New Step Mum(36 Posts)
Hello everyone, I am completely new to this website and completely new to being a step mum! So any advice would be great. My partner and I have been together 3 years and he has always had a daughter that he would see for around 4 hours every Sunday due to his ex being controlling and not allowing him anymore time with her. So I have met and spent time with my partners daughter who is now 6. Anyway 11 months ago his ex stopped all access and he went to court to do the right thing with regards to access. Anyway 11 months later he has a court order where his daughter can come and stay with us every other weekend and one night in the week for her dinner. This is fantastic for him and I am so pleased for him, however I am struggling with such a huge change in dynamics. I know I am going to sound selfish but I just want to be as honest as possible to see if it's normal. Father and daughter want to spend as much time as they can together so it's been every weekend, so all of a sudden I'm used to having my partner to myself every weekend, and now I feel pushed out as I don't have a say (which I suppose I wouldn't, and don't want to jeprodise his time with his daughter) but I feel very jealous shock I am just being honest. Furthermore, because it's all so new, there is no routine or rules. The daughter wants to sleep in our bed and although this has happened twice, I just don't sleep as there is no room and it winds me up she shouldn't be in our bed surely? I am a nurse and work weekends so need to be able to sleep. When speaking with my partners mother and father about the situation they said I should let her sleep in our bed for around 2 months as this situation is so new to her and she needs to get comfortable with her dad and I. If anything I should sleep in her room. Is this ok? I am so lost in this mindfield that I don't know what the right thing to do is as I'm not a parent and never have been and I don't want this to come between my partner and I. So the main issues are I am jealous that I'm now not number 1 (sorry it's selfish but just being honest) and the sleeping arrangements. Can anyone advise?
It's meant to be every other weekend but because it's all new and daddy and daughter want to see each other as much as possible it's every weekend
Honestly OP, I'd leave. I have a similar situation, controlling and manipulative ex who has caused so many problems and unfortunately you're confining yourself to a life of second best. It's crap. His daughter will always come before you and it will cause more and more resentment and arguments.
I love my children but I wish I'd had them with someone without the baggage. I can't see our relationship lasting.
It is very difficult to consider what reasonably makes you feel the way you do and what is indeed unjustified jealousy. It is what you really need help with so that you can approach your partner and discuss how to move things forward so that you can both feel fulfilled in your relationship and family.
What is reasonable/unreasonable is not black and white. There is an element of commonality amongst families, but the rest is really dependent on your dynamics.
What is reasonable is to accept that there is now a change in the dynamics of your family/relationship and that going back to how it was (which was ideal for you) is not possible. That means that you WILL have to accept that you will be getting less attention and time from your OH, but it shouldn't mean that you shouldn't gradually start to function at times as a trio.
You need to trust that time will help you settle. You will gradually feel less in demand of your OH time and attention as you become more secure in your relationship. You will also build a better relationship with your SD even maybe to the point when she and you will want to spend time together without your OH!
Be careful on how you express your feelings with your OH as he could easily turn defensive as he feels stuck between his partner and daughter, wanting to please both of you and therefore feeling guilty if one expresses unhappiness with him, guilt that will turn into frustration, clearly mainly towards you as you can't so easily blame a young child for wanting attention. When you get to this point, it's much harder to step back because it becomes a battle of expecting the other to change their ways rather than what you can do yourself to make things better.
Do talk to your OH about your feelings, but do in a way that he doesn't feel that he is made to feel responsible for them and something that he needs to sort out. Look at it as if the issue had nothing to do with the child. If you missed your OH (because of work, activities, friends etc...), how would you suggest to make it better. Is it about making more time for each other, or making the time of better quality. Make suggestions as to what you think you could move better towards this new life and most importantly, be patient as time always help to adjust.
I remember when I first moved with my OH how much I craved to spent all my time with him and missed him when I didn't. It really hurt. 7 years later, I rarely miss him and it's not so much about time together but the quality, making sure we do have special time when we remind ourselves how much we mean to each other, but I don't love him any less than I did then.
I understand how you feel but I think you need to speak to him and explain how you feel. Honestly, his child does come first so yes you will forever be second best but that's the way it is with kids be glad he's a good enough man to want to put his DD first.
As for her sleeping in the bed, I agree with their stance with two months it gives you a time frame and yes I see no reason why you cant sleep in her bed when she does this. You'll get used to this, you've just been thrown into the deep end!
In regards to the bed issue, I think it is one matter where you need to compromise. What is important is that when you suggest something different to what he thinks is right, he doesn't think it is the jealousy that is speaking, so this is what you need to consider first. Deep inside, is it the reason why you have an issue with it, or is it really because you can't sleep properly?
You need to work out a plan by which he feels he is doing his duty as a caring dad (ie. making sure she is not unhappy in her bed) whilst recognising your needs (and probably his too!).
Hi this is me again I just changed my name. His ex doesn't bother me because I just don't get involved. But I have spoken to him and he's agreed she should go in her own bed and he will read her a story till she goes to sleep so here's hoping! I will see how tonight goes....
Sorry to say this, but I agree with a PP that this will never be a happy relationship while you have a controlling ex in the background. Having a child with an ex partner gives you the ability to make their life very difficult in every way if you choose to, and it sounds like that's the path his ex is following.
Anyway... for now I would back off a little and let them spend time together. He should encourage her to sleep in her own bed but if she wants to come in with him I think you need to make way for her in the short term whilst she settles in, and for them to spend time doing their own thing at the weekend.
She's 6 - am I right?
OP if it were me the thing I wouldn't compromise on is the bed. A 6 year old should be in their own bed for many reasons. If possible I'd put a second bed in her room & let dp decamp in there if she needs him. Your bed should be sacroscant to you & your Dp & you both need a space that is yours alone.
I can understand Dp wanting to spend so much time with her esp having been denied access for so long - however a word of caution. If his set access is every second weekend & one day during the week I'd advise him to stick to that even if he's tempted to do otherwise.
If his ex is controlling and set access is eow then she is more than capable of enforcing that if & when SHE feels like it. At that stage both Dp & his dd will both have gotten used to more access & will find the shift very difficult.
In my experience the only thing that works with exes like that is pretty rigid routines & boundaries.
Why is anyone bringing the ex into this?
OP has clearly said her main issue is jealousy of his daughter getting the attention she was getting.
Thank you, the ex isn't an issue to me at all. It's just difficult getting to grips with the shift in our relationship
Yes but the reason Dp now has more access is that the ex has allowed it, i.e. Is controlling it.
My point, speaking from personal experience, is that this shift in your relationship has occurred because ex has allowed access to shift.
There will be yet another shift in your relationship if the ex then decides to cut back access or increase access more.
You & your dp aren't running the situation, she is, as in Dp is reacting to what ex will allow at the moment, not what court has ordered or what you & he as a pre existing couple want.
Sorry if I'm not explaining myself very well.
I understand what you're saying. It's just that it has gone through the courts and if she breaks the rules it's serious as in community service or prison. So I can see that you may think she is controlling it by allowing more access than the courts say but that is not my issue. The issue is the jealously and having a 6 year old child on my hands. I wrote the post for help with that, not to get worked up by my partners and his exs issues as they are theirs. Not mine
The jealousy thing is very honest and brave a subject to brace.
We don't want to feel it, but we do. Sometimes admitting it on here gets you flayed but you can't help your feelings.
Look at the positives - enjoy the time alone you do have with your DP. Enjoy some free time alone at the weekends to catch up with friends and have time for yourself. If you've fancied any hobbies or pursuits now is the time to engage in them.
Think of it from his side, he had a daughter thinking he would tuck her in every night, welcome her home from school everyday, be there for her always. Now he only has half that.
Ask him where he sees you involved? Surely he wants all of you to do activities together sometimes? Don't shut yourself off and run away, as that will just make a greater divide.
The bed thing, I would stand clear on. She's 6. Old enough to go into her own room.
He could lie there with her until she drops off. If she wakes and comes in, he takes her back to her bed for a cuddle. In the morning he can do the same.
But yes she'll always come first. Be proud that you're with a dad who thinks like that, OP, who loves and cares for his daughter. Because there are so many that don't. And that's the last kind of guy you want a future with.
Thank you for your kind reply. He wants me very involved, the only problem lay where I just wasn't ready for a 6 year old all of a sudden, and I know that sounds ridiculous because he's always had a child but he's never had access like this where he has her for a whole weekend. I've been honest and said I need to take my time with it and be able to adjust, but there just isn't time as she comes to stay with us in her new room. I can't lie and the weekend just gone we had her from Friday to Sunday and I did struggle because she wants her Dad all the time, even to go upstairs to the bathroom which I know is natural and I'm sure she will get used to the situation. She's very loving towards me too always telling me she loves me and drawing me pictures. I just wish I didn't feel 'jealous' or put out as I obviously don't have that bond with her and don't fully get it as I'm not a parent and never have been. It's all just so new and I wish it could go a bit slower but I know that daddy and daughter want to see each other as much as possible. I'm just finding it hard and I hate being the person that has to enforce the rules like sleeping in her own bed
You can have rules and love! Don't forget that.
How about concentrating your attention on the time you do have with him rather than the times you don't and his attention is undivided to his daughter. Plan your week-ends together without her so you make the best of her, then plan your week-ends when she's there on the basis that your OH is busy.
I agree rules are fine, and as long as she is no resentment as a result, then nothing to be concerned about.
Don't beat yourself up, you have said yourself, you just need time to adjust, that's legitimate.
OP i feel for you I really do. Of course you knew he had a child, but it was just for a few hours so you could handle it and now the situations has changed its all weekend every weekend, its not what you signed up for and you dont like it
i don't blame you either
So how i see it your options are, either 1) discuss how you feel with your partner. Tell him your struggling, you work, hes in a relationship with you and he needs to accept you need time together as a couple and for him to sacrifice every weekend is not fair on you or your relationship. The judges give every other weekend for a reason, its so the non custodial parent can have weekend time to his/herself especially if they are employed.
2) if your partner does not understand your point of view or budge on the matter, then run for the hills. I know you love this man but this isnt what you signed up for or want, and itll get worse before it gets better.
As a former step mum, i did 2) and havent looked back since
'Its so the non custodial parent can have time to his/herself.'
Is it? I thought it was so that children got quality time with each parent, especially school aged kids. Do judges really make decisions based on the non resident parent getting free time?
stitch A male friend who had a custody battle with his ex, he said the judge awarded him every other weekend as "it isn't fair for you to have the children every weekend when you work monday to friday". Which i agree with, he then months later when things between the ex starting settling down, he had them during the day on a sunday on his non contact weekend.
This is what you signed up for surely? You knew he was a parent. You can't presume the mother will always have the child. What if she dies?
I see this time and time again. If people can't hack being a full time step parent don't get involved in the first place.
What is the point in your comment? I don't presume the mother will always have the child, I have asked for advice as I was struggling with the dynamics shifting and was interested to see if there were other people out there in a similar situation, not to be told what I already know or think about the mother dying. This is a support forum from what I can gather. So I was seeking support, not pointing out the obvious. Thanks
I know exactly what you are going through. All be it I had to change my whole dymanic going straight into a relationship with a man with two children and I had to fit around their lives. They are with us all the time and their mum see's them every other weekend - even though they dont' want to see her. (another story for another day)
I remember when my SS was 6 (11 now) he used to call for Daddy every single night and he used to get into our bed - I hated it too! Wanted my sleep and all the kicking and fidgits was so frustrating.
Eventually I spoke with my other half and said, it's all well and good that my SS wants to sleep in our bed but sooner or later he needs to stay in his own. After that my other half would let my SS sleep in our bed for a little bit and then he would take him up to his own bed and now he doesn't do it anymore.
I also agree with you on feeling pushed out and that you no longer get time alone together. Same here! After letting my other half know my feelings I suggested "date nights" where you actually plan a time just the two of you to go out for a meal, a film, or even have a night in with a M&S dinner and a movie. You look forward to those times and everything else that happens in between doesn't seem so bad because you have that. It just needs some balancing.
Sounds like you have done ever so well to allow his daughter into your lives and you love her and want them and you to have a good relationship. Do you do something together as a family? The three of you?
There is a great book I read called "How to be a happy step mum" by Lisa Doodson - it's fantastic! Gives you lots of different scenarios and how to overcome them.
I hope I have helped. Being a step mum is a hard job but it can be a rewarding one and I really hope you get to enjoy it soon. All these things can be ironed out. None of us like change.
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