My Husband Changes When His Son Is Here

Father and Son

My husband and I have a very strong and loving relationship. We spend a lot of time together and rarely argue. When his 11 year old son comes to stay on his contact weekend my husband seems to change into this different guy. He sometimes doesn’t even notice that I am there and everything we do is centred around his son. If I suggest going out he will normally say that he will ask his son and see what he says. If we are cooking a meal it’s usually what his son wants and I don’t even get asked. It makes me feel invisible and quite stressed at how I am being treated. His son is polite and has excellent manners. It just seems my husband becomes this man that I don’t know. HELP PLEASE…

~ Anonymous

I’m sorry to hear that you feel invisible in your own home. The change in your husband when your step son comes to visit could be down to parent guilt. Parents often feel guilty because of the biological parents splitting up. They can tend to overcompensate to make up for the parents’ separation.

The fact that you and your husband are very close and have such a strong relationship is wonderful. He may not even be aware that he is doing this or that it’s causing you to feel like you do.

I think you should sit down with your husband and explain to him your feelings. Make him aware that there are 3 people in the house when his son comes to stay and you are his stepmum who needs to be involved and recognised as a parent.

He may well be horrified to learn how his actions make you feel and just to include you in making decisions when his son stays and discussing going out or what to eat could help you all as a family unit. Maybe you could get more involved in discussing with your stepson about where you would all like to go out or maybe a board game you all want to play, so you become the stepmum in your home and not be made to feel like you are just part of the furniture until your stepson goes home and your husband returns to you. I hope this helps and I wish you and your family well for the future.

If you have a question you’d like Martin to help with email him submissions@stepparentmagazine.com

Martin Lock

Martin is a certified Stepparent Coach and a stepdad of over 20 years. His passion is using his experience to help and advise stepparents as they navigate the challenges of life as a blended family, including dealing with toxic exes, establishing boundaries and house rules, improving communication with partners and children, and the importance of self-care. He also runs the Facebook stepparent support group The Step Parent Family.