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New Step-Mum

cocopops21's picture

My current partner is the first partner i have had that has an existing child who is 10 yr old. They both live with me. He has her 50/50 with her mum. She's a good, pleasant kid, but I am struggling to connect with her. I am just wondering what is normal - as in how much of a connection or love should I have for her? He wants me to treat her as though she is my own child.

I'd love to hear from all of you of what your experiences have been of taking on someone one else's child in a relationship? Has it all been rosey, or do you have struggles? 


JRI's picture

First of all, you don't have to love her.  It's unrealistic to expect that of yourself.  If she is a good, pleasant child, you might love her someday but if you dont, thats okay.  What you must do is treat her kindly and make sure she is safe at your house.

I know your SO wants you to treat her as your own child.  That's unrealistic, too.  So often on Steptalk, we hear about dad's who express that wish.  Often, thats an unspoken (and maybe unconscious) way of saying, "take over all the work of child rearing".  

It's important to remember that she already has a mother and father.  No matter how much you take on, you can't replace mom.  It is best for her and you to kerp that boundary.

If you read around on this site, you will see a variety of experiences.  Just know that if folks are on here, they probably already have issues so you wont be seeing many sunshine and rainbow stories.  Im 76, BM and SM of 5 who are all in their 50's now.  I am on the site to help me deal with a toxic SD but also to give some hope that these relationships can sometimes work out.  Good luck!

tog redux's picture

Yes, all of this. Treat her like a niece, be kind to her, play with her, talk with her, help your partner out at times if you want to. But don't fall into this crazy belief that you can somehow generate love out of thin air for a child you barely know.

Also - beware that "treat her like your own" isn't code for, "take over parenting for me since you are a woman and therefore it's your job".

CrownJewels's picture

Not this trope, again!

"Treat her as if she is your own." No, that is NOT how any of this works. EVER!

I would break up with a dude saying crap like that. Even my husband hasn't ever said that; I would laugh so hard.

hereiam's picture

I'd love to hear from all of you of what your experiences have been of taking on someone one else's child in a relationship?

Well, I did not "take on someone else's child", as she already had a mom and a dad. Sure, my DH wanted me to care about his daughter, maybe even love her, but it was not a pre-requisite. He wanted me to bond with her, do things with her but he understood that I was not her mother and was not going to try to be, even when she was with us.

I did things with her/them when I felt like it. I was cordial to her, bought her things when I felt like it, and I did come to care about her. Love her like my own? No, and I've been in her life since she was 5 and she's now almost 30.

A connection cannot be forced, love cannot be forced, and if he keeps pushing it, it will only cause resentment.

JRI's picture

One important thing to remember: her time with him is to spend time with HIM.  She is HIS responsibility - behavior, expectations, discipline, etc.  You may choose to participate but none of it is your responsibility.