This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Just an observation(43 Posts)
A few things struck me today when I was having a think about stuff.
• my kids live with a man (my dp) who isn't their dad while their dad lives with their half siblings. They see him at the weekends.
• my ss's live with their mum while their dad lives with kids who aren't his. They see him at the weekends.
• my ex has to handle the fact that 3 of his kids live with a man who isn't him.
• dp works all hours to pay huge maintenance for his kids as his exw refuses to work & so can't see his kids during the week. Dp & exw split mutually.
• my ex works to support 5 kids.
• I work to provide my half for my 3 kids.
• dp & I rarely get a full weekend together as his kids live a 2 hour drive away & have weekend activities. Plus they now don't want to see me (again - on & off for years) as it's "too upsetting for their mum".
The people who are doing best out of this whole scenario are ex's dp who was the OW; moved in to our old (large) home; who gets to have her partner & kids every day & who no longer works because "she doesn't want to", & my dps exw who also refuses to work; who spends money like it's going out of fashion & who treats dp like a glorified babysitter.
No bitterness here, this is life; the rough with the smooth & we just have to get on with it - it's just an observation. However, it seems to me like everyone has had to make sacrifices bar the two aforementioned women who sort of managed to get exactly what they wanted.
Just makes me wonder sometimes what all the rest of us are at!
I think it is interesting to think about the dynamics and who gains. Although I do think bitterness is something that can creep in over time, we have to actively fight against it!
Also interesting is who is assumed to have gained - often it is the man who it is assumed will gain if it was going off with the OW, however this isn’t the case always as you have shown. Your Ex does sound like he is supporting and being with someone else’s kids more than his own.
In may case, financially, both me and my DPs exes were better off than us financially, we were both very generous and that impacted quite a lot on our own relationship. It was and is quite a strain.
DPs Ex does feel bitter, mainly towards me I think and periodically towards DP (although she also thinks he’s great in between). Although she has a mortgage free house, had me and DP look after all the kids every weekend and the ‘problem children’ (in her eyes) full time. Yet she feels cross!
My Ex also feels very hard done by. Even though he gets loads of free time, doens’t pay much maintenance, has his child bought up well, and doesn’t spend more time with his son even though he can. And he feels cross!
Perspectives... so different compared to your point of view.
Interesting people perspective......
I’m a step mum and my OH pays way over the CSA / CSM stated maintenance.
His EW refused to work (apparently, according to her, all mothers who work are bad others). The kids were 11 and 8 and she refused to work. I think the problem is a lot of women have lost sight of being independent. I understand that a father should pay for the upkeep on of his children. But should he be expected to keep his EW? No.
Out mothers didn’t have the opportunities we had and i’m so grateful that I was given the opportunity to go to university and be independent (I don’t have to relay on a man to support me). Shame on these women who are relaying on a man to support them.
This isn't an OW, step parent etc issue. It's all relative to what you see as winning...
My ex thinks he won as he lives with OW mortgage free, pays the minimum maintenance and sees the kids every other weekend. It suits him to the ground.
I think I've won as I live with my children, support them emotionally, physically and financially. Im free of the emotional and finaclal abuse and I get to see my kids thrive in a happy home.
Being bitter doesn't benefit anyone.
Magda - interesting thread and I have complete respect for your ability to not nut the OW and letting your DCs have a good relationship with her!
In my case - I have 2 DCS and worked 75% time after each of them. Took a huge amount of sneering and the usual comments from people including the OW( family friend) abut how bad was nursery was for the 3 days per week they went there- I did work from home on the other 2 days! How I must regret my choices and it was reflected in how my DCS behaved ( bloody brilliantly!) Bad mother, poor example etc
But what I was , was independent. EX is shit on maintenance despite earning over £100K - circa £300 pcm!!!! I could pay the bills and then have a few treats and not need him. DCS did but that is another subject! My standard of living stayed the same.
He left and I continued sailing on the goodship because I did not actually need his measly contribution - I was financially independent , had a training and thank god I was.
Roll on 4 years - EX has left OW and she now is a single Mum to 3 DCs, from 2 fathers, does a part time job earning eff all and expects both fathers and the benefits system to fund her lifestyle!!
I now think I am in a better place -both financially and mentally than she is. I do not need my EX to provide for his DCs, which takes such a strain off me and being on here and lone parents you understand how much so many parents struggle when the NRP is a twunt.
Her self entitilement is unbelievable - EX should pay her rent ( 4 bed house ) she screams down the phone at him for monies for holidays etc - his one DC apparently costs £800 to take to Spain for a week!!!
I thank my dear Mum who said, get a training being a secretary, nurse, book keeper anything. If you have a training you can get a job and then you are not dependent -she as so right.
Hey All, do you find being a stepmum effects your mental health? For me when I know my SS is coming over I get extremely anxious and it takes a toll on me. But once he is here after a while im cool. Yet the cycle continues.. anyone else?
does a part time job earning eff all and expects both fathers and the benefits system to fund her lifestyle!!
You demonstrate huge bitterness with this sentence alone. Many single mums don’t have the education/experience to work in well paid positions (just as many people in general don’t). Working part time is a viable option for many and shouldn’t be dismissed as freeloading. Indeed, as things stand, single parents are not required to work full time by the Government. And I expect, like many of us, what she believes the father of her children should do is appropriately support their children. That is different to an expectation of lifestyle funding, although very convenient to be packaged as such. Comments about the benefit system are particularly vile - I worked as a full time teacher and single parent for many years and was still entitled to tax credits, inevitably so given one person will usually earn less than two.
I get your anger at the OW. Been there, done that. But slagging off someone as a single parent yourself, particularly when that person is working anyway, is very unpleasant.
Lets see who is the real winner when the maintenance payments stop.
Yes being a SM really adversely affected my mental health thestepmumsclub - I really sympathise. I did have three stroppy teenager daughters, one full time the rest every single weekend, and a baby... so looking back I’m not surprised!
Although I never realised how anxious and depressed I became, because I wasn’t ‘allowed’ I think as a SM to have crap feelings, I think it was expected that I just bend over backwards constantly. The slightest thing I did was often commented on and then relayed back to me as a criticism - actually awful. I don’t live with my step daughters anymore and thank goodness really. They are all fine, but I am left with some scars!
Hi everyone - some interesting perspectives.
I don't really think there are any winners in these situations, it's just that sometimes I look at the adjustments my kids & dps kids have to make (to varying degrees of success) & I look at the financial pressure dp & my ex are under (& myself, as like many of you I was brought up to be financially independent) & I sort of wryly smile to myself at the two ladies sitting back having a rare old time!
In fairness ex's dp has two pre school kids so I get where she's at to an extent, but dps kids are all teens & I really struggle to understand what his exw does with all the free time!?! She has also informed him that she expects him to fully fund 3rd level for all of them!?!
My kids are doing great & have really settled into their parents being divorced but there are days when I really yearn for the simplicity I was brought up in - two parents who liked & loved each other & who stayed together til the end & all my siblings under the one roof. I know I'm very lucky to have experienced that but sometimes the experience of that really throws my present situation into sharp relief & there are days when it's just really, really hard.
I'm mad about dp, he's 'the one' - but there are times when my days of being single (which I was for years) seems like the less stressful option.
Magda it does sound difficult. You are dealing with exes that sound more selfish than you or your DP - and it is unfair that they are effectively rewarded for their selfishness.
It is pretty annoying. I can honestly say I was not a selfish ex to my child’s Dad, or as a SM. But now, if I had to do it again? I’d be way more selfish as none of me or DPs exes deserved our generosity, emotionally or financially!
I think the general trend towards broken families is so so sad.
For so many reasons.
Stinkpickle - I think we would all agree with you, none of us would wish it on your DCs. For those of us who have had it foisted on us - you do just have to get on.
ohreally - you have missed my point completely. OW was a family friend - she has a training and could earn alot more. We had our DCS around the same time - she was part of the crowd who criticised me for taking 7 months matleave then returning to work on reduced hours. She called me a bad mother etc. She took a year off and then went back to work abut 30% time - her choice.
She is also the person who kept telling my EX that they needed his monies not me and to not pay proper maintenance, weak willed idiot agreed with her!!! Their lifestyle when they were together was part funded by the fact, EX did not contribute properly to his own 2DCS but supported her others aswell. Example, he could not afford to take his DCS on holiday but took hers to Barbados!!
The boot is now on the other foot. EX is willing to pay the right amount to her. However, her sense of entitlement continues and she feels he should still not support my 2DCs and she should get all the monies. I have drawn a line on this and as the CSA amount would be about £1200 in total for all 3 DCS and when ONs are taken into account would be split £900 for me and £300 for her - I have to smile.
i have agreed that we should split £400 per child regard less then he is showing no favourtisim.
Now she still chooses not to work in her job, which would pay her a lot more, she chooses to claim benefits and get the fathers of her children to subsidise a lifestyle which she can not afford. Not only do they both pay above the legal amount - she illegally claims benefits. I have no issues with people claiming benefits they are entitled to - she is not. She owns a 2 bed flat which she rents out whilst renting a 4 bed house and claiming housing benefit, she fails to declare investments and savings to qualify for other stuff- that I do have an issue with.
Like Magda - I moved passed bitterness with certain things in this whole debacle. The monies is one of them I let go of - because I was in a position where I could. Many are not. The emotional and verbal abuse heaped on my children - yes I will be bitter about for ever.
I am in no way slagging off single parents - I am one - but I do slag off people who have the ability and time to get a better job and do not because of some self entitled belief that the EX should pay for their lifestyles and the tax payer should also subsidise them - when they are not entitled.
Lifeandtheuniverse - hear hear and good on you. You sound fair and a real grafter. You should be so proud that you have risen above all their pettiness.
I’m in your position. EW refused to work (kids were 8 & 11). Expected my partner to fund her lifestyle and would use the children as weapons to get more money out of him. At one point he was giving her £1600 a month and it wasn’t enough. He paid her mortgage in full, gave £100 over the CSA amount and gave her an allowance. I’m not sure how many times i’ve heard the line.... ‘because I am the mother of your children’....
She had a rude awakening when the finances went to court (she wanted my other half to pay the mortgage, pay over the CSA set amount and pay her spousal maintenance for 9 years). Greed is a terrible thing - the judge told her to get a job and start funding herself. Now my other half only pays CSA (+ £100) and nothing else. She now works 16 hours a week and claims over £26k in benefits a year. As a tax payer it appalls me as there’s no reason she couldn’t work more hours.
Karma is a wounderful thing and she’ll get a rude awakening when the FMH is sold in 2 years time and my OH gets his equity and she has to buy or rent her own home.
I think a big well done to everyone who does their best to rise above the pettiness.
Another thing that I find really strange is that exw still uses dps surname (even though she never legally changed from her maiden name to her married name) & refers to herself as Mrs. X!?! - how bonkers is that!
I never took my exh's name & am now glad I didn't. Dp asks me to marry him all the time & I jokingly (sort of) deflect by pointing out there's already one Mrs. X out there!
Exh & his dp are getting married next year or the year after & she has told my kids she'll be taking his/their name. They find it really mad that they'll share a surname with her but not me!
This doesn't bother me but again - why do this? If I was to marry dp I wouldn't take his surname as I think it would be really weird for both my kids & his kids. At the moment I don't share my surname with my kids so why would I want to share it with dps kids?
Magda - I too never changed my name but the school for simplicity call me Mrs X -it really does not bother me! I never signed anything as Mrs X - always as Ms A
It did however, annoy his new DP, who had delusions of becoming the first Mrs X. ( which she did not) Every school e mail, letter had Mrs X on it - I was reliably informed by her - that I was being unreasonable.
That little SM and streak in me, enjoyed her anger because I was not actually doing anything, it was not me and she could not yell at the school or do anything about it!!!!!
@lifeandtheuniverse I think that's perfectly reasonable. A name is just a name after all but it obviously becomes a huge issue for some women. Dp's exw has not just left it for school though - all her voicemail messages, email etc. use dps surname & she calls herself Mrs X even though she never changed her name. Drives dp nuts. They've been divorced 3 years (separated much longer) & he discovered last year she used his email to set herself up with a Facebook acc using his surname! & relationship status as married!?!
That is creepy!!!
Never wanted my EX name - it is v common and mine is unique!
Snap, again! Do we have the same DPs Ex?!
Another thing that I find really strange is that exw still uses dps surname (even though she never legally changed from her maiden name to her married name) & refers to herself as Mrs. X!?! - how bonkers is that!
Although I think a lot of women do keep their husbands name after separation / divorce. However DPs Ex kept referring herself to Mrs. X and would sign Xmas cards to DPs family as from ‘The X Family’ - I think it’s called staking your territory... ie they haven’t moved on from seeing our DPs as their husbands and crucially, their providers.
Lol @Bananasinpyjamas11 - sure seems like it!!! Kudos to you for powering through it all - it sounds like a very tough situation.
Christmas doesn't make things any easier as it's a time for family traditionally & I honestly don't know how to define my family (outside of me & my 3 kids) at this stage. Dp & I are a really strong couple & have a very good relationship with a deep bond - but I honestly can't say we're family, as least going by my past experiences of family.
For instance this week he's missed my daughters birthday to go to his son's parent teacher meeting. That's totally as it should be but I've a 12 year old disappointed as she feels she is neither her dad nor her 'stepdads' priority. She gets it, but......
This weekend dp has his kids & because they & his extended family have put him under pressure to attend a nephews birthday he's missing my daughter's annual athletics competition.
Again, disappointment on my daughter's part. In this case I feel he's wrong to prioritize his nephew over my daughter (who he lives with) but am I being unreasonable? & I know he feels caught in the middle.
I sometimes think the 'blended' environment is so fraught with expectations not meeting reality that it's a toxic state that maybe I shouldn't expose myself or my kids to. I know we can't ever live in a perfect world but I sometimes think divorce & blending is just one disappointment after another for my kids & I & I actually really try & keep my expectations low!
I'm really just rambling on here & letting my thoughts run riot as it's very hard for people who aren't in these types of situations to understand what you're getting at, so thanks anyone who reads!
Your partner lives with you and your daughter, he doesn’t live full time with his son. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have gone to his sons parent teacher evening the day of your daughters birthday. He hardly missed her birthday - i’m Sure he saw her that day?
As for taking his son to a family event - I also don’t think that’s unreasonable (over missing your daughters athletic competition). What other opportunity do the kids get to spend with that side of the family? I doubt the EW makes an effort to take them, it’s important for his kids to see their family.
He lives with your kids all the time, it’s not unreasonable for him to put them first when they are with him. Your daughter has the luxury of seeing him more than his own kids.
@NorthernSpirit - I'm not disputing the parent teacher meeting at all - that's exactly how it should be. My point - probably badly put - is that it's hard explaining stuff like this to kids in blended families (obviously I'm speaking from my kids point of view) & while my daughter totally gets it it's hard for her sometimes that she doesn't have the 'normal' family environment that most of her friends have. It just refers back to my previous post of how uncomplicated my own upbringing was & how grateful I am for that because in comparison there's a huge amount about blending that really seems to do more harm than good.
As to his nephew - dp spends at least one day every weekend with extended family so his kids see their cousins all the time. Kid in question is turning 15 so it's not even a party. I just feel this time that promoting his kids & him putting in an effort for the step relationship, i.e. my daughter would be more appropriate.
At least it's what I would do & if I told any of my sisters that I couldn't make something like that as I was choosing to spend the day at something that was a massive deal for my dps child they would never put me under pressure to attend, nor would my kids.
And just for the record my daughter doesn't see him more than his own kids. Dp works away a lot & we are very careful to structure it so that my kids are with their dad most of the time dp is here. We do this precisely because his exw accuses him of dumping his kids in favour of mine all the time, to his kids & it's caused untold stress for everyone.
My kids see dp max two evenings a week but generally one & some weeks none.
They are however very fond of him & have established a good bond with him despite the minimal contact.
Tbh you sound bitter about both sides surely if your genuinely happy in your relationship you shouldn’t be concerning yourself with what both your ex’s aren’t or are doing. My ex left me with a one year old for someone else, I had almost finished my nursing degree but silly old me had given it up due to his health problems, only to ditch me later down the road. However it was the best thing he did for me. I’m in loving relationship with my dh who we have had two further dc together. Initially I worked but as it stands dh is the sole earner due to childcare costs for the time being whilst they are young. Ex pays the minimum amount of maintenance but I’d like to think he’s not resentful the fact I’m a sahm when ds is well provided and he makes his contribution to his up keep. My lifestyle and that of my dh is in no way answerable to ex just as much as him and his dw are not answerable to me or my dh unless both parties were doing something inappropriate such as drugs etc.
@Belleoftheball8 - no, I'm certainly not bitter about my situation with my ex at all. That's not to say we don't have our difficulties but generally speaking it's fine. I made comments about his dp being a sahm and the impact that's had on him and his working hours & his levels of exhaustion (which does impact on my kids with him) but that's their decision & I've never had any issue re that and maintenance & I respect the fact he works so hard to honour his financial obligations to all of his kids.
Dps ex is different as their kids are all teens & re finances and her 'name' it's perfectly obvious she has not moved on & so yes, I am immensely frustrated at the level of emotional blackmail that goes on at my dps end & yes, it does make trying to move forward with anything very difficult. In theory we should both let it wash over us but in practice it's not that easy as many women on here will testify.
I'm very happy in my relationship & again, many women on here would say the same - however that does not negate the stress that comes via third parties & it's not always easy to keep those mental boundaries intact.
Join the discussion
Please login first.