A blended family, or separate flats?(11 Posts)
I have a partner who I really love very much. We both hope we will be there for each other for a long time.
We are both currently renting flats with our children - my parent has a 15 year old daughter and I have two younger children. The children like each other but don't get on brilliantly.
We have talked about the future and obviously if we live together, we could afford a nicer place. But I've read a lot on MN and it seems that conflict is the base level for step-families!
Are we better off living apart, and just being partners with different homes? Do you ever wish you'd done this?
Thanks 34DD, that's a really thoughtful and helpful post. I'm glad you have made things work. I'm sure that having each family's 'space' is really valuable in avoiding conflict.
I know there is no rush... I've also got a feeling that by the time we've decided, his daughter will have left home anyway!
I guess it's almost a toss up between saving on money and saving on conflict...!
Well done 34DD, I doff my proverbial hat. Wish I had been as circumspect as you. Both dh and I had own places (he was renting, i owned, small mortgage) when we met and he sort of moved in with me and ds during the week. However, the complicated contact times with dsc and his misguided wish to 'replace' dsc mum with me lead to an impromptu moving in together to a new place (where I carried most of the financial burden, btw).
Ds and me happy enough to share, but dsc have always felt they somehow lost something. Over 3 years later and 'amicable to all contact' established, dsc are still not reconciled to idea of dh spending time with complete strangers. The all out hostility has receded, but small things, comments or just an over all 'greedy' behaviour makes me very sorry we tried to blend. Ironically, I kept my home and am renting it out atm.
Getting married I'm sure made things even worse (I hadn't planned a second marriage, in hindsight it was probably a sense of insecurity in my own home that made me take the plunge).
I wish I had discovered mn in the early stages of courtship, and considering I was a financially independent home owner, I could have had a considerably less stressful time.
OP, the savings you make on bills etc now will eventually be needed for therapy, medication, copious amounts of alcohol, .... Tread wisely
It depends on what's going to fufil you, are you going to be happy living in separate homes, if yes then I would say that's the best option as living together with your own kids can be very tricky to say the least. Then again, why not take the risk, see how it goes, it might work out okay. Only you know, if you want an easy life but without the full commitment or a relationship that is based on sharing your home but also your children. Why not keep a house on the back burner for in case it all goes wrong!
I was in pretty much your position two years back, but a year ago we did take the plunge and move in all together.
Overall I think it was the right decision for us. Some things have been hard, and some harder than I'd expected. But other bits have been really positive. There were some tensions between our DCs at first but these have really smoothed out and mostly they love having each other around, which is great.
The things that are harder are that I've lost my autonomy. I don't see as much of friends as I used to, and I used to put people up for the night much more easily. My friends knew I was really relaxed about that, but don't feel they can impose now I'm with DP.
Harmonising house rules beforehand was something we put some effort into - and that has been worthwhile. House rules are still pinned to the fridge, and mostly followed.
The other thing that's still hard is whether we're co-parenting or each ultimately in charge of our own DCs. We kind of share a lot of the parenting of my two and DP's younger ones, but I find it very hard to parent his teenagers (who are older than my DCs), especially the one that's busy trying to be a rebel at the moment. I keep thinking that if she was my DD we wouldn't have ended up in the situation we're now in with her because I wouldn't have let it happen. But if I say this to DP, it's obviously not very helpful to him. So I have to support him to find a way out of a situation that I can't help but feel is his fault for not parenting her properly in the past (eg not checking with friends' parents where she's staying overnight beforehand). Whereas when we had separate houses his lack of parenting of DSD didn't really affect me. Unlike the house rules, I think the role you'll each take with the DCs isn't something you can really work out beforehand, as you have to just see how the relationships develop. DP is comfortable disciplining my DCs and would like me to do the same with his, but with his older ones, I just can't. I don't feel I have that authority.
It is nice living together though. I do really like having someone to share my life with on a day to day basis as well as on "date", and I think we both like looking to a future together. It's financially a good deal for us too, and in many ways easier in a practical sense.
Thanks, this is really making me think!
I sort of feel that as his DD will be leaving home in 4 years, it might be easier to wait until then... She doesn't get along very well to my youngest (can be quite bullying - which naturally makes me want to kill her).
I think I will give it a few more months before we start having this discussion.... but thanks for your thoughtful posts.
good post, purple. I remember when you were trying to decide!
I lived separately from my (now)DH until our DD was six months old. I loved my house and my life with DD there, and I was much less stressed and depressed than I am now.
Financially, it wasn't sustainable.
Thanks brdgrl - that was my first post on here - and very similar to the OP trying to decide whether to move in or keep separate homes. I got some great advice on that and others since, though have to say that overall advice was that I shouldn't do it! So far at least, I've not regretted having gone ahead anyway.
One thing that did bother me a bit, OP, is that I had a few friends at university whose home lives altered a lot whilst they were students (parents moving new partners in, etc) And actually I think it can be almost harder to deal with at that age than when you're there full time. They felt their home had kind of vanished behind their back, and wasn't there to go back to. And if you're a student or in an out of living with a boyfriend, etc then having a "home" to go back to can be really important. I wondered if it might actually be easier for DP's eldest to get used to a new family set-up whilst she was still living at home, rather than change it all around behind her back. Just a thought.
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