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Separate houses? – apologies in advance for length of post

Kelamity's picture

Hello everyone

I’m new here, have been reading some of the posts for a while, and have taken great comfort in knowing I am not the only one with the type of feelings I have been experiencing.

I have been married to my DH, truly the love of my life, for two almost two years. We dated for three years before that (moved in together about six months before our wedding). I have a grown BS, 24, he has lived on his own since 19. DH has two girls, SD17 and SD20 who live with us full-time (they did not live with him when I met him and he told me they never would as their BM would never agree to it – but due to a series of events, they now live with us).

All was well in the beginning, although SD17 always said she “just wants to live with Dad by myself (not even have her sister with her!). Of course DH assured me that he would deal with her, and for the most part he has handled her very well so I agreed we would get married. Can’t let your kids tell you who you can have a relationship with. And while we were dating, she was fine towards me, even made me home-made presents on my birthday, that sort of thing. Once she realized DH and I were serious and it was heading to marriage, she started turning into the devil incarnate (coincidentally she was also 14 going on 15 by this point, at which point a lot of kids turn into the devil incarnate, right?). Well, after trying everything to keep the peace, provide a stable environment, SD17 has always acted out – trying drugs, surfing porn on the net (that was when she was 14!), non-stop lying, skipping school, missing curfew, sneaking boys in the house when we were not home, etc. Some of which, I know, is normal teen behaviour. (Although I think she may have some psychological issues – she pulls out all her eyelashes and also sneaks and hoards food in her room. When I asked BM about this – she said – yeah, she’s been doing that since she was 9. I had to ask again, as I thought I didn’t hear correctly. Has anybody ever thought to take her for help? Nope, but I did convince DH that she should at least be assessed, which basically got us nowhere as she just will not talk when with a counselor.)

Fast forward. SD20 now lives in an apartment (since May) with a room-mate, trying to decide if she wants to continue working and stay in the apartment, or come back to live with us and go back to school. She is a good kid, only minor complaints there is she is a bit childish in some ways, still calls DH “Daddy” and stands behind him and rubs his back, wanting to constantly know where he is (for example if we’re all in the kitchen, and then she goes into another room and if he’s not still in the kitchen when she comes back she asks “where’s Dad?” even if it’s been only 5 minutes, she has to go find him in the house), but I chalk that up to her living apart from him from age 6-18, other than a couple weekends a year and a few weeks in the summer and she’s maybe suffering from separation anxiety? We were surprised that she wanted to move out, and after she had moved out for a while, she finally told us she decided to move out because “only SD17 ever gets attention, it’s like I’m invisible”. Of course the attention was always focused on SD17 because barely a day went by that we didn’t have to address some type of inappropriate behaviour. However we had a sit-down meal at least 5 nights out of the week (schedules permitting) and truly talked to both SDs and were interested in what was going on in their lives.

Back in April, SD (she was then 16) tell us she’s pregnant – by a 19 year old druggie unemployed drop-out who lives with his Mom (who informs us he also suffers from depression) and who of course, she thinks is the most wonderful thing that ever walked the earth. (His mother buys cigarettes for him, which he takes to the school and cells individually until he gets enough cash to buy some weed and then goes to get high!). Sigh. Unfortunately I saw this coming a mile away, tried to get DH to talk to her when she started dating the 19 year old, but he doesn’t like to talk unless there’s “proof” that it’s needed so as not to ruin his relationship with his kids. I talked to her about birth control, as did BM, but to no avail, she “just didn’t think of it”. So, DH and I and BM decided that the best thing is for SD is to move with BM (a plane ride away) as she wants to continue the pregnancy but put the baby up for adoption. At least she doesn’t hate BM and it will be a better environment for her to continue her pregnancy. Since SD17 has nothing but absolute pure hatred for me (according to her, I put the “ho” in “home-wrecker” – even though I didn’t meet her Dad until 11 years after her parents split up!), ours had become a very tense household to say the least. SD20 once told us she is terrified of SD17 and that she dreams SD17 is coming after her with a butcher knife. (She is not violent, but will slam doors and throw objects around when she doesn’t get her own way – we had to actually take her bedroom door off the hinges for two weeks to try to break her of this.) So since early July pregnant SD17 has been living with her Mom a plane ride away. BM has called on numerous occasions, complaining that SD is sullen, treating her like dirt, won’t talk, etc. Apparently SD17 is just a miserable person, some people are like that.

Here is the problem. The baby is almost due. After the adoption goes through, she wants to come back to live with her Dad and I (well she doesn’t want to live with me, but wants a place to stay to be close to the 19 year old sperm donor so has no choice). Because things are so tense when she lives with us, and DH does not like to deal with issues in any way than “having a loving talk” to her, of course nothing ever changes, and her behaviour just continues as she knows she will never receive consequences. This of course, causes a lot of friction between DH and I. My own BS was not a picnic through his teen years, but never did he run the show, there were always consequences for inappropriate behaviour. When I try to talk to DH about her behaviour and perhaps letting her have some consequences he responds with “don’t’ tell me how to parent, I have my own way of doing things”. Definitely some guilt parenting going on, although he doesn’t shower them with material things, in his eyes SDs never do anything truly “wrong”. Myself, I have a huge issue with kids getting away with murder.

So, DH has told me that if SD17 comes back he will get a separate apartment for himself and SD17 until she finishes school because he cannot take the stress of she and I living under the same roof. I told him I am not supportive of that and that I believe it is wrong for so many reasons, the main one being that SD17 will feel she has come between us, which is what she has always wanted. He himself has referred to her as “that f’ing b***h” on numerous occasions (not in front of her, of course), and has said she’s like a cancer that’s always there eating away at you, but says he has an obligation to ensure she gets an education. He does not want to live in a house with any tension, and since he won’t deal with her, his solution is for us to live separately. He has even gone behind my back, though I have asked him not to discuss this with BM, and told her that he would get an apartment if SD comes back with us. So of course he has now painted himself into a corner.

I feel betrayed that he has discussed this with BM, and don’t know what to do. I told him that I would become very resentful if he moves out. He feels we can still have a marriage, it will be like when we lived in two separate houses when we were dating. What, we go backwards so you don’t have to deal with your out of control kid? I am so hurt, confused, angry, bewildered, I don’t even know what to think any more. In one way I don’t want to live in a house filled with tension either, but I also don’t want to live apart from DH. I asked him if would come to mediation with me and work out ground-rules for SD17 and an action plan for consequences that we can both live with, and he has grudgingly said he would go. We have an appointment next week. But he keeps saying “I have to do what I have to do”, like he’s just agreeing to go to the appointment to get me off his back, but he’s still going to get a separate place. I asked him, even if it means putting your marriage at risk? And he says “I don’t believe my marriage will be at risk”. He just does not take me seriously that I will be resentful if we live apart because of SD17.

I apologize for this huge vent, and hope it’s not too confusing to follow. I would appreciate any advice or words of wisdom you can offer.


Stick's picture

Kelamity...I'm so sorry to read all of this... and I truly feel for you and for your older SD!

I'm glad you are going to counseling...but one way or another DH needs to be made aware that YOU ARE serious! That your marriage will take a hit, if he decides to live with his daughter over you. Since she is over 17... I don't understand why she cannot live on her own. If he has to pay for that apartment and he and you check on be it. But he (in my opinion) should not move out from living with you to living with her.

She wants to play like an adult (having sex, getting pregnant, deciding where she wants to live), then she needs to act like an adult.

Fine, let him absorb the cost of an apartment. But if SD is too immature to live by herself, then it should be a "no go". I completely agree that she will get the wrong message if he moves in with her. And I wouldn't blame you one bit if you had to take steps to protect yourself.

I'm really sorry. It's a sucky situation. I just hope the counselor can talk some sense into him.

*** A rainbow just threw up on me... and now I'm sh*tting glitter! ***

Hanny's picture

I'm sorry for your situation, but I would not hesitate to tell DH that if he moves out to live with his daughter...he is not welcome back into your house and the marriage is over. He is not taking you seriously because you've probably threatened things before and not acted on the threat. If it were me I wouldn't be using the word 'resentful'...I'd be using the word 'divorce'. But that's just me. Hopefully a counselor will set him straight. If nothing else he will be told by a counselor that the separate households will solve nothing with step, whether he takes the advice or not, at least he may see your side in a different light.

Pantera's picture

Im sorry you are going through this. I actually made a post not too long ago asking what people thought about married people living separately. I was considering it because my DH is a guilty parenter, his son doesn't have consequences, ect. My ss has acted the same way, great in the beginning but once realized that his Dad and I were serious, has acted out way more and has tried to get in between us. I think one post hit me the most is when someone said that most people that separate end up divorced. I know he is saying it will be like dating (which was what I was trying to do), but in the end it probably will end up in divorce. I think he needs to put a foot up her @**. Maybe she should live with BM until she can provide for herself. My DH basically picked his son over me. I left for 2 weeks and DH got a dose of the "real" kid and apparently it wasn't pretty. I did go back and we are working on things, but it isn't going to change overnight. Whatever you decide to do, we are here for you. In your post you said you will end up resenting if he moves out, I can't believe you aren't resenting them now.

stepoff's picture

What a horrible situation to be in. But I always question: why do parents and kids feel that the kids have a RIGHT to a college education and support thru college? A college education is something that is above and beyond the age of 18 and shouldn't just be handed out - especially to a 17 year old with no respect or morals. I say let her go on her own, support herself and find out what the real world is like. Why does she have to come back to DH instead of staying with BM? A boyfriend is a temporary situation and being 17, she doesn't realize that. Her mother will be there forever and should be keeping her daughter with her if she chooses to attend college. Being 17, why is she calling the shots?

Kelamity's picture

Thanks so much for your replies everyone

Crayon - I agree, some changes need to be made by DH as to how he handles SD17. She actually told my sister one time "I know I have Dad wrapped around my finger, even if he punishes me, he forgets pretty soon and I can do whatever I want." When I told him this, he said that he would have liked to have heard the conversation first hand - as if my sister had made it up or was twisting SD's words.

Stick - I agree that he should absorb the cost of an apartment - but not move into it with her. I have suggested that he pay half the cost of an apartment for both SD's to live in - OSD is on her own and her room-mate will soon be moving to spend a year travelling so she'll need someone to share the apartment (that's if she doesn't decide to come back with us and go to school).

Hanny - you are correct. I have threated things before and not followed through. Actually, the night before SD told us she was pregnant, things were at an all-time low (most likely becasue SD knew she had to tell us soon before she started showing so she was super-moody and snotty etc.) Tension was unbearable. I had actually scouted apartments on my way home from work and had a talk with DH telling him I was at my wit's end. We had a good talk, he did not want me to leave. I told him things needed to change and could he do some thinking and then we could talk again in a couple days. Then the very next night SD springs the news on us, so of course that sent us sideways for a while. It was quite an emotional night. DH and I took turns crying and comforting each other - to think that a 16 year old is pregnant, doesn't have an education, and the baby's father might as well be a slug for all the help he is going to be. Tragic. We had to keep it in perspective as much as possible by saying "at least it wasn't news that she's terminally ill, this isn't so bad". After a few weeks the decision was made that she would go live with her BM and SD said she wanted to give the baby up for adoption. So now I am confused that he wants to move out if she comes back here - our initial conversation he told me he didn't want to live apart. I think it is now because I have said that we absolutely have to agree on house rules and stand united to SD17 and that he feels that's too much work (and I really think he doesn't want her to hate him for enforcing rules!) and is taking the easy way out - for him and her.

csong40 - Thanks, I am going to tell DH about the fact that most times separation leads to divorce, hopefully it will make him think a bit harder about the decision he is thinking of making. I too, asked why SD17 couldn't stay with BM. The answer is that "she will want to be by her BF and will come back here anyway". My reponse was - you two are the parents, providing financial support, shouldn't you get to tell her where she lives? Who are the parents? When my BS was going through the worst of his antics, I would have gladly handed him over to his BD for a while as I was becoming burnt out and a year living with BD would have at least given me time to refresh my batteries to be a better parent (I was re-married when BS was 5 and his SD was a wonderful father to him, but of course, the natural resentment came into play there too - "you're not my real dad" which caused a lot of stress for everyone). However, his BD lived in another country at that point due to work and it just wasn't possible. DH has told me on many occasions that he does not like living with SD17, she's very moody, selfish, etc., (as I've said, he has on several occasions referred to her as "that f'ing b***h" but he is "obligated" to ensure she gets an education (it is not in his divorce agreement, just that he support her until 18 - even though she has lived with him for 3 years now - BM has not given him one think dime for support, however it wasn't two weeks that SD was back with BM that he got a call asking when he was going to send CS cheques - I swear, that woman has more nerve than a toothache). Of course, there are schools where BM is, but if SD17 doesn't want to go to school there (and she won't 'cuz her BF isn't there), they will cave in and let her move back with us so they don't have to deal with her endless sulking, etc. The silly thing is, neither DH or BM want her to be around the BF because he is a "waste of space" in their opinion. Even more reason for them to tell her she is staying with BM. I fear if she comes back here there will be another pregnancy.

youngwife2 - I appreciate your brevity Smile I absolutely don't want a divorce, we have a wonderful relationship - other than SD17. But I fear if he does move out with her it may lead that way, I can't imagine how our life would work living in two separate houses, and, of course, it would make me feel like he chose her over me, when he doesn't need to make any choice at all, other than to deal with the problem once and for all - let SD17 know she is not running the show and she either follows the house rules or she's out on her a**.

nomorefaking1 - I agree - I don't think kids are "entitled" to anything more than love, care and protection until they are old enough to be on their own. If you can give more, then great! But that they are "entitled" - nope. With OSD DH helped a bit with tuition, but she worked and had a small scholarship to help her out. But when that money ran out, she decided she wasn't sure university was for her (she would have had to get a loan or work more hours to get more money). DH feels that providing free lodgings is important to them getting an education, with a bit of funding from him, but that they make an effort to pay most of the tuition or get a student loan. I agree with him, I would do the same for my BS (and I do wish he would go back to school!), but only if the child respects your home and your spouse!

Thanks so much everyone. I am interested to see how the session with the counsellor goes next Friday. I'll post an update afterwards.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.