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Grown up step children. Why are they like this?

(25 Posts)
ellie1234 Tue 23-Apr-13 23:55:46

I went to my boyfriends house where I had been invited for supper. Walked in and he was sitting at the table with his three daughters. My arrival prompted cries of wether there would be enough food for a boyfriend and a husband of theirs who were still expected.
I just wanted to walk out but instead sat down to ride out their silliness. Afterwards their Dad said he would talk to them.
What is going on. I am so shocked by their behaviour sometimes. I don't understand how a person can behave so rudely towards anybody.
I do understand they may resent me because I am their Dad's girlfriend.....but such outright hostility.

deleted203 Wed 24-Apr-13 00:04:12

Slightly bizarre behaviour!

I'd have raised an eyebrow, looked at my partner and said politely, 'I'm sorry - I understood I was invited to supper. Was I mistaken?'

NatashaBee Wed 24-Apr-13 01:41:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HansieMom Wed 24-Apr-13 03:36:54

I think you are going to have to address it with them. So rude! Here they are, this tight little clique, all ready to harass you. You could say, I was invited. Were you invited?

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Wed 24-Apr-13 03:46:27

You need to give the appearance of it not bothering you, even if you are seething inside.

Laugh and come out with a brush-off, breezy comment like 'I'm not that greedy!', or a 'oh, sorry, I thought the invitation included me...? No worries if not', <smiles all round>

You have to look, for all intents and purposes, like you're not bothered by the exclusion tactics in the slightest (whilst also not being confrontational about it), because if they see they get to you, they'll keep doing it.

Sounds easy and I know it's not. But worth a try. smile

rubyrubyruby Wed 24-Apr-13 04:59:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ellie1234 Wed 24-Apr-13 08:07:00

Thank you for your support. This story is just one vignette of how I am treated...and my two sons, by these three girls. There are many other tales. Sometimes they can be sweet but the undercurrent is they do not want me or my children in their lives.
To answer the question of who invited me, it was my partner.
Your comments are a great help because you have used phrases like 'tight little clique' and 'exclusion tactics', all words I have used to my partner. It just confirms my view is normal!
I do wonder if I can cope with a relationship where there is such bad feeling for a lot of the time

DefiniteMaybe Wed 24-Apr-13 08:11:09

I'm a grown up step child and I'm not like that at all, neither are my siblings. We try our very hardest to make our step mum and step sister feel a part of the family.
Your step "children" are just rude.

MadAboutHotChoc Wed 24-Apr-13 08:12:04

Was he still with his wife when he met you?

NotTreadingGrapes Wed 24-Apr-13 08:15:03

Like Definitely I am also a grown up stepchild and not like that.

He needs to sort it out though, not you.

Tell him you were surprised by their reaction to your arrival. See what he has to say.

worldgonecrazy Wed 24-Apr-13 08:16:58

I have grown up stepchildren. One day I realised that one of the issues was the truth that he sees them (and often treats them) as you would young children. For him, they will always be his "little girls" and "little boys". I have only known them as late teens/adults, so I always treat them as you would adults.

It will eventually settle down, when they realise that you are making their Dad happy. It took me about 10 years to get to this point with them.

perplexedpirate Wed 24-Apr-13 08:17:21

I am a grown up stepchild and I adore my stepdad. He's better than a dad to me.
They are just rude women and need taking down a peg or two. angry

NotaDisneyMum Wed 24-Apr-13 08:22:17

Their behaviour is a product of their upbringing; they have never been taught that guests in their Dads house will be treated with respect and good manners - no matter what their opinion of the guest in question.

I think it says more about your boyfriend than it does about his daughters - they don't know any different.

ellie1234 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:08:29

When I met him he was seperated from his wife and his daughters were living with him. His wife had run off with her friends' husband.
My partner will talk to them and I am sure they will be sorry. However this is an ongoing theme and I wonder how long it will be before the next 'incident' happens

CoolCadbury Wed 24-Apr-13 09:46:18

I don't buy that they don't know what they are doing. They know exactly what they are doing.

Your b/f needs to have a serious chat with them though. I would make it a condition of the relationship that every time they said something nasty, your b/f pulls them up on it as its not acceptable. By him not saying anything, it enables the daughters to carry on and it shows that he does not care enough about you. And in the end, why be in a relationship if b/f doesn't care enough about you?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 24-Apr-13 10:03:52

Closing ranks against you the outsider. I think if your partner is incapable of raising the issue with them then you can't go on. At best he is oblivious to how hurtful they can be. At worst he will get some strange paternal pride thinking they care about him so much they can't bear to share him. They're not children they're adults.

catsmother Wed 24-Apr-13 10:08:32

I agree that as supposed adults they almost certainly know what they're doing. We can all be unintentionally rude on the odd occasion, but you describe this as an ongoing attitude and I very much doubt it's been accidental all those times.

Sure - as his partner, I'd like their dad to speak to them but at the same time that does smack a bit of treating them like little kids (I know, I know, they're behaving as if they are) and you'd also be perfectly entitled to speak them yourself. I know from experience it's hard when stepchildren are literally children to get involved in discipline as there are so many toes to potentially step on (their mum and dad) and you're worried about overstepping the mark but now they're adults, and therefore apparently responsible for their own actions, you can - in theory - address them as such. For example, "did you intend to be quite so rude ?" each time they try it on. Or "do you realise how hurtful that remark was ?". If they carry on after being politely confronted like that I think I'd step up a gear and make it clear that their regular cattiness was verging on bullying. Of course, the ideal would be that your boyfriend agreed with you and added his own thoughts at the same time - so what you say can't be written off as you being "over sensitive" or whatever. I'm not quite sure I'm articulating this correctly and I certainly don't want to cause any offence but I just get the feeling that if you leave it all to him I think they'd see you as some sort of doormat - almost as if you're deserving of their rudeness if that makes sense ? Better that the pair of you can present a united front IMO.

I also get very annoyed when I read about adult children resenting their parent's new partner. Unless new partner is being horrid in some way, you'd think they'd be happy their parent had found another shot at happiness. Really - it comes across as being very spoilt if you still want daddy all to yourself when you've left home, are in a serious relationship yourself or even married. It's about time they grew up.

RugBugs Wed 24-Apr-13 10:20:47

Four and a half years in and my Dad's Partner's supposedly grown-up children treat the both of them like shit.
There's not much open hostility towards my Dad or teenage Sister who live with them but the Daughter in particular takes it out on her Mum, but the snide subtle stuff is still there, with the Son I think he's just generally unthinking rather than it being malicious.
I know it's the source of arguments between my Dad and his partner, he doesn't understand why she lets grown adults treat her like they do, my parents brought us up very differently.
To be fair to them our Mum is dead whilst their Dad lives a couple of miles away so easier for us to accept a new relationship. DD has never known any different and called Dads partner 'Nanny' of her own accord.

2rebecca Wed 24-Apr-13 11:15:46

Your boyfriend should have tackled them for being so rude when you arrived and told them that it's his house, he invited you and whether or not their's enough food isn't their problem as they aren't the ones hosting the meal.
As this was your boyfriend's house he was largely at fault for not immediately telling them they were rude and making them apologise.
Even if you hadn't been invited it's rude to wonder if there's enough food for someone if you're in someone else's house.
If he invited them for supper (or some of them still live with him) he should have told them inadvance you were coming as well though. It's polite to let all guests know who is coming to a meal.

Dahlen Wed 24-Apr-13 12:00:36

I'd be inclined to write off this relationship if it were me in your shoes. Or I'd have a last ditch attempt at calling it out into the open and resolving it once and for all.

These are grown-up DC (plural) and there was no overlap between your BF separating from his X and starting a relationship with you. To me that implies that they have been over-indulged their whole lives and have got used to being rude without being called on it. You are not going to change that overnight. Is it worth it?

KeepCoolCalmAndCollected Wed 24-Apr-13 12:31:35

It is reasonable that your DP didn't respond to this rudeness at the time, because it probably completely left-footed him and presumably he was highly embarrassed.

(I have been in similar situations with high tension undercurrents going on and it has completely rendered me speechless until after the event of course when it's too late!).

What is his thinking and is he willing to support you?

Or, like a lot of men (sorry no offence to any of you men out there) just wants an easy life with no confrontation?

eatmydust Wed 24-Apr-13 13:06:40

I do agree that the daughters behaviour is deliberate, rather than just plain rude.

However, having been in the situation from all sides - as the stepchild (x2), dealing with the non relationship of my young adult DCs with their DFs partner and their relationship with my DP it isn't always straightforward.

How old are his daughters? Do any of them live with him? If you got together quite soon after his wife left they could still have been grieving for the loss of their family (my DD has used that phrase) and not be comfortable with someone else especially if you have kids. Not that their behaviour is remotely acceptable, but they may feel pushed out and unwanted. You also don't know what has been said to them about your relationship with their father, especially as his marriage breakdown was (I assume) acrimonious with OM involved. Do they have a good relationship with their DM?

I would be cautious about getting him to speak to them. Men aren't the most tactful and if he says something like 'ellie isn't happy about the way you speak to her and I'm not putting up with it', it could just make everything worse.

I just think there is more to this from their side - yes, the behaviour is rude and bullying - but it's not necessarily their normal behaviour. If your partner isn't like this - why would his daughters have been brought up in that way? I would be more inclined to stay out of their way for a bit and see if things calm down if they realise you are not trying to take their father away.

Having a relationship where there are young adult/teenage DCs is not easy. Confrontation makes it more polarised. If this relationship is important to you then try and work through it.

JustinBsMum Wed 24-Apr-13 14:56:39

I think they are doing it because they can. And probably wouldn't have been so 'brave' if there had only been one of them there.

Is it their way of taking out their anger and disappointment at their parent's failed marriage, and the sadness they have had to deal with, on you because they can't say anything to their own parents (without being cruel). I wonder how they treat their DM's OM?

I think if anything is said it should be said at the time eg your DP 'come on girls, don't be so rude to ellie, I invited her along' or you 'your Dad invited me but I'll go if you want' and make them face their rudeness.

Thing is they don't really hate you, so what you are doing, ignoring, is probably also a good way to go.

ellie1234 Wed 24-Apr-13 17:57:53

So many comments, all supportive and all of them with a good insight into what is happening, thank you so much
It would have been nice if my BF had stood up for me and even better if I had come up with an apt comment that would have made them realise their behaviour and consequently relinquish their troubled ways for ever. But hey the moment passed.
My BF will talk to them today...so let's see what happens.
However, I now feel emboldened to tackle them. Catsmother, your game plan is good and I will use it. Wish me luck

deste Wed 24-Apr-13 21:29:28

Why did your partner not tell them you were coming for supper because if he had they would have known how many people had to be fed. Was he scared to tell them do you think?

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