Am i being fair to my girlfriends daughter and my own daughter? Torn...
So to make a long story short (lol i wish), My girlfriend and I have made a blended family. I have two young girls from a previous marriage (2 and 4), and she has a 5 year old daughter. So thats 3 young girls running around, pretty crazy, but a lot of fun and we have a very loving household that integrates everyone.
I have my children every wednesday night through friday, then every other weekend (which includes friday through monday morning) as part of my 50/50 split custody arrangements from the divorce.
My girlfriend has her daughter full time, except for the few days a month her dad visits. Unfortunately her daughters dad is not REALLY active in her life. He is present, she knows he is her real father, but he sees her like 1 or 2 days every other weekend. Very inconsistent though and calls off visits often or only shows for half of the alloted time.
From day 1 we have done our best to make all the girls feel equal in terms of time spent together, discipline, etc etc. I think we have a lot in common in our parenting methods, although i do believe i am much stricter with my girls than she is with hers. We dont really discipline eachothers children unless its an emergency (the other parent is not present or its something that would cause harm if ignored, etc). We are always taking the girls out and doing fun stuff, im involved in everything her daughter does just as i am my own. I give her daughter baths at the same time i do mine, i fold her laundry, i help pick her up from her grandparents or take her where she needs to go, etc. If my girlfriend is working and im not, i will take care of her daughter for the day, this happens periodically. I like the way things work like that.
However we do have one major issue... and thats in regards to her daughters outlook on "dads" and my own relationship with my girls. Ive noticed if my girls are over and are always running up to me and saying "daddy!" and giving hugs, etc etc... my girlfriends daughter will start calling me daddy too, as if not to be left out. While i understand this mentality, it then causes my oldest child to get upset. She will say "no hes not your daddy he is my daddy", and then its all downhill from there. Im always very strict towards my girls in regards to sharing stuff but im not some object or toy so its not this simple. The one other catch is that her daughter and my oldest daughter have the exact same name. I know thats kinda weird but we thought it was cute and actually how we met (the name isnt super popular). My concern is that i have ALWAYS had a super close and bonded relationship with my girls and now they are only seeing me half the time, and to top it off there is now another young girl with the same name calling me daddy in front of her and its upsetting.
My ex wife has mentioned that my daughter complains of this once in a while at her house (unverified), and she has been acting out in school a few times. Not sure this is the cause but im considering it. When i approached my girlfriend with my concern, she told me she will not tell her daughter she cant call me dad as its not fair for her considering she already is missing her bio dad and has issues due to that. She told me "imagine how that would make her feel to feel rejected on both sides". I totally understand where she is coming from and i feel for her daughter, i truly do. However now my primal instincts to protect my own children are kicking in and i hate seeing my daughter upset when hers calls me dad. My other fear is that she is only doing this to not feel left out which is the wrong reason to call someone dad in my opinion.
I guess the truth is that deep down i would prefer her child calls me by my first name, because even though we are together and are living as a family, im not legally or through blood her father and you just never know how things will work out. When her mother and i get married (we are MADLY in love and absolutely plan on making that next step within the next year, its just on me to save for the ring haha) i would gladly approach the topic again and change my stance depending on how things were doing.
So what do you think? Am i wrong and being a mean horrible person by not letting her call me dad? Is my girlfriend wrong in expecting me to instantly step into a role of that nature?
I realize this makes me sound unprepared and the truth is maybe we did let love get the best of us. But ill be damned if im not going to try my best to do whats right for these girls and provide a loving home for them all, because when things are good they are REALLY good. and even when times are hard and stressful, we still have lots of love for eachother
I just want some input on this whole situation