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Probably an AIBU but safer to post here!

(40 Posts)
parttimer79 Fri 26-Apr-13 10:51:40

This should probably be in relationships or AIBU but this is about a relationship with DP who has children then I feel better posting here as I'm not sure at 6 months pregnant I can face the pasting elsewhere.

I have been with DP 2 years and we've lived together since last august. I got pregnant in November with my first child, DP has 2 DCs with exW.

We have DSCs every saturday and one week night but he does not yet have them overnight as exW wants contact to be child led and feels they are not ready. This is being dealt with by solicitors at present.

This mean that we never have a weekend we just the 2 of us can do something and we only go away between the set contact times so he does not miss seeing DSCs. I am absolutely fine with this, glad he is a committed Dad etc - just want to make that clear.

Right - after all that back story the issue is that I have said I would really like a couple of days away, just the 2 of us. This has been a really hard pregnancy, I am in the midst of full time PhD and teaching (only this term to go) and I have PreND.
It is v difficult to get DP to take any time off work for family things unless it involves DCs. To organise things e.g going to a friends wedding, going to scans, I have to effectively schedule a time to talk to him when he is not stressed/ tired from work, make him put the date in his diary and even then it feels like it is not worth the stress of taking him away from work (he is an academic so never really "off", I am also an academic in a way but way lower level and so under much less stress).

He has taken time off when his family are visiting or when he gets extra contact time in the school holidays no questions asked (again as it should be). So why do I not matter enough to do this?

We are going to an event with his parents in a couple of months which he sees as a holiday (and it is I guess) but to me this is actually 3 days involving a 6 hour drive each way and time with his parents (who are lovely and I get on well with) when I am 8 months pregnant.

All I am asking is for 2 or 3 days somewhere not too far away to recharge after a stressful time and before baby arrives in August. he would only need to take a monday and tuesday off, and we could not miss any contact time with DSCs.

I feel like a lot of the time I am bottom of the list of his priorities and worry that when baby arrives I will still be in charge of "manging" family life - unless it involves his DCs or his parents/siblings in which case he has shown himself perfectly capable of stepping up. I cannot think of one thing we have done together which he hs either instigated or organised.

Any ideas on how I can handle this without it descending into a hormonally fuelled row?

purpleroses Fri 26-Apr-13 12:16:41


Your DP needs to see time with you as just as valuable as time with the DCs. Especially wanting some time away together before the baby.

But how you make him see it, I don't know. I'm lucky that my DP has always appreciated that our relationship needs time and space too, as well as time wiht the kids.

Could you suggest he has his DCs an extra day in the week after or before you go away for the weekend? Or has them both days (Sat and Sun) of a different weekend - even if they go home to their mum's inbetween. Would be useful preparation for longer stays when she or the courts agree they're ready for it.

In the long term, you're much better off with entire alternate weekends if you want some quality time together.

The other thing you can try and do in the meantime is to make sure the Sundays you get off you do get together with just the two of you is quality time together. ie do the practical things (shopping, gardening, etc) on the Saturday, and involve the DCs in them. Then go out for a treat time together on the Sunday. Or take the Monday off work and go away for a couple of nights, Sat eve til Monday evening.

parttimer79 Fri 26-Apr-13 12:37:08

Thanks for these suggestions - glad I'm not being a selfish baggage wanting time for the two of us before baby comes.

We don't ever do practical stuff with kids on saturday - it is viewed as their time with him and thus very led by what they want to do (which is fine it is just one day). If stuff like shopping/washing has to be done on Sat, I do it.

We both often have to work on a Sunday, it has beenreally hard to get him to ever have a weekend/evening where he is not working at all.

Long term there is a plan for rolling weekends of fr/sat, sat/sun, sun/mon I think so we will always need to take a weekday if we want more than 1 night.

I have suggested that we do take a Monday off and go then - once I finish teaching that will be possible and I'm hoping I can get him to spare one day!

I've asked him not to work tonight so we can have a chat and he has agreed so I will broach your suggestions then.

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Apr-13 17:27:41

You are most definitely not being unreasonable smile

What ages are the children?

I've gt to say I think your DP is being totally unreasonable not to go away for the weekend with you. It's nt like its all the time, it's a one off for what sounds like a much needed rest. Whilst I'm sure he of course loves seeing his children, going away on one weekend is hardly a big deal. I personally think its madness to have to use annual leave because the ex is refusing to be flexible. I don't know how young the children are, but youre in for a long hard road if your partner continues not to have any flexibility on access times at all. The calendar will rule your life and you'll never be abe to make any plans without consulting it first.

brdgrl Sat 27-Apr-13 00:01:24

Agree with the above. YANBU. And you need to see a change in this now, not going to get easier later.

Celticcat Sat 27-Apr-13 05:36:17

Like all the other posters said, you need to fix this now.
I let dh have it all his way the first 3 years, dcs, exw, everybody had a say except me!
We ended up in counseling where dh was told in no uncertain terms he was being an ass and to man up.
Take it from one (and many others) who's been there, fight for your rights and the rights of your unborn now, and you won't regret it.
All the best, look after yourself, xx

parttimer79 Sat 27-Apr-13 11:58:42

Thanks everyone.
The DSCs are 3 and nearly 6 and their mum is actually pretty flexible about contact (but for the overnight issue). She would swap a sat for sun and has done when we've been going to a wedding or when we went away last summer but we have never had a whole weekend with no contact (except for when DSCs were on holiday for 10 days...)as this has been the pattern since we got together.

We get quite generous annual leave and are moving into a quieter time of year workwise so it should not be an issue to take a monday/tuesday off.
I said to DP that I feel he needs to prioritise our relationship as well as work and kids as he feels that his failure to do this was one of the reasons his marriage broke down.

He gets very strssed by work and trying to please all the people all the time, he is very senior for someone of his age and sometimes acts like he has to prove himself. I pointed out that work will never love you back!

Anyway both me, one of his colleagues and his dad have all suggested that he needs to look at his work/life balance and I think we have got through to him.

He is making us nice dinner tonight and we are going to plan going away and I will stress that getting into bad habits now will make it harder for the future.
Lets hope it works!

QueenofWhatever Sat 27-Apr-13 20:00:53

YANBU. Sorry to post and run, but there are lots of things here that would concern me. You keep saying it's fine and as it's should be, but it's clearly not.

parttimer79 Sun 28-Apr-13 18:41:03

Thanks Queen, if you pop back on can you elaborate on your concerns. It would be really good to hear from people who have more experience of being in this situation than me - I am the only person in my peer group who had this set up with their DP and this board is a real help.

parttimer79 Wed 12-Jun-13 16:26:36

Needless to say this has not happened. I am now 32 weeks pregnant and we have not had time off together except to buy baby stuff one day (and even then he worked in the afternoon).
Every weekend has had people visiting and he just sent me his diary for the next 8 weeks and it just made me want to cry - so I did.
I said in my reply oh it doesn't look like we will get any time to chill out together does it?
His response was at least we are nearly on top of baby stuff (which is true) and at least we will get to see friends on the trip down south - the one which is 6 hours when I am 36 weeks pregnant and we are spending most of it with his parents....
I am talking to a brick wall aren't I? I should be writing my thesis and instead am sat here in tears. All I want is a day or 2 with my partner before the baby arrives and we don't have a chance again.

purpleroses Wed 12-Jun-13 16:39:28

Oh dear sad

Have you really spelt it out to him though, how important it is to you? Men can fail to pick up on hints even when they're not at all subtle.

Can he not just book a couple of days leave? Could you say you're feeling run down and cancel some of the people who are visiting? (or are any of them close enough family to leave to babysit whilst you have an evening out with DP?)

parttimer79 Wed 12-Jun-13 16:51:35

I am not exactly subtle smile but I see what you mean, time for another chat.

We do have evenings (only have DSCs one night overnight) but at least one of us is working most evenings. He also is either away or has at least one evening event at work each week. It is very hard to get him to switch off from work.

The issue is if we are in the house we just end up working/talking about work/sorting house for the baby - all of which need to be done but I would love a couple of days of chilling together, someone else cooking and cleaning and just switching off from everything.
It has been an exhausting and stressful year for various reasons. My work is finally easing off but what use is it if we don't get to spend time together?

Kaluki Wed 12-Jun-13 16:56:49

It's all very much his way isn't it?
He sent you his diary? Don't you get any say in how your time is spent?
I do think it's time you put your foot down and insisted.

parttimer79 Wed 12-Jun-13 17:11:53

I realise that sending me his diary sounds/is bad.
I think it was in response to me saying can we sort out diaries for the next couple of months tonight (something I have been saying since Sunday) as my head is babyfied/PhD addled and I am not sure where we are and when. I'm sure he knows I am angling for some time off together and is trying to head me off at the pass!
I am going to talk to him tonight and insist that we book some time in (I know it sounds a bit planned and unromantic but if we don't all our time just gets filled) for just us 2.
He talks about how important it is to the relationship to make sure we do this after baby arrives, I think the irony of how hard it is to do now is lost on him....

purpleroses Wed 12-Jun-13 17:18:42

DP and I are completely planned and unromantic about arranging time together - we sit down with diaries, emails from our exes about holiday plans, school term dates, etc and work it all out. But it works for us.

You just need to 'create' the same level of priority for your relationship as the pressures that other people (work, etc) put on you, and book the time in. My DP is good at this thankfully (though think not doing so cost him his first marriage, so maybe he's learnt the hard way)

Kaluki Wed 12-Jun-13 17:19:00

I'd be concerned that he doesn't want to do this himself. He should want to spend time with you - not be cajoled into it sad

purpleroses Wed 12-Jun-13 17:22:19

Not sure I agree with Kaluki - you'll just let yourself get more and more resentful if you wait for him to need the time as much as you do.

I think it's better to accept that you don't always need exactly the same things from a relationship at any one point in time. It's your first baby, you're hormonal, and you badly need to spend some time with him. The fact that doesn't feel this need as strongly doesn't necessarily mean he's not committed.

Kaluki Wed 12-Jun-13 17:24:11

Fair enough purple - it just seems from OPs last post that he is actually avoiding spending time together.

parttimer79 Wed 12-Jun-13 17:34:20

purple you absolutely nailed it there. That is what I need us to do - create the same level of priority.
I think DP and I have a very different relationship to the one he had with his ex (they never argued just bubbled with resentment and I am quite, erm, direct) but I think he was even more of a workaholic then so he obviously knows he needs to improve on that score.

I do think what I need at the moment is different, I do feel more need to spend time together, be close to him than before. Pregnancy has changed me (and I don't like it!).

kaluki you are right that I was worried about why he just doesn't want to do this but I think he is unaware of how this makes me feel. If it doesn't improve after another talk then that will be a different matter but in the context of what is normally a committed and loving relationship I am upset but not worried, yet.

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Wed 12-Jun-13 17:47:43

parttimer - as Queen said (months ago now) you are being... understanding to a fault. You can't keep saying 'this is as it should be' & 'that's as it should be' - because actually, you know what, it isn't.

His DC, you and your baby should be his priority - not only his DC. It is about whose need is the greatest at that time, not a hierachy where his DC are always to top of the pile.

Yes, there should be plenty of fun & time for them when they are at yours, but life goes on as well and if things need doing - they need doing. Other kids go shopping, have parents do the housework, paint the spare room, clean the car etc - it's not all about Fun Fun Fun and when your child gets here that will become even more important - he cannot swan off every Sunday having fun with his kids while you are at home with the baby - because what they want to do isn't right for the baby etc.

He clearly has not learnt from his first marriage - a little maybe - but not a whole lot or he wouldn't be making you feel the way you do.

Also, at the age your step children are, how long their parents have been apart and how long you two have been together - saying they aren't ready for overnighters is absolutely ridiculous. It is time to get into the 'every other weekend, for the weekend' set up or 3 out of 4 weekends - whatever suits you both and their Mum. Just a Saturday, every Saturday isn't on at this stage IMHO.

The longer you put up with being last on his list the worse it will get and the harder it will be to change it - resentment will completely settle in and things will not end well.

If you think you are hormonal now - wait until your baby is here!!

Good luck

parttimer79 Wed 12-Jun-13 18:03:27

chipping I know you are right about the weekend thing, we have just had the first overnight which went well but even then he was worried about whether his DS would want to come again and fussed over the tiniest things. He had a rota of how things are done from his ex and this was followed to the letter (I realise only when I write these things down how ridiculous they sound...).

They don't tend to go out although sometimes we all go to the park/soft play/swimming but play at home and DS in particular expects all adult attention on him which I think will be more of a problem when little new one arrives. I know that if this continues it will feel like the children are treated differently and I can easily see how I will resent that.

DSCs live most of the week in a house with 3 adults none of whom work (ex and GPs) so have little/no experience of family life with 2 working parents whereas this will be the norm for new baby.

urgh, more to it than a weekend away no?

parttimer79 Wed 12-Jun-13 18:21:28

Just had a phone conversation about this which has left me in tears.
His words "I give you more time than anything else" - as though I should be grateful for what time he is willing to spare.
He cannot see at all that I feel I am slotted in around work and the DSCs.

catsmother Wed 12-Jun-13 19:00:31

There's time and then there's time - it's ridiculous to equate the number of hours he actually spends in your company - which obviously includes all the ordinary mundane stuff before and after work when you're both tired, doing household chores etc., the time when he has his kids and the time he sees his family - with your wish to spend a short period of quality time together as a couple when just for once, you have nothing else to think about except chilling out. This wouldn't be unreasonable even if you weren't pregnant but most couples do their utmost to spend some special time together before a new baby arrives. I appreciate not all can manage this - particularly if you already have children together - but you don't, and based on how you've described the current contact pattern and the days off you propose there should be no reason why he can't make the effort as seeing his kids won't be affected anyway.

So okay - he sounds like a bit of a workaholic and/or someone who isn't yet particularly confident in his role and is therefore very particular about taking time off he sees as "unnecessary" (or perhaps "frivalous" ?) but it's very hurtful to see that this approach doesn't apply to either his kids (when extra contact is available) or to his family. It must make you feel as if you are less worthy of his time and attention than they are. If you don't mind me saying it seems even more ridiculous that you're contemplating a trip with his parents involving 2 x 6 hour drives when you're 8 months pregnant. Even if you break that up that could potentially be very uncomfortable for you - and that's before you consider the resentment you're going to feel at him taking 3 days off for that and them but not for you (specifically). If his time is so precious why can't you use those 3 days to spend as a couple ?? ....... you'll still be able to spend time with his parents after the baby's born, but you'll never get another opportunity (at least not for quite a while - and that assumes either parents or PILs are willing to babysit) to be on your own the pair of you.

Can I ask what happened back in April when you said he was cooking a nice meal and you were going to plan a weekend away ? Why didn't you ?

TBH, I'm afraid I think he's being massively selfish. In the greater scheme of things you're asking for so little and you have been very accommodating towards him by the sounds of it.

SussexBelle Thu 13-Jun-13 08:31:55

I feel so sorry for you, love.

I think he is very unreasonable and if he doesn't wake up, may find himself in another failed relationship with another child, who visits him, at weekends. You are an amazing woman. I can barely imagine how tired you must be and how apprehensive for what the future holds. It is reassuring that he's a good dad to his 2 dcs however, his lack of real time for you, when you're expecting your first child, which ought to be a time of excitement, is very, very worrying. Yes, we all have to work and you are also studying and having all of these family commitments to attend to. I can think of nothing worse than a 12 hour round trip to visit I laws, when he will not take a day off work, to spend time with you. It might be better (when his kids are able) to move to an every other weekend rota with a midweek visit as well. That way, you do have a "free weekend" occasionally. My guess is, he won't be happy with that but one thing's for sure, when your baby arrives, it will be a lovely, lovely time. It will also be exhausting, your hormones will be all over the place, you'll be emotional, very protective of your new baby and then, the sleepless nights etc etc. Will he support you then? I do sincerely hope so.

What about your family. No mention of them. Don't they get a " look in"?

He is being very (dangerously) unreasonable.

tigerrose Thu 13-Jun-13 12:58:51

Hi, I can really say I feel for you. I have exactly the same situation - all I can say is be very careful.
We had the same where we did not spend any quality time together for about a year due to the fact that my other half was too scared to miss any contact as he felt guilty but would bend over backwards to take days off for his son but not us. I still think that he feels guilty that he is not there all the time and this rules many decisions. We have never in nearly 4 years had a romantic break and not once has he ever suggested doing anything not even a night out, it is always me organising things.
Now our little girl is here I feel that due to his guilt he does not get as involved with her as he should when is son is not with us. For example he is more than happy for me to take her to the zoo or elsewhere by myself even though he is doing nothing ( he will not come). It makes me mad that he is missing out on her life too.

Set out your ground rules now!!!!!! even if it causes arguments. ask him and get him to do the talking as to why he wont or what he is feelign or thinking because unless you know this you will never understand why you feel at the back of the que. Honesty is sometimes the best policy.

I did not do this, but wish I had and the longer it goes on (especially now our child is here and she is 17 months now!) the more resentful I feel. and I am especially sad for our little girl as it almost feels like I may as well be a single parent.
dont be in this situation.

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