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Confused and hurt

mexitica33's picture


I am 24 years and I have been dating my boyfriend for six months now. He has a beautiful 4 year old little girl. I love and care for her as if she were my own. I will call her my SD for this post. My SD and I have a great relationship, in my opinion, although I can see that it could be better. I say it can be better because I can see that she is still adjusting to the 50/50 custody between her parents and sometimes gets sad and misses mom. My bf and his BM split up when she was 1 yr old. I can see that it is still very early that she is still adjusting to everything and myself. I really care about her and have been taking things slow with her. I let him do all the disciplining. I am not too forward with my affection and praise when appropriate. I play with her, cook for her, get her ready, do her hw with her, read her a bedtime story, chat with her, set up fun events for her for every holiday, etc. I am not trying to brag that I do a lot for her, but just so you can see how involved I am. I currently live an hour away because of where I work. I see her every weekend at my bf house.

This past sunday she had a very unexpected outburst. I was in the bathroom putting my makeup on and she was standing behind me. I started singing the song "Mother knows best" from the movie tangled. She stomped her foot and loudly said "You aee not my mother!!." My bf was in another room and did not hear this. I looked at her in shock and said "Hey, I know im not your number 1 mom or your mom. " I could tell she was still upset and I said "Well u know I take care of you as if you were my own." She repeated it louder and said, "You are not my mom! You are my sister mama" (what she calls me sometimes). At this point I didnt know what to say so I said "Yea haha and you are my sister daughter." This is kind of an inside joke of what we call each other. She then stomped her feet again and loudly said "No, nevermind you are not my sister mama, you arent anything!" She stormed out of the bathroom and went out into the room. I was then pretty quiet and very hurt. We were having such a nice morning and it seemed unexpected. An hour later, we were all driving and she said to her Dad "Daddy, I have the most perfect Mom and Dad" she smirked at me and I was just quiet. Last week my bf was ill and he admitted he was being a bit distant and snappy with her. He thinks that its because she is jealous because he is being disatant and she is projecting her anger towards me. It could also be because up until last week she was sleeping in the bed with us, but now my bf is trying to break this habit.

Im so hurt and confused and dont know what to do! I am not sure if I should slow things down and maybe try going up every other weekend? Should I give them two some space? He said he will talk to her, but what can I do?

Harry's picture

Go alone make more excuses got SD.   Your life must be bliss,  

queensway's picture

Don't feel hurt. She is a 4 year old child. You are going to have good days and bad days. Keep doing things that you like to do with her. I would not take this personally children are very fickle.

learningallthetime's picture

Hey, it is still very early days in your relationship and for the little girl to get used to things. I am no longer a step parent, but moved way too fast when I was, because I did not know better. I am now remarried and my husband is the step-parent to my son. My ex is an active dad with roughly 50/50 custody. 

I met my husband 3 years after I split from my son's dad. I did not even introduce him to my son until we had dated 6 months. We then had a few days out, then it was around 9 months that my now husband would be around regularly. He left parenting to me in the meantime. After we had been dating one year, we had several vacations together, then moved in a year ago and got married. I would say it is only in the last 6 months or so we have become a "family". Initially after we moved in and married, I still maintained role as sole disciplinarian. Now, I would say our household runs as an intact family would with my husband having an equal role as a parent, but we have allowed that to develop naturally and with everyone in agreement. We have discussed my husband not being a "new" dad. 


Luckily my husband had a stepdad, at around the same age (son now 11) so knows how to approach this based on his past. But honestly, at only 6 months in, and being somewhat long distance, you need to understand you are nowhere close to "mom" status yet. It is a long slow development for everyone. If SD is not yet ready, let her take her time.


My son has only got upset a few times, mainly at gatherings, where people inadvertently call my husband his dad. He then says "he is not my dad, I have a dad, I love my dad" and is defensive. I have spoken to him and explained that people are not trying to dismiss his dad, just they only know "our family" unit, and it is natual for people to call the parental figures mom and dad. I even explained he calls us the dogs mom and dad, where obviously that is not true! 

So, my message is, take it slow, do not get obsessed with labels. Things work themselves out.

mexitica33's picture

Hey! Thanks so much for your background and advice. I can see what you mean by “don’t get obsessed with the labels.” I Guess I’m more so confused at the fact that she was getting defensive even though I never tell her to call me mom or tell her she’s my daughter. I am always respectful and listen to her when she talks about her mom. I make sure her mom is viewed in a positive light when she tells me stories about her and even when she’s mad at her. I never talk bad about the mom. She always asks me if I’m her mom and tries to understand what I am to her. My response is always that I take care of her and love her but that I will not replace her real mom. I definitely knew that it was going to take some time for her to adjust to me and everything, which I understand. The only thing is that, isn’t it too soon for her to be acting defensive towards me when I never push the idea of me being her mom? I was expecting this a bit farther up the road. Should I give space and not go every weekend? 

ndc's picture

Try not to take it personally.  When I'd been dating my SO about 6 months, his then-4 year old made a point of telling me, on a few different occasions, that I was not her mother.  I just acknowledged that, told her I wasn't her mother and that she already had a perfectly good mother.  Once when I had taken her to the store (without SO), she said that the people in the parking lot probably thought I was her mother.  I just told her that they might think that, but that I wasn't.  I think she was just processing stuff and saying it out loud.  I don't think she intended to hurt me or upset me.  I've always tried to be calm and matter of fact  when she said stuff like that.   At around that same time she also told my SO (with me in the car listening) that she wanted him to get back together with BM.  She did that a couple times.  He didn't react as calmly as I do! 

I haven't heard the "you aren't my mother" talk in quite a while, nor has she been talking to SO about getting back together with BM, maybe because I've been around for quite a while and she's adjusted more to the situation.  I think kids in this situation have a bit of a loyalty bind and are confused about their feelings toward the woman who is doing thing for them that a mother would.  I don't think my SO's daughter was trying to hurt me, and I suspect your boyfriend's daughter wasn't either.   I probably would not change my schedule or my behavior based on her saying that.

mexitica33's picture

Kind of crazy how I have experienced all of that...Although I knew I wasnt the only one, it made me feel better knowing that someone else experienced this during the same time frames(unfortunately). How long did it take until she stopped bringing those comments up?

lorlors's picture

Sounds like a little b1tch is brewing.

As my Irish mother always says 'what is in the cat is in the kitten'. Applying this analogy to the stepfamily means that SDs generally take after an awful BM. This is unavoidable.

Sounds like you are at the starting line of a world of future pain and grief. Stepdaughters don't improve, they get worse.

ldvilen's picture

The most important thing is how your BF responds.  Did your BF take her aside and speak with her about the incident or did he brush it off and say nothing to her?  Yes, I know she is only four.  But, the toleration and patterns for her future behavior are being set right now.

I think one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make, and esp. a SP, is continually blowing off a child's negative behavior.  "Oh, he/ she is just five," or "Teenagers are always jerks, so what is the big deal," and so on.  Frankly, there is never an excuse for rude behavior, and although bio-parents regularly get passes, SPs rarely do.  In other words, it only takes a couple of instances where SO or DH drops the ball, for the child to think he/ she now has free-reign to go after SM (just like perhaps BM does).

When these type of instances come up, given her age, your BF should take her aside and speak with her about about how she may be feeling.  He shouldn't be interrogating her or anything like that, or pressing her for info.  The objective is to get at what she is thinking (and not BM--can't do anything about that).  Maybe SD will share or maybe she won't.  Either way, BF can just speak with her about how he feels towards his SO, and how he wishes she would respect that.

That way, BF is already setting the pattern that he expects his daughter to at least respect his relationship with you.  And, that pattern needs to be set early and needs to be set well with any step-children.

mexitica33's picture

I feel so much better now! I think with the distance involved it was just eating me up these past two days especially while at work. He came over last night and I told him how bad I was feeling about the situation. He let me know he had a talk with her and how her behavior was very bad and that it will not be tolerated again. I am so happy he believes me and supports me this much because I was a bit worried for a second. Like I said, this is so new to me and there is nothing better than having the support I need. We talked about how he does need to have more talks with her about her feelings, my role, our future, etc. He's very in tune about nipping this in the butt before it gets worse!