Phoenix, AZ

"She shouted and locked me out of the house when I got pizza for me and dad," daughter on dad's girlfriend

Amy Christie

*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission

Seeing your parents start another relationship won't be easy when you've watched them going through a divorce, even if you're not a kid anymore.

And when you try to do something nice for one of your parents and their new partner resents you for it, how should you handle their reaction so you don't get left out of the family?

Is it ok to be shouted at or even told to leave just because you wanted to share a meal only with your parent and didn't include their relationship partner?

My friend Kate, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, is in high school, her second year. Her mom and dad are not together anymore, and she's been living with Steve, her dad, after the divorce.

"Mom got married again and lives in another state. I go and visit her once every three months, but she's not very close to me. And I feel like she's a lot more interested in the kids she has now than in anything I have to tell her," Kate said.

Steve has been dating since his marriage ended too, but he didn't want to be in a relationship until recently when he met Sheila.

They went to the same class and started talking after it. And they felt so comfortable sharing their lives that they exchanged phone numbers on the same day.

"I liked how easy it was to simply talk to her. And she always encouraged other people. We talked about our careers, and I found out she was single. I wasn't seeing anyone at the time," Steve said.

He called Sheila after two days, and they began texting each other too. They stayed in touch for about three weeks until he made up his mind to ask her out on a date.

They went for dinner in Phoenix, and after that, they met for lunch or breakfast almost every day.

"We both had work projects and busy schedules, but we wanted to see where this relationship could go. So, we found a way to get together and talk more about what we wanted for the future and what we'd need to commit long-term," Steve said.

He told Sheila he was a dad, too, after they'd been dating for a month. She wasn't against being a stepmom, but she did tell Steve she would need some time to adjust since she wasn't used to it.

Three months after their first date, Steve brought Sheila to his home in Phoenix so she could meet Kate. Their first meeting was a bit awkward, but they both managed to be friendly, and Sheila promised to help Kate organize her birthday party.

"I expected it would be a bit difficult. Kate wasn't that excited to see I had someone new in my life, and Sheila wasn't sure how to react. But I was sure things would improve gradually,"

After seeing Sheila, Kate was worried because she felt like her dad would put that relationship in the first place and not care so much about her anymore. Steve reassured her and told her he wanted all three of them to be a family.

Things stayed the same for a few months, and Sheila spent more time with Kate and Steve. And last month, Steve asked her to move into his home in Phoenix. Kate was very surprised, but she had to accept it. And things are definitely different since that happened.

"Sheila isn't as nice as she used to be. She keeps telling me what chores I have to do, but she doesn't help me. Dad hired a cleaning lady, and Sheila orders takeout and forgets to get anything for me," Kate said.

Steve hasn't proposed yet, but he told Kate it wouldn't be long before he goes looking for a nice ring. He even wants her to help him choose something Sheila would like.

The only problem is Sheila doesn't seem willing to get along with Kate.

"I don't have anything against shopping with dad in Phoenix for an engagement ring, but I just want her to stop getting upset with me for every little thing. I know dad loves her, so their relationship will probably go on. I'm ok with that," Kate said.

Unfortunately, Sheila's behavior isn't improving. And two days ago, she did something Kate didn't expect. On her way back home, Kate got a pizza, and since she knew Sheila was working late, she planned to share it with her dad and talk some more about the part-time job she would start soon.

"It had been a good while since we'd enjoyed a few hours by ourselves. So we were about to have a nice afternoon with tasty pizza," Kate said.

As it turns out, Sheila had canceled her overtime for the day, and when she realized the pizza was only for Kate and Steve, she got very upset.

"She shouted and locked me out of the house when I got pizza for me and dad. He hadn't got home yet, so I had to sit outside on the porch until he arrived. I told dad what had happened, he went in, talked to her, and then he told me to go and stay with my grandparents that evening. It was so unfair. I didn't do anything to offend her," Kate said.

Sheila also expected an apology, and Steve texted his daughter, asking her to come over to the house and see if she could make things better. Kate is feeling confused and doesn't think she did anything wrong. She's also considering asking her dad if she can just live with her grandparents after he took Sheila's side in the argument.

What do you think about this situation? Was it fair for Steve to send his daughter away just because of a disagreement about pizza? Who should apologize, and what can be done so Steve and Kate can still have a close relationship even after he marries Sheila?

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Amy Christie is a passionate writer and journalist, always striving to bring out the positive and create meaningful connections.

Dallas, TX

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