Partner changes personalities when his bio-kids visit are involved
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.