Ignored by 18yo SD
I'm new here and need some advice.
My partner and I have been living together for 3 years with his 12yo son and 18yo daughter.
It's been very difficult for me at times as my SD doesn't acknowledge me at all if I don't talk to her first. If I say hello she will reply but, if I ask a question she will reply with the bare minimum, if I ask how she is doing she will reply with one word but won't ask back. She will talk to her brother and dad at dinner time but not me. If I don't acknowledge her we would have 0 interaction which I find very odd and awkward but also hurtful as I try so hard to make conversation, bought presents for her, baked BD cakes, ...It's getting difficult to try to build a friendly relationship when she doesn't want any. I understand she doesn't want anything to do with me but I find it rude to be completly ignored over a long period of time. She is passive aggressive. On my BD she didn't acknowledge me, didn't even greet me but ate the BD cake...
I tried to addresse the issue with my partner a few times but he cut me short and changed the subject. He gets angry if I keep mentionning it. He once though admitted that the behaviour is rude but also said he won't force her to talk to me. He is probably worried of hurting her feelings but it's not fair to me.
Am I overreacting? Any advice to handle the situation ?
I think you have to disengage. Stop trying with her beyond what you would do for a stranger if you were being polite. If she's ignoring you, ignore her right back.
As for your partner, he's being stupid. He's worried about hurting her feelings but fine with you being upset. Not a nice move on his part.
I'm sure some of the wiser members will be along later and give you more suggestions. They are mostly from the USA so there will be a time delay before you hear anything.
I agree with the advice to
I agree with the advice to disengage.. but please do NOT tell your husband you are disengaging from his child.. just simply go about it by stopping your full court press to win her over. You can be civil to her in your home.. but I would stop going out of your way to engage with her.. and at 18.. I am assuming that sooner or later she will be off on her own.. at school.. or in a place of her own.. so it will become less of an issue eventually.
So.. your DH can bake her cakes.. buy her presents.. etc.. You don't do things for her.. favors for someone that can't be bothered with you.. but you don't have to be rude about it.. just basically neutral towards her.. like a coworker you tolerate but don't care for too much.
My Thoughts Also
In disengagement, we don't have to be rude. My motto: Civil but superficial. Treat her like the clerk checking you out.
Been There Myself
In my case SD never got over it--treating me like crap--even in front of DH. I was unhappy for 15 years. I found the alienation behavior so deeply entrenched and probably encouraged by BM. With that kind of tension in the house, it feels so uncomfortable. When SD lived with us for a year in our guesthouse with her BF, I felt like a prisoner in my own home. Her bad vibes permeated. In that year , DH and I finally came together about her and moved. The advice to disengage is good. When I stopped trying, things got better for me. On one vacation we inviter her on, she was micromanaging our groceries, what we packed, and being over-the-top critical of me. I cracked and said " you are such a bitch." She turned to DH and said , "she just called me a bitch." DH said it all when he answered "well you are." When DH was letting her disrespect me, I was so hurt, but didn't force him to choose like she was for 15 years. Please don't try so hard. There is a great saying "you give what you get."
It's getting difficult to try
It's getting difficult to try to build a friendly relationship when she doesn't want any.
Take your cue from her and move forward. You can't force a relationship - it will only breed resentment. Treat her like you would an annoying coworker: be polite, but impersonal; just focus on your job. And your job is NOT SD.
She's your DH's child, not yours. Let him handle presents and cakes. Let him make conversation. You take the high road and continue to be polite. As mentioned above, do NOT say one word to your DH about disengaging. Just quietly take a step or three back, let him spend time with SD, and you do something you enjoy.
Agree with disengaging. Just
Agree with disengaging. Just don't let it feel like failure on your part. You did your best. You were open to a relationship. The failure is on her and your DH.
And while I agree with not making an announcement to your DH about it, if you have been the one buying birthday and holiday gifts and planning the celebrations and treats, he's going to have to be put on notice that it's up to him. Otherwise, when there is no gift and no cake, both of them will blame you and go into victim mode. "Hey, DH, what are you going to do for SD's birthday? She seems to appreciate it more when you pick out her gifts and cake, so I don't think that's something I should be doing."
I hope there is a plan for her to launch -- either off to uni or work and out of your house soon.
I don't want her out of home,
I don't want her out of home, I know its hard to survive and save money 'in the real world', I just wish I was acknowledged and treated better, and had my partner's support.
She will probably be with us, alternating with her mum, for a while as it's getting quite difficult these days to buy a home where we live. She finished high school, she is currently doing a trade.
Partner always buy his kids expensive presents, and they all go out for dinner with BM. I'm not invited. I buy them something smaller that is from me, and try to show them some love by baking a cake.
What? They go out with BM?
What? They go out with BM? And you're not invited? No. Just no.
He needs to decide who his partner is--you, BM, or SD? Why are you ok with 3rd or 4th place in his life?
Agree.. Total BS
Agree.. Total BS
I'm really not ok with it,
I'm really not ok with it, and that's why I'm seeking advice and support here. Partner wouldn't acknowledge my suffering if I'd talked to him about it.
To give you some context, when it happened SD was staying at our place. I avoided blaming partner for not being invited to avoid the conflict. I just asked him why they would go out with BM when 1. Partner and BM are in conflict and don't even want to see each other, 2. BM organised a birthday party at hers literally a few days later with her family? He said he couldn't say no because SD asked him if BM could join for dinner. She knows her mum hates me so I've been automatically excluded from dinner. Stayed home by myself.
Sadly if I bring up the issue I know I will have my feelings dismissed which makes me feel worst, and potentially turn into an argument. He won't acknowledge the fact that this is not ok because "it's for the kids" and I'm an adult so I should understand.
My last straw with my exDH was he took snotty SD out for her birthday WITH BM. I was not invited.
I threw him out that night.
Hun the damage these dysfunctional toxic slime cause is extremely harmful.
Now I have peace...you can too
I really don't understand
I really don't understand these men. Your DH is a shitty parent. I'm guessing he wouldn't allow her to treat an aunt or grandmother that way, yet you are his "partner" and he allows you to be treated disrespectfully in your own home. Time to start talking about SD18 flying from the nest so that you can have peace in your home.
DH allowing disrespect
There it is--how many DH's let this go on? Mine did and it changed the way I feel about him. For me, it just went on too long. We are together, but I lost so much respect for him being a total doormat for his daughter. You can't tell them how allowing the conflict to carry on damages intimacy and trust. In my case, that's what was lost. Also in the years the abuse continued my DH had dementia progress from mild to moderate. I'm so mad about those years we could have been happier together. My heart aches for other SM's in this situation. The men don't want to choose so you have to work around the elephant in the room to salvage your life and marriage. I sound bitter because I am.
I would point out she was
I would point out she was pretty old when you came on the scene.. she may welll have resented a new person in her dad's life.. not particularly mature.. but depending on the circumstances of his split with her mom.. and the current dynamic.. she may not have been overjoyed.. of course he should have been more insistent that she be more polite to you.. but you can't force a relationship.. and he probably carried a lot of guilt forward and was afraid he would lose her if he went billy bad azz on her for not being more welcoming.. he allowed her to decide that she didn't really feel like interacting.. was ok. The flip side is that he should also have let you off the hook and not let you knock yourself out.
at this point.. meh.. maybe if she gets a taste of the semi-invisible treatment.. she will want to engage more.. but for now.. I would just focus on your DH and the other child if they are the ones who welcome your presence
She was 15 when I moved in with him, so yes it's pretty late in her life. Her parents separated for some years before we met and are not in good terms at all.
Apparently BM is very hard to deal with and always want more money from him, always causes drama and sends him abusive texts (but that's only HIS side of the story. I don't know what happened in their relationship before that would trigger this kind of behavior). They fight quite a lot (not in front of the kids tho) and I know she also called me a "bitch" and said other bad stuff about me in front of the kids. So I believe it's the reason why SD doesn't engage with me.
I think my partner should be clear to his kids that when they are staying at HIS place they should be courteous with me as it's not my fault if BM doesn't like me, and I don't deserve to be treated like this.
I personally wouldn't allow
I personally wouldn't allow your partners comments about being mad about you bringing up the bad behavior prevent you from bringing up the issues to him in the future. It would actually make me do the opposite. I would approach the issue (respectfully, with focus on the behavior that's the issue and why. If he deflects and defends I would call him out specifically on doing that. Because how he's acting is wrong and it's creating issues rather than helping
Yes I agree, unfortunately me
Yes I agree, unfortunately me insisting bringing it up will end up in conflict. One day she did something quite rude to me in front of him. (Normally she just gives me the silence treatment, but this time it was something straight up rude). I got upset and told him privately he should talk to her. He agreed the behaviour was rude but didn't talk to her. I tried again the day after and he raised his voice on me saying "that's between me and my daughter".
I would go for the conflict,
I would go for the conflict, light a fire up his a$$, but that is just me. Without conflict, nothing will ever get solved. He needs to get his head out of the sand... Id be on him HARD. what will it hurt? What is the worse outcome here? He treats bio mom and his kid better than you and this needs to change... I dare say or else. Do you really want to live that way, with a partner who dismisses your concerns? He needs to be more afraid of losing or hurting YOU.
I guess I'm just not
I guess I'm just not confident/brave enough to go for the conflict. He will deny the truth, dismiss my feelings and argue it's for the kids and has nothing to do with me. He will say if I'm not happy I can just leave. It makes me feel even worse so I accept the abuse.
Thank you everyone for your
Thank you everyone for your messages! It feels so good to be heard!
I think I should disengage too and stop worrying about someone who pretends I don't exist.
How would you handle the disengagement process ? When SD comes home after a week at BM, she greets the dogs and her dad but not me, she doesn't even look in my direction making it hard for me as well to say hello. It always feels like begging for her attention when I say hello, it feels unnatural as her body language is screaming I don't want to interact with you. I'd have to raise my voice for her to notice I'm there and hear I'm talking to her.
Should I keep saying hello or just wait until she does ? (She won't tho)
If I stop trying to talk to her there will be no interaction at all. Will I be the one being rude then ?
But if I keep trying to talk to her then I'm not disengaging and still begging... Tricky situation. Any advice?
Also around Xmas time I know my partner will ask me what I'm buying for the kids this year? How do I tell him there won't be present for SD ? He will probably tell me that it's mean to buy for SS but not SD.
Disengaging is highly
Disengaging is highly personal and is determined by the people and the situation. Some go cold-turkey and stop with all help. Which can work. I opted to do the phase things out method. If I was doing something and it was unappreciated and I found myself arguing with DH about supporting me (like me purchasing tickets to an event and then everyone backing out at literally the last minute because the SDs didn't want to do it any more - and that wasn't the first time), then I would stop that thing. And another and another and so on. I didn't discuss what I was doing with DH, I just put it on him. If HE wanted to do something, I'd say "Great idea, why don't you plan that and let me know when it is?"
Saying hello - I have this issue with YSDalmost17 now. If DH is not in the room she does not say hello/goodbye. But I do it anyway because it's polite. I don't expect any answer. However, if she literally storms out the door too fast for me to say anything at all, so be it. Keep polite, stick to the high road, have no expectations.
At dinner, DH hates it when I don't interact with YSD. However, he is constantly monitoring what I say and undermining me. So I literally cannot have a conversation with her. I just tell him, "If you don't want me to interact then ok, I'm not going to. YSD, you don't have to answer me." I've not solved this issue with him yet. She will interact with me a little teeny bit sometimes when DH isn't around but rarely. I don't go out of my way to do things with her or for her. If it's something DH needs help with because he literally cannot (like picking her up from her transit stop because he has a work meeting) I'll do it. But that's it. Again, polite and kind but not over-extended.
For Xmas after the huge OSD(then11/12) debacle where she was just over-the top greedy and completely unthankful, I told DH straight up that I would not ever be participating in that type of 'abundant' gift giving again. That it was mainly now on DH. I stopped doing stockings. I stopped trying to get really cool stuff for them. I tried getting them to make fun lists (they refused to do even this!). So I just got them three things each (you cannot do more for one than the other in my view unless there's a huge disparity in the household overall)...new pajamas, one nice thing they could use/I knew they wanted, and one fun thing (fun soap, socks, makeup, etc.). At this point YSD is so anti-anything I just donate to a charity in her name and give her the certificate. DH is aware of my feeling on this and he doesn't disagree with me so there's no argument. If she's not aggregiously acting out with Xmas things then I would just cut back on things overall. Don't do more "just for the kids" - do what you WANT to do. Let your DH know what you will be doing, but don't ASK him for permission.
Remain the bigger person, be reasonable, stick to your plan firmly and kindly.
I have a huge issue with your rude failed family SD.
I have a much larger issue with your ball-less DH who serves up his partner to his harpy of a failed family daughter.
I would start c'alling both of them on it in real time anywhere i happens.
To SD: 'You were a rude juvenile and now a rude adult. I will not stand for it any longer. If you are ever rude again you are out of my home immediatley. And you,
To BF: For our entire relationship you have allowed your failed family daughter to pull this rude crap and do not make any effort to correct your parenting failures. I will no longer stand for that. Your failed family daughter will learn immediately to be pleasant or you will correct her immediately each time she is rude or you are both history from my life.'
Have the locksmith on speed dial to re-key the locks.
Agree With Cover1
Disengaging is personal and looks different for each person. I put up with toxic behavior directed at me for way too long and it cost me my health, both physical and mental. Per my counselor, I am estranged from DHs kids. Have not seen them in 5 years. I am much better now...both physical and mental, and have learned healthy boundaries to thrive in StepHell. These past 5 years were hard but we survived, DH "woke" up and has been instrumental in my healing. I am beginning to lessen boundaries; DH's youngest visited here twice. I did not interact with him. That will come. My plan is to be civil and kind but nothing over the top. Think, treating them like the store clerk checking you out.
Your case is different because they live with you. AND because you have an SO that does NOT know how to parent his rude daughter. No way would my kids sit at a table, eating a meal and not talk to the hostess. But since you have to deal with this, I'd just act like everything is fine, and direct all talk to your SO or SS. Saying hello when she comes in? You could, or you could move yourself to a room where you don't see her enter, walk out quickly when she enters, etc. Or just not say hi. A smile and nod of the head would suffice. Stop doing things for her, if you do. She needs a ride somewhere....tell her to ask her dad. Start putting a lot of the "kid" work on him.
As for Christmas, I'd be frank. Your daughter does not speak to me and does not want a relationship with me. I'm respecting her wishes and that includes not buying gifts for someone who shuns me. BAM.
I'd suggest searching the group for "disengagement" posts. You can learn a lot and pick what works best for you. You may want to do a gradual disengagement or you may want to jump in with both feet. Only you can decide what's best for you and your situation. Best to you. It's not an easy life in StepHell.
It's great that you've
It's great that you've learned healthy boundaries with your SKs and finally get support from DH. It gives me hope!
SD doesn't want anything to do with me so she won't ask anything from me and I don't have any "Kid work" to do. Her dad bought her a car so she is quite independent.
"Smile and nod of the head" wouldn't work as she doesn't look at me when she comes home. She pretends I'm not there. Sometimes I'm just sitting on the couch (you can see it well from front door, it's a small house) and I hear her coming in so I look at her, expecting an interaction will happen but she just pets the dogs and goes to her room while I'm literally staring at her. She avoids any eye contact. And that's what drives me insane. It's just so rude.
As for "gradual disengagement", there is only very limited interaction such as "hi - hi", "how are you? - good", "how was your day? - good". So If I do any less there is basically 0 contact. It's such a weird situation.
It's Weird For All of Us Here
Nothing normal in StepHell. The situations we have to deal with on this board are just, at times, horrible. And most times, uncomfortable. DH has had 4 grandkids in these past years and I've not seen one as I'm "shunned" from that role also. Not that I care anymore (thanks to some wonderful advice via this site).
Me? I'd just not greet her anymore. While she may see you as she enters, you can just stay directed at TV or whatever you can focus on. I wouldn't be ugly but I sure would not be reaching out to her.
Best to you. Tough road for all of us on this board.
Sorry to hear you've been
Sorry to hear you've been "shunned". Stop caring is indeed the best thing to do to keep our sanity
You are in a bad relationship.
You have a SO problem. His daughter's behavior is only a symptom. She mistreats you because he ALLOWS it; in fact, his silence is permission.
Why do you accept this b.s.? Why are you okay with being abused (yes, shunning is a form of abuse) and shut down when you object to it? Nothing about this is normal or healthy. Four billion males on this planet, and you think this guy is the best you can do?? Hardly.
OP, a lot of men follow the path of least resistance. You seem quite passive, whereas BM and her mini me like conflict, so of course your bf placates them. He wants you to shut up and take it so HE can be comfortable. Selfish bastard.
Honest question: what are you getting out of this relationship? What is sooo great about this guy who won't stand up for you that makes the mistreatment worth it?
"his silence is permission."
"his silence is permission."
I can't tell you how many times I had told DH that silence is assent.
Hi agree it's a problem
Hi agree it's a problem between partner and I. As you said he is allowing it, which basically is a way to tell her that I'm not deserving of respect and therefore not that important in his life.
"Shunning". Didn't know that word (I'm not a native speaker). After reading about it it's exactly what is happening and yes it is a form of abuse and that explains why I've been feeling so sad and angry.
I don't know how to break the cycle and how to initiate a conversation about it. I'm terrified to make things worst with my partner. I shouldn't have accepted it in the first place. At first I thought SD needed some time to adjust and get to know me. It's been 3 years now of living together (40% of the time) and she has never asked me a single question. I told partner that his kids were not greeting me a long time ago and he would tell them to say hello, which they would do but only for one day. They stopped doing it and get away with it. It's tiring for me to have to initiate it all the time.
It seems like we do have a lot of issues in our relationship (which apparently are my issues only as it's so easy for him to dismiss them. I'm the only one suffering). I love him and feel a strong connection to him. We have great times together. I love hanging out with partner and SS12 but I feel like an outsider when SD is with us. It seems like I'm accepting the abuse by fear of losing him because I love him
No matter what you do, you
No matter what you do, you will somehow be the one in the wrong. Say hello? How dare you pressure her? Don't speak? How dare you ignore her.
If my partner won't even have a calm, adult conversation about it, I'd be out of there. That might not be your solution but I'll be damned if I'm alternately blamed and ignored in my own home.
Agree with this.. It's all
Agree with this.. It's all about HIS reaction (your partners) and the ability to have a conversation about it that will create change and action.
Say hello but keep being rejected, which only gives more power to her and contributes to my suffering. Or stop saying hello but then I'm gonna be told "you are not trying either, it's your fault as well". It actually happened once as I was telling him she was ignoring me, he said I was not trying either (after trying in so many ways such as cooking, baking, asking questions, buying presents). It was the only time I snapped. I went compeltly crazy that day and smashed a glass and a bottle of wine. I felt terrible after.
I believe it's one of the reasons why I fear talking about it. My feelings have been completly invalidated and the blame shifted on me.
I was shunned by my SD33 for
I was shunned by my SD33 for over 7 years while she lived with us full time. She was 15 to 22. DH did jackshit and I almost walked because the most painful part of it all was my ball-less wonder who quaked in his boots at the very sight of SD. Two things I did: I shunned the bitch right back. I said not one word to her, didn't look at her, did nothing for her. I had SS and DD and SS always accepted me as his SM, so I continued to bake him treats and do things for him. I was quite blatant about it. I lost my ability to GAF about SD.
I also went ape-shit on DH. I was quite blatant about the words I used. I said something to the effect of him needing to "remember which one of us he's fucking." There was a major case of Mini-Wife Syndrome too. In the past I would broach the subject but DH would gaslight me and since I was so insecure, co-dependent and had such low self-esttem I doubted myself. Until...
...I found myself and decided that I would no longer pull back out of fear of "losing" DH. I feared living like that for much longer than I feared divorce. Also, my therapist told me to blatantly shun SD right back. My therapist said that every time I make an effort by saying hello or trying to get her to engage at all, I hand her more and more power. She has the power to continue to reject me and with my abandonment trauma and all that jazz from my past, it's not good for me to 1) continue to offer myself up for rejection; and, 2) to hand over more power to a power-tripper. Every time I "made an effort," I was rewarding her for what she does to me (shunning and excluding) and reinforcing her treatment of me. You are not the bad guy for retreating. It is OK to choose you. I had zero guilt over blatantly shunning SD and remaining totally plugged in with everyone else. If she could do that, so could I. I also told DH that a man who doesn't have my back is a deal-breaker. I heard all the bullshit gaslighty responses like, "I can't make her like you..." I told him no but he can make her respect me and call her out. He can and MUST stand up for me or I walk. I WILL NOT tolerate treatment like that from neither SD nor DH in front of our DD.
It took a couple of set-backs for DH to finally get it to stick but he put me first. It still took a while for SD to start to come to me but I didn't care. My hatred of her had been set in stone so anything she did was much too late. We get along now but I think it's for show. To this day I have zero respect for her. Just yesterday, my SS said the same thing.
Do not feel obligated to "be nice" and "make the effort." That only rewards and reinforces your SD. And no it's not between your DH and his DD. I would tell your DH that with his scaredy-cat way of refusing to parent his bitch, there's going to be a big problem between him and his wife. Tell him it's a huge turn-off to see him be a supposedly grown man be too afraid to address his little dumpling.
Honestly, if I could go back, I would have walked. It's THAT unhealthy to live like that.
I say this with best intentions...
1. Disengagement is a short term solution.
2. Please really think if this is the relationship for you long term. You dont mention that you want or have kids of your own. Are you working full time with your own independence? If not, you are probably feeling stuck with this. And you are not married, so there is that layer.
3. Consider therapy, if thats an option. For yourself, to help you find your inner strength. Sometimes we lose ourselves in relationships and need help finding our way back. You sound like your confidence has really taken a hit over this time with your SO, and the shunning is one of the things that will definitely erode your confidence.
4. Shunning can go both ways. Keep a (hidden) journal. Your SO is gaslighting you. If he tells you that "you are the adult" and that "you are not trying" you have something to go back to so you can recall things. But really I think you know the answer. That 40% bad to the 60% good? Really its all bad if your partner is not having your back, and allows you to be abused.
Save yourself. Find a new partner.
This guy is a failed man, partner, and father. Who wants that as their primary relationship?
Give what you get
I went through similar treatment from my DH. I outlasted SD by sheer patience. It was hard too. I see where you could be obnoxious when she comes home--sing "I've Never Been to Me" , hum, whistle, laugh...Just in the background and not directed at her. I never thought to do it myself, but looking back, I should not have made it such a war with her. I should have made her a bit more uncomfortable. I'm still mad at the 16 years I had of that crap. Endure and survive isn't good enough with the situation you are in. This is probably really bad advice too.
Older SD's are
Different. My SD21 turned 15 a couple of weeks before her dad and I started dating. She lived several hours away with BM so my DH felt guilty for not being closer and seeing her as much as he wanted, but with his work being away from home is very much the norm.
Because she was a teenager, I didn't have super high expectations but I expected her to be polite and engage with me, but she honestly never has very much. I tried to be her friend, sent her gifts, took her shopping, all the things. But it became clear she wasn't into it unless it was beneficial for her. I came to see that she would let me take her shopping as often as I would and even now if I ask her what she needs she doesn't mind telling me or sending me a picture of what she wants.
Over the years I've accepted it for what it is and I've stopped making the efforts I used to, especially when her behavior towards me was what I considered down right mean and hurtful. Her older sibling isn't much better and I treat them the same.
I do all the Christmas shopping and I ask them what they want. I don't fill wish lists, but I pick from the list. They get money for their birthdays.
My DH is seeing more and more over time because she now slights him in her behavior and I see it as she's had enough rope to hang herself.
When we go visit, we are typically seeing her and her kids at her mom's house because she and her unemployed deadbeat husband alternate where they live. I have had struggles there because it's not ideal and it's not comfortable, but I've had conversations with DH that have become more and more honest over time and he "gets it" more now.
I'm engaged only on a superficial level because she made it clear she didn't want more than that. I send a card and a check for her birthday and we take Christmas gifts.
When she was younger and would come spend time at our home we had her bring a friend and I'd take them to the pool on my lunch break at work and I'd make wonderful dinners and there would be no thank you or help with clean up. I got her a birthday cake one year she was able to spend time at our home that fell on her birthday and she announced that she doesn't like chocolate. I've since called her out on it when I've seen her eat chocolate cake.
I think some skids wouldn't make nice with anyone their parent had a relationship with, so I've learned to accept that it probably isn't me, but the role of SM. It doesn't make it right, though.
I am comfortable at this level of engagement because I can decide what I want to invest and I'm not obligated. I refuse to be taken advantage of like she's done in the past and I will call her out on some of her crap. She's learned that she won't get away with everything and my DH also calls her out at times, which makes a big difference. But getting him to see through the haze has been a process. I didn't push super hard, but I did start stating how things made me feel. I didn't blame him or anyone, but I would just say "it hurts my feelings that she said she didn't like chocolate when we got her birthday cake, but we just watched her eat chocolate cake"....over time he's seeing more and more and it hurts him, too.
My advice is to be kind to yourself. Engage where you're comfortable because it honestly won't make a difference to her, as you've seen.
I hope your SO comes around and recognizes her behavior for what it is.