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To feel like a gooseberry with my DP and DSS?

(25 Posts)
Katgurl Wed 13-Jun-18 18:48:17

My partner has three children. He seems completely obsessed with his eldest daughter who is 16. He is not like this with the other pair. I feel like they are the couple and I am looking on.

I frequently find myself feeling like a third wheel or like I have to defend my 'position' with them. It's exhausting and relentless.

She utterly flipped that he ran some living arrangements (which nights she stays in ours every week) by me.
She demands to know how much he is earning and informed me we were moving to a bigger house if he got a promotion he was going for. I didn't know if he had promised her this without discussing with me (I don't want to move).
I am pregnant and she told me in no uncertain terms our chosen baby name was not a runner as she didn't like it. He didn't see anything weird about this.
I was doing a silly compatibility quiz with him the other night for a joke and after we scored highly offered to do it for her and her new boyfriend. She declined and ordered me to do it for her and her dad.
She asks him to massage her legs constantly for her, rants openly if he sits with me on the couch... The list goes on and on and on.

I don't have children of my own yet so I don't know AIBU (and jealous)?

The other two daughters can be brats and very cheeky but I don't feel uncomfortable and irrelevant when they are with us.

Chattymummyhere Wed 13-Jun-18 18:51:12

Sounds like a daughter wife... did she become the women of his house when him and her mother separated?

Katgurl Wed 13-Jun-18 18:55:25

I suspect so.

I don't know how to deal with it? He's oblivious. If I did nothing I would be completely left out. But I'm sick of raising it with him.

I also hate admitting this because I know she's a child and has been through an awful lot but I find her difficult to like; she's arrogant in the extreme.

BellyDancer124 Wed 13-Jun-18 20:29:00

What has she been through? How long have you been with her dad? Sounds like she’s struggling a bit.

pallisers Wed 13-Jun-18 20:35:52

I think there is a thing where an eldest daughter can assume an adult female role (with either parent) and it isn't good for the child. It sounds like that might have happened here.

That said, she also sounds in some ways like a typical teenager. I could imagine my 16 year old saying that about the name (that is after she recovered from the horror of us having a baby) or the house move. We'd just ignore her (well maybe not about the name actually).

Honestly, I would be upset if my dad had to run it by anyone what nights I stayed with him. I would expect his home to be my home.

The leg message thing and ranting if you sit with him and quiz sounds like she is trying to get one over on you as to who is top-female in his life. This isn't healthy for her (and isn't nice for you) and her dad should be concerned that her self-esteem/feeling of being loved by him is that fragile - maybe frame it in that way to him rather than framing it as a rejection of you?

Also, you don't actually have to like her. It would be nice if you did but it is ok not to like her as long as you treat her fairly and kindly.

Gemini69 Wed 13-Jun-18 20:45:13

I wouldn't be planning a future with this man lovely flowers

Chattymummyhere Wed 13-Jun-18 20:53:29

She’s being one part teenager and two the women of the house.

She’s not ready in her teenage head to give up being in her mind daddies number one who has effectively been his wife, running money etc by her. You’ve come along whenever it was that you did and because she’s a teenager she’s effectively marking her territory.

My neighbour had a bit of an issue like this when she moved her now husband in with her oldest ds 16 at the time. He was used to being in charge so to speak, any men she saw where not when he was around and it was a really difficult time when she moved him in. I played listening ear to the Mum and ds and somewhere safe to run to when he needed to just get away. I’m not 100% sure what fixed it per say other than at 18 he moved out and he seemed happier the longer their relationship lasted as he didn’t trust this man to protect his mum and not hurt her, plus that little feeling of knowing it meant it was 100% over between his Mum and Dad even though they had been separated for years.

Katgurl Wed 13-Jun-18 21:03:33

@bellydancer she's been through her parents breaking up, having to visit her dad living alone and now a new house and new woman. It's a lot

@gemini69 What do you mean you wouldn't plan a future with him? Why not?

@pallisers I don't mind her giving out about the name. I found it alarming that she told me so calmly I would not be getting my way. Ditto that she seemed to believe a house move was her decision.

I understand she's upset that he runs things by me but it is my house too and as her dad I think it is his job to set expectations. She lives half with us and half with her mother. Why wouldn't I be consulted on which particular nights in the week we have her? I'm not being argumentative for the sake of it, I am confused.

Thanks all for responses

Katgurl Wed 13-Jun-18 21:08:46

Sorry we have been together 1.5 years so it is relatively new with a lot of change for his daughters.

@chattymummy, I don't know why but I never considered she might be holding out any hope that her parents would reunite. I honestly don't think she wants that though I could be wrong of course.

Poptart4 Wed 13-Jun-18 22:19:33

Op do you think their relationship is borderline inappropriate??

Why does she need her legs massaged?? Seems like an odd request.

1.5yr is very new and the fact that your pregnant already is alot of change for them so I can understand her being jealous or feeling insecure.

You and your partner need to get on the same page with how to handle this. She's 16 not 5. You can be sensitive to her feelings without letting her walk all over you.

Name your child what you like. And if you want to sit next to your partner in your own home then she will have to suck it up.

Your dp absolutely needs to back you up when she's being disrespectful or your looking at years of heartache. If he doesn't support you when it comes to standing up to his child then I can't see this relationship going the distance. Sorry but I've seen it before and eventually you'll get tired of the constant battle. And resentful that he never has your back.

pallisers Wed 13-Jun-18 22:23:23

Why wouldn't I be consulted on which particular nights in the week we have her? I'm not being argumentative for the sake of it, I am confused.

I'm just looking at this particular aspect from her point of view. When I was 16 I wouldn't have wanted to feel a visitor in my dad or mum's house. I wouldn't want my dad's new wife to be able to say "no tuesday won't suit, how about wednesday". I'd like the think the place was my home so you get the courtesy of a call but really why wouldn't she be able to come any night of the week to her dad's house - it is her home.

I do think you have a problem though - or rather she and her dad do. I just would pick my battles. Many of us have been alarmed at the things that come out of our teenagers mouths - arrogant, unrealistic etc. It really doesn't matter if she seems to think that she can veto a name or instigate a house move. Just smile and move on - it means nothing. If her dad is saying "of course we won't name him something you don't like" or "well I definitely will think about moving because you said so" then you have a problem - with your dh.

I also think a new partner/new home/new baby is hard - 1.5 years is not long so she is probably pushing back a bit.

You don't have to like it - or even her - and your dh does need to open his eyes a bit and do what is best for her - which isn't making her the boss of the house.

Katgurl Fri 15-Jun-18 14:16:29

@palissers I am still confused as to why I shouldn't have a say in which nights are best. She doesn't (and never had) an adhoc agreement about which house she stayed in. It requires lifts and co-ordination and there is a court order. I also work full-time and take clients some evenings so I generally schedule them for when she isn't coming so I don't have to ask her to keep the tv down. Her dad has a lot of evening hobbies and again schedules them for when she's not coming so he can spend time with her. I understand it's an adjustment and she might not like it but I don't think the solution is to give her whatever she wants. It's my house too, I did not move into his place.

@poptart yes at times I have felt things are inappropriate between them. Less so now but the leg massage proposal made me uncomfortable. It was mainly because I suspect he had agreed to give her (she had been training) and she kept saying "you still haven't massaged me" and he was avoiding the topic and handing her voltarol because he didn't want me to give out. That's weird isn't it? I sometimes see them pull apart from holding hands in the restaurant or whatever when I'm returning from the bathroom. I feel bleugh even writing this. Like I'm stopping then being together. One time we were in London shopping and he had told me he would buy me a dress. We had his three girls and three cousins with us. I was picking up garments in the Ralph Lauren sale and asking him what he thought but felt stressed to hurry up. The girls had wandered off to the teen section. I tried on one and he grabbed it and said he'd pay and was in such an obvious rush to get off to his eldest. If it was all of them I wouldnt feel weird about it. He even kept picking up the designer dresses and commenting they'd be stunning on her. Her sister is only a year younger and she wasn't getting a mention.

He does allow her think she's part of the decision making process. I had asked them all to suggest baby names and was writing them all into a list but she seemed to think she was entitled to veto. When I said ultimately it will be a decision for your dad and I but we welcome your suggestions a red mist descended and lasted about a month. Then her auntie phoned one day and asked what the baby names were and shook her head and commented she didn't think eldest step-daughter would like it. I started to feel like the character in the handmaid's tale, not even allowed name my own baby.

He consulted with her on how to tell his ex about the baby even though we had already decided.

There is loads more but it all boils down to the same thing; it feels like herself and dad are the couple, I'm on the periphery and her sisters are the children.

I put my foot down about things but I want it to come from him more.

Gemini69 Fri 15-Jun-18 14:26:28

you shouldn't have given anyone an opinion on the baby name.. flowers

Handsfull13 Fri 15-Jun-18 14:50:26

I think their relationship sits of the line of what's appropriate and inappropriate. That changes as girls get older and they haven't seemed to adjust for it.
I think you need a chat with your partner about how you feel. If it gets too much blame it on the pregnancy hormones they are a great excuse to get things out.

His eldest has become his top female in his life and that needs to change. I always expect children to come before partners in broad scale but when it comes the decisions it should be the partner that comes first.
Together you make the plans for the household in the best interests of the children. - hope that makes sense I struggled a bit to get the words down.

You need to talk about how he treats her as an adult and practically as a partner as well. And it's not healthy for her to feel this way either.
It's normal as kids get older that they become more aware of how the household works and who does what but you have to remember There's a line.
My step son 15 is aware to a degree of how we run our house and where the money comes from (I'm a sahm but I have savings so I still contribute evenly) but he doesn't know the exact figures of our ins and outs and what savings we have. That isn't for him to know because he'd try to dictate what we could afford to spend on him.
Where as in his mothers house she doesn't have a partner so she shares all the information with her and he is currently arguing that she can afford a nicer phone for him due to a pay rise she just got. If she didn't tell him those things she wouldn't be dealing with him demanding things.

If you let her think she gets a say in decision making it will only get worse once the baby comes and she thinks she gets a say in how you parent. For example when she decides you should be formula feeding and using dummies but you want breastfeeding and no dummies, you don't want to argue with your partner because she makes him think he should side with her and it becomes 2 against 1.

mytittifersungtheirsong Fri 15-Jun-18 14:57:21

So for 14.5 years all she's known are her parents together. Within 18 month her dad has new partner, moved house with new partner and is having a new baby. I think she is probably really struggling with this situation and terrified of the changing dynamics once new baby arrives. She's probably battling all sorts of fears such as losing her dad to a new family.

I think there's a lot of much deeper issues going on here.

Gemini69 Fri 15-Jun-18 15:03:52

I feel for you OP.. alot of these comments are ridiculous flowers

Summersnake Fri 15-Jun-18 15:55:14

I expect she's pushing her luck...he's not wanting to upset her..feels guilty from the split,probably likes an easy life and dosnt want her kicking off...I think she's laying claim to him..he's mine you can't have a few yrs she will have her own life hopefully be at uni and not giving you hassle..

Katgurl Fri 15-Jun-18 16:49:45

@summersnake I don't really think she is. I find it all very annoying but I think the blame lies with him.

Just an example; we had agreed he would tell the ex our pregnancy news alone outside when she came to collect the girls so she didn't hear it third hand (we were afraid if we told her first she would spitefully tell her daughters before we got the chance). Then he ran it by his eldest and came out to me saying 'she thinks we shouldn't bother" and her echoing same and being obnoxious about her mother. I snapped " in charge here?! We already decided how we are handling this."

On the flip side of her thinking she's making the decisions, she worries about stuff she shouldn't. I've told her to let the adults do the worrying and trust that her parents are going to do the right thing by her, her education etc. I don't think she should be having a voice in big financial decisions or indulged when she's making threats to only live with us on condition we purchase in a certain area or whatever.

eightfacesofthemoon Fri 15-Jun-18 17:25:33

Problem is. In her head she’s a full grown adult. But obviously she’s not. It’s such a hard age. You’re neither one nor the other.

I agree with others that’s she’s “top” female. It’s a power struggle.
If you’re only reason for the agreed evenings is because of your work, then you’re not being unreasonable. But perhaps you could say, you’re welcome anytime but I’ll have clients and you’ll have to behave appropriately.

DO NOT give in on your baby name. EVER. It’ll be the beginning of the end.

blaabloodyblaa Fri 15-Jun-18 17:29:34

1.5 yrs and already pregnant with his 4th child. Christ why don't people just hang fire and let things settle first before they start throwing babies into the mix.
No wonder it's all going to shit actually.
Well only another couple of years and the eldest step child will no doubt be out of your hair op and the other two don't seem to be giving you too much trouble so you'll be able to have a happy ending and maybe pop out another couple of kids to even up 😒 good luck with that 😂

Butterymuffin Fri 15-Jun-18 17:32:10

Your partner is the major problem here. He needs to differentiate between family decisions where she legitimately gets a say, and couple ones where she doesn't. Sort out some time alone with him to talk about it.

BoxsetsAndPopcorn Fri 15-Jun-18 17:42:10

18 months of dating and already pregnant, no wonder hos children are acting up.

It sounds like you hate his children so wanted one of your own to deflect his attention away from them.

His children should never have to schedule a visit to a parent, they should be able to come and go as they please as both houses are their homes.

TheGirlWithAPrince Fri 15-Jun-18 17:47:44

Sorry but that sounds weird and creepy, i mean what 16 year old wants a compatibility test of them with there matter how close they are

All the other stuff just sounds like she wants to be the woman of the house and to have you just in the background which isnt unusual as youve only been with him for a little while.

lapenguin Fri 15-Jun-18 18:08:28

I kind of get making arrangements and consulting op when it comes to her staying. Op isn't saying she says she can't come on certain days just that she needs to know as she has to arrange work around it and is involved in picking up and dropping off, so yes she does need to know. It's as much ops house as it is the daughters

There is a power struggle going on and her dad needs to be the one to put her in her place. She can have suggestions with a future house, as you would consider any teenagers views, but that doesn't mean she gets a say or gets to threaten you. I'd be tempted to say we'll that's your choice, you're welcome to stay with us or with your mum but this is where we will be living.
She has no input in names. Again she can have an opinion, but like every other family member who has an opinion, it's not a say.

Katgurl Fri 15-Jun-18 18:32:15

@boxesandpopcorn you're making quite a leap there. I certainly do not hate his children. His children are not allowed come and go at will to either of their parents houses. It's not scheduled visit, it's scheduled access. This has always been the case. Their mother in particular is adamant the court order is followed and everyone knows where everyone is supposed to be and who is in charge of lifts. The schedule sometimes gets changed but it needs to be agreed upon by both parents before that happens. She has it stuck on the wall at home apparently.

I'm not sure either how you propose their daughter comes and goes given her mother's house is in a very rural part of the country and requires her to be collected. We asked her which days she wanted to be with us, she prefers the four at end of the week as it suits her social life. Her mother ok'd the arrangement. So I know what days to take clients, he knows what days to book tennis etc. If on a whim daughter decides she's coming on a Monday purely to annoy her mother then my answer to her father has been no. And then typically all hell breaks loose because she can't understand why her father isn't dropping everything to rush over and get her.

@blaabloodyblaa it is fast, you are correct. I would have liked to wait much longer but it's now or never for me. I will be having a hysterectomy in the next few years assuming I don't have a reappearance of cancer on my womb before that. I may even have it after delivery depending on my next scan.

She won't be out of our hair as you put it. I suspect she will live with us while she's in college as our house is more accessible than her mother's. I have suggested it anyway.

@butterymuffin I agree. I think the lines got blurred possibly when he was living alone and she became too much of a confidante for him. So she's used to him checking in with her or asking permission.

@eightfaces I didn't give in on the baby name and I suffered out the subsequent month of raging and tantrums. It's just exhausting, all the time.

I expected teen trouble and resistance and a fear I was trying to replace their mother or horror their dad was becoming someone else's dad. But I feel like it's a romantic love triangle at times.

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