Against all of my pleads, my father just married a horrible woman. After a divorce from my mother two years ago he couldn’t handle being alone and started dating immediately. Within six months he met Julie and now he’s married to a manipulative, money-loving, selfish person. The hardest part is that he never listened to me or my siblings when we saw various red flags with her. She has made it obvious that time with us (his children) is not important and we’ve all slowly been spending less time with him. I’m fearful that her manipulation will brainwash my dad. How do I keep a relationship with my dad, without having one with the evil step-mother?
-Daughter of a Step-Monster
Dear Daughter of a Step-Monster,
Eesh. Bothersome indeed. Fortunately, your new step mother is not replacing your mother and you do not need to view her as a parent figure. If you and your siblings planted a seed of doubt about this woman and your father took nothing into account, then I wouldn’t spend the time you get with him dishing out the concerns you have about their relationship. He’s married to her now and at this point knocking her down is not going to be beneficial. Learning how to spend time with your dad is the objective.
This is going to make you cringe, but can you try to find one redeeming quality in her?
This is going to make you cringe, but can you try to find one redeeming quality in her? It may be hard to see, but your father found something about her that makes him happy. Try to take a look at the relationship from your father’s perspective.
Dig deep! The more accepting you are, the easier it will be to deal with her and ultimately the better your relationship will be with your dad. Keep in mind that maintaining a positive relationship with your father is key. It may take time, patience and a fair share of fake smiling, but worth it for time with your Pops.
Dear Daughter of a Step-Monster,
Even with the strong relationship that you and your siblings have had with your father it sounds like his new relationship is causing problems. Not only does she seem to be disinterested in connecting with you or spending time with you, she may be actively discouraging your father from doing so as well. You have seen warning signs, you have explained these concerns, and yet your father sees things differently. It sounds like while you have some concerns for your father, the more primary concern is about how this relationship is impacting you and your siblings.
It can be difficult to figure out boundaries with parents. You are born completely dependent on them, gradually move towards independence in your teens, and then figure out a relationship balance with them at some point in your adulthood. Like with most people and most relationships, you can’t control the other person. You can communicate and set boundaries, but the choices they make are up to them.
Despite your past experiences with your father and current expectations about your relationship, your father has his own life to lead.
Despite your past experiences with your father and current expectations about your relationship, your father has his own life to lead. It sounds like he was a loving and present parent at one point in your life and I hope he can be that again in the future. Communicate your love for him and your desire to have a close relationship with him and see what happens. If it’s important enough to him, he will be there.