Daughter is Visiting

fambamMay 1, 2013

Hi all,

I will try to be brief with this but it's kind of a long story.

First, I think it's important to understand how old we are. My stepdaughter is 20, I'm 30 and my new husband is 42. I've known my husband for seven years and I've spent time with his daughter but we just got married six months ago and I haven't see his daughter since before we wed.

We just got her ticket to visit from out of state and she will be here for six days. I have a few concerns. The biggest one so far is that she has some resentment toward her father for not being a bigger part of her life. She thinks that he wasn't involved enough when she was growing up and she thinks that he wasn't supporting her financially enough. She didn't display this resentment when she was younger but now she makes a lot of comments about it at times when she wants to guilt him or manipulate him. I want to stay out of it but I've been caught in the middle a few times already and I haven't even seen her since August. I feel like there's things I could tell her to put everything into perspective but my instinct is that it's a bad idea to get involved.

I also wonder if she's hurt because he moved out of state. When she was little he was gone for a couple of years and I wonder if she's feeling a lot of grief over these things. It might be hard for her to talk about the pain she feels because she misses him.

A pretty negative judgment that I have of her is that I think she's spoiled. My husband's parents spoil her and it's been like that since she was 12 or so. The family let her decide to live with the grandparents when she was a teenager and she picked them every time she had opportunity because they always gave her what she wanted. I know that I will never know the whole truth about everything that's happened but it's clear that the grandparents spoil her and she resents her father for not giving her enough.

This is kind of difficult! I would like to be a part of her life but this appears to be an issue that comes up at every interaction since we've been married. On Facebook she posted that she's going to visit and she said "My dad really does love me!". So she's publicly trying to trash him, even though we asked her to stay longer than three days and bought the ticket. I tend to think that I'm not petty and I'm going to ignore this but it's going to happen when she's here so I'm not sure how to act if she says things like this when we're at the dinner table. I understand that she feels hurt and I have empathy for both of them but my opinion shouldn't be a part of this situation.

One day I hope that I can help them have a better relationship but I think it's going to take a long time. I see how they must be hurting over this but I don't want to say the wrong thing.

In general, I don't know how to have a relationship with her. I think that we are both distrustful people so I don't know how I can break through that with her.

Thank you for your help!

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You don't need to have any kind of relationship with your stepdaughter other than cordial respect. The relationship with the problem is the one between father and his daughter.

You can offer emotional support to your husband, but leave it at that. The two of them are going to have to work this out between themselves. If they try to drag you into it, say you are staying out of it.

How does your husband feel about his relationship with his daughter?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 9:07AM
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Thank you! You're confirming my assumption about this. I need to talk with my husband some more about her visit. He disagrees with her on most things and I don't think he knows how to handle their relationship.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 9:34AM
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I would caution you against 'talking to your husband about this visit.'

It seems you are too eager to take the reins in this situation. If dad wants to foster a relationship with his daughter HE needs to take the initiative. You can offer suggestions, but I would not get too pushy with the advice.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 1:40PM
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