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AIBU - OH's sons - resentment?(41 Posts)
In an attempt to cut a long story short...
I met my OH almost 2 years ago. He is divorced and has two late-teen boys who live with their mum. I have never had children and am too old to have them now. He sees them as often as he can (he works unsociable hours), and I get on with them very well when they visit.
I love my OH to bits. He is kind, generous with his time and himself, endlessly patient, supportive, encouraging of me and my endeavours and he thinks the world of me.
I find it quite difficult to handle the fact that he's not a great planner/organiser, so it's not uncommon for me to get a text from him when I'm on my way home from work, telling me one, or both of his sons are there, staying for tea, staying the night, etc. I tend to plan and sometimes I know I can be a bit inflexible.
Me and my OH don't get to spend Friday nights/weekends with each other very often, maybe once every 6 weeks or so, because of his job. Last Friday, I had been looking forward to spending some quality time with OH before he went back to work on Saturday evening. So it frustrated me horribly when the 'Son A is staying' text arrived about 15 minutes before I got home. It frustrated me even more when I found out later that Son A had been there all afternoon and my OH hadn't thought to at least prepare me in advance.
I feel so conflicted, and I'm conscious that I am feeling a little bit resentful - not of his sons, but OH's lack of forward thinking. It makes me feel like an afterthought sometimes. I also know that I could be being somewhat unfair, as they are his children and at times I cannot be his priority. But... his sons are essentially adults...
I have spoken to him about this. He understands my point of view, but at the same time he does repeat 'I'm not a planner' as if that's the end of it. He said about this particular Friday that he too had been looking forward to some quality time, but he can't say no to his sons.
The trouble is, he can't say no to his sons, but in effect, he's saying no to me, isn't he?
As I said at the beginning, I've never had children, so I haven't had to do the self-sacrificing that parents have to do. He doesn't think I'm being selfish, or demanding, but I worry that I am. Don't get me wrong, I don't complain about this all the time, just sometimes I feel a bit forgotten.
Has anyone else been in this kind of situation? How did you deal with it? This is the only thing that I find challenging, and I want to be able to learn. We have such a strong relationship in all other respects.
Do you live together?
He's being out of order. If it's your house too, then he owes you the courtesy of consulting with you first before making plans to have anyone over - sons, other relatives, friends, etc.
I'm a step mother and this stuff used to drive me crazy. When I moved in with DH I insisted he tell me when his ex asked him to have the DSCs extra days before agreeing to anything with her. Just out of respect. I've never said 'no, they mustn't come this weekend', but it's my home too and I have a right to know who's going to be in it and when - especially if I'm expected to produce meals for extra people, etc.
Great username, 'The DM'!
Yes, we live together.
Thank you for that - this whole children thing is new to me,so I feel unsure about what is reasonable, and what is not. I have asked him to check with me and erratically, he does, but he does tend to slip back into forgetting to do so. Like you, when asked, I've never said no, but I just damn well wish he would ask consistently!
He never expects me to cook though.
I need to put my foot down. It's hard - I know very well that if I decided to have my friends over and didn't ask first, he really and truly wouldn't mind. So then I feel a little awkward about my apparent higher expectations...
It's just basic manners to let you know. It doesn't have to become an issue about his sons being there or anything like that.
Also, I'm sure he would be fine with you having friends over with no warning once in a while. But if it were as often as he has his sons there...? Or it was always at the same time as his sons being there...? I'm pretty sure it would start to bother him.
I get it. It's horribly unsettling never knowing who's going to be at your house when you get home.
I think the crux of the matter is this: you think they 'visit'; they think they are as free to come and go at their dad's house as they are at their mum's, ie, they see his home as their home too.
They're not visitors, they live in your house, albeit for only part of the time. Why should they call ahead/ask permission first, if they see the home you share with their dad as their home too?
Gosh, two conflicting responses here, thank you both.
I did ask him if he was brought up in a household where friends. family could come and go as they please, to see if it was just his background, but no, far from it. His step-dad wouldn't allow it.
The DM - it does feel unsettling. I don't work locally, so by the time I get home, it's late, and I'm shattered. My OH knows this.
Lonny - I honestly don't know if his sons see our home as an extension of their home. That's an interesting question to consider. But even so, I do feel invaded when they turn up.
Don't get me wrong, I really do like them and we get on well.
But it sounds to me like the boys are almost adults now, no?
Yes, you like them and get on well with them; but you've only known them a couple years. You haven't helped bring them up, they are not your children. It's a different dynamic.
Also, if it's a relatively new house that you and your DP have moved into together, not the historic family home, then there needs to be some basic respect and consideration of the fact that it is your space too.
It really is just as simple as giving you a bit more notice than a text 15 mins before you get home from work. No one is suggesting that they shouldn't be there.
If they still live 'at home' then they should see their father's home as their home, don't you think? The fact they don't think to check is a testament to their relationship with their father. They assume they're welcome. I'm sorry if you feel invaded by that but I think it's a good thing in terms of how they've been parented.
Teenagers / young adults come and go. Mine often disappear when I thought they'd be home because they get a better offer. That's fine with me. I just make sure that there's something in the fridge/freezer and they can sort themselves out if they aren't around at mealtimes.
Just because they don't live with their dad full time, why should his kids be any different?
If you're with a man with teenagers then I'd suggest you need to go with the flow a bit more. It's just like life in any family.
TheDM - yes, one of the sons is an adult, the other will be next year. And you're right, I am in a different dynamic in that I haven't been part of their growing up, or partially responsible for their wellbeing. They do ask my advice sometimes though. My OH and I moved into our home during spring last year, so yes, I do consider it our space, mine and his. It really is about having more notice and he has said before that if it isn't something that I want on any given night, I should say so. The problem is, it's more like a fait accompli now, so I don't have any choice.
Lonny - I don't honestly know if they should see the home that I share with their dad as their home too. If they get a bit 'free' with helping themselves to food or whatever, he does put a stop to that (just an example). As I said, I've never been a parent, so I am really struggling with getting a balance between having some autonomy, and not being selfish.
NewIdeas - perhaps. It wasn't how I was brought up though, so that going with the flow has never been part of my life!
He's not a planner?
Fuck that shit!
Has he been sacked for failing to show up at work?
No he has not.
Therefore, he has sufficient planning skills!
Cabrinha - a very good point. I end up second-guessing myself so much on this one, I get myself tied in knots.
I seriously don't want to get in the way of him spending time with his sons, and vice versa. However, a small voice in my head does sometimes say 'what about me?'. It would be different if we both worked office hours, but he works nights on a rolling shift pattern, so from my perspective, our time together when we both have a couple of days and nights free, is very precious.
I have learned that you don't always get tomorrow to make the most of your time with someone, so you should make every moment count. It's probably made me hyper-sensitive to his more 'manjana' approach, but tomorrow doesn't always come.
I guess I feel a little less valued than I would like.
I completely understand where you're coming from NewTo.
When he doesn't consult you and unilaterally cancels or changes plans you thought you had to spend time together, it's sending you a message that time spent with you isn't as important and is more 'disposable'.
That's not good for any relationship, regardless of which of the adults within it are related to the children or not.
I think that they consider it their home with you and their dad. It's really good that they do feel relaxed and welcome to just show up. Your oh will always be their dad first. That's the way it should be. I'm my dcs mum first then my dh's wife. My dcs will always be first, although they are still children.
If you want some time with your oh can you go out for a meal or the cinema?
Your oh should have the courtesy of texting you, it requires the least amount of effort. I'm fairly hopeless with organising stuff like your oh, could his sons text you direct, and then you'll know to expect them?
But the flip side of them being 'at home' is that you don't have to tiptoe around them like visitors.
So if they turn up on a Friday night and you've made plans to go out, you continue with your plans. If you've planned to watch a film, you end up with a couple more people on the couch.
TheDM - yes, disposable is exactly the word that comes to mind.
spanky - he works nights on a 6 day or sometimes 7 shift rota and I don't get home from my work until 7.30 most weekdays, so getting time to go out for a meal or the cinema is really hard. And because his work shifts are so topsy turvy, he tends to sleep through most of the day after he finishes work at 7am. I do accept that he is their dad first and my partner second, but sometimes it gets to me. I've never been in a relationship with someone with children before, so I don't really know what I'm doing, to be honest!
Lonny - that's also a good point. But the OH doesn't really want to leave them in the house alone - plus they won't want to be there if he's not.
Do you get along well enough with the boys to ask that they shoot you a text when they're coming over? Esp if they know what their dad is like you can word it like "otherwise I can't be sure there'll be food in the house/we'll be home etc etc"
It's obvious he knows at some point in time. Does he tell you as soon as he knows (so really it's the boys with the late notice?) or does he completely forget that he has someone else he should be telling?
skyadelic - this is what generally happens.
One or other of the boys will text their dad for a chat and then they ask to see him, because they're in town. He, being conscious of his absence from their home and his awkward schedule which makes him difficult to see during daytime will jump at the chance to see them. He will get so wrapped up in sorting himself out, driving to wherever they are, doing 'dad' things, that one thing will lead to another and they're over for tea, or staying the night, or whatever. He is ridiculously easily distracted and is so eager to see them that I essentially get forgotten until later (if I am at work). If I am at home when all of that happens, that's a different story - he does then ask me if it its OK. I always, always say yes.
I'm wary of interfering in their relationship, if you see what I mean. I do feel like a bystander when all three of them (father and two sons) are at home. It's very masculine, and very cars/football etc.
How about working out his shift pattern and writing it on the calendar and tell all of them that the two of you are spending time together (phones off!) just because it's important to you. Sometimes dh takes the day off just so we can talk to each other. I don't think you are unreasonable to want some alone time, it may need to be out of the house...
I think yabu as he is being an excellent father and putting them first. You cannot underestimate how good it is that these boys like you.
And what spanky said
Obviouly everyone has different opinions on this but as a parent I think I would take exception to my dc having to, in effect, book a time to visit me. They are adult or near adult, not young children who need hands on care. Why can't you have quality time while they are there? Could you go out, have a date or something if you feel their presence in the house is cramping your style. In honesty I would resent a new partner putting conditions or restrictions on my relationship with my children.
For what it's worth I'm a very much an adult with my own dc and I sometimes just drop in on my dm. If she's busy etc. She will tell me so, no problem we have an easy going relationship. Perhaps unfortunately being a parent doesn't end when the dc turn 18.
I would be terribly upset if my dad told me it wasn't ok to pop round anymore (and I'm 36)
I think this is why there ends up being a big difference when parents divorce. The mum would have to assume that they are going to be at her home all the time and just plan accordingly.
It does make me wonder though, because my DB is divorced (also remarried) and his DC live with his Ex. He has EOW and a day in the week, as well as whenever they want to go to his house. They're teenagers and can get the bus on their own.
Maybe his wife feels the way you do as well, when they just go over there. Although I have heard her telling them it's their home.
The difference is the DC do have their own bedroom there, so it's a bit different.
I do understand what you're saying though. Because they don't live with you they do feel like visitors and sometimes you just want to kick back and relax.
I'd be upset if I had plans with my OH and he just cancelled because his DC were coming over.
I think if that happened, I'd make a point of going out that night. If he can drop plans with me at the drop of a hat, then I can make plans just as quickly.
I think your OH is a great dad to his boys, in that he puts them first. Sorry if that isn't what you want to hear, but my older kids are way down on their dad's list, and this has hurt them, and me, terribly.
He sounds a good man. I understand how you feel of course I do. But personally, I would want a man who put his kids first, because that's what I do!
His children are his first priority, and so they should be, they have been in his life for x amount of years and you for only a short time. I know this is not the issue though..
I actually commend him as i know a few people have said that when their ex-partners have gotten into a new r'ship, the children are usually forgotten . That aside, he should check with you first, if okay. But these are his children & he's wanting to spend quality time with them & probably forgets that he needs to keep you in the loop. Respect to him.
Children are a handful & I think it is lovely that you have been accepting of them
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