My ex remarried within a year of our divorce to a woman eight years younger. His new wife whelped out three babies within three years and likes to think she is an authority on my child, “Katy.” I tried to keep the peace since my ex and I share custody, but his wife keeps putting her nose into things. She will try to speak for my daughter: “Katy wants to go to the birthday party next door. Can she stay later?” “Katy told me she would like to go ice skating this weekend. Would it be OK if I bought her skates?” She texts me these inane questions all the time. Her excuse is that she doesn’t want to “overstep” and that my ex is often hard to reach at work, so it is simpler to just check in with me. I keep biting my tongue because I really can’t compete with cute little half-sisters, a private pool, and the gift-giving. My daughter loves going over to her dad’s.
Except now the woman is trying to replace my daughter with a dog. The wife’s brother got a dog named Katie and decided he couldn’t keep it. She took all the kids over to play with the dog and then told them Katie was going to be theirs. My daughter excitedly told me all this, and all I could do was ask if they were going to rename the dog. My daughter told me Katie was her name, and I corrected her: Katy was her name. I called my ex to tell him they needed to rename the dog. He told me the dog was trained to respond to Katie and didn’t see what the big deal was. I told him that his wife bringing a dog into the house with the same name as his daughter was disrespectful. He told me this wasn’t something I had a say in. I texted his wife, and she responded with “I respect you, but I stand with my husband here, and Katy was happy when she played with Katie.” I am steaming here, and I don’t know what to do. I can’t afford to go to court or counseling again. Help.
—Dog With Daughter’s Name