Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Dating a Mother and her Gang of Three

(80 Posts)
AManDaAustralia Mon 18-Apr-16 12:38:43

Hello Ladies,

Where to start? You are probably wondering why I am coming to you for advice on this matter, however I am trying to see things from the mother's perspective. I am probably going to be shut down for my male, narrow minded thoughts, but this is where I need clarification.

So.... I have to laugh at myself everytime I talk about this situation, I find it hard to believe that I even fell into this situation. However as they say you can not help who you fall in love with. I am currently a 29 year old professional living with my 40 year old partner and her three children. We have been living together for 6 months and dating for approximately three years.

We met a few years before this at work and had built up a strong relationship over the years prior to dating.

Everything prior to moving in was great. We had a great relationship and I had a strong relationship with her children. When things got a little "overwhelming" I could always retreat to my bachelor pad and have my own time and space.

However, when my lease came up, I came to a fork on whether to find another place or to take up the offer from her, with extra encouragement from her friends and family to make the dive and move in together.

Although I have been in a few very serious relationships prior to this, I have never made the full commitment to move in with my partner. I think subconsciously this was to be the same, but it did make sense for me to help support her and her children instead of pay rent and utilities on a place I would barely stay at.

However, shortly after moving in, I decided to give up smoking. A stupid decision when under pressure shortly moving in, but decided to do it. As well, at the same time she started a new job, as I begun a new promotion. Lots has been happening!

However, I find this has all been too much. We are fighting for the first time in our relationship. Not about serious matters, but petty, immature shit! She is studying, when she gets home, I am working and I am angry that she is not finding a little bit of time just for us.

I feel like I am the fifth and last person in line. I know I should not be selfish, I know she has children and study, but I feel as if I am making a heinous request if I mention let's spend some time together.

I know family is hard, and I am trying to take some of the pressure off her, but I can not take the pressure of coping the heat for only trying to make a relationship work.

I want to move out, but doing that I don't know if the relationship will last. Her new job does not make her as financially secure as her previous job and child support is basically nil. I know she would be in a lot of trouble without me, however I do not want to stay if she only wants me here if it is for financial support as well.

I try to bring the conversation up, however it gets blown off each time.

Ladies, please assist.

Thanks,

TheSparrowhawk Mon 18-Apr-16 12:51:37

Just a tip - don't call any bunch of women 'ladies' - it makes you look like a nob straight off the bat.

I think you need to be straight with her - either she sits down and talks this through with you, properly, or you'll have to move out.
From what you've said, you met her very young and took on a lot of responsibility. It's not too much for you to ask to just have a discussion about how things are working. If she won't do that, then it's game over.

blindsider Mon 18-Apr-16 12:56:26

Just a tip - don't call any bunch of women 'ladies' - it makes you look like a nob straight off the bat.

What do you suggest he calls them, Bints??

TheSparrowhawk Mon 18-Apr-16 12:57:42

Just say hi, as though we might be actual people.

Seeyounearertime Mon 18-Apr-16 13:01:14

Im not famous for my tact so bear with me (I'm also not a lady, wellnot right now anyway, maybe at the weekend):

When things got a little "overwhelming" I could always retreat to my bachelor pad
If there was ever a point where it was "Overwhelming" enough for you to run to your mancave why did you move in with her?

She is studying, when she gets home
So when she gets home she has no time to relax, she is studying to likely make a better future for your family unit? So she's working, studying, raising 3 kids and is being pestered by her partner who feels like he's not getting any attention?

I feel like I am the fifth and last person in line. I know I should not be selfish, I know she has children and study, but I feel as if I am making a heinous request if I mention let's spend some time together.
It's not a heinous request but it depends how you're going about it. bitching and whining isn't going to help anything.

I try to bring the conversation up, however it gets blown off each time.
how many times have you raised this issue in 6 short months?

I know it's a big shock moving in with a woman with kids, i've been there, done it, twice. You have to accept certain things and one of them will be the lack of time for each other.
before when you were dating there will have been times set and planned in advance for you to get together, baby sitters arranged, restaurants booked, that sort of thing. When you live together this doesn't happen, you accept what time you can get.
Me and my OH get about 90 minutes in an evening, barely enough time to watch Corrie. Thats life.

The best thing i can suggest is that you take the pressure off, stop complaining, stop pestering etc. be constructive. Suggest to your GF that one evening in a couple of weeks you'll have a date night. nothing fancy, a baby sitter, a local pub. something like that.
if you can get that time together once a month, you're doing way better than a lot of people.

Marilynsbigsister Mon 18-Apr-16 13:14:32

I don't mind 'Ladies' as it goes. Sure as hell beats 'Girls' ..each to their own..

OP. Be prepared, you are on mumsnet. There are certain beliefs held by many on this forum , that children come before ALL else. No matter what. That if you are a 'step parent' your rightful place is at the very back of the queue and that your relationship and right to time with your partner is not a priority. There are a few of us on here who do not subscribe to this theory. We are mostly step parents who believe our relationship with the dsc parent is the foundation that the rest of the family unit is built on and absolutely is the priority. You need to sit her down. Spell out your fears and needs in this relationship. Gain agreement in her commitment to spending some time together just as a couple. Be that weekends away if you have good cbilcare options or a couple of evenings a month with a babysitter, if you don't. If she refuses, you have your answer. You are regarded more as a financial helpmeet than a partner.

Seeyounearertime Mon 18-Apr-16 13:17:21

that children come before ALL else. No matter what. That if you are a 'step parent' your rightful place is at the very back of the queue and that your relationship and right to time with your partner is not a priority.

I hold my hands up and say yes, I do believe this is the case.
I would be concerned if my partner put me before her kids tbh. I'm replaceable, a choice she makes to be with. Her kids are forever, no matter what dick head she's with.

pinkcan Mon 18-Apr-16 13:22:09

This is the reality in a family of 5, stepfamily or not. It is busy and stressful and you rarely get time for just the pair of you. You have to muddle through and do your best, just like everyone else. There is never enough time or money to go around. I imagine it is a bit shocking to go straight into a family rather than building it up one baby at a time!

In the long term, do you want to have your own biological child and does she want another?

Somerville Mon 18-Apr-16 13:34:34

I want to move out

Then tell her, and move out. You being in the house feeling angry isn't good for her kids.

BobbiTheCynicalPanda Mon 18-Apr-16 13:40:26

^^ this.

Twitterqueen Mon 18-Apr-16 13:49:36

Op, you won't get much sympathy on MN, but you have some for from me and also some understanding.

Of course it's very difficult - only you can decide whether the relationship is worth the hassle of work, step-children etc. And I think you're coming to the realisation that it isn't.

I don't know why blame and name-calling and aggressiveness is being thrown your way here. You're being honest. You've changed - she's changed. It happens. I knew I would never be able to have a satisfying relationship whilst my children were still at home and school. And I also knew before I even got married that I would not be able to cope with stepchildren.

blindsider Mon 18-Apr-16 14:35:54

sparrowhawk

Just say hi, as though we might be actual people.

shock are 'ladies' not real people.

TheSparrowhawk Mon 18-Apr-16 14:40:03

Not to men who use that term when addressing women, no. 'Ladies' means 'homogenous bunch of non-men who all think and act alike' or 'inadequate men'

StillDrSethHazlittMD Mon 18-Apr-16 14:40:55

Any man/bloke/chap who comes onto MN and uses the word "ladies" is always pulled up for it by one or two posters. We should immediately stop anyone addressing any mixed gathering as "ladies and gentlemen" in case it offends.

StillDrSethHazlittMD Mon 18-Apr-16 14:41:22

Sparrow unlike the women on MN who often use the term "the menz" on threads.

TheSparrowhawk Mon 18-Apr-16 14:41:44

Consider that 'ladies' is used by men to insult other men, I think you're probably right StillDrSeth.

TheSparrowhawk Mon 18-Apr-16 14:44:09

'The menz' is an explicitly insulting term DrSeth, it's not used as a serious way to address someone, so it's not comparable at all.

StillDrSethHazlittMD Mon 18-Apr-16 14:48:13

I've never called another man or group of men "ladies". He says.

I have however given a talk to a WI once and the chairwoman told me she actually preferred to be called a chairman.

Different people will prefer different things, or as on this thread, some people will find ladies to be deliberately derogatory when it may not have been implied, some won't think it that at all.

Someone, somewhere, will always find something offensive. It's a minefield. Sorry, derailed it somewhat, but it happens on every thread like this. Surely we could just focus on the problems rather than the choice of words? if there IS an implication behind a comment, it usually comes out later - in which case, go for it. But until someone proves themselves a sexist pig, can we just give people the benefit of the doubt a little more?

ImperialBlether Mon 18-Apr-16 14:48:24

Why, when she had three children, did she decide to go for a job that was not financially secure?

I think you moved in when you should have stayed in your own place. In your position I'd go and find another place of my own but would perhaps tide her over for a couple of months so that it's not too financially damaging.

Heavens2Betsy Mon 18-Apr-16 14:54:40

Really? Why can't he call us ladies - I think it's very polite!
OP - I think the problem is that you don't have your own kids so you have underestimated the level of commitment and time that they take, especially three of them. Before you moved in your DP would make an effort to give you attention but now you are living there you are treated like a member of the family rather than as a guest.
How old are the dc? Do you like them? Can you take on a more active 'stepfather' role to ease the pressure on your DP and give her more time for you as a couple.
There's no point moaning about all this without offering to help her - and if you can't do this then she would probably be better off on her own.

RaptorInaPorkPieHat Mon 18-Apr-16 15:00:34

Ok, I'm going to break this down into manageable chunks:

I decided to give up smoking. A stupid decision.

It's never stupid to give up smoking mini lecture over

She is studying, when she gets home, I am working and I am angry that she is not finding a little bit of time just for us.

That's life, you've moved in with a family, the hearts and flowers stuff tends to take a backseat when you're no longer pining after each other when you're apart.

I feel like I am the fifth and last person in line.

You are, if she were putting you first, she'd be doing her kids a huge disservice. You're an adult, not a child, you're capable of looking after yourself.

I know family is hard, and I am trying to take some of the pressure off her, but I can not take the pressure of coping the heat for only trying to make a relationship work.

In all honesty, I think you are at different times in your lives. Up until 6 months ago you were footloose and fancy free, and now you're seeing the reality of middle aged life with 3 kids. If these were your own children, it would've happened gradually over years but you've moved in and BAM ready made family. It's a bit of a shock to the system.

I want to move out, but doing that I don't know if the relationship will last.

Then move out, but it will end the relationship, but better now than a year down the line.

TheSparrowhawk Mon 18-Apr-16 15:00:45

It would be worth noting that you are the one who started a discussion about the 'ladies' thing DrSeth, so telling me now that we shouldn't discuss it is quite odd.

As a general rule, if someone from a particular group that you yourself do not belong to says they don't like being referred to by a term they find derogatory, your response should be 'ok, sorry,' rather than arguing with them and trying to find reasons why they're own personal feelings are somehow wrong. So, for example, if someone tells you they don't like being referred to as a black person, the response isn't to tell them about other people who do like being referred to as a black person, like some arrogant dickwad. You also don't pick a genuinely derogatory term that your group doesn't like and say 'well ner ner someone in your group once said this to me.' Your assertion that a woman once wanted you to refer to her by a term that other women find sexist is particularly pathetic in terms of an argument.

TheSparrowhawk Mon 18-Apr-16 15:01:30

that should be their own personal feelings

RealityCheque Mon 18-Apr-16 15:42:41

I quite like posters objecting to be known as perfectly acceptable terms such as 'ladies'! It helps to determine which people are either uip their own arses or the type to just have to be offended.

As such it is an excellent baramoter with which to filter about responses by those that do not live in the real world.

TheSparrowhawk Mon 18-Apr-16 15:45:21

Glad to be of service Reality.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now