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Can things be separate or should I walk away?(57 Posts)
I’m at odds with myself and have been since lockdown began and it’s beginning to take a toll on me. This is going to be long winded so I apologise in advance.
So taking it right back me and partner got together in a messy period of my life. I was working full time in the city earning well, my son was struggling at school and with his childminder and she eventually said she couldn’t cope any longer and he had to leave.
I agonised over what to do and in the end my son needed me and i has no one to help so I had to just quit my job ( he has since been diagnosed with ADHD and is more settled). Then got into money problems moved back in with my parents.
Met my partner during all this we got on great, he had two young children with ex 1 and 3 at the time. He told ex about us and She asked us to wait a year to meet the children which ended up being nearly 18 months. Two months after meeting the children I found out I was pregnant.... I was in a part time job still at my parents and he worked full time and lived with his. After much stress and deliberation I eventually decided I couldn’t handle a termination and would keep the baby... my parents agreed I could stay there whilst we saved until the baby was 3 months old. We came up with a saving plan and that was that. I paid for everything for the baby and got everything sorted.
So at 5 months pregnant we had to house sit for his mum for 2 months whilst she was abroad. This is the first time we had all been together for any length of time and it was horrendous. He was shouty with his kids and impatient the kids didn’t seem bothered but it was all abit much for me and I found myself and my son just staying upstairs in the mornings for long periods or finding reasons to go out alone. To be honest I was happy when it was all over and I went back to my parents as I found it all so chaotic and stressful. The kids are actually fine and we got on, it’s more my partners stressy parenting and the kids arguing that got to me.
So baby is born end of last year and partner seems hyper stressed and moody.. this goes on until baby is two months old until I loose my mind and ask him what the hell is going on. Turns out he hasn’t saved a penny and he didn’t know what to do. I had to be out of my parents as they had kindly let me stay so we could get ourselves sorted. So instead of us all moving in with all the kids, with the help with my mum I came up with a plan to get a place just me and my two and him stay at his mums until he could afford to move too and we would then live all together.
So I got a place in March.... and then lockdown happened. His mum had to shield so he had to then stay with me. I was really annoyed as I found a way to make this happen and get a nice place for me and my children for the first time in a long time despite the fact he let me down and now I felt like it was being high jacked. My parents were also annoyed as they had to help and guarantor and said they didn’t want him and his children setting up camp here as they had helped me and the children get this place and if he wants something he is going to have to save and contribute ..... fair enough.
So I said to him I’m not willing to have the children here if he wants to stay here during lockdown that’s fine but I can’t mentally cope with being locked down in the house with my ADHD 8 year old and a newborn, plus the stress of his two here it would be way too much for me. So he has been having them elsewhere for the day and not having overnights with them.
Now I know this is far from ideal for them and I do feel guilty but I genuinely don’t think I could cope as I’m finding it very hard as it is. He works shifts 5 days a week and then his two days off are with his children, I am essentially a single parent and alone 90% of the time. His ex DP got annoyed obviously as he was no longer doing overnights and as he is staying here this is his house and the kids come as part of the package so I need to let them here.
But do I? This was the solution that me and him agreed prior to lockdown because of him not saving money.... this was always my house with my children and it just doesn’t feel fair that due to lockdown this can now become our shared house when he hasn’t contributed in anyway.
He hasn’t helped me with a thing in this house since I moved in eventhough he is staying here until his mum stops shielding.... I pay every bill and for all the food. I am getting housing benefit to help pay for this house as a lone parent so I don’t expect a contribution as much from him as I don’t want to get myself into trouble. But at the same time he does have 3 children .... not 2. But all of our shared child’s expenses I pay.
He pays maintenance for the other two, he spends his free time with the other two (rightly so) , he is currently giving her more money at the minute to help as she is having them more than usual, she didn’t ask for that he did that off his own back. I feel like I’m getting the crap end of the deal whatever way this goes, I can have him here more but with absolute madness and no space and no financial help.... or he can rarely be around , but the house is calm and I still pay for everything.
I want to now start getting my life back on track and making a better life for my children. I’m thinking of uni as I don’t think I could leave my older son for a city job again as he really doesn’t cope so retraining is really my only option.
But I don’t feel like I can do that in this situation. My partner and I despite the picture I have just painted get on exceptionally well and we are like best friends when we actually do see eachother. We don’t really argue and he is reasonable and understanding but absolutely shocking with money and a helicopter parent who can’t leave the kids be without getting involved with every disagreement.
I would happily continue this relationship as two separate households whilst I find my feet again and build a life. He could do the same and then we can join the households when we are both in a better position. However he wants this house to be where we all live in the next year or so but I feel like my children then loose out here they have there own bedrooms and own space. I would rather him get a place for him and his children and then move all in together when we can afford something with space for all of us whenever that will be.
I don’t feel like it’s my duty as his partner to put a roof over his children’s heads.... I understand that doesn’t sound nice but I have done everything for our shared child but I’m not willing to take on that responsibility for another two children who have two parents when I’m not well off myself.
I have been racked with guilt about these thoughts and feelings and I needed to get them off my chest somehow. I do find it hard that there isn’t much time for me and my son in current schedule .. this has only really been a problem for me since I’ve been in this house alone with very little help as he is either at work or looking after his other children.
But would you feel the same as me in this situation or am I playing an evil step mother type role? The fact I feel guilty about it is telling me it probably isn’t that kind and I should be more willing to take on all this and combine our households. But then I want to make something of myself and create a better life. Also I can’t lie having nowhere to escape all the chaos if it gets too much ... feels overwhelming.
Do you think I’m just not cut out to play the step parent role and should walk away so he can find someone more willing to take it all on or living in separate households is a fair solution to all of this for a longer period of time until things are abit easier?
If anyone can be bothered to read to this point then thank you. I realise this makes us sound like teenagers but I am late twenties and he is early thirties... so not quite teenagers, life just didn’t quite pan out as I’d hoped.
Oh dear, I sympathize. It is absolutely not your job to house and pay for his children. He has been living with you for free for months and will continue to do so if you let him. My advice to you would be don't. He needs to learn to stand on his own two feet and not take advantage of you.
I think that this isn't a partnership. He wants you to solve all his problems for him, with your money and effort, while contributing exactly zero to it all. He can want whatever he likes, you don't have to house him or his children just because it's convenient for him. Tell him to move out and pay his share of his baby's expenses. Then you will see if he really loves you or you are just a meal ticket for him and his other children. Sadly, I don't think that the relationship will survive (which is probably just as well for you, as I don't see what you get out of it from what you've written), but at least you won't be taken for a ride.
What do you get out of this relationship?
If he's been living rent and bills free, why hasn't he saved anything? I know he's paid extra to his ex, but he should still have been able to save a fair bit. Does he have debts?
You've been very sensible so far with setting boundaries. Don't cave!
He's a cocklodger, OP.
Make it very clear that his DCs do not come to your home and if he doesn't like it then tough,
I'd be rethinking the whole relationship.
Whoa these responses were not what I was anticipating so that feels like abit of a relief to be honest.
Relationship wise it is mostly good and happy generally.... but I feel intense guilt day to day for essentially putting myself and my two children first in all of this as I feel that is where my priorities need to lie. But then in order to have a happy relationship we would need to all work as a single unit but that doesn’t financially work at the moment and I can’t see if being a possibility in the near future.
I do think that for me and my children it would be best for him to get his own place and to just be two separate households but I’m not sure he would be all that Into that idea as his biggest complaint in life is all the running backwards and forwards between work, his DC and me.
Money wise I couldn’t tell you what he does with his money.... he smokes,has bills, small debt, maintenance and small rent to his parents but there should be money left over but he also seems to have none.... I was shocked to learn we had similar amounts left over a month when I was working in the city as he always seemed to have nothing. I’ve looked into more sinister places his money could be going but I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion he is just awful at controlling his spending. I believe his ex had similar problems so he used to have to transfer his full wages to a shared account so she could manage the finances. I personally can’t be bothered to have to police another adult in such a way and would rather just be financially independent and not deal with the stress of another persons choices.
I’m happy for him to do as he pleases with his money to be honest, aslong as I can peacefully run my own little life and not be expected to pick up any slack.
I know this doesn’t sound like a happy relationship but I’m very independent and could be happy in this arrangement aslong as I can shed the guilt of
feeling like I should be rushing into being one big (financially Unstable) blended family and have room to improve my life and he works on his too.
I think if he hasn’t managed to save any money by now (3 kids by 2 mums), and doesn’t feel guilty as hell for not contributing to your joint child he is very unlikely to become responsible with money now. You are not only bearing all the cost but doing all the work.
I would give him an ultimatum. Start paying a fair contribution to your child and have a fair amount in a savings account in a year’s time, or there’s no chance of you living together. It’s his choice then if he’s serious or not.
Are housing benefit aware he is with you over lockdown? Even if he is not contributing financially they may see it as he is living with you and you lose your benefits.
Honestly it doesn't seem like this relationship is going to work long term. How will you cope when he starts treating your kids like he does his? When your dc and his start arguing? It is absolutely fine to not want to be a stepparent and live with someone else's children
No they don’t know but I have looked into it and if anything came up it’s based on whether I financially benefit from him being here and I don’t in anyway. If he paid for us to have days out, bought us takeaways or paid for anything then it’s a problem and I can get into trouble.
He also is registered as living elsewhere and pays to be there.
But obviously my hope is it would never come to that as I’m just trying to sort a life for my own children and get my life on track.
But he doesn’t improve my lifestyle in anyway and also pays no money for our child .... I will be financially better off when he returns to his mums so I’m trying not to stress about any more things then i am already.
Well he doesn’t seem to act the same way here as I’m the main parent and pretty much does everything, obviously with his DC I don’t get involved too much. But yeah obviously if we broke up and our shared child went to his with his other 2 I dread to think of how stressful and chaotic that would be.
Our DC already argue when they are together they all do and that’s the problem with 3 it’s always 2 against 1 on something and yep it’s stressful for all of us and drives me mad.... I imagine once my youngest is older he will be involved in the bickering too. That’s why I would only be happy to all live together if everyone can have their own space to escape and calm down. Also maybe my partner could learn to chill out and not get involved in every disagreement so WW3 doesn’t descend 10 times a day.... I’m not sure though that’s on him, if he can work on that aspect of parenting or not.
He is who he is. Of course he could learn how to parent properly and to manage his finances but he's already on his third child and a grownup so it doesn't seem like he wants to. Don't tie yourself in knots trying to fix him, only he can do that and it doesn't seem like he will.
Get him out of your house, seriously. You don't need to make his burdens your own or feel guilty for it. It doesn't look like he feels any guilt, so why should you? You're doing your part, just don't get conned into doing his too.
I don't understand how you can have him in your home. He hasn't saved a penny and he isn't going to. He's prioritised a meal ticket over his children. Do you really want to be with a man who can do that?
You are on very thin ice with the housing benefit. Do you really think anyone would believe he lives with you and your joint child, yet you don't gain anything from the arrangement? It is benefit fraud, even if he is more of a burden to you than an asset.
It would be you, not him that would have the money stopped and forced to repay it. If he leaves, you get maintenance and no risk to your benefit.
Get him out of your house. I imagine if he wants any contact with your joint child he will be happy with just a few hours and no responsibilities there either.
Why do you want to move households back together with him in any case? He's shown little to no sign of respect or affection for you and his newborn child, hes barely a parent to any of his three children and is going to end up costing you money. You're better off without.
You had a baby with him before you knew who he really was. Now you know. You might get on with him as a person but as parents you’re not compatible. You’re certainly not a partnership. It all sounds like a lot of stress that could be avoided if you accepted it isn’t going to work.
He sounds unpleasant who shows little regard to his dc, surely his dc come as a package when you were having an baby together if that's not the case then realistically you shouldn't continue the relationship anymore tbh it doesnt sound as if he brings anything to it anyway.
Glad some one else called cocklodger because that’s what he is. Time to turf him out, he works so must have some money but he chooses not to share it will you and to free load. I would also start your CMS claim, hopefully they will get some cash out of him.
I wouldn’t want to be with him at all from what you say, and I don’t understand why he has to stay with you while his mother shields. However the second part of your post seems to indicate that you want to be with him and stay as a couple. So in that case you can’t just expect to have him without his kids. I feel a bit sorry for them. (I’m a step mum too, so know it can be hard). Overall it sounds a mess and like it’s not going to be a great relationship or future for the children (all of them).
You hated living with him before you had the baby. You moved to this place not wanting him to join you there. You find his parenting style stressful. He is a smoker and shit with money. Your dc argue with each other when together. You don't want to live with him and his dc.
In what conceivable way would him and his dc moving in be a good option for anybody? It sounds like a disaster in the making. Why on earth would you consider doing something that will make you unhappy, your dc unhappy and his dc unhappy?
As you say, the best option is you live in 2 households. That's the way to go. Seriously, don't damage things even more.
@Jupin - seriously - WHY do you want to stay with this man? From what you're saying you get nothing from this relationship bar a bit of companionship. He is contributing NOTHING to your life & is taking everything.
I don't know what age you are but as a parent of a 20 + year old I really feel for your parents in all this. If you can't put yourself first at least think of them! They have provided all kinds of support for an obviously loved daughter & their grandchildren & they must be heartbroken to see you waste your money, time & energy on this man. If I were them I would be absolutely fuming that you are allowing this to happen - sorry if I seem harsh but they took you in so you could save & then went guarantor on your new home all the while your partner has done sfa; is overpaying his ex while your dc is supported by you; is living in your parent-guaranteed home & has saved nothing!!!
Run! Seriously - RUN!
This will get no better & he is not going to change & you will have years of grief ahead of you financially & otherwise.
Seriously tell him you are happy to carry on dating but you will not be living with him again and he needs to start paying maintenance for your shared DC.
I would tell him he needs to move out, where he goes isn't your problem!
He sounds like a no hoper, a deadbeat dad, OP sorry to say. I think you and your child would be better off without him in your lives. He is not a keeper. Don't think of moving into a bigger house with him later on down the track. Just dump him. He may be nice to you and you may be ok together, but he does not have shared values with you. He doesn't want to pay anything for his child with you, let alone take any pride in providing for your and his child. You will forever be worried about money with him. Better off not having that stress. Like I said he may be nice, but your values are poles apart, I don't see that you're suited to each other.
I agree our DC was very poorly timed but I can’t beat myself up for the forever and I need to look to how to move forward.
He sees his other DC a lot but not so much during lockdown because of the lack of overnights. He is still out to work everyday so can’t risk going to his mums and there isn’t really any other options for someone with no savings to stay. I feel like I was pretty hard saying that I couldn’t facilitate his visits with DC here, let alone saying he had to be homeless too .
I know that him and his children are package but my feelings on it are that we need to be able to financially support ourselves and be able to afford somewhere with space for us all to live. At the moment having two extra children means me making that happen and everyone not having there own space and that feels above and beyond the role of a step parent to me personally.
I do struggle with that though as they are his children and I don’t want to be the reason he can’t have them overnight at the minute but he surely needs to be the one to fix that.
It’s obviously hard to gage a person from these sort of posts I’m obviously here with my issues and not the better aspects. My partner is kind and cares deeply for his DC, (despite his lack of money control) he has them pretty much all of his free time. I think he does feel a greater sense of responsibility for the first two as I just get on with it with our shared child as am used to being a single parent to my first.
I wanted to gage if people think it is possible to continue a relationship whilst living separately whilst we work on finances and probably blending better but I guess that has a flat no for most of you.
It just feels a shame to leave a happy relationship when a solution is there but it would be sorted out over a few years. But I do accept him and his children probably need someone to just jump in and be a family but I’m not sure many would until he has got things straight.
He has said he has started to save since I have been here but again that isn’t something I’m willing to monitor or chase him up on as that’s just not who I am. I barely have the energy to keep on top of my own commitments let alone someone else’s.
Even without all the kids, this man is useless and irresponsible. He might be nice but he is useless and regardless of how loving etc he is there’s no way I would want to have a man child to mind.
At the moment he is costing you money. Or in other words taking money from your children, they could have more if you wasn’t spending it on him.
I say separate and date if you wish but personally I’d cut my losses. Life is too short for having to deal with someone else’s shit.
@Jupin - again I'm aware I sound harsh & I don't mean to sound preachy or like I'm coming down on you but I think you are being dreadfully naive. Part of being a 'great' parent IS sorting out one's attitude to finances (as you have done). Being 'nice' does not make a person a good partner or parent - in fact being 'nice' often makes someone a pretty crappy parent & parent.
Also - just because you get on with things does not mean he should let himself off the hook with respect to your shared dc - that's just lazy ass parenting from him.
You owe him & his kids nothing. Stay with him by all means but point him in the direction of his own place with his dc. I would almost guarantee you that without you or his own dparents assisting him he won't stick around.
Get out now. He is using you. He isn't supporting you or your shared child. Once you split up you can ask him for maintenance - just as his ex does.
You meanwhile can find another partner who you get on great with - but who actually enhances your life.
He does sound like the MN definition of a cocklodger.