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Step-Parenting Ask other step-parents your questions about being a step mom.

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Old 06-10-2002, 09:50 AM
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Question Any suggestions, ideas, etc.

Hello! I'm new to this forum.

I am a newleywed. I have a situation w/my dh and his daughter. She visits once a week and 2 weekends [friday - sunday] out of the month.

Between her father and her there is a very strong bond .. to the point of obcession. I saw it during our dating phase and I thought it would somewhat change after we were married. But since our marriage, it has been the topic of discussions between my husband and I.

I do not dislike her. I don't know her true feelings towards me. I must take her father's word when he says that she likes me ... Yet, she hasn't made any effort in befriending me. I do start conversations with her. But it all depends on her mood that day. So, I have not pushed the situation.

My husband and I have had our discussions due to the fact that whenever she is over, I feel as if I am somewhat ignored by my husband and overall, by them. Whenever she is over, the world evolves around her. She is 14 years old. She doesn't have a "social" life. Her life is her father .. She has said that her father is "her best friend" . Which, is okay .. but not to the obcessive point. She follows him like a puppy. She knows what buttons to push and of course is very manipulative. This goes with her paternal grandmother also. We live with his mom.

My husband on the other hand, walks on egg shells whenever she is around. I do understand that he only sees her "x" amount during the month. In our last huge discussion, he specifically stated that the time she is over, is time for her. What she wants, etc., goes .. and if they want to go to the movies, etc., I'll need to understand.

I asked him about summer vacation .. when she'll be spending more time with us. What will happen then?? He says that situation will be different. Since she will be more time with us, it will be more of a family thing.

I've always imagined that we'd be a "family" unit from the beginning .. but I guess I was totally wrong . He tells me that I knew this from the beginning .. that she will be spending time with us, etc. But like I told him, I didn't think I'd be excluded from some of the activities.

So, after this brief background explanation .. my question is as follows .. Has any other "step mom" encountered this attitude with dh. If so, how have you handed it. I have decided that whenever she is over the "weekends", I will do my stuff .. go shopping, etc., in other words keep myself busy.
Or simply stay at home, but doing my stuff and giving them their time ..

I want this marriage to work. He says that he asks that I have tolerance and understanding ... So I am trying my best. I don't want him to think I'm busting his chops.

Any or all inputs, suggestions, etc., is much appreciated.

Last edited by HOMEWriter; 06-10-2002 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 06-10-2002, 07:25 PM
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In my case ...

My dh and I dated for 5 yrs before getting married. His daughter was a few months old when we met, and we saw her once a month, on average. We only had her for about 24 hours or less each time. Since she was so young, we both doted on her the whole time she was with him. Even after we got married, we would bend over backwards for her whenever she was with us. Then one day, shortly after we were married, dh was talking to his ex-girlfriend (daughter's mom). She was chewing him out because he doesn't discipline his daughter ... that we were making her new husband out to be the bad guy. She then related an incident where the daughter was reprimanded by her step-dad and she looked at him and said "I don't have to listen to you ... you're not my real dad. Real dads buy you stuff!"

Well, that's when we realized that we needed to start doing "normal" things instead of special things all the time with her. We stopped eating out and ate at home. We spent time in front of the TV instead of at the movies. We played games as a family and went to the park - as a family. We also made sure we got an extra visitation day each month! This was very important since we soon started having children of our own and wanted his daughter to be 'part of the family' when she was with us.

This also helped my dh to see that she loved him no matter what. Not because he did fun things with her, but because she was "home" when she was with us, just like she was "home" when she was with her mom.

I don't know if your dh has thought of that, but if he wants to be a family, he must include you as well. Why can't you go to the movies with them? Your dh is married to YOU. His daughter will eventually grow up and have her own family. He's stuck with you. He needs to be showing his daughter how a man should treat a woman. She will look to him to see how a husband treats his wife. If he's ignoring you while she's there, she'll probably grow up and get involved with men who put other things/people before their relationship with her, and she'll be miserable and not know why.

But, I'm not an expert. I have been on both sides of the coin, though. My parents were divorced, and I spent time with just my dad. We were very close before he got remarried. Then, suddenly I was left out of his life (long story.) Be careful that you don't go from one extreme to the other. Just treat his daughter as if she was there all the time.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

Kelly H.
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Old 06-11-2002, 06:18 AM
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Kelly H,

THANKS FOR YOUR PROMPT RESPONSE AND TIME.

This also helped my dh to see that she loved him no matter what. Not because he did fun things with her, but because she was "home" when she was with us, just like she was "home" when she was with her mom. >IN OUR CASE, THE SD LIVES W/HER BIO MOM. SHE IS THE CUSTODIAL PARENT. YET, IT APPEARS AS IF AND I'VE HEARD [BUT NOT SEEN] THAT THEIR INTERACTION ISN'T TOO GOOD. ACCORDING TO MY SD [WHO TELLS HER DAD & GRANDMA] THAT BESIDES DOING HER HOMEWORK, SHE HAS TO ALSO DO HOUSEWORK. WHICH THIS TAKES HER INTO MIDNIGHT. IN TURN SHE FALLS ASLEEP TO WAKE UP IN A FEW HOURS TO FINISH HOMEWORK AND THEN GET DRESSED FOR SCHOOL BUS TO PICK HER UP.

THE MOTHER, ACCORDING TO HER IS BUDDY BUDDY W/THE OLDER DAUGHTER AND THE OLDER DAUGHTER AND MOTHER BULLY HER ..??

NOW, IS THIS A CONSTANT SITUATION, 365 DAYS?? I DON'T KNOW, I HAVEN'T EXPERIENCED IT. THIS IS WHAT SD TELLS HER DAD ..

AND GOD FORGIVE ME IF I'M TALKING OUT OF TERMS, BUT AT TIMES I THINK THIS IS A WAY TO MANIPULATE HER DAD .. FOR HER DAD & GRANDMA TO FEEL SORRY FOR HER, ETC.

SO, WHENEVER SHE IS OVER, BESIDES THAT SHE IS W/DADDY .. SHE FEELS MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE, SINCE SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT DOING HOUSE CHORES, ETC. HER GRANDMOTHER DOESN'T PERMIT IT.

I don't know if your dh has thought of that, but if he wants to be a family, he must include you as well. Why can't you go to the movies with them? Your dh is married to YOU. His daughter will eventually grow up and have her own family. He's stuck with you. He needs to be showing his daughter how a man should treat a woman. She will look to him to see how a husband treats his wife. If he's ignoring you while she's there, she'll probably grow up and get involved with men who put other things/people before their relationship with her, and she'll be miserable and not know why. >WELL, I BELIEVE THAT HASN'T CROSSED HIS MIND. YET, THE DAUGHTER, AND I'M NO EXPERT EITHER .. BUT LET US CALL IT INTUITION .. COMMON SENSE .. SHE WILL DEFINITELY LOOK @ EVERY MAN AND COMPARE IT TO DAD .. AND WHAT WILL BE THE RESULT .. NO MAN WILL BE GOOD ENOUGH.

AS FOR TREATING A WOMAN .. HE TREATS HER W/KID GLOVES .. HENCE .. AGAIN .. NO MAN WILL COMPARE TO DAD ..

AS FOR INCLUDING ME, ACCORDING TO HIM, IT WILL HAPPEN ONCE SHE BEGINS STAYING OVER MORE [SUMMER] AND ONCE SHE REACHES 17 OR 18 .. OR EVEN BEFORE ... MAYBE I'LL BE LUCKY AND IT WILL BE ALSO ONCE IN AWHILE ..?


But, I'm not an expert. I have been on both sides of the coin, though. My parents were divorced, and I spent time with just my dad. We were very close before he got remarried. Then, suddenly I was left out of his life (long story.) Be careful that you don't go from one extreme to the other. Just treat his daughter as if she was there all the time. >THEY'VE BEEN DISCUSSIONS .. [OBVIOUSLY NOT W/ME] BETWEEN THEM IN REFERENCE TO HER GOING IN FRONT OF A JUDGE AND ASKING TO LIVE W/HER DAD .. INSTEAD OF HER MOM. I DON'T KNOW THE LEGALITIES OF THIS, BUT I WONDER IS IT THAT SIMPLE ?? IF SO, SO MANY KIDS WOULD BE LIVING WITH WHOMEVER THEY PLEASE ..???

I'VE COME ABOUT SOME LETTERS SHE HAS WRITTEN HIM. ALL SAY THE SAME THING .. SHE DOESN'T WANT TO LOOSE HIS LOVE, HER PLACE IN HIS LIFE .. THAT HE MUST GO ON W/HIS LIFE .. BUT SHE WANTS TO CONTINUE DOING THE STUFF THEY USED TO DO ..

NOW I WONDER, WHAT WHEN SHE TURNS 16? 17? 18? 19? 20??? WILL SHE ALWAYS BE AFTER DAD'S APPROVAL .. YEARNING FOR HIS LOVE AND AFFECTION. I TRULY THINK THERE IS AN EMOTIONAL PROBLEM HERE .. AGAIN, I'M NO EXPERT!

I DON'T WANT TO IGNORE HER. WHY SHOULD I IGNORE HER? SHE IS HIS CHILD. HOW CRUEL WOULD IT BE FOR HIM TO SEE ME TOTALLY IGNORE HIS CHILD. YET, I TOO DO NOT LIKE TO BE IGNORED .. WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS SOON AFTER SCHOOL FINISHES .. SHE'LL BE SPENDING MORE TIME WITH HIM BECAUSE HE TAKES HER TO WORK WITH HIM, ETC. I'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

Good luck, and keep us posted! >THANKS FOR THE GOOD WISHES.
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Old 06-12-2002, 01:17 PM
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Hi there leftfielder,

I agree with your instincts. This is *not* a normal father/daughter relationship. Codependancy comes to mind. With that said, I don't believe this is going to be an issue that a few discussions with your husband will fix. I think that family therapy/counseling is in order. If you push the issue, *you* could most likely be seen as "the bad guy" who is trying to interfere, or who appears jealous and insecure. Don't fall into that. This situation has probably been going on since the beginning - you can't fix it.

If it were me, I would suggest counseling to your husband, in terms of couples counseling first, after a session or two, introduce the problem to the professional and ask his/her opinion on how to deal with it from your point of view, and then perhaps even suggest to the counselor that you all dedicate as many sessions as necessary, to resolve the situation in the best way possible.

Your husband's behavior is *not* unusual, but it is also not healthy nor is it appropriate. A 14 yr old girl *should* have a social life - for sure!

I hope this helps!

Susan
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Old 06-14-2002, 11:59 AM
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Any ieas, suggestions, etc.

Ms. Wilkins,

Thanks for your time and input. Yes, what you've written has helpe.

I agree with your instincts. This is *not* a normal father/daughter relationship. Codependancy comes to mind. With that said, I don't believe this is going to be an issue that a few discussions with your husband will fix. I think that family therapy/counseling is in order. If you push the issue, *you* could most likely be seen as "the bad guy" who is trying to interfere, or who appears jealous and insecure. Don't fall into that. This situation has probably been going on since the beginning - you can't fix it. >>Well, it is true, I have been seen, by my dh as the "bad guy", as interfering and yes, as jealous and insecure. He feels as if I don't like his daughter. I don't dislike her. But I haven't had the opportunity to get to know her better, since she hasn't and isn't willing for me to get closer. What I dislike is the behavior .. the obscession they have for each other. I didn't tell him this part .. It really never occured to me to state that way.

>>Overall, he plainly stated that she has and will be in our lives. She WILL not be going away any time soon. Which I am truly aware of this fact. I knew the situation from the beginning of the relationship. Which, again, is true. He has always been very honest with me in reference to this daughter. Yet, I thought that the "obscession" would subside once we married. I also thought that I could "bare" through it. But I guess I haven't been that successful with it. I've told him that this is my first marriage, my first experience in this situation .. hence I need time to "adapt" .

>>I do understand where he is coming from in reference to spending time with his daughter, which he sees less than what he and I are together. But whenever she is around, HIS world revolves around her. He doesn't see it this way ..

If it were me, I would suggest counseling to your husband, in terms of couples counseling first, after a session or two, introduce the problem to the professional and ask his/her opinion on how to deal with it from your point of view, and then perhaps even suggest to the counselor that you all dedicate as many sessions as necessary, to resolve the situation in the best way possible. >> I don't see my husband going to counseling. He feels as if this is MY problem, hence I should deal with it. I am trying to, believe me I am doing my best. I've even thought of going to counseling myself. Though of going to a psychotherapist or a family therapist. I do feel a competition for his attention. I do at times feel jealous, I do admit these feelings are at times present. It makes me wonder why? I think that I came into this marriage with different expectations ..? Am I wrong ..?

Your husband's behavior is *not* unusual, but it is also not healthy nor is it appropriate. A 14 yr old girl *should* have a social life - for sure! >>Well, I'm no expert, but I believe this to be correct. Maybe some are slower in developing a social life, due to personality/character. BUT what I see in this situation that she isn't making any effort to have a social life. He isn't pushing the matter either. I did mention it to him, about her social life and he tells me that some are "slower" than others ??

Again, I'm no expert but I see this as Freud's Electra complex .. an extreme one!! I might be wrong but I see this as a woman that will always be seeking her father's opinion. She and only she knows what is best for "dad" and no man will compare to her dad??

I would appreciate any further comments and or inputs on my reply.
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Old 06-15-2002, 03:15 AM
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I would be very concerned if my husband would not attend any kind of counseling for the good of the marriage and the family. To designate the issue as YOUR problem solely seems selfish to me. I would approach him with counseling and telling him that you would like to attend with him for the good of the family and the marriage. If he refuses, you have bigger problems than we know. Denial is a very serious problem.

A 14 yr old daughter making physical advances towards her father is clearly *not* healthy. It sounds as though your problem may be moreso your husband than the child. The child is clearly feeling as though she must compete with you, and that can not feel good to her, and of course it doesn't do you any favors either.

We can guess as to what kind of complex either of them may have until the cows come home, but until a professional becomes involved and can indentify and offer your family solutions and help, you are left hanging.

If your husband flat out refuses counseling, yes, please do seek your own help with a professional. This is an issue that many would base life choices on in terms of whether they were willing to tolerate it for the rest of their marriage, or not. Please don't think that she will grow out of this, she most likely will not entirely, if at all. I have read about daughters in their 30's and 40's behaving this way. Address this problem assertively and don't let them convince you that you are wrong or that you are crazy. If they are unwilling, you are living in a very unhealthy family and you probably will need to make a decision.

My best vibes go out to you,
Susan
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Old 09-13-2015, 01:29 PM
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I am curious as to what Leftfielder has accomplished since first bringing this concern to the members back in 2002. By now the SD in question should be an adult in her mid-20's, but what happened with Leftfielders relationship in general, and were other children brought into the scenario, and if so, have they been raised similar as the SD by the DH?

Sadly this situation reminds me all to well have a friend I knew in my childhood, with the exception that the parent in question was still married to the children's father, that is until the father was arrested for unspeakable acts on the children, and the family really was divided up (as the father threatened the children would happen if anyone knew what he did with them due to: bad grades; house chores not completed correctly; having friends stay after dinner without his authorization; not letting him in bathroom while they bathed (vs listening through an open door); not wearing the clothes he bought for them, ...) I know allot of what went on, because I was the friend they confided in, and I wasn't able to help until my family moved out of the state from where this happened. I was twelve at the time that I spoke up about my 14 yo and 11 yo friends, and their single digit younger sibling. I was asked to call a state number and agree to have the conversation recorded. They asked me specific questions over and over and over again, some questions which were repeated the most were asked in a different manner so that they would know if I veered from the truth. I wouldn't know the extent of my "interfering" as their dad put it to their mother; the children, and the authorities until I was in my 30's!. The father ended up going to prison, turns out he had been married (and divorced) a few other times with children who had been through similar situations, but didn't have a friend (nor friend's families) who internally knew something was not right about the situation, and eventually found the correct ear to hear what the minor was saying. And since I knew allot of DETAILED information about their home life and where certain things could be located, or in any case had been located (and my family had back-up pictures of some "visual" information of what was taking place in their home)... It was hard for me to fully understand and process what my friends had been enduring for the years I knew them, and always wondering what had happened after the time I spoke with authorities.

My comment to anyone who has a "feeling" that something doesn't seem as it should be, tell someone, and keep telling people until the correct ear hears what is being said, or the correct eye has read what you see. If it doesn't seem right, your internal alarm is going to sound, and if you ignore it, you are not only doing harm to yourself, you are doing more damage to the person(s) the alarm is going off for.

I'm not an expert, I'm not a step-parent, nor am I step child. I am an adult reunited adoptee, who in her youth, changed the lives of three children she internally knew were not being treated correctly, and turned the bastard over to authorities for it.

No. I don't believe your DH is as bad as my friend's father was physically, mentally, and emotionally. I do believe he is not being fair to your SD and you on the emotional level. I know what I was doing at age 14, and I was not a big social type either, but I did do "stuff" (movies, concerts, school activities, etc) with at least a handful of kids my age or from my school. You not being able to bond with SD when she visits, helping her to meet kids in your neighborhood, and doing family activities together so that if/when other children are brought into the family, she isn't resentful of them, or made to feel "Second" best - as it sounds you are to DH when SD is around. I don't hear you being jealous of SD, but more put off by DH when he prefers SD over time with both of you when she visits, AND that is what is another harmful act for SD, because he is setting your relationship with SD to fail before it can even begin...
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