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Re-marriage dilemma...help!

kate_k16's picture

Good morning everyone, I've just discovered this forum and was hoping I could get some words of wisdom by those here who may have found themselves in the same boat.

I've been with my partner for 7 years, he is absolutely wonderful and our relationship is amazing. He has two kids, SD 16 and SS 14. I have two daughters of my own aged 12 and 14. For the past few years we have both had our kids week on week off.  I should preface this post by giving some background on their BM. My partner was the one who ended their marriage and she has never gotten over it - hasnt' formed a new relationship, still quite obsessed with him and very bitter. Despite numerous visits to Relationships Australia and several counsellors, she has remained unable to move on from her bitterness attached to my partner leaving her and the family unit, and the kids (SD in particular) have been elevated to the level of partner and friend in her house, hence they have no rules to follow and no discipline - she essentially treats them like her flatmates, not her kids. She is unable to agree with him on basic rules and they have virtually no co-parenting relationship. An example of how bad this has been at times 

My relationship with SD started out well as I was so determined to turn the "evil stepmum" idea on its head that I bent over backwards, taking her shopping, decorating her room, buying her makeup, helping with homework assignments, you name it. However a few years ago issues started to creep in. She was becoming lazy, withdrawn, a complete mess ( I would find used tampons/pads stuffed into her desk drawers for example) and food/ants everywhere in her room. She's been through a period of stealing makeup and skincare items from my bathroom, stealing money from us, etc. I have had discussions with her to try and let her know we are here for her and overcome these issues as I really believed we could, however whenever my partner would discipline her she would just disappear and go to her BM's house where she knew she could hide without consequence. This happened regularly over numerous incidents, the latest one being August this year when I discovered she had borrowed a very sentimental, irreplaceable item of mine  and lost it. I sat her down and told her how upset it made me but made it clear I was willing to talk it through with her. To avoid this, she disappeared back to mums, told her father she would be staying there from now on as I was making her "mentally ill" and she couldn't stand our house anymore. I haven't seen her since, her dad catches up briefly with her once or twice a week as he is desperate to try and keep the relationship going. 

Recently we decided to get married. When my partner informed SD, she told him she would love to come to the wedding. However, she expects she can just show up (and it is not just a few hours,  it is a 2 day family event/trip away) without trying to make some amends first. My partner has told her that she really needs to try and make amends if she expects to come, but i know he is desperate to have her there even if she doesnt - but honestly, I know if she doesn't take positive steps towards trying to rebuild a relationship first it will ruin my day if she is there. Any advice? The wedding is only 2 months away. 

 

1dad4kids's picture

Hmmm that's a tough one. Sounds like your SD is going to come regardless. If you're wanting to make amends then maybe you should be the first to say something. Give her an opening. "I'm so glad you can join us for the wedding, I want to apologize for the part I played in our disconnect. I'm sure you're equally sorry". Hopefully that conversation will be enough to ease the tension and the rest will work itself out. 

JRI's picture

Im a long-time victim of my SD59 who never got over her dad's remarriage.  Im guessing your SD might apologize (unwilliingy, untruthfully, under pressure) but she would never mean it.  My SD has stolen everything she could get her hands on and made tons of trouble.  Of course, DH would like me to see all that as " bygones".  Nowadays, I have disengaged and gray rock her.  I have accepted that as his daughter, she's not going away.  And at 83, DH won't change.

If he wants her at the wedding and can get her there, fine.  I wouldnt lift a finger to make it happen. I wouldnt expect an apology and I'd watch my back for the rest of your life.

 

StrawberryPie's picture

Oh gosh, I feel like we have the same SD.  Mine was around the same age when she started that nonsense in our home. She also stated being around us was effecting her 'mental health' (my DH encouraged her to see a therapist but she never did).

That's a tough one on the wedding.  Is there a way she can be there but stay out of the way and not interfere with you and DH's day?  If not, I'd recommend going with whatever decision makes you happy if you fast forward 5 years from now.  

Good luck!

kate_k16's picture

Thanks so much everyone for taking the time to comment. My SD has seen counsellors, we've been together, apart, her dad and I, him and the kids, the BM, you name it. Problem is when we had a sesssion alone (partner and I) the counsellor told us plainly she could see BM was the issue and there was a "confused hierarchy" in their home due to her issues getting over the divorce. She also told us our rules were basic and valid and BM should support them - however she never told BM that and hence the whole thing ended up being a waste of time.

Problem with the wedding is it is a 2 day thing with family staying in a house together, the actual wedding, other dinners etc. And the only people attending are our immediate family - so its not like she will just be just one guest for 3 hours in a sea of poeple. If it was that, I don't think I'd be struggling so much with the idea of it.

I suppose I just can't understand if she dislikes me/our home so much, she would even WANT to come to the weddding - which gets my guard up even more as I suspect its just to stickybeak/report back to BM/not miss out on a fun day. After all, she has basically given the 'middle finger' to our home and her dad and I as a couple - so why come and support a union that has apparently caused you such issues?

 

 

 

StrawberryPie's picture

You could be on to something with the report back to BM thing.  I may suggest something like a 'wedding brunch' with just the 3 of you in the next 1-2 wks.  If she declines that, then I'd cross her name off the wedding invite list.

kate_k16's picture

The hard thing is, her dad is such a sweetheart and only believes the best of his kids - he was so happy when she said she would come to the wedding but he's looking at from a totally different angle from me. I suppose the struggle is that once you have ticked off every box there is to being a 'good' step-parent - and done all the counselling - and gotten nowhere - where do you go from there? I am happy to disengage and revisit when she has more life experience and maturity and that is the path we are headed down, however her insisting on coming to the wedding has brought everything back to the fore and its hard to not resent that when this day, and its lead up, should really be about us - especially as pretty much the last three years has exclusively been about us worrying about her.

JRI's picture

I know what you mean about ticking off all the "good stepmom" boxes and still having a negative relationship.  I have been there, done that.  When my SD was 16, like yours, we, too, had all the theft, lies and trouble.  But my SD could also be a caring, sweet, vulnerable girl.  That's the person I tried to relate to, 

As I think back, there's not much I could have done differently.  Perhaps if  Steptalk had neen available in the 70s, I would have been able to get DH to face her reality and enforce some consequences but it would have been quite a struggle, getting him to face it squarely and then getting him to clamp down.

Once my SD married and had kids, she was less of an issue, busy living her own life.  But each divorce brought her back to DH for help.  Now, she's disabled and we are subsidizing her living expenses elsewhere after a 10-month stay here where she put us through hell.

I hope you have a better outcome.  It's one of the most difficult things I've ever dealt with.

Merry's picture

I don't think I'd insist on an apology from her. Even if she provides one, it's unlikely to be sincere. I'd focus more on what the multiple days will look like if she does attend. Are there other family members than can be clued in and be in charge of her so you and DH don't need to worry about it?

My (adult) SD was upset that DH and I were getting married. She did attend our wedding, made a boo-hooing speech, and I have wedding pictures with my DH standing next to me and holding her hand. Maddening. (Eventually DH figured out who was daughter and who was wife.)