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Desperate need for empathy...

Lyza's picture

I'm a blog/steptalk newbie, so here goes...I feel like I'm at an AA meeting ("my name is Lyza, and I love my husband to death, but his relationship with his daughter drives me insane"). I have no one to talk to about this, and I'm afraid it is going to mess up my marriage if I don't get some help. I resent my step daughter. Every time she calls my husband, Will, I cringe. The ole jump/how high thing happens ALL the time. I love him so much, and I hate myself for being such a $@%^* (can i use the b-word on this site??). He drops everything for her. I feel like she manipulates him all the time -- he feels so guilty for not physically being there for her -- and she totally takes advantage of him. I hate it when she comes to visit us. Everything changes -- we do whatever she wants, we can't act "normal" around each other, can't have sex (her room is next to ours)...on and on. We run around like crazy people all week - I am very possessive and selfish of my time with Will on the weekends.

While I'm on a rambling roll, I have no idea what my, for lack of a better term, "place" is regarding him spending money on her. Do I have a say? If she wants an expensive watch, for example, am I an evil stepmother if I tell my husband that we can't afford it? Braces? A new outfit? If he hadn't married me, he would have bought it for her -- is it fair to ask him to change? I would think if I wanted to buy my brother, for example, and expensive gift he would be able to say no. Ok -- I'll stop now -- that was really therapeutic. So, yes, I need help. I need to know if my feelings are "normal." I beat myself up about feeling this way all the time...


smcpaw's picture

It is a difficult adjustment - How old is your stepdaughter? - you should read my blog - things are very complicated and tough to handle at times. You have to work on your relationship with your husband and hope that it is strong enough to endure the trials and tribulations of habits that were formed long before you came along. Yes, you should have a say in expensive gifts, but tread lightly. I know it is very hard on the father to have to balance his daughter with his new wife/life. Hang in there and hopefully it will work out. It is a never-ending saga that at times seems impossible. Good luck and welcome to the site.

Lyza's picture

Thank you for your thoughts! I read some of your entries -- i can't tell you how nice it is to know that there are others out there experiencing stepchildren drama! SD is 18. She was born when my husband was VERY young -- so, yes, you are right -- there are a lot of habits that formed before i came along. I need to keep reminding myself of that. We've talked about how hard it is on him - he says he feels like we pull him in opposite directions sometimes and he ends up having to chose between us -- and he hates that. I certainly do not like putting him in that situation -- but it simply boils down to me being jealous of anyone else that has his attention (horrible, i know). I think this blog will be very helpful! Thanks again!

Nise's picture

Let me start of by saying WELCOME TO OUR WORLD and WE ALL FEEL YOUR PAIN!!! It is so hard to figure out the boundaries…regarding purchases, I would say that it depends on how you two handle your household finances. I know some couples who keep their money separate and each person is responsible for paying certain household bills. If that is the way you manage your finances, then it is in my opinion kind of hard for you to say whether or not he can buy things for her as long as he’s holding up his fair share in the household then the rest is “his money”…now that is not how my husband and I operate in regards to our finances. We have joint account and we each have an individual account. Both of us have $150 from our check deposited into our individual account and the remaining balance is direct deposited into the joint account. The $150 is like our “mad money” that we use for gifts to each other or for our little things like my husbands cigars, my snacks while I’m at school, etc…EVERYTHING else including all the household bills comes from our joint account and so anytime we want to make a major purchase (greater than the $150.00 of mad money) we have agreed to consult the other person…if you have a problem with your husbands spending as it relates to his daughter, maybe you guys could try to find a financial management system similar to that that sees the household money as belonging to the household, thus each of you have an equal say…don’t feel bad for how you feel…I’m guessing that this is new and as smcpaw said it will take time to figure out what works for you. Regarding the way time is spent, it may help if you spend time with her doing girly things and that could ease the resentment if you feel like she is your daughter and not a girl/woman/female who comes into your home and is in competition with you for your husband because after all she can NEVER be to him who and what you are, his wife…I recall a time when my husband and I were dating, it was in the early stages of our relationship and it was the first night that I’d spent the night at his house with the girls there the youngest (who was about 2-3 at the time) came down stairs in the middle of the night as we were snuggled up on the couch watching tv with her lil blankey and she climbed up on the other couch and laid down. I just so happened to look over at her and noticed her looking at me with such big sad eyes. I said, “do you wanna come lay with your daddy?” and she nodded her head and so I traded her places, I wanted her to know that I was not there to compete with her for her father’s love and that he had enough love for the both of us…once that boundary is established, it is much easier…

Lyza's picture

Good suggestion on the finances -- the mad money idea sounds perfect (now, all i need to do is get a Thank you so much for your advice -- you hit the nail on the head about spending time with her. Everytime we hang out, we have a great time -- and it totally reminds me what a good kid she is and that we need to all be a family. You rock.

Ronda's picture

Hello Lyza,

I agree with Nise. The SD may feel that she has to compete with you for daddy's affections and so she is acting out with the expensive gift requests, ect. Try to find some things that you two have in common and build on those. My younger sister acted out when my parents got divorced and she was totally devastated when my father remarried. Eventually she got over it and she and my stepmom have a good relationship.

As far as getting busy with your hubby Wink maybe you could go "park", and keep the fires burning during the time she is there.

Lyza's picture

So 50s...I like it! Smile Thanks!

Kato's picture

I know how easy it is to get angry and frustrated - I feel your pain too! But my latest idea, is turning negative into positive - perhaps start showing your SD more love (even if you don't feel it - fake it!) - it may just shock her into being nice & normal back to you! I also agree that finding something that you both like to do together is a great idea....also - perhaps give her dad and her some father daughter time - while you go and have lunch with a girlfriend or spoil yourself to a facial or massage! You don't have to do everything together on the weekends - it's heathy to have time apart too.
Good luck! And don't give up! Just think - in 10 yrs time you will look back on this time & laugh (well, at least that's what I tell myself!!)

Sherrylyn's picture

Your husband can't buy what he wants out of your SD, be it total adoration or no hostile feelings from her. Money can't buy everything. He also may be setting her expectations of what a healthy relationship is far off of reality. All parents want their children young or older to see them with loving eyes, & I can't fault him for that.

On that whole not having relations with each other because she's there, change that as soon as possible. Get a lock on your door & do what comes naturally. You don't have to scream your head off to make a point, just enjoy yourself.

happy mom's picture

It seems like jealousy to's normal in my view. We can't help the fact that husband is so catered to daughter, it's a natural reaction because he wasn't there for her. You can tell him how you feel straight out and tell him that you would appreciate it if he could ask you or do stuff you want to do also when daughter is over and not always cater to what daughter wants to do. You need to communicate openly w/your husband how you feel and what you want. Men are horrible when it comes to treating women sometimes, they don't ever know what's wrong with you or what your needs are. You gotta tell him straight out. I do that w/my husband cause he has no clue most of the time. They are not sensitive to our needs. I went through to what you are experiencing. I was jealous that everytime we had our stepson, my husband suddenly had all this energy to go out for the sake of his son. I felt like that's the only time we go out is when son is over and not consulting w/me ahead of time as to what the plans are. I talked to him one day and told him that he needs to consult w/me regarding weekend plans. If I didn't want to go I didn't. If you feel like not going w/them and just tell your husband. I tend to do stuff on my own w/my daughter most of the time alone so it doesn't really bother me know days. Don't let jealousy take over you, it's bad energy. Son will always be in your lives. Hope this helps.