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Partner changes personalities when his bio-kids visit are involved

basicallystepmom's picture

This is my first post. I don't normally write or post personal info online, however fear to be at the end of my rope. My partner (whom I'll refer to as Jack in this post) and I have been in a relationship for over 7.5 years. We have 5 children between us: He, 3 children- 1 high school senior and two college seniors, I, two in middle school. Both our ex's are local. For 6 years we has separate houses but pretty much one home in my house with my children. We were happy in the company of one another and my children unlesslhis kids were in the picture, then we pretty much didn't exist.

One night a week and every other weekend Jack would return to his home and disappear into his kids' world for visitation. For 6 years my children and I were persona non grata during this time. We were treated as thought we didn't exist. Never invited over during this visitation time. No meals, no birthday celebrations, no holidays - not a one. Phone calls were sparse and taken from Jacks' car or out while running errands. While I understood the need to protect our children from our new relationship, and understand that not all time with our children needs to be shared, after a year or two his behavior and feelings should have dissipated and a gradual movement toward unification introduced.

He's given every excuse under the sun: "Their mother poisons them against me,... you,... us"
"They won't come over if you're here"
"I don't want to force you on them"
"I don't want to force them on you"
"They won't come if I invite them to do ______".
"I love you and want to be with you but I can't make them love you too".

Then as the years went by, Jack made promises that were not kept. I pleaded for a chance for us all to get together, to know one another better. Most of the time I was met with to following catch phrase: "My kids are never around", "They don't even want to hang out with me", "Their mother uses everything against me", "I can't make them hang out with us"

Then talk of marriage and then a ring. Finally Jack's responses turned into, "Once we are together (under one roof) toy kids will have to get used to it.

Now would be a good time to mention that I truly love this man. He is a good, moral, sweet, kind, intelligent man. Even though I am ranting about the area concerning to me most at present, it is due to the extreme love and respect I feel for him that I have permitted our lives together to endure with this problem to go on so long. When his children are not around, or the idea of future visitation isn't discussed, we are like any other couple in love, we have a beautiful life together. My children love him and consider him more than a step-father, to be their second real father. I know in his heart he considers my children to be "our" children and I wouldn't want it any other way. My children were gradually introduced to the idea of another man in Mommy's life and grew to love him to pieces, due to their ability to interact with him. He has been to their kindergarten and 5th grade graduations, school events, church events, family parties, birthday parties, sports competitions, and concerts.

We moved into his home 18 months ago. Our children are now on opposite visitation schedules. Mine live with us full time and visit their father every other Saturday night - Sun night. His youngest visits every other Friday night - Sun night. So the children are in the house for one day and night together a time. I hoped to be past these feelings but when my step-child is visiting Jack 's bio-child personality takes over.

Jack does not cook, nor does he grocery shop unless he is accompanying me to the local grocer (which is very rare). However every other Friday Jack will leave work earlier than normal and return home with a few bags from Whole Foods. Now - one might think "Oh how nice, he's gone shopping for the family", or "perhaps he plans to make a meal for everyone". Nope! Jack will have purchased multiple pre-made meals, sandwiches, and gourmet items for solely his son. Jack has not called home to ask if I have anything else planned or prepared, or asked if we need anything for the rest of "our" family at home. Jack does not expect his son to lift a finger to pick up his dirty socks from the dining room table, throw out his garbage or clear/wash his dishes, eat the same we eat, eat meals that I have already prepare for us a as a family, or even go into the refrigerator to make himself a sandwich. Step-child is given free reign to eat out even when he was asked and known in advance that I will have already prepared dinner at home for our family. This happens every other week. My/our younger children see it too and wonder why there is nothing special for them in the frig, why they are treated differently.

In addition every other Sunday (when the younger kids are at their father's and step son is home with us) Jack will rise early, walk around the house like a mouse (normally he's more of an stomping elephant), go into the kitchen and make waffles solely for his son leaving them with a nice setting on the kitchen table. Should I happen to be in the kitchen at the same time, making breakfast, having tea or just conversing and I should mention anything about his process of making the waffles even if it's just to point out that I've moved a measuring cup, Jack becomes annoyed in an instant. Jack does not make anyone else breakfast, lunch, or dinner - ever, and he tramps around the house like an elephant when his son isn't home.

While Jack considers my children to be "ours", he certainly wants his to be his alone, and this is killing me. I admit the age difference in his children vs mine when our relationship began to be a legitimate factor toward his feelings at that time, the amount of time past since alone says by now it should be otherwise. It has been seven and a half years and he's sill treating his kids differently than mine, still alienating me from their lives with him, and I am not a second closer to being invited into having a relationship with his children. Jack doesn't see the problem or the point, even though I've said hundreds of times that this truly matters to me, and our family. Jack claims that they aren't around enough to make plans. However this excuse was proven false last Thanksgiving week when Jack booked a vacation for he and his family visit his eldest who was studying abroad - without me or my children.

Now one might ask, what is the point? The two eldest are graduating college - they are grown. The youngest is off to college next Fall. I say this. I have been forced to miss out on the life events that children look back upon and remember forever. Those events that bring a family together through support of one another. Jack says he wants to be a family. He wants to marry me. How can we when there is such a separation? Our families can not become one if there is no interaction.
I have missed out on hundreds of weekends worth of precious time with children with whom I should like to try become close. Including the two youngest's middle school graduations, 100's of sporting games, and two high school graduations.

5 moths ago I told Jack that we should book flights and hotels for his daughter's college graduation while they were inexpensive. Jack blew me off (typical avoidance when Jack isn't going to do something). He and I have conversed many times of it since including his need to speak of it with his daughter; about the logistics, ticket #s, etc,. Fast forward 4 months and I ask Jack about it again. He then told me that his daughter has 4 tickets and she wants her mother, father, brother , and cousin to be at the graduation. I ask if he had the conversation with his daughter about me attending, his answer was to become angry, "No - and I can't do anything about it now. This was her mom's doing and now she wants her cousin to go".

Any time I bring up his children I am met with responses of anger or avoidance. This month his daughter graduates college - I offered the idea to throw her a party (our home lends itself to a fabulous affair) he turned me down. I offered to fly to her graduation (even for just the after dinner), he turned me down, I offered to attend his youngest's high school graduation - Jack said "he probably has limited tickets", I offered to throw his youngest a high school graduation party for he and his friends, Jack turned me down.

It's as if he has two personalities one that loves our life together and the alternate that is just he and his kids. Jack says he wants to marry, but how can I marry someone who doesn't want me involved in this kids lives or respect me enough to hold me in esteem by his side around them.

thinkthrice's picture

Ahhh Ye Olde Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde syndrome.

As soon as skid steps foot inside the threshold, NCP Biodad goes into "walking on eggshells" mode and turns into Jeeves the butler to his kids.

Oh the flashbacks!

Chef (in syrupy sick type two diabetes voice): "Hi, buuuuuuuudddddddddeeeeeeeeeyyy!!!! Can I get you something....Anything???!! Let me grab your bags for you!!!(skid who is perfectly capable of toting his own duds out of the grocery getter and into the house just flops on the sofa) Would you like some candy???? Let me tell you about all the FUN things we are going to do this weekend!!!"

The special "kid-friendly" meals. . .

SM? What SM? Is she even in the house?

Time to board the DISENGAGEMENT EXPRESS!!!

basicallystepmom's picture

It's harder knowing that it doesn't have to be this way. I know plenty of blended families. My children have one on their father's side. Usually the blending problems come from the children - not the parent.

basicallystepmom's picture

He replies that it's nonsense. Background - he was raised as an only child and catered to as well. Part of me thinks he really believes that is how one should treat their child. Also, Jack will randomly go out and buy bagels once in a while for the rest of us on a weekend morning - not every other Sunday as posted earlier tho.

Just this past Friday in came the Whole Foods bags while I was literally taking dinner off the grill. Jack's anger soon followed at my addressing their appearance. He screamed "F -U, If I want to buy him a f"n sandwich, I'll buy him an f/n sandwich". I haven't spoken to him since.

WalkOnBy's picture

How is she criticizing his kids? Seems to me she's bending over backwards to try to find a way to be included.

I don't see one example here of her complaining to him about his children or criticizing his children.

As usual - you triumph of the will of the skid

basicallystepmom's picture

The argument/comment was in private. It was just my partner and I in the home. The children (mine and his) were due home shortly.

CANYOUHELP's picture

First, welcome to ST, you will find support here. You are caught up in an enmeshed situation, which is the world of many of us to one degree or another.

What I will say is your case of enmeshment is severe. You are not alone, but the severity of his enmeshment would be more than any woman could handle. If this sort of behavior is going on now (realize these are the BEST of times), what do you think he will be like with him-- married after one year? It does NOT improve....trust me. Listen to the posters here, they are experienced and most deal with far less than you are right now, but know what being in the middle of psycho dadeee means.

Are you happy now? If the answer is no...give this marriage idea a lot of thought....

PS..I was going to say something nasty and compound Jack's name, but did not want to be ugly here because you need a lot of support, instead. Jack needs counseling....

basicallystepmom's picture

To answer your question: In general I am happy, we are happy together we never fight about anything else. Literally is strange how well we get along otherwise............ until next Friday rolls around or I think of the impending graduations...

Jack and I went to counseling last year for a few sessions. The therapist agreed that he needed to take steps- Jack didn't, couldn't handle it, part of me felt sorry for his anxiety.

Disneyfan's picture

This man has spent 7 years making it clear that he doesn't want you or your kids involved with his children.

To be honest, I think he was dating other women during the first 6 years. Any man that won't talk to you while he is in his home, has another woman in that home.

basicallystepmom's picture

That isn't the case here. She has known about me and my children since almost the very beginning - 6 months in to be specific.

basicallystepmom's picture

I only wrote my/our because in my post I addressed that Jack considers my children to be our children when we are all together. My kids absolutely know who's babies they are. While they see their father currently on a schedule it was not always so.

Jack pays 100% for his children's schooling and expenses. My parent's did not pay for my college and my children have been raised with the same assumption. I dare not presume that Jack shall be supporting my children through college.

notsobad's picture

You do understand that this is NEVER going to end, don't you?

You will not be invited to grads.
You will not be invited to weddings.
You will NEVER be Grandma to any of his grandchildren.

He has shown you who he is, believe him.

CANYOUHELP's picture

Notsobad is correct, and you will end up here in NEVERLAND sooner than the rest of us did (before marriage-wow)---if you are seeing signs now.

You are excluded as "family" BYHIM et. al, and it will only grow over time; everybody he is enmeshed with will treat you like a piece of furniture that does not fit in the room. Many of use live in Neverland now, but it was OUR choice;; our only choice. And, I must say, most of us did not see these huge red flags during the dating period or even in the initial part of our marriages. Most of us, regret we did not.....so, you are fortunate you are seeing him for what he is NOW.

Love is not enough...great women in love are leaving their marriages everyday on ST-- because of the same thing you are describing; and the ones of us left often question what we are doing hanging in there...and what priority we actually are to our husbands.

YOU have zero ties now, so seriously give this some thought....

ybarra357's picture

He seems to try really hard to keep you apart from his kids, which, I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing. At least he doesn't seem to subscribe to the 'one big happy family' routine. Why on god's green earth would this be killing you??? I view at as a huge win not to go to any SK graduations, weddings, etc. at least. I didn't go to any of my SK graduations, my DH never went to any of my kid's graduations. It wasn't an issue then and still isn't to this day :?

basicallystepmom's picture

We must have differing ideas of what makes us happy. I draw happiness from my family and their happiness. To be a part of his happiness is what any spouse would want.

CANYOUHELP's picture

You are not going to be happy then....because you are family only when they are AWAY. Can you handle this notion? That means, anytime they are around...your position as wife is gone.. Can you live the rest of your life this way?

Disengagement has already been imposed upon you--they disengaged you; you have no choice but to redefine your happiness lady.

I hate this for you...but ask yourself if you are really happy, it is worth it? Only, you know for certain.

CANYOUHELP's picture

You are not going to be happy then....because you are family only when they are AWAY. Can you handle this notion? That means, anytime they are around...your position as wife is gone.. Can you live the rest of your life this way?

Disengagement has already been imposed upon you--they disengaged you; you have no choice but to redefine your happiness lady.

I hate this for you...but ask yourself if you are really happy, it is worth it? Only, you know for certain.

* Sorry for the duplicate, not certain what happened, but I sure wish there was a delete option...to clean this up,,

Disneyfan's picture

"I draw happiness from my family and their happiness. To be a part of his happiness is what any spouse would want."

Then you need to find a man who shares your opinion on this. It crystal clear that Jack and his children do not define happiness and family the same way that you do.

CANYOUHELP's picture

Right on Granny, the OP needs to say FU to Jackarese and never worry about a sandwich again....

basicallystepmom's picture

I am hoping to find support amongst like minded, or once similarly situated parents. Question, why are you asking questions about me and not of me? If I am the she you refer to please address your question to me directly as I would you.

HRNYC why would I not want to have a party for my stepchild at our home? Is that not a nice gesture for anyone to offer to offer friend or family member?

And to answer the other questions: money is not a factor at issue between my partner and I. We went from one nice home to another. If you're asking because you're sarcastically mentally seeing me take the home in a divorce - that answer is no. It is solely his.

Orchid1's picture

you are trying to hard, step back, review the situation, your partner may feel overpowered by your taking charge, he is trying to adjust as well. What you may think is being kind and loving, may seem imposing to them, let them decide what they want, seems they are already set in a family way, and want it to remain that way. being a step parent is all about stepping in and out and deciding the right direction. Take a back seat, and let them approach you, fulfil your own life, and do not let the politics get to you, it will send you mad otherwise.

You say, your stepchild, being with a partner does not make his children yours that is forcing the relationship, which to be honest they may not want. Fathers cannot handle the emotionally side of families, it is often the mothers duty, I would take a good look at whether this is the path you wish to go down, think about your future and what you want for your children and do not feel bound up with all of their problems to the point were you become the unhappy partner. Its madness to keep doing the same thing over again and not getting a result.

basicallystepmom's picture

Well said! That is EXACTLY how I feel and it did not even get that far. I did not assume to tell him what his child should or should not eat. Merely that the action of purchasing food for only one person in the home, at dinner time, a time that the children would know mommy put effort into would not go unnoticed in a rude and disrespectful manner! I did not permit Jackto speak to me that way. I immediately packed up the food I had cooked in tupperware, picked up my children from swim practice and took them to the beach for a picnic. Above all else, I will not let me children be around any personal conflicts between my partner and I. They lived through a horrible divorce at early ages and need not see any more.

I am reaching out because I can not just pack up and run without having an effect on my children. I am willing to seriously consider that as an option, should that be my choice it would have to be a smooth and peaceful process for them - Not an evening pack-a-suitcase say goodbye forever moment. As I wrote earlier, I have not spoken to or interacted with Jack in 4 days since it happened.

basicallystepmom's picture

You all make good points. I almost certainly wouldn't be posting for no reason, right? I shall have to do some serious soul searching for my happiness.

basicallystepmom's picture

I said something along the lines of why it is only every other Friday he decides to go grocery shopping and purchase gourmets only for his son while I've been here cooking for the entire family.

basicallystepmom's picture

I'm sorry I already said money was not a factor in our relationship or this issue. Who's paying what is irrelevant. Besides that I've been brought up to believe it imprudent to speak of individuals' finances.

basicallystepmom's picture

My comment was not meant to sound high horsy - I was being honest. I had posted twice already that money was not the reason for the fight.

I can see how my comment about the house would have come off the wrong way to someone reading a post. I mentioned having the graduation parties to Jack - not his children, and was shot down. His children like to ask their father to have people over our house when they're home from school because they like the home. The youngest considers this to be his house too and I think that wonderful. Our families came from the same part of town, with homes in the same school district. His children happen to like the yard better here (which is the reason I thought it would be nice to throw them a party). Their BM has a lovely home four minutes away as well. My children and I changed nothing of our lives except moving three streets over.

Curious Georgetta's picture

I came to this site seeking information about a specific situation and from time to time come back because it has been enlightening and eye opening.

For what it is worth , you seem like a very kind and thoughtful person. However, your situation seems to be one where you may have moved into Jack's house but not his home.
He seems to have decided that he has 2 parallel family type structures that really do not need to converge .

After 7 years , it should be obvious that neither he nor his children want or need a combined and intermingled relationship. This is neither a good or a bad thing. It is simply the nature of what Jack has to offer.

He may be genuinely confused by your inBilty to accept what he has openly and consistently demonstrated.

He will care and relate to his children in the way that he chooses , and hr will relate to you and your children in the manner that he chooses.

Your only option is to decide if this situation is what you want for both you and your children.

Your children may be more inclined to look at Jack's behavior as opposed to his heart. And they may be thinking and wondering why you think that this dichotomy of behavior is a good example of family life for them.

Jack probably won't be devastated if you move out
and maybe the separate and somewhat unequal status is the best that hr has to offer.

Is his best what you are willing to accept? He may be rude and crude at timedy,but it appears that he has been upfront about his feelings and levels of commitment to everyone involved

notsobad's picture

You really need to question if you can live like this.

As I've said and others have said, he is not going to change. The situation is not going to change, his kids are not going to suddenly accept you. Not as a stepmother, or even as their fathers girlfriend.

You will NEVER be part of his family with his children. You will ALWAYS be the outsider, in fact you will be less than the outsider, you will be non-existent.

Now, some stepmothers wish and pray for this.
Their stepchildren are so rude and mean that they wish that they would never speak to them or come near them again.

This doesn't sound like what you want.
He is saying that he wants to be a family but his actions are the complete opposite. Nothing has changed in 7 years except that you have moved into his house, please stop expecting him to change.

basicallystepmom's picture

Perhaps he does feel the way you state.

It is hard to believe though. After one year of dating he brought up moving in together a lot and how he wanted to be a family. For 5 years he brought it up I pushed it off for the usual reasons; to ensure my children were in a good place, to ensure this relationship would last, to be in a good place with his kids etc, etc. Jack has a lot of anxiety about change and fears his children will not want a relationship with him if he moves on with his life. Which was a large factor in my giving so much leeway for so long. He told me that his actions would change when we moved in together. In part they did - he did invite the children over for holiday meals and other meals whilst they were in town, but he still treats his children unequally when they are around.

Backtracking a bit - Jack stayed in my home nearly every night he wasn't with his children for 6 years, eating my food, joining my family's meals, watching my tv, using my internet, going to my family's engagements etc. If we are talking about support factors, there are one than the financials. I also gave 6 years of emotional support to this man I love before moving into his home.

notsobad's picture

It's really not that hard to believe if you look at his actions and stop listening to his words.

His actions haven't changed that much, he may now invite his children over but his actions, unequal treatment, being very quiet, buying certain food, haven't changed at all.

He's giving you lip service and you have been buying it.

You asked if others have dealt with this.
The answer is yes.
If you were hoping that someone would tell you that once it got past the first year mark, he suddenly changed, sorry, it won't happen.
If you were hoping that there is a magic word or ultimatum you can give him to make him change, sorry, there isn't.

You have to decide if you can live with him being one way when his children are around and completely the opposite when they aren't.

hereiam's picture

You are living with a man who has been living 2 lives and, apparently, he wants to continue to do so. If that's not what you want, you have a decision to make.

You have put up with it for a long time, there is no reason he would feel the need to change, now. And believe me, he won't. Not only that, but his kids are never going to accept you or your kids because they have been taught that they don't have to. So, no blended family for you!