Wishing my DH would interact more with DD - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 10-14-2006, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are happily married, and dd is doing fine, despite the fact that dh and dd ignore each other, seemingly stress freely, and when they do interact it's with sarcasm (nicely) and humor...

I think the humor is good, a way to interact without needing to be "close" and to practice getting to know each other.

BUT I HATE THAT THEY DON'T TALK!!!

I feel pulled in two different directions. We've had a hard road for the first 3 years of living together. Mostly b/c me and dh were fighting a lot, and some of it b/c of my overprotectiveness for dh (she was seven, now ten) and "coddling" of her. He was right, and when I stopped and addressed my guilt about divorcing her dad and moving her away from him it got lots better.

But dh still sees that he has no role in her life, and seems to resist reaching out to her at all to connect. He thinks that she doesn't respect him, and he won't interact with her till she does. SHE doesn't respect him, and won't till he's affectionate and she feels LIKED by him. It's a catch-22. And I think since he's the adult, it's his job to "do it her way" first...

I think she'll be fine despite having little or no connection with him...it's hard on me, and I truly think she has something to teach him.

Anyone have any advice for me?

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#2 of 6 Old 10-14-2006, 06:28 PM
 
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If she doesn't respect him, and with good reason, it's going to get a lot harder when she's a teenager.

I've been reading too many sad posts on mdc and I'm feeling a little down on men at the moment... FWIW, Carol Gilligan writes a lot of interesting stuff about how women are naturally geared to cultivating the relationship network while men are naturally geared to following the rules. It's academic and research-based but quite insightful.

At the same time, being a stepparent and opening up to a kid can be very hard if you're not that comfortable with affection, you're not used to being parental, etc. Could you go in for a few counseling sessions, just to help you understand his situation and to help him understand your situation? And go out on some low-pressure family excursions? I think if you guys spent time together in which he was just reasonably warm towards your DD, and your DD was just reasonably decent towards your DH, that could go a long way.
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#3 of 6 Old 10-16-2006, 01:42 PM
 
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Dylan, I don't have any advice. I feel for you though. I've been married to my 2nd DH for 3.5 years, and my oldest daughter was less than 3 when I remarried; She is now 6. The first year was the hardest. It got a bit easier with the birth of two more children - DH was less focused on my DD and her faults, and she became older and easier to deal with. But it seems he never got over her tantrums as a 2.5 year-old and is still keeping a grudge against her. Besides, he is always comparing his daughter, who is the same age, to mine. That just drives me up the wall...
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#4 of 6 Old 10-16-2006, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah...
We've set goals to do more as a family, and they get sideswiped by daily tasks...I don't want to keep being a "nagger" (I don't think I am, but that's the impression DH gets) so I let it be.

I remind myself that DD is doing very well - socially, in school, with me, and with herself - and if they never have a relationship in the way I want, I have to remember it's actually still pretty okay.

My fantasy is to feel like a FAMILY...and I have a picture of what that looks like...but it hurts me more than either of them I think. DH is missing out on how great DD is, or taking part in her life!

But I have a great ex-H, no one is being MEAN to each other...I guess respect is received and given, but it feels sterile to me...there is friendliness if I look for it (and I have been since I posted this) and perhaps it's just going to take a lot longer than I had hoped to really gel. Or maybe we never will...

*sigh*

I suppose it's some grief of mine that I wish DH loved DD like his own. Wish he WAS hers in a way...Wish he felt about her the way I do.

Anyone else feel that?

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#5 of 6 Old 10-24-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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Hugs mama..

I couldn't not read and say something.

My situation is a bit opposite as yours. I've been in my step daughter's life since she was 2 (she'll be 7 in 2 months) and things were great until a bit ago when he mom told her that she didn'[t have to listen to anyone but her mom or dad (step dad and i were out.....he's having issues now bc he's having to take a parental role in her life where he hasn't for 4 years bc of her mom and his child together)....

Anyhoo....the grief I have is that DH treats our child (dd, 2.5) like a step child if that makes sense and his first gets 98% of his time when she is here (we get her 5 days, her mom gets her...weekends through wed am when it's our weekend) and OUR DD together gets pushed by the wayside. I wish he could show OUR child the same love, understanding, compassion, he shows for my step daughter.....

THIS is exactly how I feel...."My fantasy is to feel like a FAMILY...and I have a picture of what that looks like...but it hurts me more than either of them I think. DH is missing out on how great DD is, or taking part in her life!"

Family counseling is out for us right now bc her mom would have to agree to it and she has said no way jose....she doesn't have those issues with her dd at home but we know she does bc dsd says they do....

I hope you guys can find a happy medium....I'm searching for it too.....trying to be patient, but after a few years, it's wearing thin for me....I hope you ahve better luck rightnow
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#6 of 6 Old 10-26-2006, 06:08 PM
 
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I relate to some of those issues. It's as if my son doesn't really warm up to dh many times. Granted, he is gone a lot but I don't see the relationship as strong father-son relationship (bio dad is not present so there's no competition). I often "blame" dh for not completely stepping up to the plate. He ignores all arguments etc. I have with ds and never says a word (that's just one example)
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