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Have I done the wrong thing?

(45 Posts)
HilarySquilary Tue 30-Aug-16 09:05:39

DP and I have been together for 6 years, he has lived with me for 2 years. My 16 y.o. DD lives with us, my 25 y.o. DS did too, but he moved out in March as he bought a house.

DP has two daughters from whom he is estranged, for many years. He previously lived with a woman with 3 children, and they broke up because he found the family situation too difficult. His partner allowed the children to be lazy and there was no discipline, according to DP.

We both knew this might be an issue when DP moved in, because I also struggle to set boundaries for my kids and they walk all over me. But we said we would give it a go and I did tell DP I probably could not change. I feel I have to be both mother and father to the DCs as there own father is a waste of space,

Nevertheless, The arrangement with ExH is that DD stays with him on.a Sunday, Mon & Tues evening. First of all he would have her on a Sunday which meant that DP and I could go out together for the day and have a couple of other nights on our own too. This worked for years, but now DD does not seem to want to go her fathers anymore.

This came to a head yesterday. We thought she was going to her dads so had made plans to cook together, watch Tv etc. then Dd sprang it on us that she wasn't going out and she had invited a friend round.

DP was very disappointed. Mostly he was disappointed that I did not put my foot down and tell DD that she cannot just change her arrangements just like that without thought for others. Also we have taken Dd on holiday twice over the summer and she has not been to her fathers for a month as he was away with his GF too

The problem is it feels as though DP and I get no time together on our own. But I am aware our house is DDs home and sanctuary and I did not feel comfortable to make her go to her fathers.

DP expressed how he felt, the went off to bed at 6:30 pm, telling me he is going straight from work out for a meal tonight at the local pub where many of his friends will be. I kind of don't blame him, but I feel I am between a rock and a hard place.

I feel if DP wants to move out now, this may be the best thing for him. I wonder about asking him to leave anyway, because this situation is causing me a lot of stress and I have been through hell and back with ExH 7 years ago and just don't want to live feeling worried and sick about whether I've done the wrong thing anymore.

However, I do love DP and we are very happy apart from occasional friction like this over my kids. I am not very good at relationships and don't know what to do or think.

Can anyone advise me?

Hoppinggreen Tue 30-Aug-16 09:08:16

He obviously doesn't like children and you have 2, one of whom lives with you so I would say you don't have a future together.

MotherOfDragons27 Tue 30-Aug-16 09:12:06

He is being very selfish. Your DD is 16, she is old enough to decide her own plans and wether she wants to see her father or not. You did the right thing in not making her go to her dad's. How is he generally with your kids? Do they have a good relationship otherwise?

TheLastRoseOfSummer Tue 30-Aug-16 09:13:14

You need to get the boundaries issue sorted out with your children.

At 16, she is within her rights to decide she no longer wants to go and stop the night at her dads. My son is 17 and hasn't stopped over at his dad's for about a year.

But there needs to be some 'rules' around how and when she lets you know.

So I don't think it's fair for her to spring it on you, because presumably her dad has also had it dropped on him at the last minute too and that's not fair on anyone.

I think it's time for a family meeting to discuss expectations and ground rules.

Patterkiller Tue 30-Aug-16 09:21:44

It's her home and your DP is just going to have to suck it up
My Dds are around the same age and our time alone has dwindled to zero. They're always around with friends, they stay up later than us but it is their home as well as ours and will be left home soon enough. Then we can swing from the chandelier naked if the mood takes us.

HilarySquilary Tue 30-Aug-16 09:22:05

No he doesn't like children. However, he has a reasonable relationship with DD and he is kind to her, but he finds them hard to understand or get along with.

He has blown up like this before (DD has no idea, we keep it to ourselves) and he said to ignore him, he will come round, he just finds it hard to deal with (teenage behaviour I mean).

To be honest, DD is a very lovely teenager, but now and again she is selfish or thoughtless as they all are. When DP and I got together, he did say he finds them difficult but he understands that mothers will always put children first.

Normally our house is a happy one with a lot of love, and DP says he is very happy, but, then once or twice a year, these incidents crop up, where one of the children is out of order in some way, and I fail to deal with it firmly, and this is what upsets DP.

He may well come back this evening and say he is moving out anyway, which I guess will solve the problem for me. Though I really don't want him to go.

RedMapleLeaf Tue 30-Aug-16 09:27:50

I think it's reasonable for her to decide not to stay at her dad's, and I can see why she didn't think to give you much notice. However, I think it would also have been reasonable for you to say that you'd made plans that included a bit of privacy at home and could her and her friend meet at her friend's place?

hellsbellsmelons Tue 30-Aug-16 09:30:36

Well he sounds a delight!
Sorry but he has kids he is estranged from!?
That was a big fat red flag right there.
This is your and your DD's home.
Don't let him create an atmosphere when things don't go his way.
Surprise surprise, when you have kids you have to consider them as well.
I think if this stresses you out then asking him to leave might be a good thing.
Could you not have altered your plans?
My OH would take me out rather than stay in if he didn't want to spend it in the house with my DD.
Went to bed at 6:30!!? Now he sounds like the spoilt child. A teenager even rather than your DD.
He needs to grow up of feck off out of it.

AnyFucker Tue 30-Aug-16 09:31:10

Just let him go

He sounds like more of a teenager than your daughter is. I couldn't be mithered with this.

HilarySquilary Tue 30-Aug-16 09:33:14

TheLastRoseofSummer, that is just how it is here! We haven't had an evening to ourselves for ages, and I guess that is very hard for DP when he thought the deal was she is away 3 nights per week.

Also, DD and her friend started cooking a meal at 11pm, when I had asked them to be quiet if she did stay over, due to DP and I having to get up early for work this morning. I did deal with this firmly though and asked them to stop cooking put all the pans away, which they did.

I think I probably do need some boundaries put in place for DD, but I find this quite difficult to know what is and isn't appropriate, as I had no boundaries myself as a child! I need to do this whether DP stays or not I guess.

I do love Dd and DP dearly, but I know if push comes to shove, DD will always come first.

TheLastRoseOfSummer Tue 30-Aug-16 10:09:15

See the cooking at 11pm? I'd have a boundary about that.

And DD will always come first? That's a really important boundary you have right there!

The only thing I will say is this, I don't know why it was but my mother always put her boyfriends above me. To the point where there were some very dodgy crossings of sexual boundaries. Nothing that warranted safeguarding, as I was an adult by then, but certainly normal boundaries were crossed.

Yet, she put my brother above them to the point that she had a marriage break down because of my brother's behaviour and lack of boundaries in the household.

If they both live there, then they both call it home and they both deserve respect and they both have needs that require meeting. Well, all of you do.

The main differences are that he is an adult and she isn't and he has somewhere else to go and she, presumably, doesn't (and you wouldn't want her to anyway). So you need to make sure that no one person has their needs met over everyone else and that the rules are consistent so everyone knows where they stand.

I think the idea of a family meeting makes even more sense now.

I have them regularly in my house with my nearly 18 year old and 10 year old. It works really well. They have a say in how things are run and what is reasonable or not and we all follow the rules we set.

E.g. My son and I are both home at the time we say we will be; if we are going to be late, we let the other know; that kind of thing. Because the respect/worry goes both ways.

We don't really have any problems at all.

MyWineTime Tue 30-Aug-16 10:16:05

So he plays no part as a parent to his own children or yours, yet he criticises the way you parent your child and he wants to dictate how things work in her own home.
He's a twat.
At 16, she should be able to decide that she isn't visiting her dad, even at short notice.

Whathaveilost Tue 30-Aug-16 10:26:26

Surely if she is 16 and living at home she can decide she can stop in if she wants and not go to dads.

See the cooking at 11pm? I'd have a boundary about that
Seriously, what is the problem here. The daughter was quiet and tidied up. It's her home not a hostel!

If you haven't had an evening to yourselves why not go out - cinema,nice meal for two, a nice walk stopping off at a pub. That would be nice for the two of you to have time together without making your daughter feeling shoved out.

HilarySquilary Tue 30-Aug-16 10:35:41

DP's own children are now grown up. He worked abroad for a long time and lost contact with them. He had his children when he was very young and I had mine when I was relatively old. So he parented in the 80's when things were a bit different.

TheLastRoseofSummer thank you for your advice about boundaries. I can see that mine are quite poor, and the example of your mothers weak or non-existent boundaries are interesting, though I am sorry for your experiences.

I think a boundaries meeting with DD is a good idea. I had not set boundaries about cooking at night as I didn't expect it to happen, but I can see this type of inconsiderate behaviour needs addressing.

I think I also need to let DP know that his expectation of us having time alone may no longer be realistic if DD no longer wishes to go to her dads,but ensure she lets everyone know what her plans are in advance, including her dad.

If DP cannot live with this, then he will need to move out. It is so difficult having a relationship with someone else after divorce, when you have children. No wonder many people don't bother again.

CodyKing Tue 30-Aug-16 10:35:55

Is agree it's your DD home

We have three kids - they do sleep overs at friends - but never on the same night! They invite friends over last minuet and are always welcome

They cook chat watch tv and generally are great to have round - it's their home too and their friends are welcome

Tell DP he needs to take you out more! Rather than Jan complain about a teen - who friends will be more important as she grows up - she needs their support as well

Whathaveilost Tue 30-Aug-16 10:41:42

But OP you seemed OK with what your DD was doing before and now you are going to have a chat about boundaries! You are having a chat about boundaries to suit your DP, Madness and one way to drive your kids away.

It's her home to and she hasn't been disrespecting it but now you want her to change to fit in with him.?

HilarySquilary Tue 30-Aug-16 10:41:53

The problem with the cooking is that DP and I had gone to bed, we have to get up really early for work (4:45 am). The kitchen is right underneath our bedroom, and the girls were not cooking quietly.

No-one ever cooks at that time of night in this house as normally we all go to bed early, even DS when he lived here, as we all commute and/or work long hours, but, of course it is the school summer holidays...

Whathaveilost Tue 30-Aug-16 10:43:29

Ok. Re the cooking, you should have told them to make a sandwich or some toast then.

HilarySquilary Tue 30-Aug-16 10:57:29

Whathaveilost when DD said to me yesterday afternoon, as I was getting the car keys to take her to her father's, oh by the way I am not going to his and my friend is coming round for a sleepover, I did say to her then, this isn't on. You are messing people around, we had plans, there is no food in the house etc, as I thought you were going to be away until Wednesday.

DD said her friend has failed her AS levels and needed support, and she had prioritised that over seeing her dad, and let him know. So I reluctantly gave in but I felt annoyed, and that me and my life don't matter to her, let alone DP's, but I didn't put this across well at the time As I was shocked and also, I must admit, I was worried what DP would say when he learned how I dealt with it.

At 11pm at night, I was very cross indeed about being woken and them cooking. And I told them so.

So now I think we should talk about it later, and I will explain that although this is her home, and her friends are welcome, the timing was not great for me, my partner and DD's father for that matter, and she should in future talk to me first before inviting friends, though if she doesn't want to go to her dads that Is fine, as long as she gives people a bit of notice.

This will help me in future, as well as DP, who may or may not stay around after this incident.

TheLastRoseOfSummer Tue 30-Aug-16 10:58:58

See the cooking at 11pm? I'd have a boundary about that

Seriously, what is the problem here. The daughter was quiet and tidied up. It's her home not a hostel!

I said that I would have a boundary about that. Not that the OP should necessarily. I would have a boundary about it because of the noise and planning your evening and just that it "cooking a meal" at 11pm isn't necessary.

It might not be something you'd have as a rule in your house, but it is one in mine.

TheLastRoseOfSummer Tue 30-Aug-16 11:01:24

I don't see boundaries as telling people what they can and can't do. Not when the kids are teenagers and have generally got the good boundaries in place from childhood.

It's more about managing the transition from childhood to adulthood in a way that meets the needs of all people living in the house.

Just basic house rules are necessary anywhere where there is more than one person living there.

Everyone gets a say and then a compromise is reached. That's how it works. It's about negotiating.

HilarySquilary Tue 30-Aug-16 11:06:00

Thank you TheLastRoseofSummer, I see what you are saying. I will try negotiating!

TheLastRoseOfSummer Tue 30-Aug-16 11:08:57

Just make sure that negotiating doesn't look like anyone (DP or DD) sulking until they get their own way wink

The idea is that everyone comes away feeling that they have been heard and that they are respected.

If anyone insists it's unfair or has to be done their way, then they are being unreasonable. You have to have compromise when there are Adults and Nearly Adults living together.

Although, there is also room for basic non negotiables. Not everything has to be negotiated. It is your house afterall.

Whathaveilost Tue 30-Aug-16 11:13:26

We haven't had an evening to ourselves for ages, and I guess that is very hard for DP when he thought the deal was she is away 3 nights per week
But that's normally family life, especially with teenagers when you can't pack them off to bed like you could when they were little.

Also if these incidents are only once or twice a year that sounds like normal life as well so not a big deal in the scheme of things surely?

Sounds like a transition is going on and DD will be spending less time at dads. Just one of those things that'll you'll have to adjust to.

Naicehamshop Tue 30-Aug-16 11:33:55

Good posts Lastrose.

I can see that things are not easy for you OP, but the way your DP is dealing with quite normal problems (when there are teenagers in the house ) is pretty worrying, as is the fact that he has no contact with his own children. As others have said, why don't you and your DP go out and spend some quality time together? Wouldn't that help with some of the issues?

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