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Advice needed !!

Fairynat's picture

Ok so I'm recently married, I will call my husband DH and I have one SD8. Now, my DH has been wonderful and there's been little things here and there with her being spoiled/rude but my DH sees these things and things have been improving. However, this one specific situation is bugging me and I need advice on how to bring it up with DH without setting off a big fight or anything. The situation is this:

-DH and I have been planning for months to go to his high school reunion in Philly.

-we have SD8 every weekend and the event is on a Saturday so it was brought up with BM about a month in advance (it's not too big a deal, she borrows weekends now and then for things and we always make up for it on a spare weekday)

-I am VERY flexible and accomadating about things, BM is prone to blow ups so he keeps things as short and civil as possible 

-now recently we've had more extra weekdays with SD8 than usual because her birthday just passed so there were activities and stuff all week.

-I had dinner with BM, her husband, her new baby, and her parents (my DH still gets along with his ex in laws) and everything went off really nicely, even though I hate these situations of course 

-now DH has told SD8 about his hometown and that we can see his house there, blah blah but specific plans were never made 

-now, the weekend before OUR trip, hes saying he might want to do a day trip to philly this weekend to show SD8 the house 

-this was early in the morning before my coffee when he told me this, so I was really passive but it's bothering me more and more and I NEED to say something 

-my SD8 and I get along but she PUSHES boundaries (being homeschooled doesnt help)

-i think BM encouraged SD8 to ask for this trip after hearing about the reunion 

So this is how I feel:

-it's undermining to our PLANNED trip (we have SD8 every weekend like I said, so it's not like we have a lot of these opportunities and I'm fine with that, hence why this is special to me)

-this is remnants of Disney dad behavior and SD8 making everything about dominance in the past. (The early post divorce time sucked, I came in after everything was settled)

-im afraid that if I bring this up he will accuse me of having to "choose" which is ridiculous and shouldn't be a situation here. They had a huge trip together earlier this year for Vidcon (I stayed home to take care of our diabetic kitty) and they've done plenty of other things together like that so it's not like shes deprived of trips with dad but hes prone to feeling guilty and BM knows that and manipulates

-DH and I are laid back people, most of his trips with SD8 were post divorce competition stuff and that's over now. I dont drive so he would be doing all the driving and he works a lot during the week so he'll be EXHAUSTED doing another big drive two weeks in a row. I know that even if he won't admit it. The thought of him not having the energy to enjoy himself with me makes me want to cry. 

Would you feel the same way I do? How do I bring this up without making him feel guilty ?? Help!


tog redux's picture

I'm confused.  Is this sudden trip with SD in addition to the two of you going to the reunion? Or instead of that?

Is it that BM told SD she would have her that weekend because DH was going to Philadelphia and now SD wants to go see Philadelphia with DH, too, and you think BM put that in her head?

I'm not sure I see the harm in this trip, but I think I may be misunderstanding.

Iamwoman's picture

I agree that this is very much an insecurity/power play move on SD8’s part.

I think this with 100% conviction, because it is something my DD15 used to pull on me all of the time.

Its because SD wants to be more special to her dad than you are. She sees the two of you as equals on some level, which is why she is doing this.

There is NO reason for DH to bring SD to Philly BEFORE your planned weekend with him to Philly.

DH should be using this opportunity to set some boundaries with SD, and explain to her that she will not always get to do everything that adults do. That when she is an adult, she can travel whenever and wherever on her own budget. He can then tell SD that he will take her to Philly sometime, but not until after he spends his weekend with you.

What your DH is doing now is falling into the trap of putting SD’s priorities over your marriage. SD does not HAVE to go to Philly, and IF DH chooses to bring her, it does not HAVE to be BEFORE you.

You are not being petty. SD is, and DH needs to nip this in the bud, because it will only get worse. Trust me. I was in DH’s position for quite awhile and it took some serious entitlement on DD15’s part for me to finally realize what she was doing (and yes, it starts at 8).

Fairynat's picture

Yeah she has a habit of wanting everything that I express interest in, which can be really annoying but I think part of it is sadly because I'm a lot more warm and loving than BM so she craves female connection type stuff. So I'm happy with her emulating more of my behavior than BM's HOWEVER both BM and SD have a history of creating dominance battles. It is appalling reptilian-like behavior hahah. 

 In the very beginning of my relationship with DH he told me about her threatening to pee in his bed over some arbitrary thing and then actually doing it and starting a pissing war with his cats and having to throw out the mattress. So after that it was easy for DH to see that she was NOT on the right track and things have changed a lot. Nothing like the piss incident has happened since but SD definitely has issues with controlling her animal behaviors. Her and BM have a "rage" than can go off over anything and escalate and escalate if you let them. 

I love my SD, but I'm VERY aware of these behaviors and her asking for the trip now (BEFORE ME being the key words) is a dominance thing. She IS that smart and she sees manipulative behavior constantly from being around BM.

I did work up the courage to talk to DH and he didn't argue, he understood!!! He'a generally smart and understanding but it's  a sensitive topic ofc and there are some landmines that BM planted that just set him off with the guilty daddy stuff, so it's so important for me to be really clear with him. I get my special trip though thank god yayyyy hahah. 

Yeah I've talked strongly with DH about how this is the MOST important time to correct her old behavior before puberty kicks in. Things are already a lot better, the issue really is making DH understand that some things he doesnt see as a "big deal" are actually sending a VERY clear message to her about what she can and cannot get away with. He's learning hahah

Step-girlfriend's picture

If I'm understanding correctly, you and DH had the reunion trip planned, and then he decided to add another trip to the same place the wknd before, this one including SD.

If I interpreted that right- this is a tough one. Would you be coming on "their" trip? I would be a little annoyed because it does stink of Disney Dad behavior, which annoys me in general. Also, if it causes your trip to now seem like more of a chore to DH, because he just made the same long drive the wknd before with SD. I guess I don't understand the need for these 2 trips to all of a sudden happen within a week of each other, after him having 8 years of opportunities to take SD literally ANY other wknd. And it's not like they can't go another time. Why not wait until it's warmer? It makes no sense to do this 2 wknds in a row, except because SD "wants to go". Well, too bad SD, you get to wait.

I would phrase it this way- Tell him you've been thinking, and you are afraid it will be too much driving for him two weeks in a row. It's an ambitious endeavor, and you're afraid it will wear him out and he won't be excited to go for the reunion. And that perhaps waiting a month or so to take SD would be better, or maybe even when it's warmer. That way it can be more of a fun trip. If you are supposed to go on this trip with him and SD, you could also say that it's a lot of car time for YOU in the span of 2 weeks, so maybe saving that trip for later would be the better bet.

You could also adress it head-on and tell him your suspicions about SD, but that route will almost be a guaranteed fight. Which may be worth it if you think it will open his eyes to the behavior and make an impact for future situations.

Harry's picture

That you and DH are going away without her.  She is missing something.  She wants to be number one in DH life, She wants DH to do flips for her and put you into your place, under her.  So in latter years, DH and SD will have to take a fast trip to Hawaii, before your vacation without her ?   All that time in a car for a minute looking at some house ? 

You, DH should not take her now.  Maybe at a later time, where you can do some fun thing in Philadelphia, Franklyn institute, the Bell, cheese steaks. Something you can plan and YOU can control, and she will actually have a good time .

ndc's picture

Isn't there an ice storm about to hit Philadelphia?  Tell your DH it's a bad weekend to make a day trip there, and there's no reason SD needs to go there THIS weekend.  That gives him an excuse for SD and shouldn't result in a fight.  Then bring it up later, after the reunion weekend when he's not feeling the pressure over SD wanting her trip and maybe he'll be rational about seeing what's going on.