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I get ignored on access weekends

(25 Posts)
RedinWhites Sun 04-Nov-12 15:52:22

DP and I do not live together. He has his kids every saturday night. I've not yet met them.

What is bothering me slightly is that whenever he has his children, he completely ignores me all weekend. Normally he texts 4/5 times a day - from when he picked his kids up yesterday I've had one text and that was sent at almost midnight last night consisting of 5 words.

Don't get me wrong, I know his focus and attention will be his kids and so it should be - but is there any need to totally ignore me when he's with them? I mean, it takes a couple of seconds to send a text - hardly dragging his attentions away from his children is it?

And it's not as if they're little kids needing a constant watch, they're 15 and 17 years old.

We're supposed to be going out tonight and I have no idea of time or anything because he won't answer my text until he's dropped them off at home. It's stupid.

I've read on here about women getting completely blanked on access weekends years into a relationship - this one will be the same won't it?

DizzySometimes Sun 04-Nov-12 16:08:14

Have you spoken to him about this? I wonder if he's aware that he's doing this, or whether he just closes down and focuses totally on his children as he doesn't see them all the time?

If I were you, I'd mention it to him and see what his reaction is. If he takes what you say on board, and his behaviour alters (although this may take time), then that would be a positive sign. If he doesn't accept what you say, I would think twice about continuing this relationship. If you've been in a relationship for some time (and you don't say that in your OP, so it's difficult to say), then you should be on an equal footing with his children - I know I might get flamed for saying that, but I believe that to be true, and don't buy into the whole 'second family/second class citizen' stuff that is sometimes said to partners of people who already have children.

Good luck!

upanddown83 Sun 04-Nov-12 18:11:46

I would say he probably doesn't realise he's doing he's just immersing himself in spending time with his teens. Just speak to him and see if he has actually realised and if (hopefully) not then try to together come up with times/how often I'd could speak/txt so you don't feel ignored! On the other hand if he is purposely not contacting u explain how it makes you feel and this should show him a few more texts or a phone call will stop u feeling bad. It will change when you meet his children and that's when the real fun begins lol!

purpleroses Sun 04-Nov-12 19:20:55

Do they know you exist? Is it possible he avoids texting you in case they notice and he's not yet told them about you?

Snazzyfeelingfestive Sun 04-Nov-12 21:03:42

Have you considered making other plans for tonight? It's fine for him to want to focus on his kids but that shouldn't mean he actually keeps you sitting around not knowing what you're doing.

Snazzyfeelingfestive Sun 04-Nov-12 21:04:12

Oh, and how long have you been together, btw? That is a big factor in this for me.

theredhen Sun 04-Nov-12 22:05:39

I agree that you shouldn't sit around waiting for him. Sometimes you need to not be quite so available and willing to accommodate.

Yes he might be busy when he is with his kids but its not really an excuse for such a small amount of communication.

Eliza22 Mon 05-Nov-12 08:17:01

Erm, do his kids know dad has a partner?

brdgrl Mon 05-Nov-12 10:47:02

I'm actually not so sure. There is a difference between him ignoring you, and him not responding to every text - or even to texts at all when they are not vitally important and when he's got 'company'. There is no reason he should be in constant contact when he's got the kids there - but neither should you be utterly ignored. If you are just sending chatty texts or sending more than one an evening, when you know he's with the kids, then I think he's perfectly reasonable to ignore them until he is free.

I say this as someone who really hates it when the person she is with is texting other people - I think one's focus should be on the people you are actually with. I also think that texting has created an expectation that people should be 'always accessible' and a feeling that people need to respond immediately - which I find very intrusive and annoying. I often have my mobile on silent, and I do ignore texts if I am busy with someone or something else.

Likewise, with his kids the ages they are, I'd expect him not to interrupt his time with you constantly to text with them. You and they should both be able to get a response from him, though, even if it is just to say "I love you and I will be in touch later".

Can I ask why you are texting him, given that you know he's got the kids there and presumably is doing things with them? It sounds different from if the kids were there more frequently and it was just 'life as normal' - I'm thinking that if he has them only on the one night, they are probably spending that time together, not him in front of the telly and the kids in their rooms or out with friends - in which case, it is the same as if he were out with friends or at work or in an appointment - just treat it as time when he is busy with others and might not respond straight away. When my DH goes out with a friend on his own, I try not to text or call unless there is something urgent.

I should add that my DH was a full-time dad when I met him - kids lived there all the time - and obviously I am not saying that I never texted him in case he was doing something with the kids! - but if I knew he was spending an evening with them (again, rather than just all being in the same house, IYSWIM), I did avoid texting at all. He'd call me before bed and we'd talk...If it would help, perhaps you could arrange to have a phone call with your DP after he's dropped the kids off.

Of course, it isn't right if he takes you for granted or doesn't treat you like a priority in other ways. I decided early on in my relationship that I wasn't going to tolerate being treated disrespectfully any more than I would expect to be treated disrespectfully in a relationship with a man without kids. I just don't think this alone falls in that category, and you might be letting it bother you when it really doesn't need to.

Kaluki Mon 05-Nov-12 12:22:08

I am wondering if they know about the OP too. It seems strange to have dc this age and not even be able to send a quick text to confirm plans for the evening.
Does he text when he doesn't have them or is he just crap at texting like me.

Eliza22 Tue 06-Nov-12 12:36:44

I agree. It's not like they're tiny. I'd be suspicious, if it were me, that they know dad has someone "else" in his life.

Petal02 Wed 07-Nov-12 13:50:21

I think you’ve had some really good advice, but I just wanted to add a few comments.

You need to remember that non-resident fathers don’t (usually) parent their children in the same way as resident fathers. A lot of this is understandable, eg they only get to see their children for a small amount of time each week, but it often leads to some unhealthy dynamics.

Whilst I would never say my DH ignores me on access weekends (nor did he do this before we lived together) he definitely partakes in High Intensity Parenting, whereby he appears to be so delighted/bedazzled/consumed by DSS’s arrival, and this can make it quite hard to get his attention, and real life can often go out the window til DSS goes back to his mothers.

I suspect that this might be the case with your DP, but as others have suggested, you need to have a word with him, as he may genuinely not realise what he’s doing.

Eliza22 Mon 26-Nov-12 15:09:44

How's this all going now? Any changes?

PoppyPrincess Mon 26-Nov-12 16:18:56

My DP used to do it too but they were very young at the time, I don't understand it, never have and never will. He only really stopped doing it once we moved in together.
Not sure if its the old 'men can't multi-task' problem. I think they can only think about one thing at a time. I used to get quite upset about it because it was as though I just wouldn't enter his head whilst he had them and then he'd drop them off and he'd remember that he did actually have a girlfriend.
It also might be partly due to them feeling a bit guilty that they don't see as much of the kids as they'd like and maybe they feel like they're not giving the kids all their attention if they're texting their girlfriend?
Men really are a mysterious creature, who knows how they work but try not to take it personally

ArkadyRose Mon 26-Nov-12 16:38:11

Maybe the kids themselves have requested he doesn't text/call whilst he's with them, so his attention is on them instead of his phone?

And if you know from past experience that he won't respond to texts until he's dropped the kids off, why do you keep on texting when you know full well you won't get an answer?

WakeyCakey Mon 26-Nov-12 18:46:38

I would take it as a positive that he wants to dedicate all his attention to his kids.
Just because they are teens doesn't mean they don't need quality time with their dad.
I think its a good sign that he won't be distracted from the little time he gets with them.
Don't worry yourself too much about it OP I don't think there is anything suspicious about it.
DP never used to text me until Dsd was in bed and then again once she had got out of bed 9000 times for this that and the other wink
It seems completely natural to me

Petal02 Wed 28-Nov-12 11:31:10

Maybe the kids themselves have requested he doesn’t he doesn’t text or call while he’s with them, so that his full attention is on them, and not his phone?

That’s another one of those ridiculous suggestions that you wouldn’t dream of implementing in a ‘together’ family. This defines exactly what I mean by Disney/High Intensity Parenting, which is artificial and unhealthy. What if the father had 50/50 access, would anyone suggest that his attention has to be given completely to his children during that time? How on earth would he have any other relationships and/or hold down a job, or have a life of his own? What’s wrong with the household continuing with relative normality when the children arrive?

UC Wed 28-Nov-12 12:01:03

I think Petal has it absolutely right. How healthy is it for any child to be the sole focus of the parent's attention for every moment they are together? Access weekends/time should just be normal, where the child is with the parent, doing normal stuff, and normal stuff should involve the parent doing the things he would normally do - like send the odd text to his girlfriend.

If my ex spent every waking moment when our DCs are with him (we are divorced), I would be worried about the message that was sending to them. Imagine if we BOTH did this sort of all-inclusive "parenting" - if neither he nor I ever did anything but "dedicate all our attention" to the DCs because we only see them 60%/40%/50%/25% whatever % of the time, then we would produce incredibly self obsessed, self important children/adults.

If my DCs requested that I didn't text/call whilst they were with me, as ArkadyRose suggests, I would say no.

UC Wed 28-Nov-12 12:02:23

Missed out a bit -

If my ex spent every waking moment when our DCs are with him (we are divorced), concentrating on the children and the children only, to the exclusion of anything else, I would be worried about the message that was sending to them.

Not sure how that got missed out!

Incrediblemeee Wed 28-Nov-12 14:09:50

Agree with uc, my dp and I have had lots of arguments concerning his disney parenting style, he always defensive, pointing out how little time he spends with them - which isn't even true, he pays full child support and then some and sees them half the time, not only weekends. I also see my ds as well adjusted in both our family and at his dads and sm. my sc are selfish, spoiled, maladjusted kids who brag about their private schools, I could go on here. But it all boils down to them being incredibly special, his guilt and intensive parenting when they are here. Ordinary life is simply not good enough...

Petal02 Wed 28-Nov-12 16:30:43

Incredible – I can completely identify with this. My DSS is genuinely dumfounded if all his wishes aren’t immediately granted; if DH ever needs to cause DSS even minor discomfort or inconvenience (ie needing to go home an hour early, or sleeping in a different room when relatives are visiting) him, then he is generously compensated in either cash or computer games. DH thinks compensation does no harm – I disagree; the very word ‘compensation’ implies that something has gone wrong and needs to be redressed. However the events that trigger compensation in our household are things that children in ‘together’ families would consider everyday life, ie Grandma coming to stay, DSS not getting his choice of food at meal times, DSS being inconvenienced by power cut etc etc.

I don’t think the divorce particularly damaged DSS, but the years since have done him no favours at all.

allnewtaketwo Wed 28-Nov-12 17:49:19

My DSS1 is the result of the expectation that stepchildren should be entertained and given full attention while at NRP house.

At almost 17 he is at a loss to understand why dad isn't now still putting on a full time entertainment programme 24/7. He does not have a single clue how to entertain himself

Petal02 Thu 29-Nov-12 11:36:09

At almost 17 he is at a loss to understand why dad isn’t still putting on a full time entertainment programme 24/7. He does not have a single clue how to entertain himself.

I feel your pain. My DSS is 18, and because DH has provided a Butlins-style itinerary on alternate weekends ever since DSS was 11, this is what he expects and he doesn’t function well without it.

PoppyPrincess Thu 29-Nov-12 14:31:08

Lol at ''Butlins style itinerary''

I've been thinking about this Disney Dad theory and think its probably to blame for this idea that people have that stepmums are wicked - no we just tend to live in the real world!

DP could be accused of Disney parenting a lot of the time but when he moved in with me it had to stop as I have a DS and we couldn't have one set of rules for one and another for the DSC.
He used to live with his mum so when he had the kids they were spoilt rotten by dad and grandma, they would stay up to silly times, have an endless supply of chocolate in the fridge which they just helped themselves to, get bought new toys most weekends, they went to sleep watching their huge plasma tv on the bedroom wall, there was very rarely any punishments given for bad behaviour. DP explained he didn't get much time with them so didn't want to spend the little time he had with them telling them off. I think it was just easy for him to ignore bad behaviour because it didn't matter as they'd soon be going back to mum.
And then he moved in with me and DS and DSC then started spending their weekends here to, our salad draw is filled with salad rather than chocolate, there's no tv's in the bedrooms, I won't allow DS to stay up till 11pm so therefore they can't, DS gets told off if he smacks/name calls etc so they should too.
I think it was a bit of a shock to the system for them at first but I am in no way mean, I just live in the real world and try and treat them the same as if they lived here full time.

Kaluki Thu 29-Nov-12 18:59:29

Well said poppy!
My DP was the same. His dc are now learning the hard that they won't be entertained 24/7 on our weekends and they have to clear up after themselves and muck in with the rest of us.
They are slowly turning from spoilt, self obsessed, entitled little brats into nice little kids and DP is reaping the rewards of this bit by bit as every weekend gets better and better.

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