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Is it ok?(266 Posts)
I'm feeling a bit lost, and I haven't been able to speak to anyone else about this.
I have no kids of my own, and have been with my partner for 20 months, who has two kids (6 and 9) from his marriage which ended three years ago. Their relationship is probably the most amicable I've ever seen, and they have 50/50 custody of the kids. I get along really well with the kids, and we spend a lot of time together.
9 has had some health problems this year, having been diagnosed with diabetes a few months ago, and during the course of that diagnosis, they found a hole in her heart. It's been a difficult time for 9, obviously, having to learn all things Type 1, it's been difficult for her mum, obviously, as she worries when 9 is with us, and it's difficult for my partner, who feels that he's completely unable to relax when the kids are with us, because we're constantly monitoring 9's diabetes, and it's often a battle of wills. I find it difficult to see my partner so stressed out, and it's weird now that his ex is in extremely regular contact, even more so than before, as she's continuously checking up on how 9 is.
Our relationship has definitely suffered as a result. My partner understands that it's difficult that his ex is in so much contact, but there's not really anything we can do about it - and he's reluctant to rock the boat.
This week, we found out that there was a short notice appointment for 9's surgery to repair the hole in her heart. My partner assumed that I'd want to be there, and I did, I made plans to work from a different office in the same town as the children's hospital, so that I'd be able to support my partner, and see 9 after work, once she'd had the surgery. It is keyhole surgery, and she should only be in hospital overnight.
However, my partner got a text when he hold his ex that I'd be going, saying that she'd 'prefer it to just be the three' of them. I was flummoxed, and didn't feel I had a right to argue the point, and it was left at that.
Yesterday, the three of them drove the couple of hours to the town the hospital is in, all three stayed over night in my partner's sister's house there and spent the night there, and all three are in the hospital now.
I feel like I'm going a bit mad. I'm incredibly hurt, I do genuinely understand that 9 needs to come first, but feel betrayed by my partner for not trying to stand up for me. I asked him how it made him feel, and he simply said that he felt uncomfortable having to tell me what his ex had asked. I'm also not sure how well I'm going to cope next time we hang out with his ex, which used to happen fairly regularly.
Has anyone got any perspective on this they are willing to share?
Their child is having heart surgery but it's all about you?
It's nothing to do with you. You've not even been together all that long.
I can understand why it has upset you but you need to think about it if it was the other way around if it was your child and your ex wanted his partner to come along, most people wouldn't like it.
Your also only allowed two people at a bedside at once so either you would be sat in a corridor for hours or asking the mother or your partner to swap so you could see her which I don't think would make you feel better anyway.
It's clear you love your step children but in this case it's the child which comes first rather than feelings so I think your partners ex was right in this case.
It doesn't mean that he didn't want you there but standing up for you as you put it would add unnecessary stress to the situation and the last thing your step daughter needed was to pick up on tension. Any surgery comes with risk.
Make a fuss over her when she is back, but leave it be and move on with the feelings. It was about making your step daughter not worry and children very easily pick up in things.
You will also sound very self absorbed if you raise the fact that you feel he didn't stand up for you and his ex requested you weren't there, as said it was about the child not you sorry if that sounds harsh.
Sorry but I wouldn't want you there either and am surprised that you would expect to be. Its good that you want to support your partner but the little girl is the most important person in this and she needs her parents
Op honestly it’s better this way than it going the other way and you being pushed in to going and the ex kicking off because you’re not going etc...
You’ve shown you care and was going to come along and show support. That’s all you can do.
You sound really selfish, making this all about you. It sounds like things are amicable with the ex, that's great. It doesn't mean she wants to have you there during probably the most worrying day of her life. Why would she? You are her ex's relatively new girlfriend. It's crappy that she was put in the position in the first place of having to say no when she has enough on her plate.
Sorry OP but this really is one of those times where it should be just her parents there. There would be no benefit to the child of you being there, she has her parents there, you would only be there as a support to your partner which you can do on the phone. It’s really not a group outing. And months really wouldn’t Be long enough for me to know someone to feel comfortable having them there while I was in hospital going through scary surgery.
I’m guessing this girl has only know you for about a year. That’s really not the same as a parent. Sorry.
It sounds like you have a very nice set up. I think the complicating factor here is that until you have children you might not understand how overwhelming worrying about them can be.
My middle daughter has health issues and at 2 I've not left her with anyone but DP and even then not for long and I'll be regularly checking how she is. I imagine suddenly finding this out at an older age means shes not had time to get used to it yet.
I also completely understand her not wanting anyone else there. Shes likely to be very emotional, it would be awkward for her feeling like the third wheel at a time when it should be focusing on their child.
My DDs been seriously unwell at times and I haven't even wanted or had the emotional energy for family members to visit, its a time when you have to focus on yourself and your child not what others want.
Jeese you women are harsh. As a stepparent I totally get where you are coming from. OP I think you are on the wrong forum. Try going on one dedicated to step parents, you won't get any sensible advice here.
What sensible advice do you have for the Ops situation debbie?
Why are you hurt? Do you really think his ex has behaved unfairly? She has a seriously ill child facing surgery and, quite understandably, her focus is going to be on that child. And she has another child to consider too. There's more than enough on her plate without having to consider someone else!
FWIW, I have a 10 year old and I have been separated from his dad for 6 years. We're fairly amicable now. I have been seeing my boyfriend for about 18 months. He spends a lot of time at my house and he has a really good relationship with DS. However, if DS was ill and had to spend a night in hospital, he would absolutely not expect to be there. He'd make himself available to support me and would probably want to see DS when he was able to but he would understand that DS comes first, his parents second, and anyone else after that.
Sorry but I agree with the others. It should be just her parents. It's bad enough worrying about your DSC, just think about how much more overwhelming that would be to her actual parents.
I know you're worried and you care but this is just one of those times where you need to step back.
Hope she's okay
What different advice do you think is appropriate Debbie, other than advising the OP to back off? Do you think she should be insisting on her 'right' to attend against the mother's wishes? Or demand her partner side with her, jeopardizing his amicable co-parenting relationship with his ex at what is already a traumatic time?
This isn't actually a step parenting issue as such. It is perfectly normal for only parents to be in attendance during a child's surgery and the immediate aftermath.
Can you offer to help with the other child while the sibling is in hospital? This could be a practical way of showing your support
If I had a child with an illness that was away from me 50% of the time I would be constantly checking on them. That's what you do as a parent. And there is absolutely no reason for you to be at the hospital unless the child needed you. They have both their mum and dad and that's it. It has nothing to do with you
Do you know the mum? If you do, have an amicable relationship, then I can understand feeling a bit hurt. However if you don't what did you expect? The atmosphere would be incredible awkward for everyone and in such circumstances the least every need is additional stress.
Or do you feel that it was right to make the situation even more stressful just to appease your insecurities? Surely you'll get feedback on how surgery went from you OH and maybe Skype the child when they are able to talk if they want to.
OP to be fair given the length of the relationship and the fact its surgery Im surprised you thought it appropriate because in this instance she needs her two parents at her bedside together and that is it.
This isnt about you - you shouldnt be hurt this is what is right for a 9 year old who is having surgery in a hospital environment (who many will only allow 2 people at any one time)
I don't even think OP knowing or being friendly with the mother is relevant. I'm sure there are many other people (both family and friends) who are close to the child and who have been around a lot longer than the OP, they haven't been invited to be there either. Why should the OP?
She’s only in overnight. If it were something that was going to require multiple longer hospital stays then I would understand you wanting to visit sometimes and would be for negotiating. But it’s just one night. Your partner’s daughter isn’t going to think you don’t care when it’s just for one night that you aren’t there. He can explain it’s parents only this time.
The constant contact sounds a bit wearing. Once everything has settled down and the diabetes care becomes more routine maybe he can find a way to make that more reasonable. But for now, if it is stressing him out, i can understand why his daughter’s Mum feels the need to be so present to help manage things. Isn’t type 1 pretty tricky to manage at the start due to the body still producing some unpredictable amounts of insulin? Don’t quote me on that! I’m going by what friends with a daughter in the same situation told me. But if that is the case you need to practice patience and make the most of the weeks of when it’s just the two of you to enjoy/build your relationship.
And my last thought - this is one of the toughest part of step parenting. You might mop up tears, give cuddles, cook favourite meals, have days out, encourage manners, tuck up in bed, get ready for school etc etc etc but when it comes down to it, you aren’t a parent and so sometimes have to keep a respectful distance. It can be painful.
"It's nothing to do with you. You've not even been together all that long."
"Sorry but I wouldn't want you there either and am surprised that you would expect to be."
"You sound really selfish, making this all about you."
"I’m guessing this girl has only know you for about a year. That’s really not the same as a parent. Sorry."
"And there is absolutely no reason for you to be at the hospital unless the child needed you. They have both their mum and dad and that's it. It has nothing to do with you."
It's the above comments I have issues with and am frankly disgusted with. Unless you are a step-parent you have no idea how insulting these comments are. Whether it's 20 months or 20 years, the amount of time, love, effort that many stepmother's put in to their relationships with step children is huge. if you are with them 50% of the time then it is likely that you are very bonded with the child. The stepmum, OH and child are a family now, not the mother. The mother, child and new partner (if there is one) are also a family. Before you all scream and shout, of course a stepmum will never be the child's monther, of course they will never replace that bond, but that is THEIR family. The mother and father decided not to be a fmaily anymore when they seperated. Now am I saying that OP should be at the bedside of the ill child instead of the mother - no. But I do see a HUGE issue here and understand 100% how the OP is feeling. My view is the below.
All three driving up together for 2 hours, all three staying over night in OH's sisters house = no.
The OH and mother only at the bedside of the child in hospital = yes.
The OP could drive up with OH and stay with him the night, then stay behind with the sister and family until the child is well enough to have other visitors that aren't her parents.
Scream, shout, go ahead. I think the way step parents are treated on this site is despicable.
WTF there’s a child here having surgery on her heart her mother wants it to be just her and her dd father. You been together less than 2years. I wouldn’t want you there either and you are being extremely selfish. Of corse the dm is worried her dd has diabtoes which is hard to control plus a hole in her heart, why shouldn’t she check on her dd!
I think all your feelings are normal and nature .. of course you would feel hurt and not included... especially when you have gone to so much effort to try and be there .. not only for your DP & SC because you care.
Some of the posts are bizarre and you have to take what has been written with a pinch of salt ... and whilst yes there are children who have needs you are also a human being who have needs and want to know what is going on.
Whilst you might be looking at the bigger picture here I believe your DP is just looking at the here and now and just wanting the surgery to be over with. Diabetes isn't a death sentence ... the child can't be policed by the mum n dad 24/7 otherwise it will cause more harm than good.
Take a step back ... take a deep breath and look at the situation as a whole.
Do you want to be in a relationship with your DP and his ex?
Do you want to have a relationship with your DP and his children.
Or do you want to be in a relationship with no baggage?
Personally if I loved DP unconditionally then I would let the dust settle move on from the surgery and address the relationship with his ex in a few months time.