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It isn't what I signed up for(43 Posts)
I met my DP 9 years ago. He had (has) 3 kids, I had 1. He saw his kids a third of the time.
Soon after I moved in 7 years ago, his middle daughter moved in with us full time.
She spent every waking moment (and I mean every waking moment, including waiting outside the bathroom door when he went for a pee. They were both 14 years old) with my son, I tried to coax her away from him, tried to do things with her, tried to talk to my DP about it but he would say nothing was wrong. She then stopped hanging around him and started following us around. I had lost the 1 to 1 with my son, now it was time to lose the 1 to 1 with my DP.
I nearly left many times. My DP relationship with my son, whilst not awful, was not what I would have liked and I spent 24/7 with his daughter and a third with his other children. They are good kids but ultimately not very independent and all of them just want to be with us even now they are young adults with boyfriends. They only spend time with the boyfriends when we go out or they bring them to our house when we are there.
I gave up my opportunity to have more children with my DP who didn't want any more and I have effectively brought up his daughter and part time his other kids. I completely under-estimated how much of a demand that would be. His two eldest kids have both been treated for depression, both regularly tell me how much better things are at Mum's house, but don't seem to want to be there with Mum. I have tried so hard to bond with them, but we are different people and I have never been someone who just wants to hang around other people all day. I have always wanted to be making my own life.
Middle daughter is now at uni but is not settling well and regularly tells me she just can't wait for uni to finish so she can go back to her school (she wants to work there).
My son is at uni and settled and happy there.
I hung on to staying because I knew that daughter was off to uni and I would get a break but she is home every weekend and her holidays are just over half the year.
I feel my home life is completely dictated to me. I can't choose who I shop and cook for (never know who will stop by), who is staying in my home (will the boyfriend be staying over?) and who I spend my free time with. The only control I have is to leave the house, and even then, she will ask to come with me.
I am an introvert and a quiet person who needs alone time (without DP, DS or DSD or anyone else) and yet I am denied this.
I am resentful that DSD Mum gets lots of time to herself (she also doesn't work) and I am working and spending my precious free time listening to how great Mum is!
I am full of regret for waiting and waiting for it to get better. It hasn't.
DP doesn't want to upset his kids and thinks I should just accept it, but I am simply not built that way and I also know he would never accept the same from my son.
It's not working is it. You're not happy. Time to get your ducks in a row.
It's clear this setup isn't for you and it's not a bad thing to admit that you need to be honest with your dp.
It's been really lovely when daughter and son have been away at uni and the others have been about a third of the time. I've been a better step Mum to the girls and a better partner to DP because I haven't felt suffocated. I'm proud and happy that son is settled at uni and has big ambitions.
I do want space and time to myself occasionally. I also want a relationship with DP but I don't seem to be able to have both. :-( It's been a week since I was able to have a 10 minute conversation with him alone.
Would he agree to counselling? Maybe if he could be helped to see this from your point of view he would be willing to change things and spend time alone with you on a regular basis.
Sorry to say they will always be in his life you either can accept it or leave.
Of course they will always be in his life - but every waking moment of it at nearly 20 years old?
Who could have predicted that? Will that end? Will she still be following us around at age 30? I really don't know.
I would have expected them to have their own lives by now even if living with us.
We have been for counselling years ago and I have also been alone.
Honestly, what can I expect him to do now anyway? They are adults. He wouldn't ask her to give us space when she was 14, he certainly won't now. He says he's frightened to ask anything of them in case they disown and leave him.
Youve been fighting your feelings for a long time. You got with a man with children and maybe hoped and expected over time for his ties with them to lessen. They havent, which is a lovely outcome for his children but you're not happy nor content. Alone time was never going to happen with four children between you and it was totally unrealistic to imagine it would. If its not working, leave it. Being quietly resentful isn't working.
Why are you shopping and cooking for them all? Stop that right away - let your DP take over those jobs. Or, you know, they could shop and cook for themselves - them being adults and all.
It sounds like you are all stuck in your roles. You the cleaner and provider of meals, and the children being dependent on you (despite being adults themselves). Time to break free. Sitting around the house all day every day sounds deathly dull to me.
Talk to your DP about boyfriends and set a limit (twice per week maximum or something). And stick to it.
If your step-daughter asks you if the boyfriend can stay an extra night then just direct her to your partner. Who will tell her no. Bat everything back to your DP.
Just go out whenever you feel like it. You don't have to ask permission. And if your stepdaughter collars you on the way out, just say "No, not this time. I have things to do". Your DP is doing her no favours by ignoring this behaviour from her.
And set up one of the bedrooms as an art or craft room or something. Buy a sofa bed for the living room instead. Or move to a 1 bed flat.
Agree with above. The life you're leading with these adults us ridiculous. Get them all to pull their weight with cleaning and don't cook for boyfriends etc. They can cook for them, especially if you haven't had notice. Set up a cooking rota if necessary.
I don't think you are being unreasonable to expect to have a bit more time on your own now that they are (virtually) grown up. I have 2 dc at uni, and 1 only comes back for the holidays, and the other may come back once a term.
I don't think that you would be unfair to say that every other weekend (at least) they stay with their mother. Is there any reason why they don't stay with her? (Apologies if I have missed something here.) In fact, insist on this. Tell your dh that you need some time to yourself; why should your feelings be totally disregarded like this?
Your SD sounds like she has attachment issues/ social deficits. Has she ever been assessed by a psychiatrist/ psychologist? I wonder if they are actually hating being at their Mum's but are too proud/loyal to allow you to hear anything negative about their Mother? Have you asked your dh whether there is a reason for his daughter being so clingy? Does she have any diagnosed special needs?
What an odd set up. I can't imagine it. Mine barely talk to me and they are 12 and 14.
You are not unreasonable to feel this way. But your dp is the one who needs to put some boundaries in place.
Why don't they go out? Seems odd to me.
This is very unusual, for her to be doing this.
Why don't you and your partner make time for yourselves, go to the cinema, out for a walk, a drink, dinner, whatever, I'm sure if one of uou just said "couples time" it would be fine.
I don't agree that this is a lovely outcome for your step-children.
The older two have suffered from depression. Your son was stalked in his own home and the stalking behaviour was not addressed. I have a feeling that your son will be avoiding your home now as he knows that he would get no time alone with you. That is absolutely unfair and downright cruel on both you and your son. Your DP doesn't care about that though.
And your step-daughter's life is being limited by both her parents unwillingness to address her behaviour. Sitting around your dad's house all day every day in your 20s is not positive behaviour. She is limiting her enjoyment of life and your DP just sits there unconcerned.
You all sound like fully-paid up members of the Passive Family. Doing the same thing over and over again because that's what you've always done.
Time for you to take control - no other bugger in the family is going to. Who knows? Maybe seeing you get out of the rut means that you can inspire your stepchildren to take control of their own lives.
And if your DP is not on board with the changes then he can stay in the house with them while you get a small flat elsewhere. And start your life.
Thank you all for the replies.
I too think the behaviour is very unhealthy and have tried dealing with it directly and through my dp.
She doesn't have special needs. She has done well at school, was deputy head girl and an ambassador for the school.
However, I think it's time to stop worrying and pandering to what she and dp wants and start fighting my corner. I'm entitled to a say in my own home and I should remember that. I think I honestly feel that everyone else's wants are more important than anything I need
You are totally and absolutely right to think that. Well done for seeing things clearly.
Right to feel that you should stop pandering to everyone else's wants, I mean.
Good for you, OP.
And yes, why on Earth is your dp not prioritising your relatiohship ?? Quite apart from the unhealthy/bizarre dynamic with the adult children.
It sounds awful, OP, it would drive me mad. Why are all these people so clingy at the age of 20?! I would move out; your DP and you can still spend time together if you want to, but without all the "attachments".
And its not good for a student to go home every weekend as they miss a large part of student life. Having not bonded with course mates etc they may then be more likely to drop out.
"I think I honestly feel that everyone else's wants are more important than anything I need".
Well, you've done that for 9 years so time for a change.
I will set you a challenge. This weekend get no food in. Do not change beds, clean out bedrooms and bathrooms. Just leave them in the state they are currently in. If you realise that there is no milk in the fridge then say and do nothing. No running to get the milk yourself, no telling DP that there is no milk. I suspect that you will find this very hard. It is second nature for you to plan ahead for them.
Can you take on a project alone in the house or garden this weekend? Painting a room or something. Be busy - too busy to shop and cook and clean. They are all adults, they will figure it out. Or they might want to stay elsewhere if they are not waited on hand and foot for a change.
Or go and see your boy at university on Saturday and stay overnight in a hotel. Start to forge a new relationship with your son away from the House of Doom.
Hmmm. I don't clean their rooms. I have a cleaner for the common parts of the house, not for their rooms. I let them wallow in their own filth. I shop and cook, I don't iron for them or wash their clothes. Dp washes up after dinner. I find it easier to simply not do things than to ask for them to do or not do something and stand up for myself.
And I do already make time for ds away from home.
Dp and I also have time away from the house together.
It's really just inside the home where the problem is.
I just want to be able to spend 30 mins talking to dp about our days without having to share with others too.
I also want some time to myself if I get time off work to simply potter around the house without feeling watched and judged (which is how I feel now).
Dp says I'm unreasonable and it's her home and she can do what she wants. The reality is she has a home here, one at Mums, one at uni halls (which we pay in full for) and can obviously choose to stay at her boyfriends house too. I have one home, just one.
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