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18 years, and I am still here....WHY???

At my breaking point's picture

I have been married to my husband for 11 years, been together for a total of 18. His kids were 3 and 6 when we met. I do not have any children of my own. (Another subject for another day!)
We have had an up and down relationship for the entire time we have been together. I feel guilty saying this, but 90% of the issues stem from his now 25 year old daughter.
His daughter moved to another state in March of this year. I was on top of the world. I found love with my husband again. I felt 100% less stress, I stopped taking anxiety and sleeping pills. OMG...I can't explain the feeling! you guessed, she is back. :O
When I found out that she was coming back, I had a VERY long talk with my husband. It came down to me telling him that her being here is not good for me. He promised that things would be different this time. (Where have I heard this before?? :? )
Anyhow, she has now been back for 5 weeks. She still has no job (even though we purchased a beater car for her so she could get one.), has no friends, sleeps 'til 11:00 and eats me out of house and home. By the way...she is my husband's "other wife". (He hates that term, but it is SO true!)
I can't take this anymore. I don't know how to talk to him so that he hears me. I can't have a free-loader under my roof, but he doesn't seem to have a problem with it. He is so blind to the fact that his daughter is 25, not 15!
Can anybody out there give me some tips on things you have done/said to your significant other to make you feel heard? I love him dearly, but can't stand this anymore. I am so close to filing for divorce.
It's great finding this site. Years of feeling alone and crazy are slowly fading away as I read each of your posts.

hereiam's picture

Besides the fact that my husband and I made a deal years ago that no other adult live with us, I have told him there is just no way I could take his daughter living with us. I would be a basket case and a raving lunatic. No one would want to live with me! So, for my mental health, it is not an option.

Having another adult living with a couple is very hard on the relationship, no matter who the 3rd party is. When it is a free loading adult step kid, it's even worse.

My SD is 22, has 2 kids, is recently divorced, no job. Well, she got her first job a couple of weeks ago, but she has worked about 16 hours total. I told my husband they probably watched her and noticed how SLOW she is at doing everything and are not putting her on the schedule and will just let her go.

I have given her phone numbers for agencies that will help her and she hasn't called any of them. She is so lazy, she drives her son to the bus stop and it's across the street from the apartment she lives in with BM.

Your DH needs to realize he is hurting you, his marriage, and his daughter by enabling her and not making her be responsible and accountable.

Who did she live with when she lived out of state?

Doesn't he notice the difference from when she was gone?

alieigh21's picture

I agree with Nodoor counseling would really help. I feel for you. I also struggle with anxiety and insomnia. My therapist has been really helpful with his suggestions of how I can make him hear me.

It wasn't until he really saw the effect the stress was having on me that he actually stepped up. In the end I had to be very clear about what had to happen for me to feel healthy. I didn't see it at first but my behavior was very passive aggressive, especially in response to things I couldn't change. I stopped that and am focused on the things I can change and things are getting better.

Instead of complaining about SD not helping around the house, I refuse to be the house maid. I told DH it's not fair to expect me to work full time and still take care of most of the household chores. I told him he can either make sure I have help or I will hire a maid service and expect him to split the bill with me.

When I see behaviors that bother me I make it about how it is hurting SD or how making her do this is helping her.

Instead of complaining about the things SD does that annoy me I lament on the things we as a couple would used to do before SD moved in. I really miss it when we would take weekends away or I miss getting to sleep in together on Saturday mornings. When he agrees he misses those things too, I suggest that weekend, knowing that SD is most likely getting in the way. When he told me no, I said I really need some time away from the stress and I made other plans. After a few time of suggesting a date and me making other plans while DH was busy taking care of SD, DH started saying yes and telling SD we had plans.

SD hasn't changed, at 17, there is no time for the kind of change she really needs. But, DH has changed his approach. While DH doesn't go with me to therapy I have come home and talked about things that were said. The most important one was to request an end game. I told DH that there had to be a point where enough was enough. I asked at what point he would feel like he had done what he can for SD and what would happen if things reached that point. I shared my breaking point as well and we agreed that if it reaches that point SD goes.

emotionaly beat up's picture

You've been telling him for years. He is listening, he does hear you, but heh! So what. It's all talk. You nag and carry on but she is still there, she moved out, and YOU LET HER MOVE BACK IN DESPITE KNOWING HOW BAD SHE WAS FOR YIUR HEALTH.

This young woman is being allowed to move in, sleep till 11 and eat you out of house and home because you and your husband allow it.

Want advice, stop enabling her to sleep till 11. You wake her up, she helps around the house. She can vacuum every single day and mop the floors too, doesn't matter if your floors are super clean, all that matters is she is kept busy.

Take her grocery shopping, make her push the trolley, pack the groceries and stack them away UNDER YOUR SUPERVISION,. No matter what extras she wants to buy at the supermarket REFUSE every single time, tell her you can't afford it. If you don't want to do this, too bad. It's not about you, it's about making her life uncomfortable. She more than likely doesn't want to,spend time with you doing your chores either. Good. That's what you want.

Or, tell your husband, enough, either she goes or you go.

Are you afraid to do any of the above. Would it upset your husband, cause a fight between you. If that's the case, your husband is a bully who is emotionally abusing you and you need to build up your self esteem and stop allowing yourself to bevabused.

YIUR husband and his daughter are more than happy with the current arrangement thank you. They have no reason to change themselves or the situation. It works well for them.

You don't like it, it's not working for you, hen YOU do something about it.

I took so much for 8 years. I walked on egg shells, afraid of starting an arguement with DH over his Princess. She was pure evil, she did and said terrible things and she made my life hell. She didn't even live here. DH denied it all, could see no wrong in her. It was all my fault. I didn't like ht, I was looking for faults in her blah blah blah. She did it, he encouraged it, supported and defended it. You know who 's fault it really was. MINE. I sat back and out of fear let it happen to me. It's been two years since I banned her from my home and my life. My immune system has not yet fully recovered, still a long way to go actually. My nerves are a lot better, but the sight of someone who looks like her still sends a shiver brought my body and the hair on the back of my neck sticks up. Probably God's way of making sure i hever forget abd keep up the progress of building myself and making sure i remember i am important too, i matter. It passes quickly now, in a matter of moments, it used to debilitate me for weeks.

The first place to start dealing with this is within you.

sandye21's picture

You hit the nail on the head, EBU. Just LOVE the idea of waking her up early in the morning so she can 'help' with the housework and the shopping idea. You could also take her to town, get her a bus pass so she can get a job. Every day, circle the job ads in the newspapers for her to look at. Honestly though, it appears this SD is looking for a free ride. You need to take action now. Life is too short to live like this.

At my breaking point's picture

Hey EBU...are you now divorced?? If not, how did you end up "banning" her from your home??

Freshstart's picture

What have you done to yourself? How come she moved in with you two? Was it a trick? I'll stay with you until I get a job for example. How wonderful that you got a year to yourself. I dream of getting my life back for that period of time. My SD17 gets maximum brownie points for being studious so is doing a double degree - we will have her here for at least 5 years. Even if she went overseas and backpacked for one holiday would be blissful. Every second week for years. It's like a jail sentence but I did nothing wrong.

The wonderful thing is that you saw how the old you returned during that year and your relationship with your DH got better again. This is what I suspect will happen for us. What a great insight into how good your future will be when she leaves.

Forget the disappointment in the DH. You cannot even go there and start questioning with why they make excuses like they do. They are parents so they make excuses. We have all seen the families with one sibling who is responsible, normal and hard working and then one who is a lazy dependent user. The parents always make excuses for the lazy one and cover their expenses. For some reasons many step children are this lazy dependent manipulative child. My observation is that the daughters and the fathers are particularly bad. My theory is that without a sensible mother on the scene, these fathers and daughters lost their compass and never got it back again.

In my case my DH does not ask my advice which is a shame because I am sensible and motherly. It is also arrogant of him. I ask his advice and praise him for his role with my son regularly. I knew when I divorced that my son would need male role models and more than what I could offer as the opposite sex parent. I value my DH's time with my son and ask for his masculine point of view all the time. It hurts so much that he does not refer to me in the same way. Its like he wants to be blind and believe he has raised the perfect princess.

I agree with all the comments above. Hold on to yourself. Care for you.

alieigh21's picture

"My observation is that the daughters and the fathers are particularly bad. My theory is that without a sensible mother on the scene, these fathers and daughters lost their compass and never got it back again."

I agree. My DH only began setting limits when I made him. My first husband would give in to almost anything my BD asked for. I'll never forget when she asked for a horse. He thought about it for a few minutes and started talking about where would it stay, how would you take care of it..... I stepped in "NO!, The answer is No, we live in a subdivision you can't have a horse.

At my breaking point's picture

To answer the questions about her living situations...
His wife had custody of the kids growing up. We had them on a set schedule every other weekend, and a few days during the week. When my SS graduated high school, their mom divorced their step dad. My SS was ok...he went on to college (Now graduated! Smile ) My SD ended up moving with her mom, and we all watched her life crumble.
To make a long story short, in 2010 she moved in with us full time. The three years that followed were the worst I have ever had in my life. We fought about EVERYTHING. She was supposed to get a full time job, but 30 hours a week turned out to be enough for her and my husband. She was supposed to pay $100/month, for which I had to fight for EVERY month. She was supposed to use the time she spent under our roof as a benefit to get her life together. It didn't work that way.
Fast forward to March of this year. On the spur of the moment, she decided to move to SC with her mother. For the 5 months she was there, she never worked. Then all of a sudden she wanted to come home because there was more "support" here. Ugg!
So, here she is again. And YES, I know that I let it happen. I need to know.... how in the world do any of you put your foot down like you say?? She IS family, and it is hard to ask a father to turn his back on his daughter.

dadsnewwife's picture

<> Good luck with this one.

Be serious if you do that because if your dh is like mine, it won't work. He will continue to try to get his last son on his feet until HE feels the time/age has come to let him go permanently. I have come to understand that because he's not my child, I have no say (it doesn't matter than I bought most of our home with MY divorce money). He told me before we married if I ever tried to come between him and his child, I'd lose. He wasn't kidding. After 3 years of enabling his drug addicted 20 year old, I threatened to move out this past summer as he wasn't "moving him along" as he said he'd do after he was able to get his license back in March, he basically said, "there's the door". However, once his son crashed and burned again and dh kicked him out for the 4th time, he did admit that he had dragged his feet as he just knew his son was going to fail and didn't feel like spending the money and time on a futal effort. He was right, but it almost cost us our marriage. He knew I was at the end of my rope, so started taking the steps to get him back on his feel (taking him to get his license back, paying his old DOT fines, etc...). All summer he told his son it was time to grow up and here's what he expected. Dh gave him 2 options...the military or getting a good paying factory job as he was NOT living with us forever! He talked to a recruiter for a while, then got "scared" (he's nothing but a big fat lazy baby drug addict), so didn't join. It was at that point, I lost it and came close to moving out which WOULD have ended my marriage. Dh and I also had a big fight AFTER he went to rehab 2 weeks ago as I had HEARD dh say to his son that he was NEVER living with us again and then I hear him tell his son that if he does well in rehab and makes it through and is serious, he WILL let him come back here and we'll continue to help him get on his feet. I about lost it, but...again...there's nothing I can do.

I talked to my own DD28 this past weekend who said to me, " need to think of him as your OWN child." How can I do that when he's NOT and don't have that unconditional love for him that his father does. So, I've just accepted that I have no say and will focus on those things that make ME leaving and spending Thanksgiving with MY extended family out of state. Dh won't go as he feels obligated to stay home for his ADULT sons. Whatever. They all need to GET LIVES and dh needs to cut the apron strings! (This is what I get for marrying a single father whose ex lives out of state and isn't part of the picture.)

It's really up to you if you want to stay married or not. If you can't get dh to do what YOU want, then you have a decision to make. I highly suggest counseling. Dh won't go, but I do. It helps immensely. I personally did not marry for a second time to have it fail due to an adult child interfering, so have just accepted things for what they are...whether I like it or not. I just know it won't last forever and focus on that. Thank GOD I have a job to go to every day for 8 hours. Tonight dh is out of town and SS20 is at rehab and I'm basking in the peace and quiet of my home. Smile

emotionaly beat up's picture

It's hard to ask a father to turn his back in his daughter. But it's fine for him to turn his back on his wife and allow her health to be compromised rather than stand by her side and showing a united front tell his daughter, your a grown woman, get a job. If you want to sleep in till 11am, get an apartment of your own and sleep all day if you like, but here, you get up and you do your share around the place.

How did we get the courage to stand up and change things. We got so physically, mentally and emotional ill from all the crap, we decided no more. We decided the life of a doormat was not for us. We started to get some self respect and self esteem and refused to allow some young woman to destroy our lives and our marriages. We started to value ourselves and we stopped making excuses for our husbands who were enabling and destroying their daughters lives and turning us into collateral damage.

God did not make us to be used and abused by some other party. Mother, father, sibling, husband, wife. Child or stepchild. You cannot live your life to the fullest and be the best person you can be if you accept this. This woman is by her actions is playing you for a fool, she is disrespecting you in your own home. You are allowing it. If you cannot respect yourself, you cannot expect her an dh to respect and appreciate you in the way you deserve.

Asking your husband to parent his child in such a way that she becomes a strong, independent, productive member of society, is hardly asking him to turn his back on her. In fact the opposite.

SugarSpice's picture

@OP, i totally understand and can relate. hugs to you, dear. life with Dh was heaven when Sds small and were living with their mother. when they left high school and moved in with Dh and me, then the misery started. two mini wives and me at the bottom of the ladder, right under Sds, inlaws and sports. both Sds partied until daybreak and then hungover sleep in until noon. doing chores like washing dishes or vacuuming upset them because it ruined their beauty sleep. Dh is just so happy about getting the Sds all to himself that he asks nothing of them and is an open wallet.

ie issues are not easily accepted by Dh. mine denied it all the way.

At my breaking point's picture

This has been my feeling all along. When you say that your husband was "just so happy about getting the SD's all to himself", I can relate. I read somewhere long ago that most dad's become "Disneyland Dads" to their kids in a divorce. There is such a guilt feeling that they have "abandoned" their kids that they feel like each visit needs to be better than the last. With each visit, we watch helplessly while they forget they are a parent. They forget that parenting comes first, and friends comes second.

SugarSpice's picture

my Dh said he refused to discipline because he didnt want the Sds to hate him. that struck stark fear into him. they would scream i hate you and his tail would go between his legs and hed beg. it was humiliating to see two teen Sds turn an adult man into a groveling creature without a spine willing to cater to their every whim. he took their sides against me. that was a no win for me and i started to detach.

learn to protect yourself and love yourself. you have a gut level feeling if your needs are not being met. that also means not taking any kind of mistreatment from the skids. this is especially true for the mini wife variety.

you hit the nail on the head: disneyland dads and guilt. the makings of misery for you. parenting means guidelines and love not indulging and permissiveness.

i truly feel for you. been there done that. i swear at some times the dh got all of his fulfilment of emotional needs from the sds and came to me only for you know what. this is what happens when a man puts his wife last. the worst thing is that you will be blamed for all of the problems. in the end you will only be the source for nookie and the scapegoat.

take the advice above of 'emotionally beat up'. she has sound advice.

At my breaking point's picture

Wow, as I read all of your comments, I can't believe how well you know me. I gave such little information in my original post, but yet it's like you all can read me through the computer!

If I had the balls, I would show this to my husband. My hopes would be that he would open his eyes, but after all these years I know it won't happen. Believe me, I have tried. As much as I want him to change, I know the he wont. But...I also know that if I want things to change, I will have to be the one to change them. In my heart I know this.

I am finding the support here to be overwhelming, and am finding shreds of my backbone as I read each post. THANK YOU!

With this said, I'm off to work to support her ass! :jawdrop:

SugarSpice's picture

hugs to you dear. awareness comes over time. bravo for your awakening to all this mess. awareness causes us to move forward for change. no one likes being a doormat especially to the other wife. you end up feeling like the mistress who is left out of the important things. it is heart breaking.

it has been 18 years. change is not likely. perhaps someday the whole thing will implode on both of them. ei makes a mess of the emotions and its not healthy for anyone in it. whether you stay or go just make sure you are protected and supported. do something nice for yourself today and right now. buy something that will be for you and only you. you deserve it. this is part of taking care of yourself. if you dont it is clear the Dh wont.

hereiam's picture

In my book, saying no to her is not turning his back on her. She is 25 and had a perfectly good place to live in SC with BM. Too bad if she thinks she can more from Daddeeeee.

The answer should have been NO, she needed to stay in SC.

At my breaking point's picture I have seen it all! She was given an interview and a tour for a general assembly position at a local factory. I heard her tell her dad last night that is was dirty and hazy. She said that there was "no way" she was going to work there. SERIOUSLY??? This is the first job prospect she has had in the 5 weeks she has been back here?

It's not just with my step-daughter, I see it with so many kids these days. Why in the world does this generation feel so entitled? Why do they feel that there are so many things that are beneath them! I would have been mortified at her age to be so dependent on others!

sandye21's picture

Had a Nephew, who at 20 years old slept in till 3pm, didn't want to look for a job, wanted to be waited on hand and foot. In fact, my Mom found him a good job in a bakery - he refused the job because it would give him zits. LOL It doesn't get better for these deadbeats and I'll bet you ask SD to leave before she gets a job. Nephew is now 30 and living off some poor girl.

At my breaking point's picture

I won't be asking her to leave. Doing that will do nothing but result in divorce, as her dad would NEVER "let" me do that! The only way she is leaving is if I AM THE ONE to file for divorce and have to put the house up for sale. I can breathe knowing that it will be the end for me, but she most certainly will find an apartment with her dad. That's fine. She can then be the wife. A roll that she was destined to play all along.

Going to go for a drive this afternoon with the hubby. We got into it again this morning, and need to go somewhere to talk (after the football game of course! :sick: )I am asking questions for the final time this afternoon. If we can't put something that we agree to in writing, I am seeking out a divorce attorney later this week. Not only is he tired of my moods because of this, so am I.

Wish me luck!

Shannon61's picture

I see myself in your story. DH and I used to leave the house to talk about SD's and her foolishness when she lived with us as well. SD was 25 when I moved in with her and DH. She was evil, lazy (had no chores) and mean-spirited. The plan was she'd finish school, get a job and move out. It took her three years . .with my nudging.

She finished school, pretended to look for work for one year and did everything in her power to drive me out. I threatened divorce because I was miserable and didn't want to spend my days seeing DH coddle her like she was 12. One day DH were in our bedroom with the door closed. SD was cooking dinner. She knocked on the door, DH opened it and she fed him food from a fork. On other occasions she'd walk around wearing nothing but a towel. This is the foolishness I had to deal with. I was in competition with SD.

DH refused to give her a move out date. When she started working he said she could stay and save money for a place. So I insisted that DH stop buying her favorite food and that she bought her own food. I hid the laundry detergent, etc. When we went to dinner, he wasn't allowed to get her a "take-out" meal. She was an adult and adults feed themselves. I insisted he double her rent instead of the pathetic $75 she was paying. When she came home from work, I would lead DH to our bedroom and closed the door. She finally got the message and within a few weeks she found a place and moved out.

I will not live with her again under any circumstances. If DH ever considers letting her move back, I will end my marriage. . period.

Start making life difficult for your SD. First she has to get a job, pay rent and buy her own food. She's getting a free ride and it's time for it to come to a halt. Make her feel like she's an unwanted third wheel in your home and hopefully she'll be ready to bolt. Talking, fighting, and arguments didn't work for me, action did. If DH had his way, she'd still be here.

Finally I hope she doesn't destroy your marriage. Good luck.

At my breaking point's picture

Shannon, I have tried everything you have done (including hiding the detergent! Smile )
My mistake was being a coward and saying yes to her moving back in. Even though we talked about how things "should" be, and I conveyed that our marriage would not last if it were to go back to the way it had been. It was all good in talk, and I so totally took it hook, line and sinker. It's my fault that I didn't tell him right there and then that I would divorce him if she moved back in. It's my fault and no one else. I've been just to f'ing week to see the entire picture.

We went on our little drive. Nothing was accomplished, not that I should have expected it to be. Wait...there was one thing that was accomplished. When I told him that I thought we needed to see someone for some help, to get perspective and create boundaries, he said no. "We can talk, we can take care of it ourselves". Tell me, do any of you think that this is ture??

To make a long story short, I think that I may have decided something. Nothing is going to change unless I change it. I know that the only one I can change is me. So, after getting all of my ducks in a row, I am filing for divorce. I know I love my husband, but I am coming to find out that by putting myself through this over and over is proving that I don't love me.

sandye21's picture

I feel so sad for you. My DH would not go to marriage counseling either so I started going by myself. The therapist advised me to make a plus / minus list as far as my DH and our relationship. At that point the minuses far outweighed the pluses. I didn't really care if he stayed of left. When he realized I was seriously contemplating divorce he sudddenly wanted to talk, something he had never wanted to do before.

You wrote, "Nothing is going to change unless I change it. I know that the only one I can change is me." I decided to work on myself, doing all I could to raise confidence and self worth. I got up the courage to ban SD from my home and, like you was ready to let DH leave if things didn't change. When I got to the point where I was no longer afraid of divorce that was when things really started to change. Funny thing about DH: I found out the person who was REALLY first in his life was himself. Divorce would have meant he give up a lot of comforts.

You have to believe you deserve respect in your home, that the marriage should be DH's top priority. If he can not agree to this he is not worth staying with.

SugarSpice's picture

"One day DH were in our bedroom with the door closed. SD was cooking dinner. She knocked on the door, DH opened it and she fed him food from a fork. On other occasions she'd walk around wearing nothing but a towel. This is the foolishness I had to deal with. I was in competition with SD."

shannon, that is truly repulsive.

and good for you on your solution. you are lucky your husband agreed to what you wanted.

feeding behavior in psychology is reserved for between parents and infants, and parents and very young children. it is also reserved for spouses, mates and lovers. (think of lovers feeding each other seductive strawberries.)

feeding your Dh with a fork after intruding on your privacy is unforgivable. she was showing you the power she had to actually dictate your privacy and make a spousal gesture in front of you. it would have been slightly more offensive if she used her bare fingers.

some husbands dont get it. they think its cute and loving to have their children feed them. cute when they are three years old giving you a mini meatball from their high chair tray. repulsive and inappropriate when they are 20.

Shannon61's picture

Indeed, after she feed him, I kicked him out of the bedroom. This was just one of her many stunts. During the first year of my marriage I threatened divorce every other day. I was angry that I'd given up a beautiful condo and a life of peace and serenity to deal with head games from an evil SD who didn't want to grow up.

It boils down to loving yourself enough to not allow anyone to diminish or dishonor you. And when DHs turn their heads to steps foolishness it's a double whammy because you're being dishonored by both. At some point you'll also start losing respect for DH and grow angry and bitter. Life is to short to be miserable.

If DH told me today that SD needed to move back in for any reason, I'd move out the next day. I'll never live under the same roof with her again. Once was bad enough! And did I mention I moved in with them against my better judgment? I even called off the wedding because of it, but I gave in because DH wanted me to bond w/SD. Didn't happen! Moral of this story . .follow your first mind. I could have saved myself a lot of grief.

I hope things work out for you and that DH will see what's at stake and do the right thing. I wish you the very best.

SugarSpice's picture

shannon, good for you. you have guts and self respect. i also feel the same way.

self respect comes first and Sms are usually too willing to put their feelings aside for the skids in an eagerness to win their husbands and make everyone happy. this is even in the case of mini wives.

after awhile, you get sick of it. it may take years to get to this point. you get sick of always coming last. eventually you feel like he only comes to you for you know what that he can't get from Sds. sooner or later, Sds grow up and marry and leave Dh lonely. who will he turn to then if you have already left? too bad for him.