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Blending families

(11 Posts)
FayaMAMA Wed 10-Aug-16 22:27:12

Hi, I just wanted to know about some of your experiences with blending families together either when one or both of you have children already. I'd love to know anything you have to say about the rewards/difficulties, but I also have some specific questions:

1) How long into your relationship were you introduced to their kids/them yours/kids to each others kids? How did you go about it? What problems occurred?

2) When did you move in together? How did it work? Did you have to move into a new place together or did one of you move into the others house? What problems arose from this?

3) How did you find the time to spend alone time together before moving in together? How important is it to spend quality time with each others kids before living together?

Background info: I'm getting ahead of myself with this thread. I've been 'dating' my partner for 7 months now, he only recently met my DDs (3.5) and I'm due to meet his kids at the end of August (5, 7, 16). We've been taking things very slowly as I'm incredibly cautious and worried about ruining everything/getting into a sticky situation once we involve the DCs. I'm looking for reassurance but also to be prepared for what could happen.


Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 11-Aug-16 00:23:08

7 months seems time enough to meet the kids. Just be open, and don't expect them to just gel. I'd tell your kids that there is no pressure, and do something simple but fun.

I moved in with my DP to his house, and his older DSCs. Bad idea. I still feel an outsider. Find a good mutual home or if you move into their territory, talk a lot about ground rules, problems that may arise.

Of course the more alone time you can spend with DP the better, but practically this can be difficult. Evenings should be set aside, or at least some of them. Which may mean booting off a teenager to another room/bedroom.

FayaMAMA Thu 11-Aug-16 13:12:27

bananas - Thanks for the response/advice. I'll definitely try not to make the kids feel pressured.... but there is so much pressure! Really! We just want everyone to get along! Yes, I would be very cautious before moving into their house/'territory'. I'm sorry that you still feel like an outsider in your own home, that must be very tough.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 11-Aug-16 13:58:01

Well it could really work out for you, I hope it does.

I do think lowering expectations of kids getting along with each other, or with you, is quite important. There can be a tendency to be unrealistic and it is a pressure on you all. What if one of his kids strops off and doesn't get on with one of yours and you? That shouldn't be a real drama or something that tilts your relationship to the negative.

If there is any advice, I'd say that is it. My DP felt in the early days that because one of his daughters didn't absolutely love me, or my son, that it must mean doom for us as a 'new family'. This really affected a lot, the daughter in question quickly forgot about it and now gets on with us, but the damage to my relationship is slower to recover as blame crept in.

Chimpfield Thu 11-Aug-16 16:34:55

In my experience it has been incredibly difficult - I hope it goes better for you.

It difficulty we have had is that one child (21!) just does not want to be part of a blended family - which is fair enough but very hard on her dad as she has made it a "them or me" issue. Despite how much my DH tries to initiate contact with just the two of them..... two years lapsed before she would see him - and that was because it was her 21st Birthday. I have now disengaged due to her awful treatment of me and my DC.

Some days you wonder if it is worth it as I don't think DH will ever come to terms with the way things have turned out - I just try and reassure him that she may change as she gets older and matures more and encourage him to text regularly (she won't speak to him).

MarkRuffaloCrumble Thu 11-Aug-16 17:23:52

Hello Op.

I've been with DP for 4 years but we don't live together. He has his own house and spends 50% of his time there with his DCs and the other half here with me and mine. Due to the DCs being settled at their respective schools and local friends, we have no plans to move in together any time soon.

It does feel a little bit like we're not properly committed or that people will presume that we are not serious. However, we have every intention of living together when the DCs are all grown up and less dependant.

Regarding your questions:

1) How long into your relationship were you introduced to their kids/them yours/kids to each others kids? How did you go about it? What problems occurred?

DP met mine within a couple of weeks as my babysitter let me down and his alternative suggestion was to take my DCs out to the cinema and for something to eat. I met his shortly afterwards. I didn't see the point in waiting too long, becoming attached to him and then finding out the DCs didn't like him or vice versa. Imo it's important that everyone likes each other and without that there was no future in the relationship anyway.

My DCs love him to bits. He's funny and kind and doesn't really parent them unless they're being really annoying so he is a very positive influence for them. His DCs don't spend that much time with us any more. We did used to spend most weekends together but it was quite stressful for me having a houseful every weekend, so we have scaled that back a bit.

We do have the odd parenting disagreement (having his DCs half the time he can be a bit more indulgent of them whereas I am a bit stricter and find it difficult when his youngest is treated differently, but I have learned to just step back and concentrate on making sure my DCs are happy)

2) When did you move in together? How did it work? Did you have to move into a new place together or did one of you move into the others house? What problems arose from this?

We didn't! Will probably either move him into my house or buy somewhere new once the DCs have left school and are a bit more flexible. Youngest is 8!

3) How did you find the time to spend alone time together before moving in together? How important is it to spend quality time with each others kids before living together

We get a night off together if my one day a week when the DCs visit their coincides with his kid free 50%! It works out OK most weeks and if not, my eldest is old enough to babysit for a couple of hours if we want to go out for dinner. We also meet up for lunch sometimes during the week, so we aren't lacking in time together despite not living together full time,

LineyReborn Thu 11-Aug-16 19:09:25

I've been with DP now for well over 3 years. We don't live together, and have no plans to or to 'blend' our families because it wouldn't work.

We met each other's children very quickly, but they are teenagers / young adults.

We try to spend two nights together a week but DP's youngest has ASD so we need to be especially mindful of his needs and wishes.

Maintaining separate households works best for us.

I should add, DP's children live with him full-time. Which may or may not be unusual.

FayaMAMA Thu 11-Aug-16 19:19:28

Bananas - Unfortunately, my expectations are incredibly low already. I have visions of fights, screaming and lots of drama even though I know it probably won't happen like that. I suppose that if everyone doesn't get along it will be okay eventually, but damn I just want everything to go smoothly!

chimpfield - Yes, I'm particularly worried about his older DS (16) not wanting to be as involved as he was very difficult when DP introduced his ex wife to him (mum of other DC). Especially as I'm closer in age to him than to DP blush. If you want a little reassurance that things might get better for you though: my older sister refused to acknowledge that my SM existed all through her teens but now she's 28 and isn't exactly close with her but is friendly and feels guilty about her previous behaviour smile

FayaMAMA Thu 11-Aug-16 19:27:12

MarkRuffaloCrumble - Thanks for your extensive response! I really appreciate it smile. DP and I aren't thinking of living together anytime soon, even if things go fantastically with everyone meeting each other. I don't think it signifies how serious you are as a couple at all. Unfortunately my DDs dad isn't involved so I have them 100% of the time and he has main custody of his younger DCs so we really struggle to find time to see each other - another reason why our relationship has moved so slowly.

mumeemoo Mon 22-Aug-16 11:39:36

Hello op
There is no right or wrong way to blend families - my advice would be to go as slow or fast as you, your dp and all the dcs can cope with. I love my crazy family but sometimes refer to it as a liquidised rather than blended family. In answer to your questions about what we did - we introduced the dc a few months in. We introduced each other as friends. Six months or so later my dd said she thought dp was my bf because my eyes smiled with love when I looked at him - the same as I did when I looked at her. Bless

We moved in together about two years later. I moved with my dc to the town dp and his ds lived and rented for about a year. He then sold his house and we all moved in together so we all started in a new place together. It wasn't easy. Tbh dp was worse than dc about change but three years on we are like any other family. DSS is with us 50%of time. He probably struggles.more than others because he has the most change. He argues with my ds as they are close in age but the three of them will close ranks on us if they feel we are being unfair to any one of them!

Other things that have been difficult is that me and dp (now dh) have different parenting styles he is much more old fashioned which worked when they were younger but not so helpful with teenagers wanting to assert their independence. They aren't doing anything too bad but dh is much less tolerant of thoughtless teen behaviour than I am. We talk a lot. We are also extremely grateful for our child free weekends (every other w/e) - and our friends are very envious of this "perk" of divorced parents. we work very hard to coordinate the exes families to ensure we get this time off! I would say it is essential if you can manage it.

Re your question about quality time with dcs before.moving in together I think it is important. I also try and engineer it at different points in the year as well. Every child needs one on one time with a parent. So I may take ds or dd out and dh will take DSs out too. We will also try and spend some time with one child and treat them to a meal or cinema if the others are out from time to time. Everyone likes to feel special.

I can't promise it will be a bed of roses but blending families is an amazing adventure so I would say go for it and enjoy! Good luck.

FeedMeAndTellMeImPretty Wed 24-Aug-16 17:18:50

If you're not going to get much time on your own as a couple I'd definitely suggest finding a reliable babysitter and making a date once a week/fortnight/month, whatever works. That little bit of breathing space will be even more necessary with the DCs around all the time.

We have at least one week holiday and probably the odd weekend here and there for just the two of us. Bliss!

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