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.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.