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AIBU to be annoyed with DStepSon and his attitude?

253 replies

SummerHolidayStress · 24/07/2015 20:20

NC because I've seen the judgment and flaming some Stepmothers get for having any issue with DSChildren. Some advice would be really appreciated.
I've been with DP for 9yrs, 3DCs together, 1 DsS from his previous rship. DsS (age 12) lives with his Mum.
All children have always been treated equally, I love them all equally, and treat them the same, as does their DF.
The issue is, how to deal with DsS at the moment. We moved away 18months ago because of work and university situations (work for DP, Uni for me- commuting 4hrs daily was physically and mentally exhausting), so it made sense to move. DsS was aware of this from the start, that a move was the only way we could keep our heads above water.
We've tried our hardest to see DsS in this year, to the point we travelled the 3hrs back to our old town as arranged, arrived at his home and was told, "he's out, doesn't want to see you".
He ignores us all of the time, despite is really trying to talk and arrange to see him. He doesn't talk until until a week before his birthday, when he tells us what he wants...and then a few days before Xmas, and tells us what his DM is getting him, so we can " decide what else so he doesn't get two of the same".
He's largely ignored our calls and texts for months now, until Lo and Behold, a text three days ago, saying "It's school holidays now, when are you coming to get me?" followed by "You can take me to place, as it's near to your new house. And, "Mum wants to know when your coming, and where you're going to take me. Answer me"

We have always treated all four children to have respect and manners, and if he was here, he would be told off for blatant brattish attitude.

I'm just annoyed. He ignores DP and me for 11 months of the year, but when he thinks treats and presents are involved, he wants some contact and issues demands. We wouldn't take that from the 3DCs at home, are we meant to from DS who isn't here? I don't know.

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

OP posts:
HoldYerWhist · 24/07/2015 22:05

Yes, it really does.

Hassled · 24/07/2015 22:07

I absolutely get that you had to move, I really do. But he's 12 and he doesn't get it. You went from regular, frequent contact to bugger all - which also means his Mum gets bugger all by way of a break from him. Of course there's a reaction, from both of them. He must be hurt and confused - he doesn't have the ability to rationalise it all. All he sees is that Dad's gone away with the woman and the siblings he loves more - so of course he's testing the boundaries now. I believe you care for him - but he's not being a brat. Do some serious talking with him this summer - try to rebuild some bonds.

Eminado · 24/07/2015 22:09

Gosh Oswin you are being quite horrible!

The decision you made me not be suitsble for other people. You have no idea about the OP's situation.

Bunnyjo · 24/07/2015 22:10

OP I am a student and mother. I study at a highly regarded RG university which leaves me with a 3 hour commute daily. DH lost his self-employed contract with City Link on Christmas Day. So we know all about financial hardship, trust me.

Fact is my children have, do and ALWAYS will come first. This degree means the world to me, but if it meant my children were suffer, I would give it all up in a heart beat.

You have gone from seeing your DSS regularly to having sporadic and almost non-existent contact. It is hardly surprising he is reacting as he is.

Truth is you don't feel the same way about him as you do your own children. If you did, you would have left university and got a job to ensure you were able to maintain regular contact with your DSS.

AyeAmarok · 24/07/2015 22:10

But moving from the town you live, as a NonResident Parent doesn't make you a "knob"

Of course it does. You imply you were pretty equal parents when you lived in the same town. Your DH then abandoned his son in order to better support his "new" family and make your commute to uni easier Hmm

How aren't you grasping this?

ADishBestEatenCold · 24/07/2015 22:11

"All children have always been treated equally, I love them all equally, and treat them the same, as does their DF."

"No. I would never leave my children, at all- I couldn't."

So you and your DH love all 4 equally; it's just that you love 1 less equally than you love the other 3 ... clearly ... because you would never leave the other 3.

Do you think for a nanosecond your step son is unaware of this?

Oswin · 24/07/2015 22:12

You couldn't do it but your dp had to. Can you not see how we are seeing it.
And your dp was much more involved than the standard nrp who does eow. It was nearly 50/50 care!
The only advise I have is make it clear to your dss that you do love him and you are so sorry for making him feel like this.
Then suggest eow contact to him.

OllyBJolly · 24/07/2015 22:13

It's interesting that your post title is about your Dss and his attitude, and not about how you maintain a relationship with a three hour distance. This is not his problem to solve.

You and your DP made a decision and the consequences of that decision impacted seriously on your DP's DS. I'm quite shocked you don't see that.

SummerHolidayStress · 24/07/2015 22:14

No curlysue when DPs branch here was set to close, positions were available at 2 places out of town, one of which was very close to where I'm studying. Which was also the closest to our old home town out of the two. I thought I would be fine to commute when i first started my studying. It has never been offered locally, but I knew it was what I wanted to do. It took its toll more than i expected, and was exhausted trying to do everything. We made the decision to sell up and move where we could live. Times change and we did not have that option back at home. It wasn't a decision made lightly!

OP posts:
Piratespoo · 24/07/2015 22:14

Why has the every other weekend visit even dropped? My dh drives for 10 hours every other weekend to ensure he sees his children who were moved away from him when their mother moved. Exhausting? Yes, doing though, yes.

Oswin · 24/07/2015 22:16

Tbh I think the op has had an easy ride here. The mother on the other thread was called scum and that she never deserved to be a mother.
The op needs to see is that her dps actions have caused this behaviour and it would be unfair to blame dss. It needs fixing and the only way to do that is the dp swallowing his nob and admitting he fucked up with there relationship. Then offer eow contact.

AyeAmarok · 24/07/2015 22:18

It wasn't a decision made lightly!

But it's a decision you wouldn't have made for your children. But your DSS is expendable.

TopCivilServant · 24/07/2015 22:22

Yes, what is stopping you from doing every other weekend? How can you not see how hurtful this is?

WhattodowithMum · 24/07/2015 22:23

So, would EOW contact be possible? It sounds like a good start for repairing the situation.

ADishBestEatenCold · 24/07/2015 22:24


"But it's a decision you wouldn't have made for your children. But your DSS is expendable."

^^ this

says it all really ... but I imagine you're not seeing it, OP

Bunnyjo · 24/07/2015 22:24

In fact your OP and subsequent posts do not take into account that YOUR actions may have caused this reaction in your DSS. You insinuate he is motivated by money, you accuse him of having a blatant brattish attitude. Yet, not once in you OP do you recognise that this poor boy will be feeling utterly abandoned by his DF, DSM and step-siblings.

Why are you not seeing him EOW? Why is your DH not travelling to be with his DS more often? Can you not see this from his POV?!

Mistigri · 24/07/2015 22:25

There's some ridiculous judgements going on here. Parents living apart from their children is rarely ideal, but sometimes there is little practical alternative. At that point, it's up to the separated parents (and not their new partners, or the child concerned) to make it work. 3 hours isn't a huge deal tbh.

A 12 year old absolutely is old enough to understand decisions made for practical/ financial reasons - they may not like the decision, but that's another matter entirely, and it doesn't excuse bad behaviour.

That's a separate issue though and while I think the OP is getting an unnecessarily hard time I do think that her partner and his ex need to step up to the plate.

Pantone363 · 24/07/2015 22:26


If you really cannot see the problem here then no amount of explaining from us is going to help you.

And the people blaming his first wife Hmm what the actual fuck?

OP would you leave your 3 children for financial reasons? Would you expect them to be ok with it?

basgetti · 24/07/2015 22:30

You need to reinstate EOW as a minimum to try to heal the rift that has developed. And maybe try to remember that your decisions have led to this rather than focusing on his difficult behaviour which in light of feeling abandoned is perfectly understandable and really shouldn't have been the main point of your OP.

SurlyCue · 24/07/2015 22:32

Fair enough, it was just good luck that the job was available where you were studying.

Advice: contact needs to be established on a far more regular basis and those arrangements made known to DSS. He shouldnt be left wondering 3 days into the holidays when/if his he'll see his dad. Due to the distance, these things should be planned for the year ahead. Probably best in septemer when DSS gets his school calender, His mum can scan and email to DH. This way he has exact dates that he needs to plan his annual leave for and can tell EXW and DSS wht dates he will be arriving to collect him. I would also suggest he reinstates the EOW contact or at very least one weekend a month. Inbetween, lots of phonecalls, skype/facetime to keep in touch with his son's life. I chat to my DC every evening about how their days have been. DH cant expect to know who his son is and what is going on in his life if he isnt making the effort to find out. He certainly cant claim to treat all four DC equally if he isnt doing this!
DSS feelings: this needs some work, the contact being resumed will help but DSS will probably be hurting/angry/resentful/lashing out. Understandable yes? DH needs to work on reassuring him he still loves him and wants him around. And proving it! Actions speak louder than words and all that. It is true.

cowbag1 · 24/07/2015 22:35

I have to say that when my parents divorced my dad moved for work and so throughout my childhood and teen years he never lived closer than 1 hour to us. This didn't stop him driving to pick me up and take me to his on a Friday and drop me off at my mum's house on Sunday every single week until I was 16 (and got a PT job). This continued even when he lived 2.5 hours away (so 5 hours at least driving for him every Friday and Saturday without fail.)

He even had a spell abroad and he either flew back or he arranged for me to fly and see him, every single weekend, which was incredibly tough for both of us but nothing stood in the way of our weekly visits. My DstepM supported and facilitated this at all times.

FWIW he also rang me for a quick chat most nights. This is what a devoted dad looks like. Divorce is fucking horrible for the kids but all adults involved should try their utmost to make it as pleasant as possible. Your DH needs needs to step up big time.

SummerHolidayStress · 24/07/2015 22:35

I can see it from DsS POV. I know it has been a massive change to his week to week life, and usual happy life. I really do know that. It was DPs job that prompted the move, not my studying. I wish he was here with us. Maybe people can't see that you can love a child that isn't "your own" as much. I'm guessing these are the families with no stepchildren. I am a Family of 6, not 5, and I love and miss DsS.

EOW just can't work. We have no extended family, on either side.
DP finishes work at 8pm Fri. I get home at 6.
Neither of us drive, I can't, and he isn't allowed anymore due to a Medical condition. The only option is a train, which would mean a Saturday pick up at 1pm, and them back the following afternoon to accommodate for Sunday times, at £70 a time we really can't afford EOW.
Were a 1 wage/ 1 student family with usual bills and a massive whack out in CSA.
I really don't know how to do right from wrong

OP posts:
DoJo · 24/07/2015 22:36

It sounds like your husband had reasonable notice of the branch closure - how many jobs did he apply for in your home town before you made the decision to move?

SummerHolidayStress · 24/07/2015 22:39

Just pre-empting backlash. For anyone who might say "well you should have thought of that before moving", think how flamed I would be if I was a family of 5 living on benefits and asking for advice.

OP posts:
basgetti · 24/07/2015 22:40

How did you plan to facilitate contact then if you don't drive and can't afford regular train fares? In light of the fact that you clearly knew travelling would be a problem this move should have been a non starter.

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