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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?

catsmother Thu 13-Jun-13 13:54:17

Tiger - that's terrible. It shouldn't be too late now though for you to ask - well, demand actually, because you have every right to know - why on earth he won't accompany you and DD when you go out. It's not only missing out on DD's life - and obviously, as she gets older, she will notice that her father only seems to become animated when her older brother is around - which will be a huge blow for her and could easily cause all sorts of resentment and jealousy between her and SS - but it's also ducking out of the responsibility and hard work that goes with looking after a small child if he never comes out with you.

If it is misplaced "guilt" then I'd insist he attended counselling with you because it's not normal, not fair on you or DD and potentially very damaging for DD's sense of self worth. How bloody dare he behave like this ?! The thing is, I assume that when his son is at his mother's he's not locked away in the cellar - he's almost certainly out and about with his mum, seeing friends, doing fun things.

And of course, if you could get to the root of all this and have an impartial 3rd party persuade him to consider the situation honestly and fairly then hopefully the issue of his reluctance to spend couple time with you would also be solved.

If you can't then I'd prefer to be on my own TBH and actually be a single parent in the true sense of the word. I think that'd be preferable to someone who thought so little of me and my child. And at least then, in theory, he'd have to spend some time with DD on contact visits.

DeskPlanner Thu 13-Jun-13 14:43:53

How are you today op ?

tigerrose Fri 14-Jun-13 12:24:30

catsmother, thanks for your words nice to have support. He is heavily against counceling but we will see what happens going forward. Thing is I find myself overcompensating now and making sure that she has a lovely time doing lots of things. Saying that this week he seems to be trying a bit more!!

Parttimer hope you have got what you needed and yours is seeing sense....

ChippingInWiredOnCoffee Sat 15-Jun-13 22:40:50

Sorry PT - you fell off my 'threads I'm on' sad

He really hasn't learnt a bloody thing has he? I'd be telling him exactly that. 'You mate, have not learnt a thing from your failed marriage and unless you want another failed relationship then you need to sort yourself out - PRONTO. I am not prepared ...blah blah blah' - lay it ALL on the line and expect change or be prepared to change this situation yourself - you cannot live like this for the rest of your life - it's no life.

parttimer79 Mon 17-Jun-13 10:27:02

Thank you to everyone for their responses, it was such a relief to see that I am not asking for the moon on a stick.

tiger I am so sorry to hear about your situation - it makes me realise what could happen if we do not address this now. DP is very excited about new baby and I think will be very supportive of us doing things the 3 of us when DSCs are not here as frankly that is most of the time!
I do worry though that he is scared that if it DSCs have "normal" family time with him i.e. we have to shop, mow the lawn when they are here then they will not want to come here. I will be watching out for that and hopefully do some nipping in the bud.

We did have a huge talk about it on Wednesday, and I pointed out that quality time is what we are lacking and that he is remaking mistakes he made in his previous relationship (I am frankly amazed that both him and his ex lasted as long as they did, I would have murdered him long before...).

I also pointed out that we need to fix this before baby arrives as after it will be so much harder.

I am quite happy with the time we spend with his parents, we do also see my mum a lot but as she is more local to us she can pop over for a cuppa or a meal and it doesn't take out whole days/weekends so it is not a my family/his family thing.

Anyway (after my mammoth post) he had booked 4 days off in July for us to have some time together - whether at home or away somewhere for a couple of day. BUT he just assumed that when I saw the space in his diary I would know we had another "big chat" about how he needs to actually tell me things and not assume my psychic abilities. He was upset that I did not even think this was a possibility and I think that was a wake up call about how little faith I have in him at the moment in terms of prioritising our relationship. I think he realised finally just where the end of my tether is and how close I was to it!

I am cautiously optimistic.

DeskPlanner Mon 17-Jun-13 10:46:09

So glad your going to have some time together. Hope you enjoy the time whatever you do.

Feelingbetterbyfar Mon 17-Jun-13 10:47:07

Well done! Very happy for you, all the best for you and baby!
(Don't ever think of backing down, dh1 got so many chances but took none, and then I left. Dh2 is now having to face up to similar rational demands to save our marriage. Go girl, very inspiring).

purpleroses Mon 17-Jun-13 11:05:15

That's nice to hear. Hope you enjoy your few days together in peace and quiet.

btw - My DSS helped me wash my car the other week - and declared afterwards that it was the best thing he'd done all weekend. smile Your DP really shouldn't worry about letting his DCs be part of a normal family life.

catsmother Mon 17-Jun-13 11:26:56

Am also pleased to read your update - I really hope he takes heed of all you've said and continues to be more considerate of you and the place you should occupy in his life going forward.

parttimer79 Mon 17-Jun-13 13:21:28

Thanks again everyone, this thread has been a great source of support and place to vent.
purple that is really nice to hear.
I think DSS is struggling with having to share his Dad with another younger sibling as well as DSD (who is very laid back about the whole thing and just interested in patting and listening to my tummy). Maybe getting everyone involved with some normal family activities will help with that too.

teatimesthree Mon 17-Jun-13 13:33:15

Hi Parttimer.

I am an academic too. I think this is just as much about your DP being a workaholic academic as it is about the DSCs. IMO you are doing the right thing in putting your foot down now. You will need to carry on putting it down once the baby is here or else you will end up doing 95% of the childcare.

It is not just your DSCs who need to get used to a household where two adults WOH, but your DP too. You will need to insist that he takes time off work when your DC is ill and can't go to childcare, time off to cover school holidays, and so on. This is anathema to most male academics. But you must insist right from the start or you will end up doing everything.

Please also make sure that your work gets equal or higher priority than his.

You are at the start of your academic career - as a couple, you need to invest time in YOUR work - giving you time to write, get publications out, and so on. Your DP has already built his reputation and can afford to take his foot off the pedal.

Sorry to be so blunt, but I see this situation all the time and the woman almost always ends up getting the short end of the stick.

parttimer79 Mon 17-Jun-13 14:07:51

you know what, this > It is not just your DSCs who need to get used to a household where two adults WOH, but your DP too < is very true.

We socialise quite a bit with other academics and I do notice that it is mainly the female part of the partnership who pick up the slack, like any family with 2 WOH parents it seems that there is always one person who must compromise their career.

I am going back to my PhD after 9 or 12 months mat leave and I can see that being a crunch point that I will have to watch out for.

Interestingly DPs dad is also a Prof and thinks DP needs to relax more and stop being such a workaholic yes man (however DPs dad has a wife who stayed at home from the point they had kids...)

teatimesthree Mon 17-Jun-13 14:38:40

Almost every man in my faculty has a stay at home wife. So there is no culture of male academics taking time off to look after kids etc.

My advice is, don't leave it til you go back from maternity leave. The patterns are set in the first few months. If your DP gets used to you doing everything from the start, it will be almost impossible to retrain him.

He needs to realise that his freedom to work whenever he wants is massively curtailed by having a child - and he needs to realise it right from the start.

bitter experience

parttimer79 Mon 17-Jun-13 15:03:27

tea so true, when I say mat leave will be a crunch point I mean that I need to get into the habit of sharing childcare responsibilities from the start.

There is much more of a shared parenting culture where I work - different subject, different institution but many of the younger male academics (who I am also friends with) at his place are pretty committed to both partners working and sharing childcare. Interestingly my partner has been much more successful at work than his colleagues who do this so it is easy to see what is valued there!!

Don't answer if this is too intrusive but is your partner an academic (and if so how the hell have you managed to make it work?!)

teatimesthree Mon 17-Jun-13 15:21:52

smile good to hear that your department has a nice culture in that regard. Perhaps things are changing little by little.

I am actually a single parent. In many ways much more straightforward as there is no wrangling over whose work time it is. My ex is not an academic but is a workaholic. (His messed up priorities were a bit part of why we split up.) Luckily he is still involved. I think he finds it much easier this way as when he has DD he is 'on' and when not he is 'off'. If you know what I mean.

IME, you can definitely have a decent work-life balance and be a successful academic - but you have to want to! For a lot of people I think it's easier to throw themselves into work. E.g. all my colleagues who come in at six to avoid getting their kids up and out of the house in the morning.

Good luck - you sound very sensible and nice. Just don't be afraid to put yourself and your work first sometimes.

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