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LillyL Sun 08-Dec-13 06:25:55

Hi there! I've known about mumsnet for a while but never thought I'd sign up here - my children are both adults in their 20's!

My marriage ended a few years ago and I am now in a relationship with a guy who is a little older than me but due to marrying a younger partner at a later age than most, he is dad to two boys aged 8 and 11. What makes the situation slightly different is that his ex wife is French and the boys live with her in France (where we also have our home, a huge change in my own life as I speak very little French but trying to learn!).

We spend a great deal of time travelling due to work, and also visit family in UK but head back to France wherever possible - when we do, the boys virtually live with us until we have to leave. Given my sons are adult, becoming step-mum to small boys has been quite a shock in some respects, although both boys are very lovely, extremely polite and luckily bilingual due to having an English dad.

The main problem I am trying to overcome at the moment is not so much with the children but with the contact between my partner and his ex. I was married for over 25 years, split because the marriage was no longer good for either of us and the feelings between myself and my xH are not good. In fact my xH moved in with my oldest friend within 6 weeks of our marriage ending so I am sure that he was cheating in the last year of our marriage which adds to the my insecurities. My partner and his ex were together for 10 years, she cheated on him for most of their marriage yet they have very amicable contact between them which I rather stupidly feel threatened by on occasion and find myself becoming jealous about. I fully understand that because there is no formal or legal agreement between them regarding childcare that my partner fears she will restrict his contact should there be problems between them - due to the unusual nature of my partner's job and the fact he works freelance he can often spend weeks on the other side of the world and she willingly hands the boys' care to him when he returns.

If I allow this to continue I know that it may have a knock-on effect on the way I am with the boys. I love my partner and the boys have become a part of my life and I love them very much. Any tips or pointers regarding online resources that may help me work through my own stupid insecurities?

SatinSandals Sun 08-Dec-13 07:13:47

When you say 'allow it to continue' , can you actually stop it?
I can't see why you would want to, it sounds ideal to me.
I would say that at least you recognise that they are your insecurities which is a start. I will bump up and perhaps someone will have an answer.

louby44 Sun 08-Dec-13 09:02:00

I think if you love your DP then you have to accept that this is his life- for now!

It sounds very adventurous (I know it probably isn't).

Welcome to the board!

eslteacher Sun 08-Dec-13 12:14:28

Welcome! Incidentally I am also a British stepmum living in France with a French DSS. The language aspect definitely puts an even more challenging spin onbuilding a hogood relationship with DSC, but I also won a lit of points for the novelty value of my awful French accent...

My DP also gets on very well with his ex. I urge you not to stop this. Have you met your DPs ex yet? I felt jealous of DSS's mum and a bit uncomfortable about continued friendship between her and DP until I actually met her. She could not have been nicer to me, and now we get on really well. I see the huge benefits for all of us that she and DP are on friendly terms - read some threads on this board about how difficult ex wives can make your and DPs life if they choose to be obstructive, and I think you'll feel you've got the better deal!

eslteacher Sun 08-Dec-13 12:14:57

Sorry for awful typos, on phone.

Mumallthetime Sun 08-Dec-13 16:44:18

I didn't read the OP to mean she wants to stop her DSC parents getting along - more that unless she comes to terms with it, her relationship with her DP and her DSC will suffer.

LillyL Mon 09-Dec-13 09:03:37

Hello all! Thank you for taking the time to respond and thanks too for the welcome! smile

I just read my initial post and realised that I wasn't entirely clear about things! Oops - I was up at 4am...I'll blame it on being very tired!

Mumallthetime was 100% right - I want to find a way of dealing with my silly insecurities and letting the amicable relationship between my partner and his ex continue as I do know that's best all round. Sorry, not really up to date with the abbreviations yet! I know if I continue to sit there getting stressed because they're having contact about whether the boys have a tennis lesson during school holidays, it will have a detrimental effect on all my relationships - with the boys and my
partner! I just need to work out a way of dealing with my own emotions!

Hi there riverboat - so great to meet someone who is in a similar situation to me with regard to language barriers etc! Which area of France do you live in? Maybe I should ask for some tips about settling into a whole new way of life! smile

I have met my partner's ex wife on a few occasions. She is very aloof with me but have been told that she was like that with my partner's parents. I have very poor French and she speaks very good English so she could chat with me...maybe I'm the one giving off bad vibes without realising I'm doing it.

I do feel slightly 'dull' when in her company - she is much younger than me, taller, she is very fit and toned...I am a grandmother with wobbly bits...!!! I don't usually feel dull _ do look after myself...I think the age difference makes me look at myself differently!!!

I really do appreciate the feed back so far. Thanks everyone!

moominface Mon 09-Dec-13 11:10:03

Hiya -- as a fellow step parent I think you've got a good situation here (ie it could be a lot worse!).

I think the problem is you being in france away from friends and family. If you were closer to home you would have more going on and people to have a drink/glass of wine with... I think you feel like you're on their territory.

Could you keep a flat in the UK and go between the two? I would feel very vulnerable joining someone else's life like you have, not paretic. the ex issue.

purpleroses Mon 09-Dec-13 11:17:42

I think it is just hard to see your DP with his ex and DCs all getting along at first, and quite normal to feel a bit on the outside of things. I've found it a bit easier over time, and have just recently (3.5 years into the relationship and now engaged) actually sat down and met DP's ex properly, which has helped I think. She's been very aloof with me previously.

Sounds like your DP has managed to separate his view of his ex as a bad partner, from knowing that she's a good mum to their DSs.

One thing that helps I think is to do what you can to strengthen the sense of being a family with your DP and DSSs - that's not in any way to undermine their mum's relationship with them, but if you do things together as a family, then you start to feel like there is a unit you belong in rather than being an outsider. If your DP is contacting his ex on a really frequent basis about every detail of their DS's lives you might also ask him nicely if he could be a bit more formal about it - eg more communication by email, or set up a regular catch up time when you can arrange to be out the way (if you want) so it doesn't intrude so much in your household.

LillyL Mon 09-Dec-13 23:03:56

Thanks for all the posts today. Really feels good to finally speak to people who are in the step parent situation - I don't know anyone who is in the same situation as me.

I think you're right with regard to feeling like I'm on their home turf as it were. I still have my home in the UK although it's up for sale - we do use it fairly regularly though.

We're spending Christmas in France with the step children so I guess that will be an added opportunity to shut away my insecurities!

Great advice from all - huge thanks!!!x

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