Tuesday, March 7, 2023
HomeRelationship AdviceMy husband is different when his daughter comes over.

My husband is different when his daughter comes over.

Every time my step daughter (16) comes over, my husband gets in the weirdest moods. It’s been this way since I met her when she was 12-13. When she’s not around, we’re fine, happy, goofy, playing around and enjoying our 2 year old. Everything is happy and upbeat. When his daughter comes to stay with us, there’s awkwardness. Everyone does their own thing and the energy gets sucked out of the house. He gets quiet, does his own thing and I’m hanging out with her but then he will tell me that he feels like he has two teenage daughters. Basically insulting me. Someone has told me that some men get that way bc there’s no connection between them and he gets reminded of his past thru his daughter??
I definitely don’t see the connection. I see a forced father/daughter relationship. Seems as if all of us cannot be in the same room. I will leave the house just to get away from how uncomfortable it gets. I also notice that when her and I are together, she is totally relaxed and is herself. She’s upbeat, funny and loud. Once we’re around my husband, she turns into a whole different person. My husband is the type that you cannot ask questions or confront bc he gets offended, defensive or attacked. Then the blaming will happen and somehow my fault 🤦🏻‍♀️

Has anyone else been in this situation? She has in the past told us that she doesn’t want to come over anymore bc she doesn’t feel welcome from him not me.
Well now, they decide to make something together (baking) but when I asked what they’re making , they don’t ask me to join or invite me or my toddler. It’s the weirdest thing.

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  1. My half sister has a relationship like this with her father. They don’t feel comfortable around each other and therefore are not feeling their normal selves. I told her from my observation, they are not bonded and never formed a bond when she was young because he showed no real interest in her. When he comes around now, (very infrequently,) he won’t come if his wife is not present (seems to be for comfort). My sister accepted things the way they are and has gone low contact with him. Your step daughter is young, so they have time to build a relationship and get to know each other better before she leaves the nest. Encourage more activities for just the two of them, like fishing, hiking, playing tennis. They need to get to know each other better. In time, hopefully they can build a strong bond.

  2. Why do they need to invite you or the toddler? Why can’t they have one on one time together?

    They’ll never get more comfortable with each other if they don’t spend time together.

  3. Not inviting you isn’t a bad thing. You have one-on-one time with your son, he’s allowed one-on-one time with his daughter. Perhaps it’s slightly awkward because you’re watching them and silently judging? Maybe they both pick up on that.

    What were the conditions under which you and your partner got together? Were he and his daughters mother broken up? Because that would definitely explain the awkwardness, especially on his behalf, and would explain why she’s happy with you individually but weird with you two together. If they’re trying to do things together and bond I’d leave them to it. You can suggest counselling, explain it like it’ll benefit him and help him, but if he doesn’t want to then fair enough. Just allow them to be as they are and continue to facilitate her feeling relaxed in your presence.

  4. >My husband is the type that you cannot ask questions or confront bc he gets offended, defensive or attacked.

    Obviously, this doesn’t help anything. You can’t have a healthy relationship if there is no communication. Therapy all around, and probably couples counseling and family therapy. The bottom line is that issues need to be resolved. They will never get resolved if you can’t talk about things. Think of the kids, your 2 year old, your marriage, your stepdaughter, the entire family unit – nothing good comes from keeping things inside and ignoring them.

  5. I don’t think it’s really weird that a father and daughter do something without inviting you or your toddler. Why do you think that is weird? Seems like a great time to find that connection together.

    Due to that comment, I do wonder if there is something you are voor telling. Are you preventing him to get a connection with his daughter by always inviting you and your toddler whenever they want to spend time together? Are you getting in the way by spending time with her? But I’m not saying this is the truth, as it is based on a small party of your story.

    But if that’s not the case. I don’t think there is much you can do. You can only make her feel welcome by you and you can tell your husband to be niets active with his daughter when she is around. But if he refuses and things stay weird, you can’t really force him.

  6. I’m sorry but why are you trying to interrupt their bonding time? They’re trying to build a relationship between the two of them. You don’t have a place there. Do something else if you want to do something with them.

  7. You mentioned that your husband said that he thinks of you as another teenage girl in the house and you also say that you think it’s weird that he wants to spend alone time with his kid. This leads me to believe you may be a part of the problem in their relationship. Has he mentioned this to you before?

  8. Couple things: when your husband compared you to a child by saying he felt he had two teenage daughters, what was the outcome? Did he explain or apologize for that disrespectful comment? You’re his wife and life partner, that’s not how partners speak to each other. Also, I’m concerned by this: “My husband is the type that you cannot ask questions or confront bc he gets offended, defensive or attacked.” This sounds as if you are discouraged from asking him to reflect on his behavior and be accountable. Is your husband normally respectful of your thoughts and responsive to your concerns, and that changes with his daughter’s presence? Is your husband more than ten years older than you?

  9. This is very complicated and it isn’t a clear answer to why they are acting like this.

    Now saying that I’m going to share what it was like for me being in that sort of relationship with my father. I’d come by once or twice a year starting around the time I was 10 and being a teenager. I got along really well with my stepmom but my dad didn’t interact with me so much. It always felt really awkward being around him and my step mom was the main reason he interacted with me most of the time. My dad would often get drunk/tipsy at night and neither of them thought that their drinking problem was bad. Yet as I got older and was up later while they were drinking my dad had a hard concept of me being his daughter. The way he touched me made me very uncomfortable and eventually he started to sexually assult me. My step mom could tell that things were different but I don’t know if she ever realized exactly what he was doing.

    I’m not recounting this to try and scare you but the bit of your story reminded me so much of my past that I want you to be cautious. Please make sure that this is a healthy relationship for your step daughter.

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  11. Your husband sounds a bit like my dad. My parents have a pretty passive aggressive relationship, and my dad especially is emotionally immature. He doesn’t express or talk about any emotions except when he erupts in anger and yells or seethes. He also worked a lot, so I didn’t get much of a chance to bond with him when I was younger. As a teenager, I felt very awkward around him. It was like living with a stranger. Embarrassing things like accidentally finding his porn stash made it even more uncomfortable. There are a few topics of conversation that he’s great with, but outside of those I don’t know how to connect with him even to this day (I’m in my 30s now). I love him, but we don’t talk much. I try to stay connected by occasionally texting him about one of his interests, and when I visit home we bond over beer. Although I had a lot of resentment towards both of my parents when I was a teenager, I came to believe that they are good people—it’s just that they also grew up in homes where emotions and problems were never allowed to be discussed openly, so they learned to be the same way. I know I can’t force them to change, so I came to accept them as they are.

    It may be that your husband and his daughter have a similar relationship. I think it stems from the father not being able to be open or loving (at least not in an emotionally expressive way) with his daughter. In the teenage years it’s really hard to change the relationship, but they might be able to get slightly closer when she’s an adult if SHE makes the effort. Unfortunately it doesn’t sound like your husband will have the self-awareness to make an effort himself, since he doesn’t seem to recognize the problem or his role in it. If he does want to improve their relationship, maybe he should try therapy. In the meantime, I’m happy that his daughter at least has you in her life. Keep being there for her.

  12. Try to give them space for their own father and daughter thing, they obviously need to heal their relationship, and you and your toddler could distract them from that.

    Of course do things as a family, but let them have their alone time too.

    There’s also probably a side of your husband that you’ve never seen. That he was a bad parent that never bonded with his daughter or did his fair share of parenting. It’s not unusual for bad parents to write off their first child/ set of children, then become amazing to their new family and children. Though, he doesn’t sound that much better if he has a temper, maybe a far worse temper that your daughter saw when she was younger.

    Maybe there’s a chance for the relationship to heal.

  13. So you are upset when he ignores her but also upset when he is doing something with her?

    You should leave them to be alone and have a relationship. Stop trying to be her friend and let him deal with his daughter. He is behaving quite childish, maybe he is jealous of the relationship you have with her or that you are always in the middle. Instead of talking to you about it, he acts like a teenager himself.

    A toddler cannot help with baking. Maybe find an activity for you to do when she visits and leave them alone for a few hours.

  14. So my best advice is to encourage him to do stuff with his daughter just the two of them, they need to bond as parent and child, but also have time for all 4 of you, you should want to be in her life, but your not take if anyone’s place, you have your own, remember that, support both of them but don’t hover, if you can find out something they both enjoy and have them do it together, just the 2 of them, let him figure out how to love his little girl without feeling awkward, and let her know your here for her if she needs you and she is part of the family to, you’ll be fine, oh and talk to your husband about all of this

  15. My relationship with my dad is awkward and just like that… I’m not even exactly sure why. When I started getting older, we just got more awkward.

    I think it’s because he wasn’t really the most emotionally present parent and we grew apart. Now I hardly see him because its awkward and forced.

    I will say that it probably hurts them both to be like that though. I assume my dad feels like he failed, and I feel like I lost out on a normal healthy father relationship.

    I would see my friends get spun around by their dads after school and have cute banter and it would definitely sting every time.

  16. Your step daughter is going to resent her father for this when she gets older and realizes her father doesn’t care enough to spend time with her or even pretend

  17. It sounds like he’s actually not confident and hasn’t got a clue about 16 year old girls.

    I don’t think he’s being a deliberate dick, but it sounds like he needs a little guidance and possibly some family therapy.

  18. My sister has a relationship like this with our dad. He doesn’t like being alone with her unless our mom is around. My sister just doesn’t like him. All he does is cheat on our mom and is a narcissist. They really don’t have a lot in common or similar interests so I think that’s why I have a better relationship with him. I understand why she’s never been interested so we don’t really talk about it. I’m not really fond of him either but he’s my dad and my mom always have been taking him back over the 25 years. I feel like divorces and parent separation while a child is young can drift them away from one parent. He probably just never wanted her in the first place. I feel like if he did he would’ve been had a strong relationship with her by now

  19. Has he tried molesting her sorry if this seems harass but that’s the first thing that comes to mind

    Or maybe she turned him away (rejection)

    Take ur daughter out and ask her if anything happened and she can trust you etc

  20. Talk to your hubby about this and also include what you see in changes regarding his daughter. They should talk about this together, or with a mediator/therapist to get this talk moving. Most likely they both try hard not to step on the other’s toes.
    Your hubby should be the one to fix this. He’s the adult here.
    I would frame it like: he’s out of character in his own home, and his daughter mentioned not wanting to be there. Fix It, or she I’ll disappear once she’s reached adulthood.

  21. You have a kid with your husband, here’s the thing about stepkids, they don’t want to be around the “new wife” because it’s very uncomfortable. It sounds like your way too invested in pushing a relationship with her. Back off for a while.

  22. This is basically how it was in my family, only I was the daughter and my biological parents were still married. My strained relationship was with my mom.

    A lot of unfortunate circumstances and faults on both sides had let to me resenting her. I felt disrespected by her. I felt that she didn’t understand me and that she treated me unfairly. I felt that she treated my dad unfairly as well (he was always the scapegoat whenever something went wrong) and that strained the relationship even more, as I was really close to my dad.

    Spending time with her was excruciating. I was so angry with her all the time. But I also loved her, which was very confusing. Sometimes spending time with her on my own was alright (and sometimes not), but you can bet it got worse if a stranger or friend was nearby. It felt hypocritical to pretend everything was fine. I was overly aware of all of her shortcomings and my resentment. I almost couldn’t get a word out when that happened.

    It had been like that for as long as I could remember and only gotten worse during my teen years. When this problem was finally addressed in my family, it had been there for so long that I had no idea how to fix it. How do you ‘fix’ 17 years of resentment?

    I’m not saying this is exactly how your stepdaughter feels or that it’s even remotely close. But to me it sounds so familiar that I couldn’t help tell my story – I hope it can provide some clarity for you or at least let you see another perspective. If your stepdaughter’s situation is anything like mine, then you should let her have her bonding time in peace. It’s difficult for them to connect with each other. It will not be easier with you standing right there besides them.

  23. The issue appears to be between them. They both seem to have no problem with you being there. The awkward relationship is between father and daughter. There is no easy solution. I don’t think the two of them will continue to have this relationship for much longer. The daughter is old enough to decide whether to keep coming over.

  24. Ot sounds like your husband does not want a relationship with his daughter. Weird, he sounds very weird I would absolutely call him out in this behavior.

  25. Off the rip – sounds like he missed bonding with her when she was younger, and doesn’t know how to navigate a meaningful relationship with her now, and that serves as a source of pain, he then lashes out at you because you’re effectively enjoying the bond he wishes he has – whether he acknowledges that consciously or not.
    **You’re stepping up in a way he doesn’t know how to.**

    **Suggest they get to therapy together,** and spend more time together – doing things she wants to do.

  26. I had a very similar dynamic when my step daughter moved i full time. She’d grown up into a young woman without dad around all the time and dad was confused by av young woman and not a little girl. He needed to come to terms with her Changing into a young adult. They both had baggage
    It was hard. And she was frustrated dad wasn’t “fun like when I was eight.” One day I asked her if she wanted dad to treat her like she was still 8 or 16? Was That the relationship dynamic she wanted? She thought about that long and hard. Some of those were breakthrough moments, sometimes we just needed to go do stuff as a family out of the house. I think the trips we took together helped alot, too. But they also needed alone time. They needed a few fights. They needed to make up. They needed a range of experiences to grow together.

    Your job is to facilitate these to happen in a natural way and not interject yourself when they do happen. Let them have time together. Eventually, hopefully, they will become comfortable around eachother

  27. He’s dealing with a teenager and having a hard time. It could be his little lady is growing up and whatever transpired in his past may have him on edge. I had my daughter every weekend plus until she was 8 then didn’t see her again until she was 26. It was awkward for a long time due to the brainwashing done by her mother and she now knows the whole truth and our relationship is awesome. Don’t fret and just keep doing what you feel is right.

  28. If you do little things to help him connect with his daughter then the situation will improve.

    Allow them to have 1:1 time and be a pleasant presence. If they’re cooking, you can sit in the room nearest the kitchen reading a story to your son. You’ll be a calm and pleasant presence. If they say something funny you can look up and smile to join the fun, or celebrate their success when they finish.

    Having a family sit down dinner when she visits is a good idea. Have background music so there’s no awkward silence. Have an after dinner game to play as a family.

  29. I think we need ages for you and your husband, and the circumstances of the breakdown of his previous marriage.

    The fact his daughter is happy to spend time with you tells me you were not the cause, maybe he feels old and disconnected from her, in which case his sulking about it is not going to help

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