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#1 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 02:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know this is gonna sound dumb, but what am I now? I dated my Husband since my stepdaughter was 11 months old, knew my stepdaughter since she was 13 months old, saw her occasionally until she was almost 3, then saw her on a regular basis until she was four, lived with her (when she was with me and my Husband- roughly 8-10 times a month with overnights) since she turned four, being her primary caregiver when she was at our house, married her Dad when she was almost 4 1/2, have been nearly inseperable, called "two peas in a pod", been told by my stepdaughter on a regular basis since she was 5 1/2 that she "wishes she could have two Moms, because she loves me as much as her Mom and Dad" and I've always been her "go to" person when she wants someone to talk to. She turned 9 in September. Then, 2 1/2 months ago, my Husband decides he's not in love with me anymore, wants me to move out, and wants a divorce, the quicker the better. (He insists that he will allow me and my stepdaughter to continue contact... so far has stood by that promise.) Now, I'm in my new apartment and will not be seeing my stepdaughter on most her visitation days (my son and I are invited for lunch on Sunday, even though he has her for a three day weekend). What am I now? Am I still her Stepmother? Am I still any kind of parent to her anymore? Will I still be (I know not LEGALLY) when he divorces me? Am I still her family? Will I still be when he divorces me? Is she no longer my child (I know, not MINE, but "mine")? Will she no longer be when he divorces me? Is my son still her brother (technically, step-brother, but we've taught them that it doesn't matter what the technicality is, brother and sister are brother and sister)? Will he be when my Husband divorces me? What about when/if my Husband gets a new girlfriend/another wife? Are we automatically out then, by default? Should I even be writing in this forum anymore? What am I to my stepdaughter now? I hate this. :-(

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#2 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 10:18 AM
 
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Wow... I am SO sorry to hear about this. I can't even imagine being in your shoes, and would be totally heartbroken. First of all, you absolutely should post here. I know there are others who have step-children whose parent they are now divorced from, so I think they might have good insight.

I think you are whatever your step-daughter wants you to be, and it sounds like you have a really special place in her heart. Hopefully your (ex)husband will stick by his word-- maybe you can find plenty of other ways to keep in touch with her that don't have to involve waiting to be invited for lunch. Maybe you can take her to a movie, "babysit" if he needs childcare, write her letters and cards, send her things in the mail. Maybe your son can invite her to movies or out to lunch or whatever so they can stay in touch.

You might have some legal rights to seek some form of visitation if your soon-to-be-ex-husband changes his mind about keeping you in her life... hopefully you won't have to go there.

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#3 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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I'm so sorry, Harleyhalfmoon. is all I've got- but yes, I think you're family to that little girl.

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#4 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 01:48 PM
 
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my ex's kids were older when we met so they didn't really have a mother-type bond with me, more of a really close almost parent friend type relationship. we are still friends are are still in touch. s

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#5 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 02:06 PM
 
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Wow - I am so sorry! That sounds like really bizarre behavior on your husband's (ex's?) part. I can't imagine how stressful and hurtful it must be to you. I must imagine it's really scary and hard for his daughter too if she's been so attached to you for so long. My best friend had divorced parents and her dad was with a woman from when she was 6 or so til 11 or 12 and she said their breakup was way harder on her then her own parent's divorce. She is still friends with this woman and she was at her baby shower and baby's first birthday, etc. All the big milestones - even though her dad is married to someone else now.

I think you are still a stepmom or very important adult - still family - to your stepdaughter. I think being around for her and talking and showing that you'll still be there for her is really important for both of you. I know things were tough with the mom but any chance of a friendly relationship now?

I am so sorry you are going through this - much support and good luck.
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#6 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I must imagine it's really scary and hard for his daughter too if she's been so attached to you for so long.
Her first question was, is she gonna have to have another Stepmother now, her second question was, do I plan on getting a boyfriend and if I do, can I get one who likes her, too, and her third question was, could she come to my house on weekends Daddy doesn't have her, so she can be with her Mom during the week, her Dad on half the weekends and with me on the other weekends.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#7 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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I'm so sorry for your situation. It sounds really heartbreaking for both of you. I just wanted to offer you some hope of a long term relationship. My aunt became a stepmom when her stepdaughter was 5. That marriage ended when stepdaughter was 12 and there was some estrangement for a while, but now, when stepdaughter is 34, she calls my Aunt "mom" and they're closer than ever.

I hope it works out for you and her.

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#8 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know if it's gonna work out. Today's Wednsday- Katherine is at home with my soon-to-be ExHusband. The first day of visitation I'm not living there. They have not called. I know for a fact that Katherine had planned on calling- it's all she talked about the last time I saw her. His Facebook Wall reads that he's excited about spending time with his daughter today and that he's mushed that they're making his lunch for tomorrow together (formally my job). Sounds like he's keeping her as busy as possible. I had to call him a while ago- my son's really sick and I'm completely broke from moving this weekend. He says he'll lend me money to bring him to the doctor, drop it off later AFTER he drops Katherine off. Heard him leave the room when he picked up the phone, never asked if I wanted to say hi to her on the phone. He KNOWS I do- MY Facebook Wall reads how much I miss her today. Asked if he fed the gecko I left with him- says he did. Pet store (for crickets) is a block away from my new apartment, and this was before I told him my son was sick- never stopped by for a hello. I hope this is not a sign of things to come- I've been completely cut off today. I am nothing to her today, by HIS design. How can someone do this to a bond between two people, especially someone in a parent role and a child?!

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#9 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 08:04 PM
 
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This must be so hard for everyone to figure out, especially K. I wouldn't wait for him to offer, I would call and ask to talk to her. I don't know him and I don't know the situation, and I don't know what his deal is, but maybe just assume (or pretend) that he doesn't know what you want and just tell him.

And assume that he is trying to do what's best for his daughter and right now he doesn't really know what that is, especially since he is clearly dealing with his own adult "stuff" right now and probably can't focus on it very clearly. So maybe he thinks it will be harder if she talks to you, or maybe he doesn't want to set the precedent of being the one to make the offers of contact, maybe he thinks he's doing you a favor by letting you move on.
I'm all for imagining whatever scenario suits your purposes and promotes your own mental health... even if they are totally fictional.

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#10 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 08:34 PM
 
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babies crying but i believe this

you divorce spouses NOT children and i certainly hope your XH feels the same.

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#11 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 08:46 PM
 
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How's your relationship with her bio mom? If it's even close to passable, I'd suggest you try and arrange visits directly through her. That way your sd is not having to cram two visits into the time of one, and gets to spend time with everyone. And who knows? Maybe the bio mom will see you as a valuable and helpful resource. You're a known quantity and have taken care of her bio-daughter many times before.
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#12 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 08:58 PM
 
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How's your relationship with her bio mom? If it's even close to passable, I'd suggest you try and arrange visits directly through her. That way your sd is not having to cram two visits into the time of one, and gets to spend time with everyone. And who knows? Maybe the bio mom will see you as a valuable and helpful resource. You're a known quantity and have taken care of her bio-daughter many times before.
ooooo... that would be wonderful if the bio mom would allow visitations!! I'm curious to see what the bio mom is like. I'm SO heartbroken for you. I wish I knew the answers.

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#13 of 19 Old 01-13-2010, 10:05 PM
 
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I don't want to sound harsh. I really feel for you in your situation

But some truths will need to be faced. One is that you are not family to DSD anymore. You were family by marriage and now that the marriage is over, that family is dissolved. I hope you and DSD are able to choose each other as family (as many of us choose our families through life) but that will be difficult until she is an adult.

Another is that you can't encourage her wish to be with you 2 weekends and with her dad 2 weekends. That would be horribly unfair to mom who would then have zero "off" time with her dd. She is still too young to realize how much those weekends mean to a parent in a blended family situation. It's nice thatshe wants that arrangement but I'm pretty certain it wouldn't be awarded that way even if you all went to court.

I would take it one step at a time. Dad is probably trying to make this as painless as possible for his dd. Keeping her busy makes it less obvious to her that you are not there. I know it's hard for you but it would be so much more painful for dsd to be thinking of you and missing you every minute or hour that she is visiting her dad. He also needs to start creating a new structure and routine in his visits and that is the right thing for him to do as well.
Go and enjoy brunch on Sundays and try to keep some of that contact with dsd. It may provide the opportunity for you to be able to spend an evening with her when both her parents are busy and also keep a relationship so when she's older she can choose to spend time with you.
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#14 of 19 Old 01-14-2010, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How's your relationship with her bio mom?
Her Mother has made it clear from Day 1 that my son and I are little more than dog crap on the bottom of her shoe. She is now in her glory- that's one of my concerns- even if my soon-to-be ExHusband is the nicest guy in the world, nurtures my stepdaughter's relationship with my son and I, my stepdaughter's Mother may take full advantage of the situation as "proof" that my son and I mean nothing, should mean nothing, to my stepdaughter.

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Another is that you can't encourage her wish to be with you 2 weekends and with her dad 2 weekends.
I never did.

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I would take it one step at a time. Dad is probably trying to make this as painless as possible for his dd. Keeping her busy makes it less obvious to her that you are not there.
Of course I don't want my stepdaughter to be miserable. I actually thought through very carefully whether or not I should just completely drop out of her life, so she doesn't have to deal with the loyalty to THREE parents stress. Couldn't do it- I've been the child in both situations and the not knowing and rejection is worse than the loyalty stress. What hurts is, when he told her that me and my son and our dogs were moving out, the second half of the sentence was, "but after a couple months, I'll get you a puppy". Spoiled rotten (yes, spoiled rotten- my sister-in-law bought her THREE American Girl Dolls, an American Girl Horse and an American Girl Wardrobe, just for the heck of it today), new puppy, a Dad who's suddenly there and giving her constant one-on-one attention (he used to work on his laptop most the day while I spent time with her), they're going fun places this weekend (places we could never afford when it was the four of us). Why SHOULD she miss us? Got rid of the lady who made her pick up her toys and brush her hair and suddenly turned into a princess who's doted on 24/7. Good for him for keeping her busy, but he doesn't have to try to make her believe that she never needed us in her life in the first place. Then I'll lose her for sure. :-(

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#15 of 19 Old 01-14-2010, 09:04 AM
 
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Oh Harley, I have no advice, but I couldn't read and not post. I'm so sorry.

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#16 of 19 Old 01-14-2010, 09:49 AM
 
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How's your relationship with her bio mom? If it's even close to passable, I'd suggest you try and arrange visits directly through her. That way your sd is not having to cram two visits into the time of one, and gets to spend time with everyone. And who knows? Maybe the bio mom will see you as a valuable and helpful resource. You're a known quantity and have taken care of her bio-daughter many times before.
ITA with this & yk, even if you haven't been on the best terms with her bio mom maybe now is a good time for a carefully worded email. If DSD is missing you her mom will know and hopefully want to help.

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#17 of 19 Old 01-14-2010, 10:36 AM
 
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OP that stinks. I'm forum crashing even though I'm not in a blended family now I do have experience that may help you.
When I was 12 my Mom and Stepdad divorced, and then about 6 months later my Dad died leaving my Stepmom a young widow with 2 kids to raise.

I always kept in touch with both stepparents over the years and now at 41, still do. I'm closer to my Stepdad because he lives nearby and he is the only Grandpa my DS has.

So there's my input.

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#18 of 19 Old 01-14-2010, 11:34 AM
 
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While in theory I completely agree with sunflowers, the hurt in your posts is also very clear.

Would your ex be willing to at least let you have a 'date' with her once a month? Start with something small, like lunch or a movie or something and see how agreeable he is to that?

I know if my gf and I separated tomorrow, depending on how ugly it was, I'd be willing to let her see the kids - but on the other hand, it would have to have boundaries as everyone prepared to move on, kwim?

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#19 of 19 Old 01-15-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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To answer your question, "What am I now?" -- you are a woman who loves a child, and who wants to continue a loving, close relationship with her no matter what. ( This is a heartbreaking situation, I'm so sorry you (and she) are going through this. What I would do if this were me is to make it crystal clear to dsd that I want her in my life as much as I can have her, and just because we don't live together anymore doesn't mean I don't love her just as much as I always have, and that I am there for her to call on in whatever way she needs. You may not have a lot of control in this situation, but at least she will know if it were up to you, you would not be out of her life, or even marginalized in it, and when she's older and has more choice in how (and with whom) she spends her time, I'm guessing the bond the two of you built will lead her back to you in some way if it can't continue now. Again, I'm sorry, and I wish you both healing and love.
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