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Did any of you tell the SO that you’d rather not?

Zen mode's picture

Be around the SKs? I'm not really sure whether I should just say, by all means go, spend time with them, build YOUR relationship with them and the gkids, but I'll pass.

I did tell him that I am less and less inclined to organize or reach out on my own as I have in the past because apparently it makes no difference since there are all these "feelings" about "family" right now,  what I didn't say was, in fact I'm totally done doing that, no more girls nights at my initiation no more Xmas cookie making or organized Xmas outings or impromptu dinner invites initiated by me. 

Now, how do I support DH yet absent myself from when he wants to engage with his kids? For the record he is totally fine when I have, but for the most part those have been away from our house events. I refuse to play hostess any more so for those of you who have gone through disengagement how did you handle that aspect? 


JRI's picture

If we are invited by a SK, its seldom, but usually its a gift giving event, like Christmas or a child's birthday.  We both usually go.  But we aren't really a get-together family.  Each kid seems to handle seeing us diffetently.  SD58 is here weekly, earning $ by yardwork and housework.  SS57 comes by on Mo Day and Fathers Day and calls occasionally.  We went to his house one day last year to look at an addition.  BS55 lives out of town but comes back about once a year.  He and wife were living here 4 months last year after a hurricane.  BD54 lives about 5 miles away but is an Introvert who doesn't socialize altho she often hosts Christmas.  SS53 lives out of town but often comes back at holidays when we see him once or twice, he also calls once in awhile.  So, we dont really socialize with our kids.  They dont invite us and we dont invite them.

But, you seem to be wondering how to encourage your DH to go alone.  If I was invited, I'd probably go and you say things go okay at the away from home events.  I agree. I wouldnt be hosting anything else.  Maybe no need to actually say much unless he really pushed for you to host.

Zen mode's picture

Plus there are times I just tell him whether I'm feeling it or not. If not he's totally cool with making external plans. It can be a lot to undertake in the best of circumstances. I do feel lucky in that he respects my boundaries and listens to me. I guess right now I am SUPER not feeling it with all the "feelings" floating around, I am just so over it. Again. *eyeroll* 

SacrificialLamb's picture

My YSD43 visits maybe once a year. OSD45 does not visit at all. She banned me from her home so I returned the favor. She wouldn't come anyway; she needs to be the alpha female in whatever setting she is in.  DH visits both SDs on his own, now only once a year.  

I do no hostessing when YSD43 is here. I am polite but stay away and do my own thing. I've told DH that YSD43 is here to see HIM, not me, and I want them to have their time together.  He knows his kids have intentionally caused drama and tried to be divisive in our marriage. He knows they have not reciprocated anything nice I ever did for them. He's fine with me being on the periphery.  I don't invite them to anything, engage them in anything. Even at their age they are still playing stupid games, and I just ignore them.


Zen mode's picture

Into helping HIM figure out what's going on with all this latest drama.  Then I'm going to focus on being less involved with them yet help support him being more involved (if he actually wants to) 

futurobrillante99's picture

You don't have to DO anything to actively support him - just don't get mad if he sees his kids away from the home and it's not eating into your time together. Have zero interest in what's going on with his kids and just be happy to see him - be pleasant because you've been focused on what makes you happy.

If he brings up the kids and their drama. Just say, "Hmmm" or "that's nice" and change the subject. Just focus on something else - act distracted.

GrudgingSM's picture

...yes. DH knows I'd rather not. He usually invites me to do things with them, but if I say no, he's totally fine with that and doesn't push. But he also definitely sees the things his kids have done/do to me. In fact, he thanks me for being kind even when his kids can't be. Like the other day OSD told me out of the blue that she had a better body than me, and then got mad when I said no to hanging out with her. It's not always terrible, but it's bad enough often enough that the only thing I can think to do is disengage. So he DOES understand, but I keep my comments to him about his kids as neutral as possible. I DO NOT express to him just how much his children get under my skin. It wouldn't help our relationship, and frankly, I'm already getting the result I want, which is time away from them. I've found this place to vent and have friends that are safe places to express the full emotional purge I need sometimes, so I guess I'm saying there's a line between "I'd rather not tonight. I'm in the middle of a good book/show/craft project I want to go finish" vs. "Your kids are sh*theads who drive me flipping bonkers" and maybe he doesn't need to know everything.

JRI's picture

I keep my opinions to myself, also, especially about toxic SD58.  I sometimes express an opinion about the boys but it's usually a positive one.  My DH still would get defensive if I gave him my low-down scorched earth opinion about one of them (and it wouldn't be the boys) lol..

Zen mode's picture

I've been getting better at tempering my spoken out loud opinion about them. I think for now I'm going to make it about DH figuring out what all this latest angst with them is about. It's seemed to amp up and keeps rearing it's head over the last year. I guess I'm frustrated because WE have been putting a lot of energy into hosting and organizing fun get togethers for them, now all I can think is for what? Them to exclude us and make him feel guilty for not including BM. 

JRI's picture

I keep seeing the advice to disrngage but still be supportive.  That's such a novel, good idea.  I think one person said when DH talks about the SK, not to go, "yeah, they are terrible!" but to say, "wow, poor honey, here let me rub your back" or similar.  In other words, they said to agree but not express an opinion then deflect to a pleasant, different activity.  Ive been trying this.

Zen mode's picture

I'm going to try doing that more. I've been schooling myself on not enquiring about them because I just don't want to know what the latest good or bad news is. I've put much more energy into my own relationship with my own children this last year and that feels good in many ways. I think it also sets an example. To be honest, I don't think he really wants to be that close with them without me there for some reason. 

JRI's picture

My DH prefets thst I'm with him st SK events, too.  Someone on here was saying that men depend on us to do a lot of the emotional work in these relationships and to serve as buffets.  I see thst here.  Also, I think its sometimes boring for DH at thrse events and less so with me there.  The posters on here who urge us to cultivate our own intetests are correct.  If its a choice, DH would rather be with me doing a fun thing than at a SK event.  Who can blame him.  Lol.

Cover1W's picture

Yes of course!

I've done it so often that DH now knows I won't, in general. If he wants me to then he'll ask. Sometimes I will, depending on what it is.

As for other things, like holidays, DH does it. I went through several nightmare Christmas holidays (DH has Xmas holiday every year, but we are free Thanksgiving each year) and the last one when OSD was such a horrible person I told DH I was done doing Xmas. No cooking, cleaning, gift buying for him, treats, decorating anything but the tree. He knows.

Amanita's picture

To put things into perspective, I will give a brief overview of my own personal experience in playing "hostess," as you put it, or essentially being fully engaged with step-kids.

Four years ago, I quit my job to be a SAH SM (unmarried) to my partner's two children (at the time SS 3 and SD 7). I gave raising, loving, and managing those children everything I had at the time. The bond I had with both kids was a very close one, as the BM has always been absent. After years of this, I became exhausted. Especially after SD started to hit that pre-tween time, famous for bringing out the worst attitudes in girls. It was clear that even though they loved me and I loved them, they didn't really respect me. I ended up moving out and feeling heartbroken over the loss of SD and I's relationship. Years of hard work and love didn't pay off for me. 

So after everything, I think I better understand disengagement and the need to do so for step-parents. We can give and give and just don't get much back. Kids are notorious for taking time, energy, and patience. That's normal. The bio parents get the payout of parent-and-child love and bonding, while step parents can be left feeling just used up and unappreciated. 

StrawberryPie's picture

Oh yeah, I'm totally forthcoming.  And if I don't want to, I dont.  If I do, I will spend time with them.  But I no longer feel obligated to do anything.  And my DH knows this and is very accepting of it.  Of course, it took a lot of Stephell nonsense to get to this point Smile

Zen mode's picture

He gets it. I've spent the last month reinforcing that it's OK for him to have one on on time with them. What I don't say is "they and I are really not interested in any more than a surface relationship at this point so gooooooo"