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Step dad won't see kids

(74 Posts)
beec Thu 19-Oct-17 22:32:21

I really need some serious advice on this please.

I was with a man for 5 years but had two children previous, one of the being just 1 years old so he has raised her and she has grown to call him daddy, my other daughter is 12 and was always so happy to have a daddy.

We split 6 months ago and it’s been a bit scetchy but he said he wanted to contribute each week which he has been but the last 3 weeks I have asked for it. The last two weeks has been like getting blood out of a stone to call or see them. He says he is too busy with work (I do work also) but he can’t see them as too busy but doesn’t even have the time to call. But when I do call him he also tells me how he has been snowboarding and doing photos shoots as he is on the rise to stardom after doing some Facebook video. I’m not in the slightest, jealous or bitter, I just feel for my kids. He’s told me I need to back off and he will see them when he can but it’s been a week now with no phone call. I’m not going to ask for the money any more and I know he either wants me to snap and say “you can’t see them any more” so he can point the finger at me which I’m not playing into or he wants to slowly, slowly disconnect and get on with his own life. I feel devastated for my kids but also I’m very close with his family, have known some of them years before him and they want me and the girls at family gatherings so how will that work in the future? The family are not happy with home but let’s face it, bloods thicker than water and I don’t except them to take sides. They are being decent people and wants the girls still in the family. What’s the best way around this. I want to call him a scum bag but I won’t rise to it, please please has anyone got any advice?

NC4now Thu 19-Oct-17 22:36:40

I’m really sorry you’re going through this, but it sounds like an unusual set up. Heartbreaking as it is, he isn’t their dad and has no obligation to them. I’m amazed he offered to pay for them and not surprised that’s stopped.
It would be nice if he’d see them but again, it’s often the case that stepparents move on. It’s very sad.
I don’t think you can make him do anything here, I’m afraid, except manage the children’s expectations.

QuiteLikely5 Thu 19-Oct-17 22:42:00

The reality is he is not responsible for your children in the biological/legal or financial sense.

He is withdrawing from their lives and that must be terribly painful for the children.

You need to prepare them for this by telling them that since you have separated he is moving on.

I would really caution any woman against creating a scenario where her children considered someone their father when he is just a partner. I'd think it highly unusual that any man would take responsibility for children that were not his after s relationship breaks down.

It's sad but there's a lesson in there somewhere.

Don't bother trying to get his family on side in reality they'll be thinking similar. It is good that they are fond of your children but I think you need to readjust your expectations.

ladybug92 Thu 19-Oct-17 22:42:25

Aw I am so sorry, rhis sounds so difficult. It's so painful to know he can just walk in and out of your children's lives without consideration. Unfortunately I wouldnt hold out hope, he sounds very unwilling to keep ties and wants to move on.
Tell your children what you would if he was their actual dad, say your relationship broke up but it's not their fault. Then just be vague about when he will see them next, you can't control his actions so you have no influence over this.
Keep strong and move on. What this man has done is not fair to your kids but they will get through it and become resilient and he will be the low morals person he is now. He is an adult and knew the potential of children to get attached, not fair at all.
Hugs x

beec Thu 19-Oct-17 22:42:43

I’m just so so so angry that anyone could let a child down like this? How can he live with two children for 5 years and seem so passionate about them go just but see them everyday and have the cheek to hold his head high as a man? If you take on a child, your making the same decision as having a child as far as I’m concerned.

C0untDucku1a Thu 19-Oct-17 22:46:33

Were you married op?

Do the children’s sctually father pay / see them?

beec Thu 19-Oct-17 22:54:53

No we wasn’t married and I haven’t a clue where real father is? Tried going down child maintenance route about 3 years back but they are useless and I honestly don’t know where he lives now?

wheresthel1ght Thu 19-Oct-17 22:56:17

Sorry op, yes it's hard but he has no legal obligation to maintain contact or financial support for the kids unless he has adopted them.

I am a step mum, and I love my stepkids dearly but actually I am not sure I would maintain contact should their dad and I ever split up. We have a dd together and to me it would be dps responsibility to maintain that relationship.

wheresthel1ght Thu 19-Oct-17 22:56:18

Sorry op, yes it's hard but he has no legal obligation to maintain contact or financial support for the kids unless he has adopted them.

I am a step mum, and I love my stepkids dearly but actually I am not sure I would maintain contact should their dad and I ever split up. We have a dd together and to me it would be dps responsibility to maintain that relationship.

beec Thu 19-Oct-17 23:02:14

I just think as an adult, if you promise a child that you will always be there and when you split, you will always be there, then you do it. Maybe it is different when it’s not biologically your child? I just see my kids hurt so I’m angry. I don’t want his money, was just giving the whole background. Feel like taking karma into my own hands... how awful is that! I won’t but that’s how angry I am. We have mutual friends and he is out with then and their kids but no one batters an eyelid that these kids have just been dumped

HappyLollipop Thu 19-Oct-17 23:20:02

I feel for you and your kids to be let down once again by another 'dad' but as others have said unfortunately he has no obligation to them as they aren't his biological children obviously that doesn't make his indifference and coldness towards the kids any easier on them or you. I'd let him know that the offer is open for him to be a part of their life if he so wishes but don't contact him for anything just let him make that choice, his actions will let you know what he choose and talk to the kids to try to get them mentally prepared for the fact the man they used to think of as their dad may no longer be in contact.

Aderyn17 Thu 19-Oct-17 23:35:08

I honestly don't understand people like him. I get that if a child has 2 parents who are both actively involved in raising them, that you might, as a step parent, distsmce yourself from their everyday lives in the event of a relationship split.
But where you have been the only father/mother for years, it baffles me how a grown adult could be so callous and just cut themselves off from children who love them and view them as a parent. People have every right to leave adult relationships but any decent person should realise that you don't divorce kids.

He might have no legal obligation but he sure as fuck has a moral one. Poor kids.

All you can do OP, is tell them that nothing is their fault, that exp has some problems and has to deal with them by himself.

Winosaurus Fri 20-Oct-17 07:29:52

Please don’t think I’m horrible for saying this but I’m going to be brutally honest with you.
He is not their dad and because of this he will not have the natural unconditional love for your kids that you do. He may have simply seen the kids as a part of the package of your relationship and therefore loved and cared for them in the same way he loved and cared for you. You have now split up and do he’s compartmentalised his relationship with both them and you, and so it will all naturally come to an end.
You’re hurting because they’re your children and you feel it for them, in all likelihood he won’t feel the same as he isn’t their actual parent. I say this honestly as both a parent and stepparent... having a biological child and the love you have for them is so different to how you feel about anyone else’s children.
It’s awful and painful having to communicate with your ex when you share biological children but it is a necessity... I’m not saying him walking away is ok but it is understandable in some ways.
I honestly think if me and DP split I wouldn’t see much of his kids and I wouldn’t be going to family gatherings.
It’s horrible and hard for you all but you need to step back now and allow the “split” to happen. He hang their dad and you should maybe focus more on finding out info about their biological dad rather than focussing on your past relationship flowers

Winosaurus Fri 20-Oct-17 07:31:12

He isn’t their dad

metalkprettyoneday Fri 20-Oct-17 07:55:09

I totally understand why you're angry. If you spend 5 years with a child and take on the role of Dad. You are a Dad in the child's eyes. It's irrelevant that you aren't the biological dad. It's irrelevant that you weren't married . I agree that it's about the child and I couldn't understand how you can switch off feelings. My brother became Dad to his partner's child , it was a big decision to call him Dad. He remains his son and calls him Dad years after the relationship broke down. My brother feels a responsibility for him as he helped raise him and is still there for him. I would be shocked if he behaved otherwise.

Topaz89 Fri 20-Oct-17 09:03:38

I agree with Winosaurus. He probably saw your children as part of the package of your relationship. Now that relationship has ended he probably wants to move on. I'm not sure what I think about it. I can see both sides.

However, I do think in cases where both parents are involved and one of them splits with their dp/h/w, then that stepparent should be able to move on with their lives without being constantly told they need to do xyz for their ex's children. That situation is very different.

Notreallyarsed Fri 20-Oct-17 09:07:08

OP I feel for you and your kids I really do. DP has two DSDs from when he was married, he has no LEGAL obligation to them, however that makes no difference to us. He still sees them (they’re older so it’s when they choose now), pays for them, provides uniforms, clothes, whatever is needed, and is a parent.

I know a lot of people are saying he doesn’t have to, and isn’t legally obliged, which is true. But how awful for 2 kids to have someone who made themselves Dad just stop because it doesn’t suit them. That’s awful.

RavingRoo Fri 20-Oct-17 09:14:10

I’m going to go against the grain and say it sounds like he has someone else. As you said he was happy to pay initially but it seems he’s recently started to cause issues? I think he’s got a girlfriend or boyfriend who isn’t happy with him supporting kids he isn’t legally obliged to.

Bruceishavingfish Fri 20-Oct-17 09:21:09

Tbh i think you are expecting a lot.

You expected him to be their dad. You want him to be their dad now.

But he actually has no rights. You could at anytime refuse him access and ge wouldnt have a leg to stand on. Its ok saying 'i wouldn't do it' but its no gaurentee you wont.

I am not sure i would want to emotionally invest in kids when my ex could just remove them and leave me with no legal way to see them. If the split turned nasty or my ex went on to find a new dp etc

LoverOfCake Fri 20-Oct-17 09:22:26

Let's first bear in mind here that it's only been two weeks since he saw the DC. So we're not actually talking yet about a man who has said he wants nothing more to do with them.

Having said that, if you split from a partner who has children it is a biological progression to move forward in your own life and if there are children in the equation the likelihood is that you will move into a place where you don't see them either because they are part of the relationship you had with their parent.

And the honest answer here is that most parents wouldn't want to maintain a relationship with their ex and non biological children because where does that end? If you have another partner would you be wanting your children to be going off to stepdad after stepdad over weekends so they could all continue to fulfill their taken-on father roles? As the children are so young it stands to reason that you will have other partners, and they will play some part in your children's lives.

Now it's entirely possible that this man will maintain some kind of relationship with your children over the years but it is unreasonable to A, expect this to be a regular weekly access role and B, that he continue to give you money.

And another thing to consider is that when you do meet a new partner he likely won't be overly taken with the idea that the kids go off to see their ex on an access pattern, at which time you could just pull the plug and the ex would have no rights or recourse at all. He's in a no win situation really because he knows that at some point you will move on and then you will likely cut his relationship with the children and he won't be able to do anything about it. So perhaps he's stepping back gradually so that it's not a wrench when that does happen.

TwoDots Fri 20-Oct-17 09:33:36

Op, what were the discussions re the children when you were together? Obviously there Dad isn’t involved so did your ex commit to fully taking on that role when he allowed them to call him Dad? Did you ever discuss possible outcomes and what calling him Dad meant to the children?

I understand why your feel hurt

Aderyn17 Fri 20-Oct-17 09:46:32

There is a difference though, between a 'normal' step parent relationship, where everyone is clear that the step parent isn't an actual parent and this situation. Here, the stepdad has allowed the dc to call him dad and has been a father to them. When he did that, he was making a commitment to the children that is independent of the relationship with their mum.
In my mind you don't cut yourself off from dc you love, on the off chance that their mum will one day cut off access. You see them as much as possible. I think that in most cases, women want their children's dads to be involved, physically and financially. Relatively few women refuse child support and the sharing of childcare.

For the exp, there are legal ways to protect himself. He and the OP could draw up a private legal agreement outlining access and child support. If both truly see him as the dc's dad, I think they could sort the legalities. I might be wrong but I do believe the courts have given access to step parents who have to all intents and purposes been the only father the dc have known, because that is in their best interests.

user247897283 Fri 20-Oct-17 09:54:43

From a view of having been the kid whose stepdad has left and there's been no further contact, it must have been around 5 years too and I think he wanted to keep some level of contact but my mum thought it best not to.

Looking back on it I guess it could be seen as bad etc. But frankly as a child it didn't affect me in the slightest, and my mum went on to have other partners and I didn't get attached to any of them that it was a problem when they left. Kids are pretty robust at the end of the day. Don't blame the guy, as one PP said he has no guarantee you'll allow him access.

Must admit I'm intrigued as to why you don't know where the biological father is but don't want to pry lol

TwoDots Fri 20-Oct-17 10:01:21

I have a relationship with both my bio dad and step dad. My bio dad wasn’t great when I was young (he is now) and my step dad was the most wonderful person ever. I called him Dad and he fully took on that commitment

He split from my Mum years ago. She’s also been dead for 5.5 years but he is still there, I still call him Dad and he refers to me as his daughter and my son his grandson. He’s helping me with childcare next week for half term

He made a moral commitment and helped raise me. I think if a man makes that sort of commitment and to be called Dad, despite no legal obligation, I think there is a moral one to at least keep s relationship.

I wouldnt chase for financial help though

SandyY2K Fri 20-Oct-17 11:08:04

I agree that he saw your children as part of the relationship package. relationship is over and he may have rethought the situation.

I would say if his family still want to see the girls, you should let them. You can't have too many nice people in your life.

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