Husband and stepkids conflict
This is long, but please bear with me. I really need some advice!!
My husband and his children have always been very close until biomom moved back to town. We had them 75% of the time, however now that she's back, they are with her 75% of the time. They are older teenagers, so we allow them to make a decision about where they want to be (to an extent). One is 18, so he is able to make that choice himself now. Anyway, there has always been some parental alienation from biomom towards my husband, but I think they feel they have to show more loyalty to mom now since she's back, rather than to dad who is married with another child. The kids have always been very friendly towards me and their half sibling, so there isn't much conflict in that regard. And I don’t think biomom badmouths me, but she does often have the kids lie to my husband about stupid things, and tells them exactly how she feels about him, which again…alienation, and total immaturity.
Another reason the kids prefer to stay with mom is because there aren’t as many rules, they get to do what they want, when they want, etc. Their grades have severely suffered and as much as my husband tried in the beginning to “fix”all of these problems, nothing worked. Even when we “forced” them to stay here 50% of the time, they would do what mom said…she would even call them and trash talk my husband for his rules on speaker phone, etc. It was ridiculous. Anyway, my question (and concern) is that my husband has seemingly given up on much of his relationship with them. One, I think he struggles trying to balance “two lives”- which, it wouldn’t have to be two lives if we could all get on the same page. But two, I think he feels it is a lost cause and there’s not much he can do at this point. He doesn’t really put in as much effort to spend time with them because I think his feelings are hurt. However, it almost bothers me to an extent because I can’t understand how he won’t put in more effort to do things with them…. He thinks it will hurt my feelings to take more time away from us when the kids don't care about being around, but I’ve told him a million times that is crazy. I think it is just an excuse to almost be “lazy” in a sense…he has lost control and I don’t think he knows how to deal with it. Do I let him make this decision or do I keep trying to encourage him be more hands on? Obviously, he still sees them and talks to them…just not nearly as much as he used to. I don’t think he knows what to do or how to do it at this point. Is it wrong for me to be bothered by this? I almost see it as a major character flaw on my husband’s part…but maybe I just don’t understand his perspective on it? I do know that I am exhausted from worrying about it.