balloffire : I just wanted to pop in as someone who is coming up on her first year living with a single dad who shares custody 50/50 (week on/week off). While I agree with others that it’s important you don’t run and hide, I can understand why you would. I was very cautious to not interrupt SO’s relationship with his DS (he’s almost 7, as well), however once I moved in (and I moved in WAY before you did) I made sure to insert myself into EVERYTHING. To the point where Bridesmaid or Best Man made a comment (totally different situation than you are in though, there’s some major drama between SO and Bridesmaid or Best Man.) But – I’m happy to report that after a year, it does get easier.
What I don’t agree with is others saying that you should not move in. You are both adults in an adult relationship, he and his ex had an amicable split 4 years ago, and DD’s reaction towards both her mother and father moving on is consistent I don’t think you are moving too fast, and while I appreciate being sensitive to Dear Daughter feelings, a 7 year olds temporary feelings should not deter your relationship from moving forward and living together if this is what you both want. DD’s feelings of jealousy are normal for her situation. However, I am not a fan of coddling these types of feelings. They should be discussed together as a family. I agree with others that counseling for Dear Daughter would be a great idea. But as long as you both are committed to making this work, I don’t see any reason to hold off on moving in. These are normal bumps in the road. (I’ve had 3 step fathers, so take it from someone who’s been a stepmama, but also been the stepdaughter.) While my SO’s DS took to me pretty quickly, there were times where he would make comments that SO only snuggled with me, and never snuggled with him. But, I didn’t disappear, instead I made sure that if we went anywhere, or whenever we sat on the couch, when he approached I would always ask him if he would like to sit next to his dad, and made some room. Sometimes he would want to, and sometimes he would prefer to sit next to me. Now we very regularly snuggle as a family and everyone feels loved.
Additionally, as DS has a very active mother in his life (who is now married and has another child, as well) I never balked at him speaking about his mother or his home life with her. I always encouraged him when he spoke about the fun things he did with her; and when it was her birthday, or mother’s day, or anything like that, I encouraged him to make her a card or something to show that she was still respected and honored as his mother. I also have attended events without SO and it has been important to me for DS to see his mother and I interact in a friendly manner. We are all on the same team. Lucky for you, it sounds like DD’s mother and you get along wonderfully, and I think the more the kids can see all partners getting along together, it helps to level the playing field. If mom approves of you, perhaps Dear Daughter will come around, and vice versa about if dad approves of her partner.
Lastly, I just wanted to throw this out there since you said you were going to give counseling a go – have you considered that your negative feelings aren’t necessarily negative feelings towards your SO putting you #2, but might actually be that Dear Daughter puts you as #2? SO’s DS took to me very quickly, but I cannot imagine how I would have felt if he had not. I can imagine that it can feel very isolating, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of your hurt isn’t actually from feeling rejected by Dear Daughter, and in turn it making you more needy for love from your SO. Just a thought from an outsider looking in.
Anywho, there was another bee here who gave the sentiment that no matter what, you will have feelings that she is not yours, and days you wished it was just you and SO. I love SO’s DS, but there are days where I go through the motion out of obligation and responsibility first, vs. out of love first. And you know what, that’s totally normal, and totally okay. Stepmama burnout is a real thing. I’m so glad to hear that you were able to talk to your SO and he sounds very understanding. Everyone says that you need to put the kid first, and in a lot of aspects you do, but really you need to put your relationship first. You two need to be a team, and you need to be able to say when you need a break or when you need some time with him alone. It’s a balancing act for all, and it can be done, but I’d be lying if I said that there aren’t days that the scales tip one way or the other.
I wish you all the best of luck, I think you’re doing great, and I think you’re not feeling something most stepmamas haven’t felt at one time – whether they care to admit it or not. And I trully believe that once Dear Daughter starts accepting you as part of the family, that feeling of being #2 is going to dissolve into a more manageable feeling. But as you said, you were CFBC prior to this relationship, so this is a huge life change for you, and until that change settles, you are going to need some reassurance and hand holding from your SO. Feel free to PM me if you ever need to. You’re not alone.