Hello everyone! I've been in a relationship for about 2 years with a man who has a 5 year old. He's been separated from his ex for about 3 years now, never married. We are all very young. The ex and I are both 23, and he is 25. Recently, my boyfriend came to me and said how he was thinking about going to Disney with ex and daughter in the next coming year. I asked, why just you guys, and he said because he thinks that Disney is a place where families go, and his daughter would really like it if they were all together. Recently, it was just his daughters birthday and the three of them went out for lunch together, when my boyfriend was leaving, she was crying that they couldn't all go home together. This makes me feel awkward, and more and more, I notice him feeling guilty and bad about not being able to make it work with his ex for his daughter. I understand it must be difficult too, which is why i support the three of them doing things alone as i feel i don't need/want to be around all the time. However, do you feel its appropriate to go on vacation with the ex or that this is too much? He remembers going to Disney with his mom and sister and wishing that his dad could have been there (he came from a single parent household), and says that it isn't about going with the EX but rather being able to put their differences aside and doing something for their daughter. I feel as if it would be confusing to her, he thinks shell look back on it and be happy.
Id love some advice!
I get wanting to go on the vacation. Yes I do think the child will look back and be happy that her parents both loved her so much that they were able to set feelings aside and just be there. That is a good thing. In fact it makes me wish my relationship with my ex was that awesome...so I also get why he says it's not about the ex but the child. I have been putting on the fakest act possible the past 6 years so..right there with him!
I don't think he should exclude you. I find it odd/shady he doesn't want you to go even though you have been together for two years. On one hand the only persons actions you can control is yours.You can't control him or how he interacts with his child..he is being a good dad. But I think it needs to be brought up that you are not comfortable being excluded. If there is a reason why your excluded and there is absolutely no compromising on either of your parts then it might not be a good situation for yourself and you might need to start rethinking being with him.
Step parents/significant others have their place but they shouldn't be pushed aside
My parents would go on vacations with me together- it isn't about the parents' feelings, it's about the child. As far as the child is concerned- she and her parents are still a family, she needs to feel like her parents are a united source of support and safety and that they both love her. It's good that the two can put aside their differences long enough to have that time together for their daughter.
That, 3 years later and at only 5 years old, she's crying about how they aren't together makes me a bit worried. My parents got divorced when I was 2 or 3 and I don't think there was a time when I was 5 that I started crying about how I wanted them back together. I can't remember them being together at all. All children are different, of course, but if I were her parents, I'd be trying to make sure that her feelings towards the break up were properly being addressed so that she can accept it and move on.
There are a few factors that I can understand him not wanting you to be there, depending on the factor. How close are you to his daughter? If you haven't seen her very often and aren't very close, I can understand why he wouldn't feel it appropriate to bring you with him on special days/trips for his daughter. If this is the case, you three (you, the daughter, and your boyfriend) need to start having special days and trips together- maybe just go somewhere she enjoys for the afternoon- so she can get to know you better. Even if you're close, she might not really accept your relationship with her dad or what it means, so he may not want to ruin special days/trips for her- again, if this is the case, that's something that should be worked on over time. However, if you're very close to her and she knows you well and understands (and accepts) your relationship to her dad- I don't see the harm.
The biggest problem, I can see, is this: how is his ex about him dating you? It may be that the only way he can go and have it not turn into a huge ordeal is to exclude you. If that's the case, that's not fair of his ex- but, again, these visits and vacations are about his daughter, he needs to do right by her. He also needs to be honest to you about this, though, and he needs to not exclude you all the time.
Are you included in other holidays? Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, especially Father's Day and his Birthday? Unless his ex would truly be awful (and then he should tell you this so you know why), or you two aren't that serious- you should be included in family holidays. You DEFINITELY should be included in his days (father's day and his birthday). You're part of his family now and, by extension, his daughter's family. His daughter needs to see you as part of her family. I can understand not wanting to take her days (her birthday, a trip for her, etc) to make the point- but family holidays and his days should both include you.