Who's walked away and/or at what point would you consider leaving?

(27 Posts)
Anormalfamily Wed 14-Aug-13 11:48:43

Dh and I are going through a rough patch, and even though I see he's trying, I sometimes wonder if this is it, if this is all the love/respect/consideration he can muster for a wife (we're both in our second marriage w kids).
We've been together for 4 yrs and its honestly been 100% my effort to keep us going, self help books, counseling, the lot. If dh doesn't feel the full force of my boot cap up his a#*e convictions he wouldn't do a thing to make my life easier as sm.
I've noticed lately that there seems to be a fair number of mners who left the blended family. When did you feel ready to throw in the towel?
Or what signals were you hoping for that never came?

Alternatively, what has kept other sms sane and in the relationship?

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 14-Aug-13 12:10:55

Gosh, thats a lot of questions you're asking, with no background detail.

theredhen Wed 14-Aug-13 12:22:51

This time a year ago, I was ready to go.

I stayed because we attended relationship counselling for a looong time and now feel we can at least communicate. grin

I too feel that it is me on these forums, it is me doing the majority of domestic stuff, it is me reading self help books, organising us to go to counselling, workshops etc.

Dp is open minded and able to listen and join in but ultimately I know it will always be me who's doing the seeking out of support for our family life.

I do think I have made the right decision and the compromises I make now are less than the compromises I would have to make to be alone with ds. However on bad days, it's easy to feel it slide more the other way.

Kaluki Wed 14-Aug-13 12:39:37

Well I have been ready to throw in the towel quite a few times and very nearly did a few years ago. The reason I stayed was DP.
Every time things got bad he changed them. He was so desperate to keep us together he has made some huge changes to the way he is with his kids and every time he did the results were so good that he wanted to keep going and make things better.
If he had resisted and told me to lump it I honestly would have gone a long time ago. I couldn't put in 100% effort if he wasn't prepared to do the same.

Kaluki Wed 14-Aug-13 12:40:41

PS Redhen its so good to hear that you came through it - I remember your posts last year smile

Anormalfamily Wed 14-Aug-13 12:44:06

Thanks Redhen, I suppose I'm getting a bit impatient. The couple counseling solves one problem and then up comes another! And I'm "wtf??!"
I do tend to make (mental) lists of how my life (and ds) has improved since dh, to balance out the attacks of "poor me".
I've tried to focus on myself a bit more, having "me time" and starting hobbies etc. But it's easy to spot these as distractions from addressing issues with dh.
I'm going to try to understand that counseling is going to take a bit longer than expected (half a year now, about once a month). Hopefully my dh is going to be as open minded as yours (its been a real struggle to get him to see my pov and the harm his Disney dad behaviour causes with his dc).
Sometimes I feel he's not capable of an adult relationship, first making dsd his mini wife, now that's over, dss is now BFF. I've got a ds too, if I'd only wanted to communicate with kids, I wouldn't have remarried! (Hence of course me doing all the running here, as its only me whose got an issue).

Anormalfamily Wed 14-Aug-13 12:49:05

Kaluki, thanks for your response. Dh does make an effort, but its more like he doesn't see an actual problem but will change to humour me.
This upsets me because I can see I'm not getting through to him, the counselor will restate my side and then he will grudgingly make some superficial changes and ask if I'm happy now, or is this right now? At the same time he will literally cling to me and say he doesn't want to lose me.

Kaluki Wed 14-Aug-13 12:56:03

Sometimes I feel he's not capable of an adult relationship, first making dsd his mini wife, now that's over, dss is now BFF. I've got a ds too, if I'd only wanted to communicate with kids, I wouldn't have remarried!
This is exactly what DP was like. He was always a bit like yours in that I often felt like he was just 'doing as he was told' but once he started seeing results - ie, happier, better behaved kids, more quality time, me and him getting on better, he gained confidence in himself as a father.
His problem was that he didn't know how to be a Dad, he just wanted to be their friend and he was terrified of upsetting them. All they wanted was a Dad who was in control.

Anormalfamily Wed 14-Aug-13 13:09:11

OMG! thanks so much for giving me hope, this is exactly what I'm dealing with. Just so good to know it can be done, many thanks

matana Wed 14-Aug-13 13:58:14

We've been to the brink several times in our 11 years. Essentially we both change for the better whenever we hit a rough patch, talk more and talk honestly, get to the bottom of what is the real issue not what we are blaming it on etc. If either of us didn't care and therefore didn't want to make things better then there'd be no hope. But we do and it's too painful to consider not being together. He's a good husband and father and i love him. As long as there is love, mutual respect, effort and trust then i'd keep going. But without those things there's no point.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 14-Aug-13 16:26:11

I was very fortunate in that I found MN knew the danger signs to look for before DP and I committed to each other; so we discussed the DisneyDad stuff, parenting boundaries, psycho-ex's etc etc long before our lives were entwined.

Since then, there have been two occasions I considered walking away - once, soon after I moved in with him, when his DD gave him an ultimatum to choose between us, I hadn't sold my house and nearly moved back into it!
The second time was a few months ago when DSS disclosed that he was scared to go home due to witnessing physical abuse - we had social workers traipsing through the house late at night, DPs exMIL phoning up screaming abuse, DP visiting specialist separated family clinic in London, and I did do some preliminary lining up of ducks to see what the situation would be if i was on my own. I stuck it out though and we're currently in a calm spell but who knows what the future will hold!

Anormalfamily Wed 14-Aug-13 16:28:18

Matana, I absolutely agree. There has to be a team effort. It's the mutual respect that's an issue atm. I'm trying to get dh to understand that I/my job/ obligations are as important as his, even if I earn less.
Am actually a little upset again as I've made some arrangements for tomorrow (a holiday where we live) and dh just told me sourly that he will have to reschedule a work thing that he had NOT told me about and which comes totally unexpected. Of course we could both have groaned good humourdly and tried to fix the timing together but he snapped at me and said I should have contacted him before making my arrangements. However I did not get a call from him either informing me of his plan... And again, why would he, he is so much more important and what he says goes angry

Anormalfamily Wed 14-Aug-13 16:34:22

Glad to hear youre still hanging in there China.
I kept my old flat for just such a situation. Wish I'd known mn 4 years ago, so many irritants could easily have been dealt with objectively.
I did always ask for couple counseling, but dh wasn't having it. Only now that I've hinted at giving up on us has he relented and makes a bit of progress.
Thanks everybody for,sharing. I realize life isn't a bed of roses. Just some situations really cannot be foretold. Like awkward dsc and exw, and dhs enabling them...

Yonihadtoask Wed 14-Aug-13 19:55:18

the only thing that keeps us together is DH's patience I think.

I have found becoming part of a blended family pretty tough. I am not used to having to consider so many others' needs. It was just me and DS for many years until me and DH married.

We have come to an understanding that whatever is pissing me off - there's usually something - I have to tell him. So, now I do. it works.

also I remind myself that the DC are growing up - so in a few years, it will be just me and DH - and he is worth sticking around for.

Petal02 Wed 14-Aug-13 22:06:46

Someone of the hardest times for me, occurred when DH and I bought our first house together. Prior to this we'd been practically living together, but spread over two houses (we had one each at this point) and we generally used to return to our respective houses when DH had DSS.

But once we were living together properly, having sold my own house, I no longer had my access weekend bolt-hole, and was shocked by the frustration and misery that DSS's visits brought. He just cast a grey cloud over an otherwise happy household, I couldn't believe how hard I found it.

I used to dread coming home from work on alternate Thursday evenings, knowing that DSS would now be in residence until Sunday. Looking back, I think I actually became depressed during this time, the weight of the situation really darkened other things in my life. I wondered if I could carry on like this, dreading alternate weekends.

What changed? I think I just learnt to live with it, and developed coping strategies. I realised I'd rather be with DH, even though DSS was part of the package, than without him.

Anormalfamily Thu 15-Aug-13 12:35:53

I know what you mean Petal.
Luckily it is/was relatively easy to sort out dsd issue, as she is very outgoing and at 16 can choose how much time she spends with dh, often now coming round to,hang out with ds and his friends, and which we are all happy about.
Dss is a different matter. Dh sees him as a mini dh, literally a clone who he will spend time with (in preference to me as he doesn't have to make any effort) and will happily spend ALL DAY with him and ignore me completely.
I understand the dynamics of "visiting" dad and getting as much out of a few days as possible, I adapted readily, knowing it would be passing. But the situation changed in that dss now lives 50:5o here and clearly expects the same level of intense involvement with dh (I am actually pretty sure that is what motivated the move, his mum works ft, has a partner and a social life. He is not placed on a pedestal at mums house).
After spending all 4 weeks of July with us I was ready to walk. At our counseling session I was pissed off all the more as dh admitted to seeing me suffer silently and did nothing about it. I suppose he was waiting for me to acknowledge the futility of complaint, that he and dss were entitled to lead their own lives together, and me being some kind of glorified housekeeper.
I was lucky in that our counselor set dh straight, he and I are a team, dss must be let down gently, boundaries will be put in place and adhered to, and, most importantly, dss can develop an own personality, make friends among his peers and learn to fit in among his own age group (having read a lot of your posts and replies, Petal ,I think you know best of all what I'm talking about here!).

Petal02 Thu 15-Aug-13 13:01:04

I think step families fall down because of the dynamics involved, not the personalities. It was the intensity of the rigid access rota, DH's insistence on Disney parenting (rather than administering the occasional boot up the backside that all teenagers need) and the obsession of "not rocking the boat" with the ex that caused my frustration.

Oddly, I find myself feeling a little sad today. DSS has done incredibly well in this A levels, and has been accepted at Uni. So I'm sure he'll still visit regularly but obviously not as often. So in the space of a year we'll have gone from the rigid access rota, to DSS living miles away - one extreme to another. I just wish there had been a been a more moderate path to tread, and then I might have had a better relationship with DSS. But I still maintain its damn hard to have a positive relationship with someone under such unnatural circumstances.

So it's a new chapter for all of us (me, DH and DSS) - lets hope its a good one.

FreckledLeopard Thu 15-Aug-13 13:08:47

I walked away and divorce is going through now. The blended family thing was a huge issue, although there were other big problems between ex-H and I.

I ended things after we'd rowed over the same subject for the nth time. It was a case of going round in circles. Counselling didn't work because he refused to make any changes that counsellor suggested.

Having said all that, it was pretty much my fault for ever having gotten involved and married in the first place. The issues were there before we got married, I just hoped they'd resolve themselves and instead got worse.

Anormalfamily Thu 15-Aug-13 16:47:10

Petal, wish you the best of luck!
That's another thing though isn't it, a sm may see situations quite objectively and want the best all round but all attempts at normality are thwarted.
Sorry to read your post leopard.
This is of course what I'm afraid of. That I'm putting years of effort into this relationship and in the end ill have wasted more time than on my first marriage (only lasted 5 years).
I am so lucky to,have found a counselor who sees dh acting selfishly or inconsiderately and gives him the possibility of righting the situation with clear cut advise and steps in the right direction.

Anormalfamily Thu 15-Aug-13 17:00:28

Sorry, posted too soon.
Leopard, did you feel the counselor was giving out good and doable advice?
Admittedly, I should also have seen red flags waving before we moved in together: always putting dsc first, regardless (I was really sick once early on in our relationship and then dp was being a totally useless prat, wouldn't do a thing to help me as dc hadn't met me yet and he wasn't giving up access weekend to see me. Did the same when my mum died a year later, ds accompanied me to funeral to the country she was buried in and then already dh took his kids to the cinema as it was his weekend and he wouldn't take a few days off for me...
Yes, it has been really shitty and I'm still working through a lot of anger!!!
Thankfully all,the dc get on fine and I get on with them. But I swear if dh messes up again then that's it for me too.

riverboat Thu 15-Aug-13 20:40:38

I think what keeps things good for me is that DSS is here only every other long weekend (Thurs eve - Mon morn) so I can cope with having extremely limited 'powers' over him, in terms of behaviour, rules he should follow etc. I've found a (usually) happy balance in terms of involvement and detatchment. As it is, I look forward to him coming but I am also happy to have more child-free time when he goes again. The rota works perfectly for me. However, I know DSS would ideally like to be here 50/50. For the foreseeable future it's not possible due to geography and DP's working hours.

If he was here 50/50, or full time I would want a LOT more authority and input in terms of what was expected of him while he was here.

TBH, I do think that if DSS was here full-time I would find it EXTREMELY hard, even if I had a lot more authority over him and even if he was the perfect child. As someone who doesn't have children myself, and isn't sure if I even want them....it would definitely be hard. From little things like being to cook the kind of meals that I would want to eat but DSS would hate, to big things like not having complete control over how I spend my post-work evenings. I think it might slowly crack me up.

At the minute because we are half the week i have a lot of input and they all follow the same general rules with exception of age differences meaning they go to bed/ can do different things, i would not stay if it was one rule for my ds and another for sc. i wouldnt stay if i were uncomfortable in my own home or if i thought that our needs were coming second to not rocking the boat and making much needed changes. i do sometimes feel like that but we will work towards the best solution. if it was a flat out no this is how it is and there was no discussion i would not stay.

Ruralninja Thu 15-Aug-13 22:46:39

I eventually went after 11 years where I had 70% care for a 2 & 5 year old for all that time, then ex dh reneged on us having our own children. It was very painful, but I'm glad I left.

FreckledLeopard Fri 16-Aug-13 10:27:14

The counsellor was excelled and gave practical advice on how to cope with a blended family on a day to day basis. Biggest issue I faced, other than ex-H's insistence on 'his' time and the massively acrimonious relationship with his ex, was the fact that DSS is autistic, and neither my ex-husband, or DSS's mother, would acknowledge or take any kind of steps to make day to day life easier for all of us.

Essentially, we lived separately: DD and I doing our thing, ex-H and his son doing their thing.

Red flags were obvious from the start, but I just didn't want to acknowledge them. Still, live and learn!

Kaluki Fri 16-Aug-13 15:00:07

ANormal - I would have left him after your Mum's funeral tbh.
What an appalling thing to do!

Anormalfamily Fri 16-Aug-13 20:57:31

Kaluki, interestingly he told me his kids asked him if we were getting divorced. I suppose they always realized our lives were odd.
As it happened we all went on a family holiday that had been scheduled nearly a year in advance with the pils (in their country) and they treated me incredibly well, helped me cope with my bereavement, acted as gps to my ds and made everything more than bearable.
As so often in life I got over it... Til this year when I just stopped leaning backwards, making excuses.
Therapy is helping a lot, mostly validating what I already know. I couldn't tell you why suddenly I'm seeing dh as he is and not how I thought he was. Anyway, its our make or break year...

Kaluki Sat 17-Aug-13 10:17:50

So his parents did the job for him!!
I must admit I have often wondered what would happen if I really needed DP to be there for me. My best friend has cancer and her DH has been amazingly supportive throughout her treatment and it does make me wonder how DP would stand up to a major crisis. I can't help comparing him to my friends DH and thinking he wouldn't be able to juggle my needs with seeing his kids!
Hopefully I will never find out but it makes me think!!

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