I've kept some of it back, something that will probably aid in a fuller understanding of the situation as a whole. Just kind of hurts to hash through. But here it goes.
MS is dating. She's been dating for several months. She met Dude on St. Pat's and it grew (very slowly at first) from there. For the two months before I moved out, she was a ghost: she's show up at the house 2-3 times a week, sometimes for dinner and then to disappear, sometimes for a quick shower in the morning. My (and Mini's) pleas for communication - even a text - about when she'd be there were often ignored.
Then I moved out end of June - and MS is there now, but much of the time, so is Dude.
Meaning: Mini has been missing her mom for a long time. The absences were brief at first and peaked right before I moved, and Mini's connection with her mother has been waning along with it. Then I go away and while MS is back in person, Mini still misses her - because Dude is there: at the house, during activities - and she doesn't really like him (combo of personality clash, perception of paternal replacement, and usurping MS's time). And all she wants is to spend time with MS without him.
MS is, understandably, a little defensive about it in saying that she wasn't gone that often and that Mini's schedule is as much to blame and Dude's not around that much ...all the way to a frustrated "I'm paying the mortgage and I'll invite who I want in this house."
And I don't know how to tell her to back up a minute, that our daughter's only 17, and sometimes she just wants her mommy. Though I'm working it out in my head. I hope time or my words will start a reconciliation between the two because right now it's a little tense: MS is put off by Mini's distance, frustrated with me because I'm always in good graces, and Mini is slowly sliding towards living with me most of the time.
Oh, and how am I doing with my wife seriously dating some guy? At first I was pissed about it, but in reality I can't control what MS does, even if it's mildly detrimental to our daughter. I've met him a handful of times, and I'm not a fan, though I'm sure I'm a little biased on the subject. My blink reaction is we'll never be buds based on personality, and I'm conflicted about the integrity of a man who dates a married woman, despite the circumstances. Also, I worry about MS, that she jumping in to something just to jump into something and will end up badly stung on this rebound.
It still hurts. She's taken him to two weddings where we had common friends - and I therefore did not attend. Basically, I've rationalized it enough so I'm not constantly thinking about it, but every so often it'll hit me like a lightning bolt. And for a little while it really, really sucks.