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When your DP is an "enabler"

(25 Posts)
thaichickencurry Tue 24-May-11 13:13:46

Anyone else got a DP who does anything and everything their ex wants?

DP is currently driving 200 miles a week just running his kids around to clubs etc, we have them living with us for 50% of the time at the moment too, it is supposed to be a third of the time.

We are in debt despite DP's quite large salary because he pays double what he should to ex wife. His kids ask, the money gets given.

I haven't seen my DP for more than half an hour at a time on our own for over a week and won't do for the next 10 days.

On the plus side, I am getting time with DS on my own sometimes now.

Things did get better between us and I thought things were good, but with hindsight, that was because his ex wife was pulling her weight for a while, but things have got silly recently.

DP just says he wants to see his kids everyday. So every evening he is off out and only re-appears when its tea time or bed time. Sometimes he makes an "effort" to pop back for half an hour in between the running around but I'm so annoyed with him, I find something else to do anyway. Sometimes he has to work late if he has a meeting and he finds time to go out with his mates at least once a fortnight too. I know he thinks because we live together, he can see me anytime but doesn't seem to understand that all his time is filled with other things!

I feel a bit like a small child stamping her feet because she isn't getting attention but then I remember that his ex wife is getting exactly what she wants while putting her feet up for another relaxing evening / weekend with her DP without having to lift a finger to go to work or drive her kids anywhere, or look after them.

I've name changed in case I'm being followed about on here, but regulars will know who I am.

BOMgoneoff Tue 24-May-11 13:48:12

can you do more all together? you and him and the kids?

SarkyLady Tue 24-May-11 13:56:21

Does your ds see less of him that his other kids do?

thaichickencurry Tue 24-May-11 14:08:37

There's 5 kids all wanting to do seperate things. DP is a taxi. He does stay sometimes and watch DSS play his sport but that can take a 5 hour jaunt at weekends and I do sometimes go with him with the other children if we have them but as you can imagine 3 girls and 1 boy not interested in sport isn't easy to get them keen on the idea.

DP moans about ex constantly but still does everything she wants.

BOMgoneoff Tue 24-May-11 14:13:45

I have one that moans about ex a lot but does everything she wants too.. It has got a lot better over the years but there are a couple of points he always gets himself stuck on. If you find the answer, let me know!

thaichickencurry Tue 24-May-11 14:20:02

My DP is not DS's father, so it obviously matters less if he sees him than his own children.

I don't want him to not see his kids but what I would really like is for him to say that x,y or z evening this week is for us to spend an evening together, to have a glass of wine and chill out.

I just feel like I am last on the list, I want to feel a priority too. I know he feels guilty so tries to pop in to see me at work or comes home for 10 mins when he is working but as his phone is ringing every 2 mins, that's hardly quality time either is it?

I know he feels pulled in all directions and I am trying very hard not to moan at him and just do my own thing.

Sylvaniasandwich Tue 24-May-11 14:35:44

I have namechanged too, but have replied to your previous postings! I would actually stamp your feet about this a lot. It's the only way to change things - or so I have found. My DH is brilliant at listening to my rants about his ex and the way we organise our lives around her/DSS. But it was only when I categorically said that I wasn't doing it any more that things really changed. You just have to get really really clear about what you want. I would say that - as an absolute minimum - he should be spending every other evening at home with you. You should book nights in together and insist that he turns the phone off.

thaichickencurry Tue 24-May-11 16:23:57

Apparently I'm being harsh when I've told him I feel like last on the list.

I don't want to lay down the law and insist on certain times with him because then I just feel he is doing it because he has to, not because he wants to.

I don't allow my DS to have me running around after him every single night, he knows he has to organise lift shares so the burden isn't always on me and he doesn't attend every club he wants to either.

I appreciate that DP has 4 children but they live with their Mother (supposedly) the majority of the time, so surely she can help out sometimes too? Surely the kids can get lifts with their mates sometimes and surely DP / ex wife can help organise that?

Nearly 12 hours and 200 miles is spent ferrying his kids around and waiting for them in a week.

At least if they were "our" children together, we would be organising it together rather than me coming home from work and finding out that he has received a text and he has to rush off. I can never plan the simple things.

BOMgoneoff Tue 24-May-11 17:13:00

"I don't want to lay down the law and insist on certain times with him because then I just feel he is doing it because he has to, not because he wants to" I used to often feel like this but have learned that sometimes you have to spell out what you need. It doesnt mean someone loves you less because they have to be told how to keep you happy. Some people just aren't that intutitive.

SinisterBuggyMonth Tue 24-May-11 17:55:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thaichickencurry Tue 24-May-11 19:05:25

Yes, you're right. I am going to say that I want at least one evening per week and one day and one evening on our free weekend as a minimum with no chopping and changing once agreed.

I'm going to get busy with my social life and with doing things with DS the rest of the time.

You are right. I am his partner and not just the housekeeper, laundry woman, babysitter and shag when he has nothing better to do!

I am also going to ask him to stop moaning about his ex and not react when he does talk about her.

thaichickencurry Wed 25-May-11 08:43:34

Well, that went down like a lead balloon. Apparently I am out of order and am trying to stop him seeing his kids.

Refused to listen when I just said I want to be able to make plans rather than just sit around waiting for him and his ex to decide.

Said I am quite happy for him to see his kids everyday if he likes but at the very least I would like to know how long he will be out for and when he will be back in advance rather than him wanting to rush off while we're eating our dinner.

Time to go back to making plans for me and DS and living our own lives.

glasscompletelybroken Wed 25-May-11 09:39:22

thaichickencurry are you me?
I feel last on the list too but it doesn't get me anywhere complaining about it. I have stamped my feet more in the past but then just end up feeling worse as I have really expressed how I feel and still not got what I wanted. That just makes you feel that you want has no relevance at all.
I don't have any answers and am watching this in the hope that someone does!

mummytime Wed 25-May-11 09:45:19

I'd give him the ultimatum that as he won't listen to you, then you need to go to couple counselling, and he has to schedule this in. Because at present it doesn't sound as if he has a relationship with you. My DH is very busy, but we do schedule time together. (Basically why are you in a relationship if you lead separate lives, is this what you agreed to in the start?)

BOMgoneoff Wed 25-May-11 10:14:56

Yes, you need to end the moaning about the ex. I had to stop reacting myself because I found he was using me as a sounding bored, passing on all the angst to me... then trotting off rounds hers with a smile on his face. very unfair.

WeirdAcronymNotKnown Wed 25-May-11 10:23:13

How long have you been together?

It's nice to see a NRF making so much effort for his children, of course, but TBH I think if he really valued your relationship he would make time for you. Sorry sad

thaichickencurry Wed 25-May-11 13:07:11

We've been together 3 yrs, living together for 1 yr. DP was the one pushing for me to move in with him. Feel I have no say at all when it comes to his kids even though I am often left to look after them all. Had arguments before about wanting to be consulted about when (not how much) the kids come (DP and ex have ad hoc arrangement for school holidays).

He has told me that I am jealous and trying to stop him having a relationship with his kids. To be honest, I think he is a bit obsessive about his kids. He will tell anyone who will listen that is ex is always trying to stop him seeing them and yet, he often has them for a lot more than was originally agreed and in 3 yrs have only seen his ex stop his access for 2 days, both when he had already had the kids for more than was agreed anyway.

We have had time together but I am always aware it's because his ex hasn't asked him to have the children or got the kids to get him to run their errands. The last few weeks have meant we really haven't had any time together and I have been worrying about how things are going. Is ex going to ask for more and more of his time and if so, where does this leave me? I am only trying to get some clarity on what is happening and what I should expect. He won't give me any kind of re-assurance because his kids "come first".

His ex wife said that he never made time for her and he has always said that he values the time we have with all the kids, the time I get with my DS and the time we get alone. In reality though, I feel that I am just a substitute for his children.

He knows I love my DS very much and part of that is sometimes saying "no" to him and showing DS that he is not the only person who deserves my time. My friends, my family, myself and my partner all deserve time with me as well. He is scared to say no to his kids or give them any sort of boundaries even when they get into serious trouble in school. He also favours his son to the detriment of his girls (and my DS).

My last relationship had some similar issues, although it was more about his obsessive hobby and being a workaholic. I find myself again asking for some time with the man who claims to love me and I wonder if it is me that is wrong. I wonder if I am clingy. I look at myself and see a very independent woman who is quite happy to be alone, I have my career and my own friends etc. I was very happy when I was single. I don't think anyone of my friends would say I am needy but this is how I feel I must come across.

BOMgoneoff Wed 25-May-11 13:34:13

I don't think you sound needy. I don't have the answers but I think you need to stop giving yourself a hard time.

Petal02 Wed 25-May-11 16:11:03

Having read your earlier threads, I feel your pain.

I’m never quite sure with some of these men, whether they really don’t get it, or if they PRETEND not to get it ……. They get incredibly defensive about their children, and the minute you question it, they jump on the “you’re trying to stop me seeing my kids” band wagon. I also sympathise with your comment that your DP always tells people that the ex tries to stop access, whereas the truth is quite different, and she’ll despatch them to him at the drop of a hat, anything that makes HER life easier.

If anyone else were running round like an idiot after their children, ie a neighbour or work colleagues, then I’m sure your DP would think it insane, but because it relates to HIS children, all sanity goes out the window. Also, old habits die hard. If you enter a relationship where routines and precedents have been set, its nearly impossible to challenge the status quo.

That said, I think it’s unrealistic for your DP to want to see his children every day, unless he’s literally just round the corner from their school/mother’s house. It sounds like he’s never accepted he’s no longer a full time father. But he does sound slightly obsessed – you say he wants to see them every evening, so he doesn’t spend his evenings with you, he’s visiting them, and only comes home to eat and/or go to bed. This is soooooo unreasonable, and I can totally understand why you’re frustrated. I’m sorry, but it sounds like he takes you totally for granted. To be honest, it probably wouldn’t make much difference to his day-to-day life if you weren’t there, simply because he hardly sees you anyway.

I’m sure he thinks that as you and him live under the same roof, that you see each other every day – but what you describe sounds more like a house-share than two people in a relationship. You also hear of men who spend so much time with the ‘first family’ children, that they hardly see the ‘second family’ children, and they argue that as they live with their ‘second’ children, then that makes it alright. But that doesn’t constitute quality time.

Thinking back on the history of this situation – I’ve previously got the impression that whilst this was a major source of frustration for you, it wasn’t actually a deal breaker. But this thread makes me think differently I’m afraid. You hardly see each other, your wishes/requests count for nothing – you’re not really in a relationship, you’re two adults who co-exist unhappily (in your case) under the same roof.

What’s in this for you? Would your life be better or worse if you left? I never like to suggest people leave relationships (unless there’s violence etc involved), and whilst some people wouldn’t mind seeing so little of their partner, just so long as they’re in a settled relationship/home environment, I don’t think this is the case with you.

This is one of those situations where an access rota might actually be of some use –because at least you’d know where you were. When there are so many children in the equation, I suspect ‘ad hoc’ translates as ‘chaos.’

My suggestion is that you issue him with an ultimatum (providing you’re prepared to leave if he doesn’t play ball): I think you should insist that there’s one nominated week-night when he doesn’t see his kids, and have one clear weekend day and one clear weekend evening to yourselves when it’s a non-access weekend. Anything less and you’re just a housekeeper. And you deserve so much better than that.

tokenwoman Thu 26-May-11 08:49:32

I had this recently with my DP, why is it that when we finally pluck up the courage to try to tell them we feel bottom of the list of priorities usually after a long hard think and any number of situations and trying to keep the conversation calm they get defensive? probably because they know deep down we are right, My needs come last, after little princess, her friends, his friends, his needs, his family, oh and complete strangers, then I might get considered important enough.
I also got accused at the same time of trying to stop him doing things with little princess and how I make it difficult for him to do things with her (I don't)
I sympahise with you as I know excatly how you feel but I have no answers to your/mine and thousands of other SP but your post rings bells why is that we always try to look to our own personailty ie am i being clingy, am i too needy? is it me? because thats what DPs do, offload their faults onto us
and your right we all deserve more than being treated as housekeeper, laundry woman, babysitter and shag when he has nothing better to do! Start putting yourself first then maybe just maybe he might notice, thats what Im trying to do at the moment and I'll post the results on MN later

thaichickencurry Thu 26-May-11 13:31:09

Petal, I completely agree that my DP "pretends" not to know where I am coming from. I bring things up sensitively and delicately and straight away he jumps to the defense. He knows that even though he says he wants to see his kids everyday, they don't want to see him. He picks up one child and often the others don't even come out to see him. The more independent they become, the clingier he gets. I've never said a word about the daily phone calls and the format they take but he often goes off and makes the call away from me because I know he is embarrassed that he has to keep asking them to listen to him!

He knows that one of the reasons his wife left was because she stated she didn't get enough time with him. Initially I thought that was ridiculous because we had plenty of time together. I did feel he made time for me, now I wonder if it was just he had nothing better to do.

But now he is potentially out every night and large chunks of time at weekends, then surely he can realise that I am not going to be happy?!

He says I am making a fuss over nothing. Made a point of going out last evening with DS and kept myself busy this morning before work. He then says that I am not making time for him when he was here. I pointed out that I didn't know he was going to be here because nobody thinks I need consulting, so I will do my own thing and he is out of order to try and dictate that I be sitting and waiting for him if he has nothing better to do! He told me he is not currently out as much as I fear he could be, so I am worrying about what could happen. I told him I want to know what the future holds and what the boundaries are but he is refusing to give them to me. He then struggles to answer so spouts the "you are trying to stop me seeing my kids". I even suggested he stop going out with his mates once a fortnight so he isn't giving up a night with his kids and I am out of order for suggesting that too!

The school holiday 50/50 ad hoc arrangement would be much better if it was a regulated pattern but it's a constant DP trying to get 70-80% and juggling everything round to fit in with what his ex wife wants.

I had already decided to go back to my own home after my last big issue but had to bide my time due to tenants and then things got so much better and I felt that I was important and valued and part of our family unit. Then ex wife has another change of life plan and I am expected to just fit round everything.

DSS has just started a new sport and apparently he is very, very good at it. I am pleased and proud but I also know that this is going to involve me being left for many many hours with 3 of DP's children while DP ferries DSS around as well as 2 nights a week when he is out because of it. Is it really so wrong to expect his Mother to help out sometimes or for DP to get another parent to do a lift share sometimes? It's what I do with DS and his activities and I'm not even leaving DP at home with 3 other children!

I am not going to be pushed aside on this. Either he makes an effort with his relationship or there simply isn't going to be one.

mummytime Fri 27-May-11 06:30:55

Why don't you continue with your plans to move out? Then your DP and his ex will not have an on tap babysitter and will have to sort out their own child care?

Petal02 Fri 27-May-11 09:58:07

Because of the age of the stepchildren concerned, I don't they need a babysitter as such, I recall that the DP can leave the younger children in the care of the older ones (sorry if I'm getting the details slightly wrong); so even if the OP moved out, I suspect her DP could carry on as normal with his runnng around.

Petal02 Fri 03-Jun-11 12:02:15

Just bumping this up, and hoping that the OP has made some progress?

thaichickencurry Mon 06-Jun-11 07:53:53

Hi Petal,

Thanks for bumping. Nothing really to report as half term has kind of skewed the routine anyway.

I actually feel really sorry for DP who allows himself to be used more and more. It's a vicious circle for him, the more ungrateful and unappreciated he is, the more he seems to want to do.

To be honest, the way I feel right now, I think I am going to do my own thing and if it means we grow apart then maybe that is meant to be.

He is trying to please everyone and yet, no-one is really happy or appreciates him. His ex wife (who is helped mostly) hates him with a venom, his kids are shockingly ungrateful and my enthusiasm for our relationship is fading fast.

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