Recently Disengaged from SD23
I've been reading this forum and glad I found it - there is very little other help out there for dealing with 'adult' stepkids.
I met my SO 5 years ago when his youngest DD was 18 and already away at college. He has two other kids but is estranged from both (though he is starting to reconnect with his DS, who is one year older than DD. He had a nasty divorce (long before we met) and long story short it tore the family apart. His ex-wife did major PAS on all the kids but DD (who was 14 at the time) still wanted a relationship with her father, and that made BM (who had a history of mental health problems) turn really nasty towards DD. From that standpoint, I had a lot of sympathy for what they had all gone through. When SO and I decided to move in together 4 years ago, I made it clear that his 18 year old DD was welcome to live us through college, made sure she had a room in the house (it is mine), and tried to engage with her when she was home for summers. Basically she was polite but didn't seem interested and I also had issues with her messiness, but it was typical teenage stuff so it wasn't a big deal. Her last year of undergrad was when the issues started. She was home for Thanksgiving (at my invitation) and SO spoke to her about moving out the summer after graduation, and offered (as SO and I had agreed) to keep her stuff for a year to let her get settled (she wanted to move to the Bay Area). Ever since then DD turned nasty towards me. I would bring up the issues to SO and at first he didn't see it (guilty parent syndrome). We went to counseling and he did begin to see my point of view and we agreed we wouldn't tolerate the behavior any further.
The issue is he does see DD with rose-colored glasses and doesn't notice obvious things - like a nasty tone of voice to me. DD (who is now 23) has visited about 3 times since graduation and made no effort to move things out of their room. When requested to give us a plan and timing, DD threw a fit - first silent treatment to SO, then 'crazy' texts saying SO was a bad father for not providing them a room that they were 'owed' to come and stay whenever they wanted, etc. We all agreed to go to counseling but it was a dumpster fire.
I should pause here and mention DD has many mental health issues stemming from the divorce (and maybe just inherent to DD personality). First, they suffer from PTSD/Depression/Generalized Anxiety from the years with their BM, who was verbally abusive after the seperation. Next, they are a raging narcissist and require 'special' treatment wherever they go. They are randomly vegan - meaning one day (like Thanksgiving) they will announce at the dinner table that they are vegan and can't eat anything there. Then the next day, they will ask their dad to take them to Boston Market and chow down on chicken and mac and cheese. They also think its fine to show up a whole day later than they planned when they visit and we're expected to accomodate them (this happened 3 times already). They are also identify as non-binary trans-masculine and want they/them pronouns but will 'allow' you to refer to them as he. If anyone messes up accidentally they complain non-stop and rudely, even if it was their 87 year old grandma. In other words it is always a lot of drama whenever they are around.
Anyway, we did end up getting them to move their stuff out and I feel a huge sense of relief. At the conclusion of therapy I did specifically say that I suppored DD and SO having a relationship but I would be disengaging. DD had a fit and still doesn't seem to understand, is hugely upset about 'feeling homeless' and 'not feeling comfortable to visit'. I am fortunate that SO is supportive of me and my desire to limit time with DD. He understands I was clear I wanted no children when we first met and doesn't feel like I owe his adult child anything. He has said he will go visit and it is not my problem if DD doesn't 'feel comfortable' to visit here (we did agree in therapy that DD could visit, with clear expectations on timing for the visits and that SO would 'host' - meaning I wouldn't lift a finger towards cooking, cleaning or spending time with them).
This is our first holiday season where I feel relief at not being forced to engage with DD and the associated drama. For holidays, DD whined about being lonely so I said I didn't mind if SO spent holidays with her. I have always been independent and have an active social life so I'll be spending Thanksgiving in Napa with friends, and Christmas will likely be on a ski trip with a friend (usually travel to the east coast for Christmas to see my parents but not this year due to the pandemic - I'm ok driving places but don't want to risk flying). I don't like that we'll constantly have to juggle plans like this but feel much more at peace!
Anyway sorry so long and thanks for reading. Just wanted to post my story I guess and add it to the forum, since I found other posts really helpful to me as well.