Partner will not discuss or support me in dealing with inappropriate behaviour from his adult children and his friends
Dear Mia Cagan~
I'm sorry to read of the position you are in. It may seem naive or simplistic but as far as I can see a partnership is where each person puts the other first, and wants, due to love and affection, to care for them and ensure their life is as good as possible. Obviously there are ups and downs, even quite serous ones, however both parties should feel secure, permanent and loved.
Bringing two families together is often not easy, and as with your first thought there can be resentment of a new partner, in some ways it can seem to children to be the parent almost rejecting them. In this case it sounds as if your partner's relationship with his children was not the best anyway.
It's quite clear from what you said that your partner is not putting you first and does not seem prepared to offend his children or their partners, or even his friends, preferring to dismiss your unhappiness.
To some extent I can understand someone walking on eggshells around their kids if they want to establish a better relationship with them (though I'm not saying it is the right tactic) however he is harming his relationship with you to do so. Frankly I can't see any excuse for putting his friends first.
If I was faced with the situation you are in I'd have started off as you have done and said I'd only go to the Easter gather if assured of my partner's support - come what may. You have not received that undertaking, in fact simply a repetition of dismissive behavior.
I'd suggest considering first refusing to go, and secondly trying to get your partner to see the road he is going down will have serious long term consequences. Perhaps if he was willing to embrace counseling there might be a path to better things.
Apart from your partner are there others in your life to support you? This situation can make you fell very alone after all.
I'm sorry you are experiencing such difficulties with your partner. I don't have much to add to what Croix said, except to ask you to consider if your partner's behaviour could be more about him wanting to avoid confrontation than whether or not he actually supports you or not.
In the early years of my marriage, I sometimes felt disappointed that my husband did not support me in similar situations--mostly around his family. But I learned that it was his desire to avoid confrontation at all costs that was driving this behaviour. Something in his upbringing and family dynamics that was hard to pinpoint and hard for me to understand. It was okay for him to end up in confrontation with me because he knew I loved him and that I would eventually forgive him.
I chose to speak my mind when I thought it was required and there were occasional awkward moments in front of his family but the earth didn't stop spinning and my husband would usually weigh in to support me. Sometimes when he didn't I let it go, sometimes we later argued privately and on one occasion I simply decided that I would have no further interaction with one of his cousins because he was intolerable to me. I chose my battles based on how important the issue was to me. I also didn't want to always be forcing my husband to choose sides.
We've now been together 30 years and don't have this issue any more (his family know I will speak out and they know my husband will back me and the boundaries are firm) but I do remember how angry and hurt I used to feel--just like you. I don't know if this helps you but you are certainly not alone. Hang in there.
Look forward to chatting more and hoping you have a nice Easter, whatever you decide to do
Thanks for your reply. I understand, other people can make suggestions, but they may not seem either realistic or practical. If your not going for Easter makes things worse I can see why you would be reluctant not to do so.
Unfortunately you are in a relationship with a person who does not value and cherish you, and has the advantage of your not having any easy avenue to remedy the situation.
I have the feeling that as time goes on your position may become worse and your ability to cope with it lessen - I hope not, maybe I'm wrong.
Rather than visit his relatives for Easter how about going interstate and visiting yours? Short notice it's true, and maybe expensive but it would get out out of a bind and also serve as a warning of sorts.
What do you think?
I'm glad coming here is helping you, perspective can be hard to gain alone.
Frankly I would not worry about appearing a kind caring person to the family, they don't really sound worth your regard. Do you think your partner now understands what your intention is if he does not change his ways?
With Fibromyalgia the last thing you need is extra stress, let's hope the visit goes off smoothly, or if not your partner does come to your aid.
If I understand your posts correctly it seems, you will no longer tolerate the bad behaviour, your partner has acknowledged they have been behaving badly not you, he's going to do his best to make sure it doesn't happen over Easter and you will all be together at Easter.
The good news is that it sounds like you are both on the same page and that you will be walking in like a team. You haven't had this support before, so that's really good. You've moved him quite a bit. Your partner now needs to walk the talk. You pull them into line if you need to. If you have to leave, to safeguard your health, you leave. If he doesn't do the right thing that's on him and you know what you are going to do next.
Be strong. I think sometimes our partners get away with things because they can. And when we stand up to them and they realise this isn't the case--that there will be consequences for them--then that's when we see change.
I will be thinking of you over Easter and sending good thoughts x