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(13 Posts)
dragonstitcher Tue 26-Jun-07 15:05:55

Hi, I've been lurking here on and off for a while. I can relate to so many of the situations but I've never gotten around to replying to any of them.

I've been married to dh for 9 years. He has 5 'children' from his previous marriages, aged between 17 and 36. The eldest 3 have lives of their own, the younger two, aged 17 and 19 treat our home like a hotel. I have 2 girls from my first marriage ages 11 and 15. We have one dd together age 7. I am friends with dh's ex-w which seems to be a rarity.

For me the main problem has been dh's unequal treatment of the kids. We have been together since the boys were 9 and 11 and the girls were 3 and 6. DHs eldest son made him promise to always make the boys his priority when we first got together and while I would agree that you should always put your children first, it has caused no end of problems, especially with my eldest DD, now 15, who reacts with jealousy and resentment.

For years I have tried to tactfully point out to DH that spoiling the boys was doing them no favours. Well now, he seems to be paying the price. Now that they are both young men (one is nearly 18, the other nearly 20) they treat our home like a hotel, they come and go as they please, have no respect for anyone in our family, do what they want. They treat DH as a free taxi service to the point of ridiculousness and sponge off of him because they know that he can't say 'no'.

Whenever DH complains about them, I think to myself 'I told you so!' but I don't say it. I have been biting my tongue for so long now that it should have big holes in it.

Is there anyone else here in a similar situation with teenagers?

fairyjay Tue 26-Jun-07 15:09:04

Must be terribly difficult for you. I think I'd stop biting my tongue......!!

Tortington Tue 26-Jun-07 15:11:40

no. thats becuase i have a backbone. you write like you have no input - they are his children - removed from you

well i would tend to think - this is my family, my house my rules we all have the same rules

after all good manners, respect, good judgement, etc do not come in degrees. they are absolute ( to me they are anyway)

i suggest you both sit down and talk. i think you have some jealousy issues.
but i also think that it would be best for the continuity of the family if you set out a list of rules - ont he back of the kitchen door for instance.

have a family meeting. do not apportion blame - finger pointing and teenagers doesn't work - they storm out and get stoned.

so - a general "this isn't working" conversation. let make some rules - everyone gets a turn and a vote.

dragonstitcher Wed 27-Jun-07 10:09:12

Oh.Kay. Thank you for your honesty Custardo. On the occasion that the subject comes up on other boards or IRL people are usually too polite and nice to tell me what they really think, so it is refreshing to get a different and honest point of view. It makes me stop and re-evaluate the situation, so I thank you.

The trouble with posting on boards is that it is difficult to get everything into one short thread and even more difficult to convey your personality and feelings (one of the reasons I am put off posting).

You highlight my main difficulty. My problem with standing up for what I believe to be right. I seem to have trouble getting DH to see my point of view without him thinking that I am petty and jealous. I think that I am tactful and fair and when I am accused of jealousy it leaves me gobsmacked, because I wasn't aware of the jealousy. It must be apparant to other people though, he seems to see it and you saw it just from a few lines of text. Is it possible to be jealous without actually feeling it?

Actually it is money that is the route of most of the problem (as I fear it is for most people) rather than how I feel about the boys. DH doesn't earn a great deal, I work part time and get child tax credit for my 3 DDs. It isn't enough to feed seven and I get annoyed when one of the boys takes food (for school lunches for example) without asking and someone has to go without. One huge bone of contention over the years has been the bedroom situation. We have a three bedroom end terrace. The girls have the 2nd bedroom, the boys have the box room but only use it sparingly. A year ago the boys (pushed by their mum who thinks that the girls overcrowding is disgusting and it is) announced that it wasn't fair that they had a big bedroom each of their mums house and another room at ours, when DD#1 was desparate for a room of her own (she is 15 and doing her GCSEs next year). There has been no change and they are still using the room. DH knows that DD needs the room, but it hurts him to make the boys give it up. They won't give it up until it isn't taken from them.

I know that I should have more backbone and stand up for myself more but it's easier to shut up rather than face an argument and bad atmosphere. DHs favourite bullying tactic is to threaten to leave (which he is welcome to if he meant it),ccmpletely assinate my character, sulk, refuse to speak and then carry on as though nothing happened.

dragonstitcher Wed 27-Jun-07 10:11:36

'Until it isn't taken from them' should read 'until it IS taken from them'. Sorry!

fairyjay Wed 27-Jun-07 17:56:35

It sounds like you have a whole raft of other issues to sort out dragon.

You can't keep ignoring them though.

fizzbuzz Wed 27-Jun-07 21:04:15

Hmm I am a stepparent to teenagers and it is not always that easy to have family meetings, rules etc in a step family situation.

Whilst I agree with it in principle, in a stepfamily it is often easier and less tense making to bite your tongue and choose your battles., rather than starting more problems.

I find that if stuff is challenged too much, it makes the whole situation much more difficult, tensions can run much much higher than in a normal family set up.

However your problem appears to be your dh. Sulking and getting mardy is just going to solve nothing.I think he is the one you need to sort out, because unless he acts you have very little power or control over his teenage sons. You can confront them I suppose, BUT at what cost to your realtionship with them, your dh, and rest of family.

I find confronting teenage skids
doesn't work, and dp deals with any issues with them, just as I deal with any issues with my ds

flutterfree Wed 27-Jun-07 22:58:54

What a relief to find someone else out there, I am not alone!!! I completely agree that it is easier to bite your tongue. I myself get to breaking point eventually and based on what seems to me is a conflict of my own social morals, upbringing and levels of respect I end up saying something. This does not go down to well in this house. I have been in this relationship 2 years and lived here for 18 months. I am told by DP that is not long enough to impose any rules in this household however I am expected to live in squalor(yes by my standards) , cook and clean around them. I do it because I have a 1yr old to consider another on the way and I try to keep the house hold as normal as possible. But sometimes it is just too much and i feel compromised by the whole situation and surely it is only human to stand up for what you feel is morally right?

catsmother Wed 27-Jun-07 23:20:27

I'm a stepparent too, and I agree with Fizzbuzz that actually, it appears your skids aren't the major problem here, but your DP is.

If 18 months isn't "long enough" to have any say in a relationship & household where you are expected to skivvy then I don't know what is. I would have said you were entitled to a voice the minute you were invited to move in - or were you asked as an unpaid housekeeper rather than as a partner ?

The skids' mum sounds a reasonable person to be thinking of your children being overcrowded, and if the boys themselves announced what she'd said (rather than keeping it themselves), could you not speak to them directly about it again, and if they themselves don't mind, then surely DP couldn't object either.

However, I am afraid to say that after reading some of your remarks, I feel quite worried about you. Sounds like DP is being very controlling and bullying, and you are not being treated as an equal member of the household. I fully appreciate the behaviour of the boys can't help, but that's pretty much typical teenage stuff when parents allow them to get away with it .... I've got a teenage lad myself, nightmare .... it must just really hurt when DP is so dismissive of you, yet puts up with allsorts from his kids. So - I can see why it's easy to feel resentful towards them, and yes, at their ages, they should be showing more consideration, but I don't feel this is really a "step" problem per se - it feels like a relationship problem to me, and if I can be frank, DP sounds horrid and quite intimidating.

dragonstitcher Thu 28-Jun-07 10:26:34

Unlike some of the posts that I have read in this forum, I know that it isn't skids that are the problem. The problems with the skids are caused by DH. I know that they are normal teenagers with the usual teenager problems and I know that I have a problematic relationship with DH and maybe I should be posting in the 'teenager' and 'relationships' forums. It's just that these problems seem to be compounded by the fact that we are a stepfamily. Teenager problems would be easier to deal with if they were my own offspring. I have a teenager of my own and am allowed to deal with her problems in my own way. Relationships problems arise from not having enough money and disagreements over parenting. BTW the scenario I described is about as bad as it gets and happens maybe 3 or 4 times a year.

Fizzbuzz is right about 'choosing your battles'. I have to constantly second guess myself, put feelings aside and put situations into perspective and choose which things are really worth tackling.

And like Flutterfree I am tired of being the skivvy. I often wonder if DH married me because he fell in love with me, or really because he needed a live in housekeeper/f*buddy.

fizzbuzz Thu 28-Jun-07 19:48:53

I have been in this relationship 2 years and lived here for 18 months. I am told by DP that is not long enough to impose any rules in this household however I am expected to live in squalor(yes by my standards) , cook and clean around them.

But it is also your house AND your home, and you have to have some rules otherwise it's anarchy.

Did you move into his house? First rule of stepfamily, should be to move somewhere new together, so it's a new start for everyone, otherwise it will ALWAYS feel you have moved into his home and are in effect a visitor. I think it would be much much easier for you on neutral territory.

I would stop doing ALL housework apart from what you need to do for your LO. The rest are all capable of doing something. I think it is appalling that you are treated like that. They are all adults. I don't skivvy after dss, but dp wouldn't let it happen. I think you need serious talk with dp, because what are YOU actually getting from the realtionship.

reetnproper Fri 29-Jun-07 14:46:04

OMG! I'm horrified by your situation Flutterfree and totally agree with Fizzbuzz. Strike hunny! Do what you need to do for yourself and the little one and leave the rest to the lazy oiks you're expected to run after. You were invited into his family, therefore you immediately have the right to respect, consideration and rule making. If he doesn't like it, tough. For the sake of your little one and for you own self respect, you need to bite the bullet and lay down the law.

My dh and I have had similar problems as you Dragonstitcher, in terms of his reaction to my standing my ground but I just let it go straight over my head now and give as good as I get. He says 'I'll leave', I say,'fine would you like me to pack your bag for you?'.

Over the last 3mths he has really changed his attitude though and I think a lot of this was because my reaction changed. Like your other half, he would blow his top, try to undermine my confidence, criticise my parenting as a single parent (9 yrs on my own before we got together) etc etc but then next day be nice as pie.

I started to ignore him for 3 - 4 days at a time. Spoke to him only when I needed to, using the minimum amount of words but in a cold voice. He hates it when I do that and works really hard to get me back on side, so now he isn't as nasty and has actually admitted that he's in the wrong.

I think the biggest single thing I did was write it all down in a letter (6 A4 sides in length). No holding back, told him how it was, how I was feeling, what I thought of his behaviour. It was a frank and honest appraisal of the situation from my point of view.

I left it in a place I knew he would find it and then went out. It hurt and shocked him and after a few days to ponder it, he sat down one night and we had a long, long heart to heart. That was the start. It took us 9 mths to get to where we are now and we've been here for 3mths. He still has his moments. He and our 15yr old daughter (mine from 1st marriage) have worked hard to put their relationship right and overall, things are 100% better than they were and now we talk about things, instead of bottling them up.

Hope this essay is of some help.

Love Reet

dragonstitcher Mon 02-Jul-07 00:01:58

Wow, I'm glad that things have gotten better for you Reet, that's great! I have tried the cold not speaking thing but it made his mood worse. I get 'Oh you're not speaking to me, fine, two can play that game.' and the atmosphere gets too unbearable to handle. Writing letters gets deemed 'childish' and he refuses to read them.

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