Giant leap backwards for him... don't know if to be angry or sympathetic...

(37 Posts)
Madelinesnotapumpkinanymore Fri 02-Nov-12 16:47:33

I need a bit of a rant and I'm sorry but I think it's going to be long... So as you know, DH decided that the "dating" scenario he had with his DD on a weekly basis was all bollocks after taking her to Paris and her then not wanting to see him at all.
He told her that if she wanted to see him then he would be very happy but that he had to have a family life with my DD and I and couldn’t wait around then drop everything at her whim. He has been texting her on a weekly basis telling her what he/ us are up to each week/weekend and letting her know that she is welcome to choose to be a part of it. Sometimes it’s visiting family, sometimes it’s sitting in with TV and pizza, sometimes it’s a trip to the park etc, etc. Not always with my DD and I but it often is. He says he loves her and hopes she's well.
Every week he either gets no response, or a response saying something like "I'm spending time with Mum" or "It's my friend's birthday". He's been really strong and recently said to me that he had realised he had to snap out of his depression about it all and enjoy all the things he does have in his life. He's been really good and things have been getting back on track. We’ve started making some family traditions/ routines of our own and the improvement in my DD who had been incredibly down about the whole thing has been noticeable. One of our routines is going for an early dinner and “wine o’clock” at the local pub at 4pm on a Friday as that is when he clocks off. We’ve been playing snap/ pairs etc. and then coming home and reading a book together before DD has her bath and bed.
Soooo… today I took DD out for soft play and lunch with two of her little friends and I had coffee with the Mum. DH is off work so I felt like I should have arranged something he could be involved in but the Mum wanted to talk about her recent separation so I couldn’t really, and I did explain that to him.

He made an appointment that he needed to have with the bank for 1pm and we planned to all be back here to have our Friday dinner routine as normal. Then he text me (after he’d got back home from the bank – a 20 minutes trip from town on foot – I had the car) saying he was going back out in to town because his DD had asked to meet him there. He said he’d spend a few hours with her and be back for dinner (don’t know what time he was thinking but by this point it was already 2.30pm so def not back for 4pm) he said he had invited DSD out for dinner with us but she didn’t want to come. I was immediately furious – this sets us back by months! Him jumping as is her whim (she was given all options to see him back on Tuesday and didn’t respond) spending “alone time” with her, PLUS reneging on our plans in favour of seeing DSD. I was getting all angry then he text about half an hour later saying as he was leaving she text to ask him to bring all the clothes that are still at our house. He said he was sad that he was only getting to see her because she had an ulterior motive. Now rather than angry… I feel so sad for him. He’s been doing so well and now we’re right back where we started. I feel disappointed, useless, futile, sad… and also a bit angry. I text him and said although I realised it would never be the same as having his own DD - My DD and I were really looking forward to our Friday night dinner and that we love to spend time with him and he is dearly loved. I’ve had no response and now DD and I are sat wondering what’s happening (well, she seems quite happy watching TV but you know what I mean!) I’m furious with DSD!!! Has she no idea how heartbreaking it must have been for him to have to go in to her room and bag up all of her clothes after not seeing her for about 7 weeks then take them to her in town and walk back alone… it’s a fucking joke how cold she is. I actually don’t think she has a human heart. Part of me wants to tell him how disappointed I am in his behaviour, the other half wants to hug him and hug him. What should I do?

Madelinesnotapumpkinanymore Fri 02-Nov-12 21:34:10

Thanks Mybe - it'sa unny thing. I am protective towards him, but the scond he is negative or angry towards DSD, I'm the first oerson to come to her defence about how it's not her fault, she's a child etc etc... it must be totally confusing for the poor man!! He deals with it well outwardlybut has become very withdrawn and shows a lot of symptoms of depression.

maybenow Fri 02-Nov-12 21:22:34

It's totally understandable that you'd want to protect your DH from this, but unfortunately you can't. sad

maybenow Fri 02-Nov-12 21:21:31

she's 13 - it's a horrible age, and she's clearly quite damaged. Not all children of 'broken homes' suffer such damage, but some do, it's not fair to compare.

all you can do is keep the door open for her if she decides to come back when she has matured a bit.

Is your dh as upset as you are about how she treats him, if he's able to deal a bit better with her coldness then that's good, she might come round. It doesn't sound like her mum's helping, whereas you and your DD's SM obviously have a good relationship.

Madelinesnotapumpkinanymore Fri 02-Nov-12 21:17:48

Absolutely Allnew - and believe it or not, it has been me all the way through encouraging him to keep up the advised text message even when he has been in the "anger" stage of the grief cycle and telling him how he will regret it if he lets his temper get the better of him and stop reaching out to his DSD. Don't know why i bother.

allnewtaketwo Fri 02-Nov-12 21:14:18

No doubt if OP had said that her DH doesn't invite his daughter over then that would also be wrong

Madelinesnotapumpkinanymore Fri 02-Nov-12 21:12:51

She doesnt need an invite - she has a key! She is told weekly that she is welcome to come here whenever she pleases. Because DH knows she is worried about so many things, he gives her a warning as to what activities and presence to expect on any given day so she can opt in, or out, of what ever she likes.

Madelinesnotapumpkinanymore Fri 02-Nov-12 21:09:55

My DD isn't perfect - who is?! But what i am trying to say is that although the excuse for DSD's horrible behavious is always that she is "from a broken home" - my DD (as many other people's children are) is quite able to function as compassionate human being without constantly punishing and testing those around them. It's incredibly sad, don't you think..? Being a child, it's not DSD's fault - but it is the case. However you dress it up.

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE outside intervention. DH has been trying to get it for DSD since he and Mum split up back when she had just turned 8. But Mum has always resisted. His big regret is that he didn't go to court or doctors before DSD reached "gillick competency" to ensure that DSD received help, but he only seemed to gain insight in to what was happening when it was too late. Mum refuses any counselling or input from anyone else. Despite the fact that DSD is rapidly going of the rails. I see no excuse for that.

brdgrl Fri 02-Nov-12 21:06:52

you have to stop comparing your perfect DD to your DSD though as that is a really horrible attitude.

Lunar, you're projecting. The DSD is acting and has been acting like a pretty vile human being...among other things, by cutting off all contact with the DD, her sister. OP hasn't put forth the view that her DD is 'perfect'...but she's certainly entitled to note the fact that her DD is also a child of a 'broken home' and not given the same latitude and allowed the same appalling behaviours.

allnewtaketwo Fri 02-Nov-12 21:01:50

But if the NRP doesn't extend an invite, and the child doesn't come voluntarily, then what??

lunar1 Fri 02-Nov-12 20:57:41

taketwo, no i meant that a child shouldnt need an invitation so see their parent.

Madeline, I am not really sure if i should reply or not as you are obviously just letting off steam and need a place to vent. Just as i am sure you are not a complete inept, unfeeling, child hating, man stealing whore, I am also sure there must be more to your DH's dd than a cold girl without a human heart.

She sounds like a girl being pulled apart by the adults in her life. It really sounds like you need outside intervention and i really feel sorry for all of you in this situation. you have to stop comparing your perfect DD to your DSD though as that is a really horrible attitude.

Madelinesnotapumpkinanymore Fri 02-Nov-12 20:57:33

Sorry - that's five days isn't it! Obviously it was half term so it isn't always that much. But the previous weekend it had been: tea/dinner with all of us on Friday night at 4pm, lunch with all of us and my sister and her son (previously very close to DSD) on saturday, Dad free all day for her on Sunday, alone. She didn't even respond.

Sorry - in answer to questions: She is 13. And the paris trip was a weekend that DH took DSD and her best friend on in place of a week that he and I had planned to take her and her BFF on but I renegged because DSD said she wasn't ready to see me and said she was very angry at both DH and I still, so as the holiday was due to be spent with my aunt at her house, I decided it was too awkward and so DH organised a holiday at the exclusion of me. After the holiday, DSD started to ignore his texts etc. and he hasn;t seen her since until today (it was in Oct)

Madelinesnotapumpkinanymore Fri 02-Nov-12 20:47:16

As I say, it is always done through him (not me, or "we") and every week she has a full itenerary of our plans including things we are doing together, and things that he is doing) less so things he is doing alone as we are a family and given that he works around 60 hours a week his free time is limited. But she does have those options. For example this week he was on annual leave for half term:
Mon & Tues - he and I had a rare break away
Weds - he was free all day for her
Thurs - I had a house full of kids (childminder) she was invited to spend the day with him and all of us, or to be his excuse to avoid the house full of kids and they would do their own thing
Fri - He was free until lunchtime, alone. Then at 4pm we would all be having tea and games at the local gastro pub thing.

Free all weekend.

So basically she had three days, yet she picked the only time for the whole week (half term) that he hadn't mentioned (i.e. after lunch until 4pm tonight, and encroatching on the 4pm plan) to want to see him. And only really because she wanted him to bring her her clothes. Now... I'm not stupid. She is testing him to see how far he will "^choose^" her over all his other commitments. But why it's hardly like he doesnt make time for her!!! confused

NotaDisneyMum Fri 02-Nov-12 20:35:58

lunar What if the DC is not given the chance to see her NRP due to the action of the RP?

What if the RP tells the DC that she is only permitted to see her Dad if he fulfils specific demands that in no way benefit the DC?

Madelinesnotapumpkinanymore Fri 02-Nov-12 20:35:32

thanks all. I'm sorry - I can understand that without the backstory it's hard to cast judgement fairly but when I need support, I kind of need it instantly and this has been going on for so long I struggle to include every detail.

I had hoped that eluding to the backstory, and giving the detail that I had, women wouldn't jump on here desperate to berate me, but rather offer support.

The one-text-a-week "parenting" is a result of DSD refusing all attempts at actual parenting (backed by her mother) since December last year. Despite DSD staying with us 4 nights out of 7 for four years quite happily, she decided that her Mum was a better option after much emotion blackmail and "alienation" of her Dad. There is nothing else he can do and so despite complete rejection he keeps to a weekly text which breaks his heart because despite it being easier to give up altogether, the professional advice is to keep in contact, without being overbearing or demanding and asking DSD to be (in her mind) "disloyal" to her mother.

Anyway, moving away from "justifying myself" (if a everyone could assume for a moment that a fellow woman isn't a complete inept, unfeeling, child hating, man stealing whore, but a normal human looking for a way to keep everyone whom they love happy without compromising their own sanity) the update is:

He came home at about 5.30 feeling really sad. I tried to talk to him sensibly but burst out in tears sniffling and blubbing something about how I couldn’t bear to think of him alone putting all her clothes in to bags and dropping them off with her in town etc. blush he just kind of shrugged and said he didn’t really care about that but was more concerned that when he asked if she was sure she didn’t want to join us for dinner she said she had to get home to help Mum care for baby brother as her fiancé was out for the night. Mum doesn’t like to be alone with baby because he is so demanding… hmm
This does show that despite the school telling Mum that DSD shouldn’t be alone on the train after dark and if there is a childcare issue (there isn’t) that they would make arrangements for her to wait at school until an adult could collect her because of her previous exclusion due to bad behaviour on the train home after dark (7.30pm) - she is still clearly getting a train regularly after dark. DH left her at the train station at 5.10pm with a 20 minute train ride and 20 minute walk ahead of her (she refused a lift).
We went to the pub for dinner and played snap etc, had a lovely time and he seemed in good spirits. DD was on good form. She is such a wonderful child. I understand that people will think that I am seeing only good in DD, and bad in DSD but remember – DD is the child of a broken home also, yet manages to behave in a compassionate way toward her fellow human.
Who knows what will happen next. I did tell him that it feels like we’ve gone backwards by months in terms of DSD being asked if she wants to join in with his life – then rejecting all invites and giving him an alternative (i.e. no, meet me in town instead, alone, and bring my clothes) and he seemed like the thought hadn’t even crossed his mind. I feel like I want to just give up. I have to explain everything to him. Oh to be so unaware… I would LOVE to have a mind like that.
Meanwhile, I’m getting texts from my DD’s SM who has found some kind of book called “all about me” that DD has filled in at their house with various gems that SM is sharing with me and we’re having a good giggle about it. I am so grateful that she is in DD’s life when I am not there and so sad that DSD’s Mum could never feel that way about me.

allnewtaketwo Fri 02-Nov-12 20:26:29

Lunar you don't think an NRP should invite their child to spend time with them? And what if the child never visits voluntarily? NRP should just give up? That seems to be what you're suggesting, that the father was wrong to invite her over?

lunar1 Fri 02-Nov-12 20:24:25

I think it's the phrasing in this thread that I find upsetting, 'invited to spend time with dad and step mum' she is his daughter, she is entitled to spend time with her dad, she shouldn't need an invitation.

He should arrange to see her just the two of them, if she turns it down then fair enough but she should have the chance to make plans with her dad herself

theredhen Fri 02-Nov-12 20:17:11

Lunar, she's invited to spend time with her dad and step mum. She chooses not to. I'm sure op and her partner invite her to do things she would enjoy and some things she might not.

There are some awful step parents out there and some pretty useless parents but if you read the post, this man is trying to include his daughter as part of his life. Isn't that what any parent should do? I include my child in my life which sometimes means he has fun times, sometimes he has boring times. Isn't that normal? This girl is obviously suffering and having a hard time and the way to deal with it is not to pander to her demands but to continue to welcome her but to show her their are boundaries.

The only difference is in a step family, the kids get to opt out (and sometimes the parents opt out too) if both parents aren't parenting from the same page.

brdgrl Fri 02-Nov-12 19:22:51

madeline, maybe it isn't a step backwards, though. If anything, it might be a good illustration to him of how necessary the changes you have all been making really are.

brdgrl Fri 02-Nov-12 19:20:40

lunar, I appreciate that you want to post on the content of this one post alone, but actually, given the past events in this case, you're way off base.

allnewtaketwo Fri 02-Nov-12 19:10:05

As someone who has read the back story, this particular child has in no way been treated as a 2nd class anything

lunar1 Fri 02-Nov-12 19:07:13

i did say id not read the back story, i read threads from active topics. I remember being a second class step child full of hormones though, i remember wishing i was dead rather than living my life. no matter what the politics between the parents, a text to say what the new family are doing once a week is shit parenting.

theredhen Fri 02-Nov-12 19:03:45

He texts every week asking to see her, she refuses.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 02-Nov-12 19:01:00

lunar The OPs DP is being actively undermined by his DDs mum - huge backstory that the OP has alluded to in her post.

lunar1 Fri 02-Nov-12 18:54:42

Which parent is being undermined, am on my phone so may have missed something

lunar1 Fri 02-Nov-12 18:52:22

Wow lucky girl, a text every week, is that really the standard we hold dads to!

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