Date night ambush - what should we do?

(132 Posts)
Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 13:58:36

My DSD used to come on set days 50/50, she went through a stage of no contact following years of an alienation campaign by her mother, then when she started coming again it coincided with her reaching an age where a contact rota wasn't really appropriate so she comes and goes as she pleases now. Well, she's only allowed a certain number of times in a month as Mum wants to protect her CM hmm

Anyway. Wednesday night has always been our "date night" midweek, no kids. We have really long hours, stressful jobs and it is so nice to have one night a week where we can just be ourselves, not step mum/ Dad/ Mum etc. DSD usually favours coming on a weekend so even if my DD isn't here, we have one kid at least.

Now, our view was very much that this is DSD's home and she is always welcome here. That is what we told her. However, since this has been in place, she has treated it less and less like her home. She doesn't contribute anything at all and she only comes on "fun" days when she knows she'll get taken out for dinner or similar. She has told us as much.

Part of me thinks - she's his DD and it's her home and she should come when she likes. Part of me thinks - why can't his commitment to his plans with me come first, why should we drop everything for her? And why should she get the message that our plans come second to her whim?

She's 15 btw.

A big part of me wishes he wouldn't ask me my opinion and just tell her no. I could just tell him "you decide" but that would be testing him and is therefore unfair.

TheTerribleBaroness Wed 26-Mar-14 14:01:00

So she's asked to come on a Wednesday? Regularly, or as a one off?

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 14:05:24

Sorry yes! I copy an pasted and forgot to repaste the crucial paragraph!

So... she has asked if she can come tonight. This has happened quite a few times over the past few weeks and months. DH says that it is date night and we are doing something and she goes all sulky. He hates it and wishes she'd stop. I think she's testing him.

He's text me saying he's at his wits end - doesn't want her here, wants to keep to our plans, but is getting sick and tired of the constant testing and having to say no then feeling bad every time.

ElBumpo Wed 26-Mar-14 14:06:36

I am of the opinion that my DC and DSC are always welcome here, no matter what. That said, if we had a prior arrangement, I wouldn't cancel and I would expect OH not to cancel as well (except for emergencies). That's just courtesy and at 15 I'd expect her to be able to understand that (I expect my DC who are younger to understand that!).

If she is proposing a regular thing then I'd consider moving the date night if possible.

ElBumpo Wed 26-Mar-14 14:07:52

In that case I'd get DH to explain that your wednesday night arrangement is a regular thing but she is welcome any other night of the week. I'd also say she's welcome to come and let herself in but I'd rather she came on a night I was there so I could spend quality time with her.

petal02 Wed 26-Mar-14 14:12:45

I'd get DH to explain that your Wednesday night arrangement is a regular thing but she is welcome any other night of the week

I agree with this. But I wouldn't offer her the option of letting herself in when you're out. There's no point in access taking place if your DH isn't there, and also do you really want to get home from a night out to find you've got an unexpected visitor?

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 14:15:02

Elbumpo - I like that about wanting to spend quality time. That is actually a big part of it. My dd also misses her when she chooses to come on the days she isn't here.

Okay so my advice should be "Wednesday night is mine and russianfudge's date night, we have made plans so although you are welcome to come and stay, I'd rather you came on a day when we I was in so we could spend some proper time together"

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 14:17:29

The contact time is just her just ticking off the right amount of days so she is out of her mum's hair just the right amount of time to give her space but protect her CM.

She also doesn't get on with her Mum or step dad so our house is very much somewhere she comes to escape. Rather than to spend time with her dad. At least, that's how it feels to us often.

ElBumpo Wed 26-Mar-14 14:26:16

I would just get him to say he's "got plans" rather than saying it's date night. There's something about that that reads a little like he's picking you over her (which I suppose he technically is but it's nice to be tactful).

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 26-Mar-14 14:34:57

Couldn't you move your date night? It's not something vital. Especially if he is bothered about seeing her. And even if you saw her more nothing is forcing your husband to cut the maintenance (obviously if she was living with you it's a different matter). Frankly you're making the poor kid sound like an inconvenience. Your DH should be wanting to see her.

petal02 Wed 26-Mar-14 14:49:16

I suspect that even if they did move the date night, DSD would then decide she wanted to come on the 'new' night instead. And as DSD is with them most weekends, is it really too much to ask that they have a date night? Or should they run their lives to DSD's convenience?

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 26-Mar-14 14:56:23

Certainly not, but changing a non essential night isn't the end if the world on the odd occasion if they (or certainly the DH) actually wanted to spend time with the daughter he hasn't seen much of.

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 15:58:21

Petal is right. She would simply change her mind and pick whatever night we picked for our date night, and I can't change the night because it's the only night we don't have my DD.

He does dearly want to see her. But he also wants to keep plans with me, his wife. Because he knows I accommodate his DD at her every whim no matter what, and this is the one thing we agreed to hold on to. We actually had counselling a few years back and the counsellor suggested it was a very good idea. Obviously if there have been Wednesdays where she has been upset or something bad has happened at home we have let her come.

The issue is what to do over the reoccuring question I suppose. He's put her off tonight with the message below, but it's horrible every time she asks and he has to say no, he feels he is picking me over her when what he's actually doing his upholding commitments with me . Same as if I wanted to see him on a night he had plans with DSD.

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 16:01:34

onesleeptillwembley I think he wants to spend some time with his wife who he hasn't seen very much of. We both asked many times over the weekend when we would see her this week and made it quite clear we hoped to see a lot of her. She picks the one day we have plans... It is quite frustrating.

I do feel for her though, she'd like to come a lot more but Mum wouldn't allow it. DH wouldn't reduce maintenance now, unless she came to live here full time or almost full time but because he did do so once her Mum is now very strict on how many days she is allowed to come. Kind of a reverse pay-per-view... very sad.

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 26-Mar-14 16:08:51

Ok, sorry, I didn't see it was the only day without your dd. I can see your point completely now. The only problem is how she would see this 'rejection'. She's still really only a child. You're the adults here. Maybe give up the odd date night for her.

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 16:14:23

Tough one isn't it onesleep. I always end up feeling bad if we say no. Always. I feel like she should take priority because she's a child.

But then I am fairly convinced that she does it deliberately and if so, are we just setting ourselves up if we allow it to happen? I feel she needs to learn that you can't pick people up and put them down and they'll just rally around and cancel plans on your whim as some kind of sign that they love you. If she's not doing it as a test, then she's doing it out of blind bad planning and inconsideration. It's not very "real life". I wouldn't be teaching my DD that either were okay.

Then again, her life is a bit crap - unemployed mum who drinks, very weird and resentful step dad. I try to fast forward to my DD being a teen and wondering if I'd drop everything for her if she wanted to come.

Hmm... no, I actually don't think I would. Not if I had plans with my DH that we'd been looking forward to. But I still don't find it easy to say no.

MaryWestmacott Wed 26-Mar-14 16:15:23

WEll don't call it 'date night' because that just says "I'm picking my sex life over you" to a stroppy teenager! How about "I have a regular commitment on Wednesday night, and it's a little late notice to get out of it for tonight. I can do any other night of the week - Wednesday night is the only regular night I'll have plans, pretty much everything else is flexible if you let me know when you want to come over I'll make sure I'm in! Dad X"

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 16:21:43

I don't know Mary... isn't that verging a little on me being his dirty little secret? What's wrong with him saying "hey you're my daughter and I love you but I'm also married and this is how you value and cherish your partner"

Obviously he wouldn't say that but I mean in terms of the message he is sending smile

ElBumpo Wed 26-Mar-14 16:28:53

An adult might understand it that way but I'm not sure a teen can quite grasp that. You're clearly not a secret, dirty, little or otherwise if he's married you, I wouldn't get hung up on that smile

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 16:32:11

Maybe I'm over thinking because I was for a long time. She resented me for ages and I'd hear him on the phone after being asked what he was doing being like "oh, err, nothing, what? no, no ones here!" grin

We used to have to hide if we were doing anything nice and woe betide if she found out he'd bought me anything! So I'm a bit battered by it from before.

purpleroses Wed 26-Mar-14 16:58:45

I'd second the advice to say you and your DP have plans, but not to call it "date night". To a lot of teenagers, dates are things that teenagers go on - with someone you fancy and probably leading up to a sexual relationship with them. Teens really don't like thinking about their parents having sex, so calling it date night probably just hits all her buttons.

If she needs to come round for some practical reason - eg she's doing something nearby after school/the next morning, or her mum needs her out of her hair for a night, then tell her she's welcome round anyway. She can see your DP for a couple of hours before you go out presumably, and maybe over breakfast. But keep to your plans, and go out to do whatever you were planning to do anyway. She can have the house to herself for an evening, watch a movie, whatever she wants. Most teens are very happy to do that.

ThingsThatGoBumpInTheNight Wed 26-Mar-14 17:30:50

Don't give in.
You'll be a couple a lot longer than she will be a child.
IMO a 15 yo totally is capable of understanding what a date night is and what a regular commitment to someone else is.
My ds dad has one and I don't see ds having a little strop or wantin to gate crash an if he did I wouldn't let him anyway even though I hate xp with every fibre of my being its a good lesson in how to show commitment and care to more than one person.
She isn't the sun with all the planets revolving round her FFs and if you moved the night I'd bet my left boob that she'd change her mind to that night instead.

Pfft rule the roost from afar or what

AarghGrrAargh Wed 26-Mar-14 18:20:49

You've said that Wednesday is the only time you don't have your daughter - could it be that she wants to spend time with her Dad (& you) when you're daughter isn't there?
Could you perhaps accommodate her once a month or so?

ElBumpo Wed 26-Mar-14 18:32:12

Oh yes, I could imagine that would be uncomfortable then. But I agree with purple roses - there's just something about "date night" that makes the situation more awkward than it needs to be.

Russianfudge Wed 26-Mar-14 18:57:14

Sorry, it's the only week night we don't have my dd. She goes to her dad EOW and dsd usually comes here then so she has one weekend without dd, and one weekend with, then she likes to come one night in the week

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now