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Coping with partners baggage(24 Posts)
I'm 29 and my partner is 43. He has two children with two different women, one teen who was from when he was young (unplanned) and a younger child from his marriage. I have never been married, or had a serious relationship before and no kids and all my friends are the same.
I'm finding it very hard and I guess I'd love to hear if it's more normal than I think / or any advice on coping.
Now the children are lovely and I can't fault them, my partner also is very good in that he takes the lead with the young one too. But inside I'm still uncomfortable, I put on a brave face but I'm still finding it difficult to get into it and feel apart of it all. Feel like such an outsider.
Also the ex wife (mum of youngest) is incredibly difficult, he has a lot of issues with her constantly. (This is what I mean by baggage (not kids)).
I just find it all very stressful, is it wrong to just step back and leave him to it for a while? I know he has to deal with the stress more than me but he was part of making it - is that a bad attitude?
I know my problems could be much worse, I just sometimes just think how did I end up in this situation!
How long have they been separated and how long have you been together? If you feel you want to take a step back for a bit, chances are thats what you should do. Its not wrong or right. Its just how you feel. You are young, you dont have to settle for a situation that you're not entirely comfortable with if its not for you. That said, if you love him and want to be with him, the first thing to do is to talk to him about how you feel.
I made a decision to never date anyone seriously with dc. I'm sure I will get some criticism from other posters but it was my choice. It's a trade off of how much you love someone to be able to put up with stressful stuff and children however lovely bring stress.
You ended up in the situation because you don't have a mindset like me. You allowed yourself to get involved because you liked him and hearts often rule heads. I have only ever got in to a situation once where my heart over ruled my head and it was the most painful experience of my life that I could have had control over.
yeah - i would end it. you're only 29 - way too young to be wrangling his baggage. you do know life doesn't have to be this hard, don't you? make the choice to make yourself happy.
Mitten - no flack from me. I think anyone who has kids knows that (a) they are bloody hard work and (b) if you are doing this parenting thing properly, they come first. Accepting that would be a hell of a big ask for a potential partner. Some people do cope with this, indeed find it in them to become superb and loving step parents (there are several of these in my family); some don't want to go there - and that level of honesty is to be admired, not criticised.
OP, I think I'd ask you to be very honest with yourself about what you get out of this. Mittens is right, I think - love on its own is not enough. Is this the right relationship for you at this time in your life - what does it bring to your life that enhances it? (Other than presumably loved up feelings and great sex). I spent way too much of my twenties and thirties "flogging a dead horse" when it came to relationships which, on a day-to-day level were pretty good, but underneath had some gaping mismatches in interests, aspirations and life stages which just couldn't be bridged (have done the big age gap both ways round, so no crits from me on that score - though do be realistic about it: big age gaps are more likely to lead to relationship failure than for the relationship to turn out to be the one that transcends the big age gap).
I'm with Mitten on this. At 29 I knew myself well enough to know that I did not want to - and could not cope with - a partner who had already been married and had children.
From all that I have seen these problems never go away (because the exW, DCs never go away). They may get better, they may evolve into different problems, but they will always be there. And I did not want that kind of life / relationship.
So I guess I'm saying that the harsh reality is either suck it up or move on.
Like a PP, I wouldn't date someone with children again. And it has nothing to do with the DC themselves.
It's really hard to have to factor in someone's ex-partner all the time. You'll never get that "freedom" you have as a couple with no children - the ability to be spontaneous - weekends away, meals out, all have to be arranged around the children and, in a lot of cases, the ex-partner.
I'm not afraid to say I'm not strong enough for that at the moment. I'm only a year younger than you and don't have DC myself. I spent three years with someone who had children and it was bloody hard. They were great kids but they weren't MY kids and I think having to sacrifice your time/money/freedom for someone else's children is a really tough thing to do. Not everyone is cut out for it, especially when they don't have children themselves and have never experienced that tie.
It's okay to not want to stay with him. You're young - you have time to meet someone who can do all of that with you for the first time if you want.
It's not selfish or a bad attitude to step back from a situation that is making you uncomfortable.
was it on here that i read this:
dating a man with children from a previous relationship is like playing another woman's saved computer game.
I have DC and am recently seperated. I personally would rather not date anyone with DC. Obviously it's hard if you met someone by chance and fell for them but given the option id avoid, for the reasons you said.
My ex gives me a lot of hassle and I know it would get worse if and when I move on, I know I would also find it difficult to have a DP in constant contact with his ex, whether it be fighting or friendly. If I were single with no DC I definatley wouldn't get involved with someone with DC and I would get out while you can.
I'm also with mitten.
After being through the pain of letting my heart rule my head and the heartache I was left with, I made the conscious decision to let my head rule my heart.
I am in a far gappier place.
In your shoes I would take a step back.
His ex will always be in his life and his dcs will always come first.
You either accept that or move on and find someone in a position more similar to yours.
Thanks for responses. Yes now knowing what I know I wouldn't go for a man with kids again, well, maybe if they had one and more importantly a very reasonable level headed ex then I'd consider it, slowly.
So hard to finish a relationship when someone hasn't done anything wrong to you as such and you love them :-(
I think I'm going to take big step back and see if I can mentally detatch from it. I am someone who thinks a lot and needs to plan a lot. And if still then I'm still struggling I'll move on.
Good luck, OP. It is so hard when things are good on a day-to-day basis but there's a nagging feeling of something huge lurking in a cupboard somewhere that poses a real challenge and can't be fixed. It hurts, I know. (I have a whole bottom drawer full of those t-shirts - no future because of his religious beliefs, no future because he didn't want children, no future because because because... And yet you love them at the time!)
I can relate to this. My OH has three kids from previous marriage, we got together 8 years ago and I was oblivious...
Now 8 years on we are very happy together, but only when it's just us. Quite frankly I find his kids annoying and I hate it when they come and stay.
I love my OH so I wouldn't say I wouldn't have got with him knowing what I know now. But it was stupid to think it would all be rosy when on all honesty the kids are the worst thing in my life.
Sorry for coming across as a cow, I am not honestly. But I just wanted to be honest to you.
In a few words - unless you can't live with out him, end it.
I guess at 29 its possible to decide not to date people with kids but when yr older its almost inevitable! Also you realise that middle-aged people who have not had kids are in appealingly self-centered...
Its not easy, my partner (same age as me)has one child still at home for 2.5 more years whereas mine is mid 20s. Yes it curtails what we can do as the child rarely goes to the mother (& then at too short notice to arrange anything!). We stay home at his a lot & have thus managed only 2 w/ends away in last 6 months with lots of difficult logistics. I mostly just accept that this is the way it is....
I would never have a relationship with a man with children if I was childless myself. In your case he has two dc so that's two exes to deal with, two sets of logistics and possible problems and they won't be going away.
Works both ways too as I would never expect a man to put up with all my baggage - exh shenanigans, lack of childcare, always something to sort out and work around with my two dc - hence why I am single and it's easier.
This is why I tend to roll my eyes, at similar posts where posters say, you're the prize & the other person is lucky to be joining your unit. This is why I'd never consider dating someone without children. It's messy.
Good luck op
I think I need to stick up for the other side! DP and I are in our 30s and he has 3 children from previous relationships. We now have our own DC and we see his 3 every other weekend, occasionally in the week and half of all school holidays.
It's bloody hard! And there's no way I would have got myself into it if I hadn't been 100% certain I would be with this man forever. So if you're not that sure then definitely take a step back and have a good think.
Our family (and I include the dsc in this) is amazing! We all get on and love spending time together. But...I have had to develop a seriously thick skin to deal with the exes. It is so very difficult to have exes on the scene and they will be forever. I can't change that, and I knew that going into the relationship. Yes, I've had my moments when I've lost the plot and told him I wish he'd never met X or Y, but most of the time I just get on with it.
The other point is the Dsc...once you meet them and bond with them, it's amazing, but then if things go wrong, it's more people that will get hurt.
You also need to consider if you might want children. My dc and Dsc get on very well, but there is a massive battle for attention. All. The. Time!!
This sort of relationship is definitely not for everyone. And it's hard. But it can be wonderful.
OP you sound really sensible. Stepping back is totally the right thing to do as is going very slowly with regards to the children and the Ex.
Mrs Raymond -god how do you do it?? You must be a saint
Prettythings - I'm definitely no saint! I am very laid back though and have a long fuse. DP is the same and I don't think I've ever seen him lose his temper or shout at his kids, so he is very good at keeping the harmony in the home. We have very different ideas about parenting, but that's a whole other thread!
It's a shame that you don't get on with your partners kids, but at least you have a good relationship with him. At least kids grow up and eventually want less attention (but more money!)
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