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They want to play happy families

(21 Posts)
No1toerag Sun 30-Jun-19 19:51:31

My OH and I have been together about 3 years, both divorced living together for last few months ( we're mid 50's ) I work a stressful full time job about 40 hours a week and he's self employed, often working 3 or 4 days a week.
My kids are 20 & 28, he's got 2 older kids from first marriage & 11 yr old from second marriage who he has overnight once a week and alternate weekends.
I've just been criticised for not wanting to spend more of my free time with her when she's here, this arose because I didn't want to go to a dance show she was in yesterday - my OH says he was challenged by his DD , his ex wife and his ex mother in law asking where I was and then had a go at me for not wanting to be there ( yep he found it 'awkward' explaining why I wasn't there.....' )
His expectation is that I attend these things ( and I have - mostly - because I feel I should, not because I want to, after all I've done it twice over already ....) and because of my limited free time I admit I want it to be quality time . When it's just my OH and me we always do things together at a weekend but when he has his DD I do factor in things for me .....
I am hoping that as she gets older we'll find a common ground and shared interests , but right now it's not happening. Do I compromise my free time even further or maintain semi independence at weekends and risk further upset?
I can see this being a relationship breaker .....and I'm the bad one confused

Bluerussian Sun 30-Jun-19 20:12:40

I don't think you're 'bad', you are honest. Chemistry between adults and children cannot be manufactured but you don't dislike the girl, you just don't feel the need to be involved in the same way as a parent.

Explain this to your partner, hopefully he'll understand. Presumably she does have a mother.

You'll probably find you and she become friends as she gets older and there's no pressure to perform in a particular way.

No1toerag Sun 30-Jun-19 21:01:21

Thank you Bluerussian, for your pragmatic response.

user1493413286 Sun 30-Jun-19 22:04:44

It sounds like you’ve done your years of raising children and now would like time to yourself while he is still in the midst of raising his child. There’s nothing wrong with that but he needs to understand that and be on board with it.
If you’ve got a balance of doing things with him and his daughter as well as the times you do things for yourself then I’d hope he’d understand that.

stuffedpeppers Sun 30-Jun-19 22:39:14

OMG an ex wife that wants you there - lets put the flags out!

I would go for 50:50 come to some stuff and not others.

swingofthings Mon 01-Jul-19 07:30:38

You can't win! Most exes would be shouting that you have no place to be there, many kids would also rather just have their parents at such events.

I would discuss with the 11yo and say that although you definitely want to be part of her life, there are some times that you won't be able to for various reasons but you'll discuss it with her first.

I would tell your OH that when you work 40 hours at 50+, down time is essential to keep going and as a result, it is not reasonable to expect you to have a full on life outside of work as he does, working only 3 days. Say that you'll discuss in advance what you are happy to attend and when you just will have to say no because you need some down time to keep going. If he can't understand that and is more concerned about what other people think than your warfare, than you might need to question how much he cares about you rather than himself.

AnneLovesGilbert Mon 01-Jul-19 19:21:35

Your time is your own and you’re not accountable to two women who happen to be your partner’s ex and her mother, that’s bizarre.

As swing says, you can’t win, and after that shit show I’d stop bothering to try...

It’s great if you can have a friendly relationship with his DC but you sound busy with work, have DC of your own and don’t need or want to spend your weekends doing stuff her parents can and are doing.

No1toerag Tue 02-Jul-19 20:38:46

Thank you all for your opinions, its confirmed my stance, we've had long conversations and he's now on board .

AnneLovesGilbert Tue 02-Jul-19 22:41:06

Good news OP. Stick to your guns, be honest with each other.

Teddybear45 Wed 03-Jul-19 10:28:20

How do you expect to bond with her when she’s older if you don’t spend time with her when she’s young? I think if you see a future in this relationship you have to make more of an effort with his kids.

TheStuffedPenguin Wed 03-Jul-19 11:47:57

I totally agree with you OP and I do the same . My SD has a very time consuming hobby at the weekend and I am not standing there watching her do it . That is what her Dad is for . How can we bond ? Well that would be me cooking meals , making sure she has a clean place to sleep etc etc when here in the house etc .

MzHz Wed 03-Jul-19 12:54:53

This is stirring to cause trouble at the very core of your family dynamic - your DH Ex and her mother are both manipulating your preteen SDD to hit you through your DH. If you went to everything, they'd doubtless say that you are muscling in on the father/daughter time. You are being set up to fail whatever you do.

I'm so glad your H has realised what is going on and where he needs to prioritise, and that he gets why you make your own decisions to attend or not attend certain things - he needs to wake up to what his ExW is doing to DD though, I doubt this will be the last issue.

No1toerag Wed 03-Jul-19 13:51:40

It's bizarre really as neither the ex nor her mother have ever spoken to me, this is despite the fact the kid stays with us and has been away on holiday with us ....but maybe this is another thread!

AnneLovesGilbert Wed 03-Jul-19 14:18:35

I have no relationship with my DH ex, no need for us to have anything to do with each other. We’re married, have a baby, have the DC lots, have often taken them away. DH and she barely speak so I don’t ever have reason to communicate with her. She’s been known to pronounce on various things over the years via the DC and I/we just ignore it so over the years it’s lessened.

She has no right to plan your time for you, her mum even less, it’s plain weird they care how you spend your weekends. Watching your SD doing something isn't quality time either, she’d barely have seen you and had 3 people there to support her. Lucky girl, that’s more than lots of DC get.

You’ll have your own ways of bonding, common interests, things you enjoy together. You’re on a hiding to nothing trying to meet anyone else’s expectations for your relationship with her. Just roll your eyes and ignore what anyone else has to say. Her contact time with her dad is primarily to see him, you can be a lovely bonus, there as and when it suits you all. She doesn’t need another parent. I’ll assume your DP was an involved, engaged dad before you entered the scene and would be if you were to break up so he can do the parenting day to day and you can enjoy the fun extra bits.

Butterflyone1 Fri 05-Jul-19 12:02:20

I don't see the issue at all. I appreciate you got with DP knowing he has an 11 year old however that doesn't mean you have to go back to all these parental duties.

My DP has his kids EOW and I often arrange things for me to do on my own on these weekends. It's not because I don't want to spend time with the kids but I think it's important they spend time with their Dad without me there.

Scorpiovenus Fri 05-Jul-19 16:48:57

Just be honest and say you don't want to.

Loveislandaddict Fri 05-Jul-19 16:58:11

i actually think you should have gone if sd or dh wanted you there, to support and encourage sd (and dh). You are not going to foster a relationship with her if you don’t go to important things such as a dance show. You don’t have to do things every week, but big things like this you should support. You have married her father, so now she is part of your family. Maybe she felt you don’t like her by not going (hence the rants from mum and mil).

AnneLovesGilbert Fri 05-Jul-19 17:03:58

They’re not married and have only lived together a few months. She had her dad, mum and grandmother there, that’s more than enough people to watch her show. And who says it’s “a big thing”. My DSD has dance shows every couple of months, way more over the last few months. Her mum doesn’t go to all of them and I doubt if she had a partner he would either. No need to blow it out of proportion loveislandaddict.

SolsticeBabyMaybe Fri 05-Jul-19 18:35:41

This seems pretty unkind to me... Imagine being that daughter who grows up sensing her step mother avoids her when she's there and uses her presence as an excuse for 'me time'.

You knew he had a young daughter when you got together. She's part of your family now...

MyCatHatesEverybody Sat 06-Jul-19 11:38:55

Why are some posters ignoring that OP has stated she already goes to most of these things? Oh that's right, so they can bash step parents as usual. FFS.

TwentyEight12 Sat 06-Jul-19 16:14:30

It’s like this, you are damned if you do or damned if you don’t. That’s the way this Step parenting lark is especially for women. It’s largely a no win situation, however there are a minority of Step Mums who get together with men who are decent, authentic, fair and know their own mind and don’t bend to the neurotic whims of their ex. Is your man one of those?

You’ll always be made the scapegoat with men who have children from previous partners who are controlling because essentially they are insecure. In my experience, biological parents cannot own up to these few home truths:

1) that any person could do as good as job as them

2) they are insecure in their position as a parent and feel the need to make you feel bad for something you did or not do... because let’s face it, it doesn’t matter as long as you are made to feel bad

3) there is a stigma attached to being a woman who partners up with a man who has kids from a previous relationship/marriage

4) most often you are not dealing with the kids issues, you’re dealing with a parent’s issues that have been made know to the kids and are being transmitted through them

Let it roll off you, it’s just another drama for drama’s sake...

Have a good laugh about it, after all that’s what we all do at jokes : )

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