Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 26 years, and we both are in our 60s, and neither one of us is in good health. When we married, I had three girls and he had two girls. My husband’s girls are very jealous of me and my girls. I have always tried to love his girls, but they haven’t been very lovable. My girls and I have been told by his girls that we are not their family.
If that’s the way they feel, I get it; I really do. Let’s keep in mind that his girls are 38 and 42.
A few weeks ago, my three girls and some of my grandchildren were here because we were meeting my niece for the first time. Well, his oldest daughter blasted me on social media, saying that if you don’t treat your stepchildren the way you treat your own children, then you don’t love your spouse, and she was tired of being left out. (But keep in mind that, in her head, we are not family.) Her comments cause a lot of problems. My husband’s kids come here all the time. We cook for them and get in the pool. There have been occasions when I’ve left for a little while to give them time to spend time with their dad. I even got blasted for that. Every time something goes wrong, it seems to always be my fault. I’m only as good as what I’ve done lately. I love my husband, but I’m struggling mentally and physically.
After 26 years, shouldn’t things have changed? My husband said that he doesn’t let anyone disrespect me, but he didn’t say one word to his daughter, yet my daughter is upset because the last time she disrespected me, she got in trouble. I stay at home and don’t go anywhere except to the doctor, but all of this drama finds its way here. Please help me!
-- Lost It Along the Way
Dear Lost: Some people will never let go of the dreams from their past. It seems that your two stepdaughters will never be able to accept that you are married to their father, and instead, they will always view you as an impediment to the relationship that their mother and father had. Without going to family counseling together, it is unlikely that you will be able to change this attitude. You shouldn’t take their comments too personally. If you are confident in how you treat them, be the bigger person and continue to accept them as family. Ask your husband to support you with his daughters and let them know that he is grateful for the relationship that you have with his daughters. If they understand his appreciation for you, then they may be more accepting.