I forced my father to choose between me and his new family

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I forced my father to choose between me and his new family

My father and I, along with my 3-year-old cocker spaniel, Moxie, live in my mom’s ancestral house that I inherited along with other assets when she died of cancer when I was 16. My father got married to his high school sweetheart a few months ago while he was on a trip with his friends. Apparently, they’ve been in contact for almost 2 years now. I was shocked, but it’s his life, and if he’s happy, then I am okay with it. They moved in a week after the small wedding that I wasn’t even invited to since I had no idea that they were even dating or that he was dating. She, my dad’s wife that we’ll call Steph (51), came with baggage, I mean twin stepsisters Lizzie and Lexie (fake names) and their 2 Chihuahuas, Gucci and Hermes. They go to the state college nearby and thought that it would save them money if they lived here instead of paying rent, etc. My dad asked if it was okay and he also stated that the house is big enough for us (7 bedrooms, 8.5 baths, a basement, and a huge yard with a pool). To make my dad happy I said yes, big mistake.

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The first issue was the argument about me moving to a smaller room since my room has the second biggest closet out of all the rooms in the house. She needed it to store all her luxury bags and clothes, etc. I said no. I told her it’s been my room since I can remember and she’s not making me move when it’s MY house. My dad compromised with her that he’ll give his side of the closet to her, while his things are in the other room. The second issue, the twins have this habit of barging into people’s rooms without knocking and that includes my office (currently working from home due to Covid). Lexie walked in one time wearing a bikini looking for something while I was in the middle of a business meeting. She literally walked behind me where everyone could see her. I was pissed off and embarrassed. Third, their dogs are not potty trained and would leave poop and pee around the house and the twins wouldn’t even clean up after them. They’re also very aggressive towards Moxie. I found Moxie one time with a scratch on her left eye where the other two dogs would usually nip at when they get the chance. Fourth, all the family photos in the house were removed and put in the attic without my approval, that includes my grandparents’, my great grandparents’, my mother’s family photo, my family photo, my baby pictures, etc. I took my time to put them all back to where they belonged. This happened a few times. Two days ago, Steph did it again but this time she replaced them with her pictures, the twins, and her family, etc. Steph and I had a heated argument about it. I told her that she can’t do anything regarding the decorations, etc., in MY house without my approval and that her daughters should also learn how to knock on doors and have their dogs potty trained. She said that they can do whatever they want in her house and that she will be making up house rules that we will all follow since she thinks I’m such a wild animal doing whatever I want and that I was not raised properly due to having a bad useless mother. I was livid, that’s an understatement. I told her that she can pack her things along with her twins because I am kicking her out. She said that I have no right to kick them out from her house. I told her and I quote, “Lady, you are living under my roof. This is MY house. I inherited it from my mother and right now you, your twins, and your dogs are trespassing. Get out before I call the cops.”

My dad got home early that day after Steph told him what happened. I told him my side of the story. He said that they’re still getting used to the house and the move here was difficult for them. I told him about all the issues surrounding them, but he kept insisting that it’s going to get better and that to just give them some time. I told him that I’ve put up with all their shit and I’ve had enough. Enough is enough. He was defending them more, taking their side. So, I told him that he can either move out with them or stay and that he has until the end of the week.

Did I do the right thing here? Making my dad choose between me and his new family? I literally gave them a chance and I’ve put up with so much of their shit for the past few months. What she said about my mother was my breaking point. There’s no way that she will disrespect her in the house where she grew up in, where I grew up in.

John M. Kaman’ answer: It sounds like you’ve been trying to juggle being supportive, standing up for yourself, and dealing with a whole new family dynamic that’s been more than a little challenging. It’s like you’re living in a sitcom, except it’s not as fun when it’s your actual life, right?

Now, onto the nitty-gritty. You’re asking if you did the right thing by putting your foot down and making your dad choose. Here’s the thing: you’ve been put in an incredibly tough spot. Your home, which should be your sanctuary, suddenly became Grand Central Station, complete with unexpected guests and their pets. And not the easy-going kind of guests, but the ones that turn your world upside down.

Let’s break it down:

  1. Your Space, Your Rules: It’s YOUR house. You didn’t sign up for a reality TV show where you’re suddenly living with stepsisters who think it’s okay to barge into your meetings in a bikini. Nor did you agree to turn your home into a pet daycare where potty training is apparently an optional course.
  2. Standing Your Ground: You’ve been more than accommodating. You’ve tried to make things work, even when your personal space was being invaded, and your family memories were being literally shoved into the attic. Asking for basic respect in your own home isn’t just reasonable; it’s a must.
  3. The Ultimatum: It sounds drastic, making your dad choose. But honestly? You reached your breaking point, and that’s perfectly understandable. Everyone has their limits, and it sounds like you communicated your concerns before it got to this point.
  4. Respecting Memories: What Steph said about your mom? That’s a low blow, and it’s something that’s understandably non-negotiable for you. Your reaction speaks volumes about your love and respect for your mother’s memory.

So, did you do the right thing? From where I’m standing (or sitting, with a cup of coffee, pondering life’s big questions), you did what you felt was necessary to protect your peace, your memories, and your sanity. It’s a tough situation, no doubt. But sometimes, tough decisions are the only way forward.

Now, where to from here? It might be worth sitting down with your dad (without the audience) and having a heart-to-heart. Explain your feelings, not just about the space and respect but about preserving the memories and legacy of your mom’s home. It’s not just about the physical space; it’s about what it represents to you.

And remember, it’s okay to seek outside help. A family therapist could offer neutral ground to navigate these tricky waters. Sometimes, having that impartial voice can make all the difference in finding a resolution that works for everyone.

Above all, remember to take care of yourself through this. You’re navigating through some choppy waters, but it sounds like you’ve got a good head on your shoulders. Keep steering your ship with that same compassion and conviction, and you’ll find your way through.

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