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I have been married to my husband for two years I have two children and he has three that live with us I have a twelve year old daughter and so does my husband. He caters to his twelve year old daughter and she does things when he isn't around and when he is she acts innocent she has told me I need to go back to my own house and that her mom and dad are going to get back together I have told my husband and she (his daughter) has admitted it to him and he acts like it wasn't said. Also he has a different set of rules for my daughter he holds her to a higher standard and he babies his daughter and makes excuses for why he changes all the rules to suit his daughter who manipulates him. We have been to a counselor this all has been admitted and he still doesn't see it he said everyone sees it but he doesn't . I am really getting frustrated with the differential treatment of our daughters who are the same age I am ready to give up but I really love my husband

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Mrs. T -

Hang in there. You've no doubt already taken the first and perhaps hardest step of going to the counselor. We had a similar situation with my husband's daughter (who also happened to be 12 at the time). Through a LOT of counseling things have finally improved. The best piece of information we got from the counselor was that 12 is a very unique age particularly for girls as they are somewhere between being a super daddy's girl and a teenager who will want very little to do with anyone even remotely resembling a parent. For us that has come true. She still clearly has a special spot in here Dad's heart but is pulling away from him and becoming her own person. Her pulling away (and pushing him away) has given me the opportunity to point out every single time there is an episode where she attempts to get away with something that neither of the other kids would stand a chance of getting away with. He is still inconsistent with the consequences he gives her, but he is becoming more consistent. The big payoff has been now that the daughter sees that her father supports me (and the other two kids) and doles out consequences for her as appropriate (most of the time), my relationship with her has dramatically improved. I no longer dread her time at our house.

I would hate to see you give up your marriage when it is quite possible that this problem will extinguish itself in a year or so's time. I wonder if this has become all consuming or if you can still find glimpses of why you married your husband. For us sneaking away for a walk around the block even has been a lifesaver. Additionally, I really focused on spending time with my own daughter and made a point of making sure she knows she is special. The flip side, that also helped, was I made a point of taking my stepdaughter out for an afternoon now and then. I did this so that she was clear that I am not going anywhere. I am her father's wife and her father's wife I shall remain. I admit I took her to the movies, in large part due to the fact that I didn't want to have to make conversation with her (as I am sure she didn't want to talk with me).

If you really love your husband, stick it out. As a good friend pointed out to me, 6 years on the outside til she is out of the house, sooner than that if you send her to summer camps : )

Hang in there!
OMG thank you it really helps to know I am not alone we really do need to resume counseling I love my husband and I don't want a divorce I just want our daughters to be treated the same and I understand his daughter will always have that special spot in his heart and I tell him take her out of the house and treat her like a princess but when she is in the house she needs to be treated the same. I do have talks and walks with my daughter alone as well and constantly remind her of how much I love her. On the other hand I have tried to reach out to my stepdaughter but it doesn't work I have consoled her when her biological mother told her she didn't want to be her mother anymore while her dad was away and once he came home she said I didn't like her to get attention and I asked her why would I console you if I didn't like you she said she didn't remember anything we talked about (we talked for an hour and a half that day) she has even told me she only likes me when it is time to go shopping, so I have stopped going out of my way to connect with her and just do what I need to (we have all been living together since 2005 so the adjustment phase should have been over a longtime ago.) I journal a lot because I am frustrated My husband and I have kinda gotten away from spending time away from the house. He is oblivious most of the time and thinks we have no problems and I am trying to hang in there I do know soon the age of 18 will come but in the mean time how do I cope ?
Hello again Mrs. T. -

I still think you need to hang in there. While divorce has it's place (been there, done that) I wonder if your husband isn't going through the same thing many men go through and don't know what to call it or how to deal with it? I don't know if it has a name but the summary seems to be "I've divorced once and put my kids through that already, I don't want to ever hurt them again, I love my wife and if I wait long enough my kids will move out."

I have an almost seventeen year old step daughter also sounds like your stepdaughter. She cried on my shoulder when her mother wrote her off for the better part of a month but then when her mother bought her a new tv, or wii, or whatever it was, the kid couldn't get back to Mom's house fast enough.

Take comfort knowing you are doing your very best to be a great wife, your husband is trying to be a greatt husband (even if he falls short), and kids move out sooner or later. Call your therapist and get back in there. Take your husband out for a drink afterwards. The kids can fend for themselves for one night. Even as frustrated as you are now, I have to think you went into your marriage with eyes wide open and had not forgotten the pain of divorce.

Also, if advice resonates with you, take it. If you don't want to get divorced and look for another marriage, don't. Finally, I've never heard of anyone define divorce as "rejuvenating".

Good luck!
My mom used to say the key to anything was talking about it,In this instance all 3 of you need to sit down an then the whole "family".The one thing that children need is boundaries an need to know who the "boss"is.Even as a child of divorce,the child an or young adult needs to know that you love her but also their parents should show unified stance,and also that the way it is now, is not working an behaviour on all sides needs to be altered to "fit"your family whether they be all biological or not.

post script:the behavior she is displaying is doing exactly what she wants.Trying to pit one against the other and it sounds like its working.
It seems that Sylvia is really educated and has spent a lot of time with research in this field. However I do not see the compassion for the relationships survival. The couple has entered into marriage ( OK, second time around ) and they are looking for a lasting partnership and should be building a bond with each other first. The priority here is the relationship first. The children will grow up and move away, don't let them destroy your life in the process. At no time should any type of abuse to the children be tolerated at all ( this would be the exception to the rule of the bond ) But you need to show unity between the father and mother and treat all the children the same. Marriage should not be looked at like a recyclable resource "a little hardship and I will get a new spouse". But a commitment forever. (for better or worse?).
Amen!

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Episode 515: Benjamin Franklin's Virtues - Part 2

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