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My marriage wasn't supposed to be like this

i'mthewoman's picture

Been a while since my last post...

 I shouldn't have gotten involved with DH when I did. We didn't have an affair but we started seeing each other shortly after his divorce and married within the same year. Hindsight that was a mistake on our part. Though I didn't hold DH at gun point and force him to purpose, I can see why SD felt pushed out

SD was 17 years old and she wasn't happy at all. She as there but refused to participate. She was still coming to terms with her parents divorce and wasn't ready to see her father start dating again. What I thought as SD and I getting along was more her tolerating me. Even during the honeymoon period of our marriage, he was paying far more attention to me than her. Though we tried to include her, she distanced herself. 

Even though this was entirely DH's problem to fix, I made mistakes too. I should have let DH and SD have their time alone, I should have just played my role as his wife and stop trying to inset myself into her life. Everytime I tried I was met with anger. I should have stayed out of their arguments. It wasn't my place to get involve. That was the final nail in the coffin which caused her to move into BM's and not talk to DH for 4 months.

Her ultimatium wasn't about trying to control and be manipulative. It was coming from a place of anger, hurt, and the fear that she was pushed out. . How she was/is feeling is neither right or wrong but 100% valid according to my therapist. DH didn't say "I choose her over you". All he said that he doesn't want to choose between us and loves us both. That lead to the 9 year estrangment between  from SD . I'll never forget BM calling DH and addressing him by every name in the book for choosing a  woman he's barlely known for a year over their daughter whom he raised and loved for 17.

He had to go into therapy to help with the estrangement and did what was suggested- continue to live her your life and reach out to her occationally and let her know what you love her and are thinking about her. When our son was born the following year, there was no response from SD. She did not tell DH anything. He wasn't invited to her college graduation. During breaks and holidays, SD would visit BM and my in-laws. My in-laws  never tried to get involved. They kept more of a neutral stance. When SD would come to visit them, we weren't invited. DH tried to discuss with MIL about how this was making him feel and she responded with "I love you but this isn't about you". When SD got married, DH wasn't even told. He found out that all of his family was invited just not him. His parents did mention it to him and didn't want him to think that they're going behind his back but they intended on going. He did pass on a card and cheque hoping it would intiate some sort of contact with SD but it didn't. She sent the card back with my in-laws. 

Flash forward to last December when SD was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. DH called her and she  let him have it. I did tell my therapist that DH apologized for getting remarried so fast without taking into consideration how she felt and she said that was very telling. 

My therapist said that I was just the easy target. Yes, things did change when I cam into the picture but it was DH's job to handel and mend the situation. Not minee. I was/am  the easy target for her anger. Now DH goes and sees SD in california half the month each month. He's essenitally mending his relationship with her but it's on her terms.  He gets to be involved with her, her husband and their 2 year old son. He  spent the whole summer with her. Me and BS did go and spent a week with DH. It was nice to have that time with him but at the same time it was hearbreaking that my husband is choosing to be away from his wife and our 8 year old BS or rather SD lets him into her life only if he pretends he's single.  Money isn't the issue. DH is a hedge fund manager and he owns a few invest properties along the east coast. He's also semi-retried and  can do consulting from anywhere and I work as a nurse.

DH does have a kick in his step again. He's glowing when SD calls him. Deep down I feel that if DH had known that what he knows now, he would never had proposed. This doesn't feel like a marriage and I regret saying yes. I was in a lose-lose situation.






tog redux's picture

It's good that you can own your stuff, but I'm not sure I entirely agree with you. SD was on some level allowed to estrange herself from her father without much good reason at all - and I'm going to guess that BM wasn't happy with him remarrying so quickly either and fanned the flames of her anger. Did BM make any effort to push SD to repair her relationship with DH? Did the in-laws? Or did everyone just kowtow to her so they didn't get cut off, as well?

The fact that DH still can't make his worlds blend is not entirely his fault, or yours. At this point, though, he should be letting SD know that he expects she will accept you - she's a grown woman and it's time to let go of teenage hurts. Yet he continues to just play the game to appease her.  

Yes, a kid's feelings and adjustment to divorce are important - but I'm hearing a lot of entitlement on SD's part. 

Kes's picture

It feels like you are now paying for DH's mistakes - it feels like he is punishing you for being his "partner in crime" in what he sees as his crimes against SD.   It wouldn't be acceptable to me that he was away from his wife and son for weeks or months at a time in order to reassure SD that she is as important, or more important than you. 

STaround's picture

Not an easy situation.   I would not recommend OP end the marriage over this, considering she has a child with her DH, but that is just me.  She is a nurse, I assume she can get work anywhere, maybe they should consider moving so  he can visit his older DD without leaving OP and their son behind.

CLove's picture

Your time in therapy perhaps helped you in accepetance, but I think that the acceptance has gone too far in the wrong direction.

SD is embracing the whole "child of divorce, poor me the victim" thing. I re read your posts from last summer. When the newish pattern of leaving you and DS was first becoming established. Its rough going since then I see. The SD sounds like she is very entitled, but right or wrong, your DH loves her and wants reparation at almost any cost.

I am appalled that the in laws have been supporting her estrangement, and supported her exclusion of you - the person he married, but understand that they dont want to lose her, and the grand. She must be very powerful to have drawn everyone into her "Estrangement Games". It seems very childish what she has done. I dont know her money situation and you mentioned that your DH does very well and Im guessing that he paid for a lot of different things? Her education? Who paid for that?

Obviously this is not the marriage you signed up for. Her unchecked exclusion of you and your DS is making EVERYONE have to choose when they should not. And what about YOUR kiddo? Hes still family right? Will they always exclude you?

You need to talk with your inlaws. And you definitely should not continue to be excluded. Your DH married you for better or worse and you are a package deal.

STaround's picture

patient, and helped his DD get over the divorce, things would have been better.   I dont see her as entitled for needing time to deal with that.   I do see her dad as making a hasty decision and not caring about her feelings.

I can never understand how some people do not understand that if parent is cavalier with one kid, he may be the same way with another kid. 


tog redux's picture

Refusing to speak to a parent for 9 years because you don't approve of how they handled their post-divorce life is not a reasonable, healthy response to a problem.

susanm's picture

She is now a grown woman, married with a child and having survived a serious medical issue, who is insisting on having her father come to her home across the country alone and pretend that you and your child do not exist?  So essentially what you are saying is that, despite theoretical life experience, she has learned nothing and is still a vindictive brat.  And he is accepting of it.  Let me guess.  Because she was sick and "he could have lost her."  

I hope that you are saving your money and have full access to what is going on with your investments and insurance policies.  I would be extremely nervous unless I was absolutely certain that nothing had been changed now that there has been this grand reunion and you and your child were protected for the future.   And as far at the in-laws, I would not trust them as far as I could throw them.  That is some serious dysfunction.

You are clearly paying for what he views as his "sin."  At least he is not making you walk around with a Scarlett Letter on your chest.   Eventually your child is going to start asking questions.  What do you plan to tell them?

ndc's picture

What kind of father abandons his minor child to cater to an adult child?  Unless the SD's prognosis is poor, such that your H has limited time with her, what he is doing does not seem acceptable.  Have you discussed with him the adverse effect this is having on your marriage and your child? If so, how does he respond?

Lollybobs's picture

It's reasonable to understand that she felt angry and hurt initally, due to the speed your relationship escalated. And yes, you might have made mistakes ...hands up any step parents who hasn't. But that was over a decade ago; she was still a child. She is now married and a mother herself - surely time to move past the 'My daddy left me for the nasty lady' stage? 

Clearly everyone has tiptoed round this precious little snowflake for a long time (lest they become next in line for the silent treatment). And you know what...why change your behaviour when it works? Because now everyone is ostracising daddy and his new wife. What an easy way to get 'revenge'.

With all respect, SD and her husband are still relatively new parents and in the early stages of developing their family. Who on earth would want a grandparent there 50% of the time? I think it  would drive most people up the wall! But on the other hand, what another spectacular way to get your own back.on the two people you hate more than anything; keep them apart for six months of the year so that you in particular can feel the same pain that she felt. Grandpa's intrusion might be worth it for this alone!

I don't see any easy answer to this because the only thing more powerful than a skid is a skid with child. Because that's a whopping great carrot to dangle for 'good behaviour' - and swiftly remove when daddy doesn't continue to mend the relationship 'on her terms'. 

DH is essentially living with two families - the only thing missing from his first one is BM (presumably). Please don't say she's there 50% of the time as well. This is SO wrong, from every angle, and completely unfair on you and your son. Your son is having to live as if he's a COD in a 50/50, with the only difference being it's dad who moves from house to house rather than the child. A grown child does not need to spend six months a year with their father, nor does a grandson. SD's husband needs to be looking after his wife and child so that your husband can come home and look after his. But as she's got him by the short and curlies over this one, it doesn't sound as if it will be happening any time soon.

No way could I live like this - OP, I really feel for you.

TimeToGo's picture

I want to speak up for the in-laws... It sounds like they're okay people. They're staying out of it & maintaining a relationship with their Son + family & their Granddaughter + family. Some people have made comments about them but they sound okay, in all of this.

I can't say anything as to everyone else. The rest sounds insane & ridiculous. 

BethAnne's picture

I am glad that you are seeing a therapist who is helping you to get some clarity on the situation. As others have said here though, be careful of painting yourself and your husband as the bad guys in this story. It was a complicated time and situation and you all did what you thought was best. As tog says, most people who feel pushed out by their parents do not resort to ignoring them completely for 9 years (unless abuse is involved) but might distance themselves and limit contact a bit. SD chose her path not necessarily to protect herself but it seems to hurt her father. 

I hope that therapy continues to be insightful and helpful and that you can start to see a way forwards as to how you want to live while accepting this situation or if you need to make changes to your life. 

beebeel's picture

My mom remarried within the year the divorce was finalized with my dad. Was I happy about it? Not one bit. She married in August, I turned 18 that November. It was too fast. But guess what? I'm 37 now and they are still married, so it it really doesn't matter how I felt about it 20 years ago. I'm a grown ass woman and I'm capable of acting so. Even then, I knew my happiness wasn't the point. I was about to launch go off to college and have my own life. Mom was free to find her own.

That's how a healthy person handles disappointment.

justmakingthebest's picture

You have taken on too much "ownership" in the blame game. 

Guess what? Kids (minors or adults) don't get to make our choices for us. Kids don't get a say in who we marry or cohabitate with or fall in love with. Kids, especially 17 yr olds, graduate, move out, get their own lives and spouses and children. We get to be happy too. 

SD is still a pouty little teenaged brat who FINALLY got her way and is playing her daddy dearest like the little puppet he is to her. She is toxic- probably much like her mother. At the end of the day, sometimes you just have to cut your losses. 

I say that as someone who is having to do that in our family and the child is still only 15. It is really hard. It sucks the life out of you. But sometimes BM wins. They destroy any chance of a relationship that existed. 

cpguru21's picture

Tough situation your in.  I have 2 opinions on this.

1) It takes 2 to get married.  Of course hind sight is always 20/20.  You nor he should beat yourselves up for decisions made a long time ago.  Although I completly respect your understanding and empathy of step daughters feelings.
2) At the same time, it sounds like you are throwing more blame on DH.  Sure it would have been great if he (and you, and BM) to help her through the challenges of divorce.  There is no manual to life.
3) As someone whos daughter (well SD but she was more my daughter than anyone elses) died from Melanoma, this is a tough spot.  It may be hard but beleive me when she goes, he will be so thankful he was able to take the time to spend with her.  I have so many regrets.  He has regrets as well.  Dont let this be one of them.  I hope she survives.  Once it is in the lymph system its only a matter of time.  We got 5 years from diagnosis.

Good luck.  Use this place as a sound board to vent.  Get it off your chest.