Unfortunately, she passed away, and we found each other pretty soon — six months — after her passing. We fell in love, and two years later we married. His daughters didn’t like it and couldn’t even be happy for their dad. They do not like that we are happy and that we do things and travel and have fun together.
Now they want nothing to do with me. I have been nothing but loving, caring, and supportive. They are both out of the house and have heir own lives, husbands, and children. They say I am rude and disrespectful to their mother because my husband and I are happy and doing things together.
I’m not sure what to do. Personally, I think they are rude and disrespectful. — The New Wife
They may very well be rude and disrespectful — and certainly from your description they sound that way. But when you entered the picture, they were also still grieving. Six months isn’t a lot of time, and while your husband may have been ready to move on and find happiness with a new woman, the same obviously cannot be said for his daughters. Losing a spouse — especially one you’ve lived apart from for years and may have essentially already felt like you lost before she actually passed away, is much different than suddenly losing a mother. Your husband may have done much of his grieving for his marriage and wife while she was still alive. And by the time she died, her death may have been, for him, something of a release from a marriage that no longer brought him joy. For his daughters, though, the death of their mother likely brought no such release, and their grief probably began only when she died. Six months is not much time to grapple with that kind of loss. They may see their father moving on so quickly as a betrayal — of their mother, and of them. It’s not fair for them to think that way, but it’s probably the reality of the situation you entered into.
Unless your step-daughters are being aggressively and actively rude to you, I would try to cut them some slack. (And if they are being actively and aggressively rude to you, you have every right to tell your husband that their behavior toward you is unacceptable and he needs to talk to them about it!) Okay, so they want nothing to do with you. Their loss, right? Continue enjoying your newlywed time with your husband. Travel, go out, and have fun. And when friction arises around his daughters, let your husband take the lead in dealing with it. After all, they’re his daughters. What does he say about all of it? Does he tell you to be patient? Tell you to give it/them some time? Does he seem concerned or bothered by it? Does he have any suggestions for how best to form a relationship with them? Really, it’s his job to pave the way here. I would follow his lead, keep your head down, extend as much compassion to his daughters as you feel you can, and try to enjoy that you and your husband found each other and seem to be having such a great time together, despite the tension with his grown daughters.
When I asked him about this, he got defensive and said I was giving him attitude, which wasn’t the case at all, and then he claimed he doesn’t like crowds. He has no hesitation going to hockey games with buddies or out with his other friends, so this makes me feel like I am the issue. It’s really not helping our relationship because we keep getting into stupid and pointless fights over things like this. I really don’t know what to do because it feels like he’s pushing me away. I need some sound advice. — Feeling Pushed Away
You guys don’t like doing the same thing and you’re taking it personally. He doesn’t like bars and going out dancing, apparently. Do you like hockey games? Has he invited you to join him? It seems like that would be a fun activity you could enjoy together that’s different from your regular movie and dinner dates. But if you don’t want to do that or he doesn’t want you to come and you can’t find any other activity that you both can enjoy together, and your regular dinner and movies dates aren’t cutting it for you and it’s not satisfying for you to enjoy the other stuff with friends while he enjoys hockey games with his friends, then it seems like you two simply aren’t a match.
For your own good, you need to not make this personal. Your boyfriend is allowed to not like bars and nightclubs without it being a reflection of his feelings for you. And you’re allowed to say, “You know what, it’s important to me to have a boyfriend I have common interests with and can enjoy going out to bars and dancing with, and since that isn’t you, I think it might be for the best to end things now before we start resenting each other.”
Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.