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Proud of my DH--he did vacation planning! lol.

SMto2's picture

Just when I thought I could not love my DH more, he has come through in a big way. He made all arrangments for the vacation planning with SSs and notified both of them directly. He booked a 4 BR oceanfront beach condo with maid service each day. which was actually several thousand dollars LESS than we spent last year for the beach house!  I will decide how much of the time I'm going as we get closer, but it has a direct flight from where we live, so I may go .later in the week. He emphasized to me that he wanted ME to be happy with what we booked, and that went a long way. The best part is, DH said we are taking OUR DSs to EUROPE in August! We've wanted to go to Europe all our lives, and both SSs have been there TWICE with BM, and Lord willing, this is our year to go! 

I would like to thank all of you again for giving me the support and encouragement to speak up to my DH. I feel really good about the outcome here. I also am ok with the vacation with the SKs. Even though it may be something they agree to do only because they want a "free vacation," we can afford it, so that's ok. It's time with the SKs for DH to try to build the relationship. So, we'll see what happens!


Gimlet's picture

This is a good step in the right direction and I'm so glad that he heard you, SMto2.   You can decide how much time you want to spend there and I'm happy he's supporting that.  And you get to take your kids to Europe, yay!!  

Good to see that you spoke up and got a positive outcome.

Tried out's picture

Good news, I agree! But what about the cooking?

And one more thing: I can't help but notice that it is still you - not the SKs - who is required to make the required sacrifice. His kids still get the vacation while you give up your couple's vacation.

Isn't it possible to do a shortened SKs vacation so you and your husband could take a long weekend together sans any kids? 

SMto2's picture

We will not be doing any cooking there, and DH understands I will only do dishes that I create. There is still the very real possibility that SS25 and SDIL will leave bowls, etc. around from breakfast, and if DH wants to pick up after them, he can, but it won't be ME. 

And August is our anniversary month, and no, we won't be able to do a different vacation just the two of us then. We'll be missing additional time later in the month to get DS18 back to college. However, we did have a romantic 2-night getaway on Valentine's Day weekend while my mom kept DS12. We went to a fabulous resort where we slept in and ordered room service, dressed up for dinner and had a really fabulous time. I'm ok with giving up the "anniversary trip" this year so we can get a nice trip with our bios. 

Saints Are Back's picture

It does not really sound like you accomplished a lot. You two work hard and then each year you pay tens of thousands for his adult kids, their wives and children to get a free vacation. And now a maid for them. Are you really going to have fun even tho you won't be the one doing the dishes? Paying with your hard earned money for a bunch of sloths who won't care about their father unless he takes them for a free vacation? 
I am sorry but your husband likes to buy people. He buys his adult children and he just bought you. You caved in for an European trip.

With the money you two are going to spend on the beach house and on the bunch of the free riders, you could not only do an European trip but most likely a World one. 
No offense but you seem to find an excuse for each of your husband's pathetic moves. You kind of choose your place - the maid, the cook, the second hand citizen. 

SMto2's picture

I don't think my DH "bought me." I make exactly what he does, so it is my money, too. I'm curious. What would you do in this situation? DH is trying to spend time with the SKs so maybe their relationship can grow into a real one. Maybe that will never happen, but it won't if there's no opportunity. And I'm certain SKs don't have the money to pay their way if they wanted to, so the only alternative is not to go. That does help things from my perspective in that "I" don't have to deal with them, but it's not all about me. And YES, I could tell all of them "EFF YOU" today, tell DH I'm divorcing his @ss, and blow up our marriage and law firm that we've been bullding for over 20 years. I'd lose my best friend and the guy who has made me happier than I've ever been, I'd be alone at age 50, my children would lose their family being intact, we'd have to dissolve our law firm and many families would lose their income, all over one week's vacation with people I otherwise see a few times a year. Wow, that would be so smart. I'd really come out a winner, wouldn't I? We'll just have to agree to disagree. Oh, and please note, just because you start a sentence with "no offense" doesn't negate the offense. 

Steptotheright's picture

I think that's a bit harsh.

She was used to having to do all the planning and this time he planned it. He also showed that he acknowledges how important she is to him, but naturally, even though they are a dysfunctional bunch, wants to have whatever relationship he can with his kids and extended family.

This is a sound compromise and I applaud her for standing up for herself and making DH step out of his comfort zone and do all of the planning. She can also deign to attend only halfway through the skid trip and attend on her terms.

She might see the writing on the wall about his kids, but his hope springs eternal.

My step kids wish absolute death on me... i sense it  But SO is blithely unaware. Sometimes a step parent and a wife in a blended family can only do so much.

Well done SMto2! Don't let anyone steal your joy, whether it's skids, or people on websites! Enjoy Europe!


SMto2's picture

Thank you for the encouragement and kind words. It may not be perfect, but it IS progress. And don't worry, no stranger who knows very little about me and my situation is going to steal my joy. People who spout out negative things usually have a pathetic existence and make themselves feel better trying to make others feel worse. Those folks can move along. 

Gimlet's picture

Personally, I think this is a good start.  You know that you don't want to leave, you want to figure out a situation that has been a sticking point for you.  You aren't looking to do a 180 and throw down an ultimatum, and the chances of your husband thinking "Oh, why yes, I HAVE been buying a relationship with my kids" and stopping everything is next to nothing.

Boundaries and changes in relationships don't have to happen all at once.  The fact that the emotional burden has been removed is a good start.  And it's important not to backslide on the boundaries you HAVE set - no planning, no cleaning up, etc.   If your husband honors his commitment that you don't have to participate, that's a good thing.

Maybe eventually your DH will have more realizations.  Maybe this trip will provide some of them.  But since you have a happy and healthy marriage otherwise, perhaps slow and steady changes are enough. 


tog redux's picture

Well, that's good - but I still wouldn't go. The buying of the kids is still an issue and while he's taking you off the hook for being the maid, he's signaling that he's willing to throw even MORE money at this illusion of a relationship that he has with the SSs.

hereiam's picture

I wouldn't go, either. I mean, he's taking a baby step and that's a start, which is good, but so far HIS only sacrifice is the money, and not even that if it's costing less than usual. I would still let him deal with his kids by himself the whole time. But if OP feels she must go, I hope she only goes for a couple of days, max.

tog redux's picture

Exactly, especially when OP has said money is not an issue for them.  This is not a change in the dynamic at all.  He's just appeasing the OP so she will stop asking for things to be different.

SMto2's picture

I do think it's a change in the dynamic. Instead of me facilitating the trip and making it all happen, my DH did that. He texted both SSs to notify them of the plans he had made. He can continue to do that while planning for the trip. I very well might not go until later in the week to give them some time to themselves. What would you suggest he do differently? Tell the SKs if they can't pay their way and clean up after themselves, they can't go? I did note many people have responded on my various threads about this that their parents pay for their family every year, "because that's how they are" or other words to that effect, so apparently, that's something that parents who can afford it do long after their kids are grown and they have grandkids. My parents never took me on a single vacation growing up and don't vacation now, and DH's parents have never offered to pay for our vacation (although they have stayed for free in a beach house we rented) so it's not something I'm accustomed to. I KNOW my SKs can't afford a vacation. As for cleaning up after themselves, yes, I wish they would. If my DH said that to them, I think they'd take offense (regardless of it being true) and perhaps become estranged again. I don't think that's worth it, but you may think so, and we'll just have to agree to disagree on that. I am making clear I'm not going to clean up after them (and I MEAN THAT!) DH can do it if he has to. Perhaps with me not doing it he'll figure out a way to broach it without it causing offense. He has a great sense of humor, so perhaps he can say something jokingly and they'll take the hint. Who knows? All I know is, I do feel better about things from my perspective. 

tog redux's picture

I don't have an issue with you guys paying - my mother still pays for all of us to get together once a year and we are all middle-aged. But yes, I think that he needs to let them know that going forward, they need to contribute to the meal preparation and clean-up, and bring some alcohol or food, or whatever, for everyone.

It's a change that you don't have to do all the work, but it's not a change in him trying to buy these entitled kids' love, and THAT seemed to bother you as well - that he's willing to let them use him just to keep them in his life. It's not healthy for you guys or them or your two boys.

futurobrillante99's picture

My former inlaws treated my XH1, our children and myself to more than a few vacations when the kids were young. While we couldn't afford to chip in, we certainly didn't repay their kindness by being lazy arseholes, although my former MIL might disagree. LOL

We paid for what we could and didn't treat the inlaws like servants to use for trips, goodies and meals.

shamds's picture


i loved going on the boat cruice at sunset in paris. I think its called bateaux mouche or bateaux parisien from memory and just so gorgeous and was €60 per person and the food absolutely filling and delicious 3 course menu...  its truly a trip of a lifetime and something to look forward to. 

Book things early and do your research for deals on hotels etc. 

SMto2's picture

I would LOVE to go to Paris!! That sounds wonderful! A river cruise there is definitely on my bucket list!! We are thinking for our first trip, it would be best to go to English-speaking countries. We're considering Great Britain (England and Scotland.) We will have about 8 days total, including travel, so we don't want to do too much.

Daddy's wife's picture

I live in the Netherlands, if you plan going there, let me know and I can give you some tips. And don't worry, most people speak (some) English. In most of the northern countries they will be able to speak English. 


shamds's picture

“Bonjour, vous-parlez en anglais?” Which basically means “hello do you speak english?” And they were always happy to help and most speak English anyways and i did same visiting Belgium . Don’t be too worried about languages and think you only need to stick with english speaking countries.

futurobrillante99's picture

Oh, I tried that in a more residential area of Paris and it was not well received. The girl at the boulangerie was RUDE. I searched until I found a shop where someone would work with me and we accomplished my purchase by mostly hand gestures and smiles. I stayed in district 15 the first time. I recommend a more touristy part of town closer to the center and you should have no trouble not knowing French.

Winterglow's picture

I live in Europe and can pretty much guarantee you that, wherever you go, there will be people who speak English - maybe not to a conversational level but well enough to tell you where to find the toilets Smile

Cover1W's picture

Ok, now that he's done that, keep away from any of it.  He's going to try to draw you in somehow.  The planning won't end with the reservations and letting skids know about it.  You konw that.  Keep away, keep silent, don't get drawn in. 

If he does do ALL of it, then go if you want to for part of the time.  And keep your boundaries strong and prepare to vacate the house for a hotel if needed.  Do not feel guilty.  You did not raise them to be like that and they are not your responsibility. 

Enjoy Europe - heck, I went there with SDs last year and survived (my husband had to do the planning, including deciding where to eat because taking the SDs was totally his idea - and included his estranged then 15 yo.  It's possible to go on a vacay with skids and keep disengaged...there's lots of things to do to keep yourself occupied!

Tried out's picture

What are your bio kids doing for the week of the SK vacation? 

Just curious.

SMto2's picture

Hello, we booked it anticipating our bios, DS 12 and DS18, would go, along with DS18's long-term gf. I've since learned that DS18 might not be available due to a summer program at college and that his gf is actually going to be taking college courses this summer, so she's not available, either! It will only be my DS12. That makes me think even more I likely WON"T go for the entire week.

Also, I wanted to emphasize what a GOOD, GOOD decision it was to make DH do the arrangements and communicating. He texted both SS25 and SS24 last weekend (4 days ago) to advise of the reservation and make sure they were in. (Remember, SS25 is the one whose DW texted ME to ask about the vacation;  SS24 is the one whose new wife gushingly told us at Christmas she definitely wanted to know when the vacation was so they could go.)  While SK25 responded that they're "In," as I KNEW they would be, since we've paid for their vacations the past 3 years, DH has heard NOTHING whatsoever from SS24 in response. DH told me last night if he didn't hear from him in a day or so, he was going to follow up. (Shrugs. Whatever.) As painful as it is watching these young men hurt DH by treating him with such disrespect, I think THAT is what it may take to finally make him wake up. Whoever said I was a "buffer" was EXACTLY RIGHT! If I had been doing it, I would have texted SS24's DW, and perhaps she would have responded, since she's the one who wants in on the free vacation! 

Also, I would add it's possible SS24 is avoiding DH. We received a letter from our dental insurer asking for a form to be completed documenting SS24 is enrolled in college full-time (at least 12 hours,) in order to stay on our dental coverage. (I previously thought he was allowed until age 26 regardless, but that is only medical coverage and does not include dental.) DH texted SS24 to ask him if he is enrolled at least 12 hours, and SS24 said he'll have to ask MOMMMEEEEE and get back with DH!!!  (I kid you not!!) This has been a few weeks ago and no response. If SS24 is even still attending on-line classes, I'd say it's not 12 hours or more, but he may be avoiding DH. But that may be giving SS24 way too much credit. Either way, at this time, all we know is that the vacation will include SS25, his DW (who texted me asking about the vacation), SGDs 5 and 6, DH and DS12, and me for whatever period.

BethAnne's picture

I think that this is the best solution. Well done to you and your husband! Communication and consideration are great at finding solutions. 

Make sure you get good travel insurance set up before your europe trip. I think that travel restrictions etc are going to keep being implemented if coronavirus doesn't die down during the warmer summer months like the flu does.