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Help the step children are coming this weekend!

(60 Posts)
squirrel3 Fri 11-Mar-05 08:51:20

Help! the step-children are coming this weekend and I am dreading it. I have been a step-mum for nearly 4 years and sometimes its ok but most of the time its awful. I don’t know if its me, my DP, the kids, the ex’s interference or all of it!!! It feels like the kids take over the entire house when they arrive and my son and I are made to feel like outsiders in our own home. We have tried to be part of the chaos but with very little success. I can’t explain it, they are very close, so close that it’s almost exclusive and I always feel shut-out. I feel like I am a visitor not a permanent part of their life. I have tried so hard to be part of it. The ex hates me (don’t really know why, she left him for a much younger man 2 years before I met him) and I think that colours the way the kids see me, DP won’t even admit to them that he loves me! SD saw us holding hands once and she said to DP “you love her don’t you?” to which he replied “I don’t think so!” CRIKEY DID THAT HURT!! It feels like when the kids are here DP almost distances himself from me so as not to hurt them. I must add that when the kids are not here he is a caring, loving Partner or I don’t think I would put myself through this! Don’t know what I can do to change things

Frizbe Fri 11-Mar-05 09:22:58

Oh yikes, I'd have gone up the wall if my partner had said that to my ss.....and I have to say that looks like the route cause of the issue, you need to get dp to include you and your son in the family as a whole. He needs to stop treating it as them and you as it were. You are one whole family unit (all be it extended) and the sooner he gets the kids to start seeing it like that the better, it'd be interesting to see how his ex-wifes partner is treated by them, is he still an outsider, or one of the family?

squirrel3 Fri 11-Mar-05 09:37:03

The ex's partner is very much part of the family, the ex has recently has a child with him and I think this has helped include him, I, on the other hand DO NOT want anymore kids I've got two grown up kids and a grandchild, more kids is not an option! I think my DP reaction is more about misplaced guilt of not being there for the kids everyday, although he talks to them most days on the phone I think he feels guilty about the marriage break-up (don't know why, she left him for someone so much younger he was their paperboy at one point!) oooops! that was bitchy! true but bitchy!

littlerach Fri 11-Mar-05 09:38:26

It is so hard, I have 2 sc too, and know what you mean about feeling like an outsider. But DH is fab and makes me get involved, so now I just do it!
Have to say that your DP needs to be the glue as it wree, to bind you all together, as he is the common denominator. And the kids need to know that you are a huge part of his life, else it's not gonna get better!!!

SadSam Fri 11-Mar-05 09:45:19

Squirrel, I cant believe your DP said that to SD. I would go absolutely mad if that happened to me. I think that the root of a lot of the comments on this website is down to "Guilt". DPs feel guilty for not playing as big a part in their kids lives anymore and they try and overcompensate in other ways. My DP is the same, he doesn't show me much affection in front of the skids. He does hold my hand and I think had he been asked what yours was asked he would have said "yes I do love her". My skids stayed recently after Valentines day and he left the Valentines cards up which surprised me as his to me said "To my fiancee" (I dont think the BM knows we are engaged) on the front of it and "to the woman in my life whom I adore" inside it. However, he wouldn't be lovey dovey towards me in front of the kids. Is it your house aswell, or is it DPs house? If it is your house aswell then you should have a say in things that go on. I know its hard, im going through exactly the same and dont feel like I can interfere or dictate what the skids do and dont do as they are not mine, but as someone advised me on another post, you have to start laying down the law a bit and thinking of you and your son (incidentally is he your son with your DP or yours from a previous relationship?). Anyway I probably havent helped, but please keep posting and im sure anyone with advice will try and help you. Sam x

squirrel3 Fri 11-Mar-05 09:50:15

I know we have to present a united front to the kids in every way, it's trying to get him to see that his way of trying to keep me at arms length is doing so much harm it is going to be almost impossible to break the cycle of resentment and hurt. I'm going to have to talk to him and try to get him to understand that it was not his fault the marriage broke down and I could have a great relationship with his kids if he would only let me, which has only got to be a good thing, not the disaster that he has made it out to be in his head.

Nelli29 Fri 11-Mar-05 09:56:01

Can't believe you dh said that, you must have been so hurt. If the kids sense (as they probably already do)that there is a divide between you and you partner then you could be in trouble as it will take alot of hard work and understanding on all sides to get on track. you dh needs to support you and you son around the kids, after all this is your home too and you are just as important as they are. I know it is hard (I am in a step family situation also) but in my experience for you all to be able to live reasonably together you all need to accept each other. It must be awful for you and you son feeling so on the outside, have you spoken to you dh about how this makes you feel??

squirrel3 Fri 11-Mar-05 10:00:15

The house is mine, he moved in with me, we are talking about getting a joint mortage together but with all of these problems I must admit that I'm not sure about it. What if we just can't resolve these issues? If we can't sort it out and we decide to call it a day (which I really don't want)would I lose my house that I have lived in for 12years? We do not have children together, mine are grown-up, I was a single parent for 12 years before I met DP, my son lives with us.

Nelli29 Fri 11-Mar-05 10:13:02

Just to add , when I met my dh he used to act in a very simular way. He used to tip toe around and not show me any affection infront of sd, I found it sooooooo hurtful because the rest of the time he was very affectionate any caring. Sd also reacted to this by being very whiny, and 'I want..I want' etc. DH was afraid to be firmer with her for fear of her not wanting to come to us next time, he felt guilty cause he wasn't there for her everyday ( ex had an affair by the way, they had spilt up 2 years before we met), all of this I caould understand but it wasn't doing our (dh and I) relationship any good whatsoever. I talked it over with dh and we agreed on som ground rules to aim for and dh now shows me more affection infront of sd which made such a difference to me, and he is also much firmer with her. SD has reacted to this so very well, she is a lovely little girl and now is very well behaved and I think she needed the same ground rules as we know she has at home...so don't give up .... you will get there in the end!!

SadSam Fri 11-Mar-05 10:22:10

Squirrel, if the house is yours and your sons then you really should NOT be made to feel like an outsider in your own home. If the worst does come to the worst and you and your DP split up then why should you lose the house? It is your house afterall not his. Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh, but you were living in there long before you were with DP and if you split then surely it should be him that should go. His kids have a roof over their head with the BM, you need a roof over you and your sons head. In my honest opinion, I wouldn't consider putting the mortgage in joint names until you have sorted things out with him. He needs to start treating you as part of the family and not as an outsider. xx

tarantula Fri 11-Mar-05 10:32:30

I thiink the same as Sam dont out te house into joint names till you are sure aht things are working out properly. You should not be made to feel like an outsider in your own home. What age are his kids? and how many are there? Can you plan the weekends they visit so there are a number of activitys to do which include everyone and get you all out of the house. that way there is less tension. It doesnt have to be anythign major but means you all have to do things togther? I do this when dss comes round cos I find it bonds us together better and helps him to get to know hsi little sister.

squirrel3 Fri 11-Mar-05 10:56:53

There are two sets of step-children and two ex's, the first set of step kids are grown-up and similar ages to my own two, we get on great DP allows this and the first ex and DP rely very much on my input with the son as he has a few problems that I have alredy successfully dealt with with my own child. The second set of step-children are the problem, they are younger 13 and 9, the ex is a nightmare! they have no disipline at home and expect the same when they are here! The 13 year old thinks its really funny to continually wind-up my son as he knows he can't relaliate in anyway, shape or form because he knows the situation with DP and me as far as the kids go and he doesn't want to "rock the boat" so he retreats to his room or makes sure he is out when the kids are there. I do try to get involved over the weekends they are here, I go to SS football training and matches and stand in the freezing cold and make the right noises to encourage etc (I hate football by the way!)I tried to involve the SD when baking cakes etc but she soooo obviously wants daddy to do it with her and he takes over! You are so right about not having mortage in joint names just yet, I already knew that but I don't know how to explain to DP how I feel without him getting offended and hurt, so I just keep putting it off for the time being. I need to talk seriously with DP after the weekend to try and sort this out, I can't keep on like this!

PuffTheMagicDragon Fri 11-Mar-05 11:01:38

squirrel, I'm going to sound like a cynical old hag, but if the house is yours, and yours alone, keep it that way. It's your security and independence in the midst of what is going on around you.

squirrel3 Fri 11-Mar-05 11:18:09

Thank you everyone for your support and advice, it's nice to know I am not alone or the only person who has ever experienced these problems. I am soo glad I found this site. Got to go to college now (got an exam!) I just hope I can concentrate and put SK's and DH to the back of my mind!

SadSam Fri 11-Mar-05 11:19:28

I totally agree with Puff, that house is your one bit of security in what sounds like an insecure relationship. Dont put it into joint names. Its one thing talking to DP and him agreeing to change etc. but I wouldn't do anything until that change has been put into practice for quite sometime. xx

SadSam Fri 11-Mar-05 11:20:03

Good luck with your exam Squirrel, speak to you soon hopefully xxx

Surfermum Fri 11-Mar-05 11:30:41

Puff - you aren't cynical, just sensible. I'd echo what others have said about the house squirrel. I sometimes feel like dsd takes over here on the weekends she comes, and we get on really well, I enjoy having her here and she and dd are like "me and my shadow". The situation's the same as yours with the x though - she's told dh not to expect her ever to speak to me as I married him, and she too left him!!

Do you do things with your own son when they are there? What if you were to do things like baking with him, or take him to do something he enjoys, so that he gets your attention and they can join in if they want. It seems really unfair to me that he's retreating into his room when they come.

A talk with your dp sounds like a really good idea. It's all very well not wanting to offend him or hurt him - but that's exactly what he's doing to you.

Surfermum Fri 11-Mar-05 11:31:27

Do exactly that - put all this OUT of your mind and concentrate on your exam. Good luck!

squirrel3 Fri 11-Mar-05 15:32:07

Thanks for the good luck wishes. I managed to get through the exam thanks! I feel I must say that as regards to my relationship with DP when SK's are not around our relationship is wonderful, he is the best thing that's happened to me in a long, long while and I know he will love me 'til the day I die (crikey, how soppy was that!) I can't fault him in any other way, it's only with the SK's. If we could deal with these step-parenting issues I would be a very, very happy bunny (or should I say squirrel) Decided I have got take Nelli's advice and not give up, to hang on in there, we will get there in the end. Having said that I'm not going for the joint mortgage until I am sure that things have improved, I need to talk things out with DP, don't think he realises just how unhappy I am with the situation.

Nelli29 Fri 11-Mar-05 17:32:50

Squirrel3
Let us know how you get on ok? Good luck xxx

kernowcat Fri 11-Mar-05 17:39:32

Good luck for the weekend Squirrel3. I too have the step children coming for the weekend and its not all plain sailing so I empathise with you.
(Never give up your house!)

SadSam Mon 14-Mar-05 09:03:57

Hi Squirrel, I hope the weekend went ok and you managed to sort some things out with your DP? I have had my 16 yr old SS for the last week and it has caused no end of tension between me and DP. I also have youngest 2 skids next weekend and am dreading it allready. God I sound like such a bitch, but this is really getting to me. I feel like a lodger in my own home when the kids are here. I am never involved in anything they do, no affection or attention shown and even my DP refuses to show me any affection whilst they are here (because he feels uncomfortable) Why?. To be honest, Ive got to the stage where I just feel like going away for the weekend and leaving them all to it!

squirrel3 Mon 14-Mar-05 09:23:50

Hello everyone, well the weekend was a mixed bag really but on the whole it was a positive one! Firstly I told DP that I was going with him to pick up the kids (don’t care what the X thinks) I had thought long and hard and realised that I would feel more part of the chaos if I arrived home with them rather than sitting at home dreading their arrival, it did make it sooo much easier. The SK’s had been complaining that their PJ’s were a bit small so I bought them new ones and could you believe it, I got it right!! Usually if I get them anything don’t even acknowledge it, but SD loved hers! She ran downstairs and gave me a hug saying “I love them, thank you!!” She hasn’t hugged me for a very long time! There were times when I felt like an outsider where I felt like running into another room and letting them get on with it but I stuck it out, I was hard but I did it!! Sunday we decided to go out for the day and I suggested that we take my grandson (he loves the SK’s and they love him) it made us feel more like a family together rather than them and me. Maybe I’ll ‘borrow’ GS more often.

Talked to DP about the joint mortgage, he suggested that we see a solicitor and have an agreement made up that if the worst happened and we were to split he could not force me to sell, and if we did sell we would both get what we put in i.e. I would get my 12yrs of mortgage payments (plus interest) and he would get the large sum that he has and wants to add to the mortgage (from the sale of his previous house) back and what is left we would split down the middle. It seems fair, but I want a lot more weekends like the one we have just had before I agree to it.

squirrel3 Mon 14-Mar-05 09:39:30

sadsam, I really feel for you, I know exactly how you feel I've felt it sooo many times. You are not a bitch just a normal step-mum! I have felt like going away the weekends the SK's are here, felt like that was the only way I could cope.

The only thing I can suggest is make yourself get involved, and I do say make because it is very, very hard and feels unnatural, uneasy at first. Its probably the lasr thing you want to hear but it does help. Please talk to your DP about it, try and think of ways and things to involve you. He has to include you, littlerach said that the DP has to be the 'glue' and that is sooo true. If he wants what is best for his kids he has to make sure that you are happy with the situation, it makes for a much nicer and more enjoyable atmostphere for all concerned when the kids are there.

SadSam Mon 14-Mar-05 09:45:48

Hi Squirrel, Im so pleased you had a more rewarding weekend. I love the fact that SD gave you a cuddle and a thank you for the PJs. I am still waiting for a thank you since I have known the skids. I have bought them some fabulous presents and cooked them some wonderful meals, taken them to some great places and never received a thank you! I still think you should hold off on the mortgage thing to be honest. Afterall if you did split then wouldn't you rather have a roof over your head than a few £grand? Sorry to sound so negative on that front, but before I was with my DP, I was in a relationship for 14 years and when we split he kept the house and although he paid me a lump sum, I never had enough to buy a property with or even keep me in renting for more than a year or 2. So I had to work my way up the property ladder again and it was hard!

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