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Advice please? :)

(48 Posts)
Writingdragonfly Fri 22-Apr-16 16:28:44

Hey I'm new on here thought I'd say hello and sound out some help smile
So I'm 27, got 2 beautiful daughters aged 6 and 4, separated from their dad pending divorce (he wont sign and admit his affair) and I've met someone I'm crazy about, beeing slowly seeing each other a year and a half. He is genuinely a wonderful guy, has 2 boys also aged 6 and 4, he's a teacher and we get on so well eveything seems perfect. We have been taking things super slow and the kids get on really well, always asking if we will get married one day so they can be brothers/sisters and so on, its been a piece of cake so far. Except a few things, and i totally know theyre my issues but i dont know how to get rid of them.
I find myself getting jealous of his boys, theyre lovely boys a little rougher than i would allow my own kids to be but im used to my girls who are gentle and sweet natured (they literally never argue) im concerned about the way theyre being raised by their mum (who has 4 other kids who are teens and a total nightmare by the sound of it) And i worry that my girls will be affected by the attitudes of his boys and their roughness. If we were to ever live together (we both have our kids 50% of the time and always at the same time it seems) i know it would bug me that his boys are allowed to watch cartoons i wouldnt dream of letting my girls see, they play rough and fight with each other, he intervenes but still, and the language isnt good sometimes as they pick it up from their older half siblings who swear.
Whilst i know i genuinely love his boys, and he loves my girls and we are crazy about each other, am i mad to let this bother me? i know i cant wrap my girls in cotton wool but i think ive done a bloody good job of raising them right and they arent perfect but theyre so sweet natured to each other and when they spend a lot of time with the boys they do change towards each other, arguing or using rude words and then we have to have our chats about why the boys do that and are always getting told off by their dad for it.
He is a great dad, he is great with my girls, stuff between us is almost picture perfect and then when he has his boys it tumbles downwards. I now become resentful of the times he has them, realising that when he got told he was having them for the whole half term coming up because she wants to go abroad without them, i had to go and calm down because i selfishly thought "what about our time?" usually we both have all 4 kids the first half of the holidays and then no kids the other half and we do our own thing. I TOTALLY get that he is excited to have the kids in the half term but i will barely see him, between him doing school work and the boys, and when i do we wont have any alone time at all.

So am i being a total selfish bitch, because i feel like im being irrational but i cant stop feeling like that, any tips on handling it?!!

PS sorry for the rant!!!

pieceofpurplesky Fri 22-Apr-16 16:46:39

If you are jealous now it will only get worse. Would you expect not have your dds for an extra few days if offered?
Don't blame his ex and try and work out your feelings. Rules about cartoons etc should have been sorted before you mixed the kids together. Boys are rougher and tumblier!
You need to talk about things like this -
But the jealousy has to go.

Writingdragonfly Fri 22-Apr-16 17:01:14

thank you, yeah i know the jealousy has to go its just the getting it gone thats the issue! We don't live together so when we are at mine there is no TV (we only watch netflix no tv license) and the kids just play with toys or outside or we go bug hunting or grow seeds and get hands on. if we go to his parents (he is currently there saving up for a deposit) they will put on cartoon network or the simpsons etc and i just have to deal because its not my house and not even partner's house its his parents so when the tv is on round the clock who am i to argue with that? i dont think i would feel so jealous of the time he will have the boys this half term if i liked being at his parents, but i dont particularly. His parents are really sloppy, the house is cluttered and dirty, going for a wee is a risky business lol oh and its 50mins drive away.Theyre nice people though, i guess we just have different ways of living, they dont mind that theres dodgy tv on around kids and like having it on non stop, and they arent fussed by mess and dirt, and im a protective crazy person lol
Am i nuts for thinking i can make this all work? I love my partner, i do love his kids, but how do you know youd be ready to actually marry and move in with them?
I'm so darn guarded after my marriage went south, theres so much more to think about when settling down with someone when you already have kids isnt there?!

swingofthings Fri 22-Apr-16 17:33:12

There is some alarm bells ringing from your posts. For one, if you feel resentful now when you don't live together yet, the likelihood is that this will become even more a problem when you experience your frustrations on a daily basis.

As worrying is that you seem to have quite different ideas in terms of values and discipline. It's not a case of having different views on certain programmes or hours to watch but going from watching the Simpsons to no TV at all. There are also likely to be difference in level of tidiness which can be a big issue.

You are not nuts thinking you can make it work, but it might require a lot of efforts and tackling these issues before you do make the move, and that involves a lot of talking about it and agreeing on compromises.

DontMindTheStep Fri 22-Apr-16 17:37:55

Hello Writing.

You've explained yourself well. It seems you don't tolerate your partners children as comfortably as their dad does, and you're not able to control them or mold them the way you have your girls so far. You admire the gorgeous man and love the boys, but there are other influences on his boys, and they swear. If you lived together, some rough habits will rub off on the girls. This all seems true.

My experience is that to enter into a living together arrangement, you do have to prepare yourself for compromise. Push yourself, see the upsides and not just get irritated by the negative. Unfortunately, there is no place for your jealousy of two little boys, and this persists into the boys 20's. It will be one of your petit character points to work on..and I am sure your partner will have little irks that he has to cope with.

If you live together there would be upsides. Your girls will learn that mummy is loved and respected etc etc and they will see how a loving relationship looks. Also your man is a teacher, and so is presumably especially skilled with children. The sort of roughness of the boys is seen by your girls at school anyway.

FWIW mine were young when we got together and I have faced these issues. Nevertheless, I dont regret it, and although a compromise, I still see glimmers of the integrity of my upbringing for MY children, and I have brought a little more affection (and polish) to my step children, that they otherwise wouldn't have had. And I accept that i have lost some ground too: my children's work ethic lessened perhaps, and attitude to bedtime and computer time, and snacks. But maybe, I would have lost some of this ground anyway. My DH boys were chubby and pale when I met them and I was able to improve this for them. It was a symptom of a failed marriage and absent mum... the boys were latch key kids with a working Dad, who was doing his best. They played outside with us more, wanted to be with my children more and more, and now blended, there are far fewer differences. Focusing on the positive is a really good thing. And being remarried and happily married is easier and more soothing than being alone (but not as much fun, nor as independent, as the dating era was!!)

I can't sprinkle fairytale dust for your future, though I wish I could. If you live with this man and take on a role of step mum, the man has to be fabulous in your eyes, treat you with respect (cant teachers be bossy?) and you have to be ready. It is a relentless, tricky role being a SM and it will alter your family dynamic and your girls will lose something, and gain a new aspect. But life changes anyway. Nothing stays the same. Any period of courtship leads to change as it is not a static state.

Well done you seeking advice. There is a lot to think about and to get into perspective. Indeed, I maintain that step daughters can be trickier on average than step sons (I count myself lucky not to have stepdaughters).

Can you keep going financially, separately, for both young'uns to start school. That brings quite a change. Will it be the same school?
Will your ex's cause conflict if you get together?

Writingdragonfly Fri 22-Apr-16 17:43:19

It's not his lack of discipline, he handles the anger, tantrums, fighting and so on really well but their mum just lets "boys be boys and fight it out"
He himself isn't a messy person per se, his parents are but when he has stayed here for weekends without any kids he does his share of the tidying up and cooking.
I'm an optimistic person, but I don't want to keep ignoring these niggles if they're likely to get worse, if the boys are already angry and struggling at their mums.
Do I give it a chance and keep trying to be a positive role model for the boys and risk the influence to my own kids or do I say enough and walk away? He's become my best and closest friend, it would be hard to walk.

Buttons23 Fri 22-Apr-16 17:47:07

You seem to blame all of their behaviour on their mother but their father has them 50% of the time and is just as accountable. It's just really annoyed me that of course it's all the ex's fault that the boys are rougher than your girls. Lots of kids are rough with each other by the way. You are obviously however used to more gentle children.

I think if you were to move in together you would need to have a serious chat about family rules for when all the children will be there. It will have to be compromise on both sides.

Lunar1 Fri 22-Apr-16 17:53:20

Ok so you are perfect, your boyfriend is perfect. His ex is a bad parent and bringing up rough, rude boys and his parents are slobs who make it all worse.

You don't like him having extra time with his boys, sob, sob, what about your alone time for the week.

So all this in a nutshell and you want to know how these terrible influences will affect your perfect, nature loving, non tv watching, little princesses?

Walk away, your resentment will get worse, when you live together it will be worse and you will only realise what a terrible mistake this all was when you are pregnant or have a newborn.

If you think I'm wrong or being catty, read this board, go through all the longer threads and come back and tell my in all honesty I'm wrong. If you are going to walk you girls down this path, do it with your eyes open.

swingofthings Fri 22-Apr-16 18:04:14

I don't want to sound patronizing, but you do seem to suffer from the 'I'm so in love with my boyfriend I can't assign any fault to him so if something is bothering me, it must be the fault of other's syndrome.

We all do it and even though both my boyfriend at the time and I had no concerns at all when we moved it together, the reality that neither he nor I were as perfect as we thought hit us very hard, so hard we even contemplated separating a few times. It took a lot of love and attachment for each other to come to terms with the fact that things would be different and that there was no right or wrong. Ironically, many of the things that used to make him very anxious then, and inevitably resulted in arguments, are the thing that he does himself now!

Still, that was with him not having any children and thinking that my kids were great before we moved together and no tension with exes.

My advice would be not to make the mistake to assume that things that bother you are due to other people in his life. You don't live with his children at his mum, so how would you possible know how she deals with their behaviour? Hearsay from people who are not close to her is never going to be reliable.

Focus on how your differences and whether you can reach compromises, that's the only way you can make your relationship evolve successfully.

pieceofpurplesky Fri 22-Apr-16 18:15:33

So you don't like his kids or his parents ...
You don't live together.
This isn't the perfect picture you tried to paint.
If it was him posting "my gf doesn't like my kids, says they are loud and noisy whilst her kids are perfect - they are not allowed to watch tv or play loudly. She also hates going to my parents as she says they are messy. She blames my ex for the kids but gets mad with me for letting them play. We don't live together yet and I am starting to feel like she wants just me and not where I am from or who I am. Should I LTB?".

I would say yes, LTB

swingofthings Fri 22-Apr-16 18:35:50

To be fair, Writing is saying all along that she likes the kids, just that she thinks they are badly influenced and parented by their mum and she is worried on the impact this will have on her girls.

What you need to consider is that not all children are the same and being gentle and sweet nature child doesn't guarantee a happy adulthood. My boy was also a gentle kid but it hasn't stopped him from becoming the kid from hell when his hormones kicked in, but more than his friend who was a nightmare as a toddler, but somehow became more sensible each year.

Writingdragonfly Fri 22-Apr-16 19:27:12

thanks for the replies i do really appreciate it, i think some of you have misunderstood a bit what im saying. I do NOT think me and my girls are perfect, just that we are naturally quite a placid bunch, i do NOT think that my man is perfect and his ex evil i have met her she seems lovely, but she has 6 kids in total and its a manic home and she is really a lot more laid back than i would be and is much more tolerant of "typical boy" rough housing than i am. im not blaming anyone i just acknowledge that it is different and i guess im asking how much do you get used to over time and how much is sort of set in character. I LOVE his boys and i know he loves my girls, they are such lovely boys i never said they were horrible!! It simply is that what ive gotten used to in my lonely single parenting with no real family is our tidy, organised (yes im a little bit OCD and i have anxiety issues) home, and i just feel like i have noone to vent to about how overwhelming it seems sometimes that i have 4 little people who could be so hurt if one day i cant handle it. we are at that stage of a relationship where we talk about one day getting married and living together and thats a massive step we would take slowly, but i want advice, i dont know other step parents and want to know how much you get used to, how much you learn to love the time with the step kids instead of it feeling a little bit manic? I just want to be 100% sure before i jump in feet first. Do you feel sure about these things?! please dont hate me, im not a naive twat no matter how i come accross!!

Buttons23 Fri 22-Apr-16 19:35:10

I think you have come across as a little badly. Your first post does read very much like my girls are perfect and look at these awful rough boys. When really their mother is no way near a bad mother, just one who is laidback and used to rough and tumble. Lots of good mothers are the same, my own included. Not every child is calm and gentle looks at my rough and boisterous son

You will have to compromise and realise those boys are different children to your girls and not in a bad way. Agree on family rules and go from there.

Lunar1 Fri 22-Apr-16 19:35:56

You have brought your daughters up in one way and his sons have been brought up very differently. Who makes the compromises or do you have different rules for your own children.

I honestly don't think it's fair on children who have already been through divorce to then have to adapt to someone else's parenting style and rules when they are so different.

What if contact arrangements changed, so you had yours one half of the week and his the other. So no alone days at all.

How much worse do you think the little niggles that bother you now will be if you live together.

You also said you live 50 mins away, who moves? How will that affect school and access between the children's other parent? Will one set of children have to swap school or see much less of a parent?

VimFuego101 Fri 22-Apr-16 19:41:37

I don't think you can successfully live together and have two different sets of rules for your respective children. It will create a huge amount of resentment for the kids, and frustration for you if he is more laid back with disciplining his kids than you are with yours. I would discuss it very early on and see if you can find a way to change your parenting strategies to work towards meeting in the middle, so that when/if you do move in together your house rules are the same for all. I also think you need to let go of your blame towards the ex - you will be in loco parentis to her children for 50% of the time, so you need to not be critical of her and consider whether the way she raises her children will be too frustrating for you to cope with.

It sounds like that will require big changes on both parts, so you may need to accept that living together is just not going to work out. Frankly being a step-parent is really difficult. I wouldn't do it again. It's good that you're thinking hard about it now, before considering moving in with him.

Writingdragonfly Fri 22-Apr-16 19:51:06

ok i really did not mean it to sound like "look at my perfect kids and his awful boys" and i dont think i said that in any way! its hard to give a good picture of it all in a couple of paragraphs! I never said she was a bad parent, just that it concerns me how different her approach is to mine. my partner is similar to me, his parenting is more on my level of discipline but the boys are around a much rougher environment. There ARE concerns on the mum's part in that there was an issue with her new guy's son and safeguarding because of him being on the sex offenders register, and her own older son is known to be taking drugs and getting in trouble with the police so im not over reacting to be a little concerned that further down the line there could be more issues. I feel a little like ive been jumped on here as if im some prissy little mum who hates the step kids when i said all along i love them and i feel like i can be a good influence and love them well, but i want to know im doing the right thing by my girls too. I think maybe im not making any damn sense. Thanks for giving genuine advice on your own experiences, thats what i think i need, to see how it can work, what doesnt work, how others tackle it. I joined this board because if im going to be a step parent i bloody well want to do it well and do these 4 kids right! i married an abusive slut of a man last time who for all his wonderful parenting now was a two faced liar before, my kids have been through enough. thats all any of us want, right?! please less of the hate on here?

Writingdragonfly Fri 22-Apr-16 19:59:14

oh and if and when we were to live together that wont be the issue his work and kids are local its his parents that are 50mins away, he is squirreling away for a deposit so sucking up the cliche living with parents issues lol. And i dont hate them, theyre a lovely family, im just totally ocd and that level of hoarder mess bothers me because i sit there wanting to be social and get to know them because theyre great, but also i want to tidy and clean and drink copious amounts of wine so that i dont start tidying and cleaning!!!! I came here for non judgemental sounding out with others in this sort of situation. If youre step parents now you must have gone through this "ok are we ready to get serious" stage and did you wobble like this?!

Lunar1 Fri 22-Apr-16 20:16:53

I think it's a bit rich to say you came here for a non judgmental view, considering how judgmental your op comes over.

Writingdragonfly Fri 22-Apr-16 20:22:46

Who exactly was i judging?! I TOTALLY acknowledged that im being selfish for wanting more time with my partner, i totally acknowledged that theyre lovely boys just rougher than i would have raised them (i didnt say they were raised badly!) i totally said i just need other people to talk to! have I judged YOU Lunar?

I came here thinking there would be some understanding, do you adore your step kids 100% of the time, do you worship the ground their mum walks on!? Im not some bimbo, im just a normal person whos been through the mill who loves her kids and partners kids and wants to talk to other mums about what to expect from step parenting because i dont have anyone else to talk to about this!

Buttons23 Fri 22-Apr-16 20:43:25

The problem is every step family goes through this. Your step children will always be raised differently than your own children. Some things you will not agree on. Once you move in together you will have to find a way to make it work as a family. To establish ground rules as partners and stick to them for all the children. Compromise and communication is the way forward. I wouldn't worry too much about what happens at their mums house because children often get used to the two different set of rules. So while one thing is fine at mums, it's not at dads. It is doable.

Lunar1 Fri 22-Apr-16 20:44:41

That's why I said to read around the threads. All the things that niggle you now are magnified. You are coming together with a very different approach to parenting by the sound of your children, where do you all compromise?

I would look closely at the threads titled, if you knew then what you know now would you have moved in together. With very few exceptions it's pretty unanimous.

I'm not a step parent, nor will ever be. My experiences as a step child were far too traumatic to ever put myself (or my children) through it.

Do you work as a couple as things are now? Would living close but not together work better, so you can both parent how you prefer and not compromise on things that are important to you both as parents.

Writingdragonfly Fri 22-Apr-16 20:56:02

yeah we work well as a couple, we dont argue, theres plenty of love and we're like best friends. We took it slow to be sure that our relationship had serious potential before the kids got involved and for the most part the kids all get on swimmingly! There's every sign that itll be great, but as i said im a worrier, all those bloody "what if's" buzz around and i dont want to rant at DP because he's super compassionate but i dont want him to think its his or the kids fault, i know its not, its my issue. just dont know how to get over feeling like im panicking about taking things another step. I dont want to feel jealous for my time with him! anyway. Thanks for the responses, venting helps.

AvaCrowder Fri 22-Apr-16 21:14:47

Whist your boyfriend lives at his parents, does he get no say in the tv? Does he tidy and clean at their house?
You are saying that your boyfriend has been raised by slobs, was married to one, but with you he will be different. I would think hard on this one. Do you really want to be involved with this family?

Writingdragonfly Fri 22-Apr-16 21:25:47

his side of the story is that when he first moved back with parents a couple of years ago (saving for a deposit to buy for himself instead of being trapped in renting) he would tidy and clean but got fed up of being the only one doing it, he isnt there that often, he works long hours and comes here one night a week, he pretty much goes there to his own space within the house which is tidy and sleeps! lol he knows i wouldnt stand for laziness when he stays here he pitches in so that doesnt worry me! And the TV thing i dont know, i dont like to outright say "seriously, you're ok with your kids watching this?!" in front of his parents who clearly think its ok! When we do go there i tend to suggest we go outside and play if the weather is good, or get board games out if not. I know there are worse things that could be an issue than cartoons but have you seen some of the crap on tv these days?! (old fart alert!) lol

oh and from what i know the ex isnt a slob, just that their home is quite full on with her 6 and her new guy's older two visiting (the son visits rarely and with full supervision due to court order)

Lunar1 Fri 22-Apr-16 21:33:25

When does he plan to buy his own house? It will be really good for you to see how he functions when it's just him and his children in a house.

You may be lucky and he might be really tidy and his parenting may actually be more like yours away from his parents.

At least then if he has hoarding tendencies you will be able to tell when he's been living alone for a year or so. And if a years worth of newspapers accumulate in the hall you can run for the hills!!

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