Displays of affection when SCs are around

(17 Posts)
Qubus Fri 21-Dec-18 12:15:53

This dynamic feels bizarre for me but AIBU?

When SC are not around DH is very affectionate, he regularly approaches me for a kiss and a cuddle. I am affectionate in this way too.

However when SC visit DH completely changes. He instantly becomes cold and largely ignores me whilst lavishing them in constant attention and affection (emotional and physical). This leaves me feeling sad, confused, rejected and at times resentful. I fear their visits now because our marriage dynamic changes so abruptly.

I have tried to ask him what's going on and all he says is "I don't like displays of affection". Yet he puts on displays with his kids, often in public with them climbing all over him and kissing him and him returning it.

I also have a DC from a previous relationship and I always show DH affection whether my DC is present or not. I think it's healthy for children to see a hug or a peck on the lips.

Has anyone else experienced this change in dynamic? His DC are staying for xmas and the thought of having a cold, affectionate-less xmas is making me depressed and anxious.

OP’s posts: |
Santaispackinghissleigh Fri 21-Dec-18 12:18:24

Imo the dc should see their df is a happy half of a couple.
In his eyes he doesn't want them to feel he loves you more than them or to reinforce he loves you not their dm any more.
Try and talk to him without being accusing.

Qubus Fri 21-Dec-18 12:51:48

We've been together for 5 years and have a child of our own. I firmly believe that by not showing affection in front of the SC he is confusing them. On the one hand they know we have a child together so have obviously been affectionate yet on the other hand we appear to be nothing but joint-lodgers when they stay over.

When our own child is older, I fear they will begin to get confused.

I've tried talking to him about it. He sees nothing wrong.

OP’s posts: |
Santaispackinghissleigh Fri 21-Dec-18 12:55:46

Maybe he feels guilty your dc together has him 24/7 and his other dc don't so he goes ott when they are there - my exh was similar. He had huge resentment I had my dc ft when he didn't.
He needs to be treating all the dc affectionalty when they are together.
Make sure he knows he is a good df (if he is!).

Hadalifeonce Fri 21-Dec-18 12:57:53

I wouldn't wait for him, I would cuddle him, and kiss him. It is perfectly normal for couples to display their affection for each other, especially within their own home.

Qubus Fri 21-Dec-18 13:04:33

I wouldn't wait for him, I would cuddle him, and kiss him.

I will try, but I fear he will recoil or freeze and I will look even more unloved and stupid sad

OP’s posts: |
Hadalifeonce Fri 21-Dec-18 13:11:41

If he does recoil from you, I would immediately take him somewhere private and point out exactly what he has just done, and how it looks to his DCs.


LightDrizzle Fri 21-Dec-18 13:18:50

It’s tricky. He certainly shouldn’t be cold to you, that’s an awful model to give his children.
I think it depends how long you have been together and the rest of the situation. Is your DC’s dad a big part of their life? Is DSC’s mum a big part of their life?
I think children can find it uncomfortable seeing mum or dad being soppy, or god forbid snogging, someone other than their other parent and I think in the early stages it is a good idea to tone down physical affection until the children are confident of their retained importance with their parent and in this new family, and also more used to things. I definitely toned it down around my stepdaughter for years. I was always as warm and engaged with and by her dad though, I just didn’t plonk myself in his lap or anything.
If you have been separated from your children’s father for longer, they maybe more comfortable with seeing you as someone else’s partner. If it’s more new for his children, and he sees them less often, I can understand him treading carefully.
Have a chat about it.

Bananasinpyjamas11 Fri 21-Dec-18 16:47:35

Yes I’ve experienced this. I can count on one hand the number of times DP was affectionate to me in front of the kids. But he hugged them and gave them playful touches a lot. At the time I even agreed, I thought it was helpful to the kids to be validated and not overly exposed to us.

However now I realize it tells us a lot about the balance of power. The degrees are important. I do still think it’s better to tone it down for step kids. but what you’ve described is too extreme. I think as others have said, you should do a little low level - like a brief hand hold, brief hand on shoulder. Then if he recoils immediately tell him either jokingly or in private.

stuffedpeppers Fri 21-Dec-18 16:58:35

My DCS loathed any form of affection between DF and OW.

Roll on 3 yrs - they have split up and new girlfriend is on the scene ( lovely lady!) They tell him, he can hold her hand and give her a peck but not "full on snogging"! They are now pre teen and understand a lot more.

Degrees of engagement - I think.

Anuta77 Fri 21-Dec-18 18:34:17

I don't think it's a good idea to hide all affection from children (especially if they see their mom being affectionate with her partner) because it can give them the wrong idea about your relationship. We've been together for about 5 years and have a toddler and this summer SD, who was 11, told me that me and her father will separate (I'm not giving context). Why? Well, she witnessed some arguments, but she didn't see affection (which happens at night or when she wasn't seeing/wasn't there), so she just assumed that our relationship was doomed. I was in shock, I really didn't imagine that kids analyse to his point.
He might be uncomfortable, but it's important to tell him how you fell (without pushing him). You could ask with what he could be comfortable (ex. little kiss when seeing each other or saying goodbye), using affectionate words, touching his hand, etc.

Write Sat 22-Dec-18 11:02:42

He’s probably just aware that you, your DC and your shared DC commander the vast majority of his time so wants to make his time with his DC about them?

HeckyPeck Sat 22-Dec-18 21:02:49

Sorry OP, you’re husband is being awful.

I don’t think I could live like this.

He’s definitely lying blaming it on not liking displays of affection as it’s only when the step kids are there. I’d point that out and see if you can get to the bottom of it, but if that didn’t work I’d be thinking long and hard about leaving,

Em3891 Sat 22-Dec-18 21:36:02

I could have written this, my partner is exactly the same. So incredibly affectionate when SS isn't around (not actually my SS yet but just easier for this!), yet won't come near me when he is. Not even a peck, quick hug, and if I do it to make a point he looks very uncomfortable! I've just left it alone though as I know it will result in an argument x

PoesyCherish Sun 23-Dec-18 11:28:49

I think it's really unfair of your DP to stop all affection in front of them. They already know of one broken relationship (their Mum and Dad), it's really important they see what a healthy, happy relationship is.

I would do what a PP says and just approach him for kisses and cuddles and if he recoils take him aside and talk to him.

Qubus Mon 24-Dec-18 10:33:12

They already know of one broken relationship (their Mum and Dad), it's really important they see what a healthy, happy relationship is.

This is exactly how I feel and you have worded it really well. I will say this to him next time we're having a heart-to-heart.

OP’s posts: |
Iswallowtoothpaste Tue 25-Dec-18 20:42:44

My OH used to be like this. If he ever sat and put his arm around me on the sofa 2 YO DSD would go crazy. I remember wondering why she was crying and fussing and then he said ‘oh, she used to do this when me and her mum hugged too.’

This shocked me, I remembered thinking that it was understandable that she’d do it when myself and OH were affectionate but her actual mum and dad!?! I think it jut went to show that there was something wrong in their relationship, the fact that the little girl was so used to having both of their undivided attention and then throwing a fit when they occasionally showed each other affection.

What I’m trying to say is that your OH shouldnt shy away from this. It’s sets a good example to his children about being happy. My OH started being affectionate in front of DSD and she soon got used to it. She’s almost 9 now and doesn’t bat an eye. We’ve also since had our own DD and she has never batted an eye either.

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