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No idea what to say or do.....DP and his DD

(15 Posts)
SteelCityGirl Sun 07-Aug-11 17:35:59

Last time I posted I got some great advice and some new perspectives. I am not a step-mum; my DP has a DD who is 2 years old and lovely. She lives with her mum and sees her dad every weekend. As a result, I spend time with her too and I enjoy it.

Not sure whether this is about DP and DD or DP and me? I am relocating to the same city as DP and, when I was jobhunting, we'd talked about moving in together. I then get a job and he's no longer sure saying he needs to make decisions for the two of them (him and DD) and he has "question marks" although I don't know what they are. I was upset and confused - this is what we'd talked about. I understand (or, at least, am trying to) that he needs to make decisions in his DD's best interests as well as his own. However, he does trust me with his daughter and yesterday, in the park, one of my own friends commented that his DD was also very comfortable to run around with me when her dad was away.

DP is working 50 hour weeks and has a head cold so not the best of times to talk. We've spent the weekend with his DD who seems to be hitting the terrible twos. Nothing I did was right for either of them - got punched, kicked and scratched by his DD on and off, and when I tried to change her very soiled nappy (her dad being in bed with aforementioned cold), she screamed blue murder and DP shouted at me that I just needed to get on with it! He then went back to bed while I bathed his DD.

Now, as I said, this could be doubts about our relationship and nothing to do with his DD. I don't know what else I can do at the moment. He also told my friend (also a parent) that he loves spending time with his DD but is also trying to get into a routine as he doesn't get any time to himself. I know how hard he works and how much he loves his DD.

All I want to do is support him and it's really hard to know what to do. I've told him he is the first partner I've had who has been a parent and that this is new to me, I am only human and can he please cut me some slack? Neither him nor his DD come with an instruction manual.

It's been a long day, a long weekend and I am feeling really flat. I understand (sharp learning curve) that his DD comes first and I just want to support him.

Anything I can do? I feel desperate and useless, like a ruddy spare part. It's horrible.


Message withdrawn

exoticfruits Sun 07-Aug-11 19:24:35

You sound lovely and you are trying very hard. Just take it slowly and DON'T move in with him yet.
As you get to know him better you will find that he lots of unresolved issues and you will be putting yourself last as you give understanding, sympathy and support.I speak as someone who did very similar although the DD was much older. I got very involved very quickly and it was very much a roller coaster of a relationship. We never did move in together.
There is no reason why yours shouldn't work, but do go very slowly, don't let yourself become the doormat because he needs you to be understanding all the time and don't rush into wanting him to make decisions-I would say that he simply isn't ready.

SteelCityGirl Sun 07-Aug-11 19:33:00

Thanks to you both. I'd be job hunting since before I met him and also as an on-going process since. Since January, my job changed temporarily and I've been staying with him for up to 2 weeks at a time which is something else I've found confusing.....we've been taking steps towards this for a while.

I would very much like to be with him but, to take today as an example, I have found myself wondering whether it would be disloyal in some way to disappear to the cinema or have lunch with a girlfriend when he was sick and his DD was in need of entertainment. That said, am sure there are parents around the world who care for their kids when they have a head cold.

I think time is what is needed but, after spending so much time living with him since January, it feels like a step backwards. However, from living in my own house to moving in with him and his lodger in a two bed flat.....maybe my own space wouldn't be a bad thing?

thanks again for taking the time to post.

SteelCityGirl Sun 07-Aug-11 19:41:31

Occured to me there is something else to add as well.....DP and I have been talking about buying a place together next year. A bigger commitment than me moving into his place, I feel. All along he's said that it would be him, me and his DD....that we'd be a team, if that didn't scare me?

So, maybe it is concern for making the best decision re his DD but maybe it's more to do with me and him?

He could, of course, be an overstressed and overworked man who feels pulled in all directions AND has a cold which we all know is very serious :-)

HattiFattner Sun 07-Aug-11 19:47:42

i think your own space would be a good idea. Then leave him to it for some weekends, because he will very quickly realise how much you have been supporting him. Let him have bonding time with a toddler while you go do movies and drinks with the girls. You need "me" time too. You havent chosen to be a mum at this point, so why put up with his indecisiveness and shouting. WHen childs next weekend is scheduled, go away to visit with friends.

JustFiveMinutesHAHAHA Sun 07-Aug-11 19:48:16

Man flu. It's not even worth asking them what the time is let alone anything serious!

If you are job hunting where he lives regardless of whether you are with him or not then I'd just carry on and see how things go - if he's still 'not sure' I'd move into a flat on my own. If you are only looking at jobs where he is because he's there then I'd have a very big think about whether that was a good idea or not right now.

He does need to put his DD first - but this does not mean treating you like crap... there's a difference.

JustFiveMinutesHAHAHA Sun 07-Aug-11 19:48:46

& do what Hattie said smile

HansieMom Sun 07-Aug-11 20:37:07

Yes I think you should just disappear whenever you want on visitation weekends and let him take care of his DD himself. She is not your responsibility.

About the changing diapers on a two year old--when it is your baby, you start off with a tiny baby who cannot wiggle away. You just adapt as baby grows. As a nonparent, you should not be thrown into a situation where you have to change a dirty diaper on a child old enough to run, kick and scream.

brdgrl Mon 08-Aug-11 12:55:49

HI, wrote out a long response to this earlier and then lost it when my internet crashed! Will try again...

A couple of things stood out to me in your OP. First - your DP complaining to your friend about not having time for himself. And yet, he only has DD on weekends.

Second, the incident about the nappy change and bath. It seems unfair, to say the least, for him to criticize how you change a nappy, whilst he lies in bed and leaves you to care for his child.

Given that he says the change of heart (about living together) is about putting DD's needs doesn't make sense then for him to confuse you or DD about your role by allowing you to take on the job of looking after DD.

I understand that he works long hours and doesn't feel well at the moment. However, the reality is that there are parents who work long hours, have multiple children fulltime, and get sick. So I hope I don't sound utterly unsympathetic, but it all makes me wonder if he is struggling with the imposed selflessness that parenthood demands. You should not takle up the slack for him while he figures out how to make time 'for himself'.

You sound like a lovely person who is trying so hard to do the right thing. Be careful that he doesn't (even unintentionally!) slip into using you to share the burdens of parenting, while keeping you at arms length emotionally at the same time.

chelen Mon 08-Aug-11 14:42:34

The final sentence of brdgrl's post sums up nicely what I was trying to articulate - very well put, it would have taken me 8 paragraphs to say it!

SteelCityGirl Tue 09-Aug-11 12:19:18

Thank you all very much. The support is much appreciated and I shall read and re-read your words of wisdom.

DP and I did talk on Sunday evening. It seems it wasn't just work stress or man flu but he's not been "as happy" in our relationship recently as in previous months. Unfortunately, timing of the conversation wasn't great and we didn't get into details but I understand there are some things which have been said and done which have left him "unsettled". He's also thinking through the impact I have on his DD and the impact she has on me. I suspect the latter point came out of a conversation we had when I said that spending time with his DD had made me think more about having a child of my own. That did NOT mean I actually wanted one. (He's also been inconsistent in saying he wanted her to have siblings but then he wasn't sure about having more kids).

Thanks brdgrl - you mentioned inconsistency in how he claims to put DD needs first but then leaves me to take care of her. It is confusing. I am sure that he felt I was a negative influence, I wouldn't be allowed near her.

I appreciate I am not putting him in a good light here; I do care very much for him and want it to work out. It's difficult to say "I understand" when the response can always be "how can you, you don't have kids".

I did tell him on Sunday night that I was going to flat share with a friend nearby. I will be staying with DP initially and then moving, a situation which seems to suit us both. I suspect it's too soon in the relationship for a bigger committment, irrespective of his DD.

Again, thank you all very much and please, keep advice coming if you think of anything!

JustFiveMinutesHAHAHA Tue 09-Aug-11 12:32:09

Steel - I think you have made a very wise decision to take a step back. Keep reading the posts and don't rush in. It sounds like he has a lot of growing up to do and it's not your job to pick up the slack in his life and take all the crap while he does it. Spend time with your friends, enjoy your life - don't make him and his problems your whole life... you may love him, but you may also realise that actually, he's not the one for you. There isn't just one person we can be happy with and sometimes, no matter how much you love someone you have to do the right thing and walk away from a situation/life that wont make you happy. As hard as it is - closing one door always opens another.

exoticfruits Tue 09-Aug-11 13:21:19

A very wise decision.

SteelCityGirl Tue 09-Aug-11 17:05:57

Thank you again, ladies, much appreciated. I do think I am making the right decision to not move in but it's not sitting very easily at the moment. Time will tell.

I do want to do the right thing and I want to support him. How I may, for example, deal with any child who chooses to kick and punch me may be different to his approach and I have to respect DP's approach as he is her dad. I think it's right to say he's struggling with the selflessness - being a parent wasn't a choice he made (ex told him it was "safe at certain times of the month" to which my silent response was "condoms?") and he has said that, at times, he'd like to run away from it all.

That's his problem though, isn't it? I can't help with that and I need to realise it.

I do know I've struggled with wanting to be something to his DD and I now realise I don't need a name (e.g. "step mum") because I can be myself and that's more than good enough. Whatever relationship I develop with his DD will come from her, as and when she is ready. I cannot have any relationship with her, however, unless the one I have with her dad is a good one.

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