miranda82's picture

What kind of relationship should my fiance now have with his former stepdaughter from previous marriage?

My Fiance was married for 10 years to his ex wife. When they married she had a daughter from her first marriage, not long after they were married they had a biological daughter together. Anyway, there are 2 girls (a daughter and stepdaughter from his previous marriage that are involved).

He never legally adopted the stepdaughter and has no legal rights/custody of her. Does not pay child support or anything of that nature.

He knew the stepdaughter since she was about 3 and has raised/taken care of her ever since like his own. Her own, biological father never paid child support and rarely saw her and/or had anything to do with her in the 10 years my fiance was married to his ex wife.

Even after the divorce 2 years ago, when he would get custody of his biological daughter, he would have BOTH of them. The stepdaughter has been to our home every single time along with her sister, we have shared holidays with her, spent just as much money on her, given her as many gifts, etc as the biological daughter. Treated her exactly the same. She is ALWAYS included in everything. She recently turned 18.

However, the last few times she has been to our home, she has reminded my fiance over and over again about how he is NOT her Dad, has no rights to her and must ask her mother's permission before he does anything with her. (i.e take her to get her hair cut etc)

She also has become cold, she won't call him Dad like she used to. Won't hug him anymore or anything. She acts like she's only visiting because she has to, just because her sister is. She loves when we give her gifts and celebrate her birthday and holidays, but it has become apparent that perhaps she just likes the benefits of gifts.

In conversations, she also has told us that if we have a child together (my fiance and I) that it won't be her sibling and she won't have anything to do with him/her.

My fiances biological daughter has expressed resentment towards the fact that her sister always comes along and she doesn't get anytime alone with HER Dad. She also seems upset that when we send care packages, we send her sister just as much as we do her.

When the stepdaughters dad does see her, he never takes her sister, like we do. Never buys her anything or has anything to do with her. To a 13 year old, naturally this seems confusing and unfair.

The ex wife has also been extremely bitter in the divorce. There has been strong evidence that she has been brainwashing and turning the biological daughter against her Dad (my fiance) and myself. She won't answer her phone when he calls and tries to keep both the girls away from him as much as possible.

As far as the stepdaughter goes, we will have our own child together eventually, this raises several questions about whether he should continue his relationship with his now legal adult stepdaughter who has increasingly distanced herself yet, continues to manipulate both him and me for gifts, etc. We feel as if this is something that could make our own child very confused and even strain his relationship with her sister, his biological daughter.

The ex wife doesn't think I have any rights or should even see this daughter...and revokes any legal responsibilities from my fiance, YET insists she comes on every visit and behaves as though it's my fiances responsibility and duty to continue to support her and buy her things.

I am beginning to find this very obnoxious and increasingly disturbing...what do we do or think?

miranda82's picture

Also, to add to this dilemna. The stepdaughter has cerebral palsy. She very intelligent and smart, graduating at the top of her class. So though she is physically handicapped, mentally she is very aware of right from wrong.

The ex wife, does not send her a wheelchair or a walker 99% of the time and she can not walk by herself. Most of the time, the girls are picked up by my fiances sister, who drives to TN to get them and brings them back to KY where we currently live.

So, when we do have her, it is nearly impossible to do anything or go anywhere with her. She crawls around the house (this deeply saddens and disturbs us because she is a beautiful 18 year old young woman).

This is where most of the resentment comes from as well from his own daughter, because her sister keeps her from ever being able to do anything (like go to a thempark etc)

Also, because of the CP she needs help bathing, going to the bathroom, etc. Her mother does not take good care of her, I have to end up helping her shave her arms and legs when she's here. We do SO MUCH for her and sometimes it is such a strain without the proper equipment needed.

Yet, she has developed such an attitude and her Mother still continues to behave as though we should really have nothing to do with her, but somehow still expects us to care for her......

This is very straining and it's to the point where we're both ready to accept the fact that maybe we should cut the string and just care for and get custody visits of the biological daughter.

Is this wrong or selfish?

mayamay's picture

Rent a walker/wheelchair.

miranda82's picture

Renting a walker/wheelchair if the slightest of our problems concerning the issue's with this girl...

The question was not what to do about her being unable to walk, but whether or not it's appropiate for my fiance to continue a relationship with her, considering she's technically the "ex stepdaughter" whom he has no legal custody of and she and her mother have made it very clear that she's not his daughter and yet, he's still caring for her like his own with increasing opposition.....

Give some thoughtful advice please.....

mayamay's picture

For 15 years, he has been her dad. She knows he has no obligation. She is testing him. I hope he rises to the occasion. I hope you do, too.

SnglDad's picture

Agree, dad needs to understand that this child, though she may tell him otherwise, needs him. The resentment and disrespect she shows is nothing more than her being an audience to her mothers bitterness and resentment. This is not the childs fault, she is merely repeating what she has heard. At such times dad should talk to her and remind her that he loves her and that no matter what she hears, to him she will always be his daughter. The games the mother is playing are sickening. To undermine the feeling of family and security for her own selfish wants, and for nothing more than to get back at the father through the child.
You brought up the wheelchair issues because it must be an issue. You say that the daughter has to crawl around the house which deeply saddens the both of you. You also stated that this is where the most resentment comes from because they are not able to do much without the wheelchair. When a solution is given, you simply brush it off and say that it’s the least of the problems. It makes me wonder of you are done with her and are looking for advice to support your views. Divorce papers only dissolve a marriage; they do not dissolve the love this man has for this young lady who has regarded him as her father.
No, the answer is not to give up on her. What parent gives up on their child? Get her a wheelchair so she can have mobility and feel like part of the family. If her crawling around the house deeply saddens you, how do you think it makes her feel? What anxiety must she feel to know that every time she visits she will have to crawl, or ask for help from someone? I wonder if her attitude would change if when she arrived she was greeted at the car with a wheelchair? Seems quite simple to us, but may mean the world to her.

Lizard's picture

I sounds like you and your fiance have done a wonderful job in continuing to make this young lady feel a part of the family.
Developmentally, emotionally,and physically she has some things she has to work out for herself. Time will let her know that she IS his daughter too. I agree with the others, you will have to develop patience and ride it out. She will come around.
As for the ex. That is a different story, she may never come around, but the girls will grow to learn that their father has been a CONSISTENT part of their lives and regardless of what has happened between their dad and thier mother; Dad will always continue to love them both unconditionally.

miranda82's picture

Okay, I need to clear one issue up.

The walker/wheelchair.

This girl has had CP her whole life, a child usually starts walking around the age of 1 to 1.5...her Mother has allowed her to crawl her whole life and infact, actually encourages it. So, this is something that the daughter actually prefers and so does the Mother,(even at home WHEN SHE DOES have the walker or wheelchair she crawls) my Fiance and I are against it. We do not like it nor do we deem it appropiate for her age, especially at 18.

With that said, the very first time the girls came to visit us after we had been engaged and started living together, she brought her walker with her. That one and only time.

We suggested she use it and highly encouraged that as her way of getting around. Her Dad especially, really made sure she used it.

After she got home that weekend, he recieved several hateful phone calls from her Mother. She was very upset and charged us both of being "mean", "cruel" and "pushy" on the daughter for making her use her walker.

Mind you, this is from a woman and a situation where, this poor girl has no muscle left in her legs whatsoever because her mother prematurely pulled her from physical therapy as a young child and won't take her back, she has not had the surgery she needs either.

Crawling has been her way of life and her mother has even told her before "you want people to feel sorry for you!"

This is a very complicated and multi-faceted issue...like I said and I will say it again, however, this one issue is the least of the issues compared to others.

The overall health, hygiene and safety of the child are issues along with brainwashing, etc.

These things have been reported to CPS, but never investigated. We don't know what to do. There are no legal rights held to her by either of us.

miranda82's picture

She does NOT have anxiety over crawling or feel out of place, that's just it! She enjoys it and likes it and prefers it. She has done it her whole life....and throws a fit about using any other way of getting around because her Mother has made her think it's okay.

When we do go out, my Fiance drops us off at the front door, I hold all her weight and walk her to the inside where I put her on a motorized cart.

As far as the resentment goes...that is NOT from us, it's from her sister, the biological daughter.

AND isn't even really from visiting with us, it's in general, being at home with her everyday and living with it...

See, their Mother won't allow them to go anywhere. The girls are hermits at home....everytime she goes shopping or to the store, she goes alone and leaves them home.

Why? Because she's too lazy to deal with her daughter's CP and the fact that she needs help getting around. My Fiances daughter has even told me, "Mom said *name* was too slow and can't get around, so it's better she stays at home."

Therefore, I think the daughter is simply just looking for a small break from home where she come and visit us and just have fun and do whatever she wants without worrying about her sister...it's the only time she ever gets the chance to be a kid.

mayamay's picture

changed my mind.

2xstepmom's picture

When one makes the decision to have a relationship and make a family with another person, one takes on that person's entire family, no matter how obnoxious or bothersome that might be. If this is disturbing to you, you should rethink your decision to continue in this relationship.