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Too many compromises?

(18 Posts)
Newtothevillage Sat 22-Nov-14 14:52:12

Will try not to drip feed. DP has 2 boys of 3 and almost 6. There are no problems between the children and I and I love spending time with them. There are undercurrents of problems between DP and I that seem to come to a head every few months and then go. Nothing major, money, work etc.
For the last year I have spent every other weekend cooking food for the DSC, cleaning, playing, planning and executing birthday parties, family gatherings etc etc. This has all been lovely but through doing this I've missed out of a few social things with friends. Haven't really given it a second thought.
More recently I've wanted to do a few things (such as meet up with my mum locally who lives 400 miles away so don't get much chance, get hair coloured etc) that have fallen on contact weekends. DP has managed to talk me out of these saying he wants to go out together as a family for the day or my plans mess with his or the kids will miss me. I've felt bad so cancelled.
Fast forward to now. I'm just recovering from a laparoscopy and it's my birthday next week. My friend has broken up with her fiancé and has a spare ticket to a weekend in Berlin in 2 weeks. She asked, I asked him, he said yes, I said yes. Very exciting.
Now, 4 days after surgery and still unable to walk around properly, I have been left with the 3yo whilst he's gone school shoe shopping with the 6yo and he has text me saying that it's DSS's birthday weekend the Berlin weekend and he's expecting a party, he's annoyed I'm going, brought up how can I afford it and then ended with do what you want.

That is the nearest contact weekend to DSS birthday and whilst I'd love to see him open presents etc, I feel like I need a break more. My friend needs the support and it's a nice thing to look forward too. My mum has said she'll give me spending money as birthday/present.
I know he's guilt tripping me but it's working. I just feel like he is trying to control so much and feel trapped.

I don't even know why I'm posting. It's more of a statement than a question. Also this may 'out' me but I don't know how to NC. If it does, I just needed to tell someone how I feel.

riverboat1 Sat 22-Nov-14 15:24:48

So you asked him if he was OK with you going to Berlin, he said yes, and now he's changed his mind and is informing you via text? Totally unreasonable behaviour.

And from what I can work out, DSS's birthday doesn't fall on the actual weekend he'll be with his dad? And presumably he'll already be having some sort of party with his mum? Plus there would be nothing to stop his dad making the contact day special by taking him out somewhere, giving him presents and organising a party for a different weekend.

From what you've said about your situation, I wouldn't be happy with it at all. It seems to be that you do more for the children than their own dad does - is that the case? You've said a lot about what you do during contact weekends, what does he do?

lunar1 Sat 22-Nov-14 15:26:22

He is taking the piss. It sounds like he has no idea or interest in caring for his children and has got you to do all the hard work. Wtf does he mean by he expects a party?!

Thumbwitch Sat 22-Nov-14 15:28:34

I think you should go to Berlin. And if he has a problem with it, then maybe you should think more about why you're with him if he's so reluctant to allow you to do anything for yourself.

Is his ex open to exchanging weekends, or not really? That might be the best way out of the guilting, if they exchange weekends - but really, he shouldn't be guilt-tripping you at all. As for the DS expecting a party - FFS! Will he not be getting one at his mother's? Why does it all fall to YOU to organise?

FunkyBoldRibena Sat 22-Nov-14 15:28:41

he has text me saying that it's DSS's birthday weekend the Berlin weekend and he's expecting a party, he's annoyed I'm going, brought up how can I afford it and then ended with do what you want.

'Nobody is stopping you planning a party, I spend every weekend facilitating your contact and what I want is a partner who isn't controlling. So whilst I am away perhaps you need to consider why you can't cope with your own kids and whether it is an equal partner you want at all.'

JorgiePorgie Sat 22-Nov-14 15:30:40

Go with your friends. The children are his responsibility and you have don't have anything to feel guilty for. You may not be there on DSS birthday weekend but I'm sure you could do something when you next see him. Does it always have to be so rigid? I'm sure he'd love one on one with dad.

From reading your post he does sound quite controlling tbh. Please don't allow him to guilt trip you. The guilt should be on him for expecting so much from you.

Newtothevillage Sat 22-Nov-14 15:36:13

Thank you so much, I know all this in the back of my head but definitely needed to read it! I can't thank you enough. I feel so blindsided sometimes.

Yes DSS is having two parties with his mum, one for friends and one for family, she is a good party thrower too so she'll go out, I don't feel like he'll miss out. I wouldn't want to ask to swap weekends. I just want him to go ahead and do it without me. Kids will be happy with family and presents and games and will hardly notice me missing.
Yes I do a lot, far too much. I know I need to detach but have no idea how you start that after being so involved.
Thanks again.

catsmother Sat 22-Nov-14 19:49:20

I don't think this is a "step" issue New .... I'm afraid it reads far more like a controlling, lazy, possibly sexist man issue instead.

Agree with everyone else - the kids are ultimately his responsibility. Obviously, it's great you muck in and share stuff - but not so great it sounds as if the majority of the donkey work of raising kids falls to you. That's what I meant by sexist as unfortunately some men still see kid-related chores as "women's work". He's almost certainly creating about Berlin because it's just dawned on him - that despite having no objection to it when you first raised the idea - kids can be bloody hard work (and boring let's be honest, and restrictive, and frustrating) .... maybe the 6 year old started playing up while they were out and he's panicking ? Well .... tough sh*t.

It's also rather off you've been left with a toddler shortly after surgery. I appreciate shoe shopping can be a nightmare with a 3 year old in tow, but really, that was pretty thoughtless in itself.

You MUST go to Berlin. And you MUST start to be more assertive about what you want to do regardless of him seeing his kids. You're not his bloody nanny/housekeeper/cook/cleaner. He should see any help you offer as a bonus and be appreciative of it - not take you for granted - and definitely not play immature mind games over a trip you deserve. I'd love to go to Berlin - please don't pass up this great opportunity because of his emotional blackmail.

You need to remind yourself that if you weren't around he'd have to shoulder all the stuff you've been doing himself. Organising a party for a young child shouldn't be beyond a grown man FFS.

MeridianB Sat 22-Nov-14 20:26:37

Another vote for Berlin from me. Does he see you as a partner or an unpaid babysitter?!

Starlightbright1 Sat 22-Nov-14 20:38:19

I am in agreement. He wants you there to make his life easier and actually I think the kids would enjoy having Daddy to themselves( not saying you are overstepping the mark at all you sound like you have been great)

I have read a few threads on here where NRP are insisting partner is part of family so should be there at all times... Your post has made me wonder if these parents are saying that so someone else will take care of their children.

It does sounds very controlling. I would say it is also very important that you go. He isn't your parent you don't need him to sign a permission slip go have a fab time and remind yourself who you are.

Newtothevillage Sat 22-Nov-14 20:50:53

Again thank you!
I have stood my ground on the trip.

Yes I think it definitely is a general lazy male issue but yes I also feel like hired (free) help a lot of the time. I know there are a lot of threads about the difference in partners around and not around children and don't want to turn this into another but when DSC are here I don't get any appreciation, or actual attention for that matter, from DP. With that in mind I think why would I want to give something else up to spend another weekend running around and putting on a smile etc for not my children. Even though I adore them both I do still think I'm not their mum and they need their dad to step up!

(Just in case anyone was worried the 3yo was fine, just made a mess which I couldn't clear up as can't bend down yet so DP had to deal with it. ) smile

catsmother Sat 22-Nov-14 21:43:20

I have read a few threads on here where NRP are insisting partner is part of family so should be there at all times... Your post has made me wonder if these parents are saying that so someone else will take care of their children.

I've been involved in an - ahem - "difficult step-situation for well over a decade now and in trying to find support and advice over the years, have heard countless tales of woe from stepmothers and second wives/partners both here, and on other step-related sites. Probably hundreds of women struggling to cope one way or another ...

... and because I've read so much about other women's experiences I've long thought that yes, there are definitely some men for whom the greatest attraction of acquiring a partner isn't so much about forging an adult relationship, but mostly about getting someone to do all the house and child related stuff they'd prefer not to do. And these are the men who whinge and moan when their partner wants - every so often - to do their own thing. And who lay the emotional blackmail on thick about how lovely it is when they all do things together as a family, and how the kids will miss her, or, accuse their partner of "not liking" their children should she dare to spend 2 hours in the hairdresser every 12 weeks, or have coffee with a friend occasionally. Really makes me mad.

NerdyBird Sat 22-Nov-14 22:42:41

My DP would get very short shrift if he suggested I give up a planned weekend away to throw a party for his child. Do stick to your guns this time.

Corygal Sat 22-Nov-14 22:46:59

Manipulative shit. Go to Berlin and have a fantastic time.

If your DP hasn't produced a decent party for the 6 yr old by the time you get back, I suggest you both think about dumping him.

Thumbwitch Sat 22-Nov-14 23:26:56

Good, I hope that he now shuts the fuck up about it and doesn't sulk. Although I suspect that will be a bit of a vain hope...

Interesting post, catsmother - and you're very probably right! sad

needaholidaynow Sun 23-Nov-14 00:30:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AddictedtoGreys Tue 25-Nov-14 14:02:02

so he wants you to plan the party then? just go with your friend. its great being a caring loving step mum that you clearly are, but he is his child and will have to sort it out himself.

ArsenicSoup Tue 25-Nov-14 15:54:45

Going school-shoe shopping and texting you while he's there is award-winning cowardice.

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