My partner and I have been together for 7 years and lived together for 3 years. He has 2 kids. At first, both of them lived with us but his older son graduated and moved out. Now we live with his 16-year-old daughter. I've tried very hard and just don't have any type of relationship with my step-daughter. I feel like an outsider when all of us are together. Many days my step-daughter won't even talk to me and I hate being in the home when just the two of us are there together. I've suggested we all go to counseling but my partner doesn't want to. The question is should I stick it out until my step-daughter goes to college, or leave the relationship? Thank you for your help!
A relationship with someone who has kids is a package deal. Even when the kids are grown and on their own, they’ll still want to spend time with their parent and if a viable solution isn’t found those challenges will remain. Maybe less often, but when they are present, they may be more significant – like at the holidays. Staying until the child leaves as if that’s a solution, is short-sighted at best.
Some of the issues with the daughter may be just the fact that she’s a teenager, or it may be that there’s residual anger about her parents splitting up that she’s projecting on to you, or it may just be that the two of you aren’t compatible, or it may be any number of other things. Whatever it is, you don’t have control over her or your partner. You only have control over you.
Regardless of the cause, making your choice to be in the relationship or not based on the daughter is projecting blame and avoiding personal responsibility. If a child has that much influence over who you choose to be, and who you choose to spend your time with, you’ve given up far too much of your personal power to that child. That she may be using it against you (ignoring you because she knows it hurts you, for example), is still your responsibility, not hers, because you gave her that power over you – and it’s time to take it back.
At the energetic and quantum level, what happens within one, influences the whole. At a practical, day-to-day level, this means that you don’t need your partner or his children to agree to go to counseling in order to effect change. You can go, work on you, and use the counselor to both learn how to reclaim your power and learn how to better relate to both children.
The reality is that it’s not about the daughter at all. It’s about your expectations and what you want that aren’t being lived up to that’s creating your discomfort. Work on you first, and then see how that changes the entire family system.
As you work on you and re-center your power within - rather than looking to others to make you feel good about you - you’ll begin to see the situation from different angles and in different ways. It will also help you clarify what really is the right step for you to make next.
Use the next six months to a year to reconnect with your inner wisdom and core truth. Discover and define who YOU want to be, learn how to BE who you choose to be regardless of what anyone else is doing, being or saying around you, and allow your authenticity to naturally influence your relationships, and the direction of your life.
Along the way, you’ll explore boundaries in a new way, and have opportunities to ask for what you really need and want from others so that you feel respected and honored as well. Through this, you’ll discover how compatible you and your partner may or may not really be – regardless of what the daughter is doing.
By focusing on who you choose to be and how you choose to show up, you’ll have the comfort in knowing that your choice to stay or leave will be based not on a child’s childish behavior, but on the highest and best of who you choose to be and become.
In short, learn how to be YOU. Not in opposition or defiance, but from authentic awareness and compassion. Then, allow your life, and the people in it, to re-arrange and adjust to that. It’ll feel difficult and turbulent at first, but it’s worth it.
By being in greater alignment with your personal power, you’ll also increase your self-confidence, your sense of fulfillment, and feelings of life satisfaction overall. Doing the inner work is always, and in all ways, worth the time, energy and effort in our lives.
Lori Anne Rising is the international award-winning author of “You. Rising! Reclaim Your Life. Live Your Purpose,” an intuitive channel, and host of “You Rising!” the podcast for women seeking to answer their inner call. Her work challenges old paradigms, and reconnects women with their Wise One Within to empower, inspire and reawaken their life’s purpose and passion.
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