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Does anyone else’s DH expect more engagement?

blended4213's picture

I feel like DH is watching me around stepkids. I'm polite but especially with his middle son, I just don't want to talk to him more than I have to. I know that sounds bad but I have reasons for really not being his biggest fan, I have no interest in making small talk because he just goes on about something I don't care about. Maybe I should be less selfish and just suck it up but it is draining me when I try to engage with him. He is in the gifted program and knows he is smart but has zero social skills. At times if we are all together and talking I will ask him questions or comment on what he said but otherwise I really just don't feel like it. DH has said before I seem indifferent to his kids. Well I am mostly, I've tried before and either the above happens or he goes and tattles to BM on whatever he can even if it's not bad and she inserts herself. He also picks on the little kids and DH thinks he's the best thing since sliced bread. He once shoved a teammate during a game and DH didn't understand why that kids mom got so mad. I could go on. But it is hard for me to start fresh and forgive this kid as much as I wish I could, so I try to disengage and I know DH is not happy, then I worry about that and feel guilty. Any thoughts?

tog redux's picture

Well, you don't owe your stepkids anything more than being polite and respectful, in my opinion, as long as they are the same with you.

And the fact that your DH thinks his son is wonderful regardless of how badly he behaves is a real problem.

advice.only2's picture

Sounds like your DH knows his prewcious wittle baby boy isn't all that and a bag of chips. You not fawning all over his pwecious hurts his big man fee fees, because it just validates how he feels deep down inside, that his kid isn't all that great.

Tell your DH stop forcing his insecurities and icky man fee fees on you, those are his and he needs to deal with them. It sounds like you are polite and cordial to all his children. You are not the problem here, he is!

lieutenant_dad's picture

Why are you okay with holding a grudge against a kid for behaving like a feral child, but aren't willing to make your DH feel guilty when he's the cause of your SS behaving poorly in your home?

You have this backwards. Your DH isn't parenting his child if he allows his kid to push others and isn't teaching him social skills (or how to fake social skills). Your DH is also acting fairly entitled by expecting everyone else to act like rainbows shine out of his kid's backside withouy actually making sure his kid is pleasant to be around.

Look for the root cause. In this case, it's poor parenting. Even if SS is socially awkward or has some mental health issue or developmental disability, it's your DH's job, in your home, to ensure that his child isn't violent, mean, snobby, or selfish.

But, given that your DH isn't seemingly willing to put in that work and just expects you to accept his son for who he is, even when he misbehaves, I'm going to assume your SS has learned some of his selfish, entitled behavior from his father. That's going to make it even harder for your DH to parent.

Stop feeling guilty and disengage. If your DH throws a hissy, tell him that HIS PARENTING, or lack thereof, has made his son difficult to be around, and if he'd like any hope of you changing your mind, then HE needs to address his son's poor behavior that has developed out of your DH's poor parenting.

Sparkl3s's picture

Don't ever start doing anything for the skids that you don't want to do the rest of your life. There are exceptions and one time things. I never did bc I found this site when I was in the beginning stages of my relationship. My husband does EVERYTHING for the skids at our house most of the time. I help with things on my terms if unexpected things pop up. 

If he gets upset and isn't understanding it's bc he wants you to be a fill in mommy and do his heavy lifting. 

blended4213's picture

That could be. I just have to get over my negative feelings towards his kids. I wish I could figure out the root cause. They are not horrible. It's just between DH parenting differently than I would, crazy BM, there is a lot of stress. I really want to work on this so I can enjoy being around them more. I know I add to the stress of things. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

No. No no no. Do NOT put it all on yourself.

I will agree that you have to control your own emotions. BUT, that doesn't mean you have to accept the poor behaviors around you. If your DH is not requiring his child to be respectful, and his child is being disrespectful, then you should not just "get over it".

Know your worth. Never just take disrespect, verbal assault, and gaslighting. Behaviors related to that need to be mitigated. If they aren't changed, then you need to be willing to walk away from that toxicity.

It is NEVER the job of a stepparent to just accept poor behavior. If a parent wants to accept that for themselves, fine. But we are not emotional punching bags. We are humans first and foremost who deserve basic courtesy and respect. As spouses, we should feel safe and should be protected from our spouse's toxic family members, including their kids.

Cover1W's picture

DH would LOVE it if I was more engaged.  But I'm not going to go there.  He undermines my decisions, doesn't agree with anything I recommend he do to get YSD (or formerly OSD) involved in things or helping around the house.  Doesn't take any of my suggestions.  Doesn't allow me to discipline or correct.  So nope.  I'm not only supplying fun things and food and rides.  I'm not a paid entertainer/maid/chef.

Rags's picture

Eventually this bully will get his ass whupped and it can't happen soon enough IMHO.

That daddy can't see that his kid is a nasty POS,  his wife wants as little to do with this gem of a kid, and his tolerance of BM involving herself in his family and your marriage tells me more about your DH than I care to know.

You picked a real winner.

Take care of you.