Wedding Woes
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Why hasn't he said something to her?

Dear Prudence,

Before I married my husband, he told me that he might have a biological daughter from a brief summer fling. The mother denied that he was the father, despite the little girl looking exactly like my sister-in-law as a baby, and her own husband was on the birth certificate (they were not married when my husband got together with the mother). My husband didn’t push the subject, but felt that I should be prepared. I thought I was, but when the young woman, “Em,” approached my husband last year and got a DNA test that proved the paternity, it turned our lives upside down. Em is estranged from both her parents and is desperate to forge some kind of family connection here—except she is extremely hostile to me.

She ignores me, talks over me, or shoots me dirty looks when I am affectionate toward my husband. Maybe I could rationalize her behavior if she was my actual stepdaughter instead of a relative stranger, but frankly, her behavior gives me the creeps. Em has physically gotten between me and my husband when I go to hug him. It also makes the husband uncomfortable but he feels like he owes her something. She has visited several times and been introduced to my in-laws. My mother-in-law is over the moon about having a granddaughter. My husband and I don’t have kids and neither do any of his siblings. We had plans to go camping with my in-laws this summer and Em got invited by my mother-in-law at the last minute. I am not comfortable being in close quarters with Em like this. I am ready to back out entirely but my husband feels we are obligated to make an effort. I have been making an effort these last 12 months and I am tired of trying. For the record, I am adopted myself though it was an open adoption. I never acted like this toward my birth father or adoptive father (my parents divorced and both remarried when I was in high school). How far do I push this?

—Issues With Em

Re: Why hasn't he said something to her?

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    banana468banana468 member
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    This kid needs major therapy and family therapy.
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    I understand it's awkward for her H.  But he needs to say something.  And if he won't, stop pressuring the LW to go on this vacation.  It's understandable she doesn't want to go camping with a person who is hostile to her.
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    mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
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    This all gets a big ol' nope from me.  Your H is letting a stranger physically get between you and him and be disrespectful in your home?  And his mom has gone full bore into playing 'grandma' to this monster?  Ugh.  I'd be crossing into ultimatum territory over this because this is wrong on so many levels.  I don't care if she shares genetic material with him or not, this is the entirely wrong way to go about this situation and LW is entirely correct in being totally werided out and concerned about it. 

    Something about the origin story of Em is also not passing the sniff test for me.  
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    levioosalevioosa member
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    Something is so so off here. Either something is terribly wrong with Em and she needs all of the therapy. OR this is some kind of crazy dateline episode full of lies and infidelity. 


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    Has no one gotten curious with her and said “hey Em, what’s going on here?” Like I get this is a weird situation but has no one asked her “why are you getting in between us right now?”

    Also- where is she living? How old is she? It sounds like she’s living in the house with them at least some of the time. The husband is failing by not intervening and figuring out what’s going on. LW needs to protect herself even if that means staying with a friend while this gets worked out. 
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