Older teens treat me like I'm invisible(22 Posts)
I've just joined mumsnet this second, but ironically hitting the email acceptance felt hugely uncomfortable because I'm neither a mum or a step mum....I'm in a weird space that I don't even know how to call it. It's so comfronting I can't breathe.
I was married a month ago to a wonderful, kind and super sensitive guy who I adore. I say 'super sensitive' because he likes to keep the peace. Background is that I'm 40, my husband has two children from a previous marriage (18year old male and 19year old female). He doesn't want anymore children and I accept that we won't, but I'm struggling with his kids. We were together five years before getting married but the children only found out about me after two years (husband paranoid about the slightest upset to his kids and ex-wife). My husband is utterly adoring of his kids but I feel at a loss what to say. I was bought up abroad, they've been bought up in a well-to-do area and subsequently I feel I can't relate. I was bought up with super strict parents where I could barely speak without getting a bollocking, whereas these kids never go without. I've never been on my own with them and if I'm honest I don't want to. I'm super friendly, bubbly and ask all the right questions but the truth is i don't like being a "step-mother" - not quite the right word but "mannequin" is on probably more like it. I go out for meals with them and they never even bother saying "how are you". Last outing I tried to smile and test what would happen if I said nothing and they couldn't be bothered even saying a word to me. I know they're teens and completely harmless but they often appear a bit moody - it's more me and my reaction is that I take it to heart.
I've mentioned it to my husband but I'm adamant he doesn't confront them about it. I'm looking at all sorts of self-help advice as I feel it's my problem to fix, but quietly I'm angry and the voice in my head says "I didn't give up having my own kids to be a doormat to my husbands." Am I really awful?
To add to the insult, his ex almost ruined our wedding and even though they've been separated for 20 years, so many people including my new in-laws take her side as though she's a victim (their separation was amicable before you ask). My nickname was the "fling" for a few years because I'm 15 years younger. All should be fine now that we're married but I feel like there's sediment and upset from what's happened.
Any advice would be appreciated as "how to be a step-parent" isn't quite working out in Google. Thanks.
How have they been separated for 20 years but they have an 18 year old?
Sorry should have said 15 years separated. Speed typing got the better of me
I go out for meals with them and they never even bother saying "how are you". Last outing I tried to smile and test what would happen if I said nothing and they couldn't be bothered even saying a word to me.
They are very rude!! It really doesn't matter who you are out to dinner with you have manners and speak to them. If you don't like them then you don't accept the dinner invitation!
I get that, but I want things to get better. I want to be liked and have a decent relationship with the two of them. I can't avoid it, as much as I want to
If it's any consolation I felt quite invisible to my own DCs when they were teenagers!
You have only been in their lives for 3 years, and it must be difficult for them to adjust to their dad being in a new relationship. I met DH when my DCs were mid teens. He's not quite their step dad and doesn't have his own children and I know he found it all a bit difficult. They both adore him but don't think DCs see him as a parent - more of a mentor maybe? He taught DCs to drive and did "dad" things but maybe they were just too old for him to have that parent role. They do get on great.
The "fling" thing is very disrespectful to your DH, and I would suggest he challenges that.
I would be explaining to dh that actually he isn't that great a df to have raised such rude and ignorant dc. .
He is enabling then to treat you like shit by not pulling them up on it.
You are entitled to courtesy and respect and tell him you expect as much.
Big girls pants a necessity here op.
Well then treat them like the adults they are and address it with them. Forget about their chocolate teapot father and speak to them directly. Tell them you would like to have a pleasant relationship with them and there is no reason you can't all have polite conversations at dinner etc. Point out they are now adults and their relationships aren't up to their mother to control. Then leave the ball in their court. If they continue to be rude brats then don't spend anymore time with them.
I think they'll come around in time.
You've had no role in raising them so I expect they don't see you as a "mother" figure. However, as they mature and you spend more time with them, I anticipate them become more accepting.
Irrespective of the length of time their parents split, it's still uncomfortable when a parent remarries (speaking from experience).
My only advice is not to be over-friendly, be nice and pleasant and suck up anything other than overt rudeness. It will get better.
I was that rude teen. If they are like me, then one day they will look back and think 'darn, I should have been nicer to her, she was all right' (although hopefully in your case this will not be because your DH has divorced and got together with someone obnoxious). The truth is, their Dad chose you, not them. They don't want a relationship with you or need to be nice to you. Keep your self-esteem by building your relationship with your DH, being polite and non-critical to them, buying only token gifts and cards for them (ruthlessly polite, but not matyring yourself, remember), and be yourself, because this is your life and your marriage, you have a right to enjoy it, They are adults now. Think of them like your in-laws, you should expect some politeness and civility, but don't need their approval or to spend more time with them than you want to.
Good to hear from their perspective SafeToCross. I'm never in their face and always make sure they have alone time with their dad, even though he often disagree I feel it's important to have time to themselves. I play it safe and never over the top, however I don't want to suffer my whole life and feel resentful due to my husband's choice to split up with his wife and marry me. Feels I got the shit end of the deal and feel a waste of space. Thanks for all the comments - not sure if I understand or feel even crappier
They know very well they are being rude. I've had this from my dh's children ever since they were youngish and they're now adults.
When they were children I had to suck it up but now they are adults I refuse to spend any time with them, just as I would any other person who behaves rudely to me. I know you love your dh and want a happy family but that's not what hey want so yes, I would concentrate on your relationship with him and thank your lucky stars because they're adults you don't need to spend time with them!
my DSS plans my death. How ,when and what's going to happen after my funeral. what he doesn't know is the house is mine and is willed to my son LOL . Try and get through it with humour and don't let their rudeness bother you.
Omg how do you know he plans your death?! Just being nosy but does that mean you were left gd house by his dad to be split equally but you've changed your will..
they will find it hard to accept you, they will be loyal to their mum, even if they want to, it will be a struggle for them.
LOL He says things like when your dead I will move into this house, kick out my DS and move in with just my dad. When we go on holiday he always say the plane might crash and I will die . The house is a long and complicated story. I bought the house 15 years before I met and married my DH so when we met and married I paid the mortgage and any repairs on it, it was deemed pre martial property and he signed a pre nup saying he had no claim on the house. It is then willed to my son but my DH has the right to live there until he dies or if he wants to move my son has to give him 20k for a deposit on a new place.
Sounds like your dss is hoping you'll pop off before his dad. I would be sorely tempted to enlighten him that he won't be seeing a penny. Why miss out on the expression on his face? You can't enjoy if you're not here!!
Your husband should grow some balls and tell his children that they should be treating you with respect. They are walking all over him and you. You can't do this without him. They are his kids and he should take some responsibility for them.
Try to nip this appalling behavior in the bud, otherwise it will only get worse.
I was raised by my Grandparents and I can categorically say that if one of them were to pass away or they were to split-up, I would never accept their new partner as a true member of the family.
I used to imagine my mum trying to bring a new man home (I stayed there every 2 weeks). She started dating again. I used to think of all the stuff I could do to make her new partner want to leave or just plain upset/hurt them. I was quite a spiteful child but my mother always had terrible choice in men so I'd probably have been doing her a favour if I did scare off her boyfriends with malicious behaviour
They are teens. All teens are self absorbed. They will come out the other side. Just accept them for who they are and have fun together.
My DSC are just like this and treat me like a housekeeper in my own home. In the 10 years we've been together I've never had so much as a Christmas card. I've tried to get my DH to pull them up on it but he's always a bit half-hearted about it so kids carry on as they please. I wish I'd been more aware that this is a fairly common experience for Step-mums. It is less so for Step-dads. I would have been more laid back at the start with them. It may not have made much difference, but I would have invested less emotion in them, which I think may have helped me feel less used.
My advice is - concentrate on your relationship with DH, stop trying too hard with them and remember this isn't your problem to solve.
It's great that you give them time on their own with their father. Let him buy their birthday and Christmas presents too. If he forgets or buys shit presents that's his problem.
However, I would have a long chat with him about you now not being able to have kids with him. This is something that will breed resentment if you don't fully explore this decision satisfactorily. It sounds like it was a decision he took that you went along with.
I got this too from my teenage step kids. Not at first, but an increasing indifference.
It is rude. And it's not your fault.
But there isn't much you can do. Stop trying. They can take their lead from their Dad in this, but that is assuming he is sensitive enough and can insist on a bit of respect.
My DP would insist by saying things like 'You haven't even said hello to X' which did help a bit.
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