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How often do you take adult-only trips with your SO? How often do you communicate with the SK during those trips?

StepGF84's picture

Last year, my FH (future husband) and I took a weekend trip together. He told me when we first began dating that he doesn’t take many trips without his daughter. That was fine with me and I understood. One thing I didn’t realize was that the communication while he’s away from his daughter is 24/7…

Before we leave for our weekend trip, my SD (7 years old) is crying about it. She tearfully tells my FH that he is leaving her. While we were gone, she would be staying with BM. BM is super involved and shares 50/50 custody with my FH. It isn’t like we were sending SD off with a dead-beat parent for the weekend. I think SD just felt jealous/hurt over the fact that my FH and I were going without her. I stayed out of it and we dropped SD off at school.

Before we are leaving, my FH called BM to give her a heads up that SD was upset this morning. Later that afternoon, he called BM again to speak with SD to make sure she’s okay. SD is perfectly fine at this point; she’s off school and hanging out with BM. No issues on the phone, no tears.

Later that evening, we had just enjoyed a nice dinner together and it’s after 9:00 pm. He decides to call BM again to speak with SD. This is where I’m getting annoyed. We are enjoying our trip, he’s ignoring me while he’s on the phone with SD, won’t include me in the conversation, then he’s chatting it up with BM when he’s done speaking with SD. He had already talked to SD earlier that same day; why again, after 9:00 pm at night? I am clearly annoyed and he can tell. I tell him “I’m annoyed. You’ve been on the phone all day and I just want to enjoy our time together.” He flat-out doesn’t respond and closes his eyes and won’t open them. How can I talk to someone who has his eyes closed and is lying in bed ignoring me?

He finally wants to talk to me the next morning. First he tries to blame me because he says that I should have forced him to talk to me. I reminded him that he CLOSED his eyes and wouldn’t speak with me. He claimed that was his way of silently telling me that we should talk. I’m not a mind reader. He then explained that he doesn’t take many trips without his daughter and he wants to talk to her as much as he wants because she’s important to him, and he has to call BM to speak with his daughter and that is just the way it is. I disagree but I don’t want to argue the whole time on our trip.

We shower and he then calls BM again to speak with SD. And he passive-aggressively asks me “Is is okay if I speak to my child this morning?” Then we go about our day. But basically the whole rest of the day, him and I are in a group text with BM getting a play-by-play of SD’s day.

Guys, I’m annoyed. So I ask all of you – How often do you take a trip alone with your SO? And how often do they communicate with the SKs on the trip?

Am I being unreasonable by being annoyed? Since that trip, my FH and I went on a cruise together and the only reason why I had a good time was because he couldn’t make phone calls or text from the ship, otherwise he would have been on his phone the whole damn time with BM and SD. At this point, I don’t want to go on a trip with him unless it is a cruise because he spends the majority of the time on the phone with SD/BM.

StepGF84's picture

When SD is at BM's, he usually doesn't communicate with SD. Him and BM don't go more than two nights without seeing SD. Every once in a while, he whines that he misses SD when she's at BM's but he usually doesn't call her. He's called a few times if BM calls him or if it is something best discussed over the phone.

The main issue is trips we take...and we only take two a year. He feels so guilty over going on a trip without SD. As I said, I only want to take trips with him if it is cruise because he ruins it for me if he's able to phone and text BM/SD all of the time.

hereiam's picture

I would be annoyed.

Seriously, I don't know what is so hard about these men finding a balance (and some common sense). I get that they love their kids but if they cannot even take a weekend trip without talking to them 97 times a day, well, that would not be a guy I would want to be with. He is creating a co-dependent situation. And she's only 7, just wait.

My SD25 was 5 when my husband and BM split up and she was a Daddy's girl, but he did not do this crap. When she was not with us, it was our time and it's not as if he just forgot he had a daughter but she was not at the forefront of mind every.single.minute.

Men like this should stay single after the divorce (or just stay with BM and kid in the first place).

Stepped in what momma's picture

UH, not just no but hell no is my answer to your situation, if my man needed his daughter that much he would be able to spend the rest of his life wither because I'd be gone.

If there was an emergency then I would completely understand but just to see how their day went; NO.

Cover1W's picture

I would be annoyed as well.
DH and I take several trips alone throughout the year, sometimes as long as a week.
(there's a back story to this joyous vacation time that took a while to work through however)

My parents took trips w/out my sister and I.
We dealt with it.
The SDs have learned to deal with it.

We usually take one vacation trip with them a year, BM takes them away once, usually twice per year for a long vacation, so they get LOTS of trips.

Your DH feels guilty. Period. Talk with him about WHY he wants to talk with her all the time.
Like, really WHY. Not just because he misses the "daily stuff." If that's really it then no more vacations with your DH. You go alone.

PS - I don't know if DH contacts the SDs when we are away because he doesn't let his phone interfere with our time. If he does, it's when I'm doing something else.

newcstep's picture

We have taken trips alone together both short weekend trips and our honeymoon. I do think that sometimes SD gets jealous when we do something fun without her. However, a) we only have her every other weekend and I refuse to put my life on hold just waiting for her to be around, and b) even bio kids get stuck with grandparents occasionally so the adults can have some alone time. Kids need to learn to deal with it. DH has never called to check in with SD any more or less than we would have on any other night/weekend where BM had custody.

If your SO regularly speaks to SD daily, I think you need to get over it. However if this is more than usual, he is likely coddling her, and you are right to express your frustration on it interrupting your vacation. Overall though, I think you have some larger relationship/ communication issues going on with him closing his eyes, refusing to discuss it, and then being super passive aggressive the next morning.

ksmom14's picture

How often does he talk to his daughter when she's with BM during regular visitation?

I think once a day is PLENTY of time to talk to his daughter, even on vacation that seems a bit much.

There's no reason for him and BM to be chatty, she should simply be answering the phone and giving it to SD.

StepGF84's picture

He typically doesn't speak with his daughter when she's with BM. Only if BM calls him (but she rarely does) or if he needs to discuss something best done over the phone. It really doesn't happen often.

The main issue is going on trips...we only do two a year. The weekend trip, he spent basically the whole time on the phone with BM/SD as I explained. Then we went on a 5 day cruise and we had a good time. He missed SD and I could tell he felt guilty for not including her on the cruise, but he wasn't able to make phone calls or text on the ship which was good. It helped us enjoy the trip more.

Now we are discussing our honeymoon and the guilty feelings are coming back to him. I don't feel guilty for taking a trip without SD. But he does. That is the main issue. I'm not sure why he feels so guilty. He's a great dad, deserves some time away from his kid and SD has a BM who she can easily stay with (it isn't like BM is a dead-beat parent; she is heavily involved). I can't figure out why he feels so guilty. And he gets so defensive over his daughter that I'm scared to even ask.

CANYOUHELP's picture

This would take about 2-3 times for me to lose all patience with FH, especially the unneeded conversation with SM, ridiculous. I can see if there is an emergency, but otherwise, this is inappropriate behavior.

If you tell him how you feel and you do not see a significant difference, I would move on, especially if you have no children of your own; you can do much better! Look for a man without children, 80% of of these men are messed up --if they have kids and the SM is the one who always gets the on-going wrath. Your man has a red flag waving in your face kind lady, pay attention to it before you marry your misery. At least you see it, good for you... A lot of us thought it would get better as the child aged, only to learn the jealousy an exclusion by these enmeshed daddeees only intensifies.

Do you want to deal with this and worse --the rest of your life?

StepGF84's picture

He has traveled for work before. SD has not acted like that when he traveled for work. She most likely acted like that because she was headed to school and she knew the both of us were immediately leaving for our trip and she felt left out and jealous.

She loves me but I can see that she does get jealous sometimes about her dad. If I give him a kiss or a hug, she will immediately kiss and hug him too. Little things like that. My FH doesn't pick up on it but I do.

I think that my FH feels extremely guilty when he's sending his daughter off to BM's house so he can enjoy adult-only time with me. If he has to travel just by himself, he doesn't experience guilt. But traveling with me/doing things with me on the weekends - he feels super guilty for leaving out SD.

GRITSinAL's picture

We go on trips about 3 times per year without our kids. I have a son, and DH has a son. We both communicate with them about 2 times per day, once in morning and once before bed. I prefer to text my son and let him reply. I will say something like "Morning. What are your plans today? Love you." Then he will reply "I am going to blah blah. Love you too." so a total of 2 texts. Before bed I will text "Goodnight. Love you" He replies. So a total of 2 more texts for a grand total of 4 per day.

DH prefers to talk on the phone with his son rather than text. He will do like a 5 min morning call and a 5 min call before bed.

The boys don't usually feel the need to contact us in between these, but that MAY be because we have boys.

I feel like this is reasonable.

ETA I do not "chat it up" with exH, and DH does not "chat it up" with BM. It is a simple, "Could I speak to blah blah please" Then the phone is handed over.

Also the boys have never cared if we travel without them. We also take them on a couple of trips as a family throughout the least one but most years 2 as a family.

StepGF84's picture

Maybe I don't understand the need for that much communication because I don't have my own bio kid to miss and want to talk with. Although I love SD and enjoy spending time with her - I don't miss her when she's away at BM's or when we are on a trip. I just don't. I enjoy that time without her. Maybe things will be different when I have my own bio child. Right now, I just think multiple times a day and texting with BM during just a weekend trip is excessive.

GRITSinAL's picture

Well in my scenario above, we are talking 10 minutes TOPS total out of each day. Once the contact has been made, we are not sitting around waiting for more contact. That's it until bedtime. SS is almost 13, and my own son is almost 16. For me, since my son primarily lives with me, I make contact to check on him and be sure everything sounds on the "up and up" if I am on a trip because that would mean he is probably staying home alone or staying with a friend. It is not so much that I am sitting there thinking how much I MISS him, but more like I am checking on him a couple of times a day. I am not sure how DH views the contacts. If we were stopping what we were doing JUST to take calls like in the middle of dinner or a movie or something like that, I feel it would be more intrusive. And like I said, we arent sitting there pining away waiting on more contacts. I feel like that is where your husband is missing it and causing you to have negative feelings about it. If he would do a morning contact while drinking coffee or something and be done with it till bedtime, I doubt it would bother you.

SMto2's picture

That much communication when you're only gone for the WEEKEND is ridiculous, IMO. When my SSs were that age (they were 3 and 5 when DH and I got together, now 21 and 23) we could only afford weekend trips here and there, but DH NEVER called them during it! I wasn't like I discouraged him; he just never even mentioned it!

Eventually we had our 2 DSs, now ages 9 and 15. I believe DS15 was about age 3 when we first went on a 4-night getaway, and we've continued that to this day. During those 4 days, we may call our OWN bio DSs once, MAYBE twice. During a weekend, I'd only call once the day we were returning to let my mom know about what time we would be there to pick them up. Any more than that, and you might as well stay home. ETA: we may text a couple times, maybe once in the morning to say "good morning," but that is NOT everyday.

I hate to say it, but it does sound like your DH has attachment issues with your SD. Even if she were your bio together, it would be good for the two of you to get away as a couple without her once in a while. That makes your marriage stronger and makes you a better parent. It sounds like these trips just make you feel neglected and angry. However, at least you found an "out" with the cruise, so I'd be planning those every time!!

StepGF84's picture

My out with the cruise won't last much longer..haha. We are doing a honeymoon cruise together, but after that, he says he wants to take SD on a cruise. So there goes that! Haha.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Wow. Ridiculous, indeed.

IMO, your guy owes you a do over. You only get away twice a year, yet he chose to sabotage the getaway. And not only did he demonstrate some craptastic parenting, he put a cherry on that sh¡t sundae by being a pouty brat and then tried to blameshift by accusing you of willfully not reading his mind like you should have. Why didn't you just get your own room and leave him to it?

When YSD lived with us, DH and I would go away every three months or so for some room service, hot monkey sex, and bonding time. Believe me, the LAST thing on his mind was his daughter! We did this to keep our relationship strong, and our relationship always came first, which made all of us happier. I also always planned a YSD-focused vacation during the summer and spring break.

There are red flags waving all over your relationship. This man seems too enmeshed with his FEMALE child (female skid/SM dynamics are the most difficult), doesn't seem able to balance the two relationships, and I really don't care for his manipulative communication skills. However, he did warn you in the beginning that you would be playing second fiddle to his obsessive parenting style and apparently you accepted his terms when you agreed to marry him. Leave him, stay and continue being an afterthought, or try to renegotiate terms with counselling - those are your options. But for goodness sakes, don't marry this man until/unless you get all this very serious stuff sorted.

oneoffour's picture

Our kids are grown so it goes like this *group text* Arrived in one piece. See you in a few days/Weeks.

We leave an itinerary with a couple of them so if something does happen that requires our immediate return (like a critical ICU illness or accident or worse) we can get back quicker.

Even when Ex and I were married we would not be in touch with the kids all the time. DH and his ex never went away without their sons if they went at all. She put motherhood before wifehood.

I think your scenario was excessive. If my DH was on the phone with his ex chit chatting I would head out and go and do something on my own. Even if it was going out for a meal at McDs on my own. He can come and find me. Then my sarcasm would come flowing out "I thought we were on a mini vacation. My bad. I will head home and you can get BM to fly out and keep you company."

Acratopotes's picture

WE do it allot lol...... and SO will be on his phone constantly with his brat, his parents and his brothers.

I decided about 2 years ago... to say NO not going, SO would get angry and ask why not, I simply reply the idea of going away together is to spend time together without a 3rd party, you involve your whole family, why not just take them.... he sort off stopped it.... then we went away again and Aergia kept texting, SO kept texting back, I decided eff this, took out my phone and kept myself busy... turned up the volume of the music, opened another beer... I simply ignored SO for the rest of the day, I pretended I was alone, sang along with the music, played on my phone, stopped and took pictures... Late that night SO said... I get the point and I am sorry....

I still ignored him, heard that enough times and nothing changed... the next day ignore him... that was the last week-end he ever involved other people in our get away..... now it's fun, If we see a nice place or what ever, and take photo's he will ask me if he can send it to his family, I just look at him and he will say... Oh it can wait till we are back home...

You will have to train him about these things Wink

StepGF84's picture

Yes, my FH has a habit of being on the phone a lot in general and involving other people in our stuff by texting/talking on the phone. He's gotten a little better at it because he knows how much I hate it.

But I still get annoyed just thinking about that trip last year, when he was on the phone with SD/BM constantly. I was not wanting to go on another trip with him but I decided to ask him a few weeks ago if he wanted to go on another weekend again. Mistake on my part because he immediately says that we must include SD this year on the trip. He missed her too much last year and he feels bad for not including her because we are going on our honeymoon later this year, blah, blah. I guess I don't get two trips alone with him this year Sad

Stepped in what momma's picture

Don't forget you are setting up a precedent on how you will allow yourself to be treated. If you don't like it now then fast forward seven years and see how you think it will feel then. Add in her teenager years and she will be a force to be reckoned with, if she has him this guilty now just wait and see how it will be later.

StepGF84's picture

How will it get worse when she's a teenager? I'm actually asking this. I have no idea what she will be like as a teen and I've never dealt with a teenager before.

I always believed that things would get better when she gets older. She's a social child and I just assume that she will have tons of friends and always be out and about with them. My FH has said that he wants her to get a part-time job when she is 16 and he wants her to go to college, etc. I always assumed she would get more independent. Not that I want to shove her out of my life, but I also don't want the mini-wife thing to get worse when she's a teen. She has a tiny touch of the mini-wife now that I'm hopeful will go away.

Do you have a teen step-kid? Will my own SD eventually grow up to hate me? Haha...right now, she loves me a lot. Literally the only "issue" is with my FH and not being able to spend time away from her very often due to his guilt and attachment with her. It is a small problem when you think about the larger problems with blended families. But it does cause resentment with me because I want to enjoy our time alone without him being attached to his phone with BM and SD.

GRITSinAL's picture

People are saying that because her current behavior sounds like she has the potential to become a "mini wife". Google the term or better yet, search for it on here. See if she matches any of the characteristics.

GRITSinAL's picture

This list is by a user on here named katielee who wrote a book about mini wives:

Here is a list I wrote a few months ago on my blog, A Little Stepmama Drama. (The list in my book is a little more comprehensive and explained in more detail.) I wish you all the best. Dealing with a Mini-Wife is pretty hellacious.

~ Usually involves a female child of divorce who has made to feel entitled to the sole attention and resources of her guilt-ridden father.

~ Made worse if the father has been single for a long period of time, during which the child became accustomed to the sole attention of her father.

~ Is inordinately affectionate with her father.

~ Has expectations that she will be the center of her father's attention or she will punish him by pouting, whining, or ignoring him.

~ New female in the father's life tends to feel "left out," "awkward," or "intrusive" when going out with the father and his mini-wife.

~ Mini-wife will try to compete with stepmother.

~ Mini-wife will feel less like his child and more like "the other woman" in the stepmother's mind.

~ Mini-wife will insist on sitting and walking next to her father at all times.

~ Mini-wife can become inordinately obsessed with her father, calling several times a day or becoming overly needy.

~ Mini-wife may insist on private dates with dad.

~ Mini-wife dwells on the past and wants to talk about times with her dad before her stepmother came into the relationship.

~Mini-wife tattles to her dad on her stepmother.

~Mini-wife tries to circumvent her stepmom's authority by going "over her head" to daddyyyy.

~Mini-wife tends to act and talk "babyish" when around her dad.

~Mini-wife blames everything bad in her life on her stepmother.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

It isn't a small problem, it's a huge red warning flag flapping in the breeze. And the fact that your SO doesn't think he has a problem and can't have an open discussion about it means you should be very concerned. TBH, I'd be concerned about any man who thinks pouting, shutting you out, and twisting facts to make you the bad guy is a good way to connunicate.

Parenting is about laying a foundation of expectations and consistently reinforcing those expectations. It's thousands of small corrections made 24/7/365, and having the clarity to see through a young person's inborn traits of narcissism, selfishness, and manipulation. Kids aren't dumb, and females can be especially manipulative, so your SO is granting his daughter power and leverage she shouldn't have. She will quickly learn how to control her father and develop a toolbox of behaviors to get what she wants. Anyone who attempts to interfere will be seen as an enemy to be eliminated.

You come across as a very nice woman, possibly too much of a people pleaser. You came to this site because your gut is telling you that something isn't right, and it is correct. If you marry into this unhealthy dynamic, I guarantee you will regret it.

Please do some reading on enmeshment, Electra Complex, and gaslighting. Educate yourself so you can make informed decisions.

I feel strongly about this topic because my FIL was an enmeshed dad. His doting, obsessive love for his daughters and gdaughters was something I'd never seen before, and resulted in some very sad outcomes for all concerned.

Below is a link to a post involving an enmeshed father/daughter. Notice the man is older and single. Also notice my reply to the OP.

SMforever's picture

THIS ^^^^^^^ my thoughts exactly

Your BF is a package. He comes with an enmeshed first family, and NO it will not change in your favour. And YES the SD will only get more skilled at sabotaging your relationship as she progresses to adolescence. We are not encouraging you to rethink this engagement just for our own entertainment...many of us have been there, and this is why we are on this site. We are here to share our experience with you.

My SO is so obsessed with SD22 that he keeps his phone in his pocket all the time, and if it's not SD texting, then he ignores it. If she texts during sex, or when we're on vacation, I may make a snide remark, but he will defend her...she doesn't know we're busy!

I am still undecided if SO's particular pathology is acceptable to me. I'm hoping that SD gets busy with her own life...starting to show signs of it, but like another poster above, when he starts into a love-fest with SD, I just retreat into my own selfish world. He does notice.

Your relationship with BF has a problem. His communication and discussion skills are rock bottom...sulking is the single worst habit, and he is using it to,CONTROL things. This will eventually apply to the entire relationship, not just issues around the SD. Do you want that?

GRITSinAL's picture

Well in my scenario above, we are talking 10 minutes TOPS total out of each day. Once the contact has been made, we are not sitting around waiting for more contact. That's it until bedtime. SS is almost 13, and my own son is almost 16. For me, since my son primarily lives with me, I make contact to check on him and be sure everything sounds on the "up and up" if I am on a trip because that would mean he is probably staying home alone or staying with a friend. It is not so much that I am sitting there thinking how much I MISS him, but more like I am checking on him a couple of times a day. I am not sure how DH views the contacts. If we were stopping what we were doing JUST to take calls like in the middle of dinner or a movie or something like that, I feel it would be more intrusive. And like I said, we arent sitting there pining away waiting on more contacts. I feel like that is where your husband is missing it and causing you to have negative feelings about it. If he would do a morning contact while drinking coffee or something and be done with it till bedtime, I doubt it would bother you. It is like he is not really "present" with you because his far away waiting on the constant contact etc instead.

He sort of sounds like he is enmeshed and emotionally unavailable, and that is coming from someone who DOES contact her son a couple of times a day during trips....which makes it worse I guess.

ETA and yeah, I would be bothered with the chatting with the Ex. I mean, I don't chat with my ex. He is an Ex for a reason.