In a post to the Am I Being Unreasonable? forum on November 14, user Sig84 said she was “deeply hurt” by her fiancé’s decision to take his daughter to the Polar Express experience, without asking her to come along.
“He didn’t include me as it was too expensive,” she wrote.
“I’m a very active part of her life and this has hurt me deeply, am I wrong???”
Mumsnet users were split on the situation. In the poll attached to the post, 52 percent said Sig84 was being “unreasonable,” while 48 percent believed her fiancé was in the wrong.
When Should I Introduce My New Partner to My Child?
According to the United Census Bureau, 2,396,311 people reported living with a stepchild in 2019. The Stepfamily Foundation estimates that 1,300 new stepfamilies are formed daily in the US, and that more than half of American families are created by parents remarrying or recoupling.
Introducing a new partner to your child can be challenging, with parenting consultant Roma Norris warning parents to put their children’s wellbeing first.
“New partners need to be introduced sensitively, with the focus on the child’s feelings and needs,” she told Newsweek.
It makes sense to wait until you are sure this is someone who is going to be in your life long term.
“At times, stepparents can bring up feelings for a child around the loss of the family unit and parents should make space for that, because it provides an opportunity for a child to offload some of the hurt feelings they may carry.”
Ensuring that new partners are clear on the role they can expect to play in a child’s life is also crucial.
“In this situation, it’s clear the woman is upset by not being included and I would certainly recommend voicing that hurt to her partner,” Norris said.
It is always going to be important for children to get quality time with their parent, sometimes without their stepparent present, because children rely on this attachment relationship for their emotional well-being.
“This is something that needs to be respected and upheld generously.”
‘I’m Still Not Considered Part of Their Little Family’
In the comments, Sig84 explained that she spends a lot of time with her soon-to-be stepdaughter. She has been with her fiancé for four years and has been known as the little girl since she was two.
“I do school runs, look after her when he’s busy, plan stuff for us all to do etc,” she wrote.
Her fiancé booked two tickets for him and his daughter to ride the Polar Express, an immersive Christmas experience aimed at families. Based on the book of the same name, the Polar Express train stops in 11 locations across the UK in the run-up to Christmas.
Passengers are served cookies and hot chocolate, while singing along to the soundtrack of the 2004 film. Santa also makes an appearance, with children getting a Christmas gift as part of the package.
Standard tickets start at £27.50 (around $33), whereas premium tickets start at £41.95.
But despite referring to Sig84’s as his daughter’s “stepmother,” she wasn’t invited on the journey, leaving her “devastated.”
“Like all the effort I make means nothing and I’m still not considered part of their little family,” she said.
Some Mumsnet users felt Sig84 was overreacting, with KitchiHuritAgeni commenting: “With all due respect this is really dramatic.”
Ladydimitrescu agreed, writing: “Please don’t spoil it for them by making a thing out of it.”
PickAgain said: “I understand you would like to go on the outing and be a family unit but it is also okay for a parent to just take their child out.”
Monsteronahill commented: “As a step child, I would have cherished my dad taking time to spend one on one time with me, especially something so special.”
However, user Daleksatemyshed said: “I understand where you’re coming from. You’ve done the day to day stuff as if you were her stepmother, but when it comes to the big day out suddenly you don’t get included.”
Sittingonabench wrote: “I’m so sorry, I have experienced similar and was also very upset.”
While YourBestie commented: “I initially posted [you are being unreasonable]but I have changed my mind since reading your update about your active role in your SDs life.
“Let him know you’re hurt and see what he says.”
If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via email@example.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.