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Manipulative adult daughter or submissive father

JLR's picture

I know its harsh to consider a father could be submissive, but my partners 33yr old daughter is a disrespectful and manipulative.  My partner and I have been together nearly 7 years, both after 30 year old marriages.  My 2 adult children and my partners adult son have pushed through their own difficulties in having to accept their respective parents new partners but 33yr old daughter (the oldest) refuses to accept Dad's partner opting to deny seeing him if I'm with him however my issue is that for 7 years i have to invisible in order for him to see her, and he has continued to ALLOW this behaviour.  I'm not sure what upsets me the most.  Any thoughts on hiw I can get over my discomfort? PS when he calls to see her for her birthday she invites him to lunch each time including his ex wife.

Winterglow's picture

Your husband is a prize wimp.He doesn't see anyting wrong with having lunch with his ex and not you? Good grief! 

It's time you decided what you want in this relationship and went after it. 

tog redux's picture

This board is full of women married to painfully submissive men who do exactly the same as your DH does. 

If it were me, I'd make my feelings known about his weak nature,  but I wouldn't allow it to upset me.  Since his son accepts you, clearly this about your SD and her need to remain in the delusion that her parents are together, not about you.  That's very sad for her, but doesn't need to affect you at all.

Do be sure, though, that when he's out with her, you do something fun for yourself, don't sit around feeling left out.  Personally, I'd prefer to be left out in such a situation, why would you want to spend time with someone who doesn't like you?

Missingme's picture

If you have to let them be together alone, why be married at all?  Whatever happened to the "as one" thing?  I don't agree with this.  Either the behavior changes or I'd be out of there!  

twoviewpoints's picture

To get a better idea of the backstory, could you clarify please. Your partner had a 30yr marriage and been with you now between 6-7yrs (your profile says just over six years, the actual post says seven years). The adult daughter of your partner is 33 years old. 

Does this mean that perhaps you were TOW (the other woman) and your partner and you were having a relationship for a number of years while your partner was married to his now ex wife?

I ask , because sometimes in situations where that is the backstory, there is a likelihood that this daughter of his may never 'forgive and forget'. It can happen when their parents new partner crosses timelines with their parents previous marriage. The children sometimes blame the new partner for causing the end of their parents marriage (whether truthfully or not). 

While your partner can not make his daughter accept and engage with you, the man has no business attending cozy little birthday lunches with his ex wife. 

The adult daughter and just her father for a nice lunch (while you're busy, yourself) to celebrate her birthday is acceptable. A lunch with Mommy , the now ex-wide and Daddy, who now has a new partner, is not. The mother can take the daughter for lunch one day and your partner, her father, can take the daughter for lunch , himself and/or with you included another day. But the threesome of parents and daughter for lunch is inappropriate and disrespectful to you, his current partner. 

I would not desire to go have lunch with an adult woman who wants no part of me being around ( I can think of much better ways to spend a few hours), but I certainly would not condone my partner running off and playing happy family with his ex wife.... if he wants to do that, he can go on back and just remarry his first wife. 

futurobrillante99's picture

There’s an easy explanation for the math. I was married for 26 years and my eldest is 28, but my marriage ended almost 4 years ago when he was 24. We had him 2 years into our marriage. I was with my stbX for over 4 years - I met him 8 months after I separated from 1st husband - everything was decided, we only had to wait the 1 year required. My divorce was finalized 8 months after I met stbX.

If the OP’s partner had a 30 year marriage, it could have ended before they met 6 to 7 years ago when his daughter was in her late 20’s. 

I don’t see anything in the math to suggest the OP is the other woman, though she may be.

CANYOUHELP's picture

Eating lunch, playing happy family with the ex, would be enough for me to tell him to go back to her, regardless of his excuse for doing would be over the first time. The happy family divorced, the marriage is over and regardless of who exists as a consequence; that fact remains. Never be with a man hanging out with his ex wife.

Curious Georgetta's picture

Existence or relationship. She is simply saying that when she sees her father ,she prefers to see him alone or that on her birthday she prefers to have dinner alone with the 2 people who are responsible for her existence.

It I not necessarily a repudiation of you or your relationship. She is simply defining the parameters of her relationship with her father.

You use the term submissive in describing the father's adherence to his daughter's request . Would it not be submissive to his SO ' s request to refuse to see the daughter unless it is under the SO 's request? 

The father is at the mercy of daughter and girl friend making demands . He is a grown man who should have the  right to interact with both daughter and girl friend as he sees fit. He is parent to 1 and partner to the other , but he is not the possession of either.

Both daughter and girl friend rather than enjoying the relationship that they have with him are trying to mark  territory. Neither of them are damaged beyond not feeling dominant.

Real control is recognized , it does not require comstant verbal assertion  or regular marking of territory.  If you have to mark it everyday, it is not territory that you own


marblefawn's picture

I do see your point. But where do you draw the line on live and let live versus territory marking? If her guy wanted to visit hookers every now and then, should she not put her foot down?

The part you leave out of the equation is this guy's respect for his current SO. It's not tangible, but it still matters. That the BM is an "ex" insinuates that the relationship is over. How you posed it makes me wonder when anyone can expect an ex to truly be an ex and out of the picture.

Sure, the ex and her guy have kids together, but the kids are old enough to understand the concept of divorce and that their dad has moved on from his ex.

By your measure, if the kids want the parents together, they can demand it and to hell with how it makes anyone else feel. If that's the case, this guy should go back to his ex because I'm sure that's what the kids would prefer. Does that make sense?

Nah, if this guy has an ex, I think it's a normal expectation that he's not seeing her for social events, even if his kids are involved, but ESPECIALLY when his SO is explicitly excluded.

Curious Georgetta's picture

Her partner invites the ex to the daughter 's birthday celebration. Her partner is going to the birthday dinner at his daughter 's request.  This event occurs  once a year and it seems that she only wants the 3 people present who had a hand in this event. The reality of their specific connection  to the event will never change.

The partner and BM's only connection is that of parents to their mutual children, but that connection will exist as long as they and their children exist.

The next partner cannot make that connection disappear not can they redefine that connection. What they can do to their own  detriment and likely unhappiness is to place too much of their emphasis and focus on that connection.

Dad likely goes to the Birthday dinner and then does not think about bio mom until the next year's dinner. 

The OP marginalizes  the importance of their current relationship by focusing too much on his past . 

If you truly believe that your partner cannot love and respect both his children and a future partner, then it is  foolish to become involved with him/her. It is equally foolish and unwise to become involved if you know that you are incapable of living contentedly in that kind of situation.

No one  who has been involved in a prior relationship brings a blank slate into their next relationship. You should avoid at all cost a partner who is expecting or needing a blank slate or the assurance that your past will not at some point impact and intersect  with your future. Such people need assurances that cannot reasonably be made. If the assurance that you willwill act honorably and remain committed to all of your obligations is not sufficient,  then you should move on to find a partner  with whom you have common ground  and shared perspective.




marblefawn's picture

You're so right: no one brings a blank slate. But I doubt my husband expects me to start hanging out with old boyfriends because my slate wasn't blank when he married me.

And my husband's slate wasn't blank when I married him. He had been married. He was divorced many years when I arrived. "Divorced" brings the expectation that the relationship is over and he has severed social connections with an ex.

This SD knows what "divorced" means. She also knows what "remarried" means.

You focus much on the self image of the new spouse. But what about SD's self image? What does it mean when a child demands two parents come together to celebrate them when these parents hated each other so much that they went through the trauma of divorce? What does it mean that this daughter expects people in meaningful relationships to be put aside so an old fantasy can be replayed for her benefit?

It suggests to me that SD is exceedingly self centered and hasn't adjusted to reality...that hell or high water, she's going to force these people into a room at least once a year -- people who decided, as adults, that they do not want to be in each other's lives -- simply because she wants it.

And that doesn't even bring into the equation how that diminishes any new relationships her parents might have.

In some other cultures, birthdays have so little meaning, people don't even know how old they really are. Birthdays are constructed celebrations that only have meaning because we choose for them to have meaning. They do not give anyone the right to elevate them to a place that is hurtful or demeaning to others. Let's keep them in perspective. It's one day a year. Civility, etiquette and reason don't go out the window because it's the day one was flushed out the birth canal.

TwoOfUs's picture

Brilliant, Marble. 

I can't believe some people woiuld say "well it's only once a year" or "this is what the daughter wants" as if that completely justifies the decision...without examining whether it's right and good for the daughter to "want" this. Answer: It's not. 

It's like those Bridezilla stories. Yes. We know it's your "big day" but that still doesn't give you the right to act like an ass to other people. 

This daughter's actions are mean, spiteful, hurtful, divisive...and just as harmful to her as to everyone else. No good comes out of living in a fantasy world. Good parents (not to mention good partners) would say a resounding "NO!" to this shit.

I know for a fact that if any of my skids explicitly tried to exclude me from something my DH would have none of it. I'm sure they know that, too...and they've never tried any stunts like this.

There have been times when DH and BM have gotten together to figure out something for a skid. Sometimes I've been there...sometimes not by my own choice. Like when BM and DH did a gazillion "meetings" with YSD about college last year only to have her act like a broken record. There was a dinner I went to and two of the "meetings" because my DH asked me to...and everything else I bowed out on because I didn't want to waste my time beating my head against that brick wall that the bio-parents seem so fond of. 

The point here is...I don't care at all if DH and BM "hang out" together for the benefit of one of their kids because: 1.) I know how much DH would prefer that I be there, too. 2.) I know none of the skids harbor any weird "maybe they'll get back together!" fantasies. All the skids have told me individually and together that their dad and mom were a nightmare together and the divorce sucked but the fighting was worse. And, 3.) I know BM and DH have zero feelings for each other...they are grateful to be divorced and to have moved on with their lives. 

It's simply not a matter of feeling "insecure" or not being able to "share your husband and recognize he can love more than one person" or having a poor self-image as the new spouse (not "girlfriend" incidentally) as some who are on the outside of step situations might assume. 

It's about what's expected in a marriage...any marriage to another person. First or second. When you sign up to share a life with someone...that's what's expected. That you'll share a a home together. No one goes into a marriage expecting to be explicitly excluded from certain events. And you shouldn't be, in a real marriage. Of course you can choose not to participate...but that's different than being excluded. 

Think of it this way. If this were her DH's family of origin and not his grown-ass daughter (Who is really far too old to be celebrating her birthday with Mommy and Daddy anyway. What is she? 10?) would anyone on the planet find it acceptable for his wife to be excluded from a family event? Would anyone think it was right of her DH to go to his brother's birthday if his brother said: "Oh yeah. I don't want your wife there, though." 

In this scenario, husbands would be called weak and base if they even considered doing anything other than telling their brother to take a long walk off a short pier. 

This situation is no different and should be treated no differently. 

CLove's picture

OP gives the birthday example as a Post Script to her main post. There are probably many other examples, and this has been an ongoing "adventure" for OP. I think that to provide a context, other examples would help. OP is saying that she is being "made to feel invisible", and that the SD is "being manipulative". So there HAS to be more to the story.

MY DH, he would never in a  million years go to birthday lunch with ex, ToxicTroll, and exclude me. OP states that she has been repeatedly and PURPOSEFULLY excluded.

Right, wrong or indifferent, when someone is PURPOSEFULLY EXCLUDED from things, rather than a regular "just the folks that raised me gave me their DNA, please!" - that, Curious, that is just plain MEAN. Like Taylor Swift sang "why you gotta be so mean? All your ever gonna be is mean, just mean."

It also just feels wrong. Many times DH has invited Feral Eldest out for a birthday lunch (his and hers), and I encouraged that, just them, or youngest included. But if she had said "CLove is to be excluded, and ToxicTroll BM is to be there, he would shut that stuff down right away. Not that it applys now, because we just found out she hates our guts. (saves us money!)

I think its not the WHAT its the HOW this has been done, and there is probably a whole plethora of other examples...

OP - I would say that you should read more posts here, and have a long talk with SO. Maybe print stuff out for him to read. Sometimes that helps, because in the heat of discussions, important points might be missed. I often type out what I want to express and then talk it over. That method has been hit or miss, but at least I can express myself calmly and objectively.

sandye21's picture

"That the BM is an "ex" insinuates that the relationship is over."  I totally agree.  No there is no need to play 'happy family' anymore.  The DH and BM are divorced, their kids are adults.   A wedding is one thing - a Birthday dinner is another.  I wouldn't care if DH took SD out to dinner for her Birthday (as long as it was with his own money)., but not with BM.  Period.

A good therapist would never suggest to a man who is supposedly moving on after divorce, and living with another woman to have dinner with his ex-wife.  I can't imagine that it would be a good thing.  LOL LOL

marblefawn's picture

I have the same situation with SD31. I've disengaged and feel better -- she's not rejecting me anymore because I'M rejecting HER. It's a great mindset, but it takes work to get there. You could get there.

I settled on disengaging from SD when I was left with no other alternative. I fought with my husband for years trying to get him to do what needed to be done for SD to play nice. Disengagement, after all that, was bearable. In time, it was even pleasant after I stopped dwelling on why things can't be different.

You, though, have the added wrinkle of the BM being there. Yes, that is intolerable. I'd raise hell with my husband about that. I think that's pretty disrespectful after 7 years.

You can't make SD accept you, so maybe aim for the disengagement mindset -- that's work you can do yourself and it will be a gift when you get it down.

On the BM's presence, have you talked to him about how it makes you feel? Do you sense any hope that he'd put down his foot and not go if BM is there? He doesn't care if BM is there, apparently, so you can only argue this from how it affects you...and that's a weak position with these guilty fathers and their manipulative daughters.

I'm not sure if you're looking for a way to change this, but if you try to negotiate it with him, leave the SD issue out of it. Bringing her up will only make him defensive of his little girl. Only make it about the ex being there.

Ask him what kind of woman would choose to be in a relationship with a man AND his ex. The very fact that she is an ex signals that the relationship is over, so expecting you to sit back and accept this is nuts -- no woman in her right mind would be OK with this three-way relationship.

Tell him your compromise is that you don't get in the way of him seeing SD, but he needs to compromise by not going if BM is there. That is a bridge too far and if it doesn't change, you might have to make some changes.

Forgive me if you've already said all this to him. I'm not sure if you're looking for solutions or just need to vent.

tog redux's picture

If BM is a sane person, and didn't wreak havoc on his life, and has moved on with her own life, I wouldn't really have an issue with the three of them going out to lunch sans me, quite frankly.  And as long as the SD is just distant and aloof and not rude and disrespectful, then that's fine.

I'm not really clear why people get so upset about this sort of situation with a stepkid.  My SS is pleasant and respectful to me, probably even likes me, but I couldn't care less if he and DH go do stuff without me.  In fact, I prefer it. 

Curious Georgetta's picture

and activities that exist apart from your relationship with your spouse/partner. You do not rely on him to provide your social outlets and validation. When he is not at home, you do not perceive your self as sitting home alone.

When you are confident in your intrinsic self worth and value, you do not feel lessened or disrespected because your.partner can find enjoyment and pleasure in activities in which you are not involved. You know that this is normal and healthy, because you too can and do enjoy activities in which he does not participate and yet that does not lessen or threaten your love for him.

You know that you were a happy and whole person before he came along and his presence adds to your happiness . You have no need to dictate to his activities to ensure your happiness.

tog redux's picture

Frankly, I wish his ex was sane enough that they could have a birthday dinner with SS.  I'd welcome it instead of all the conflict and drama.


TwoOfUs's picture

"Perhaps that is because you have interests and activities that exist apart from your relationship with your spouse/partner. You do not rely on him to provide your social outlets and validation. When he is not at home, you do not perceive your self as sitting home alone."

You sound like a broken record any time a situation like this comes up on Steptalk...and, frankly, it's infuriating and unkind the way you always assume that there's something intrinsically wrong with the SM rather than recognizing that there's something wrong with the situation. You are being mean and underhanded when you say things like this. You are preying on a stepmom who is hurting and already doubting her self-worth, and everyone can see exactly what you're doing. 

"When you are confident in your intrinsic self worth and value, you do not feel lessened or disrespected because your.partner can find enjoyment and pleasure in activities in which you are not involved. You know that this is normal and healthy, because you too can and do enjoy activities in which he does not participate and yet that does not lessen or threaten your love for him."

Incorrect. There is nothing "normal and healthy" about the situation OP has described. It's not "normal and healthy" for a husband to allow his adult children to dictate how or when his wife is allowed to participate in his life with him. It's not "normal and healthy" for a husband to allow his wife to be treated this way. It's not "normal and healthy" for DH and BM to hang out with their adult daughter on her birthday and to exclude the OP at their 33-year-old daughter's insistence. There is nothing normal, healthy, or kind about the way these people are treating the OP.

Honestly, it's not even "normal and healthy" for a grown woman to tell her parents how they are to celebrate her birth. With my skids, we tell them what we're able to do...they don't tell us. Same with my mom and DH's parents...they typically call us and say: "We'd like to take you to lunch for your birthday." Or, they don't. I can't think of a single time we've told them what they are required to do for us for our birthday...because we're adults. Nothing about this situation says "normal and healthy" 33-year-old woman to me. 

Normal and Healthy = Joining a knitting circle or book club or going out for a few drinks after work without your spouse. 

Not Normal and Unhealthy = Throwing your spouse over for the 'first family' every time your adult daughter says "jump" and continuing to engage in activities where your spouse is explicitly excluded for the very purpose of making that spouse feel less than, unaccepted, and unimportant as your partner. 

"You know that you were a happy and whole person before he came along and his presence adds to your happiness . You have no need to dictate to his activities to ensure your happiness."

The only person trying to "dictate" this man's activities in this situation is his grown-ass daughter who, apparently, at 33 still needs Mommy and Daddy around during her super special birthday. She is the one telling him who he can and can't bring...she is the one telling him that he has to leave his spouse at home if he wants to attend an event with her. She is the one trying to manipulate and exclude. The OP isn't doing any of this...she's simply asking to be included or stood up for as the wife

You often talk about how we don't "own" our spouse or how "this man isn't your possession" while completely ignoring the fact that his daughter is actually the one treating him like a possession that she can control.

Also, in a very real sense, as spouses we do in fact belong to each other. That doesn't mean we are to be controlling or boss our spouse around...but it does mean we've agreed (and vowed) to be life partners and put each other before all others. That includes nasty adult children who try to throw their weight around in an attempt to diminish our spouse and life partner. This husband is failing to uphold his vows to his wife, and she would be correct to confront him about that. The adult daughter has no standing in their relationship and should really learn to get on with her own life. 

bedazzled's picture

I think the difference is that yourSS is pleasant and respectful to you. In the case of my Skids, I am forbidden from going to anything involving them. I do not have a choice. You are able to make a choice, I am not. Now if we are doing something Skids have always had an open door. They get to choose. 

For instance birthdays for my kids. Skids were always invited. SS would sometimes come SD never. SS and SD birthdays I or my children are not allowed. For alot of us here we just wanted a door that swings both ways. What we got was a locked door. 

I want to be able to have a relationship with Skids that was give and take both ways. You cannot do that by yourself. The others also have to be willing also.

If my spouse wanted to do do things with his kids by themselves I would of understood. When you are forbidden by them but, expect to allow them when ever they feel like it, It changes how you feel about things also. You learn to protect yourselve because no body else is there to have your back. 


TwoOfUs's picture

Please read my reply to Marblefawn above. 

Most stepmoms do allow (and prefer) when their husband goes out with his kids alone. I have always encouraged this and been supportive of it from day one of our marriage...but I've been able to do that precisely because I've been given some very baseline respect and position as a spouse and life partner. 

None of my skids have ever tried to "exclude" me from anything. I am 1000% certain that, if they ever did, my DH's response would be: "We're a married couple, she's my wife...if I go, she's welcome, too." The baseline assumption is that we're a unit...if I choose not to participate in something, or if DH does...that's fine. But if my mom or sister said: "Your DH isn't invited to this" there would be problems. That's how it should be in a marriage. 

You say: 

"I'm not really clear why people get so upset about this sort of situation with a stepkid. My SS is pleasant and respectful to me, probably even likes me, but I couldn't care less if he and DH go do stuff without me. In fact, I prefer it." 

The use of the word "but" indicates that the second clause changes direction from the first in contrast to what you've just said...but that's not logical. It probably should say: "My SS is pleasant and respectful to me, and that's why I couldn't care less if her and DH go do stuff without me." 

Because you have that baseline respect and the assumption that you and your DH are in a partnership, you have the luxury of not caring about this. OP doesn't have that. Her SD hasn't accepted her or their marriage and is explicitly and regularly trying to exclude her. That's a very different scenario, and it's a cruel one. A good husband would not allow his wife to be treated this way. 

2Tired4Drama's picture

There is no way I would tolerate it if my SO began to socialize with his ex ... when I've been INTENTIONALLY left out. 

That is the fact of the matter here.  SD is INTENTIONALLY leaving you out, and selfishly including BM as proxy for your DH's partner - even though she isn't anymore.  And your DH is willing to play this little mind-game, which is what is most troublesome.

Furthermore, in your case, SD's exclusive invites to her dad could progress to more than once a year.  It might be applied to her other family member's birthdays and perhaps grandskid events.  Then what if your SS decides to do the same?  Now you are looking at quite a few events each year where you will be excluded and BM will be sitting there with YOUR husband.  I'd be willing to bet that your DH would go along with it, too, since he doesn't seem to have the guts to stand up to his supposed adult daughter.

Next, what would happen if your kids deciding to play tit-for-tat since they see how you are being treated and will stop including your DH in their invites, but include your ex husband?  

The whole situation, like most step situations, is fraught with spiraling out of control.  If SD wants to have lunch alone with her dad, that's fine.  But including BM along for the joy ride will eventually derail your relationship with your DH, IMO.   I think you've already lost respect for him because of this incident and that is a warning sign he should heed.    





tog redux's picture

But - she isn't inviting BM as DH's partner, she's inviting BM as HER MOTHER. If she dislikes her stepmother, why is it mandatory that she be invited, just so OP can be sure everyone knows he's HER HUSBAND?  I'm sure that's quite clear, given the divorce decree and new marriage license.

Now, if BM had a partner that she liked and HE was invited, but not the OP, then it would be a different level of disrespect.  Or if BM was behind the whole family reunion idea, that might be a problem too.  But all I see is an adult who doesn't like her stepmother, fairly or not, wanting only her two parents at her lunch.

I think it's sad for SD, but shouldn't be such a huge issue for OP.

JMHO.  It wouldn't bother me. 

notasm3's picture

Everybody's different.  Just because it wouldn't bother you doesn't mean that it is wrong for others to be bothered.  You have a right to what is acceptable in your life, but others have the same right to deem that it is unacceptable for them.

I told my DH up front that he could spend all the time with BM that he wanted, but he could count me out if that was his choice.  He moved a few hours to be with me.  BM and I just happened to live a mile from each other.  When he moved back he just stopped by to see her.  

That was utterly unacceptable to me for a couple of reasons.  BM got pregnant with SS34 years after their divorce.  So he had a history of still sleeping with her after their divorce at least at one time.  Plus I've seen countless friends have sex with their exes.  That was a door I was not leaving open.   I was not committed to DH at that time - I still barely knew him.

I know him now and trust him, but he had to earn that trust.  And going to see BM or spending time with her was not going to earn him any trust points from me.

Curious Georgetta's picture

those people with whom she wants to celebrate her birthday. It seems that she only wants the 3_ people who were involved in the specific event. The  posters lack of participation in that event is what excludes her. It is not some personal dislike for the  poster   Had she had a role in the birth she would have been invited.

I agree that the daughter does not want a relationship with the poster and that is unfortunate. But the right or obligation to be involved with someone does not flow to anyone but the 2 parties that are married.

The daughter has defined the parameters of her relationship with her father. She and the father's wife have only a relationship if they choose to do so. The daughter cannot tell her father how to be a husband ,and the wife cannot tell the husband how to relate to his daughter.

​​​​The man is father to one and partner to the other but he is not the possession of either


disrestep's picture

The father's manipulative daughter is what is excluding the OP and the same daughter seems to be the reason the OP has been excluded in the past. Of course the OP is being excluded because the daughter has a very obvious personal dislike for her. There is no reason for seven years of the OP to be excluded from any event her partner attends that also his daughter will be attending. 

It seems the father is actually a possession of the daughter if he keeps caving in to her unrealistic demands of purposely excluding his long time partner.

The daughter does not have the right to dictate who and when her father can and cannot bring with him to any event. He is an adult and should be free to bring the person he loves with him if they so chose.

TwoOfUs's picture

It's so weird to me when the automatic assumption is that CODs should get something just by virtue of "wanting" it to be that way...especially when the CODs are pathetic, 30-something women who can't let go of "Mommy and Daddy" and start their own lives. Guh-Ross. 

No...SD can't tell her father how to be a husband. That's not her job or her right. But his wife can tell him how to be a husband...and that may entail telling him how to relate to his adult daughter if this daughter continues to insist on unreasonable demands such as this one. 

Adult children don't ever take precedence over a spouse. The adult kids are supposed to be out on their own, building their own life. Your spouse is the person that you live with every day and are building your life with. 

My DH and I were talking just the other day about how little affect his kids have on our lives now that they're grown. They really have zero to do with our day-to-day lives and day-to-day happiness. DH calls them each about every other week...and we see the one who's still in town from time-to-time...we text them occassionally. But our days of organizing our schedules and plans around kids are over. That's how it's supposed to be. 

There is nothing healthy about this dynamic that OP has described...and to be a good parent and a good partner, her husband needs to stand up for his marriage and shut this nonsense down. 

2Tired4Drama's picture

It's SD's intent, and DH's apparent acquiesence to it.    There are lots of unknowns here - like was SM not invited to weddings, baby births, holidays etc.?  We don't know the history so I'm just going by what she stated in her OP where she identified SD as "disrespectful and manipulative."   Leads me to believe there is more to this than a simple lunch invite.

All I know is that I am a child of divorce and there is no way that AS AN ADULT I would have invited my father to lunch, telling him to leave his wife behind, but inviting my mom.   I was no fan of my father's wife but at least I had enough respect for my father's choice that I could (and did) include her for his sake.   

I learned to have separate events with my parents for birthdays, holidays, etc. because there wasn't tension.  Trying to have two people who are divorced (your parents or not, amicable or not) is not always a comfortable situation, so you learn to adapt.  

Most children of divorce learn this early on, evidently SD33 still has not. 

TwoOfUs's picture

This is my thought, too. 

I am not a COD...but my skids will often joke about how "awkward" it is when their parents are together for something. That awkwardness has actually gotten better in the 12 years they've been divorced and the 9 years we've been married...but I still can't imagine any of the skids seeking out time alone with Mommy and Daddy together...that would likely be one of their worst nightmares.  

And my skids are in their late teens and early twenties...not their thirties. When my mom was 33, she had 5 kids, had traveled the country and the world...and had been through several jobs but mainly worked as a legal editor for my dad's law firm while staying home with her kids. In other words...she was a full-fledged adult with many life experiences and adventures under her belt. She wasn't still asking for special, private birthday lunches with Mommy and Daddy. 

When I was 33, I had already lost my dad, been through college, an M.A., and a PhD. Been married to my DH for 3 years. Taught high school and college for about 10 years (including TA years) and was transitioning into my career as a writer. I also wasn't asking "Mommy" to take me out for a special birthday meal...and we're a very close family. 

This smells, looks, walks, and talks like pure manipulation. Either that, or this SD has major developmental problems that possibly need to be addressed? Either way, it's simply not normal in any way for a 33-year-old to be making these kinds of "birthday demands" of her parents...and they need to quit saying yes to this weirdness.  

disrestep's picture

You are not being harsh, as it sounds like your partner is being submissive while cowering down to his DD's demands to see him only if you are not there. His DD needs to get over the fact that you and her father are in a loving relationship and it is not all about her. She should respect her father enough to go on with her life and stop trying to live in the past and rebuild the first family she so bizarrely needs back. 

Thoughts in how to get over the discomfort:  Feeling more comfortable about the whole thing is different for everyone. Some disengage, some vent, some pretend and some try and work things out. I guess whatever is most comfortable for you.

Seven years for any family member of your partner to try and make you be invisible and purposely exclude you is far too long. I think your DH should grow some and tell little Miss manipulative that he is going to bring you to the next outing they all plan and she can either accept it and play nice or do her own thing. 

Happy, kind, loving people don't purposely exclude a long time partner of anyone. How would his DD like it if her partner was always purposely excluded? It's wrong and just a game adult skids play. I get the same BS with my DH's adult brood. They would purposely exclude me and tell DH he was the only one invited and then they would invite a ton of other family members to whatever event and DH would be fuming vowing never to go again. 

OSD also pulled the Bday thing some years back, and DH brought me. I didn't know my presence was not wanted until after OSD told DH that I spoiled her special birthday dinner by being there, even though there were about 15 other family members there of DH's. I never would of went. I was quiet and sat, ate and smiled the whole time, but OSD cannot get over DH and I are a couple and doubt she ever will. OSS is also just as bad. He hates me, and has always excluded me no matter what the event was.

It just gets to the point where you have to stop caring about what the adult skids think and stop trying to tiptoe around them to appease them. These are adults and have no right calling the shots on who, when and where their parent want to bring to any event they are at, even if that is their birthday. 

Maybe a lot of us try biting our tongues about being excluded all the time by adult skids in an effort to not cause any grief to our partners and not sound flexible. But the whole excluding dynamic conjured up by adult skids is not nice and they know it. When the ex is also invited and you are excluded that brings it to a whole new level of nasty, and they know that too.


2Tired4Drama's picture

You hit the nail better than I did!   While some may find psycho-babble in a textbook which would diminish OPs concerns in favor of SD's "rights" as a so-called adult child, it really all boils down to this key point:  "Happy, kind, loving people don't purposely exclude a long time partner of anyone."


tog redux's picture

I totally agree that SD sounds unhappy and immature. It's absurd that she can't accept her parent's new spouse at 33.  But she does have the "right" to include whoever she wants. That's just a fact. OP can let it upset her or not.

There would be some occasions on which I would object to being excluded, say, if BM's partner were included but I wasn't, but not to a simple birthday lunch with 3 people involved.  I'd expect DH to stand up for me when needed.

still learning's picture

What to do when your man is off having a meal with his ex wife and kid?  What to do when your man pretends you don't exist to appease an adult child?

It's unreal that as women in 2018 we have to answer these kinds of questions, and the general consensus of society is that we should be okay with it.  The dynamic of consecutive wives or partners is that we're treated like a mistress that should be hidden away as not to upset BM and children from the first family. 

My attitude has always been open doors that swing both ways with DH. He can do whatever he wants but don't expect me to sit at home waiting. 


Curious Georgetta's picture

In 2018 an adult expresses her preference of  visiting alone with her father and having spending her birthday with alone with the 2 people responsible for her conception.  Time with her dad is not something that necessarily involves any one but the 2 of them.  There are no exclusions because no one has an entitlement to participate in father-daughter time but father and daughter.

If the daughter only wants  the 2 people involved in her conception at her birthday party , again no one is excluded because only the participants in her conception are invited.

He may be your man ,and he is her father, but he is not anyone's possession. If your partner is mature and healthy, he would probably not object to your child wanting only his mom and dad at his/her party. Most people are not threatened by a once a year recognition of this very primal connection.

If you have trust , you do not feel threatened or lessened by activities that have no real impact on your day to day life  your partner loves you or he does not. No amount of control over his activities ensures his love. 


still learning's picture

"only the participants in her conception are invited."  "a once a year recognition of this very primal connection."

Sounds like a weird fertility ritual where everyone takes peyote.  Yeah, I'd be wigged out at my DH attending a once a year recogniton of primal connection with BM concerning the conception of their children.   

CANYOUHELP's picture

So now there are divorced "conception rituals."  Does this nightmare just play on and on to beat the SM into an unhealthy pulp of a first family personal likeness? I guess the mean, cruel, selfish, SM (Wife), should just maturely smile in support of the conception date between DH and his ex-wife.... Oh, SM may be allowed to set up the divorce reunion reservation for 3; all the time sitting at home alone, totally disinvited.  SM should also foot the bill, given the whipping she is taking by all parties already.  She has to be numb, even at the thought of this craziness.  What is next for the 3 of them to celebrate privately?

Ridiculous position at best; no just is. No mature, healthy woman would buy this malarky.

OP should pack this man's bags during the participant date night; text him enjoy the rest of your life with your primary  participant;  and clearly communicate she is now planning her participation elsewhere. Bags are packed and locks are changed...this less than participant, not participating, moving on...



SacrificialLamb's picture

"Yeah, I'd be wigged out at my DH attending a once a year recogniton of primal connection with BM concerning the conception of their children.   "



sandye21's picture

"In 2018 an adult expresses her preference of  visiting alone with her father and having spending her birthday with alone with the 2 people responsible for her conception."  Pass the peyote, please!!  Somewhere in this mix there was a divorce, right?    So how would this 'ritual' play out after everyone goes home and attempts to carry on 'regular life' with their partners?

If my DH told me he was going to take part in a 'conceptional ritual' celebration with his ex-wife and SD, and leave me at home, he'd be looking for somewhere else to live.

I've got an idea for a 'ritual'.  It's called 'growing up' and living in the real world.

Winterglow's picture

So SD is consciously or unconsciously seeking to remind all concerned of a time when her parents used to have sex... Hmmm.

Booboobear's picture

Im so confused  Im going to need a drink and a bag of corn candy to understand all these posts   *ROFL*


still learning's picture

If you really want to understand these posts eat some peyote and grilled placenta burgers then wash it all down with a shot of breast milk!  

MissTexas's picture

Maybe, it would be understandable for a juvenile (age wise, not mentally or emotionally) to request seeing her father on her birthday, but this is a grown woman. She knows the strife this will cause in DH's life, and doesn't care. It's just another "perk" for her to play her father and manipulate him.

This is another passive aggressive power play, cleverly (SD thinks, or for SM not so cleverly) disguised as an emotional outcry for mommy and daddy to come together to celebrate ME (SD) because it's all about her, isn't it? To hell with how anyone else feels, irregardless of whose birthday it is.

The aftermath sets into motion a hell on earth for SM and DH's marriage, as DH cannot disappoint his princess, and why should he when it's much easier to hurt SM?

Same movie, different cast.

The DH would obviously be footing the bill, after traveling to wherever the SD may live.

Where I come from married men stop dating other women. The EX is an EX for a reason. I always say "X" marks the spot. Think of a dog. : )

For the record, I experienced something eerily similar, so consider this the voice of experience.

This DH knows he is being manipulated, and is inviting it, however, he needs to let the SD know, he is a "WE" and if his CURRENT wife cannot attend an event that requires him to be in the exclusive presence of his EX, presenting themselves as a couple to the world, and worse yet, "the happy family." DH will need to decline, explaining he would be happy to meet with SD for a one on one lunch celebration, IF HE ELECTS to do so, and IF his wife is in agreement. If it's a couples gathering, then current spouses need to appear as a COUPLE, because they are.

Does SD not have any friends to celebrate with? Most adults usually have a social circle they'd prefer to be with on their birthdays and understand a card or gift from a parent will suffice.

marblefawn's picture

I wonder if this "conception celebration" only counts when a kid is produced.

Imagining getting together with all the people you've had sex with for "mating celebrations." Is that OK? Who should pay for dinner? Who should bring the peyote?

Healyourslf's picture

Heady, hilarious stuff here. Whew...the psychobabble was having a hey day with my synaptics. Nothing like the "doors of conception" to expand one's mind to supra"step"consciousness. I can hear the water drum now as the participants are taken back to sperm, egg and the spark of creation. 

SD is playing mind games. Grow up.

DH needs to say, "no to conception ritual, but he can celebrate with SD in any way, shape or form sans BM." Man up.

Your feelings and discomfort of the situation should be honored by DH. Stand your ground.  Thumbs up.






KC is not the stepmother's picture

My DH won't go without me.  Absolutely not and it's inappropriate for SD to even ask.  She's 33, not 3, and should grow up and be an adult.

Rags's picture

And why exactly do  you continue to tolerate this ball-less wonder failed parent of a non-man?

Angiegirl's picture

I find I am in the same position, SD invited my DH to her husbands 30th Birthday party but also asked that I not come as her mother would be there and she wanted to play happy families. This caused a huge fight between DH and SD and they have not spoken for nearly a year, the most peaceful year of our time together!!

Now, however, he is missing his Grandchildren and starting to catch up with them when I am not around. This suits me fine as I fell it is improtant for him to have a relationship with them and I DO NOT want to sepnd time with his Narcissistic, manipulative daughter. DH never enjoys himself when they do catch up and is glad to get back to me. 

Hang in there, if he is a good man he will realise the damage his daughter is doing and come around. I have told my DH that I will support whatever decision he makes and it has helped our relationship immensely. He knows I believe in his goodness and and is now living up to that.

Angiegirl's picture

I find I am in the same position, SD invited my DH to her husbands 30th Birthday party but also asked that I not come as her mother would be there and she wanted to play happy families. This caused a huge fight between DH and SD and they have not spoken for nearly a year, the most peaceful year of our time together!!

Now, however, he is missing his Grandchildren and starting to catch up with them when I am not around. This suits me fine as I fell it is improtant for him to have a relationship with them and I DO NOT want to sepnd time with his Narcissistic, manipulative daughter. DH never enjoys himself when they do catch up and is glad to get back to me. 

Hang in there, if he is a good man he will realise the damage his daughter is doing and come around. I have told my DH that I will support whatever decision he makes and it has helped our relationship immensely. He knows I believe in his goodness and and is now living up to that.

shamds's picture

that this sd has a right to only have bio mum and bio dad at her birthday lunch etc.

when couples go through the trauma of divorce, 99% of the time its not civil. One of the partners is hell bent on vengeance and causing pain to the other partner for calling on the divorce and wreak havoc on his/her life forever

in the very rare chance the couple were amicable, they realised they’d grown apart and weren’t the same people as before and have remained civil to one another and their new partners, then i can get if the new partners are ok with them meeting their child alone but in most cases if they are amicable, the bio parents will insist their respective new spouses and long term partners be present.

however when its a nasty divorce because it was an abusive nasty relationship, or cheating was involved, those ex spouses do not want to be near one another let alone in the same room because they know history dictates the other spouse/partner will create drama and usual hostility so they avoid it. They have separate lunches and dinner with their child.

no cod should demand selfishly to put 2 parents who never wanted to be/remain married together in the same room forcibly and exclude their mew spouses. You can say the child has every right tonot want the new spouse/partner there or have any relationship with him/her but excluding intentionally any meets and demanding she/he never be present ever at any meets is emotional abuse and something skids enjoy doing.

no sane adult will be happy having his child from ex demand meets where kids of the new marriage and the new partner/spouse is excluded or told to not come or they behave in such a way to force her to not come.

my husband asked me to come to meets with his 2 daughters, the whole meet revolved around them going on and on about bio mum and stepdad and reporting their daily activities to make them relevant to hubby. They went out of their way to remind hubby that bio mum was still important except she hadn’t been to hubby in 11 years and still isn’t. She cheated on hubby with current husband.

then they report about everything they see about us and our kids to bio mum and stepdad, there is no respect for boundaries.

i refused to go to these visits by the 3rd visit. The skids just sat in awkward silence unless they were ranting about bio mum and stepdad.

2 visits alone and hubby felt how they were playing this fantasy of imaginary family alone together. It hurt my husband heeps because all week he works hard to have a good job and income and wants to spend time with everyone on his weekends. Skids never contact him unless they need something so they don’t suddenly get to demand or dictate meets alone when they aren’t active members of that household. In hubbys mind it was his right as a parent to spend his time as a family, his family consists of his current wife and their kids, and his kids from prior relationship and no one else. He told them they were perfectly capable of coming to our home for visits as we have 2 toddlers and hubby shouldn’t be demanded or expected to spend 11 hours out of the home alone with skids when he wants to also spend that time with his wife and their kids too.

The new spouse does feel tossed to the side when op scenario is listed. There is no need for a joint lunch of bio mum, bio dad and kid. Its absolute torture to have them in the same room if the divorce wasn’t amicable and its absolute craziness to expect both will be civil at their childs wedding if 1 is batshit crazy. Saying they can put their differences aside is just not possible when you don’t have an amicable divorce and abuse/domestic violence was part of the main reason for divorce

my husband refuses to be anywhere in the same room as ex wife, that will not change till the day he dies. No kid of him can manipulate or guilt him into it.

TwoOfUs's picture

Hey Y'all. 

I just found this photo album of a 'first family' coming together to celebrate the glorious rites of the miraculous and hallowed existence of their now fully-grown offspring in their annual conception ritual. It's really wonder they want to keep this tradition going.