Six years ago, I left a very unhealthy marriage. I started a new relationship and remarried. My daughter and her mother persistently mistreat me, emotionally and verbally.
My relationship with my daughter barely exists. I’ve apologized, worked at mending it, but she’s not interested. Gifts are returned, contact ignored, meetings refused.
She recently said she’d never come to my home or meet my wife.
Since the separation, I’ve been helping support my daughter financially, with a generous monthly amount for living expenses and help with her tuition costs. There’s no thanks or acknowledgement.
Twice, she’s asked me for very large sums of money to go to Europe. I said no. Recently, she’s requested money for four years, to study abroad. I said I’d decide when the time arose.
Her mother recently demanded a copy of my will and life insurance policy to ensure my daughter is left money if I die.
I fear I’ll never have a relationship with my daughter, while her only concern is getting my money whether I'm alive or dead. Do I keep trying to build this relationship?
Your situation is, sadly, not unusual. Consider the quote by William Congreve in his 1697 play, “The Mourning Bride”: "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”
Today, men whose wives divorced them and married another, are sometimes as angrily obstructive regarding contact with the other parent.
It’s an ugly choice for anyone to poison a child’s mind and attitude toward a parent. Especially when this “child” is old enough to recognize that her father wants a true relationship. So far, her only outreach is greed more than need.
Meanwhile, your ex can, and should avoid all contact with you herself. Her request regarding seeing your will is outrageous. It’s a legal document that’s your business only, unless you choose to make the contents known to anyone.
Currently, your daughter is missing out on knowing your (and her) extended family, and any significant genetic commonalities for better, or worse.
Tell your daughter that you regret the difficult time for her during the family breakup. Say you’re proud that she hopes to pursue further education and travel in her future. But be clear that you’re not a money tree. You already support her living expenses and tuition costs.
Most parents who can afford those basics, do so. They shouldn’t be a cause for bargaining with your daughter towards more contact, or meeting your wife, etc.
Be honest about wanting the best for her, but unapologetic about not paying for these more grandiose choices.
FEEDBACK Regarding the unmarried son returning to school after going through his student loan, and not working weekends as planned (July 21):
Reader – “I experienced similar circumstances with my daughter. After her third different idea for her education, we had a meeting with her.
“I reminded her gently of her history of not finishing the two previous attempts. I told her how excited I was about this new idea and said that I’d pay half... but not until she got her diploma.
“She had to figure out for herself how to come up with the money. This motivated her to stick with it so she’d recoup her tuition. She actually saw it through.
“This is just another angle that has the parents not feeling that they’ve been taken advantage.”
Years ago during middle school I discovered “mean girls.”
A friend would share stories about another girl. Then they’d both ignore me.
That behaviour lasted into high school. But I’m finding it can still exist among grown women. I’m 54, and divorced.
My women friends either don’t call, text or respond to my suggestions for outings. Then, someone’s making a “girls-only” party, and I always offer my help.
But someone gets sick, someone else drops out, then everyone declines.
I later learned that two of my friends went out for dinner together that night... not including me.
Am I doing something wrong?
Left Out Again
More girls have experienced similar efforts to be “popular,” than they’d ever admit.
No, you’re not doing anything “wrong.”
Consider changes in plans as periodic blips - e.g., when bad weather intervenes, or several people get a cold or are delayed on a trip, etc.
Small setbacks are most often normal occurrences, not personal issues.
Tip of the day:
When a divorced parent bitterly destroys their child’s relationship to the other parent, no one benefits.