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Advice needed re my situation-on the verge of separating

(16 Posts)
Mynabrid Mon 10-Feb-14 14:18:57

I know there are similar posts on here but I'm feeling really low and just thought I'd see if I could get any helpful advice on my situation, sorry if it goes on a bit...

Dh and I have been together for 6 years and married last year after having 2 children, aged nearly 3 and 18 months. He was married before and has a daughter, aged 12 from his pervious marriage. I sold my home and moved in with him four years ago and had to move to a fairly isolated community (an island) as his daughter and ex live here.

We have been having problems for some time, primarily around my feelings that he prioritises his daughter above all else and the continuous stress placed on the situation by his ex. He is a loving, hands-on father but I am so worn down by all the problems caused by his ex and by his failure to protect me from them or prioritise me and our children.

I don't want to bore anyone with the finer details but as a summary, I had two miscarriages before my first child and his daughter was there when I had the second one. He was loving and there during the first but during the second, he sat in the next room playing with his daughter and left me on my own for the whole day, not even popping his head round the door to see if I needed anything.

When our first child was born, we had major disagreements about my desire to have his undivided attention the weekend following the birth as his daughter was supposed to be with us. Following the birth (which was unexpectedly a bit early and I had a c section) he decided to have his daughter for the weekend anyway and was off with her when my baby started to have some complications in the evening at 2 days old while we were still in hospital. I texted him and all I got was a text message, no call, no I'll come right over, nothing.

I have fully supported him through all the crappy times when his ex was denying him contact and poisoning his daughter against him, dragging him through courts to reduce his contact (throughout my first pregnancy, which made this a really unhappy and stressful time for me). I have endured verbal abuse from his ex and his daughter,some of this in front if my children. Although she is a nice kid most of the time, she is pretty spoilt and lazy and we got to the point that she would react so badly to being chastised by me, I had to go to Dh every time there was an issue, so he could raise it. We have had to put up with his ex, after stressful court proceedings to reduce contact, expecting us to have his daughter for extra weekends because she has plans. Each time this has happened she repeatedly turned up late to collect her, frequently disrupting our plans and all without a word of thanks and he refused to speak to her about it. Just as he failed to intervene when she came to our home shouting at me and failed to say anything to her when she hurled abuse at me in the street outside my place of work a few months ago.

I have tried to talk to Dh and although I do love him, I am tired of having my needs and feelings conveniently ignored and as a result have built up a huge amount of resentment towards him. I have tried to make it clear that the situation is wearing me down and becoming intolerable. I am having counselling, sparked by this, but also for my own childhood issues, and we have been going to relate for a few months. I have got to the point where, through his refusal to rock the boat with his ex, as she is so nasty and vindictive, and his refusal to change anything significant, like moving to put a bit if distance between us and them (he currently has his daughter alternate weekends so this would not pose a huge problem) and not being heard or listened to, I am extremely low and probably about to start anti-depressants. I am also left feeling as though he is more concerned about keeping his ex content than me and appears not to care that it is having such a detrimental affect on our relationship and family life and is leading us to possible separation. The difficulties in our relationship are starting to affect our oldest child as he has witnessed shouting arguments and upset and he has acted out because if this few times recently. This breaks my heart and I cannot bear to put my children through this.

I have also got to the point where I hate my stepdaughter, although I am able to appreciate this is not her fault, I am sick of everything in my and my children's life having to revolve around her and constantly having even my most basic and simple needs, like having his undivided time and attention immediately following the birth of our children, come second to his desire to not make her feel left out. I have got the the point where, after being shouted and sworn at a few weeks ago, I have largely ignored her when she is here, despite him making her apologise. I know I am behaving horribly to her but right now I cannot force myself to be any other way and the fact that I can be like this makes me feel even worse about myself. I have reached the point where natural things like her having a key to our home have become unacceptable to me as I am filled with dread at the thought of her being able to let herself in unannounced. This has become a bigger issue recently as she is about to start at a school within walking distance from our home whereas she lives and currently attends school in a town half an hour's drive away.

In our last couples session, I said I don't care how she felt anymore and even though I'm sure DH is aware that I feel like this due to similar recent discussions, he took great exception to this and has not spoken to me since. I used to have a really good relationship with her and always kept her out of the difficulties between her parents (although her mother always involved her)

I have been thinking about leaving as my mental health and happiness has deteriorated so much in the past year and I feel so trapped and unhappy in this situation. So many other things have happened, which in my mind, continually places her needs above mine, my children's and our ability to have a happy family life. I have few support networks here and feel very isolated and alone. I recently gave up work and do a little part time casual work from home which is probably time limited. I have nowhere to go and am frightened about surviving financially on my own as the house is in his name and we have only been married just under a year so I know there is a limited to how much financial support I can expect. I am also very worried that he will try to stop me moving off this island through the courts even though he knows I have always hated living here. I feel as though I will lose my mind if we split up and I am forced to stay. Any advice / support from anyone in a similar situation, now or in the past, would be gratefully received.

Snoozybird Mon 10-Feb-14 14:35:24

Sorry you've had such a tough time. I have an amazing DH but despite this we're on the verge of splitting up as I find being a SM so hard, there's no way I could tolerate living with a DH as unsupportive as yours.

Is the island in which you live in the UK? If so then any seamless cohabitation counts towards the length of your marriage therefore it's legally not as short as you would believe. You can register an interest in the marital home and the fact you have your own children together also increases his obligations towards you. Do you work? How is the childcare currently split between you?

KringleCandleLover Mon 10-Feb-14 16:24:56

What a sad situation.

I'm in the same boat as Snoozybird and its awful.

It must be horrible being in that position, on an island,which I'm assuming is small enough to feel you have nowhere to hide.

No advice but plenty of sympathy and handholding x

Mynabrid Mon 10-Feb-14 16:37:36

Thanks snoozybird and Kringlecandlelover. It's so lovely (and has brought a tear to eye) just to get some sympathy. I'm just feeling so desperate and demonised at the moment. Ironically, I think dh's silence may be an attempt to get me to understand how his daughter feels. He just can't see that I've been feeling ignored and not listened to for a very long time. The island is in the uk, yes. We have been living together for four years. Will this count as part of the "marriage"? I really hope it doesn't come to that but I'm trying to be realistic and prepared. Thanks again for your support. It means a lot x x

Mynabrid Mon 10-Feb-14 16:46:36

Hi, sorry, forgot to answer, I'm only working on a part time, temporary basis in my old job until they fill it, then I will be at home full time with the kids. He is only around evenings and weekends although also is on call sometimes. I can't believe I have up a perfectly lovely house and job for this :-(

Snoozybird Mon 10-Feb-14 17:10:54

Don't feel demonised Mynabird, it's an awful situation to be in and you only have to look at the number of the threads on here from SMs who say they feel the same sorts of resentment to know you are not alone.

Just realised that when I said UK regarding marriage/divorce I was thinking of England & Wales, you might of course be part of Scotland which has its own laws in that respect. I will PM you regarding that so you don't have to out yourself as to where you reside.

Apologies for focusing more on the separation aspect of your post rather than working things out so you stay with your DH, but I get the feeling fom your post that too much bad behaviour is entrenched in your DH's attitude towards you, I'm really not sure how you could address it. Hopefully someone else will post some more practical advice for you x

mumandboys123 Mon 10-Feb-14 18:21:46

I appreciate you're looking for sympathy and it therefore isn't my intention to offend (but I probably will!).

Your use of 'my baby' speaks very loudly to me. Your child isn't just yours, is she? She has another, equal parent. You seem to be setting yourself up in competition against the ex with 'my child, her child'. If your partner is a half decent father, he will love both his children equally and will have more than sufficient love for both of them. There is no competition, is there? You seem to be asking him to favour you and your child rather than his ex and her child rather than seeking some kind of middle ground where he is able to care equally for his children (and give a difficult ex some leeway so he doesn't have problems with contact).

I am afraid you are the adult and after a child has apologised after upsettig you, there is no choice but to pretend it never happened and get on with it. You shouldn't be holding grudges against 12 year olds who don't have the same emotional maturity as you to fully understand the potential consequences of their actions and words. It feels very petty to not even attempt a basic level of politeness whilst she is in your home (her father's home) so what is it you want from your partner? that he ignores his child too? that he punishes her by not allowing her into your home? what kind of father would that make him? is that the kind of father you want for your child? if you now spilt up, do you think it acceptable your child goes into his home and is ignored by a new partner?

You say he is continually placing his daughther's needs above yours. Isn't this what most parents do? Don't we put our children first by going without or making sacrifices or sometimes just doing stuff we'd rather not do because the needs of the children do come first, whether we like it or not? Are you putting him in an impossible situation - you do seem to be asking him to choose between you and his child. Is that acceptable? what does he do now if you split up - bow to the demands of a new partner over his children's needs?

I am sorry if I hurt you. I can sense your distress and it is clear that there is a lot more to it than you might have said. The above are my thoughts on reading your post so ignore me if it doesn't help! I hope you are able to work things out xxx

humptydidit Mon 10-Feb-14 23:30:08

mynabird have pm'd you

ElenorRigby Tue 11-Feb-14 10:35:29

I'm so sorry Myna that you're going through such an awful time.

Your H has treated you very very badly. I'm surprised your still with him tbh. He is not going to change.

Your responsibility is to your little ones, you have to look after yourself so you can look after them.

I think you need to take legal advice and look to cut your losses.

You can move within jurisdiction with your DC's btw. If for example you lived on a Scottish Island you can live anywhere within Scotland. He could not stop you from moving away from the island but you could not leave the country without his say.

Hope that helps. thanks

Xalla Tue 11-Feb-14 11:56:15

mynabird - have pm'd you too!

ZenNudist Tue 11-Feb-14 12:23:19

Is the situation with your dh irretrievable? I can't offer advice about a split but reading your post or looks as if you need to be a bit more flexible to your dh's and his daughters needs.

You seem to have lost sight of the fact that your dc are not first dc in your blended family. When you have other children then attention gets divided, that's life. Don't make a big deal of not getting enough attention around the births. It happened to me recently but it's much easier to put up with when your dh is off caring for another child of yours rather than a step child.

Does he share all parenting equally or just deal with his dd? You may have legitimate cause for concern if he shirks responsibly for younger dc by dealing with his daughter (older child easier in many ways).

I don't think you're helping yourself showing so much resentment of a 12yo. What does your counselor say?

newlifeforme Tue 11-Feb-14 13:56:08

I can relate to your post and understand how you must be feeling and I think it's very common.I guess that your husband has felt he has had to fight to see his daughter so in his eyes the time he spends with her is very precious.He may also be feeling insecure in their relationship so puts extra time into it.
My husband let me down quite signifantly around my miscarriages and I held onto a lot of resentment, which leads to a downward spiral in the relationship.I wished my husband had been able to talk to me about his daughter but he really struggles with expressing emotion.He was also not able to fully apologise which added to the issues.

Please don't blame your step daughter she is only responding to the adults and you could be such a positive influence for her.From my experience of girls, 12 years is the peak of difficult times and it does slowly get better.My dsd is now 16 and she has improved so much, she counts me as someone who she can talk to and we have a close relationship although I do not feel I love her in the same way as I do my children.

I think you are completely drained, you have had to give so much and now your emotional tank is empty which is why you feel you can't 'care' anymore about your stepdaughter.Your husband only hears you don't like his daughter and you are making him choose.

First thing I would do is to focus on yourself, work out what you need to restore some energy levels.If you have been the type of person who always gives your husband will need to adjust to this.My husband felt he had met and married someone who would always cope.I was the strong one however in a similar situation to you (difficult ex, court for contact, miscarriages, moving area etc) I was pushed to my limit, which seems to be happening to you.

I now ensure I get more balance in my life doing things that I enjoy even if its slightly selfish.I also ensure I detach from dsd (& ex) when it is becoming too much.I wish I could say its perfect but it isn't however I have learned to accept the things I cannot change and just focus on the positives for me and my children.

Good luck, being a step mum is so tough and as you have small children you must also be exhausted.

Mynabrid Tue 11-Feb-14 16:36:59

Thank you newlifeforme, it is so lovely to read your words of support and understanding. So welcome after the slightly more ignorant responses reminding me that I am the adult and need to get over my feelings. I appreciate my feelings aren't entirely reasonable, feelings, by their nature are not! If they were, we would all be able to do the "right" think all the time and there would be no need for online support discussions like this. I have never underestimated the importance of a child having a close and loving relationship with both parents, partly because of my profession and partly as I have children myself and understand that when you have them, they become more important than anyone else in your life. But, in order to parent effectively, compromises have to be made on both sides, particularly when there are step children involved. When the more important ones are only made by one side, resentment builds and you have a big problem. I really hope things get easier for you too, it gives me a little hope to know they have for you already. You're right, a little bit of me time and space might help. I didn't feel able to take this until recently as Dh was so keen for us to do everything together as a family and I was made to feel I had to be here when she was!

ElenorRigby Tue 11-Feb-14 17:59:23

Well done Myna for coming back to your thread.
I hope you get more good advice from other steps who have walked in similar shoes. smile

Mumandboys giving the OP a good kicking when she is clearly very vulnerable and then sugar coating it with disingenuous xxx's was pretty low.

Ledkr Tue 11-Feb-14 18:20:38

I'm not going to offer advice as I'm not in that situation but I do have a 12 yr old who often gives my dh a hard time (her sd) and also her dad and his dp have 2 younger ones so I kind of get it.
All I kept thinking though is that when you have little ones its hard to remember but 12 is still very young.
My dd can still be quite insecure and need lots of love and attention, they are also quite hormonal too at that age.
Try to imagine your own two at the sane age, they will still be your babies and you will always put them first.
Maybe that would give you some insight into why your dp behaves as he does.
Sorry if that's no help but best of luck.

Snoozybird Tue 11-Feb-14 19:38:41

Mynabrid Tue 11-Feb-14 16:36:59 But, in order to parent effectively, compromises have to be made on both sides, particularly when there are step children involved. When the more important ones are only made by one side, resentment builds and you have a big problem.

^ ^ For me this is spot on ^^

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