My boyfriend of seven years and I have had good times and bad (much was due to abandonment issues and insecurities). I've worked on that. For over a year, we’ve been solid, loving, and relating happily.
His eldest daughter, 18, is away at college; her sister, 17, is on regular week-on, week-off shared custody. We rotate our week living together at my guy's house (and the girls at their mom's house), with the week when they’re with him and I’m alone in my apartment.
My relationship with their mother’s cordial but I know she calls me "The Chick" to others.
His daughters and I were great buddies initially but for two years now, no contact at all. The older daughter plays a protector role to him, and as "the woman of the house." I’m unsure I can continue with my feelings considered last or discounted.
When I've seen his girls (only in passing in recent months) the eldest ignores me; she’s visibly dismissive and cold.
We thought her going to college would help, but now there are just different issues - her coming home and me having to leave the house.
He says he’s protecting me.
So I've been kicked out of the house now for a day and night on "our week" because she was in town. I'm becoming scared of the pattern.
His only sibling, an older sister, is very much like his daughter: strong-willed, strong-minded, cold, and dismissive to the point of ignoring me.
For the past three years he’s hosted a big family dinner at the house, which I've never attended, but I've helped with the prep, cleaning, and shopping, and wished I'd been there.
Now he’s going to cancel the Christmas family dinner to not deal with the potential for issues and tension, i.e. the reality of everyone's feelings.
Once again, I'm excluded and the biggest bad guy since the party’s cancelled because I’m around.
He sees the coldness of his daughter and sister and doesn't like how they treat me, but does very little to affect anything – neither by including me and standing by my side to show a solid front, or confronting them, or asking them what can be done to help them get over/deal with these feelings.
I'm pulling back, physically, and intimately, plus guarded emotionally, because I've been down this road before.
We had counselling years back and it helped, then. I continued with individual therapy to deal with my issues as an adult child of alcoholic parents (ACOA).
Will he ever stand me at his side or, should I just bail now?
The past good year together is positive – you’ve changed your disruptive reactions, he’s aware of how these relatives affect you.
But the previous difficult years explain why there’s not a sudden fix. Also, he’s been naturally reluctant to alienate his daughter.
It’s time to create a plan, together. And renewed couples’ counselling is a good starting point.
Yes, he needs to stand beside you, openly. But first you need professional help to gain confidence in yourselves and in your relationship. Then you can plan how and when the visible changes will happen.
He’ll need to believe that, even if she acts out (as the angry, hurt child who fears she’s losing her father), she’ll come to accept that you’re permanently in the picture – and in the house.
And if she chooses not to accept, he’s still entitled to his own life.
She’s my housemate and my ex-best friend. I previously had romantic feelings and went out of my way for her.
That stopped after a brutal rejection. I was hurt and depressed for several weeks, but fortunately met my current girlfriend.
Now, my housemate has depression, is seeking counselling, and medication.
When I had emotional down times and needed her support, she flatly denied it. So I moved away from our friendship.
That’s annoyed her significantly. When we’ve disagreed, she’s yelled and treated me with annoyance.
Spending time with her feels suffocating. Yet she’s increasingly depressed, and recently contemplated suicide.
I feel obligated to be a better friend but I’m against my being maltreated further. What should I do?
Contact anyone close to her – relative, other friend, and/or her therapist. Have the number of a Distress Line handy, and a copy for her, too.
Then either put your own attitude aside while her need is greatest, or move.
Tip of the day:
Couples can only handle family resistance when they’re both confident of their right to the relationship.