My husband is so hard on me over my Step Children..(29 Posts)
First time posting here..
I married quite late (48) no children of my own. DH has 2 DS from first marriage and 1 DD from seconds, DS's are in their 30's and DD early 20's - they have only ever been welcoming and lovely to me & I enjoy their company so no problem there. They all live a couple of hours away from us and I see them when they visit or when I go to London, DH often in London & sees them more. The problem is my DH.. It's impossible to have any conversation at all about them without him being incredibly defensive.. For example today he said his DD has got contact lenses.. Great I said, but she needs to really look after them and not fall asleep with them in (she parties pretty hard & quite often crashes at friends homes).. DH jumped down my throat and said how dare I be so hard in his DD etc etc.. this happens anytime I say anything constructive about his children. One of his DS's has a wonderful girlfriend who I think is great for DS, I found out recently that they had a mini break up after a huge row, DH said it had to be the girlfriends faulty as DS couldn't possibly be at fault in any way (in fault DS was way out of line, but they have now worked it out & bank together). He thinks his children are completely faultless in all regards..
I just feel DH expects me to gush and fuss over them in the same way that he does, but the fact is that I met them as adults and therefore treat them as such, and he mostly treats them like small children. It really is beginning to cause a problem, DH is now sulking after I said to him that he needs to stop jumping down my throat anytime we talk about them.
Sorry to ramble on! Thanks for reading.
Was he like this before you married? I'm just trying to imagine having a conversation like that with a man and wanting to see him again - I don't think I would.
Does he treat you as faultless, too?
My DP is exactly like this. He cannot take ANY even tiny criticism of his children. So rather than make it a thing, I just either don't say anything, ask him how he feels about them, and basically back off.
I know he shouldn't be so defensive, and nor should your DP. However, if he treats YOU well otherwise, if your relationships is pretty solid, then I would totally back off.
After all, so what is your DSD really does go to sleep in her contact lenses? So what if they broke up and your DH feels it wasn't his kids fault? Is it really important that he hears your views? Not really.
I do sympathise Stepmummy - but if you back off totally, you don't need to gush, just let him speak about his kids and just listen, then he should start to open up a bit more. Even realise a few home truths himself in a few years.
Sorry, grammar again pretty bad! Is not if...
I would also add, particularly if you do have a good relationship and they are nice to you. Other posters here (including myself!) have had a very rough time with DSCs ignoring us or being entitled and spoilt, that we would probably kill for a good relationship!
So I'm guess I'm saying, if it's a good boat, don't rock it over things that don't directly affect you!
Didn't really notice it as much before we married.. He is a very kind man, but has quite a "black or white" outlook on things, I think he thinks that if he is overly indulgent to his children they will like him more. Maybe it an insecurity.
Bananasinpyjamas1 Thanks for posting a reply, it's nice to feel I'm not alone! I will take your advice.. And yes I'm lucky to have good relationships with them I know other SM have a terrible time. DH and I are happy together and he is a very good husband, I suppose I have just found it frustrating at times..
I do sympathise, my DP totally the same. He seems to hear anything as such a big criticism it almost splilt us up.
We know that they are over compensating. We know that they are over indulging their kids. We know that they need to be seen as perfect, generous, totally 'on their side' Daddy. But they never won't see that.
I think a lot of men, especially kind men, are quite guilty about having a partner full stop and are ULTRA sensitive to that meaning anything negative in their relationship with their children, especially their daughters.
Bananas Yes! You are completely right re: daughters.. I think my DH still thinks of her as a ten year old.. Maybe most Fathers are like this (mine died when I was six so hard for me to judge). He babies her when she stays with us and she plays up to it, but again I suppose it's pretty normal.
Totally right there!
My DSD lied terribly to my DP, blamed and bad mouthed me with absolutely no cause, manipulated both her parents and yet my DP would still never hear even constructive comments from anyone, including me. His daughters can do no wrong.
However, I've had many battles to fight, and this is one you can't win. I just bite my tongue a lot!
I think that probably parents are sensitive to any implied criticism of their children from stepparents. In a way it's to be expected I guess, but frustrating when you know you say plenty of good things about them but get jumped on for the bad ones.
My DP is very reasonable and logical, but I can see his instinct is to be defensive when I say anything vaguely negative about DSS. I think it just requires a lot of self awareness and forced objectivity on both parts really.
I agree with PP. It is best not to say anything, then you can not be in the wrong. It is good that you have a positive relationship with them, enjoy that.
My Aunt and her DH have been married 30 years. He had grown up (20's) kids before they met. Even now he jumps down her throat if he thinks she is critical of his kids, now in their 50's and 60's. She tries to keep her opinions to herself, it is the best way. Keeps life calm.
I have learned, think it but don't say it. Or when it has to be said (eg recently destruction of a plant) pose it as a question. Eg, in your case, you don't think she will forget to take them out if she crashes at a friends place do you?, or in my case this weekend, do you know how those bits of plant ended up scattered all over the place ?
I find the comment about looking after her lenses quite odd if i'm honest. For starters it does sound as if you are saying "you know what she's like she wont look after them". And also, she is an adult woman who doesnt live with you and wasnt even there to hear your advice! Did you expect your DH to call her and say "stepmummy says you have to look after them properly"? It sounds like the kind of thing my mum does which is very irritating tbh. She will hear of a situation a friend of mine is going through and start telling me what needs to happen, where friend went wrong, what friend should do etc and all the while i'm sitting thinking "okay mum, she's not here, she's not your child or even a child and she doesnt need to be told any of this"
But i agree your DH is on defense mode. I think the both of you need to ease up a bit and maybe there'll be a bit more harmony when it comes to his DC.
Hi Stepmummy I sympathise with your position, but as Bananas says, it's probably best, when he says things like that, to just smile and say, oh how nice/lovely/lucky, whatever's appropriate to the story!
I have a DSD whom I've known since she was late teens, she now has DC of her own but still acts like a dependant child...especially financially! My DH has over indulged, spoilt and cosseted her from real life, but she has recently been demanding a tad too far, and he's expressing a lot of irritation about her to me. I mostly just say 'Oh dear, that's a shame' or 'Really, did she?' But if I say something like, 'Oh that's not nice, she shouldn't have said/done that,' he immediately clams up or start making excuses for her!
So, I find the less immediate interest/reaction I show, the more he wants to talk it out, and ask my advice, and so I then become the wise, reliable and benevolent SM, rather than the critical, shrewish cow of a SM.....which is the position I'd far prefer to be in!
So, I find the less immediate interest/reaction I show, the more he wants to talk it out, and ask my advice, and so I then become the wise, reliable and benevolent SM, rather than the critical, shrewish cow of a SM.....which is the position I'd far prefer to be in! Excellent advice Wdigin. I'm trying to do this. It's hard but probably for the best!
What does it matter? You met them as adults and they live elsewhere. I don't really understand why this is even coming up. They aren't living at home, they don't seem to be trouble or interfere. He sees them happily without you.
You aren't really their step-mum either.
This sounds odd but do you work?
whats odd about it Apple? Seems like she is making general chit chat and her DP is jumping down her throat
That's why it seems odd!
Bananas (and all the other SM on this thread) seems to be talking about a situation where the stepchildren interfered hugely in their lives, or are failures, or are terrible people.
The OP has no problems here. Basically: parents don't generally like it when you criticize their children. That's all that's going on. The OP is not a parent or even a step parent. She has no real familial relationship to these adults, who probably see her as a nice person but not a mum/stepmum in any way.
Just drop it. Talk about something else. You're happy. Drop your end of the rope.
Like is said, i think its odd too. For the same reasons apple says. The 'general chitchat' comes across as criticising. A chit chat response to "DD got lenses" would be "oh how is she getting on with them?" You wouldnt respond to a friend telling you they got lenses with "well make sure you look after them because you know what your like when you've been partying, you'll forget to take them out"
Do you find it hard seeing him treat them like children because you had no one to provide that care to you when you were an adult?
Do you criticise them more because he is so defensive? I agree the contact lens comment is odd - I think you were treating her more like a child than an adult, you probably wouldn't have said that to a younger work colleague.
I think that being a step-parent adds another dimension to everything. I read your post and thought 'that could be me'. Except, these are our biological kids.
We have 3, 2 in their 40s and 1 in 30s. I have learned to never comment on them to OH except in a positive light. We are a family that all get on well, I respect them and admire them. However, I do not think they are perfect, that they always make the right decisions. I would never tell them that and I don't tell OH.
I just makes my life easier if I keep my opinions to myself.
Querky I agree, and have reached the age where I apply this maxim to most areas of my life....it's just easier, less confrontational and to be honest I can't often muster the enthusiasm to be bothered!
"You wouldnt respond to a friend telling you they got lenses with "well make sure you look after them because you know what your like when you've been partying, you'll forget to take them out""
Well i might actually or do people just keep every coversation to a minimal totally anal response.
A close friend maybe, in a good natured ribbing way. But this isnt even OP's friend where they have that kind of relationship, OP wasnt saying it in that way and the woman wasnt even there.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.