I have been living with a wonderful man for a year now. He is everything I could ever want... Smart, sexy, hilarious, and so loving. We are planning to get married and have a baby in the next few years and I know I couldn't ask for a better father for my children. He has a daughter who is now just 2 (1 when we got together). He has been fighting for 50-50 access but giving his ex 'time'... The current arrangement is that his little girl stays with us all day Sunday and then sleeps over, and is with us Thursdays as well from a.m. to bedtime. My man adores his daughter and is anxious for more time.
I have really thrown myself into the stepmom role over the past year. Pretty much any time he's with his daughter, I'm there too, and he's said that's the way he wants it and likes it. He really wants us to be a family. We do pretty much equal amounts of 'caring' while she's around... Diapers, nap time, bedtime, playing, etc. I do all the cooking. Basically, I've been a pretty big part of her life for a year.
Here's my problem: I really want to love his daughter. She's a really sweet little girl, very funny, smart, adorable, and fun. I keep waiting for big love feelings to come along, but they just aren't. I feel unbelievably guilty. I can't believe I'm going to admit this, because it's extremely selfish, but I can't help but find myself, once in a while, wishing she just didn't exist. Ugh.
What really made me realize this was visiting my niece and nephew (ages 3 and 5), who live a few hours away, last week. I love them in that weird, indescribable way where everything they do is so cute or funny or profound, and I just want to hug and kiss them all the time...I wonder what they'll be like as they get older, I know I would take a bullet for them, all that stuff! In comparison, what I feel for my partner's child is a drop in the bucket, and that makes me feel terrible. It's just weird, too, considering I've spent way more time with her (I see my niece and nephew about once per month). Also, the feelings I have for my niece and nephew make me think when I have my own child, I'll love him/her sooo much I won't be able to hide the huge difference in feelings between him/her and my stepdaughter.
I feel like this is truly the only thing in the world I can't talk to my partner about. A while ago, struggling with the things I've talked about here, I felt like I needed some time to myself and gently suggested it might be a good idea for him to have some time alone with his daughter when she's with us. He looked really sad and said while he agrees that's a good thing, with the current custody arrangement when we have so little time with her, he thinks we should both soak it all up. He said me not wanting to spend all the time I could with her felt like rejection, and he actually got tears in his eyes.
I've taken a "fake it 'till you make it" approach so far...the theory being, if I act like I feel the love, maybe it will come. I really fixed up her room, I've come up with lots of fun projects and games to do, made special foods, etc. After our time with her my partner likes to look at photos and talk lots about what she did, etc. ("Wasn't it cute when...") and I participate really actively in that. I tell him I miss her when I don't. Starting to feel like a fraud and a liar and I worry about how that might impact our relationship.
Just hoping anyone has felt this way, and maybe someone can tell me that the 'love' came later for them? Feels like a year should be enough!