You are here

Is this normal?

Northrop2011's picture

Is this normal ?

I've officially disengaged before actually engaging.  

My fiancé and I are getting married next month and since his adult daughter heard the news of the official date she refuses to speak to him ( or at least has threatened not to speak to him).  For a few weeks every weekend at around 9 to 10 pm she would call to argue with him for an hour or so (and yell at him regarding her inheritance, etc., or ask for money).  I ended that by taking the phone off the  hook  after 10pm ( they now call each other during work hours.)  But now, she's threatened to ban him from her life.  I hate to say it, but OK with me.  I guess I'm truly evil because no problem, buh bye.  I now have peace again in my relationship with him, and in my life.  

For two weeks we have not spoken of her.  I don't ask, and he doesn't bring her up.  Is this normal?  Because honestly, it works for me.   I think it works for husband-to-be as well.  Things have been peaceful.   I love my husband-to-be, but I'm all for keeping the pita SD separate from my life.  He now listens to her ranting during work hours, and they can make plans together to visit without me; all I want is for him to keep her poisonous self the hell away from me and my family.  I have no desire to hear what she's pissed about.  

If she cant handle our relationship  in a mature and civil manner, she's not welcome to call my home and is not welcome to come around.  No problem.  

Am I cruel by "normal" standards? Because really, I have NO desire to try to be nice/ patient, etc.,  as so many of you did early in your relationships.

sandye21's picture

I don't know what is 'normal' anymore but personally I can't see that you have any choice but to take the route of disengaging now. If your fiancee supports your choice I would stick with it. You are not holding him back from visiting or communicating with SD. You are merely stating that you will not be treated badly in your own home. If you had an aquaintance who started this crap I'll bet you would disengage from them too, and you would have good reason to. I only wish I had set limits earlier on in my marriage. I'm not sure the outcome would have been any different, I'm disengaged also, but I would not have endured so much BS for as long as I did. My SD has been giving DH the silent treatment for a year and 1/2 now and it has turned out to be her loss but hey, I'm OK with it.

emotionaly beat up's picture

Is this normal behaviour........NOPE it sure is not. Is this typical adult SD behaviour, YEP I think so. Adult stepkids seem to think that a new partner on the scene especially one who becomes a husband or a wife is nothing more than a huge stumbling block on the road to their inheritence and they will move heaven and earth to get rid of it. Never mind is dad is happy and being well looked after it's not about dad it is all about them and their money because as they see it what is dad's is theirs. Daughters seem to be the worst offenders in this. So, no not normal and if you can stay from it STAY AWAY I tried for 8 years to make it work and banned the cow of a woman from my home last August. I do not care what happens she will never step foot in my home again. I wish to God I had never even tried I wish I had done what you did from day 1. I think well done to you. I will however tell you this..............If your partner tells you to give her a chance, she is just upset, or mad, and she will get over it, or anything else along these lines, don't listen. When they are this type of person it does not get better. You are in the way of daddy giving them everything and they will never get over it. It just gets worse.

Orange County Ca's picture

Dad is taking on his responsibility in a mature manner - you're lucky we've read Threads by women with men who are saying love my adult children or leave.

It's one think to at least put up a front for children but once they're grown you need only act like a civilized adult around them. As the person has already pointed out you would not put up with this behavoir from a neighbor or friend so why her?

Not uncommon behavoir from a threatened daughter. You might get Dad a book or Internet print-out on how to handle adult kids in this situation. He really should let the kid know that he is not forgetting her in his will or trust.

You really can see her problem can't you? If he can east that fear she might actually start acting like an adult and if she's acting acceptably you can accept any offer she puts forth in the future.

herewegoagain's picture

That is not "normal" adult behavior, that does seem to be "normal kid of divorce" behavior...sigh. If you are up to it and your husband is open about it, check out this book and maybe your husband can send it to her.

When Your Parent Remarries Late In Life: Making Peace With Your Adult Stepfamily

I have to say that it has ONE review and not a very good one, but NOT because it's a bad book, but because the stuff is "common sense and common courtesy" stuff that most ADULT kids of divorce won't like. I think the reviewer was expecting someone to tell her she was in the right and the book does NOT. It might also be good for you to read it to help you understand what is reasonable from an adult skid. I know for me, it really helped to understand that I was not wrong in what I expected and at the same time, it gave me some insight as to how they think.

Good luck...

AVR1962's picture

My stepspns were much much younger but we all got along GREAT. They seemed to even enjoy the tim we spent together our first 2 years UNTIL we announced we were getting married and then all war broke lose and never has been the same since. This is 23 years later and kids are adults now.

Poodle's picture

You aren't cruel, you are realistic and you do not tolerate abuse. Good for you. If, later, he claims that she has come to terms with the situation and is offering you an olive branch, ask on what objective basis does he believe she will not subject you to abuse and then come to the site to toss a few ideas around.
She is behaving abnormally, he is behaving normally, you are behaving normally. Great that she has not warped your relationship.

Pilgrim Soul's picture

I would not see this as an automatic disengagement scenario. In my opinion, disengagement is the last resort, not the first response. I would recommend that you read Step Wars - a book that was reviewed negatively in this forum, but i found it to be eye-opening and very useful. There are other approaches that can be tried before disengaging. I do not think you should encourage rudeness but it makes sense to try and build a relationship, or at least leave the door open for one... Also, could you provide some details about your situation? How old is the SD? How long have you and her dad been together? Is her mother in the picture? Do you have kids?

Step Wars discusses all those scenarios from every possible point of view and gives you insight into the kids' perspective. I am reading and re-reading it now finding new revelations all the time.

Northrop2011's picture

Thanks to everyone who responded!

To be honest (and I come here to post so I can be completely honest), I no longer have any interest in the" kids' perspective. "  My thoughts are now that of putting my energy into my relationship with my husband to be, not his daughter who has been negative since day one.  It may get better, but it probably will not.  I'm planning for the worst case scenario.  My fiancé can worry about her perspective.  There's nothing I can do as my very existence is the problem, therefore it's her (and fiancé's) problem to deal with.  She can yell at him all she wants, and he can put his tail between his legs and apologize for his happiness with me all he wants (I'm choosing not to let it poison our relationship by bowing out; I refuse to hear anymore about her complaints.)  

The door's open when she's ready to  accept our relationship and marriage and the change it brings to her life.  However, just because the door's open doesn't mean she can stroll on in.  I've told my fiancé that it's pretty difficult to like someone who you know trashes and despises you.  He understands that.  I have no idea what will happen IF she comes around.  I'll cross that bridge when/if we get there.    If she can't accept our marriage, then she'll be forced to accept the fact that her relationship with Dad will suffer.  Her choice, their problem.  Not mine.  It's really that simple.  As for now, she refuses to come to the wedding,  and refuses to visit her father here at our home.  I've accepted that, an actually prefer it this way now.  I don't like to be around people who despise me!  

Poodle's picture

Are you serious PS? I agree there could be many pressures on the SD, for example this could be a situation where OP had had an affair with him whilst he was still married to her mother or whatever, but here we are clearly told that the SD is yelling for an hour at a time late in the evening about inheritance and threatening to ban the father from her life. How is she ever going to step down from that immorality, realistically? I guess she could after a lot of therapy but that is not for OP to engage in with her. It is for the father to do with her on their own. If OP approaches her at this point in friendly fashion, she will be flamed. By disengaging, she is only getting out of the line of fire and then waiting for whatever period is appropriate, for SD to approach her politely if she wishes to. But even then, I would have thought SD would have poisoned the whole relationship by her emphasis on money. I certainly would never get intimate with such a person even if I came to tolerate her.

Pilgrim Soul's picture

Yes, Poodle, i am serious. I have been thinking about it a lot, and i have come to believe that no matter what the circumstances i do not want to be part of the problem - i want to be part of the solution. Bad peace is better than good war. I am afraid that once you step on the disengagement escalator there is not way to get off and reverse that course of action. To me it means the beginning of a cold war. Disengaging does not seem to be contributing to the solution, but to the problem. There may be no other option if the skids are too damaged/entitled/etc *and* if you have tried for a long time and nothing worked. But i would not say, do not even try. The OP tells a story set early in the relationship where the (adult) child is acting out - possibly she is very threatened by the impending marriage, feels rejected and in turn rejects the father. She needs to be reassured by the father that she has a place in his heart and at the table. Here the role the SM plays can carry a lot of weight. She can do a lot to make things better, or she can go ballistic and ratchet up the belligerence. I have been there, done that, and have contributed to both sides of the equation. At this point, i am trying to figure out how to make things better, no matter how maddening i find the skids' attitudes.

If things turn to war, however, everyone suffers. Everyone. Noone's better off, imo.
Remeber the days of Cold war - THE Cold War? and the policy of engagement that was successfully deployed. It was the M.O. of the West. It did not mean that the West shared the totalitarian philosophy or was ready to lose its dignity. It did not mean that its efforts at rapprochement were always warmly received. But the world is a better place today thanks to that approach.

How to change one's thinking about these difficult matters, and how to see the others' point of view whic helps to humanize them, and how to empathize and keep one's expectations in check are all subjects explored in Step Wars.

My point is really that it is good to have other tools in one's tool box, not just the disengagement. It may still be useful but i do not think it should be the one and only.

emotionaly beat up's picture

I don't agree on this with you Pilgram Soul and I do respect your opinions on other posts you have made, however, in this case she is not disengaging, she never engaged with the daugher to begin with because the daughter made it clear to the father that she wants nothing to do with her. I wish I had seen that before I wasted 8 years of my life trying to give my husband's daughter "time". This woman has told her father she will ban him from her life if he marries her, and she has been ringing the father yelling about her inheritence...............Now, that says it all. This has nothing to do with the original poster and everything to do with a greedy woman wanting to make sure she stakes her claim on daddy's money. As they say, when a person shows you who they are, believe them. This woman has shown daddy and his fiance loud and clear who she is and what she is after. I think the poster has done the right thing by not getting involved with her in the first place and leaving her fiance to sort it out. When you have a daughter who is more focussed on her inheritence than her father's happiness, nothing is going to change anytime soon by trying to play nice.

Miss-Step's picture

Agree with comments. What about the future

I agree with a lot of the comments others have made. Sounds like the SD already slammed the door on you from the start. Absolutely, you don't have to put up with that type of behavior in your home. While SO seems to have taken SD communication outside of the home and in total support of you, my concern is, will this continue in the future? What about the wedding day, will she come? What about holiday's, how will that be handled?

Just cause you/she have disengaged now, what happens after you are married. You may want to have this kind of dicussion with Fiance, because while they say and do one thing now, from my experience, there will be a time when the Finance may want to have that olive branch extended. I'm just saying you might need to be prepared and set a few ground rules before the wedding day.

Also (Random comment), I guess I've always wondered why children feel that they are entitled to an inheritance? It's not the child's money, home, car, stuff - it's their parents, who worked and earned it all. I don't understand children dictating to their parents what they believe they are entitled to and why they don't believe the person sharing their parent's marriage bed isn't? (whether 1st, 2nd or 3rd wife). Just kind of befuddles my mind I guess. :?

hippiegirl's picture

You have every right to not want her around. You are marrying her dad, not her. I feel the same way about DH's kids. They were part of another life. A life that did not include me. I have no biological link or emotional attachment to any of them.

Mindygirl1's picture

I think you are very smart. Establish the rules from day one and stick to them. Don't allow childish, rude and demanding behaviors to even set one foot in the door. You will read how many of us for YEARS have put up with this crap ONLY to finally see the light and realize the skids are CRAZY, mean and vindictive. Your husband needs to deal with this on his own....he helped create the little selfish, greedy darling. You don't realize now how smart you are being...if you don't believe me read through this forum and see how much anguish some of us have been through when we should have done what you just did in the beginning. My hat is off to you. Why is it the stepmom that has to be the one to make things all OK??? I have a quote to give to you... IN LIFE YOU GET WHAT YOU TOLERATE....

jennaspace's picture

You are smart. Most of us take years to figure out that it is no use to spin your wheels trying to make them like you. If they are rude, treat them as you would any other rude stranger.

emotionaly beat up's picture

I think the kids who have been brought up as the apple of the daddy's/mummy's eye (or worse both parents so unhappy in the marriage) made the kids the centre of 'their' universe and the kids now think they are the centre of 'the' universe. They grow up to be over indulged, greedy, it's all about me, and everything is mine, adults and I use the word adults loosely, because their emotional growth living in this fantasy world is clearly stunted. So, they are shameless and absolutely convinced that everything the parents have will pass onto them. When a new partner comes in, they really cannot bear it. My husbands daughter (30) some months ago was screaming at him because she wanted something from him, and in her tyrade actually said..................I am your daughter you owe it to me, what did I get out of YOUR divorce. This woman was red raw in the face and screeching at the top of her lungs over all of this and her boyfriend has already told her father and I that she has been estimating our worth and valuing our home. Now as far as HIS divorce went, he walked out in nothing but the clothes he stood up in, and stayed with family for the first 3 months giving his former wife 3 full months wages, the home was mortgage free, and the 3 cars were relatively new and all paid for in full. However his daughter who was 19 at the time then tried to sue him for child support. At the time she tried this on, he had paid for her university education in full and was still paying her cell phone bill. She had the house to live in and a part time job. But not only was she after child support she and the mother took him to court for 'extras' such as a makeup, clothes, hairdressing, and phone allowance, and for good measure $50 a week pocket money, and $50 a week for entertainment allowance. She is one of the ones who grew up in a home were mom and dad hated each other and all their attention went to the kids especially this daughter as she was the only girl and the youngest in Italian family. Her father to this day has no idea of the damage he has done to this woman, and both he and she will be horrified when life hits her and for all the evil she has put out, it will hit her hard one day. Mom and Dad have of course taught her no coping skills.

sandye21's picture

Totally unbelievable but no surprise. This is reaching the 'outer limits' of entitlement. You say she 'tried' to sue DH for support when she was 19. Did she succeed? And what was DH's reaction to her suing him?

Countrygirl1968's picture

I have also disengaged myself from my future SD but now I'm told I'm being negative. I don't see it that way, she jams herself down my throat all the time and trys to pull so much crap. It doesn't help that she lives with us in the basement apartment. But I'm starting to feel that it is wearing on my relationship which is exactly what she wants. So is disengaging the right thing to do? I'm not one to put up with a lot of crap!

sandye21's picture

It is a heck of a lot easier to stop the crap now instead of hoping some day SD will change her way of thinking and see you as the sweetheart you really are. I tried it for over 20 years. Maybe in rare cases SD might see the light but just read the history of most of the members on this site and you will find in most cases it just doesn't work. I sometimes wonder if I had informed SD of my limits sooner I may have avoided total disengaement but I'm not completely certain of that. She seemed very committed from the get-go to claiming Daddy back by playing deceptive games and degrading me. You were accused of being negative? Well, let's look at it anohter way: You are giving SD a little space to come to terms with HER negativity toward you.