jealous.

Ultimately it is his loss. It'll just be me and my boys from now on.

gingina Fri 11-Nov-16 16:39:43

Tell him to sod off
Your kids come first and he's treating them like second class citizens and if you stand by and let him what message does that give your sons?
I'd be willing to bet that both your DC will be a lot happier when he's out of the picture x

SandyY2K Fri 11-Nov-16 17:06:22

He doesn't want to integrate the families or take the relationship to a more committed place, because then he might actually feel obligated to pay for more stuff for your kids and he doesn't want to do that.

He wants to remain as a boyfriend and not become a partner, because he's getting everything he needs from the relationship as it is.

Maybe divorce had a serious financial impact on him and he doesn't want to come anywhere close to that again.

I think when you felt you had to issue an ultimatum to meet his parents, that should have been a sign of how serious he wanted the relationship to be.

If the current arrangement does not meet your needs then you might as well give up.

Lostsoul231 Fri 11-Nov-16 23:03:13

Thanks for all your advice and encouragement.

You've confirmed what, in my heart, I already knew and what my close friends and family had said. I guess I wouldn't have posted this dilemma otherwise.

We have broken up now and I'm not looking back this time. I deserve better, as do my boys 🙂

Underthemoonlight Fri 11-Nov-16 23:15:45

This relationship isn't going to progress in the way you want it to.I disagree I think it's up to his boys if they want to met your sons they expressed they don't want to and it shouldn't be forced on them. I do think it's great he does have activities seperately with his sons but it's the fact he seems to distance himself with you and your boys to the point it's as if your leading seperate lives and come together 2-3 times a week. This isn't a serious long term relationship and it's clear you want someone who is prepared to commit to you and your boys fully rather than duck in and out. I would cut your losses and don't waste anymore time on him.

FFTransform Thu 17-Nov-16 05:13:04

What a tough decision sad

But the right one - good luck in the future flowers

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