Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Don’t Want My Husband To Move Us Closer to His Daughter”

shotgun_31-1

I met my husband knowing full well that he had a daughter, whom he had to give up and drop off at his ex wife’s home three years ago because he lost his job in his home town. He found a job nine hours away in my neck of the woods a little over two years ago, and then he met me. We fell in love, got married, and unexpectedly had a baby we love dearly.

We were in the process of buying a home down here and suddenly he received a call from his home state about a job offer. Now he’s on the fence about buying down here because he wants to move to be closer to his daughter only three hours away from where this new job would be. I’d be all for it if it weren’t for the fact that his daughter and I have a rocky relationship. She’s an intelligent little girl, but very clingy and cries for everything when she visits. If she sees me hugging her dad, she has a look of jealousy and will intentionally sit between us or grab his hand and make a scene to get his attention off me. It’s a headache, and my husband and I are constantly fighting during the summers when we have her because of her behavior and how he chose to raise her with no respect. Needless to say, I’m finding it a little hard to consider moving to his hometown knowing we’d see more of her if we do. Which makes me feel selfish.

I love my hometown, where we currently live, and my whole family is down here. Our own daughter won’t know the difference if we move now but I always wanted my parents to be close to my kids. His parents live in his hometown…so our kid and future kids will end up being close to his parents. I know that it’s what he wants and his only hesitation in pursuing the job is knowing that I won’t be happy there.

Everything was fine until he received that call about a job opening in his home state. We’d pick up his daughter any chance we got and I never prevented the interaction; in fact, I encouraged him many times to make the 9-hour drive so we could have her despite her attitude towards me. What should I do? — My Way Makes Me Happier

Well, no, everything wasn’t fine before he got the call about the job opening in his home state; he lives nine hours away from his daughter. What’s fine about that? What you mean is everything was fine for you. Well, except being inconvenienced every time his daughter came to stay with you. That part, as you say, is always a “headache.” Well, too bad for you! You married a man with a daughter. Any decent father would have made damn sure the woman he wanted to marry got along well with his daughter before marrying her, and any decent woman would make a hell of a lot more effort than it sounds like you’ve made to get along with her husband’s kid during the rare occasions she’s visiting.

You say she fights you for her father’s attention? THEN YOU SHOULD LET HER WIN THAT FIGHT. This girl lives an entire day’s drive from her dad and doesn’t get to see him very often. You, on the other hand, live with him. You can sacrifice some of his attention when his daughter is around.

And you know what else? You can sacrifice your dream of your kid(s) living in the same town as your parents if it means your husband can be closer to his oldest child. Seriously, if the main thing keeping your husband from shortening the distance between him and his daughter by over 60% is because you don’t like being around her, that seriously sucks, and that makes you not only a shitty wife but, frankly, a shitty person, too. I’m sorry, but it does.

If you don’t want to be a shitty person, tell your husband to pursue the job. Make a better effort to be a loving stepmother to his daughter or, at the very least, quit competing with her for your husband’s attention (if that means letting her sit between the two of you when she visits for the weekend, be a goddamn grown up and let her). If you still have trouble being kind to this girl, imagine how you would want your child treated by her father’s new wife (which could be a real scenario one day…). Your parents can visit you for long weekends and holidays, and you can visit them on school breaks. It’s more important for your husband to be close to his daughter than for your parents to be in the same town as their grandchildren.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

84 comments… add one
  • LadyinPurpleNotRed

    LadyinPurpleNotRed September 18, 2015, 9:27 am

    I can’t wrap my head around the fact that you are jealous of a little girl who wants all her dad’s attention on the rare occasion she gets it. It’s not like this is 365 days a year and you have NO alone time. The girl has to sleep sometime. You sound like a horrible stepmother and I feel sorry for the child. You are so focused on yourself that you aren’t thinking about your husband or his daughter’s needs. What about your daughter getting to know her stepsister? Or is your stepdaughter so terrible you’re worried about that.

    And talk about no respect? You have ZERO respect for your stepdaughter so why should she respect you. Respect is earned. You can demand it all you want, but it just makes you the bigger child in the situation and you STILL won’t get it.

    I really hope he divorces you. That little girl deserves a stepmother who isn’t such a bitch!

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover September 18, 2015, 9:40 am

      That’s a good point, their kids are sisters! WTF, how could you not want them to get to know each other better??
      .
      I get wanting to be closer to your own parents than your spouses, I want that too. But it didn’t work out that way for me, and you know what, we figure it out. We go back and forth to see each other. I also get not wanting to be a stepparent, that’s not something that appeals to everyone and not everyone’s suited for it. But that’s why I didn’t marry someone with kids! I specifically did not date people with kids for exactly this reason.
      .
      You’ve made your choice and you have to deal with it. She is now one of your kids, and her needs have to take priority over your wants. That’s just how it is when you have kids. She needs her dad. Not to mention that her dad wants to be with her. It would be one thing if he wasn’t interested in her at all. It’s to his credit that he loves her and wants to move to be close to her. Let him do that. And the more time that you spend with her, the more time you have to work on your relationship with her. Which you clearly need to work on, because right now you’re definitely being selfish. You shouldn’t be trying to compete with a child. If she doesn’t like you, that sucks, but you have to be the adult.

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    • avatar

      PumpkinSpice September 18, 2015, 9:50 am

      Bravo!

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph September 18, 2015, 9:32 am

    Oh my gosh, the picture is priceless!
    You say you’re mad “because of her behavior and how he chose to raise her with no respect”
    Actually, he didn’t choose to raise her any which way. Rather, he has spent the last 3 years living very far away from her. You don’t give any indication of her age, but do call her a “little girl” so I’m guessing 3 years is a large portion of her life that she spent with an absentee father.

    The daughter’s behavior is obviously a cry for help– she misses her father and wants his attention. Assuming that she is in fact a child and not a teenager or adult, her behavior does nothing but break my heart. It’s so sad to see a grown ass woman fighting for affection with a little girl who just wants to be reassured her dad loves her.
    If doing what’s best for a little girl is not enough for you, consider that if you move closer to the daughter and he sees her more often, she will become more secure in their relationship and less starved for his affection and will gradually not be as needy which will wind up better for you.

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  • avatar

    Essie September 18, 2015, 9:46 am

    I wrote a long response, but deleted it. I don’t want to use that much profanity before 11 AM. And the LW’s not worth the effort.
    .
    Short answer: LW, spend some time figuring out what happened in your life that made you so freaking pathetic that you’re competing with a CHILD for her father’s attention. My god, her father up and moved 9 hours away, and she misses him terribly, and on the rare occasions she does see him, his wife is being a whiny-ass baby about how often she wants to hold his hand?
    .
    Jesus. Get over yourself.
    .
    PS – Wendy, best picture EVER.

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  • avatar

    SasLinna September 18, 2015, 9:47 am

    I agree that being close to the husband’s daughter is much more important than being close to the grandparents, but I also think they should have discussed this very scenario before getting married since it involves a major move, which will likely be tough on the LW. LW and husband both screwed up by not talking about the possibility of moving to husband’s hometown in advance. Now it’s getting real very fast and there’s not much of another option than sucking it up and making the move.

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  • avatar

    PumpkinSpice September 18, 2015, 9:48 am

    Wendy thank you so much for your response to this LW. I cannot believe the selfishness on her part.
    It sounds as though the little girl was very close to her daddy, and then he had to make the difficult decision to move so far away from her. She misses her daddy, and wants his attention when she sees him. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. What I do think is messed up, is the fact a grown ads woman feels jealous and in competition with a little girl who doesn’t get to see her daddy all that often.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh September 18, 2015, 9:50 am

    I’m wondering how old she is or how much time she’s actually spent with her father. You feel selfish because you are acting selfish here. It sucks moving and being far from family, but like your opening line says you married him knowing already had a child. If you didn’t want to deal with children from previous marriages you shouldn’t have married someone who had children from previous marriages.

    And as someone above said don’t you want the siblings do know each other? How wonderful for the two of them to the chance to build a better relationship.

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  • Crochet.Ninja

    Crochet.Ninja September 18, 2015, 9:51 am

    you knew he had a daughter when you married him. this was always potentially part of that deal. she is a little girl, who misses her dad. if you and your husband were fighting about how she’s raised, that was already a red flag. you guys need to figure it out, like adults. and you need to straighten the fuck up and act like an adult. this little girl is part of your life now, and you should be treating her like family.

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  • avatar

    PumpkinSpice September 18, 2015, 9:57 am

    Omg! This really gets to me because I just had a baby girl (3 months ago to the day) and she loves, loves, loves her daddy. She looks at him like he is her everything. I could never imagine being jealous of that relationship, even if she wasn’t mine.

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  • juliecatharine

    juliecatharine September 18, 2015, 10:20 am

    LW, please take Wendy’s advice and the comments to heart. People are being harsh because holy Jeebus you need a wake up call. This child is your daughter’s sister! Why would you want to keep your husband away from his daughter and your child away from her sister? It’s called empathy, you need to develop some stat.

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  • gigi

    gigi September 18, 2015, 10:28 am

    Aww this is so heart-breaking. My daughter was the same way after her dad left us. He had a serious GF after about 10 months & quit paying attention to her. She had always been his little princess, but suddenly she was on the outside. And neither one of them (Dad or GF) would back down & let her have dad’s attention when she was with them. She finally gave up trying after a couple years, they are no longer close, & it makes her very sad. Please LW, be a better person than this. This little girl didn’t do anything wrong to deserve your lack of empathy & kindness. Someone above said it already, treat her the way you would want your own child treated.

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    • Pamplemousse Rose

      Pamplemousse Rose September 18, 2015, 11:15 am

      This! Listen to someone who has seen the impact of your sort of behaviour on a child. I’m so sorry for your daughter gigi.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros September 18, 2015, 11:00 am

    To a child, it doesn’t matter that he couldn’t find work and that you happened to meet and whatever else. It basically looked like he abandoned her to start a new family. My daughter is far away? I’ll just have a new baby to replace her! Is it rational? No, but she’s a child.

    You sound very selfish. You also seem to think that the kid’s annoying habits are because of who she is, so your solution is to stay far away from her. She acts like that BECAUSE you live so far away. Hopefully, the damage that has been done can be repaired, but the only way that will happen is if you live close enough for her to feel like she has a dad again.

    It blows my mind that a mother could have so little empathy for a child. What if you got divorced and your kid’s new stepmother was trying to keep her dad from living near her? What would you think about her then? I assume you’d think she was awful.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros September 18, 2015, 11:04 am

      I can’t stop because this makes me so angry. The last thing I’ll add is that if you’re so selfish that you can’t handle sharing your husband with his own daughter, then it sounds like she has a reason to be so possessive when she visits. Clearly she’s caught on to the fact that you would prefer if your husband didn’t have to divide his attention among anything other than you and his new kid.

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  • Pamplemousse Rose

    Pamplemousse Rose September 18, 2015, 11:18 am

    Here’s the other thing – no one receives a magical job offer out of the blue. Either he was applying for jobs there unbeknownst to you. Or you did know but was okay with it because you didn’t really believe he would get one there. But then he did. So now it’s a problem. Grow up and understand your husband is trying to be a part of ALL of his childrens’ lives.

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    • othy

      othy September 18, 2015, 11:22 am

      I was thinking this exact same thing.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros September 18, 2015, 12:37 pm

      Yep! The whole thing is a little fishy to me, though. If he was trying to get a new job, then why were they planning to buy a house? For most people, buying a house means you are planning to stay for at least a few years. I’m curious about what their plans were.

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    • SixtyFour

      SixtyFour September 18, 2015, 1:42 pm

      Sometimes they do, especially if you’re in a very specialized field. Happened to me. Granted, I had been actively looking for work and had my resume online, so recruiters from anywhere were able to see it. But I know people that it’s happened to who didn’t have their resumes online and just recruiters found their numbers some other way.
      I got a call on a Thursday that a company near my parents hometown was looking for someone, and I happened to be heading there the next day to visit for the weekend So I stopped in Monday for a visit, and on Tuesday I had the offer.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse September 18, 2015, 2:05 pm

        Yeah, I’ve gotten offers “out of the blue.” One, I’d worked with them years previously., and they called me up and made an offer. It’s his home town, right? I’m sure people there know him. And have worked with him before.

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      • Pamplemousse Rose

        Pamplemousse Rose September 18, 2015, 4:52 pm

        It still seems odd to me, unless there was somehow an expressed interest in moving 6 hours away from where he currently lives.

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        RedRoverRedRover September 18, 2015, 6:33 pm

        I’ve been contacted for jobs where I’d have to switch countries. If they need someone with a certain set of skills, it’s not uncommon. But in this case I think it’s most likely that someone he used to work with who knew him from before recommended him or is in a position to hire him, and figures he would consider moving back to his home state. Or doesn’t even know he left it.

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      RedRoverRedRover September 18, 2015, 1:57 pm

      I haven’t gotten actual offers out of the blue, like “here’s a contract ready to sign”, but I’ve definitely gotten calls for interviews where it was clear they would hire me if they could. Also sometimes people in my network contact me about potential jobs. The job I have right now was like that; someone I knew was leaving and he recommended me as a replacement, they interviewed me, they immediately hired me. It was within the same company so maybe not exactly the same, but still.

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  • avatar

    Jen September 18, 2015, 12:04 pm

    1) From a purely practical point of view, three hours is still a hike. So it’s not like you’d be moving into her back yard. And, it’s not like you’d be completely isolated from your parents…six hours is still closer than your husband is to your step-daughter. It actually seems like a pretty reasonable compromise. Essentially you’d be settling in a spot roughly halfway between hometowns. Seems pretty fair.
    2) I can’t believe you and your husband didn’t discuss the possibility of eventually relocating when you decided to get married. It’s his daughter…he’d be a complete schmuck if he wasn’t hoping to move closer to her at the first opportunity.
    3) It’s not right to be jealous of a child or to try to come between a father and his daughter. But I can see where you might go into the marriage expecting to be able to be loving and generous and all the things you know you should be…only to find yourself falling short. I mean, how could you know what it would feel like to have a baby and want to be near your family? The thing is, you really have to do what’s right. That’s what being a grown-up is about. Plus, raising your child to have a closer relationship with her sister should be a priority. Sisters rule…they’ll both gain from the closeness.

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  • findingtheearth

    findingtheearth September 18, 2015, 12:14 pm

    Ohhhh LW. What what what? Why are you jealous of a relationship between a father and child? It’s his child. So many women dream of having a child’s father in the child’s life. I know I do. Competing is for sports, not for a parent/child relationship. Let her grow the bond between her and her dad. Make the move. You can always move back to your hometown at a later time. Let your husband do this for his child. You will only be unhappy there if you let yourself be. Be optimistic and support your husband.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom September 18, 2015, 12:23 pm

    First, you’ve learned something important and good about your husband. He isn’t willing to abandon his first child. That says great things about his character and also is important because the man who won’t abandon the first child is the man who won’t abandon the second child.

    Second, the distance that you think is fine to have between him and his first child is a distance you feel is too great to have between your parents and your child. Admit it, you believe the distance is too great for a close relationship between an adult and a child. You need to move because your husband’s relationship with his first child is more primary and important than the relationship between your parents and your child. Your parents will be able to see your daughter as much as your husband has been seeing his first daughter.

    Third, children love to squeeze in between adults to sit. They feel safe and secure that way. My kids both did it. Don’t assume that the only reason she is sitting between you is to create distance between you and your husband. If she totally disliked you she would sit on the other side of him and keep from touching you. Make her feel special and wanted and valued when she visits. Invite her to sit between you and your husband. Let her choose what she would like for dinner. Take her out for ice cream. When your daughter is older they can take turns choosing dinner and they can play together. When your daughter is older and they start interacting more you will have to not be biased between children. You will need to be fair. Don’t assume that the bigger, older child is picking on the younger child. I hear the most comments at work about people who allow the younger child to pester, hit, poke and belittle the older child. That kind of favoritism appalls people. Treat them fairly or when they grow up they will hate each other and the teen years will be a nightmare. Never make the mistake of assuming your child is more honest or nicer than her sister. Never make excuses for your own child’s bad behavior. Being exempt from the rules creates a child that no one likes and who has trouble making and keeping friends.

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    • avatar

      Texas T September 18, 2015, 4:45 pm

      THIS IS GOOD ADVICE Sky. LW I THINK YOU SHOULD USE IT. I have used it often with my stepson as well as my stepdaughter. We do not always let them interrupt the two of us. But often we will invite them in (to us sitting on the couch or hugging) and they love it. It doesnt matter if they are 5 or 12. It didnt take long before my step kids were looking for ME to cuddle and get hugs from. They wanted to sit by ME on the couch. They wanted to hold MY hand. They would see me for the first time that day and come hug me right away. It was awesome!

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  • avatar

    artsygirl September 18, 2015, 12:27 pm

    LW – A number of years ago my BIL was in a major accident out of state (we did not think he would live through it). My sister had to hop on a flight to be with him and my 2 year old niece went to stay with my parents (her grandparents). A number of months passed and her father recovered and returned home, and at the same time my sister gave birth to her second child. Due to the stresses, the marriage broke down and my sister met a new man whom she moved in with VERY quickly. Basically my niece was uprooted multiple times in less than a year and to this day five years later she still has issues with being clingy and nervous. All the people she loved disappeared and then when they came back, everything was different. Imagine what your step daughter has gone through. Her father leaves her and moves far away so she only seems him a few times out of the year. He also meets you, get married and has a new baby. Likely each time she comes to visit things have changed and she cannot get even footing. I am not going to say what is right for your family, but you have to emphasize with your husband and his daughter wanting to be closer. Perhaps if you try to view the situation from her perspective you would understand why she is so needy.

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  • avatar

    Texas T September 18, 2015, 12:51 pm

    YOU ARE NOT SELFISH. This is a tough situation and just because you are an adult doesnt mean you cant or shouldnt assess your needs and wants. You DID go into this knowing he had a daughter. You DIDNT go into this thinking he would uproot your family to move away from what you guys knew and built. I bet you have a job you would have to leave behind too. So it isnt fair on either side of the fence. You both need to talk about this and find what you both can live with. Personally, if it was going to divide us, I would make the move for him.

    And as far as his jealous daughter. Please take this advice that my boyfriend and I applied to our little family which came from an expert; an experienced family therapist… not an advice column writer in angry momma bear mode and her followers: Your husband needs to reassure his daughter constantly with his words and quality time that he will always be there for her and he loves her. BUT you DO NOT ALLOW the child to divide you as a couple because the marriage comes first. Second family? Doesnt matter. The marriage is the cornerstone of a happy stable family. It is husband and wife not daddy and daughter. So tell him to take her on a daddy daughter date. Let them sit next to each other while watching the boob tube. But if you two are kissing or holding hands or talking, she does not get to interrupt that. All that teaches is that she, the child, has control and that she can divide her parents.

    It will be rough applying it at first. I know. But eventually the jealousy faded for us. She realized that her daddy was not leaving her, she still got her time with him and seeing us happy together in a stable home made her happy and stable. I wouldnt ever say we had a bad relationship because we didnt, but it is considerably better now. And so is my relationship with my boyfriend (common law husband).

    Also, change your attitude towards her. It will be hard and I know that a lot of the time you dont get a lot of reasons to. But do it anyways. Do it for you. Your outlook about her will change and I am pretty sure she will sense that too and it will be easier for you both.

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh September 18, 2015, 1:06 pm

      The child isn’t trying to divide the parents. She’s begging for attention from a parent who abandoned her. I’m going to guess if she felt loved and cared for by Dad that she wouldn’t be acting out in the ways she was anyway.

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      • avatar

        Texas T September 18, 2015, 2:19 pm

        You are right jlysh. I didnt say she was trying to. But she is and the dad is allowing it. He needs to give her attention (probably more now than will be needed later ) and voice his affections as well and often. But that doesnt mean you slight you spouse though because your child decides she wants your attention at that moment. That sends the wrong message and undermines your marriage.

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        jlyfsh September 18, 2015, 2:35 pm

        It could also be that the child can sense how little the LW likes her. Just like many other readers did. This is much more about how the LW and father need to be better communicators and parents than how the child needs to be disciplined.

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        Texas T September 18, 2015, 2:53 pm

        Oh there is NO DOUBT the child knows. Children pick up on tone. That is why she needs to work on her attitude. She is the adult after all. But no one said discipline the child for wanting attention. Refusing to stop holding your spouses hand because your child wants to come between you two is not discipline. It is refusing to indulge or allow her to run the dynamics of the family. Finish giving your spouse attention and THEN give your child some attention. It also works the same vice versa in most cases.

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      saneinca September 18, 2015, 1:33 pm

      Yes. What else should be tolerated ?
      If the step daughter gets jealous of her sibling, should he stop holding the baby or cuddling her to placate the older child ? short change the second baby in terms of affection ?
      Bad behavior by children needs to be corrected by the parents. Not indulged.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh September 19, 2015, 10:35 am

        It’s too bad the kids can’t correct their parent’s bade behavior. Like being abandoned or having a step-mother with no empathy.

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      RedRoverRedRover September 18, 2015, 1:37 pm

      No one said it’s not a tough situation, but yes, it is selfish to put your wants above a child’s need for a parent. She doesn’t mention a job or anything, she says she’d “be all for it” if it weren’t for her bad relationship with the daughter, which it sounds like she’s causing by fighting with the little girl for attention. That’s selfish, that she wants to keep the father and daughter further apart so she doesn’t have to deal with the mess of the relationship as much.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros September 18, 2015, 1:48 pm

      She didn’t know he would “uproot” the family? Uh, so a guy is forced by reasons outside his control to move hours away from his child, who he seemingly previously had custody of. She would have to be living under a rock to not think that he might want to move near his child at some point.

      The way you describe the parent-child relationship, as though children are some manipulative, malicious people with power issues is really disturbing.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover September 18, 2015, 2:08 pm

        @dinoceros, totally agree on your last sentence. @TexasT, I got similar advice when I was in my marriage prep course. The relationship between the spouses is the highest priority because if it goes, the family breaks up. But it doesn’t mean that you ignore the needs of the kids to do it. That’s absolutely crazy.
        .
        And the best way to protect the relationship between the spouses is to communicate and understand each other’s wants and needs. If she had no idea that he’d want to move near his daughter again if he got the chance, then they are doing an absolutely awful job of communicating. In fact, if that’s something he wanted, they should have been working together toward that goal. And they should have talked about it way before they actually got married. I can’t imagine dating a guy in this guy’s situation, and not asking him if he’d like to someday move closer to his daughter again.

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        Texas T September 18, 2015, 2:48 pm

        Never said ignore the childs needs. Prioritizing your spouse doesnt mean letting your parental responsibilities fall to the way side.

        And yes they should have discussed this beforehand. That is a no brainer. And, in this case, the no brainer would be to move with your husband or he will stay because he probably wont want to split up the family. But he will resent you for it and it will poison your marriage.

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        Texas T September 18, 2015, 2:25 pm

        dinoceros- the way you misconstrue things that are clearly explained is disturbing. She may or may not be manipulative. That is not something I made a judgment on. I said she was jealous. She is. She is jealous of anyone taking time with HER father because she is afraid to lose him. But if you think some toddlers (or older children) dont know how to manipulate and work the system… well you are very much incorrect.

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        dinoceros September 18, 2015, 8:28 pm

        Of course she’s jealous. But that’s a natural reaction to your dad dropping you off, moving 9 hours away, and then getting a new family. Jealousy isn’t always something to be punished. Sometimes to rectify insecurities, you have to make the person feel secure again. What you’re describing makes more sense if the kids is inexplicably jealous, like a kid who just hates her stepmom. I think your advice is good, but for another situation. Or wif after the girl is reassured, she still acts out, then go for it. But it’s not unreasonable to think that she might need some time to adjust to sharing her dad with two more people and with the fact that she rarely see shim. Kids don’t have the logic that tells them that the economy sucks — they often think their parent left because they don’t love them or something else. A kid who is legitimately scared that her dad will abandon her doesn’t need her stepmom to push her aside so she can claim her territory.

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        Anonymous September 18, 2015, 4:24 pm

        I 100% agree with you. The LW IS completely selfish. When she married this man, she effectively became a mother figure to this child, yet has no regard for her. The child is not trying to divide the parents…and parents that can’t cool their PDA while their kid is visiting and awake just creep me out. You need constant reassurance, even in front of a child? Seems like someone has issues and it’s not a child.

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        anon September 18, 2015, 8:12 pm

        The only completely selfish person is the father. Not the LW.
        He divorced for his convenience, left the child and moved 9 hours away for ‘his work’, got married without discussing future plans with his new wife and now wants to uproot the LW for his convenience once again.

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        RedRoverRedRover September 19, 2015, 12:41 pm

        Who said he got divorced for his convenience? For all we know, the wife left him. And initially it wasn’t his choice to leave the child, he lost his job and was forced to give up custody, presumably because he couldn’t find another. And then the only other one he could find was 9 hours away. I’m assuming he wanted to work in his field, not at McDonald’s, which is completely reasonable. Not sure why ‘his work’ is in quotes as if it’s not a real thing.
        .
        The only thing you’re right about is that they should have discussed this before marriage. And again, it’s not only for his convenience that he wants to move, it’s for his child as well.

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      • avatar

        anon September 19, 2015, 4:10 pm

        We don’t know the reason for his divorce – one way or the other. One thing certain is that he (and the first wife) did not work on staying together for the sake of their child. So yes, he divorced for his convenience.
        I put his work in quotes as that seemed to be his priority over his child 2 years back.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed September 19, 2015, 8:06 pm

        You have NO idea if they worked to stay together for the sake of their child. NO IDEA! Nothing was said either way.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse September 20, 2015, 9:24 am

        I love how you admit we don’t know the facts, then make some up, regardless. You don’t know who divorced who or what happened. Stop creating your version of this story. It’s not a choose-your-own-adventure story!
        Yeah, nine hours isn’t convenient, but if it’s that or not working or a low-paying job, that is choosing his family or his daughter. No parent makes tough decisions like this on a whim. P I don’t know how you think he’s going to choose unemployment and be a responsible parent.

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      • avatar

        anon September 20, 2015, 1:09 pm

        Not at all. The father and mother split up – no matter how their child might have felt. The father moves away – no matter how his child might have felt. Now it is the step mother’s duty to move from her hometown to make the child feel all better ? While the actual parents get to do what they want to do ?

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      • avatar

        anonymousse September 21, 2015, 2:27 pm

        No, she doesn’t have to move. She can stay in her hometown. Most people compromise or make sacrifices for the people they love. She could easily move, and travel would easier for a grown woman, than a small child. As why she’s selfish, because she only cares about herself in this scenario. I’m sure it wasn’t out of the blue for this to come up. Most parents want to live as near as they can to their kids. What do you mean by “the actual parents get to do what they want to do?” You mean live near their kid?

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      • avatar

        Anonymous September 21, 2015, 4:43 pm

        Nope. I meant making decisions that suits them rather than making the child a priority.

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      • Monkeysmommy

        Monkeys mommy September 18, 2015, 8:39 pm

        Puh-lease. It is bullshit to say he HAD to move 9 hours away for work. No one HAS to move that far away; he CHOSE to. Unless he was in the military (and i do not see any indication that is the case). And I hate to say it- some kids are malicious and manipulative. I have seen the shit my kids’ friends post online… it is scary….

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover September 19, 2015, 12:47 pm

        I think what he meant is that his choice was between a job in his field, or minimum wage somewhere. So yeah, I guess he could have given up his career instead. Not many would make that choice though.

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      • avatar

        Anonymousse September 20, 2015, 9:28 am

        Yeah, I’m sure that was his end goal, to be nine hours away.

        It’s disturbing to see the amount of grown women (supposedly) writing in, jealous of small children and their relationships with their father. Kids are not maliciously manipulative, unless they’ve grown up with some serious fucked up parenting. Being jealous when you barely see your father sounds pretty normal to me.

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    • avatar

      artsygirl September 18, 2015, 3:43 pm

      Texas – I agree that the father needs to be better at reassuring his eldest daughter that she is loved and supported and that the LW needs to change her attitude. I think ultimately why the readers are coming down hard on the LW is that she appears to resent her stepdaugher. ‘Looking jealous’ and wanting to be physically close to her father hardly seem like ‘disrespectful’ behavior and more par with typical childhood actions, especially when you consider the physical distance between the father and daughter. Ultimately when you become a parent (and step parent) you are expected to put your children first.

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    • avatar

      ktfran September 18, 2015, 4:03 pm

      I’m pretty sure you can offer a different opinion or advice on this site without attacking Wendy and other commenters. What the fuck? What were you trying to achieve or what was the point?

      While I do agree that a child needs to know appropriate behavior, this LW is being unreasonable in her characterization of her stepchild. She should be trying to build a relationship with her, not tear down the one this girl has with her father.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse September 18, 2015, 4:26 pm

        Agreed. GTFO, TT.

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      • avatar

        Texas T September 18, 2015, 4:27 pm

        Wendy IS a momma bear. I am sure she will admit that. She DOES have followers. I am one of them. That is NOT an attack. But I feel momma bear does add bias into this situation.

        And despite the fact you are most definitely not a lady/gentleman as is evidenced by your confrontational attitude and potty mouth (which by the way just means you lack the education to express your disagreement without profanity) I have already stated that LW needs an attitude adjustment.

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      • avatar

        ktfran September 18, 2015, 6:48 pm

        It’s not an attack when you use all cap letters? In case you didn’t know, all caps mean you are yelling. I do in fact know that little tidbit about cussing; however, I was in the mood to cuss because I think your ridiculousness warranted it.
        .
        I did also point out that your argument had some merit, but it came across horribly judgemental of most people on this thread, especially you pitting Wendy against a real therapist. And your answer to my questions were to further attack me, when you don’t even know me.
        .
        You sound like a real peach. Enjoy your weekend.

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    • Monkeysmommy

      Monkeys mommy September 18, 2015, 8:36 pm

      I think this is a really good point of view. I do not have a stepdaughter, I was the one who brought the kids to the marriage (then we had one together), but I stand by the marriage first line, too. Your kids eventually leave you and move on, and if you do not have that bond together, you will fall apart. We are seeing it happen with our parents and other middle age couples that focused too much on the kids and not enough on each other’s needs and wants.

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  • avatar

    Laura Hope September 18, 2015, 12:57 pm

    I’ve probably said this before but I can’t say it enough. Our stepmother loved us so much and treated us so well that my father’s passing didn’t change a thing. As long as we are alive she will never be alone.(In fact, in many ways we are closer to her than our mother). You won’t always be young and strong and surrounded by family. Kindness breeds kindness. Open your heart to her.

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    • avatar

      Texas T September 18, 2015, 2:40 pm

      I have heard you say that before and I like to hear it again. I love my mother dearly. And I want my stepdaughter to know that kind of bond too so I make sure that I am a good stepmom and she knows how much she is loved and how I will always be there (her mom is out of the picture).

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      • avatar

        Laura Hope September 18, 2015, 3:05 pm

        Wonderful!!!!!!

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  • Raccoon eyes

    Raccoon eyes September 18, 2015, 1:28 pm

    I mostly agree with what has been said. BUT. BUT, LW, while I dont think that you necessarily deserve the ire you are receiving, I also do not think that you are the martyr you seem to see yourself as.
    *
    From my understanding, your hometown and your husband’s hometown are 6 hours apart, and this daugher lives another 3 hours further from his hometown. Three years ago, your husband had placement of his daughter (in his hometown) then lost his job and therefore dropped his daughter with her mother and just over 2 years ago moved 9 hours away to a job in your hometown. (That being, what? Say June of 2013?) You fall in love and get married and have a baby. (Sooo baby born recently, say June of 2015?) This is A LOT for a young girl, presumably under 10 years old, at least. I mean, that is a lot of upheaval for an adult. I cant even imagine for a little person for whom 3 years is like half or a third of her TOTAL life. (And likely OVER HALF of the amount of time she actually still has any memories of.)
    *
    Eh, LW, I cant really even keep going here. You moved super fast with your husband, You knew from the get-go that he had a daughter that he had essentially abandoned to come and build this life that he has with you (for a very short amount of time so far). This all should have been discussed ad nauseum, or at the least to a conclusion everyone could live with, BEFORE this magical job option opened up in his hometown.

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    • avatar

      SasLinna September 18, 2015, 1:43 pm

      Yeah, I have a mixed reaction to this letter, and I think there are two different issues here that should be separated (even though LW is mixing them as well). LW’s reaction to the daughter’s behavior seems really unreasonable and pretty cold hearted. But the reaction to the potential move is understandable, if you separate it from her silly jealousy of the daughter. She’s suddenly being asked to move far away from her own support system, with a small baby to care for. It’s understandable that she doesn’t like it. I agree that she and and her husband simply seem to have moved super fast, without addressing the “where to live” question in depth (pretty sure that’s on Wendy’s “ten issues to discuss before you get engaged” list….). To me the whole thing seems pretty irresponsible, on the husband’s side as well.

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  • avatar

    Kaluu September 18, 2015, 1:42 pm

    You could always help your parents move closer if it’s that important to them and you.

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    • Monkeysmommy

      Monkeys mommy September 18, 2015, 8:41 pm

      Sooo, THREE PEOPLE can now move to accommodate dear stepdaughter? Wow, we really ARE striving to set up entitlement syndrome for this girl, arent we?

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      • avatar

        anonymousse September 20, 2015, 9:31 am

        You have real serious problems. Families move together all the time. I’m pretty sure the huge commute being shorter won’t make this girl have an entitlement sydrome….just like having a relationship with her father won’t. What horrible childhood did you have that having a father hours closer (still hours away) from his daughter, makes her entitled?

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      • avatar

        simonthegrey September 21, 2015, 11:37 pm

        Maybe commentator’s name should be Monkeys Wire Mommy?

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      • avatar

        Anonymous September 22, 2015, 2:01 pm

        Idiot. Not everybody is a Borg and subscribes to hive mind. People have a right to see issues from a different perspective.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones September 18, 2015, 3:54 pm

    While it is sometimes not easy being a step-parent, that is what you are if you marry someone who already has a child. Suck it up, be the good step-mommy and support your husband pursuing that job closer to his daughter. I have a stepson who was 3 when I met my husband. He is now 23, and while it has been tough at times I always knew that children come first. So suck it up, be the bigger person and realize what you signed up for when you married him. Of course the child will be clingy. This is a child who hardly ever sees her dad! So stop being a spoiled brat and let the kid be a kid and let her dad pay serious attention to her.

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  • avatar

    PDXGirl September 18, 2015, 4:44 pm

    I’m late to the party and I think a lot of the points I would make have been covered above. If I could add one thing, please try to learn/keep in mind what kind of kid his older daughter is in your interactions with her. And I don’t mean like a ‘good kid’ or trouble making kid’ or being the ‘smart one’ or ‘athletic one’. Speaking only from my experience, I have always had what my mom would call a ‘tender heart’, very sensitive to others feelings and been the kind of kid who would get a B come home and ground myself till I got better. My parents split when I was little and both remarried fairly quickly. I was 11-ish at the time. When my step dad would get mad at me, raise his voice and call me names like selfish or stupid I would be devastated (and turned off from the kernels of what could have been good guidance) and my mom would support him so they appeared as a ‘unit’ and the marriage was her first priority. I eventually moved in with my dad and my relationship with my mom still struggles and I don’t really have one with my step-dad. I guess to make a long point a little shorter, try to get to know your stepdaughter as a person, not an obligation, and invest in getting to know her/responding to her in terms she understands/is comfortable with. I’m sure it can be really really hard. I couldn’t be a step parent so I haven’t dated people with kids. But what happens now can leave lasting scares on everyone.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark September 18, 2015, 6:13 pm

    A few of you are seriously deranged — how can anybody find fault with the child in this situation. Oh, the horror of having to move so a father can be physically closer to his daughter. And who the FUCK is so insecure you can’t lay off with the high school PDA for the fucking weekends that said child visits? Bah!
    .
    NEWSFLASH: This LW is a simply a triad of terrible.
    .
    A terrible step mother.
    A terrible wife.
    And above all else — a truly terrible person.

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  • Monkeysmommy

    Monkeys mommy September 18, 2015, 8:29 pm

    I am normally kind of tough on people when I choose to weigh in here, but I am actually going to sit back and see this from your angle, OP.
    1. Your husband moved away from his daughter by choice BEFORE he met you (and no, forget the “but he lost his jooobbbb” shit- you cannot tell me the only job he could get is 9 hours away). He knew where you lived and wanted to continue living, it is not like you took him away. So your feelings do matter here.
    2. 9 hours by car = 1 hour by plane. I deal with this all the time, as I actually moved my kids 9 hours south for a job (again, by choice… I HAD one already, it was not a necessity). Depending on the age of the girl, and I get the feeling it is over 10 and under 15, she can fly as an unaccompanied minor. That is actually very safe, they take my kids on and off of every flight.
    3. Leaving a secure job to go to a new one that “might” work out, 9 hours away, with wife and child? I did it, and it worked out beautifully. Not always the case.
    4. Regardless of what some are saying to you, sometimes stepchildren ARE hard to deal with, and it isnt always you- Some kids ARE coached by the mom to be nasty to the new wife at all costs. Some act out to get Daddy’s attention. And I agree, it IS a respect issue.
    *
    Yes, you are probably coming off selfish, but I have to say that this is one case where I would probably stand my ground. He would still be three hours from her with this new job; that is not just a hop, skip, and jump away. He wouldnt see her as much as he thinks he would- with work and daily obligations, that six hour round trip idea would peter out, and he wont see her much more than he does now. I would bet on that. And I get you being upset about leaving your parents too- it was a damn hard decision to leave mine, and i miss them a lot. If I had a do-over, I would have waited a while and remained closer to my parents until my youngest was a bit older. At the end of the day, i think you should absolutely try harder with your stepdaughter, but no, I would not move.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover September 19, 2015, 12:44 pm

      9 hours by car is definitely not 1 hour by plane. It’s at least 3 hours door-to-door, what with getting to the airport, being there early enough to do security/baggage before boarding time, and getting from the airport to wherever you’re going. And that’s with the assumption that both towns have an airport, and that there’s a direct flight between them. I’m pretty sure that if that was the case, and they could afford it, they’d already be doing that.

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      • avatar

        anonymousse September 20, 2015, 9:35 am

        Exactly. A three hour drive equals one hour by small commuter plane. And generally, those tickets are pricey, because they have no competition. Not every town has an airport, either, in fact most don’t! And there are huge stretches in this country that I can imagine not finding suitable work for nine hours in any direction. I think it’s called….the Midwest?

        The fact that the only people defending this woman are making up the narrative surrounding it is pretty telling. And attacking a child…real classy!

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy September 20, 2015, 9:41 am

        Hmm… that’s not really true (about flight times). I regularly fly from Chicago to Springfield, Missouri on my connecting flight to visit my parents and that’s an hour and fifteen minute-flight and would be a nine-hour drive (and I know that for sure because I’ve driven in several times).

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      • avatar

        anonymousse September 20, 2015, 10:53 am

        Admittedly, I was thinking more of a straight shot direct drive, like between Portland, OR and Seattle. The drive is about three hours and it’s pretty direct, and the flight (on a tiny commuter plane) is an hour roughly depending on weather and which way you are going.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom September 20, 2015, 10:55 am

        It very much depends on how close you live to an airport and if there are direct flights. We live an hour from the airport and need to arrive an hour before the flight so that is two hours on our end. My parents live four hours from the airport.

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      • Monkeysmommy

        Monkeysmommy September 21, 2015, 9:11 pm

        Um, yeah, I fly home regularly… 9 hour drive takes me 1 hour by Delta… I am not making it up. And no. I’m not attacking a child. I am telling you there can be more to the story, though.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom September 20, 2015, 11:18 am

      The LW called the daughter a little girl so I doubt she is older than ten, especially if she is trying to hold her dad’s hand and squeeze between them on the couch. She sounds young. I’m guessing 4 to 6, maybe 7.
      .
      You seem to assume that jobs were abundant but there was a time when they weren’t and people took the jobs that they could find. Especially if he has court ordered child support, which he likely does, he needed a job that paid enough for him to make his payments and to financially support himself. My daughter has a teacher whose husband was transferred for his job. The company closed their local facility. She spent the summer applying for jobs and interviewing in the two locations that her husband could relocate and didn’t get a job offer in either of them so she is staying here with their daughter and he is moving. Life doesn’t always give you good options and you do the best that you can. You could say that they are choosing to live separately, which they are, but you could also say that they are choosing to meet their financial obligations, which they also are doing. Some jobs are highly portable and you can go anywhere. Some jobs are highly specific to certain industries and don’t have many location options.
      .
      This girl doesn’t sound like she is being nasty. She sounds like she is insecure. She needs to know that her dad loves her and won’t abandon her and at this point she probably doesn’t know that. What she sees is that one wife and daughter can be replaced with another wife and daughter. I’m making no judgement about why they are divorced. We don’t know who left who or what happened. I do know that you can’t force someone to stay married to you if they leave and want a divorce. From his daughter’s point of view things look bad. Dad left her behind and replaced her and she loves him and needs him and needs to know that he will be there in her life. It is critically important for her emotional development that she feel wanted by both parents and by her stepmother. She needs to feel wanted and loved and needed and valued. All kids do. Will she have her moments, of course. All kids do, which the LW will come to see as her own daughter grows. Part of this is probably lack of experience with a child on the part of the LW. It is incredibly common for kids to hold parents’ hands and to want to squeeze in with them on the couch. We would have family hugs. If we were hugging anyone was welcome to join the hug. We had lots of family hugs and then the kids grew out of them. If you are hugging she doesn’t need to shove between you, you can stop that but you can welcome her to join you and have all three of you in a hug and maybe, all four of you in a family hug. If she feels a full part of the family she won’t feel the need to try to push in and interrupt. It will also help the dynamic between her and the younger sister when they are older and it will make all the difference in the world when she is a teen. You have the early years when the child wants to be with you to influence them enough to carry them through the teen years when they won’t be clinging to you and won’t be running to you all the time and they won’t be trying to sit between you on the couch.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover September 20, 2015, 11:50 am

        I love that idea about the family hug. Right now the LW sees it as the little girl trying to separate them, when really it’s that the little girl wants affection too. Next time she tries to push in, just shout “family hug!” and hug her and her dad. That would be so sweet for her.

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  • avatar

    Anonymous September 21, 2015, 5:30 am

    I wonder why everyone is being judgemental, you don’t have to trash the step mom just to make her feel terrible than she already felt. My advice is this try your best to pull the poor kid close, she might be getting bad advice from her mom; Who knows? Just focus on your home and don’t let the poor kid spoil it, take her as your own and neglect her childishness. Don’t make the father feel you hate his Daughter and try put your self in the poor girls shoe. Remember she can’t take your place except you let her, by trying to compete for attention . You own your man, what is his is yours. When you give the girl attention, your husband will see you are trying and he won’t approve of the bad attitude she shows you. I wish you the best in your marriage.

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  • avatar

    anon September 21, 2015, 2:51 pm

    ( I am not the person who commented above)
    Yes, no need to trash the LW. If she is truly evil, she would have just said no to the move and carried on. She would not wrestle with the decision to move.

    LW, here is some useful advise. As someone mentioned above, you need to separate step daughter’s behavior from moving decision.

    About moving: You need to look at more than one factor before moving.

    Does it make sense financially ? Will the new job offer more or less growth opportunities ? Do you work ? If so will you be able to get a comparable new job in your husband’s home town ?

    Do you have a good support system at the current place ? Friends and family ? How about the new place ? Are your in laws as supportive as your parents ? Do you get along well with them ? Will you be dependent on your husband’s family and friends for all your social interactions? Do you think you might feel lonely in a new place as a new mother ?

    You need to be sure you will be happy at the new place before moving.

    Your husband may think he will see more of his daughter by moving nearer, but that may not happen. Is the ex-wife good about sharing custody ? Will she agree to give more custody time easily or will there be a court battle to make it happen ? That can ruin you financially. (Trust me, it is happening to one of my friends right now)

    Regarding your step daughter’s behavior, is she mean or hostile to you ? Or just clingy with your husband ? If it is the first case, that needs to be addressed immediately by your husband and you by telling her such behavior is not acceptable and she needs to behave respectfully towards her stepmom. If it is the later case, and clingy behavior is continuing 2/3 years after the divorce , then it is time to invest in a child/family therapist to address the root cause of the problem.

    This needs to happen irrespective of the moving decision.

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  • avatar

    Anon September 20, 2017, 12:39 pm

    No Wendy. The person who is selfish is the one throwing the stone and persecuting this woman. Why not ask yourself how you have done simular, before passing judgement on her for how she feels. Her feelings are valid. She asked for advice, not invalidation. The man made a decision before he married to leave and start a new life elsewhere, and now he is married. He has a wife and 2 children now. And he is making decisions, like he does not. She is not by any means selfish for feeling how she does. He is not thinking about the stability of his family AS A WHOLE, that he has now. When he chose to move,and marry, he made a choice to leave the rest behind. I understand that the child needs him, nut now is not the time to rehash and try to Recreate the past in order to rectify the mistakes he has made from his own guilty conscience. What’s done is done cannot be on undone and he is jeopardizing the safety of his new family. He is also placing the child’s needs above his marriage which is 100% unhealthy and will destroy the marriage if he does not move on. The job Is temptation. It is written in the vows, he made when he married, and those are what stands. Now stop with the persecution of this poor woman .

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