Offering HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT
Wow, dad—you got an earful there. While I do agree that your dd only has you when at your house if your dw doesn’t have a positive long term relationship with her yet, I hope you are more committed to your wife (that you just promised *forever* to 5 months ago) than to threaten divorce. All is not lost! Is it too bold to suggest a few resources that have helped our new blended family immensely already? We went to a seminar by Ron L Deal, the superhero of step families, imo. We have read his first big book, (and we gave a copy to my ex-wife-in-law, too). The Smart Step Family—it addresses the kinds of feelings your dw is having as well as yours and your exs and dds—very practical and nurturing. It was so healing for us just to bond with others in the same boat, and to have the communication tools we needed, that we both cried all the way home. On a bolder and more personal note, please try to validate your dw—she seems to be expressing deep insecurity and feelings of rejection, by reacting against your ex and your dd, too. (I believe that if you reject—ie threaten divorce or separation—your dw now, your marriage will not survive, and your dd will have more change and trauma, not to mention you and your dw! Just my 2 cents.)
Really, you can nurture your marriage, AND protect your daughter, I promise
You are obviously a great dad, and handled the relationship with your ex so well that you are good friends and close coparents, so I sense that with the right tools, you have the maturity and wisdom to pull this off to the benefit of all.
A few points from Deal on your issues—AT FIRST, it is the bio parent’s job to discipline, and the step’s job to support the bio, and say, that’s right, dear, just do what daddy/ mommy says, then back off. There is not instant bonding, so there should not be instant discipline. She must not put her hands on/ spank dd! That would be so traumatic, and especially from someone new in her life.
-- Your dw’s FEELINGS are absolutely normal. Her actions and way of expressing the feelings need to be discussed with a competent couples/ family counselor who specializes in blended families (and is on the same page with you both religiously/ culturally.)
--YOUR feelings are absolutely normal, too! Don’t beat yourself up or play the blame game—toward you or toward dw. Please do not try to play lone ranger here—seek the resources that are available. We will be praying for your WHOLE family