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Just being sensitive I'm sure but need to get off my chest

(13 Posts)
EmilyD Wed 16-Sep-09 13:18:30

I'm sure i'm just being really oversensitive but this has been getting to me recently (probably the hormones and some insecurities i need to sort out for myself!!!).

Every time my step daughter to be comes over my partner seems to reminisce with her about what him, his ex and she used to do together. I'm sure its just to try and engage with her but its doing my nut a bit.

It makes me feel like an outsider, like he's thinking about his old relationship rather than moving on and creating new joint memories. i don't feel like I can join in at all with the conversations etc.

He also asks her how her mum is. Sure he is just being lovely and caring.

not sure how to react so i just ignore it although sometimes it does make me grumpy.

Grrrr. there i've got it off my chest! Anyone else feel like this?

chuffinell Wed 16-Sep-09 13:29:22

hmm you have my sympathies - i know how hard this is. my SD is 20 and does hurt a little BUT its really important to kids to hear about their past, and their early years, especially for kids of separated parents

didnt you love to hear about the nice days of your childhood with your parents?

i just grit my teeth for dsd sake and say 'oh that must have been lovely'. you cant change the past but its hard when it makes you feel left out (and yes i hate to hear about the good times of my DH and his ex too)

try and bear it, and maybe ask your partner to keep these chats for private times with him and his daughter, as far as possible?

how old is your stepdaughter? its no fun being a stepmum is it?

Surfermum Wed 16-Sep-09 13:41:33

I suppose I viewed dsd's mum like I would anyone else. So if a friend came to stay it's natural to ask "how's your mum/family" type questions as it's showing an interest in them and people who are important to them, and to me it's the same thing.

I always ask dsd how school is, how her mum is, how her other siblings are. Dh has a photo album of his time with dsd's mum and it's with all our others, and it's not a taboo subject in our house.

How long have you been together? How long have you known your dsd? If it isn't that long then maybe you need to just give it some more time because what will happen is that you will have your own fun times together, develop your own family traditions, have your own holidays and it will be those that you will reminisce about -and you'll be included in those.

How are things between you/your dp and her mum? It might be that your dp is just trying to make his dd feel at ease with everything and let her know that it's Ok to talk about her mum and ... well anything really to do with her and home. Have you talked to him about it (whe you're not grumpy grin)?

You seem to have identified is that you have some insecurities and it sounds to me like this is what this is about. Just remind yourself that he's with you now and just because he's like this with his dd it isn't necessarily a reflection on you and how happy he is with you.

EmilyD Wed 16-Sep-09 14:42:48

Thanks guy. This is all quite new for me (8 months living together) so it is a getting used to things. I can understand why my dp talks to dd (12) about these things, for them to laugh together, build on their connection etc, sometimes feels painful for me to listen but sure it is my own issue and i will get used to it. I do believe it is important for them to talk about it, it doesn't always make it easy.

I haven't ever met dsd mum which might be why i have these funny feelings as you can build them up in your mind to be something their not, my dp doesn't want me to, he wants to keep our 2 lives separate. I get to hear the tail ends of her shouting down the phone at him etc and thats about all. I meet my ex husbands wife (who he had affair with) every other weekend and find that easier to deal with because I see her to talk. I think because I've never met my current dp ex partner I have nothing to relate to or understand if you can catch my drift so it can feel like a small threat.

Daft as a brush sometimes :-) thanks for listening :-)

Surfermum Wed 16-Sep-09 19:18:26

I think you could be right about not having met her. I don't see how he can keep the two lives separate. They aren't, you have her daughter to stay in your house, you'll have a relationship with her daughter, of course you should meet. Does he say why he doesn't want you to meet?

CatherineofMumbles Wed 16-Sep-09 19:28:26

I do sympathise, but he sounds like a lovely guy who is connecting with his daughter, and as others have said, children need to be reminded about when they were little. As time goes by, you will also have joint memories - so would make sure when you do things together ou take lots of pix, so a year later you can say hey, look remember last year, when we all went skating and I had to hold on to the rail while you & dad whizzed around... etc and build up your own portfoli of shared events and memories

KaPe Thu 17-Sep-09 12:30:08

I don't quite get the idea that a BM and a SM HAVE to meet. It's not like a job interview! Ultimately, what if BM and SM don't like each other? Will SM not get the job? Does BM have a right to veto? Obviously not!

I haven't met my DD's SM (well, apart from once at court when she hysterically shouted at me) and I don't intend to. What is the point?

After all, life isn't like one of these cat flaps that you can set to let the cat out, but not in again. If you ask somebody to enter their life, they might do the same to yours ... and do it at times when it isn't convenient. Once they are in the equation, you are obviously expected to take their needs into account. I certainly made the decision that I won't do that. Would you be willing to?

After all, your DP is discussing BM with DD as a mother, not as a woman. You are obviously not in competition with BM as a mother, if anything then you are in competition with her as a woman. The fact that you live with DP and she doesn't obviously means that you have won that one long ago.

EmilyD Thu 17-Sep-09 13:00:04

Thanks again, these responses are helping me see all different perspectives from different angles. I don't really want to meet my DPs ex, it would probably add more complications than we need and being a new step family presents quite a lot as it is :-).

I understand more now why he talks to his daughter about her past, I would want the same as well if it was me, its their way of holding onto a bond. I suppose I have less to speak to my DS about his dad as he left us when he was three so there isn't so much historical stuff there so its mostly building up new memories separately.

Any hints or tips to successful step parenting would be most welcomed.

We are a step family of

DSD 12
DS 7
partner and me

both partners were single when we met having been split from our respective partners, my partners split didnt involve anyone else, my split was due to my ex having an affair.

Surfermum Thu 17-Sep-09 13:13:37

It's been invaluable for dsd's mum and I to meet and start talking. She refused to even speak to me at first (and I was never the OW, dh had been the injured party) and I could never understand why. I know that if I had been in her shoes I'd have wanted to know who it was that my little girl was going to be staying with.

It's not about having an "interview", it's not about giving approval or otherwise. I'd have found it helpful for her to tell me about dsd's routines, her likes/dislikes when it came to food, things that would have helped dsd settle with us. There were never any real problems, and we just muddled along with her eating (she was a fussy eater) but I think it's a shame that that was something that we each had to tackle in isolation rather than confronting the problem jointly.

I'd find it pretty strange to be so close to dsd, be so involved with her life and not have met her mum. I really would. Ok, I'm not dsd's mum or trying to be, but I am another significant adult in her life. I guess as much as you find it strange that we would meet, I find it strange that you don't see the need KaPe.

And once we did start talking it's done nothing but benefit dsd. She can no longer play us off against each other, she can no longer tell "tales" to her mum and be believed as her mum knows me and what I'm like - and vice versa. Her mum and I have supported each other when dsd has been difficult, and when dsd packed a bag to come and live with us I helped sort things out - we had "emergency talks" and her mum insisted that I was involved. It was a kind of turning point when I think her mum realised that I wasn't a threat to her, but was actually on her side, and had lots of the same opinions as her and was going to be a support to her.

We're never going to be best buddies, we're never going to go out for a drink together or anything like that. But I will go in for a cuppa if I pick dsd up and I can still remember the look on dsd's face the first time we all went out for her birthday - she had her whole family on both sides sat round the table and she was so pleased.

KaPe Thu 17-Sep-09 19:51:26

I didn't say it was strange, Surfermum. I just said that - if circumstances make it difficult or unnecessary - they don't HAVE to meet.

Surfermum Thu 17-Sep-09 20:07:59

Oh Ok KaPe, let me word it differently then. It's just that you said you don't see the point of a mum (by the way using BM offends and upsets lots of people on here) and a step-mum meeting. I do - and my experience is that it's been nothing but a good thing. It's irrelevant whether I like her or not, she's still my dsd's mum and as such is always going to be part of my life. And she's always going to have some sort of influence on my life - and that's going to happen whether my cat flap is open or firmly locked, so it might as well swing freely - you get a bit of fresh air then as well, and if the cat brings a beheaded mouse in you just deal with it <<Surfermum gets carried away with the cat flap analogy>> grin.

Harimosmummy Thu 17-Sep-09 20:18:04

Agree with Surfermum on the cat flap analogy! grin

I have been a step mum for 10 years now and I can promise you, it is far better to communicate. I don't have any relationship whatsoever with my DSDs mum and I know for sure that my elder DSD plays that to her advantage. Would be far better for her mum and I to talk. I am sure her mum is still of the misguided opinion that I have no input to my DSDs lives. Oh well.

To the OP... I can say: It gets much easier. I don't have anything to do with my DSDs mum and I don't (personally) like her. But she is their mum and therefore is considered part of our family. DH will occasionally refer to things that he did with his ex or with the DSDs while with his ex and, you know, it doesn't bother me at all.

She is part of his history and to an extent, his life today because of the kids... It would have bothered me after 8 months, so I don't have much advice for you right now (sorry!) but it DOES get much easier to deal with.

KaPe Thu 17-Sep-09 21:14:43

Surfermum, agree with the BM ... it actually offends me as well, but I had considered it standard abbreviations for ease of reference.

As for the point of SM and mum meeting ... I get the impression that the OP's DP isn't too keen on it, and I presume he has got his (good) reasons for wanting to keep their lives separate. After all, he has got experience with mum (and from the sound of it plenty of it is unpleasant).

Also from the sound of it, the mum doesn't seem keen on it either (unless she is looking for another person to scream at). I don't decline meeting with SM because I think this is a way to decrease her input in DD's life (which I'm sure she has to an extent) ... I simply think that it is sufficient to communicate with my DD's father on child-related issues. If he thinks she needs to know my views, then he is certainly free to tell her.

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