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How long did you fake it until you made it?

(36 Posts)
OrangesAndApples Fri 02-Jun-17 11:09:44

I've been reading posts on here for a while now and have found a lot of them both helpful and comforting. I read about the whole 'fake it 'til you make it' approach on here and I've been been doing that (even if at the start I didn't realise that's what it was) for two years now with my partner's son.

The thing is, it's not getting any better. In fact I feel like I'm getting more and more worn down and it's just getting more difficult for me to pretend.

Do I just need to give it more time? I realise that this is a process and not something that can have a timestamp and then end result, but I'd like to ask, if you feel like you have 'made it' - even in some degree - how long did that take?

Bluebell9 Fri 02-Jun-17 11:22:07

I find it comes in waves. Sometimes I find it really difficult and others its great. I'm hoping over time that the great times will increase.

Try to focus on the good parts and not let the difficult bits get to you too much.

Is your partner supportive? Can you chat to him about your feelings? My DH understands I sometimes find it more difficult than other times. Its really hard not to feel resentful/fed up when the kids are being little horrors or the ExW is being a pain. But I always try to remember that the kids don't get a say in the situation and that its me that chose to be with their Dad.

Are there particular things happening that are making it difficult for you?

OrangesAndApples Fri 02-Jun-17 12:28:00

Bluebell, this is the sad part - it's never great. The best it is is tolerable, and even then I'm stressed waiting for my feelings to dip again.

My DP is great. He does intuit a lot of how I feel and I have discussed some aspects of it with him. I'm scared to reveal the full extent - partly because it wouldn't be fair, nice or productive to tell him how I truly feel about his child and partly because he has been really great with my DC and I feel guilty.

There are no huge, easily identifiable problems involved. No real issues with DP's ExW. We have his son 2 to 3 nights a week and half of school holidays and have done since the start. DP has always been very keen to blend families (his DS is an only child and he wanted more children but his ExW didn't).

I do feel like I get no time with my DC without my partner's son there, but at the same time I'm very mindful that my DP sees less of his son than I do my DC.

I also feel like my DD's behaviour suffers. She is a bright, mature girl, 2 years younger than my partner's son, but because of the levels that he is at, they both exhibit behaviour that I thought I was done dealing with when DSS is here (she is my youngest child). Sometimes this irritates me and other times it makes me sad. I've tried talking to her and telling her she doesn't need to change herself for anyone else, but it doesn't make any difference.

Lunar1 Fri 02-Jun-17 13:47:14

Two years is a long time for you and all the children. Fake it till you make it is great advice but doesn't always work.

If the life you have is not what you want for yourself and your children you have every right to call it a day. You can't force yourself to feel things that just aren't there.

OrangesAndApples Fri 02-Jun-17 14:17:20

Lunar, I love my partner and my children have adapted incredibly well to the situation and like my DP. My partner's son never seems unhappy either - it's just me. I'm certain that no one else has been or is miserable and I don't want to end my relationship with my DP at all.

But yes, two years is a long time and I feel like something has to change.

workingmumsarebad Fri 02-Jun-17 18:18:35

You get 10 days per fortnight with your DC on your own?

swingofthings Fri 02-Jun-17 20:04:17

The only that can change is your attitude towards the child if that's possible. They are some children that you know however hard you try you will never like however in many cases it's about frame of mind and focusing on the good things and trying to ignore the negatives.

You say your daughter's behaviour suffers because of him. In what way? Immaturity, rudeness, tantrums? Is she only exhibit it when he is there does it really matter? Is there really nothing that he brings to the family? No positive traits at all?

OrangesAndApples Sat 03-Jun-17 09:43:36

workingmumsarebad, my 2 younger DC (I have 2 older but 1 has his own place and the other has been living with me full time) are with us 4 nights a week and half of holidays. DSS is with us 2-3 nights a week and half holidays.
So I get 3 nights per fortnight with my own DC when DSS is not there (and they are school days).

OrangesAndApples Sat 03-Jun-17 09:55:02

swingofthings, I think you're right. I've wrestled with my attitude for two years now. DSS has his own room and I bought and assembled all the furniture. I made his birthday cake. I've paid for him to go on holiday and DP and I do pretty much everything together on weekends as a (faking it) blended family.

I'm used to dealing with children - have raised/am raising 4 of my own and I used to teach. When you say 'there are some children you will never like' . . . I'm afraid that that's where I think I am. I really, really wish I wasn't.

When it comes to my daughter, I find she brings herself down to DSS's levels of maturity when he is here (which is most of my time with her as per my post above). I don't want to go on about how DSS is too much, but I find it challenging.

swingofthings Sat 03-Jun-17 11:36:19

When you say 'there are some children you will never like' . . . I'm afraid that that's where I think I am.
But do you know why?

You say you've done a lot for him, but kids will always value much higher you attention and esteem, even though this is often an unconscious feeling even at an early age, then the material things you get them.

Take two managers. One has got you a nice office, nice furniture, a good salary and a company car, but they never show you warmth, shows no interest on how you get on with your job, doesn't want to know about your personal life, is polite and courteous, but you can tell that they don't really like you.

Other manager tells you that unfortunately, they can't give you a nice office and you might need to share for some time and furniture is used because they couldn't afford new ones. They can't give you a company car. However, they are always stopping in your office for a talk, tells you to approach them if you need any help with any aspect of your work, ask about your family and tells you that you can work from home if you ever need and tells you that you do a fantastic job that is vastly contributing to the success of the company and that they would really struggle without you.

Which boss would you rather report to and make you want to come to work?

I think his analogy is quite similar to how SCs feel when they go to see their dad. I expect your SS does know perfectly how you feel about it, or if he doesn't yet, he will soon as will your DP and will most likely get to the point where you mostly ignore each other. It works with some family, it doesn't for others.

OrangesAndApples Sat 03-Jun-17 14:46:08

Swing, you're completely right. I've done physical things for him and with him in the hopes that the emotional side of things would develop given time. That hasn't happened, and we are definitely at the point where we co-exist. There's little to no interaction at all. I really don't know if that can work long term.

In answer to your other question, yes I know why I don't like him. I could make a list a mile long and write it out here but I don't think it's going to help. If he were my child, I'd have remedied every aspect I could right from when he was a toddler and I'd likely have found the rest tolerable because he was my own.

Basically, I think what I want is for my DP to see as much of his son as they both want, but with me seeing as little of him as possible. That sounds terrible, but it's the truth. Maybe that would actually be better for DSS too.

workingmumsarebad Sat 03-Jun-17 19:17:00

Sorry oranges I do not get your maths-
7 days per week and your DSC is there 2-3.

So you have 4/5 days per week when he is not there - how does that equate to 2-3 days per fortnight.

It really is not his problem if your non contact days with one of your DCss is on the days he is there.

To be honest your loathing of this child is palpable - I can make a list a mile long, I would have corrected all the things I do not like by the time her was a toddler - this is a child. How many things can he do that you disagree with - other than not breathing.
You sound so self righteous - that child will know - mine knew the SM barely tolerated their existence and they were damaged by this attitude.

Swing is being helpful - I am struggling to understand how a child who appears happy can do so many things that you loathe and can not tolerate.

swingofthings Sun 04-Jun-17 08:30:22

Can it work if you have almost no relationship with him? Possibly.

It can if there is no resentment, no guilt and no feeling of resentment, which is not easy but it can work.

I expect the first hurdle will be your OH coming to term with blowing his bubble. Will he get over it or become resentful. Will he struggle to understand your reasons for not liking his son or will he feel hurt and think it is your fault that you don't.

The second hurdle will be how your SS will react to your removing yourself. Will he feel rejected or relieved?

The third hurdle will be how will you make it work.

Lunar1 Sun 04-Jun-17 08:38:43

What are you going to do while his son is around? What if dss mum needs surgery or something meaning he needs to stay for an extended period.

How on earth can this work, maybe your dp will also remove himself from your children's lives when he realises how you feel about his son.

Rriot Sun 04-Jun-17 08:48:30

OP's DC might spend some of the week with their father, workingmums.

workingmumsarebad Sun 04-Jun-17 11:53:38

Rriot - I get that but that is not the DSS fault that his days may fall on days her DCs are with her.

I am trying to be polite but OP loathes this child, would really prefer he never came to her house, saw her children, had a proper family relationship with his father - but is happy if Dad sees him but nowhere near Dads ( ergo her home).

She wants the father but not the extras, but she expects her partner to take all her extras.

Sorry - she sounds nasty, selfish and the only person who is going to get damaged if the father stays with this woman is the young child. But then I almost get the impression, the OP - would not give a damn if that happened.

How can this work ever

OrangesAndApples Sun 04-Jun-17 16:41:04

swing, all things I've thought about/constantly think about. Thanks for writing them out - obviously this is emotive for me so it's helpful to see it written down in a more logical and objective way.

I think I need to broach it with DP as me needing to spend some time with my own DC and also being a little more honest about how challenging I find it spending time with DSS. I don't think it need be a negative thing us spending some time apart doing things with our respective kids.

I also don't think DSS would be adverse to getting his dad to himself. I can't see him complaining about it.

On a practical level how I'd see it working is us just going out separately for the day on Saturdays. That would give both me and DP some time with each of our kids and I'd likely be better able to overlook the change in my daughter being with DSS creates if it wasn't evident for the whole time I get with her.

OrangesAndApples Sun 04-Jun-17 16:51:33

Lunar1, you're absolutely right. That situation could arise. Honestly, I have no idea what I'd do. And yes, my DP might not want a relationship with a woman who fails to make a good relationship with his son. I'm painfully aware of all of this and it makes me miserable.

Rriot, yes, that's right, my two younger DC see their dad. The original question was how much time I get with my DC when DSS is at his mother's. The answer is 3 school nights per fortnight.

Underthemoonlight Sun 04-Jun-17 17:03:28

How would to you feel if your ex's dp had the same attitude towards your DC?

How old is this lad? What on earth can he possibly do to cause you to have some much distain for him?

My DH knew it was make or break in our relationship on how he bonded with my DS. Thankfully they clicked together but I would certainly not continued a relationship with him he he not like DS. DS particularly when younger could be quite challenging at times but he understood that he was still a child finding his way.

You've given in 2years you don't want to lose your dp but at the same time you expect him to live with your DC be in their lives as a family unit yet you cannot do the same for his son what other choice have you got? This lad will pick up on this and could listing physiological effects as he grows up.

Underthemoonlight Sun 04-Jun-17 17:03:39


Underthemoonlight Sun 04-Jun-17 17:10:37

I also think it's particularly difficult to disconnect from your step son as he is used to coming to your house to see his DF something like swing suggested would only work if you both lived seperately, your dss is still going to be living in your home 2-3 nights a week.

AvoidingCallenetics Sun 04-Jun-17 17:23:56

This is so sad for everyone.
I know with my dc's friends, there are some children you take to easily and others you just don't. It isn't anything you or they have done and you cannot help it. It must be really awful to not take to the child of the person you love.
I also think it is natural not to want someone else's child with you all the time you are with your own dc.
That said, this poor little boy did nothing wrong - he didn't choose this.

I think that if you are going to stay in this relationship then you have to fake it forever. You must be kind and fair and never make that child feel like an imposition. You must fake it to your dp as well - don't dump how you feel on him because it isn't fair. What is he supposed to do with that information, apart from leave you?

I do agree that it would be good for all the dc and parents to not force everyone to be together all the time - you all need time just with your own families. This might be a big factor in helping you feel better about it all and the relationship may develop.

mumofgirlspandb Sun 04-Jun-17 19:10:22

Op, just a quick note to say that I think what you have suggested, i.e. Going on separate outings for one day of the weekend could work well. My partner and I do this, so that he gets time with his dc and I get time with mine. It does actually make the weekends easier and I find I'm able to cope a lot better with DSS when we all do something together on the other day. It is also, I feel, super important for DSS to get some time with his dad one on one, he needs to know he is still the priority for his dad.

That said, I love my dss dearly, he is a sweet natured little boy who, other than occasionally being babied by my partner, is easy to get along with. I did however still struggle to bond with him, and punished myself for it, like you are now. The above approach has helped and I value DSS more and more when I see him now, instead of feeling daunted by the prospect of him coming over. I guess I felt overwhelmed by him, he is a strong character, and having a bit of space, our relationship is doing all the better for it and I am certain he knows that I care for him, and that he does for me. It might not work for all, but it did for us.

OrangesAndApples Mon 05-Jun-17 09:08:48

Underthemoonlight, DSS is 10, coming 11.

AvoidingCallanetics, thanks for that. I want to think carefully and proceed with great care with anything I do and it's helpful to get other perspectives.

To both (all) - I have never, nor would I ever, say or do anything unkind. I never comment on DSS's behaviour to him and I only give my opinion to DP when it's asked for - and then I try to offer constructive help and I'm careful not to criticise.

mumofgirlspandb, thank you so much. I've read your post several times and it's lovely to hear that what I suggested can work. I really do feel like my relationship with my daughter is suffering and gets drowned out and it makes me very sad. I think if I could reclaim it by spending some time with her while DSS is with his dad it would provide some balance and make me feel a lot better.

I came on here and posted feeling particularly low, but I'm beginning to see that this could all be talked about with DP (and then all DC) as something positive for us all.
Thank you all for responding, it really is helping.

AlphabetSoup3 Tue 06-Jun-17 16:05:26

I tried for 6 years - being pretty much in the background but gradually trying to let relationships between me and DSSs grow - by taking them on outings, cooking dinners, establishing nice routines, giving them plenty of one to one time with their Dad.

Unfortunately at one point it did seem to be helping and then one of them totally rejected me, and the other became distant.

So for me it's important to realise that sometimes - no matter how 'ok' you are as a step parent - there are too many divided loyalties or issues or dynamics that are out of our control. Make sure that you do not give too much and keep a handle on your own life too.

And also - don't blame yourself (as others are still trying to blame me) if it doesn't work out in the end. We're too easy a target.

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