Shall I try again or just run away while I can?

(31 Posts)
NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Sun 14-Oct-18 14:31:20

First of all, I would like to say I’m not new to the step parenting scene. I’m not so young so have been through this twice already one in my 30s and another one in my early 40s.

First time, exp1 and I had very similar parenting styles, we progressed into family weekends quite easily, I adored his children and I know well he cared for mine deeply. It is years since we ended, the things I missed the most were his kids. Kids and I still make a big fuss of each other when we meet.

Second time around was completely different, exp2 was absolutely terrified of upsetting his kid. It wasn’t that the kid disliked us, far from it but by the time the relationship ended 4 years later, our weekends with his 8 year old kid resembled a never endless game of “Simon says” where we all did exactly as the kid demanded to avoid explosive tantrums that ocurred between 6-8 times a day. No turn taking between the kids, his always came first and the implicit rule was, whatever he wants, you and your child do.

I ended the relationship because I was tired of walking on eggshells all the fucking time, without exp2 doing nothing to improve the behaviour other than giving him whatever he was having the tantrum about.

It has been 5 years since then and I have been seeing this new guy for six months. It is going well, I really like him and enjoy his company very much, he feels the same so we got to the point of introducing our kids...

I didn’t realise how traumatised I was left from my previous step parenting experience... He invited my son and I for dinner at his house. I drove 17 miles to his house just to be told to turn around and go back home a couple of blocks away as his child had been having a mega tantrum during the day.

Nothing personal... he didn’t know who I was, and I have heard of at least another occasion when a day long tantrum prevented my boyfriend meeting with his friends who incidentally were also driving a good distance to see him.

Shall I run? Mind you, I love the dad but I find the idea of another 4 years walking on egg shells very draining and I have not even meet the kid.

OP’s posts: |
HollowTalk Sun 14-Oct-18 14:35:26

Couldn't your boyfriend have called to cancel? I'd be a bit annoyed if I turned up and was told to go away.

How old is his son and what's his behaviour normally like (according to him)? How old is your child now?

NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Sun 14-Oct-18 14:39:44

He called me when I was about to arrive to his house. His kid is 12, mine is 15.

He says he is normally lovely, but if he can sustain a day long tantrum at 12... not exactly a good sign is it?

OP’s posts: |
tissuesosoft Sun 14-Oct-18 14:42:06

At 12 if the dad is calling bad behaviour (if no SEN) a tantrum then to me it would indicate he babies him

blackcat86 Sun 14-Oct-18 14:46:51

At 12 that isn't a tantrum, it's poor behaviour. He's virtually a teenager not a toddler. It's definitely a red flag. Have you discussed your views of parenting? What is his relationship like with his ex? I do know that some non resident parents worry about upsetting DCs because they don't want any excuses to lose contact or because the ex constantly gives in.

HollowTalk Sun 14-Oct-18 14:56:46

Honestly, I wouldn't want to be involved with someone whose son was behaving like that. I wouldn't think it was in the interests of the child to get involved.

NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Sun 14-Oct-18 15:00:20

I think you are right... sad

He blame it on kid going to bed too late at 10. (I think 10is a pretty decent time to go to bed at that age)

He called me later to tell me he had managed to talk to him, that he calmed down and that it was because he is a bit shy and didn’t want to meet anyone at home but that he would agree to meet us if we go to a restaurant. WTAF?

I cannot imagine myself pandering to my son whims like that when he was a toddler, much less so at this age.

We are doomed, aren’t we?

OP’s posts: |


Urbanbeetler Sun 14-Oct-18 15:00:23

Oh I would just forget him. It sounds like dreadfully hard work and you won’t change things anyway. Unless you can keep him as a part-time partner and not try to blend families at all until they are all adults which might be worth it if he’s a decent bloke.

NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Sun 14-Oct-18 15:19:55

I’m too old for weekend lovers. I want a proper relationship and at nearly 50. I can’t imagine waiting 6 years for us to consider moving the relationship forward.

OP’s posts: |
redwineandcrisps Sun 14-Oct-18 15:20:52

I split from my ex and honestly, reading your last post made me shiver. I loved his kids very much, but his eldest (year older than my Ds) had us all walking on eggshells. He would tantrum all day to get his own way, and his dad was very up front about fact that he didn’t want to spoil the time they had together by standing up to him, so would just give in to him. We split up for other reasons, but part of our splitting up ‘discussion’ was how I felt my ex was spoiling his child, and doing him a massive disservice. It was incredibly draining, and it’s hard when you love them, but knowing what I know now, I would be waking away. It’s not fair to your own dc.

NWQM Sun 14-Oct-18 15:46:00

I'll start by confessing that I've never been a step parent but we have adopted 2 children. When adopting you have to give a lot of thought to how the children are introduced to you, family and friends etc. In actual fact I say have to because you actually have to convince a panel of about 12 experts that you have given it enough thought and that your plans are robust, in the best interests of the child etc.

Friends who have fundamentally changed the lives of their own DC's are subject to no scrutiny nor often do they get help.

I saw all this because you obviously like the guy so...

Do you know if he prepared the 12 year old at all? If he didn't then why? If he did then how etc.

How long ago did Dad move out? Has he had plenty of time to adjust? There is no real right answer to this - if he hasn't had time this could be a delayed reaction. If he has had plenty of time then he might have got comfortable with the status quo and here we go again it's 'all change'. Sound like the 12 year old is very worried about their space being invaded.

I'm imagining that potentially a 12 year old boy was looking forward to seeing his Dad. They would do x as they always do now since Dad left. It wasn't great at first he missed him but now it's cool they get to x- box and eat junk but woah... Dad's running round tidying up and talking about a special meeting with someone who is so not his Mum.

Or 12 year old knew and stewed all week. The tension exploded like a lemonade bottle shook up and opened. As it's all really not okay as Daddy really isn't coming home.

I'm not sure I'd read loads into the fact that he called his 12 year old's reaction a tantrum. I've seen grown ups throw great ones.

I suppose I'm saying that I think you should potentially stick in there and see whether this is a pattern of behaviour and one badly handed situation.

Of course if you find out you are new friend number x that son has met it puts a different spin.

For me until you see them interact then it's frustrating - you'll have been nervous etc too - but not a red flag that he put his 12 year olds emotional needs first and hoped you'd understand. That could show a great deal of respect for you or none.

Only you know him. Is he being a good father who didn't play a difficult scenario perfectly or a parental push over? If I liked him I'd have to try and see for myself before working away. He is not your ex partner.

NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Sun 14-Oct-18 15:55:32

Redwine. Thank you for your post. I’m sorry you have been through the same. I think that once you have been there and know what the process involves, it seems like madness to fall into a similar situation.

It does hurt having to end something that has been so good so far, BF says it can be sorted but then I do not have enough patience to go through years of bad behaviour after the last time. It will end sooner or later. I don’t want to go between him and his child but I don’t want to put myself and my child at the receiving end of the effects of poor parenting. 😕

OP’s posts: |
NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Sun 14-Oct-18 16:21:21

MWQM, thank you for the long post. I will try to answer in various posts as you have touched on some important points.

There are some fundamental differences between adoption and step parenting. You go through a lot of agencies because they want to know you are aware that once the kid is here, it is no longer optional, it is your child for life.

With step parenting you are building a relationship with a partner at the same time. You don’t have the same level of commitment just yet. He is trying to see if he fits into your family unit, you are trying to see the same. People with children come in a package, it is my view that you take the whole package or leave the whole of it. You don’t split the package to get what you want and leave what you don’t (unless you are the wicked stepparent).

It is easy to assume that children of divorced parents are always pining for the other parent, this not always the case. They may love you in the morning and hate you in the afternoon, in the same way they did when you were married.

The parents of this kid split up almost 2 years ago, the kids often cancels time with his dad because he is tired (say tired after a game of cricket) or he has something more interesting to do (like playing in the Xbox). He often demands to be taken back to his mum’s house if his dad has to take his sister to another activity.

Apparently this tantrum started on Thursday, when he insisted in leaving his iPad at his dad’s house, then changed his mind and demanded his dad to drive the iPad to his (they do not live in the same city). On Thursday night he sent his dad several nasty messages demanding for the iPad to be taken to him, by Friday morning he announced he was not sure he wanted to see his dad for the weekend as he was angry because the dad didn’t comply to his wishes, he wanted the iPad taken to him and not see his dad. Dad had to apologise to him and beg him to spend the weekend with him. On saturday morning he demanded to be taken back home during an event his sister was attending as he said he would get bored (I know he lashes out if he is asked to spend time with his dad while they wait for his sister, even when the sister manages to do the same nicely while they are waiting for him to finish a game or do something he likes).

He was picked up after 11 and according to his dad, had a 4 hour wobble but he wouldn’t say why. According to what I have heard from his dad in the last few months, he gets like this regularly. He cancels contact regularly, but his dad asumes it is because he is tired so just goes by what he says.

And that is precisely the problem, the fact that he excuses it as if he was a young kid. If I had not gone through the same hurdles I may be more sympathetic but again, it goes down to parenting styles, which is the most important point to consider if you think of the possibility of blending families together. Yes, he is trying to put his child first, but I do have to do the same and not expose mine to this level of selfishness.

OP’s posts: |
NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Sun 14-Oct-18 16:29:04

In a nutshell, it is the level of pandering that worries me, not the child himself.

OP’s posts: |
LatentPhase Sun 14-Oct-18 18:58:12

After insisting on leaving his iPad ‘Dad had to apologise to him and beg beg him to spend the weekend with him’

Crikey. Not sure I could cope with that.

Having said that I would still want to see the interaction face to face. If only so I could end the relationship on the basis of what I had seen of his parenting, rather than what I had heard. I would keep your dc out of it until you have decided his parenting is a dealbreaker or not.

TooSassy Sun 14-Oct-18 19:07:24

I have a question. How apologetic has he actually been over the fact that your drove so far and were then asked to not arrive?

What I will say (bring honest) is if you are at a stage in your life where you want a full committed relationship, then I would say that having a relationship with anyone who has younger children (especially pre teens) is going to take a lot of work and a lot of compromise. I have DC’s a similarish age and I am 3 years into a relationship and based on the needs of respective DC’s on both sides, absolutely resolute in not wanting a traditional relationship. The reality is that that simply does not suit most children.

I don’t know whether you should give this situation more time but I will say this. The child is obviously struggling with something and the introduction of someone new is not necessarily going to help what is currently happening.

Of course the dad could have put his foot down and continued with the plans that were arranged, not allow a 12 year old to dictate his plans. But maybe he a) didn’t want the first intro to his son to be in this situation (I wouldn’t blame him) and b) maybe it would have caused an escalation.

As with all things like this. I often say, where’s the fire? Do you need to make a decision about this now? Can you not watch and wait to see how this pans out?

Judygarlandspills Sun 14-Oct-18 19:13:12

Honestly you’ve been through this before. It’s not fair to you or your son.

Find someone more suitable.

rainingcatsanddog Sun 14-Oct-18 20:12:11

With Disney Dads like that, it's inevitable that he will be pandering to this shit when the kid is an adult so you'd be waiting a lot more than 6 years before things calmed down.i would run for my kid's sake.

NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Mon 15-Oct-18 07:42:18

He has been VERY apologetic. He called me several times and drove all the way here as soon as he dropped the kids off. He knows is a deal breaker for me, he wants another chance (I am now wondering if this all apologising he is doing to me is the same he does to his kid...)

It is true that I need to see the interactions before I make my mind. But from what he tells me he is often like this. Having said that, his daughter, who is 8 is completely the opposite. She was helping her dad to prepare dinner and was disappointed when we didn’t show up. She has been asking when she is going to meet us.

To make matters worse, the boy was texting his mum all the time demanding to be picked up while he had his wobble on Saturday (in the same way he texts his dad demanding to be picked up when he is with mum). Now the mum is blaming “us” for it.

I’ll wait and see how it goes, but at this time, I am quite put off to be honest.

OP’s posts: |
swingofthings Mon 15-Oct-18 07:57:35

That's a lot of judgement and assumptions on a kid you've yet haven't even met.

2 years is not a long time and there might be issues you know nothing about.

I think there might indeed be red herrings but surely it would be fair to meet the kid before deciding? Then again, if you are already judging him as you are it might be already too late.

NotSureThisIsWhatIWant Mon 15-Oct-18 08:35:36

I said I was going to meet him, but I am not quite sure when. He only has the kids on a weekend every second week, I don’t think I want to try again so soon, may leave it for another month, at least, before trying again.

OP’s posts: |
Marcipex Mon 15-Oct-18 08:44:00

He will be walking on eggshells forever, and so will you if you try to join them.
I have experience of this sort of tantrumming ruling a household. Find someone else.

swingofthings Mon 15-Oct-18 09:49:03

Waiting a month sounds like a good idea. The boy did know about you didn't he?

AnneLovesGilbert Mon 15-Oct-18 11:46:42

Your gut is telling you it's time to walk away OP and you should listen to it, for yours and your son's sake.

I feel panicky just reading about it all. You've been here before, you KNOW how impossible it will be and you really don't have to take someone else's complicated dysfunction on again. He might be an alright man but he's a crappy dad. Sorry, but you know he is.

You want, and deserve, someone you can properly share your life with. You won't get that with someone who's held to ransom by a 12 year old brat. If nothing else, you'll go mad watching the DD being thrown under the bus because her dad is terrified of her brother kicking off.

HeckyPeck Mon 15-Oct-18 16:50:57

I would run for the hills!

Your gut is telling you it's time to walk away OP and you should listen to it, for yours and your son's sake.

Yep. Day long tantrums at 12 (sn aside) is the result of crappy parenting. You’ve been with Disney dad before and it was shit. Don’t make the same mistake twice.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in