Asking OH to go to his mum's with DSS over half term...fair?(20 Posts)
I have been with my OH for 2 years. We have until recently lived separately. I have a 2 bedroom home and live with my 3 children (we are obviously overcrowded, but will be moving soon). He until recently lived in a 1 bedroom flat, where he had his son (effectively my ds) every weekend and all school holidays.
A few months ago he had to give up his flat to sort out his financial issues. He is a high earner, but has been treading water for a long time and has accumulated a fair amount of debt, which with my help he is clearing, but until it is sorted, I would much prefer for us to keep our finances independent and things of that manner separate.
He currently stays at his mum's who lives in a 3-bedroom maisonette with her two other adult children. It is a tight squeeze, and now she also has her newly acquired boyfriend there too. OH comes to me at weekends with his son, and due to lack of storage space at his mum's I have his son's clothes, toys and some furniture here with me. As my place is already small, it can be a bit hectic. The issue is he wants to be here more full time, and wants to bring his son with him during half term. I have agreed to him staying here part of the week, but I do not want them both here for the duration of the holiday.
I think he feels I am sending out mixed messages, as for a while I complained that he did not spend enough time with us all together as one unit, and now I am complaining of the opposite. I just feel overwhelmed, and having 4 children under 10 in such a small home is a bit much for me until we have located a bigger home for us all.
Am I being fair asking him to go to his mum's for half term?
Sorry, where does your OH live? You imply that he lives with you "we have until recently lived separately" - but then also say that he "stays with his mum".
If he does actually live with his mum then it is fair for him to spend at least part of the week there with his DS.
If he actually lives with you, then I think DSS probably should be staying with you. In his dad's home.
I hope you are able to move quite quickly! Two adults and four DCs in a small two bedroomed house does sound like a tight fit .
I don't think there is much of a jump from 3 children to 4 tbh.
I have 4 under 10. All in a 3 bedroom house.
DD who is 5 lives with us full time, and 3 dss (4,6,8) come on a one week on, one week off basis.
The question you need to ask yourself is this - do you want to be a family unit with DP? If so, then his son has to fit in.
I don't think you're being fair by excluding his son, presumably DP would be able to stay all week if his son wasn't in the picture? And I find that quite mean.
Oh sorry, I note the 2 bedroom house
Well yes, that is a squeeze.
I think it would be fine to say that if you weren't sending out such mixed messages.
You say you have complained they you don't all spend enough time together and call him effectively your ds. Would you ask one of your other children to stay somewhere else? It's not fair to make him effectively your ds except when it doesn't suit you.
But on the other hand you need space and are happy to ask them to stay elsewhere. If it's confusing for you imagine how it is for a child.
I would have a really good think about which way you want things and stick to it.
Santa - On paper he lives with his mum, as that is where he is registered as living, and where the majority of his belongings are. He has lived with her in the past (before having a child), but she's now disabled and with his two adult siblings, plus her boyfriend all squashed in there, there is constant politics in the home.
I have my three aged 10, 6 and 2, and could cope with 4 but when he comes here with his son (aged 5) there is constant fighting and disruption, and the lack of space doesn't help. It is really getting me down. I can tolerate it during weekends, but I honestly don't think I could take the upset for a full week (or heaven forbid during the summer holidays, during which he usually has him the full 6 weeks). I feel sorry for my OH as he is stuck between a rock and a hard place, and even living in his own place there was only the 1 bedroom for the 2 of them. His debt was accumulated before we met, and he really had to take drastic action if we were to move forward as a couple, but this is hard.
I would suggest that you get the situation sorted out before the Summer holidays as if you are struggling with one week at half term then six weeks will be unbearable.
You need to sit down with your DP and work out a reasonable plan which involves you spending time together but still giving you your own space.
Is the plan that once he has cleared his debts you will get a bigger place together?
When I met DP I had a 2 bed house and he moved in with us. When we had DSC we had a sofa bed in the dining room for them, which wasn’t ideal but we coped. He used to take his dc to his Mum’s for a few days when he had them for a week or more just to give me a break and a bit of time to spend with my dc on my own. Would a similar compromise work for you?
I would be asking him to sort his finances out and find somewhere to live for himself and no way would I be moving him in or moving in with him.
You say he is a high earner, he had a 1 bed flat which he gave up due to finances - great that he has taken steps to get his finances back on track. BUT, he has made some very poor choices and I wouldn't want to be in an inter-dependent relationship with him until I had seen he could turn this around properly.
Regardless of the children, he doesn't sound worth the angst I'm afraid - and asking to come to you with his ds for the holiday smacks of 'meal ticket'.
He could save for 3 months while paying down some debt and then rent a new place for 6m That would give you both breathing space to find out if this can work. Meanwhile, you deal with your own over crowding without having to accommodate him and his ds. He got into this mess, he has to live with the pain of sorting it out. You can be supportive and helpful but avoid getting caught up in it.
And you're not giving out mixed messages - "I'd like to see more of you" is a far cry from "move in with your child and take over my tiny house"!
What about calling her dss effectively her son Out, how is that not mixed messages?
Two adults and four DC in a 2-bed flat for a week? That sounds utterly horrendous! Your OH needs to sort out suitable accommodation tbh. Bunking up with you on an ad hoc basis is bad enough when you and your DC are already so cramped, but expecting you all to budge up and make space for his DC as well is not on IMO. The onus is on him to provide a place for his DS to stay, not you. Tell him to sort his shit out, but that staying with you while he has his DS is not an option. Why should your kids suffer when they're already so cramped?
One of the worst reasons for anyone to move in together is because one suddenly has to get out of their flat/house or a lease is up or they are not happy where they live. It means that the decision is all about logistics (and making things easy, usually for one person more than the other) and not about making the commitment when the time, feelings or practicalities are right for you both/all.
You say he's got to sort his finances out so now is a great time for him to be doing that (at his mums) and find a place of his own for him and DSS.
If he moves in with you, you are immediately stuck with crowding issues, children issues, financial issues and no incentive for him to find anywhere. Staying at his mum's, however unappealing it may be, will be cheap and give him the incentive he needs to shape up and find a new place sooner rather than later.
You are helping him by storing his things. Don't let him use the fact that you have some of DSS's stuff as an excuse to move in. Just suggest he takes more of it to his mum's.
Then you can reassess the whole thing at a sensible pace and find an end result that works for everyone.
Just out of interest, why does he have his son for the entire six weeks of the summer holiday? It sounds a bit unusual and presumably means he uses unpaid holiday?
What about calling her dss effectively her son Out, how is that not mixed messages?
I had assume that 1) she meant dss which is the MN term for step son, but actually stepson is one word, so the initals would be ds and the op may not have known that, 2) she only said it on here, not to the dp and 3) by 'effectively' she just meant he more or less is. Like mine is - effectively my dss - he isn't literally because dp and I aren't married (and doesn't dp exw like to make sure I know my place along with many MN posters.....we have to be very careful you know, not to overstep the mark and use a moniker to which we are not entitled...). In RL life I call him "dp's[name] son" or by his own name, of course, with people who know who he is, or, if on a forum other than MN I say 'stepson' and if people ask why it's in inverted commas I say "well, he's not really my stepson because we're not married".
On here, my first post, I didn't know all these terms like dss etc and called him 'the boy' which is what dp calls him. And I was totally lambasted and someone said I clearly hated him. Weird thing to assume.
So, I read nothing into that at all.
Thanks the replies. Heavens - I think that would be the ideal situation, that he spends time at his mum's to give me a bit of a break! We do ultimately want to live together, including his son.
His debt is not currently overwhelming, as I mentioned I've helped him to organise his finances over the time we've been together, but to save money and clear the remainder of his debts more quickly he needs to save at least half of his wages per month. He is a good man, and has never sponged off of me or anything like that. Most of his debt was accumulated during his 20's and during his former relationship. His former partner really left him in it and at least half of what he is paying is owed by her (although that's another story).
Thanks Out that is definitely what I meant by dss!
Meridian - He is a teacher, so luckily (!) gets all school holidays off. Until last September when his son started school he had him half the week, and his ex had him half the week. She insisted on having him near her for school, but expects my OH to have him pretty much all the time, even during the week at times (this is despite the fact that she lives in West London, OH in South and me in East!). Incidentally, the school just rang my OH to say his son was sick and needed to be sent home. There has been no response from any of his ex's family, nor her as she's gone on holiday for 2 weeks! He's had to go and pick him up himself, and we agreed he could not bring him here (although he kind of mused over it) as any bug he has will spread like wildfire. He's now going to have to take time off of work and is staying with his mum until his son is better. I will try to talk to him when I see him, and hopefully he will understand.
As an outsider, i see this from a different perspective. he may be a lovely man in all other respects but this financial issue is a red flag for me.
Most of his debt was accumulated during his 20's and during his former relationship So he's never proactively taken steps to manage his debt - either before his ex-p or since? YOU have had to 'rescue' him, helping him sort out his debts and now providing him with a place to live. He can't blame his ALL of his financial irresponsibility on his ex.
Someone who cannot maintain a one bedroom flat despite being a high earner even when it involves their child tells me there is more to this than just plain finances.
He has lived with her in the past (before having a child), but she's now disabled and with his two adult siblings, plus her boyfriend So the running back to mummy and expecting her to 'rescue' them from their own inability to manage their adult lives is their family dynamic? No wonder he's now relying on you to 'mother' him.
all squashed in there, there is constant politics in the home Not your problem. If the adult siblings don't like it they can move out and stand on their own two feet. or why don't the siblings get a houseshare together?
why should the overcrowding' and 'politics' be transferred to your home and your children?
by the sounds of it, you need to sort out the 'logistics' of your personal relationship before you put your respective dc in the thick of it.
you will never be having any time together as a couple at the moment. even if your dc were with their dad for the weekends you would have your dss around every weekend. When your dc spend time with their dad during the holidays - your opportunity to do something non-dc related -you won't be able to without it looking like you're 'abandoning/leaving out' your oh and his dc.
HE needs to sort out a more balanced arrangement with her if he wants to have a future with you. HE needs to get his priorities straight - not just shift them from one person to the next.
Your respective dc should not be thrown into living as a blended family when the adults don't even know how to meet their own needs let alone others.
you deal with your own over crowding without having to accommodate him and his ds This with all the romance and rose-tinted glasses taken out. If things don't work out then you need to be in a position where your dc stability and security (at least when it comes to finances/housing etc) is not at risk.
If he can't afford to house himself and his son - even in a 1 bed flat - despite being a high earner then i'm afraid it looks like you will always have to play 'saviour/rescuer/organiser/driving force'. That's exhausting. And unfair.
Do you have another thread going in which your dps ex has gone on holidays, relatives don't answer doors etc dss is ill and needed picking up from school - in which you're suggesting he tries to get his ds to live wth him full time?
Thank you for the advice I have received and the thought that has gone into it, it has given me some things to think about.
Yes Bert that is also my thread. I didn't want to derail this thread with other issues I have been thinking over, and so began a new one.
We had a long conversation this evening, after he became upset that I would not allow his son to stay here with him, and us while he is ill. What I didn't add at the beginning of this thread is that the wishy washy approach his son's mother has towards their child's upbringing is having a massive impact on us being together as a couple and family, and is another reason I am resistant to them being here full time. Anytime she doesn't want to deal with their child he picks up the slack, and by proxy obviously I am now expected to do so too. I suggested that instead of saving towards us having a family home, he looks for another property of his own and seeks full custody of his son (it is what he wants fundamentally). This is not a plan for the immediate future I may add or necessarily something he will definitely do, but I felt like posting about it separately to gauge opinion. Hope that updates the thread.
Well, if she doesn't feel like parenting (and we also have one like that) of course he picks up the slack, he is the child's father. What else could possibly happen?
Have you said how old dss is? My dss sort of gradually ended up living with us due to his disinterested mother, there was no legal change. Dp though still pays her child maintenance, we're lucky he can afford it though.
It does all mean I also have to step in at times, lifts to school if dp is working away etc. But that's life. Me and dp just muck in and get on with it. The ex spends her time thinking up yet more elaborate excuses as to why she can't siebd time with her child.
I think that you are right to be protective OP and not want to just have a relationship that is about desperation of need on your OHs part - however it would be good not to give mixed messages about this.
If you have 3 kids on your own that is a lot, but you seem to have stability.
Your OH has a tricky, unstable situation where his Ex may well not give full custody but be very chaotic. OH has long standing financial issues and no home. You say his DS adds tension that is not great for long periods of time.
In that case it sounds as if you should say no to OH coming for whole of half term, and the summer too. Work out what you and your family unit can handle, what is best for you and OHs relationship, and then just be very tough but clear to manage his expectations. You are right to think about living separately as otherwise you will be taking on all his problems.
Biglettuce has given your a great overview and way forward. You have enough on your own plate and don't need to be someone's safety net.
Why not go back to 1:1 midweek dates for a while? It may feel like a step backwards but it's really a huge leap forward in terms of your and your children's happiness.
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