I'm so glad I stumbled across this incredible site, it's so good to know there's a community of like-minded people out there - this may be one of the most cliched things I've ever written... sorry!
I'm looking for some advice/opinions/general help! Forgive the long post, some of this might just be a therapeutic way to offload some of those thoughts you can never feel it's ok to say out loud...
I met my partner 4 years ago, and we really clicked. We were both married at the time, but not necessarily happy although I thought I was. (After a year of counselling I can now see the marriage was never right, but it gave me a beautiful 5-year-old daughter who is my world).
Our marriages eventually ended, each of them horrible and messy with my separation being very longwinded because of my fear of guilt and judgement for "failing". He is now divorced and mine is going through at the moment.
After a while, we got together. Things were great, with occasional rough patches which soon became very toxic. When things are good with us, they're great but when they're not right they can become horrible. And so can he sometimes.
As mentioned, I've got my daughter who is 5. He also has children, a girl aged 12 and a boy aged 8. Initially, we all got on really well, but I can see that maybe I had rose-tinted glasses on in my naive "this will be great, look at us making a new family!" way.
During a particularly bad patch, he decided he needed time with his children without us around so there was a 2-month period where I didn't see them. I think this has now caused irreparable damage. My glasses are off and now I see the flaws; the things you can't correct or say anything about because you're not their mum even though you're expected to care for them like one when they're with you...
We see them one evening a week and they stay every other weekend. He moved in with me 6 months ago, but I only have a 2 bedroomed house, so I suggested converting my loft space to create a room for them; it was partially done anyway as he used it as an office. This has now been (mostly) finished, at a significant cost to me, and it's been hard work. The plan was to complete it over the jubilee weekend which I agreed to, only to find out he was taking them out for the day and leaving me to crack on. It now feels like a good time to tell you I'm also almost 20 weeks pregnant... So, he left me and bump to shift their beds, bedding, old carpet and his office stuff around the loft and then paint it, while he went off for a "Disney dad day out". I was furious, but didn't say anything because I know I'd be told I'm being selfish, and he doesn't get much time with them as it is... If we're being honest? He hasn't fought for the time with them, he's walked away because "it's easier" and he doesn't want the hassle. He enjoyed his bachelor status initially, being able to go out drinking and socialising without having any responsibilities.
Anyway, the loft is now mostly done with a tv on the wall for them. I should add that I don’t have anything in common with these children. Believe me, I have tried. And tried. And tried. I just can’t connect with them anymore; it’s become too hard. The teenager isn’t interested in anything, just her phone (which I know is normal for teens etc but still… literally spends all weekend glued to it playing at full volume on the sofa/on my bed…) and the 8-year-old is the apple of his father’s eye and can do no wrong. If he’s bad mannered at the dinner table, his dad laughs at him (burping, food falling out of his mouth because he’s put so much in there, doesn’t have to eat things he says he doesn’t like/want, wastes loads of food…)
Meanwhile, my poor daughter still has to keep to the standards expected of her when they’re not here. So, his kids get away with not doing any chores, not even picking their own clothes up, being allowed to stay up until almost 10pm(!) while I just look like a hypocrite to mine because she can’t get away with that.
It’s so hard. So so hard. I don’t know what to do.
I think part of the reason I’ve almost “given up” is being told the only that makes the teen happy is when it’s just her and her dad… how can I do anything with that? I’ve invited them and welcomed them into my home, I’ve bought things for them to do, my daughter shares everything with them, I tiptoe around them.
I feel displaced in my own home. I don’t feel like I can say anything and it’s building more and more walls around it all.
I’m worried about what happens when the baby arrives. He hasn’t told his children, or his ex. I’ve not told my daughter but that’s because she’ll be so excited but won’t comprehend having to wait so I’m delaying it.
He wasn’t happy when I told him about the pregnancy. He didn’t want the baby; he could only see the negatives of the impact on his children and the anger from him ex. Which I can relate to, and I do understand. But a lot of time has passed now, with him finally getting excited and talking to the baby/putting his hand on my stomach. However, that’s all stopped, and he now doesn’t even mention the baby. We haven’t spoken about it for almost a week, he's just shut off from it completely.
I’m so excited and thrilled to feel the baby moving. I ended up at the hospital the other weekend after some concerns and we got to hear the heartbeat. I looked at him only to find him staring at the wall. It was the first time we’d heard it and I was so happy; he just doesn’t care. He said the other day that he needs to tell his ex/children so he can “start to get excited” – I don’t think he has any idea how that makes me feel.
Unfortunately, the situation is going from bad to worse; he's totally withdrawn himself over the last few days since coming back home from working abroad. We barely speak, the house is very quiet whereas we used to laugh and joke and chat about everything. He's drinking more and more and has admitted in the past to his struggles with this.
I'm now preparing myself for being a single mum again, but this time with a 5-year-old and new-born.
I'm probably not helping as I know I could raise the situation, however I'm not the one who has withdrawn so would like him to acknowledge the issue and not run away - which he's literally done this weekend.
It's just horrible. I feel uneasy in my own home when he's around.
I don't know what to do.
I’m sorry that I’ve rambled on all over the place, congratulations and thanks if you’ve made it this far!
Does anyone have any advice, or thoughts? I feel totally on the backfoot with everything, feel like my thoughts/feelings are irrelevant to him. He’s not supportive and I’m worried about what kind of birth partner he’ll be, if he’s even there.
I’m worried this will be the end of the relationship if things don’t improve soon…