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Too much togetherness(26 Posts)
I'm the step mum. In my own life I'm a single parent with my own child. Work full time. Receive maintenance but no dad around to help. Context being that I have a very busy and stressful life, also have step children every other weekend. The rest of the time my partner works including weekends so we have very little time together. When he's off work the step kids are here too, which is no problem, but just saying we have little time.
Kids mum has now split up with her partner. She's ok they co parent well and we get on on a surface level but she irritates me. Find her selfish and petty amongst other things. Partber feels the same. Not that it matters they have a good co parenting relationship.
More recently, now she is on her own, she keeps suggesting family get togethers. So step son's birthday, partner and I went round had food did cake her family all there ... She left my partner for her married boss at work who then cheated on her for five years. During those years my partner was cast aside for family occasions. Anyway that's done and then we are having our families round at the weekend.
I've now just found out that partner has agreed to a meal on Sunday just us her and our children. I can't really afford it for one and think it's unnecessary. She keeps inventing these family get togethers now and I think it's because she's lovely, but I don't want to socialise in this way. Now pressured that it is for step son's birthday , but we've already had two meals and my partner went to her family occasion.
Why do I have to entertain this forced closeness that we are one big family? There is nothing in it for me. Just costs me more time and money.. I've already planned a family meal and cake on Saturday and contributed to a bike.
In other words I'd like to have my feet up on Sunday night not having to do this and I don't really understand why it is happening. She also keeps suggesting group bike rides etc on the weekend we have the children now she is alone. I just don't want to. Partner and I have little family time.
I agree with you; if it was important to DD I’d do a joint birthday thing but beyond that I wouldn’t be keen. Also DD has told us that she doesn’t want us all to spend time together; when we offered a joint birthday tea she said no as it feels weird and she would rather separate celebrations.
Also in your situation it’s not like they did it from the point they split up instead it’s just because she’s split from her partner. She can’t have it both ways
He's agreed as he agrees to anything that is couched in the term 'thought it would be nice for children' he's a great father but this often adds pressure to my life.
My honest opinion:
I think you need to suck it up for the kids personally. It's not about you. I'm sure she's not doing it because she is desperate for your company. I can't imagine she is much fonder of you than you are of her. She's doing it for the children so they don't grow up with a fragmented distant torn-in-two kind of childhood.
Good on her. Bring a cake and wack a smile on your face.
It's not about what is fair or easy or comfortable for the adults. Put yourself aside and make it about the children.
Have you talked to him about it all? Has he made the link between her relationship breakdown and her sudden enthusiasm for socialising together?
He's got to be made to see that one get together special occasion is plenty and more than that could actually be unsettling for the D.C.
How you get a man to see something they're determined not to see is a whole other thread. Disney dads especially.
The main problem about this being “all for the kids” is that as soon as she meets someone new it will stop, leaving them confused!
I wouldn’t go to the meal on Sunday or on family bike rides (that sounds awful anyway) and explain to husband why (it’ll all stop again once she has a partner) and leave him to make his own mind up.
If he chose to spend every free weekend with his ex wife then I’d be making a decision about the relationship
* Put yourself aside and make it about the children.*
For a child, your divorced parents getting together THREE TIMES to celebrate your birthday each year would just be weird.
What @ColeHawlins & @HeckyPeck said. I would tell dp in no uncertain terms that this stops now. It's totally unnecessary & as has been pointed out already once a new partner is on the scene you & your dp will be dropped like hot cakes leaving the poor kids bewildered. She is not doing any of this for the sake of the kids - she's doing it for herself & is manipulating both your dp & the kids in the process.
My exh & I maintained doing joint family things after we split thinking we were doing the right thing for the kids. They eventually told us to stop; that they hated the forced jollity of it all & said they were fine doing things with us separately.
If your dp can't see how off this is then I too would say you need to look at your relationship.
As this has only started happening since she split with her partner, I'd assume she is bored/lonely/both and is making all these arrangements because she wants the company. Which is (sort of) understandable but when it involves an ex, his new partner and her child, it does become a bit weird? As someone else has just said, when she meets a new partner I imagine all this will stop.
Your time is too precious to have this asked of you. Like you said, you have very little time with your partner as is. A birthday celebration- fine, but not multiple ones.
I’d talk to my partner...
Oh lord, not a chance that I would spend my time like this and truth be told, very few kids enjoy this.
Tell your DP to draw the line. Spending this amount of time with the EW because she is now potentially lonely is just not boundaried. Theres no need. I wouldn't be ok with this.
I can't think of anything worse than three family meals with my DP's ex and bike rides with her! It's not about the kids at all, it's serving a purpose for her, not them. I would also have hated this if I was the child in this situation. Forced togetherness. I don't really have a solution though. I wouldn't go. Let your DP be dictated to if he's that easily influenced. But then I would be annoyed that my family time was being commandeered.
I think you can only be as close with the ex as all of you are comfortable being. That's her, your DP, you and any partner of hers. She and your DP need a degree of communication regarding the kids, but beyond that it's entirely optional and you've every right to say what you are and are not comfortable with. And your partner has no right to push things any further than that. Co-parenting means communication about your children and supporting each others parenting. Socialising together is no more necessary than hanging out with your kids teachers.
I would not be spending family time with her. When you got together with your Dp, you may have signed up for his DCs too, but certainly not for the ex’w!
I just wouldn't go. If he wants to go...he can go. I'd also tell him I'm not interested in any more of these get togethers.
I can't believe he can't see it's all because she's on her own. Doesn't he remember being pushed aside? Not that he would have felt comfortable with the OM.
He sounds like a doormat to be honest. She probably sees him as weak.
How about asking the children what they feel about it - are they old enough to have an opinion or preference yet - I agree it is all game playing on her behalf, whether consciously or unconsciously - check out how else she is but it sounds a little like mild narcissism to be honest - like her needs and wants take all precedence over anybody else's and consideration for others does not seem to be in her remit at all
Thanks for all the comments. With regards to whacking a smile and buy a cake, I go to their party every year and do just that. It's not an enfirced smile I enjoy and am grateful to be invited. They are too old for parties now and he had a celebration on his birthday this week with mum dad grandparents and my son their step brother. I only didn't go as work evenings but I called him. We have a special tea within or own family which is tonight which we've always done which is kid chooses whatever food they want. Chinese pizza. She's now said no need to do your own special tea we Should do this together! Still doing it anyway so cousins etc can get together so this extra meal is just annoying like she has to be involved in everything special we do all of a sudden.
Can't you just be honest and say, "sorry, that doesn't work for us. We don't get much time to spend together, as we both work full time, and obviously have other commitments as well. Any free time we get together is precious. We appreciate the thought though".
Op you have to say how you feel. If DH takes offence than you have a DH problem insread of exW issue 🌷
How confusing for your DC, let alone the step DC. Playing happy families sounds wonderful on the surface but has potential to cause confusion - especially when you know it will all change once she gets a new partner.
I would tell your DP that you want to spend time together as a family at weekends. If he wants to do something with family - fine but check with you first and you both agree to it. Doing things with family is not bike rides with the ex, by the way!
If ex wanted to to get her DC together with cousins on her side, she can arrange that on the weekend that she has DC. If your DP want all to get DC together with cousins from his side, he does that on your weekends and does not invite the ex.