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My husband's ex wife won't let him have child if I'm there

(50 Posts)
Kerrycficht Thu 01-Sep-16 21:18:39

So my husband and I have been married for almost a year. His ex wife is extremely bitter about their divorce. He asked for a divorce, and let her take everything, including full custody of the kid. She never fight for them to stay together. She just said Ok, and took everything (including a lot of money.) And she moved to Turkey with the child (to marry another man), without his permission. 5 days after the divorce was final. He didn't want to fight over anything. But in doing so, he never set boundaries. Most of the time, he has to beg to get her to FaceTime about an hour once a week. But our barely happens. She doesn't respond a lot to his questions or calls about their daughter.
We couldn't afford to fly any sooner, but had discussed with her for almost a year about us coming to Germany (mutual ground. They both have family there). She assured us she was saving and wouldn't keep his daughter from him. We agree on a time. We buy flights for a two week trip (coming from the U.S., not cheap.)
After weeks of asking her to buy her own flights, and a million excuses why she can't, I offer my husband that I'll pay for them from my savings. Finally, she agreed. But only if I'm not there. So I buy them without knowing the stipulation.
My husband's response to her, "ok". Because again he doesn't want to fight with her. But instead I'm left hurting, and we're fighting. I've been looking forward to meeting my step daughter. Since we started dating. She's seen me on FaceTime, but only after we were married. And I'm excited for us to finally be together. (Just for a week, that's all she would agree to.) He hasn't seen his daughter in 1.5 years.
My husband can't understand why it's important that we're all together.
Do I have a right, as a step mom, to be with my husband while he has visitation? I understand her dislike of me. I'm his new wife. And she knows she can do whatever she wants, and he'll keep paying the child support. Even alienating him from his daughter, completely.
I told him I'd take a poll. So basically that's what I'm doing.
Who thinks my husband should put his foot down, and who thinks I shouldn't have to be there? Thanks for your opinion.

OnionKnight Thu 01-Sep-16 21:20:39

You shouldn't be there, not at first anyway.

You don't have any 'rights'.

CatThiefKeith Thu 01-Sep-16 21:22:06

I think, honestly, that if he hasn't seen his child for a year and a half he should have plenty of time alone, just him and his daughter, to bond.

Could you not stay at the hotel and let him go off for visiting? Or is he having her overnight as well?

ConkerTriumphant Thu 01-Sep-16 21:22:29

I think you shouldn't be there, to be honest. If your DH hasn't seen his daughter for nearly two years I think they need time to rebuild their relationship before you step in.

I know that's not ideal for you, and I understand your frustration- but this isn't about you. It's about a child who needs to reconnect with her dad without anyone's ego getting in the way.

OhMyWord16 Thu 01-Sep-16 21:24:18

Agree with Cat

PeggyMitchell123 Thu 01-Sep-16 21:28:39

I don't think you should be there either. Your husband needs to build a relationship with the child he has not seen for 2 years.

annandale Thu 01-Sep-16 21:31:16

This sounds horrific but I agree that the child above all needs time alone with her Dad.

Tbh I would think very, very carefully about going at all - I think it will be infuriating for you. But others may not agree.

Lunar1 Thu 01-Sep-16 21:39:31

Just let your husband see his daughter, they need to build a relationship, anything else is unimportant right now.

SavoyCabbage Thu 01-Sep-16 21:43:50

You are putting your wants ahead of the needs of your husband's child. She needs to rebuild her relationship with her father. It's not about you at all.

SillySongsWithLarry Thu 01-Sep-16 21:45:18

You don't have rights at all the child has rights. It is her rights to have a relationship with her dad.

Fairylea Thu 01-Sep-16 21:46:19

Another one that agrees with Cat.

Let him bond and rebuild the relationship before you have any kind of contact with her.

motherducker Thu 01-Sep-16 21:48:51

It's not about you.

Kerrycficht Thu 01-Sep-16 21:54:17

Thanks for the input. His lack of seeing her isn't for lack of trying. This is just when his ex would finally agree. And who knows when she'll agree next time. He tells me he wants us all together. But to her, he just agree with everything she says. Last time he saw her be went by himself (we were engaged.) And he said he never wanted to go without me again. She'll be staying with him while they are there. And we don't have money for me to stay in a hotel.
I'm concerned that his ex has more say in our choices than we do.
Of course I want them to bond, and I've already changed my flight to visit a friend somewhere else in Europe. But the fact is, his ex lied numerous times to him. I don't think she'll ever let me around his daughter, ever. Wouldn't it be best to establish boundaries now. Rather than later?

Kerrycficht Thu 01-Sep-16 21:56:26

Also, when he FaceTimes, she asks for me. She tells me she loves me, we laugh and play games. I'm as involved as I can be already, without having actually met her.

CatThiefKeith Thu 01-Sep-16 22:16:17

How old is this child op?

I think you need to play the long game here. She will want to spend time with her father, she may resent sharing him after a year and a half gap, despite what she says on the odd FaceTime call.

And please, lay off the 'stepmom' thing to her. You haven't even met her yet and I can guarantee you it won't be helping your cause with her mother, it will be putting her back up, which will only result in more difficulty.

PatriciaHolm Thu 01-Sep-16 22:24:08

If he puts his foot down, that'll be the end of contact. Back off.

The "kid" (not a pleasant way to refer to her) hasn't seen her father for 18 months. Could he really not afford to visit once? (Him, not both of you).

You have no rights here. What matters is the child, and her relationship with her father. Which given the distance, is likely to be constrained to short snatches of time; not something you need to be part of, at least not for a long while.

Kerrycficht Thu 01-Sep-16 22:32:52

Hello catthiefkeith,

She's only 4. Still very young. We've talked about my role in her life. I have a step mom, and know what I didn't want to do. I'm not trying to parent her, just enjoy the little time we'll have together. She calls me by name, and I don't want to be called mom. I'm not trying to replace her mother. My role is as friend, and of course protect her from anything while she would be in our care (basic kid watching stuff.) The real issue is that the mom says she'll with-hold her if I'm there. Isn't it the right of the father to see his daughter, under whatever circumstances he wants? His ex wife shouldn't decide that for him? I'm a very loving, understanding person. I'm trying to see all sides, but I feel she's using her daughter as a pawn to try to hurt her ex husband. He wants me there, but doesn't want to fight. It's difficult to see him so passive, over something that is a big deal. It's hurting us as a couple, because after he talks with her, he shuts down emotionally for a while. I can't remember him actually being at peace or happy since we started planning this trip. I just keep trying to tell him that he can get what he wants. But he just assumes he'll never have it as long as he's a dad with his ex.

PatriciaHolm Thu 01-Sep-16 22:39:03

"Isn't it the right of the father to see his daughter, under whatever circumstances he wants?"

Absolutely not, no. The rights lie with the child; a right to a relationship with both parents. Not you.

The child is 4, and hasn't seen her dad since she was 2.5. A meeting with him is going to be huge thing for her to cope with on its own (and realistically may not be the amazing reunion he is hoping for - she's likely to be very overwhelmed by the whole thing).

CatThiefKeith Thu 01-Sep-16 22:55:27

Try to see this from the ex's point of view.

Her child's father left her and her child and hasn't seen their daughter in a year and a half, because he couldn't afford it.

In that time he has managed to afford a wedding to a woman their daughter has never met, and who is desperate to have a relationship with the child.

Now the father suddenly has enough money to pay for his flight, his new wife's flight, her own flight, and their daughters flight.

If I was in her shoes I would be thinking perhaps he should have come alone to see their daughter a bit earlier, and I would want to know that when he did see her, she was the whole focus of his attention.

Let him have this time with his daughter op. She's very little, and needs to bond with her father at this stage, his new wife that she's never met being there would only divert his attention from the person that should be getting 100% of it.

CannotEvenDeal Fri 02-Sep-16 01:50:22

Really Cat? The mother left the US to marry another man in Turkey and took her daughter with her without the father's permission but the dad is somehow the 'bad guy' who hasn't tried hard enough to vist. confused

Also, we don't know how extravagant the OP's wedding was so it's not for us to judge.

Kerrycficht Fri 02-Sep-16 03:11:39

Thanks cannotevendeal.
I know a lot of moms who care greatly for their kids. And are quick to cast blame on the man, and assume since she has custody that he must be a dead beat. We spent less than $800 on everything for our wedding. And immediately started saving again for their reunion. We have tried to get her to agree on visitation prior. But because my husband gave up his custody so the kid could have some stability, it's been difficult to get her to agree to arrange something. We were all in agreement when we got our flights, but she's just wants to hurt my husband and me with using her daughter to do so. It's hard to know exactly what she's thinking. But wouldn't the child come first, and not her feelings? The child had a right to both parents. Alienating her from her father because you don't like his new wife doesn't seem like the right thing to do, to me. She shouldn't give him this ultimatum. I'm not heartless, so of course I tell him to see his daughter. And I'll be fine doing whatever in another part of Europe. I'm just seeing, from my side, that it's not helping our marriage to keep fighting about his setting boundaries and sticking to them. Instead of moving on to a better parenting situation, he's letting her make all the calls for him. Know what I mean?

mixety Fri 02-Sep-16 06:54:27

I think it is wrong of the mother to say she would "withhold access" if you are there, and seems pretty bad that she moved across the world with her daughter in the first place. It is very generous of you to have spent so much of your money on flights to make this contact happen.

However, it would be awful to insist your DH puts his foot down and then find that his ex carries out her threats and refuses to let him see his DD. Really awful. Not worth the point you are trying to make.

What if you still go (given it sounds like you have already booked flights) but you agree to stay away from DD for the first part of the trip, on the condition that you can meet her at some point later on after she's had lots of time with her dad, to build a foundation for visits later down the line?

I think all your points are true about how unfair the ex is being. However I've read enough posts on this board to know that you can complain how unfair it is until the cows come home but no one can actually force another adult to change their behaviour. Many stepparents have had to simply disengage in the name of putting the children first and saving everyone involved - kids and themselves - from all the drama caused by an unreasonable ex.

mixety Fri 02-Sep-16 06:58:19

Just saw that you can't afford for you and your husband to stay separately while you are there. This is a real shame as could have been a good compromise to offer, but apologies for suggesting something you'd already said you couldn't do.

Dozer Fri 02-Sep-16 06:59:09

Your H is in a difficult situation and seems to have few options but to comply for the moment.

"The kid" is a crappy way to talk about the poor child.

You do not need, at this time, to be involved in her life. It will also save money (and annual leave) for your H to travel alone.

You are less important here.

annandale Fri 02-Sep-16 07:17:21

I totally agree that the ex is behaving totally unreasonably. It would be best I think if your h refused to engage with discussions about you, but instead challenged the ex to prove that not seeing her dad is the best thing for their daughter. In other words, focus totally on the rights of the child. I agree with you that his base assumption should be 'of course she will meet my wife' but I don't think this trip after such a long break should be the time, for her sake. It is going to be a hard time for them both and it will need his full attention. He can certainly talk to her about you though. Perhaps a little picture album or book showing you and her dad together as well as the place you live? And a wedding picture.

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