Am I going crazy or being unreasonable?? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 03-26-2012, 04:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am in desperate need of some helpful advice please!!

My partner and I have been together for 1 year. He has two daughters (ages 12 and 9) and he has them full time. They only have supervised visits with the mother as she is an alcoholic and drug user (though they have not had a visit in the year I have been with my partner). The older girl has regular phone calls with her mum but the younger one doesn't want to talk to her so much. I have two children- a daughter (7 almost 8) who I have full time and a 3 year old boy I have a 50/50 arrangement with. My daughter sees her father maybe 2-3 times a year and barely talks to him.

All I can say is simple: I am frustrated!! My partner used to be caring, loving and affectionate. He would cuddle me at any time and we could talk and we were a team. We live in seperate houses and my kids and I always go to his house because his daughters don't want to come to my house. This is such an issue that he hasn't even met my parents properly!! I try to explain to him what frustrates me- how he is sooo much more affectionate with his younger daughter now (I have no idea why this changed- I get along well with her and we are even trying to organize a regular activity for my, my daughter and his 9 year old.). If we are out shopping, she will hold his hand or be all over him. If I try to hold his hand when it's free he pulls away and makes the excuse of 'I don't like holding hands'. Yet the other day it was just him. My kids and I- and he sought out my hand to hold and didn't let go!!?? I have had a few chats with 9 year old sd in the past about how I'm not here to replace their mum and I'm here to try and make their dad happy and am not trying to take 'their time' with him away from them- but at the same time we all need to work on making our step family work. She has been quite supportive and has even made a real effort to work on her relationship with my daughter - who just wants to be part of a family that had a mum and dad as she has never had that. So I feel the problem is my partner. Everytime I try to talk to him his answer is the same 'stop being childish' or 'I can't believe you are jealous of a kid' or my favourite 'I will not deal with this crap' and then he ignores me for a day or two.

We have been attending a making step families work counselling course (highly recommend it) and I feel that even there- his entire focus is on his kids! He is all about making them happy, making sure they have everything they want (not need). I asked him about setting up the spare room my kids sleep in to accommodate them a bit better (currently they share a double bed when they are both there which I don't like, but have put up with for a year as our relationship is developing) and he makes excuses. 11 yr old wants to move into the spare room. Can't put them in 11 yr olds room as its next to 9 yr olds room and she won't like it. I'll have to give their rooms complete make overs to keep them happy??! What the??! The course facilitator pulled us aside the other week and said we need extra counselling. I agreed and my dear partner said maybe I should try counselling by myself as well to help with my insecurities?! But at the same time, he hasn't returned the counselling msg's - she tried calling me to get him to call her! he also has come out with bits and pieces like the kids have PTSD from his traumatic relationship with their mother but says he will not drag up the past- how am I meant to be supportive if I have no idea on what's going on?! And having been diagnosed with PTSD myself- I know what it can be like!! But he still won't trust me.

Am I just with a dud man that can't see past himself and his kids? Or am I being over analytical as he puts it? I am at the point where I am not sure what is right for my kids and I (my kids are very easy going and regardless of how things go - still respect and like my partner and they like his kids!). I don't know what to do anymore or how to make him see that it's not the kids- but his guilty feelings towards them that is jeopardizing everything?? It is getting to the point where it is affecting our whole relationship because he will not let me say anything negative at all! Please help me.

Sorry that this is so long and all over the place- once I started typing I couldn't seem to stop!! smile.gif Thank you in advance for your replies and help!
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#2 of 11 Old 03-26-2012, 11:01 AM
 
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Ummm... hope this isn't too harsh, but...

I'd be OUTTA there.

 

That does not sound like a good or fair set-up for you or your children.

 

But I've always been radical when it comes to relationships.

I'd be moving on to find someone who appreciates me and takes care of me, especially when you've only been together for a year.

 

It sounds to me like he and his daughters are not ready for this.

Maybe they need to work on their PTSD before starting new relationships.


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#3 of 11 Old 03-26-2012, 11:43 AM
 
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How long were they apart when you came into the picture? It can be very difficult when the child has gotten used to being "Daddy's Girl" (OR "Mommy's Man"), and then a new partner usurps that role (in their eyes).

 

I think this is really an issue that Dad needs to address in therapy. If he has chosen to form a new partnership, he also needs to learn how that will affect his children, and how to make it work for all involved.

 

This is not, at the crux of the matter, an issue his children should have to be the ones to primarily deal with. They will have to, on some level, but it should really be Dad who has to figure out how to ake you and him, and him and them, and both of you and both of them, work. But the kids did not sign on for this situation, and they should not have to sort out how to make it good. That is Dad's - and at some point, yours - to do. 

 

If HE will not go to any sort of counseling? Consider going yourself. It will help you sort out whether this is worth your effort, and if it is? What you can do.

 

Good luck.

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#4 of 11 Old 03-26-2012, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you both for your responses! And neither of you have been harsh! I don't expect his kids to be the ones to be perfect- I expected a bit of jealousy as he had a second marriage that lasted three months (she left when he applied to get full custody as his older daughter didn't like her and was openly hostile and she never wanted kids. Though I am starting to wonder). I get along well with both his kids and actually have no problem with them at all- they are typical kids for their ages! His older daughter has ADHD but this is being treated now and the difference is amazing, and the younger one actually comes to me for chats now when she is missing her mum or having a rough time.

He has been on his own with his kids for almost 2 years before we came on the scene. They have all had counselling after his first divorce (still waiting for him to organize the second one!). But on the flip side- I have had my daughter on my own since she was 1 and we have been through a lot of crap together (her father is an on again- off again dad and my sons father was horrible to her- that's mostly why I left him). Both partners were emotionally abusive. So there has been stuff to deal with on both sides. That's why I guess I feel a bit heartless as I can't understand why he is setting his kids up to have no emotional strength on their own.

I have considered counselling but can't afford it. In the last two weeks he has been trying to be more loving towards me and has even made an effort to 'text' me more. But I find that the major problem is his attitude towards me. He says he loves me and is committed to me. But I just can't shake the feeling that he is a lazy partner. One of his famous lines to me is 'I won't be the cause of your unhappiness' - what am I meant to make of that??

Sorry- I'm ranting again. Just feel like I have so much to say because I have not been heard by my partner in a while!

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#5 of 11 Old 03-26-2012, 03:03 PM
 
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Have you read the book "stepmonster"? SO GOOD. probably available at your library or ask your library to order it. Very important book for stepfamilies. Have your partner read it with you.

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#6 of 11 Old 03-27-2012, 05:48 AM
 
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Consider whether you have a pattern of tolerating emotional abuse?  You say that your last two partners were emotionally abusive and inconsiderate of your children's needs.  What you've described with this partner isn't necessarily emotional abuse, but you say that he:

* Invalidates or dismisses your feelings;

* Does not seem to trust you with the details of what he and his children have been through, that quite conceivably might affect their relationships with you; 

* Prioritizes unreasonable demands he attributes to his 9-year-old daughter (which may or may not be valid), over reasonable needs/concerns of you and your children (normal affection and reasonable personal space);

* Rejects opportunities to work on this through additional counseling.

 

Depending how much time you spend together, the year mark of a relationship is often when you begin transitioning from the honeymoon period (first getting to know each other and naturally, instinctively being your best selves and seeing each other in the best light) to genuine intimacy (seeing each other as you really are and being your true selves around each other).  The issues you're dealing with now (the interpersonal ones, anyway) you should expect to deal with throughout your relationship with him.  People generally don't change.  They definitely don't change if they don't recognize any problem with the way they are, or want to change.

 

Taking a class or series of counseling sessions, to discuss techniques for successfully blending two families is a fine idea.  But you say that counselor thinks you guys have deeper issues - need more counseling - than others participating in the same program.  You agree with this.  Your partner, at the very least, thinks you need more counseling.  I would not move forward in - or facilitate my kids getting more attached to - a relationship that required counseling at this early stage.  It's not your fault.  It just doesn't sound like a good fit.

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#7 of 11 Old 03-30-2012, 12:17 PM
 
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It sounds like your partner is the one with some issues (well, we all have issues, but from the way you describe, a lot of the problems stem from his focus on his kids). This may sound selfish to some people, but for a family to work, the adults need to put their relationship first. This doesn't mean you pick your partner over your kids or you ignore your kids to do things with your partner, etc...it means that you do what you can to make you and your partner happy, and that happiness will trickle down to the rest of the family. It is a hard concept for some people to accept because I think we all think we need to make huge sacrifices for our kids to keep them happy and healthy...but if we are unhappy all the time because of sacrifices that we've made for them, they will eventually realized that and that will not make them feel good. Your partner may feel like he's doing the right thing but giving his kids whatever they want and need and putting their wants and needs before you (because then they will see that daddy loves them the most), but then maybe he should decide to not be in a relationship until his kids are grown because no woman should have to put up with that. My SO and I always make sure we come first in each others lives. We have special dates with no kids, we have nights we focus on just each other, etc..He holds my hand and his daughter's. Sometimes she is jealous and pushes between us and depending on the situation, we just let her or sometimes we tell her to stop. It just depends on the situation. If we start slipping and forget to focus on us sometimes, things go bad pretty quickly. He supports me and I support him. We try not to let the kids see us divided (we're not perfect on this though). Until your partner can see why it's important to put your relationship with him ahead of his kids, he will not make a good partner and I think you'll continue to have problems :(

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#8 of 11 Old 04-16-2012, 06:51 PM
 
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t sounds that there is not the right balance in your family.Your SD is a mini-wife for your SO and is allowed to play a role that you  as his partner should be in. You on the other hand are reduced to a third wheel role, your needs and feelings are completely ignored.

Why would you like to stay in a relationship like this?Things would be totally different if SO would be working on the issue but he clearly thinks that something is wrong with you.But if he doesnt't see that what he does is wrong where does that leave you?

 

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#9 of 11 Old 04-18-2012, 08:28 AM
 
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It just sounds like you're both in different places.  You are ready and willing to take the relationship and family dynamic further, he is still dealing with what has happened in the past.

I agree with Jeannine that a year marks a period of deciding what direction you are heading and right now, it seems like you are moving at different paces.


If you are choosing to stay in this relationship, I think you need to back off a bit and allow him some space to reconcile things.  Putting pressure on him will not work and just push him away.  His language is strong and clear that he is not willing or able to change things right now and only you can decide if you want to wait and see if he'll get there or not.

 

If you want more, then choose more and move on. 

I can imagine this is not easy and only you can decide what you want to have in a partner and a family dynamic.  Whatever you choose, choose for yourself and it will lead you to the right place.

 

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#10 of 11 Old 04-18-2012, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well It's done. I ended it. The last few weeks have really shown me what little I meant to him- from not wanting to spend our anniversary (begging that he was too busy because he had to pack for Easter weekend camping trip. When I tried calling him to see if I needed to pack certain items from my camping gear I found that he had been asleep and he didn't end up packing anything until the day we left two days later!! I ended up packing his bags and making sure his daughter was packed!). Then he pretty much avoided me the whole trip. Then the final straw was a couple of nights ago he family had a birthday dinner for his twin sisters, plus his brother was getting back from the states for it- and he didn't invite me. Also to top it off, he offered to look after my daughter so I could go to night school once a week for eight weeks, did one night then just happened to make plans each week on the night in question and would tell me in the morning of the day in question. Over it- I agree- he is not ready for a relationship. It is not unreasonable of me to want him to back up his words and actually show that he cares about me and I mean something to him- why wouldn't you expect that from someone who says they love you?? And it's not putting too much pressure on him asking for that either. So thank you all for your comments- I really appreciate them. Time now for me to concentrate on the kids and I! smile.gif
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#11 of 11 Old 04-19-2012, 06:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MeAndMyKids View Post

Well It's done. I ended it. The last few weeks have really shown me what little I meant to him- from not wanting to spend our anniversary (begging that he was too busy because he had to pack for Easter weekend camping trip. When I tried calling him to see if I needed to pack certain items from my camping gear I found that he had been asleep and he didn't end up packing anything until the day we left two days later!! I ended up packing his bags and making sure his daughter was packed!). Then he pretty much avoided me the whole trip. Then the final straw was a couple of nights ago he family had a birthday dinner for his twin sisters, plus his brother was getting back from the states for it- and he didn't invite me. Also to top it off, he offered to look after my daughter so I could go to night school once a week for eight weeks, did one night then just happened to make plans each week on the night in question and would tell me in the morning of the day in question. Over it- I agree- he is not ready for a relationship. It is not unreasonable of me to want him to back up his words and actually show that he cares about me and I mean something to him- why wouldn't you expect that from someone who says they love you?? And it's not putting too much pressure on him asking for that either. So thank you all for your comments- I really appreciate them. Time now for me to concentrate on the kids and I! smile.gif

 

grouphug.gif 

 

I think you did the right thing.  But that doesn't change how hurtful and frustrating his behavior was.  What you describe gives me the impression that he did not want the relationship to continue, or at least not to progress.  But instead of saying so (and having to face your reaction, or feel guilty for hurting you), he was neglectful, distant and inconsiderate until you said it for him!  It always baffles me, when people avoid breaking off a relationship because they don't want to be "mean"...but they don't see that passive-aggressive, crazy-making behavior like this is worse? 

 

>> He doesn't break up with you, so you're supposed to believe he wants to be with you, that he loves you.  Yet he blows off your anniversary, doesn't pay attention to you on your vacation, etc.  Does he expect you to think this is loving behavior, that your expectations are unreasonable?  Does he think you're so low that this is all you deserve?  Then why is he with you?

 

>> In the end, it appears that you ended things; you lost interest and stopped trying to make it work...even though inside, you know you were committed and he lost interest and stopped making an effort.

 

It wasn't fair, for him to play with your head like that - even if he didn't do it intentionally.  You may not be perfect.  You and he may not right for each other, long-term.  But you had some good times together, you loved him, you were there for his kids, you made an effort.  You deserved the consideration and respect of hearing him say, "You're a terrific woman and I've been lucky to have you.  But I'm not ready to move forward with the relationship and it's not fair to you, if I keep you hanging on.  You deserve to go find the guy who's right for you and who's ready for what you want."

 

He didn't have enough character to say that to you, so I'm saying it for him.  Pretend he said it and keep moving forward.  Good things are waiting for you!


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