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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3191
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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Hi My partner and I have been together for 8 years and have

Customer Question

Hi
My partner and I have been together for 8 years and have lived together for 7. I am a widow (now 47) and he is 54 and has been divorced for 9 years. My marriage was childless but my partner has two children (now adults of 18 (girl) and 20 (boy)). I have been very fond of his children and feel that I have treated them well whenever they have been with us. We have had some very happy times together, including some wonderful holidays (the cost of which I have always jointly shared with my partner). I have made a concerted effort never to come between either of them and their father, and have tried to ensure that they have been able to have time with him on their own occasionally, to give them space to have conversations with him which they may not wish to have in front of me.
I have also been careful never to make any comments about their mother, who has treated my partner extremely badly since their divorce. I have lost count of the times when we have received venemous letters from her (via one of the children), she has taken him back to court for more personal maintenance (i.e. not for the children) and even when she has run away from home, leaving the children alone in her house, with only myself and my partner to pick up the pieces. Despite all this, I have tried very hard to put on a smile, put my own feelings to one side, and to give the children some sort of normality whenever they have visited us.
Despite our difficult situation, everything was going ok (give or take one or two minor "flashpoints", but no more than an average family with teenagers would have) until this spring when my partner asked me to marry him. His daughter has refused to be our bridesmaid and it is looking unlikely that she will attend the wedding at all. She no longer responds to any texts I send her, despite these always being warm and loving (e.g. when I congratulated her on her A level results, I got no response). She has been in hospital recently for a minor op, and sent a text to every member of her family updating them on her situation, but not me. Her Facebook page is full of photos of herself and her family, including her dad, but not me. Yet when she comes round to our house, we are still very polite to each other and there are no arguments. We still all go out occasionally as a "family" and had a fantastic holiday together in New York a few months ago. I am becoming very confused and actually quite hurt by all these conflicting messages I am receiving. I am normally quite intuitive and can assess situations quite accurately, but this time I am totally at a loss to know what to do. I feel that we all need to sit down and have an adult conversation about why things have become so difficult between us over the last few months. My partner agrees but does not want to put his daughter in an uncomfortable situation in case she decides that things are too difficult and decides not to visit us any more (he now has very little contact with his son, who is at university). Obviously the last thing I want to do is cause my partner and his daughter to be estranged, but I also feel that for once, they also need to take my feelings into consideration.
Any advice to help me get through this difficult period would be much appreciated.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 3 years ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry too know about this very sad and frustating situation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

The story you have depicted here is very sad, sine it shows how you have worked very hard, being a really caring, understanding and supporting life partner for all this long, and played this parental role very well too, being compassionate, empathetic and very patient, regardless the challenges and painful circumstances his ex-wife has created, nor respecting boundaries and using their children to retaliate and undermine your life together.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then when this should be a time in your life of further joy and fulfillment, because of your partner's decision to marry you, you are facing the fact that his daughter has chosen to take this very immature, selfish and insensitive attitude, not only not being supportive, but being uncaring and disrespectful towards you, which no matter how a person in your shoes approaches it, would always be painful and sad.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

She is now already an adult, but very immature, what could explain why she is acting this way, once she has had the worst possible model and influence from her mother for all these years, and seems unwilling to face reality and acknowledge how unhealthy and abusive, neglectful and destructive her mother has been in their lives and in your relationship.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Unhappily children could get this distorted when parents do not play a healthy role in their lives. Now you need to set your priorities and assess the pros and cons of expecting from her more than what she seems willing to offer in your relationship. I do totally agree that denial, avoidance and repression around these very painful issues could not help any of you, even when projecting the illusion that everything is fine. I do support your plan that a family meeting, ideally facilitated by a marriage and family therapist would be the best approach too address these issues, but it would not happen, or would become counterproductive, as long as she shows unwillingness to acknowledge how unacceptable and wrong it it to retaliate against you this way because of her father choosing to marry you after all these years you have been togetehr, and everything you both have done for them too.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I think your partner should show empathy, understanding, respect and support towards because of how painful this situation has become, and that while nobody should push her to do something she does not really want to do, basic respect, maturity and boundaries are essential, and that's something the two of you need to work on, with professional therapeutic support, in that way you would better know how to address and cope with his daughter's position. Now she is an adult, and must hold full accountability for her own choices, feelings and actions, and that's how it should be approached by you.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Does it make sense?

Rafael M.T.Therapist, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3191
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
Rafael M.T.Therapist and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 3 years ago.
Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

I am very sorry too know about this very sad and frustrating situation.

The story you have depicted here is very sad, sine it shows how you have worked very hard, being a really caring, understanding and supporting life partner for all this long, and played this parental role very well too, being compassionate, empathetic and very patient, regardless the challenges and painful circumstances his ex-wife has created, nor respecting boundaries and using their children to retaliate and undermine your life together.

Then when this should be a time in your life of further joy and fulfillment, because of your partner's decision to marry you, you are facing the fact that his daughter has chosen to take this very immature, selfish and insensitive attitude, not only not being supportive, but being uncaring and disrespectful towards you, which no matter how a person in your shoes approaches it, would always be painful and sad.

She is now already an adult, but very immature, what could explain why she is acting this way, once she has had the worst possible model and influence from her mother for all these years, and seems unwilling to face reality and acknowledge how unhealthy and abusive, neglectful and destructive her mother has been in their lives and in your relationship.

Unhappily children could get this distorted when parents do not play a healthy role in their lives. Now you need to set your priorities and assess the pros and cons of expecting from her more than what she seems willing to offer in your relationship. I do totally agree that denial, avoidance and repression around these very painful issues could not help any of you, even when projecting the illusion that everything is fine. I do support your plan that a family meeting, ideally facilitated by a marriage and family therapist would be the best approach too address these issues, but it would not happen, or would become counterproductive, as long as she shows unwillingness to acknowledge how unacceptable and wrong it it to retaliate against you this way because of her father choosing to marry you after all these years you have been together, and everything you both have done for them too.

I think your partner should show empathy, understanding, respect and support towards because of how painful this situation has become, and that while nobody should push her to do something she does not really want to do, basic respect, maturity and boundaries are essential, and that's something the two of you need to work on, with professional therapeutic support, in that way you would better know how to address and cope with his daughter's position. Now she is an adult, and must hold full accountability for her own choices, feelings and actions, and that's how it should be approached by you.

Does it make sense?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Hi Rafael


 


Thank you so much for your kind reply to my email. It is good that a complete stranger can see my point of view. I know I am not perfect but I do feel that I have tried so hard with my partner's daughter that it really is time for her to try and understand my point of view now, and also the consequences of her actions.


 


My partner is fortunately coming round to thinking that we really do need to sit down and have a mature discussion, and if that does not work then your idea of employing professional therapeutic support might well help.


 


Thank you again for your help

Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 3 years ago.
You're very welcome. I am glad this has been helpful for you. I do agree with your views and plans around addressing this situation and assertively working on making necessary changes, with each one of you taking full responsibilities for your own feelings, choices and actions. This way your individual, marital and family health would be protected and promoted.

I do truly hope this process leads to a harmonious and fulfilling reality built by all of you.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions and to follow up, since I am here willing to support you as possible. Thank you for your trust. Take gentle care and consistent action.

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