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How to adress my husband about our relationship and SD

Frenchielover679's picture

My husband and I have been married for one year. He has a 16 year old daughter with his ex wife who is not high conflict at all but rarely sees her daughter because of her work schedule and traveling so much. My SD was 14 when I met her.. she’s a pretty cool kid and I like hanging out with her since she’s very mature for her age. My husband and I didn’t go on a honeymoon because we eloped last minute in Vegas and considered that our “mini-moon” I’ve been recently hinting about a trip to ourselves but my husband tells me it’s difficult with my SD’s packed schedule. About a month ago we got in a argument about our family vacation that happens every year with the in-laws. Every year we go to Houston to have a big family get together. Since we have a timeshare I asked my husband if we could have a “house” to ourselves and put my SD with his sister. He told me that the siblings and the kids always shared a house and it was the only time they got to bond. I was quite irritated so I told him to stop putting his daughter and sister before me. He told me that his daughter would always come first and I understood because my dad raised me the same way and my stemom resented me for that. I didn’t want to become overly jealous of my SD and I started developing those feelings towards her. My husband has been distant lately and I’ve apologized and he said everything was ok but he’s not as close to me as we were before. I’ve been going to therapy and it’s helped but my resentment towards my SD has increased and i feel like I’m turning into my SM. Recently my SD asked her dad to come with her to North Carolina (my husbands mom lives there) this year because of a family renunion. My husband has a strained relationship with his biomother but wants his daughter to have one with her grandma so she gets sent every year. I turned the offer down and said I couldn’t take the days off (which is a lie) i just don’t want to take anything out to my SD. Yesterday, I was in the car with my Sd and she told me she wish I came and started ranting about how fun the reunion was. I got a little mad and snapped. I told her that she should just have fun with her dad and that I need vacation to myself and  i could never because of her. She was quiet the way home and of course told her dad what happened. Now my husband is not talking to me and I’m scared that I ruined our relationship. I love my SD but Im constantly jealous of her!! 

Comments

AlwaysSmiling's picture

What is your DH doing to help you feel comfortable as his mate/partner/other half?

Merry's picture

Yeah, you shouldn't have snapped at your SD, but it sounds like you are at the end of your rope. It's nice that she wished you had gone with them. A simple but sincere apology might be in order for that. Hey, we're all human.

If you have a strong marriage, one rough spot shouldn't unravel it all. But you do need to discuss it with your DH. You need some clarity about what your DH means by "SD is always first." Does that mean in EVERYTHING? If so, that's not healthy at all. Your SD should, instead, experience what a loving marriage looks like--and that is not a child centric marriage.

Does SD ever hear the word "no"? (And I don't mean about unrealistic things like "Daddy can I have a horse and an airplane for my birthday?" I mean "no" to things that are doable but not in her/the family's best interest. Like, "No, honey, you can't have a sleep over this weekend.") Has SD ever had to compromise in favor of someone else's needs or wants? Ever face disappointment? All of these things are life skills that she needs to learn. If she truly is always the most important one in the house, SHE will suffer later.

Frenchielover679's picture

Thank you for your advice!  she’s not spoiled and her dad is a very good enforcer with rules. It’s tough because the BM is always travelling so she lives with us full time mostly. I just have built up major resentment towards her but therapy keeps me going. 

Merry's picture

So are you telling us that everything is fine in your house and it's only YOUR resentment that's a problem? Do you think you deserve to have the silent treatment from your DH?

 

Areyou's picture

Keep the tension going and point things out to DH. He will come around like mine did. Either come around or lose your partner. He won’t want to lose you. Also if you have kids tell him he’s number two to your kids.

AlwaysSmiling's picture

I found myself describing my situation to others using the word jealous also. But in reality, I was not jealous of her, but jealous of how my SO treated her. He treated her as his partner, dressing up and taking her on dates and buying her expensive gifts. Things like that- and was not doing any of that stuff for me. The jealousy didn't have to do with his daughter, but his odd enmeshed relationship with her. He couldn't put me in the position of being his partner, because that position was clearly being fulfilled by his daughter (who he liked to refer to as his 'other half'). Going anywhere with the two had me feeling like a third wheel. 

If this sounds familiar, there are other terms that you should be researching (knowledge is power)! There are terms for when you put a child in the postion of an adult and rely on a child for emotional support usually given by a partner:  spousification, covert incest, emotional incest, and my personal favorite- mini-wife syndrome.

I highly suggest you do some research on those terms before you beat yourself too badly about your perceived jealousy.

lieutenant_dad's picture

You don't have an SD problem. You have a DH problem. HE is the one who has put her on a pedestal. HE is the one that gives in to her. HE is the one who tells you no to keep her happy.

You didn't ruin your relationship. Your DH is doing that all on his own. It is NOT unfair to ask for time alone. It is NOT wrong to tell a kid "no". It IS wrong to elevate a child to equal status to an adult.

You do need to apologize to your SD. You should even apologize to your DH for your attitude towards SD. However, that apology ends at snapping at her. It doesn't absolve him from placing you in a situation where you have to compete with someone else for his attention. YOU are his #1 priority. His daughter is his #1 responsibility. Her needs trump your needs, but your wants trump her wants - and that includes her social life and extracurricular activities. No child's schedule should be so packed that the adults can't take time off and away.

Your father did a disservice to you and your SM by placing you above her. Don't allow your DH to do the same to you.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Your DH needs to learn the difference. His kids should be top RESPONSIBILITY until they're old enough to care fully for themselves... However the wife should be top PRIORITY. There's a difference. The kids NEEDS come first, but after that, he needs to look at his wife first. They are two VERY different relationships. A kid is dependent. You are simply his partner.

Disneyfan's picture

Did you read the OP's follow up post?  She actually AGREES with her husband about the kid coming before her.  She isn't trying to change that line of thinking.  She wants to change how she REACTS to it. (mind boggling)

 

OP, your posts make no sense whatsoever.  And before your jump on me, you should know that I am a parent who put my son first when he was a minor.

You say you grew up with a father like your husband.  You also say you will raise your future in the same manner.  Since you agree 100% with the idea that kids come first, it is absolutely ridiculous for you to be jealous and/or resentful of your SD.

Scratch one-s head

This may be the strangest post I have ever read here.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Well now I read it... 

Fool

All I'm saying is... That kid is going to grow up, get married, and they'll have someone to put them first on the priority list... Instead of settling or changing the reaction... Maybe you should expect to be put first? Only person I EVER expect to put me first is my DH. Not my parents, not my siblings, not even my best friend.

The kid is top responsibility... But instead of forcing yourself to feel in a way you clearly don't, I think it makes more sense to realize you should be top prirority... It won't take away from the kid's needs, it'll just deepen your relationship with your DH... I think couples that put each other first are the ones that last and can be the most open with each other.

TwoOfUs's picture

Yes. This post is very strange. 

It sounds like you have deep-seated resentment of your stepmom...your father raised you poorly by "putting you first" and allowing you to disrespect his wife...and now you're getting the same treatment. Naturally, you feel anger, jealousy, and resentment (who wouldn't?). But you can't admit that to yourself...because that would mean you may have to revisit your upbringing and your assumptions about your own SM. You don't want to do that...so instead you have these strange, contradictory feelings and you're doing mental gymnastics to try to relieve the cognitive dissonance. Take that to your next therapy session and see what you can unpack. 

No. Your SD should not come first if your DH chose to remarry. You are the adult in the home (not your SD), and you should get to hae expectations, make requests, set boundaries. If you want a vacation with your DH, you should get to take one without worrying how it affects his nearly-grown child. 

The end. 

AlwaysSmiling's picture

I think you are a very smart lady & may have just nailed that one straight on the head!

Exjuliemccoy's picture

OP is conflicted because she has an unrealistic view of how successfully blended families operate. 

beebeel's picture

I'm so glad you posted this insight before I had the chance. You were much nicer about it than I would have been! Wink

lieutenant_dad's picture

OP, to sum up everyone:

There is no advice that helps you resent your SD less while maintaining the dynamic that you do in your relationship. Several people have stated why that is, but it was best put that you're jealous of how you're SD gets preferential treatment to you, especially in regards to her wants trumping yours.

None of us will disagree that your DH's top responsibility is to meet his daughter's needs. Where we will all likely disagree with you is what we consider needs versus what you may consider a need.

The person who can fix this situation is your DH. He can start reprioritizing your wants to be higher than his daughter's. Until he does that, you're going to continue to resent that SD's wants are treated as needs whereas your wants (and even some of your relationship needs) are ranked second always. That dynamic is solely created and enforced by your DH.

It's easier to blame SD because she isn't the person you actively love. That doesn't mean you don't love or care about her, but you don't actively pursue her like you do your DH. You don't view her as an equal. It's easier to blame the thing that causes is distress versus the cause of the thing itself. It's taking a 5-Why's approach to figure out where the source of the issue comes from - and, currently, it's your DH. If you dig back deeper, it's probably your father and his dynamic with you and your SM.

So, you will have to make a choice to either live with resentment or face the source - your husband - head on. Until you make the choice to address your DH, your resentment will remain.

Curious Georgetta's picture

Is that there is love enough for all of you. Love is not a competition or a competitive sport. A mature and healthy man can live both his daughter and his wife.  A mature and healthy woman does not need constant  validation of her place in some sick hierarchical ranking. She is confident in the value and worth that she brings to the relationship. You expect to be treated well because you expect to treat your husband well.

The fact that the daughter wanted to come and share in the family reunion seems to suggest that she has an inclusive nature and values your presence in the family unit.

In your place, I would schedule activities just with her, and even as her for suggestions of activities that you and her father might do on date night. This will allow her to know that you are interested in spending  time with her but also remind her that as a newly married couple you need some alone time.

some unhappy people will tell you to issue ultimatums and horror stories about mini wives.  However, you sound live a strong and caring woman.  You are an authority figure  and when you are confident you know that by involving children and giving them a voice in decision making and planning, you are not ceding your authority ,rather you are enhancing the possibility for harmony and good will in your household.

Good luck. You sound deserving of much happiness . May your good intentions lead to a good and positive future 

TwoOfUs's picture

“Sick hierarchical ranking”

....um.

Every single parenting and child psychology book available will tell you that families are actually healthiest and children do best when there IS a clear hierarchy in place. Literally...every single one. 

It’s not about who gets more or less love (though, yes...even incredibly confident and secure women and men DO need assurances of affection, alone time, and the feeling that they matter and are put first by their spouse. Because marriage is hard and vulnerable and requires and deserves your effort and your time in order to flourish. It doesn’t make one weak  or insecure to acknowledge that fact. And literally every marriage book and marriage counselor will tell you these things as well.) 

The hierarchy is about running the home, making decisions, and not giving children more power than is good for them. Obviously. 

If you really are a counselor, as you claim, I feel sorry for anyone who comes to you for help. You give the most consistently horrible, tone-deaf advice...not just for blended families but for child-rearing and family life in general. 

 

marblefawn's picture

If you feel you were wrong when you snapped, why not apologize to SD? It's what you'd want from her.

As for your husband, don't take a second rate hotel in Houston. Tell him you want a vacation alone. He should work out a schedule with BM so you can have it. It's not too much to ask, especially if BM has so much freedom because you and husband are doing the heavy lifting in rearing their daughter. Even parents of intact families need time away from kids. Tell him that -- tell him it's no reflection on SD, you just want some special alone time with him. Any good husband should want to do that.

It's hard not to feel jealous when another woman gets more than you do as a wife, even if it's a 16-year-old. But HE'S setting you up to feel that way, not SD. Put the pressure where it belongs and get your vacation.

I'm wondering...if your dad raised you the way your husband is raising SD, do you think maybe your SM was set up too to feel jealous of you? Maybe it wasn't all her fault. Just a thought...I can't possibly know, but what you wrote suggests maybe you're experiencing the same thing your SM did.

elkclan's picture

OK, you're absolutely NOT wrong to want to help to change your attitude toward things. Sometimes it's the situation that is the problem and sometimes it is our reaction to them that is. 

I have a good relationship with my SSs. My partner is super supportive. And I have a BS myself and my partner is lovely with him. But I have my resentments, too. We are selling my house. We are compromising on some things regarding the new property because he wants two bedrooms for his two kids even though they only are here EOWE. He has no down-payment to contribute to buying a new house. I know he wants this because he wants to make a space that they would want to move into. Which I'm ok with. I also recognise that he earns more money than I do and brings in a little bit more even though he has a big child support payment. But sometimes I think "Oh, if only it weren't for those two kids needing separate bedrooms I could have a better house instead of a bigger house."

We won't even get a weekend away together this summer just us because of kid schedules - his and mine. But you know - any resentment about this is how I react to things. 

It's ok to feel resentment, but resentment that you dwell with is a relationship killer. I think it's awesome that you're recognising it and want better ways to deal with it. What you said to SD was bad and you should apologise. Imagine if I said to my BS - "You're the reason that I was trapped in a loveless marriage for so long. You're the reason I can't even return to my home country." While these things are true in a way - it would just be an incredibly hurtful thing to say and causes more harm than the momentary relief I might get from venting. It doesn't even do me any good to think this way - and I don't (I focus my resentment on his father and the system. I focus on the good things about staying in my new country including my new partner.)

There are things in my power to change my situation. (Not many about repatriating.) There are more things I can do to handle my own feelings about the situation. I don't know how much you'll get here with handling your own feelings.

If the vacation is a massive thing for you, then you need to sit down with your DH and say that this is something that you need to prioritise for next year. His view may very well be that he has a very limited time with his daughter. In a few more years, she may want nothing to do with going away with him (she may or may not). In intact families, people struggle to get away without their kids, too. I personally have come to the view that we're unlikely to get a holiday away just us for a long time. However, he is taking me on a work trip next year (yeah, I know it's not the same). And we randomly got the chance to house sit in France over Christmas without kids last year, but tbh I'd rather have spent Christmas with the kids. Since we didn't have that opportunity we leapt at the chance to go to France.