I don't know how to deal with this

(28 Posts)
Jaq64 Wed 08-May-13 11:04:11

I have a partner aged 53 and a 14 yr old step son who does not live with us but has set days of Tues and Sat. Partner has hugh guilt issue over the fact that he has a son from a failed relationship and is overly obsessive about his son. SS mum is overly possesive too and I see a tug of war over who does most/is best parent etc etc.
Since we have been together I have improved my partners relationship with his son ten fold. Together we do more than partner and my ss have ever done and I am a strong rod for my partner.
Last night ss had his MMR jab at the drs. SS is very soft and faints if he hurts himself ie: bang on head, trapped finger in car door, nick on ear at barbers,I think alot of it is attention seeking maybe from when he was younger but has continued into his teens...So both parents took him to the docs for the injection which I said was unnecessary at 14 and they should try to stop treating him as if he was 7, I said one parent is enough for the support ss needs, but neither parent would allow him to go with the other. Anyway over an hour and half later they came home. SS was fine although he had fainted/had fit as per usual when he saw the needle. When I asked why they had been so long partner said "they" (all 3 of them) had been to my partners mum and dads for cup of tea. I was absolutely furious and said I'm waiting at home for you two worried that ss is ok and you are playing happy families....how hurtful is that? Ex partner yanks his chain all the time over their son,what she says goes and I have held my partner when he has cried over something she has done and talked for hours when he is down...He just shouted and said it was all about (son) and I had to deal with it. I am a parent of a lovely successful 22 year old daughter who also unfortunately came from a failed marriage but we handled everything well and I feel that I do have the right to express my opinion. But my partners obsession is ruining us.

Celticcat Wed 08-May-13 14:31:24

Didn't want to read and run.
Am in a similar situation and like you have improved the relationship between dh and dsc immensely over the years. Not that I got much credit for it. It was mostly regarding boundary setting, but also about treating dss as a baby at 12.
I understand the hurt you feel, especially dh obsessive behaviour, the guilt etc.
I insisted on couple counseling and these issues were addressed directly and dh had to admit he was wrong in what he expected me to put up with. That was basically the start of mending our relationship.
No way would dh ever accept my take on things even when I knew I was right to object. I started doubting my sanity. The counseling has restored order and we are continuing the sessions as backsliding is inevitable. The pattern of disney parenting is just too ingrained.
Good luck, I'm sure others will be along soon to offer more concrete advise, xx

Jaq64 Wed 08-May-13 16:18:07

I breathed a sigh of relief to hear someone else tell me they understood. I'm at a loss. His guilt is affecting our relationship and his lack of affection towards me (and loss of sex drive) he has also put down to his low moods as his son isn't with him and "has been taken away from him" (quote). They have been separated for 6 years now and during the time that I have been with my partner (for 18mths) I have encouraged his relationship with his son and booked family holidays for the 3 of us and made plans that my partner would never have dreamt of doing.
I don't know what to do....I love him but am getting nothing in return at the moment and I absolutely agree that counselling is where we need to be looking.
Thankyou so much.xx

theredhen Thu 09-May-13 14:08:19

I think this "guilt" that some absent parents feel destroys the proper parent / child relationship and creates a new type of unhealthy relationship which damages the childs self esteem and ability to grow into an independent, capable young person.

You are not the only one experiencing these problems, I think it is rife amongst non resident parents. If you could persuade him to go to counselling, I think it could be a good start.

I also think it is terribly frustrating as a step parent as you are expected to be supportive when it's what the partner wants to hear but you are not allowed an opinion when they don't want to hear your opinion if it doesn't match theirs. I've been snapped at about how I wasn't "understanding" when I disagreed with him, after all the times I too have sat up til all hours comforting and supporting him.

Petal02 Thu 09-May-13 14:48:02

Redhen - excellent post.

DoingItForMyself Thu 09-May-13 14:51:44

Really feel for you Jaq. Not sure I can add anything useful, but just wanted to give you my support. My DP of 8 months can be a bit 'Disney Dad' with his DDs, especially the younger one who is 5. His ex is also very indulgent of the little one and I was hoping that as she gets older it might change a bit, but the fact that your DP is still babying his DS at 14 is a worry!

Its hard accepting that the ex will always feature and that family times may happen without you being involved, but I suppose as long as it is for the benefit of the child rather than the parents, we just have to suck it up.

It does sound very severe if his moods are affecting your sex life. Could he talk to someone about depression?

topknob Thu 09-May-13 14:53:31

Just wanted to say about the MMR four of mine had the booster yesterday and youngest is 8. Apparently they didn't have the 2nd jab and due to measles outbreak gp's are writing to the parents to get kids vaccinated x

Jaq64 Thu 09-May-13 15:18:16

Thankyou so much, I nearly cried when I read that you have all taken time to respond. Thankyou to you all.xx

We fell out last night as I brought up (from a parents angle) the fact the my DS at 14 still needed both his parents to take him for his mmr jab. As I mentioned my DS faints/fits when he hurts himself and had to be physically restrained by the gp last time he had a tooth out (which had to be done at hosp by anasthetic) He has no tolerance to pain/fear and I think it's a huge problem that as parents they should tackle. He went mad and said I was questioning his ability to be a father. I simply told him I was acting as a concerned adult over the welfare of a child I cared for deeply and as parent myself I felt I was in a position to speak out. Had it have been my own daughter I wouldn't have wanted her to be in that situation ever. He said he (my DS) always been like that, and I said I was appauled they as parents had let that situation carry on as if it were normal. It's neither normal nor fair. My DS is very young for his age and to be honest there's no wonder.
I can acccept the occasional "family stuff" they do, but hope that it will gradually wear off as he is becomes older.
As for the sex side, he does need to speak to someone, his depressive moods are killing our intimacy and with everything else that I'm coping with, we need that time for us.

theredhen Fri 10-May-13 07:05:14

His defensiveness is because he knows he should be tackling ds over his babyish behaviour but he won't do it for fear of ds favouring mum over him.

It sounds like both parents are playing a game of trying to gain brownie points from ds rather than actually parenting him and teaching him to grow up.

Petal02 Fri 10-May-13 08:48:45

His defensiveness is because he knows he should be tackling DS over his babyish behaviour but he won’t do it for fear of DS favouring Mum over him

I agree Redhen. Too often we see fathers who fail to tackle the less savoury elements of parenting, as they’re terrified of losing their “preferred parent” status.

Jaq64 Fri 10-May-13 11:19:17

That is exactly right. He is terrified of her, she pulls all the strings and he won't even talk back at her, It's so sad....I hate this situation and of course I get the backlash of it all. but wo betide should I criticize her, he has the audacity to tell me not to as "she is xxx's mum".
I feel as if now I have to stand back and learn not to be involved....but god knows how long this will last.

Kaluki Fri 10-May-13 11:25:54

I do sympathise Jaq64 - I've been in a similar situation.
DSD was quite ill as a newborn baby, all is fine now thankfully. Naturally DP and his ex treated her with kid gloves when she was tiny but now she is fine, a normal healthy child. I don't know if she picked up on their anxiety or what but when I met him if she didn't want to do something she would be 'ill' and get him running around in circles after her. She played him like a fiddle!! She doesn't do it so much now as I won't pander to it and tell her if she's unwell she cant have her sweets/go to the park etc and 9 times out of 10 she 'miraculously' recovers!!!
Redhen is spot on about the unhealthy parent/child relationship that comes from the guilt of a breakup. DP can be so obsessive about seeing/phoning his DC, but I often wonder if it comes more from a desire to 'win' by getting their time away from his ex than from a genuine need to see them.
Its not healthy to be obsessive/possessive over children. They are people not possessions.

Jaq64 Fri 10-May-13 14:28:39

My partners guilt is above and beyond what it should be....and he cannot for the life of him see an issue...trouble is and god forgive me for admiiting this out loud. I am beginning to feel some resent towards my DSS. I want him to look around and realise he is growing up and tell them both to back off. I can't understand how a 14 year old boy would want both parents taking him for an injection. When he goes to bed he calls his dad up to kiss him goodnight and if he wakes during the night for a drink, he comes into our room as he won't go downsatirs alone as it's dark.....
On the odd occasions that I'm not home for the night he has got into bed to sleep with dad....again not acceptable.....Im not his mum, he should not be sleeping in my bed.....Arrgh!!!

DoingItForMyself Fri 10-May-13 15:48:11

Yes, he does sound quite immature and is obviously so used to being treated like a baby that he is acting like one. My 13 y/o would be horrified if I suggested he sleep in my bed!

Not sure how you tackle it sensitively though, my DP gets very defensive about his kids and can't understand why I don't have the same gushing all-encompassing love for them that he has!

financialnightmare Fri 10-May-13 16:00:00

Similar here although just my DP's DD - this is something that puts me off moving in with them. He still tidies her room, makes her drinks, gets her out of bed in the morning, drives her everywhere, brings her breakfast in bed ... My own kids are five years younger and far more independent. Frustrating.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 10-May-13 16:39:56

Ladies- I have absolutely no idea how you can have any respect for your partners!

You deserve so much more!

After my own failed marriage, I was determined that any relationship I formed would be on very clear terms - i decided that my life with a (then hypothetical) partner had to give me greater happiness in life than being alone. It is one thing that I have never compromised on - and DP and I had many difficult conversations in which I explained that if he chose to disney-parent his DCs, then there was no future for us.
I didn't dictate HOW he should parent - we attended parenting workshops together, and continue to seek support when needed and we don't always agree. Most importantly though, I respect my DPs commitment to raising his DCs (and my DD as well). I would rather live alone than share my life with someone who I had no respect for sad

Mindyourownbusiness Fri 10-May-13 21:56:18

DP gets very defensive about his kids and can't understand why I don't have the same gushing all-encompassing love for them that he has!

That's it right there, the very heart of step family problems.

NotaDisneyMum Sat 11-May-13 08:48:45

MYOB Do you mean because SM don't love their DSC as their own, or because one parent expects the stepparent to share their love and commitment to the DCs?

purpleroses Sat 11-May-13 12:41:51

Does your DP have much to do with other parents of 14 year old boys? I wonder if you could encourage him to get to know some a bit more he might see how odd his behaviour is, and that it's not just you. I have a 13 year old DS (and 14 year old DSS) and would be horrified if either of them tried to climb in our bed shock. And it's very backward for that age to be afraid of the dark, etc - the other things you describe.

Do you know any families with teens you could invite round? Activities he could do with DSS where he'd meet some other parents?

DoingItForMyself Sat 11-May-13 13:29:25

Probably both NADM - I'm realistic, I don't expect DP to love my kids as his own, but I guess when you see inequality in the way they are treated it is bound to bring out the primal protection urges in you. I tend to over-compensate and almost end up favouring his kids so as not to show bias, which can end up upsetting my own DD, its a bloody minefield.

When the kids are putting on little shows & performances I can see him looking at me all proudly, as if to say "look, isn't she just perfect?!" Erm, actually I'm busy concentrating on how cute my own DD is!!

He actually asked me to smell her once because "she smells so amazing" - FFS I am not sniffing someone else's kid (don't particularly want to sniff my own) - as far as I'm concerned, kids generally smell of dribble and whatever they had for lunch!

I want to point out that the only other person who will look at his DD in the same way he does and love the smell of her cheesy feet is his ex and if he wants to share adoring glances with someone, it will have to be her, but obviously I don't really want to go down that road, so I just try to ignore it and when the moment arises I politely point out that my DD is my little angel too.

Not sure that it is a deal-breaker for the relationship, although it has caused several arguments and it has made me realise that like you financialnightmare I couldn't live with them. Shame, as he is perfect in almost every way and I could even put up with the fact that he's a messy bugger as he makes me feel so happy and loved, but coping with someone else's kids/parenting 3 or 4 days a week would be too much.

Sorry letting off steam here, not helping much am I OP?!

Jaq64 Wed 15-May-13 09:02:41

Thankyou so much for all your advice and comments.
At the moment i'm still struggling and it does unfortunately affect my feelings towards my DP. We had the usual scenario last night/this morning ie: DP making him what he wants for tea (as he won't eat alot of what we eat) picking all his dirty clothes up off the floor including underwear, then folding it up and putting it away, making his supper at 10.20pm,kissing him when he gets into bed,making breakfast whilst he sits and watches tv, then bringing his school uniform downstairs for him so he can get dressed watching tv.....Arrrghhh!!!!

I have had such a giggle at your indignation DoingIForMyself.....sniffing his kids...Priceless!!
Thankyou all so much...xx

Jan45 Thu 16-May-13 15:15:45

Jaq64 - if you only see this child two days a week I would advise you keep out as much as you can, ie, don't get involved. You clearly have completely different ideas on how to parent (you are right, he is wrong). Let him get on with it, you're never going to agree and will only achieve to cause an atmosphere. He will always go on the defense regardless of your good advice, he doesn't want to hear it, hasn't asked for it and clearly can't take it. Honestly, for your own sanity, keep a safe distance, you can still be pleasant and friendly to your ss but trying to change other people's mindset is impossible, I know, I've been there and all it does is cause you misery, nobody else.

Jaq64 Thu 16-May-13 17:38:59

I know you're right Jan45 and it's wise advice. I have to keep out of it for the sake of our relationship, although it isn't easy and I find it all quite upsetting.... We are however going away abroad on holiday for half term week. I've booked it and I researched it (not my partner) and I have completely worked around my DSS. We are off an all inclusive holiday which I chose for them (not me) it has water sports, tennis, 2 pools, crazy golf, private beach etc etc, and all my DP has done since I booked it is talk about how he doesn't want DSS to get bored and what will we do if he doesn't like it and has no one to "play" with... I sarcastically pointed out that the Childrens club was only open for 4-11 years old!!!
It's half term weekm there will other families there..... Give me strength. I just don't stand a chance do I?...Laughing apart I could cry...

All inclusive.....where's the wine???

BigBlockSingsong Thu 16-May-13 17:50:15

He does sound quite childlike, does he get bullied at school or anything whats he like there?

BigBlockSingsong Thu 16-May-13 18:06:20

Although, I'm gonna play devils advocate here based on experience,
Do you bang on about how your DD turned out better than DS?

Just cause if you do that would make anyone defensive.

purpleroses Thu 16-May-13 18:38:02

Could you encourage your DSS to have a friend round at some point? As a rather young 14 year old, he might be still just about be of an age that you can get away with arranging this through parents - and if your DP's on good terms with his ex, this should help as she can probably provide a suggestion and phone number. Or alternatively encourage DSS directly to invite someone over. Offer to run them there and back if necessary.

I doubt your DSS does behave quite as immaturely when he's with his friends, and it would probably be good for your DP to see him relating to other teenage boys and help him realise his DS is growing up.

I share you pain with holiday plans - I've book us an exciting package deal this summer and hear nothing but moans from DSS (14) that I have to struggle not to shout at him that we'll leave him behind and take some poor child that's never had a foreign holiday instead! Best option is practice is to walk out the room and not listen to his moans. But that's my DSS, not my DP doing the moaning. I don't think I'd take it from DP!

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 16-May-13 21:50:01

Any chance you could not mention the stuff that bugs you to either of them just when you do stuff together try and big up independence skill related things not in a obvious way just try and focus on getting him to want to enjoy stuff that does not involve the adults doing things for him?

Start with pleasurable things until he learns he can enjoy them chances are he will start to gain a bit of independence by himself.

Oh but leave off the criticising the goodnight kiss thing nothing wrong with it if the child is comfortable with it.

Jaq64 Thu 16-May-13 22:29:27

My DD is 22, lives with her partner and works in Business Development. There is a lifetime between them. She is fond of my DP and DS and visa versa. So no, I don't compare them. I never have and I never will.....

As for bullying. There are certainly no issues we are aware of. He seems happy to attend ( well as much as any other teenager) and school reports are fairly good.

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