Dear Abby: I have been dating “Mark” for 18 months. Four months ago, his 17-year-old daughter, “Hayley,” started disliking me — my dog, my kids, anything having to do with me. She forbids me from going to Mark’s house when she’s there and has an emotional meltdown every time we see each other. She has major episodes whenever my name is mentioned and has become violent with her sister, “Lily,” Mark and me.
Last night, Lily told Hayley my kids and I were invited over for dinner (Hayley is going to be gone for a football game), and Hayley accused Lily of “ruining their family” for liking me. Mark had to separate them to protect his younger daughter.
The problem is, there are never any consequences for Hayley’s behavior. Mark keeps telling me she needs “time.” I have tried to end the relationship, but Mark insists we just need to stick it out. We had been talking about moving in together before Hayley went into this phase. Now everything is on pause, and our relationship has taken 10 steps backward.
How can I get over this and become comfortable rather than upset in our relationship? He keeps promising me he will make changes, but he doesn’t. Nothing is moving forward. Do I walk away or wait it out?
No Progress in Iowa
Dear No Progress: I wish you had mentioned what the plans are for Hayley when she turns 18 and graduates from high school. Is college in her future? Will she get a job and continue living with her father? That Mark is unable to assert himself with Hayley is, to say the least, regrettable.
If you haven’t already done so, “suggest” to Mark that family counseling could help him get to the root of what has caused Hayley’s abrupt change of attitude. From what you have described, she may have severe emotional problems that require professional help.
Dear Abby: Occasionally when my husband goes running, I drop him off at the park while I do the grocery shopping. We agree to meet back at the drop-off spot in one hour. Occasionally, I’m late by maybe five minutes, and certainly no more than eight or nine. When this happens, my husband gets extremely angry, although the very first thing I do is apologize for being late.
Sometimes the grocery store line is long or there’s traffic in town. When he gets angry, he says, “Why can’t you do this simple thing?” and rants on and on despite my apologies. I never intend to be late; it happens only one out of five times. Besides, I’m doing the shopping, which benefits us both.
It hurts me when he does this and I tell him so. Honestly, I feel it is verbal abuse. We are self-employed and work together. Our relationship is generally more or less OK. What are your thoughts?
Unappreciated in California
Dear Unappreciated: My “thought” is that your impatient and immature husband should provide his own transportation if he wants to go running in the park rather than berate you for things that are beyond the control of his chauffeur and grocery shopper.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.