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Not sure what to do...... long....

(9 Posts)
Megmog2000 Sun 18-Sep-11 22:21:05

A bit of history....
My partner and I have been together for 3.5 years. I have 3 DC (aged 16, 14 and 11) who are with me all the time and have no contact with their father (long story - dads choice). DP and I dont live to together at the moment. DP has a daughter who is 13 and lives with her mum, but DP usually has her each weekend and one day in the week.

Over the past 3 years, we've all got to know each other pretty well, spending a reasonable amount of time together, but also allowing DP some one to one time with his daughter. For the most part everyone seems to get on well with the occasional falling out with the children (usually DP DD and my DS2). More recently, within the last 6 months, DSD has been more and more challenging to deal with. She has started to say she wants to go home to be with her friends (I live 45 mins drive away from her mum) which DP understands as its what 13 year olds are like, friends are far cooler than parents!! She can be very agressive with her nature and can fire out some pretty nasty comments when she wants to. Her mum isnt particularly supportive of her daughter and is more interested in her other 3 year old daughter and spends very little time with her older child and the two of them are constantly arguing, to which DP ends up getting phone calls and has to go to thier house to try to reason with his daughter and calm the situation down.

In the last 3 years, we have all taken a holiday together as one unit (i.e. me and my children, DP and his daughter). During each holiday there has been at least one incident where DSD has 'gone off on one' and it has resulted in her blowing up and upsetting everyone with the things that she says. After each holiday, it has ended up that DP hasnt brought her over to see us for a period of time and let the argument/disagreement settle down. Usually after this break we 'get back to normal' and enjoy being with each other.

So, thats the history, here's the present situation. DP and I spoke to the DC on holiday to discuss the possibility of us moving in together. They all seemed quite receptive to the idea, DSD even asked about her coming to live with us full time, which from out point of view would be the perfect situation, we'd love to have her full time. We need to find a house first, as neither house is big enough for all of us, the nice thing about this is that noone will move in someone elses house and it will always be our house. Shortly after this conversation on holiday an argument blew up over nothing and resulted in DSD sulking and throwing a tantrum. I havent seen her since the holiday (this was a month ago) and now she is refusing to come to see us, neither does she want us to go to her, or go out to a neutral place to spend time together. She doesnt give any reasons for this. She did say at one point that DS2 had been sending nasty messages via FB, but this was lies and she admitted lying about it to her dad. DP and I have discussed the situation, and I have said that I do not want to be the person that comes between him and his daughter, she is and always has been his priority and if she really has a problem with me and my DC, then our relationship doesnt have a future, they come as a package and if she is refusing to see her dad because she dislikes us then how can it work. I have discussed the option of calling it a day (it would break my heart if it did) but the house plans are very much on hold right now.

DSD is quite a demanding person, and has very high expectations of people. She believes that the world revolves around her and what she wants she expects to get. Unfortunately, her mum has given in to her every demand for material possessions and being allowed to do what she likes. Sadly her dad has also given her pretty much everything she wants too. This weekend, she wanted to visit her friend who lives about a 10 minute drive from her house. She rang to ask her dad if he would take her. He agreed that he would and went to pick her up, there was one or two issues with timings and he ended up waiting in her mums house for those to be sorted and dropped her off and agreed to pick her up at 6.30pm. Later in the afternoon she rang and asked to be picked up at 7.30pm, not a problem so he duly drives 45 minutes to pick her up and take her back to her mums (her mum doesnt drive, and her stepdad refused to take her becuase is was her sisters birthday and as mentioned earlier, the sister takes priority). DP got to the friends house at 7.30pm, it appeared that there were no adults in the house, and DSD refused to come when asked to saying she wanted to stay longer. DP said that she had to come straight away and he waited in the car. She refused. She must have phoned her mum and 30 minutes later her stepdad turned up to pick her up. She came straight out, walked past her dad and said "you are a crap dad, you never do anything for me, I never want to see you again". Needless to say DS was very upset by this.

Today, she rang him and said sorry for the way she spoke to him yesterday and could her take her to her friends house (same friend). This time DP refused saying that she needs to be more respectful and not just apologise just to get what she wants, i.e. the lift to a friends. Following this her mother then rings and says that DSD never wants to see her dad again becuase of the f**** bitch of a girlfriend of yours.

I dont know if its DSD saying this or her mum, but I really dont know what to do anymore. I dont want DP to not see his daughter, she is his world, but if she wont see him becuase of me, maybe its best that Im not around. Maybe I should make the decision to walk away, that way, its my decision and will hurt less? DP says he doesnt want us to finish, but she's his daughter at the end of the day?

My head is all over the place, I dont know which way to go. DSD is very strong willed and will do whatever it takes to get her own way, I just dont know whether its going to work or not.

Thanks if you made it this far! Not sure what the questions/advice is to be honest, but feels a bit better by writing it down.

brdgrl Sun 18-Sep-11 22:44:43

quite a lot going on here, obviously! I'm trying to figure out where to begin to respond...I guess my first question is about your DP. What does he say about it all? Is he a DisneyDad? Or does he want different results, but doesn't knwo how to get them?

Honestly, your DSD's behaviour sounds ridiculous to me. (And, honestly, a bit familiar to me too, from some past times with my own DSD!) But your willingness to walk away (or be pushed out) seems a bit misguided to me. I know that some will disagree with me...but you and your DP need to be a united, strong couple, and THAT should be your priority. It is not about putting one kid's interests before your own interests, but about putting the interests of the family unit first. If you ask yourself in each case, 'what is best for our family?', what answers do you get?

I guess what I am saying is that your hesitation to move in together seems prudent, and you're probably wise to think long and hard about whether there is a future in the relationship. But this reasoning - "I do not want to be the person that comes between him and his daughter, she is and always has been his priority and if she really has a problem with me and my DC, then our relationship doesnt have a future, they come as a package and if she is refusing to see her dad because she dislikes us then how can it work" seems a bit backwards to me. It is not DSD who can or should determine teh future of your relationship, it is you and your DP.

I've been where you are, or close to it. DH and I moved in together less than a year ago; before that, DD and I lived in one place, and DH, DSD, and DSS in their own place. I was simply not willing to move in with them until I felt like things had at least begun to change with regard to his parenting of DSCs, and especially of DSD. Like you, we moved into a new place, and along with it came new house rules, new routines, new approaches...It has been the hardest year of my life, but I will tell you without a shred of doubt - if we had moved in together without hammering those things out first, we would not have lasted a month.

(Just a side point -but I'd have been seriously annoyed if DH left on DD's birthday to ferry a demanding DSD around according to her whims like that. So I am kinda with her mum and stepdad on that one!)

ladydeedy Mon 19-Sep-11 09:19:57

Does the fact that she is with you every weekend make it worse? that way she cant see her friends on her weekend time (without you guys driving her around the place). I would suggest every other weekend. So that's for starters.
Her behaviour is not acceptable and I think she needs to be made aware, very clearly, of what is and isnt acceptable behaviour in your house or in any interactions she has with your family (by phone etc). It's important that your DP and you are consistent on this otherwise your family situation will be a nightmare. If she behaves unacceptably there are consequences i.e. no more lifts. I do feel for you. Put yourself and your DP first and together you can deal with DSD firmly and consistently.

chelen Mon 19-Sep-11 12:13:50

Hi, I read through and could see a 13 yo girl wielding the power of the tantrum to its maximum effect. She gets a lot of people jumping about by being badly behaved - she shouts at mum & dad comes round, she shouts at your kids and doesn't come for weeks, she makes dad change pickup times etc - that's a lot of power at only 13. Now she's trying the ultimate weapon - I won;t see my dad if he moves in with his girlfriend. The problem is you are now wavering & have put plans on hold which will demonstrate to her that her tantrums are very effective.

I think the only thing you can do is say either 'we're together 100%' and be utterly united and get through the consequences (which could be seriously hard work) or leave it.

If you and your DP make clear decisions, set boundaries and accept she might not like it then it could work, but you have to put your relationship and the needs of the family as a whole first.

If there is a risk that DP will just jump every time she throws a wobbler then it sounds like it will be very hard going. And I think you have to utterly honest - are you up for the battles ahead (because I expect there will be some), or would you rather carry on as you are for a few more years?

Best of luck.

Smum99 Mon 19-Sep-11 18:42:35

Wow, a lot to deal with. She is acting very poorly and is using negative behaviour to get attention but it's likely to be a sign of feeling disjointed in each home. If both parents mum & dad worked on this together it's likely you would get this resolved. I assuming she has no real objection to you but it seems you are the focus. She is lashing out at her dad as well but it seems only you are being labelled the issue.

Do you bail? Well for your own sanity you might want to but it might be a shame if in 3 years it's all sorted out. Key to this is your DH understanding that you are not the issue and it's a parenting problem rather than a step parenting problem. Does he 'get' that? If you become the focus then she gets let off from consequences.

I suggest your DH gets family counsellor advice - someone to talk this through with and hopefully he can then have a sensible conversation with the ex about boundaries. Establishing similar rules at each home is the important. I would also use sanctions - removing PC or phone access can be highly effective for teens!!! but of course you need the ex to be on board. Is that likely?

As you have teens I guess you have experience of house rules and behaviours? Could you make a list for your DH and suggest sensible sanctions. The hardest thing I found being a parent to a teen is having to deal with the situation as it happens i.e you have to plan in advance your response. It's a bit like toddler taming all over again but we can't use the naughty step as they are too bigsmile

LaDolcheRyvita Fri 23-Sep-11 09:41:56

What youre dealing with here is a teenager.... Am I correct in saying it's the 13 yr old we are talking of? Have I read OP right? They're insecure, moody, probably jealous that dad has someone else etc etc. However, as much as you're right, you don't want to be the one to cause bad feeling between dad and daughter, I think if you're happy with this man and he with you, then you shouldn't be giving so much power to a child. Yes, you need to be mindful of her feelings, welcoming and respectful of their relationship BUT you're thinking of leaving him, your happiness together and your future because of her? No. Don't do that. If it wasn't you, it'd be someone else. She doesn't like the situation. I'm sure it's not that she doesn't like YOU.

Here's my experience.

I had a long distance relationship with my (now) DH for 4 yrs. In that time, his youngest daughter (12 then) was ok about it. When I moved in two years ago and relocated and we ergot married, I knew it might be hard for her. DH has 3 kids. Eldest now 22 is and always has been lovely with me and my son. She too was a teen when we first met.

Now, years on, the you gets is 17. I have in the past month stopped trying to please. When she's had a tantrum a d sulk session in the past, I've always tried hard to smooth things over, welcome her back, sent her cards saying, we miss you.... Come see us, let's wipe the slate clean etc. However, we haven't seen her for 5 weeks now. No contact. Ignoring messaging etc. So, enough! I think it will always be this way with her. It's her basic personality I'm fucked if I'm going to have our marriage jeopardised by this not very nice young woman.

Of Dh's 3 kids, I adore one, have little to do with the middle one who's fiercely loyal to their mum, he's 21 so, a grown up. And, frankly, I give up with the youngest. I must add, DH and his ex divorced because she had an affair. dH was devastated but years later, met and married me. We are happy and I'm hanging on to that.

LaDolcheRyvita Fri 23-Sep-11 12:28:52

Oh yes, and I agree with ladydeedy on the alternate weekends thing. Why is it every weekend? She does need to see her friends and spend some "quality" time ie. Not just the school week with her mum, don't you think?

Megmog2000 Fri 23-Sep-11 17:07:12

Thanks for your replies everyone. You are all right, DSD does have control and likes it that way, I just wish that DP was stronger with her and didnt let his 13yo dictacte what happens in his (and now my) life. But whenever he does get firmer with her she throws a tantrum and then starts with the "youre not my dad, I hate you and never want to see you again" which really upsets him. Its clearly hurt tactics and saying the worst she can do but even knowing that its still hard to deal with.

DP doesnt have his DD every weekend at the moment, when we first met, he did, but not all weekend, one week would be friday night/saturday and the next week would be saturday sunday. That arrangement seemed to work quite well. Earlier this year she decided that she wanted to be at home more so everyone agreed to change the arrangements to alternate weekends where she stayed overnight, so now its supposed to be week one saturday and sunday and the next week just saturday morning (she plays football so DP ferry's her to all the games) and she goes home after football and can see her friends etc. However, since this arrangement it hasnt really worked, there doesnt appear to be a routine developing and DP's ex-wife changes things frequently or DSD aks to change things - I dont think that this helps with the lack of routine. Noone knows where they stand.

DP and I have had a fair few conversations over the last few days, he says that he doesnt want us to be apart and that his DD has to 'tow the line' and understand that he has a life too, I just wish that he would carry out his strong message when he sees her!! I am hoping that the tantrums are a teenage phase (although my own children have never stropped quite this bad!) and she will grow out of it and accept it. DP has said that we have to continue with our plans and she will have to get used to the idea. I suppose we have to continue working with getting her out of being in control, I just wish it wasnt so stressful!!

LaDolcheRyvita Fri 23-Sep-11 17:24:20

It WILL be stressful. You both need to get the message across to her that stroppy behaviour is disrespectful and that YOU TWO ARE A COUPLE/A UNIT/TOGETHER and she is part of the family andof importance..... But not at the expense of others.

It must be very disturbing for your 3 kids to have to deal with all of this.

Get to grips with it or your relationship may not withstand.

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