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New into this, step mum advice needed

Mona's picture

34 year old Romanian living in UK. Working as a receptionist. I am in a relationship with a man who has a 4.5years daughter. Just met her after one year of relationship as he was in divorce, fight for custody all this time, his ex decided after 10 years that he is not good enoug anymkre.We live in different cities and we met every other weekend for a year now, and some holidays, as his daughter was present. He has her every other weekend and half of the holidays. He has planned all his holidays around her , as he did not expected to meet anyone.he will have support from his parents as they will look after her sometimes. I Don.t have any experience and I would need your advices, which steps to take, what to avoid,mistakes, how to take decisions..we are planning to move together next year as I will be finishing my university, otherwise commuting would be tough for me. His daughter is adorable and we bonded straight away, all weekend she wanted to do everything with me, she followed me everywhere, she wanted me to bath her, read her story, I have also woke up in the middle of the night when she was crying as she sleeps in her own room. Please advise me how to be her best friend, how not to be jealous on my partner and her, how to learn that she will be no.1. I am the only child also and I know how is it. Thank you

Rags's picture

Parents are not their kid's best friend. Whether they are a SParent or a BioParent.  Your SO has to put you and his relationship with you above all else.  The partners and their relationship are the top priority. Not children. Regardless of kid biology.

Kids are the top relationship responsibility but not the priority.

Many SParents go into the whole blended family adventure with the rose colored glasses of being their SKid's BFF and sadly, those SParents are often the ones who end up as a serial X for the entitlement focused prior failed family breeder.

Protect yourself and future. 

Good luck.

Mona's picture

Hi Rags,

thank you very much for your time and advises.

As I am new into this I would like to find a good approach in order to have less headache.

In time I will maybe learn how to sort some stuff, but at this stage I am trying to be myself.

Rags's picture

I get it.  The early stages of a loving relationship are always hopeful and intense.  Please don't mistake my intent.  Protecting you is my sole priority in commenting.

Single  people who bring children to new relationship are generally looking for a family.  Childless people who enter relationships are generally looking for a partner.

These differences can be critical.

Do not lose being you.  It is easy to do in the blended family world.

OKtoStep's picture

You sound absolutely charming!:) Congratulations on almost being done with your degree. That's a lot of hard work. 

There is so much to unpack here. First of all I very strongly encourage you to take a step back and carefully re-evaluate this relationship and this man. You saying that you need to learn to not be jealous and accept that his daughter will be number 1 is setting of major alarm bells in my head. Why do you think that? What has happened that you feel jealous over the child? Does your boyfriend's daughter run his house when she is there? 
Yes, she likes you now when you are the shiny new toy but she will most likely start to resent you when you are enforcing boundaries and expecting her to adhere to the house rules. If you marry this man or even live with him, you are his life partner, an equal adult in the home. You are not second to any child. You should never feel like you should step aside or relinquish your authority in your own home. 

Mona's picture

Hi, and thank you very much for your advise!

I am not jealous in a bad way, but I am used to have my partner for myself only.

she is really sweet and I really like her, she hasn't done anything, she was more after me than after him, so makes me quite happy. I have told him already that all decisions should be taken together, in regards to everything. He is a mature man and very kind, and he understands my needs. I have pointed out that I want to be a priority as well and I should be involved in everything if he wants to be with me in the future, living together. I don;t feel like I should step aside, when we will be movign together I will be able to feel different, but now we have to adjust after each other. I am happy that for him communication is very important as well and he can get what I am saying.

Kerrywho's picture

Not to sound negative but...welcome to hell

 

Unfortuntely you came into this at a bad time. That age range, 5 to 8 years old is a horrible time. The kid isn't cute anymore but not yet independent either. They consantly talk about the stupidest shit and constantly want validation on said stupid shit. They don't care about anyone else because they haven't developed the cognitive capacity to be aware of anyone else's needs which makes them selfish assholes. 

 

You can't force a bestie relationship into existence. And you will never love her like she's your own. Hell, you might not even like her once you get to know her. You also can't stop the jealous feelings you'll have. 5 year olds love to steal attention away and will do so on purpose. 

 

You also can never fully accept you'll permantely be on the back burner. You'll be the Mrs #2. The after thought. You'll either learn to deal with it or you'll get so resentful you'll leave. You have to realize you're putting YOUR LIFE on the back burner as well because all plans you had will either revolve around a kid who isn't yours or will be thwarted all together because of a kid who isn't yours. 

 

Give it a fair chance but don't enter into this thinking it will be sunshine and rainbows. It's unenjoyable for a lot of step parents, a lot of which wish they never tried it (including myself). If you find it's not for you, don't hesitate to leave. 

Mona's picture

Hi Kerry,

Thank you for the above advices, I am sure that you are right.

 

I am not expecting only rainbows and sunshine, as this is something new for both and we are trying to understand how to manage this.

At this stage we are trying to acommodate with each other, have fun, but I have a set of boundaries and these have been shared with my partner. at this stage he is happy to talk about everything and take a decision together.

 

nappisan's picture

I would enter this very slowly and extremely cautiously!  You dont want to be the kids best friend, trust us , it will get you nowwhere.  You are new and fun and she most likely does not understand all that is going on at the moment.  When she realises that you are her dads new girlfriend, thats when the games begin.    I would take a step back and watch how your boyfriend parents her and that he enforces rules .  good luck  

Mona's picture

Hi,

 

Thank you for your advice, I will keep this in mind.

We are trying to be the ones who will have this situation under control, his parents agreed to this when they fought for custody, but I have discussed with my partner, and told him that we should not rely on anyone, we will reach a point when we have to deal with this, and he understood my point of view. His parents are supportiuve and not getting involved in our business.

I have already told him this, that I want to take my decisions with him, and everything that i do with my SD, and he totally agreed.

justmakingthebest's picture

You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders and are smart to ask for advice.

My first bit of advice will be about your relationship. Kids don't come first (I say that as a mother). Our children are our first responsibility, but our marriage has to be our first priority. 

We take care of our kids needs above our own, but we have to prioritize our marriages needs above our kids wants. I hope that makes sense! 

2nd- I would suggest keeping in the "fun aunt" relationship with your future SD. You only have her every other weekend and split holiday's. Let your SO be the discipline and hold him accountable to it- privately. Just try and make the time with her fun and enjoyable for you both. 

Mona's picture

Hi, and thank you for your advices, much appreciated.

I am trying to set this from now, as the start is very important, and I am trying to make this clear to him in order not to sound harsh or rude or imposing, I am telling him that I want to avoid some situations which may arise in the future. Thank you again for your reply, I will try my best and be natural. I love this man and I think is worthy,as long as our communication will be strong. I Don.t want to sound selfish but this is what I told to him also.

Kes's picture

You sound a lovely person and all I can add is come to this site with any problems you encounter along the way. A lot of us here are very old hands at the step parenting lark!   Good luck with it all and try not to encourage your partner to make his daughter the centre of the Universe.  This won't help anybody.  

Mona's picture

Thank you so much! You too!

Great welcoming I had on this site, much appreciated 

lieutenant_dad's picture

My best piece of advice to you right now is to take and keep off your rose-colored glasses.

You two have been together for a year. You're about to hit that transition time between honeymoon phase and long-term relationship phase. This is the time when you need to start paying active attention to what your BF does versus what he says. This is when you should start staying with him for longer periods of time when he has his daughter (like over the holidays) to see how he parents long-term. 

Of course you've bonded to his daughter. You have seen her on a weekend when you and her dad aren't busy and can plan fun stuff. You're also new, and kids tend to be nicer to new people. They also tend to want attention from new people because they're new.

Right now, you should be doing a lot of observing. Watch how he interacts with his daughter. Listen to how he talks to and about her. Ask him questions about why he says/does things. Talk to him about what he sees your role is in helping raise her. Take note of how he talks to and interacts with BM.

You've established that you and he are compatible without the added stress of a younger child and all the drama that comes with stepkids. Take the next year to do the same research you (hopefully) did over the last year vetting him as a good partner. Now you're vetting him as a good partner and parent. You can't divorce those personas from one another, and being bad as a parent will bleed over into being a bad partner.

Don't be the best friend. Don't let him set you entirely aside for his child and her wants. It is NOT your job to make his life as a single parent easier. It is HIS JOB to figure out how he can be 100% parent and 100% partner. That is HIS cross to bear, so don't overstep and take too much away from him. It not only hurts your relationship long-term, but hurts his relationship with his daughter, too.

Mona's picture

Hi and thabk you so much for the above, I can only agree with you for all the above advices, this sounds great, and this I have been doing.this is the plan, to observe and see what he does wrong and how can we sort that.

CLove's picture

My advice would be to read posts and learn about potential issues from that reading. Many things that you would never consider an issue crop up like poisonous mushrooms.

Some additional considerations:

- Finances. Things tend to get tricky with a person who is a parent. Here in the Us there is child support, health insurance, life insurance and all that. We keep our finances separate and pay 50/50. Things to watch out for are when a bio parent is every other weekend and holidays - they start to become a "disney parent" or "atm parent" only good for the good times and the $$$. And thats where you need to watch the financial part. If shes sweett now, you will be like me and spend your money on her. And then if the bio mom is toxic she wont like that!!!! So lots to consider there.

- Marriage and babies. This will take a lot of thought and consideration and comunication. Blended families are the toughest model to successfully plow through.

SO - Good luck and post questions and read read read.

Biggrin

Mona's picture

Thank you for your advice, much appreciated. We have discussed this aspect as well, as there is child support, uniform, school trips and stuff needed as she constantly grows, and I have mentioned this to him, I am supporting him as much as I can but he has to manage this situation, as I would be happy to be the one who's gonna end up to pay more for everything just because of the above reasons. I am waiting to see how's gonna be in the future...I am trying to pick up information from everywhere,  I am aware that this is not an easy road, and we will have some misunderstandings, but as long as our communication will be OK, I try not to worry much. We all make mistakes and I Don.t expect myself or her to be perfect. I.m not perfect and neither my partner. Have a good day!

Kerrywho's picture

"as I would be happy to be the one who's gonna end up to pay more for everything just because of the above reasons"

 

Something tells me you won't be happy about this later....once those rose colored glasses come off later

grannyd's picture

Welcome to the site, Mona! I admire your sensible approach to your relationship; it shows maturity and foresight. However, there is an area of concern with your statement:

I would be happy to be the one who's gonna end up to pay more for everything just because of the above reasons.

 Mona, you have no financial responsibility for someone else’s child. The girl has two involved parents to cover her expenses. Living costs should be shared between you and your boyfriend but NOT expenses for your boyfriend’s child. 

What begins as generosity on the part of a stepparent can often become an expectation on the part of a biological parent.