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Is this something we have to deal with? Sad and angry and not sure if I have a right to be

(7 Posts)
IveGotHamButImNotAHamster Thu 27-Aug-09 11:25:53

Have been with DP for nearly 3 years and he has two DC from previous relationship. People say to me all the time "you knew what you were getting in to" but I really didn't. Lately I have been getting very upset and angry because of some things DP does, and how I feel that reflects on us and me...but then feel so guilty and like I am not supposed or allowed to feel like that because "it's all for the best interests of the children"

1) he has omitted to tell me things...such as about the kids' parties and presents, and when I ask questions about these things he has lied (to protect me apparently)

2) he makes decisions that affect our life without consulting me at all because he can't seem to stand up to his XP and so goes along with whatever she says

There are other things but I feel these are the most important because they are about the way we interact rather than actual things if you like.

I am almost at the end of my tether and don't know whether these are things I signed up to (I feel they shouldn't be, as openness and honesty and an equal partnership is really important to me, although I realise and do make a lot of compromises and sacrifices because it is best for the DCs). He says he is in such a difficult situation and can't please everybody, but it always seems to be me he chooses not to please. Am I being dramatic and childish, like he says, (I know I'm in no way perfect and I do get pretty upset with him) and is this stuff necessary? Do I need to either accept it or leave?

Thank you in advance.

Fruitysunshine Thu 27-Aug-09 13:34:58

"You knew what you were getting into" is a load of rubbish and very disrespectful. It simply means "you gave up all your rights to complain when you got involved with him because he has another woman and children in his life that you have to come second place too."

TOTAL rubbish.

She is an EX for a reason. He is a parent to his children and that is all. The relationship they share should be parenting only and he should have his relationship with you as a separate priority. It is really difficult to get the balance right, especially if he was used to being manipulated when he was with the ex. It means he will find it difficult to change how he relates to her because he does not know how to. This is something you really need to sit down and discuss. A lot of fathers also carry guilt about not living with their children so try and toe the line "for the sake of the children".

My husband has an ex and for the first year or two she was quite difficult and demanding (outside parenting issues). However when we got married I put my foot down. There are not varying degrees of what being a wife means, whether you are first, second or eighth! I was his wife and that meant we made decisions together that affected our homelife and if he decided to go against what we decided together then I feel it within my right to voice my opinion to all concerned!

You know, it does not matter how you behave when you are a wife to somebody with an ex, you can be really nice and slated or nasty and slated. At the end of the day your relationship with your partner makes other people feel awkward in how to deal with the many aspects and involved parties in step families. I just get on with it now because as far as I am concerned, there is only one wife and that is me.

You can still make your partner feel special and treat them like an equal and be a parent at the same time without using the "for the sake of the kids" excuse every five minutes.

You are not less of a person because he has children with somebody else. You are an equal. The converse is true if people are going to throw things at you - your partner knew what he was getting involved with when he met you. What right does anyone have to ask somebody else to set aside feelings because it interferes with their acceptance and comfort of their own situation? It is nothing to do with whether he has kids or not - it is all to do with where his respect for you is.

You have to decide what type of relationship you want in your life and if this is what you have? Not everyone can make step family relationships work - and you can make a choice not to be involved with somebody who does not have children - there is nothing wrong with that at all.

I will say that I have known many women in your position and none of them have gone on to have successful fulfilling relationships with that man. Some married their men but have continued to feel second best and ignored in favour of the ex and children.

MarriedtoanOsterich Thu 27-Aug-09 13:41:09

I think you have to outline what is unacceptable, for you, to him. You knew what you were getting into is a shitty thing to say to anyone.
Sit him down and tell him.

IveGotHamButImNotAHamster Thu 27-Aug-09 16:04:22

Thanks, that's pretty much what I thought but needed some reassurance I'm not expecting too much. I keep hoping things will get better, he keeps promising they will, but then something else happens.

BonsoirAnna Tue 01-Sep-09 09:57:00

When you agreed to step-parent, you did not sign up to be a doormat. I am a step-parent and I am very clear that I must be consulted about everything that concerns me. It is never all right for bio parents to organise their and their children's agenda and to expect a step-parent to fall in with their decisions.

There are inevitable constraints upon life (school timetables, keeping the house running...) and there are options. You have to lump the inevitable and be able to voice an opinion on the options.

2rebecca Tue 01-Sep-09 14:09:13

I disagree to an extent. Financial decisions about my kids are taken by my ex and I. We are their parents, similarly my husband only discusses his kids' financial stuff with his ex wife. When I am having the kids is also principally sorted with my ex and usually arranged around the kids and our sporting activities, extended family events etc. My stepkids rarely come to our house now but when they did we tried to get all the kids coming on the same weekend but in general I would put looking after my kids before any wishes of my husband and would expect him to do the same for his kids.
We don't lie to each other though and when my ex and I decided to send our youngest to private school we did discuss that. I would not have allowed my husband to veto it though ( but probably would have done if he earned more than me and I was reliant on his money).

Surfermum Tue 01-Sep-09 19:06:21

No, if it's something that affects you you should be consulted about it. There might be times when you can do diddly squat about it, or your opinion might not be taken up, but I agree with you about a good partnership is one that is open and honest.

I wonder if he calls you dramatic and childish because it takes the focus away from the fact that he isn't behaving terribly well IYSWIM.

And as for that load of bollocks about "you knew what you were getting into" - of course you didn't! I had no more idea what I was getting into with dsd than I did becoming a mum for the first time. It's such a ridiculous statement to make. When a mum struggles with breast feeding do people say "well you knew what you were doing when you got pregnant"? No. When a lone parent struggles with their ex partner's behaviour do people say "well you knew what you were doing when you decided to have a baby with them"? No. It goes over my head a bit more now (although admittedly my RL friends have always been very supportive) and I just tend to think "actually, you just haven't a bloody clue" but it used to annoy me. Of course we stepmums can find things difficult, just like any other person.

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