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My husband won’t correct his adult daughters rude behavior toward me

TN_Stepmom's picture

I guess I should amend my blog to say my husband jumps on my step daughters bandwagon when she’s being rude to me.  Then privately he will talk about how he doesn’t approve of her behavior. But she’s 24 and been doing this since she was 16. When we got married she was so outraged she joined her grandparents in a lawsuit for her to go live with them because by marrying me he was emotionally abusing her. Here we are still married. She has finished college and after a couple of years off, she’s now attending D.O. School to be a physician like him. He is so excited that they will be practicing together.  I’m not. Everything with her is so divisive. She only talks about friends and relatives from pre me. She makes insulting comments usually indicating my stupidity. She physically separates us when the three of us are walkinking or sitting in a restaurant. I just don’t want to be around them anymore. I’m the outsider and it’s like they are married. They have coffee together in the mornings when she’s in and have these hours long discussions of religious or political beliefs or her becoming a doctor like him. I try to sit with them but they just don’t acknowledge me unless it’s to tell me to do something. If I try to join in I am quickly dismissed and they keep talking like I’m not there. Now they are going to practice together? Am I being petty? Every boyfriend she has had he doesn’t think is good enough so she breaks up with them. They talk on the phone when she’s not actually here for the longest time. Is it wrong that I don’t feel close to my husband after they get off phone or finally wrap up their pow wows? Is it me who’s wrong ?


ndc's picture

You have a husband problem more than an SD problem.  Why do you allow him to treat you that way?  He cannot control his daughter, but he can control himself, and there's no excuse for him dismissing you or failing to acknowledge you when she's around. 

shamds's picture

And his 2 alienated sd22 &sd14, hubby still acknowledged me, talked to me would tell me things about them or even talk about me to the girls. 

Him alienating you or making it like you don’t exist says he doesn’t respect you and is embarassed of you yet the hypocritical thing is he’s in a relationship with you for convenience when he needs it. Stand up for yourself!!

when you are at a restaurant and sd pushes her way to seperate you and your husband, say firmly “EXCUSE ME!! I WILL SIT NEXT TO MY HUSBAND”, if your husband creates drama saying that was uncalled for or won’t stand up for you, walk off without any announcement, don’t answer his calls.. make tour way home or enjoy dinner with yourself or a friend.

once home and he brings it up with you and tries to blame you for everything, say he was being an arsehole along with his daughter behaving rudely and instead of putting her in her place or catching her out on that, he didn’t, he belittled you further enabling and acknowledging that disrespect is perfectly respectable so you had every right to walk away and have an enjoyable evening

hereiam's picture

No, you are not wrong, and you have BOTH a husband AND an SD problem.

Your husband disrespects you and your marriage... and so does your SD. She knows exactly what she is doing and your husband goes right along with her. Shameful.

GoingWicked's picture

This is how my SD behaves.  I think it’s part being a “daddy’s girl” and you should allow her time to bond with her dad.  The other part is insane jealousy, where you should just drop the rope, it gives her nothing to pull on.  Me?  I find something else to do.  I don’t need my DH, he is not the end all be all of my existence.  I absolutely refuse to compete with his daughter.  I read a book, go shopping, take my dog for a walk, go out line dancing with friends, etc.  There are so so so many things I can think of that are way better than hanging out with DH and SD.

marblefawn's picture

There's a lot of reasonable advice here: "go find something better to do without them," for example, is reasonable advice.

But I don't think that is very gratifying in this situation, which I totally understand. I also have a SD. I think what you want is for your husband to treat you like a spouse at all times, not just when she's not around.

I feel bad for you. You didn't know she'd end up in a field that puts them in greater -- not lesser -- contact, and that gives her one more way to edge you out. You probably imagined as she got older, there'd be less of her to deal with and now she has a whole new means of dividing you and he's going right along with it.

And I'm just guessing, but you're probably thinking you're an awful person when you aren't totally furious about this.

I think your only hope is that she gets married, has a bunch of kids and gets on with her life in a way that doesn't put daddy at the center of it.

In the meantime, I guess you either choose to compete by scheduling more "couples" activities that bring you and your husband closer with no space for SD (remember, sex is the weapon you have that SD doesn't), or you back off completely and leave them to it while you wait this out.

Have you talked to him about this? It probably won't go your way even if you do -- he'll say "but she's my daughter!" and "you're just jealous." But if he knows how you feel, you can at least see how he handles things with your feelings in mind. Will he carve out more space for you? Will he make a point to include you in their conversations? Will he do anything to reduce the divide?

I do think these men get caught in between and have no clue how to handle things. If and when he shows any inclination to want to lessen this dynamic, you can give him specific ways to do it: "could you please walk with me when we're together rather than leaving me behind while you and SD walk ahead?" or "When SD interrupts me, could you please intervene?"

The truth is, most of this is up to SD because he probably won't see what she's doing. And because we all know you won't change SD, part of this will be how well you manage it. In the end, I disengaged -- I haven't seen my SD in two years. But my SD lives 2 hours away, so staying home when he occasionally goes to see her isn't such a big deal (actually, it's HEAVEN after enduring SD for so many years!)

I will tell you that when my SD got married, I think it got better. She's busier and doesn't have much time for her dad. My husband knows quite well how I feel about SD, so he honors my request that we don't talk about her, I don't hear about what's happening in her life. It's just a complete blackout and it works as well as it can.

It took a lot to take myself out of the mix. I felt as though I was giving up. But you can't change people and many will see you as jealous and difficult if you talk about this, so I found it best to take myself out of their relationship where I was obviously unwanted.

If you disengage, your SD gets exactly what she wants: him without you. But ignore this. You can't do anything about it.

What YOU get out of the deal is that you are not there to be made a fool, you are not competing anymore, and the ugly feelings you have about this dynamic will lessen. In time, you may even resent your husband less. You also send a message to your husband that it's not OK to treat you that way and because he continued to treat you that way, you won't be part of it. He probably gets the worst of disengagement -- he will never have the two most important women in his life in the same room again. If he has problems with SD or he wants to talk about her, he'll have to talk to someone else. But he allowed it to get to the point where you disengaged, and for that, he'll have to pay a price too.

Good luck. I really know how hard this is.

notasm3's picture

Why do you even spend 5 minutes with her?  Just remove her from your life 100% and then evaluate what your life with your DH is like.   And don’t come up with any silly reasons why you can’t do that - like it would make your DH unhappy. 

Dovina's picture

If she ends up as a physician and works with him your exclusion and being minimilized will become magnified. My situation is somewhat similar, and let me tell you, you take a back seat to the mini/work-wife. Imagine every day your husband goes to work with someone who wishes you didnt breathe. Its soul sucking just thinking about it.

I dont want to be negative, but when their carreer paths align along with the jealous mini wife that was  in place long before and worse your DH doesnt correct it = miserable lonely life for you feeling second best.


ITB2012's picture

This reminds me of a blind date I went on. The guy was a PhD in a scientific discipline. I am not a PhD nor in science. From the point at which he found that out he became distant and talked down to me. Years later I was on a flight out of town. When we landed, he came up to me and said in a surprised voice that he saw me reading some scientific magazines on the plane. I said, yes, my father got the subscription while I was a child so I grew up reading them and have continued the subscription for myself all these years. I guess that made me more okay to talk to, but he had already dismissed me before so I closed the conversation and went on my way.

That is rude of your husband and your SD to exclude you. Talking shop sometimes is fine, but the polite, well-mannered thing to do is to make sure everyone in the group can participate in the conversation.

My DH has done this with my SSs, mostly when they were younger. They would migrate toward him while walking to talk to him or hold his hand without paying any attention to the fact they pushed me to the side, this includes my DH not noticing. I started to just turn around and walk the other way. I walked home once and once I left him at a restaurant because he started listening to another conversation after having asked me a question and then not paid attention to the fact I was answering him (and it wasn't the first, second, or third time). Yes, I took the car and drove home. I also bowed out of a vacation because of that sort of "forget about you" behavior. He's not 100% better but it made a huge difference to do those things.

Siemprematahari's picture

"She makes insulting comments usually indicating my stupidity. She physically separates us when the three of us are walking or sitting in a restaurant."

^^^^^^^^ And you remain in this mentally abusive marriage.....why??? Have you addressed your H? What does he say? Which seems like not much. What are you going to do since it seems that this will never change?

You have a lot to think about and this is your LIFE......please love and take care of you!

CLove's picture

Like the saying goes - I cant just un-read what you wrote. Im surprised you are stll in this and writing about it so calmly, thinking you are the bad one. No, you are not the "bad one", you are not wrong. You definitely need to have some counseling sessions to address your sense of self.

You will read about this on Stalk: min-wife syndrom. Your SD has this. Read up on it, read about why it is bad (in extreme sense it is emotional incest!) and then saddle up for the ride. I would advise you have a sit-down with your DH about all the put downs. Absolutely do not allow an adult SD to physically insinuate herself between you two. YOU are the wife. He chose YOU. She is NOT the wife. It sounds simply, but its really not. It is a messed up mentality and they are causing you to doubt yourself.

My SD had a small version of it, because as the oldest she was given authority after the separation. SD's do not like when their power is usurped and/or taken away. They will fight tooth and nail. Its up to DH to do this. Up to now (hopefully your talk will have taken place already) your DH has enabled and ENCOURAGED this behavior, and diminishing you is part of that game. Address this and adress it now. He needs to be sure to include you as his wife. NO one gets married to be lonely!

LetsallsayBaBaBaBaBaBa's picture

I'm sorry that your step daughter is driving a wedge between you and your husband. 

She sounds like a miserable human being. She believes she is superior to everyone else. She sounds narcissistic. You have so much patience and love. 

I'd go off the deep end with that girl. You are strong and you have the courage to tell this story. It's important. 

Try to do something nice for yourself everyday. If you are able to.

And Please remember You are much better than this adult step child. She may as well be 5 years old. Her behavior and bragging is just awful . You'll know what to do, when the time is right, for you. Just remember this too. You don't have to have it all figured out this week. Give yourself some time. Be good to yourself. 


“That’s enough of me talking about myself; let’s hear you talk about me.” ― Anonymous

That quote reminds me of my husband and stepdaughters .

(Please excuse any grammatical errors)