Wife & daughter conflict
When I divorced my ex-wife I did so because she was cheating on me. I made a deal with her that if I got primary custody I would never collect child support and I wouldn't leave the immediate area until our daughter turned 18.
When my wife and I married, I told her that one condition was that we couldn't leave the area until my daughter turned 18. That was 16 years ago and it seemed so long into the future back then. But now it is simply a couple of months off. This is important to my story because my daughter wants to go to school locally so that she can be near her boyfriend, but my wife has been looking forward to leaving this town for years now.
When we got married, I was a single father with a little girl who was almost two. My daughter didn't like any other women and my wife was no exception. None the less, over time my wife won over the little girl and while their relationship wasn't perfect, it was really good for about 13 years.
Then when my daughter turned 15 their relationship crumbled. For many years my wife had organized things so that she wouldn't have to deal with having a birthday party for my daughter that her biological mother would be able to show up for. She did this a couple of ways. We would bring in cupcakes so that the kids at school could celebrate at the end of the day in school instead of coming to a party. Then we would take my daughter and a couple of her friends to a theme park or something like that. That way we wouldn't have to deal with a birthday party that my ex-wife could attend.
On her 15th birthday my daughter really wanted a proper birthday party. We planned one at a local hang gliding flight park that was run by a good friend of mine. My daughter invited her biological mother but my wife insisted that she couldn't come. This was really difficult for my daughter because she had already invited her and she had to be "un-invited". I tried to explain to my wife that the party was for my daughter, not her, and that there would be repercussions from this years later, but my wife is stubborn and the biological mother was un-invited to the party.
A few months later, we enrolled my daughter in a very good private prep school. My daughter invited her biological mother to the orientation. My wife insisted that her mother could not come. Again I told my wife to please just let it go, that this would do irreparable damage to the relationship between her and her step-daughter. Again I was ignored. The already shaky relationship between my wife and daughter got even worse.
One morning I went to wake my daughter (age 16 now) for school and she was on the floor with a bunch of saliva and blood around her head. That was her first epileptic seizure. I took her to the doctor, then a pediatric neurologist. She had what is called "juvenile myoclonic epilepsy". The neurologist put her on a drug called depakote.
One of the side effects of depakote is that it can cause birth defects. I started worrying about the possiblity that if my daughter was having sex, she might have a child with birth defects. My daughter was going to her biological mother's house on weekends and I was worried that the rules were so lax there that she would have ample opportunity to have sex if she wanted.
I decided to have a heart to heart conversation with my daughter spelling out my fears and asking her to please tell me if she was having sex so that I could put her on birth control. It turned out that my fears were well founded. She was already having sex with her boyfriend. I made an OBGYN appointment as soon as I could and she has been on birth control ever since.
My wife was furious with me. From her point of view I was giving my blessing to underaged sexual activity and even encouraging it. When I had talked to my daughter about this, I had promised her that it was just between us and I wouldn't tell anyone else. I told my wife not to confront my daughter because that would give away that I had told her. My wife of course confronted her anyway. My wife was furious and my daughter was furious.
The relationship between my wife and daughter has just gotten worse since then. My wife and I have been through extensive marriage counseling. My daughter has gone to counseling too. None of it seems to have done much good. The marriage counselor told us that in a blended family, rules and discipline need to come from the biological parent. My daughter's counselor said the same thing and my daughter really latched onto that in a sort of "even the counselor says you shouldn't try to be my mother" sort of way.
My wife and daughter's relationship has deteriorated to the point where it is just totally unpleasant. My daughter hates it at our home and avoids it whenever possible. My wife constantly goes through her computer and her private things looking for anything that she can show me to prove to me how bad the girl is. My wife had a confrontation with my daughter's boyfriend's parents which made them think that my wife was going to file statuatory rape charges (my daughter is 17, their son is 18). In the past three months my daughter has eaten dinner at home maybe twice. She has been telling me for months that she is moving out as soon as she turns 18. On school nights she comes in exactly at her curfew and goes straight to her room. She does all her school-work over lunch and study-hall at school so that she doesn't need to study at home. She is getting good grades so I can't complain, but they could be better if she wasn't trying to avoid spending time at home.
My daughter is so anxious to move out that she was going to switch to the public school and do the bare minimum school requirements and graduate early this fall so that she could move out at exactly 18 (her birthday is in November). Her grandfather talked her out of this (partially by bribing her) and she is going to finish out the private prep school she is already attending.
Several days ago I told my daughter that I was ready to work out a deal with her. I would start treating her like an adult. She could openly stay at her boyfriend's house on weekends for instance. In return she would have to behave like an adult. She would finish the high school year without leaving home in the middle of it. As she went off to college, those rules would continue. I would aknowledge that she is going to live with her boyfriend while she attends college and not fight her on this. She wouldn't drink or do drugs (she can't anyway because of the anti-seizure medicine). She would get good grades and I would support her while she goes through school.
I thought it was a good deal but my wife is furious. She feels that that move is an absolute giving up on my last little bit of parenting responsibility. She worries about how we are going to raise our son (ten years old) when we disagree so strongly about parenting. I tell her that I will happily yield the deciding vote on our decisions with him if she'll just go along with me on the decisions I make regarding my daughter. My wife feels like she is secondary compared to my daughter but I feel like none of the decisions we are fighting about are at all related to weighing the two of them against each other. We are at the verge of divorce and I hate it because I really do love my wife. While I disagree with her constantly she has the best of intentions.