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First step-family Christmas

(64 Posts)
UndertheCedartree Thu 09-Aug-18 22:04:02

I have been with my DP for 9 months so only been seeing each other a while last Christmas. I have 2 DC (11 + 6) with my XH. Myself and DP do not live together.

My DP mentioned recently that perhaps his nephew and nephew's girlfriend and their baby could come over for Christmas to my house (he isn't able to host due to his housing arrangement). I think he imagined he would spend Christmas day with myself and my children. However, I want to keep things as settled for the children as I can (for various reasons it has been an unsettling year for them).

My thoughts are for myself, DP and DC to be together on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning and then DP to spend the rest of the day with his family and return in the evening. XH will come over for Christmas lunch and spend the afternoon/early evening with us before DP returns. Then XH will take the children to see his family on Boxing day and I will spend the day with DP and his family will be welcome over to my house then.

Does this sound ok? It keeps things fairly normal for my children in that I usually organised activities for us on Christmas Eve and XH always had a lie in on Christmas morning and I did stockings and a few presents with them before XH got up to help make the Christmas dinner and then we had more presents in the afternoon. Boxing day was then spent at a relative of XH's house. The only difference being DP being around this year (but they get on very well with him) and that I won't be with them on Boxing day (but I wasn't last year either. I also didn't go the year before but that was because my DS was ill so I stayed home with him and XH took DD to the relative's house).

Snappedandfarted2018 Thu 09-Aug-18 22:19:32

Will you’re new partner be happy to have Christmas lunch with your ex husband? I don’t many who would?

Cherubfish Thu 09-Aug-18 22:29:04

OP, I understand you want to keep things stable for the kids, but IMO it’s not normal to have Xmas lunch with your ex and spend most of the day together. If my boyfriend of over a year wanted to do this with his ex I wouldn’t be happy.

flamingofridays Thu 09-Aug-18 22:31:05

Why would you have your ex over? Weird weird weird. If anything thats confusing for the kids.

merlotmummy14 Thu 09-Aug-18 22:36:04

I think that's a pretty solid plan and think your DP just got excited about the idea of spending Christmas with you and your kids (a very good sign) that he forgot your ExH would also want to spend time with the kids. A bit of foot in mouth disease it sounds like, he will understand your plan once you explain it. Don't think it's confusing as long as you explain it to your kids in advance.

Magda72 Thu 09-Aug-18 22:48:28

Op - I'm sure you don't mean it to sound like this but it reads like you'll ship dp out & exh in for the day & then allow dp to return once exh leaves.
If I'm reading it like that there's a good chance your dp will too.
Preserving what was once normal for the kids is not always a good thing & imo you & your exh need to devise a new routine for Xmas & other holidays. Clean (but civilized) breaks are always best & the kids appreciate it in the long run - I know mine did.

PrettyLovely Thu 09-Aug-18 22:50:46

I agree with everything @Magda72 said ^^

UndertheCedartree Thu 09-Aug-18 23:07:20

Thanks for all the perspectives. My DP won't have lunch with my XH as he will go to his family (in my plan).
I know it sounds like 'shipping' DP out but we don't live together. They are very civil with each other but don't particularly want to socialise together.
Not sure what DP will think about this. I think he'll be ok but I will speak to him about it not in a 'done deal' way but just a suggestion and see what his ideas are. He is used to XH being over at my house a lot as he looks after the children at my house a lot. Myself and XH are very amicable and still friends so wouldn't say it's wierd for him to come over to my house.

But for those who don't think this is a good idea - what would you suggest? I am trying to do right by all parties and particularly the DC but perhaps not getting it right.

Blendingrock Thu 09-Aug-18 23:08:43

You have to do what works for you, and feels right for you, particularly for the first xmas when it's all a bit raw and you are still finding your way.

The first xmas after my XH and I separated he came over to my house for xmas lunch with our kids and my parents, and we spent the afternoon together. It was weird and uncomfortable for me, but the kids (who were 6 and 10 at the time) loved it, and that was all that mattered for that first xmas. However I did vow at the time never to do it again. After all, if I wanted to spend time with XH, he wouldn't have been an ex!

The following xmas I was with DP and between us adults we came up with a different plan which we stuck to for many years, whereby if the kids were with me on xmas eve & xmas day, then they were with him on xmas day the following year. The kids accepted it without any problems and THAT became the norm. As they got older things became more flexible depending on what else everyone had going on and now that they are young adults we have the added complication of them wanting to be with their partners and their families... and that's just what happens with any family, blended or not.

At the end of the day, if it works for you and everyone you care about is happy, that's all that matters.

UndertheCedartree Thu 09-Aug-18 23:23:39

Thank you Blendingrock. Without going into too much detail myself and my XH parted on good terms and are still good friends which I know is unusual. I don't see this as a plan for every year but yes we are all still finding our way. I just want to do what is right for the children but admitted ly I do find change difficult myself.

lunar1 Fri 10-Aug-18 08:08:24

In your circumstances it sounds fine. But you need to talk about it now, and be understanding if your dp Just decides to spend the whole time with his family instead of slotting into your plans.

lapenguin Fri 10-Aug-18 08:28:39

I think if this is not your first Xmas seperate then it might be time to start changing things up such as having Christmas Dinner seperately. Maybe one parent can do a spread on Xmas eve for the kids and the other do Xmas day?
Some countries celebrate more on Xmas eve than Xmas day so it's not completely out there to do that anyway.
This also means that if next year you want to involve DPs family for Christmas you can without it being too strange.
If you don't want to do that then I'd say invite DP for Christmas lunch anyway. It seems a bit off to say he can be there until a certain time, leave when your exh arrives, then come back when your exh leaves.

SandyY2K Fri 10-Aug-18 08:33:07

You're doing it for the benefit of the children which is good.

I don't think it's abnormal, there are other seperated families that get together at Christmas time, especially if the split was amicable.

Winosaurus Fri 10-Aug-18 09:18:08

I wouldn’t be happy if my DP wanted me to leave to have his Ex there and play happy families with the kids. Nor would he if I did that to him... at any stage in our relationship.
I think it’s better for the kids to split the day personally. If you have them there for Christmas eve and Christmas morning then your Ex should get them from say 2pm and have them through to Boxing Day. And alternate it yearly.
You’ve mentioned what “normally” happens with regards to yours and your ex’s roles at Christmas... but that was when you were a family. You aren’t anymore and continuing as if you are isn’t good for anyone in this situation, let alone your DP.
I think it’s great if ex’s can spend time together for the sake of the kids - my ex comes over Christmas morning to see the kids open their presents but my DP is here and I certainly wouldn’t expect him to leave to accommodate my ex, and if DP wasn’t comfortable with it then it wouldn’t be happening.

swingofthings Fri 10-Aug-18 09:40:25

Why are you making YOUR plans 4 months in advance that impacts on many people? I don't think it is fair at all that you decide of your own what suits you and your kids and expect your boyfriend of a year by then to just go along with it.

I don't think there is anything wrong with what you want to do IF it aligned with what your boyfriend was envisioning to do?

You mention xmas eve with DC. Does this include his children? Has he mentioned already what arrangement he's had with his ex until now? What if it doesn't fit with your plans but he too insists that his kids should not be disturbed by new arrangements?

I think it is too early to make such plans. Live it until November and then ASK him if he had thought about Xmas and go from there, one decision at a time to hopefully reach a compromise that everyone is fine with.

Magda72 Fri 10-Aug-18 09:51:06

Hi @UndertheCedartree. I think it's great when people split amicably & can be civil to each other, & in theory the staying friends for the sake of the kids is a great idea.
However, in my experience, this doesn't work long term. The bond you have with your exh will always be there as you have kids together. This is hard enough for 'outside' parties to deal with anyway. However when you also aim to preserve an (unboundaried) friendship with an ex who is also the parent of your children it makes it really very hard for a new partner to fully come in to your life & for you to fully move on. The saying you have to close one door to open another rings very true.
Your friendship with your ex may not be an issue until your dp or any partner your exh has or may have kicks, & believe me that will happen, as very few people will tolerate their partners having Xmas with an ex or going to an ex's house to mind the kids long term.
This sort of set up is also extremely confusing for kids who see mum & dad as not quite together but not apart either & often gives them false hope that they'll get back together.
After my split I too let my ex into my house to see the kids. Then it transpired he had a gf who (rightly) put her foot down and said no more. Truth be told I was relieved as I found him being there very hard but it was worse for the kids. In their eyes it just prolonged the actual split which had taken place months before but because dad was still coming round they were in denial.
I'd hazard a guess your dp is bring up Xmas & his family coming around now as he's trying to get his wishes across before your exh does.
Of course your children are your priority but they too have to be allowed move on from the old family unit. Even if your dp wasn't on the scene an you were single shared xmases etc. & still a bad idea long term.
As others have said my advice too would be to start splitting the day & alternating as most people do.
Often one parent has Xmas eve & xmas morning & lunch while the other has Xmas evening & Boxing Day. Sometimes one parent has Xmas eve day & Boxing Day while the other has Xmas eve night & Xmas day until Boxing Day morning. There are a lot if variables and ways to handle it & yes it's a pain in the arse & hard initially, but once a routine is established everyone settles in.

swingofthings Fri 10-Aug-18 10:05:51

However, in my experience, this doesn't work long term
It is rare but it can do. OH and I have a friend who was in a partnership with a lady who had remained very close to her ex (shared care). Xmas was spent as OP suggested and he had no issues at all. As a matter of fact, he became good friend with his partner's ex to the point that even when she left him, friend and her ex remind friends and continue to occasionally go out together.

Friend never felt threatened by the ex, he knew that the marriage was definitely over. He liked the guy so it made it easy to all get along.

nellyolsenscurl Fri 10-Aug-18 10:31:42

I really don't see the Ex coming over for Christmas lunch as being confusing for the children or not 'allowing them to move on from the old family unit'. Amicable co-parenting is one of the best indicators for the least trauma following childhood divorce and that doesn't have to mean that the NRP is banished to the garden gate for handover.
OP after 9 months together I really wouldn't consider you a step family just yet and I definitely would not be hosting your boyfriend's family overnight unless it benefitted your dc's. I would make your intentions clear to your DP from now but my dc's interests would be my priority so I would probably see him on xmas eve and Boxing Day and leave Christmas Day with the plans you already have in mind.

Bibidy Fri 10-Aug-18 10:46:04

OP, sorry but I think you're doing the wrong thing here. If your boyfriend is important to you and you want a future with him, you absolutely cannot ask him to leave so your ex can come over for Christmas lunch. He is expecting to spend Christmas with you so you will literally be telling him he can't because you want to have your ex over.

It keeps things fairly normal for my children in that I usually organised activities for us on Christmas Eve and XH always had a lie in on Christmas morning and I did stockings and a few presents with them before XH got up to help make the Christmas dinner and then we had more presents in the afternoon. Boxing day was then spent at a relative of XH's house.

I think you might be clinging onto the past a little too much here. You and your ex are separated now, and you have a new partner who deserves to be considered in all this, particularly as this isn't your first Christmas being apart from your ex.

Would you consider a previous poster's suggestion of splitting Christmas? You and your DP could spend Christmas Eve/morning with them, and then your ex could pick the up for the rest of the day and into Boxing Day. You and DP could then go and have Christmas lunch with his family. That way your children get to have a lovely Christmas with both parents, and you're not excluding your DP.

Bibidy Fri 10-Aug-18 10:46:10

Swing OP is bringing it up now because her partner recently mentioned his nephew coming to her house for Christmas, clearly envisioning that he himself would also be spending Christmas with her and her children.

flamingofridays Fri 10-Aug-18 10:51:38

clearly envisioning that he himself would also be spending Christmas with her and her children

exactly, so he's hardly going to be overjoyed when he gets kicked out so the ex can come round and play happy families

I would take that as a message that the ex was more important than me and I would probably just end it tbh.

swingofthings Fri 10-Aug-18 10:51:49

Fair enough, but what was your response then OP?

Does it mean that he already knows that he won't have his children on Xmas day?

Bibidy Fri 10-Aug-18 10:54:16

I really don't see the Ex coming over for Christmas lunch as being confusing for the children or not 'allowing them to move on from the old family unit'. Amicable co-parenting is one of the best indicators for the least trauma following childhood divorce and that doesn't have to mean that the NRP is banished to the garden gate for handover.

But there is a bit of a difference between amicable co-parenting where the NRP might pop in for a cup of tea when they do handovers or attend sports day together, and actively maintaining the 'old' family unit for special occasions at the exclusion of a new partner. I think Magda72's experience with her own children is more common than people think - many children harbour wishes for their parents to reunite and to allow them to live that dream once a year when it's not the truth seems very cruel to me.

It's one thing to invite an ex to spend the day with the children and new partner, but to tell a new partner that they need to go elsewhere for Christmas day so that the ex gets to spend the day there instead is not on at all.

Magda72 Fri 10-Aug-18 10:58:10

@swingofthings - I know there are people who can make this work but it is rare & I just got the impression that the dp was trying to get in first with Xmas so to speak, which to me would indicate he's not fully happy with the situation. Maybe I read too much into that!
And yes @nellyolsenscurl - I suppose a lot depends on how OP & her dp see their relationship.
9 months is quite early but I suppose it's different for everyone & she does refer to him as dp & not bf & obviously feels they're on course to being a stepfamily/blended. If that's the case then I think the current situation would be quite hard or her dp.
Personally I think you can coparent very well & set a great example for kids by being civil & friendly but by also keeping boundaries in place.
My exh is never at the gate, he always parks in my driveway & comes the the door as I do at his. We chat to each other & I chat to his dw & small kids if I'm doing collection or drop off, but that's where it ends. He has his life & I have mine.
Different for everyone I suppose.

ItsNiceItsDifferentItsUnusual Fri 10-Aug-18 11:03:01

I think that sounds perfectly reasonable tbh. Probably less so next year, when you've been with your dp longer but at this point keeping everything as you think your dc would prefer them has to be the priority.

I wish to god my parents had managed to remain on good terms.

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