Girlfriend struggling with my Daughter
My girlfriend and I have had a rocky first year together. Including a court battle for access to my daughter from a previous relationship, a miscarriage (her 27th) and a very difficult pregnancy more recently. Which the doctors said we also shouldn't be hopeful about, thankfully they were wrong and we've got a very happy healthy little girl. We were also successful in court, gaining shared care 50% custody.
I've recently moved in with my girlfriend and we have full house she has 3 children, 20, 19, 15 and our newborn. The 15 year-old lives on the other side of the country with his dad. His room however remains as it was, and is where my 7 year old sleeps when she's with us.
My partner believes I care more about my 7 year old than our new born, which is not true, however this has lead to a continuous situation. Everytime my Daughter is with us my partner treats her differently and is very distant towards her. My 7 year-old doesn't feel comfortable spending time with the baby, even though she wants to, as she thinks it will upset my partner. My partner is regularly trying to end the relationship and kick us out when my 7 year old is with us. My ex partner but a tracker in my daughters coat to find out our address a few months ago. My girlfriend has resented my Daughter for this since, even though she knows it's not her fault.
My girlfriend knows it's not fair how she is towards my Daughter, but she claims she can't help how she feels and it'll only get worse. I finally have the family I've craved for after years of being a single dad and I'm fighting for it every day.
I don't know if there's any advice or support I can get with this situation, there's also much more to it than I've explained here. Honestly though as hard as it is seeing my daughter be so resilient, when she's already been through so much, and my partner struggle with all life's thrown at her, I know I just need to stay strong for them.
May be worth considering family counselling - if your partner knows she is being unfair, then hopefully there is also a willingness to try and fix it.
Take a look at this https://www.dad.info/counselling-with-spurgeons/
Sounds like you're caught in the crosshairs of past traumas, present challenges, and future hopes. Major props to you for trying to keep things solid for both your kiddos. Family dynamics can be messy, no doubt, and it's heart-wrenching that your 7-year-old is feeling the heat, especially with stuff that ain’t her fault. Maybe consider some family therapy sessions? It's a safe space to lay it all out and get guidance. Remember, there's no shame in seeking help, sometimes it takes an outside perspective to see the way forward.
Thanks for sharing your situation, I'm replying a little after this was first posted, but I have a couple of suggestions for you that you could try which maybe helpful for the relationship between your daughter and your girlfriend.
I think, where time and privacy allow, it would be very beneficial for you and your girlfriend to have a 1-1 chat about the whole situation. Your girlfriend as you rightly say, has been through a great deal of grief and trauma through all those miscarriages. This in itself would benefit from counselling and possibly seeing her GP about this. And of course, if you also feel that you need to talk with someone who is removed from the situation but who has experience in baby loss, and your other situation, then please get some help. It is not a sign of weakness or a sign that you can't cope, but a sign that you are trying your best to help your family, and help yourself.
With regards to your daughter, congratulations on gaining 50% access. This must be a great feeling for you, may I suggest that you perhaps work out a plan in advance of your daughters visits, with your girlfriend, about what you are going to do? By this I mean when you will spend some 1-1 time just with your 7 year old, then when you can all spend time together as a family of four (you both and the two girls) wherby you do something specific together that will deepen the relationship between your girlfriend and your 7 year old. I do think that your girlfriend needs to try and understand that the time you have with your 7 year old is important and necessary, and that its ok and perfectly normal for you to have some quality 1-1 time with her. Dad and daughter time is important in developing a strong bond. Perhaps you could suggest to your girlfriend that she and your daughter spend some time together with baby, and your girlfriend gives her some specific job to do that will help her with baby? For example, getting her nappies, or to choose an outfit for her to wear, or spend some supervised time playing with her and an activity toy. I think it is great that your daughter is showing signs of empathy, as she is sad that she can't help with her baby sister, so I feel she needs to be encouraged to be involved in some way. This will hopefully make her feel wanted and part of you and your girlfriends family unit.
I understand that you are the person in the middle here - but - your daughter is a child and I feel that your girlfriend really needs to understand that. Our children don't ask to be part of a blended family, all they wish for is both parents to be happy and to love them and provide good boundaries and care within their individual situations.
The other aspect is that you and your girlfriend finally have been blessed with a baby after all the losses, and it's only natural that your girlfriend will feel very protective and want 100% focus and attention from you on your new baby together. I think that with some clear communication and compromise, you can both achieve what you wish for, for your family life. But your 7 year old is not capable of understanding all the ins and outs of why her Daddy's partner is feeling like she is, but through simple acts of time spent together, encouragement and praise, you will make her feel part of the family when she is with you.
I applaud you for wanting to build a stable family life for you all, and I really hope that you can work through this together. Please let us know how you are getting on, as it's a marathon and not a sprint with all things family !
Kind Regards, Parent Support Volunteer.