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Trying to figure out how to be a good adult stepdaughter...

10 years ago

My mother died eight years ago, and my dad remarried six years ago.

I was always very very close to my parents, both of them. When my husband and I finished graduate school we moved to my home town to be close to my parents as my mom was sick and both she and dad needed help.

My husband and I worked full time and had our own friends but always included my parents in quite a bit of our lives. We enjoyed spending time with them, even going on vacations together. We helped as mom's health got worse, and when she died, boy did we grieve. My parents were married over 25 years.

My dad and I have always been very close we are a lot alike and like a lot of the same activities. After mom passed (knowing my dad hates to eat alone) he was welcome in our home every night for dinner. As he started dating and making weekly plans with friends he would usually be at our house about four nights a week.

At this point my dad is a strong presence in mine and my husband's lives. I find out I am expecting my first baby...he is elated and goes with us to find out if it is a boy or girl...he literally dances across the parking lot to his car that it is a boy, a grandson!!! He goes out an buys hundreds of dollars of boy toys to get ready for his arrival...we laughed at his silliness, and joked together.

Our son arrived, and my dad was over after work everyday to hold him at watch the nightly news. Sometimes staying for dinner sometimes not...he would take me and my son (my husband, if work permitted) out to lunch once a week, because now he had an active social life in the evenings. He didn't want our family to lose our closeness.

He met my now step-mom (introduced through friends at church). He turned into a giddy teenager, and it was kinda cute. We met, and she seemed very nice. She has four grown daughters of her own, he has two grown daughters (myself and my sister, who was not close to our parents and fled home at 16, unless she needs money...then she calls or visits, but that is another post).

They dated and decided to get married...I wasn't sure what to expect, but she was very reassuring that having had a step-mother of her own would never take my dad away, etc etc etc...

Once they married it was suddenly different. We weren't allowed to have lunch if she wasn't able to come too. If I asked my dad for any favor, it could be anything that I would never have hesitated to ask him before...could you give me a ride to the car dealership...could you please pick up something for me when you are out...or if I stopped by his office to say hello (he is self-employed), and to be clear I never asked to borrow money or anything like that we are self-sufficient made her very very angry (I had no idea it did until) day she just blew up at me and accused me to trying to be "the other woman" in his life, and that we had an un-natural relationship with no boundaries.. I was flabbergasted...I was just having the same relationship we had always had and was told we would continue to have even after they married. I backed off, way way off...called my dad once, maybe twice a week, no more weekly lunches...I would arrange lunch with them about once every six to eight weeks, plenty of time in advance. Never asked my dad for any favors, except if they were cleared by her and would not intrude on their plans in any way what-so-ever.

Now they have built their own home (in our neighboorhood supposedly to be close to family). But I hardly ever go over there, Christmas Eve or if invited to a party, so about two to three times a year. My two kids (I now have a daughter...and when I went into labor with her and called was too late at night, eleven pm, for them to come out...they would come by the hospital in the morning...her daughters got champagne and strawberries delivered night or day with their babies, with both of them waiting hours/days while they were in labor)...anyways my two kids don't even know them other than the most casual of ways as grandma and grandpa.

I thought all was well, with them/her...until yesterday...

They had been in a car accident, and I had spent the night at the ER with them, one of her daughters was there too. So the next morning she calls me to come over and asks me to make my dad an appointment to see his doctor. I do as she asks and visit with her a while and discover another of her daughters is on her way over to take her to work and to run errands. So I ask my dad when she is in the other room (I didn't wait for her to leave or anything it just happened to be that way) if he wanted to join my husband and I for lunch before I took him to the doctor. His face lit up, and he exclaimed, YES!! He started mumbling about finishing getting dressed so we could go, as my husband's office has a strict hour lunch policy. He leaves the room to go finished getting dressed and comes back a few minutes later and says she doesn't want to be left alone so soon after the accident...I say, I understand and that I will go have lunch with my husband and come pick him up for his appointment later. I wasn't upset, as far as I was concerned it was just a change of plans.

Well, when I come back later to pick him up, he is looking so dejected and her car is gone which is weird because neither of them is suppose to be driving. So I ask what happened and he is very evasive...finally spits out that she was so angry at him for agreeing to lunch with me before checking with her that she dressed and stormed out of the house to drive herself to work (with broken bones and on painkillers), fuming that once again he and I have no boundaries, and she should come first, and I am once again being the other woman....

Hot damn, I just asked him to join me and my husband for lunch...and I promise she never asks him before any of her four daughters or her ten grandchildren are included in any of their plans, they even move in and out of their house for months at a time...her grandkids are dropped off for babysitting at a moments whim...her daughters come first before my dad if they need something...but for some reason I make her furious.

So, here is my I back off even don't ever call at all and just let her have him completely (and I feel like she already does...) or do I stand up to her and try and salvage some relationship with my dad (but that I feel will backfire on my dad because he has to live with her)...and to be clear, I have always been respectful to her, I have always been kind to her and wanted to be her friend, I would do anything to help her if she asked, I want to be a good step-daughter to her...but it seems my very existence just pisses her off, even though she is nice to my face.

I am husband reassured me that my father and I never had an abnormal relationship, he would have been the first to have an issue with it if we did...

So, what do I do??...because I already felt like I lost my dad when he remarried and she told me basically to back off (which I thought I had...) Now I feel like I should let him go completely as though he is dead to me, to make her happy which breaks my heart...


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