So tired of being messed about..(51 Posts)
Hi there. I know I post sporadically, and I’m sorry about that – do try and catch up here and should do it more.
I guess I just need a place to vent really, as I feel like I’m reaching the end of my tether. I am so tired of my life being so affected by someone who should play no part in it. And I realise that some exes are totally reasonable, and, at times, my DH’s ex can be, but I’m sick of having our weekend plans altered the day or two before we’re due to have my husband’s son by his ex. This has happened the last two times and, the last time my husband dropped his son off, his ex kept DH at her place for an hour ranting about school stuff (not specifically to do with his son, so you know) meaning our plans for the evening went out the window. Now, I know my husband should have interceded and said he’d talk to her again soon (as he was seeing her at an event at school the next day), and I did tackle him about this when he came home, but still I guess I just feel it shows she has no acceptance of the fact he has other commitments, and he’s lax in giving her that message too.
When we have to change weekend arrangements, we give her as much notice as possible, and I wish we’d get the same back. The latest change involves something that happens every year at this time, so it's not like we couldn't have known about this before. As it is, I feel that she treats my husband with such disrespect and he allows her to do it! I actually had some firm words with him today about setting boundaries and stuff, as I feel that her attitude is starting to rub off on his son as well. Of course, this would mean consequences etc, but I think that’s necessary otherwise where will it all end?
There’s a family event coming up in the next few weeks, and we’re still not sure when we can pick up DH’s son because the ex has to make arrangements with school (she is the only one who can request an absence, and school are okay with her doing this, as we’re not in the UK) but hasn’t done it yet, despite being given plenty of notice etc.; other family members need to know when to expect us as well for sleeping arrangements and stuff too, and they would like to know beforehand. Anyway, these arrangements specifically affect me (as I'm going to be driving a few hours to get my DH's son to where he needs to be, depending on what is agreed). I think I’m as important as anyone else in the family, and that we should be firm about knowing soon, or having to make other arrangements. The response I got back was: I’m not going to make changes that would affect my son in any way that might upset him. Now, I understand that, as a parent, you want your kids to have the best, but surely sometimes being firm is also required? As it is, I feel like I can be inconvenienced as much as necessary as long as it means no one else is, and I’m afraid that got me down a bit.
Any words of how to see the bright side here? I’m trying to detach as much as possible, and I think I will have to start just not engaging when he complains about his ex, as he continues to do the same thing over and over, but I also don’t want to appear heartless. I guess, in the end, that’s how I’m going to appear anyway, but any wise words would be lovely of how to handle this continuing issue of plans altering last minute and boundaries.
Thanks if you got this far!
Sounds like both your DP and ex are fairly free with contact arrangements; which is fine if they're both happy with it, but if your DP is moaning and bitching about it, then something needs to change.
I don't think it's reasonable for your DP to make arrangements for his DS to spend time with his family that require his ex to request time off school - if (for whatever reason) your DP does not have equal parenting responsibility and can't request the time off from school himself, then it's really up to him to plan things within the time periods that he can influence.
This is all down to him - why would his ex respect him, or acknowledge his life with you if he doesn't expect or require it? Sounds like their lives are still very enmeshed. He chose to stand on the doorstep for an hour chatting which ruined his plans with you; would he have done the same if he'd been due at work? It's him who is disrespecting you; she's just following his lead.
Why did your plans for the entire evening go out of the window because he spent an hour discussing their child with his ex? That's rather a dramatic reaction isn't it?
Tbh nothing you've said makes me think you've been unfairly treated, they have a child and things have to be flexible.
sparkly Have you never bought theatre tickets, reserved a table at a busy restaurant or even booked tickets for the cinema?
of course an hours unexpected doorstep conversation can hijack an evenings plans - but it's the OPs DP who placed such a low priority on his plans with her in favour of a non-urgent conversation with his ex.
Obviously . But I don't agree that an hours convo can hijack an entire evenings plans, unless you want it to.
Is that the case OP? Did you have those kind of arrangements?
Exactly china - an hour can make a major difference when it's the difference between getting home at 8 and getting home at 9. And, for the record sparkly, they weren't discussing their child. If they had been, I would have understood. I know that there are things that need to be discussed, and I understand that. So, no, not a dramatic reaction at all. And I also understand that things require flexibility, but I don't agree that plans cannot be made just so everyone can be flexible all the time "because they have a child", particularly when arrangements have been made months or so in advance, but the ex only tells DH the week they happen.
china - I totally agree with you, and I'm not excusing DH at all. I do feel that he has allowed her to behave like this for so long, that she now feels that it's okay to change her plans last minute; never mind if that alters our weekend plans totally. I just wonder what to do about it from my side, if that makes any sense? I'm going to talk to him about it some more today, and discuss how to manage this better.
Yes, sparkly, I did, so, no, it wasn't something that could be altered at the last minute. And, as I said before, I agree with china that a lot of it is to do with DH. And I know I have to manage this somehow; that was the purpose of my post. As you say earlier, yes, there is a child, but the child is not mine. I do what I can when he's at our house and to support DH, but I disagree that I have to be flexible when others are not.
I think you need to grow up quite frankly. Why should your DP have to fling his child through the door and rush off? There's something she wants to chat about re their child, it ends up taking an hour, big deal.
Or else dump your DP and find someone without a child.
But I guess you won't, I am sure you'll just spend the rest of your time with him low level moaning about his child and how him dealing with issues pertaining to that child impact on YOUR life
Try to remember that child never even asked for you in his/her life, you're just someone that his Dad happened to fancy so stop moaning about other people's FUNCTIONING arrangements with regard to their child.
If step parents stopped stamping their feet and trying to muscle in and force a place for themselves instead of allowing it to occur naturally then there'd be a lot less unhappy blended families.
And if you think I am unsympathetic to SP, well there's a thread running atm in AIBU where the SM who is a new mum has basically been dumped with loads of responsibility for her SD and even says she doesn't like the child. I have EVERY sympathy for that woman because THAT'S a problem! You having to wait an hour to get out on the razz is not.
I'm sorry you're getting messed about. Fwiw I'm on the other side of it (the ex) and it's the other way round here - they never let me know what they are doing or when they are having him.
It's a nightmare and whoever is acting in this way needs to stop it.
I hope you get some resolution soon.
sparkly - did you read my post? They were NOT discussing his child. And, no, I would never encourage him to just chuck his son through the door and run. And we were not "going out on the razz" either. Are you projecting something on to my post that wasn't there? Your response highlights very well why stepparents have issues - because other people just expect them to sit down, shut up and stop moaning. Why shouldn't boundaries be set so everyone knows where they stand? And where, exactly, was I moaning about his child? I have been very clear that I know that part of the responsibilty is DH's.
Rooners - thanks for your post. I'm sorry you get the same treatment as I think it's not good whichever side it happens.
I don't expect step parents to sit down and shut up at all, just not to make mountains out of molehills, thus adding stress to an already heavy load of it.
What were they talking about then? That YOU felt was so unnecessary?
Can you not see how easily done it is? Relationships need work especially difficult ones between exes sharing children, he has a coffee and a chat, he probably chatted to his kid too, you're lucky he wasn't there longer than an hour if you ask me.
Good relationships between exes are priceless, it makes everyones life easier, especially the children's. The odd hour here and there and maybe not knowing arrangements weeks in advance is a small price to pay.
Do you have dc of your own?
I am so tired of my life being so affected by someone who should play no part in it.
Er, hang on a minute - your DH had an ex and a DC before you came on the scene - so you walked into this with your eyes wide open. And if you didn't, you should have. Taking on a man who already has a family is not for everyone - if you wanted a single man with no entanglements you should've kept on looking.
If his ex was "ranting about school stuff" how is that NOT relating to his child?
Sparkly –thanks for taking the time to post. Given the tone of your posts so far, and the fact you’ve read stuff and made up incorrect assumptions/minimalised my relationship (my being a woman my DH just happen to fancy/going out on the razz), I’m not going to interact further with you on this thread.
Juneau – you’re right. I worded that badly. Frustration was high last night. I do think that stepparents are expected to “know what they’re getting into” when, actually, you have no idea until you’re actually living it. I understand that negotiation and flexibility is required from everyone, and I also realise that is up to my DH to liaise with his ex and, as stated in previous posts, he is responsible for that. I am going to talk to him about this today as, ideally, it would be great for everything to run smoothly as possible given the situation.
Well obviously I am not saying what you want to hear and agreeing that you're being unfairly treated and going by the tone of YOUR posts your little mini tantrum is not entirely unexpected.
Good luck but I suspect that if your DP is as committed a father as he sounds you might find yourself being dumped in the not too distant future if you keep whining about non issues and trying to change how he and his family, both current and ex interact.
Hi Dizzy I don't think you are being unreasonable to be frustrated by having contact weekends changed or confirmed until last minute. We've just had a whole summer of this. Although it seems your DH and his ex are amicable but perhaps just things have slipped a bit and not the ex playing control games.
I would discuss this with DH. Perhaps he just doesn't understand how frustrating it is for you.
I find last minute changes very frustrating, because we also try to co-ordinate contact with meeting up with DH family so they get to maintain their close bond with DSS. Its not always possible to get people together at the last minute.
I also find that when something like last minute changes happen it makes me become hyper-edgy. I have to take some deep breaths and try and not let other minor stuff get to me.
I've also started to challenge DH a bit more to change how he responds to his ex behaviour, and how much he expects me to do for him. I can't solve his problems for him. I can't really facilitate contact (driving) as I have a new baby now and it was getting very tiring assisting him.
If you weren't around how would he collect his child?
Am I right in thinking your DH wants to take DSS out of school during term time? I don't think I would allow this, perhaps the ex is dragging her heels because she doesn't agree with it either?
Its all well and good people coming out with the, 'you knew what you were getting into' line. But if you have no experience of step families or children that is unfair. Everyone is allowed a bad day, how many parents have a moan/rant about their own kids/partners? Its unfair to expect step parents to not be allowed to do the same.
Hi step - congrats on the new baby!
Thanks for your advice. I definitely don’t think it’s nefarious of his ex at all; I think she does not realise the impact last minute changes have (because why would she when DH hasn’t really set boundaries?) and is not as organised as we like to be. Additionally, as said further up thread, DH has not really challenged her on this in the past, but it has been an ongoing source of irritation for him prior to meeting me. You’re absolutely right about making other arrangements as well when we have DH’s son – often we drive to family that live 3+ hours away one way, so if those plans change, other family members get disappointed too.
I have spoken to DH about this today, and we both talked to his son as well, regarding communication and trying, as best as DSS can, to keep us in the loop of what’s happening. DH’s son is 16, so is getting to an age where he wants to do other stuff with his mates or change pick-up times, so we’ve asked if there are specific times where that is more likely to happen to let us know in advance, rather than when DH goes to pick him up.
I like the idea about challenging DH a bit as, like you, there’s really not much I can do apart from listen and get frustrated also! Arrangements for contact are between him and his ex (and his son now, as he gets older), so he needs to try other tacks if certain things aren’t working for him.
If I wasn’t around for this specific event, it would mean his son couldn’t attend. It’s actually for a family wedding, and a Thursday night is the only feasible time we can make it work as DH has to attend rehearsals and stuff on the Friday, hence the taking him out of school. Honestly, I wasn’t sure about this either, but attitudes towards this in the country where I live seem to be different to the UK, and both DH and his son want him to be able to make it, so that was why we were trying to organise that. I don’t know how the ex feels about this – I think she’s probably torn too, although she’s not actually told DH that so I’m not sure.
It’s all a work in progress, so we’ll see what happens. Here's hoping!
you're just someone that his Dad happened to fancy
Even for the MN anti-stepmum brigade, this is highly offensive.
The DC's Dad is married to the OP.
Are you married, sparkly? Are you someone that your DH just happened to fancy?
Well yes China I was someone he "happened to fancy". Not married now but that doesn't offend me. It's true. It's true of any relationship. That's how it begins.
Anyhow to clarify, my meaning was that is all the OP is to the child involved, I wasn't seeking to minimise their relationship at all. The child didn't have any choice in the matter at all, they never do.
The OP was an hour late getting out.
The OP doesn't know the details of a journey taking place in a few weeks time.
Sometimes weekends and contacts get changed at the last minute.
Nope I am still unable to see a real problem here.
you're just someone that his Dad happens to fancy
Well that's just priceless, and totally sums up the anti-SM stance around here. Stepmothers: you're just eye candy, and most definitely second class!!!! Know your place!!
No, I did not say that. Let me clarify, again, that's how ALL relationships start, not just second, third, fourth or even fifth ones.
Sparkly, but you were definitely implying that a second wife/partner should simply slot in, accept the status quo and not make any demands of her own, just because she's the newbie in the situation.
Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes (often the eyes of the new partner) to notice that what's already in place is not working, outdated, unfair on the father, or the child, or is grossly inflexible or just plain insane. Lots of men just go along with the exes demands for the sake of a quiet life, but a new partner will often challenge this.
So all I am to my stepchildren is someone their dad happens to fancy?
Sparkly that is priceless!
There was me thinking I am someone who cooks for them, washes and irons their clothes, helps them with their homework, drives them about, supports them, does everything their mum does for them in fact!
But if in return I get nothing then tough. I knew what I was getting into! What bullshit! That's like telling a tired stressed first time mum that she shouldn't have hot pregnant because she knew what having kids would be like!!!!
Anyhow to clarify, my meaning was that is all the OP is to the child involved
And, somehow you think that is better?
That all SM's are to their DSC is a woman that their Dad happens to fancy?
sparkly - have you got DSC's of your own? And that's how they view you? I'm not sure if I pity or envy you, if that is the case!
I haven't step children of my own but I was with someone for quite a while who had a child. He seemed to like me, but then I never made big, fat fusses over silly details.
I also have two dc of my own so have full awareness of how much flexibility is required where dc are concerned.
I don't actually care if any of you fully grown women are offended my posts. I am not sure that I should HAVE to point out that other people don't care about your relationships as much as you do, it is a fact. Take offence if you like but to be honest you sound like that whiny, looking for reasons to be offended types anyway. Maybe that's why you have some many issues with your step families?
Why do people coming into families try to force it? you've got your own families and friends who love you and think you're important, not everyone else has to, they really, really don't.
Petal your post makes a lot of sense and you're quite right but I just don't think the scenario you describe is happening here.
Kaluki I read that thread too. I think mrsDV posted what you've said in your last post didn't she? You really should reference her .
kaluki, petal, and china - thanks. I agree with all that you post and, as usual, you talk a lot of sense.
Petal - you're correct. Things have occurred for quite a while that DH is not happy with (so not functioning for him, but he didn't know what else to do) but, because he was on his own and didn't have constant support, he would put up with all kind of nonsense. A lot of my frustration comes from the fact that HE is messed about and, yes, to a certain degree allows it to happen as he doesn't want to upset the ex. Of course, I sometimes bear the fallout to that too, and I won't accept that. I find it amusing that a stranger on the internet, with limited information about my situation, would be able to answer YOU about my situation. Hilarious.
Thanks all for your constructive words. As mentioned above, DH, DSS and I have spoken about this, and agreed on how to manage this going forward. Obviously, time will tell as to whether this works out or not.
Why do people coming into families try to force it?
Stepmums don't join anyone's family, sparkly - They create a new one. There is no single family unit to come into. The DCs single, traditional family unit broke down when the DCs parents marriage ended and two new families were formed. The arrival of a stepparent signifies a change, a new beginning, for one of those two families.
Perhaps if more mothers were prepared to accept that their DCs have enough love to give both the families in their lives, rather than underestimate their DCs and behave as if sharing their lives with another family in some way dilutes the love the DC has for their own mother then being a stepmum would be a lot easier.
But then you wouldn't know, would you? Not being a SM yourself? How exactly does your experience help the OP deal with the problems she is facing? Have you been a stepchild? Do your DCs have a stepmum? Or are you here just to criticise?
I've had a step mum, she was ok, distant but that was fine by me.
My dc are about to have a step mum (who seems alright btw)
My ex SIL is a very gracious step mum who has been up against up an awful lot more than I have read on this thread but remains gracious but that's her story to tell not mine.
I stand by what I say. I understand being a SM is a tough job but so is being a parent full stop, I don't think you deserve special treatment or everything your own way and that is the overwhelming impression I get from the majority of the whiny threads I read on this board. Oh and for the record I don't frequent the Step Parenting board to give you all a hard time but often threads appear in active.
To go back to fundamentals I don't think the OP has got it tough and I think she's bitching unnecessarily and the discussion has continued from me saying that.
But I will leave you to froth about in Step Parenting perpetuating your Being A Step Parent Is The Hardest Job In The World myth. All parenting is hard and if I see threads with some random woman slagging women like me and children like mine off because we had a bit of a chinwag with our exes about our kids school or because I didn't sort out timings for a trip in two weeks time to suit "Princesses" diary requirements then I reserve the right to say what I think, just as you all do about us.
Now I am leaving this thread because apart from one or two sensible voices on here the whining and undercurrent of bitterness towards CHILDREN and their mothers is upsetting to me and I have enough on my plate in RL without adding to my rising BP thanks very much.
I understand being a SM is a tough job but so is being a parent full stop
Only someone who has never been a stepmother could possibly compare the two in the same sentence.
I hope your DCs future stepmum has somewhere like MN to vent about your unrealistic expectations You want her to fit in with your existing family and love your DCs as she would her own DCs? Good luck with that!
'There was me thinking I am someone who cooks for them, washes and irons their clothes, helps them with their homework, drives them about, supports them, does everything their mum does for them in fact!'
This has made me think...the only thing ds's stepmother has ever done for him is make him lunch about 3 times.
And then complain that he ate too much. We're not onto a winner here are we.
some of you sound great.
rooners there are good and bad Stepmums - and mums, too
I've been abused and screamed at for daring to even consider meeting my DSC basic needs - in my DSC mums opinion, I shouldn't even be in the house when they spend time with their Dad - but she doesn't really want them to do that, either.
If you trust your DCs dad, then I'm sure he'll ensure the DCs needs are met, even if their relationship with their DSM isn't what you'd hope it to be.
I hadn't realised that this was National Step Mum Bashing Week. But clearly it is.
"This has made me think...the only thing ds's stepmother has ever done for him is make him lunch about 3 times"
How would you even know that? How do you know who shops for the food, keeps the house clean, bought/cleans the bed linen they sleep on etc etc etc etc
I wouldn't say it if I didn't know it was (approximately) true...that would be pointless.
He's only been there a few times and has never stayed the night, or spent much time in the house. Normally they seem to have lunch, and he goes out for a walk with his dad and that is about it.
I'm not sure what else she would have needed to do in preparation for this.
fwiw I wasn't bashing step mums. I was sighing about ours.
I thought I had made it plain that I didn't think all step mothers are rubbish.
But if your child has hardly even ever been in his fathers home a few times, what on earth would you be expecting the SM to do for him
Allnew, it's clear you haven't seen my other threads about the situation and the way she has behaved towards ds, so perhaps it would be better if you just take me at my word and we don't continue to hijack this thread with an argument.
I only posted briefly this morning in a 'thinking aloud' manner and didn't intend to offend anyone who isn't involved in my personal situation.
Perhaps that was unwise in the current climate.
Rooners - I'm sorry you're having a difficult time. china is spot on (and I've not read your threads, so forgive me if this is not relevant to you) about trusting your ex to do what is best for your children, and about there being good and bad SMs as well as mums.
Thanks Dizzy. Yes of course there are good and bad, as China says.
I wish I could trust him to do the right thing but sadly, it's unlikely.
anyway I'll get off the thread now as I'm not helping anyone.
My DP gets caught up on the doorstep for ages sometimes when dropping his DCs off. It's usually because his ex is stressed about something and dedcides it must be all DP's job to sort it all out. Usually child-related (though not always). It does annoy me too as the Sunday evening when he gets back is a really nice little bit of time to relax together, talk about the weekend, plans for the week, etc.
The best way I've found to reduce the chances of this happening is to encourage DP to contact his ex at other times - by email or phone - so that they can sort out whatever issues there are at times that suit them both, rather than on the doorstep. The even better way to do things in my experience is to actually schedule some time to meet up to discuss the kids, schooling, etc. I do this with my own ex once every couple of months and it's really nice to do. But I've not yet managed to pursuade my DP to try to set up something similar with his ex.
And you're completely reasonable to expect your DP to put pressure on his ex to get an answer from the school if that's what she's agreed to do. Schools are getting very strict on term time absence though so you might find they say no. If his ex is refusing to ask the school (because she doesn't want her DS to have time off), then she should at least tell that clearly to your DP so that you can make your plans around it. I don't see why it would upset his DS for his dad to ask his mum a question
Rooners - you're always welcome here, particularly if you're wanting another perspective. Thanks for taking the time to post and I'm sorry your situation is causing you stress.
purple - thanks. I think that the ex is still fairly reliant on DH and it puts him in a tricky position. She was actually talking to him about work-related stuff rather than anything to do with DSS (she works in a school) but, regardless, I think she does want him to help her out more than he really needs or wants to; I know there are instances where it can be DSS-related, but this isn't always the case, like you say. He doesn't like being kept hanging around either, but sometimes doesn't seem to know how to extricate himself, but it's something he needs to work on, and he knows this. I agree about talking about stuff ahead of time; I've encouraged him to arrange meet ups if they're required, particularly given DSS is going to start uni soon, as those doorstep chats aren't always the best, so we are trying to work around it as much as we can. As for the event - yep, will continue to work on that too as I know it's a fair question to ask and continue to ask about when we need a prompt answer. Thanks so much for your input.
The other way to avoid doorstep chats of course is to not give them the opportunity to occur - if your DSS is nearly uni age, couldn't he make his own way between houses? Or drop him at the end of the road and head straight off? Then maybe follow up with an email or phone call to his ex about anything that actually needs to be communicated regarding DSS.
It may just be a familiar habit of his ex's to unload onto your DP about stuff that's nothing to do with DSS - quite understandable if they were together for a long while, but hopefully something she can learn to look to others for if he gently wriggles out of the role or makes himself unavailable for it.
The other way to avoid doorstep chats of course is to not give them the opportunity to occur - if your DSS is nearly uni age, couldn't he make his own way between houses? Or drop him at the end of the road and head straight off
DP started doing this with DSS when he was 7 years old, watched him to the door from a distance - to avoid giving his ex the opportunity to scream and yell at him in front of DSS.
One time they did have a civil conversation in front of the DCs, DSS asked afterwards if they loved each other again and were getting back together.
although your DP says that he knows he needs to disengage from his ex, there has been no good reasons for him to be escorting his DS to the door for some years, have there? I think he needs to start backing up his words with actions.
Very good point China, actions speak louder than words. He only gets tangled up with the ex because he allows/wants it to happen.
Thanks purple, china and petal - absolutely agree that his actions have to back up what he's telling me right now, and that he has allowed this to continue happening, whilst telling me he'd rather not be hanging around. I wonder, sometimes, whether it's fear of annoying his ex, and this impacting on his relationship with his son. However, given his son's age, this fear does not hold water; his son will have opinions of him reliant on their relationship (I would hope!) and would be able to make arrangements to see DH independent of his mum, if need be.
DSS is 16 and is currently learning to drive, so hopefully he will be able to travel around a bit more independently fairly soon. We have a combination of doorstep dropoffs and drop offs in car parks. Agree about the doorstep and will suggest that, but don't know what to do about the car park situation. Obviously, DH wouldn't want to just leave him there, not knowing if he's been picked up or not. I wonder, though, if DH could perhaps stay in the car whilst DSS gets his stuff out the boot and puts it in his mum's car. I don't know, though, if that would work.
Thanks again for the ideas and words of wisdom!
Obviously, DH wouldn't want to just leave him there, not knowing if he's been picked up or not
This is starting to sound rather unhealthy! Does your DSS not make his way to and from school? Go out independent to clubs/shopping/friends?
How does he problem solve when things don't go according to plan - if a bus is late, a friend stands him up, an event is cancelled?
At 16 years old, family court considers a DC of maintaining an independent relationship with their parents. It doesn't sound like your DSS parents have taught him the skills to be able to do that.
China, whilst I agree with your comments that Dizzy’s DSS should be able to demonstrate a little independence at age 16, but I know from my own experience that some non-resident fathers are so over-protective that independent behaviour doesn’t develop. We had exactly the same thing with DSS – right up until March this year (when he was age 18), when he passed his driving test, all drops offs and pick-ups had to be literally door to door, or collecting DSS from (or taking him directly to) the bus stop. It didn’t matter that he was a 6ft young man, he was treated like a primary school child in this respect. I still can’t decide whether DSS or DH perpetuated this (probably a bit of both) but Dizzy’s post struck a chord with me.
Yes, I think your DP could just stay in the car and leave his DS to get out and into his mum's car alone. Maybe leave the engine on.
He does need to leave the door open to her to talk about DSS - but by avoiding getting accosted for conversations on the drop off he should be able to get those conversations to take place at a time that suits him better.
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