He has two daughters, 25 and 23, whom he raised and who lived with him. Their mom was/is around, but for whatever reasons the girls wanted to live with their dad. We have had our ups and downs, but that’s life. I have four sons, all grown, who live far away so we don’t see them much. Life with adult girls is very different than what I’m used to and there is a lot of drama. The younger daughter seems resentful and has moved out after graduating (I truly thought she was happy with her life). The older one moved back in and has taken the princess role — she doesn’t help around the house or contribute, which is ok with her father so I have not spoken about it.
Last month, the younger one said she wanted to have a dinner this week for Father’s Day because she will be busy on the weekend. Mike told me about it and I was excited because we haven’t been out together in a while and I thought it would be nice. Last week I asked where we would be going, and Mike informed me that it was some place downtown so that the older daughter could meet us; I said, “Perfect.” Then I was told last night that the daughters do not want me to come. This has happened before — they told him it was for Father’s Day and they just want him there. If this had not happened before, I may have taken this news better; however, I was very hurt.
Mike told me this morning that he will inform his daughters that this will be the last time this happens and, if they invite him, it will include me. I guess I’m wondering if I’m crazy to feel hurt? I have worked very hard to be inclusive of these girls; I even helped the older daughter paint her room when she moved back in. When the younger one moved out, I helped her move into her new place and bought her a housewarming gift. I then found out that, without my prior knowledge, she took my tv and end tables when she left. I did not cause trouble, but I did let Mike know I was extremely disappointed.
Should I just gracefully bow out of any social events with the daughters? — Excluded By The Daughters
I’m curious what you consider “gracefully” bowing out of social events looks like? Because, so far, you haven’t been very graceful. You assumed you were included in a Father’s Day dinner that your boyfriend’s daughters invited him to. (A dinner they are likely paying for, so were you also expecting them to pay for you, too?) And then you caused enough stink about not being invited that Mike is going to go to that dinner and, rather than enjoy his special time with his daughters, he’s going to inform them that this will be the last time he ever does anything with them without his girlfriend also being invited. You will have ruined their dinner–and very possibly damaged their relationship.
It’s not like you weren’t invited to one of the daughters’ weddingshttp://dearwendy.com/my-brother-says-im-wrong-for-not-inviting-our-father-to-my-wedding/ (although I suspect that is a possibility in the future now!). It was dinner. A Father’s Day dinner. Not even a birthday dinner. It was a dinner to celebrate the relationship they share with their father — a relationship that literally doesn’t include you, or at least didn’t until very recently. It sounds like they’re still warming up to you, and, while helping them out a few times (painting a room, buying a housewarming gift) are kind gestures, it takes more than that to build a relationship. You aren’t there yet, clearly. And now you have a much smaller chance of getting there unless you immediately do some damage control (by apologizing for sabotaging the Father’s Day dinner and by explaining that your feelings were hurt for not being included, that you over-reacted, and that you regret it).
None of this is to say that the daughters aren’t without flaws. Of course, they could have been gracious and invited you to dinner, too. They could be warmer and more welcoming to you. They could not take your TV and furniture without asking first! But, you are the newcomer here to this relationship trio. As you said, “for whatever reason” (and you should probably know the reason…), they chose their father to live with growing up. Those reasons, and the fact that they had so much time with their dad, probably make them especially suspicious and jealous of women vying for their father’s attention. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to break into this circle, but I promise you that causing a big stink over their taking their dad out to dinner isn’t the best way to do it.
Sometimes in life we have to swallow our pride a little, for the greater good. The “greater good” here is maintaining a happy relationship between your boyfriend and his daughters and nurturing a friendly one between you and them. This is important on so many levels, but even if you want to be 100% selfish about it and only think of the level that affects you most directly: If you keep making your boyfriend choose between you and his daughters, a resentment will begin growing. It may not be enough for him to break up with you, but it will be there, gnawing away at your relationship, keeping it from being as strong and as happy as it could be.
Speaking up to your partner about his grown-ass daughter freeloading in the home you share with him — which, I wonder, do you financially contribute to? — is appropriate (though maybe not on the heels of your behavior this week). Throwing a tantrum that his daughters aren’t taking you out for Father’s Day isn’t. I hope you can see the difference, and I hope you act accordingly.
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