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Can you resolve the situation where the step-parent doesn't love your child as much as you do?

(46 Posts)
Tinker Wed 05-May-04 22:25:41

Sorry, I know this has been covered before but wanted to start a new thread.

Have had a few 'discussions' over the last few weeks with my boyfriend where this has cropped up. Prior to me meeting him, I would have always argued that you can't possibly expect step-parents to love a child in the same way that the natural parent does. But, as long as they act as though they do does it really matter?

But, I don't feel like that now. I can't understand (because my daughter is the centre of my universe) why he can't love her as much as I do - although, rationally, of course I can.

How have others coped with this if it's cropped up? Is this relationship doomed?

aloha Wed 05-May-04 22:28:00

Tinker, what's your situation? Do you live together? How long for? Living with children is very conducive to love. It can't be rushed. Presumably your dd has two parents for whom she is the centre of their lives - that's enough for anyone.

aloha Wed 05-May-04 22:29:21

BTW, I do love my stepdaughter, but don't feel the same unreasonable, idiotic passion for her as I do for my son. It might be different if we all lived together though. But what am saying is she doesn't mind at all. Also, she loves her dad more than me, and I don't mind that either. It cuts both ways!

kiwisbird Wed 05-May-04 22:30:13

Does your dd have contact at all with he natural father?
My son has a fab intimate relationship with his daddy, therefore his step dad being a more *structural* rather than emotional influence isn;t an issue, but if U had met dh when ds was little (he was 8) I would expect a little more *love* and affection...
Keep talking and let us know some more

Tinker Wed 05-May-04 22:33:52

aloha - her dad is pretty much absent. Sees her 2 to 3 times per year. Have been seeing boyfriend for 2 years and he's been here a lot and is officially here now. He's a big feature in her life. She loves him (I think), certainly loves the idea of him. But this cropped up a few weeks ago and again tonight. Have been thinking about having another child and he admitted (was pressed by me) that he believed he would love his own child more. I can completely understand that. Rationally. But, emotionally, it feels wrong.

Tinker Wed 05-May-04 22:35:37

kb - my daughter is just 7 now, so 5 when I met him.

kiwisbird Wed 05-May-04 22:42:27

so hard if the natural dad has not secured the "daddy" title already, I think your dp is being honest, I know that my dh is not nearly as emotional about my DS as he is about his little dd, but I expected that and as ds is close to his dad, he gets the best of both...
In your situation I suspect that if you did have another child, your dp would soon be stunned by the sibling relationship that evolves as kids do not know the biological difference, it has secuured our family 100 fold...
But a fair point to worry about, try and palce yourself in his shoes, might offer perspective perhaps?

Janh Wed 05-May-04 22:43:40

Wouldn't how he behaves be at least as important as how he actually feels? You can't make people feel what you want them to feel?

Sorry, Tink, no experience at all and I understand completely your anxiety about this but as long as he treats your DD with affection and fairness, isn't that enough?

Tinker Wed 05-May-04 22:45:34

kb - thanks for that, it's reassuring. I should be glad he's being honest I know. But then I worry that if I don't have another child will he resent my daughter in some way for not being his?

Tinker Wed 05-May-04 22:49:40

jan - exactly, that's what I believe. But, tonight he shouted at her about something. If he was her dad, I wouldn't think too much about it. She'd done something wrong and, in the same circumstances, I'd shout at her. But because he's not, it feels wrong when he does. If he said he loved her as much as if she were his own child, I think I could cope with the shouting. But because he's admited he doesn't, it feels worse somehow. Confused or what I know.

Janh Wed 05-May-04 22:53:00

He can't win, can he?

If he shouted at her in the same way you would have done (?) then I don't think you can ask for more, really - no shouting would = not involved, and too aggressive = not caring, but it didn't sound like that from what you said.

Maybe he really does love her but not having a child of his own yet he doesn't recognise the feeling.

chrissey14 Wed 05-May-04 22:55:02

hi how long has he been around?

may be he now feels a responsiblity as a step parent now?

Tinker Wed 05-May-04 22:59:20

True jan

chrissey - he's known her for nearly 2 years now. That's a good point about feeling responsibilty. Maybe I'm expecting too much. He certainly cares for her, looks after her.

kiwisbird Wed 05-May-04 23:01:40

my dh admits parenting without the biological bond is hard, he always felt like he was overstepping the mark, but when we moved in together it had to be ajoint effort, so we "discuss" anything we think needs discipline and generally ignore anything minor, I do not ever imagine resentment occuring here, it is just a different relationship not a negative one, I can so understand the yelling at your dd though, it still puts my back up at times, but I have learned to work through it for better

WideWebWitch Wed 05-May-04 23:05:27

Tinks, I can't tell you for sure that it's going to work as we're in the early stages of this sort of thing although my situation is slightly different: ds sees his father every other weekend and has a relationship with him but lives with me and dp. As you know, we've recently had dd (who is dp's) and so I do think Dp now 'gets' the whole emotional child thing in a way that he maybe didn't before. He loves ds and ds loves him but I do think he probably loves dd differently and is more protective because she's his. However, we are a very solid family unit and ds and dd are treated the same (as far as is pos given the age differences) and I really don't think dp discriminates in his treatment of them (having said earlier that he prob does feel differently about them, I don't think he treats them any differently). He's close to ds since he's old enough to play football and playstation and so on and they do get on extremely well. Having said that, he does share 50/50 in all the hard boring stuff too. Well, more than that actually since he became a SAHD. I've been with dp since ds was 2 and so he's known him 4.5 yrs, which is a big part of his life. So far I think we're doing great as a blended family (much as I hate that expression) - dp behaves exactly as if ds were his and in the 4yrs we've been together there have been very very few issues. He knew from the beginning that we were a package and that our relationship wouldn't work unless he fully accepted my son. So no, your relationship isn't doomed imo. So as long as partners love your child/ren (even if it's not as much as you do) then I don't think it matters. He can't love your dd as much as you do, it just isn't possible but that doesn't mean it won't work - I think from my experience that he can still love her and you can all be extremely happy together. Have a baby, go on!

Tinker Wed 05-May-04 23:05:56

You sound like where I want to be be kb. I feel torn between them at times. If she's upset, she comes to me and I can't let her down, we were on our own together for 5 years. I feel I'm abandoning her sometimes if I agree with boyfriend.

chrissey14 Wed 05-May-04 23:08:11

no mate

you a very lucky and she .she,s needs a male figure around 2 sound off how male adults behave ,plus he cares about u both

WideWebWitch Wed 05-May-04 23:08:17

Tinker, I wouldn't have expected dp to stay with me had I not wanted another child. He says he would have and that I was more important to him than having children but actually, I didn't think it was fair on him to ask him to stay with me if I didn't want another, since he didn't have a child of his own. In the end we resolved it (as you know!) but it's a tough one. My dp told me the first night we met that he wanted children so I wouldn't have believed him had he pretended he hadn't.

Janh Wed 05-May-04 23:08:46

FWIW I sometimes don't like the way DH speaks to DS2 (him being the littlest and seeming most vulnerable) and he's his actual Dad!

I think your bf sounds pretty brill, actually, Tink.

WideWebWitch Wed 05-May-04 23:10:26

Yeah, me too. If he's not living with you then I can imagine it might feel a bit weird. BTW, not saying you MUST have baby or it's not fair on b/f, just explaining our situation.

chrissey14 Wed 05-May-04 23:11:33


kiwisbird Wed 05-May-04 23:11:47

I had my son totally for 7.5 yrs, I sometimes feel that being part of a couple has hijacked our close relationship, inasmuch as my gain has been his loss, but we are better off, more settled and more happy... /while I cannot pretent that it is all perfect, I now trust my dh to be left with my ds for sa a weekend or night. There have been times where dh has gone over the mark and I have had to ho hum "have words" but in the whole my ds has thrived with the routine of being in a normal unit. He also now doesn't wince when people who do not know us tell him.. oh don't you look like your dad you handsome boy... Given that dh is 5ft 8 portly and dark haired, ds is blond,slim, 5ft tall at age 10 and very blue eyed...
they llok nothing like each other, but at least ds doesn't then try to explain the exact nature of the rlationship to complete innocent strangers!
There are more LOLS that arrrghhhs but it does take time

WideWebWitch Wed 05-May-04 23:13:18

Tinker, when I wasn't living with dp I didn't give him carte blanche to deal with ds but once we moved in we had to work out how to deal with all living together and mostly have agreed and presented a united front to ds.

tammybear Wed 05-May-04 23:13:55

Thought Id tell u my situation

Dp is not dd's biological father, but is her godfather (my lifes quite complicated lol) He doesnt want to take over ex's role as father, but wants to care and love dd as if she was his own dd, as he's hopefully moving in some time in the future.

He finds it hard to come to terms that dd is the child of some other man, and that ex will always be around as he wants to see dd.

I can see through the way dp is towards dd, and I know he cares for her. And like Janh said, he may not realise that he loves her due to not knowing what that feeling is. And I think when your dp shouted at your dd, it just shows he feels responsible over her like you.

Or at least thats what I think. I think Ive just babbled a load of nonsense lol

Tinker Wed 05-May-04 23:15:49

Jan - the voice of reason, you do make me feel better

www - thanks for all that. Have had the same conversations about I wouldn't expect him to stay with me, understand his need for a child etc. Had to broach that one quite early cos I'm a an old bag now. Might not happen and he may want out - but that's another thread

cheers chrissey - he does look after us, I forget that sometimes

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