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SD destroyed my marriage

retiredusmcdad's picture

I hope this is the correct forum, I searched but it appears this could fall into numerous categories.  Sorry this is long, and there’s no purpose other than to vent I suppose.

First a little background to put things into perspective.  My soon to be ex was a troubled child during her teenage years.  Like so many young girls that have problems (largely self-inflicted, plus some lack of parenting) she wound up a teenage mother at 19.  Despite this the challenge she squared herself away completed a bachelor’s degree.  Due to this she credits her oldest daughter with her turnaround, "I owe her".  I have tried to explain to her that it was her, not her daughter who was a baby that made positive changes in her life, so the SD should not get the credit (which is often a "by" for her bad behavior).  This fell on deaf ears.

I had two SD, the youngest (we will call her "YSD" was very sweet and just a joy to be around.  The oldest made life miserable, referred to from her on as Oldest Step Daughter "OSD"  I also have a young son with my soon to be ex that is presently battling a life threatening illness.  He is doing well now but there’s still almost a couple of years of battles ahead.  When I met my future ex she told me that OSD had a hard time making friends and most people generally gravitated towards YSD.  She also went on to tell me, that OSD biological father had even gone as far to comment to her mother that ‘I don't like my daughter’.  Initially I was taken aback and thought it was an indictment against the biological father, how could a father not like their own child?  I was determined to give OSD attention and let her know that I liked her.  At first she was pleasant, I wouldn't say nice.  I bought a small project something we could build together and strengthen our relationship, she thought it was a very cool endeavor.  Well we had fun building the small project and then went to activate it.  And then it was back to business as usual where I was treated pleasantly but not with any real affection. 

Being treated pleasantly was short lived and I was treated with disdain and disrespect more and more by OSD as time went on.  Through no fault of my own as I treated her well and tried to make inroads to getting her to like me or even have a conversation with me beyond one word answers to no avail.  Everything I said was wrong according to her.  She reminded me of Oscar from the Office..."Actually...." which would then be followed up with a know-it-all answer that was typically wrong.  Oscar however was typically right.  She is a young tween/teen at this time and as time went on her attitude and behavior got worse.  I knew I had to be on my toes with her early on in my relationship.  One time we were going out somewhere and OSD wanted to change her shirt, which was always the case for some reason.  This somehow took her 10-15 minutes to put a t-shirt on without fail while the rest of the family is waiting for her.  (This was before her mother allowed her to wear makeup so it wasn't that). I went to her room with her mother watching on one of these occasions and knocked on the door to ask her if she was already ready and to hurry up.  She responded exasperatingly to give her a minute despite the fact it had been several minutes.  When she finally emerged from her room she blew up when her mother asked what took her so long 'SD was knocking bothering me, and there's no reason SD needs to try to see me with my shirt off!'.  We were both taken aback as I knocked on the door and made no attempt to open it; my wife watched the whole event from down the hallway.  We corrected her and said I knocked and wasn't trying to see her without a shirt.  This stuck with me as very concerning if she could lie about something like this I had no idea what she was capable of.

Fast forward and her attitude started getting continually worse towards me.  When we sat down at the dinner table she had a constant scowl on her face as she sat across from me.  She wouldn't even look at me so this was clearly directed at me. This was every dinner.  Minutes before she was fine, (as fine could be with her), and then immediately after dinner she was fine again once she was out of my immediate presence. She would very often ask to leave dinner early because she was "not feeling well", and "not hungry" and she would barely touch her dinner.  20 minutes later she was gorging herself on ice-cream, cookies, whatever desert or snack junk food we had.  Her mother ignored this behavior.  When I asked OSD what was wrong at dinner it was "I'm a teenager, I'm allowed to be in a bad mood".  That was almost every dinner I had to sit across from someone that wouldn’t even look at me while she enjoyed the house I paid for, wore the clothes I paid for, ate the food I paid for, and enjoyed a pretty good life that was earned by 20 years of service in the military and a challenging job upon retirement from the service. 

Despite this I still tried to make an inroads with OSD.  I researched an obscure scholarship for her based on my military service that would offer her a full ride to a state school.  She was excited but never acknowledged or thanked me for researching this.  She was eager to tell all family that she was going to go to this school because there was a scholarship and it was free for her.  She never mentioned why or what it was so she wouldn’t have to give me credit for anything or acknowledge I tried to do something for her. When I informed her mother that I was never once thanked or acknowledged for this, her mother’s response was “well did you do it for the thank you?”  I let her know I did it to try to get OSD to like me and that I was trying to do things for her and help her but she was ungrateful.  It fell on deaf ears of course.

Whenever it was back to school, or a change of season mom took the girls clothes shopping.  Something of note their mom never held a fulltime job and has never supported herself or her kids without the aid of her ex, me, or her parents.  Even before we were married and just dating I helped support her and her children (sucker right).  Back to school shopping I might find a $400 charge for new clothes, winter, more $, Summer… you get the idea.  They always told their mother thank you in my presence but neither acknowledged I had any part in their nice new wardrobes.  OSD did need new clothes frequently as her constant munching and on junk food and sedentary lifestyle on her ipod all the time caused her to outgrow her wardrobe frequently.  That being said I don’t know I needed to spend several hundred dollars each season on new clothes.

When OSD would walk in the house after school and I was in the family room she would walk by me without even looking at me or a greeting.  Nothing.  If I asked her to do a chore that she knew she was expected to do I would be met with an excuse or attitude.  I would go out of my way to ask extremely politely and then thank her despite her terrible attitude.  I would ask her to drop her attitude as I was not asking anything out of the ordinary that she didn’t already know she had to do.  Take out the trash, dishes, clean up after the dog etc.  There was a posted schedule.  Her excuse “I’m just in a bad mood”.  She would often tell her mother that I yelled at her which I did not.  I let her mother know that our son was going to pick up on the OSDs disrespect, lies and bad behavior.  Sure enough my four year old son who I have never yelled at started parroting OSD and randomly saying “dad yelled at me” which was heartbreaking.

One day when OSD walked in the house and ignored me I asked her “what’s your problem with me?  You treat me like s***, you walk in and don’t say hello and go out of your way to ignore me.  You only interact with me when I can do something for you and when I do you don’t even say thank you or acknowledge I did anything, you use people.”  I gave her an example of when she needed me to pick something up for her and I did so and was never even acknowledged.  I then gave her an example of when she did the same thing to her grandmother, she actually caused her grandmother to cry.  MIL just asked for a pic of OSDs new hair and she didn’t send it, then she turned around and asked MIL when she could come over and pierce her ears.  She said her grandmother was “smothering her” which I know she was not and did not.  She said “well I guess I don’t like someone that yells at my mom”.  The night before the soon to be ex and I had gotten into an argument about something and I had previously warned her she needed to cease yelling at me or she would get the same in kind in return.  The OSD and wife were yellers, I am not.  They are frequently yelling at each other.  Well, my wife yelled at me and I gave her another warning to turn it down or I am going to yell too.  She did not and I yelled at her to let her know what it felt like.  To her credit she told her daughters that it was her fault as she was yelling at me after I had asked her not to.  I thought OSD response was comical as her and her mother were frequently yelling at each other.  My wife later sent me a screen shot that OSD sent her telling her “I yelled at her in the morning and called her a s**** daughter”.  Both were far from the truth and to my wife’s credit believed me. 

Fast forward and my wife had to go to the hospital with our son for a few days which left me with OSD and YSD.  These two are constantly “sick” staying home frequently.  OSD didn’t want to stay with me but despite this the wife and agreed this wasn’t the answer so they stayed home.  This was one of those numerous times where OSD stayed home due to being “sick”, this time for two weeks.  A minor stomach ache, headache etc is grounds to stay home in my soon to be exes world.  By the end of two weeks it was obvious OSD was fine.  I asked her to unload the dishwasher as that was a chore.  She said “I don’t do chores while I’m sick”.  I told her “okay, but I think you’re well enough so I want you to unload the dishwasher”, she repeated herself “I don’t have to unload the dishwasher if I am sick”.  I told her repeating herself was not going to change things.  We had a common cell phone the kids could use to call us if they needed; she asked if she could call her mom.  I said no of course as there was no reason to bother her while she was in the hospital with our son about something so trivial.  She gave me more attitude before unloading the dishwasher and retiring to her room where I told her very calmly that she was going to get grounded.  She of course told her mother that I yelled at her all the way up the stairs.  Her mother asked YSD if she heard me yelling, which she did not because I obviously did not yell.  Their room is right by the stairs so there is no way she wouldn’t have heard me if I was yelling.  Another lie.  YSD is sweet but craves her oldest sisters affection and eventually told the wife that I did yell at OSD, but then when asked again if she heard me yell she said she did not.  YSD always had OSDs back even though OSD typically treats the YSD poorly.  That’s another story.

At the beginning of the hospital stay I sat the girls down and calmly told them that all I really want is to be listened to and respected.  I let her know that I let them both know my expectations and pointed out OSDs lies, disrespect and that she uses people.  OSD told me that I like YSD more and that I make her feel bad.  I let her know of course I gravitate to YSD as she treats me with respect, doesn’t interact with me only when she wants things and is appreciative of things I do for her.  I let OSD know you get what you give but I have tried to make an inroads with examples.  OSD then went on to tell me that she was “above average and not like other kids, she has a PT job, and is in a couple AP classes, doesn’t abuse animals, doesn’t swear, respects her parents”   Apparently not abusing animals is above average?  I let her know that she received two D’s last semester and she may want to rethink her definition of being “above average”.  She of course told her mom that I called her “below average”.  Knowing that OSD was a habitual liar I recorded our conversation so I could prove she was lying.  Well sure enough she told her mother I yelled at her and called her below average.  I had the recording and both were far from the truth as her mother would hear. 

This came to a head when my wife noticed the common cell was missing off the counter and asked OSD where it was at.  She said it was in her room and couldn’t remember why or when she took it there.  Another lie.  We looked at the cell phone and saw a text that she tried to send to her mother complaining about having to unload the dishwasher.  Her mother sat her down with me and OSD still insisted that yelled at her during the conversation that was recorded (she also recorded the conversation and wanted her mother to listen to me yelling at her).  The wife played listned to it and told her I didn’t yell.  OSD still insisted.  Then wife started to waiver and say well maybe he talked sternly to you, so OSD wouldn’t feel bad.  The wife started to say “you are being less than truthful” and I said no, lets not mince words here, you are liar.  To which OSD said “You offend me”.  This went on for a bit as OSD insisted that I yelled and played the poor me card “I have anxiety, I have stress, SD likes YSD more…” cards.   I finally had enough and said I want nothing more to do with you, I am done with you, if I am in a room I want you in a different room, stay away from me.  I had enough of being disrespected, lied to and lied about. Then she finally went upstairs crying and complaining about her alleged anxiety issues that she somehow feels justifies her behavior.  She goes up to her room and starts screaming and throwing things against the wall at 15 years old.  I wish this wasn’t the first, second, third…time this happened.

I became upset and started to the stairs with my wife asking me not to go upstairs, presumably so OSD could continue her temper tantrum.  The tantrum continued with things being thrown around.  I went upstairs to find the door locked and pushed the door in causing the latch to give way.  I commenced yelling (for the first time I actually yelled at her) “You will stop talking when your mother is talking, you will respect your mother, you will not throw things in the house!”  This caused her to cry and scared YSD.  I never swore, never threatened either with violence.  Just yelled. 

Her mother later looked on OSD Ipod and searched apps and found a myriad of more lies about herself and me.  She called in me tears from the lies, and actually said she hoped OSDs dad would volunteer to let OSD live him, but she couldn't ask.  Many were innocuous; there was no reason to lie about such trivial things.  I had recently brought a pie home from work from a fundraiser, one of OSDs favorite.  I told her I got it for her as I knew she loved this pie and to help herself.  She told her friends that her mother got it for her as she was going to be home alone while mom was in the hospital with our son.  Both were lies.  Her text messages were filled with profanity, despite the fact she told us she didn’t swear.  She had numerous lies about her mother too that had nothing to do with me, and of course numerous lies about me as well.  One lie called me a “homophobe”, I brought a couple of magnets from work that were pro LGBTQ as this was an issue important to OSD (she’s not LGBTQ) and I told her “her, I figured you would like these as I know this important to you” so I tossed her a couple of magnets.  Because I tossed them and not handed them she told her friend I was a “homophobe”.  This was not true and very troubling as I worked at a great company where inclusion is very important.  As a matter of fact years before the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell I wrote a college paper in favor of the repeal of DADT because I believe if someone is happy and it’s not harming anyone good for them.  Additionally, and obviously ones orientation has no effect on one’s job performance. 

OSD eventually told her mother that she was fine and would be happy to be around me or eat at the same dinner table.  I eventually tested this theory and was of course met with the same disrespect where she wouldn’t look at me and scowled the whole time.  Of course the wife made excuses that OSD felt weird or strange, it wasn’t that she didn’t like me.  OSD constantly told my wife she liked me but turned around and treated me very poorly.  My wife had to have a sit-down long before all of this to tell OSD to treat me better which I am told was a massive argument.  OSDs constant lies had gotten to the point where I couldn’t trust OSD at all and was afraid of the lies or accusations she was capable of.  I refused to be at home alone with OSD.  If my wife had to go to the hospital with our son I let her know that she needed to figure out what to do with OSD.  She agreed.

This arrangement lasted for a couple of months before my wife moved out as I would not budge on not being around OSD.  I told her OSD needed counseling as she is a proven habitual liar.  My wife said I needed counseling, or we needed counseling but would never admit or acknowledge my comment.  I confronted her and said your daughter has a history of lying, you even told me that you have had to talk to her on numerous occasions (unbeknownst to me previously) “that her life was not a movie, she tried to make things more interesting than they were”.  My wife let me know that since she moved out she hasn’t lied.  (that she knows of).  I then asked why she then felt the need to lie about her mother too.  Mom said “you caused enough tension that she was acting out”.  So her lies about her mother that I had nothing do with were my fault too.  I am not sure how I created tension, it was OSD who you had to walk on eggshells around. 

So now despite repeated attempts on my behalf to try to fix my marriage they have fallen on deaf ears.  Everything is my fault apparently and OSD can do no wrong.

Here are a couple of gems do demonstrate OSDs behavior.  We were getting pizza onetime and OSD wanted water, the wife and I said tap water was fine and OSD wanted “Fiji” water.  You can probably see where this is going with her at about 13 YO, she threw a tantrum at the counter and started crying (yes, crying with tears) because we wouldn’t buy her Fiji bottled water.  I was mortified as we didn’t spoil her.  Another time we were traveling across the country and stayed at a couple of nice hotels.  Mom and I, and our young son shared a bed with him between us.  OSD complained and started to whine about always getting the pullout bed instead of the actual bed.  We explained we were the adults and needed more room, plus, we were adults! This didn’t matter and she whined at dinner slamming a ketchup bottle on the table in protest, again to my great embarrassment.  I chastised her, didn’t yell, and I of course was the bad guy according to her mother and OSD.


I cannot reason with my soon to be ex as she is not logical and is living in a fantasy world.  One time when explaining to her that should something happen to me she would be taken care of and to not squander the money I intended for her on the kids.  I wanted them to "make their own way" her response was “just like their mom”.  I let that one lay as I didn’t want a fight or to contradict her in front of the children but this is a woman who is in her mid 30s and has never held a fulltime job or been able to or had to support herself or her kids on her own.  Her ex, her parents or me have supported her and bailed her out, her entire life.  I am presently a fulltime student, on top of that I a lot of PT.  My time is at a premium with day to day chores, homework and actual work.  I needed to study one weekend and get caught up on chores I don’t have time to do during the week and couldn’t pick my son up.  My soon to be ex wife said “I don’t know how I had time as a fulltime student”.  I reminded her that she never held a job while she went to school, nor had to worry about money, but that didn’t seem to faze her as our situations in mind are completely the same according to her because she had two kids.  Never mind the fact that there was another parent present that also supported the family. 

There is of course more and this poor behavior went on for years, but my post is long enough as it is.

My apologies for the long winded rant, just needed to get that out.








MrsStepMom's picture

I am so sorry. You seem like you have tried and tried. I have yelled more than you in just one year so led me tell you how strong you are. Your wife doesn’t deserve you. It sucks when someone you truly love doesn’t appreciate your love for them. 

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Welcome to StepTalk.

Congratulations on your escape! You are very lucky to have got out of your marriage without having police or CPS looking into you. Don't be surprised if the accusations fly thick and fast in divorce court, though.

It seems your STBXwife (who is no stranger to fiddling with the facts herself) parents from guilt and has helped create the monster OSD is. There could also be some genetic predisposition at play here? STBX should have got her daughter professional help over a decade ago, but instead catered to the anti-social behaviors. Add in the stress of a sick "ours" child, and you were playing against a stacked deck all along.

Where are you at in the divorce process? Have you been able to salvage a relationship with YSD? What is the current visitation arrangement? I must warn you that missing visitation with your son is not a good thing and may be used against you. I would think you'd want to get him away from the toxicity as often as possible. Hopefully you intend to fight for as much custody as you can get, as the longer he marinates in that crazy, the more like his sis and mom he may become.



retiredusmcdad's picture

I don't feel lucky.  I would agree that there may a genetic predisposition, OSD is very much like her mother, but thankfully she wasn't as bad as her mother, at least not yet in her teenage years. 

I still have to file, I have tried to salvage the relationship with YSD, but I think OSD has manipulated her.  There is nothing in stone for visitation at present, I get my son whenver I want.  I had my son for three weekends in a row, and as there is not something in writing I didn't miss anything.  I had been out of town one weekend for work the prior to the three consecutive weekends with my son before needing a weekend to catch up on things.  I am trying to figure out how to reconcile a desire for 50% custody which the soon to be ex said she will consider with my professional aspirations and my current schooling.  Due to my sons illness I have a hard time trusting anyone to watch him besides myself.  I am not sure how I hold down a job, go to school and have my son 50% of the time beyond giving up everything to be a stay at home dad. 

SteppedOut's picture

Be sure to file long before you earn your degree (and increase your earnings) to preemptively keep your STBex from getting alimony based on that. 

Also, do you have family that can help watch your son? If not, you CAN find good care providers-you just have to look! My 2.5 yr old attends an "in home" daycare. She is so wonderful and truly loves my son like family. Please do not let that fear keep you from playing a more active role in your son's life! He needs you- and you need to do your best to not have the toxicity of his half sister be his only home-life! 

retiredusmcdad's picture

I do not have family that I trust to watch my son.   I am not letting that dissuade my desire and intent to play an active and be in his life as much as possible.   Due to my sons illness I cannot risk exposing him to germs and viruses so I cannot risk exposing him to other children on a regular basis.  He is socialized when he can be of course.  Trying to figure this out.  My chosen profession does not lend itself to teleworking.   

SteppedOut's picture

I am happy for you as your step-hell sounded horrible. It's awful to constantly be on edge. Also, it's even worse when you are fully financially supporting that!

I am sorry to say, it sounds like you were USED. Don't feel alone in that, it happened to me too -twice! You were a good man to support someone else's (ungrateful) kids - but don't do that again!

Please HELP to take care of your son, but do NOT let her use your love for your son to guilt you into continuing to take care of HER. Hopefully she is not awarded alimony. 

SteppedOut's picture

I'm not suggesting you will be or are a deadbeat! Please don't think I'm suggesting that AT ALL. I'm saying don't get guilted into doing more than you should. Sounds like STBex is a deadass who will play up her needs "to take care of your child"... Dont support her, support your son...only.

retiredusmcdad's picture

Thank you.  I will not.  To her credit she has not asked me for help.  I of course give her $ for our son.    

Rags's picture

First, welcome.  I hope that  you find this to be a good place to vent, contribute, and to pick up some useful perspective from others who are living the blended family dream.

Most importantly, thanks for your service.  My dad is a Marine.  Being raised by a Marine is one of my more fortunate experiences.

I agree that you need to file now and file first.  You will have a tough battle if you do not put your STBX immediately on the defensive.   50/50 should be your goal.  To maximize your advantages and minimize how much CS you will have to pay to your toxic X, which will in large part go to supporting her elder children, and allow you maximum influence on the raising of your DS.

Do not ever ascribe a suspission of reasonableness on your STBXW.  She has proven repeatedly that she is not reasonable and any appearance of reasonableness must be considered as manipulation.

Never forget that the best indication of future performance is past behavior.  

You have my best wishes for a successful future and of course for a rapid recovery for your son and a life of good health for him.

Again, thanks for your service.

Good luck.

Take care of you.

Maxwell09's picture

Glad you are out of that mess ESPECIALLY before the kid's lies progress to a more serious inappropriate nature. You can't make your Ex be a better parent. You can however come up with an efficient custody order that will keep OSD from babysitting the kid alone. Be glad she is gone. Some people were just made to be dumb sheep. 

retiredusmcdad's picture

Thank you.  I am glad that I escaped before OSDs penchant for lying took a worse turn.  She's a complete mess.

beebeel's picture

Ah, so your STBex is like my DH's ex: a pseudo "independent" woman who likes to tell anyone who listens how she does it all...on her own...and is such a badass for it. Does she also claim her ex does nothing? Working part time while receiving massive CS and benefiting from her current husband's fulltime work and military pension...poor, poor single mom doing it all by herself. *bad*

Your stbex was happy to take all of the credit for your hard work and finances. That's why her ungrateful brat was never made to thank you. She is a Succubus. Her kind can never be trusted. She would have bled you dry and walked over your shriveled corpse to the next man willing to believe her "I do all of this on my own!" big fat lie. 

Speaking of lies...Only those with a poor relationship with the truth excuse a liar. More plainly put: your wife doesn't come down on her daughter for lying because she is also a liar. She has little value for the truth.

Don't beat yourself up too much over falling victim to her lies and abuse (I consider financial usery abuse). The Succubus is often an attractive creature highly skilled in manipulations.

It's unfortunate that you will be stuck dealing with her for the next decade or more due to your shared son. Stick around here for some valuable advice when she amps up the drama.

retiredusmcdad's picture

I don’t think it will be long until she matches on to another “sponsor”

RLZ0073's picture

I feel bad for YSD... but those other compulsive liars have got to go! 

I hope things get much better for you and you find the peace you deserve! And thank you for your service!