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Relationships after divorce and responsibilities

(72 Posts)
TwilightRabbit Fri 11-Dec-15 12:27:24

Hi, I'm not new, but had to re-register after the hacking thingy. I lurk a lot but don't post!

After some sage advice please!

I divorced my gaslighting ex 6 years ago, and quite quickly started a new relationship. He is slightly younger. Lovely bloke, initially very attentive, kind etc.

5 years in, and I feel like his bloody mother. We can't live together (long story, but if I cohabit, I owe the ex money, and I won't do that because the kids would lose their house then) , and he seems to still have the single life - goes to see his friends, gigs, etc, whilst I'm stuck at home, still effectively being a single parent. I still have all the responsibility, whilst he doesn't. He feels like a boyfriend, not a partner.
I don't think it's all his fault - some of it is just the situation.

Example - DS2's birthday this week. He'd stayed over the night before, and got up in the morning for present opening etc. He then went back to bed until 11.30, got up and left to go shopping (for Christmas, not food!) I did all the washing, cleaning etc, and spent ages making a cake for DS2, and food for a wee family party. He comes back at 4pm, does nothing to help. When everyone leaves at 6pm, he says he doesn't fancy what we're having for tea and leaves to go to his. I'm very pissed off.

Struggling how to handle it - I've raised it with him, and he denies everything.

I do love him, but do I keep trying, or throw it all away when he's really a nice man, but essentially he is just an overgrown boy with no responsibilities.

Thank you smile

blindsider Fri 11-Dec-15 12:39:39

It is hardly his fault that the relationship hasn't 'moved on' when you are treating him like a BF for financial considerations. Smacks of cake and eat it....

BooyakaTurkeyisMassive Fri 11-Dec-15 14:33:31

I agree. It sounds like you want to have all the benefits of a live in partner without him actually having any of those benefits. He has to keep his own house cleaned and stocked up. He doesn't live with you, so it's not his responsibility to do your cleaning or purchase things for your family's home.

It sounds like you want him to take on all the responsibilities he would have if he really did live with you, like cleaning, parenting, maintaining the home, but still have all the burdens of having a separate household. If you're not living together the fact he sometimes chooses to go out with friends or to gigs and have an independent life is up to him really.

If you want him to be contributing to the household budget, the household work, parenting your kids and staying in all the time with you, then you have to bite the bullet and let him move in properly. If you want a partner then he will want a partner too, and that means moving in together.

I would add, yes, you do have the 'responsibility', because the children are yours and not his. The household is yours and not his. So they are, by definition, your responsibility, and it's absolutely right that you are shouldering that responsibility and not him.

It's totally unfair for you to start expecting him to support two households, do two lots of housework and stay in all the time and behave like he is a live in partner when he's not.

LineyReborn Fri 11-Dec-15 15:21:14

I think the OP is saying that if she co-habits, then her ExH can and will exercise his charge on the former marital home, causing it to be sold.

This would in effect mean that she and her DCs would have to leave the house. They may or may not be able to afford a smaller property.

So the boyfriend can't really move in to somewhere that would be immediately sold.

I think.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Fri 11-Dec-15 15:43:14

He's not your partner or husband and therefore he isn't going to act like it. Either the boyfriend scenario meets your needs, in which case he's fine to leave you to do your own housework and prepare your kids party or you want him to be a partner, which means offering and making more commitment.

TempusEedjit Fri 11-Dec-15 16:03:15

Why do you feel like his mother? If he's creating more expense/mess for you when he stays round at yours then he needs to start clearing up after himself. I do however think it's right that you have all the responsibility for your DC because regardless of whose "fault" it is it's your circumstances dictating that he stays as a boyfriend rather than a partner.

I'd think he was a bit of an arse if he never helped you out as part of being a supportive boyfriend (which would be at odds with your description of him as a nice man) but I think you'd be unreasonable to expect it of him. Your responsibilities are not his to own.

BooyakaTurkeyisMassive Fri 11-Dec-15 16:10:46

She and the boyfriend could look at the feasibility of the two of them buying out her ExH. Or they could look at moving somewhere else that they could afford between the two of them.

If the OP doesn't want to move him in because she wants to stay in that house then that is absolutely fine. But she has to realise if she doesn't move him in then their relationship is going to stay on a boyfriend/girlfriend footing where they still have some level of independence and separate responsibilities.

However it's not okay for the OP to expect her partner to live exactly as though they were cohabiting in all the ways which meet her needs eg, helping with the kids, parenting, staying in, buying food and supplies, contributing to bills, helping with the housework. But still expecting him to meet all his own needs entirely separately eg, maintaining his own home, buying his own supplies, being alone when the OP can't have him there, paying his own bills, doing his own housework.

He's maintaining a separate household for the OPs convenience, and not only is he expected to take responsibility for that household, the OP also wants him to take on responsibility for her household as well. That's a shitty deal for him, all the responsibility, none of the benefits, like shared expenses, help with his housework, a family home.

The OP either has to work out a way to move the relationship on as a couple or accept things the way they are. Or split up and be single for the foreseeable, because I really can't see many men being mug enough to go for the arrangement the OP wants.

PatriciaHolm Fri 11-Dec-15 16:57:55

Well; he is your boyfriend, and you are a single parent, and he doesn't have responsibilities for your home or children. It would be nice for him to help out a bit around the house, if he's there a fair amount, but he has his own home. I think you are expecting too much for the circumstances you are in.

blindsider Fri 11-Dec-15 17:12:38

I think the OP is saying that if she co-habits, then her ExH can and will exercise his charge on the former marital home, causing it to be sold.

Yes we all get that, but essentially she wants her husband to carry on supporting her as a single mum when to all intents and purposes she isn't - Lets be honest were it not for the 'financial penalty' of cohabiting they would be.

TwilightRabbit Fri 11-Dec-15 17:30:23

Well that was unanimous! I'm obviously very unreasonable, which is rather backing up my gut feeling these days that everything I do turns to shit and it's because of selfish me. If I'm honest, if it wasn't for the kids and trying to make lives decent, I don't think I'd be here anymore, I make everyone else's lives shit too.
I'm sorry for posting.

RedMapleLeaf Fri 11-Dec-15 17:37:02

That's very catastrophic thinking OP, you use very strong terms, talk in extremes and hint at committing suicide.

TwilightRabbit Fri 11-Dec-15 17:40:33

sorry, I'm not expressing myself very well. I know I catastrophise. I'm not a very nice person I don't think. I'm not trying to get sympathy and I'm not going to kill myself. I just wish I wasn't here.

RedMapleLeaf Fri 11-Dec-15 17:48:26

I'm not a very nice person I don't think

I think that that self belief, "I'm not ok" is a very common one.

Why do you wish you weren't here? What is it you want to escape?

TwilightRabbit Fri 11-Dec-15 17:50:49

I want to escape being me.

TempusEedjit Fri 11-Dec-15 17:51:14

I doubt you're not a nice person, you just sound a bit overwhelmed with life at the moment flowers

Does your exH pull his weight with the DC i.e is it he who needs to step up to his responsibilities rather than your boyfriend? Or if ExH does pull his weight then what else is it that's making your life so stressful?

TwilightRabbit Fri 11-Dec-15 17:59:31

ExH does see the kids but they struggle with him and his attitude (he remarried very quickly and his wife isn't very nice to them).

I'm just so tired and I think the problem with current DP is I'm jealous, which is a horrible thing to be. Not of other women, but his 'single' life.

wintersocks Fri 11-Dec-15 18:11:10

OP I think that's pretty much part and parcel of being a single parent dating a single person. It doesn't make you a bad person. Yours and his lives are very different, because of your level of responsibility. It doesn't make you a bad person. Don't be hard on yourself. It sounds more like your frame of mind at the moment and just finding things tough. You're stuck in a situation where you don't have the freedom just to make your own choices, you can't really move in with him because of the upset to your dcs if you lose the house, and that's a big gamble anyway. Just recognise your frustration as more to do with the situation you're currently in, than with your boyfriend. It's ok to vent and its ok to get frustrated etc flowers

TwilightRabbit Fri 11-Dec-15 18:30:31

Thank you for that (can't do bunch of flowers emoji!) . Just feel like I'm failing at everything - I hate my job but I'm going to made redundant and I'm being bullied there anyway, I'm a crap girlfriend and not a very good mum.

Think the issue with DP is that he doesn't 'get' the responsibility bit, so I constantly feel like the dull boring middle aged GF. I know it's not his house or his kids and they're not his responsibility, but it is mine, and I feel like he expects me to do everything on my own, and then be the exciting sexy girlfriend that he really wants, when in reality I'm middle aged and knackered. I know it's not his house, but if he's staying here for a couple of nights, then I do expect him to help out like cook a meal or do some washing. If he wants time with me, then he'll have to help. By the sound of the responses, I'm unreasonable for thinking that though.

Ach I'm going to write tonight off now - I was supposed to actually be going out for the first time in months (to an Avon party lol) but as I'm in floods of tears now, I'm gonna give it a miss and have some wine and a bath instead.

TempusEedjit Fri 11-Dec-15 18:51:55

Does your DP never help you, not because it's his responsibility - it isn't - but just as a decent human being who's seeing his girlfriend struggle?

No one's yet agreed with your expectation of him acting like a full partner splitting household chores etc without him being able to live there properly BUT that doesn't mean you should be cooking him meals and doing stuff for him if he never reciprocates.

Try and have a nice evening.

Cabrinha Fri 11-Dec-15 18:53:01

OP, you sound very unhappy.

Can you imagine for a moment that there was no cohabitation clause, and your boyfriend had moved in 3 years ago...

Picture it now.

Do you imagine that he might still leave it all to you, because he's lazy and it's women's work and they're your kids anyway?

Because I wonder if it's not the house thing, but the boyfriend.

I actually don't think he should be doing washing at yours (you mean laundry, not dishes, yes?)
But if he stays for a few days then yes to cooking.

I expect that your legal charge disallows cohabitation for more than 6 months. So why not check that then have a make or break trial for a month? Obviously it's not fair for him to pay any more than his food, maybe utilities contribution if you need it. Definitely check with benefits situation too - maybe only a couple of weeks is possible, so he's visiting not living with you.

Tell him you'd like to move the relationship on and you'd like to live together for a couple of weeks, see how it works for everyone.

If he doesn't jump at the chance after 5 years, you'll know he'll never want it. In which case, accept he is 'just' a boyfriend, or get rid if you want to be free to build something with someone else.

I have a sneaking suspicion you might find he doesn't pitch in.

TwilightRabbit Fri 11-Dec-15 19:50:50

Cabrinha, a lot of what you say is spot on - I don't think if we did live together that he would change to be honest - he's too used to his lifestyle, and I think he'd struggle coping with family life - at the minute he can opt out if he wants to (and does)
I don't expect him to do laundry (I do a lot of his though - the clothes he leaves on my floor!) but I do expect him to pitch in a bit (if only because if he wants me to sit down and have an evening with him he'll have to). At the minute he's taken to coming round at about 7.30 'when we've eaten' in the expectation I'll be able to spend an evening with him then. It makes me feel inadequate that I'm not 'ready 'for him coming over, and also sad that he doesn't want to eat with us. I want him to feel like we're a unit - after 5 years, even though we don't cohabit, I thought we should feel that.

I also worry about finances if we were able to move in together - he has a lot of debt, and he's also used to a different lifestyle to me - lots of meals out and coffees with friends etc that if we were a unit, we probably couldn't afford. Maybe a trial of a month is a good idea - we'd be able to see if it was actually doable. Still a long way off being able to do it permanently, but at least maybe we'd see if we could work towards it in 10 years time when the kids are 18.

Maybe my expectations are too high, but I do expect a partner of 5 years to pitch in and help. I was pretty pissed off on DS2's birthday because he didn't help, but was there for the 'good bits' . Yes, not his child, but going back to bed until 11.30 in my bed while I do everything? Wasn't ok.

TempusEedjit Fri 11-Dec-15 20:00:09

Sounds like he's just downright lazy if he's not doing his own stuff. Why are you doing his laundry for him? That needs to stop!

I still think you're being unrealistic to expect to be a family unit with somebody who can't move in, as the relationship would be way too unbalanced in your favour. That doesn't mean the other extreme is acceptable either and I can see why you're frustrated with him.

From what you've described do you really think you can give each other what the other wants and needs?

TwilightRabbit Fri 11-Dec-15 20:20:59

To be honest I only do his laundry because it's on the floor, so I tend to fling it in the laundry basket and it gets done with everyone else's. I tried giving him it back unwashed in a bag but I felt mean so I stopped.

I'm coming to the conclusion that our situations are incompatible for want of a better word. He deserves a relationship where there aren't unrealistic expectations made, and a girlfriend who isn't constantly depressed and knackered.

wintersocks Fri 11-Dec-15 20:27:16

OP you're a working single parent. I wouldn't feel mean at all about letting him do his own dirty washing. What about what you deserve here - you need to feel supported. You look around you and he's doing his own thing, and your exh is also. Anyone would get pissed off from time to time, however illogical that might look from the outside.
The main problem here sounds like you're knackered, and giving more time wise than you can afford to give. Have you had time just living on your own with the dcs, having your own space? One of the 'perks' of being a lp is just being able to slob out on your own without having to look after anyone other than you and the dcs.
Maybe some nights say no you can't come over, I'm having a night in, and then sit there and do what you want to do. I think if you can start being more 'selfish' (in a good way) then you won't feel as resentful when he's pleasing himself?
Does he take you on dates?

Bogeyface Fri 11-Dec-15 20:37:29

So he comes round, gets fed when he wants to, leaves his dirty laundry for you to wash, expects sex and the fucks off when you ask for a hand?

I wouldnt want to live with him at all.

Tbh, doesnt sounds like the problem is you are expecting too much, rather that you are accepting too little. I am not suggesting that he should have a 50/50 share of duties but when you stay with someone then of course you should pull your weight. In his case it means not leaving his dirty clothes lying around (bag them up by all means, but dont wash them. If you can stand it, leave them where they lie) and occasionally cooking a meal or helping with the day to day bits and bobs.

Put it this way, would you stay with a friend and treat them like this?

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