Date night ambush - what should we do?

(132 Posts)
Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 13:58:36

My DSD used to come on set days 50/50, she went through a stage of no contact following years of an alienation campaign by her mother, then when she started coming again it coincided with her reaching an age where a contact rota wasn't really appropriate so she comes and goes as she pleases now. Well, she's only allowed a certain number of times in a month as Mum wants to protect her CM hmm

Anyway. Wednesday night has always been our "date night" midweek, no kids. We have really long hours, stressful jobs and it is so nice to have one night a week where we can just be ourselves, not step mum/ Dad/ Mum etc. DSD usually favours coming on a weekend so even if my DD isn't here, we have one kid at least.

Now, our view was very much that this is DSD's home and she is always welcome here. That is what we told her. However, since this has been in place, she has treated it less and less like her home. She doesn't contribute anything at all and she only comes on "fun" days when she knows she'll get taken out for dinner or similar. She has told us as much.

Part of me thinks - she's his DD and it's her home and she should come when she likes. Part of me thinks - why can't his commitment to his plans with me come first, why should we drop everything for her? And why should she get the message that our plans come second to her whim?

She's 15 btw.

A big part of me wishes he wouldn't ask me my opinion and just tell her no. I could just tell him "you decide" but that would be testing him and is therefore unfair.

TheTerribleBaroness Wed 26-Mar-14 14:01:00

So she's asked to come on a Wednesday? Regularly, or as a one off?

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 14:05:24

Sorry yes! I copy an pasted and forgot to repaste the crucial paragraph!

So... she has asked if she can come tonight. This has happened quite a few times over the past few weeks and months. DH says that it is date night and we are doing something and she goes all sulky. He hates it and wishes she'd stop. I think she's testing him.

He's text me saying he's at his wits end - doesn't want her here, wants to keep to our plans, but is getting sick and tired of the constant testing and having to say no then feeling bad every time.

ElBumpo Wed 26-Mar-14 14:06:36

I am of the opinion that my DC and DSC are always welcome here, no matter what. That said, if we had a prior arrangement, I wouldn't cancel and I would expect OH not to cancel as well (except for emergencies). That's just courtesy and at 15 I'd expect her to be able to understand that (I expect my DC who are younger to understand that!).

If she is proposing a regular thing then I'd consider moving the date night if possible.

ElBumpo Wed 26-Mar-14 14:07:52

In that case I'd get DH to explain that your wednesday night arrangement is a regular thing but she is welcome any other night of the week. I'd also say she's welcome to come and let herself in but I'd rather she came on a night I was there so I could spend quality time with her.

petal02 Wed 26-Mar-14 14:12:45

I'd get DH to explain that your Wednesday night arrangement is a regular thing but she is welcome any other night of the week

I agree with this. But I wouldn't offer her the option of letting herself in when you're out. There's no point in access taking place if your DH isn't there, and also do you really want to get home from a night out to find you've got an unexpected visitor?

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 14:15:02

Elbumpo - I like that about wanting to spend quality time. That is actually a big part of it. My dd also misses her when she chooses to come on the days she isn't here.

Okay so my advice should be "Wednesday night is mine and russianfudge's date night, we have made plans so although you are welcome to come and stay, I'd rather you came on a day when we I was in so we could spend some proper time together"

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 14:17:29

The contact time is just her just ticking off the right amount of days so she is out of her mum's hair just the right amount of time to give her space but protect her CM.

She also doesn't get on with her Mum or step dad so our house is very much somewhere she comes to escape. Rather than to spend time with her dad. At least, that's how it feels to us often.

ElBumpo Wed 26-Mar-14 14:26:16

I would just get him to say he's "got plans" rather than saying it's date night. There's something about that that reads a little like he's picking you over her (which I suppose he technically is but it's nice to be tactful).

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 26-Mar-14 14:34:57

Couldn't you move your date night? It's not something vital. Especially if he is bothered about seeing her. And even if you saw her more nothing is forcing your husband to cut the maintenance (obviously if she was living with you it's a different matter). Frankly you're making the poor kid sound like an inconvenience. Your DH should be wanting to see her.

petal02 Wed 26-Mar-14 14:49:16

I suspect that even if they did move the date night, DSD would then decide she wanted to come on the 'new' night instead. And as DSD is with them most weekends, is it really too much to ask that they have a date night? Or should they run their lives to DSD's convenience?

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 26-Mar-14 14:56:23

Certainly not, but changing a non essential night isn't the end if the world on the odd occasion if they (or certainly the DH) actually wanted to spend time with the daughter he hasn't seen much of.

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 15:58:21

Petal is right. She would simply change her mind and pick whatever night we picked for our date night, and I can't change the night because it's the only night we don't have my DD.

He does dearly want to see her. But he also wants to keep plans with me, his wife. Because he knows I accommodate his DD at her every whim no matter what, and this is the one thing we agreed to hold on to. We actually had counselling a few years back and the counsellor suggested it was a very good idea. Obviously if there have been Wednesdays where she has been upset or something bad has happened at home we have let her come.

The issue is what to do over the reoccuring question I suppose. He's put her off tonight with the message below, but it's horrible every time she asks and he has to say no, he feels he is picking me over her when what he's actually doing his upholding commitments with me . Same as if I wanted to see him on a night he had plans with DSD.

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 16:01:34

onesleeptillwembley I think he wants to spend some time with his wife who he hasn't seen very much of. We both asked many times over the weekend when we would see her this week and made it quite clear we hoped to see a lot of her. She picks the one day we have plans... It is quite frustrating.

I do feel for her though, she'd like to come a lot more but Mum wouldn't allow it. DH wouldn't reduce maintenance now, unless she came to live here full time or almost full time but because he did do so once her Mum is now very strict on how many days she is allowed to come. Kind of a reverse pay-per-view... very sad.

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 26-Mar-14 16:08:51

Ok, sorry, I didn't see it was the only day without your dd. I can see your point completely now. The only problem is how she would see this 'rejection'. She's still really only a child. You're the adults here. Maybe give up the odd date night for her.

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 16:14:23

Tough one isn't it onesleep. I always end up feeling bad if we say no. Always. I feel like she should take priority because she's a child.

But then I am fairly convinced that she does it deliberately and if so, are we just setting ourselves up if we allow it to happen? I feel she needs to learn that you can't pick people up and put them down and they'll just rally around and cancel plans on your whim as some kind of sign that they love you. If she's not doing it as a test, then she's doing it out of blind bad planning and inconsideration. It's not very "real life". I wouldn't be teaching my DD that either were okay.

Then again, her life is a bit crap - unemployed mum who drinks, very weird and resentful step dad. I try to fast forward to my DD being a teen and wondering if I'd drop everything for her if she wanted to come.

Hmm... no, I actually don't think I would. Not if I had plans with my DH that we'd been looking forward to. But I still don't find it easy to say no.

MaryWestmacott Wed 26-Mar-14 16:15:23

WEll don't call it 'date night' because that just says "I'm picking my sex life over you" to a stroppy teenager! How about "I have a regular commitment on Wednesday night, and it's a little late notice to get out of it for tonight. I can do any other night of the week - Wednesday night is the only regular night I'll have plans, pretty much everything else is flexible if you let me know when you want to come over I'll make sure I'm in! Dad X"

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 16:21:43

I don't know Mary... isn't that verging a little on me being his dirty little secret? What's wrong with him saying "hey you're my daughter and I love you but I'm also married and this is how you value and cherish your partner"

Obviously he wouldn't say that but I mean in terms of the message he is sending smile

ElBumpo Wed 26-Mar-14 16:28:53

An adult might understand it that way but I'm not sure a teen can quite grasp that. You're clearly not a secret, dirty, little or otherwise if he's married you, I wouldn't get hung up on that smile

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 16:32:11

Maybe I'm over thinking because I was for a long time. She resented me for ages and I'd hear him on the phone after being asked what he was doing being like "oh, err, nothing, what? no, no ones here!" grin

We used to have to hide if we were doing anything nice and woe betide if she found out he'd bought me anything! So I'm a bit battered by it from before.

purpleroses Wed 26-Mar-14 16:58:45

I'd second the advice to say you and your DP have plans, but not to call it "date night". To a lot of teenagers, dates are things that teenagers go on - with someone you fancy and probably leading up to a sexual relationship with them. Teens really don't like thinking about their parents having sex, so calling it date night probably just hits all her buttons.

If she needs to come round for some practical reason - eg she's doing something nearby after school/the next morning, or her mum needs her out of her hair for a night, then tell her she's welcome round anyway. She can see your DP for a couple of hours before you go out presumably, and maybe over breakfast. But keep to your plans, and go out to do whatever you were planning to do anyway. She can have the house to herself for an evening, watch a movie, whatever she wants. Most teens are very happy to do that.

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Wed 26-Mar-14 17:30:50

Don't give in.
You'll be a couple a lot longer than she will be a child.
IMO a 15 yo totally is capable of understanding what a date night is and what a regular commitment to someone else is.
My ds dad has one and I don't see ds having a little strop or wantin to gate crash an if he did I wouldn't let him anyway even though I hate xp with every fibre of my being its a good lesson in how to show commitment and care to more than one person.
She isn't the sun with all the planets revolving round her FFs and if you moved the night I'd bet my left boob that she'd change her mind to that night instead.

Pfft rule the roost from afar or what

AarghGrrAargh Wed 26-Mar-14 18:20:49

You've said that Wednesday is the only time you don't have your daughter - could it be that she wants to spend time with her Dad (& you) when you're daughter isn't there?
Could you perhaps accommodate her once a month or so?

ElBumpo Wed 26-Mar-14 18:32:12

Oh yes, I could imagine that would be uncomfortable then. But I agree with purple roses - there's just something about "date night" that makes the situation more awkward than it needs to be.

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 18:57:14

Sorry, it's the only week night we don't have my dd. She goes to her dad EOW and dsd usually comes here then so she has one weekend without dd, and one weekend with, then she likes to come one night in the week

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 19:02:31

There are other days I don't have dd, but I work very late on thise days, so she could see he dad on her own then as well. There are lots of options. It's a shame really. She's replied to say she can't come at all on other days so he's obviously not passed the test sad

petal02 Wed 26-Mar-14 19:07:43

If she's replied to say she can't come on any of the other days, then it's almost become a game of who blinks first. What if you and your DH both worked on Wednesday nights? If she's with you most weekends, then please don't feel guilty about a midweek date night ( or whatever you want to call it)! Otherwise, when are you supposed to have any couple time?

HopelessDei Wed 26-Mar-14 19:15:44

Can't you go out on another night? She is a child who will be grown up and out of your hair soon enough. She matters more right now. I see Weds is usually your child-free night but most parents don't have any child-free nights without paying a babysitter so you're not exactly deprived.

FabBakerGirl Wed 26-Mar-14 19:27:16

Do what you would normally do when your child has a tantrum.

Date night does sound poncy though, sorry.

Petal02 Wed 26-Mar-14 19:32:16

Hopeless I still think that even if the OP changed the night, the DSD would then want to visit on whichever night they'd changed to. I don't think this is anything to do with calendars/schedules, it's quite blatant power-play from the DSD.

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 19:33:59

Hopeless I appreciate that but we made the choice not to have children together. We've always said if either child had to live with us full time we would accept that, and would welcome it. But as that is not the case, one of the softeners of not having your child live with you full time is that you get child free time wink

Date night is a bit poncey isn't it grin we always say it tongue in cheek but it does describe what it is and gives it some importance or regularity or whatever

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 19:35:36

And actually hopeless in "most" families by the time the child is 15 they are out of your hair and you can have a date night or however you want to describe it. Only in step families are we required to stand on ceremony and be present every moment the teen is home wink

KellyHopter Wed 26-Mar-14 19:41:09

Because its not that often?

nkf Wed 26-Mar-14 19:45:16

Does she have to have you there? Surely, if it's her home too, at 15 there will be times when she is alone in the house.

RandomMess Wed 26-Mar-14 19:47:14

Well she could come over and you go out anyway without her wink or disappear off to bed very very early - she may then decide she doesn't want to ever intrude or your Wednesday evening ever again. In fact probably cuddling up on the sofa and snogging in front of her would be enough...

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 19:51:59

Haha random that's funny! He said she could come but that we had plans. But she turned down the offer. We do have to be here with her, or she comes out with us. It's not normal IMHO

Sandytrousers Wed 26-Mar-14 20:06:46

I've had a share of arsey teen dsds and could cheerfully have strangled them at times.

But I feel so sad about this poor kid whose mum drinks and who just seems to want to be where there might be some fun and distraction.

Can you not put her first for a few months? This is such a fragile time and I think she cones with her own set of unique challenges that are far from the 'toddler tantrum' suggested earlier.

Petal02 Wed 26-Mar-14 20:09:18

OP, I'm waiting for someone to suggest she accompanies you on your date nights .....

RandomMess Wed 26-Mar-14 20:19:53

Erm no it's not normal! Although I really would snuggle up on the sofa and kiss - it's enough to make my dc go urgh yuck and disappear!

FunkyBoldRibena Wed 26-Mar-14 20:27:19

a - why can't she be in the house when you guys aren't there?
b - just get him to say that he can't do wednesdays.

Petal02 Wed 26-Mar-14 20:31:24

(a) what's the point in access if parent/child aren't spending time together
(b) if only!

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 20:38:26

I do hear you Sandy, that's what I struggle with but to be honest it's not just a few months, it's been years. And it's seen us in counselling and almost breaking up over it all. The counsellor said it is crucial that we put each other first. Of course truly putting your partner first actually means putting their child first often. But sometimes you have to weed out when it is a "need" and when it is something else. It's really hard.

We would be fine with her being here and us being out. Even though she is light fingered. But she wants to be involved in everything so will want to come out with us, or not come at all.

RandomMess Wed 26-Mar-14 20:49:02

I would just carry on reitterating "you are welcome to come stay over on Wednesdays, as you are any night of the week, however we will be going out as usual"

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 20:53:26

Yesi think you're right random

RandomMess Wed 26-Mar-14 20:54:51

Let's face it if your dd was home or you had dc of your own you would be booking a babysitter and still going out, perhaps ask if she feels she needs a babysitter wink

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 21:01:17

Another very good point!

FunkyBoldRibena Wed 26-Mar-14 21:10:10

You'd book a babysitter for a 15 year old? Really?

CorporateRockWhore Wed 26-Mar-14 21:19:18

I don't really understand; there is a massive gap between you saying it's very sad that she can't come over more, then saying you don't want her around when you've got a 'date night' (urgh) planned and that one of the nice things about sharing custody is the child free time.

It doesn't sound that sad, it sounds like a wee bonus. If it were me, I'd have her over, she is a child. The adults can rearrange, surely.

RandomMess Wed 26-Mar-14 21:25:34

No I wouldn't book a babysitter hence the wink

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 21:31:29

I realise I'm contradicting myself - that's the issue. I'm torn.

RandomMess Wed 26-Mar-14 21:33:57

I think many parents do have a regular night out - ok typically it's at the weekend. I really don't think you need to change your regularly night out, she is welcome to come over and it's her choice whether she does or not. I think she is game playing, everyone knows it, you both feel guilty about the situation.

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Thu 27-Mar-14 00:19:26

Right

Tell her ok she can come on Wednesday as your dd now goes away to her dads on, say, a Thursday.

Watch what happens then.

Agree she may be angling to come over when something nice might be happening, hoping for either an evening out or an evening in on her own chillaxing while you're out.

Either way although understandable it's just not acceptable - I would feel that I was being manipulated and manoeuvred if I were you/your DH,
Is there any way that you can find out if the wantin to come over means wanting to go out with you and DH, or if she wants some chill time at yours while you're out and doesn't mind not seeing much of her dad? Without being that obvious lol - of course you could bite the bullet and be straight up when you ask which will let her know (if she is game playing) that YOU know.
Then once you know how the ground lies you can deal with things better.
May well be she wants some parent free time and her answer will put your mind at rest hopes
Hope there's an innocent answer and she's not just trying it on x

brdgrl Thu 27-Mar-14 00:22:07

My teen DSC are here all the time, at least the 15-year-old is, the 18 year-old has some nights out with friends (not many though). Our DD is small enough she goes to bed before 8.

We can't really afford to go out, and get a babysitter, pay for evening out, etc, so we try to have an 'at home date night' once a week. (I say try because lately I have been too busy with work to even manage that.)

The kids are told we are having a date - I actually think it is fine to say it that way, it models a loving adult relationship - and that we want to be undisturbed except in case of dire emergency. We eat dinner, just the two of us, after DD has gone to bed, and we tell the older kids that we have dibs on the TV room.

It's not a problem because we haven't presented it as anything but 'normal' - we don't apologise for it. If we have a planned evening, even an evening in, I expect DH not to change it unless something extraordinary has come up. If we had it on a standing evening, like you do, and the kids asked to do something with DH that evening (or for him to give them a lift somewhere or whatever), I'd expect the kids to accept the response "sorry, we have plans that evening, it'll have to be another time".

Unless she has fixed reasons why she can't make it another evening (work shifts, a class, a firm obligation at her mum's), I can't see why you should change.

Russianfudge Thu 27-Mar-14 07:42:17

Things - we offered for her to come and stay in alone but she didn't want to. She has now said she will still come at the weekend so that is good, in the past the sulking would have lasted longer.

I think what I mean when I say it's sad is that we shouldn't feel like we can't do this, and she shouldn't feel the need to mess about this way. But it's an impossible scenario.

Brdgirl I can't imagine it would ever happen that we could have a private night in if dsd were here!

purpleroses Thu 27-Mar-14 08:03:29

I think you did the right thing - she was welcome to come but chose not to because you made it clear you weren't going to drop your plans for her. That's a perfectly reasonable choice for her to make. Just behave as normal this weekend and it'll hopefully soon be forgotten.

Russianfudge Thu 27-Mar-14 08:34:45

Thanks Purple. We had a very nice time, by the way grin

DejaVuAllOverAgain Fri 28-Mar-14 12:06:48

Obviously I'm a little bit late for this week but I disagree with those who say you should give up your date night. Your marriage is important and if this time together helps to keep the relationship running smoothly then you should stick with it.

Look at it this way if your DH had an evening class, or a hobby that could only be done on Wednesday night, then he wouldn't cancel that barring an emergency. Presumably if your DSD needed to see him in an emergency he (and you) would cancel for that but if it's not an emergency then tell her she's welcome at any other time but that night you have plans.

HopelessDei Fri 28-Mar-14 13:03:07

Christ, just seen your own child doesn't even live with you either. So you are basically a couple with no kids and, presumably, plenty of freedom, complaining about changing your poncy "date" which could take place any time? Meanwhile, there's a teenage girl going through a crap time, product of a divorce she didn't ask for, being shoved from pillar to post and probably blindingly aware neither wants her around.

To whoever said "power play", the poor kid probably feels anything but powerful. And comparing dinner out to a hobby? wtf? I actually find the sniping about a mixed-up child on here very distasteful. Oh, but if your therapist said Weds night out was essential...hmm

I just don't know what to say to you about your standing on ceremony comment. You partners child comes to visit, he doesn't see her every night and yet he resents having to stay at home actually interacting with her when she comes? She's his child, his responsibility.

What a sad situation. I thank my lucky stars my parents didn't screw me up like this. Resenting having to stay in looking at me when they could be out making eyes at each other...and bitching about me online for wanting to go where the fun is.

sad

Petal02 Fri 28-Mar-14 13:10:11

Hopeless you've misread this. The OP's daughter lives with them FT, except for Wednesdays, which is when she sees her father. So why shouldn't they have a regular date night on a Wednesday? The DSD can come over on any other night.

And it was me who mentioned power-play. Are you suggesting that a 15 yr old girl is incapable of being manipulative?

brdgrl Fri 28-Mar-14 14:01:22

Hopeless, do you really think your parents never moaned to a friend or coworker about having to miss out on something they'd rather do, because of their kid? How sweet that you think so.

People speak to their friends, or in this era, post online, about issues with their children. I rather doubt that all the mums currently posting on this thread - http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/_chat/2037874-be-honest-do-you-think-having-kids-has-made-you-happier-or-less-happy? - have told their children how unhappy they are.

Or do you think they are all terrible human beings as well?

Petal02 Fri 28-Mar-14 14:14:25

It's the double standard we've all grown accustomed to - moan about your own children and people will sympathise, moan about someone elses and you get flamed .......

HopelessDei Fri 28-Mar-14 14:18:15

Well, I guess referring to them as "someone else's" explains a lot...

brdgrl Fri 28-Mar-14 14:22:28

They are someone else's, Hopeless.

Believe me, even in the moments my DSC's love or like me most, they don't want to be considered "mine". They have a dad, they had a mum. They were practically teens when I met them. They would not welcome your expectation that they are "my" children.

brdgrl Fri 28-Mar-14 14:23:35

Do you have stepkids, *Hopeless"? I hope you aren't one of those pirate mums we hear from now and again!

Sparklysilversequins Fri 28-Mar-14 14:26:36

I could not agree with Hopeless more.

Utterly pathetic.

Petal02 Fri 28-Mar-14 15:11:02

Sparkly, so do you suggest the OP runs her life to suit the whims of a non resident teenager?

Sparklysilversequins Fri 28-Mar-14 15:19:57

No but I suggest she stops using aggressive terms such as "ambush" when referring to the flighty whims of a teenager and try as I might I just cannot see the problem here. Just continue with your plans OP, she'll soon get bored. She's not ambushing anything she's just being a self centred teenager.

I also don't think you have the right, certainly at that age to stipulate when she can and can't be in her own home.

Sparklysilversequins Fri 28-Mar-14 15:21:13

Is she resident or non resident because in your last post you said she lives with them full time except for that night?

Petal02 Fri 28-Mar-14 15:26:28

The OP has a bio daughter who lives with them FT, except for Wednesday nights. It's the DSD who is non resident.

brdgrl Fri 28-Mar-14 16:08:27

Just continue with your plans OP, she'll soon get bored.

But sparkly, that's exactly what she was intending, and did. I thought you agreed 100% that she ought to change her plans!

Sparklysilversequins Fri 28-Mar-14 16:23:46

No, just the ridiculous date night being of paramount importance crap.

Russianfudge Fri 28-Mar-14 16:35:01

What a strange way to interpret my posts...

As the others said, I have one dd who lives with me but is at dad's on a Wednesday and a dsd who can come whenever she likes but keeps picking a Wednesday for no reason at all. We said she could come, but that we wouldn't be in as had plans and she declined. My DH and I feel guilty about this and I wanted some support. Thankfully lots of sensible folk on here helped me to see that a regular child free night out (call it date night or whatever) when a child is 15 years old, isn't really a crime.

Thanks all

HopelessDei Fri 28-Mar-14 18:27:43

I think it's obvious why she keeps picking a Weds.

brdgrl Fri 28-Mar-14 18:30:27

Yep, it's fairly obvious. Hence the word "ambush".

Petal02 Fri 28-Mar-14 18:32:09

Yep, ambush is exactly the right word.

HopelessDei Fri 28-Mar-14 18:45:41

I'd also choose Weds if it was the only night I could see my dad without "someone else's daughter" hanging around.

Russianfudge Fri 28-Mar-14 18:49:25

That last post makes no sense whatsoever

Russianfudge Fri 28-Mar-14 18:51:21

Oh, do you mean because my daughter isn't there? As I said, my daughter is with her dad EOW and we have dsd then. Tonight, for example. And tomorrow night. And the next night.

Beamur Fri 28-Mar-14 18:57:59

Maybe she is just testing you and her Dad. Maybe she needs to come first, or at least feel that she would.
She's 15, so she won't be a 'child' much longer and all the constraints of contact etc will change.
I applaud your making time for your relationship, but I'd take a longer view on this and make 'date night' less fixed and make your DSD welcome and don't make your DP choose either one of you.

PortofinoRevisited Fri 28-Mar-14 18:58:17

I (though a bit grudgingly) also agree with Hopeless. I was that 15 yo once. But I do see where you are coming from....

Sparklysilversequins Fri 28-Mar-14 18:59:58

She's 15 and after "years" of parental alienation she should be able to come and see her Dad whenever she likes without you whining about it being "date night".

Grow the fuck up. I am SO tired of grown women pontificating about how The Relationship needs nurturing too as though it's a fluffy fragile kitten.

I won't return to this thread now because it's just so boring reading the same self justifying teenage nonsense over and over again.

Russianfudge Fri 28-Mar-14 19:02:51

Okay. Don't let the door hit you and all that wink

Russianfudge Fri 28-Mar-14 19:10:02

Beamur and portifino, it is grudging isn't it. I even feel like that about my own choices. I'm always so torn because I remember being 15 and incidentally that was the year my parents spilt. I understand exactly how she feels and I'm in a kind of constant limbo between "she's a child, indulge her" and "but if we do... Where does it end?!" Because of all we've been through. We do have to draw a line and disengage from it all to a degree and remind ourselves how "normal" people behave in these scenarios. We both beat ourselves up for protecting that piece of normality but I think on balance that we need to. Of course applying those loving caring things to both of our respective kids where necessary. For example as I say, this weekend DSD is here all weekend and my dd isn't. We've just had actually a really nice time at the pub for dinner together and are settling down to a film. Sometimes she comes and is hideous, and we bare that too, but tonight she's been lovely.

Petal02 Fri 28-Mar-14 19:13:45

OP, you can't win. It seems you're never supposed to say "no" to a child with separated parents.

PortofinoRevisited Fri 28-Mar-14 19:14:46

I agree a 15 yo should be able to come and see her dad whenever she likes - within reason. Like I said above, I was that 15yo once. Most 15yos have their own friends and interests and should be able to cope with "oh Tuesday is fine, but we're busy Wednesday" I would say that to my OWN child - sorry I am going to pictures tonight but tomorrow we will do x,y,z - ie I am allowed to go and do things that don't include her sometimes.

Russianfudge Fri 28-Mar-14 19:22:45

Yes I think we should be able to do that when they get to that age. In a "normal" scenario it would help them with their independence. I remember being very please when at 14 my parents went out and trusted me to stay at home!! But with these kids, it's a sign they're not loved. Very sad, but there is no happy solution.

Russianfudge Fri 28-Mar-14 19:23:31

With some Petal, yes definitely. Well as hat. As I find it sometimes I'm not sacrificing my relationship for the mistakes of my husbands last relationship

Petal02 Fri 28-Mar-14 19:32:29

Excellent post Portofino.

Beamur Fri 28-Mar-14 20:41:58

I also agree with Portofinos approach - don't call it your date night to her, just say you're busy - and how about 'x' instead? But whatever you do, it will pass, she won't be a needy 15 year old forever. But I do believe (not in a religious sense) that what you sow you reap.

FrogbyAnotherName Fri 28-Mar-14 23:34:58

I am SO tired of grown women pontificating about how The Relationship needs nurturing too as though it's a fluffy fragile kitten.

I can't speak for your relationship, sparkly but I know that my marriage needs and deserves nurturing.

It was neglect that contributed to the ending my marriage to DDs dad - perhaps the reason you see that pontification more frequently on the step- board is exactly because posters have experienced the fallout if not nurturing a former relationship?

Just a thought. If you are confident that relationships will survive neglect and being a low priority, then that's great. Those of us with different experiences may believe something very different, and actively enjoy making time to live, love and laugh with our DPs.

Back2Basics Fri 28-Mar-14 23:45:31

My relationship is slightly different since dp moved into his own place in August although we have have managed to stay together just.

We have Thursdays as our night. He has his dc and our dd and my ds at his most weekends, he runs around after all the dc mine included most of the week and most weekends they're all there. (we have 6 all together)

So Thursday's is ours unless it's an emergency. If I didn't have my Thursday we wouldn't be together, yes it might be selfish and teenagery of me to feel left out and coming last when we make plans but then his dc want a lift to their club or a parents evening comes up but so what. if I didn't have our night where we don't make any plans I wouldn't be able to smile and say don't worry about it we'll do whatever was planned later/another time and not feel slighted or put last.

Op keep your night.

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Sat 29-Mar-14 01:16:41

It's a good job you're not the same as me op, I didn't feel in the slightest guilty when I said I didn't want sc coming for at least two weeks after I gave birth to dd.

smile

Polishes Wicked stepmother badge...

Russianfudge Sat 29-Mar-14 06:39:54

Thanks guys. I think Frog is right about our experiences making us realise. Often, second families know only too well what can happen if a relationship isn't nurtured. I often marvel at how my ex will give time to his wife he never gave to me, not in the sense that I am annoyed by it and I actually don't think he loved her more in their first couple of years than he loved me in ours, I think he's just learned the hard way what happens when you become complacent and take a relationship for granted. As we've all said, often your step children do have to come first (in an emergency or when you do send that they need you) but their every whim and game (and anyone who says 15 year old girls aren't capable of being manipulative is being deliberately obtuse) doesn't take precedence over the relationship. It's not treating it like a fluffy little kitten ffs.

purpleroses Sat 29-Mar-14 07:29:42

I don't think it's just about having learned from past experiences about the need to nurture a relationship - though DP and I would both relate to that. It's also that with a step relationship you've never had that pre-child time together. Time with just the two of you is vital to establishing your relationship as a couple, which you need firmly in place beneath the blended family parenting one. So you do need to run the two in tandem really.

Russianfudge Sat 29-Mar-14 08:12:50

That's very true purple. I always feel fortunate to have any child free time when I hear friends who've had children together talking about how they never get out, but generally they had that time before children came along. Plus, we decided not to have children together, so right or wrong it feels a bit crap to not have kids together and still not get time alone wink

Dsd really was cool last night though, we had a nice evening together. And she shows no sign of getting up for quite a while so we may have the morning in our own smile

Monetbyhimself Sat 29-Mar-14 08:24:31

So your relationship is so fragile that it's future hangs on having a forced 'date night' scenario every week ?

You could however quite easily pay for a babysitter for your own daughter to have a 'date night' on ANY other night but choose not to.

Yet another example of grown women 'scweeming and scweeming until they're thick' because a child has to take priority over them. Very sad.

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Sat 29-Mar-14 09:44:53

Lol sometimes I put things I do with my friends or p before my children.
Being a parent isn't about being a martyr y'know, no one likes those type of people..
And I have a shiny parent nurturing certificate - part of the course was 'take time for yourself' - you can be a mum, step parent AND an individual you know.

sigh

Russianfudge Sat 29-Mar-14 09:59:13

Monet for heavens sake, if you read the thread you would see that she picks the night we have plans, if I organised a babysitter for another night, she'd start asking to come then. Then what, mess the babysitter around? And it's fine for me to leave my own dd on a night that she's here? As long as my dsd can have access to her Dad whenever she likes. My dd (who is also gasp the product of divorce) might like to feel that I am home on the set days that she is there. She is much littler. When she is 15, she will be left home alone if she chooses to come on a night my husband and I have plans too.

My relationship doesn't hang by a thread, that's ridiculous. It's just nigh on impossible to nurture a relationship that has so many (entirely step related!) stresses upon it without giving good, regular time to it.

Russianfudge Sat 29-Mar-14 10:00:52

sigh indeed things

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Sat 29-Mar-14 10:33:06

I wonder how non step dc feel about their parents packing them off to gp's to spend a night alone the importance of which is emphasised in the many maternity and new parent leaflets info whatever that got thrown at me when expecting dd

So you're even told to nurture your relationship when you have a new tiny baby, also I was asked numerous times by hv if I had any 'me' time. I assume therefore it must be important to self nurture in order to be 'there for the dc' at any age or stage of your relationship.

Yep. No one likes a martyr and there are no special awards for it either.
Take yer axes somewhere else to grind smile

FrogbyAnotherName Sat 29-Mar-14 10:33:11

Yet another example of grown women 'scweeming and scweeming until they're thick' because a child has to take priority over them. Very sad.

It is very sad - that such 1950s attitudes are still so prevalent, and that otherwise intelligent and educated women dismiss multiple, and extensive research and advice because they are so conditioned to put themselves last.

Can all the professional advice really be wrong? I'm yet to see parenting advice that states that children's wants and desires should be prioritised over everyone and everything else - but maybe I've been engaging with the wrong professionals. Funny though - they all say the same thing. It must be a conspiracy by WSM, I'm amazed there's not more of an outcry - most of these programmes and research have been funded by charitable or government funds - if they are peddling misguided advice to support the WSM of the world, why hasn't there been an enquiry?

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Sat 29-Mar-14 10:34:19

Xposted with you there frog wine

Russianfudge Sat 29-Mar-14 11:19:42

You do make me laugh Frog gringrin

There is also evidence that second marriages are more likely to fail than first ones, I don't know anymore about why they think that is although I can well imagine step issues to be a big cause. Anyway, whatever the reason, it is wise to take care not to become part of that statistic and put children through a second divorce.

sceptictank Sat 29-Mar-14 12:39:40

i simply can t believe you d put your relationship needs,over a poor leetle urchin that the world has forgotten, selfish selfish. what do you need a date night for? you re probably the vile creature that wreaked the preciouses home in the first place?????????? in fact im so outraged that im not even going to read your thread properly, i shall cast the first stone willy nilly cause i champion the innocent child ( how very virtuous am i?)

take it the stepmum ain t too popular round these parts? where do i get one of those wicked stepmother badges to polish? enjoying the craic

Petal02 Sat 29-Mar-14 13:32:15

Ah, I was waiting for someone to ask if the OP was actually the OW ......

Can't decide whether the previous poster is joking (or not)?

Russianfudge Sat 29-Mar-14 13:36:23

Sceptic don't do that to me grin I thought for a minute it was a serious post!

Petal02 Sat 29-Mar-14 13:41:17

Russian is right that relationships involving children from previous marriages have a high failure rate.

Can't think why that may be ?????????

sceptictank Sat 29-Mar-14 14:01:25

sorry russian just couldnt resist. i ve read the step boards for a while and some of the responses well they re like cat nip to a sarcastic so so like me.

lordy petal things are much worst than i feared if my post could actually have passed for a valid response, that in itself is worrying

im glad you enjoyed your date night and low and behold sd doesn t appear to have suffered any major psychological scarring
p.s loved your response to sparkly re door, keep up the good work

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Sat 29-Mar-14 14:05:28

After that post you can have mine gimmer grin

sceptictank Sat 29-Mar-14 14:11:54

why thank you, i shall place it in the cabinet next to the poison apple

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Sat 29-Mar-14 14:15:19

Bwahaha I like you can you stay grin

simply cannot wait for the usual suspects to come back and find out their sniping has had no effect

Russianfudge Sat 29-Mar-14 14:53:30

I really don't want to be rude but I'm still marvelling over the suggestion that my Dd who is 7 should have a babysitter whilst we go out, but that we should stay in for my dsd who is 15 shockshockshock

sceptictank Sat 29-Mar-14 15:06:01

no double standards at all no sirreee

i truly don t understand how the 2nd family children can so swiftly be side lined in favour of the 1st. surely all of the kids are entitled to the same level of support? if indeed you are only thinking of the children. i may know nothing however not actually having given birth myself

RandomMess Sat 29-Mar-14 15:32:45

I think it's hysterical that people think you should continually change your weekly plans to suit when I 15 year old decides she wants to come confused. Perhaps if she wants to come for lunch on a weekday you should blag a day off work too?????

Petal02 Sat 29-Mar-14 16:00:37

Random that's not as far fetched as it sounds. DH regularly had to work short days (not ideal if you're a builder) if it meant accommodating DSS's wishes.

RandomMess Sat 29-Mar-14 16:10:43

Well Petal nothing would actually surprise me about your dh and dss! How is it going now he is at university, has the rota diminished at all?

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Sat 29-Mar-14 16:17:21

Actually once to try to make me look unreasonable for daring to say I didn't like the contact by proxy that was going on at ours, p took SS to work for the day.
Boss wasn't amused, neither was SS as he was 'bored shitless' his words, and I simply didn't bite. This was on top of the hotel stuff.

I am honestly and sincerely glad that's over and done with and no longer my problem tbh

Realitybitesyourbum Sat 29-Mar-14 16:21:35

Why don't you make it clear to dsd's mum that you Will not reduce cm however often she is at yours? Might reduce the pay per view attitude.

Petal02 Sat 29-Mar-14 16:44:25

Random DSS is loving Uni and we saw him briefly over Christmas. He's not been home since. I'm a little anxious about what the long summer break will entail, but life is far more sane these days.

RandomMess Sat 29-Mar-14 16:46:59

It sounds as though he's made the break from his mum at least wink hopefully he will continue to mature and actually develop a life full of friends and interests and shock horror become responsible for seeing you both by mutual agreement!

Russianfudge Sat 29-Mar-14 17:03:01

Reality, DH said to his ex he absolutely wouldn't change the CM if dsd came for even seven days a week on occasions, or if she regularly started coming for three nights. But he can't say categorically that he won't reduce it no matter when she comes as it would be disingenuous. If dsd went back to coming four or five days and nights every week (which involve weekends) we couldn't possibly afford to continue to hand over the money we do currently and cover all dsds costs sadly.

Russianfudge Sat 29-Mar-14 17:04:18

Personally I don't think that children of any age should have any understanding of the fact that contact is linked to maintenance. I find it completely tasteless.

QueenTea33 Sat 29-Mar-14 17:26:12

I've just read this entire thread and can't believe the amount of sm bashing going on. So many double standards shock

Mind you, op, you should have known what you were getting yourself into when you first got involved with a man with children grin

Sophiathesnowfairy Sat 29-Mar-14 17:38:33

russianfudge I am a bit late to the party but if you don't want to call it date night to DSD because of the connotations we call it party night! I agree your time as a couple is vital for your relationship and if your relationship is nurtured and you are happy the kids will pick up on this and they will feel secure and happy. Which possibly is why DSD likes to be at your house.

Hope it works out. Xx

Sophiathesnowfairy Sat 29-Mar-14 17:41:42

I also have an interesting family set up and actually feel quality time with my DH is a priority to help things run smoothly.

Russianfudge Sat 29-Mar-14 17:48:06

Thank you Sophia, I really like that theory. Maybe perversely it's the time we spend on making our relationship strong that makes her want to be here!

Sophiathesnowfairy Sat 29-Mar-14 18:06:31

I think so. Keep it up. Xx

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Sat 29-Mar-14 21:30:27

The sm's seem to have bitten back on this thread though and sent the goady ones packing
wine All round hope it lasts

RandomMess Sat 29-Mar-14 21:40:21

I am the NRP of my eldest, when she comes to stay she offers to babysit for her half siblings so we can go out - LOL!!! Before she was 16 it would be her and her older boyfriend doing the sitting.

Snoozybird Sat 29-Mar-14 22:27:09

I just read a quote I really liked in an article about ways to keep your relationship healthy:

"A hard challenge for couples with children is carving out couples time without the kids...Remember therefore what they say in an airplane: put on your oxygen mask before you help your children. Your couplehood is critically important to your children's survival."

This wasn't said specifically in the context of step-parenting but to me it perfectly illustrates the importance of nurturing your relationship with your DP/spouse - unhappy parents do not equal happy children in any family set-up.

Realitybitesyourbum Sat 29-Mar-14 22:41:18

Queentea are you a step mum? You have no idea what it is like to be a step mum, how stressful and difficult it is until you are one. If you don't have that experience then you shouldn't comment as you have no bloody idea how tricky it is.

QueenTea33 Sat 29-Mar-14 22:53:27

reality I am a step mum. It was intended as a joke as the crossed out statement is one which we get flung at us occasionally if we encounter difficulties with our sc and look for help on here.

I did point out that I was outraged by all the step mum bashing. We get flamed, unfairly, an awful lot. As seen right here on this very thread.

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