Step-Mother Wedding Etiquette

southernsummer

I survived my SS's wedding two years ago with the usual stubs and such.

This spring is my SD's wedding, which my husband and I provided a large check to fund. I am bracing myself for similar or worse.

Does anyone have any advice?

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colleenoz

Be gracious.

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sylviatexas1

Erma Bombeck was talking about being the mother of the groom when she gave this advice, but I think it's good default advice for any social event in which someone else is the star:

"Wear beige & keep your mouth shut."

One thing I definitely would *not* do is to clalim that I had anything to do with that check;
my position would be that her father gifted her with that check.

Have fun!

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dotz_gw

Hi Southern, What happened at wedding number 1? Do the SKs get along with you? Ex problems? I ve heard the beige, shut up thing before, I always wonder, what have we (SMs) done to be brushed aside and be less of a guest than anyone else? Maybe we should wear an unflattering dress that adds 15 pounds and ten years and spend most of our time hiding in the restroom...Not that I would ever show up playing the part of Sofia Vergara in a red dress,but what have we done wrong to be relegated to a non person status at a SK wedding...

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southernsummer

Hahaha! Well, thanks for the advice back in January.
I did wear beige, and I WAS invisible.

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dotz_gw

You know, I had the feeling I was the talk of the town!!!! I m sure all the guests had heard horrible things from SK and Ex...Everyone wanted a peek at the devil woman!!! Instead they got understated, couture dressed, head up silent SM....LOL......The only thing I took away feeling good about was my behavior....:) A man in the lobby( Bless him, whoever he was) said to me, I think your dress is my favorite dress here, to which I replied , I think you re my favorite guy here, all within earshot from Ex..I could feel the heat coming off her from 10 feet away LOL

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southernsummer

Dotz, you are awesome.

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mxyplx

UNNNNNNNNbeleveable!

I was thru 6 stepchildrens weddings for my wife's 3 childrens, one got married 2 times, nuther 3 times, with only one problem. My Wife's Ex-Husband's Wife got pissed at me because I wouldn't start drinking Margaritas at 3 in the afternoon. That was # 2 son's 3rd wedding - on the beach, tide came in and we all get soaking wet. Wife's sister fell down. Preacher never missed a beat.

# 1 son's first wedding, and my wife got along super with her ex MIL for the first time in 20 years. I danced with her - hard rock. SD's boyfriend's rock band. SD and new hubby spent about 2 days in a tent in our back yard while I fixt their car - had to wait for Monday to get a special part from the dealer. Her dad parked his motor home at our back door to load the presents into......no sweat.

# 2 son's 2nd wedding I held SD's 4 YO daughter in a death grip to keep peace in the church - she wanted to discuss the pictures on the wall.....grateful thanx from SD.

Wife's Ex insisted I taste some of his $100+/bottle wine. He ran the BBQ at several family gatherings. Well that scratches the surface........Good Memories all around.

I Dunno. Sometimes I wished I was a woman. Probly kill myself after 20 minutes but at least I'd know what it was like.

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sylviatexas1

I'm so sorry.

I didn't realize when you posted this how toxic the situation was.

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dotz_gw

MX, Your Exs Ex wife was mad you didn't drink a Margarita at 3 PM??? Margarita drinking at 8 AM should be standard procedure at ALL step weddings...:)

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southernsummer

In retrospect, I was the only one concerned about etiquette.
The gloves are off. My step daughter and her mother have set a standard, and its no more Mr. Nice Guy.

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dotz_gw

Good for you Summer. Stand your ground..

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Karen Peltier

Sometimes I think women forget what the women's movement was all about. It was about being yourself and not being ashamed of it. I see site after site where stepmom is expected or told to take the back seat, be invisible, stay out of the way, pretend not to be a family member, etc., and I am saddened. How sad that we let ourselves be treated like second-class citizens at these events. Every other married couple at these events will be treated as a married couple, but not us and our spouse. We are supposed to "do the right thing," "take the high road," and pretend like we are not married to our husband. We are supposed to wear beige and sit in the third row alone and look down at our feet a lot. You know, it is the year 2015 and not 1915, and I think it is time more stepmothers stick up for themselves. We ARE our husband's spouse. We ARE intelligent women. We ARE married, yes married to our husbands. And, we should allow no one to try to infer or treat us otherwise. AND, when we go to any event, including ALL weddings, we will be with our husband, and we will sit next to our husband, and we will laugh with our husband and hold his hand, if we want to. Because, we are not second-class citizens and we are NOT ashamed of ourselves or whom we decided to marry. If you don't like it, too bad.

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tfitz1006

Good points karen. I think the key to a lot of these situations is that the men need to put on their big boy pants, don't go crazy trying to please their son/daughter, and be firm with the ex if there is something that makes the new wife very uncomfortable.

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Anne

As a new step mom I don't think I should be the Mom at the wedding. I am just an accessory to her Father. I did ask my partner to tell his daughter that if she could not be at least cordial to me then I would be ok with not being involved in her life. It turned a corner for us. She didn't mean to be cold and we are doing ok now. I still know I will never be her Mother

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Anne

Being gracious in a bad situation is classy.


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Karen Peltier

I don't think anyone here is talking about being a Mom at the wedding at all. They are simply talking about things as basic as not being able to sit with their husband. You are a new step mom, and congratulations!

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Anne

I must be fortunate! When my youngest stepkid seemed to ignore me (she is an adult) i told my husband you need to address it and if she doesn't want me in her life then I will go with it. Turned out she didn't mean it and last time I saw her she said "come here I have to hug you'.

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ldvilen100

Yes, you are fortunate. I see conflicting info. with your postings, tho. In one you refer to being a new step mom and in the other you refer to your youngest stepkid now being an adult. Have you been to any of your stepkid's weddings? Have you been through many ups and downs (and not just one) with your stepkids? Or, are you in their lives now when they are just adults and have never even been involved with them when they were children (whole other scenario)? If so, I don't think this is the blog for you, or you can start your own. It is somewhat of a more brazen place to go, but there is a site called steptalk and they do have more of a variety of issues there. Sorry, it is just kind'a pet peeve of mine when someone tries to take over someone elses blog/issues with their own.

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Anne

ldvlen100...I was not trying to hijack the thread. I

was offering my own perspective as to what a step parents role is in the "kids" lives. I am a fairly new step mom and all of my step kids are and were adults (one just barely) when i met Dad. I (and you asked so please don't accuse me of taking over) have an unusual situation in that my husband was previously married to a woman for 20 years who had three children when he met her. They had one more child together. I am a stepmother to stepkids. I have had a fairly easy way to go except with the youngest. I stood my ground and said I know I am not your mother but if you cannot respect me then I will stay away when you are with your Dad.

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ldvilen100

Fair advice. My apologies.

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Anne

ldvlenn100....totally accepted. I apologize as well for being testy.

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Karen Peltier

Peace.

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Ariel Anderson

What I’ve realized being a SM for over 16 years:

• As a SM, you will never have a traditional
marriage.
• Manipulative, controlling BM and weak, enabling DH = Step hell.
• Most people will see you literally as the second wife, meaning that BM gets
to overrule you any time, any place, over anything.
In the US, BM gets to overrule her ex- too.
If bio-dad remarries, he is still seen as being owned by and an extension of BM/his -ex. He is incapable of independent thought and
just a remarried old fool that BM (and SKs sometimes) still gets to play on. This is the imagine often portrayed in the
media and what most people think.
• There is very little genuine research that has been done on SPs, and even
counselors will lap up unproven "givens" about SPs. For example, the so-called
given that SMs hog all of dad's time and won't let him see the kids. For me,
and I know for other SMs, since day one, I have nearly begged DH to do more
with his kids, and he would definitely have an even lesser relationship with
them if it wasn't for me.
• More than likely you will get screwed at weddings and other similar family
events. Since society sees you as the 2nd submissive wife, with BM in control,
everyone will expect BM and DH to hang out together at family events. Yes, BM
and DH are parents, but they are NOT a couple. Despite you and DH being married for 20 years, for example, whenever BM is around, pretty much everyone will think and
treat BM and DH like a couple. Even after 20 years of marriage, if you try to
take your place next to your husband, you will be accused of trying to usurp
BM, and “how dare you!!!” At these
events, SM or step-dad is usually seen as an annoying object in the way,
because everyone knows that BM and bio-dad are the REAL couple, despite that
fact that their first impulse when laying eyes on each other may be to beat the
living crap out of the other.
• You will never get anywhere near the kudos you deserve for what you have done
for DH’s family and how you have kept it and them all together throughout the
years. As a matter of fact, you may even and probably will be punished for your
good efforts.
• AT the end of the day, try to put up with it the best you can until the SKs
are adults, and then if the family still hasn’t figured out that you and DH are
a couple and deserve to be treated like a couple 100% of the time, disengage
from a family that expects you to continually pay the price for their divorce
that happened XYZ years ago and that you had no part in. Just say NO whenever
you feel No. Use NO wisely and use it well. You don’t have to go to events where you are
treated little better than cattle fodder.
The divine family can all hang out together and sort out their own
family ills. Granted, they may not miss SM, but they will miss their scapegoat.
• YOU on the other hand, love your DH, let him deal alone with the adult SKs
(and SGKs) every chance you get, and enjoy yourself! You know you’re married to your DH, and your
DH knows that he is married to you.

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Ariel Anderson

I decided to redo this since the format got messed up on the above.

What I’ve realized being a SM for over 16 years:

• As a SM, you will never have a traditional marriage.

• Manipulative, controlling BM and weak, enabling DH = Step hell.

• Most people will see you literally as the second wife, meaning that BM gets to overrule you any time, any place, over anything. In the US, BM gets to overrule her ex- too. If bio-dad remarries, he is still seen as being owned by and an extension of BM/his -ex. He is incapable of independent thought and just a remarried old fool that BM (and SKs sometimes) still gets to play on. This is the imagine often portrayed in the media and what most people think.

• There is very little genuine research that has been done on SPs, and even counselors will lap up unproven "givens" about SPs. For example, the so-called given that SMs hog all of dad's time and won't let him see the kids. For me, and I know for other SMs, since day one, I have nearly begged DH to do more with his kids, and he would definitely have an even lesser relationship with them if it wasn't for me.

• More than likely you will get screwed at weddings and other similar family events. Since society sees you as the 2nd submissive wife, with BM in control, everyone will expect BM and DH to hang out together at family events. Yes, BM and DH are parents, but they are NOT a couple. Despite you and DH being married for 20 years, for example, whenever BM is around, pretty much everyone will think and treat BM and DH like a couple. Even after 20 years of marriage, if you try to take your place next to your husband, you will be accused of trying to usurp BM, and “how dare you!!” At these events, SM or step-dad is usually seen as an annoying object in the way, because everyone knows that BM and bio-dad are the REAL couple, despite that fact that their first impulse when laying eyes on each other may be to beat the living crap out of the other.

• You will never get anywhere near the kudos you deserve for what you have done for DH’s family and how you have kept it and them all together throughout the years. As a matter of fact, you may even and probably will be punished for your good efforts.

• AT the end of the day, try to put up with it the best you can until the SKs are adults, and then if the family still hasn’t figured out that you and DH are a couple and deserve to be treated like a couple 100% of the time, disengage from a family that expects you to continually pay the price for their divorce that happened XYZ years ago and that you had no part in. Just say NO whenever you feel No. Use NO wisely and use it well. You don’t have to go to events where you are treated little better than cattle fodder. The divine family can all hang out together and sort out their own family ills. Granted, they may not miss SM, but they will miss their scapegoat.

• YOU on the other hand, love your DH, let him deal alone with the adult SKs (and SGKs) every chance you get, and enjoy yourself! You know you’re married to your DH, and your DH knows that he is married to you.

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Anne

I inserted my opinion, and didn't specify that my step kids were adults when I met them. Young adults but, adults. That might be different!

I just hope you can enjoy the wedding.

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Sara Tilmont

Ariel, I agree with all of your points and then some. I've been married for 25 years and we have 3 children together. Our marriage has never been viewed as a traditional marriage by anyone in my husband's family. However, it is for all of my family members and our friends. I'm from a divorced family myself, and I could never have predicted the horrors that being a stepmother in my husband's family would bring.

I attribute my experience to the adult females in the family who abandoned their opportunities to influence my stepchildren in a positive way, and instead fed their own insecurities and resentments by training the children that their father was a dope and that I was evil. My stepchildren were weaponized at a young age.

And although it appears that one of them might actually be coming out of her hate fog at almost 30, there is no foundation of a relationship to build on. Their visits growing up were forced. The kids were intentionally hateful, or passive aggressive. I was the virtual cruise ship director when they came, trying to ensure they had a great time. They barely spoke to me, and shot me glares every time.

The adult females in their lives are still around. It appears that those women are the only real people my stepchildren consider to be "family", unless they want money from my husband. The women made the decision that they were enough, and helped carve the stepkid's father out.

My stepchildren are all grown enough now, that I can't just contribute their rejection to their grandmothers/mother/aunts. Lacking any horrible stories to tell about us, I have no idea how they continued to rationalize that we deserved their wrath for so long.

The good news is that their rejection stopped being painful once they became adults and once we grieved their absence. We got used to it, even my husband did. Life went on without them. Oddly enough, that seemed to be what has triggered their reappearance with slightly better behavior. I'm guessing they noticed my husband was no longer chasing them and started worrying about their inheritance.

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Kim Aves

Ariel, another one I'd add in is • Be prepared for all the revisionist history that will go on in the family. This will be done to show the bios in the best possible light, while showing the step-parent in the worst. For example, if one of your step-children took items from your room multiple times without returning them, so you along with dad ban that step-child from your room. That story will be turned into and become family folklore as step-mom was so mean that she wouldn't let any of us go into her and dad's room. End of story. N

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Karen Peltier

Oh, Dotz, I would say either go looking like Sofía Vergara in a red dress and play the flaming 2nd wife to the max., or avoid the whole thing and plan a spa day with friends, people who actually care about you. Either own it, or skip it.

Personally, I’d recommend skipping it, no matter what. I’ve just heard too many horror stories of SMs who thought they were going to celebrate one of their SK’s special days, only to be, almost literally, stripped from their husband’s arm, left completely out of pictures, seated away from their husband or in the back of the church. Since when does being a bride or groom permit one to separate a married couple? Just because Sally wants it so, does that trump the sanctity of marriage? Apparently so when it comes to SMs. But, just SMs. Everyone else, including Uncle Harry’s mail-order bride or brother’s girlfriend of 3 months, gets to be paired with their SO for the event, and seated and treated as such.

But, dad’s wife of XX years or so. Nope. Yeah, I’d say skip it and save yourself the potential public whupping and humiliation. Dad knows the rules. You don’t. He’ll manage fine alone no matter how much he is begging you to go. You’ll just go expecting to be treated like what you are, a wife/ dad’s wife, but instead could find yourself so easily being treated more like a cat who just drank the holy water. Ouch.

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