I didn't go
Just an update about the college weekend. If you recall, DH and I had planned to drive YSD to her college, which is two hours away, drop her off, and travel a bit farther to spend a couple of nights at a shoreline cottage. Then we were to return to the college, attend a presentation, kiss YSD goodbye and arrive home late Tuesday night. Then at the last minute BM decided to come also and stay near YSD's dorm at a B&B, and in order for DH to spend that last time with YSD, BM would have to ride with us (YSD would choose to ride with "poor B" otherwise). BM's presence would also pre-empt my spot in one college activity.
Some of you suggested that I just bag it and stay home, and I was tempted but I thought oh well, guess I better suck it up like a good second wife once again. But then I started to think about what it would be like at the cottage for those two nights. Tension, probably, since DH and I had not yet determined who would be on that boat ride and I would find it challenging to hide my resentment, and who knows what annoying thing BM would do on the ride there which would also have to be processed.
And then at the last minute, my own DD found she would be in town a couple more days. I decided that was the perfect excuse to just bag it. So after trying to manage everything and juggle the arrangements for a week...I opted out! I told DH we could go to the cottage another time. And then I didn't say another word, I didn't try to figure out the logistics or anything, I just went silent about the issue.
Never in the 13 years we've been married have I disengaged to this degree from DH. I knew I was leaving him in an awkward position, as he had offered BM a ride and she had booked a B&B for herself. And YSD had definitely planned to check into her dorm Sunday.
He was angry at me, of course, for putting him in that position. But I said "I am sorry, I would love to have gone with you and was looking forward to it. But adding BM to the mix is something I had not anticipated. And it would be too awkward to have me, or you, remain behind during the boat tour. We'll go another time."
He threatened to just not go. And I realized this has been something of a pattern. He uses me as a buffer between him and BM. He wants me to do all the talking so he can remain distant from her. And I have been somewhat willing to do that so things are friendly. I said, "YSD will be disappointed," calling his bluff. He huffed out of the room and I went to the office.
So things are distant right now. Literally because I am out of town for work, and of course emotionally. He, BM and YSD did go, though YSD agreed to check into the dorm Monday instead of Sunday. BM stayed at the B&B and DH stayed with a friend. The three of them went on the boat ride, then DH and BM drove home together.
I'm working on processing this. First of all, this is not at all OUT of the norm for our stepfamily. We have done things with the exes like this before. I have been called upon many times before to step aside so DH can spend time with his daughters, and more often, to come along so he feels comfortable doing so.
There was just something about this time. The straw that broke the camel's back, maybe. I can't totally blame DH, since this kind of thing was an arrangment we all have lived with. I just feel like something has changed. I go home tomorrow and wonder how we will be.
My main goal is not to ask him any questions about the weekend. I am sure all present thought they were a lovely family of three but I am trying not to let that trouble me.
To make it more complicated, YSD called me this morning to say how sad she was that I couldn't come along and to ask about my DD. I love that girl so much and I feel bad I couldn't set aside my exhaustion with BM to spend that time with her.