If you knew then what you know now
Hi all, new here and so grateful to have found you. I've been in a relationship with BF for a year and a half (forgive me, I haven't really learned all the acronyms yet so I may get them wrong!). He makes me happier than I've ever been and we communicate really well, we've both been to therapy following our individual divorces and are committed to getting it right this time. So far, so good.
I have two childen, OS16 and YS13. They are great kids, their dad and I have worked hard to give them manners, a strong work ethic, and sense of independence from early on. People tell me all the time how impressed they are with my boys. I know they are absolutely not perfect, don't get me wrong! But we've been hard on them and are now reaping the benefits. They are both thoughtful, respectul and laid back. They enjoy spending time with BF and have been around his children a handful of times with no issues. I swear I'm not being obnoxious - they are really good kids. Their dad and I have maintained a good relationship and always put them first.
BF has three children, (F for future skid, hopefully) FSS16, FSD14, and FSS6. They are good kids and have welcomed me with no problems to this point. However, we have very different parenting styles; his kids are spoiled and have no responsibilities or consequences. Luckily, they haven't turned out to be terribly obnoxious, but things do bother me at times. For instance, when he's playing short-order cook and making them a fourth dinner or snack at 11 pm becasuse they didn't like the previous three things that were made, which they didn't clean up, because why would they? Or when FSD14 calls him stupid, tells him to shut up, or tells him she hates him; to me, that's not ok. They do no chores, can't make a glass of water on their own, and the oldest two are never, ever asked to babysit FSS6, because that just wouldn't be fair to make them do that (insert eyeroll here). They are messy and think nothing of throwing something on the floor and leaving it there, stepping around it for days, then throwing a fit when they can't find it. I think he was harder on them in the past, but the dad guilt kicked in with his divorce and now he's become a pushover.
We are beginning to talk about moving in together in the next six months to a year. I think we both understand what a challenge this will be with 5 children, his crazy ex-wife (that's another post entirely), and different parenting styles. I feel good about our communication and commitment, but when it comes down to it, how do you tell someone their kids are spoiled brats, and things have to change if we are going to live together? I don't want this to end or ruin our relationship, but I'm very worried. I get a feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I see his kids do or say something I know my kids would be held accountable for. On occasion I say, "Wow, you're so much nicer than me," or "They are lucky you're so easy on them," or "I guess I really am awfully strict." All he ever says in return is that I have really good kids.
So this is my question - if I'm feeling this now, before we move in, before any problems begin, where do I go from here? If you had known back when you were at this point in your relationships what you know now, what might you have done differently, or wish you had known? How do I bring this up with BF without making it seem like an attack on his parenting, or his kids? How do I make my boys have chores and responsibilities in the same home where his kids have none? I really want to give this a chance and get it right, but separate households until the older kids are out sometimes seems like a smart move. Is that crazy, to think postponing making a home with him is worth it to prevent the problems I anticipate? Let's hear it.....