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I'm so upset and frustrated, sorry very long post

(8 Posts)
kiram Mon 18-Aug-08 22:46:16

Hi i'm sorry this is so long, but i've so much whizzing round my head, i just needed to let it all out somewhere, i hope you don't mind, everyone is so honest on these message boards and i hope you will be with me too.

I live with my OH (not married) and my two boys (3 and 4) since Dec 06?. My OH has 3 children, one boy 14, and 2 girls 11 and 8. Until we moved in together we used to meet up every other weekend with all the children and spend a day together, either one or both days of a weekend or if my children were with their dad I would spend a day with my OH and his children. It was mostly enjoyable but could be quite a handful of a day.

My first experience of ?living all together? was on a holiday to a Haven site which was knackering but kinda ok. I hadn?t envisaged so many problems on moving in together. My OH?s 3 live with their mum, who tends to freak out now and again with her love life and dump the children on us at extremely short notice, at present she is on a trip abroad visiting her new foreign husband!! Again she has just dumped the children on us for 3 weeks, though she says all will improve when her toyboy husband arrives home with her (the children have never met him and hes there new stepdad!!)

Anyway given his children?s situation with their erratic mother, I care about them a lot and I have always felt for them, though I can?t honestly say I love or feel particularly close to them, I can?t understand why I feel this way, I just do, nice to know I?m not alone though. I would never dream of treating them any differently to my own 2 when they are with us and I treat them with care and respect as I would for any other person. I do try to be extremely fair with my ?step? children because of my difficulty in bonding with them, I tend to be the one who makes the birthdays/Xmases fun who buys them a birthday cake because (their mums religion doesn?t celebrate these things) I put in a lot of effort to make their time here comfortable friendly and inviting.

I find the problems at home at present lie with discipline/affection/rules etc... There tends to be a big difference between my OH and I in these areas. I have always done my best to get my boys into a routine at home and when living alone, I had no problems with this and life ran quite smoothly. When they went to nursery whilst I worked a few days a week they were fine. When my boys go to their dad?s (every other weekend) they fit in with the routine in his household with no problems, albeit takes a day for them to readjust once back with me, when living alone, again I had no problems. Now that I am living with my OH I just can?t seem to keep a routine going. They are fine with the childminder (childminder?s take into account how you parent your children), they are fine at school/pre-school and they are fine when it?s just the boys and myself. The problem arises each time my OH?s children come to stay (one eve sleepover each week and every other weekend, plus when his ex feels like dumping them on us!).

My OH reckons I?m not firm enough (he believes in shouting at his children, ends up arguing with them and it seems like he likes control over them), I feel I am firm but fair, offer choices and consequences, set rules for unacceptable behaviour and stick to it and desperately try to stick to my now fractured routines (bedtimes, mornings, school run etc?). When his children are not around he tends to undermine me ? I?ll be dealing with a situation, he is not even in the room and doesn?t know what has happened anyway, he?ll come in and start taking over and using his ?firm? voice. If he has spotted a situation with my boys and I am in the house or he is looking after them (on the rare occasion) then I leave him to deal with it and I?ll stand-by even if I disagree with what he?s saying or dealing with it. It?s the same scenario when dealing with situations with his children; he likes to be in control! Though he tends to be a lot harder with his girls and my boys than he does with his eldest boy, who gets away with a fair bit!

The other thing when his children are round though, is that my boys then have to follow his children?s routines because that?s how its done and that?s how it is so anything I do with my boys just goes out of the window because my OH wants it to be done the way his children do at their mums house. It feels like my boys and I suddenly have no place in the house/home. I?m now having problems with my youngest at bedtime, mealtimes and with his anger/shouting and hitting, and my oldest with his attitude (at times) and mealtimes. I appreciate that some of this is due to age etc, but I?m so stressed out with trying to run the house, build/work on our relationship, look after my own and his children and work on my relationships with them all, work, set up business and study (the work, business, study is my own doing, my own choice!!) that I?m sure they are picking up on this as well as my worries with his children and discipline/affection/rules etc...

I know it?s not my house (my OH bought it for us to move in together) but my boys and I live there 24/7 not his children, surely his children should fit into our ways when they are with us and return to their mothers ways back at home? Or am I totally in the wrong here? I?ve tried to speak to my OH about this, but he just gets frustrated and angry and says that I?m expecting it to be my way or no way. I?m happy to accommodate some things, which I have, but I?m not prepared to just drop trying to settle my children into there home each time his children come to stay, it?s unsettling for my boys and me. Anyone see where I?m coming from here?

The other thing is, that because of my OH?s ex?s erratic behaviour he is considering custody of his children, which I can see as a good thing for them rather than being ?ping pong kids? in their mothers care, but it?s freaking me out!! I was honest with him and said that I would find it really difficult (mostly because I feel I?m on a roundabout with my own children, trying to settle things in our household and in our lives) but that I was happy to compromise and be accepting of some but not all things with regards to discipline/affection/rules etc... But he was back at me with the way he sees it - I?m expecting it to be my way or no way or I?ll leave him ? which is so not true and I wash he could see how difficult it would be not just for me but for both of us, there is so much to think about and consider in order we can make it work. I know he misses his children (his ex was the one that left him for a foreigner and moved the foreigner into there marital home to intro to the kids ? not the ones she?s married), and I can see why he?s considering custody ? I would feel the same way. My OH has just set up a new business so is flapping about how he would cope but is not prepared to work out his options (for childcare, money etc?). He just keeps turning to me for the answers, I think he?s after me giving up everything to look after all the children, but he knows full well that this would drive me away, yet he?s not prepared to discuss what we could do and look into it.

Our relationship is starting to suffer again because of this. Last time it was because he was being so clingy, he has no friends outside of work, he doesn?t go out to socialize unless I invite friends round, I was feeling smothered and controlled by him, I?ve been there and experienced that in the past so I started to pull away from him. We?ve been working hard on this and now it?s the parent/step parent thing that?s starting to eat away at things. I love him dearly but I?m not sure how much more I can take, I feel like I?m always battling along in life and the enjoyment of it has been slowly sapped away, I know that sounds pathetic, but that?s how it feels. When I was living alone, had got the divorce sorted, was on good terms with my ex and was dating my OH, Life was picking up again, it was fun, I felt better than I?d done in a long while and I so want that feeling back, I felt happy! I appreciate life is a rollercoaster, but I?d like to get things back on track and feel like I?m laughing and having fun a bit more than I am. I also appreciate it?s a lot to do with how you view situations, cup half empty/full and all that and I?m doing my best, but it?s not so easy at the mo.

Am I being selfish? Am I being cruel? I thought I was just trying to make a life for all of us, I?ve had enough trash to deal with in the past (ex husband had affair and child on way whilst I was preg with our 2nd, divorce, house move an benefits to deal with whilst 9 months preg, all the stuff that goes hand in hand with divorce, move to new town, the list goes on and I feel I?ve done pretty well to get this far without cracking up), I?m just trying to settle down in life and enjoy it with my boys, my OH and his children. How am I going to make things better? I really am trying so hard.

Many thanks for reading
Sarah x

ThatBigGermanPrison Mon 18-Aug-08 22:50:51

I really feel for you, you have have a lot on your plate, and it seems your oh is dealing with his stress by making it your stress.

Do you think that taking his children on full time (as your own) would be more acceptable to you if you could do it your way? Because I think there is nothing more stressful than being expecting to raise children in a manner you don't agree with, especially when those children are your own.

youcannotbeserious Tue 19-Aug-08 07:41:26

Why do your kids have to follow his kids routine? Can you not keep your kids routine the same?

I have two step daughters (aged 13 and 10) and one son (aged 3 months), we have tried to minimise the effect of DS's arrival on my DSDs, but obviously things change.

But, regardless of whether they are here or not, DS's routine is pretty much the same. Obviously activities may change, as we are doing different things, but the basics are the same...

I think the problem here is with your OH, nt the kids at all....

Freckle Tue 19-Aug-08 07:52:30

I agree that the problem lies with your OH. He is in total control of the situation. When he bought a house for you all to move in to, why did he not buy it in your joint names? You are totally vulnerable if he decides that he wants his kids to move in and, if it doesn't work out, you have to leave.

Before he applies for residency of his children, I think you need to sit down and have a good talk about how it's going to work. Chances are that you are going to have more care of the children than he will (as he works), so you need to establish ground rules about how the children are disciplined, routines, etc. And he cannot just insist that everything goes his way. If he does, then I think you have to rethink your whole relationship.

catsmother Tue 19-Aug-08 15:14:44

You don't sound selfish at all, you actually sound very level headed and considerate of all the people in the family.

OTOH, your DP sounds as if it's "his way, or no way" to borrow his own phrase. This is borne out by wading into situations he knows nothing about (if he has been out of the room for example) and simply shouting, which, on its own, solves nothing.

Apart from the stepchild issues, it also seems as if he has wider control issues - by being clingy. Reading between the lines, does he try to discourage your social life and friends, as he has none of his own ?

So far as all the children are concerned, in theory the pair of you should be sitting down and having a sensible discussion (which I'm sure you know yourself) about house rules, boundaries, acceptable ways of applying discipline and punishments - which would apply to everyone, though of course, some allowance must be made for respective ages. Once you have both agreed how to bring up the kids (there might have to be some compromise on both sides), you are then in a position to both adopt a consistent way of dealing with the kids. The kids will be happier and respond better once they know where they stand, and when they're not getting conflicting messages and/or feeling that different rules apply to different children. I think you should also both agree not to undermine the other in front of the kids ...... this shouldn't be too much of a problem if you are both singing from the same hymn sheet.

Well ....... that's the theory anyway. Only you know if your DP would respond positively to such a talk and a concerted effort to agree house rules. I've a nasty feeling that if he's the controlling type, he might dismiss it all together, or walk away at the 1st sign of "his" way being "criticised". In which case, I'd have said it's pretty imperative that you drag him to counselling to try and thrash out the control issues, & maybe the clinginess as well. If the possibility of the pair of you getting FT custody of his 3 is in the air, it's vital that everyone knows what's happening, and how, practically, you will deal day to day with the massive job of raising 5 kids .... rather than adopting a muddling through approach. I should think you'd end up having a nervous breakdown if you don't get this hugely important issue sorted out and 101% agreed and understood before you also take on 3 more children.

FWIW, I also agree that his children should be adapting to your household rules when they are there. They aren't babies and should be old enough to understand that different homes ruhn in different ways, and that it's basic courtesy to respect the rules of the house you're in, whoever it belongs to. You're clearly not a monster and by the sound of it are making a definite effort to include them and make them feel welcome so I can't imagine that your household routine is beyond the pale. Presumably, you don't make them go to bed at the same time as the pre-schoolers, but if, for example, you prefer not to have food in bedrooms, they should abide by that even if their mum lets them do it.

But 1st and foremost, this all depends on you forging a working relationship with DP which you can totally rely on. If you and he are secure and can trust each other on this, then it will make the kids feel more secure in turn. I really hope you can work something out very soon.

WilyWombat Tue 19-Aug-08 15:27:32

Your partner does sound very controlling tbh. Can you sit down and discuss it rationally when emotions are not running so high because at the end of the day you are both going to have to make compromises if it is going to work.

His children must be terribly unsettled and I guess you will need to make allowances for that but I am a bit hmm about his ex expecting them to live with her husband when they have never even met him.

So its his house and his rules alarm bells are ringing about you giving up things to look after all the children that would make you completely dependent upon him which really wouldnt be healthy.

kiram Thu 04-Sep-08 21:43:39

This situation with my partner is really starting to get me down, more so than it has done in a while now.

My OH has always disciplined and controlled his children the way he does now, though he has calmed down a fair bit. About 6 months prior to moving in with my ex, I watched him lose it with his children big time, until then he used to shout/yell at them loads, smack and shake them and generally treat them in a way I found disrespectful to the children, but this time his ex had dumped them on us and said she no longer wanted them (she'd had a barney with her boyfriend and followed him up north). I can understand my OH was in turmoil with this but he lashed it out on the children, and I was mortified. So my OH’s ex can at times have a distinct effect on how he is with the children, as in losing it, but he has a short fuse with them anyway, which is why I am very cagey with him when it comes to my own children (two boys 3 and 4). He’s asked me why I won't let him into my children’s lives, and I tried to explain why, he took it as me saying he was a naff parent and a crap dad. I have tried to step back a little and let him into the boys lives and now it’s like I can't even parent my boys the way I wish to, OH says ‘I’m not firm enough with the boys, I let them get away with things??’ Etc, I feel like he's trying to take control. My OH also has a habit of issuing threats and not following them through or issuing silly threats to his children such as, 'I’ll take your games console away for a week' when its at their mothers house anyway??' . He dotes on his eldest son, who can do no wrong and at 14 struts around the place like he owns it doing as he wishes because his dad pretty much lets him. As for my OH 2 girls, he down on them like a ton of bricks, same as he is with my boys.

We could never sit down with his ex to discuss the matter, she says everything will be fine once she has her hubby back in the UK with her and that she won't have any need for my OH. She hates me with venom and dislikes the girls talking about what they have done with me when they've stayed over. Its difficult enough trying to discuss this with my OH, I by no means want it all my way but I believe in bringing my boys up differently and seeing as his children don't live with us then is there any harm in that? Maybe there is, maybe I’m being unfair, I don't know? He has said to me before that he knows what he is doing, he has been a parent longer than I have and knows that children just do things to wind us up and be naughty (I always thought it was because a child was angry, upset, scared, frustrated, wants some attention whether that be positive or negative, or can't express how they are feeling, am I right or wrong here?)

Its really hard for me, I was brought up in a loving family and I’m very much grateful for that. I expected that when I had children it would be the same for my family. I've not yet experienced that warm feeling as I had when I was a child of a family unit except for when I lived alone with my boys, then we were a family. My ex husband had little interest in our oldest and I due to his affair and my dreams of a family were cruelly blown apart whilst I was pregnant with our second. I'd just like to be a family if possible but how can that ever happen if my OH won't listen to me or hear what I’m trying to say? All he seems to hear is criticism which is by no means what I am doing.

I initially had problems with my ex husband, our views on parenting were very different too and being as I now didn't trust him it just made things a whole lot worse, but I got angry, I got on my high horse and let him know how I feel and slowly we've worked through our differences and we now respect one another’s views as parents, we've compromised, we talk together about the boys, any issues or concerns etc and we work with each other, not against anymore. He hears me, he talks with me, and he listens.

Every time I go to talk with my OH he immediately goes on the defensive, ‘oh your saying I’m a bad dad, that I don't discipline my children etc’ and he'll stick up for his ex saying she is a good mum when she has her head in gear. Well maybe she was a good mum, maybe she can be again, but as far as I see it she isn't being one right now! My OH can't hear what I’m actually saying, won't hear me and is listening and hearing the bits he chooses to then translating it into me wanting it all my way.

I really am at the point now where I want my own space back again, I love him but I’m beginning to feel I can't live with him. He's being too controlling in the parental department, and is behaving clingy and needy. I want a man in my life, not another child to raise!

He is very slowly starting to stand up for himself with regards to his ex, but she knows how to manipulate him big time. He even threatened her with taking custody of the children and/or reducing or cutting her maintenance the other day, but then she said she'd fight back and then she burst into tears (all this was in front of the children) and started saying to their children 'it'll all be better soon when hubby arrives' and turned to my OH and said 'if you take my money away then I’ll go bankrupt'. So he backed down. So now OH said he wants things to carry on as they are and if and when problems arise we (WE!!) will deal with them. So to me means an uncertain future (his ex has married a 24 year old foreigner, who she met online, met 6 months later and married on holiday, the children have never met and he's now their stepdad, which worries me a fair bit) which I’m now worrying about because of my boys, studies, my business etc.. Mine and my boys lives. To top it off he has told me that we are in debt and will need to be very careful with money over the next 6 months as he has no job at present and no income until his new business takes off.

At the end of the day, I worry about the effect of all this on my boys, I want what’s best for them - a happy settled life with routine with boundaries with laid down rules, with love and respect for one another. I'm feeling so confused, frustrated and generally unhappy and I feel I’m not achieving any of what I want for my boys (or for myself) because I feel so dragged down with things. I feel a real need for space and independence, I feel smothered by his neediness and clinginess and the pressure off of him for our love life to return. He wants the ‘real me’ back as he puts it, well as do I, I want to laugh, have fun and be the person I know I am, the one who felt a lively free spirit after my divorce. I want my man back!!

I want to talk to my OH, I want to tell him how I feel, but I know he’ll automatically go on the defensive and/or start saying ‘oh you think I’m a bad parent, crap partner, you want to leave me, you’re bored of me, you don’t find me attractive etc etc…’

I'm so sorry to go on, I haven't felt this way in a long time but all the same this has been building up for a long time, I can't concentrate and my mind is in a right muddle.

Many thanks again for reading

Sarah x

SmugColditz Thu 04-Sep-08 21:47:26

You need to go to relate. If he won't go, there's your answer really....

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