Ok, who has it sussed? Partners, kids, money, the works!(5 Posts)
Thank you for your posts, have been doing this for over 4 years now too.
What I'm sensing from your replies is that although blending families is tough and can be unrewarding at times, the good vibes predominate, I.e. you feel your partners are pulling their weight and backing you up, the dsc respect you (both) and you and your partner are happy to spend time together because you appreciate each other. I think I'm a tad bitter in comparison.
I'm all for taking breaks to recover and will gladly say I'm taking a breather and in turn encourage my dh to take 40 winks when he's winded. I think its wonderful when dh spends quality time with his dc and/ or takes time out for himself.
But here's the snag, dh isn't really happy about me doing my own thing in general and may even sulk, but feels entitled to his alone time/ extended dc time when its "scheduled" adult time (we are in counseling and are trying to adhere to useful practices of coupledom, like spending time together). At least we are actively "communicating" on this one.
Finances are a bit trickier, as he has 2 dc and I have 1. And they're all a bit on the greedy side, a bit fixated really on me or ds eating more (wtf?) and this spills over onto how money is spent. It's all fine when we go halves when its 3:2, but dh does not really like treating me (or heaven help us, ds!) and expects me to be generous in turn, although he earns more and his dc lead privileged lives anyway, by any standard.
I really don't want to bore everybody with all the sordid details, but it seems to boil down to dh and dsc being "more equal", somehow being entitled to more of everything, regardless (time, money, food, entertainment...) and make a fuss about it too!
Now I don't see myself as a doormat (anymore) and will now scream blue murder (tactfully) when I see it happening. But if I don't complain
mightily the situation doesn't change. Or it changes for a bit and then dh/dsc will find a loophole and start demanding something else. It's not like they say, sorry, can't help being a pig so entitled, will try better next time, its really in their DNA and they seem puzzled at my lack of understanding!?!
Btw, I've got a great sense of humour and have cajoled them all into more considerate behaviour over the years (I dislike direct confrontation, but learned its often needed). Especially making good progress with dsc.
But it's tiring when you have to drag dh along instead of being able to rely on him as a fellow role model and team of two player .
Kaluki makes another good point that I didn't even think about - a united front is vital. DP and I don't undermine eachother in front of the DCs. If I don't agree with his dealing with something, I say so later when they aren't there. And vice versa. As far as the kids are concerned, we are a unit. My DCs have to listen to DP the same as they do to me, and his DCs have to listen to me as much as to him. If they don't then we back eachother up. Without that, I would imagine you're stuffed!!! We are the adults, and we are in charge. That sounds very military!!!
I also remind myself that our relationship is important too. After all, they will leave home in the not too distant future, and then we will be just a couple most of the time, with children who (hopefully) visit!!
You know, I often have thoughts like this. When it's going well, it feels great, but on the bad days it feels terrible! I don't think any relationship, with a DP, kids or step kids, is going to be 100% perfect. I think if it is, one of the people in the relationship is either lying or kidding themselves.
I sometimes have days when I feel I just have to walk away and detach, just for a while, just to breathe quietly on my own. So I might go for a half hour walk, or take a run, or lie on our bed for 10 minutes. Or I need to take my children off for a while. We still do things separately sometimes, including separate holidays occasionally. I think the key is to recognise when you feel that, and to understand when your partner feels that, and allow it to happen.
I count myself as fairly lucky in the step-parenting front. I have DSCs who are for the most part lovely, polite, intelligent, respectful children. I have DCs whom I hope DP feels the same about (I think he does!). We have no joint children. We have DSCs at least 50% of the time, and my DCs only a bit more - so in theory none of the DCs feel that this is primarily the other DCs' home and not theirs. None of them has ever expressed that to either of us anyway. We have strict rules about not using other DCs' stuff, or going into their rooms when they aren't there.
The thing I sometimes find difficult is leading a double life - with children and without. It goes from being noisy and busy to quiet and calm in the blink of an eyelid, and I often need half an hour to readjust!
I have also found that this hasn't been an easy road - it has taken several years for me to feel that our children have begun to settle into this family. By definition, they live in two different families, one with us, one with their other parent. I can only imagine that is difficult. In one house you are the eldest, in another the youngest, with different rules and pecking orders, and different parenting styles. I think the kids too sometimes walk a tightrope.
The one thing that I think makes the biggest difference is the attitude of the exes involved. We are lucky. Both my ex and DP's ex are supportive, and we are able to communicate so that we can co-parent rather than parallel parenting, or fighting and using the kids as pawns.
As for shared finances, we only share finances for our house. Other than that I am financially independent and so are both our exes. No arguments that way. We share costs of birthday presents etc for the DCs and DSCs, but we have equal numbers each so that's easy!
The key - it must be communication. Also holding on to memories of the good moments, and dealing with and then moving on from the bad.
I don't know if we ever have it all sussed tbh. As soon as one problem is sorted another one will pop up but I do honestly feel that after 4 years DP and I are finally on the same page. We have come to almost breaking up over the issues with his dc in the past but to his credit he has always been the one who has made huge efforts to change his Disney parenting and the results are that his kids have gone from spoilt brats to two lovely children.
Of course we still have problems and as all the kids approach their teens I am sure we will be pushed to our limits again and again but I think we have both learnt that if we are a united front then we can get past it.
All too often on these boards the problem is that one parent refuses to change and expects the step parent to compromise their own lives and their relationships with their own dc to accommodate the step children. which is totally wrong. All children have a place in a family and the adults have to take responsibility for teaching them that though they are all loved, they still have to follow rules and set boundaries.
Easier said than done though and I found that and Mumsnet helped a lot!!
Who is willing to share their success story of (second) marriage, step children, shared finances, etc?
I realize that those blissfully wed and, dare I say, happily raising step and/or own dc, may not be plentiful on this board...
But please, PLEASE!!!! If you have any advice on how you ended up at least remotely satisfied and calm (without substance abuse), share with the rest of us.
Am asking because after a tete a tete with dh last night, where I expressed a modicum of dissatisfaction, he asked if our relationship had to be 100% all the time? Not even sure what he meant, couldn't actually explain himself... Muttering something about needing time for himself (I'm actually quite independent, and not a human leech, btw).
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