Author Topic: Will you be around this afternoon?  (Read 9841 times)

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Coley

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2013, 11:45:37 AM »
When DH showed me the texts from Rob about that restaurant situation, all I could do was shake my head and say, "Oh well," to the fact that Michelle was so upset about it. DH wasn't responsible for the fact that she was upset, and I didn't appreciate that Rob seemed to be laying that on DH. DH couldn't help the fact that he had a business meeting at that restaurant and that Rob and Michelle happened to be there at the same time. It was a coincidence, and it was an embarrassing one for Rob and Michelle.

I don't really understand this.  They said they were busy and could not go to supper with your DH.  They WERE busy.  That wasn't rude.

We have to take my comment in the context of TootsNYC's, which I was replying to. I'm not saying that they were rude for having other plans. DH and Rob had a prior conversation about their weekend plans, and Rob said they were too busy to get together with DH and me that weekend. Rob didn't mention their specific plans while they were in town, and he didn't have to. It was coincidental that they ran into each other at the restaurant. The three of them were very surprised to see each other there. Rob was embarrassed, and Michelle was upset because they ran into DH. Rob's response was to text DH later and let him know how upset Michelle was. Why should she be upset by something so coincidental? We found that to be OTT.

Twik

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2013, 11:55:11 AM »
Rob sounds like a commitmentphobe. He does not want to say "we'll be there at 2," because that means he has to be there at 2, and that frightens him. What if he wanted to do something else at 2? He's trapped, TRAPPED I SAY (cue panicky laughter).

I agree with most posters, the best way of dealing with it is to say, "We plan to be out from around 1 to 4. If you want to drop by after that, great, but we have something planned in the evening at 7, so we'll not be available later." Then Rob can figure out when to show up, and not feel that he's committed to anything before he rings the doorbell.
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weeblewobble

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2013, 11:55:48 AM »
Does your DH ever specifically invite Rob and Michelle over?  Does he ever try to make specific plans with them, for them to visit him from their home in BigCity or for him to go there to visit them?

I ask because the impression that I get from the OP is that your DH waits to hear that they will happen to be in your town, and then waits around hoping that they will want to see him.  Which may be giving Rob (and his other sons) that their visits are not actually important to your DH... because if they were then your DH would be doing something other than just sitting by the phone...  :-\  (Actions speak louder than words, afterall...)

I think that your DH needs to be proactive and actually take the initiative to contact Rob and make plans to get together, if spending time with Rob is something that is really important to your DH.  Then, if Rob continues to blow off your DH... well, there you go... but at least you will know that you made every effort....

Yes, we do invite Rob and Michelle here. It's pretty much the same pattern: We cannot get a commitment from Rob about whether they will be here. A good example happened last Thanksgiving and Christmas. At Thanksgiving, we made plans to host dinner here. DH's other two sons planned to come, all was well there. DH told all three boys what time we were serving dinner. Even as late as the day before Thanksgiving, we had no idea what Rob and Michelle were going to do. Then Rob said they would be tied up at Michelle's parents' house most of Thanksgiving day but would come by later in the afternoon. When they arrived, it was obvious that Michelle was surprised we had already served dinner. She apologized to me about missing dinner. Rob didn't say anything. I have no idea whether he was expecting us to hold dinner for them.

A few weeks before Christmas, we had tickets to see a show in BigCity for our anniversary. DH let Rob know several weeks ahead that we would be in town and hoped to get together with them for dinner that evening. Rob expressed interest. And we spent those next few weeks trying to pin Rob down. When we arrived in BigCity the day of the show, we had no idea whether we were actually going to see Rob and Michelle that evening for dinner. It wasn't until about 4 p.m. that we had confirmation from them with a meeting time for dinner and a restaurant.

For a weekend last summer, DH contacted Rob about getting together. Rob replied and told DH they were busy. Then, of all things, DH happened to run into Rob and Michelle in a restaurant in OurCity that Friday evening. Michelle was clearly mortified. Rob was apologizing all over himself. Rob texted DH later and told him that they had no idea they would run into DH at that restaurant and Michelle was very upset about the situation. I'm not sure what they expected DH to say about it.

DH's dad (Rob's grandfather) is buried in a cemetery in BigCity. Every year, we visit the cemetery for Veterans' Day. DH has asked Rob if he'd come along, and Rob always declines.

It's just how it is with Rob.

There are quite a few parallels between this thread and spookycatlady's "I didn't want to go to your stupid party anyway" thread.  DH is so desperate for Rob's attention/affection that like spookycatlady's husband, he will grab on to any piddly crumbs Rob is willing to throw his way.  And when he accepts those crumbs, he is teaching Rob that he doesn't have to make any effort, because his dad is satisfied with being an afterthought.  Heck, given the way his dad waits by the phone, he seems to LOVE being an afterthought.

You both need to set hard boundaries about which times you're available for his flyby visits.  And then you need to show some tough love with DH in terms of not letting him sit by the phone and fret. Let him know that his checking the phone, being reluctant to leave on time for commitments in case Rob calls, etc., is hurtful to you as it give you the impression that Rob's flaky attentions are more important than spending with you. Don't you two have a younger (pre-teen) son living at home?  How does DH think his fretting behavior on Father's Day affected your youngest? Take away his phone if you have to and check the messages yourself.  DH is letting Rob steal his dignity and reason by letting Rob treat him this way. 

As for the Thanksgiving incident, I think you handled it just right.  Continue to hold commitments as planned, even if it means celebrating without Rob and Michelle.  She was shocked that dinner was already served?  Well boohoo.  They don't get to have it both ways.  They can't refuse to commit to a meal time and expect to share a meal with you. 

And the restaurant coincidence?  I sincerely hope DH didn't apologize for Michelle's feelings being hurt.  They were embarrassed because they got caught "having better things to do" to visit with you. They were mortified by you having the "gall" of making them feel bad because they couldn't make time to visit you?  Boohoo again.  If you behave like an inconsiderate person, be prepared to feel like a inconsiderate person.

Stay strong, Coley.  I know this is hard.  We love you.

Coley

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2013, 11:56:12 AM »
town. That's up to him to do if it's important to him. Despite her upset and embarrassment at running into DH at that restaurant, Michelle seems to be quite content to continue as things are so she gets all the time she wants with her family. Part of the awkwardness during that accidental restaurant coincidence was that DH told them he didn't know they were going to be in town. Afterward, Michelle was apparently upset with Rob for not being more up front with DH about their plans. Regardless, we haven't seen a shift in the behavior pattern. If anything, Rob is even more secretive about their visits to town than he was before.

That sounds like Rob doesn't want to see your DH at all, but doesn't want to just come out and say so....  :-\ 

At this point... sure, make sure to keep Michelle looped in directly about plans/invitations, but also scale your expectations way down...  because no matter what you do you may never get more than the "dregs" because that is all that Rob (for whatever reasons) wants to give you.

I truly hope that isn't the problem. When he's here, he seems to be pretty content. DH isn't aware of any tension between them. It's just that Rob isn't here much. I'm concerned that (like DH) he may be trying to avoid conflict with Michelle. It may be the path of least resistance for Rob to give DH and his mother short shrift. But like I said, that's between Rob and Michelle. 

I agree that it would be best to keep Michelle in the loop from now on when we initiate plans. It may take some time to fix the problems that happen during the last-minute visits. But we maybe can be hopeful that the positive effects of keeping her in the loop when we initiate plans might carry over to their other weekend visits to OurCity.

Coley

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2013, 12:01:34 PM »
Rob sounds like a commitmentphobe. He does not want to say "we'll be there at 2," because that means he has to be there at 2, and that frightens him. What if he wanted to do something else at 2? He's trapped, TRAPPED I SAY (cue panicky laughter).

I agree with most posters, the best way of dealing with it is to say, "We plan to be out from around 1 to 4. If you want to drop by after that, great, but we have something planned in the evening at 7, so we'll not be available later." Then Rob can figure out when to show up, and not feel that he's committed to anything before he rings the doorbell.

I have to chuckle at the bolded because that's exactly how I feel about it. It's as if he's afraid to commit to us for fear something better might be happening somewhere else. I think we need a two-pronged approach. When we initiate plans with Rob and Michelle, we need to keep Michelle in the loop so she knows what's up. On the other hand, when they arrive in OurCity unexpectedly (to us), then the above is a good way to maintain our boundaries with Rob for these last-minute visits.

Coley

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2013, 12:30:33 PM »
There are quite a few parallels between this thread and spookycatlady's "I didn't want to go to your stupid party anyway" thread.  DH is so desperate for Rob's attention/affection that like spookycatlady's husband, he will grab on to any piddly crumbs Rob is willing to throw his way.  And when he accepts those crumbs, he is teaching Rob that he doesn't have to make any effort, because his dad is satisfied with being an afterthought.  Heck, given the way his dad waits by the phone, he seems to LOVE being an afterthought.

You both need to set hard boundaries about which times you're available for his flyby visits.  And then you need to show some tough love with DH in terms of not letting him sit by the phone and fret. Let him know that his checking the phone, being reluctant to leave on time for commitments in case Rob calls, etc., is hurtful to you as it give you the impression that Rob's flaky attentions are more important than spending with you. Don't you two have a younger (pre-teen) son living at home?  How does DH think his fretting behavior on Father's Day affected your youngest? Take away his phone if you have to and check the messages yourself.  DH is letting Rob steal his dignity and reason by letting Rob treat him this way. 

As for the Thanksgiving incident, I think you handled it just right.  Continue to hold commitments as planned, even if it means celebrating without Rob and Michelle.  She was shocked that dinner was already served?  Well boohoo.  They don't get to have it both ways.  They can't refuse to commit to a meal time and expect to share a meal with you. 

And the restaurant coincidence?  I sincerely hope DH didn't apologize for Michelle's feelings being hurt.  They were embarrassed because they got caught "having better things to do" to visit with you. They were mortified by you having the "gall" of making them feel bad because they couldn't make time to visit you?  Boohoo again.  If you behave like an inconsiderate person, be prepared to feel like a inconsiderate person.

Stay strong, Coley.  I know this is hard.  We love you.

Thanks, weeble.  :) You mentioned my DS (he's DH's stepson). My DS is away this week at camp, so fortunately he didn't witness yesterday's fandango. If it had been another day besides Father's Day, I might have been more vocal yesterday.

I walk a fine line on this. I am supportive of DH enforcing his boundaries, and I also am supportive of him spending time with Rob. DH is feeling frustration with Rob's behavior. That means DH is feeling his own boundaries, so I take that as a good sign of progress. He has come a long way from the early days when we were dating.

No, DH didn't apologize to Rob when Michelle was upset about the restaurant coincidence. He told Rob we'd get together another time. I thought he handled it well that day.

perpetua

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #36 on: June 17, 2013, 12:53:51 PM »
What is the relationship like between DH and Michelle (or you and Michelle)? Has there been any animosity in the past for any reason? Could Rob be staying away because he's taking Michelle's side over some past disagreement and putting his wife's feelings first, as we see often advised on these boards?

Amara

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2013, 01:15:26 PM »
What do your other stepsons think about this? Are they in contact with Rob? Do they know he does this? Obviously, they are aware of how it hurt their father because they changed their behavior.

It seems to me that Rob either despises his father and doesn't want to show it--to keep peace with Michelle or to avoid any explanations to anyone?--because his behavior strikes me as very passively angry. He is aware of his father's feelings and either doesn't care or wants to deliberately inflict pain while appearing (to others) that he is fulfilling his social obligations at least minimally. I suspect the roots of Rob's behavior go far beyond forgetfulness or even rudeness.

Minmom3

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #38 on: June 17, 2013, 01:26:07 PM »
Clipped

I think that your DH needs to be proactive and actually take the initiative to contact Rob and make plans to get together, if spending time with Rob is something that is really important to your DH.  Then, if Rob continues to blow off your DH... well, there you go... but at least you will know that you made every effort....

I LIKE this, a lot.  How about making a once a month dinner plan with Rob and his wife, either at your house or out at a restaurant.  Call them, text them, email them - but INVITE them to come have dinner together, your (you and DH) treat.  And make it a FIRM invitation, not a vague "if you're in town that evening, come on by"  Make it "How about 2 Saturdays from now, on the Xth?  Be here at 5, and we'll eat at 6."  Give it a few months to see how that changes things up.  Does it work positively to alter the existing dynamic?  Does Rob continue to blow you two off?  Then you'll have a better idea of if Rob is feeling like he has to do all the work in the relationship between him and his father because his father won't initiate anything. OR Rob really is that detached and doesn't care.  OR Rob's wife really has a lock on their social schedule, and she chooses to do things with her family and doesn't much care for Rob's father.  OR whatever.  But you'll know more because you've changed things and learned from the response.

Changing things up and experimenting has GOT to be a positive change from the status quo, right?  Nobody's happy now....
Mother to children and fuzz butts....

Coley

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #39 on: June 17, 2013, 01:27:22 PM »
What is the relationship like between DH and Michelle (or you and Michelle)? Has there been any animosity in the past for any reason? Could Rob be staying away because he's taking Michelle's side over some past disagreement and putting his wife's feelings first, as we see often advised on these boards?

To my knowledge, there hasn't been any animosity between either of us and Michelle. Honestly, I don't think we've interacted with her often enough to have anything of significance happen between us. From my experience, our meetings are pleasant and friendly. My sense is that she recognizes my presence as stepmother, but I can see that she is closer to Rob's mother as her "mother-in-law." I am "Coley," Rob's stepmom, and not so much a mother-in-law to her. I don't know whether she perceives Rob's stepfather to be more of a father-in-law than DH. That would be interesting to consider.

There was one situation that occurred when Rob and Michelle first became a serious couple two years ago. We aren't clear on what happened exactly, and we don't know if this was intentional or simply an oversight. The situation was a "meet the parents" party that took place at Michelle's parents' home. What we discovered was that an event took place where Michelle's parents met Rob's mother and her now-H. DH and I found out about it on Facebook when Michelle tagged Rob in some photos. We weren't invited. DH was very hurt. It was if he was nonexistent as Rob's father. He said nothing to Rob, and that was his choice. A few months later, we were invited to a different event at Michelle's parents' home. DH asked Rob for directions. Rob acted as if that were stupid on DH's part because, he said, DH and I had been there for the meet the parents party. We weren't. DH told him that. Rob insisted we were there. We weren't. Even Shawn, DH's middle son, had to intervene and insist to Rob that we were not at that party because we didn't know about it. Rob has never acknowledged that himself.

DH has often felt that Rob is embarrassed by him. Rob is a flashy guy who values material possessions, and DH isn't. Just to give an example, Rob and Michelle own two new luxury vehicles, while we drive a 13-year-old car and DH commutes by bike to work every day. We have never made judgments about Rob and Michelle's lifestyle, but Rob does make judgments about ours. He will ask why we drive "that car" or why we don't do X or Y activity like they do. There are times when I believe he is being disrespectful to DH. An ongoing concern that eats at me is that we aren't good enough for Rob. I haven't gotten that sense directly from Michelle, however.

SPuck

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #40 on: June 17, 2013, 01:39:12 PM »
I think Michelle is a non issue here. Even if Rob lets her run the schedule if he really wanted to initiate stuff he would tell you to contact his wife. That isn't happening. Rob is an adult who can make his own choices until either of them says "Michelle runs the schedule" all lack of contact fall on his shoulders and his shoulders alone. I think your best course of action is for your husband to only accept direct yes or no answers. Handling rejection might be easier to deal with than the build up that comes with waiting.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2013, 02:05:14 PM by SPuck »

ellebelle

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #41 on: June 17, 2013, 01:48:18 PM »
It sounds to me like Rob really doesn't want to spend time with you or your DH but just doesn't want to come out and say it. I will say having been in a position where there was pressure to visit my father even though I didn't want to it is a really hard place to be. I put on a good show while I was visiting, but I did try to avoid it. It was miserable for me. OP, from what you have updated, it seams that Rob and Michelle are closer to his mom and Step-dad. Even though in my head I understand that the mature thing to do would be to tell your father you didn't really want to spend time with him, that is much easier said than done. I can't tell you the amount of judgement people get when they dare express that they don't want to spend time with a parent.

I'm not saying that you DH had done anything wrong, but there may be some discomfort on Rob's side that he doesn't know how to express or feels that he will be attacked for his perception.

How long has it been since his parent's divorce? Who did he live with? Is he the oldest? Just because his brothers were able to shift their actions doesn't mean that Rob feels the same way they do, He may be too lazy to commit or might have other feelings that are in the way.
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Coley

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #42 on: June 17, 2013, 01:49:13 PM »
What do your other stepsons think about this? Are they in contact with Rob? Do they know he does this? Obviously, they are aware of how it hurt their father because they changed their behavior.

It seems to me that Rob either despises his father and doesn't want to show it--to keep peace with Michelle or to avoid any explanations to anyone?--because his behavior strikes me as very passively angry. He is aware of his father's feelings and either doesn't care or wants to deliberately inflict pain while appearing (to others) that he is fulfilling his social obligations at least minimally. I suspect the roots of Rob's behavior go far beyond forgetfulness or even rudeness.

You may be onto something, Amara. Rob is the oldest son. Shawn is the middle son, and Joe is the youngest of the three. Both Shawn and Joe feel somewhat estranged from Rob. We hear from both of them about difficulties they're experiencing with Rob. Rob can be pushy and aggressive. He tends to act as if other people should live their lives the way he thinks is best. Joe doesn't like the way Rob picks at Shawn. Rob perceives Shawn to be an underachiever who is lazy. In reality, Shawn is a bit of a late bloomer, but he's getting his act together. Rob harping on Shawn won't help Shawn bloom any earlier. They're both adults, and again, Rob is being disrespectful toward Shawn. Shawn doesn't like how Rob treats him. Joe also is frustrated by Rob and Michelle's extravagant lifestyle. He is painfully aware that Rob looks down his nose at us, and he doesn't like it. DH's role between the three boys is to encourage Rob to let Shawn be his own man and to be supportive of Shawn's progress toward his goals. DH also encourages Joe to let Rob be Rob as far as Rob's lifestyle is concerned.

My experience of Rob is superficial. I have told DH that I feel much closer to Shawn, Joe, Michelle, and Joe's girlfriend Beth than I do Rob. I don't feel like I "know" him as a person the way I know the other kids. DH feels similarly. Like I've said, our interactions when we're together with Rob are pleasant enough. There isn't any visible animosity when we're together. I do suspect there probably are some things simmering below the surface. DH is worried that there may be some post-divorce stuff that Rob is hanging onto, but he's not sure. Shawn and Joe seem to have moved on from that. (The divorce occurred in 2000. Shawn and Joe were in junior high and high school; Rob was in college.) As I write all of this, I'm considering the possibility that there's more going on even with DH tip-toeing around Rob than I may have thought previously.

For Mother's Day, Joe gave me a card. It was the first year he'd done that. He wrote a beautiful note about what I mean to him, and signed it "love you." I cried when I read it, it was so sweet and thoughtful. 

Coley

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #43 on: June 17, 2013, 01:50:25 PM »
I think Michelle is a non issue here. Even if Rob lets her run the schedule if he really wanted to initiate stuff he would tell you to contact his wife. That isn't happening. Rob is an adult who can make his own choices until either of them says "Michelle runs the schedule" all lack of contact fall on his shoulders and his shoulders alone I think your best course of action is for your husband to only accept direct yes or no answers. I think that handling a rejection might be   easier to handle then letting your husband deal with the emotions that come from waiting.

This is a very good point. He struggles emotionally with the waiting, and it is painful to watch.

ellebelle

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Re: Will you be around this afternoon?
« Reply #44 on: June 17, 2013, 01:58:22 PM »
DH is worried that there may be some post-divorce stuff that Rob is hanging onto, but he's not sure. Shawn and Joe seem to have moved on from that. (The divorce occurred in 2000. Shawn and Joe were in junior high and high school; Rob was in college.) As I write all of this, I'm considering the possibility that there's more going on

Although I worded it poorly, this is what I wondered. Just because his younger brothers "moved passed" the divorce does not mean that Rob has (or should in the same way).

Since Rob is older, do you think he thinks negatively of your DH because of the Divorce? What was there relationship like before the divorce?
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