Earlier this week, I said my week with Al was very near perfect. It was. We had 6 days of tantric perfection but then there was a tantrum to end all tantrums and it has us rethinking everything. The wedding, our future family interactions, everything.
Al’s 22 year-old daughter has had the worst time with his divorce. Yes, in our experience, the oldest of 6 kids combined has had the hardest time and behaved the worst.
It all started during our blissful week. She has graduated college and moved back home. He has a good relationship with her when I am not in the picture, but they have made a deal not to talk about me, I’m not to communicate with her (she set boundaries for me, ummm..?) etc. The other kids have done fine with me and I have (or thought I had) a good relationship with both of them.
So, there I was, minding my own business and having lots of romance and tantric business in my business, and the other kids were spending lots of time with us of their own initiation. We had lunch with his son on Saturday afternoon after he called to see if we were available and then he and his sister (the 16 y.o.) came over to watch the football game on Sunday at noon. After the game we all went to dinner and had a great time. Throughout all of this, the oldest daughter was doing her own thing but she was well aware we were all together.
It did occur to me she might be getting pissed because even when you choose to not participate there is still a small part of you that is resentful at being left out.
I had a plan to pick up the 16 y.o. the next morning (Monday) to go to a bridal salon for her to choose a bridesmaid dress for the wedding. We found a cute dress in a good color that I planned to coordinate with my girls. After that we went to lunch and then to the mall and pretty much bonded all day, alone. Later we picked up Al from work and the 3 of us went to see a movie. I spent at least 8 hours with her that day.
Consider that adding fuel to the fire for adult daughter.
Now, in defense of myself, I did realize that this was not going to help adult daughter feel any better about me. She called her sister while we were in the mall and I heard the youngest one tell her that we were going to the movie after and that she had found a dress. Al and I had discussed several times that we needed to try to see if she would meet me this trip because she has told her dad that she would come to the wedding and I had been clear to him that I didn’t want the first meeting to be the weekend of the wedding. I was afraid she would be confrontational and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of all of his family, my family, all of the kid’s emotions about our marriage, and also meeting daughter. So we were looking for an opportunity to ask her to meet up.
I thought, this could be that opportunity and asked Al and his daughter to ask her to come to the movie. She declined and decided to stay home alone with the dog.
Yep, there was no way this was going to end well. So, I knew in my heart that she would sit there and fester alone with the dog, but people make their own choices and Al, the eternal optimist, was still holding out hope that she would agree to meet me over the next few days.
On Tuesday night, she called Al and asked if he would go out with her and her boyfriend on Wednesday so that he could meet her bf for the first time. He told her that he would if I could also go, it was my last day, and we also needed to meet before the wedding. Well, that didn’t work at all. She told him she wasn’t ready and that it was important for him to meet the bf. He told her that I was leaving the next day and he didn’t want to leave me alone. It was a test, nothing but a test by her to see if he would leave me alone to be with her.
Really, he was between a hard place and a rock, because if he had gone, I would have been quite unhappy with him for leaving me the night before I left.
Also, I was getting irritated that he can’t move this little girl along as it appears ridiculous to me but of course my kids are still young and I can tell them what to do.
There was general unrest that night, because he got off the phone with her and they were unsettled, also the sadness of my leaving was setting in as it does. The next morning, he got a text from younger daughter who got involved by saying that she was angry that he wouldn’t just go meet her sister and her bf in order to keep the peace. I also by this time was telling him it was okay with me if he did. Al was pretty much mad at all of them so we decided to hunker down and spend the evening in, loving each other, ringing in the new year and getting ready for my early morning flight the next morning. We went to the grocery store and were back putting up the groceries when there was a knock on the door.
It was beyond ugly. First of all, she is really cute but she was yelling too loudly for me to tell her that. It was awful. She was blasting about me not respecting her boundaries (she has after all said she did not want to meet me, I guess she was going to attend her dad’s wedding without ever making my acquaintance). She was blasting about not being her father’s priority and him always picking me over her. She got in my face and wagged her finger at me for not respecting her boundaries. I told her, “Sit down little girl and get your finger out of my face!” Not the best idea but I was shocked. Her sister was with her and stood crying the entire time.
I kept trying to turn it around and get to the bottom of her feelings.
I asked her what would make it better. That didn’t work. I told her I was sorry if I had upset her. That didn’t work. I asked her if she felt I was responsible for the divorce. She said no, but that didn’t help either. Al was trying everything as well and trying to reason with her and de-escalate her.
At some point I started crying. She turned and left the apartment, exactly as she came in. She made no eye contact with me, didn’t speak and slammed the door. His younger daughter said, “sorry” and left crying.
I cried much of the rest of the day, mostly from shock.
I don’t know where to go from here and Al hasn’t heard from them and is too mad and upset to reach out to them. I did send his youngest daughter a text after I got home asking if she was okay and got back, “I’m alright.”
The truth is though that this girl hates me. She hates the divorce and I apparently represent that for her. She feels like he left her not their mom. She feels in competition with me.
The question is why is she mad at me? I was 1000 miles away when they got divorced.
I don’t even feel like having a wedding now. I just want he and I to go to the JOP and do it privately. At the very most, our parents and 5/6 kids if his 2 that were previously okay with me are still okay with me. I am trying to convince him that the stresses of all of this isn’t worth a big celebration.
I was reading on a forum for second marriages last night of another couple about to remarry who has one child, the oldest, that refuses to attend. What the heck? Who would think that it would be the older kids that would have the hardest time.
Are parents not allowed to be happy? I don’t get it.
If anyone has any ideas I would appreciate them. We are at a loss.