DH's dd, 16, won't see him, but keeps asking for money

(75 Posts)
dirtyface Tue 24-Sep-13 11:13:35

back story: when DH split with XW, his exW made it very difficult for him to see DSD who was 10 at the time. every time he tried to get in touch, he was told DSD did not want to see him, and to get out of their lives etc, that it would just upset DSD him being in touch. so DH backed off a bit but still sent occasional emails, plus birthday / xmas presents but never heard anything back, other than the very occasional message telling him to fuck off etc. and of course he has been paying XW a decent amount of maintenance the whole time as well.
we have been married 3 years, have a DD together who is four, and we are expecting another DC in april. DSD has never met DD
also, i will be straight with you all here, i know i risk a flaming as OWs are hated on here. but i was the OW. if it makes any difference, it was only for about a month and then DH left his XW. i regret every day how we got together, its not an excuse but i was young and immature and if i was in the same position i would never go near a married man. but at the same time it was not just a fling, we actually fell in love, and we are still really happy together and still very much in love.

after all this time, DSD finally got in touch with DH about a year ago, a short email just asking for some money, he was really happy that she had got in touch and replied straight away saying yes of course, asking how she was etc. he got no reply back. so he put the money in her account anyway.

this is happening every couple of weeks now, the emails are short and abrupt, and not very polite, no please / thank you etc. we cant really afford it. but we dont want to NOT give her the money in case she stops being in contact, and in case it gives her more fuel to hate dh. the last few months, each time she has emailed, dh has asked to meet her, to take her shopping or for lunch so he can give her the money, and she has just ignored the question. she works btw.

we feel like she is just using us for money, DH really wants to try to rebuild the relationship with her, and i would love to have her in our lives, no matter what. i am also worried as at some point he will need to tell her that we are having another baby, and that will go down like a lead balloon i am sure sad

dirtyface Tue 24-Sep-13 15:48:03

I always think its incredibly unfair (although possibly understandable) that a parent who has been cheated on is never held accountable for burdening their DC with the knowledge that one of their parents cheated

yep totally agree with that.

and yes dumpylump DH asks DSD to meet up etc, every time he emails her. but she just then doesn't respond either way. and yes he asks to meet just the 2 of them, he would not expect her to meet us / our dcs until if and when she is ready.

thats a good idea re the allowance as well, i will suggest it to him

holidaysarenice Tue 24-Sep-13 15:52:01

Leaving aside being the ow I would handle it like this.

Dd now u are 16, presumably off to college etc, ur maintenance is x per month paid to ur mum. We will review that and a percentage paid to you. When u go to uni, all can be paid to you and u can sort with ur mum if there is some kind of split.

If she is working and not going to uni, maintenance will have stopped then I wud say no further money unless she is asking for a reason such as exam fees,driving, courses etc to better her prospects. If its nights out etc then no, she needs to learn to live within her means.

brdgrl Tue 24-Sep-13 16:35:26

My DSCs (and DD is about to start on same system) receive two 'bits' of pocket money. One of these is a fixed amount which just lets them buy a snack after school or go to the cinema once in a while. The other is a bit that is linked to their cooperation in doing chores around the house.

To look at this from another persepctive - I'd never give my own teen (not sure exactly how old your dsd is) any money if she was being surly and uncooperative around the house. I'd make sure she had food and bus fares and her basic needs met, and possibly I would consider funding or contributing towards an organised activity or hobby.

But I would never give a child who refused to speak civilly or participate in family life, extra financial reward. Whether she lived with me or not, or what the other circumstances were. I think your DH should be working on rebuilding the relationship, yes, but I don't think money should enter into it at this point. Seriously, it is not doing her any favours.

AmberLeaf Tue 24-Sep-13 16:36:40

I always think its incredibly unfair (although possibly understandable) that a parent who has been cheated on is never held accountable for burdening their DC with the knowledge that one of their parents cheated

It isn't always a case of them being told by the cheated on parent, depending on the age of the children they may get an inkling, also they may suddenly have a sibling born 6 months after their parents marriage ends...they do put two and two together sometimes.

On the other hand, if the children aren't aware that one parent caused the break up, often they blame the one who didn't leave, so it can be difficult and isn't black and white.

I do agree this mother appears to have behaved badly, but I still think the OPs DH could have done more.

brdgrl Tue 24-Sep-13 16:53:18

See, this is one of those things I find really frustrating. (And I should say that I am not in the situation myself, so have no personal interest in it, IYSWIM!)
There are so many threads where people talk about children who don't want to see the NR parent, and generally, there seems to be an attitude of "well, if they don't want to, they shouldn't be made to" as well as an attitude by the NR parent of "well, there's not much I can do, can't force them or they will end up hating me".
But then you see the corollary of this, which is kids who are understandably bitter and upset because they haven't had enough contact with a parent. And then the attitude often is that the NR parent should have tried harder, fought more, etc.
Which I actually do agree with, although I admittedly have no idea what that would be like, and am sure it is far easier said than done! But I think BOTH parents have an obligation to make sure that the child has regular contact with a (fit) NR parent, even when that goes against the wishes of the child.
Without regular contact, there is no opportunity for a new relationship to develop. The OP's DH can fight for his daughter now, as he should have before perhaps, by not giving in to blackmail and not endorsing her decision to avoid him.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 24-Sep-13 17:30:37

The OP's DH can fight for his daughter now, as he should have before perhaps, by not giving in to blackmail and not endorsing her decision to avoid him

I agree - as some if you know, my DP and I have lived through this and I am convinced that it was DPs determination to continue to parent his DD - despite her attempts at manipulation and her mums (apparently well meaning) suggestions that DP should back off - that is responsible for the close relationship we (as a couple) have with her now.

It's all so predictable. Mum, smarting from a perceived or real wrongdoing openly or inadvertantly displays her feelings about Dad, DCs feel split loyalties and begin to reject the parent for whom they don't feel emotionally responsible, Dad seeks Mums help to re-establish relationship, Mum (feeling guilty about her previous behaviour and not wanting to upset DC further) advises Dad to give it time and not force the issue and a week becomes a month becomes a year.

NRP should never absolve themselves of responsibility for parenting their DCs, IMO, even if those DCs refuse to have contact. If you wouldn't accept the behaviour in a together family, why is it acceptable because parents are apart?

AmberLeaf Tue 24-Sep-13 17:38:00

I agree with that to an extent.

I have known of a small number of parents who have not encouraged contact after the slightest hitch because it suits their own agenda [typically wanting nothing to do with their EX]

Sadly, in those cases there were NRPs who just accepts it and didn't make the effort.

At one time and for a short while, my eldest child had a difficult relationship with his Dad, if Id gone along with it he [my son] would probably have cut contact, but I saw it as right that I encouraged contact so they could sort the issues out, which they did.

Someone I know said 'I can't make her go if she doesn't want to' well actually yes you can if it is for the best in the long run and no issues of abuse etc. Bit like a school refusing child, you have to make them go, as it is better in the long run, though it is hard at the time, it still has to be done.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 24-Sep-13 17:47:25

Someone I know said 'I can't make her go if she doesn't want to'

This always makes me hmm, because I've only ever heard it said by mums who go loopy at the slightest transgression by their DC over other things; mobile confiscated for wearing makeup to school, grounded for backchat but when the DC says they don't want to see Dad, you hear its OK darling you don't have to if you don't want to

It was even more blatant in DSD case; Mum would happily allow her to opt out of a contact visit to Dad, but then would threaten her with all sorts of penalties when DSD tried to refuse to go to Greandmas while mum was working confused
If it wasn't so tragic, it would be funny sad

louby44 Tue 24-Sep-13 18:06:18

I wouldn't give any money at all. It's guilt money. You can't buy forgiveness and you're failing her again by giving money!

charitymum Tue 24-Sep-13 21:05:26

Just wanted to say you sound like a lovely person. You made mistake in being the OW - not great - and your DH should have left rather than start an affair. And yes he probably should have used the courts but hindsight is a wonderful thing and it sounds like he is keen to do the right things now.

I never fail to be amazed that so many people are intolerant of others mistakes and actions. Sheesh half your posts acknowledge your mistakes - you seem self aware, considerate and sorry for things you shouldn't have done. Pretty crap that you are being judged IMO (and I say that having lives through DP having other woman and my DDs having a step mum).

Re the money I agree with the poster who suggested formalising a financial allowance for DSD as she is now 16. And then separately - not linked to money - taking her out and trying to build a relationship recognising that she is, reasonably, going to still be cross at him.

Good luck

Stepmooster Wed 25-Sep-13 02:58:13

Going down the courts route is such a difficult decision to make.

In our case, DH ex discusses everything with DSS and then he gets worked up and stressed out at the thought of his parents in court again, so DH backs off and we jump to the ex's tune.

If the ex has emotionally burdened her daughter with her feeliings post affair, how will the DSD have felt at age 10/11 with her parents going to court?

You hope both parents are able to keep the arguments away from their children but if one party deliberately involves the child as a pawn then they will continue to be affected.

Hindsight is wonderful but I'm sure yur DH made what he thought was right decision.

I have also sat in a solicitors office and been warned that even if DH got a court order, it is relatively easy for RP's to break them with little consequence.

Then there is the chance that the court may decide regular contact is not in best interests of the child.

So unless you have the money and emotional energy to continue fighting through the courts I can understand why some father's back off.

It could take a year or two, by which time child and NRP become like strangers and things may never be as they were.

I do think its very easy for some to trot out the 'take your ex to court' line but its not always as simple as it seems. I do doubt half the people who say it have actually taken the other parent to court and are being a bit too niaive and idealistic.

Perhaps your DH should write a heartfelt letter, stating why he backed off, leave the door open for future contact. However he may have to get used to the fact that DSD may never want contact.

Kaluki Wed 25-Sep-13 11:49:23

I do agree with the others that he should have fought to see her. DP's ex told DP to stay away when they split, she said that the kids didn't want to see him again because OM was their dad now shock but he never gave up. He took her to court and got a contact order and his dc have never once told him they don't want to see him, they adore him and I'm sure one day they will be grateful that he didn't do as their Mum wanted and walk away.
But that's in the past and you can't change it, nor can you change the fact that in her mind he had an affair with you and left her.
I think you need to detach and accept that you and your dc may not ever know this girl and leave your DP to try and forge some kind of relationship, which shouldn't involve giving in to ridiculous demands for money.

Tonandfeather Thu 26-Sep-13 03:56:09

How much money has he been paying in Child support since he left and how did he do that?

Also, as of this year, all 16 year-olds have to be in Education or Training in Y12, so what do you mean she is working? She cannot be working full-time and is therefore still dependent on her parents.

In my opinion, your motives are very confusing. In your original post you said you couldn't afford to give your stepdaughter money and yet you imply that you wouldn't begrudge it if she gave your husband a relationship with her in exchange. That money if given should be offered freely without conditions attached. He is not entitled to a relationship with her whereas she is entitled to his financial support.

I also fail to follow your argument that men are criticised for leaving relationships while women are not. That is not the situation here.

Your husband left his child behind after having an affair with another woman- and then went on to have a new family with that woman which he is adding to, despite apparently not being able to afford to give his daughter money.

If a mother left her child behind after having an affair with another man, went on to have more children and complained about giving her first child money having not seen her for years, she would be roasted on a spit.

I just don't accept either that your husband thought he was doing the best thing by his child by not going to court. Yet again, if a mother advanced this as a reason for her failure to act, she would attract no sympathy.

Your thinking needs to be a great deal clearer in my view before attempting a relationship with your step-daughter.

Tonandfeather Thu 26-Sep-13 04:08:02

The other thing I would add is that there appears to be an assumption that your step-daughter's apparent animosity towards her father has been entirely engineered by her mother. From 10-16 it is equally possible that she had her own views about her father's behaviour and because he didn't do all he could to forge a relationship with her in this period, she has been prevented from talking this out with him.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Thu 26-Sep-13 06:47:32

I just don't accept either that your husband thought he was doing the best thing by his child by not going to court. Yet again, if a mother advanced this as a reason for her failure to act, she would attract no sympathy.

That depends on her reasoning. I have seen several MN threads, and know of situations in real life, in which Mum has stopped fighting for her DCs due to the impact the continuing conflict has on the DCs. I've even considered it myself - and I can assure you that I was met with sympathy and concern - which is rarely extended to fathers in the same position.

dirtyface Thu 26-Sep-13 10:23:01

hello all

thanks for all the responses, i have stayed away a couple of days to gather my thoughts

TBH all of this is making me seriously question DH

i have been defending him and in his corner for years, and believed everything he said about thinking it was best for his dd etc...but all of this is making me wonder whether he is indeed just a cunt who actually doesnt care about his daughter for not going to court etc and maybe he didnt fight hard enough

he might be a "good dad" to OUR dcs but maybe he isnt really a good dad, or a good person

i truly hate myself for the affair, and i dont think i will ever forgive myself. i feel like i deserve bad things to happen to me. i feel like i dont deserve to be happy. so i am now seriously considering ending things with DH. i really do love him but i don't love the way he has handled things with his dd. and i dont think i can be with a person who has done (or not done) the things he has

sad

Enb76 Thu 26-Sep-13 10:40:57

Seriously? Look, your DP is probably an absolutely ok bloke. I'm not condoning him having an affair but if everything had been rosy in his previous relationship you wouldn't have had a look in anyway. Shit happens, people make mistakes, he's trying to make amends, don't let a bunch of women who are not in your position, and have their judgey pants hoiked so far up themselves they struggle to breathe, make you doubt either yourself, or your husband. Lots of second marriages are far better than the original marriage.

Don't hate yourself for the affair and don't hate him either - this is not a perfect world and no-one in it is perfect either. There has been plenty of good advice on here if you sift out the voices of the embittered and or preachy.

elliebellys Thu 26-Sep-13 11:14:41

Dirtyface whats done is done it cant be changed.your dh for whatever his reasonschose to walk away. From his daughter,things with her arnt suddenly going to be all rosy,uv both got to accept that..all hecan do is carry on tryin to openup communication with her maybe in time she might open up more who knows.work at your relationship with dh,dont give up.

AmberLeaf Thu 26-Sep-13 11:31:20

Hi OP

He may not be a cunt, but maybe he just took what was the easiest route at the time? facing your mistakes is hard.

I'm not defending his actions, because I do think they were the wrong ones. But sometimes people do the wrong things out of selfishness rather than because they are evil/a cunt, although the outcome of such actions is the same regardless of the intent.

He needs to put things right, or at least try to however difficult that may be.

I would like to say that I admire your honesty on this thread.

Did you want people to berate you though? do you feel like you deserve it?

Kaluki Thu 26-Sep-13 11:35:05

It's a bit late now to be questioning your DHs abilities as a father!
You were with him when he decided to walk away so you must have played your part in that decision!
Leaving him now is a case if shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted!!!

TheAwfulDaughter Thu 26-Sep-13 11:44:15

Bit late really to come the assumption that he probably isn't a nice person.

If he cared about his DD, and your financial security- he would have gone to court, got visitation and paid his 15% through the CSA. This would have continued a relationship with his daughter and assured that your family wouldn't be left worse off whilst supporting his daughters upbringing.

He probably realises now he has been a complete shit hence the money throwing. And she's probably rightfully angry that her dad fucked off and didn't fight for her and trying to recoup what she thinks is hers.

I wouldn't pin this on her mum either. At the age he left, she was probably sensible enough to add 2 and 2 together and see what happened. And I would be taking my mum's side without any bad mouthing needed.

TheAwfulDaughter Thu 26-Sep-13 11:47:19

Sorry, went off on one there.

But you doubting his abilities as his father- that can't have been that much of a revelation that a few MNs made you realise it. What is he like with your DD? Is he excited about the new baby?

sanityseeker75 Thu 26-Sep-13 13:01:43

TBH all of this is making me seriously question DH

You made a mistake and he made a mistake - it what you do now that is going to define you both and the family that you have around you, both estranged and close.

My DH had a strained relationship with my oldest DSS for years, he is nearly 18 - TBH there are times that we have argued about it and I questioned whether I wanted to stay with him over it but.....

DH and oldest DSS mom slept together as a one night stand and were stupid and didn't use anything and DSS was conceived (21 at time). They remained friends and DH was at the birth and had DSS EW from a baby.

DH (a bit of a knobhead in his younger days) met someone else when DSS was 4 and they were together for a few months and low and behold, never learned from his mistakes and she got pregnant. Now actually whilst new GF was great with DSS to start with as soon as she had DSD she started rejecting him and it caused a breakdown between her and DH's relationship as basically she started to treat DSS like a second class citizen. DH could have left her but didn't because he didn't want to be in same situation with DSD. He had placed himself in a ridiculous situation and was not mature enough to deal with the situation and was trying to (badly) juggle the needs of both children and deal with an DSS mom who (fairly) hated new GF and GF who was resentful of his past and admitted she got pregnant because was jealous of relationship with DSS and hoped that once DSD came along he wouldn't be interested. This carried on for a couple of years and GF wanted new baby and DH refused saying they were straining as is without another baby. GF got pregnant again and DH left.

Now DH and I got together when GF was pregnant (again I was young and a bit green). By the time the newest baby youngest DSS was 1 we had moved in together, had all DSC EW along with my own DS. Things ticked along with the usual fall outs and make ups between DSD and DS mom and us (not eldest DSS mom as she was always fine with me).

When DH was 12 DSS mom and him had been struggling, she went on to have 3 other children and was not coping. It resulted in us receiving a call from school advising SS and police had been called because DSS had gone to school with strangulation marks around neck. Mom was cautioned by police and DSS was placed in our care and had access to his mom. We were making plans with SS for DSS to live with us (all this was as he was just about to turn 13). One day we received a call from SS advising that DH did not have PR for DSS and mom had changed her mind and wanted him back and did not want us to see him any more. He was removed from us that day. In meantime ex GF was very bitter that DSS had moved in with us stopped access to DSD and DSS.

DH was now in situation where he was having to go to court to try and see all his kids. SS had advised that DSS refused to see them and said he wanted to live with mom and didn't want to see dad as dad said his mom was a bad mom (never did to my knowledge) sol was advising that DSS was old enough to make decision despite SS being involved and courts take his feelings in to account. He went to court for other 2 and still got EW access but didn't pursue with DSS.

He had made it clear through letters passed through family support that DSS could see him anytime and we lived 10 mins walk so he was old enough.

Again within 12 months DSS had been placed with another family member (this time nearly 14), SS did not tell us because mom and requested not and so had DSS.

At 16 DSS admitted that he loved his mom and was worried that if he saw dad or lived with dad his mom would reject him and it would make things worse at home.

He felt DH and fought for others but not for him despite him refusing help and contact several times.

Now he is nearly 18 he still gets angry sometimes although we see him now he but admits that he played a part in breakdown but mainly he only comes round he wants money( partly due to age and partly due to past).

I feel that we let him down and DH feels that he should have done more but everything was happening at once and it was handled badly by everyone.

I suppose my point is that things happen and some things we have to stand up and take responsibility for. Over years DH, ex GF and DSS mom have discussed things (at different times) and all admit blame at different points for different things. None of us can absolve our selves from the responsibility that we had or should have taken for all the kids involved in the drama that was our lives. At various time we let our kids down badly in different ways inc my DS who got caught in cross fire and went from all kids being around him to none to some again.

On the face of the story my DH should have been dumped for being spineless, not using contraception, not fighting harder and it goes on and on BUT, I love him and I know he loves me - yes he has made stupid choices and mistakes but he has also fought for them differently at different times and not enough at others but situations are never truly black and white so sometimes you have to just let go of the past and focus on the future and what you can make out of it for everyone involved.

Sorry very long but hopefully you go a bit easier on yourself and your situation as recriminations will eat away at you and not help anyone.

Tonandfeather Thu 26-Sep-13 13:59:07

I also seriously doubt it's just this issue, or this thread that is making you question your husband's character and your relationship. For you to have this many doubts, I'd guess there are other things you're noticing about him as a husband and father and you're starting to join the dots.

Have you thought about starting a thread in the relationships section?

Idespair Thu 26-Sep-13 14:22:59

I will tell you from the point of view of the step child seeing as I am one and so are my siblings.

It gets to the point where you consider your father is shit and the only thing you can get from him is money/items (because he doesn't provide love/presence).

That is the harsh truth.

I have to add that your dh should have got a court order for 50/50 access as soon as they split. A ten year old is not able to make their own decisions but if she had spent 50% of her time with him for the last six years, things would be very different now. I'm sure she feels he walked out in her as well as her mother. This can't be undone unfortunately.

Not sure whether he should continue to dish out the money to her. He has absented himself from her life for 6 years. Money won't make up for it or fix it.

Just consider if you were at work and your dh left with your child to live with another woman. You don't know where he is so you phone his mobile and he tells you your daughter is having a nice time with him and his new woman so would you please not contact them ever again. Would you seriously not go to court for access? Can you imagine not fighting to see your own primary school aged child? That's what your dh did! You can't brush it off with excuses like he didn't want to upset her. 6 years passed!

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