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I posted a few days ago...I’m just heartbroken

Nursejulee's picture


I’m so heartbroken that I’m living in constant depression and anxiety. I told you my stepdaughter of 18 years has decided not to invite me to her college graduation. My husband took my side and told her I was his family and if she can’t invite the whole family, no one will be coming. I have done my best to be a good stepmom. I don’t know if her true colors are just coming out or what. I sent her a text (wasn’t rude) telling her to be grateful when people do things for her no matter how much money it is. She had lied about my husband. I have never felt accepted by either of my stepdaughters. They are both 25 and 27. My oldest sent us a group text and asked if we were going. My husband responded to her that I wasn’t invited and how rude it was. I thought she would show some empathy but she didn’t. She simply said she didn’t want to be in the middle of this. Not saying I blame her but would have been nice to say to me “I’m sorry you weren’t invited.”  Yes, maybe I’m expecting too much. So my youngest messaged yesterday and my husband confronted her and told her she was rude and I have always been good to her. She basically went off telling him he wasn’t going to ruin one moment of her event and him and I deserve one another. I’m sad my husband is having to do this because I am sure he feels conflicted. I told him he could go and I would have no issue with it. I truly need some real advice. I need help. August is the anniversary my mom was murdered and because of this, everything seems so much worse. They are both very manipulative and entitled brats. They are liars but I did consider them family. I almost died in Oct 2018 with pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis. They didn’t come see me and barely texted me. I have no other family besides my husband and a cat. I’m a successful business woman but obviously my personal life sucks. I don’t know how to disengage. Should I unfriend her on Facebook?  I already deleted her contact info off of my phone. I’m not doing it to be passive aggressive. I’m doing it because I’m heartbroken for me and now my husband. Please just help me. I don’t know how to get through this. 

MollyBrown's picture

You have been post8ng for 7 years how these girls make you miserable and how they effect your mental health.  What you are doing is not working.  Have you tried therapy?   Disengaging might be great for you.  I hope you find peace. 

Nursejulee's picture

I have tried therapy. I am just the type of person that is a peacekeeper to a fault. I kept trying because I love my husband. 

hereiam's picture

I'm sorry that you are hurting, at least your husband supports you.

You should have disengaged years ago. They are not your family and they have made that clear.

Nursejulee's picture

you are right. They aren’t. And as pathetic as this sounds, when I married my husband I hoped I was finally getting a family. I have no one. I’m not being a victim. It’s the cold hard truth. I’m actually a survivor but I’m also human. 

Dovina's picture

It hurts and hard to understand. You try to show you care and you get nothing in return. Or worse you get ship sandwiches in return.

Be glad and thankful your DH is supportive and has your back. So many of us have a waivering DH who want to support us, but are so afraid of losing their toxic spawn that we become the casualty of their war.. His awful SD's are not your family, they arent your people....embrace what you have with your DH and release these toxic SD's from your life. Remember their anger and hatred isnt at you but at their daddee, you are the unfortunate scapegoat.

Take good care of yourself!

advice.only2's picture

It's pretty apparent these girls do not consider you in the equation of their lives. So stop considering them. Go find some new hobbies, engage with your friends outside of your marriage, join support groups. Let your DH deal with his tainted offspring while you go live your best life.

Nursejulee's picture

agree because if I keep stressing about this, it will cause more health issues that I don’t need. :( 

sandye21's picture

Your DH can have whatever relationship he wants with her but she has clearly let you know she doesn't want you in her life.  Time for disengagement.  When someone tells you who they are, believe them.  This woman is 25 years old and acting like a small child.  Your DH loves you enough that he has your back.  Let him deal with her and let him decide whether to go to her graduation or not.  If he feels strongly about not going it is his decision - and the right one.  You asked if you should unfriend her from Facebook.  That would be the first step. Then return her sentiments and don't communicate with her at all.  Not one dime out of your pocket for her.  If she comes to your house she must adhere to 'house rules' or leave.

I'm in the same position as you .  No family to speak of, so we probably put too much importance in trying to be 'family' with someone who has no intention of being family with us.  This could be because we think that 'Step Daughter' implies family.  Many of us have found this is simply not the case.  Instead look to friends and let them be your family.  You have had a rough year - time to pamper yourself.

Nursejulee's picture

As hurtful as this feels, you are right. They weren’t ever my family. However, when I give them things, they show so much love. lol 

Aniki-Moderator's picture

when I give them things, they show so much love.

That is NOT love. You are, at best, buying temporary - and fake - affection.

ESMOD's picture

I'm curious as to why you would even WANT to go to a graduation like this.  Sitting in a miserable seat for hours while people drone along and call out names?  Blechhhh.  I didn't even go to my own graduate school ceremony.  Just send me my diploma please..haha.

When you say she didn't "invite" you.. what does that exactly mean.  Were there limited seats?  I can't 100% recall how it worked for me.. so not sure if there are limits.  Was she in charge of organizing something for the family group?

I am not 100% surprised that she didn't invite you since you don't have a positive history from her perspective.  Why again do you even want to go?

I would have packed my DH's bag and told him good luck.. have fun.  Or.. gone with him, but skipped the ceremony or something.

Maybe it's just that I HATE stuff like this so I would have been overjoyed to be given an "out" lol.

Her sister obviously doesn't want to jump in the shark infested waters.. I don't blame her.


Nursejulee's picture

I wanted to go for MY husband and I helped pay for her school and have been there for here. Of course, this isn’t exactly where I wanted to be but I don’t want my husband to have to go alone. 

ESMOD's picture

Ok.. first, your husband is an adult.  does he have some disability that makes traveling solo difficult? (not being a smart a##. I just don't want to give feedback without that kind of info).  If he is able to travel alone.. there really is no reason he needs your emotional support to see his kid graduate.  If you wanted to make the trip because you liked the area.. you could even go but do your own thing instead of going to the ceremony etc..

2nd.. Why on earth did you pay for your stepdaughter's education? (or part of it?).. MY money won't go to my skid's education and I actually have a GOOD relationship with them.. and like/love Unfortunately, I understand this is a ship that has sailed.. the time to draw that boundary was before the checks were cashed.. but really? why did you?

ldvilen's picture

I can't speak for Nursejulee, but I know for myself, being a bioless SM, I've personally paid something toward SD going to college, and her "lovely" wedding as well.  I've paid for many things personally for both of my skids.  Now that they are having children, I am, sad to admit, buying baby clothes.  However, I have also paid for many things personally for my niece and nephew as well.  I spent a lot on my niece's wedding.  I think as a bioless SM, you want to even more-so do something nice for other children that are in your life or that YOU see as being family, by contributing to their future.  Thus, you feel you are making a positive difference in a child's life, as you have no bio-child to get this sort of "fix" from.

I haven't contributed any money personally to my SKs since SD's wedding, other than the usual gifts from DH and I, and in the past I usually picked all of those out and wrapped them too.  It's hard to let it go.  I no longer remind DH of their B-days, but damn!, when he comes out with those grocery-bag (because he can't find the wrapping paper), poorly wrapped gifts with no bow on them, I just have to step in and fix it.  Some things are just hard to let go.  Ha! 

BUT, I have been getting clothing and other baby stuff for the Gkids.  I admit part of why I did it was for myself too--feels good to get things for kids.  However, I keep slapping my hand saying, "No, No, XXX!  All that is going to do is make you feel bad again when one of the step-gkids says in the future, "Who are you?"  I'm slowly getting there, backing off more.  I've spent enough time with DH and skids and gskids to already see that the skids/ parents' lack of ease with me and my lack of ease with them will translate to the gkids. 

I'm getting there--disengaging, incl. no more $$.  I'm not at 100% yet, but I may be some day.  For now, I pick and chose which events I go with DH to.  I know some say if you don't go with your DH this is just giving the SKs what they want--you, SM, out of the picture.  But, I don't really care at this point.  If I can't trust DH to have my back when I'm with them, then he gets to go it alone.  He doesn't like it, but he has come to accept that I will just say No to going to some things and that's it.  He has to go alone or not go.  

So, anyway, that's my rant on why I kept forking over the love and dough for them for so long.  Even tho. they are now adults, once you had love for a child, even if it is not your own, it is very hard to let that go.  You loved and care for these skids/ children, at one time.  Very hard to just say sayonara to that.  Disengagement takes time and is a long, hard process.  But, the reward of peace of mind and a more solid marriage is worth it.  I'm about 4-5 years in now.  And, even bio-parents sometimes practice tough love with their own kids and just say sayonara.

ESMOD's picture

I have paid for things for my SD's too.. but nothing so big time as college education.. lol.  I'm just wondering how her husband got her to spend HER money.. !  I mean, I get it.. he wanted to help his kid.. he can do that from his own pot.  I'm going to the spa alone next time with mine..hahah

Nursejulee's picture

my husband wanted to help her out. I think he feels guilty for leaving their mom years before he met me. 

still learning's picture

(((HUGS))) Julee. I know it's hard when you have given so much just to be excluded in the end. Unfortunately this is a common reoccurance in steplife and you definitely have company on this board and others who are silently suffering.  

The advice I would give is to get some professional help.  You said you are a professional woman, a nurse?  If you work in the medical field you know how important it is to seek help when something is wrong. One on one counseling helped me through extremely difficult times in my life.  Please see someone.  

Nursejulee's picture

I’m extremely depressed. My mom was murdered on 8/22 and her graduation will be 8/23. It’s just so much to deal with. I’m in a lot of pain right now. 

Thumper's picture

PLEASE self admit for a day or two, maybe three.  You are in crisis and need a safe place to talk, rest and heal during this time.

Siemprematahari's picture

I feel for your pain but this calls for self-preservation and you really need to disengage, block, cut off, create boundaries, and have nothing to do with them, ever. No expectations or wishful thinking of having anything with these SD’s. Delete/Ghost them from every aspect of your life!

Look at what this doing to your health and no one is worth your well-being. Your H wants to see his daughters he can do so outside the home and you can do your own thing and even treat yourself to a spa if you so desire. Life is too short to be wasting it on people that do not value you. Keep your head up and take control of your life. Keep these non-deserving !@$#% away and live your best life!

Nursejulee's picture

I don’t want them in my life at all in all honesty. I’m going to look up disengagement and how to do that. 

Kes's picture

Yes, at least your DH has your back.  Personally I disengaged early on (after a year I saw how the land lay) and never regretted it.  I did not attend SD24's graduation 2 yrs ago, and did not regret that either!   My only piece of advice for you is STOP considering these foul young women family and start advocating for yourself more.  They are grown adults and you owe them nothing, especially not when they treat you like a bit of shit on their shoe. 

Nursejulee's picture

Yes, it’s time to be tough and self preservation is a must. 

Eve-Bee's picture

Do your income or inheritance go to this girl? If so... I would tell her that if she does not want you in her life, no of your money or time will go to her either.

I think talking to a psychologist would be wise — time to heal those wounds and build some strength. Focus on you and find happiness in your life. You deserve it!

So sorry to hear about your mother. 

Nursejulee's picture

I own a company. I will make 1.4 million this year which they don’t know that but know I do well. They will NEVER see a dime from me. 

StepperLife's picture

As it should. And as other posters stated, staying away from social media is best even more so ( and I’m just being honest here) if you’re going to see pictures possibly and the sting feel as though salt it being poured on to it. I know how you feel. And wanting a family is important. But so is your sanity. If SDs can’t respect you just as their fathers wife then you can’t expect much from them anymore. When you were facing failed health and got only a text it shows their behavior. 

ldvilen's picture

Nursejulee, let me give you some sound advice from a bioless SM who was in a very similar position to you about five years ago.

First of all, don’t feel you are over-reacting or need to apologize.  As a caretaker, which I assume with your name, Nursejulee, you are, it comes natural to you to be kind and considerate and think of others’ well-being and inclusion.  I fall into that caretaker category too.  There is nothing wrong with being a caretaker, and I still consider myself one.  Despite how some try to make fun of people who are “too nice,” the world would really be a much better place if there were more caretakers around.  However, especially nowadays, you need to become or be a wise, eyes-all opened caretaker; otherwise, there are just too many who will try to crush your soul—and, yes, just because they can sometimes.

If you can learn to become a wise, keen caretaker vs. a I-jump-all-in type caretaker, this will not only suit you well with your SDs, but in your job and with others as well.

  1. First rule as being a smart, wise keen caretaker—Learn to recognize BS or shiatsu when you see it.  See it as it is and don’t make any excuses for it.  Yes, it is very rude for your SD not to invite you to her graduation.  You did a lot for her, I’m sure, regardless.  Sure, there is always the excuse "there are only so many tickets," but somehow it seems mom's BF always winds up attending while dad's wife does not. Rude is as rude does.  Don’t keep yourself up at night wondering what you did wrong.  You did nothing wrong.  The be.atch did.
  2. Do you realize how few people want to even remotely be caretakers nowadays?!  Not very many.  You are more than worth your weight in GOLD.  Far too many are in it, the world for themselves and their own pleasures.  You are indeed special!  You don’t have to apologize to anyone for being kind and decent and expecting the same in return.  If only everyone was that way, but you also have to recognize that they are not.
  3. You need to learn to hold your head up high, vs. looking down at your feet or feeding your own soul with negative ruminating thoughts about how you must be a bad person because so-and-so is nasty to you.  You are older, well-experienced and a loving, giving person.  Not many have it over on you!  Some little “baby” 25 or 27 YO has nothing on you.  You’ve lived a lot more years than them and have experienced vast more.  You know the difference between right and wrong in your heart and in what you have experienced.  Don’t let some “baby” tell you you suck.
  4. Get mad!!  For God sakes, permit yourself to get mad!!  You have every right to be pissed and angry.  Don’t let anyone minimize this, especially since it appears you have been putting up with this type of shiatsu for years.  Remember, and I know this is very hard for a caretaker to believe, but there are people out there who will try to go after you and crush your soul just because they can.  DO NOT let them.  If you don’t want to directly confront SD, then, yes, disengage.
  5. Never believe the BS sayings regarding how SMs are supposed to suck it up and take it, take the high road, put up with it for the love of their DH, etc.  I can assure you, as a sociologist, in any other situation than with a SM, many of these things some insist that SMs have to do to be a “good SM” would be considered flat-out abuse or enabling.  For example, a SM is expected to cook and clean, etc. for someone else’s children with no thanks or pay!!  Cripes!  In any other situation that’d be considered contending with abuse for sure.

Since this is already getting long, below I’ll fill you in on what I went thru and the conclusions I’ve now come to.

ldvilen's picture

About five years ago, I was married to my DH for 13 years and looking very forward to my SD’s wedding.  At first, like you I was very worried about being invited, even though I had been in their lives for years and felt we got along fairly well.  When we got the invite, both DH’s and my name were listed.  I was so happy as I was invited.  (Now I wish I wasn’t.)  I just thought about going with my DH and how'd we have such a great time celebrating his daughter’s special day.

And, I thought it was equally wonderful that my own parents were invited too, since we’d had many a Christmas party and other Holiday celebrations, incl. graduations, at our home that included my parents and others in my family.

My SS, SD’s brother, was going to be the photographer.  We all got together at the rehearsal dinner.  BM was not married at the time, and it was our understanding she had broken up with her long-time boyfriend several months back (one she was cheating on DH with while DH and her were still married; over 15 years ago, I know, but he was still around).  My husband and I were at the rehearsal dinner.  The groom’s family was lovely, and so on.  BM seemed a little miffed about something, and then about an hour into the rehearsal dinner, BM’s old boyfriend wandered in and joined her.  The groom’s family asked who he was as he was not invited.  We just said he’s BM’s BF.  Both my husband and I know the full story, and had been keeping it to ourselves for years, so we didn’t say much.  DH and I got to sit with the minister and his wife for the actual rehearsal dinner.  At the church, going over the ceremony, all seemed to go well.  The minister made no attempt to discuss much about seating.

I already knew I wasn’t going to be participating in the actual ceremony and really had no desire to.  I did have every expectation, however, that I be treated as my DH’s wife (meaning, being coupled, seated with him; being in pictures where couples were included, etc.).  Really!!  What married couple would go to a wedding not expecting to be seated together?  I still don’t get this and never will and never should.  And, some people have the audacity to say that it is a SM’s fault for not asking who she is going to be hanging with at the event.  What the H-!??  You mean as a married woman I have to double-check with the "powers-that-be" if it is okie-dokie for me to sit with my own husband!?  That’s just stupid.  Any wife, including SMs, expects to go to an event being treated like her husband’s wife because she is her husband’s wife.  Is that some sort of mind-blowing surprise!  God, I hope not.  If someone wants otherwise, then they get permission from both ahead of time.

Anyway. . .  what wound up happening through a series of odd and let's-blow-off-SM type events is that I was left having to find my own seat in the middle of the church, and watch my own DH walk his ex- down the aisle hand-in-hand, go back and get his daughter, and then walk DD down the aisle and plunk himself down on a chair next to BM.  I was not permitted, basically, to be any pictures.  The couple that my DH insisted be taken of he and I with his DD and groom, SS, the photographer, somehow “lost.”

And, for pretty much the first time in my life, I got royally, royally pissed off, and made no excuses for my anger whatsoever.  Somehow I made it through all that.  My understanding was at the reception, I was going to set off to the side too, but I went into the reception area and sat down right next to my DH and did not move even to eat.  This wasn’t intentional.  I was so upset, I basically couldn’t move.  But I found out later that BM again was supposed to be seated right next to my DH/ dad.  BM instead got to sit next to her old BF, at the same table.  Actually, rather fitting.

Nonetheless, when we got home, I ripped into DH big time and made no apologies.  I told him what the H- was he thinking?  Pretty much everyone there knew we were married (13 years), and someone even loudly said to me as DH and his ex- were walking down the aisle, “XXX, why aren’t you up there with him?  That’s your husband!” That was when I found out that, DH had no clue himself what was going to occur.  He said that he was handing out the wedding programs, and then the music started playing, and the minister came up to him and told him to take BM’s hand and walk her down the aisle.  DH was so taken off-guard and the music was starting so eyes were starting to go toward the back of the church, that he (yes, being somewhat of a coward) went along with it.  He had no clue where I was at.  Nonetheless, even despite that, I didn’t let him off.  I even went to a marriage counselor and told him I was going to do so, to try to work though the absolute anger I was now feeling.  I wasn’t even sure where it was all coming from.  To me it felt like some of his family members had just mugged me, and he just sat there with his arms folded and did nothing about it.  Didn’t matter the event this was all done at.  Again, like you, as a bioless SM, at the end of the day, he’ll be all I have, and now I was left questioning and wondering.

BUT, you know what.  In some ways, I’m glad I got that pissed, because I started to realize and then actually feel all of the five points I noted above.  You are a good person.  You don’t need to apologize to anyone for being a good person and expecting others to treat you, especially those you have done volumes for, respectfully.  Now, five years later I’m a stay-at-home caregiver to my mom with chronic leukemia and my dad with Alzheimer’s.  And, the fact that I have learned to be both a good person yet recognize BS or shiatsu when I hear it or see it has really served me well in not only my own life, but in my caregiving for both of my parents.  Trying to navigate the healthcare system is almost equal to trying to navigate step-life.

As a good person, don’t channel Patsy or nicey-Nancy; think more of Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel.  It you don’t want to use your superpowers to give it to your SDs or others, then disengage.  There is a quote I remember years ago re: the Amish.  It was something like: “We don’t seek to understand Evil.  We just seek to learn to recognize it when we see it and avoid it.”  One way to look at disengaging.

Nursejulee's picture

omg..I can’t believe that happened. My husband hasn’t stood up for me until now. You deserve so much better. 

Nursejulee's picture

thank you. You are very kind. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Julee, your post has taken me back and has a lot of triggers. We are very similar.

I can imagine the pain you're in, especially given how close this all is to one of those black days many of us have etched on our personal calendars. Hopefully you'll be able to record another important day - the day you stopped avoiding, looked reality straight on, and accepted the truth of your situation.

I wasted years pretending, avoiding truth, and hoping that one day my SDs would want me. The truth was always in my peripheral vision, but I was too afraid to face it because it meant accepting that the family I had joined and invested so much in didn't love me and never would. Like you, I was 18 years into my marriage, no bio family worth speaking of, and terrified of being all alone in the world when I finally had enough. That day is one etched on my inner calendar because it was the day I stopped smoking the Hope Pipe and playing the Someday game.

When skids are younger, it's easier to make excuses for bad behavior, so I basically strung myself along. Someday, when she's older...; someday, when she has kids of her own...; someday, when she's matured.... There's often a lot of pretense and social artifice in stepdynamics, with everyone "just playing nice" most of the time. And there's often pressure to go along with the way things are, even if that means SM's needs are ignored, because everyone else is happy. I catered to everyone else and ignored bad behavior, until I just couldn't any longer. 

Julee, I want you to know that everything is going to be okay. You will be okay, even without family. There is nothing more freeing than facing facts, accepting What Is, and living an authentic life. I stopped participating in the dysfunction, and started living for myself. My DH was upset initially, but ultimately chose our marriage over his toxic family. He is completely free to have whatever relationship he chooses with his daughters, but without me acting as buffer and doing all the work, he soon saw them for the greedy, damaged women they are. We are all adults (SDs are in their 30s), and adults get to choose, so I chose to stop offering up my self and my wallet for mistreatment. 

I know I will likely outlive my DH, and will likely be alone. But I've learned there are many, many women just like us, many options for how to live our lives, and I'll be okay. Living in truth has chased my fears away. Once I stopped putting all my energy into DH's people, I made some wonderful new friends - people who treat me with consideration and loyalty. Several of us have discussed living communally when we are older, too.

You're about to embark on a messy, beautiful personal growth spurt, Julee. A lot of things will change and there will be some upheaval, but you'll come out stronger and better off. 


Nursejulee's picture

yes, I have to do something and take a stand. Or I will end up having a nervous breakdown. 

2Tired4Drama's picture

Go back and read it over and over again.  

I am also without kids and have no family to speak of.  Like you, I tried my best for many, many years to develop a relationship with SD.  It was wasted time.

But I am finding my own path.  And you can do the same.  Some of the most genuine kindness and meaningful connections  I've experienced in life have been from virtual strangers and short-term acquaintances.  I am lucky that I do have a few long-term friends I can count on.

While my SD still flutters around the edges of my life, I mentally try to bat her away and keep my gaze focused forward.  As far as I'm concerned, she is a part of my past.   She sure won't be any part of my future - and that is a problem her father (my SO) will have to figure out on his own.  

Count me out.   You can do the same!

StepUltimate's picture

Exjulie, I so appreciate your encouraging message. I, too, needed to read that.

Mountains's picture

I am so sorry for the loss of your mother.  My own mom was killed 27 years ago and it still hurts unexpectedly when I hear some specific song or other trigger that reminds me of her.  Therapy does help if you can find someone who understands grief.

As for your SD, yes it is hurtful especially since you gave your heart and resources for so many years.  But, now that she has expressed her real self, please think of it as a new day, a release!  This reflects on her, not you!  Your DH supported you and that’s huge!  He can continue to have a relationship with his daughter but it doesn’t have to involve you.  He will have to deal with his own feelings regarding her behavior.

This is a new day.  You do have family:  a loyal DH and a great fur baby.  

Wishing you all the best as you grieve through the anniversary date.

Nursejulee's picture

Yes, I just gotta get through this month. I did take a stand and his youngest daughter is not allowed in my house anymore. And yes, it’s my house. I can’t keep up the being fake nice to not cause drama. 

sandye21's picture

There will always be people in your life who will test your boundaries.  The older you get the more of them that you run into. You are vulnerable right now - remembering your mother.  Did your SD know you were a bit down because of the anniversary of your mother's death?  I'm just wondering if people who are bent on being evil can pick up on it and take advantage of you when you are down.  I think your SD is one of them.  Also I am wondering if your SD knew you wanted a family so bad that you might go out of your way to gain her acceptance - such as paying for her college.  You mentioned she was a 'brat'.  But please tell me if she would be kind at the right moment, then on reflection you got the feeling it wasn't quite authentic.  Have you had the feeling that something just didn't feel comfortable in your relationship with your SD?

You mentioned she never was grateful for all you have done for her.  Shucks!  If you sent me to college I'd be licking the floor you walk on!  SD is a bottom feeder whom you should keep at a distance.  There is no reason for her to enter your home.  Let DH see her at some other location. Do a favor for yourself:  Stay away from anyone who is not gentle with you during the month of August.  As you continue to stand up for yourself you will find that your honesty will set you free. 

Thumper's picture

OP---i am going to blunt.

NOT mean but blunt. Here is goes....You wrote:

 I’m sad my husband is having to do this because I am sure he feels conflicted. I told him he could go and I would have no issue with it. I truly need some real advice----


Men are the most amazing of our genders in many respects. They are simple (NOT SIMPLE MINDED). Unlike women who hash then re-hash, twist and turn stuff to death.

Your husband isn't conflicted OR he would not have said what he did. Men are not wishie washie like we can be. They compartmentalize stuff. ie. kids have historically treated wife like garbage. Your dh has had enough and thinks.. NOT ONE MORE DAY. "done" next???


Also, all of this stuff that is coming from his kids,  IS the foundation their mom gave them years ago. Now as older teens and adults they have taken over where mom cant.

Let me tell you...I am a bm, my x remarried. IF IF IF my kids ever treated their step mom like your sd kids treat/talk to you---I would have had a meeting with EVERYONE to put my kids back in check. In front of their dad, in front of their sm with my now dh by my side.   I promise you it would have never happened again. Not on my watch.

Let me guess, I bet your bm has remained silent on the atrocious behavior and actions of her charming cherubs.

I would suggest giving dh a huge HUG and pass him his favorite cocktail when he arrives home. Thank him for sticking up for you.----say nothing more. LET HIM be a man and your husband.

JMO of course.

Rags's picture

I would attend the gradaution with your DH if I were you.  Most universities have open seating for those attending.  SD will have zero ability to exclude you if that is the case.  So go at your DH's side.

If SD or any of her family take issue, that is on them.

 I do not tolerate rude, manipulative, hurtful behavior.  I confront it.

Live your life, enjoy your marriage, rub their noses in your happiness. Living well is the best revenge.

So live well and exact your revenge.  Let them flip out over their issues.  Do not let them prevent you from enjoying your place at your DH's side.  No matter where that may be.

ldvilen's picture

Rags, I wish everyone had the insight that you did.  You know so well that marriage = marriage, and that husband and wife should be treated like husband and wife, regardless.

I will never understand how anyone can think that being a SM means giving up your right (and it is a right and not an expectation--that is why people get married, among other reasons) to be by her husband's side whenever BM or SKs or clergy, etc. feel like it.

Rags's picture

Thanks, but I/we am/are just emulating the example my own parents have provided.  They have been married to each other and only each other since they were 19 & 17 and had their 57th anniversary two months ago.

I was married once before and my wife had a child from a prior relationship.  I made the commitment to a do-over of quality and the two of us have made our marriage and each other the priority that my parents have made their marriage.  We focused on raising SS to be a young man of quality.

It has has not been easy but it has been entirely adventurous and I would not trade one second of the last 25 years and 13 days that we have been married.

As I have typed countless times over the more than 11 years I have been STalking, equity life partnership means putting the relationship and each other first. It also means that both partners are equity parents to any minor children in the mix regardless of biology.  This is no different than it should be in an intact initial marriage.

A do-over is not a marriage of inferior quality. If anything it should be superior to prior marriages because both partners bring their experiences with them.  If they make each other the priority, a do-over can be incredible.

Sadly, many who enter into subsequent marriages learned nothing from their prior marriages and are doomed to a Groundhog's Day life of doing the same things over and over again and getting the same results.  Changing a partner without changing past behavior is not a particularly successful strategy.


ldvilen's picture

Wonderful!  I especially agree with and can relate to the last two paragraphs.  Love the Groundhog's Day life analogy.  "If they make each other the priority, a do-over can be incredible."  Yes, it can.

Aquasage02's picture

Ugh, being a step is the hardest, loneliest, and most stressful thing sometimes! Disengaging is not easy, and when you’re a good and thoughtful, empathetic person, it just goes against everything that you are as a person. I finally told my husband I had no choice but to distance myself out of self-preservation and I had to stop being the one putting forth all the effort and getting zero in return. 

I didn’t unfriend them on social media, but I unfollowed them on FB so I don’t regularly see their posts, which helps. I will always be cordial to them, but I will not go out of my way to attempt any closeness. I’ve had countless instances of being left out, ignored, not thanked or appreciated, or acknowledged for the things they know I do for them. Xmas gifts are always met with, “thanks dad” when I do the shopping. I’ve spent so much money over the past 20yrs buying them things that they rejected, plans that they backed out on, etc.  Too bad your SD doesn’t make the connection that her support doesn’t just come from her dad - financial or otherwise.

Unless they’re horribly rude, you don’t necessarily need to leave when they come over, but create some space when they do. I usually hang out in another room, have my own conversations, and let them see me enjoying myself - it’s good for them to see that you’re unaffected by their presence or lack of presence in your life. That indifference is noticed, believe me! You should understand though....they’ll likely respond by pulling away any shred of anything loving they were showing you. 

Whether it’s your husband or other SD, probably even other family members too, you likely fee like no one has your back. Maybe they do at times, and maybe a lot of times they just don’t know what to do.

I finally told my husband a few years ago that I blame him for much of the way they’ve acted over the years. He had a responsibility as a parent to correct them when they were acting this way, and he never did. His not having my back was also not acting in a way to raise good, respectful, empathetic children.  I’d say the same about his ex too. They’ve both indulged, spoiled, coddled, and entitled them. 

My own kids aren’t perfect, but they’re sure as h*ll have those qualities as human beings. I’m proud of that. Not proud of what my own kids had to live with in that mess, but I know they get it. We’ve talked about it and I’ve apologized many times for the things I couldn’t or didn’t change. I’m ashamed of that, but thankfully they’re forgiving souls.

I don’t get updates from or on my SD’s and in the safeness of this space I can say I don’t love that feeling of disconnect. I’m a successful manager in my profession and my job requires an ability to build and maintain strong relationships with others. I’m good at that too, so why I can’t make it work in my personal life is beyond me.

Like you, a major surgery and complications didn’t matter to them. No calls, texts, visits, cards. Never any gifts or acknowledgement of birthdays or anniversaries. But, they sure expect it!

Hang in there and you decide what makes you happy, then make it happen. Honestly, if I could’ve seen the future and how it would unfold, I wouldn’t have married my husband. He has let me down in more ways than this. I suppose I’ve even become more indifferent to him too, but that’s another book, lol.

Keep smiling and just know there’s likely some jealousy at play, and deep down they’re still little ones in some ways. They were probably never helped to get to the point of realizing that it’s ok to open their hearts to you too. Loving you doesn’t discredit or negate their love for their mom or their dad. 

PS - pfffttt with that college graduation, btw! I’d just say how hurt and disappointed you are to not be invited, and move on. Your indifference will eat her up, for sure!


Bethany's picture

Your indifference will eat her up, for sure!

That is so true. Like you, I'm a caregiver and have too big of a heart. My SKs have made my life miserable for over 30 years. I tend to forgive (too easily) and let things go. Finally, after all these years, I disengaged. The ex and the adult Sks think I'm the aboslute worst now as I did not invite my 15 year old SGS on my ONLY vacation of the year. He hates me and was taught to do so. But, remember this.....we have taken care of all of them for years and forgot ourselves in the process. 

I'm so very sorry for all the pain you feel, but disengaging really does help. It is difficult for many of us who are caring and senstive individuals. But, come on here for support. All the feedback I've recieved from the folks here has greatly helped me when I felt like I wanted to end the disengagement. My mental health has improved, I feel empowered and no longer have to deal with their tremendous disrespect. My DH has no backbone and avoids conflict (many men do)--so, that is usually one issue where marriage counsleing can help. I wish you happiness and peace.