You are here

SD11's mini wife syndrome

hiddenemotions06's picture

Recently I've noticed my SD and her clingyness and after a few problems last night and a post on facebook I've come to realize I believe she has "mini-wife syndrome". Me and my DH moved in together shortly after our relationship began and I understand at first she was upset about it. Me and her had a private discussion in which I reassured her I would never take her daddy away from her. Things since then have for the most part been awesome. Until recently. I always noticed how when shes home (he has 50% custody so shes home half the week and every other weekend) she follows him EVERYWHERE. He'll go outside to smoke and she follows. He goes to the bathroom and shes wondering where he went. Fine. I've dealt with that and figured its her age and because shes not always with him. I've tried my best to deal with how shes feeling and not upset her. This weekend she decided to have a sleepover at her friends on Friday instead of coming home and my BS was at his fathers so we took advantage and went on a date. DH picked SD up on Sat. morning and when she heard we went to a certian restaurant she got jealous and was like aw I wanted to go which his response was I'll take you soon honey. Me and DH sat down for a few minutes because we had been running errands all morning and he asked me to rub hit feet so he lay on the couch and I sat and rubbed his feet. She laid on top of him. So when I was done rubbing I got up and moved and he was like where are you going and I said here where I have room to sit. We all went to lunch and then later on ordered a movie together. At lunch they were doing silly videos just them and I just hung out. Later in the day he did the same with me and text it to me. Next thing you know shes off in her room sulking. She said she was just wanting to read. Well while I was out yesterday morning she told DH that she felt left out and that we didn't want her there. I feel like if he gives me an ounce of attention she gets upset. So when he told me that it kind of upset me because I try hard to make her feel loved and involved with the family. So for the rest of the day I didn't want to get in the way so I just kept my distance from DH and was rather quiet. I know this probably wasn't the best way to deal with it but I didn't know what to do. Later he asked me what my deal was and I told him I couldn't discuss this with her there so when she left we talked. Basically he just took up for her and said I was being childish and shes just a child. I told him he needed to realize my feelings too and that it made me feel like she wants me out and I'm the one who is on the outside and moving me and my BS in with them. He just wouldn't listen. He just keeps saying she just wants daddy and I need to behave normally and she will get over it. It just all got to me yesterday. I won't let her make me feel like that again and I will just behave my normal self and be chatting with my DH and affectionate and sit with him but my question is....does this get any better? Any helpful hints on how to help make this easier? Its been just me and my BS since birth and now I'm trying to find the best way to blend our family and I've never does this before. I understand it won't always be easy. I really don't want this to come between me and DH. I love him and our family very much.

hiddenemotions06's picture

I very much understand shes feeling that way. And am very sensitive to that. I talk to her about it and try to make her as comfortable as I can. My problem is that I should be able to discuss how I also feel with my DH without him just thinking of her feelings. I understand shes a child and this is much harder on her. I also suggested her have some daddy daughter time and he did not like that idea and said no we do things as a family. I get upset because I don't want her to feel that way and want to make sure there isn't something I can do to help her adjust better.

hiddenemotions06's picture

That is very true. I care for my son and love him and put him first as well as he is and absolutely should do with his daughter. We all need to figure out how to balance this. I just want to make sure I do what I can to help her from feeling that way. It will just take some time for all to adjust. I'm just not used to dealing with this situation and need outside help/advice. Thank you.

Raggles's picture

It doesnt get any better. I have to deal with sd18 that follows daddddeeee around and gets in a strop if i speak to him!

hiddenemotions06's picture

Thats what I'm afraid of. I mean shes young and I understand this takes time but she's coming up on a more emotional/difficult time turning into a woman. I'm afraid it is just going to get worse. And this is all new so I'm trying to make sure we do what we can to fix the situation early on.

secondplace's picture

How old is your SD? I found that the clinginess was really bad during the youth to tween years (8 to 12 or so). After that it petered out and the SD's became somewhat more independent and didn't want to hang all over Daddy all the time.

Now that they're teenagers (17 and 15), they barely talk to us at all - they're mostly interested in their electronics.

hiddenemotions06's picture

Shes 11. This may all be typical 11 year old girl behavior. I just don't have a clue as I have a 5 year old son.

secondplace's picture

That's probably what it is then. It can be maddening, I know. I'm sure in most cases, it goes away when they realize you're not a threat. You can tell her that you're not taking her daddy away all you want. She has to feel secure - words won't do it for her. Just give her time. I'm sure in a year or so, you'll be complaining that all she does is sit in her room and play with her phone, ipod etc. Smile

hiddenemotions06's picture

Exactly. That's what I tried to explain to him last night but he didn't get it at all.

blayze's picture

As a parent in a blended family, I couldn't imagine ONLY "doing things as a family" without having daddy/daughter time (or in my case, mommy/son time). I bet it annoys his daughter -- you always participating. No matter what your words say, she has lost "private time" with dad, and it appears that she is a 3rd wheel since you're always around. If I were you, I would give them the gift of time without you. Not in a mean way...have all of your best interests at heart. I LOVE my stepdad, but I would be annoyed even today, 15 years later, if I had to hang out with him every time I wanted to be with my mom.

When the skids come over, I usually make myself scarce for the first few hours of their visit. I go do something for myself, then do my own thing most of the first night. By late that evening, the skids have had their fill of dad and are ready to be open to me. Maybe your DH has no idea what would work best for all the members of your family. How much research has he done? Does he even know what mini-wife syndrome is? He doesn't seem to understand emotional dynamics, especially with women, so you might have to (respectfully) school him.

stepinafrica's picture

All that sounds wonderful but the DH in this case is the one insisting on doing things 'as a family.' NOT the SM.

SM has asked her DH to have alone time with his daughter but he has declined. A lot of Step kids think that SM is standing in the way of them having alone time with their dad. As I have seen time and time again on this board, it is often the DH who resents having to spend alone time with his kid.

hiddenemotions06's picture

Exactly. I encouraged him going to have daddy daughter time and he seemed offended. I think I'll just make plans next weekend shes home to go shopping or to lunch with a girlfriend so that they have to have alone time without him realizing.

stepinafrica's picture

He won't like it! This kind of man believes that he should be able to pawn his kids off on you!

hiddenemotions06's picture

He never "pawns" her off on me just wants us to do everything together. I mean i get it but at the same time I think she needs alone time and doesn't say it and he's just not seeing it. I actually coincidentally made plans for the next Sunday she is there to start Xmas shopping when my son is gone but his daughter is home so we will see what happens with that then.

moeilijk's picture

You have the advantage, as the adult, to not take her behaviour personally. You also have the ability to set the tone yourself.

So, like any one person to another, set boundaries you are ok with. If she's behaving in a way towards you that you don't like, say so/handle it. Everyone always has that right.
"SD, is there something in your eye? It looks like you're glaring at me."

And decide what you want. Changes are always a challenge, but it's easier if you can imagine what you want, and talk about / move towards that. Is your idea of a 'blended family' idealistic? Most families have ups and downs, and some relationships are closer than others. It's the thread of love and commitment that binds us. How do you express that to your BS now that DH is in the picture, for example? Things change, but you can manage that change somewhat by getting out in front of it.

hiddenemotions06's picture

The change is difficult for all. I mean life in general has ups and downs so I don't expect things to be amazing all the time. My son doesn't seem to be bothered by it. He loves my DH and loves that we live there now. I talk to him about things and make sure he's okay atleast once a couple of weeks just to make sure he knows he can express these things to me or my DH. It doesn't help that life is throwing alot of changes at us all and the stress level is quite high. Between us buying a house, and his new job starting next week, and this I am a bit over stressed and it may just have hit me harder with all the stress. I feel a little silly about it now that I've had time to process.

ScrewUboozilla's picture

When DH and I started dating SD16 was just 13. And was a mini wife.. As DH avoided Boozilla by putting his daughter in her place.. Even sleeping with her. Yuck. I witnessed the same overtly intimate actions from her to DH, including laying on top of, spooning, etc.

I asked my counselor about this. I thought I was being jealous about her behavior toward him.

She said.. Girls this age are starting to practice on dad.. How they act with boys. So if dad doesn't put up the proper boundaries, he is doing her a disservice as far as how she will act with boys. Will it be ok for her to lay on top of boys? No. Spoon boys? No. Put her hand on boys stomachs... Imitating the celebrities.... WTF is up with that anyway? Please don't touch MY husband that way.. I would cringe my sons touched my stomach like that! I tried to talk to DH too about it and got you are jealous.. Um really? Maybe because you two act like you are on a date together. And my neighbor said the same thing.. He has a girl friend! His daughter!

BM? Should have a talk with her.. You are growing up, you need to start acting like a young lady and young ladies don't do X,y,z.

Now some have suggested taking A picture when she is laying on him.. Or sitting on his lap, or everything else she will do to 'show' you. Maybe then he will 'see' what it looks like. No that really isn't normal loving father daughter behavior.

Mine has gotten better as she has a boyfriend 3 years older her. And we don't see her too much.. And I make sure there aren't any movie nights to lay around on the couch anymore.

My 2 cents.. Do not withdraw and subjugate yourself. Your his wife. If you were an intact family and it was your daughter too.. Would that behavior be ok? Would you allow the child to dictate where you go for dinner? No you are the adult. She is NOT your equal. That is what needs to be impressed upon her. Dad is allowed to have a wife, and show emotions and affection to.

ScrewUboozilla's picture

Next thing you know she will be planning your wedding, going on your honeymoon and being your maid of honor.. Why I insisted we elope. You can do all those things with your mother.

Also, don't expect your DH to see any of what you point out. They think precious can do no wrong EVER.

My DH also wants me to be there when she is around. I don't get it. It's like he doesn't want to be around her.. If I suggest she come over he gets cranky. So I dunno what the answer is. I struggle too as I was not touchy freely with my dad. At all. Had I ever tried to lay on him, I am sure I would have been tossed across the room. He feels guilty when she is not around but 10 minutes with her is too much.. And I am sure it's cause she acts like BM. He has a lot of guilt having left the kids with Boozilla.

Evil3's picture

No, it doesn't get better on its own. At least in my case, it didn't. My SD is 26 and over time, she got better at monopolizing DH's time and diverting him from everyone else and onto her. I got gaslighted for years whenever I brought it up, so I'd back down, because I didn't know what to do about it. I know I sound mean, but I arranged father/daughter dates and disappeared to give them time together, but it never worked. Daddy-attention is like a drug to SD. The more she got, the more she wanted. Backing down and waiting for mini-wives to outgrow it doesn't work. I kept waiting for my SD to either launch or get a bf, but mini-wives are so enmeshed with their daddies, that they don't often launch or get BFs when their peers do. Even when SD finally got a bf when she turned 24, she still had to come home from dates to spend time with Daddy. It doesn't just get better. I had to spell out to my DH what mini-wife syndrome was and I had to be blatant about what changes looked like to me. It was a marathon and not a sprint. My only regret is not figuring out what to do a lot sooner. I think the longer it goes on and the older a mini-wife gets, the harder it is to get the changes you want. Do something sooner rather than later. Don't let yourself get gaslighted either. Your DH telling you that you're jealous and that you're the adult is a form of gaslighting. If you are jealous, it's your DH's fault for elevating your SD into the wifely role and seconding you to something else. It's time to relegate your SD back into the child role and you back into the wife/partner. It might be a good idea for you to get "turned off" and not want any sexy time if you catch my drift.

hiddenemotions06's picture

Thanks all for the words of advice. Obviously I am just going to have to stand my ground. Like for instance the other day when we sat for a minute he was laying on the couch with me at his feet and asked for a foot rub which I did and she comes over the back of the couch and lays all over him....I'll just stand up for myself and let her know she cant get between us. Like excuse me get off. I'm trying to do it as nicely as possible but I think its time to get stern. I'm just trying to solve this early on so it doesn't get worse. Me and my DH have an amazing relationship and talk about everything. This is the first time that I feel I can't talk to him about this because he gets defensive over his little princess. For goodness sake my five year old son and I have a close bond and he is more independent and less clingy than his 11 year old daughter. I mean I snuggle with my son and give him one on one attention but he also likes to go play on his own in his room and he knows better than to try and sit between me and DH. If he wants affection he says mommy please sit with me till I go to bed and I do. I just don't get why its that much harder for me.

hiddenemotions06's picture

OMG same exact thing here. He usually gets home shortly after I do and will come in and say hi and give her a hug and then come give me a hug and kiss and then she's all like DADA like a baby. She talks about going to friends and having friends over when shes at her BM's but NEVER atleast in the time I have been around has she had friends over or gone to do things or gone to a friends. The first time she ever went to a friends was last Friday for a sleepover. And thats the first time ever. She comes home tonight and will be home tonight and tomorrow night then back at BM's on Friday night and all weekend and I feel horrible but I am kind of dreading her being there. I know itll be the same DADA and hanging all over him when he gets home and following around the house like a lost puppy.

hiddenemotions06's picture

I agree. But the second he runs through the door here she comes running across the house to get to him before me. Ugh. So he doesn't barely get a chance to get through the door before she pounces.

ScrewUboozilla's picture

Easier said then done, but wishful thinking on my part would be for him to say just a sec, let my hug my beautiful bride first!

I so understand where you are coming from. Be strong!

hiddenemotions06's picture

Last night wasn't as horrible as I expected. He beat me home so they already got their hellos done so I walked in and hug and kissed my DH. I needed to speak to him privately about something so I called him in the room with no problems and we all carved pumpkins together me DH, SD and my son. It was fun. This morning we all walked out at the same time. I got my son in the car and she was saying goodbye and hanging all over him and i was exhausted from doing everything myself this morning so I got in my car to leave and he got the point. He pushed her off and came to me and goes whoa wait babe and goes no kiss or hug? I said you looked a little busy and i have to get to work and he gave me a hug and kiss and she left for the bus. We shall see how tonight goes. I think for the most part its mostly a problem when my son is away for the weekend at his fathers and its just me him and her. I notice that during those times is when shes most clingy. Im hanging in there.

ChiefGrownup's picture

"You looked a little busy." Perfect! you handled that just splendidly. I love how you just went about your business and let HIM be the one to decide HE wanted attention. From the other adult that is.

Maybe come home late more often. Scarcity is a great force in economics.

hiddenemotions06's picture

Yes it worked out pretty well. Yes I will try that too. I do have to run by the store after work for just a couple things but I may just take my time picking up my son and chit chat with the teacher and move a little slower at the store so hes looking for me. And that'll give him and his daughter time to say hi again with me not there. Thanks Smile

hiddenemotions06's picture

Things have been going pretty well. This weekend she was at her mothers and DH had a fishing trip so I got some much needed mother son time. SD came home Sunday night and we had my parents over for a fish fry and she was fine. Well yesterday DH started his new job and had to work till 9pm and I had a job interview so my parents picked the kids up and fed them. I got home around 6:30. Got my son to bed and watched tv on couch with SD waiting for my DH to get home. He walks in and she literally jumps on him as he is walking through the door. I was sitting at the kitchen table which is a few feet away. He says hi to her and i said hi but couldnt hear if he said hi because she was all DADA kisses and hugs. I asked him how his day was and he was short with me probably because he was hungry and just worked a 14 hr day and I cutely said wheres my hello and he got all nasty. Damn i just walked in. Blah Blah. Blah. I go really? I just wanted a hug and kiss. Finally after he was fed he calmed down and SD went to bed and we talked about our days. I said well im glad you made it in time to see SD and tuck her in and he goes yes thats why I was giving her my attention when I got home and go yes I understand she was going to bed in 15 min but that doesnt mean you ignore me and not kiss and hug your wife when you get home like you normally do. That was the end of that conversation but its still bothering me today :/

hiddenemotions06's picture

Hate to hear you going through it too but glad that someone understands. My problem is my DH more than my SD. I mean she doesn't give me an attitude or any of that, shes just clingy to DADA when shes home. And he lets it continue and thinks its ok. Last night was good as he was home before me. I went into the kitchen and he got up off the couch to greet me with a hug and kiss. This morning we were getting ready and SD gave us our tickets to her car wash for school on Sunday. DH just started a new job and works Sunday morning and I had made plans because my son is not home. So I was trying to talk to him and figure out how to get her there and not have to cancel my plans and he was not listening and kept interrupting me. It really annoyed me so when I went to leave I said jeez now im annoyed today already and he was like why. I said because I'm trying to talk to you and you don't listen. His response: I was trying to give her attention before she left because shes at her moms tonight. Well that made it worse. That had nothing to do with it. I was just trying to figure out how to get her where she needed to go. I seriously can't believe he had the nerve to say that. My eyes welled up and I had to fight tears because I was so upset. I just said our goodbyes and left. He keeps texting me this morning and saying I'm sorry and heart heart heart and I'm still annoyed. That conversation had nothing to do with giving her attention or me taking it from her. She needed to know what time she could be there today so she could tell her teacher. WTF. And im so over having this conversation. Ugh vent over. Thanks for listening.

Disillusioned's picture

The one good thing is that she opened up and told your DH how she is truly feeling. At least this is clear and now your DH needs to work at helping her feel secure, loved and that she matters to him just as much as she always has BUT also that he can still love you, a whole lot, and that she shouldn't feel worried about that or act out

There is not a lot that you can do to fix it. Your DH needs to step up and correct it. The child is jealous and insecure, and feels she is in competition with you. He needs to reassure her that nothing will replace her to him, but that you are the adult, his wife, the female head of the household. She is a child and needs to know that yes, you won't replace her in her father's heart and that nothing has changed in their relationship with your arrival but she is not equal to you

Your DH needs to make sure she knows it's okay for him to love you (and your son) that your relationships are separate. That you're not going away, and encourage her to give you a chance

I went through this most especially with my husband's eldest daughter. She was EIGHTEEN when it became apparent she was over the top jealous and competitive of my relationship with DH...we had been in our relationship already for a few years at this point so it was so surprising but nothing I did could fix it.

I tried being fall over backwards sweet and understanding. She got worse. I tried getting out of her way and allowing her alone time with DH - she used all that time to bitch to him about her horrible step-life until she literally reduced him to tears and depression

I tried talking to her and making it clear I would not put up with her abusive behaviour towards me, well that just escalated it all to nightmare level

The only thing that finally made an impact on her was DH sitting her down and telling her that I was not going anywhere, he hoped she would one day find a way to accept our relationship but if not, then it was her choice to walk out of our life and to remember that

It's taken years, and a lot of crap. It still isn't great, but better.

Wish I knew something that would fix these situations but they are so complicated

hiddenemotions06's picture

Yes atleast she opens up and tells him how she is feeling but he definitely needs to work harder on making her feel better about it and not just blowing it off. He did tell her theres no reason she should feel that way and that he will continue to give me attention just as he gives her and he loves us both so maybe that talk did help because she wasnt clingy last night and was very sweet and talkative with me.