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Help, don't know how to cope anymore with partners' kids AlWAYS coming first!

(67 Posts)
SusannahHG Wed 27-Feb-13 23:32:08

Hello, I'm new I really need some friendly advice and I need to know what other people think about my situation, am so confused. Been divorced 4 years, 3 kids, youngest is 5, have been in a relationship with a man for 2 yrs 8 months. He is lovely and I thought to start with he was the soulmate I had been missing. However, it has been stormy all the way. He has been separated for 4 years, has always said he will divorce his wife eventually but this keeps getting put off as yet another 'boring chore'. They are still very good friends (unlike myself and my ex who I don't communicate with) and his goal he says is to keep the family unit as together as he possibly can without his wife and himself actually living together, he lives alone, his 3 kids are grown up/teenagers.

Basically I have had two and a half years of him spending Xmas Day, Easter Day, all the 3 kids birthdays in his wife's house, just the 5 of them. This has been tough but have got used to it, just about!

Tonight is the eve of my birthday. We both originally took annual leave to spend the day together, then 6 weeks ago his grown up daughter dropped the bombshell that she was going travelling alone for 10 weeks, departing on my birthday. He and his wife are taking her to the airport which although only a 90 minute drive away is going to take all day, he will be gone all afternoon and won't be coming home until late evening.

We are on the verge of ending things, he says we can't go on with me making him feel guilty and I feel I can't constantly feel at the bottom of the list. I think he has no empathy with how lonely and let down I feel and he just shouts at me about how his little girl is going away and he is worried about her. I do understand this, but just feel there is never a time for any compromise and I am going through life being second best constantly. My colleagues and family assume I am spending the day with him but I have to explain he will actually be at the airport with his wife and daughter all day/evening of my birthday. I feel things will always be the same and don't know whether to walk away. I keep things pretty equal between my kids and the time I spend with him, actually probably get them off to bed quickly sometimes just so I can spend time with him ... I feel like such an idiot. Have seen similar posts where women are attacked for not understanding that their other half is a good person for being a good dad, please don't get at me for this post, I just feel really low and confused....Every time he sees me when only convenient with his kids' arrangements I feel kicked in the stomach....

izzyizin Thu 28-Feb-13 00:45:09

In a year's time he or his wife will be able to divorce without the consent of the other party.

As for him spending high days and holidays with his dc, regardless of whether his wife is present, that's only to be expected if this is what they/he want but this will be subject to change as they spread their wings so to speak.

MadameOvary Thu 28-Feb-13 00:52:10

I have been with my DP five months and no-one has any problem with myself and his ex being at events together, children or no children. Really sounds like he hasn't moved on emotionally. A real test of your relationship is how he presents you to the world and the important people in his life. You can be perfect on your own as a couple but it counts for little if he's not happy to have you at his side for important events.
Sorry OP sad

MadameOvary Thu 28-Feb-13 00:54:23

Sorry that was worded really badly, meant to say no-one has any problem with his ex and myself being at the same events.

AgentFelix Thu 28-Feb-13 01:01:05

Oh, I see. I don't think it sounds too bad really. I wouldn't end a relationship that was otherwise happy over this.

I take it that W's partner isn't present on these occasions either?

As Izzy says, it's likely to change once his DC move out, get partners of their own and won't be able to spend every holiday at their mother's house.

Seeing as he's now unavailable on your birthday can you celebrate on a different day? I can understand why he wants to see his DD off at the airport, but can also understand why it has pissed you off.

jynier Thu 28-Feb-13 01:01:25

OP - so sorry for your troubles! The fact that you have posted on here means that you are extremely worried about your relationship!

I have no great advice but can remember my beloved XP disappearing on my birthday (he said that he had a physio appointment <thought it a bit odd but believed him> - turned out that he had a date with the OW!). Also, he gave to me the most awful presents - emergency phone charger and a crossword solver (again...!).Things that you would give to a friend, not your lover!

FWIW, try and enjoy your birthday with your family! Take care! x

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 28-Feb-13 01:02:48

OP, I don't think that he is using you. He sounds like a nice enough guy. But you will always play second fiddle to his family. He hasn't hidden this. He hasn't lied about it. That's just the person he is.

The question is: can you be happy with this? If not, it may be time to go your separate ways. The alternative is a lifetime of being second best and is this what you really want?

SusannahHG Thu 28-Feb-13 01:06:36

izzyizin glad to hear you are joining me in a late night glass or two! He is a really lazy person with getting things done which is I think the genuine reason behind the lack of divorce. And yes this time with the children will pass, they will have families of their own in due course. I don't want to lose him just because he says he is desperate to spend this last little bit of time with his kids. I have colleagues older than me suffering 'empty nest syndrome' and I think this applies to him. So many people on this thread have told me to dump him and walk away,but I don't want to do something I will regret!

LittleEdie Thu 28-Feb-13 01:12:02

I can't believe people are making out that it's right that this guy is spending Christmases with his Ex and that OP should just suck it up.

He won't change. And in future years you'll have to watch him favouring one set of grandchildren over another.

SusannahHG Thu 28-Feb-13 01:17:48

AgentF, jynier, Dione - thank you! AgentF - he was mortified the night he told me 6 weeks ago of the date she had chosen, was almost in tears, I thought something had happened to his elderly parents, I've been flu ridden this week but he keeps asking if I'll be better on Friday or Saturday, I think cos he he wants to have a late celebration. And no OW partner doesn't attend either! jynier - oh god so sorry to hear that, my ex gave me kitchen gadgets like a wine bottle stopper and a steel thing that gets onion smells off your hands, know how you feel! Dione, just what my wise and very happily married mum has said, thank you!

DioneTheDiabolist Thu 28-Feb-13 01:17:50

I feel that I must warn you that this might not pass. If he is so determined to see his adult DC to the airport, how do you think he will be when they: get their own places, get married and have children.

It sounds to me that he loves his family, he loves his space and while he may love you, you are not high on his list of priorities.sad

You say the relationship has been stormy from the start. Are there other problems?

allaflutter Thu 28-Feb-13 01:19:34

well OP, you did drip-feed a bit! if he ONLY spends holidays /b-days with them, but oterwise he's mainly with you (what about w/ends?), then it;s really not so bad. I still think that he could have suggested something regarding your b-day - he could havesounded sorry and offered to celebrate next day, or have lunch as you say, so I'm not sure it's all rosy, something is a little off.
Or maybe it's just the case or speaking up instead of quietly being upset? Some men haven't learned how to be thoughtful, but sometimes they can learn.

SusannahHG Thu 28-Feb-13 01:27:16

LittleEdie - he's with me Xmas Eve/Xmas morning then back Xmas evening, I'm at my parents for lunch with the kids as normal, we have discussed him and his kids coming to mine for xmas lunch but apparently they would be upset at their mum being left alone. Fair point I suppose. Also my parents would probs be miffed at my not being there as usual. Easter however is another issue as I'm not religious and don't celebrate it so just becomes a lonely Sunday where I'm thinking about him being with his ex. I guess with any man I meet from now there will probs be kids and other grandchldren involved. I really appreciate your comments though

WafflyVersatile Thu 28-Feb-13 01:34:35

And what does his ex's new partner do at christmas etc?

SusannahHG Thu 28-Feb-13 01:44:06

Dione, the stormy stuff has constantly been the issues with his kids, not much else is wrong apart from me being so hacked off at not getting his divorce sorted, but that is enough I guess. He is with me at weekends (evenings anyway) Would be with me most evenings although I have called a halt to this lately for obv reasons as feel taken for granted. Yes, I fear I am not a high priority, that is what is scaring me...hence the post! Just want to get it straight in my mind if it's me being selfish.

allaflutter, sorry, didn't want to make it too long, am new to this and thought it would put people off to go on and on! Thank you so much for being positive and not judging him as some user, yes he isn't as thoughtful as he could be and that was probs contributory to the end of his marriage.

SusannahHG Thu 28-Feb-13 01:46:46

Waffly, he goes to his mother's! I feel like we have all descended to being children again. Is this what divorce does to everyone!

SusannahHG Thu 28-Feb-13 01:49:10

PS We are all in our 40s/50s!

SusannahHG Thu 28-Feb-13 01:49:51

Waffly, he goes to his mother's! I feel like we have all descended to being children again. Is this what divorce does to everyone!

dippymother Thu 28-Feb-13 09:46:25

Susannah, I have been in a very similar situation to yours with an XDP so can understand your worries.

I did accept that my DP's children came first and didn't complain about it, though his DCs were 5 and 7 at the time . Christmas and Birthdays were spent with his children and ex. DP and his ex were "amicable enough" though I knew it was for the benefit of the DCs - he had no desire to return to the family unit. He wasn't divorced either, but that had more to do with finances. We did split up though. I also have children (20s), but I was making far too much effort timewise and financially, to the detriment of my family, to continue a healthy and happy relationship with him. Basically, he was a cocklodger. Your DP sounds a lot better than that so I hope you can both come to a compromise on what is acceptable. Best of luck, and happy birthday! Hope you get a nice birthday celebration tomorrow or at the weekend.

As an aside, I'm now very happy with a lovely man who has no children, but it's not without problems. He is having to learn in his late 40s what living with older kids is like and he had little knowledge before!!!!

Llareggub Thu 28-Feb-13 10:02:59

Maybe he isn't the man for you. I am on my own with two young children who are 6 and 3. My best advice to you is to get out and spend time developing a fantastic life for you and your children but also socialise without a man - nights out with friends, interest and rely less on a man who just isn't there for you. Who knows what might be ahead? I know it is hard, truly I do!

eccentrica Thu 28-Feb-13 10:04:38

I don't think you are being selfish. No adult needs both or indeed either of their parents to drive them to airport. Esp. not if they're separated and he had prior plans. It sounds like you are still the 'secondary' relationship.

squiddle Thu 28-Feb-13 10:16:44

Blimey, it is not selfish to want to be important to your partner AT ALL. I hate all this 'the children must come first always' stuff. In any relationship and family, all members should be seen as important. Often the children's needs do come first, but not always and to the exclusion of the parents or the dad and his new partner.

I would say your dp is not ready to move on, and you are indeed the secondary relationship as eccentrica says. And wanting to stick to plans to celebrate your birthday is really not an outrageous demand.

I am a SM, btw, and have been through this. I did get to a point of telling my dp that I didn't want him, for example, babysitting for his ex-wife in her house while I managed our dc alone, or dropping our plans at the last minute if she suddenly decided to go away for a weekend and wanted dss to come here. It was quite tough for us both to change the status quo that had developed of dss (and actually the exW) coming first, but we are much happier and that benefits all our dc.

By the same token, there are times when dss is struggling and we do change our plans to make extra time for him, or think of something that would cheer him up etc. If he has something on, we try and work round that too. The point is that it is a balance; your dp doesn't seem to get that and for me that would make the relationship untenable.

meditrina Thu 28-Feb-13 10:21:22

Your birthday is your high day and holiday - mucking up a day that will resonate onwards through future years is problematic.

I see the problem, not so much as something coming up that conflicted with your plan A (taking leave and having a day together), but in the fact that there was 6 weeks notice of this issue and neither of you seems to have come up with an alternative (eg you move your leave, he takes a second day and you have a grand "unBirthday" day together, and he is really keen on getting he best possible celebration within logistic constraints).

If he's not that bothered about your birthday, you're both not communicating well enough to tackle this in the weeks you knew about it, and neither of you is putting in the effort to find creative ways to do something else special, then perhaps those are the issues to tackle within your relationship.

fluffyraggies Thu 28-Feb-13 10:26:19

Coming to the thread late, but are there legitimate reasons why the airport trip has to take up the whole day OP? Is it distance?

As a parent of teens i'm not sure it would take me and XH all day to see one of our kids off. And i would want to see them off.

As for Xmas hmm I'm a bit on the fence about that one. I think now the wife has a partner and the kids are grown he could make some time in the day for you.

VoiceofUnreason Thu 28-Feb-13 10:27:15

There is always a balance. Sometimes we can be TOO kid-centric. It is too easy to put children SO first that partners can feel rejected. When they are young then it is far more understandable and right. When they are older or, as in this case, grown-up, then it's time for the balance to swing the other way a bit more. She's going for ten weeks. She's not moving abroad never to be seen again.

AlfalfaMum Thu 28-Feb-13 10:40:41

I would be unhappy with this situation too Susannah.
I just can't see how it's ok to exclude you from things, fine and good that he wants to see his daughter off at the airport, but why can't you come too and then be taken out for a lovely birthday meal after she's flown?

I wouldn't be too quick to end things, but you sound like a nice reasonable woman who's been made to feel like second best all of the time, and I agree you deserve more. It's lovely that he's a good father and ex husband, but he should cherish you equally, it's not fair if you make all the compromises.
I hope that you work through this And find a happy outcome smile

Happy Birthday, by the way.

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