Los Angeles, CA–“My husband and his ex-wife shared custody of their daughter until he met me. His daughter who is almost twenty, is hurt and upset because we had a child.
“When he called from the hospital to tell her that she had a healthy baby sister, her mother snatched the phone and told my husband never to call again if it had to do with ‘that baby’…”
Dr. Linda Nielsen, the president of the American Coalition for Fathers & Children, often writes about fathers and daughters. Her latest book, Between Fathers and Daughters: Enriching or Rebuilding Your Adult Relationship has an excellent chapter on the devastating effects that divorce often has upon the father-daughter relationship.
In her section Dad Remarries, Nielsen discusses the problems faced by stepmothers dealing with their husband’s ex’s hostility. Below are excerpts from letters stepmothers have sent to Nielsen concerning this issue:
“I am heartbroken by the rift between my 65 year old husband and his 38 year old daughter. It”s been nearly a year since she refused contact with us. Her parents” angry divorce when she was a teenager and her own difficult marriage are big factors in this current rift. But the three grandkids have become the pawns. We have been cut out of their lives. We have tried calling and sending letters, e mails and cards. No response. Even the grandkids” Christmas gifts were returned unopened, marked ‘return to sender.’ Can we do anything other than wait for her to decide she wants us back in her life?’
“My husband and his ex-wife shared custody of their daughter until he met me. His daughter who is almost twenty, is hurt and upset because we had a child. When he called from the hospital to tell her that she had a healthy baby sister, her mother snatched the phone and told my husband never to call again if it had to do with ‘that baby.’ He suggested to his ex wife that he and his daughter go to counseling. But she refused to agree to it. His daughter refuses to mend her relationship with her loving, patient father. What can we do?’
“I”m just a random person looking for help. My teenage step-daughter has decided she doesn”t want to see her dad anymore. But she won”t tell him why. We feel helpless and blocked at every turn. We don”t even know what happened since neither the mother or his daughter”s therapist will tell us anything about what”s going on. Where do we go from here?’
“My husband is a warm and loving, well-educated and successful businessman – in other words, no slacker. But his 30 year old daughter doesn”t want much to do with him. His ex wife had a terrible relationship with her father. And even though she left my husband for another man, she makes his daughter feel that having a relationship with him is being disloyal to her. Is there any way things can change unless the mother releases her from this emotional bondage? In the meantime, my husband suffers. How can I help?’
To order the book or to learn more, click here.
To learn more, see my blog posts Divorced Dads: How Would Your Son or Daughter Answer This Quiz? (Part I), Part II, Part III, as well as ‘Mothers tend to stay angrier longer and refuse to forgive more than fathers after divorce’ and ‘Mom and Money both play a major hand in how everyone reacts to dad”s new marriage’.