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Anyone got any advice on how to stop feeling so miserable all the time?

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

Any advice on how to stop being so miserable all the time? So there's more to it than I'm going to state right now but me and SO have recently for engaged. Everything has been peachy for 3 years. We have a 2yo together and he has 3 kids with his ex wife. The eldest lives with us because he wants to. The other 2 visit 3 times a week. 

Now previously SO has always discussed changes in routine with me etc. Him and BM never got on for as long as I've been with him. She's toxic and nasty and in my opinion a shitty mum (her boys attendance at school is shocking and they can't read or even know the alphabet at 7 and 9). Their diet is also questionable. Anyway, recently it seems he's defending her not taking them to school because of covid saying she anxious. I was anxious about them coming to our house as I knew they weren't being kept inside but didn't stop him bringing them here! I told him it's just an excuse because she can't be bothered to take them. Anyway, one weekend she messed about with them coming to ours that we ended up having them a different day, missing an outdoor music thing we'd booked to go to. I didn't say anything. I just said ok. As I have done for 3 years. Never argued, never said they can't come or stay. How could I? Even through the beginning of covid when my anxiety was sky high. Anyway - recently everything has gotten on top of me. I have come to realise that although I care for the boys and feel I have a responsibility to be a decent role model for them, I have zero parental responsibility therefore no matter what I do, can't change their eating habits; can't get on to their school to get that sorted and I feel completely helpless about when they come here. SO got them at the weekend as usual on.friday and then told me.they were staying all weekend because BM just asked so he said yes. I got upset and started crying saying why don't you ever consult me? 

I don't have an issue with them staying, what I have an issue with is him making plans with his ex wife.without consulting me when it affect me and my home and my weekend too. Anyway he got in a mood and didn't speak to me and then told me on the Saturday that I had been miserable all weekend (which I completely disagree with. I thought I'd done a fine job at at least acting happy) he couldn't understand why u was so upset and once again ignored me and turned his back to me in bed. Not only that but BM has been sending 10 kisses on every message to him recently - yes this is the woman he's not got on with for years!  and he hasn't even pulled her up on it and when I said to him to watch her because she's not doing it by accident, yes you guessed it he got in a mood with me and ignored me for the rest of the night!  I just feel so helpless and upset all the time and he just get a in a mood if I get upset aBout anything. It seems recently if she says jump he says how high without even a flittering thought about me. It's killing me. I keep breaking down in tears. I'm mentally exhausted from caring so much about everything I have no control over. I've contacted a councellor but before I start spending fortunes thought I'd try on here! Anyone any advice?! Xx

strugglingSM's picture

Your DH needs boundaries with BM. You are justified in feeling annoyed when he makes plans that impact you without consulting you. If he gets annoyed by that, then he doesn't understand that his ex wife should have no say in your household. 

Fedupmama's picture

You're crying because deep down you know that on the grand scale of things, he cares less about how his actions make you feel than her. I'd pack my bags and go visit family without telling him. If he thinks it's perfectly fine to not consult you on his plans, sh!+ flows both ways. Take your power back. 

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

Thank you! At least I don't feel shitty now for overreacting as it seems others feel it's out of order too! Regarding the communication - it does all seem to be about the kids but it's unnecessary stuff like she can't deal with their behaviour at home, what should she do? Bearing in mind a couple of years ago she sent him abusive texts threatening to be at me up for getting involved in the boys diet- until she realised that they were now eating something other than MacDonalds and chocolate! We have no problem with their behaviour here. The eating issues are all from being allowed to do as they please at home. They have no bed time routine there or anything. Here everything is routine. I did implomemnt that very early on and for the most part SO sticks to it as it works. What he seems to have gone back on is the food thing and he doesn't push to practice their alphabet and reading. I got some alphabet magnets for the fridge and we do it at dinner while we're eating. I also got a phonics game as a final try but no one seems to push and now I just don't even know why I bother caring when neither of the bio parents make any effort. I keep saying to myself as long as my little one is ok I don't care any more but truth is I DO. I really do and it doesn't help that under all this SO seems to now think she is being a wonderful mum- when she hasn't changed. She just has the excuse of covid now :( 

Winterglow's picture

She asks him what she should do when the kids behave badly? Answers (take your pick):

  1. Parent them,
  2. Go to parenting classes,
  3. Work it out, she's the one who wanted to be CP,
  4. Not his time, not his problem.

And, no, you didn't overreact. Any decisions that affect you in any way should be made WITH you. You're supposed to be a team, remember?

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

That's what I think too. I wouldn't mind so much her asking for advice if I thought she'd actually use it but she doesn't. It wasn't so long ago she was throwing her weight around having a go at us because we were encouraging them to eat different foods, threatening to beat me up etc. Plus if she actually told us important info like when they were supposed to be self isolating that would be helpful! We took them out for a flippin day out when they were supposed to be isolating AND while they were off school supposedly in isolation she had them off school because they had a friend round! That's not isolating. I could rant forever and a day! But weirdly it is helping get it off my chest! X

Winterglow's picture

Rant away! It's very therapeutic :) 

Validation is also very therapeutic. 

tog redux's picture

One thing would be to stop arranging your weekend around his kids. If you have plans (outdoor music thing), go without him. MAKE plans, for you and your child, to go places without them. Let him handle all parenting for the kids. Stop trying to teach them or change their diet, and focus on what would make you happy when they are there.  If that means getting away for the weekend, do so.  And make sure you don't tell him your plans until you are about to get in the car, since that seems to be the norm for how he handles a change in plans. 

I hear what you are saying about caring about his kids - what you care about is seeing two kids be neglected by both of their parents, and that's hard to watch. It's also hard to respect a man who does that to his children, and who treats you the way he does. 

Sparkl3s's picture

He is mad at you for upsetting the dynamic he seems to prefer. He and BM live in some pretend world where they aren't shitty parents. It's unfortunate that so many SMs have to lose their every loving minds on their husbands for them to realize their ish won't be tolerated. 

I had to lose it on my hubby and now before accepting changes from BM he hits her with "hold on I need to check with my wife". All I needed was to feel like BM wasn't dictating my life and even if I have to move stuff around it's fine. I no longer feel like BM is "telling" me what to do. 

He needs to choose to be a better partner to you. PERIOD 

Chelseybychelsey's picture

You do what you can in your household.

And stop rearranging your schedule and routine around. If you made plans and he can't go then go without him.

If there is a change of plans he makes with bm and he doesn't run it by you then  it's up to them to figure out. That means if bm is like can you take the kids an extra night and he's like sure but he   doesn't run it by you to see if  you're free then it's up to him to figure out if it means he calls out of work then so be it.

  Don't be his plan b.


Picardy III's picture

Eh, it's not that simple. Of course, the work of taking care of the kids is squarely on DH.
But OP shouldn't be ok with going alone last-minute to planned date events (perhaps where others invited them as a couple), or scrambling to take a friend instead, because he won't tell BM no.

And even if her DH takes on all care for the kids, resources are fungible. The kids are still unexpectedly in her shared space, eating food they planned for fewer people, and more weekend household work and toddler care will fall on OP if her H is primarily busy with the older kids.

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

Thank you all. I'm glad I'm not alone in how this all is seeming to work. I just want to point out though, he's not a bad dad but I think because their mum does nothing at all with them ever, when we have them he likes to do activities rather than school work with them - which I understand to a point but nothing will change with their lack of ability to read if no one pushes it. One if them is going to high school in 2 years and can't even tell you all the letters of the alphabet. They're both very bright kids but shy away from reading and writing because they obviously now find it very hard and are completely behind everyone in their class. I said to him how on earth has no one in the school picked up on this. They're failing the kids. And his response was not to be too hard on the school because he's been there when they've gone through the boys wrecking the library and running riot etc. He has all these things he says he will discuss with the school but he will ask one question and then accept the answer and say thanks very much and leave. I have GIVEN him a list of things to cover before, told him what he needs to say and nothing has happened. One of them is supposedly autistic but I still don't believe this and think he's actually dyslexic and been misdiagnosed. Besides the eating thing which I strongly believe is environmentally based stubbornness, to me, nothing points to autism. But who am I? I told him he needs to take the boys to get their ears and eyes checked and get them both assessed for dyslexia. He said he'll wait a few months to see if their reading etc. Improves at school this year. Unfortunately they have to actually go to school for that to happen so well see how that pans out. 

On a positive note, I have arranged the whole of the holidays - when we have them and what we will do so I'm feeling a bit happier. 

I think the main thing I wanted to get from my rant was advice on how to switch off my caring about what I can't do anything about. Like the school and the eating etc. I don't believe he would ever go back to her. But the dynamic between them has changed and it makes me uneasy. It was better when she was nasty and abusive. I don't trust her when she's being all nicey nice. And the kisses on the messages just confirmed to me that she's trying to play some sort of game. Anyway, I really appreciate everything you've all said. It's made me feel so much better to know that I'm not over reacting about this. The feeling of helplessness is unbearable but I've started by planning the week of half term so I'm feeling much better already! Thanks folks! Xx

Stepmama2321's picture

Are you in the US? I'm shocked the 9 year olds teachers haven't pushed for him to be assessed for SPED

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

No I'm not, what is SPED? X

Rags's picture

Or the Skids.

Period. Dot. EVER!

That failed family was over long before you and your mutual child came along.  The failed family can and should never interfere with the family that has a viable heart beat.

Make no mistake, in all likelihood, if XWBM is sending him kissy faces he is pounding his past hard... and literally.

Grow some spine and boot his ass.  He is gaslighting you, he subjugates you to his XW and their failed family.

I am sorry that you have to go through the crapped served up by this idiot.


Guiltriddenameteur's picture

Make no mistake, in all likelihood, if XWBM is sending him kissy faces he is pounding his past hard... and literally.


What do you mean? 


I don't believe for a second anything is going on. I just don't trust her and feel she is playing games x

tog redux's picture

Rags likes to use what he thinks are clever phrases - he means that your DH is having sex with BM. 

OP, your post above about how he's not a bad dad but he doesn't teach his kids, take them to appointments or work with school shows that you are really giving him a pass on being a decent father. He's failing his kids just as much as BM is. 

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

I never said he didn't take them to appointments. In actual fact he takes them to the dentist etc as she never bothered and their teeth were disgusting so he registered them and now they go regularly. The eye test etc. Is linked to getting assessed for dyslexia which he won't do unless they're still struggling this year. 

Anyway - unless he's going round there at night instead of working night shift, that isn't possible x

tog redux's picture

I know you care about him - but you really aren't holding him accountable for what he should be doing for his kids.

He wants to be a fun dad and not have to be helping them with school, and that's not okay.  It's not your job to make sure his kids are functional adults. He may fail at it if BM isn't helping, but he needs to try and not make excuses like "BM doesn't do anything with them so I don't want to spend my time helping them."

Winterglow's picture

I don't understand his lack of reaction. They have struggled every year up until now, why does he think this year things will magically change? Doesn't he understand that the sooner you get a child the help s/he needs the better? 

tog redux's picture

Exactly - why not rule out any issues that might be causing the problem? What harm can it do?

Winterglow's picture

Bet he's one of those parents who don't want their child "labeled". In other words, he cares more about his pride than his child's well-being. 

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

One of them already is- with autism. I strongly don't believe he is though and I think because of this he is struggling as he isn't getting the correct help and all behaviour has been excused because of autism. The youngest is even worse and he isn't autistic so id love it if someone could point out to me how both can have all the same issues and it be that one is learnt behaviour and the other is autism. 

Anyway with the schooling thing - i know he should do more. He did used to do homework etc. With them waaay before lockdown but it was always a fight and they began saying they hated it here and didn't want to be here. I think that's what gets to him. We used to go through the alphabet with them every time they came but they just don't seem to retain it. I am sick of hearing myself tell him to speak to the school and demand this that and the other support etc. 

I feel like a constant nag and it's this I need to learn to switch off from. 

And now rags has put another awful thought in my head *sorry2* I really don't believe he would ever go back there but (no offense rags) men are so naive and can get caught up in situations they can't get out of - which is what I was trying to warn him about when I questioned him about the kisses on messages. He doesn't put any back to her but I have noticed he gives her more details of what we are planning doing with the boys than he used to do before. It's not necessarily a bad thing but I just question in my head - why? Why has it all changed? He's telling her exactly what we are doing when we get them and she's putting kisses on messages... 

tog redux's picture

He has to push through his fear that they won't like him as much as BM, and continue to help them.  It's not helpful to them if he allows them to bully him into not being a father.

OP, you put an X at the end of many of your comments, is this a cultural thing? (I assume that's what you mean by BM putting kisses at the end of her texts).  It's not appropriate that she does it, but it doesn't mean that he's sleeping with her. Now, if HE is putting kisses on his texts, I'd be worried. He just sounds to me like another of these men on here who is afraid of his ex and his children and gives them too much power.

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

But she will put a row of like 10...that's the concern. Even I only give him 3 at the most haha! - plus the fact they have not got on for as long as I've been with him...She has called him names, threatened to beat me up, screamed down the phone at him etc. Now all of a sudden everything seems to be fine and dandy. I just don't understand what changed. Only thing I could think is she doesn't like that we are getting married and wants to stir the pot. She is very manipulative by all accounts. I haven't met a single person who knows her who has ever had a nice word to say about her, going back from people who knew her in school. Perhaps they're just trying to get along for the boys which is great but it just makes me uneasy. Unless she's finally realised that being a twat doesn't help her now as she has a 1yo with someone else plus their 2 boys that she seems to struggle to control at hers. She pushed all her family away and they all refused to ever go round her house. Then she had the baby and they're constantly there cleaning for her etc. I just wonder how long it will last x

tog redux's picture

Yes, she probably does want to stir the pot, hopes you will see them, and wants to disrupt your relationship.

In my opinion, ignoring them is the best thing he can do - she wants a fight. Women like this want a reaction, it's what they thrive on. So if he ignores the kisses and just answers her legitimate co-parenting questions, that's probably the best approach.

Rags's picture

What I meant is that you DH is heavily entwined with his XW and their failed family while being ineffective as a husband to you and ineffective as a father to his children.  

Tolerating manipulative crap by his X shouldn't happen.

The kissy hearts from his X reek of emotional infidelity at best.  That leaves a worse case of a physical affair.  Which while rare is not unheard of in the StepTalk community.  There is the occasional SO who has an affair with or goes back to their failed family breeding partner.

Take care of you.

He needs to shut her down completely IMHO.


Guiltriddenameteur's picture

Thank you for clarifying. I really don't think he'd go back to her if I'm really honest with myself but the way I feel atm every scenario is running through my head! 

And I don't want to end up being a controlling bitter person making things difficult for him and his kids. He's the first ever person I dated with kids. I always steered clear because I couldn't be chewed with the baggage but I guess you can't help who you fall in love with! And in my naivity I have obviously assumed and allowed her to call the shots at the beginning to keep the peace and I think it's now come to the point that she is being more than civil and he's realised I'd never say no to them coming so just agrees and tells me any changes once they're here which I really hate. It's not that I don't want them to come but I need to mentally prepare myself. They're hard work and I'm constantly on edge because I don't trust them with my daughter. I'm very strict with them but recently I've been so mentally exhausted that I just have been leaving the room and letting him and them do what they want. Obviously this whole covid thing doesn't help anything but my anxiety and feelings have never come In to it except at the beginning of the pandemic when we were discussing whether it was safe to have them. We agreed every fortnight to allow chance for symptoms to show in either household. After 4 weeks it trickled back to every weekend and then every other day and when I asked what happened to fortnightly he said she didn't like it. Personally I think it was him that didn't like it but either way it's hurtful that either he puts her feelings before mine or that he feels it's better to lie to me over telling me the truth. Honestly this goes deeper I think than what's all written here but to have a males perspective is very refreshing. I question myself constantly whether I'm just being selfish. I signed up to be the step mum when I got with him. I could have walked away but I didn't. And for the first 2 years I pretty much called all the shots except speaking to her but it seems now she's acting all wonderful and seemingly civil, my feelings don't matter any more. He tried to justify her not sending them to school because she was anxious about covid, all the while they were playing with a friend they had over their house? yet the eldest SS who lives with us goes to school every day without fail. Smart, never late, does his homework and gets great reports. How come the two youngest have different rules? Surely if he felt it was justified to keep them off, hed be wanting his eldest at home too?! I just don't understand it. But any time I bring anything up he gets stroppy. Maybe it's the way I come across. I can be passive aggressive and I know this but it's my defense mechanism. I used to be happy and light hearted the majority of the time and now I'm just emotionally exhausted and don't know where to turn next. One day im fine and "over it" but then the next I'm bursting into tears at work. I've spent the last 2 years since my daughter was born trying to make sure they don't feel like I treat her differently. Everything is stress and guilt. 

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

What I meant was once they were at our house I put rules in place and he agreed to them and allowed them even to the point of moving the food in the kitchen out of their reach so they had to ask for it. When I first met them I once witnessed one of them eat 6 bags of crisps and 4 snickers and was like enough is enough! I suggested a routine of the days he was going to have them so he sorted that out with her but it was to suit her more than us. That's what I meant by letting her call the shots. But it's all slowly just unravelling bit by bit..even now when he talks about Christmas I'll say it doesn't matter when they're here ask her what's best for her. As long as I have notice and know what's happening I don't mind. I think that's pretty easy it? 

Rags's picture

We all signed up to be SParents when we married failed family breeders.   However, I would wager that no SParent signed up for a spineless SO who caters to their X and failed family progeny sacrificing their spouse on the alter of SParental martyrdom to their past and failed family.

I have always struggled to comprehend why a SParent would ever take a back seat to their SO's X and the children of their failed family. Ever.  Not even once.

Take care of you.  Demand that your DH put you and your marriage above all else.  Demand that he put and keep his XW in her place and that he is clear that you and your marriage are his sole top priority.  Kids are the top relationship responsibility but never take priority over the partners or their marriage.

Good luck.

PokaDotty's picture

The only thing I would add to the great advice above is remember that he's needs to be more afraid of your reaction than BM's. I just celebrated 14 yrs with my DH and one thing I had to learn was to get mad and enforce my boundaries, not cry. DH in early times felt it was easier to brush off my frustated tears than my anger.  


justmakingthebest's picture

When DH and I got married, our pastor made our kids stand up in the middle of the service. He told them that they were no longer the center of our worlds. That our marriage was going to come before anyone and anything else. He told them that we would always take care of them and love them but our marriage comes first. They are going to grow up and have families of their own one day and when that happens he prays that they will put their marriage first as well, because that is the only way for a marriage to survive. 

We didn't ask him to do this or even know it was going to happen but it was the best thing to ever happen. 

The problem you are having is that you are a back burner in your life together. You aren't front and center and the priority. BM's request or shortcomings aren't even the issue. Her flirting shouldn't even phase you as anything more than a minor irriatant. The reason that you are upset is because your husband isn't making you the priority. He isn't talking to you first before making changes, he isn't consulting you with things that affect you, you aren't a consideration in your own home. You need to lay it out on the line for him about how he is making you feel and how he is treating your marriage in general.

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

Thank you all so much. It seems I'm not the only one to have experienced this and i evidently need to make him see that he should be more concerned about my feelings than upsetting her. I'm clearly just a push over and need to grow some balls x

Rags's picture

You are learning.  Pushovers rarely learn.

You know the message that your DH needs.  Stay on that message.  His X is his past and is irrelevant.  You are his present and his future.  That is a message he can never be allowed to forget without misery inducing consequences for making that mistake.

Take care of you.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I think DH needs to tell BM to stop with the kissy-faces. If he doesn't have the balls, maybe OP should. It's inappropriate and disrespectful IMO. It is hurtful to OP, which is reason enough for the ex to be told to stop. We can talk about it all day and speculate as to what she is meaning, but why not just ask her to quit?

tog redux's picture

But if you tell her she's being hurtful and disrespectful, she gets just the reaction she wants. And she will up the ante knowing that she's getting to him.

Giving her zero reaction is the best way to extinguish the behavior.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

As long as the husband gray rocks BM and keeps communication to just what's necessary. And maybe sprinkles in a few "let me discuss this with my wife"'s in!

Survivingstephell's picture

The best way for a dumb clueless DH to learn what you bring to their life is to take it away from them. That said , you go on strike and let him handle it all. Go find yourself, find a hobby or two.  Focus on yourself.  It's called the 180 from the book Divorce Busters.  

I do wonder why the boys haven't been tested and wtf is in store for these two kids who will grow up not being able to read. How can they get a job?  Where will they live? In your basement playing video games stoned everyday?  Is that what he wants for them?   If he wants to win at the parenting game then having launched offspring is first prize, not deadbeat wallet suckers.  

OP, you gave a lot that is messed up in your situation but the key to making it better is DH.  Get yourself into therapy and get some professional advice on how to maneuver in this. .