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With DP's kids more than my own(8 Posts)
I'd really love to hear from people who can relate to my situation or indeed from anyone with some advice.
I broke up with my husband 18 months ago. It's very amicable between us, and we co parent our one son, who's 5, very well. We have a 50 50 split. I miss my son terribly when I'm not with him but I know that it is important for him to continue having as full as possible relationship with his dad despite my decision to leave. I have a huge amount of guilt about leaving, my husband is a lovely man but I became unhappy. I really tried to speak to him so we could try and turn it around but we couldn't. Our communication was never that great and I became resentful that my feelings were being continually brushed under the carpet. That's not what my thread is about but I thought I'd put you in the picture.
I met my DP in December, he's lovely. Everything I would have hoped for in a partner. We get on so well and we really support one another. He has 2 children (one teenage and one reception age) both are really lovely and we've bonded very well. He has his children all the time. He is able to call on family members to help out with babysitting so we do get times by ourselves.
They live about 45 minutes from me so not a million miles away but enough to not be able to just pop over for a couple of hours. I've been staying at his more and more, I am there most of the time that I don't have my son and more often now we are having sleepovers with all 5 of us. I really do enjoy it and despite the odd power struggle with the little ones, we all get on well.
My issue is trying to put aside the unbearable guilt I feel about being happy - having day trips, cooking and eating family meals, sitting watching movies without my own son. I've got the easy going, happy, communicative relationship and "family" life I've always wanted and my son is only part of it 50% of the time. My son enjoys being all together too, he says things like "why can't we live with , and *". So in every respect it's good. And DP and I are talking about moving in together and the logistics of how it could potentially work albeit that we wouldn't rush into anything and I wouldn't do anything for at least a year.
Rationally I know I don't have any option other than to just learn to deal with it but I crave for my son to be involved more than he is.
Is there anyone who can give me some advise?
Personally I do like having a base so that children are with one parent most of the time. However, you did make the decision to be 50/50 so awful as it might feel now, it would be hard to change that now. Especially as it might have been freer for you dating, but now you are with a more stable set up, then you are seeing a family spending most time together. Which must feel hard, but the decision of 50/50 was about the child I imagine? And what was best for your son?
So it wouldn't be fair on the child to change that according to parents circumstances.
It's totally normal. You are happy and you want to share that happiness with your son. Do remember though that your son's happiness is not fully linked to your own. His happiness is dependent now on a side of life that you have no involvement in.
I remember feeling the same when I first got with my partner especially the first time we went on a long week-end together. The children were with their dad for that whole period (exceptional as he'd only ever had them one day at a time) so it was great for them, but still I felt guilty that I was having this great time without them. They quickly made realise that they had a great time and didn't wish they'd be with me during that time.
What I did do though is ensure that we still had special holidays just them and I as we used to as these were always very special time for us and I wanted them to know they were still as special to me. 10 years on and still we have our annual trip away just the three of us.
Good luck for the future, it sounds like it's going well so enjoy yourself.
Thank so much for your replies. What has particularly hot home is that my son's happiness isn't linked to my own. I'd kot really thought of it in that way before. My thinking is much more along the lines of the fact that I should be with him because I'm his mum. He does have a lovely time with his dad and always looks forward to seeing him so I certainly would never change the set up to save my feelings of guilt. I just need to find a way to accept that it's ok to be happy even if I'm not physically with my son.
Would you still think this if your dp's kids weren't with you all of the time?
You were very kind in giving your son over 50% of the time. I couldn't do that. Kids need a stable base. I guess your son has two.
I wouldn't feel like this if DP had his kids some of the time. I know this idea would be idealistic but if we both had all of the kids at the same time and the same (ish) amount of time without then I wouldn't feel as guilty because I know my son needs his time with his dad as much as he needs his time with me.
The difficulty I have isn't with his older son, he's fairly independent, does stuff with his mates at the weekend, sleepovers, general stuff that teenagers do. My thoughts are about the fact that I will spend more time with DP's youngest son than my own. If/when we eventually move in together my son will be with us half of the week and I'll be more of a mother (in the physical being there sense) to DP's youngest than my own son.
I hope that makes sense!
What you are feeling is completely natural. However, you need to try and adjust your view point to reconcile it with yourself. Ultimately you have made all these decisions so you need to live with them now.
You need to shift your focus from feeling guilty to feeling proud that unlike many separated parents you are doing what is best for your child and putting his needs first.
Do has similar guilt as he loves his kids but his exw fights at every point when the kids want extra contact. He is with our dd all the time & we do family stuff without his other 2. We try to save the really good/bug things for when we are all together but we cannot out our lives on hold because the other 2 might miss out. They are doing stuff with their dm on her time so it's only fair.
You are an amazing person to be able to split 50/50 with your ex, your son will remember that he had an amazing life with you both and never had to choose not that you werent there for everything if that makes sense.