Relatively new step dad with a dilemma
Hi, I’m new here and look forward to being a part of this great community.
My story of becoming a step dad started over 2 years ago when I met my partner. I haven’t got any biological children of my own yet, but it is something we’ve been speaking about of late. Her daughter is now 8 and over time, we’ve naturally built a very close bond, which I feel very proud of. Not so long ago, she even asked me if she could call me ‘Dad’, which I was honoured about and accepted without hesitation!
Her biological father is in her life, albeit she hasn’t seen him since she was 1 and only keeps in touch via occasional phone calls and video due to him living abroad and not having much interest in her life. He doesn’t contribute anything financially and from what I know, has caused significant amount of hurt and trouble when their daughter was born, which continues to have an effect on my partner to this date. He even threatened to take their daughter away from my partner on numerous occasions when they got into disagreement. Regardless of all the above and what everyone else around has advised her to do at the time, my partner decided to facilitate the relationship of father and daughter in whatever capacity he wished.
I’ve been made aware of their relationship very early on and have supported it ever since. I’ve grown accustomed to their occasional phone calls and the same set of questions being asked to her every time they speak. I’ve also been there for her every time he promised and subsequently let her down about coming over to visit, until recently, which is where my dilemma starts…
After numerous broken promises, he has finally committed to coming and meeting his daughter in person. He applied for a visa, which due to unsurprising reasons, has been rejected. He has since insisted on my partner and step daughter coming to his home country to visit him and his family for the first time. My partner has agreed to it and told me about everything after the decision was made.
I guess this is where my dilemma lies. Is it justifiable to feel frustrated, left out and almost like a second class citizen in this situation? My partner always talks about us as a family and even growing it of late, so shouldn’t I also be involved in these sort of decisions? She always told me that for us to have a future, I need to treat her daughter like my own, which came naturally to me. Ever since I found out about the decision, I’ve been fighting an internal battle - on one hand I want to be a support to both my partner and step daughter as I know how anxious they’re both feeling about the trip, but at the same time, I can’t help feeling frustrated and left out of the whole situation. This leads me to becoming more distant day by day, which is further fuelled by the fact my partner told me that her daughter’s biological father doesn’t know what sort of relationship I have with her or even of the fact I exist…
Apologies about long first post but I didn’t want to jump straight into my dilemma without giving a bit of context.
Welcome any of your thoughts or advice, thanks!
I expect your feelings are very normal and I can understand why you are feeling left out. Is there any way you can travel out as well? Have you told your partner how you feel? Maybe you all need to have a frank discussion about it especially as they are feeling anxious about it too. I'm not a counsellor but am aware that being open about feelings is essential in a relationship. It sounds as though you have a great relationship with your step-daughter and all credit to you for that.
Its always hard to be left aside as a step-parent. Others will have felt this at events such as parent-teacher meetings, university visits, weddings to name a few.
Sorry, I've only just seen this. I would say that you should be considering family counselling otherwise these feelings are going to eat away at the relationship. I am also concerned about the idea of travelling to see her ex an his family if his visa has been rejected. Obviously, I don't know the reasons behind this, but it certainly does ring alarm bells.