My husband (35m) and I (30f) are married with two amazing sons, aged 4 and 2. He is an amazing husband and father, we are equally involved in child care and he is more the primary caregiver than I am, up until recently at least.
9 months ago our lives were totally turned upside down when his ex got in contact with him and told him that he had a 9 year old daughter. He was absolutely devastated to find out that he had a daughter he’d never known about, like it crushed him.
He and his ex had a very toxic relationship and a really rough breakup, and up until recently had told her daughter and her family and friends that my husband had abandoned her upon learning she was pregnant.
Being a father is the thing he values most and was something he’d always deeply wanted and there is no scenario where he would’ve done that and he’s livid. His daughter is also furious with her mom and for good reason.
Since then, we have gotten very involved in her life. At first it started with visits after the paternity test, phone calls, then her staying a few weekends, until my husband officially asked for custody and his ex basically gave us 50/50, it was finalized a month ago.
I think honestly she’d give us more if she could, I’m pretty sure she reached out to us because her mom passed away and dad had dementia and she needed someone to raise her daughter since from the sounds of it her parents were just doing it.
My stepdaughter is an incredibly sweet and lovely girl who is amazing with her little brothers but she is very emotional, very needy and struggling at school all of which is incredibly understandable and my husband is going above and beyond to try and take care of her in every possible way. They’ve gotten extremely close extremely fast.
I know that both of them are really struggling with that lost time and are both overcompensating and trying to make up for it, but it’s affected his parenting of our sons. He spends far more time on and with her, and I’ve had to pick up a ton of the slack in child care and the boys are starting to notice and ask about it.
When it’s our weeks, they spend a ton of time just the two of them going out and doing things, our eldest son cried last time because he felt excluded and my husband did feel bad and promised that we’d do more as a whole family. But even on the weeks where we don’t have her, he will drop everything to facetime her.
I’m trying to still be understanding but it’s been a lot and last night when he went to facetime her and asked me to do bedtime instead I told him he couldn’t just neglect our sons because he has a long lost daughter.
He blew up at me, telling me I wasn’t being fair and it’s not like it’s going to be like this for forever but right now he needs to show her he is there for her and I need to just cut him some slack.
He basically never gets angry, and has since apologized for yelling but not for what he said and has been pretty cold. I do feel pretty bad for telling him he was neglecting the boys since I know he feels a ton of guilt for not being there for her even though it’s not his fault, and I think that’s likely where the blow up came from. I just can’t decide if I’m being an asshole for being irritated at him. So AITAH?
I think this is a tough situation. The ex is definitely the AH in this situation. I do think it’s important for he and his daughter to get to know each other. He should FaceTime her when she’s at her mom’s. They should be doing activities together just the two of them.
That said, he shouldn’t be neglecting his sons or having them take the back seat. They also should get to know their sister. So there should be family time and family outings when she’s there.
And when she’s not he needs to give the sons special time too, together and/or separately. To make sure they know they aren’t getting replaced. It’s a rough situation that just requires patience, finesse, and lots of love.
He’s setting himself up to have a messed up relationship with all three kids. The boys will continue to feel abandoned and neglected for their sudden sister and grow resentful, and if he responds by trying to back up on the sister and refocus on the boys the girl will feel abandoned as she’s no longer getting the attention she’s been used to since dad became a part of her life- leading to resentment. Your husband is going to destroy all of his relationships. He should read this entire thread. NTA.
You (as a big family) need rules and a schedule. No just father and daughter trips, do something as a family together, so the kids can grow togehter. Set a time for father and daughter to face time and make it so that he has time for his sons. Sit down together and write it down. Give the time table to the daughter so she knows when he father has time for her. NTA.
NTA. Perhaps a helpful approach to take would be telling him ther boys are understandably hurt and feel rejected as they're too young to understand the situation, and if this continues it might cause a rift between the siblings. It also might feel his daughter feel more stable and included in the family dynamic if all three kids get equal treatment?
NTA. This is a rough one. He can not unring a bell and parent from a place of guilt. What I mean by that is that he can not “make up for lost time”. He can live in the present and love her where she is right now.
You can’t live in the present of you are mulling over the past. Life just doesn’t work that way. While I love that he is trying to bond with her it’s also important that she get blended into the family as a whole. He can’t do that if he’s separating her so far from her little brothers.
NTA, if the kids are the ones that noticed, it’s bad.