Astrogirl--- Your last comment about you would be thrilled to have a man like that in you life who puts his daughter in so high reguards. Becareful what you wish for. I'm here to tell you just how hard this is. I have children myself and love them very much. But, I think you get to a point in your life where you want just you and your husband. Of course you'll see your kids and still do for them as much as you can. But hell when is the cut-off? I'm in a simular situation, I get so sick of "what Daddy needs to do for us" thing. It's hard to swollow sometimes. I don't care how understanding of a person you are, (I was in the begining) but you get your B---- full after a while.
Somehow I doubt the people criticizing OP would be so judgmental if it were the MIL we were talking about, rather than the step daughter. The relationship dynamic we are experiencing is like the classic difficult MIL who interferes with everything and doesn't think anyone is good enough for her baby boy, while he basks in it. These are not normal father-daughter relationships.
The responsibilities a son has to his mother are quite different from the responsibilities that a man has (or will feel like he has, when they're older) to his children. Totally different dynamic. You're right that I would have responded VERY differently if the OP or amicrazy were either talking about their MiLs, but I don't really see what the "gotcha!" point to that is. Also? In-laws are different than step-children. Almost everyone has to deal with in-laws to some degree. Stepchildren aren't the same thing. You need to know what you're signing up for when you marry a man (or woman) who already has children.
" Marriage to somebody with kids means that you will always, and should always, come second to the kids already there, for both of you. "
What a horrible, horrible thought - that the children of divorced/widowed parents can never be healthy, independent adults, and that parents who remarry can never have the security of a covenant bond, only some sort of contingent/temporary "partnership."
Conscientious parents put their children first when they are little and NEED to be put first. My DH and I certainly do. But that's a phase of life, not the be-all and end-all. I will live with my spouse is until one of us dies. I am responsible for his debts and I benefit from his earnings. Our children, thank God, will be building their own homes and families within a couple of decades. We won't be their first priority and they won't be ours, although I hope and believe that we'll still be close, and I full expect to contribute to setting them up in adult life as we are able.
20 is still a fairly young adult. I think it makes sense for parents, if they can afford to, to help out a 20-year-old financially. But if the husband and wife aren't in agreement as to the extent and nature of the support, then that's a major problem that needs to be worked out between them.