Lack of relationship with potential step-child

by Michelle
(Hereford, UK)

My fiance and I have been together for 3 years, engaged for most of that also. He has a 7 yr old daughter from a previous relationship, his ex-partner decided not to tell him she was coming off the pill to get pregnant and trap him into staying in their tumultuous relationship which was on it's last legs, so essentially he became trapped into becoming a father.

I commend him for not walking away from his daughter, he is a very good father and spends a lot of time with her. If I didn't think he was a good father then I wouldn't consider him an appropriate father to children I'd like to have myself.

We have argued, not much, about the fact that in the 3 years we've been together I've spent all of 4 hours, maximum, in her company. In that small amount of time, we had an whale of a time together, and all the way home she couldn't stop telling her dad that she liked me and couldn't wait to see me again. When she got home and her mother asked her how she liked spending time with me, she did what I feel all children would do in trying to protect her mother's feelings and display loyalty to her mother by saying she didn't like me.

I always ask about her, I get concerned if she is sick, when she was being bullied at her previous school my gut reaction was to get upset for her and want to do something to sort it out.
My fiance had a bad relationship with his own father, and his step-mother was the typical "evil witch" we hear about. My own parents have divorced and entered into loving relationships and my step-parents are wonderful.

I want to have a relationship with his daughter, because I find it difficult to believe that our relationship can progress without involving her and I want to be there for her should she ever need me. We have talked about marriage and children, but I feel if we were to do this without involving her, I would ultimately be seen as the 'baddy' in the relationship who took her daddy away. I also feel that our future and potential marriage/children will never happen if this is the case.

My fiance has asked her if she would like to spend time with me, but she always says no. Primarily because our home doesn't have all of her things, we don't have children as neighbours, we don't have Sky TV, etc...I can't help but think he is giving a 7 yr old too much choice, how does he expect her to accept me as his partner/future wife, if she never sees me? And, at 7, is she really capable of making such a decision? I mean, if she told me at 13/14/15 yrs old that she didn't wish to see me or spend time with me, I'd take that at face value and appreciate her honesty, even if it did hurt. But at 7, children shouldn't be given free reign to decide what they do/don't want to do, should they?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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