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The moving in jitters, I would love expert advice.

AJanie's picture

I will be moving in with my SO Aug 1.

The positives: I won't be signing another binding lease,  I will be living with the man I love (and... his kid) and I will be saving some money/paying off debt as well. 

The negatives: A high energy/behavioral problem child around half the time.

I care about his son but he is a terror.  I suppose a lot of it is normal almost 5 year old stuff but he does tantrum far too often and is extremely defiant and off the wall hyper-active.  He has no structure at his mother's and likely never will.

BUT fortunately, his mother is now taking him half the time. I have chosen, for my sanity, to "play nice" with this woman.  As far as I am concerned, I am lucky that she is so laid back.  She may be a subpar parent and a liar, ex-addict and thief, but she stays totally out of our business, is completely friendly to my face and agreeable pretty much with anything and everything my SO wants to do.  I decided I want it to stay as drama free as possible, so although I think she is a huge loser, I am going to be kind and empathetic as best I can. This is NOT easy for me. I am used to BM drama.   For some reason, it is taking a lot for me to adjust to the fact that this doesn't have to be a battle.

My only gripe with the 50/50 situation is I feel like she is extremely unstable and unpredictable and at some point it wouldn't surprise me if we end up with his son full time (again). I am going in with my eyes wide open that this is a possibility.

Upon moving into his house, I want to make it feel like mine as well.  It has a very masculine energy, too much white wall space. I also need our room to be my safe haven, he is good about no child playing in the bedroom, thank goodness.  He is a strict but good father and he 100% treats me as an equal authority figure with his son. He doesn't put his child on a pedastal like my POS ex did.

Step veterans:  this is my round 2 attempt at a loving, healthy relationship with a kid involved.  Those who know me from this forum are aware that my last go at step life was hell on earth. Any tips as I prepare to move in?  Things I need to establish now to help myself feel happy and comfortable in my new living situation?

*Just as an aside, I have 100% decided to go ahead with this move, renting another apartment alone is not something I want to do at this time. Although, in the event this does not work out, I wiill be ready and able to move back out on my own (probably in a better financial position, as well). 

Comments

ESMOD's picture

Honey... you know I think you are a strong and capable woman... but I honestly think this is way to quick for you.

I have a feeling that the reason why you are rushing into moving in with a guy is for financial reasons... and in your rose colored glasses stage... while you note the child and his mother are problems.. you are brushing those and other red flags away as you push forward into another live in situation.

My advice?  If you don't want to live alone.. get a room mate... a non romantic partner with whom you can share the bills and maybe even a friendship. 

You have been dating this guy way less than a year right?  He has a problem child, a problem EX an problem EX inlaw.. you have money problems... you didn't give yourself a chance to stand on your own two feet.. 

I know it's not what you want to hear since you have made up your mind and are euphoric over this guy... but you are diving right back into the chaos you left behind because this guy has the same issues in his life with his "ex".

And, yeah.. it's easier to be here on this side of the screen and give this advice.  I don't have to struggle to pay your bills.. I don't have the rush of new "love" (lust) to pull me into this.   All I know is that I have gotten pretty good at reading things from this side of the screen and while it may not be the advice you want to hear.. I do think you need to hear this.. a good friend would tell you the truth and not just be a "yes-man"

AJanie's picture

I don't disagree with you. I have spent many nights weighing the pros and cons and I know I am taking a risk. I know what it is like to live with a stepchild.

To me, he is worth it.  It is more than just money, although after years with my ex and skids I am definitely in debt, and I have a plan I am finally able to set into motion to pay it now.

If I am wrong and in a year I am miserable, so be it.  Family is something I place a high importance on in terms of goals I have for my life.  I can see myself having that with him, a partner, a family. So, I am taking the calculated risk.

That said, I always appreciate your honesty, ESMOD. 

futurobrillante99's picture

I would strongly advise against this as things WILL change when you move in. The kid's behavior may escalate. BM may do a switcharoo on you and dump the kid with you 100%.

Never use "saving money" or "paying off my bills" as an excuse to cohabit. 

I agree with ESMOD that if you need someone to share expenses with, get a roommate.

You might be the exception to the rule this time around, but with an unruly kid and all the other collective issues, I'm afraid you've got your rose colored glasses on again. I should know because I wore mine for far too long and kept putting them back on again.

 

And just as an aside, there will be so many reasons (excuses) why you can't pay your bills off while you're trying to pay your bills off, so don't assume that you'll be in better financial shape.

Cooooookies's picture

You are jumping into the same situation.  While I understand it's hard to find a man who doesn't have baggage, this one has heavy baggage.  You can't just live your life if you're living together.  If you could, this site would not have been created!

It's your call so look at it carefully.  You've been here, done all of this.  Don't do this because it's easier on your bank account.  If that's the case, rent a smaller place in a cheaper part of town.  You know what this will be like.  Do you really want to do it again?

AJanie's picture

I am not excited to be a stepparent again... who would be?  His son helped shape him into who he is, and he is here to stay, it is what it is.  To me he is worth the baggage. I realize there is always a chance in one year I will return and say "I was wrong." 

futurobrillante99's picture

As a final comment. What price would you put on your peace of mind, tranquility and privacy in your own home?

I got to the point where sharing expenses and living in the same house as my husband and his kids was TOO EXPENSIVE because it cost me my peace of mind, tranquility and privacy. I would much rather pay my own mortgage and living expenses because not having to share a bathroom and home with my entitled stepsons and their enabling father was worth the money.

AJanie's picture

I got to that place as well.  I hated sharing anything with the ex skids. Their father was the reason for all of my misery. Of course, they came with aggravation.  But my MISERY  - that was all on him (and on ME, for staying).

I expect some aggravation when I officially move in. I do not expect nor will I tolerate MISERY.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Well, everyone has covered my actual thoughts on the matter, but to answer your actual question:

- Make a budget and stick to it. Do not give your bank information to your SO. Do not bail him out financially, even if it is just $20. If you're doing this to save money and get out of debt, then do just that. The minute he can't affors his part of the rent or some other expense, move out. Do not subsidize.

- Buy a lock for your bedroom door. The kid will get curious and snoop. Anything you don't want him getting into needs to be on a high shelf or in a locked drawer.

- You need to set the expectation of your SO that he gets one foul against you and that's it. Kid backtalks you and he doesn't correct him? That flies ONCE. The second time, you're out for good.

- BM is to never step foot in your apartment. She has too much baggage similar to your ex, and the last thing you need is even more communication with your past. This is one of those first-offense-foul situations. She comes inside again at the invitation of your SO, you are GONE.

I hope you are noticing a pattern here, and that is that your boundaries have solid, real consequences. A fight is not a consequence. The silent treatment is not a consequence. Leaving and staying gone, however, is. If you do not think you could walk away at any point, then you need to NOT move in.

AJ, you're an addict to endorphins. Lust and love make you do stupid things, more so than they might other people. You NEED to feel loved and like you're part of a family, and you'll cause yourself harm to feel that. You HAVE to take extra precautions because you get blinded. I don't mean to be mean when I say that; I am just trying to get you to understand that you MIGHT NOT be able to walk away when you NEED to. As unconventional as this may sound, you may need to ask your SO to break up with YOU if he cannot fulfill his part of the deal because you may truly not be able to.

Good luck.

Willow2010's picture

Oh hun, I hope you are not jumping from the fire into the flame.  But I kind of feel you might be. 

 

I have 2 tips…

 I would certainly step WAY back from being an equal authority figure to his son.  That is going to blow up in your face.  But, I assume you already know this based on your past relationship.  You have to KNOW that SO will eventually get upset with the way you want to parent his child.  I am actually surprised he wants to give you EQUAL authority with his child after knowing you such a short amount of time.  

Don’t’ get all comfy with BM being drama free.  That can, and most likely will, turn on a dime.  She is a drug addict for craps sake.   Keep your guard up.     

 

 

I really hope this works out well for you.  I really do.  But dang girl…you picked the very first highly dysfunctional relationship after your break up, from a highly dysfunctional relationship.  Good luck AJ. 

 

 

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Make sure you have finances figured out and that your expectations regarding skid and ex are known (schedule changes being run by you, if she is or is not allowed in your home, you not being a baby-sitter, you get authority, etc.) Just make sure you've talked them out with him and that he agrees with them. And also make sure it's known how finances are going to work!!!

That'll save you TONS of heartache later. I'm sure you already know that. lol

secret's picture

Congrats!

If I was you, I'd discuss EVERYTHING from how you're going to split household chores, finances, responsibilities - what your expectations are as a couple, as EQUAL partners, and what expectations you have for each other when it comes to
parenting responsibilities.

It's great that you're open to playing nice with BM - but I would suggest backing off on that front and letting HIM deal with her, and only him, unless absolutely necessary.

I`d discuss that you're there to support him, not her - and that he is to treat YOU like his partner, not her. Decisions regarding the child must ALSO be discussed as a couple, and not just as mom and dad.

I think that as long as HE understands that you are not going to take over his responsibilities, and that he had better not treat you as anything less than his equal when it comes to his child, you will be ok.

Don't set precedents you're unwilling to do for the rest of your relationship - and make it clear that when you DO do something outside the norm, that it is a favor and that you're doing it to help and support, but that it's not going to be a permanent transfer of responsibility.

Don't be TOO open about your finances. He doesn`t need to know how much you make, and you don't need to know how much HE makes... as long as there is transparency regarding the common bills, it should be ok. Don't pay exactly half of everything - take the toal amount of bills, and split it say, 60 him 40 you. He DOES have a larger share of the expenses, after all - and child related things are NOT to be counted in the finances you DO share. It should not fall on your money to buy the child new shoes etc... that's up to him.

What I had done with my ex, is that household bills were split and came out of an account in which we both put a certain amount every pay day - be it the same amount, a percentage, whatever... that account is for bills. Period.

Then you have your own, he has his own, you have your papertrail of'rent' should you need it, and you can question any 'other' expenses in that account - like a 60$ at walmart transaction which you don't know anyhting about... if it was for a coffee maker for the home, or if it was for junior's new school clothes... know what I mean?

That way, whatever you spend on the child will be because you CHOOSE to spend it, and not because you're FORCED to spend it.

Discipline is a good thing to discuss as well - make it clear to him that once you move in, you expect that junior will regard you as authority as well - if you tell him to go brush his teeth, you expect him to brush his teeth - and you expect dad to step in and tell Junior 'Hey, AJanie said to go brush your teeth. Go NOW.' Discuss the importance of backing each other up, even if you disagree - ANY indication to the child that you disagree on something, and the child will be all over that trying to manipulate you both against each other. Why? Because that's what kids do. They exploit your weaknesses. Not always out of malice... just because exploring and pushing boundaries is a natural method of self-development.

Share your expectations as to how you will deal with issues as they arise - and explain the importance of having him communicate with you - always, even if it seems trivial.

Make sure that he understands that now that you will be 'together, together' - in one household - that he is NEVER to utter the words... 'But they`re his family' - because now, SO ARE YOU. You're NO LESS important than the bio family - because you are, for all intents and purposes, DAD`S WIFE. I know not 'wife', but you get the point I hope.

August 1 is still 2 months away - plenty of time to give it a 'trial run' before the big move... perfect for issues to come up, so that you can see how you both deal with them, and whether your expectations are realistic and met.

ALSO - I`m coming from a place where SSstb 5 was an absolute BRAT - not becasue he was actually a brat, but because his dad didn`t really know how to parent without trying to be loved more thus giving the kid his way all the time.... fast forward nearly 2 nears after, the kid is great. He listens to me much more than his dad... it DOES get better, as long as parenting HAPPENS. lol

Good luck AJanie, you deserve happiness.

AJanie's picture

Thank you, thank you... so much good advice.

We split household chores pretty equally already, I am there majority of time. I expect that to continue.  There will be some nights he works late, so it is crucial his son listens to me as an authoriy figure.  He is good about that.  He knows I don't care to be the kid's stand in mother, but it makes my life way easier if he knows he has to respect me and follow household rules when with me.

Finances will be kept completely separate. I am contibuting a small, set amount that we already discussed to household bills.  It is about 75/25, and I have consolidated my ex debt and will make paying that down my priority.  I will also be stockpiling a small "nest egg" in case things do not work out. 

I don't plan on getting involved with the BM, just continuing the "cordial" stuff.  

 He actually called last week about wanting to run a change in pick up time by me... before he agreed to it.  He seems to already have the "run it by me" thing down, but I will let him know I expect that to continue.

Thank you for the well wishes. We are happy together and I am optimistic that we will continue to be pretty solid partners.

 

oneoffour's picture

You have already made up your mind but consider this. You are one breath away 24/7 from having that little boy live with you full time. And that one breath is his mothers last. If something happens to his mother you are going to have that child around all the time. No 50/50. 24/7. You don't want to mommy role. Well it may be foisted on you anyway. You aren't too keen on the boy yet you are going to be living with him?

If it doesn't last and in 1 yr you move out what damage will you do to that little boy? It is OK for Dad to have a revolving door of girlfriends who are around for a little while then move on? What do you think it will do to his enotional growth and how he treats women in the future? Because this will affect him. You will not have zero impact on him.He is only 5 and you talk like it is OK to move out in a year if it doesn't work out? He will be heartbroken or indifferent. And this will be on you and not his father.

ESMOD's picture

This was definitely one of the other red flags I saw too.  Moving in too quickly with young children involved.  Her SO should know better... but he is not making good decisions either.  Life is not just a river we float down going whichever way the current takes us... we should be active participants.  I see too many people that just bob this way and that.. the path of least resistance.

In this case. Janie has clearly said a motive is financial... and that means she is basically using this guy to achieve her debt goals.  Then there is the "not all in" as in... I can always move out.  Then there is the guy moving a woman he barely knows in with his young child when he has a plateful with an addict EX and a kid with most likely developmental issues related to being born to and raised by an addict. 

AJanie's picture

There is the possibility he could end up with us 100% of the time if his mother veers off path.  Those who know me IRL know I would love and nurture this child to the best of my ability if that were to happen.  I do take it seriously and do think my SO and I are a strong couple who will be together for the long haul... or else I wouldn't move in... financially I would figure it out like I have been,

hereiam's picture

Too soon.

Moving in together should not just be a financial convenience (or a convenience, at all).

So many people think living together is no big deal, it can always be undone (without a divorce) but, in my opinion, it should be looked upon as if it were just as big of a commitment as marriage.

Not to mention, there is a kid involved, a young kid with issues.

Step-girlfriend's picture

I moved in with my SO after about 3 months. He has 2 kids. Yes, it was soon, but it is now 2-1/2 years later, and I felt it was the right move. Does that mean it’s easy? Hellll no. In fact it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. We had some trial and error, and it sounds like this isn’t your first rodeo, but it definitely is much harder to get out if real problems come up. Here are things you that may help save your sanity:

Start that kid on a chore chart! There are some small things you can have him do until he gets older. This will get him into the habit of knowing he needs to help, and you are not a maid. Feeling like a maid for kids made me resentful. It’s still there to a point, but his kids each have a daily chore now, and my SO enforces it, finally. It has helped my frustration tremendously! 

Have a space for you to escape to! I actually don’t have this, as our house doesn’t have a place for me to go, and my SO works 3rd shift (so he is in the bedroom sleeping from 6:30pm until I go to bed, which means I can’t go in there)...but man do I wish I had a place to go. If we ever buy a house, there WILL be my own space.  

Try to keep communication with BM to a minimum. Things can go south real quick, and once it’s bad, it’s hard to go back from that. Even if she’s decent now, it can change! I would suggest your SO be the contact when at all possible. 

I might suggest you step back as an equal disciplinarian. I struggled with this one. I wanted to be an equal disciplinarian, but realize that it’s probably not a good idea. I don’t think we always realize how fragile the “stepmom”/Skid relationship can be, and how differently they look at us disciplining them. My SO’s 12yr old has made references to BM about me being “mean”, even though we have a good relationship and I’m just calling him on his crap. My SO can be pretty hard on him, and I almost never yell at him, yet the few times I have annoyance in my voice, I’m “mean” and “hard on him”. It is so frustrating. I step back and let my SO handle most of the discipline, unless he’s not around and I need to step in. It helps with my relationship with the skids. 

 

That’s my advice. Aside from that, good luck! I hope things work out for you both. If not, get the heck out of there! :) 

 

 

AJanie's picture

Thank you.  I try not to be the big disciplinarian as it is still very early but I also want to set the foundation that I won't take any crap lol. He is still young which is good.  Hoping for the best, I really am!