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Best way forward?(25 Posts)
My DH and I have been married for two years and between us we have 6 kids. His youngest is 11 and my youngest is 20. A year ago I followed DH overseas, gave up my job and sold my cottage and became a dependent.
My youngest has struggled settling into uni and left in her second year as she wasn’t coping. She tried to get a job but lacked life skills, in the end she was worryingly depressed so I flew her out to us, where she stayed for 5 weeks. Within her first week of staying, she needed an operation so for remainder of stay she was recovering (couldn’t lift anything ...).
Every school holiday and half term DSD comes to stay. I look after her and she really loves being with me and my DC and grandkids. When I’m in the UK I’ll get DSD (11) and the adult DSC and take them out with grandkids, have them for movie nights etc. All sounds perfect ... except it isn’t.
DH has said all my 3 kids are rude. He has criticised all of them, told me 5 weeks was unacceptably long - 2 weeks of visiting is long enough. He had made derogatory comments about my grandchild (4) and - this is the really weird thing - when I look after his 11yr old he becomes really horrible, snappy, critical of me.
We are now sorting out summer. I have said I can’t look after his DD as it conflicts with my own DDs summer holidays (who is not welcome). He became very cross and told me I’m threatening his time with his DD. He says my DD is 20 and can stay in his UK flat - she doesn’t need me there to “look after her while she lolls around being waited on”. I don’t see it like that - I think she should have her mum in her uni holidays.
It’s got to the point now where I want to totally disengage with this kids. His criticism had made me want to point out all the flaws in his own kids ... and it has set me into a negative thinking pattern where I can start convincing myself the 11yr old (apple of his eye) is a pain. Then I hate myself for it - as the truth is I’m really fond of her and the stuff I’m picking up on is normal kiddy stuff.
Would you agree it’s best we just disengage? I can feel the resentment building up in me - I don’t want to look after DSD. I’m angry I’m dependent on a man who won’t let my kids stay for more than 2 weeks. I hate the fact his own adult kids (22 &28) have full access to their family home and mum courtesy of him and the financial settlement he provided.
I just got off the phone from him (I’m currently in uk, he’s not) confirming I won’t covering summer for the 11yr old - this has not gone down well at all.
Am I wrong?
Hi @Lizzie1503 - can I asked how you guys coped with kids/holidays etc. before you left the UK? Like has his attitude & expectations really changed since you guys moved?
Imo you were wrong to go with him.....
And I would be quickly rectifying that.
A man who dictates when /how long I could see my dc would have to go....
I do not think you are wrong. The 11yo is his daughter and he should make provision for her staying not out it on you. The fact your DD is 20 should have no bearing on how long she can stay for. She had an operation FGS.
We can all be a bit critical of each others DC somethimes, I think it would be unnatural not to however if it's just nic picking rather than constructive I'd have a problem with this.
The balance seems very uneven and from an outsider perspective it seems to me he feels he has a right to dictate and have double standards because he is the financial bread winner. Perhaps this is what happens with his ex, he gets to say what he wants child access wise and so on as he is funding a life style and expects you to fall in line the same way- this is all projection on my part of course but reading between the lines I sense this could be the case.
Stick to your guns, jsut becuase your DD is 20 she is still your child whom you feel you wangt to be there for and why not.
Before we went overseas holidays were never an issue as his access was every weekend with DSD so he looked after her as he was in uk and my kids came for holidays and weekends to my cottage. When we married we maintained 2 homes as I still worked. He went overseas and the marriage struggled with the separation so we decided I would follow - my youngest was ending her 1st year of uni at the time. There was no mention at that point on limitations of visits otherwise I wouldn’t have gone.
It does feel like he holds all the cards due to the financial dependency I’m now beholden to. I am worried as my decision to return to uk for summer break to be available for my 20 yr old will have an impact on our marriage - this is not how he wants it to play out so I’m sure I will feel repercussions of that decision. I think he’s wrong to expect me to give her a roof for the summer and no moral support and I’m cross he’s trying to deny me my right to mother my adult children, in favour of looking after his DD. I will stick to my guns and see where it goes.
Thank you for your replies. He tells me I’m “irrationally defensive and loyal” to my kids, so it’s reassuring to hear from others that I’m doing the right thing and I’m not irrational!
You’re not irrational at all and that’s a shit thing of him to call you, he’s minimising your perfectly valid feelings and trying to make you doubt yourself. How can be ban you from having your DC to stay?
Of course you don’t have to have his DD for the holidays, even if he wasn’t being a dick about your DC.
The key thing seems to be he either lied about what would happen once you’ve moved to join him, or that he changed the deal once you were there/trapped, and you wouldn’t have gone if you’d known. Where do you feel that leaves you now?
It leaves me here - he’s just sent me an email telling me we are going out separate ways. I am due to return a next Monday and he’s told me I have 2 weeks to pack my belongings and leave. I may stay in his uk property temporarily while I find myself somewhere to live and sort myself out.
I knew there’d be dire consequences for refusing to look after his daughter.
And in answer : I don’t think anything changed when I moved out - I think I presumed there would be no limitations to my DC visiting and I would be happy to look after his DD and I think he though my DC were old enough to not need to come out. I just think we didn’t foresee this and both had our own versions playing out in our minds.
What a bloody mess!!!!
Oh god op - I'm sorry to hear that. It does sound like he had a version of your future in his head that was not in line with your version.
His does sound like a very cruel response to your saying no to minding his dd though. Is there any hope of negotiation?
I’m not sure what there is to negotiate. He doesn’t want to - he has said the only thing we may discuss is the dates and duration I need support until he’s free of me. I’m not prepared to leave my daughter alone. I’m also not prepared to be treated like a maid, snapped at and treated like a huge irritation whilst having the pleasure of looking after his daughter (and doing a really good job of it - not because she’s the perfect child but because I’m a really kind SM).
I didn’t want this. I wanted us both to disengage. I’m very upset.
What a shock. How is he going to look after her in the holidays if he’ll be busy working? He’s treated you really badly, I’m so sorry and you know you deserve better. At the most basic level, it’s not much of a relationship if when you don’t tow the line and do what he wants he punishes/ditches you. I hope there are happier days ahead for you OP. You have a chance to reclaim your life and build something of your own away from him.
You’re married so he can’t just decide to leave you with nothing.
OP, take him at his word. Even if he takes back what he said, he’s treating you appallingly!
Get yourself to a solicitor sharpish.
If he cared that much about his 11 year old, he wouldn’t have fucked off to another country!
Where’s your money from the sale of your house?
The proceeds are now in a student house with a tenancy lined up to start in July. Once the rent comes in (August) I’ll be able to rent somewhere myself and find a job again.
He loves is DD very much - he’s doing this overseas stint to rake in the money so he can pay her private school fees and he sees her just as much as he did when he was in the uk, except now he sees her in spurts for every holiday instead of every weekend. It balances out the same in terms of contact days.
I don’t know who will look after her - I think he believes I’ve done this out of spite in some kind of power struggle. All I wanted actually was harmony and some respect when I look after DSD. I’ve told him this often. I also wanted free access to my own DC.
If I can’t have the above then it must be time to cut my losses. I feel so upset as when it’s just him and me, we get on so well.
But you’re not just his wife and his nanny. You’re a mother and a grandmother and are entitled to have your children around you.
It’s not like they were taking the piss, either! If anyone tried to give me a two week time limit on seeing my own kids they’d been booted.
Aside from all of that though, he’s sent you an email ending your marriage because he won’t make arrangements for his own child.
Regardless of anything else, that’s disgusting. And it’s very easy to get on well with someone when you’re doing exactly what he wants, when he wants.
Seems to me he sees you as hired help only, with strict curfews on your free time.. Fuck that.
Sorry OP but he sounds like a controlling arsehole to me.
Exactly what ivanapee has said in both her posts!
He doesn't even have the balls to talk to you! What a piece of work.
I know it's sad now but you really are better off in the long run. He really does not sound like a good man or father I'm afraid
It sounds like you were just the nanny and you’ve been fired.
So sorry OP.
I have felt like the hired help when I’ve been in charge of DSD. He’s devoted to her and feels extremely guilty for going overseas to work - however - this has been his career. He brought up his older DC with his ex wife doing overseas assignments, oil and gas. I know he sounds like an arse, he actually isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, he’s incredibly forceful and bossy, but he’s actually a decent guy. I think he tried hard with my adult DC - he would drive them to uni, wanted to pay for my youngest to get counselling when she was struggling, helped my middle DD get her internship. When he first went overseas and our relationship struggled, I took a nose dive (I also had very stressful job). My middle child blamed him for abandoning me (although it was our joint decision he would take the overseas assignment) and when she visited us after I followed him, she was very cold, aloof and at times rude to him. He felt taken for granted and I explained I was embarrassed by her behaviour and had called her up on it. He made the first move towards her to reconcile and she responded positively. But I think that hurt his feelings a lot. He would take my DC out for nice meals and there was not much warmth coming back. So to be fair to him - he does have a point and a right to have little fondness for them.
Combine the above with the fact when I look after his DD he becomes snappy, cold and withdrawn from me, I thought the best thing would be to disengage. He believes the best thing is to separate.
This is so sad that it would end up this way, you must be devastated but good on you for having the strength and conviction to stick to your own self and being the mum your DD needs. I hope she will appreciate your devotion.
You did the right thing, however heartbreaking it is.
Do you have access to your joint savings?
Have you purchased joint assets since you got married?
I would go and see a solicitor before you even respond to him.
He clearly feels your role in life is to look after his DD during her holidays. Awful behaviour trying to control you and criticise your GC.
He brought up his older DC with his ex wife doing overseas assignments, oil and gas.
And now he feels it's your turn to be there for his DC, while he earns the big bucks.
We signed a prenup to ring fence assets before marrying. It is up for renegotiation in the event the marriage fails and I’ve joined him overseas, which is the case. I’m keen to just go as as easily and quickly as possible. I brought up all my children as primary career and breadwinner so I prefer independence and not to be reliant on taking what’s not mine. He earned nearly all his wealth before marrying me so it’s his, not mine. He will just need to support me while I relocate and put things back together. I will see a solicitor though as I’m not prepared to be adhering to his timelines on that exercise and I can see he will instantly start putting pressure on me with emails asking how long will I need.
I don’t think my daughter will or needs to be grateful - she won’t be aware of the reason. She has a right to mess up, need support and be entitled to her mum without feeling responsible for what I’m about to go through.
I just feel so panicky and sad.
I’m now furious. Livid. I want to vent. The shit I’ve accepted.... I’ve been stalking around on posting here and I’ve read about stuff that people are struggling with and I’ve accepted. Like having to ask my DC to look after DSD when DH started his new job, because it was 2nd jan and he needed to be overseas and ex was away for NY (she doesn’t work - I did) and they didn’t want to ask older DSD as she was working towards uni exams (as were my DC) AND her dog. I was “unsupportive” and trying to cause a row between DH and his ex because I said “no - ask the older daughter, it’s her sibling and pet”. In the end my DC had DSD but not the dog. But instead of thanks, that’s remembered as me being a bitch. Or just simply the times we went away and DSD was in our room, as it was on his payroll, and I would put her to bed happily sharing our bedroom. Or on joint funded holidays where he would read to DSD in our bed, shutting the door so he could be alone, while she put sand (hate it) all over my side and mess my sheets up. I tried to simply remove myself and accept it, as in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big a deal. And non of this is her fault.
Ok. I’m venting and I think I need to join some kind of divorce group now.
@Lizzie1503 vent as much as you want! I really feel for you.
I don't think it matters whether it's nuclear or blended family stuff (though blended stuff is defo harder), the shit we woman are prone to tolerate because we're conditioned to do so is unreal. Society tells us from when we're very little that to be a "good" woman & mother we need to self sacrifice over & over & over again; that everyone else comes first, & even in this, the 21st century, we believe it. I find it so upsetting the amount of sms on here who are putting up with awful treatment from oh's, their exes & sdc (older ones who should know better). It's unreal what we women put up with & it devalues us immensely.
I understand your anger & it will probably be very useful to you over the next few weeks as you'll need it.
I understand what you said about you H not being a bad guy a few posts back. My exh isn't a bad guy either but is bossy, patriarchal & 100% convinced that there is only one way of going things - his way, & when I finally stood up to him with repeated NOs - I was shown the door. He is basically a Narcissist who's needs come before everyone else's. My circumstances were different but I understand what you're going through & yes a good solicitor is what's needed to ensure you don't start getting railroaded.
I've no real advice but lots of sympathy .