Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

January 11, 2007

sourpuss ex, sugar daddy

Calypso is 38 and still smarting from a divorce that had a most unfortunate consequence - estrangement from her daughter.

Her ex became a sugar daddy towards her daughter, but a sourpuss towards her.

"I doted on my daughter and it really pleased me to give her every opportunity to shine," says Calypso. "I wanted her to be able to support herself and make it on her own without needing to live her life through a man who could possibly end up abusing her - like her father did to me."

"My daughter, unfortunately, was more influenced by her father than by me," says Calypso. "She fell for the myth of having it all - an independent career as well as love, kids and marriage - but, more than anything, it seems, she wanted the best that money could buy. And, of course, her father could afford to indulge her every whim."

"After her father and I divorced he became a sourpuss ex towards me and a sugar daddy towards her," says Calypso. "He laid the dollars on thick and fast, bought her a car, paid for her overseas trips, threw her lavish parties, made her a wealthy director of one of his businesses and ultimately set her up with a house when she married."

"I didn't begrudge her any of this - even though I was struggling to support myself on a pittance - because it was better that he spent the money that was rolling in on her rather than on call girls," says Calypso, "but I did take umbrage at the price she was willing to pay for the things her father bought her - and that price was perpetual denigration and abuse of me."

"It's bad enough when a man behaves abusively towards a woman," says 
Calypso  "but when an adult daughter joins forces with her father to abuse her mother the situation becomes surreal - what mother wants to see her adult daughter turn into an abusive monster?"

"She became a willing and enthusiastic helper in my ex-husband's vendetta against me for daring to divorce him," explains Calypso. "Children don't 'own' parents any more than parents 'own' children or husbands 'own' wives, and when my daughter started behaving abusively towards me - as if she had every right to do so - I couldn't believe that she was capable of such abusive behavior."

"Effectively, my daughter quite happily sold her soul - and a mutually enhancing relationship with me - for the good life."

"That good life came about largely through his previous marriage to me," explains Calypso. "He was a failed, penniless student fully supported by his family when I married him. It was my savings that paid the deposit on our house, it was my wage that paid off the mortgage, and it was with my help with the written work that finally got him through college. By the time he'd graduated, set up his own businesses and was on the verge of making big money - our marriage was on the rocks."

"And our marriage hit the rocks because the man got too big for his boots," explains Calypso. "He thought he was the cleverest person on earth and owed nothing to me or anyone else. He ignored everything I had done to help him and actually called me 'stupid'. He had achieved his ambitions and was finally the king of the castle and wanted to relegate me to an inferior slave position rather than the equal partners we'd always been."

"It was as if he had wiped out all of those years we had struggled together," sighs Calypso. "He wanted me to walk behind him, to be a little wife, to worship him as some sort of god, and this was too much for me to handle."

"In the divorce, we split everything equally, but there wasn't much at that stage," says Calypso. "I didn't care that he was on his way to make big money. I didn't marry him for money and I wasn't divorcing him for money, either. Whatever he made after we split, he was welcome to it. Sure, he kicked up a terrible fuss. It was like: How dare I divorce him! "

"After the divorce, there was no way I could compete with him - nor did I wish to - buying my daughter the things she wanted," says Calypso. "My friendship wasn't good enough for her - she wanted a doormat mother like her father wanted a doormat wife - and when her efforts to belittle me and force me to reconcile with her father failed and he married a woman not much older than her she subsequently dealt me the cruelest of blows. She shunned me as her mother and demanded that her father's new wife take the traditional seat of the bride's mother at her church wedding."

"I was very hurt but I didn't hate her for what she did to me," adds Calypso. "She was old enough to make her own decisions in life and as such she must live with their consequences."

"I appreciate that my frugal way of living - in comparison to her sugar daddy's lavish lifestyle - was not something she aspired to emulate," says Calypso. "In gaining freedom from her father I necessarily had to give up the good life. In wanting a slice of the good life with her father, she, apparently, had to give up a relationship with me. It was the price he made her pay."

"The price I paid for my freedom was poverty," says Calypso, "but poverty is always relative. Compared to a millions of people in third world countries, I am rich. And, amazingly, the more things I give up the freer I become. Things can enslave as much as people can."

"It's occurred to me, too, that my daughter may end up paying far more than a good relationship with me," sighs Calypso. "If her father's new wife divorces him and takes him to the cleaners - as she is likely to do - he won't be a sugar daddy any more and may start making further demands on my daughter."

"The world is full of bitter and twisted elderly people who curse their children for failing to take care of them in their old age," says Calypso. "It's common to hear the lament 'after all I did for them'. When you do things for people expecting a 'price' to be paid - as my sourpuss ex did for our daughter - then you are putting yourself and them in an unhealthy relationship. I believe that if you can afford to give, give freely, otherwise don't give at all - but her father, like a typical businessman - wants more than a pound of flesh."

"Their relationship is unhealthy and I wouldn't be surprised if deep down my daughter feels uncomfortable about what she has done - and may be required to do in the future," says Calypso, "but right now she is doing very well financially and socially from the dastardly deal she made with her sugar daddy."

"It's ironic that the poor parent who makes no demands on children is the one who ends up being reviled, and the rich one who makes incredible demands ends up being honored," muses Calypso. "That estrangement from my daughter was a most unfortunate and unexpected consequence of the decision I made, is something I have to live with, too, I guess."

"No, I'm not interested in getting married again - freedom is precious," says Calypso, "and I avoid like the plague dating any man with a daughter."

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