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How do I get my daughter to give my new fiancee a chance?

To make a long story short. I have been divorced for a year and a half now. Before the divorce I was separated for 2 years from my husband. My husband does not work. I was always the breadwinner in the family. We have joint custody of my 11 year old daughter, but she spends most of the time at her father's house, since he does not work. It saves on day care. Anyway, I have recently met a man and we are now engaged. My daughter loved him when she thought he was just my "friend." They got along very well...playing video games, going shopping and to concerts, etc. etc. Now that my husband told her that he is now my fiancee, she refuses to see me when he is around....which is almost always. She keeps making excuses not to sleep over my house...saying she has dates with friends, etc. etc. Any advice?

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Asked by Vivvy at 11:22 AM on Mar. 4, 2009 in General Parenting

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Answers (13)
  • thats a hrd one cause its hard for a lil girl to think that somebody else is gonna take her dady's place .it sounds like its time for that chat with her that he will not replace her dad and her dad will always be her dad .also you might want your new guy to start spending more time doing things with her so she can see that he likes her and cares about her .and maybe have the new guy tell her that he is not trying to take the place of her dad .i was in that place when i was lil and it took me a long time to except the fact that i would have another guy in my house .goodluck and i hope it ll works out for y ou

    Answer by britme1027 at 11:26 AM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • hmmm...I have a similar situation in that DD is jealous of my fiance because it was always just she and I before he came into the picture. Maybe that is how your daughter is feeling. Like she will be left behind once you get remarried. I am sure the divorce was not easy on her and she probably still has residual pain, and even resentment, from that. Maybe she even blames you and your ex and thinks neither should get married again. The only thing to do is talk openly with her. Someone once suggested to me to have a school counselor (or someone else she really trusts) mediate the conversation, that way she may open up more with a third person there and you will learn her true feelings.

    Good luck!

    Answer by MammaMia72 at 11:26 AM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • She most likely sees the new guy as an attempt to replace her daddy, and she wants no part of that. Quite likely, she has held out hope that you and her dad would get things worked out and she would get to live with both of you. The new guy puts an end to that dream in her mind. In her child-like mind, she may even think that you might come to see how the new guy is coming between you and her and that you might even decide to choose her over him. If her dad is a good parent, the best thing you could probably do for her is to let her stay with him and not press the issue. She is at an age when children are extremely loyal, and I would not want to force her to have to tamper with the loyalty she feels toward her dad. It's not a position I would want to be in as an adult. I can only imagine what it's like for an eleven-year old.

    Answer by NannyB. at 11:31 AM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • Do you refer to her father as your "husband" to her, as well as to us? If so, perhaps you're giving her a mixed message that's confusing for her.

    Answer by Avarah at 11:31 AM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • First off you're giving your daughter more power than she should have at her age. You are the parent and adult, you decide when she'll be at your house and what guests you choose to have there. She does not get to call the shots.
    It's normal for her to be wary of another man in her life (think abandonment issues). But act casual, never push it, and she'll get used to him being around as a permanent person, not someone that she gets to choose.

    Answer by EireLass at 11:34 AM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • I never like EireLass's answers. She is too gruff about things. Your daughter is a CHILD and needs to have the freedom to express her feelings. Shutting her out with "I'm the boss" will only alienate her further and cause possible mental anguish that she will carry into her adulthood.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:47 AM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • ANONMOUS: I never like EireLass's answers. She is too gruff about things. Your daughter is a CHILD and needs to have the freedom to express her feelings. Shutting her out with "I'm the boss" will only alienate her further and cause possible mental anguish that she will carry into her adulthood.

    So is the best thing to do to continue your love relationship with this man, and never have your child at your home again....for the next 40 years? Then the child would grow up thinking Mom chose him over me. This is a control issue....yes she is a child....but already aware of control - as is evident by this post. She needs to learn that although she can control who she chooses for her friends, she can't control who others choose for theirs. This of course assumes that this man is a very loving and giving man towards her and ready to enter as a step-parent relationship.

    Answer by EireLass at 11:57 AM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • My new fiancee is a loving and caring guy. He wants more than anything for her to like him. Actually before she found out we were engaged, she loved him to death. I just don't know how to deal with the fact that she doesn't want to be around him anymore, which pretty much means that I don't get to see her either. She is avoiding the situation and I can't force her. I fear that she won't give herself the chance to know him better. Also her father is probably loving this at the moment and might be giving her negative feedback as well. My ex-husband and I do not get along, which does not help the situation and my daughter is definitely a daddy's girl. He can do no wrong. Not sure how she would react once my ex starts dating though.

    Answer by Vivvy at 12:04 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • I don't have advice for how to fix the problem entirely, but there is one area that concerns me.

    If you have joint custody, she should be spending roughly half her time with you, right? That's not taking into account day care hours. There is probably also an arrangement regarding who has what days.

    I would take away the choice to be at your house vs. her father's when it is your turn. You can give her the option of enjoying a fun family evening with you and DF or the option of being in her room quietly so that she still has choices... but she shouldn't be in control like it seems she is now.

    Also, going along with the fun family activities... I'd pick things you know she likes doing/watching.

    Answer by tyheamma at 12:08 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

  • Eirelass, even though you and I don't normally see eye-to-eye on step-issues, this is one time I absolutely agree with you.

    (and I've got the balls to tell you while using my already anonymous screenname to your anonymous screenname when I don't agree with you, without having to post anonymously.)

    Answer by Avarah at 12:35 PM on Mar. 4, 2009

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