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I need to talk about my adult step-daughter

13 years ago

I am in my 60's, second marriage for both of us, living together 28 years(!) with 2 adult step-children ages 33(SD) and 31(SS).The BF was discovered to have been sexually abusing them and did some jail time for it. He has had no contact with them for 26 years. Our family life has been probably as dysfunctional as any other step-family. Both are now out of the home with their own families. It was difficult but I tried hard to be a good father to them both.

My problem now is the very difficult relationship I have with the SD. My analysis of the situation is that she is resentful towards me for not being a better father for her as well as displacing her anger for her BF onto me since he is not available. I don't know her husband well but they say that "sons marry their mothers and daughters marry their fathers". So if he has some resemblance to me then he can't be easy for her to live with. Also, my wife, her BM, has a lot of her own resentment towards me for not being a better father and also feels very guilty for the sexual abuse that occurred during her first marriage. And I bring my own problems: longing to be special, difficulty recognizing and expressing my needs for fear of hurting someone. Of course there is a lot more to this.

Right now, I am very disturbed by not seeing my (step)grandchildren. My SD never calls me and I never have anything to say to her anyways. All of our communication is through my wife. She calls my wife almost daily and get any news from her. She seems to have a lot of problems with her 3 children: they are sick with colds way too much, problems at day care and school, problems with husband's work, needing babysitter. And my wife is enabling and too quick to clear her schedule (she is self-employed with a small consulting practice in our house) to go and spend the day (it's a 1 1/2 hour drive each way) to help her (rescue her) besides her weekly visits.

My wife doesn't seem to understand my difficulty with SD. She feels sorry for her, says she (SD) loves me and wants me to come and visit and see the grandchildren and I need to solve and get over my problem. My wife and I have had therapy up to here.

I hurt so much for how this is ruining my marriage. It is so painful trying to talk to my SD on the phone or in person. I dread my birthday and fathers day and the other holidays- I expect them to be difficult and they always turn out even worse.

I am missing out on my grandchildren growing up, but I just don't have the courage or strength to go over and "do the right thing", "let by-gones be by-gones" and get on with life.

But if I don't do something, the next step is to separate from my wife.

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