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Step parents breaking up with biological parent

(27 Posts)
Evie37 Sun 13-Dec-15 12:05:28

I have a 2 year old step daughter and a baby on the way with my husband. Neither my husband nor I want to separate but quite honestly I think it may happen sometime soon. I was in hospital for our last weekend with sd and she was apparently quite upset that I wasn't around and became distressed when they visited me and I couldn't leave with them. My husband and I have discussed that due to her attachment to me and that I see her as my own, that he would most definitely want me around for his weekends with her even if we were to separate.
However that could mean that one day my husband could end up with another woman or anything could happen with custody and this could be taken from me. Has this ever happened to any of you? Does anyone know what to do if they have a step child in their life who expects them to be around and there is a break up? Especially with a baby on the way.

clam Sun 13-Dec-15 12:24:05

If neither of you want to separate, why is it an issue?

cannotlogin Sun 13-Dec-15 12:57:35

Unfortunately, your step daughter isn't yours and only has a legal right to a relationship with her father in the circumstances you describe (every other weekend access). Your husband will be the one who needs to ensure a relationship between his children, although there would be nothing to stop you approaching mum of your DSD and developing your own relationship with her that way, obviously dependent on mum's co-operation. A 2 year old child doesn't expect you to be around - it's your husband who has that expectation. I would be wary because it sounds to me like he simply wants a 'mother' on hand to help him parent his children and/or he isn't keen to let you 'move on', something he himself would be doing the 12 days a fortnight he doesn't have his children. This would tie you to him - it sounds very controlling and will most certainly negatively impact on your ability to recover emotionally and move on. Essentially, he is playing on your mothering instinct towards his young child to tie you to him either indefinitely or until the day comes that he is no longer interested in you.

If his child is only 2 years old and you are married, how long have you been together? Why is your relationship breaking down?

ImperialBlether Sun 13-Dec-15 13:07:12

This depends on whether the SD is living with her father, though, doesn't it? What's the family situation like?

juneau Sun 13-Dec-15 13:09:11

Your DSD is two and is unlikely to remember you and her dad being together if you split now. Yes, there will be an adjustment period, but she will get over it. I know that sounds harsh and its no doubt its an upsetting thought for you, but what and who do you remember from when you were two? I think it would be far more confusing for her in the long run to see you EO weekend at her dad's but then at some point realise that the two of you haven't been together for ages and have just been play-acting for her benefit.

Also, I would urge you not to tie yourself to spending EO weekend with your ex. As you both move on with your lives it will become increasingly problematic and difficult - particularly if/when there are new partners involved. I would go for a clean break and, if possible, come to some separate arrangement regarding seeing your DSD (i.e. if both your ex and his ex agree she could come over to your place to play and spend time with you and her new sibling).

Evie37 Mon 14-Dec-15 08:21:59

He has every weekend not every second weekend but I see as I said "his weekends" how it was misunderstood. I wish I could have a relationship with her bm but I have tried my hardest and she is just not interested in anything that makes my husbands or my life easier or is better for the children sadly.
I guess I'm worried about how the two kids relationships will form if my sc no longer has anything to do with me? Will that be more or less confusing for her?
And mainly the relationship is teetering on ending because of this control factor that he has. He loves me and doesn't want to lose me but I think my happiness is more important to being a good mum than whether we're together or not.
I've just never been in this situation before.
I agree sd likely wouldn't remember me but my absence this weekend upset her a lot and I don't want that. :/

Adelecarberry87 Mon 14-Dec-15 08:32:49

As a mum, whos ex is remarried i wouldn't expect the SM to maintain a relationship with my child if they split up. As far as extended children go that would be up to your DH to arrange that time they build a relationship together. I would only say a relationship with a SP should be maintenced if one of the BP passes away. Otherwise it gets confusing especially when new partners are introduced. How many SP does a child need?

PrettyBrightFireflies Mon 14-Dec-15 09:14:43

This scenario is addressed in family law - and one of the few occasions when the marital status of a stepparent makes a difference.

Any adult, who has "lived with" a DC for two years or more (irrespective of the relationship) is awarded the legal right to apply for contact with the DC through a child arrangements order.

A married stepmum has the same right but it is not subject to a two year qualifying period and it applies to any child who has been treated as a "child of the family" - so a stepchild who has regular contact, is included in family holidays etc, would also be subject to that.

The law acknowledges the importance of unrelated adults in DCs lives and the fact that, on occasions, that is not necessarily recognised by a DCs parents.

lunar1 Mon 14-Dec-15 09:38:06

Given her age I think you would have to step away. She has a mum and dad, both of who will probably have a new partner at some point. You wouldn't be able to spend weekend together then.

Your partner will have to manage the relationship between his children. It would be different if she was older.

RebootYourEngine Mon 14-Dec-15 09:48:14

You have only know her for a year or two so i think it would be best if you did split to walk away. My answer would be different if you had been in her life 10, 15, 20 yrs and she was old enough to arrange to see you herself.

Whatevva Mon 14-Dec-15 09:53:38

I would think that if dp is of a controlling nature, he is using your attachment to dss and hers to discourage you from leaving. You have said that he does not want to lose you and this is a way of manipulating your feelings.

As others have said, dss has a mum and dad, so should be able to manage. People come and go from the lives of 2 year olds, but as long as they have their primary carers, that is normal.

titchy Mon 14-Dec-15 09:54:58

You can't avoid her being upset. She will be regardless of whether you see parent her when your dp has her. You need to consider what is in her long term interests, not the short term.

If your dp has your sd every weekend, your child will be able to see their sister when your dp has your child for the weekend, so they will continue to have a relationship.

reni2 Mon 14-Dec-15 11:02:55

I think you will have to let go. She is very young and won't remember you in the end. Your possibly StbX seems a fast mover with regards to relationships, your dsd is only two, he managed to get married, have new baby on the way and the relationship already ran it's course. By the time your stepdaughter is ten he might have added several other children at this rate, how are those contact weekends supposed to work with so many people involved? Best a painful but short period now then a protracted good bye.

chrome100 Mon 14-Dec-15 14:43:07

But if you're having a baby with your husband surely she will be its half sibling and therefore having an ongoing relationship with you makes more sense?

reni2 Mon 14-Dec-15 14:54:03

There is often very little contact between the mothers of one man's different children. Especially if he will go on to marry again, as might the 2yo mother. She might end up with several stepmothers.

RideEmCowgirl Mon 14-Dec-15 14:58:24

Why do you think you will be seperating soon?

NerrSnerr Mon 14-Dec-15 15:02:12

Why are you separating if joy don't want to? How long have you and your partner been together? Have you known your step daughter all that time?

NerrSnerr Mon 14-Dec-15 15:02:35

'If you don't want to'

reni2 Mon 14-Dec-15 15:03:53

RideEmCowgirl because OP said so: "Neither my husband nor I want to separate but quite honestly I think it may happen sometime soon."

Finola1step Mon 14-Dec-15 15:05:25

You certainly could pursue avenues for maintaining contact as posted above.

I do however, think your husband's suggestion is strange. It sounds like he is expecting that if you leave, you will then return at the weekends to continue as before.

If you do split up, it will fall to your H to create opportunities for his two dc to bond.

It does sound like that his suggestion is just another tool to manipulate and control the situation, you and both dc.

NerrSnerr Mon 14-Dec-15 15:05:36

Reni- people are asking because people usually separate when one or both parties want to seperate.

RideEmCowgirl Mon 14-Dec-15 16:59:23

Also she is pregnant and they haven't been together long

reni2 Mon 14-Dec-15 17:03:22

But pregnant and not together long will possibly have applied to wife No1 also since dsd is only 2 and he got married and the next wife was pregnant and now they might split so he does have form for speed?

Did he leave her during pregnancy too and you think he'll do this to you now, OP?

Bubbletree4 Mon 14-Dec-15 17:23:35

Since the dsd is only 2, you can exit her life now and she will never remember you as a mother figure. She may be distressed for a very short period and then soon enough she will have completely forgotten you. Children of this age really do forget quickly.

I can understand that you love this child and want her to have a relationship with your unborn child but if you leave your dh/dp, that will be down to him to facilitate and although there may be ways for you to force this issue, the fact that the child's mother wouldn't be in favour of her seeing you without your dh/dp means that it will be exceptionally difficult, possibly unfulfilling for all concerned and far more trouble than you will want to deal with.

Morganly Wed 16-Dec-15 00:04:50

Why are you going to separate if neither of you want to?

She's 2 and you are married. That must have been a very quick divorce and remarriage. How long have you been married? How long have you known the little girl?

Her primary attachment will be to her mum. I'm not convinced about her strong attachment to you in such a short timescale.

I think your possibly soon to be ex needs to learn how to look after his daughter on his own and not expect some woman he's been in an extremely short relationship with to do his parenting for him.

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