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Would like some advice on how fast things should be moving

(9 Posts)
Ticktock1 Tue 11-Oct-11 17:32:10

Hi, I am a first time user to I am sorry if I get the acronyms wrong, there are so many of them!

I would love some advice on how fast/ slow to take things with my DP’s daughter and soon to be ex Wife (this could be long sorry!)

We have been together 10 months and I am the first person that he has had a relationship with since his marriage ended a year ago. We left it six months before I met his Daughter (she is nearly 3 yrs old now) and I had to have a meeting with his Wife before I met his Daughter. I didn’t want to do this but I understand that as a Mother it is massively important to find out who is going to be spending time with your child. It wasn’t as bad as I expected either.

So my DP is currently going through divorce (as am I but we don’t have any children and it is very uncomplicated) so many issues have been raised. My DP and I want to move in together in the New Year as we live in different cities we are deciding where we should live. I have a four hr commute a day and he also commutes so for that reason we would be better to live in my city, but his Ex has decided he can’t live more than 20 mins away from her and their daughter, I can see why he shouldn’t live too far away but my city is 30 mins tops and she has said no we cant live there. She wants to be consulted on where we live no matter what and everything has to be run by her for approval first. I think this is too much, am I mad? I feel trapped by her demands, like she is dictating my life.

We would have their daughter two long weekends a month and the other two weekends are split between both parents. I feel that as long as he can pick his daughter up at the time he is suppose to and drop her off at the right time what is the difference between 20min and 30mins ?! (an hr extra commute a day for me!)

My DP’s Ex refers to me as a step parent but I don’t feel like one, it seems too soon to really be thinking like that. I love my partner so much and defiantly see a future for us and his daughter is exceptionally lovely and I enjoy spending time with her but I don’t feel like a parent with her and almost feel like that would be disrespectful to her mother, How do other people cope with these feelings? At the end of the day see isn’t my daughter. His Ex seems to want me to be a mother with her but I feel like it is all too soon and I don’t want to be inappropriate. I am defiantly committed to this though and desperately want it to work,

Thanks for listening

musicplayer Tue 11-Oct-11 17:43:33

I was a young free singleton with zero experience of kids until I met my bloke and his daughter! I've ended up moving 500 miles on a trial basis and will take a decision next year about whether to settle with DP and have kids with him or whether we can't make it work. I was totally alarmed by the whole step parent thing, especially as his marriage became very difficult as soon as his daughter was born, and she therefore no doubt had some challenging experiences as a toddler. She's great but can be extremely naughty and manipulative and the idea of having to be involved with all that totally panicked me in the beginning.

I think you are right to want to negotiate your own relationship with her. With my DP, we were in a long distance relationship for ages, so would prioritize spending time alone together in the beginning, although he introduced me to her on 3rd date as he didn't want to invest in someone if it obviously wasn't going to work with his daughter. The benefit of this situation from the point of view of my relationship with his daughter (now 9), she's been able to get used to be as a background extra character in her life without any sudden change. Now I'm around more as I've moved to the same town, but not all the time. We had a discussion the other day about whether I was her stepmother or not. I said we should find a new word, as 'dad's girlfriend' suggested my dealings with her were entirely mediated through her father-not true, as I have my own relationship with her.

So my advice, for what it's worth, would be to not fulfill any role too soon that makes you feel uncomfortable. If your DP is wanting you to be very motherly, it may be that he is trying to recreate a sort of domesticity that he understands, and going about it a bit too quick. Perhaps he could be reassured that things will find their authentic place in due course.

ladydeedy Tue 11-Oct-11 19:56:40

first of all, the ex has no right to dictate where you both will live. It was also not reasonable of her to expect a meeting with you prior to your DP's daughter meeting you. She is massively overstepping the mark. She is a parent to the child, but your DP is also an equal parent and she should trust him that the child is being well cared for whilst in his care and anyone she is introduced to by him is his business only.
You should chose where you live and what works for the pair of you. As you will still be relatively nearby his child that should be all that she needs to know.
For what it's worth, when I met my now DH, we chose to move to be within 10 minutes walk of the ex's house so that the kids could walk easily between the two and still see their friends and do activities when they were with us. When the ex found out she said she didnt want us to live there as it was too close!!! We told her it was none of her business. She wasnt happy about it - still isnt 10 years on.

Ticktock1 Wed 12-Oct-11 14:23:38

Thank you so much for your replies, it helps massively to chat to someone else who has been there.

Musicplayer, there is probably part of me that still wants to stay free (I am 27) you can’t help who you fall in love with and the consequences that come with that I guess. I agree that ‘stepmother’ just doesn’t seem appropriate for all circumstances, I have no children, I am not a mother, I don’t feel like one so I need to come up with another term, that is great advice.

With the move I just feel like the Ex is just being a bit bitter and controlling and I agree with Ladydeedy but felt like I might have come across as a bit of a bitch if I actually said that. I don’t think she will be happy (as yours wasn’t) either way.

I just keep being told that because she is a mother and her life is so hard because of that, I should be the one that has to make all of the compromises because I don’t have a child to deal with everyday. I am a bit worried if I keep going along with everything that she wants its wont ever end, she will just keep making more demands because she knows that she can.

Many thanks!

ladydeedy Wed 12-Oct-11 15:13:36

She will. I am not a mother either, never wanted children. however, I fell in love with, and married a wonderful man who has two children. I was never the OW by the way, his ex met someone else (that relationship and others never lasted but we have been together for 10 years now).
She constantly goes on about my "perfect life" and how I have never had to deal with children and how hard it is and how her life is misery. one of the children came to live with us a year and a half ago and she is still going on about it (mosly because she is worse off financially). So I am in effect bringing up one of her sons (with my DH of course) and it's working out well. he is happy and flourishing but this makes her even more bitter.
It will never end. Dont let her dictate to you - just do what you know to be the right thing for you and DP.

Ticktock1 Wed 12-Oct-11 15:28:28

Thank you so much. I am glad it has worked out well for you, I hear so many horror stories its good that it is working for someone, well on your side anyway!

I do want children, but not for a couple of years and my DP and I have only been together 10 months so I feel it's better to wait a while anyway.

I get annoyed when she goes on and on about how hard it is and that we should have her Daughter more and more so she can have a life again. Having a child is a privalige and you make sacrifices, sometimes it seems like she use's our situation as an excause. I am sure your life isnt perfect! (smile)

Also Music player, i hope your move works out well for you. good luck!

Thanks again

Petal02 Wed 12-Oct-11 16:59:59

You’ve had some really good advice already, but I just wanted to chip in and say your wishes should not be overlooked, simply because you haven’t reproduced!!!! There are times when I think the only way to have a voice in my household is to have a baby (sextuplets at the very least) – but that’s the wrong reason to do it.

I agree that the ex does not have the right to dictate where you live – but whatever you do, it will probably be wrong, you’ll either be too close, or too far away or there will be some other silly issue.

I never understand why anyone indulges an ex when she insists on meeting the new partner before they’re “allowed” near the child. You never hear of a father doing that. As others have said, when the child is with the father, it’s up to him to decide who should/shouldn’t meet the child.

How is your DP with all this? Does he support your right to have a view, or does he let his ex walk all over him?

Smum99 Wed 12-Oct-11 18:23:52

One key issue is that your dp needs to establish boundaries with his ex - that menas she and he can talk about issues concerning the child but not about his life. He just needs to politely curtail the debate when she starts it.

On a positive note if she is happy for your dp to have his daughter, that is worth so much. Can your dp take on extra responsibility for childcare?

Hard to determine what will happen - their split is recent so I suspect it could change for the positive OR it could be like some of us (who post here) and have ex's who after many, many years try to be controlling.

Ticktock1 Thu 13-Oct-11 16:03:25

My DP is really trying and he is stuck in the middle trying to make us both happy, I know that is a very hard thing!

Because they are going through their divorce at the moment he is desperately trying not to shake things up as he is very worried that she will limit his access. I really don’t think she will, she is a good mum and a reasonable person just in a new situation.

I totally agree about boundaries this is something I am going to have a good discussion about with my DP about. There needs to be more on both sides so we all feel comfortable. I don’t have any friends in this situation so I haven’t been able to talk to anyone and have kind of been muddling through (and as nothing major has happened so far that has been fine) but now is a great time to talk about this and thanks to all of your advice I feel more validated in my point of view.

I do think it will get easier, when the Ex finds a new partner I am sure she will be less fixated on mine and my DP position and relationship as she will have her own to worry about. Fingers crossed!!

My DP is trying to reorganise work for the New Year so that he can work from home two days a week and therefore spend extra time with his Daughter. He does not want to be limited to just seeing her every other weekend and I think this is an amazing thing and makes me feel very positive about having a family with him in the future. The great thing is he wants to spend as much time with his Daughter as possible and his Ex seems very up for that as she will get more time to have her life back so on that one everyone wins. Its just sorting life out around it.

Everyone’s advice has been hugely helpful, thank you so much

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