would you be mad at this?

(172 Posts)
mummatotwo Fri 02-Aug-13 21:37:24

DH and I agreed an amount of what we could afford in a change to his maintenance due to change of job and much lower income. He is dire with money BTW and for years I've bailed him out several times,but never learns I've even taken his bank card off him so he doesn't go over his overdraft

Not a great relationship with dss always texting and asking for money and he obliges. He never discusses it with me and everything is sneeky and behind my back. Our wages and money are our household income and we should discuss and agree these things I think.

We are going on on Hols soon we agree for me to pay hol and for him to provide the spending money, he's very OD at the bank again so now I've got to use my wages for spending money, which is going to leave us very tight for the next couple of months also I worked loads last month extra as we have lots if bills coming up to pay

I've just found out again by accident he's given hundred pounds out to the dss, I'm gobsmacked

riverboat Fri 02-Aug-13 21:47:00

Is the hundred pounds maintenance to the mother, or a direct handout to DSS?

entersandmum Fri 02-Aug-13 21:52:39

DP and I are in the same situation. You really do need to have a seperate, if not secret bank account. DP will spend however much he thinks we BOTH have as he is crap with money.

Will also fund ExW, and SKids, whilst expecting me to pick up the tab for our own.

I think DP does not want ExW knowing how bad off we are and he lives in fantasy world.

My secret savings account paid for a holiday ...including SKids last time

mummatotwo Fri 02-Aug-13 23:43:44

Direct handout

brdgrl Sat 03-Aug-13 00:09:39

Of course I'd be mad. Your DH is giving away money that isn't his alone to give, and he's making major expenditures (in our house, a hundred pounds definitely counts as a major expenditure!) without discussing them with you. Not to mention that you have been left multiple times to clean up his messes..

I think you need to rethink the entire arrangement. He maybe needs a discretionary account, from which he can give away money as he pleases, but which if overspent leaves him short, not the household.

Obviously, I am talking about monetary gifts to his son - not maintenance, which I hope is agreed and adhered to quite apart from this!

How old is DSS, by the way?

(DH and I have only last weekend redesigned our entire financial arrangement....mostly because he too is useless with budgeting...so we have created separate accounts for different expenses...will see how it goes this month!)

ChippingInHopHopHop Sat 03-Aug-13 00:15:17

So, essentially he has given your wages to his kids?

Mad wouldn't even cover it.

Kids needs come first, their wants get taken into consideration, get discussed etc.

It's about FAR more than the money.

Petal02 Sat 03-Aug-13 09:39:47

Agree with Chipping. This issue goes far deeper than the money. You definitely need separate finances.

VBisme Sat 03-Aug-13 09:43:29

I know what you mean, DH doesn't currently get an income, and hasn't for the last 14 months, but hasn't reduced the maintenance payments at all.
I don't want the kids to suffer, but I am getting a bit fed up of supporting 2 households.

Petal02 Sat 03-Aug-13 09:50:08

I think it's very admirable that anyone feels the need to dip into their own pocket to contribute towards their partners maintenance payments, but as it's based on the man's income (or lack of) surely it should never be the responsibility of the new partner? And I certainly couldn't envisage a situation where the reverse would apply!

VBisme Sat 03-Aug-13 10:04:18

Totally agree petal, but DH ex seems to think that the kids are pay-per-view if money isn't forthcoming then access is stopped.
That's not fair on anyone.
What really takes the biscuit is the extra demands for money over and above the maintenance for toiletries, clothes etc for their mums house. (I fully accept that we have to clothe the kids when they are with us, this is for extra stuff that we wouldn't see).

Onesleeptillwembley Sat 03-Aug-13 10:26:06

He's a cocklodger. Why would you want to be with such an irresponsible arse?

Petal02 Sat 03-Aug-13 10:27:44

VB - I hope you're not subsidising the ex to the detriment of your own household? What would happen if you suddenly wouldn't/couldn't assist with maintenance, would the ex really withhold contact?

mummatotwo Sat 03-Aug-13 11:04:32

I'm sooooo glad its not me and others feel how I feel I think its guilt but at mine and our DS expense

Petal02 Sat 03-Aug-13 11:16:16

Yes OP, it's definitely guilt, but you're bank rolling it.

I'm not excusing your DH, but a lot of men who are generally quite rational seem to lose the plot when it comes to non-resident children.

I think the only way you'll stop this, is to ensure he can't access your money. Leaving your household short of money so he can splurge your earnings on his son is totally unacceptable.

brdgrl Sat 03-Aug-13 12:37:18

OK, don't know if it will help, but here is what we are trying - we have just started so we will see if it works. But there were similar issues - DH not good with money, disparities about what is spent on the DSCs vs DD, resentment over my wages going to expenses that were not agreed between us - that sort of thing.

We sat down and split all our income sources (three jobs between us, some pension, tax credits) into three accounts. Mine, DH's, and a joint. The joint account got the tax credits; the other income went to the account of the person who earns/receives it.

We looked at all the out-going expenses (based on our actual bank records over the last year - bit time-consuming, but worth it because of all the things we would not have remembered or thought of!). Then we decided, in each and every case, which account should pay for those. There is a large difference between our present incomes, so the higher earner pays for more things, and that's fine with us - the point is that we each have set responsibilities. After the bits we are each responsible for are covered, what is left over is free in each account - that's each of our's discretionary income. That felt right to me - we don't have to answer to each other then for small purchases, charitable or family gifts, etc, but we both know that we have a budget of set expenses that we had better make damn sure we keep enough back for. It might be a bit fiddly - I am supposed to buy the groceries, which we generally order online, so if DH does a midweek shop, I have to reimburse him, that sort of thing - but we really needed to do something and this was the best we could come up with.

At the end of this month, we'll have to look again and see how it is working. But I am optimistic - even if we don't each stick to the budget or have slip-ups, I feel like it will be a lot clearer where we need to sort things out.

mummatotwo Sat 03-Aug-13 17:48:04

But its all done behind my back, I never know until I find out by accident, he just can't say no or I can't afford it. It's been going on years and like someone said its not the money its much more....deciet, lies, total disregard for my feelings, and worse of all the ease in which lies are told blatently to my face. Makes me feel sad and each time chips alittle more away from our relationship.

mummatotwo Sat 03-Aug-13 17:51:54

Today I told him I wasn't paying for the spending money and that why.should I as it would then leave me very short for next month, his answer us to tajebit out of his savings (small amount if redundancy money of his...well ours). My argument is no, that money should be saved and not dipped into

mummatotwo Sat 03-Aug-13 17:53:18

Today I told him I wasn't paying for the spending money and that why.should I as it would then leave me very short for next month, his answer us to tajebit out of his savings (small amount if redundancy money of his...well ours). My argument is no, that money should be saved and not dipped into

LadyClariceCannockMonty Sat 03-Aug-13 17:57:54

Maybe he should have a separate account, into which he pays a fixed standing order every month/week, that is solely for funding DSS. He has responsibility for it; if it goes overdrawn or there's no money when DSS wants something, it's his problem.

And if I were you, I'd set up a separate account that he can't just take money out of.

But basically, he needs to get his act together.

Petal02 Sat 03-Aug-13 18:59:06

The lies and deceit are just as big a problem as his poor money management.

mummatotwo Sat 03-Aug-13 23:43:17

He automatically transfers from account to account so I never know until he gets found out. I never believe what he says...like last year I noticed :£200 transfered over it was to go halves on a holiday for DSS after his exams...not discussed with me, just done

It must be a guilt thing as he.just can't see what he is doing is wrong...it will be the ruin of us I just know it,

brdgrl Sun 04-Aug-13 10:18:21

Yes, you definitely need to separate finances. He won't be able to do automatic transfers then!

ChippingInHopHopHop Sun 04-Aug-13 10:28:01

I couldn't live with someone like this - someone who goes behind your back, lies to your face, doesn't consider the impact of his actions... he isn't 'being kind to his son' he's taking the road of least resistance and you are the one suffering. He's constantly lying to you and using your income to 'pay off' his son... how much longer are you going to tolerate this for?

As I said, I wouldn't live with someone like him - not the way he is happy to lie to you and basically doesn't give a shit about how it affects you.... but, if you choose to stay with him, then you need to find a way that means his financial irresponsibility doesn't impact on you.

Perhaphs try getting a direct debit from his account to yours every pay day, leaving him with only a little bit of spending money & his direct debit for child support, while you get all the money for the bills/holidays/family money under your control.

mummatotwo Sun 04-Aug-13 10:41:21

Yes I had thought about that getting his wages paid into my account etc but then I.thought how drastic!!!

Petal02 Sun 04-Aug-13 11:58:19

It's not drastic, it's the only solution IMO.

Petal02 Sun 04-Aug-13 12:08:17

And when he challenges it, you can tell him that you can neither afford not accept these unagreed "handouts" to DSS.

Petal02 Sun 04-Aug-13 12:09:06

Typo! Should read "can neither afford nor accept"

ChippingInHopHopHop Mon 05-Aug-13 02:47:35


Nope, the only way you can get through this. But as I said, I'd be LTB for his lying and 'not giving a shit about you'.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 07:33:38

What does LTB stand for?

catsmother Mon 05-Aug-13 09:40:53

"leave the bastard" !!!

wrinklyraisin Mon 05-Aug-13 10:46:06

"Your" contribution to the family finances shouldn't be paying for his son's maintenance surely?! He needs to be doing whatever is necessary to ensure he can afford to support his child. Your money shouldn't come into the equation at all as its not counted in the eyes of the CSA in determining maintenance is it? So I would go back to separate finances. He's shown he can't be trusted with your money to be spent on your family. He should grow a pair and say no to his son. It's not your personal income that should be used in maintenance and handouts for your stepchild unless you specifically agree to it, or at least that's how I see it. To take your income from the family pot and use it that way is tantamount to theft IMO.

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 10:49:08

The deceit and lack of money management would annoy me . I couldn't be angry at my husband giving money to his son.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 11:26:54

Arisbottle - but what if your DH gave a sizeable chunk of money to his son, without telling/asking you, which then left you short of money?

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 11:32:37

As I said the dishonesty would annoy me. When I met my husband, I had to support him because he was supporting his ex and son, I made that choice to settle down with a man who had a previous more important commitment and therefore chose to make sacrifices.

wrinklyraisin Mon 05-Aug-13 11:44:27

I'm with a man who has a child and he pays a size able amount of maintenance. But it's from HIS salary not mine. My salary supports the two of us, plus we buy treats etc for my dsd from the joint pot. But as far as maintenance goes, that's his responsibility. I'm not sacrificing my salary to support his child or ex wife, why should I? I'm more than happy to contribute to new shoes or an outfit or a book. But the maintenance is nothing to do with me and I don't agree that just because I'm choosing to be with a divorced man who has a child, I should sacrifice any of my salary to fund their day to day living. My OH would NEVER ask not just assume my money could be used for that. My salary funds OUR family life, which includes incidental expenses for my dsd but certainly not maintaining her and her mother.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 11:58:39

Wrinklyraisin, I'm in the same camp as you. Just because you marry a man with an ex and children, does not mean you become a martyr to the cause!

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 12:01:24

It is not about being a martyr, far from it I chose a man who looked after his wife because statistics show that is likely to be me one day!

Perhaps it is linked to the way that money is viewed, we don't have separate finances and so there isn't his money and my money but our money - and our money has to support our stepson as well as the children who live at home full time.

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 12:04:23

Wrinkly but you are supporting your stepchildren because if you did not support your biological children to the extent that you did, your DH would need to, which would affect the amount of maintenance you he could pay his children.

Supporting your stepchildren is not just about money directly coming from your wage, it is about your life choices. For example when DH and I got married, we could not have the wedding we wants because he had a family to support already. When we had our first son together, I had to go back to work within weeks, because he already had a commitment to his original family.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 12:09:30

when we had our son, I had to go back to work within weeks, as he already had commitments to his original family

That's dreadful! Do you honestly not mind that your husband clearly prioritises his 'first family' over you and your son? I'm not saying either side should come first or second. But surely there should be parity, at the very least ?

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 12:20:41

There is parity, with our later children I have taken years of maternity leave. We wanted a large family, we have four of our own and hope to have more so we needed to get breeding quickly .

My husband had made a commitment to his ex and their son, it would not have been fair to have said to her that because my new wife wants lots of children we have to forget that arrangement. I know that if my DH made a commitment to me he would honour it and not forget it because something new or exciting came his way. (Not that I am that exciting!) He shows that same respect to the mother of his first son.

Our children are all treated equally , but equality does not mean the same. our eldest son has special needs, so in some ways to treat him equally with the other children means that he needs more time. Our third child is quite challenging in her behaviour , she is treated equally but probably differently to the others. In a similar manner my stepson has needs that my biological children do not have , because his parent's relationship broke down - so although he is treated equally he is sometimes treated differently.

wrinklyraisin Mon 05-Aug-13 12:26:40

My OH and I don't have children together, so I don't have any financial obligations at all other than to working hard so my OH and I can enjoy a good standard of living. If we had children then I would still do/say the same thing though. My OH has a responsibility to his own child to pay maintenance, and that financial arrangement is nothing to do with me. My salary funds my family which includes dsd when she's with us. But I'm not financially responsible for her or her mother at all.

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 12:30:43

But you do subsidise, because if your husband did not have to support his family he could pay more into your standard of living. Also as you say than the stepchildren are with you, you can't help but find them. They eat your food, live under your roof, they need clothing entertaining etc.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 12:33:46

I don't have children either Wrinkly, and whilst I've got no issue with DH spending an appropriate amount on his ex/DSS, I have no financial responsibility for either of them.

Ok, so DSS is now too old for DH to pay maintenance, but if there had been a time in the past when DH's income had dropped, then the maintenance would have been reduced accordingly, I would not have been topping it up!

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 12:39:06

If something happened to my DH I would want to carry on supporting my DSS as much as I could, although he is now really a young man so whilst he will need surpporting at university and maybe setting up home, our days of formal maintenance are reaching an end.

wrinklyraisin Mon 05-Aug-13 12:42:21

I agree Aris. I am happy to support dsd under our roof. But I'm not supporting her mother nor am I directly responsible for their maintenance. My OH pays this then the rest if his salary goes into our family pot. He still contributes more than I do. But he also covers more expenses than I do. My understanding is that I don't even see the maintenance money in his bank account, it's not part of our family income that we are "losing" so therefore I can't lament the fact we could have a higher income. The fact is, he's a responsible father, he pays fair and generously for his daughters upkeep, he also works hard to ensure he pays fairly and generously into "our" family pot too. I'm not subsidizing anything. He takes care of his own obligations and I enjoy a good standard of living because I also work hard to take care of my family. Which is me and my OH, and my dsd when she's with us. There's no sacrificing any of my salary to do this. My dsd has a mother and a father, it's up to them to pay for her day to day living, not me.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 12:43:57

I don't mind supporting DSS when he's under our roof either.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 12:45:35

Wrinky, you echo my thoughts in your latest post.

wrinklyraisin Mon 05-Aug-13 12:50:12

Oops I meant to say I agree PETAL not Aris.

I just think the fact OH has a child doesn't automatically mean I should be paying to support her just because I'm with her father. I support MY family very happily. My dsd included in my family when she's staying here. I don't see why I should contribute to her mothers rent/bills/food when the child is legally not my responsibility. I'd hate for her to go hungry or anything. But I'm not going to hand over my hard earned pay to support someone else's child. It's not my responsibility and my OH treats me with respect enough to not assume he can help himself from our family pot to maintain his child. The maintenance never even enters our family pot in the first place.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 13:10:01

I think the majority of us have no issue whatsoever with our DH's paying sensible maintenance - but going back to the OP, most posters would be unhappy to see an un-agreed lump sum being given directly to the step child.

brdgrl Mon 05-Aug-13 13:15:36

My daughter is entitled to the same level of support from DH as his older children. He had two kids before I met him, and I married him. So what? His previous commitments are no more important than his subsequent ones. The children from his first marriage have no right to a higher standard of living than those of his second marriage, and there should be no greater expectation that they be shielded from downturns, either. If the household income goes down or there are money problems, every child in our household will feel the pinch.

Frankly, my DSCs are getting more of the money I earn than my DD is, at present, because my DH is underemployed while he finishes a degree. I tolerate this because it is a temporary situation and my DH needs the support. If he started lying about it and essentially stealing from the household account to give presents to his older children (or anyone else), or if he were not including me in the decisions about our money, that would be unacceptable to me.

Whether a couple has separate accounts or shared ones, there ought to be agreement and full disclosure about major or repeated expenditures, especially in homes where there are financial concerns.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 13:23:34

Brdgrl, you make an excellent point that ''first family' children should not be shielded from financial down turns if their father's income etc drops. I think this is really important otherwise you end up with a 'ring fenced' figure which may become totally unaffordable. If the family was still intact, everyone has to deal with fluctuating fortunes, it should be no different if that family is separated.

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 13:27:52

I agree to a point, although just as most of us have the children that you can afford within a nuclear family , th same should apply across a step family. So if a man or woman already has children with a previous partner they should not be having more children if that means a significant reduction in support for the existing children.

As I said earlier when my husband and I married we wanted children quickly but DH was adamant that our having more children should not affect the agreement he had with the mother of his son. Hence me gong back to work earlier than was ideal.

brdgrl Mon 05-Aug-13 13:39:40

So if a man or woman already has children with a previous partner they should not be having more children if that means a significant reduction in support for the existing children.
Baloney. If a parent decides to have another child, they are not bound to consider whether that will affect the money available to the older children, so long as they can reasonably anticipate being able to provide for the needs of all their children.

Any time a parent decides to have an additional child, there will be fewer resources available for the older child(ren). That's accepted within any family with more than one child, frankly.

If my parents had chosen to have one child rather than five, perhaps my oldest sibling would have had more luxuries. My parents believed they could provide for the needs of five children.

Of course, even within 'traditional' families, unexpected things happen. Perhaps a couple has two children, believing that they will be able to earn and provide for those children. One has an accident or illness and can no longer work...or is laid off through no fault of their own...things can happen so that even the needs of children can not be met, and that happens in every kind of family.

My DH and I provide for all the needs of the three children in our lives. But if he thought that his first children were still entitled to maintain a more privileged lifestyle, whilst I struggled to put food in my DD's mouth or buy her a new toy once every six months - well. LTB indeed. If one of our children goes without, so should they all, that is what a family is - we share in the good and the bad.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 13:42:00

Aris, I think the flip side to that argument, is that no one questions there being "less to go round" if new babies arrive in an intact family. But yet in a step situation, it seems that nothing can ever be diluted if there's a new arrival.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 13:43:33

Brdgrl, I posted before I'd seen your latest post - which is excellent.

brdgrl Mon 05-Aug-13 13:51:53

Thanks, petal - you said it more succinctly!

wrinklyraisin Mon 05-Aug-13 14:06:58

Excellent post brdgrl.

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 14:21:15

brdgrl that is why I said a significant reduction. If having more children meant a significant change for the existing children it is not fair, unless it has been agreed by all parties. Within a nuclear family you would not have another child without discussing the implications with your partner. It should be the same with any parents, even if they are no longer together. When you have a child with someone it is a decision to co parent for life.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 14:28:08

But can you imagine if a man said to his ex-wife "me and my new wife wish to have a baby, but will only go ahead if you agree to accepting a slight reduction in maintenance payments."

In theory it's nice if all parties could discuss any changes that may effect them, but in reality the conversation suggested above is highly unlikely to take place, you could argue whether it should actually take place or not, and even if it did, can you imagine the response from the majority of exes?

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 14:39:31

We have had exactly those kind of discussions.

brdgrl Mon 05-Aug-13 14:41:08

'Discussing the implications' with the ex partner is fine, but the idea that the ex-partner has any actual input into the decision is ridiculous.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 14:45:41

Yes Brdgrl! Letting the ex decide whether or not DH and I have a baby or not ....... What a thought!!!!!

wrinklyraisin Mon 05-Aug-13 14:46:43

If my OH and I go on to have our own kids we will do what every other family does and make do. His maintenance is state mandated and comes out if his salary automatically. So whatever is left is our family money. My dsd won't have reduced payments unless he loses his job. If I earn more or he earns more then our pot increases and we will all benefit. But my own salary is dedicated to improving my own family life first.

wrinklyraisin Mon 05-Aug-13 14:48:10

And that's ridiculous to allow his ex wife to dictate whether we have a child or not!!!! Can we dictate the same thing to her?

brdgrl Mon 05-Aug-13 14:48:43

Discussing the implications could take the form of: "SecondWife and I are expecting a child. Let's talk about how our own children will be impacted by that."

A "significant change" doesn't mean not providing for children's needs. If kids were accustomed to expensive holidays, loads of extra-curricular activities, top-shelf food and toiletries, and a holiday home - and another child means some of those things come to an end, that seems completely rational and natural. People's fortunes change for a variety of reasons, but the choice to have a child belongs to the two people involved in its conception, and no one else.

brdgrl Mon 05-Aug-13 14:51:44

I think it is also worth remembering that in this case (the OP, I mean), the issue is not maintenance, but direct cash gifts to the child.

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 14:53:34

It isn't about dictating it is about acting like reponsible adults who are all raising a family together and want the best for them.

Whoever you make a decision that impacts on your children you discuss that with the involved adults.

We have not asked my husband's ex if we can have more children but we have discussed with her how best we can meet the needs of all of our children , including stepson. For example our stepson's mother agreed to look for part time work when DSS was settled in school so that we could afford more children . But we didn't go to her and say we want more children so you are to work. We sat down and said that we would like more children but we don't want this to affect DSS standard of living, what can we all do as a family unit.

brdgrl Mon 05-Aug-13 15:00:34

Well, of course it is your choice to conduct your own life as you see fit and to engage in a discussion of your reproductive choices with another party, but I shan't be doing so.

That doesn't make me irresponsible.

I am curious, though - If your partner's ex had refused to look for part-time work, would you then have decided not to have a child? Do you think that is a reasonable model for others?

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 15:05:58

Aris - the situation you describe is unusual.

wrinklyraisin Mon 05-Aug-13 15:07:52

I was going to ask the same as brdgrl. My OH ex wife doesn't work. She chooses not to. Therefore she cannot complain when me and my OH can afford nice things and holidays (that we include dsd in much of the time but sometimes we have a weekend away alone too). By choosing not to work she is limiting their lifestyle and I won't subsidize it for her so it matches ours.

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 15:08:52

Brdgrl she had previously refused to look for work, not in an unreasonable way but it was important to her to be a SAHM. So we had waited and I had needed to increase my hours at work and or go back to work earlier than I had wanted.

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 15:11:01

But wrinkly if they had agreed when originally having the children that being a SAHP was important the mother is not being unreasonable. I would not want our stepson to have a different standard of living than my biological children and DH certainly wouldn't stand for it, even though his ex has either not worked or worked part time and we have had well paid careers.

brdgrl Mon 05-Aug-13 15:17:30

If my partner's (hypothetical) ex thinks it is important to be a stay at home mum, that has nothing to do with me!

Neither would I expect her to subsidize my choice to stay at home with DH and I's child now. hmm

brdgrl Mon 05-Aug-13 15:20:50

Arisbottle, I mean it when I say that I respect your decision to involve your partner's ex in your lives to this degree - it is your choice - but it is certainly not anything like a moral or ethical requirement for others, and it is downright unworkable for many.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 15:27:55

Wrinkly, I think you must be my twin, your circumstances sound identical to mine!

Aris, if the bio parents originally agreed that the mother would be a SAHM, I assume that decision was based on them staying together? The landscape has now changed, and we often have to adapt to changing circumstances.

If the ex hadn't agreed to take in some pt hours - would you have accepted her decision and cancelled your baby plans?

I don't mean to sound critical but there's a hint of "surrendered wife" about your posts.

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 15:34:48

I am about as far removed from a surrendered wife as you can get, that will amuse DH when he gets home.

If she had refused to take in part time work we would have been able to have our children, we would just not have the lifestyle we have now and maybe we would have waited. Maybe I would not have taken the paycut needed to become a teacher which enabled me to carry on working and have the children.

I don't think we are unusual, we are just parents who want the best for our children - don't most of us - trying to make a difficult situation work. It is also not a one way street, my stepson's mother has helped us out with childcare in the past, she is a fantastic mother , much more natural than me and was a great help when I had my children.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 15:34:57

Pressed send too soon: Aris, you must be every divorced father's dream: a partner who is happy for the ex and 'first family children' to have first refusal on money and big decisions, rendering the second wife and 'second family children' squarely at the back of the queue. This is the stuff of major ructions in lots of families, yet you seem at peace with it? I'm actually annoyed on your behalf - you deserve better!!!!!

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 15:38:34

They don't have first refusal, we make decisions jointly when they affect both families. No child comes second.

I do not see how I deserve or even could have better to be honest. I have a husband who adores me, a stepson who has welcomed me into his family, four healthy children of my own and hopefully more on the way, a beautiful home, a lifestyle free from financial worries and a job I adore. I am at peace with my life because by and large it is pretty perfect.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 15:46:24

Aris - I don't know whether to hug you or shake you!!! You list several things you might not have done, or have delayed "if the ex hadn't agreed to do some pt hours". So it sounds like she really is calling the shots??!!??

Would you really have tailored the trajectory if your career/family if she hadn't played ball??

Would there ever have been a point where, if she'd dug her heels in, your DH would have played hard ball and said "Aris is expecting again, there will be a cut in maintenance" or would everyone have tiptoed round her?

Again, please don't think I'm being critical of you; but as a fellow second wife, I don't believe the ex should be allowed to call the tune.

allnewtaketwo Mon 05-Aug-13 15:50:20

Arisbottle "If having more children meant a significant change for the existing children it is not fair, unless it has been agreed by all parties"

So are you equally suggesting that a PWC should consult her ex when she chooses to have subsequent children and give up working, meaning the first children see a substantial reduction in money spent on them?

allnewtaketwo Mon 05-Aug-13 15:52:28

"I do not see how I deserve or even could have better to be honest. I have a husband who adores me, a stepson who has welcomed me into his family, four healthy children of my own and hopefully more on the way, a beautiful home, a lifestyle free from financial worries and a job I adore. I am at peace with my life because by and large it is pretty perfect."

Arisbottle that all sounds very idyllic and noble, but I've seen you post on other threads about your regrets you can't be a SAHM due to a shortage of money , whereas your DP's can/could

allnewtaketwo Mon 05-Aug-13 15:52:44

DP's ex

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 15:55:07

She is not calling the tune, since child number 2 we have been in the financial situation that quite frankly we can have as many children as we wish and our DSS can still have a very good quality of life.

If we had less money to go around we would have had fewer children, many families have fewer children than they would ideally like because of finances, we would not be alone in that.

We have never tiptoed around his ex, our relationship is just not like that. We have all known each other for about almost 30 years, that is far too long to tip toe around someone.

With our eldest son, we were married quite soon after their divorce, I wanted children almost straight away. Our stepson was still a preschooler, I do not think it was harsh if her to say, actually my son and I are rebuilding our lives, he has been rather unsettled by changes in the family and I don't want to go back to work yet. She did not say, I will never go back to work, she just said not yet. I got pregnant almost straight away and therefore had to go back to work earlier than I would have had to if it had taken say a year to get pregnant.

wrinklyraisin Mon 05-Aug-13 15:56:07

Omg. My dsd gets a great lifestyle with us. Her mother chooses not to work so she doesn't have as big an income. Her decision is nothing to do with us. And our lifestyle and decisions are nothing to do with her. We still have my dsd best interests at heart though as ALL her needs are met. I resent the implication that just because I value the lifestyle I have by working hard, I should somehow be "fair" and share this with my OH ex so the child won't suffer. Bull!

We work as a team to ensure my dsd is fed, clothed, educated and entertained and generally has a happy and opportunity filled life. My money isn't needed for this.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 15:57:41

Aris - is it really as idyllic as you portray, or are you married to a man who is so terrified of the ex's threats of withholding access, that he lets her walk all over him - and by extension - his new wife?

It's up to you if you choose to answer, but as we're all anonymous (and I am personally outraged on your behalf) you may post candidly?

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 15:58:52

Allnew I have regretted that I could not have spent more time as a SAHM, but that is life, I have four children , if I had taken the five years I would have liked with each children I would been out of work for 20 years. I also like my own financial independence from DH and to know that I am earning my own pension, so my decision to work has not just been about our stepson.

Yes my DP's ex was a SAHM for longer but she had one child , she would desperately have liked more children. I would far rather be in my position than hers.

allnewtaketwo Mon 05-Aug-13 15:59:45

Totally agree wrinkly, just interested how Arisbottle would see the NRP getting a say in how many children the PWC has, given she is very "pro" the PWC having a say if the NRP has more children, with the same result

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 16:01:52

She has never threatened to withdraw access and never would, what a bizarre thing to suggest.

Our stepson is too old for formal access now, but DH has always seen as much if his son as he wanted to. For many years we have had shared residency. Since I have become a teacher DSS often spent the school holidays with us so that his mother could work.

I don't see why people want to suggest there is something sinister going on, we just want the best for our children.

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 16:04:10

We have never seen it as the parent with care or non resident parent tbh, there were times when DSS lived mostly with his mother and times when it was more equal.

As I said, his ex has never had any more children, although she has just got married. As our stepson is about to leave home , her decision to have more children would not affect our stepson. I guess if it had affected the amount of maintenance needed we would have had a discussion.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 16:06:17

Wrinkly, ditto (again). There's a big disparity between our household income (we both work) and the ex's household income. And the only way we'd be able to achieve a consistent standard of living for DSS across two households, is if we bought the ex a bigger house in a nicer area and gave her substantial hand outs each month.

So any child born to DH and I would have a better lifestyle than DSS, unless we redress the balance.

And that ain't ever gonna happen!!!!

allnewtaketwo Mon 05-Aug-13 16:08:07

I don't see anything sinister, but I do not definitely dispute the suggestion that any adult wanting more children in a new relationship should only do so as a result of a joint decision with their ex, even if there is a financial impact on joint children.

Just imagine the complexity in a situation with 2 or more exes on both sides with children. That would be an interesting 'joint decision'

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 16:11:38

There is a big disparity between our incomes, but that is mainly because of DH. DSS mother earns little because she has put our stepson before a career. She partially enabled DH to be so successful by running the home and playing the corporate wife - something I am not very good at.

DSS ex has the marital home, which is not as large as ours but there is only the two if them, or three now she is married. It is certainly a house that most families would be happy to own. We also have a small holding and I am not sure she would want the responsibility of getting up at 5am to deed the animals!

My Stepson has a similar standard of living to our other children.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 16:12:50

Good point Allnew!

Aris. I'm not suggesting anything sinister, I just feel sad that your needs/wants seem to have taken a back seat to those of the ex. But if you're ok with it, then that's fine. We're all different.

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 16:14:33

Allnew so do you think that fathers ( or mothers) should be able to just abandon their children and start up new families ?

I am not saying that an ex should be able to permanently veto children but that a discussion should take place about how to manage the change so that existing children are affected the least. Parents should also be able to support the children they have before having any more and sometimes that may mean that if you marry a man who already has children that there will be no more children or a compromise will be needed.

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 16:15:26

Anyway DH will be home soon and the ex is coming over for dinner, had better get into my submissive role and get dinner prepared.

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 16:16:58

I wasn't criticising you Aris - I just wanted you to fight for your rights!!!!!!

allnewtaketwo Mon 05-Aug-13 16:19:03

"Allnew so do you think that fathers ( or mothers) should be able to just abandon their children and start up new families"

Good grief, that's a massive leap from one subject to another. The thread I read was about maintenance, not sure when or who decided it was about abandonment hmm

Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 16:25:08

By abandon I meant not pay maintence or pay a token amount whilst having a second family - it seems to happen an awful lot. It would e much better if a divorced family discussed through the implications of having more children rather than just merrily conceiving more children without thinking about the ones that already exist.

Petal I am not sure what rights I should be fighting for. There are women out there that really need your concern, I don't think I am one of them.

allnewtaketwo Mon 05-Aug-13 16:28:39

Well DH's ex certainly didn't discuss giving her job up with DH when she went on to have 3 more children. And quite rightly so. Yet, her decision comes under your criteria that it should have been a joint decision, in particular given the exiting children suffered a huge reduction in their standard living and she doesn't pay a penny towards them as she earns nothing.

I'm surprised anyone thinks that DH should be able to exert control over her decision by having any involvement in it at all.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 05-Aug-13 16:48:29

Aris Do you think that I should have discussed with DD's Dad my decision several years ago to take Vol Redundancy?

My DD's life changed completely; we moved home, her childcare arrangements changed, our standard of living reduced considerably.....while I kept him fully informed, I certainly didn't consult with him before I made decisions about my life.....there is no way we would have agreed anyway, because that's one of the reasons we divorced!
I didn't expect him to contribute any more than he had been towards DD's costs - I reduced my expenditure accordingly; second-hand uniform, not going on all the additional school trips, no takeouts or meals out...we managed, but I have no doubt that he disapproved as he went out of his way to tell anyone who would listen - was I wrong?

brdgrl Mon 05-Aug-13 17:20:44

This is just bizarre.
Not that you have found a way that works for you, Aris, you say your life is pretty perfect, and that's great.

But I think where I am finding your posts hard to swallow is where you seem to suggest that this is the route 'responsible parents' should take, or that we don't all want 'the best for our children'. Maybe you don't mean to suggest any such thing, maybe you are just wanting to share your own experience in a blended family. I really hope so.

brdgrl Mon 05-Aug-13 17:26:36

You also seem quite bitter about blended families, which I don't understand if your own experience has been a good one.

My DH has never abandoned any of his children. And I feel confident that our daughter adds far more to her siblings' lives than she takes from them.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 05-Aug-13 17:37:00

But I think where I am finding your posts hard to swallow is where you seem to suggest that this is the route 'responsible parents' should take, or that we don't all want 'the best for our children'.

I agree.

Aris - your posts are littered with the word should - parents should do X, discussion should take place, first families should be a priority.

I can assure you that my DSC Mum doesn't want her DC's to be a priority in DP's life - she things he should disappear from their lives and never have anything to do with her or them - how does that fit with your model of what parents should do?

Petal02 Mon 05-Aug-13 17:42:01

China - good point. DH's ex was never unduly concerned with DSS's best interests; she just insisted that DH removed DSS from her house as often as possible, and kept paying as much as possible. Didn't give us much to work with!!!

needaholidaynow Mon 05-Aug-13 18:28:44

When we had our first son together, I had to go back to work within weeks, because he already had a commitment to his original family.

That is just really really depressing. The whole wording of it all. Whether my DP had an "original family" or not, I should still get to have a chance to enjoy my own children, even if our income is a bit low for 9 months. It only happens a few times in a lifetime.

As for my income going towards maintenance. I'll be blunt here and say that it is NOT my responsibility. Just because I am with a man who has a child, my income doesn't automatically become an income source for 2 households. Why should I pay towards my DP's ex's bills/ rent/ food costs/ etc... when she has her income, her partner's income, and my DP's income if she wanted it? Therefore 4 incomes supporting her household and only a bit of 2 incomes here?

I am more than happy to pay for additional expenses such as school uniform and trips etc, and support whilst she's here. But as far as I'm concerned if they have no money left and I've been paid or had a bonus and can afford luxuries when she can't even pay her bills, then it's tough shit. She wouldn't help us pat towards our living expenses socht on earth would I personally from my own wages put myself out just because I'm with her ex?

allnewtaketwo Mon 05-Aug-13 19:01:00

I can't help but remember some of your other posts Aris where you've said you feel your children have missed out on having you as a SAHM and that the reason you had to work was because you felt your DP's exes income should never drop due to your children. That IS putting someone else before your children, if you believe they missed our as a result, which you have said before that you believe they have

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 10:22:25

When trawling my posts you will have noticed that my regret about being a SAHM revolves around two things. One I am actually fundamentally very lazy and would rather not work at all. Having 12 weeks off a year was my main motivator for being a teacher. Secondly my eldest son has rather complex special needs, something that did not come to light for many years. When discussing children and work arrangements if I had known then what I know now I would have stayed at home with him, probably all of his childhood. Rather stupidly I spent years blaming myself for my son's problems, thinking that if I worked less during pregnancy, if I had been at home, if other things had been different and so yes I do look back at that time with ambivalent emotions. If you want to use a quite difficult time in my life to score points in a debate, feel free, personally I think that is something of a low shot.

I think you are a very lucky parent if you can look back and think I would not change a thing, most parents cannot do exactly as they wish and have to make compromises. I look back and wish I had worked less, I was fortunate to be able to take a paycut and become a teacher so I had more time with my family and could work a little less. Right now life feels pretty good, we have managed to navigate my eldest son through much of secondary school, which has been something of a bumpy ride and he looks set to get himself a decent crop of qualifications so he can go to a university where he may feel a little less odd. Hopefully our family is about to expand again and I feel very blessed to have so much.

DSS mother was over for dinner last night, hence me not replying and we discussed this as a family. None of us feel that one person has dictated to the other but just that we have discussed things before leaping ahead, just as other families do. It is not that DSS is a priority over the other children , but that he was the first child and therefore his needs have to be met before you consider having another, once a child has arrived they of course are all treated equally - although I maintain that equal does not necessarily mean the same. Within a nuclear family you would do that, I don't see why my stepson should be worth any less because his parents could no longer stay together. I do think that responsible parents discuss things before making big life decisions, like having another child. Whenever DH and I have had a child , I have not just stopped taking the pill without discussing things with DH. We have discussed childcare arrangements, work patterns, finances and even bedrooms! When you are part of a step family there are more than two parents to discuss this with, I can't see why that is so shocking or offensive.

I am not bitter about blended families, I love my family and consider my DSS's mother one of my closest friends. I do have experience within my own family and friendship circle of men leaving their first family and having other children , sometimes with multiple partners - with no consideration of how this affects the children that already exist. I do have experience of the same fathers paying no or very little maintenance. I find that shocking and do not understand why someone would not find raising your own child something to take joy in rather than something to avoid. I also find the way that some posters talk about the mothers of their stepchildren shocking, This is a woman that your husband valued and loved enough to perhaps marry and certainly create a child with. I just think it makes life harder to seek confrontation. If nothing else both you and the ex wife have fallen in love with the same man and therefore there is something you have in common.

brdgrl Tue 06-Aug-13 10:43:11

Whenever DH and I have had a child , I have not just stopped taking the pill without discussing things with DH.
Fair enough...but you have suggested that a prospective mother also discuss it with her DH's ex. Can you not see the difference?

I do have experience of the same fathers paying no or very little maintenance. I find that shocking and do not understand why someone would not find raising your own child something to take joy in rather than something to avoid.
This is not an issue on this thread. Or indeed on most of the posts on this board. Objectively speaking (I have no personal investment in maintenance or residency issues), I see far more posts and threads here which are about fathers wanting more, not less, involvement in their children's lives. But again, not even the point, as this is not a discussion of maintenance.

When you are part of a step family there are more than two parents to discuss this with, I can't see why that is so shocking or offensive.
Well, it is shocking and offensive because most people recognize that a divorce dissolves a marriage and by its very nature, negates ceratin responsibilities and agreements, replacing these with those defined in the divorce decree. Moreover, most people recognize an extant marriage as a private bond between two adults.

By the way, your statement is not always true. There are not always more than two parents to discuss things with. My DH's ex is dead. Does that mean we are entitled to breed again? The impact on my stepchildren is even greater in my case, as it is not mitigated by the income or intervention of an ex...so surely I should be prohibited from reproducing, since it has a negative impact on the DSCs, and since clearly their father is incapable of making a sole judgement about their best interests in this regard?

And what about the parent who is alive, but disinterested in discussions, like allnew's DH's ex, above?

But this is the crux of things -
DSS mother was over for dinner last night, hence me not replying and we discussed this as a family.
My DH's previous partners are not members of my family, and I do not discuss our family choices with them. I passionately believe that families are made and come in many different forms and shapes. Yours includes your DH's first wife, and if that suits you all, I won't say a word against it. It is, however, uncommon and I think you would be more fair to others if you accepted that your choice is unlikely to either suit or function for many others. It is the prescriptive quality of your posts to which I object.

I promise you, you have not cracked the secret formula to a happy life. hmm

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 10:59:47

I suppose it depends on how you see the mother of your stepchild, I don't really see her as my husband's ex but as the mother of my stepson. Therefore if we make a decision that affects our stepson it seems natural to discuss that with her, not to ask her permission, but to discuss how we can make it work.

It is Aibu, we are being asked our opinion, I have given it. Much if it has been quite personal to me, that is the nature of a parenting discussion board . I do not apologise for being prescriptive in saying that I think parents should consider the needs of their first child before having a second. I have only quickly scanned my posts but that seems to be where I said " should "

I don't think a divorce negates your responsibilities to your children . Obviously if a parent is dead you can't discuss things with them, that goes without saying. I feel a little daft even having to say that. But in the OP situation the parents were alive .

If a parent is disinterested in their children, obviously they way we choose to do things is not going to work. Although it can take some time to get to a point where people are happy to discuss with each other and set aside differences. A divorce often happens precisely because a couple cannot set aside their differences and therefore the ability to work together as a family can be a huge ask, especially in the early days.

Where have I said that I have cracked a universal formula for happy family life? Mumsnet is about sharing experiences, if we can't do that for fear that we are being prescriptive the site would be very quiet. In fact rather than say everything is rosy I have said that I wish I had done some things differently and even that I have has times when I blamed my decisions for my son's problems. That is hardly me saying that I have got everything right.

I am not sure why I am getting the passive aggressive face from you.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 06-Aug-13 11:02:15

I also find the way that some posters talk about the mothers of their stepchildren shocking, This is a woman that your husband valued and loved enough to perhaps marry and certainly create a child with

Do you find it equally shocking to read the vitriol directed at Stepmums by the mother of their DSC? About the verbal and physical attacks that Stepmums are subjected to?

Surely, if Stepmums should respect their DSC mum because she was previously chosen by her DH, then the same is true in reverse; mum should respect stepmum because the man she chose to have DCs with loves, trusts and respects her?

I'm delighted that you have such an amicable relationship with your DSC mum, which I am sure is in no small part due to your willingness to come second to your DSC and allow your DCs to come second as well. Unfortunately, not all hostile blended family situations can be solved just by stepmum deferring to mums superior position.

wrinklyraisin Tue 06-Aug-13 11:02:55

I'm friend with, and friendly with, my OH's ex wife. Not a snowballs chance in hell she's being involved in any discussions about whether or no my OH and I will ever procreate though! She's treated with all due respect and consulted about any concerns or things involving their child. She's the mother, after all. However, any decisions my OH and I make to expand our new family unit are bugger all to do with her! We won't be consulting my dsd either. She's a child. Our job is to provide her with a loving and stable and secure upbringing. If we choose to have another child, that job won't change.

I find it hard to swallow that you share so much private stuff with your husbands ex. My relationship and what goes on within it is no one else's business but ours.

brdgrl Tue 06-Aug-13 11:32:24

hmm That's not a passive-aggressive face, it is a skeptical face. Says so, right next to it. I used it because I am skeptical.

It is Aibu, we are being asked our opinion, I have given it.
This is not AIBU, actually. As I said above, there is no issue with you giving an opinion, or with sharing what has worked for you. The judgement and thinly veiled attack on 'second families' is what has been objected to.

I do not apologise for being prescriptive in saying that I think parents should consider the needs of their first child before having a second.
You should, though. Apologize, that is. I understand that you won't, because you cannot see what is offensive in your posts.

For a father to consider the needs of his older children absolutely does not require a discussion with an ex.

You imply - rather more than an implication, in fact, that it does, and that those of us who make a responsible decision - to have children within a committed relationship, for which we can provide - do not have all our children's best interests at heart.

Obviously if a parent is dead you can't discuss things with them, that goes without saying. I feel a little daft even having to say that. But in the OP situation the parents were alive .
And yet, the logic is exactly the same. The ex has nothing to do with this, right - it is all about the best interest of the children, isn't that your position? So what difference does it make, to your spurious position, if she is alive or dead? If it is not in my DSCs best interest to have a sibling that takes away from the available income, that's all that matters - right?

What if my DH's first wife asked him, as she did, not to marry and have more children? Her wishes at the time were pretty clear...so what? She doesn't have a say, and she wouldn't have a say if she lived around the corner and had tea here every day. My DH has proven himself able to make decisions for his family and in the best interests of his children. It is too bad that you would require the death of the first spouse to make that acceptable.

(And if we are strictly speaking about the OP's situation, maintenance was never an issue in her post, don't forget.)

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 11:32:37

I do find it sad when vitriol is directed at stepmothers, I am one myself just trying to do my best. I totally agree it should work both ways.

My children do not come second, I do not come second and my stepson's mother does not have a superior position in the family. As DH has four children with me, soon to be 5, if anything the weight tends to swing in our favour just because of numbers.

We don't share loads of private stuff, I hardly think a discussion that goes along the lines of " we would like to start a family and ideally we would like aria to be at home but we can't afford it at the moment, any ideas? " is a highly confidential conversation. We have never asked my ex for permission to have children but rather had conversations about how we can make it work. This was because it involved the two if us being financially reliant on DH, it may be different if the finances are more equal.

I think an important factor for us is that DH and our stepson's mother split when stepson was a baby and DH and I started seeing each other not long after. So our family has almost always been this way , certainly as long as our stepson can remember. So there has not really been a need for a new drawing up of roles or responsibilities.

brdgrl Tue 06-Aug-13 11:37:11

I hardly think a discussion that goes along the lines of " we would like to start a family and ideally we would like aria to be at home but we can't afford it at the moment, any ideas? " is a highly confidential conversation.

Really? Do you understand that most people do? Most people would consider this an exceedingly private matter.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 11:44:24

Where have I attacked second families, I am a second family.

Where have I said that it is irresponsible to have a child that you can afford within a commited relationship ? If that is the case I am highly irresponsible as I am about to have my fifth. I have not said that you should not have further children as they always take away from the stepchild , again I am about to have my fifth child . I simply said that the needs of the existing children need to be considered and in my view the existing children should not have their standard of living significantly reduced unless that is something that has been discussed.

Where have I said that the first wife's commands become law? I have said a discussion not a dictation.

I am sorry it is not Aibu, I was getting confused because it is only normally on AIBU that the passive aggressive faces appear, people fridge through your old posts for ammunition and people start trying to twist your words and overstate the case.

I don't do confrontation and I have clearly made you very angry and I am sorry for that. This site is supposed to be about supporting parents rather than attacking them and right now I feel a little attacked.

I was warned that MN could be like this, ironically by DDS mother! I will leave the thread so that it can return to the OP rather than trying to pick my posts apart.I hope the Op and her husband can sort things out.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 11:49:03

At the time DSS mother was totally reliant on my DH for money, other than child benefit. I don't know the exact details but I would be surprised if she received any benefits on top of the maintenance she was getting. We could not afford to continue doing that if I was going to be at home with a child. Surely in those circumstances it was right to include her in any discussions which could have had a huge financial impact on her and our stepson.

brdgrl Tue 06-Aug-13 11:49:39

This site is supposed to be about supporting parents rather than attacking them and right now I feel a little attacked.

Do you think that your posts were supportive and helpful to the OP? Your second post was to suggest that her DH's first son was a "more important commitment" and not-so-subtly tell her that she knew what she was getting into and should make sacrifices (presumably so should her children.)

I am sorry you feel attacked. As I say, I am pleased if you have found something that works within your family. I think the responses you have received reflect the fact that you came across in a very prescriptive and judgmental manner.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 12:12:20

Being a stepmother you make sacrifices and the commitment to the existing child is more important than the commitment to you. I did not say the children from the first marriage are more important , why would I say that when I have four , plus one, children who are all from a second marriage.

I have for checked through my posts and have not said anywhere that children from a second marriage are less important .

I don't think I have been any more prescriptive than anyone else, it is that you don't agree with me - which is fine - I thought the OP wanted to hear different views.

I haven't said that my way is the best way, infact I have said that I have regretted things. If parenting awards were being given out I am sure I would be towards the back of the queue. I said we wanted to do the best and then said isn't that what we are all doing?

I have obviously phrased things wrong, and I am sorry for that. I did not mean to come across as judgemental or prescriptive and in real life that is just not me, I guess words in a screen come across differently from the way we mean them.

don't post on the step parenting boards very often as I find it quite intimidating and I guess that was a wise decision to stay away.

As I said, I don't do confrontation so I will step away. We only found out last night that we are expecting our fifth child, I should be celebrating today rather than having to feel like this and being told that I have made my children second class citizens.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 06-Aug-13 12:20:22

This was because it involved the two if us being financially reliant on DH,

...and this is why you have been posting at cross-purposes. There are very few arrangements now-a-days in which an exH remains financially responsible for his exW. It is acknowledged that both parents have a joint financial responsibility towards the shared DCs, and the practical responsibility for this is usually taken by the RP who receives a financial contribution from the NRP and who chooses the standard of living the DCs have.

it is incredibly rare for a man to have the arrangement your DP has, and even more rare for him to financially support two families, mainly because there are very few women who would accept the level of sacrifice it would require on their part and that of their DCs.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 06-Aug-13 12:23:39

At the time DSS mother was totally reliant on my DH for money, other than child benefit

There are very few women who would commit to having one child with a man who was so beholden to his exW, let alone 5!!!!

needaholidaynow Tue 06-Aug-13 12:26:42

My DP's ex isn't part of our family. I mean, where do you draw the line? Is her partner part of our family too? Her mum, her cousins, etc...?? Tell you what, you might as well become one big family.

He moment they divorced was when they decided to go their seperate ways, and moreover when they met new partner's was when they decided to commit to a new life away from each other, with the only thing connecting them beig their daughter. Anything else, such as subsequent children, finances of their partner, holidays, new house, spending time in their "new" family unit is none of the other person's business.

DSD has two homes and two families. One here and one at her mum's. Essentially she has "two lives", and as a child I found in time this to be a positive thing. We don't "consult" DP's ex on anything that has nothing to do with her. Me and my DP are going on holiday in October without any of the children. My DP didn't Ask her if this was ok, he told her we are going away and that obviously he won't be around for a week. It's really none of her business. Just like us having 2 DSs was none of her business and vice versa when she had her baby.

We never go to each other's houses for tea, spend Christmas with each other, or go on days out together. I think the only time we actually spent longer than 5 minutes together was on DSD's birthday last year when she had a party. But even then we did a seperate one of our own that included DP's family because this is her dad's side of the family and she has a whole other seperate one With her mum. What we do as a family we never think to include DSD's mum.

wrinklyraisin Tue 06-Aug-13 12:30:37

I don't agree with what you said about when you're a stepmother, the commitment to the existing children is greater than the commitment to you.

They are completely different relationships that require completely different things.

My OH is a father. A good one at that. So he sees his child as often as he can , makes sure he provides for her fairly and generously, speaks to her every day, tells and shows her he loves her, does his utmost to ensure she's happy and healthy. That's his commitment to her, and it'll always be that way.

His commitment to me is just as strong and just as important. He works hard to take care of me and us, to give us a good lifestyle, makes me feel loved and secure, plans a hopefully long and happy future with me by his side. That's his commitment to me.

Two very different relationships, father and partner. Both require serious work. And both are equally important to him. I never feel second best to my dsd. She's his child and always will be. But my OH respects his commitment to me just as much. There's no comparison IMO between the two commitments as they're totally different and my OH can see this and acts accordingly.

I know you say you don't feel second best Aris but your posts do all seem like you're treated second best. My IH had a previous marriage but it ended. His ex is always going to be the mother of his child and he will always work hard to parent well with her. But he's not her partner any more and he has no desire to be, he's with me, and our relationship is private. His ex just has to deal with whatever we decide to do. As long as he pays maintenance, and invests as much time and live into his child, there's no reason for his ex to have any bearing in our relationship and decisions quite frankly.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 12:49:12

He no longer fully supports her, this was whilst our stepson was a preschooler and she was at home. As my stepson settled into school she started to work more and more and we were able to financially step back as a consequence and could have more children,

I am not presently totally reliant on my DH for money , although he earns in a bad year almost three times my wage so there is disparity, However if I were to give up work to be SAHM then I would be reliant on him. As has just been said, DH would struggle to fully support two families which is why my desire to have children had to be balanced against DSS needs.

We do spend a lot of time together, and yes that is probably unusual. We have Christmas together and celebrate birthdays together, every now and again we go on holiday together.

I don't feel second best to anyone, not my stepson or his mother. But I do think the greatest commitment you have in life is to your children . But yes it is a different kind if commitment. But in those early days the commitment to the existing child is greater than the commitment to the new tpartner.

Of course my DH does not want to be with my stepson's mother any more, however he does still love her in a platonic sense. They were great friends who should have remained that way. They mistook that friendship for something more and started a relationship which they both laugh at now. I quite like the fact that he has stayed in such good terms with the mother of his child and that they have forged a positive relationship together. It has not been plain sailing by any means, I found it very hard when we first got together, we had huge rows for example about our wedding. There were accusations thrown about that DH and I had been having an affair and that I was to blame for their marriage breakdown. But I am pleased that we have chosen that route. All of us have come from quite dysfunctional and cold families, we seem to have created this new highly dysfunctional but loving family for ourselves and it seems to work for us. It may be that we have created the family we wanted for ourselves .

Petal02 Tue 06-Aug-13 13:19:01

He no longer fully supports her – this was whilst our stepson was a pre-schooler and she was at home. As my stepson settled into school she started to work more and more and we were able to financially step back as a consequence and could have more children

But all of the above was based on HER decisions; she decided she didn’t want to work until the child was at school (and plenty of women in ‘together’ families don’t have that luxury). What if she’d decided she didn’t want to work til he went to secondary school, for example, or what if she’d made a decision to have another child – and therefore wouldn’t be going back to work for literally years?

It could then have been almost a decade, if not more, before your DH (and by extension, you) could ‘financially step back and have more children.’ I’m not surprised you’re good friends with her. Seems like she saw you coming a mile away.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 13:21:59

But she didn't and wouldn't have made that decision petal.

I agree by the way that plenty of women do not have that decision, I didn't always but she she did have the luxury of that decision.

We were part of the same circle of friends going back to university , so if she saw me coming she had a cracking sense of foresight.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 13:23:46

And if she had made that decision, which she wouldn't , but if she had we would have just bought a smaller house, I would have stayed in my previous career rather than taking a paycut and going into teaching. We may have had the children later. As I keep saying we never asked her for permission to have children but we discussed how we would make it work.

Petal02 Tue 06-Aug-13 13:29:46

I agree by the way that plenty of women do not have that decision, I didn’t always but she did have the luxury of that decision

And that’s my point entirely. She had the luxury of that decision because you were prepared to put your needs second. Please don’t think I’m criticising you Aris, I just feel quite strongly that, consciously or otherwise, you’ve allowed the ex to call the tune (not that she’s necessarily being unkind, but rather in a way that she decides what she wants to do, and everyone then fits in around her).

If you hadn’t been prepared to support her choices, then maybe you could have had the luxury of a few choices yourself?

Petal02 Tue 06-Aug-13 13:35:25

And if she had made that decision, which she wouldn’t, but if she had we would have just bought a smaller house. I have would stayed in my previous career rather than taking a pay cut and going into teaching. We may have had children later.

So if she had made that decision, you would have bought a smaller house, would have had children later, and stayed in your previous career. Is it just me, or does it sound like the ex calls the tune, and you/your DH dance to that tune? Would there ever have been a point where you decided that actually you didn’t want a smaller house, in which case it was time to step back financially whether that suited the ex or not?

You deserve better Aris !!!!

brdgrl Tue 06-Aug-13 13:38:30

OK, now I am shocked.

I would never, ever, ever tolerate a situation where it was expected or seen as "normal" (by my spouse or extended family) that my daughter would live in a smaller home, or where I would amend my career choices, or would defer motherhood (and possibly even risk losing the opportunity) ^so that my partner's ex could have first shot at HER career, home life, or motherhood. Not only would this be completely wrong to me, but absolutely unfair to my children, who would be deprived of all the advantages I might otherwise be able to give them! angry

Petal02 Tue 06-Aug-13 13:40:52

Brdgrl - thank god it's not just me who thinks Aris has been treated badly.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 13:44:46

But I have been a SAHM for many years at other points in my life, for many more years than DSS's mother - not that it is a competition. We do not all fit around her at all, but it is hard to communicate that to strangers.

Many women find it hard to be a SAHM when there is already a child. I could have been a SAHM for a longer period of I had chosen to wait a few years. I did not want to wait, that was my choice.

I would not have been particularly bothered by having a slightly smaller house, we live in a huge house with lots of land - that is not a boast but just to make clear that a smaller house would not have been much of a hardship. The line that I would have drawn was staying in my previous career, as I did not like the travel.

I really do not see how I deserve better. I have just about everything I could want.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 13:50:43

FFs people are wanting to see injustice where there isn't any.

We live in a huge house with its own swimming pool , stables , mini farm and endless rooms. It is hardly a hardship to give up some of that space to enable our stepson to have time with his mother. Can you imagine the AIBU thread in which a father is criticised for not supporting a mother's wish to stay at home because he wants to buy another horse?

Lots of women amped their career choices to fit in with their family, lots of men do it too. That hardly makes me some kind of abused wife because I went into teaching because I wanted to put my feet up for 13 weeks a year or that I had to stay in a higher paid job ( which was in reality swanning about in designer suits choosing other designer outfits ) to pay the bills.

Petal02 Tue 06-Aug-13 13:52:16

Aris, you deserve sooooooooo much better !!! You're basically saying you don't begrudge the sacrifices you've had to make - but you shouldn't have had to make them in the first place !!!!!

brdgrl Tue 06-Aug-13 13:52:19

This isn't in the slightest about the merits of SAHM or WOHM or whether one is happy in a big house or a small house. It would be just as wrong if the choices were the other way around.

At least you admit that there is a line to be drawn. Yours is much farther along than mine would be, that's for sure.

Petal02 Tue 06-Aug-13 13:53:26

Aris - we're (belatedly) fighting your corner, we're not critiscising you.

brdgrl Tue 06-Aug-13 13:56:11

So you have lived an incredibly privileged life, and you think that what has worked in your admittedly extraordinary circumstances is the model for the OP, whose DH is overdrawn and who is struggling to pay the bills? That she should "make sacrifices" while her DH gives away her money to his son without her knowledge?

My career choices are my own, at least. Keep the stables, I'd rather have the freedom.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 13:57:59

The only sacrifice I made that has been a real sacrifice was going back to work earlier than I would have liked with on child. I still had a longer maternity leave than many parents.

Many mothers have to go back to work earlier than they would have liked, that does not mean that they need rescuing. By and large I have had the time I would have liked with the other children.

If I am honest I would rather not work as I would love to spend my life pottering about with the animals, but it is no great hardship that just like most of the rest Western world I have to go out to work. In fact if I did not want the huge house and all the trappings I would not have to work anyway. It has nothing to do with DSS mother.

Other than that I am spoilt to the point of embarrassment.

brdgrl Tue 06-Aug-13 13:59:00

No, Aris, you seem to be happy with your life, so that's good. Congratulations on the new pregnancy, and I hope things continue to run smoothly for you.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 14:00:31

I don't need my corner fighting and you are criticising me because you have said that I am willingly and knowingly making my children second best.

I said in my reply to the OP that the financial irresponsibility and dishonesty would annoy me.

We have been overdrawn and struggling to pay the bills in the early days.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 14:02:08

Thankyou brdgrl, it is very exciting and a little scary, we had a miscarriage recently and so this is wonderful news to get another chance.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 14:03:44

I think you are very lucky if your career choices are completely your own, most of us have to balance what we want with the needs of our family.

Petal02 Tue 06-Aug-13 14:11:40

I hope your pregnancy goes well Aris smile

brdgrl Tue 06-Aug-13 14:19:40

You are suggesting that if I make my own choice, it means I haven't considered the needs of my family?? I actually think I and my partner are the best people to make a decision about what is best for my family.

You've been saying that you don't understand why your responses are causing offense. This is why. Perhaps you aren't able to see this, but the tone of your response
I think you are very lucky if your career choices are completely your own, most of us have to balance what we want with the needs of our family.
is really pretty insulting.

I have said over and over that if your decision to include your husband's first wife in your private life decisions is one you are comfortable with, then I wish you well with it. But please do stop with the sneering attitude towards the rest of us.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 14:26:06

How is it insulting to say that most of us don't have a complete free choice over our career. Most people don't, you are very lucky if what you want to do coincides with what your family wants or needs.

I haven't said you are not considering the needs of your family.

I have said this before but only on MN is the word lucky considered an insult.

I have not sneered at anyone .

You disagree with me which is completely fine and the point if a discussion board but just because people disagree it does not mean they are sneering at one another or you have to read an insult into every post they make.

wrinklyraisin Tue 06-Aug-13 14:27:12

Sorry if it seems we've ganged up on you Aris. I guess this forum is proof that there really are horses for courses. As long as it works for you and you're happy, that's what counts.

As an aside, I'd laugh my OH's ex out of the room if she wanted us to reduce our lifestyle to help improve hers. I work very hard, and am going back to uni, to improve my career and consequently our lifestyle. My dsd will in time benefit as she will have nice holidays and extra treats with us. I'm darned if I'm going to even give a seconds thought to what the ex thinks about my choices though. She's chosen her path and we have no say in that. So she's got no say in mine. I know she's jealous but too bad. She could get a job but she chooses not to. We can't force her. I just can't wrap my head around discussing life decisions with her. We are two separate families with one child in common, and as long as that child is well cared for by both families, everything else is private.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 06-Aug-13 14:39:36

Aris do you have strong feelings about mothers being at home during their DCs pre-school years?
That is the only reason I can think of for you linking your DSS 'needs' with his mums choice to be a SAHM.
And yet, you were a WOHM yourself? Surely thst means that your own DCs needs (if that is what you believe they are) came below the need of your DSS to have his mum at home?

I think it's clear you have chosen to make sacrifices and that's entirely up to you, but your expectation that every blended family situation would work if only the adults behaved as you are is unrealistic.
Unlike your DSS mum, there are some mothers who won't accept a stepmum in their DCs lives. They will abuse, fight and poison their DCs against any woman who their ex enters into a relationship with.
To suggest that 'everyone should get on together for the sake of the DCs' is simplistic and patronising.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 15:08:59

Of course everyone can't get along, I think it is something to aim for and often something that benefits the children and adults involved. If DH and his DSS mother were involved in a prolonged series of battles I would not have married him. I have had enough by experience of rows and bitter splits in my life to choose to place myself and my children in that environment.

I think being able to be at home with the children when they are younger is important. However at the time I just wanted to have children and if that meant not being at home as much as I would have liked I was willing to make that "sacrifice " . As I said earlier, I would probably make a different decision now and my son's additional needs are a factor in that. I am considering taking a complete break from any work with this new one.

DSS mother is very different from me, she is one of these earth mother types, she lived to be a mother and being a SAHP was a number one priority. She is not really a career person and I am sure that if she and DH had stayed together that she would have had the large family that we have. I know she has found it hard to watch me have the life that she had hoped for. Of course she is comparing my public life with her private life which always leaves you feeling short.

witchofmiddx Tue 06-Aug-13 18:12:37

I don't see why people are picking apart Aris's choices. Obviously she has an unusual setup in that they are all friends, but just consider how positive that is for all the children involved? No, not everyone would subscribe to discussing important personal life-changing decisions with their partner's ex. I would certainly not say one should feel obliged to do that- but how lovely that she cared enough about her dss to do just that. She was not forced to do it, it was done entirely of her own volition. Again very unusual, but what she has achieved is harmony within her extended family which creates a stress-free environment, avoiding all the day-to-day battles with steps and exes that we all have to face.

Everyone on this thread has expressed a valid point, but there is no definitive 'wrong' or 'right'. You are certainly in the minority but I can't see that you have behaved anything other than responsibly. Good luck to you!

allnewtaketwo Tue 06-Aug-13 18:24:27

Arisbottle I have no interests in " trawling" your posts, I simply remember then as standing out as very sad that you've sacrificed your personal goals and your babies early weeks/months to keep another woman

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 06-Aug-13 18:34:06

I don't see why people are picking apart Aris's choices.

It's not her choices that I am challenging - but her assertion that her way is what others should do - it may have worked for her, but it's not supportive to share it if there is an expectation that the OP can only solve her problem if she does the same.

Sharing experiences can be very supportive; dictating that "your way is the only way" and DCs will suffer if you don't is critical and judgemental.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 18:50:48

I can't believe this is still being dragged out. I have not said everyone should live as I do, I was sharing my experiences , as people do on here. I said that I thought people should be able to provide for the children they have before having any more, whether this is in a traditional nuclear family or a step family. I don't think that is controversial. I have said that it is a good idea to get along. Again not that controversial. I have said that if a couple have a child together they have made a life long commitment to parent that child together, even if the relationship fails.

I have not sacrificed any life goals, we don't keep another woman and I had less maternity leave than I would have liked with ONE child, I don't think that is unusual and requires me to be seen as in need or treated badly.

brdgrl Tue 06-Aug-13 19:23:39

You said much more than that, though, Aris, and your wording was inflammatory. Right from the second post.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 19:29:46

I apologised above if my wording was inflammatory, and restated what I meant, if people choose to read otherwise I can't do much about that.

I have not told anyone that their children are second class citizens and yet I have been told that is how I am treating my own children . I have not questioned anyone else's marriage but others have mine.

This is exactly why I don't post on here very often, despite being a step parent.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 19:32:25

Add message | Report | Message poster Arisbottle Mon 05-Aug-13 11:32:37
As I said the dishonesty would annoy me. When I met my husband, I had to support him because he was supporting his ex and son, I made that choice to settle down with a man who had a previous more important commitment and therefore chose to make sacrifices.

This is my second post, I don't think it is controversial or inflammatory to say that when you settle down with a man who has children that you will have to make sacrifices. Over time his love for you will grow but at the start of a relationship the children must take priority.

Petal02 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:44:12

But it is controversial, particularly on a board like this, when you state that his previous commitments are more important. So you're saying you and him both believe the 'first family' is more important than the 'second family.'

It seems, from this thread at least, that you're happy with your position as second best - and if it works for you, that's fine - but you find it hard to accept that many other women wouldn't tolerate it.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 19:52:23

I have not said my family is second best, I have said that when I first settled down with my husband his son was more important than me.

I have actually said a number of times that all of our children are equal. However before having any more children we considered how it would affect the ones that already existed and dissuaded it with the mother of our stepson - if she was affected.

needaholidaynow Tue 06-Aug-13 20:33:56

His son, and his ex though. Why would anyone settle with a person with children who sees their ex more important than them, purely because they are the mother/father of their child? I wouldn't. The whole "first" family and "second" family thing I find so distasteful. I define our family as "Family", not "second family", or "subsequent family".

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 20:39:39

My husband does not see the mother of his son as more important than me. He does see her as important, because she is the mother of his son.

We do not talk about first and second families , that is a MN creation .

This is actually quite hurtful to have a gang of strange women turn on me and accuse my husband of not respecting me, especially when I am pregnant .

I was warned about MN, I really do not think this is the place for me.

Petal02 Tue 06-Aug-13 20:56:53

We're actually fighting your corner Aris, we all think that as a fellow female and second wife, that you deserved better.

brdgrl Tue 06-Aug-13 20:57:30

This is actually quite hurtful to have a gang of strange women turn on me and accuse my husband of not respecting me, especially when I am pregnant .
Aris, no one is ganging up on you. You posted some stuff that other posters disagreed with. You yourself have said several times that you didn't mean any deliberate offense, but simply disagree. And no one has suggested that you are not entitled to disagree! But you can't then cry 'poor me' because we, in turn, express our own views and disagree with you.
I think you should be aware that your post to the OP could itself be seen as quite hurtful. I have no interest in criticizing your own life choices - but yes, I have certainly criticized your advice because I think it is wrong-headed and unworkable for most people, and because I think it came across as judging the OP (and then others), rather than helping her.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 21:00:05

I have no issue with people disagreeing with me . Most of MN disagree with most of my life decisions .

I have an issue with being told that I am enabling my children to be treated as a second class family or that my husband put the mother of his son before me.

Petal02 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:02:17

I do concede that it's a bit scary when you're posting about something which other people disagree with.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 21:15:52

As I said I do not mind people disagreeing with me , as a rather vulgar , loud parenting and common upstart most people on here disagree with most of my decisions . In fact when people agree with me I start to question myself smile

I just think saying that my children are treated as inferior to my stepson and that I let this happen is a little below the belt . As is telling my that I deserve better than my rather fabulous husband .

Petal02 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:33:22

In which case we'll agree to differ. Horses for courses.

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 21:34:03


mummatotwo Tue 06-Aug-13 23:35:23

Phew....Right , can we now can we get back to my original question?! LOL smile

Arisbottle Tue 06-Aug-13 23:55:45

I would be angry at his lack of financial management and disregard for you .

Sorry OPsmile

2468Motorway Wed 07-Aug-13 00:31:32

Aris, you have an amazing set up. I agree when I've had my kids, I consider the ones here first and how things would change for them before I would decide to have another or make any other big changes.

All the best with the baby.

Op, its the lies I couldn't stand. Surely he understands that lies destroy trust. If you're short I would try to let him give you control of the accounts. Is he like this about spending in all areas of his life not just his son?

brdgrl Wed 07-Aug-13 00:34:06

OP, it's not just isolated to the monetary gifts to DSS, right? I mean, he has broader issues about money management, I gather?

Maybe this is the first front on which to wage battle. Putting the other issues aside at the moment, this kind of financial irresponsibility is quite serious and damaging to the relationship even where things are otherwise positive (I have a really lovely husband who is totally crap when it comes to money). Can you get him to acknowledge this, take it seriously, and agree to do something about it? Maybe a sort of financial boot camp? Perhaps starting with a visit to a financial advisor? I'm not sure, but I suspect there may be free advice centres? (There is also the Money Advice Services - https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/ ) Barring that, would he - if he could be made to see that you are putting your foot down - agree to "austerity measures", and let you manage all the finances, on a temporary basis?

I'm afraid that this is one of those situations where if he doesn't want to change, then all you can really do is protect yourself from the effects as much as possible - which at the least, means separate and ring-fenced finances. And that would mean some unpleasant choices - like maybe saying "ok, you don't have your share for the holiday, so it's off", or "sorry you don't like the food we have in the house, but our budget has shrunk"...it's not fair to you to have to go without because he can't manage his money - but on the other hand, as long as he knows you will make up the difference, he may not get the message.

Arisbottle Wed 07-Aug-13 00:38:36

We keep spreadsheets to track our money , many years ago I used Microsoft money so I could see a breakdown of my spending and realise if I was overspending in one area. I am sure there must be an app that does the same.

I find a bit like food, if I have to write or track everything , I eat or spend less.

Would your DH do something similar ?

mindyourownbusiness Fri 09-Aug-13 20:04:07

The OP is about bunging the SS money directly though , nothing to do with maintenance or payments to fund or maintain a certain standard of life.
The SS just contacts his dad from what I can gather when he 'fancies' having an extra hundred pound spending money etc. I think this is entirely different.
Reminds me of the time I looked out of our front bedroom window one day to see non resident SS furtively lifting up our milk bottle holder and getting a little packet from under it and then off he went without even knocking. confused
Turns out he had rang his dad at work to ask to 'borrow' (in the loose sense of the word as it is never paid back) £60 to pay his mobile phone bill. DH had agreed but knew I wouldn't !, hence the money left in pre-arranged place so mean old step-mummy me wouldn't know.
To say I was angry on so many levels is an understatement.

mindyourownbusiness Fri 09-Aug-13 20:09:57

sorry pressed post too soon.

I meant to add that I felt betrayed, deceived, marginalised, ganged up on, humiliated - to name but a few , by both of them. It is really the deceit that hurts more than the money itself as many of you have said.

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