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Why doesn't my D17 believe me :(

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

I’m hurting today.  My D17 shared with her friend all her frustration with me and the breakup of my marriage to toxic POS.  The friend’s mom is a very good friend of mine and shared some of this conversation with me.  D17 is upset because I’ve decided to move in with my boyfriend of over a year this summer.  He has a D16 and she doesn’t think they will get along.  She feels it will be awkward and she’s “not ready”.  Her and I have had several conversations about this, and she has been given ample time to get to know BF’s daughter.  Including two vacations together.  I feel it would be good for her to have a couple of months in this living situation before she goes away to college.  D17 has been resistant to getting to know D16 and BF (understandable with everything she’s been through).  Especially in the beginning (she met them about 8 months ago) she was cold but not outwardly rude to both.  Now she has created a situation where D16 is afraid of opening up and trying to get to know her.  Their time together is spent with each on their phones awkwardly ignoring each other.  I feel this will resolve itself because I think they are both nice kids that have a lot in common.  I haven't pushed anything or forced her to be around BF or his D16.

Unfortunately, she also shared that she never saw anything bad about toxic POS ex.  Implied to her friend that all I had shared with her mom was not true because “she never saw any of that.”  This seems to be the theme of this breakup.  Our mutual friends didn’t believe me either and sided with him.  I lost them all, super painful but probably for the best.  On the one hand I guess I’m grateful she didn’t witness the verbal and physical abuse, but on the other hand I really wish she believed me. ☹ Ironically, she complained about POS ex’s drinking and constantly embarrassing her all the time…now she has amnesia.  When the breakup first happened POS ex was texting her often, but when she really needed him, he wouldn’t show up.  Typical of him, he wanted her on his side to prove to our friends that I was the “bad guy” but he didn’t want to be there for her.  I did eventually ask her to stop contact with him while we were negotiating our divorce.  Mostly because I needed to be sure information wasn’t being funneled to him…I needed the separation.  Now she says they have no relationship because of this, but the truth is it’s because he no longer needs her.  This hurts and no amount of talking to her in the past seemed to help so I’m not going to talk to her this time….I’m just going to feel this pain and hope to move through it.


TheAccidentalSM's picture

I don't know for sure but I'd imagine that some of the reason that your DD isn't "believing" you is that she is being change resistant.  She's feeling insecure about all the changes in her life and is looking back at the past as a perfect time to back up the narrative she has going on in her brain.  Its a very human thing to do.  Its the number one reason organisational changes fail in the corporate world.  Its also the reason that when I meet up with college friends we all remember the time as amazing. - parts were but not the full 4 years.  We just skip past the bad bits.

I don't know what to recommend to try to fix this but there are some clever folks on here who will have some suggestions.


ESMOD's picture

I agree with accidentalSM's assessment.. but further on I would add this.

Your daughter has experienced a lot of change in the past few years.. YOU have too!  Your relationship is fairly new at this point isn't it?  Less than a year?  And you both have teens that are within a year or two of graduating. 

While I think it is important to continue to encourage friendly contact with the two girls... I do think that you should consider delaying marriage/living together until they are both graduated from HS and off to college/living away from home.

In the grand scheme of things, it's not a super long time in relation to the relatively short time you have been together.  It will give you both time to enjoy some independent nurturing of your kids as they blossom to independance.. it also gives you time to truly know each other better before entwining yourselves with a joint home.. finances..etc.. You already lost a significant amount in your last marriage.. no need to rush in right?

Perhaps without the forced closeness of living together.. the two girls will be more likely to slowly warm to each other? 

I'm not saying to do this because the girls may want it.. but because it's the smart thing to do.

Yes.. I know it might save a bit of change combining households.. but that could also be lost if you have to quickly dissolve the household if things become problematic.  Plus.. with both girls away.. you would be able to potentially find a home that is more suited to your smaller full time family unit? maybe even not in the same area?

It's not like you are likely looking to have more kids I'm guessing.. so while I understand the desire for comittment.. I think that prudent delay of cohabitation will end up making everyone's lives a lot more calm and drama free.

As for your daughter's alleigances.. maybe over time and with more of her own life experience.. she will understand that not everything is visible.. in fact you hid the bad stuff from her to not expose her to the negativity.. I don't think you need to go overboard in trying to vindicate yourself though.. a simple.. "no one knows what is happening behind closed doors.. while I'm probably not totally blameless... I certainly by no means bear all the blame for the breakup.. sometimes relationships are toxic and you have to get out".

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

but I’m comfortable that in a year I’m ready, and I have enough information to move in with my BF.  I would not be happy putting my life on hold for 4+ years until my D17 graduates from college and 6+ years until his does.  Putting the move off until they graduate high school won't significantly change our needs as far as space and entwining our daughters because I’m sure they will both be home on breaks. It feels important to me that she have some time to be comfortable with this new setting before she leaves for school, so she is comfortable when she comes home.  I do desire the commitment but really, we already have that.  I desire to share my life and my home with my love. I also think my D17 could benefit greatly from having a relationship with BF and his D16.

I’m just really concerned that D17 lived in our home with toxic POS ex and she “didn’t see it.”  I know I hid a lot from her but some things, like his alcoholism, could not be hidden.  She clearly saw these things.  Not only am I concerned that she would seek out a relationship in the future with toxic POS ex, but I’m concerned that she didn’t find his behavior problematic.  It makes me nervous she will end up with a malignant narcissist like I did.  I was completely unprepared for how toxic a partner could really be.  I didn’t have much experience with mentally ill people when I met him, and it left me vulnerable. 

I sincerely hope these thoughts on her part are a product of resisting change.  It just leaves me sad.  This wasn’t just the breakup of a marriage for me. I’ve navigated that before and been ok.  This breakup with a toxic narcissistic partner is something totally different.  When they’ve realized you are no longer falling for the manipulation, they systematically discredit their partners.  It’s such a difficult thing I never want her to have to go through anything like I did.  I truly fell for a sociopath, and it almost broke me…I don’t want that for her. Plus, it hurts that she doesn’t understand what I’ve been through when she watched me suffer the effects.

ESMOD's picture

I didn't mean through college.. I meant until the girls had graduated and moved off to college.. sure they may come home for breaks.. but they may spend part of that time with their other parent (assuming one or both have those?).. so the amount of time spent "together" as family would be likely reduced.  VERY much different than asking two teen girls to throw in together their last year or two of High School.

when they come home on breaks.. they are in that "transition to visitor" phase. and less likely to be issues.. both will want to be busy with their home friends etc.. less day to day drama.. believe me.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Even if she has "amnesia" and doesn't want to believe what happened, it's entirely possible that her body DOES know what happened and is experiencing some amount of trauma from it even if her brain protects her from it.

And it's not fair to expect her to build relationships with people she didn't choose to be part of her life. Expect civility, sure. But relationships are two-way streets, and she's saying she doesn't want one. That's her right.

And, since your last relationship was abusive and toxic, she's going to be hesistant of anyone new coming into your or her life. She's 17, so she probably can't fully process everything that happened AND her feelings around the situation. She's probably asking herself what work you've done to not find another d-bag whose going to treat you and her poorly.

To put it bluntly, she doesn't trust your judgment and the only thing that may get her to come around is time. Either you ex was that bad and she has to grapple with not trusting you OR your ex wasn't that bad so she has to grapple with you being a liar.

Being with a new guy may have helped you heal or feel better, but your BD didn't get a happy new relationship to help soothe her out of this. In fact, she LOST a relationship with someone who she doesn't fully know why he's gone (or at least doesn't want to face the truth about it). 

You two are experiencing this change very differently, and I don't think how she is expressing that is wrong. Your BD likely needs therapy to help process her feelings, not just another 17 year old who is going to agree with her friend. You can't convince her differently, either, because you're the unreliable narrator in this story. That absolutely sucks for you and is another wound you have to deal with thanks to your ex. But you can't move on and drag your DD into the future without meeting her where she is at, too. 

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

That is one of the hardest parts of this and I've acknowledged it with her.  She's been in counselling since the breakup and just recently said she feels she doesn't need it right now.  I was careful not to just use this current guy to feel better.  I made sure I was as healed as possible before I dated anyone seiously as not to use anyone to help me feel better.  Good advice just meet her where she's at...I'm just feeling sad this trauma will never really be gone.

lieutenant_dad's picture

But she isn't healed, and that matters just as much as you being healed while she still lives with you and is a minor.

Does she not need therapy anymore, or is her current therapist just not helping her? Because if she still feels the way she says she does, that to me indicates that she still needs someone to help her work through her feelings. It just may not be the therapist she has.

Ultimately, your daughter is telling you this is a problem for her. Given the history, it makes sense why it's a problem for her. She's not asking you to not date; she's just saying this situation makes her uncomfortable. You can either respect that and hold off another 6 months or year, or push this forward. Your choice.

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

and it is fair for her to be uncomfortable with this and she has to heal in her own time.  I've really encouraged her to continue with the therapist or find a new one but she doesn't want to.  I hope she will go back to therapy once she's settled in at school.

Unfortunately; I don't think there will ever be a point when she is totally comfortable with it, at least not in the next year.  She's a teen, very self focused (which is normal) and wants her living situation here to always remain the same.  That is not possible though or healthy.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Reading your previous blogs, it has been less than two years since you separated from/divorced from your XH, and you were only married to him for three years.

In 17 years, your daughter has, at the very least, gone through the breakup of her parents, the abusive marriage and divorce of your XH (whom it sounds like she was close to, so that is particularly painful ESPECIALLY if she struggles with seeing the abuse you suffered that led to the divorce), and now she is expected to move in with your new BF and befriend his daughter.

That's A LOT for an adult, much less a child, AND that only accounts for what happens on your side of her family. That doesn't take into account any changes that have happened in her dad's family, with any dating/moving/marriages on his side.

While moving on may be healthy for YOU right now (and I still contend you need to do a lot more healing before moving forward with your BF since you just stopped emotionally cheating on him), that doesn't mean it is for her. She may be looking for more stability than she has been getting, and she's probably craving that stability most right now as her life is in transition. Independent of what is going on in your life, SHE is embarking on a lot of change - change to a routine she has held for 13 years in school, changing to living on her own, changing to not seeing her friends and family on a daily basis, etc. Wanting to not move for three months only to have to move again out on her own isn't unhealthy. That seems like a pretty reasonable reaction.

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

I agree her reaction to not wanting to move in is reasonable and understadable.  What hurt was the idealizing she did about POS ex that was hard to take.  I understand she has been through a lot due to me, it remains the hardest part of my own healing.  Forgiving myself for making anything hard for D...but I've realized even though as parents we might have the best of intentions, we make mistakes.  WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. That is how I cope and learn to forgive myself.

The emotional cheating thing was a problem, a problem that I recognize is mine and not due to something my relationship currently lacks.  It's a leftover habit of how I survived 11 years of POS and it is a really unhealthy one.  I'm hoping I've kicked it.  My current relationship is healthy and I've not experienced that in a long time so it feels stable and's lovely to feel that.

Yes, my POS ex moved out about 2 years ago and I've had almost no contact since.  I was married to POS 9 years together for 11 though not 3.  I was married to my daughters father for 13 years we split when D was 3.

Thanks for the thoughts I appreciate them.

la_dulce_vida's picture

I'm sure this will be wildly unpopular with the OP but I'm going to agree that it is early days in your new relationship to be moving in with your boyfriend. You have a child who is nearing college age yet she is still your primary responsibility. Sometimes, as parents, we need to subvert our wants for the needs of our children. If you proceed with your plans to move in with your new boyfriend, you'll be sending a message to your daughter that the man in your life and your desire to live with him are more important to you than she is.

Take it from me. I put a man and my desire to be with him above my children at one point in my life. It took years before my daughter and I were close again.

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

i'm really sorry that your relationship caused distance with you and your daughter, but I'm not sure your assessment of me moving in with my boyfriend is equal to making him more important than her.  Having this person in her life is not harming her.  He's actually bringing many good things into her life, material and other. I have in no way changed how available and present I am for my daughter.  Also, my daughter is reaching adulthood and it is normal and natural to put more time into my partner at this stage in my life (she has her own life as well and it would be odd if I didn't have mine).  If he was my partner of many years I think this would be applauded. It is not a problem to put this move off until August when she leaves for school, in fact the reason we are doing it earlier is to give her comfort as she comes back home.  I don't want her to feel like a visitor in her home I want her to be comfortable and I thought this was the best pathway for doing so.  I thought it would be much harder if she came back after the first break with new furniture and new people in the home.

Winterglow's picture

You may not think you are setting him above her but she  dictate what she feels might not see things the same way  .. and you cannot. In your opinion, what is he adding to her life that she doesn't see? 

ESMOD's picture

But it is showing her that her preference for not wanting to LIVE with them is not being considered.. your wants.. and wanting H IS is more important than her feelings.  And we can argue that a kid shouldn't get to decide who their parents date.. but you are asking for advice on how to make it work better.  it will work better if you don't upset the applecart right now with these two girls.  They may develop a relationship over time.. and her with your BF over time if the pressure isn't in her face right now.. while she is already facing other transitions and stressors.  It really seems to be telling her you don't care about her uncomfortableness.. and there isn't going to be enough time to work through it all.. she will likely leave even more estranged from you and your home.. which I think is contrary to your goals.. unless you are punishing her for siding with your EX?

I think your logic is faulty in "getting her used to it".. What you are doing is throwing a monkey wrench into the last few months that she will likely spend as a REAL resident of your home... you are making her last months UNCOMFORTABLE.. while she would be coming back to a "new normal".. her returns will be brief.. filled with other distractions and potentially split with her dad anyway.. so a MUCH less difficult transition..

Plus the other girl will likely also being doing the friend/family shuffle.. so they may not even be "at home".. very much anyway.. at least not at the same time.


There is a huge difference between when she starts establishing her life outside your home.. making other places "her home".. and what she will be doing if you make them endure several months of daily forced cohabitation.



SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

Thanks for letting me know my logic is flawed here.  I will have to give that some thought.  I was actually asking advice on the aspect of her not believing me, but I'll take this all into consideration.  I'm pretty confident I can help her understand I am considering her and her feelings, becasue that is the truth...I am... Thanks again.

ndc's picture

She's leaving for college this August - 3 months from now?  I'd wait.  These are your last few months with her before she leaves.  If she's uncomfortable moving in with BF and his daughter, I don't see the harm in waiting a few months.  Coming home for breaks is going to be different whether your boyfriend is then part of the household or not - I don't think you need to "prepare" her for that.  Most kids I've known who go away to college consider school to be home and your home to be a temporary place to crash during breaks.  Is she asking you to put off the move for more than a few months?

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

She has not asked me to put the move off.  When we've talked she's been supportive of it and said she anticipated this would happen at some point.  She shares with me that it is hard for her to get close to BF and his D mostly because of what she's been through.  I make it clear to her that her relationship with them can be whatever she chooses it to be as long as she's kind (and she has always been kind that really isn't a problem).  Lately when we've all been together she makes an effort and has even texted BF's D and offered to drive her home from school.  The negative things she's said about the move were to her friend never to me directly.  

Merry's picture

DH and I didn't move in together until both our youngest were off to college. In fact we didn't move in together until a year after we were married so that both kids could finish high school in "their" places. During college, both kids came back to our new house during breaks, and it was a nice transition to "you're an adult" now. They each had their own rooms with their own things, and to my knowledge neither were uncomfortable in the new house.

The two got along fine, no big issues, but they were not and are not close friends. There is no way I'd force two teenagers to live together if they didn't want to.

Monkeysee's picture

Parents moving too quickly into new relationships without considering the affect it'll have on their kids (or genuinely healing themselves) is responsible for a boatload of drama we see on this board. If your daughter is feeling the way she is, it WILL cause tension in your home, and your new bf will most likely grow resentful if it’s not managed properly. Your responses to posters who are gently trying to tell you this are telling me that you're more concerned with yourself than you are about thinking of future impact. I don't believe kids should always come first, but considering the amount of change your daughter has gone through & that you're moving in with someone new despite how she feels about it, you're setting yourself up for problems. 

Your daughter is 17, she'll be away to school & starting her own life really soon. Is it really that big of an ask to put her before your need to move in with your bf for a few extra months?  Are you in therapy yourself to reconcile your previous relationship? Have you asked yourself why it’s so important to move in with another man right now? 'Because I want to' isn't a great reason. Is this really in everyone's best interest or would you be better served to ensuring that you're the healthiest version of yourself & are nurturing the relationship with your daughter while building a healthy foundation w your bf before taking a step that will drastically change the lives of everyone involved. Your daughter is important here too & you seem to be glossing over that fact.

SKIDSarekillingme2's picture

I'm really sorry if I've given the impression that I think my daughter isn't important or shouldn't be considered.  She is still very much my main focus, in fact so much so that I didn't have time to get back to this blog becasue I was enjoying her and her activities. 

I have done lots of thinking about this move and what is best for her and even though I'm told her that my logic is flawed (which I'll consider, maybe it is), my logic and sense told me it would be best if we did this before she left. 

We have no timeclock running BF and I are not in a hurry to move in, he isn't pressuring me and I'm not pressuring him.  We know this will be our future and I dictated the timeline because I thought it would be best for my daughter.  However; with that said I would not be happy putting this move off for years.  I want to move in with "another man" becasue this is my person and this is my future and I want to share my life with him.  I would ideally like to see it happen sometime this year.  We decided on summer because it is easier to move in the summer, but next summer would be fine too.

ESMOD's picture

Just to clarify on how I would see the logic of it.  She is getting ready to go off to school.. after that point.. it is really unlikely that she will return as a minor child full time resident.. which is her current status.. so her status will change then anyway.. and there is no real need for her to get used to living with your BF and his daughter.. because all she will be doing is "visiting" your home.. vs "living" in your home.. so she won't ever really have to "live" with them in the future. so you are getting her ready for something that won't be happening again for her... 

Yes.. she will come home to visit.. breaks and such.. but that's different than living full time with other people that you don't really see as "family".. plus the transition and experience she gains as a student living away from home.. will potentially make her even more able to adjust to a different home dynamic for those short breaks..

I can also see the value in spending the last few months with her in a more bonding and quality way... without the extra stress of having other people in the home mix.  These are the last bits of time she will be your "little girl" and not an adult who will be going off to make her mark on the world.. not that she won't love you.. but the chance to mother her.. is rapidly evaporating.. and I can see her becoming a bit resentful to lose that sooner than necessary.

I mean.. kids come home from college to all sorts of changes.. a sibling takes over their room.. or mom turns it into her yoga studio.. their mark on the home is erased over time as people move on.. and sometimes move homes.. from the one they left as a 18 yo.. so it's going to see your folks.. but no longer your "home" any more.