My daughter will not come back home unless the three of us go to a shared counseling session; however, my wife refuses to go because she thinks Americans are addicted to therapy. I have begged and pleaded with her to come to a session so that I can get my daughter back home; however, she is steadfast. Recently I have stated that our relationship is going to be in trouble should this situation persist, but the wife’s answer remains “No, not ever.” I love my daughter very much and the past three months have been torture without having her home. I can’t see any other way to resolve this. I feel like I must choose between being a husband or being a dad.
Any way out of this miserable situation? — Missing my Daughter
Wait, you have let this go on for three months? You married a long-distance girlfriend without first transitioning her into your and your daughter’s life together (did she need a green card, by chance?)? You call your new wife “wonderful” despite how shitty she has treated your 10-year-old daughter and, rather than kick her ass to the curb when she refuses to get any sort of professional help and guidance to smooth the rocky waters SHE created with your daughter, you have let your daughter stay away from your home all these months? My God. If you are being forced to choose between being a husband and a dad, it’s your wife who has given you that ultimatum, and, so far, you have chosen her over your daughter. You’ve chosen a woman who would rather yell at a young girl whose father just married a woman she hardly knows than, you know, act compassionately and maturely and lovingly with a brand new step-daughter who is probably freaked out by this sudden change in her family and lifestyle. Your wife does not sound wonderful. She sounds like a bully. And, to be quite frank, you don’t sound like much of a dad at this point.
I can only imagine you have been blinded by something about your wife those of us reading your letter can’t see and aren’t privy too. There must be something about her that has rocked your world because what you HAVE shared about her isn’t good. And the little you’ve shared about your daughter — that she, at 10 years old, has the maturity and foresight and commitment to you to suggest family counseling after being so slighted in her own home by this woman she hardly knows — suggests that, if you’ve always been such an irresponsible father (and I’m not suggesting that’s the case), then she must have one hell of a stable and loving mother, or the two of you as parents just lucked the hell out. Either way, your daughter has given you a chance to have her back. Don’t blow it.
Bottom line: counseling or your wife is out. If she won’t agree to it, the answer is pretty clear.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.