"I'm Jealous of My Stepdaughter"
Her TurnPlaying Second String
"I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I'm jealous of Amanda, Kevin's 8-year-old daughter from his first marriage. It's not that I don't love her. She's a delightful girl. And we've become quite close.
"The issue isn't Amanda; it's Kevin. Amanda spends every other weekend and Wednesdays at our house, and he's a totally different person when she's around. Instead of being affectionate, he ignores me. I know he's thinking, 'I'm a parent now, not a husband.' But why can't he be both?
"One weekend at the children's museum, Amanda and I were standing in front of an exhibit about volcanoes. It made a loud, scary noise, and she started to cry. I was comforting her and the next thing I knew, Kevin swooped in and practically knocked me down as he scooped her up in his arms. Also, if we go to a diner, he always sits on the side of the booth next to Amanda, not me.
"It's not just with his daughter that I feel unimportant. When Joan, his ex-wife, says she needs to switch visiting days at the last minute, he always says, 'No problem.' It happened on my birthday. We had made reservations at a country inn for the weekend; it was going to be our first weekend alone in a long while. Once again, Joan asked if we could take Amanda and again, Kevin caved.
"And last Sunday, his mother called to ask him to put together her new TV table. His parents are divorced -- his dad doesn't even try to be polite to me; he's just awful -- so she often calls for help with the house. Kevin had promised that we'd spend the day relaxing together. I heard him say on the phone, 'I'll have to check with Ellie.' That sets me up as the bad guy! Of course, he ended up going over to his mother's house. I was livid. I'm tired of feeling like a second-class citizen. That's how I've felt my whole life.