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Sad (and possibly ranty) re holidays

(46 Posts)
Keeptrudging Wed 08-Jul-15 13:03:51

First time posting on step - parents board, but really need to get this off my chest.

I'm step - mother to two lovely children (Secondary age), I've got two of my own. My husband had been divorced for years when I met him (I'm not the 'other woman'). I've now had years of his ex - wife changing access arrangements at the drop of a hat, manipulating the children, being awkward generally. I have no contact with her and don't interfere. She gets more in maintenance than I earn working full-time, doesn't work, lives in a very nice house etc. Not my business, the children should be living a nice lifestyle, I just mean that she's not hard - done by.

We'd booked a holiday with the children, mother was asked ages ago if that week would be fine, she'd agreed (huffily) and husband booked time off (not easily). She's now saying we can't have them that week (family non-important event). Husband can't change his holidays. So now, sadly, none of us are going on holiday, apart from the ex-wife and stepchildren who are going on a lovely holiday abroad. She says he can have them for a few days in the week he's off, so we'll be staying home.

I've lost count of the amount of times she's done this, husband (understandably) won't battle this out in court as he sees them regularly (on her terms), they enjoy coming here and if he fought about it there's every chance it would get nasty. Am so fed up though, we've just got to suck it up. They were all excited about the holiday, their Dad provides well for them/is a good, loving Dad yet all he seems to get is scraps, I feel heart-sorry for him. To be honest, I'm also feeling sorry for myself/my kids that we're not having a holiday either, and resentful (not of the stepchildren) that my husband is giving up our holiday just to see his kids for a few days. His access arrangements do affect us too - changed plans/scrapped weekends/every 2nd weekend no sleepovers etc for my own kids, and I never complain, but this has got to me. ��

HoneyLemon Wed 08-Jul-15 13:10:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gardenerofdelights Wed 08-Jul-15 13:12:21

Can you go just with your kids?

juneau Wed 08-Jul-15 13:13:53

I don't understand why he wouldn't go to court, given that it sounds pretty bloody nasty to me already. The ex-w is running rough-shod over him, because she knows he's too weak to stand up to her. Why does he put up with this? Did he cheat on her and still feels guilty?

He has the right to equal access to his DC and for her to force you to cancel your holiday plans just because she has some petty vendetta against him, by the sound of it, is abusive. He has a choice - to put up with this behaviour until his DC are grown up and he's missed their entire upbringing and every chance to take them away, or he can stand up to his woman who is living high on the hog off his earnings, when they've been divorced for years. TBH, if I was him I'd tell her to play fair regarding access or the large amount of maintenance she's currently receiving without legal mandate will be reviewed by a judge and she might just have to start working for her living.

As for you, I salute your kindness with regard to this situation, but you would be well served in encouraging your DH to grow a backbone.

SurlyCue Wed 08-Jul-15 13:14:07

Still go on the holiday. Then when you get back DH needs to see his solicitor and put an end to this fucking about when it suits her.

RoobyTuesday Wed 08-Jul-15 13:16:55

It's not really up to her to withhold two teenage children from their father after she's agreed to them coming previously and the holiday is booked, if this were my DH i'd expect him to insist that they came or ask her to reimburse the cost of the holiday.
Why can't you, your DH and your children go on holiday anyway? It certainly seems unfair that your step children can't come, but no reason why your children should miss out. If your DH needs to be around that week for them (not sure if I've understood your op properly) then why don't you go on your own with your dc's instead?
On the face of it she sounds like she is being unreasonable, teenage children are old enough to decide where they want to go and if they'd prefer to be going on holiday with you as already planned she ought to be respecting their wishes even if she can't respect yours. No real advice really except that your DH really needs to put his foot down here and insist that the original plans are adhered to.

saturnvista Wed 08-Jul-15 13:18:18

You need to go on the holiday for your own children's sake. Go to court when you get home.

SurlyCue Wed 08-Jul-15 13:22:12

In fact, i'd go to the solicitor now before the holiday. She's bang out of order and shouldnt be allowed to get away with it. Only DH can stop it happening. He has to want to do it.

twopoles Wed 08-Jul-15 13:24:00

Yes you should still go on the holiday and just not see them that week.

It is a long standing plan and it is the ex wife who is changing things and therefore making the dsc miss out on the holiday and seeing their dad.

It is not fair on your DC to miss out on their only holiday.

crossroads15 Wed 08-Jul-15 13:24:31

Of course go on the holiday anyway. You don't need to let this woman have so much influence over your life. And like pps have said, then go to court. The kids are old enough to have their views heard. Even if it does get nasty (doesn't sound great as it is though), it sounds very unlikely that your DH would walk away with anything less than 'EoW and half of all holidays' contact. Consistency is in everyone's best interests.

TurnOverTheTv Wed 08-Jul-15 13:26:43

I don't understand why you can't go?

Germgirl Wed 08-Jul-15 13:34:28

I'm with everyone else. Why can't you go without them? It's not nice but it's less nice that your kids are denied a holiday at all.

FantasticButtocks Wed 08-Jul-15 13:38:57

What do his children have to say about missing their holiday with you and their dad?

It sounds as if he needs to make some changes in the way arrangements are made (and kept) with his ex.

Who made the decision that none of you would go on the holiday? If their mother prevents the children from going, and your DH feels unable to do anything about that, why is he agreeing to have them instead for those few days when it means everyone else's holiday will have to be cancelled? He could say No I can't see them then, as I will be on the holiday they should have been on.

CandyLane Wed 08-Jul-15 13:44:10

Definitely still go on holiday, if DH wants to stay behind to see DSC then that's up to him, but your DCs should definitely not be missing out.

My DH is similar in that he doesn't like 'rocking the boat' and will often not stand up to his ex when he should do. However, if this situation happened to us I'm 100% confident that we'd still be going on holiday.
He puts his family first - that's all of us - me, our DCs and DSC, we're a unit, if his ex wants to exclude or limit her DCs from our unit then that's a shame, but we won't be changing our plans to suit her. As much as she may try to affect or control our lives, he tries his best to not let her.

willconcern Wed 08-Jul-15 13:57:14

I agree entirely with FantasticButtocks (great name grin)

Why don't your DSCs kick up a stink? You say they are secondary age so they really could argue they want to go.

But if I were your DH, I would fight this.

Your DH's solution will alienate everyone potentially - you & your DCs because you're not going on holiday now, and his own DCs, who may want to go, but have a dad who won't argue with their mum to make it happen.

He's also enabling the mother's actions by capitulating totally on this. He is ensuring it will happen again.

Why do his children's arrangements get to "trump" the fact that you and your DCs have a holiday booked - one that they should have been going on.

Keeptrudging Wed 08-Jul-15 14:32:13

Thanks for all your responses, lots of food for thought. He's a very lovely man, what he has never wanted is for his kids to be caught in the middle, which I understand. He's done nothing to be feeling (historically) guilty about, the kids won't push it either as their mum is very control - freaky. You would think she had conceived them immaculately, there is no acknowledgment that they have 2 parents. He's only good for the money, sadly. I don't give him a hard time, it won't change anything. I will be suggesting that we still go on holiday though, it's not ok for my kids to be hurt by this. It's sad as we'd have them more, they're wonderful kids and get on great with mine.

juneau Wed 08-Jul-15 15:08:35

He does indeed sound like a lovely man, but sadly his ex abuses him for it and he's not willing to stand up for himself.

I do hope the four of you still go on your holiday. It might send a message to the ex that she can f* around with his access of their joint DC, but it won't prevent your DH going on holiday without the DC, if necessary, and therefore the main ones she's hurting are her own DC. And THAT, if nothing else, might give her pause for thought next time she wants to pull a stunt like this.

FluffyBumOnTheRun Wed 08-Jul-15 15:33:56

No way would my kids miss out because of this! They won't thank you for it and it may cause resentment among them. And if my dsc asked why they missed out of be telling them the truth at that age

SunnyBaudelaire Wed 08-Jul-15 15:36:26

why should you all miss the holiday? I do not understand.

catsmother Wed 08-Jul-15 17:16:46

Echoing everyone else - please don't let yourself and your children miss out on a holiday, even if your DH can't/won't come. I understand you'd prefer him to come too - indeed for the stepkids to come as well - but staying at home will eat you up with resentment and isn't fair on your children. I'm not sure how old your two are but if they're a similar age to the stepchildren, i.e. secondary age, then the opportunities for further family holidays are probably limited anyway as they'll be doing their own thing all too soon, and it would be awful to lose out on making memories with them just because of an awkward selfish ex.

Feel very sorry for the stepkids too caught up in this - a situation I know only too well in my own family. We once 'agreed' a holiday 7 months in advance and 'had' to book within very specific date parameters - which we did even though it was the most expensive option - and then my DP's ex cancelled, without apology, explanation - by effing text the evening before. We lost several hundred pounds and could do nothing at that late stage.

Were you going in the UK ? .... if so, seeing as she's graciously said he can have them for a few days, could they (and him) not follow down later perhaps so all is not lost ? It does make you wonder how on earth women like this justify their change of decision (or shit stirring spite) to their own kids who'll be disappointed and let down.

And yes .... I agree that applying for a court order couldn't make things much worse.

SofiaAmes Wed 08-Jul-15 17:24:56

If you stick to going on the holiday anway, my guess is that next time ex will not pull this trick.

Keeptrudging Wed 08-Jul-15 19:20:36

The reality is probably that she doesn't like that we all get on and hates the idea of us having a family holiday together. I would understand if I had split them up, but I didn't even know him then, and they'd split up 5 years before we started dating/we introduced them slowly etc. They split up because he couldn't take any more of her controlling/cold behaviour and he's a very gentle/lovely man. Totally incompatible, but she hasn't got over it. Am going to suggest a Pps idea of them joining us later, it's a shame for them but they'll know when they're older that we wanted them there. Thanks for listening, I find it hard to talk about this, I love them very much but can't do anything to sort this.

Iflyaway Wed 08-Jul-15 19:39:23

OMG, this woman has you all in a strangle-hold.!!!

High time to sort out her fucking underhanded nastiness.

Apart from you two having to deal with this fall-out (and I,m talking years of it), you are teaching 4 youngsters that you can manipulate any situation over anybody else.

Please, you and DH need to take charge of this situation, I mean long-term. You owe it to your future happiness, both of you and the kids. They need to learn they are autonomous beings who have equal say in how their life is. (age-appropriate).

I'm talking as a LP. NEVER would I hold people, family, direct or extended/step to ransom like this.

elizalovelacey Wed 08-Jul-15 20:35:03

Why would your DH be ok with your own DCs missing out on their holiday? Makes no sense, as DSC are having a holiday with their DM. You guys all go and enjoy yourselves,doubt the ex will be expecting that and will be unlikely to do that again.

juneau Wed 08-Jul-15 20:43:22

doubt the ex will be expecting that

I agree. Show her that her behaviour won't derail your holiday plans. I'm guessing that she's got a lot of pleasure over the years by upsetting you and your DH's plans and knowing that you're too gentle and kind to retaliate in any way.

So if you do nothing else, decide today that she no longer gets to dictate whether you get to go away or not. With or without her DC, you will be going away when it suits you. Not her.

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