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Whole thing is a total fucking mess

(61 Posts)
MycatsaPirate Mon 26-Dec-16 15:29:33

This may be long, quite a huge backstory

Dp split with his ex 6 years ago when she left taking their DD with them. She was 8 at the time and he has an older DD who was 16.

I moved in with dp 4 years ago with my DD's, then 13 and 6.

We had regular contact with his youngest who would come to use Eow and extra time when her mum was away with her partner and during the holidays. There were lots of minor issues which weren't helped by his ex involving herself in and causing small problems to be escalated into major ones. Things like his DD saying I never asked her to do anything in the house (like picking up stuff or tidying) like I did my own DD's involved a 2 hour meeting between dp and ex with his DD apparently 'sobbing her heart out'.

So I started asking her to pick up stuff she'd left etc. Then dp got another call and another 2 hour meeting with DD sobbing her heart out because I was picking on her and making her do everything.

Instead of her mum leaving it to us to sort out, she involved herself in everything with the result that if his DD didn't like anything then she would tell her mum so that her mum could basically start issuing orders. Things got very fraught.

Two years ago their divorce was finalised and in court she said that contact was very amicable and dp was having dd eow and extra time when wanted and that no court order was needed. She was given substantial monies from the settlement to let her keep a home in the area as their DD was settled at school and with friends etc.

So we ended up homeless and skint as Dp wasn't working because of an accident but we found a house to rent and made sure that there was room for his DD to share with my youngest (having the bigger bedroom) with my teen having the box room.

A few weeks after the divorce his ex emailed him to say they were moving. Just over an hour away, his DD would be moving schools and they were moving in with her new partner. Dp was devastated. This would mean reduced contact as we were having her until the Monday and she was going to school from our home. To start with we still saw her eow but very quickly contact started to dwindle away and once his ex had enrolled their DD into a saturday activity that was it. We had her here September 2015 for four days and then December 2015 for four days.

Dp sees her every monday evening very briefly as my DD goes to the same activity but she will not talk to him. He rings her and she won't answer. He calls the house but gets told she's not in/busy/asleep/doesn't want to talk to him. As you can imagine this is hurting him massively.

The last time his DD was here she had gone out with a friend and refused to come back because dp wouldn't let her sleep over at the friends house. This was because he had barely seen her in months and wanted to spend time with her. She kicked off at him (I kept completely out of it) and she spent the rest of the time on her laptop not talking to anyone in the house at all.

Two years ago his ex was diagnosed with cancer. We have no idea of what's going on with treatment or prognosis as no-one will tell dp. however, yesterday dp rang his dd to say happy christmas and was told she was asleep (at 11.30am). His ex rang back and said that DD didn't want to talk to him. She also said that she was protecting their DD from him because dp hadn't been showing any care or concern over her cancer diagnosis. It was a very long phone call and it ended up with her hanging up on him in anger.

She told him she is going into a hospice today and they aren't sure when she will be coming out if at all. Dp is hugely concerned about the effect this is having on his DD and also what the hell will happen if the worst happens to his ex?

At the moment his dd is in the care of his wife's partner but he has memory problems due to an accident and isn't in the best of health. Dp is angry that his ex has basically pulled his DD away from him at a time when she should have been encouraging contact to ensure support from her Dad.

I have said to dp that there needs to be a meeting to sort this out. If the worst happens we want his DD to come to us and live with us. I know his ex thinks I hate his DD but I don't. I care about her but the conflict between her parents has caused no end of conflict in her and I think that she has felt she needs to choose. It's just an awful mess.

I'm worried that things have been left too late to fix. I'm scared that his DD will want to stay with a man who although very nice, is not her dad and is not capable of parenting a teenage girl through her teens. I'm concerned that she may have to move schools again.

Neither of us know what the hell to do now.

wowbutter Mon 26-Dec-16 15:33:16

Wow, yes, that is a mess.

If the girl wants to stay with the partner, that is her choice. She clearly knows him, trusts him and is settled. He can access support from the school via just b or family support if needs be.

MycatsaPirate Mon 26-Dec-16 15:42:01

I'm talking about worst case scenario. If her mum dies then Dp wants his DD here. He's always wanted her with him but respected that she wanted to live with her mum.

But yes, if her mum dies he would fight to have her with him. Rather than live with a man who has memory issues and has only been in her life for five years.

Dp's main concern now is sorting out contact with his DD. And repairing the damage caused over the last two years by her mum's interference in their relationship.

Underthemoonlight Mon 26-Dec-16 21:42:35

It's not about what your or your dp wants but what your SDD wants she Is of an age where her feelings and opinions are relevant. She also has an older sister who is an adult who may take her in, does your dp see her?

I think there's more too this and it would be interesting to hear from the other party. Surely you're dp would have asked about his ex about her diagnosis?

heidiwine Tue 27-Dec-16 07:09:45

Contact the family separation clinic. https://www.familyseparationclinic.co.uk/

They specialise in helping alienated children and their families. It won't be a quick fix but your DP will get good strong advice from them.

MrsNuckyThompson Tue 27-Dec-16 07:28:58

Can the older daughter help to at least get everyone talking?

abbsisspartacus Tue 27-Dec-16 07:34:03

You don't mention the older daughter at all?

wannabestressfree Tue 27-Dec-16 07:49:12

Sorry but I am in a similar position healthwise and my sons have said they want to stay with my partner in their home. Not with their dad. And we sought legal advice and were told their wishes would be respected.
I think you need to tread carefully.

FrankAndBeans Tue 27-Dec-16 09:17:53

If she wants to stay with her step dad you should respect that, she is old enough to choose and dragging her through a court battle after losing her mother would be ridiculously unfair.

stitchglitched Tue 27-Dec-16 09:31:30

You say her stepdad has only been in her life for 5 years but she lives with him and sees him everyday. She is going to be alot closer to him than a father who she has barely seen this year. Whoever is at fault for the lack of contact she isn't going to care when she is grieving for her mother and she is going to want support from the people she feels close to. I think you will find it very hard to be able to force a teenager to live with you against her wishes.

Chippednailvarnishing Tue 27-Dec-16 09:37:47

Too little, too late.
The lack of contact should have been addressed in 2015. Regardless of what your DP thinks if his DD wants to stay with the partner she's old enough to decide.

MycatsaPirate Tue 27-Dec-16 14:30:31

The older daughter is not with his ex, she has a different mum. She's an adult and lives with her own partner in London. She is not in a position to take in her sister should the need arise. Both her and her partner work long hours and odd shifts. Dp has a good relationship with her and we see her often and speak to her on the phone regularly.

Dp has tried to sort contact. When no one will answer the phone or respond to texts or emails what else is he to do? On the odd occasion the phone is answered it's by the partner who just stonewalls him. Dp feels he's very much been inched out of his DD's life in favour of the new family unit.

Dp's fear is that his relationship with his DD has been eradicated to the point of no return. He's a good dad. He always been a good dad, but when his ex shut down all attempts at communication it was so difficult for him to persevere without causing even more grief. His ex had the diagnosis and with her in and out of hospital it wasn't like taking Court action would have been a good idea for harmonious relations.

And he used to be very close to his DD. It's not his fault that another man is now closer to her than he is. He really has done everything bar Court proceedings which, as I stated, really would not have gone down well with anyone.

I know it seems like he hasn't bothered. He has. He takes my DD to the activity every monday just so he can see his own DD for a few minutes. He calls her regularly even though she won't answer her phone. He rings the house every month or so on the off chance it will either be answered or he can talk to her. This is the first time he's spoken to his ex in a long, long time. We did see them all at his oldest's birthday last month but when he spoke to her (ex) she shut him down with a 'fine'. It was very awkward.

I am just looking for ideas on how this can be started to be fixed.

FrankAndBeans Tue 27-Dec-16 15:11:10

If he takes her to court whilst her DM is ill, DSD will most likely resent him more. I don't think he can do much more than he is already at the moment. If the mother passes then he could request shared custody but he should not remove the child from her home if she wishes to remain.

Underthemoonlight Tue 27-Dec-16 15:15:45

There is a reason why this girl won't talk to you's it may not necessarily be her mum but her own feelings on the matter. Has there been an event that has triggered her being so distance maybe she's jealous when she see her DF with your dd making the situation worse.

heidiwine Tue 27-Dec-16 15:22:16

Honestly OP it's impossible for anyone to advise without really understanding what's going on here. We can all give opinions based on our experiences (or just our views) but I urge you to seek professional help from experts. Please contact the family separation clinic. They are really good and specialise in the breakdown of parent / child relationships after divorce or separation. They also have extensive experience with the legal system.

antimatter Tue 27-Dec-16 16:16:21

He should write a letter to his DD telling her that he loves her, he will stand by her decision and that she is always welcomed in your house.

abbsisspartacus Wed 28-Dec-16 10:14:36

She wants her mom why is that hard for you to understand?

MycatsaPirate Wed 28-Dec-16 11:24:46

she wants her mom why is that hard for you to understand?

Honestly that's the singularly most unhelpful comment on here. Clearly she loves her mum and wants to be with her but prior to the cancer diagnosis and her mum stopping contact (she admits she did this because she feels my dp didn't show enough concern about the cancer) she also loved her dad very much and loved spending time here with him.

I have read all the comments, I think him writing a letter is a very good idea.

However I am hoping her mum will talk to her too and explain that she has TWO parents and that she may need her dad in the time to come if things get worse for her mum.

She had a home here. She didn't want to move away and her mum promised her a puppy when they moved. The puppy never materialised but she has settled in the last 18 months she's lived there. However she still has strong ties to this area, obviously her dad but also other extended family on both her mum and dads side and also lots of friends. Moving back here would not be a huge leap in terms of upheaval should that be necessary as she would be attending the same school as the girls she has been to school with since she was 5.

tattychicken Wed 28-Dec-16 11:48:52

I really think you are not looking at it from her point of view. She will be petrified at the thought of losing her Mum. Moving into your home at such a time of turmoil is just too much, especially when neither you or your DH have a good relationship with her at the moment. For now, just keep things as they are, try to mend thecrelationship from where you are, with professional help.
If you can establish regular contact, that is a huge step. And then gradually her staying EOW can be increased, at a pace she is happy with. Maybe, eventually, she will live with her Dad FT, maybe not. But it should all be about her, rather than her Dad. It sounds like she's had a lot of change in her life over the last few years, and things are about to get a whole lot worse. 😔

Livelovebehappy Wed 28-Dec-16 12:45:49

The most important thing, if the worst happens, is that she is in a familiar environment, with I guess her friends and other family. For her to uproot and move in with you, as well as coping with the loss of her mother, would be a big ask. If your DP makes it clear to her that she has a home with you, then she may eventually choose to move in with you.

WannaBe Wed 28-Dec-16 12:58:25

TBH I think he is being unrealistic wanting to sort this now. The reality is that this girl is in a position where she's about to lose her mum, and her dad wanting her to go and live with him is just going to make her fears worse, because there will be the fear of A, her mum dying, but added to that the fear of potentially being expected to go and live with people who she has no relationship with.

Also, there will be a reason why she isn't in contact with him. Regardless of her mum's influence, if she wanted a relationship with her dad she could have one, she could communicate with him when they're at the joint activity, but as she doesn't I would guess that there is more to this than just the fact that her mum made things difficult.

Unfortunately she is old enough now that she will be able to choose where she lives. And as hard as that is for your DP, her life is with her stepdad.

FrankAndBeans Wed 28-Dec-16 13:03:52

You need to let go of the expectations that she will come and live with you if her Mum passes. You need to respect her choices. Focus instead on starting contact and supporting.

MycatsaPirate Wed 28-Dec-16 13:13:56

To make it clear, we don't expect her to move in here now. We are looking at the possible scenarios in the future and although her stepdad is a nice man he has a brain injury which has given him short term memory loss. Sometimes when Dp has phoned the stepdad doesn't know where the DD is. That's fairly worrying.

However what I'm looking for is ways for Dp to try and sort out his relationship with his DD. He hasn't given up, he has been trying to talk to her since contact was stopped. He last had her here last Christmas (four days after it, not the actual day). His ex I'm sure is a very good mum but has made things extremely difficult for dp to maintain a good relationship with his DD. It's a difficult balancing act between trying to keep contact and coming across as harrassing them.

His ex said that she was wrong in keeping them apart on the phone. She said she did it because in her eyes, my dp wasn't showing enough care or concern towards her because of the cancer. We aren't sure how he was supposed to do it or why it was expected of him.

IMO his DD has been privy to far too much information on the divorce proceedings and his older DD (who lived with the ex for a while) said that ex would badmouth us relentlessly during the proceedings. There was a period of time when DD would come over and she would make comments about what we had bought and why we hadn't spent that money on her. She got angry that we had bought my teen school uniform because we should have spent that money on her. That's the kind of thing we were having to deal with and it clearly came from her mum, not DD who at the time was only 9 and really shouldn't have been wondering what money we were spending on essentials!

It got to the point that we didn't do anything on the weekends we didn't have DD because it wasn't fair in her eyes if we went out. Regardless of the fact that she was often away weekends with her mum and stepdad. So we kept all outings to the weekends we had her. Even something like going to the beach became difficult if it was mentioned in front of her.

I do think her mum caused most of this. She has made her DD feel like she's had to choose. DD became withdrawn when asked what she'd been up to in the time we hadn't seen her. Clearly this was coming from some sort of directive from home where she wasn't allowed to mention dad at home or mention what she'd been doing with us.

We care very much about her wellbeing, and dp obviously loves her. My girls miss her. I just feel that this could have been avoided. Her mum is also of the opinion that this has got to a ridiculous situation but a large percentage of this is her fault. I appreciate she's dealing with a lot but I think dp resents that he is now appearing to be the 'bad parent' in his DD's eyes along with his exes extended family.

Underthemoonlight Wed 28-Dec-16 18:05:05

Op you write in all your posts bad mouthing the mother but your dsd has choices and feelings that you continue to disregard them you created your own opinions on events but don't want to see how they may have come across to your dsd, I don't think the fault is solely the mothers but some faults on your side and your Dhs you paint the picture of the wrong party but it's clear there's more too this

PeggyMitchell123 Wed 28-Dec-16 18:14:06

I think you need to start thinking of your dsd here. She is a young girl who loves her mother and is having her mother go through cancer and potentially die. Your dp going in and pointing out it was all her mother's fault is hardly going to encourage dsd to start a relationship again with her dad. Also if the mother does die, then your dp won't automatically get custody. Yes he is her father but if dsd has not had much contact with him they will take that into consideration as well as her wishes. Legally her wishes can now be considered.

I think he should try his best to arrange a meeting with his ex and the writing of a letter is a good idea.

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