Stepdaughter's latest challenge

mixedmarriageJuly 30, 2013

I got married for the first time at age 50 to a woman ten years younger who moved here from abroad with her then 17 year old daughter. They are Russian. Since I had no children I was delighted to be married and have a stepchild, who I did my best to nurture and support. This all began eight years ago.

Stepdaughter was jealous of me from the beginning since I took her mother's attention away. She attended two years of high school here, and then the university. She barely worked while in school, and had no extracurricular activities and almost no friends. About 90% of her communications at home were with her mother, in her native language. I have always been an afterthought despite my best efforts to be a father to her. She refuses to learn to drive. She took out no student loans: her mother insisted that we support her financially in full. I disagreed because I believe that we were not preparing her for life, but my wife was adament.

She has a male admirer to whom she is not romantically interested. Nevertheless, for the last three years he has operated essentially as her slave, driving her anywhere and leaving when she tells him she is sick of seeing him and then coming right back the next day to cook for her or cater to any whim she has.

Periodically, and for no reason, she would start a fight with her mother - and occasionally with me - and would not speak to her mother for weeks or longer. She did this recently for almost two months. She was possibly angry because at least in one regard my wife put her foot down financially and told her she would not pay for grad school. Stepdaughter wants to go to grad school because she is afraid of the world and of getting a job. (She is now almost 24.) Then, after she gave into one of her mother's friendly overtures she decided to be friendly again and she started coming over to visit, naturally with her slave in tow since he drives her.

Then, for no reason, she decided to fight with me. She sent me a well-worded email indicating that she wanted nothing further to do with me, she would not eat at the same table with me, be in the same room with me, ride in the same car with me. She said she wanted freedom from me. Without telling my wife - who would veto it - I wrote back and told her she is making a mistake, but if she wants to be free from me please tell me when you are going to pay for your own food, clothing, telephone and when you are going to move out of my condo (we bought it for her to live in at college since she couldn't get along with roommates).

My wife was furious that I wrote that to her, but in the end the daughter ignored it, naturally since she knew her mother would not allow me to follow up on it.

Now, when daughter comes to the house she refuses to say hello to me or look at me. Slave-boy follows suit, since he follows whatever she does. (At dinner, if my wife offers him some food, he looks to daughter to see if she will approve before he responds.) Naturally this causes me stress, not to mention having to deal with this extreme lack of respect to me in my own house from a woman I am supporting.

Now, before anyone responds that my daughter has emotional or other problems or is extremely immature we know this. But I must tell you that she is not going to therapy, and her mother would not allow her to go. I listen to a broken record here: "We are Russian, and we don't do therapy." So that ain't gonna happen.

The only thing that could happen is a fight between my wife and I if I insist that no one can treat me like a persona non grata in my own home, which I am loathe to start because in other respects we have a good marriage and I don't know if I could handle the trauma of such a fight and where it could lead. I also have developed some serious physical health issues of my own recently and I am not in a position to live by myself. (Incidently my wife believes my health issues are stress-related, but of course she does not/would not connect it to this debacle.)

My wife's position on daugher's latest action is that I should let it roll off my back since she is obviously emotionally challenged.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with this war going on.

I think you should tell your wife that you want peace in your home and if she can't solve the problem with her daughter she is free to leave and live with her.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 12:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with Emma, what kind of life is this for you? Does your wife provide any income? If not, and I'm sorry to say this, it seems like she used you to get to this country and now the daughter is acting just like mom, but even worse. Mom created a monster and now you're both expected to feed this monster. It's beyond ridiculous. Put your foot down, give your wife an ultimatim and don't back down. As for your health, it's not a good enough reason to live with people who treat you like this.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 2:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You want to stop paying for a grown woman’s food, clothing, telephone and rent and your wife will not “allow” you to stop?

Reach down between your legs and grab. That’s your balls, remember those?

I’m going to tell you a secret about women. Secretly, we all want a man to take charge. We WANT him to stand up to us. We WANT him to stop rolling over every time we snap our fingers. We may say we want a “nice guy”, but when we get one we don’t respect him. We only respect and love men that know what they want and are not afraid to go and get it.

We want the protectors. Men like this make us all hot and wet because we know if he’s not afraid to stand up to us he’s not afraid to stand up to anything and will protect us from danger.

This is what you do. Tell your wife you are going to stop paying for her daughter’s bills and she has to move out of the condo. If she has a problem with this, tell her she can take care of her daughter herself because you are done being disrespected. I’m not saying you have to be a d*ck about it, simply state your case and be firm about it.

Your wife will whine and pout, and throw a guilt trip on you. This is expected. You have spoiled your wife and daughter for so long they are used to you giving in to their demands.

DO NOT GIVE IN. She’ll probably give you the silent treatment for several days. Don’t show that it bothers you. Go on with your life, go out, have a good time with your friends or take up a hobby. Whatever you do, do not show that her actions bother you.

Eventually one of two things will either happen. Either your wife will respect you for finally growing a backbone and stop giving you grief, or she will throw a fit and move out. Either way you’ll finally get some peace.

And don’t worry about your wife leaving you. If you have enough money to buy your step daughter a condo you must make quite a bit of money. With the income it sounds like you have you should have no problem finding a new wife. Even if you are dirt poor, no one deserves to be treated the way you are and you would better off on your own.

When I was married I used to have a lot of health problems. I was afraid to be on my own because of my health. But don't you know once I got divorced my health greatly improved. It seems quite of a bit of it was stress related. Not to mention my sleep greatly improved because I wasn't living with someone who kept the TV volume on high all night!

YOU are the one paying the bills, YOU are the ones holding all the cards, not your wife and certainly not her daughter.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 2:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In fact while this is uncomfortable the daughter's interactions with us are limited, and she does not live with us.

My wife is an educated professional. She immigrated here with a six-figure bank account and she is an equal contributor to the household finances.

I did also indicate that my marriage is sound and that it has existed for eight years, and I am looking for non-separation solutions. I do believe in marriage, and that means working on solutions other than separation.

I realize now that any solution will be hard to come by, and there may not be any usable advice that anyone can give me.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 2:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Now it seems like you're back tracking and trying to make it seem like these problems aren't as serious as you first made them out to be. So which is it? Is this a serious problem or not?

You say your marriage is sound, yet your wife is a big part of the problem.

Your wife is the one allowing her daughter to disrespect you. Your wife is the one that insisting ya'll pay for everything for her.
Your wife is the one refusing to take her to therapy.

You can still stand up to your wife without leaving her. If you don't want your money going to your stepdaughter, you can separate finances so only your wife is supporting the adult child.
I don't know what else to tell you except what your wife says which is let this stuff "roll off your back".

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 4:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Unless your health problems are so severe that you can't live on your own, you really are in the driver's seat;
as Amber said, separate the bank accounts & let your wife & her daughter enjoy whatever co-dependent relationship they want.

Even if you can't live on your own, if your income is secure, you still don't have to pay to be treated badly.

You likely can find a student or displaced homemaker who would be thrilled to help out in return for room & board.

I'm wondering, though, if the "slave boy" situation doesn't rankle so badly because it echoes your situation with your wife.

Life is short;
do whatever you need to do to enjoy it
(hint: enjoying life does not include being used/taken for granted/jerked around/having your strings pulled.)

I wish you the very best.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 7:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks again to those of you who took the time to post. i am sure you are aware that these sorts of human relationship issues are complicated and do not always lend themselves to succinct description or immediate resolution.

Perhaps the most positive thing to come out of posting here is that my wife and I use the same computer, so she read my post and the comments. It is not that she is worried I am going to take anyone's advice to leave her, but the fact that I took the time to post here may help convince her how this affects me. (No offense to anyone who posted, but we did chuckle as the advice several posters gave for me to leave my wife as we are committed to the relationship but we are aware of the penchant in our culture for divorce.)

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 8:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You last post makes me think your situation is worse then I thought in the beginning.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

. . . we are aware of the penchant in our culture for divorce.

The country with the highest divorce rate in the world is Russia.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 2:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"We are Russian, and we don't do therapy."

Oh yes we background is 100% Russian and trust me, I have the receipts to prove the tune of over 10K in the past year, from therapists, psychiatrists, outpatient centers, etc for my teen daughter....

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 7:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would be very afraid if I were you. If you are in bad health and need your wife to help you, one day you may be at their mercy. I have a son and when I moved I didn't tell him my new address because when the time comes that I may be frail and need help he would step in with his wife to take care of me. She would spend my money, probably abuse me, then throw me in any care home that would take me. She controls him and he won't go against her.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 9:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Listen to Emma.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 4:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Naturally this causes me stress, not to mention having to deal with this extreme lack of respect to me in my own house from a woman I am supporting."

Not only that, but you must realise at least subconciously that you are also stressed from having a wife who allows her daughter to treat you so poorly. Clearly she does _not_ have your back, as it were, otherwise she would be telling her nasty daughter to pull her head in and not be inviting her over for meals.

" The only thing that could happen is a fight between my wife and I if I insist that no one can treat me like a persona non grata in my own home, which I am loathe to start because in other respects we have a good marriage and I don't know if I could handle the trauma of such a fight and where it could lead."

This says to me that at heart you do not really feel your marriage is in fact sound, for if it were you should indeed be able to insist that you be treated with respect in your own home and your wife would see and acknowledge that this should be the case. No reasonable person would consider that dissing someone on their own turf is an acceptable thing to do.

"My wife's position on daugher's latest action is that I should let it roll off my back since she is obviously emotionally challenged."

And who made her daughter that way? And who is preventing her from getting better by denying her therapy? So who is perpetuating this scenario? Clearly your wife has decided _your_ feelings are not as important as her daughter's. Why do you want to stay in this relationship with a harpy who allows her daughter to mistreat you and who refuses to lift a finger to defend you?

Honestly, if you can afford a condo you don't even live in, surely you could afford to live alone with home nursing assistance if it comes to that. Perhaps you may even find that with the easing of the stress, that your health issues also ease. Otherwise you run the real risk of ending up as Emma suggests.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 9:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


As others have stated, your wife let your SD disrespect you and you have allowed it to continue. It sounds like you are a very generous SF, as is the case with my husband. Neither of my grown children would dare disrespect him in front of me! I would never allow it.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 6:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What about taking a totally different approach with your wife? She obviously loves her daughter. What does your wife think will happen when you both are gone? It sounds like your wife believes that her daughter has emotional issues. Does your wife think that her daughter will be able to function for the next 50 years without addressing her issues? And does your wife really think her daughter is happy? Unless you both are able to leave this young adult enough money to live on for the rest of her life, and make sure she doesn't spend it all or lose it, she is going to have to function as an independent adult at some point in her life.

All parents want to protect their kids and your wife may be having a hard time separating the issue of protecting and enabling. She really is preventing her daughter from finding the true happiness that comes from personal successes. This daughter doesn't have a healthy relationship with anyone in her life and there is no way she is really happy with some guy that just does what she wants him to. Getting rid of this guy would help make the daughter's dysfunction more obvious as well.

Good luck to you and your family.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 4:14PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
adult step son and his girlfriend lives with us
i just want my privacy. we have never had any. met...
I realy dislike my my step child, may even hate him at times.
Hello I am new here. I read some post on this site...
Post Partum Depression Because of Step-Grandmother?
I have a 5 year old boy and a 4 month old girl. I was...
If I could tell mothers of adult stepchildren anything, Part 2
It seems my five-year-old topic has reached its limit...
My husband hates my kids...should I leave him
My husband hates my kids, and they hate him back, which...
Sponsored Products
Harmony Wall Decor
| Dot & Bo
Cordoba Leather Club Chair Armchair
Grandin Road
Home Decorators Area Rug: Tilly Ivory 5' x 8'
Home Depot
Wing Lounge Chair in Black
$474.00 | LexMod
Modway Wing Lounge Chair in Black
Beyond Stores
15" Mariella Corner Vanity - Wenge
Signature Hardware
Traditional Concealed 1 Outlet Twin Thermostatic Shower Valve (Round)
Hudson Reed
Bitmap Blanket - Barcelona 1 - Zuzunaga
$395.00 | HORNE
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™