I feel like an awful person writing this, but I need to vent and hopefully shift my outlook….I have been dating a guy for 9 months, it is quite serious but he has had custody issues so we haven’t seen much of his daughter. Things have improved for him though and he is starting to see her more regularly, and since we live together, that means at my house. I am usually great with others peoples kids (friends, neighbours etc) so this is very uncharacteristic of me but I find myself unable to connect or have really any positive feelings towards this child….it’s almost like she inhabits all of the irritating qualities of her dad, so I am somehow triggered by her or something like that….I am just not my usual loving and doting self, and that makes me very uncomfortable. She is only 5! We have very different parenting styles, and when my partner is around my children he seems to adapt our style of interaction, but then of course when he is around his daughter he is how he usually is with her.
I don’t know how to shift out of this and I know this is my issue, the 5yr is not at fault here and does not deserve in any way to have me feel this way about her. It is such an uncomfortable feeling for me. My ex-husband has a daughter from a previous relationship and when I used to be in her life (we stopped seeing her because of issues between my ex and her mother) but her and I were super buddy buddy….same age (5yrs) but it was over 10yrs ago and I didn’t have children of my own then.
Has anyone experienced this?? Do I just give it time….? Or is it a red flag?? I divorced an abusive narcissist and then way too soon entered into a new relationship but it just sort of happened, but I am in no way healed from my past relationship and struggle with triggers and things like trusting my new partner and trusting my gut instinct….I am a bit all over the place! :/
If you are usually good with children it could be a red flag. Esp. since you mention your partner having irritating traits which trigger you. I’d sit with it for a bit and see what happens. Try and work out where the problems lies and if its call for action.
How much time do you spend with her? If she is going to become a big part of your life then you need to think seriously about how to handle this. Alternatively, if she only spends say a few hours a week at your house you could make yourself scarce and leave the parenting to dad?
Are you speaking to anyone about this? Say a counsellor or psychologist? It sounds like you have really good awareness of yourself and your feelings (although you probably feel like you don’t). It just may help in the interim and regardless of whether over time you decide the whole relationship isn’t for you. Don’t be hard on yourself as some of these thoughts are common when dynamics change. I personally experienced different feelings towards my partners kids when I had my own but I learnt this was normal. Having said that I have since left that relationship for other reasons. There are probably many different reasons why you feel the way you do but unpacking it slowly will help you be free of it and move forward with how you feel
Try and keep your distance from her. Sometimes kids can be annoying or grating,but this is her time to spend with dad. So if you stay away, it’ll help you deal with the situation better and she gets her dad. It’s great that you have recognised your feelings.