an outsiders opinion please

goldie70March 3, 2011

hi, i'm new to the forum and have two children from a previous marriage aged 17 and 11. i have a very amicable relationship with their father and the same MOST of the time with his partner who has one child living with them. when i say most of the time i don't agree with the fact that when she has a problem with one of my boys she has no qualms about a full scale argument with their dad within the childrens earshot and has made unreasonable requests of the children. but when it gets too frequent i have a word with their dad and it changes for a period of time. i'm trying to use this experience as the BM and how i feel about their SM behaviour to help me in my relationship. my partner has an 11yr old daughter who is lovely and her mother is always pleasant when i have seen her. the daughter is by no means the issue here. it is my partner or maybe me, i'm not sure. anyhow i only see my partner at weekends as we live a shortish distance apart, every other of which my children are here. he has his daughter every weekend.anyway i'm tending to find that things revolve a lot around his daughter which is fine MOST of the time. i have little niggles however that when something comes up i.e a party, or an event it is planned/agreed straight away that she will attend and then i am told that they may not be able to make it that weekend. most of the time i don't mind but i did make a stand at the weekend and said, well away from his daughter that i was a little fed up with being told afterwards when it was all agreed and should he at least not check that i didn't have anything planned for ALL of us before he agreed. his point was he was thinking of his daughter, my point was there are 3 children involved in this and what if i had something planned for all of us as a family and it was cancelled for her.a classic example is a family event on my side we were due to attend and they couldn't go as he planned something else afterwards. i know that i could and will still do something with my kids and will enjoy the time alone with them so it looks like i made a fuss for nothing but i just feel that a little respect for me and my children is needed here. 9 times out of ten i would have nothing planned and it would all be ok anyway but it is the principle now. what i haven't pointed out is that he has the most terrible memory and if i did have something planned and had told him he would forget which is why just a quick check wouldn't go amiss. he did apologise profusely and said it just never occured to him but things have been a little strained since.

please be honest and tell me if you think i was being unreasonable. i know we are lucky as this is our only problem altho i know as the children grow up this may not be the case but all families face that!

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sorry for rambling, what i did forget to say is that every few weeks we do, at my suggestion have a weekend "off" so we both get some quality time alone with our own children. at first this didn't go down well with my partner who thought i was saying i didn't want to see him etc. typical male pride, lol. but i do feel this is important and he has since seen that it does make sense

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 5:13AM
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Does he have a calendar at his house? Or better, on his cell phone? To say he has a bad memory is making excuses because if he "forgot" he had work, he would get fired... at least if it continued. If he doesn't have a calendar, then get him one & start marking special events... both of you can do that. If they already have something planned for a particular day, you will know it & if you have plans, he will know it. & whoever marks down the day first... those are the plans to go by, just in case he "forgets" to write down other plans. To me this seems like a reasonable compromise & a way to communicate when something is going to happen. It may not be much help when last minute things come up... but if you have plans for a family event & it's on the calendar, then he can't say he forgot. If he cancels to do something else, then you'll have an idea where his priorities are. In my opinion, it is about more than respect, it is also about commitment & integrity. He is showing his daughter he's committed to her & that is terrific, but he also needs to show you too. His priority should be about keeping his word, not which one of you is more important. (because you both are) But, if the Calendar says he's committed to a family event, then he should decline changing plans... at the same time, he's teaching his daughter about keeping your word.

In my opinion, when you are in a relationship, it is simple respect to discuss plans before you commit to anything if it will affect the other person. Of course, if he starts checking with you every time & there are times he can't make plans because you already have plans, etc. That could trigger problems with the child... not saying it will, but if she is the priority (at your expense sometimes) and he changes that, it could cause problems, especially if she likes it the way it is.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 9:08AM
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This could really go both ways. It sounded as if your partner and child come your way. This gives your kids the chance to be 'home' and also attend parties and fuctions whether partner and the girl come or not. Not so the other way around.

Do you ever ho partner's way giving partner's child to have last minute plans in her 'home'?

I do get partner should discuss plans for times it was assumed the families would be all together...that's just respectful and avoids conflict. I thought Ima's suggestion of a calendar was good. Memory may suck but eyesight wroks and if jotted down immediately as you both discuss events/plans calendar would keep that covered nicely.

Eleven year olds can sometimes be hard to know in too much advance that there might be a party later in the week. WHile some parents invite far in advance, I've known others that send out invitations on Monday or Tuesday for Saturday's party. Which that in itself seems 'rude' to me as many kids realy do have many activites both social and family nature regular on thier little adgendas.

I can see partner not wanting his daughter to have to miss this or that sudden invitation, but on the other hand if you already have a family event marked down on the calendar (that partner knew of, agreed to and committed to) then daughter should be expected to honor this prior plan.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 9:46AM
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thanks for the replies. actually we alternate who goes where, he comes to me one week and i go to him the next with or without my children depending on whether it is their weekend with their dad. it may just be that we are different in this way. whoever i have been with i have always checked before commiting to anything because it is easier to check than it is to have to let someone down. i learned this lesson the hard way having 2 children and only one of me. we have all had to learn to compromise over the years as in both have things on the same day/time...who goes who doesn't if a lift can't be arranged. we just always work it that

1st: is one event really more important than another, i.e parents evening versus friendly football match?

2nd: who missed out the last time? they get priority this time

so i suppose i have got used to just making that quick check and compromising if need be before committing whereas he has had only one person to think about until now.
don't get me wrong i wasn't criticising him as a boyfriend/father. two families who have both got used to doing things in a certain way aren't going to immediately merge and be without a few hiccups. the fact that we can talk about it and see each others point of view is a big bonus and i'm sure we'll work it out. sometimes it's good to just get someones whose not involved's opininon as it's easy to get "blinkered" when you've done things your way for a long time. this is where this site is invaluable!!

i'm off out to buy 2 calenders, one for his house, one for mine, lol. thankyou

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 10:30AM
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I think the calendars is a great idea! I know that we always have so much going on that I HAVE to put EVERYTHING on our calendar or I forget. I am constantly reminding my husband of things we have coming up.

I think if you try the calendar thing and get him to actually use it and things do not improve you have an issue that needs to be resolved. But maybe the organization of a calendar could fix that?

Also, I know a lot of last minute things can come up with kids. Birthday parties, sports teams switching game dates/times, school events, etc. So it is important to be flexible with that stuff. And if you have to split up for a day during the weekend and each do your own things with your own kids its not the end of the world. I know many married couples with their kids (not even stepkids) that have to split up some weekend days because the kids have conflicting schedules.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 1:31PM
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i think we will resolve it. it was never the weekend apart or doing seperate things that niggled me it was being told after it was arranged and just being expected to accept it and change my plans accordingly which 9 times out of 10 i'm happy to do but sometimes, just sometimes you think why is it always my side (me and my kids) that has to rearrange things. like i said he was very apologetic and maybe it's my fault for not voicing my niggles before. and i know having read some of the posts just how lucky i am that this is our only issue to date and that i have a partner who appears willing to listen

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 1:42PM
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