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Does your OH exclude you from his life with his kids?

(39 Posts)
jacketspudntuna Mon 24-Mar-14 13:32:04

Just posted in AIBU but here might be better.

Basically DH has his kids every weekend. Saturday he took them to a football match, saturday night they watched movies together and Sunday I was at work all day. So he pretty much had the weekend to himself with them (I'm trying to point out here that I'm not always in their faces!).

During work yesterday he text me asking how work was going, what was I upto etc. I text back saying work was fine, a few other details and asked what he and the kids were upto. He replied saying "just housework and then I'm taking them home and going to tip on the way back."

Last night, still nothing knew he thought to tell me about his day.

Today a message popped up on the ipad from his ds saying what a great driving lesson he'd had with him yesterday and he'd really enjoyed their drive out. DH replies "me too, you made me really proud, you're picking it up so quickly! really enjoyed it!".

Why would you not think to mention this when I asked about their day??? he does this all the time. Wants to know the ins and outs of my kids lives yet deliberately fails to include me in theirs. A week ago he accussed me of "ear wigging on a private conversation" because I overheard him mentioning activities for the following day and wondered if we were going somewhere nice!! How rude for a grown woman to be accussed of ear wigging in her own home!! There are plenty of times I've been talking to my son and DH has asked "what was that about?".

It's so one sided. The way he deliberately tries to exclude me from their little family is actually making me resentful.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Mon 24-Mar-14 13:45:26

what did you do while they were watching movies Saturday night

jacketspudntuna Mon 24-Mar-14 13:46:39

Went upstairs on my laptop.

purpleroses Mon 24-Mar-14 13:47:10

How strange.

My DP does do things with his DCs without me sometimes, but I can't imagine him deliberately not telling me about it. Does your DP think you'll disaprove of some of the things he does maybe?

Petal02 Mon 24-Mar-14 13:49:21

I hope you don't get too flamed on AIBU, they're not exactly step-mother-friendly over there .......

jacketspudntuna Mon 24-Mar-14 13:50:04

No because I encourage it. Previous weekends I have even asked if he'd like me to use his car for work so he could take DSS for a driving lesson in my car which he prefers.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Mon 24-Mar-14 13:50:32

were you actually told you couldn't be included in the football and movie watching on Saturday? Maybe he just forgot to mention the driving lesson.

Petal02 Mon 24-Mar-14 13:54:55

My DH used to be a bit like that - to be fair I don't think he ever excluded me on purpose, but his relationship with DSS was so intense that unless you were part of the twosome you tended to get sidelined.

jacketspudntuna Mon 24-Mar-14 13:59:44

Yes I couldn't go to football as they're on season passes and I don't have one and the movie was a movie I just couldn't sit through so I chose not to be involved.

It's not actually been included in the activities that bother me, it's the privacy and secrecy. He mentioned popping to tip yet never thought to mention an amazing time doing driving lessons when I've previously shown great interest in the whole thing even offering the use of my car?

Also, being accussed of ear wigging because their conversations are "private" yet he wants to know the ins and outs of every conversation I have with my kids?. If this is family life I'd rather be single.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Mon 24-Mar-14 14:19:31

Yes I think I understand. It's almost as though he is deliberately excluding you and keeping things from you and enjoying it. Is that how you see it? It's not a nice thing to do.

You don't need a season ticket to go to the football with them do you? You can buy individual ones.

catsmother Mon 24-Mar-14 14:58:58

Leaving aside the step aspect for a moment his attitude is bloody rude. The way you've written it all you're doing is showing a friendly interest in what your other half is up to - which is pretty damn normal and indeed, many people would feel offended if their OH didn't enquire about their day.

I saw your other thread where you went into more detail and the earwigging accusation is completely out of order - it's not as if you deliberately followed him to eavesdrop, and, in any case, seeing as you couldn't help what you heard, you had every right to ask about the following days plans.

It comes across to me as if he sees him and his kids as one unit, and you as another - like "they" are none of your business.

Going back to the step thing .... sometimes as Petal says, non-resident parent/child relationships can seem a bit intense and you can feel a bit left out, but mostly I think that's because if they don't see each other on a very frequent basis there's lots to catch up on (and personally, I'm quite happy to leave them to it). There's a world of difference though being prepared to give your partner and his kid(s) one to one time, and that partner deliberately cutting you out. And certainly no excuse for snapping and sniping.

Have you any idea why he seems so hostile ? I agree it must seem as if you're second rate compared to the rest of them. Has there been any history of any sort between you and the kids ?? .... does he think (stupidly) that he's somehow "protecting" them from you or does he feel he has to demonstrate to them (again stupidly) that they're "first" and not you ? I really don't get where he's coming from unless he's intrinsically a very boorish, ill mannered and selfish person ....

Have you confronted him about this - as in how dare you be so rude to me when I'm making normal conversation ? And asked him why he's such a hypocrite - wanting to know the ins and outs of all you do yet baulking when you ask something of him. In fact, in comes across to me as quite controlling - he wants to do what he wants without any discussion (even after the event), let alone any prior consultation it seems - but wants to know all about you .... maybe so he can pass comment or judgement ??

You know he's being secretive already but is there an aspect to his relationship with his kids that he knows you wouldn't approve of .... I dunno, maybe he's spending more than you (as a couple) can afford on activities with them or something ? Still doesn't excuse being treated as a nonentity - think you really need to pin him down and demand what the heck he thinks he's playing at .

Russianfudge Tue 25-Mar-14 07:59:22

I agree your DH is being weird but just going back to what you say about how you "encourage it" I wonder if in some way through trying to do the right thing and be all totally cool about them doing things without you, you've given him the message that you don't want to be involved?

Just a thought. Have you told him you want to be more involved? Could you book something for all of you to do together?

I really feel for you. I went through this with dsd and dh... Lots of cozy little daddy daughter dates that would extend to entire weekends and when he got back he wouldn't give any details about what they'd done. He'd never tell me how long he'd be out for it even really where they were going, and he never had any money to do anything with me because it had all been spent on their trips out. It was awful, I felt like he was having an affair!

We had counselling in the end and things are totally different now.

Petal02 Tue 25-Mar-14 10:22:13

It was awful, it was like he was having an affair

I can totally identify with this. Although obviously common sense told me that DH was NOT having an affair with his teenage son, some of the DH's behaviour was similar to my previous husband's, and he WAS having an affair. The covert meetings, the vagueness over details etc etc - it used to drive me up the wall. And when something "goes underground" it makes you suspicious; if it's all innocent and above board, then why the need to lie, mislead, cover it up? DH went through a phase of disappearing very early in the mornings (and whilst it was the wrong time of day, one would assume, for clandestine meetings with another woman, it still seemed very odd). However a guy he worked with, told me that he used to head off to DSS's village, to try and catch a few minutes with him at the bus stop before the school bus arrived.

Now not only is that rather 'intense' behaviour, but why the need to be untruthful? Probably (to answer my own question) because DH knew darn fine it was all rather Romeo and Juliet instead of father and son, and that I would challenge him over it.

But the dynamics in these situations are very weird indeed.

LineRunner Tue 25-Mar-14 10:47:44

When my OH and his wife split up way back when, she left all the DCs with him.

So when I met him and started to visit their home, I walked into a tight, us-against-the-world family unit.

I did feel quite awkward at first, but it is OH who has made massive efforts for all of us to feel more comfortable. And it has worked. Somehow he puts all of us first.

My point is that your DP is the one who can and must make the effort to make things better. So tell him that.

theredchicken Tue 25-Mar-14 11:11:40

I suspect your dp knows his relationship with his kids is not as "normal" and healthy as it could be and it's all a bit Disney. As such he feels a bit ashamed and so keeps things to himself.

It could be that he's just rubbish at communicating but the "ear wigging" comment would suggest he is trying to actively keep you out of the loop.

Bahhhhhumbug Tue 25-Mar-14 11:21:10

My DH is a bit like this but both our DCs are grown up (we have none together) and if my DC for example rings me if I don't offer the information he will say 'What did he/she want?' or 'What was that about?' but god help me if I ask same after one of my SSs rings him.

In my case though it is definitely because he knows I don't approve of their constant (I wouldn't mind occasional) 'borrowing' of money/things/favours (especially one of them) and their general sense of entitlement to same , so I suppose I have driven their relationship underground.

DH also started doing this weird thing - till I called him on it - and catsmother you hit on this in your post. He started to get quite dismissive with me and ridicule things I said in front of his adult children , things I knew he previously had agreed with. Almost as if to demonstrate to them that 'She's not all that , you are still my number one' or something. I called him on it right in front of them as well , which he hated because I actually stated why I thought he was doing it (as ' some sort of pathetic male bonding/chest beating exercise with his sons' ) and made it clear to them he didn't ever behave like that to me usually.

It never happened again grin . It is a weird phenomena though in Stepland that dads somehow have to put their DP/DW down in the eyes of their DCs in some misguided attempt to prove they still love them too.

Aroundtheworldandback Tue 25-Mar-14 11:36:14

Babhhhumbug I had to laugh at your point that dads have to put down stepmum to make kids feel he loves them more (nothing to laugh about here though) because that is just so true. It's made into a competition where dad keeps having to 'prove himself'. The joys...

Bahhhhhumbug Tue 25-Mar-14 13:42:22

yes the joys, indeed , one time he made a derogotary remark about my weight gain when I was talking to his eldest about exercise (I often have 'girly' talks with SS1 he is in the beauty industry smile ) and I said about one that flattens your belly and I bemoaned the fact I never had one up to a few years ago and DH interrupted (in a quite scoffing 'pffft' way actually , not in a jokey way) 'You have now!'

Another time, upon me retorting to him saying 'that's an old wives tale' (before we had ever discussed whether we might ever marry ) by saying 'I'm not old or your wife'. He muttered under his breath to his son (I was other end of room) 'and you're never going to be either !' I was heartbroken to find out via overhearing him telling his son before me , that he never intended to marry me.

He categorically didn't mean this and that wasn't at all how he really felt and has always told me how he has been smitten from the start (hence the now 'DH')

What got me with the 'belly' comment was DH has always swore blind he still fancies me , blah blah , it doesn't bother him in the least and so on and knows how badly this weight gain has affected my self esteem. Yet here he was in effect revealing in front of one of his sons that my body is not as attractive to him as it was hmm sad and it does bother him after all.

I know it sounds pathetic and a huge over reaction but my DH is not at all one to insult or put me down in private or in front of anyone so it was so out of character I can only conclude it was part of his 'She's not all that, boys , don't worry you're still my number one' campaign. This nasty snidey little DH alter ego only ever appears in the company of his sons. Or used to before I lost it with him last time he did it !

Bahhhhhumbug Tue 25-Mar-14 13:53:29

Back to OPs predicament though blush sorry for hijack but I wonder if some of this phenomena is going on in her case. A sort of 'No course I wont invite your stepmum or involve her in choosing a film we can all watch (or whatever) because you are everything I need when I am with you so I/we don't need her.' Or some such shite , to 'big up' his love for his kids or whatever, I'm sure you get my drift.

LineRunner Tue 25-Mar-14 13:57:01

I do get your drift, Bahhhhumbug, and maybe I am lucky that my OH is full-time dad, in the sense that he has nothing to 'prove' to his kids - they already know he is the one that stayed.

Russianfudge Tue 25-Mar-14 14:03:50

Yes, like Dad's capacity to love couldn't have simply multiplied to accommodate for a wife. It has to stay the same but be divvied out between wife and kids and kids must at all times feel that they get the lion's share confused

Bahhhhhumbug Tue 25-Mar-14 14:05:53

Maybe with the car thing as well , he doesn't want his son to know it was you that provided the car, made the suggestion etc. because that might steal some of his completely dedicated dad thunder. So if he had told you , then you in turn might mention it to his son who would then realise it was partly thanks to you too.

EthelDorothySusan Tue 25-Mar-14 14:08:00

Any good Father will put his child above any other relationship he has and it is odd behaviour to think that someone would look at it as being excluded and not want children to have time alone with their Father.

Russianfudge Tue 25-Mar-14 14:14:17

EthelDorothySusan I don't agree with you. Any good husband will value his wife as highly as he values his children. And any good father will role model a healthy, loving relationship where both himself and his wife respect each other as equals. He will also not raise his children to be considerate to others.

The OP isn't suggesting that he can't have time alone with the children and I don't think anyone else has either. We all need time alone with our children. But the sneaking around, no detail as to where or when, spending family money with no discussion, keeping secrets. That is not a healthy relationship from any angle.

catsmother Tue 25-Mar-14 14:20:47

bangs head on wall

The OP has said "It's not actually been included in the activities that bother me, it's the privacy and secrecy." and *"So he pretty much had the weekend to himself with them (I'm trying to point out here that I'm not always in their faces!)."

She does not have a problem with the stepkids spending time alone with their father. What she objects to is both being dismissed - rudely - when she tries to make simple polite conversation - as you do - about what her husband has been up to. It's normal for couples to spend time doing their own thing every so often with or without kids - but it's also normal to chat together about what you've been doing.

In addition to this there's a very strange dynamic going on where the H feels he has the right to know "the ins and outs" of all the OP's been up to .... which implies that he wants to question her in greater detail than might be normal, yet hypocritically blocks her from speaking about him and his kids.

His hostility and touchiness surrounding his kids is what the issue is here - not the OP throwing her toys out of the pram because she imagines she's being left out.

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