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Active Exclusion(19 Posts)
Hi BF and I have been in a relationship for 5+ years For context I was not the other woman, divorce proceedings were finalised when I came on the scene and we live in our own separate houses seeing each other at weekends and one evening during the week He has three adult children age range very early 20’s to middle 20’s and one of his children lives with him He also has grandchildren that live locally I have one middle team child who lives with me and one older child who is at Uni
BF has always been keen for us to make bonds as a ‘family unit’ In theory I would have no objections but because of the behaviour of his children my children and I are less keen Some examples of this behaviour are - It had been arranged that we would all have dinner at BF’s house my youngest was sat watching TV in the living room and I was helping cook dinner in the kitchen BF’s children and grandchildren arrive and go in living room. According to my youngest, who I believe as I have witnessed this kind of behaviour before, they started to offer around some sweets they had brought but they didn’t offer him one and completely excluded him from what was going on Other examples are asking each other is they would like a drink, something from the kitchen etc but not asking anybody else in the group, making sure they all sit together if we go out for a meal and telling us that we can’t sit in certain seats as ‘this person is sitting there’ all walking off together if we are going somewhere In summary actively excluding my children and I (and their father in some instances)
I thought I was used to this behaviour and to a certain extent resigned myself to it but now after the latest bout I am not sure and the reason I am posting is to ask - Should I resign myself to it, would you or would you challenge it and be prepared for the consequences?
In addition although I am possibly resigned to this behaviour I will not put my children through this and I am having to turn down invitations from my BF to join them more frequently In the past I have been less than honest about my reasons but now I am considering just being honest and telling him the real reasons and how we feel - Do you think this is wise, what do you think this will achieve, would you do this?
I am really interested to hear other people’s thoughts
I think your OH is still in fantasy land where he can pretend that you are all a happy family and you play happy mummy whilst he plays happy daddy.
The reality is that his children are now adults and probably a bit taken aback by him having a new partner and younger children. They are acting rude, but that's probably in retaliation to his expectations. From their perspective as adults, they see you and your family as their dad new family, not theirs.
5 years is a long time though, did they get to meet you all from the start or were the introduction made later? Even if they are acting to make the message clear to their dad, they are acting like brats towards you and your kids. You should indeed tell him that you're not interested in doing 'family' things together with his kids.
Sounds like unnecessary blending going on and groups of young men are pushed together under any other circumstances wouldn’t be. Your bfs dc might not see your relationship as important because your not living together so don’t prioritise it so. They of course shouldn’t be rude but it sounds as if they are coming round to see their df and don’t want to be making small talk with someone they see as a kid who is no relation. If it’s not working why try and reinforce it?
Hi @Paulo1 - I agree with others in that I think your bfs kids are too old to be expected to play happy blended families. However, they are also old enough to know better than being rude to your or your kids.
I'd talk to my bf is I were you & see if he too has noticed this behavior & if so what does he think of it - this will tell you a lot.
It can't be pleasant for your kids (or you) to be on the receiving end of this so find out where you stand.
Your BF’s kids are adults but they are acting as children. Excluding you and your kids is rude. Your OH needs to deal with this. Is he aware it’s going on? What is he doing to address it?
I think your BF is weird. Why would you need to act like one big family to someone who met you in their 20s?
Stop treating them like stepchildren and they'll probably stop acting like it. Treat them like adults and just arrange to spend time separately. I can't imagine being 21 and being told I'm no longer allowed to spend time with my siblings and father, I now have to pretend a bunch of adults I just met are my "step siblings".
It's ridiculous. You're all too old for this charade.
Thank you all for you responses which I will answer individually
swingofthings - Did they meet us all at the start - they met me first and then they met my two children There was no secrecy just the sensible time frames adhered to
MidnightExpress1 - If its not working why try and reinforce it - I see your point for the situation as it stands now (us spending time together when we visit) and that is why I turn down most of BF invitations but that does limit the available time that we can spend together
Magda72 - no its not pleasant and I do worry that I have just got accustomed to it and it is my normal now which is a worry and one of the reasons I have asked for other peoples opinions
NorthernSpirit - BF has been aware previously of certain aspects of their behaviour and we have discussed this but he has said as they are adults there is not a lot he can do I dont think he will address the situation for fear of a confrontation and the possibility of no-contact
Once again thanks all for your input
Do they realistically need to be socialising together though as you say op you have chosen not to attend when they have been present. They might just want to see there dad when they go round. No disrespect to you but it’s not as if your both living together as you have your own homes. They might view the relationship differently if you were living together but they are just viewing you as their df gf and her dc rather than a stepmother and step siblings.
You'd probably find it different if you and your BF had a child, though I'm not suggesting you do this, as then it would be a half sibling. 5 years is a long time for this behaviour to be going on though and they're not teenagers. They could at least be nice when you are together, but maybe encourage your BF to spend time alone with them and his GC. Maybe they find it a bit strange he's acting in loco parentis to a child the same age as their own children.
MidnightExpress1 - Once again thank you for your comments As my child is not yet at the stage of their life where they are completely independent and BF has an adult child who lives with him it does mean that, if we want to spend some of our time together, they do have to be in the vicinity of each other a bit of the time
Ginger1982 - your comments made me smile as BF and I have no intention (even if we could) of having a child together and my youngest is only 3 years younger then his youngest so not such an age gap as you suggest - but maybe that makes things harder in the dynamics of things
Ah, sorry I misread about how old your DS was!!
What possible reason could there be for no basic manners from these people? I’m not sure I could have stayed quiet for this long OP. Very odd. I wonder what your BF has to say on the matter...
Tbh I think the fact that your BF has never called them on this behaviour is worrying enough as it is
I’d be honest with your partner about his children’s behaviour but also accept that spending time altogether isn’t really going to work.
I have step siblings who only became related to me as an adult and our parents did try to jointly socialise and we were all polite but to be honest it was awkward as we had very little in common and when I saw my family I just wanted to relax.
I think that as a priority you need to stick up for your kids.
I’d challenge their rudeness and not let them all stick together or exclude anyone, but in particular your kids. Your kids are trying to adjust as much as they are and there is no excuse to be mean.
Just be direct and upfront. My DSCs did this, and I pulled them up. They are still rude, but at least my own kids weren’t bullied by them once I got wise.
Other than that, you can’t make them like you, but you can and should expect a basic level of humanity.
It sounds like your child is old enough to stay home alone...if do some romantic hotel nights could be fun.
Would it be possible to arrange to have coffee/beer 1:1 with each of your BF's DCs individually? With a view to having an adult chat? During the conversation you could ask them how they feel, and that you thought you had noticed (but you could be wrong) that they find it difficult or awkward when you and your children are around. If they concede that yes that is how they feel. You could ask them why they think that is. Could be all sorts of reasons - some examples: they feel disloyal to their mum, angry with their dad for not having the life with their mum that they hoped for, threatened that there is the potential that he might love you more than them, worried about his ability to help them financially if there is the potential he will share resources with you and your DCs, or bothered by something someone else told them about you and your views, motives; or irritated by your DCs etc etc.
This isn't to say that their feelings are rational or fair on you and your DCs, but at least you'll know what you're dealing with. Plus sometimes things get easier once a person has had a chance to say how they feel.
You might want to leave it there and just thank them for opening up. And say that you'll try to keep their feelings in mind and hope that in time it will feel easier.
Or you might want to gently explain why you think their feelings are misplaced. Or why your relationship with their dad is important to him, and don't they want him to be happy? And is there anyway you could get along under the same roof without your kids feeling unwanted or uncomfortable because you are worried how this might affect them as sensitive teenagers. Maybe ask them what they suggest - indicating you value their ideas/opinions - about how to deal with something in your DCs lives.
Just some random ideas. No answers.
Apologies for not replying sooner
Ginger 1982 – no problems there was a typo in my original post
HippsterAssassin – I really have no idea what possible reason they have or even if they recognize the behavior is lacking in manners but in a very strange way I am comforted slightly that this behavior is not reserved for just my children and I as I have witnessed other family members being exposed to it - A strange thing to be comforted by I realize. I have spoken to BF about this and he acknowledges they do this (as mentioned they also exclude him) and he advises it has happened since his separation from the DM but I only have his take on that
Twattymctatterson – BF advises that he does talk to them about some of their behavior but I am naturally not present at these discussions and have no idea of what is said and how it is received
User – At certain times I have been honest with him and did talk to him about this latest issue over the weekend. He said, once again, that he doesn’t understand the behavior and he knows that they behave oddly at times Can I ask, with your situation, what do you do now in relation to socializing with your Stepsiblings on high days and holidays etc?
SandyYZK – Not quite old (or mature) enough to be alone overnight IMO but I can see a time very soon when they will be
Biglettuce – I agree about sticking up for my kids (its really just the one as the other is away at Uni) which I am doing by not putting them in the environment but I have never thought it my place to challenge the rudeness of adults
When my child and I discussed this we spoke about being tolerant to the behavior of others but then we also did acknowledge and examine if we are being tolerant in these instances or is it because we lack the courage to challenge This is not meant as antagonistic but would genuinely like to know how you can stop adults sticking together especially in this situation
What happened when you pulled your own DSC up about rudeness?
FredaNerkk - You have some really good ideas and I will try and see if this is doable They do tend to stick together but there are opportunity’s that do arise when it’s just one of them. I have never thought of trying this previously as I thought that it wasn’t my place and I am a little reluctant as I was worried about getting it wrong, blowing it out of proportion, making the situation worse or giving them an idea that it was upsetting me as sometimes I think that is possibly what they want but I will reconsider this stance
Once again thank you all for your replies
I really don't suggest the 1:1 talk at all. It will likely blow up in your face.
I would speak to their father and set rudeness ground rules which he should communicate. They need to be polite to the other kids.
I would then minimize the time you are all spending together. Stop the "family dinners" and the forced outings. Stop going for meals together and trying to make it a family unit. They would probably relax if the forced bonding were reduced. It sounds like they are trying to retain their "status" as a family unit when you are together (sitting together, eating together, walking off). So stop threatening it.