My Daughter’s Stepmom Seems to Hate Our Existence

Modern Parent

I (35F) am a mother to a wonderful girl; I’ll call her Emma (13f.) About three years ago, Emma’s dad (35M) started dating a woman who is quite a bit younger; I’ll call her Amy (25F.) Dad used to have substance abuse issues, so he has slowly been re-building my trust and finally has unsupervised visitation. Our relationship has been civil and strictly business. Currently, Emma’s visitation is every other weekend. But recently, she has become less and less interested in seeing Dad and has been making up excuses about why she can’t visit him (she’ll say she has a migraine, etc.)

At first, Amy seemed enthusiastic about taking on a “Big Sister” role for our daughter. She was happy to show Emma memes, play Animal Crossing together, do each other’s makeup, etc. Amy was also quite friendly with me, so we followed each other on social media. So far, so good.

It turns out all of that was just for show. Amy and Dad got married about eight months ago. Since then, she has started acting cold and distant towards my daughter and straight-up hostile towards me. For example:

  • They live two hours away, so I would invite them inside for coffee when they came to pick up Emma for visitation, and we would chat for a few minutes. Now, Amy sits in their car the entire time & refuses to come inside and say Hi. The entire hand-off process is about 90 seconds long now, and I suspect this is because Amy isn’t happy with us talking at all.
  • Once they arrive at their house, Amy barely says anything to Emma, refuses to make eye contact, & hides in their bedroom until she leaves. Dad ends up spending about 50% of Emma’s visitation in their bedroom to appease her. Obviously, this makes father-daughter bonding difficult; she feels like an outsider in their house.
  • About two months ago, we met up for a visitation exchange at Grandmom’s house. Emma and I arrived there before Dad and Amy, so I stuck around until they arrived to collect child support money. Once they arrived, Dad called Grandmom from outside and said, “Amy is refusing to come inside until ThrowawayMom773 leaves, and won’t let me come inside either.” I left to avoid drama, but wtf? What adult does that?
  • Amy blocked me on social media. Ok? We barely interacted at all on there anyway, so her blocking me was purely symbolic.
  • I told Emma that she couldn’t sleep all weekend, and I would text her at 10 am to make sure she was awake. Her phone was dead, so I tried texting her Dad to make sure she was awake. Over an hour later, no response. So I called him, and it went to voicemail. It turns out, Amy thought it would be funny to block my number on his phone. Keep in mind, I ONLY talk to him about issues about our daughter.
  • Emma overheard Dad & Amy fighting. Amy said to him, “that bitch ruined your life” (about me), and “kids are stupid.” To his credit, he defended Emma and told her to “get over it,” but that seemed to make her angrier!!!

Emma is timid and polite and didn’t do anything to deserve Amy’s vitriol except be birthed by me. It really fucking hurts. She is a great kid with a big heart. She never told Dad how uncomfortable she feels because she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings or cause any more tension.

I really try to be a chill co-parent — I get along very well with my husband’s ex-wife. I don’t want any drama. Maybe Amy thinks we’re baggage from Dad’s past, and we would go away after they got married. Honestly, I really want Emma to have a good relationship with her father, and I don’t want to give into Amy’s spiteful, immature behavior because that would be a “win” for her. I think she wants to alienate Emma from Dad, so he is “only hers.” I have my own 10-year old stepdaughter and COULD NEVER IMAGINE purposely making her feel uncomfortable like this. I don’t know what to do about this bitter woman!

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