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My mum's partner is a 'lovely guy' but...

(8 Posts)
morethanalltheteainchina Sun 28-Oct-12 04:20:41

He has a drinking problem
He has been a shite father to his children
His mental health problems have never been properly addressed or dealt with, yet are often rolled out as an excuse for his behaviour

To cut a long story short, my mum has been with her partner for around 10 years. He is fundamentally a 'nice guy' in that he is funny, generous, kind etc etc.

However, he drinks excessively. He has never (as far as I know) been abusive to my mum or done anything dangerous when drunk, but he has a habit of doing stupid things - falling over, breaking things, having silly arguments with people. Things that as a one of occurrence could be forgiven, but he is 56 years old and they happen far too often. The next morning he is always full of remorse and promises to cut down on his drinking blah blah blah, but he never does.

He has two children who are now in their late teens from his previous marriage, and both have gone 'off the rails'. Since he moved divorced their mother when they were young children, he has (in my opinion) done the bare minimum that is required of him (i.e. visits every other weekend, paid maintenance etc) I don't even know why this is relevant, but it definitely makes me think less of him. He also regularly blames his ex-wife for his childrens' behaviour - 'well if she controlled them better etc' - he doesn't acknowledge his own responsibility to them at all.

He has apparently been diagnosed with depression (I say apparently as I have only heard this from my mother, he has never spoken of it) His depression is regularly used by my mum to excuse his behaviour - he will snap at her about something trivial and then disappear out on a long dog walk for hours without saying anything to her and that will be 'because of his depression.' However, whenever I have asked her what steps he is taking to deal with his mental health, she very quickly dismisses the issue ('oh he's fine, he's been like it for years, he knows how to deal with it')

Anyway, I guess the point of all this is (and thank you if you are still reading) is that it's beginning to affect my relationship with my mum. I am beginning to dislike her partner more and more and it now means that I don't really enjoy spending time in their company, and I feel myself being agitated when my mum talks to me about him. The problem is, my mum was shit on rather spectacularly by my dad about 15 years ago and she got together with her now DP quite quickly after. Whenever I try to raise the issue of his behaviour, I just get 'well, he treats me a lot better than your father ever did' which is true, but she doesn't seem to get that that is not saying much and that it doesn't mean she has to tolerate his other shite behaviour. I'm not even suggesting that she does anything as dramatic as leaving him, but I just wish she had the confidence to realise that she doesn't have to accept or justify his behaviour and that it isn't ok.

I have a brother who feels exactly the same as me, but he is a lot less emotionally involved. He is very much of the 'she's an adult, let her get on with it' school of thought, but for me to think like that I would need to emotionally distance myself from my mum and I don't want to do that. She's my mum.

Sorry this is so long, I just need to get it out somewhere.

YerMaw1989 Sun 28-Oct-12 05:23:53

God, I really feel for you some women will just not hear what they know is true, I get the impression that mum probably knows you're right but doesn't want to admit she (in her own mind) has chosen another shit partner. I could be wrong of course.

as frustrating as it is I would just keep doing what you're doing, the light bulb may go off soon if not at least you have no t defended his behavior.

BinksToEnlightenment Sun 28-Oct-12 06:35:16

I really feel for you - but I think I'm going to have to agree with your brother.

You can't live her life for her, or choose who she dates. You can't let it affect your relationship with her.

CogitoEerilySpooky Sun 28-Oct-12 06:40:58

I agree with your brother but only to a point. You may not get your Mum to see that his behaviour is unacceptable let alone deal with it, but you can certainly address it with him directly if/when the opportunity arises. If it was your DF as opposed to her DP you would have no hesitation.

Offred Sun 28-Oct-12 08:13:12

I have similar except with my dad. I have withdrawn from spending time with him because of his volatility. It has meant we don't go to visit them anymore at the weekend and so I don't see my mum very often anymore. Although she does have her own issues too - rewriting history, lack of perspective, inability to see things objectively. It makes me sad

I have effectively done the same as your brother because my whole life I have fought and challenged his behaviour and she always sees it as an "us and them against the world" thing. When i speak to her after she says she agrees with what I say to my dad but then when I leave she completely changes and sacrifices me to him to save herself from him. She thinks she has helped him learn how to deal properly with life and "he is much better than when I first married him" she conveniently forgets a lot of things.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Sun 28-Oct-12 08:42:07

Sadly, your choices are to do as your brother has done: emotionally distance yourself, or to remain emotionally wrapped up, and therefore affected by it.

Sad as it is (and it is very sad to get to the stage with such a primary relationship as with a parent), I think emotional distance is the way to go: your emotional involvement will neither help her nor change her - only she can do that - and all it will do is hurt you.

quietlysuggests Sun 28-Oct-12 08:54:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

morethanalltheteainchina Sun 28-Oct-12 15:26:00

Thank you everyone for all your kind words and advice. I'm going to try and differentiate between my relationship with 'them' and my relationship with 'her' . It's just tricky as we live at opposite ends of the country so whenever we go back to our home town we are expected to stay with them and he drives me loopy within a day. I have dropped a few hints about staying with my SIL over Christmas and my mum's face dropped which made me feel like shit. Arghhhhh!

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