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I love him but I don't love his kids

(232 Posts)
Dodo76 Fri 20-Dec-13 23:46:09

I realise I am going to get shot down for this but want to be as honest as possible and get some advice. I've been with DP for just over 2 years. We met just a few months after my marriage broke down (emotionally abusive relationship, ex had an affair and left us although now trying to come back) when my DSs were 3 and 1. They are now 5 and 3 and DP has 2 kids, DSD who is 10 and DSS who is 8 who he has 50% of the time. DP proposed a year ago and we are planning to marry this summer. We have been discussing wedding dates and, whilst I am completely in love with DP and we get on brilliantly, I am really balking at the idea of us all living together. As my house is 6 bed and DP has a 1 bed (his kids share a room and he sleep on the sofa the days they are with him), it's logical that they would move in with us. The idea just fills me with dread though. I work full time so pretty much all my income goes on mortgage and childcare. DP earns about 1/3 less than I do but his job is much more flexible with loads of time off during the week and holidays such that he is able to collect his kids from school on the 3 days a week he has them. DP lives with us the half of the week that he doesn't have his kids. but we usually have a sleep over once a week with all the kids plus we have been on holiday all together several times. I seem to end up paying for a lot more than DP. He is here half the week but does not contribute to food or any other costs which I am ok about most of the time on the basis that he isn't properly living here. I also seem to pick up a lot of the costs when we go on outings or for meals etc plus his children will often ask for money for things, which has made me a bit concerned that I am going to be absorbing his costs if we were to move in together which I honestly can't afford as I can only just afford the costs I have. Whilst I think we may be able to resolve the financial side of things, my real concern is how I feel about his kids. DP is amazing with my DSs, fun, kind, attentive, plays with them, reads to them etc etc. I can't fault him. I try hard with his kids but I can't seem to feel the same warmth and enthusiasm he feels for my kids and I am not sure I ever will. They are quite clingy and it's very clear a lot of the time that they want their dad for themselves, even in small ways when we sit down for dinner, they both insist that they have to sit next to him (either side) which I just find frustrating. I think it's partly because they have never used childcare that his DCs are used to having his full attention, being with him and don't want to share him which is understandable but I can't help feel irritated by it and wishing he wouldn't mollycoddle them. They seem to like me but I find the weekends they are here a real strain and that I only relax when it's my own children so how on earth can we all live together? If it was every other weekend then I could cope perfectly but 50% of the time is a huge amount of time and would be a massive change for everyone. I genuinely don't know what to do. Help!

Ninasaurus Fri 20-Dec-13 23:55:33

I think you will need to postpone the marriage+moving in together.

It would not be fair for him to change his custody arrangement because of his new arrangement, so you new to work around this.

Moving in would create more pressure and is highly likely to breed resentment in all parties.

If you love each other you can wait 6-8 years until his children are full grown.

stepmooster Sat 21-Dec-13 09:15:10

I think waiting 6-8 years is perhaps a bit drastic!

Your children are younger and will never know a time when your DP was not around. His children are older and will know a time before you came along.

Do not beat yourself up over not loving them as your DP loves yours.

You need to thrash out rules and stop any disney dad behaviour, spoiling children out of guilt.

The elder children are going to need time to adjust once you all move in together. My DSS and I took about 3 years to be truly comfortable with each other.

There is no harm waiting until you are ready. Do you talk about your fears and hopes with your DP? I found talking to my DH helps a lot, he listens and understands and sometimes thats all we need is to have a good heart to heart for things to improve.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Sat 21-Dec-13 09:29:39

It doesn't sound like your DP is likely to dump responsibility for his DC onto you, so that in itself is a plus. If you can iron out the financial stuff, that just leaves how you feel about his DC. Is he pressuring you to be more involved? Has he noticed how you feel? Have you spoken to him about this yet? He does sound like a good 'un tbh (money issues aside) and it would be a shame for all this to fall apart because you are struggling with your feelings towards his kids. Maybe some counselling would help? It might help if you are able to accept you don't need to love your DSC and can find a way to cope with/accept them with all their behaviour traits. If that's not achievable then I can't see how this'll work out. Ultimately you'd have to come to terms with things/resolved any issues before you both take the plunge and move in/get married. I also think you need to be honest with your DP about how you feel. It might well be a deal breaker for him, if he sees his DC as being something that causes any ill feeling. I don't think it's wrong not to love your DC but if their behaviour grates with you, and you can't relax when they are in your home, then it's really not a good idea to merge both families and creating a permanent set up that causes tension/resentment etc.

bakingaddict Sat 21-Dec-13 09:38:28

You don't need to love his kids just be consistent in your approach with them.

Discuss how you will merge household finances, who is expected to pay for what. Will he keep his property while he moves in with you?

Even before you get married why not establish a communal pot, both putting £200 a month or whatever figure is suitable for things like food, days out and treats so it isn't so one-sided.

Ask yourself is marriage really what you desire from this relationship, is it in yours and your children's best interests? If you have doubts about your current situation, it's going to be magnified a lot more when you are all blended as a family living under one roof. Personally, I would take a step back from marriage at the mo and work on sorting out your finances together but I hope you reach a decision that is right for everyone, you included

Littlefish Sat 21-Dec-13 09:48:38

You really cannot marry this man. You will spend 50% of your time feeling resentful and cross and they will feel hurt, rejected and miserable. This is not fair on anyone. His children will always be part of his life and if you don't like them now, when they don't even live with you, you absolutely must not proceed any further.

MrsSteptoe Sat 21-Dec-13 09:50:34

Ummm... are you sure you're not more worried than you're letting on about the financial side of things? You've written quite a few words on the subject just to write it off with "we'll sort out the financial side of things". Please understand, I'm not criticising for a second. I'm just concerned that you might feel uncomfortable admitting to concerns that you're going to end up financing the whole family when you feel his DCs aren't really part of the team. I'll be frank, I'm not good at being the major earner: I find it a hideous stress to be the partner who has to carry the ultimate financial responsibility for bills being paid, although I do slightly put it down to my DH being a bit obstinate about sticking to what he knows rather than just trying something different to bring in a bit more cash... but this thread isn't about me! Maybe I'm picking up on finances because I relate to that bit of your thread.
As for your DSCs, I was fortunate that I had a baby after getting together with my DH and my DSS and DS love each other so much that I'd forgive my DSS anything. And, happily, he's a nice kid. The first couple of years were tricky, though,b efore my DS came along - my DSS naturally enough came along at weekends pre-DS and thought he was at the centre of things. As indeed he was - he was six. It took a bit of time. I'm going to sit back and look at some other comments for a while, because I'm not sure I've got too much to say that's helpful... except I hope you get genuine constructive discussion here, because I think these things are difficult x

Ninasaurus Sat 21-Dec-13 10:05:57

I don't think 6-8 years is a very long time to wait. And that would be the maximum time to wait. Things could become more amicable between them all.

I know of several single/divorced parents who waited till their children were grown before remarrying etc.

His dc are heading towards puberty and already seem quite insecure. He and op have only been seeing each other 2 years. What's the harm in waiting awhile and taking things slowly. Spend time together without his dc. Maybe plan some joint holidays with his dc to get to know then better. Much better to take things slowly then to ruin things by rushing into it without these issues explored and hopefully resolved.

Loveineveryspoonful Sat 21-Dec-13 13:57:04

Agree with above posters who recommend separate housing until dsc have grown up.
Dodo, although our collective kids were preteens when dh and I met our situations are similar.
Dh and ds hit it off immediately and when dh wasn't being manipulated by exw (you're spending more time with that woman and her son than your own kids etc) they'd enjoy throwing a ball around, xbox etc.
When dsc were around they'd cling to their dad as if their lives depended on it. I tried being friendly, cajoling, a "fun" mum to my own ds... No response, dad was the centre of the universe, I was an interloper (in my own home).
We all moved into a new house because dh thought his kids would always feel awkward in my (spacious) flat. But nothing has changed. If anything, pandering to their insecurities (for lack of a better word, although I'd say possessiveness fits the bill better) has made things worse.
It's been 4 years and dsc have never wanted for anything. I would say dh is definitely not a Disney dad anymore and goes to great pains (for himself) to be reasonable and warm and kind all round.
His kids won't have any of that though, they see themselves as centre of his universe, for better or for worse. Dss lives with us 50:50, dsd eow.
I'm just glad ds has grown for having siblings (from only child to middle child), We both enjoy our kiddie free weekends as a couple and are making the best of it (yes, dh is fully aware of his kids attitude, we don't dwell on it anymore and obviously have no control over what their mum puts in their heads).
If you want to know if your dp loves you for who you are and does not see you as someone who can offer his dc a better life "on his watch" then let things stand as they are. You will be happier in the long run, and your dc will not have to see him giving preferential treatment to his clingy kids (just my experience).

Dodo76 Sat 21-Dec-13 15:16:30

Loveineveryspoonful, you've really touched upon the keys issues. In my limited experience, his DCs seem far far more clingy/possessive than other kids that age. I used to think it was the situation causing that but now think it's more because they have never been used to childcare/babysitters etc and are used to having him to themselves. He is a very lovely but very intense personality (he is like it with me and my DCs as well) and I think his kids as used to that level of attention. As someone else has pointed out, I also so have concerns on the financial side that I would be essentially funding a massive "upgrade" in their lifestyle. I definitely pay for most it not all costs which also leaves me feeling like I am being taken advantage of. We also have different rules about manners etc, for example, they came to stay last weekend, and I bought loads of yummy food for them, bought a dvd and paid for us all to go ice-skating but didn't even get a thank you when they left which I would absolutely expect. It feels like they turn up on Friday empty handed, I feed and water them whilst they cling to their dad and then they leave so I kind of wonder what's the point. It's always me running home from work with bags of shopping even though he collects them at 3.30 so would have plenty of time to go shopping. They do get on really well with my kids and used to play a lot although are starting to less now that the "honeymoon" period is over so there is much more bickering and DSD 10 just wants to hang out with her dad. I think the house would also cause issues as, however generous and open-minded I try to be, I worry it will always feel like my house. I have fought really hard to keep the house as part of my divorce as it meant stability for my DSs and just don't feel like sharing my house with 2 more children. I worry we would be 2 families living under one roof, with me paying for it! We have also had a few issues over the bedrooms and who would sleep where. I have just had a loft conversion, again at my sole expense, so we have enough rooms but one room is a smaller than the others, though still a double, and DP has made it clear he isn't happy that one of his DCs will have to have that room but there is no way I am moving my children from their rooms given that they are here 100% of the time. DP has also said he is not happy that I plan to send my DCs to private school for secondary as he cannot afford to send his DCs. I have tried to say that I think we need to agree what costs should be shared, e.g. mortgage, bills, food (on which I think we would pay 60/40, with me paying 60%) and which should be excluded and agreed with the other parent. The way I see it is that if me and the boys' dad agree that we want to send DCs to a private school and that we can afford it and affording it does not meant that I reduce my payment into the household pot with DP then that should be fine. DP seems to think that ALL my income would go into the household pot which I just don't think is fair AT ALL! Help!

Bonsoir Sat 21-Dec-13 15:29:08

Don't do it. There is much more in it for him than for you - you will feel constantly cross and resentful.

Gunznroses Sat 21-Dec-13 15:40:53

The finance issue is a red alert not to go any further with this, apply your brakes immediately. Forget about love and other sentimentalities because it won't last once anger and resentment sets in. He is already dictating to you about many things that really are not his place to dictate, rooms, schooling for your children etc don't be taken for a fool.

Like another poster said, there's seems a lot more in this partnership for him than for you.

CaterpillarCara Sat 21-Dec-13 15:52:28

Why wouldn't one of his children go in the slightly smaller room? Who does he think should?

bakingaddict Sat 21-Dec-13 16:15:50

He wants all your income in the pot to dictate which room his kids get to sleep in and doesnt want your kids to go to private school. I didnt want to be harsh before and say you were a meal ticket to him but I really think you need to consider what he is bringing to this relationship. Agree with Gunsz dont be taken for a fool

sandiy Sat 21-Dec-13 16:38:26

Wow just wow.I genuinly cannot see any advantages for you and your children.Usually I'm all for being fair a equal with children.But in this case your children are going to be expected to make massive sacrifices to facilitate your new partner and his children.
Red flags for me is that before you are even married he is dictating yours and your children's lives and on the subject of your children's education.what about what their father wants for his children will that need to be sidelined to facilitate your relationship.
I'm sorry to say that you are a meal ticket.If he loves you and wants to be with you he needs to make significantly more effort.Im afraid this is not about how you feel about the children I think it's about subconsciously knowing something's wrong.

Ninasaurus Sat 21-Dec-13 21:12:10

Oh my goodness! shock he is being rediculous about the bedrooms and private schooling.

Put the marriage and moving in on hold for a year and then reassess. It is too early and you are not ready to do this.

Guitargirl Sat 21-Dec-13 21:19:33

Massive massive red flags. It's your DP who is the problem, not his children. Please don't let this man try to dictate where your children should sleep and how they should be educated. Feeling angry on your behalf.

newlifeforme Sat 21-Dec-13 21:51:53

I think you are rushing this, too many issues which you need to resolve before marriage.

The marriage will change the situation - and I can't see how you would benefit from it.Too many red flags, you have different parenting and you have different financial outlooks.These are major relationship areas, when the honeymoon period wears off, which it will when you are living together what are you left with?

I am a steomum and have struggled with these issues, I wish I had been more cautious as it's difficult to extricate from a situation once you have financial ties.I assume he would pay you rent only and not be entitled to a share? My husband changed once we married so please ensure you are protected financially.

eslteacher Sat 21-Dec-13 23:56:43

I think the fact that you dont WANT to share your home with his children, combined with the fact that you are unhappy about contributing so much more than him financially, will add up to horrible festering resentfulness that will eat you up. If it was just the financial stuff but you were optimistic about blending your families, OR the financials were fine but you were doubtful about the family side, I'd be more inclined to think you and your DP could work it out together with compromise and compassion. But the two combined....urgh. I think one issue will exacerbate the other in terms of how you view the overall situation. And your DP doesn't seem like a man who has shown himself to be open to compromise, from what you have said. Tread very very carefully.

newlifeforme Sun 22-Dec-13 11:40:09

I think you are rushing this, too many issues which you need to resolve before marriage.

The marriage will change the situation - and I can't see how you would benefit from it.Too many red flags, you have different parenting and you have different financial outlooks.These are major relationship areas, when the honeymoon period wears off, which it will when you are living together what are you left with?

I am a stepmum and have struggled with these issues, I wish I had been more cautious as it's difficult to extricate from a situation once you have financial ties.I realised too late that my stepchild's difficult behaviour is a result of my husband's parenting and therefore isn't going to change unless he does, which he won't as he doesn't see the problem.

I assume he would pay you rent only and not be entitled to a share? My husband changed once we married so please ensure you are protected financially.

Lasvegas Sun 22-Dec-13 19:54:23

If u can afford to do so stay in a separate house as u are now. Keep up the relationship just don't live together. I wish I had known this before I sold my place and I was the one earning less. But sharing a house with other peoples kids who don't say thanks is not great.

GiveItYourBestStockings Mon 23-Dec-13 06:22:53

fshock at him saying the room you have built and paid for isn't good enough for his children.

What do you think would happen if you stopped paying for everything?

cappy123 Mon 23-Dec-13 19:58:33

Agree with guitargirl. No point picking out what you expect from the kids' behaviour, what about their dad?

Also my motto: if in doubt, don't. You both have serious financial reservations. Eyes. Wide. Open.

Or - if you do give it a lot more time and still then decide you want to move in together later on, could you consider selling up and getting somewhere new - a fresh start together? With both of you financially responsible.

IThinkThat Tue 24-Dec-13 00:26:00

It sounds like it would be a disaster sad.

I would carry on dating for the foreseeable future. I would also make sure that you discuss finances. I don't understand why you have ended up paying for things. confused

Mellowandfruitful Tue 24-Dec-13 00:46:15

Agree that continuing to date for the moment is the best tack. Don't rush into anything including marrying or moving in together. Start thinking about introducing small things that you would like him to do differently to even up the balance a bit, such as getting (and paying for) the shopping on a Friday after school pickup instead of you doing it. Then you can monitor how he does with those things and think carefully about going further with merging the two families, before you commit to anything it will be difficult to reverse.

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