No contact from sd for 2 years. Should dh try again?(38 Posts)
Long story, but sd decided almost 2 years ago that she didn't want to see dh again and would not even talk to him to try to resolve the problem. She was 14 and is now almost 16. Dh has tried many times to sort things out with her, he has written her cards and letters etc and finally accepted that he was getting nowhere and so stopped trying to reinstate contact, but continued to write cards, which i imagine were either unopened by her or binned immediately. But he has now started talking about trying to sort things out with her again, now that she has finished her GCSEs and can't be accused of upsetting her to the point of her failing exams. I want nothing to do with her at the moment, but want to support dh in his relationship with her. The trouble is, every time he tries and gets knocked back, it has a huge impact on our family. Is it worth him trying again, or should he wait until she instigates it?
If she ever does, of course. it's plausible that she won't.
Have you contacted her school? Most secondary schools policy is to always give info to both parents in all situations. I only say this as a friend is going down this route after her DH had lost contact with is son at 11 and he is now 14, it showed the son that the Dad was interested (ex wife returns all cards, gifts and letters unopened, same with all attempts by grandparents) so school have managed contact eg: parents evenings, sending out reports, calling him as well as the ex wife if there is an issue. There has been some progress and hopefully they are meeting after school before the end of the year, fingers crossed. You just never know where the negativity comes from, my friend has no idea if his son even knows that he has tried to contact him. So sad. I would say go for it, at least you tried and you are prepared for the worst but hope for the best. I think that she is older and wiser she can look back and know he always tried and never gave up, your DH will always be there for her no matter what and I think when she knows that it will made a huge difference in years to come.
This is such a shame. DH lost contact with his daughter when she was 14/15, she's now 22ish and lives overseas. On her last few visits back to the UK she's asked to meet up with DH, but things have been really strained, there's been a lot if water under the bridge during their 'lost years', they don't know each other any more, because she's gone from being a child to an adult and DH missed the transition.
He doesn't think they'll ever get back on track.
My point is to keep trying, don't let too many years elapse if you can help it.
What problems lead to her not wanting contact?
He told her he thought she had been ungrateful about a present that was bought for her. That's how it all started, but there was a background of 'mis-management' and a laissez faire attitude from her mother which essentially sent the message to her that contact with her dad was optional. Dsd2 is a totally different story thankfully, an absolute delight who is very close to her dad and me. Anyway, after they argued that time (the first time they had ever argued incidentally) she has refused point blank to even talk to him. I gather her mum had been telling her the content of all dh's conversations with her, which clearly exacerbated the situation. He had discussed things with her mum, thinking it was in confidence, who had in turn relayed all the gory details to her.
Dh asked to go on the school contact list and we receive updates, reports and emails from her school but he would not be welcome by his ex at parents evenings as she has always taken the lead on education and effectively frozen him out. We had a meeting with her form tutor a while back, but it wasn't very helpful. He said his only concern was for her education and as she appeared largely unaffected at school and was still doing well, he did not want to get involved in the situation. That was our last throw of the dice and we left feeling utterly deflated and almost bereft as there had been such a long history of trying to resolve things.
why don't you want anything to do with her? is it just the cycle of rejection of DP that's too hard? have to personally I would not want to take on a sulky, aggrieved teenager into my family but pretty sad for them both...
I'd say, let HER come to him. She will, in time.
I'd sat try - I wouldn't think she'll come now - 16 is a difficult age etc etc - but she will remember he tried. Keep trying. When she's about 18, and a bit more mature, she'll respond...
So it's her birthday today, she's 16. Dh sent her a text to ask if she would be home today for him to give her a card and try to put the past behind them. He sent the text mid week. No reply. So he sent another and said he guessed she wouldn't be there but he would drop it off today anyway. No reply. Lovely words in the card to the effect that he will love her always.
I am stuck once more somewhere between utter despair and sadness for my dh at yet more rejection, and being so angry I could shake her.
I think he's left the 'door open' for her, but as she's still only sixteen perhaps birthday and Christmas cards letting her know he'll always be there for her.
It must be very hard for him
She is wielding the only power she has. I'm sure she knows she's hurting her dad and not doing your relationship together much good, either.
Haven't seen dh's youngest daughter for over 2 years now. So, we've have several birthdays and Christmases where she has been pretty much begged by DH to come. She refuses his requests and has tried to discourage her older siblings from contact with me and my son. Whilst at first I was upset and felt terribly sorry for DH suffering this rejection I now am losing respect for the man who has allowed this to happen. One Christmas she came to the door to see DH and me and my son called down "merry Christmas!" And she turned on her heel and left. We then heard how she was made to stand at the door, wasn't allowed in because of me. That's what she told people! It was a nasty lie and DH did nothing to question it.
I feel very sorry for you.
May I ask? What will you do if your SD says she's willing to see her dad but NOT you? Or, if she speaks to her dad and looks past you, like you're not there?
Have to say, I get on fine with dh's other two and eldest SD is truly lovely and stuck in the middle of this. Ultimately I know, over time, she will remain loyal to her sister. I fully expect to lose my friendship/relationship with eldest SD (24) in the future also. Very sad.
To be honest, Eliza, with the way I feel at the moment I would be quite happy never to see her or speak to her again. Ultimately though, her issues are not with me and never have been, but with DH. So I don't think this would happen.
I am still encouraging DH to continue to stay in touch with cards and letters, although this is getting increasingly difficult as it's very hard for him to keep getting rejected like this, picking himself up and trying again. Christmas was ruined last year because he felt so down that he didn't even get a reply 'happy Christmas' text or card from her. But I am encouraging him to continue because I believe it's the right thing to do and his only hope of a reconciliation at some point in the future. From my perspective, I cannot describe the anger I feel. Yet again it has had such a huge impact on us (and by extension our DS). We had a blazing row the other night because we are both so stressed with the rollercoaster ride every few months - birthdays, Christmas, exams and exam results etc.
You are me. And it's F*****g awful. Christmas, birthdays, special meals, DS's achievements (which were once celebrated) go unackowleged. It's crap. And all because dad had the audacity to remarry (7 years after his ex wife's affair). If it wasnt so ludicrous, it'd be funny.
I'm so sorry for you, OP. Personally, I wish my SD all the happiness she deserves.
My dp has same situation with his 16 ds. He had v acriminious divorce and exw very active in trying to stop contact. His ds comes weekly (after court order)and they have good relationship but ds refuses to have any contact with him. If very painful and horrid for him. He sends email and cards etc (she has refused to give telephone number and exw brought her new one when ds gave it to him) He went to sons sports day and she swore at him with exw smug in background. I don't encourage him to keep going but to move on. It must be damaging to her too but she's so spiteful and just nasty and exw so enjoying the situation I feel we need to move on with our lives and forget her.
So she did extremely well in her exams, she sent everyone a text to tell them... except dh. Regardless he sent her a lovely heartfelt text and put a card through her door. Nothing at all in reply again.
Hasn't stopped the exW asking dh for more maintenance though.... ironically on the same day he had his most recent correspondence ignored by his daughter. The world is most unjust toward non resident parents and their families.
mantana you should try being a PWC with a self-employed ex.
This is so sad. I can only think of it from the viewpoint of her in ten, twenty years time. The only thing that has a chance of saving their relationship and to some extent, her own sense of self-worth and being loved is if she can remember that he consistently and continually tried. The most important thing is she can look back and feel she was loved and she has proof of that. She may come to regret her decision but she should never feel abandoned.
16 is so so young. My parents were together then and I still HATED my father, for years, it's a natural stage to go through. This is such a culmination of unkind parenting, shattered loyalties and hormones. This might be a blip of a couple of years. Try and focus on how it should be looked back on, rather than the pain and pettinesses of the present.
Mumandboys - I am a step mum in a similar situation to op. we haven't seem dss for 18 months. We still pay over the odds in maintenance for him. I also have a ds whose father is self employed.
So I know what it's like to go out to work to provide for both my step children and my natural child ask also have a resident stepchild who we also receive no maintenance for whilst we pay the same ex.
I don't think you can ever give up! I keep telling my DP that! Even when his DD make it bloody hard!
He won't give up - he struggled to have them (IVF babies) so he won't give up with a fight!
Thanks for your support everyone. It helps to know others are in the same situation even though that in itself is very sad.
The thing I hold onto is that we have such a happy relationship with dsd2. If we were that bad surely she wouldn't love us as much as she clearly does.
As for money, well I'm the main earner. I don't begrudge anything at all for dsd2.I pay for all birthdays, christmases and holidays etc. My ds receives the same amount paid for these occasions as dsd2. I treat them absolutely equally. My dh has never defaulted on a single payment for his girls, has increaesd the amount every single year despite not receiving the same pay rise and has wanted to have the girls as often as possible. What he caanot afford, I pay.
How is it fair that he should be asked for more, while receiving less?
"How is it fair that he should be asked for more, while receiving less?"
But surely you don't give to receive? Parenting isn't about measuring how much you get out - it's about giving support (financial or otherwise) no matter what.
I feel sorry for your husband, but don't bring this down to money. He should, of course, pay for his children. You say you don't begrudge dsd2 anything, but dsd1? They are both his children, and they are children. He is the adult, he needs to continue showing support, interest and unfailing love. Maybe he is hurting, but she is hurting so so much more.
But surely you don't give to receive? Parenting isn't about measuring how much you get out - it's about giving support (financial or otherwise) no matter what.
But the OP isn't the DCs parent, so she is 'giving' to the DSC that she has a relationship with because they have a relationship, not because she is obliged to do so.
Expecting the OP to financially support a DSC who has rejected her family at the expense of the OPs own DC is a big ask, and one most SMs would struggle with.
I think I've made it clear my dh has always supported them financially raising increases year on year and paying exactly what he must. My pointbis that exw had a bloody cheek asking for kore on the day dsd1 rejected her dad yet again. Where the hell is her attempt to influence her daughter? She couldn't care less. And yes I do begrudge paying for such heartless, selfish and uncaring 16 year old. I would not tolerate this from my own ds so why am I expected to tolerate it from her? My point is that the law should not discriminate fathers in this way. If he's expected to pay, he should also have some support to see his child. He did not walk away. It was her choice to cease contact and his exw's who chose not to exert some influence over the situation.
While she might now be deemed almost adult she most definitely was not when she took the decision to walk away when she was 14. This situation is deeply damaging to everyone involved. It is not in a child's best interest not to have a relationship with their father unless abuse or neglect is involved.
Don't pay more. Why should you?
But you cannot force the ex wife to make her child behave in a particular way.
Your DSD sounds pretty wilful and determined (two years is a long time to keep her distance).
If it was the ex wife's fault then surely the other child would be behaving the same.
If you are a parent you do not choose how/when you support your child. You don't withdraw support if they are being awkward - that makes you a bigger child than they are.
So if your own DS suddenly displays unacceptable behaviour will you withdraw all support, will you not make the effort?
peppers I've also had a DSC reject our family and subsequently reunite and she blames her Mum, who made it easy for her.
Well, you don't have to go if you don't want to
it'll be nice, just the two of us, we'll get a take away
well, if you don't go, we can pop into town and buy those shoes you like
Mum gave her the impression that contact with her Dad was optional and she resents her mum hugely for it.
Mantana I'm so sorry you are going through this, it sounds awful.
If I can provide some advice from the other side if the fence, my DH hasn't spoken to his dad for over a year. He doesn't want anything more to do with him and his fathers attempts at contact just push my DH further away. My suggestion would be for your DH to write a letter acknowledging that his DD is angry with him, explain that he will always love her and when she wants to contact him, he is waiting for her.
I think that your DSD will regret this in a few years as there doesn't seen to be much for them to have fallen out over.
I hope things get better for you.
Exactly china, that's exactly how it began. She seems go acknowledge this on one level as she is encouraging dsd2 to spend much more time with us which dsd2 is more than happy to do.
No I would not withdraw from my ds. But as he lives with us I imagine it would be much easier to get over petty squabbles and none of us would wallow, safe in the knowledge we didn't have fo face up to things just because it will be difficult. Besides which, ds is my son and therefore my responsibility. Dsd1 is not.
Oh and he has written letters saying that and continues to keep trying, though it has a hugely nagative impact on us every time she rejects him again.
Oh sorry OP. I meant send the letter then do not attempt further contact.
Thanks princess. But what about cards to mark special occasions? Do you think he should stop that?
It's so hard to say as I can only go by what my DH would feel, he heard from us dad on his birthday and our wedding anniversary and he was happy he didn't forget that. However, when his dad persisted with extra contact he was really angry that he wasn't respecting his boundaries , he wasn't ready for any extra contact. Sometimes when it has gone on as long as it has little steps are the best way forward.
If it was me, I would say to your DH that he should make sure that his communication is very clear, (so that it cant be manipulated by anyone else) he should let her know that he is not giving up on DD, will always love her etc. I would continue to repeat the same message at each 'special occasion' so that she couldn't say he didn't care or that he had forgotten.
I would also try to (and I appreciate how difficult this would be) manage your DH's expectations. Tell him to send the card, but not to expect a response. Send it to her just so she knows he's thinking of her and loves her, but not with any expectations of reconciliation.
I really feel for you, OP. it's so hard watching the one we love be hurt by someone we are only relayed to by marriage. I intensely dislike my FIL for how he has made DH feel, it's not a feeling I can imagine I will ever get over. It doesn't stop me from wanting my DH to have a relationship with his dad though IYSWIM.
There is a difference between an estrangement in an adult parent/child Relationship and one in which the child still views the parent as a 'parental figure' though.
I'm estranged from my parents and would hate regular contact from them, but I'm over 40 and its only been a few years.
DSD (16) has said that the fortnightly letters DP sent to her while they were estranged were important to her (she's kept them all) because it meant that when she really needed him, she knew he was still there for her and he wasn't a stranger to her.
I really am only trying to provide some understanding from the other side. I think I'll bow out of the thread now.
Join the discussion
Please login first.