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Partner’s children totally ignore me

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Don’t be afraid to challenge house guests.

Don’t be afraid to challenge house guests.

Don’t be afraid to challenge house guests.

Dear Maura: I feel totally disrespected and undervalued by my partner's children.

They are all in their mid to late 20s and sometimes totally ignore me when they're in the house. It's just the two of us in his place. He has a small farm. I don't know if they resent me coming in here or think I'm looking for the farm.

Of course, his whole approach is to keep the peace. He says nothing to them.

For Father's Day or if there's a birthday for anyone in the family, I always do a big dinner. Nobody ever offers to help or clean up afterwards.

I feel depressed because I've done my best for the last two years to be accepted as part of the family.

Apart from all of that, I've turned the house into a home. After his wife left 10 years ago he did nothing with it. I put in hard work and some of my own money to make the place look nice and cosy.

Our relationship is good except for this situation. I've invested a lot emotionally and financially here.

Answer: The children, if you can call them that, are taking their lead from their father.

Until he tells them that once they step into the house they must respect you as his partner, then it's not going to happen. Could there be some residual resentment in relation to their mother?

Take one example of a time they visit and point out in detail to him every time you felt ignored or put down by his family.He's trying to work both sides - but putting the onus on you to tolerate their bad behaviour. Everyone in the family is benefitting by your good nature.

Put yourself first and don't be afraid if there's a row once it doesn't get out of control. This could clear the air and lead to a fresh start. You've done nothing wrong. Make your feelings known.

My middle-aged hubby is a big child

Dear Maura: My 52-year-old husband is a total child. He throws tantrums over the most ridiculous things.

He likes to have me all to himself. We've two kids, aged 18 and 16, and they're more mature. His sisters and brother are the same. It's how their mother raised them.

I always feel a bit embarrassed when he carries on like this in front of the kids. When I told him I was going to have my dinner with our daughter when she came home, he went on about me always putting the family first. Honestly, what? Just talking about dinner!

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There have been other similar situations. If I decide to do something with our son or daughter, he feels left out.

Answer: It's like the mam didn't want any of her children to grow up and leave her for whatever reason and that's been instilled in them.

He seems to see your children as emotional rivals. Maybe straight after one of his 'moments' suggest he talks to someone. Outline in detail what's just happened so even he can see how irrational his behaviour is. Nobody has told him how an adult should behave. Sad, really.

  • Email your life dilemmas to Maura O’Neill maura.oneill@sundayworld.com

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