Am I Being Wicked?

(49 Posts)
Endlessdilemmas2 Thu 23-Nov-17 16:34:31

Hi all, thanks so much for reading this... I can't decide if I'm being mean and need some collective wisdom...

My partner and I have one son each, mine 14 and his 12. The step-parenting relationship has always been good either way and the boys are great friends.

At Christmas my sons Dad and I pool our money and buy our son his gifts together - labelled from all of us, including both our new partners, but my partner and his ex, buy separate gifts for their son, which has been their long-term arrangement and obviously has nothing to do with me.

I would find this totally acceptable accept for the fact that it is so expensive. My partner insists on matching what my ex-partner and I buy together for our son, in terms of monetary value, for his son, despite the fact that his child then gets the same amount of presents again from his Mum so ends up with double the gifts my boy gets.

This strikes me as terribly unfair and puts huge financial strain on Christmas, so I guess my question is am I being unreasonable in asking him to only buy gifts to the same value as my ex-partner each put individually towards gifts for our child?

He will not hear of it, despite the fact that I earn more than he does and essentially fund Christmas, and though I try not to get wound up about it, it riles me something awful!

Thanks in advance.x

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Whambarsarentasfizzyastheywere Thu 23-Nov-17 16:41:44

The kids should have the same amount spent on them.

Yanbu to want this at all.

Maybe it would be better if you and your ex bought separate gifts from now on and then there would be no confusion?

Endlessdilemmas2 Thu 23-Nov-17 16:47:34

Thanks so much for your answer. I'm so glad to hear that I'm not being unreasonable. As far as my son's dad goes we have always pooled presents so he could get one big present and other little things and it works fine, but in all honesty I'm not precious about it and would happily alter things now that we both have new partners and he has a new son.

Ideally I would want my partner and I to be giving gifts to both boys from us, but my partner won't hear of that and wants all gifts to his son to be from him only, and won't even put my name on his Christmas card so I have to buy him a separate one. I suppose this goes back to my partners insecurities about his parenting, but it is divisive and infuriating!

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DarthMaiden Thu 23-Nov-17 16:52:14

I do understand where you are coming from - but I also understand your DP’s POV.

On Christmas Day, it would feel unfair for your son to open a present worth £100 and his son open one worth £50 (obviously by way of example) even if he was getting another present worth £50 from his mother.

It would still appear that he was getting less - and thus treated unequally to you your son within your household.

DH and I spend the same amount on DSD and DS - even though we know she will get additional presents from her mother. She also gets the benefit of presents from my parents as well as her maternal grandparents - which understandably DS doesn’t get in return.

The thing I feel about it is I can only control what happens within our household and I don’t want any perception of us being unfair to DSD or her being treated differently - especially at such an emotive time like Christmas.

Personally I’d let this one go. I don’t see how you can change this situation without causing resentment. I appreciate it sounds like I’m suggesting you “suck up” your resentment in return but maybe think of another way to balance things out. You sound like you have a reasonable relationship with your ex given your buying presents together - maybe see what he thinks? Perhaps you take the route of buying separate presents (or one together and one smaller one each you give separately?).

Endlessdilemmas2 Thu 23-Nov-17 16:59:03

Thank-you DarthMaiden for being the voice of reason... I'm so torn about this, and in everything else I work hard to make sure things are as fair as possible for both boys...

As it is, my partners son isn't with us on Christmas Day, so there is no comparison as such... I suppose the comparison is in my head, which makes it sound even more petty!

But yes, buying separate presents might be the way forward now...

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AnneLovesGilbert Thu 23-Nov-17 17:00:07

He's expecting you to pay for all of his gifts to his son, which he then says don't come from you, and he even gives him a card which he refuses to put your name on?

So does DSS think you don't give him anything, even when you're footing the bill for all of it?

How long had this been going on for? What happens about birthdays?

DarthMaiden Thu 23-Nov-17 17:03:38

Just read your update.

TBH I’d be more pissed off about the fact that All presents need to be from him and you have to have separate cards.

I assume he doesn’t buy your son a separate card/present?

Well he shouldn’t expect it all ways....

Either you buy for both kids together or both kids separately.

If the latter then you spent the same on each child and I’d ask his dad to do the same for your son.


Endlessdilemmas2 Thu 23-Nov-17 17:09:11

Hi AnnelovesGilbert... it has always been this way. It's not that I pay directly for his sons Christmas presents but that I pay for all the the NHS Christmas entails and he believes don't matter and the kids presented come out of the joint account.

I add a little pile of gifts to his stepsons stocking so there is something with my name on and yep it's the same for his birthday... though he is less specific about who the gifts are from then, he still won't let me put my name on his sons card so I have to buy a separate card.

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Endlessdilemmas2 Thu 23-Nov-17 17:10:36

Ignore that random NHS.. my phone is nuts.

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Hoplittlerabbit Thu 23-Nov-17 17:22:48

I agree with PP. You and ex should do separate gifts now, agree what you’re getting him so there’s no duplicates and agree a budget so it can still all be nice and friendly.
Then you and your DP can agree you spend the same on your DSs e.g. they get £250 each. He can’t argue then as it’s totally even and fair. No way would I be letting more money come out of the family pot for one child than another

Endlessdilemmas2 Thu 23-Nov-17 17:25:24

Thanks Hoplittlerabbit... I think this is the way forward. Just got to have the conversation with my partner now...x

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DarthMaiden Thu 23-Nov-17 17:25:42

You need to sit down with your DP and tell him what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

If he insists on all presents being from him for his son then the same happens vice versa and you are not going to keep topping this up with additional cards/presents from you.

Personally it sounds like a shit approach. You are a family - not a sub set of two different families. This type of crap is exactly the type of small petty actions that cause friction and resentment within a blended family.

I was in my first post pretty sympathetic to him - but given your latest information that’s evaporated. He wants “equality” for his child at the expense of yours whilst highlighting a “division” between the parenting within your household. Then he’s expecting you to close the gap he’s created by buying extra things for his son so it doesn’t look like you don’t care about your DSS.

What does he think will happen if you give a joint present? The world will end? His son will hate him? Has he thought how it might make his son feel about not getting a card/present from you? Or that the fact you don’t give joint presents potentially undermines the perception of the solidity of your relationship for his son?

Strikes me he’s insecure and wants to play Mr Bountiful to his own son to reassure himself that he’s a good father and has wholly lost sight of the bigger picture in his selfishness.

Belleoftheball8 Thu 23-Nov-17 17:30:20

I’m guessing his ds spends majority of the time at his dm so will likely want his own stuff at his df house aswell. Where as I’m guessing your ds is at your house as his primary home, so majority of his stuff is at yours so it’s not really comparable to expect him to bring all his stuff from his main residence over to your home.

Endlessdilemmas2 Thu 23-Nov-17 17:35:03

Ah DarthMaiden you have hit the nail exactly on the head! This is exactly what this is about: "proving" to himself that he is a better dad than his own was to him. But in all his often preposterous efforts to do this he doesn't consider anyone else's feelings.
He is currently upset because his son no longer uses the iPod he has engraved for him with "love from dad" and no explaining that his sons iPhone usurps the iPod will help him see that his poor child isn't rejecting him by not using it.

His ex asked him to leave when his son was five and he says that his son is all that matters to him. That they (the two of them) are the family unit and that though he lives with me and my son he will never be his step-father because he does not want anyone else to play that role in his sons life. Completely denying the man who is actually a much loved step father to his child after marrying his ex.
It's all utterly exhausting.

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Endlessdilemmas2 Thu 23-Nov-17 17:38:08

Belleoftheball8 he spends every other weekend from Friday night to Sunday night with us and brings nothing from his mums house, not a stitch of clothing or anything, because my partner believes he should be the one to provide everything for him when he is here..: so that means he has a wardrobe of clothes I have to update regularly that he grows out of while barely wearing...

When he is here, him and my son are content to share everything my son has.

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swingofthings Thu 23-Nov-17 17:56:24

I don't think there is any properly fair way to go about it. What matters in the end is that the two boys feel happy and fulfilled. It would make no sense for you and your ex to get two presents if what your son really wants is one present that you can only get him if you join up your finances. Similarly, if it really matters for your DSS to have presents at both his mum and dad, then it seems silly to consider that they join up.

How about asking both boys what they want, and then depending on the list, decides how best to divide the presents and then explain to the boys why you did it the way you have?

My kids don't always want the same thing in terms of quantity vs costly present, so at time, me and their dad have joined finances for one present (driving lessons for the eldest last year), and at other time, we've each given something separate whereas our DS so far always had separate presents.

In the end, what matters most is that they get what they want most, if possible.

DarthMaiden Thu 23-Nov-17 18:00:32

I think you’ve got much bigger problems than worrying about Christmas presents tbh.

I couldn’t live with this set up.

He sounds pretty fucked up in his thinking to be honest - in such a way I think it’s detrimental to everyone around him, including his own son.

If he wants to operate in such a way to maintain a strict and exclusive boundary round his relationship with his son to the exclusion of all else then fine - but he shouldn’t then expect to be part of someone’s family unit and enjoy the benefits that brings.

Belleoftheball8 Thu 23-Nov-17 18:08:40

Op that’s no different to my ds he has his own clothings shoes etc at his df aswell as his own toys iPad, he has his clothing again toys and laptop at my house. He goes to his twice a week. We both buy our own separate stuff 1. It’s not pratical bringing fresh set of clothes everytime he goes to his df then having to wash clothing and returning it every time, what about spare clothing etc. 2 His df wants ds to feel at home at his home so he wants ds to have his own clothing, his own bedroom, his own toys at his house not to have to bring everything with him every time. 3 ex and dw gets pleasure for choosing and picking out gifts for him. 4. There see him as part of their family unit which involves having his shoes at the door, toys in his bedroom, it’s as much his home as my home is.

Your set up is different pretty rare as most do there own toys clothing etc and it works well in most cases.

AnneLovesGilbert Thu 23-Nov-17 18:15:44

I really don’t like the sound of this. He doesn’t get to play the bountiful Dad on your cheque book. All other issues aside, and there seem to be several, if he’s going to take this approach please please please stop funding it. Do you put a lot more into the joint account then he spends a big chunk of it on his son? That’s just not okay. If he’s so keen on him and his son being the “family unit” he can bloody well pay for it, all of it.

While this is going on, YOUR son in losing out every day because you’re subbing him and HIS son.

Endlessdilemmas2 Thu 23-Nov-17 18:20:08

Belleoftheball8... I totally understand what you are saying, and my stepson honestly loves being here and wants for nothing at all because I would never make him fell less than my own son. My efforts have always been about treating them totally equally and my argument has long been that my partner doesn't extend the same courtesy to my son. That he will not say he loves him (though my son loves him so very much) because he feels that somehow to do so would be to betray his own son.

I think very probably my issue goes beyond clothes and Christmas presents and is actually about the wall my partner has built around his relationship with his child who to my mind suffers because of it... if that makes any sense at all?

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Endlessdilemmas2 Thu 23-Nov-17 18:21:45

Swingofthings... this really is how I want it to be. Exactly as you describe but I'm banged no my head against a brick wall.x

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AnneLovesGilbert Thu 23-Nov-17 18:23:02

It’s good DSS is happy and feels included and loved. But what price is your own son paying for it? I can completely see why DP feels guilty for not seeing more of his child. It’s not your son’s fault though and it sounds like DP reallt resents him.

Endlessdilemmas2 Thu 23-Nov-17 18:24:14

And yes AnnelovesGilbert I do put more into the joint account because I earn more but I expect him to them play fair with regards to how it is divided between the kids.

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AnneLovesGilbert Thu 23-Nov-17 18:27:29

He’s not playing fair and it sucks sad

Endlessdilemmas2 Thu 23-Nov-17 18:28:02

AnnelovesGilbert I don't think it is so much about resentment for my son as it is about guilt about his own. He just hasn't got any perspective on his role both as a dad who lives away from his own child (though his son adores him and he has no need to keep ramming it home) and as a step-dad.

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