Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickies: “His Ex’s Daughter Lives With Us and Won’t Stop Disrespecting Me”

My boyfriend and I have been dating almost a year. He was married and divorced and has one biological child, whom I absolutely love, with his ex-wife. After he was divorced, he dated a gal who has two children. When they split up, the woman’s 20-year-old daughter stayed with my boyfriend. She continues to live with him to this day. He does EVERYTHING for her and yet is a little hard on his own biological son. Since I have moved in, she disrespects me all the time. She is a total slob and leaves stuff all over expecting him to clean it up. I have taken on the roll of keeping the house clean. I work, but I also like taking care of my man.

I have asked on MULTIPLE occasions to please have her clean up after herself; I am not her maid. He tells her all the time to pick up after herself and, yet, she does not. When he isn’t around, she disrespects me by bringing a bunch of friends over, trashing the house and even consuming alcohol with her friends while taking over the whole house so that I am forced to stay in my bedroom. But she acts like a sweet little angel when he’s around. I finally got really upset, he and I had words, and I said I am tired of her disrespect. He just makes excuses and the disrespect continues.

He kept saying she was leaving for school in September, yet now she says she isn’t going so who knows when she will be moving out. Her mother lives not very far away so I don’t understand why she doesn’t go live with her. My boyfriend is very secretive with her and he still kinda cares about her mom and I feel they are secretly talking about her mom. I can’t go on feeling disrespected, but I do love him so much and, when she isn’t around, he is amazing to me. Please, what should I do? — Tired of Being Disrespected

You should not have moved in with your boyfriend. You didn’t know him well enough. You can argue all you want that you did, but if you’d known him better, and had been more enmeshed in his life, you would have known what you were dealing with as far as his roommate/the ex-girlfriend’s 20-year-old daughter goes. You would have seen some signs of the mess (both literally and figuratively), of the secretive behavior, and of the strain between you and her, and if you’d had any sense, you would have held off on moving in with this guy until this young woman was out of his house or until you felt better about her being there and you didn’t suspect lingering feelings between your boyfriend and his ex. You moved much too fast and the only out now is reverse.

Talking to your boyfriend hasn’t helped — he makes excuses, you say, and the disrespect and secretive behavior continue. This is his house, his life, his relationships. You’ve stepped into his world and don’t like it and now expect it to change for your comfort. He’s made clear that’s not going to happen. You have under a year with this guy. Get out now and be grateful you haven’t wasted more time on a guy who’s still apparently pretty tethered to his past relationship and doesn’t have the physical or emotional space for another woman.

I broke up with my ex about a year ago and she was devastated. The main issues that led to the break-up were that she didn’t really put any effort into the relationship and would have mood swings that resulted in silence for days on end. We were together for 18 months, and once I ended it she spent about a week driving past my house all the time and posting letters through my door, addressed to “my best friend.” The issue is that I haven’t opened these letters for whatever reason, yet I still have them. I’m in a very happy relationship now, yet the letters remain. I’m a little bit scared to open them, probably because that’ll make me feel guilty, but also because doing so may open up old feelings and wounds.

What do I do?? — By the Letter

 
I would throw them in the recycling bin, unopened, and move on with my life. But you have to ask yourself why you’ve hung on to them, and why you’re tempted to read them now (if you are)? You talk about feelings of guilt and opening old wounds. Do you feel that there’s a lack of closure around your previous relationship? If so, what better closure than to burn the letters over a toilet and flush away the ashes? Adios, old relationship, and thank you for affirming an important lesson: You deserve more than a person who doesn’t invest in you and your relationship and stays silent for days on end rather than communicating her needs and thoughts. Hopefully, in your new relationship, you have the things you want in a partner, and you’d be wise to leave the hurts of failed relationships behind and to bring with you the lessons those hurts may have taught.

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

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

21 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Rebecca August 28, 2018, 11:28 am

    “I have taken on the roll of keeping the house clean. I work, but also like taking care of my man.”

    Stop taking care of ‘your man.’ Find a man who knows how to take care of himself.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros August 28, 2018, 11:29 am

    LW1: How he wants to live is not compatible with how you want to live. You have expressed concerns. He doesn’t share them. He’s not planning to change. I think it’s time for you to move out and next time try to not move in so quickly.

    LW2: What Wendy said. Throw them out. If you open them, you are willingly creating drama for yourself. If you need more reasons to convince you, it sounds like the words inside the letters were written by someone slightly unhinged at the time and also probably are not even true anymore. It’s going to be the equivalent of reading a few pages out of a novel. Burn, flush, whatever you need to do to let them go.

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  • avatar

    Poppy August 28, 2018, 11:48 am

    LW1 Ohhh this screams dysfunction( not of you but the situation) For starters you are well aware of underage drinking in your home and all you do is go to your room, shut the door, and ignore it? Is that right? Do you realize you are legally responsible if something negligent happens? Do you realize the potential law suits and legal issues that would arise if something happened to the underage drinkers? Sorry to pin you in a corner but if you cant do anything about it or force rules in the home there is always law enforcement and you know where her mama lives. Also there is your wonderful boyfriend who is allowing this shit to happen in his home. Im not being a prude…. I drank underage but this would never have been accepted at my parents home or friends home under parent supervision. You cant stop stupidity even under parental control. I’ll never forget a time when one of our parties was busted ( my group of friends and I got out of there in time) the cops charged anyone who was caught over the age of 21 with harsher charges than the underage kids bc at 21 plus yrs old you are suppose to be a responsible adult who knew not to allow underage drinking. Our older friends were sooo pissed off and i felt bad. They didnt buy the aclohol and it wasnt their home yet they were still responsible. That’s just simply being young and dumb. When I turned 21 I decided I didnt want the consequences of being responsible for underage drinkers so I refused to associate myself from those types of situations. Sometimes a good time isnt worth a sentences of a life time-my quote 😆 lol. Id like to hear your response on my questions for clarity. And more questions of why didnt she go with her mother? How long had she been with your bf? Thats great he had taken on the role of raising someone else responsibility( if mother was a deadbeat) but not great because she sounds like a Hellion that your bf has raised. I really would like to hear more but my thought is to move out and maybe even move on from this relationship. LW2 Burn the letters. Heart breaks can take a while to mentally move on from. The last thing you need to hear/read is letters that prolong your heartbreak.

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  • avatar

    Essie August 28, 2018, 12:05 pm

    LW1, this is it. Right here: “You’ve stepped into his world and don’t like it and now expect it to change for your comfort. He’s made clear that’s not going to happen. ”

    Embroider that on a pillow if you have to , because it’s going to apply to every relationship you get into for the rest of your life. Every man you’ll date will come with other people, other relationships, other life situations that existed before you came on the scene. When you’re deciding whether or not he’s the right guy for you, you have to look at the whole picture, because all of that will become part of your world if you become partners.

    You can’t come in and say “Well, I like these people that are in your life, but not those. Get rid of them, or make them change their personalities to suit my taste.”

    There are many facets to compatibility. It’s entirely possible to love someone with all your heart, and still not be able to tolerate something about their life. Sometimes it’s a problem with a parent, sometimes it’s his friends. Sometimes it’s the amount of travel he has to do for work.

    It’s fine to express your needs, or talk about things that are a problem for you in the relationship. You’ve done that, and the situation isn’t going to change. At this point, your choice is to learn to tolerate it, or to move on.

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  • avatar

    brise August 28, 2018, 12:18 pm

    LW1: Wendy gave you the right advice. But before removing yourself of this situation, I would try a serious discussion directly with the girl and your BF. You don’t mention you tried to speak quietly with her. You could sit her down, in presence of your partner, and tell your concerns. The first thing is to establish that you are now a member of the household, and as an adult, and your bf’s partner, you expect respect and her to obey to you for basic home rules. These responsibilities will help her become an adult.
    Then, list the rules. Tidy up: all teenagers are messy, as far as I know, so they have to be recalled: if she lets things behind her, you can ask her to remove her stuff immediately, you come into her room and have her do it at once.
    You can also request that she helps for some chores, and specify which.
    Politeness: this is compulsory, and a life lesson. She will go nowhere if she can’t be polite with adults.
    Alcohol: as Poppy said, give her the clear notice that any alcohol consumption that you know of in your house by underage people is strictly prohibited and will be reported to the cops. It will stop immediately, I am pretty sure.
    So assert yourself, don’t skip the good, thorough discussion step.
    Give her a memo of these requests, so you have a track record of the discussion.
    If your BF can’t commit to such a discussion, then you can move out without any regret. If the discussion remains fruitless, then you can also reflect on your options. In my opinion, you will have to give some efforts to make your place in this household, it seems, and to enforce your requests. After such a discussion, you can also give her a chance to find some complicity with you: you can invite her once for a drink, or a movie, or something. It is not only about rules, also about being a little community.

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  • avatar

    brise August 28, 2018, 12:22 pm

    And what about the guy’s role in the chores? You say you like cleaning for your man (hum hum, I don’t), but what does HE do for the cleaning? You are not his maid either. So include him in the chores. Each one his role, and they will all start to respect you – hopefully.

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  • avatar

    ron August 28, 2018, 12:30 pm

    On LW#1 — we don’t know this is under-aged drinking, because ex’s daughter is now over 21. We do know the bf’s relationship with this woman is totally dysfunctional and doesn’t leave room for a regular gf. You have asked him to make a choice and he has chosen her. At the minimum, that means he’s content to have you take care of him and clean up after her, but doesn’t really care all that much for/about you. For certain, you are not the #1 woman in his life. If I guess, I think he is either holding onto thoughts of getting back together with his ex or has the hots for her daughter. You need to MOA and not look back. At the very least, you need to stop cleaning up the house. Pick up after yourself and let the house deteriorate until others feel the need to clean up their own messes or your bf decides the free maid has quit and he needs to find a different unfortunate woman to take advantage of. In your next relationship, try hard not to be such a total doormat.

    LW#2 —
    Just burn the letters. But first, ask yourself how you really feel about your ex. It sounds as though part of you wants her back and the more sensible part of you is afraid that part of you wants her back. I don’t see how you can give your full emotional connection to new gf, with whom you say you are happy, when you have so much emotion wrapped up in your ex and the unresolved status of her letters. You broke up with her for a reason and it is extremely unlikely that reason has changed, since it’s highly unlikely that she has changed.

    Don’t sabotage your current healthy relationship by remaining partly tethered to your old dysfunctional relationship.

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    • avatar

      Marzipan Shepherdess August 28, 2018, 7:59 pm

      Hmm, yes, I was wondering too if LW1’s boyfriend’s relationship with his ex’s daughter is not exactly “fatherly”! Why did she stay with him instead of moving out with her mother? And the LW’s sense that they’re talking secretly? Sounds as if LW1 is doing all the housekeeping for a boyfriend who’s doing a Woody Allen. LW1, you can do better for yourself than this!

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  • rosie posie

    rosie posie August 28, 2018, 1:17 pm

    I’m tired of hearing people complain about someone “disrespecting” them. Respect is earned, not given freely and most of the people I hear who complain about people “disrespecting” them are not terribly respectful people themselves.

    LW#1 Move out and get your own place. You will be much happier when you do. Then don’t move in with someone until you respect each other.

    LW#2 I agree with Wendy. Don’t open the letter, just get rid of them. I can understand if you feel guilty or a sense of connection or whatever but you will feel much better once they are gone. If you need motivation just think how your new girlfriend would feel if she stumbled across them. Do you want to cause her any anxiety or hurt she may feel wondering if you still have feeling for this other woman? Don’t let you past relationships negatively impact your current or future relationships.

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  • avatar

    ron August 28, 2018, 2:43 pm

    RosiePosie is correct: respect is earned, it’s not something you are owed because you are dating the owner of the house. This 21-year-old was living there, before LW arrived on the scene and living on terms which apparently were entirely satisfactory to LW’s bf. The 21-year old is not bf’s daughter and she is not a minor and LW certainly isn’t anything remotely close to being her stepmom. So, really, just what respect does this young woman owe LW and why? Since LW essentially volunteered to be everyone’s maid and has functioned in that mode, despite complaining to 21-year old, I’m not even sure what valid complaint she has. She does too much of the housework? Absolutely true – take it up with the bf. There are friends of 21-year old in the house drinking when bf isn’t there — yes that annoys her, but not her house and the bf, whose house it is, has made 21-year old his guest just as much as LW. Her beef is with bf. If bf is happy with 21-year-old’s behavior, and apparently he is because he refuses to say anything to her, then it seems LW is assuming a sense of authority over 21-year-old and demanding a level of respect not due to her. The young woman may be a totally lazy slob, but as a fellow guest, that isn’t LW’s concern. If she’s unhappy she needs to MOA.

    It sounds like the two people disrespecting LW are first of all herself (why did she just assume the role of maid? Why does she remain in that role? If she’s so upset, why doesn’t she leave?) and her bf, who seemingly could care less whether she leaves or stays. He clearly isn’t as into her as she thinks

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    • avatar

      Poppy August 28, 2018, 2:58 pm

      @Ron . where are you getting 21 yrs old at?? She said 20 yrs old.

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      • avatar

        JD August 28, 2018, 3:39 pm

        Oh dear lord he was 1 year off!!

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      • avatar

        ktfran August 28, 2018, 3:43 pm

        I don’t think Ron was. From the LW….. “After he was divorced, he dated a gal who has two children. When they split up, the woman’s 20-year-old daughter stayed with my boyfriend. She continues to live with him to this day.”

        I read that as the daughter being 20 when her mom and the LW’s bf split. So unless the LW started dating and moved in with this dude super fast after the break up, the daughter is likely 21, maybe 22 now.

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      • avatar

        dinoceros August 28, 2018, 5:00 pm

        Yeah, she’s most likely 21, based on actually reading the letter. Even if she weren’t, I don’t know why it would matter enough to comment on it, in that tone especially.

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      • avatar

        ron August 28, 2018, 5:52 pm

        “My boyfriend and I have been dating almost a year. ” — so, unless he was cheating with LW for a year, before breaking up with his ex, we have to add a year to the age daughter was when LW’s bf broke up with the girl’s mother (his ex). If there was some time between the breakup and starting to date LW, then this girl is even older.

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    • avatar

      saneinca August 28, 2018, 4:02 pm

      It is not the girl’s home either. Both the LW and the girl are living in the BF’s home at his invitation.

      I don’t agree that respect needs to be earned. The L W is due respect by virtue of her status as the partner of BF.

      However, since the power dynamic is clear, the LW must find her own place and move out. This relationship is not going to work.

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      • avatar

        dinoceros August 28, 2018, 5:02 pm

        Sort of, but the girl was there first. Her living there isn’t contingent on a romantic relationship continuing to exist. The bf has made it clear that he considers her more a part of the household than the LW.

        One can argue that a person *shouldn’t* treat a live-in partner that way, but that’s the reality of the situation.

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      • avatar

        Ron August 28, 2018, 6:08 pm

        SaneInca —
        No, I don’t think she is due the respect she thinks she is due. She exactly what she finds disrespectuf: the young woman has friends over, they drink, LW feels uncomfortable and retreats to her room. Unless the bf, this young woman’s actual host, tells her he doesn’t want her to invite friends to his house, then she has every right to have friends over. It certainly isn’t appropriate for LW to decide that, in respect to her grandiose idea of how much her personal comfort must be acceded to, that it is disrespectful for the young woman to have friends over without LW’s permission. It isn’t LW’s house. LW isn’t in a position of authority over this other adult woman. The bf hasn’t placed LW in charge of his house in his absence. She has appointed herself ‘the woman of the house’ and thinks that gives her lots of rights to have things her way. It doesn’t. She is one of two guests in her bf’s house. If she has a beef, it is with bf. Since the other young woman does not in fact owe LW this level of respect, she is not at all out of line. Apparently LW has described this young woman’s behavior to her bf and bf chooses not to tell the young woman to behave differently. So exactly what respect is actually owed to LW.

        LW also complains that she has to clean up after this young woman. Simple solution: stop cleaning up. If LW has a stronger need for her bf’s house to be in top-notch order — well that really isn’t her decision to make and making a martyr of herself through cleaning up for everyone isn’t going to change that.

        This young woman and the LW’s bf were apparently content with their living arrangement, shared use of house and housekeeping responsibilities, before LW showed up. I think LW is actually jealous of the young woman and doesn’t believe an ex’s daughter should be living in her bf’s house.

        Again, not her decision to make. There is only one decision which is hers to make: is she going to continue to live in this house as conditions are, because the bf has made it clear he isn’t going to make changes and I’d say the same for the young woman. LW is trying to act like her bf’s wife, or something similar. That seems not to be how bf sees their relationship.

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  • avatar

    JD August 28, 2018, 3:38 pm

    Wendy is right, you were in no way ready to move in with this man. If you were you’d know the answer to all of this and it wouldn’t been resolved prior. You screwed that one up and now you have to leave.

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  • avatar

    brise August 30, 2018, 5:48 am

    The actual girl’s age is not clear. Anyway, if she is an adult, the approach should be a bit different indeed. But any household with multiple roommates needs some basic common rules for the maintenance. So they could all have a meeting and establish these rules together (not as a stepmom indeed if the girl is herself an adult, but as adults who share a space).
    What is not clear either is if the LW is paying rent or some costs (food, or so). This would give her some more rights regarding the girl who probably doesn’t contribute financially. But even as a guest, the LW should be taken into account by the other female guest.

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  • avatar

    ron August 30, 2018, 7:27 am

    What you say is true Brise; the two women should treat this as a situation of roommates sharing a house. I think the problems arise primarily because the LW can’t think that way. She thinks because bf owns the house and she is the gf, that this makes her the official woman of the house who can set up the house to suit her tastes and the younger woman must accept her dictates. It is clear that bf and younger woman had a system which worked for them, prior to the arrival of LW. Different people have vastly different preferences/comfort level in tidiness and cleaning. Younger woman and the bf who owns the house seem in synch on this. LW gives no examples of what troubles her in this regard. The example she does give is that she is disrespected because LW invited friends to the house and had a party. Sounds like this happened once. It certainly is not at all unusual for people who share a house. If LW were the same age range as the young woman and her guests, she might have been invited to the party, but she’s twice the young woman’s age.

    I think all of this bothers LW so much because she wants to make the house ‘her home’ partly out of comfort and partly as a relationship marker. She doesn’t want another woman in the house and sees the presence of a daughter of bf’s ex as illegitimate, because she wants all ties to the ex cut. This is partly housekeeping style conflict but also jealousy and relationship insecurity. The real peeve that stands out in the letter is that she is upset that bf hasn’t thrown the young woman out of his house. That would give her relationship security.

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