Bio moms vs. Step mom (including TOW)

imamommy

I didn't want to hijack anyone's thread, but something struck me in another thread about how a mom would not want her ex husband's OW at their daughter's wedding or that step mom's shouldn't feel they are entitled to special seating or the MOB & MOG should 'stand out'. But it was the comment about how dad made his bed and now has to lie in it that touched a nerve.

I'm a bio mom. I have a daughter. She's 18 and while nowhere near ready to get married (doesn't even have a BF), it could be a possibility in the next few years. She also has a dad that she hasn't seen but is trying to get her to have a relationship with him. His dad is married so she does have a step mom too. She has no relationship with her step mom, obviously since she has no relationship with her dad. But, all that COULD change. Years from now, I may have to deal with the guy that ran off leaving me (and he also cheated on me) to raise my daughter alone.. walking my daughter down the aisle. and his wife & other kids may be there too. I can say that whether I like it or not, I will not EVER tell my daughter to exclude anyone or where they should sit or what she should do. I only want her to be happy that day and whatever SHE decides to do, I will smile and accept it. If my son ever marries, I will have to sit in the same room as the man that assaulted me... not something I am looking forward to but I will suck it up because it's for my son. THAT's what a mom does!!!

First of all, not all moms are created equal. Not all step mom's are created equal. TOW/TOM's don't deserve respect if they knowingly have an affair with a married person. I think those are things everyone can agree with. Some bio mom's aren't in their kids' lives like they should be or even at all. Some step mom's do more for the kids than their own mom does. These comments have been debated and not everyone will agree so we wlll have to agree to disagree on it.

BUT... doesn't a mom has more of a responsibility to her daughter/son than a stepmom or TOW? If a stepparent or TOW/TOM is jealous or selfish, isn't it the parent's responsibility to rise above it and be gracious? Isn't it the parent's responsibility to think of what's best for their child first? The stepparent or TOW/TOM may or may not love the child, but the mom is supposed to 'unconditionally'. It would be nice if all the adults acted like adults, but truly.. it's the parent's that have the obligation to their children to act like the adult and be a parent, not a crybaby. They aren't supposed to stress out their kids over THEIR feelings.

It's like a cheating husband/wife. When the cheated on spouse blames the other man/woman for cheating with their spouse, they should be blaming the spouse that has a legal and a moral obligation to them. The other man/woman are wrong for doing it, but they really don't have any obligation to the cheated spouse. The blame belongs on the person with a responsibility and that would be the cheater.

When a parent behaves in a way that harms their child, like causing a problem or scene or throwing a fit over SM or TOW, that upsets the child, the blame still belongs to the parent that should be rising above it for their child's sake. A parent may have justified feelings, but when you are the mom, you are supposed to put your children first, not after YOUR feelings.

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kkny

And what about Fleurs and HelenaR, who never even acted like moms, but still want respect? Front row seating? Oh yes, they are SMs, so they are golden.

Ima, I dont know what my DD will want. But I tend to see her opinion. I dont even know if her Dad would want to bring SO around, right now according to SD he doesnt bring her to family, etc. things.

Ima, with all due respect, my situation is not the same as yours. I had every right to expect X to act as a good father, etc. This was not a teenage fling. Adults act better.

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imamommy

I am not addressing YOUR situation or Fleurs and HelenaR.

The parent's have an obligation to their children, just as a father has an obligation to his daughter to leave his wife home if the wife's presence will upset his daughter on her big day. If it only upsets his daughter's mother and THAT is why the daughter may be upset, then the mother is being a big baby and letting HER feelings ruin her daughters day. Again, I'm not addressing YOUR situation and you are entitled to your own opinion. If you think a mom is entitled to demand TOW not be there, even if doing so puts a damper on her kids day, that's YOUR opinion. I don't share it.

and both mother's and father's are supposed to act as a good parent and whether it's a long marriage, teen fling, or anything in between, the adults are supposed to act better. and what difference does it make that our situations are different? Are there different standards for me than you? Do tell.... I'd love to hear the differences!

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justnotmartha

KK - I think we have all agreed that Fleurs and Helena do not deserve respect and we can leave them out of the equation rather than dragging them back into each post.

Ima is correct in her post. A parent should put their child first. That means respecting the choice they make to have or not have a relationship with any SO's of their parents, regardless of how they became an SO.

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starr

I don't understand why Helenar and Fleurs posts keep being brought up. Once it came to light that Helenar was TOW we all agreed that she was lucky to even be invited to the wedding. Her demanding/whining/complaining of any type of special recognition at the ceremony is absolutely preposterous.

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theotherside

When the one child I have who would consider inviting her father's wife to any event graduated, they came but I didn't see them, or, as far as I know, vice versa. That would be a little harder to manage at a wedding. Then, after the graduation, the OW got annoyed with another one of my kids who apparently didn't greet her with enough enthusiasm or something, and their father proceeded to make a huge scene which embarrassed just about everybody within earshot. I am sure my children wouldn't be very happy if they acted like that at a wedding.

Stepmothers (and stepfathers) should be gracious enough to not attend weddings and other events if their presence would make anyone miserable - the bride/groom/graduate, the mother/father, or any of the siblings. In most cases, though maybe not all, the bride wouldn't be desperate to have her SM present, and would probably be a lot less stressed if she didn't have to worry about it.

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ceph

You've got to be kidding me! "In most cases, though maybe not all, the bride wouldn't be desperate to have her SM present, and would probably be a lot less stressed if she didn't have to worry about it."
I love my SM and would be terribly upset if she didn't want to come to my wedding! And if one of my siblings said they didn't want her there, I'd tell them to put a sock in it.
TOS, that second paragraph was completely ludicrous... even for you.

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theotherside

That's why I said, "maybe not all." I am sure there are people who love their stepparents, especially in cases where their mother has died and they were raised by their stepmother. I have just never met anyone IRL who loves their stepparents. I have a couple of coworkers in their 40's who have had stepparents since they were children, but they still refer to them as their father's wife/mother's husband. They don't seem to exhibit any particular affection for them. That seems to be pretty typical of everyone I know personally who has stepparents.

Does your fiance say he loves his stepmother, or is he just fond of her?

Ceph, would you put your stepmother's wishes above those of your siblings? If for some reason they said they wouldn't come to the wedding if she was there, would you uninvite them? My children have already said that they would far rather have their siblings at any special events such as graduations/weddings or whatever than their father, even though several of them would like him to be at such events. One of my kids flew several thousand miles just to be at her sister's graduation.

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ceph

Darn skippy I'd tell my siblings to not bother coming if they said they wouldn't come if my SM was coming! If my siblings couldn't get past their own stupid petty issues to share the joy with me, then they wouldn't need to share the joy. We'd have the joy without them.
When it comes to things like graduations, weddings and babies, you put your own issues aside for the people at the core of the celebration.

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catlettuce

Wow, I too love my S-Father to death! He married my mother when I was 15 and I love him as much as my bio father who passed away shortly after that. I would have been devastated had he not been around for my wedding, birth of my son and all the important events in my life.

He has been a gift to me, and I think a lot more grown step children feel that way than you think.

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justnotmartha

Exactly, Ceph. I don't know how many times it must be said - a person's special day is THAT PERSON'S special day. Not their parents, siblings, step parents - theirs. Yes, it can be very important to all those people, but it is not theirs to control. Any person who would attempt to squelch another's moment because of their issues is spiteful, selfish and ignorant.

If one of your children said 'don't invite dad or I won't come to your wedding,' would you be proud of that child for putting that stipulation on their sibling based on their wants?

My step father walked me down the isle. My step father danced the father/daughter dance with me. My bio father sat by and watched. None of this stressed me out, as they handled it with the maturity one would expect. I would have been devastated if my step father was not there to fill those shoes.

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starr

TOS, I would tell anyone, including immediate bio family, to hit the pavement if they ever tried to tell me who I could or could not invite to any of my special events.

I'm getting married May 2009. My BM died when I was 16. My parents divorced when I was young. Mom remarried to my step dad who I can't even describe in words how much he means to me. He actually remarried several years later to another fantastic woman. I have asked her to act as mother of bride. When I told my aunt, BM's sister, she threw a temper tantrum that I asked someone who is "not blood related" to act as MOB. Full on temper tantrum and she is nearly 60 years old. I told her tough and get over it. If she doesn't like it, then don't bother coming to the wedding!

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ceph

My stepsister skipped the father-daughter dance and got her mom to walk her down the aisle.
Our parents had only been married for about 3 years at that point, so she wasn't that close to my dad yet, but her own dad has only seen her about once a year since she was 5ish, and didn't RSVP (even when she called to ask him if he was coming, he said he didn't know). Good thing she decided to skip the father-daughter dance - her dad left right after dinner (once all the free wine was gone) to go to the casino because "it's bigger than the one at home".

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imamommy

My mom is alive and my stepmother didn't raise me, but I still love her. If my mom had demanded that my stepmother be excluded from any event in my life, I would have been hurt and feel torn. My mom didn't keep her feelings to herself, but my dad was simply wonderful in standing up for me. He refused to allow my mom to make me choose and I appreciate him for that. To this day, my mom has a problem with me taking care of my stepmother. It would be quite sad if she is jealous of a woman in a vegetative state.

My younger sister didn't get along with my stepmother as well as I did, but when it came time for my little sister to get married, my Stepmother planned everything for her. My sister is something of a tomboy and didn't know the first thing about weddings. My stepmother had wonderful taste and style. Of course, like my older sister's wedding, my mom didn't want my stepmother there, but she also didn't do anything to help with the wedding. In fact, my mom was over an hour late for the wedding and my dad finally had them start without her. My stepmother would have been hurt if she had been excluded and the truth is, that even though she did everything for my sister, my sister would have been happy to exclude her. But, there was no way my dad would have allowed her to do that. I don't know if my sister really cared or not that she was there, but truthfully she wouldn't have even had a wedding if it weren't for my stepmother.

What I have a hard time comprehending, is a parent (like my mom), that would even suggest that her daughter exclude a person that was nice enough to do EVERYTHING for her daughter in planning her wedding. Instead of telling her 'Thank You so much for planning my daughter's wedding because I couldn't or didn't know how.', she would tell my sister, after the wedding was planned, to tell stepmother to not go. THAT IS CRUEL. and it would have been completely EVIL if my sister had gone through with telling her that.

I read the thread from dotz, and all I can say is that my dad did my sister the greatest favor when he stood up to my mom and said that his wife won't be excluded and if my mom can't behave herself, she doesn't have to come. My dad also let my sister know that he would be hurt if she excluded my stepmother and my sister didn't say anything to my stepmother. My stepmother would have graciously stayed home but my dad was not going to allow her to do all the work and then be left out. If my sister would have excluded my stepmother, I'm sure that it would have affected any relationship my sister had with my dad & stepmother. In later years, my stepmother was there to babysit my sister's sons. She went to the school with my sister whenever she had a problem. She counseled her through many problems.

If a stepchild decides (on their own or coached by a parent) to exclude someone from a special event, they have to consider whether they can live with that decision the rest of their life. A lot can happen after a graduation or wedding, when the child is grown and has their own family. If they damage that relationship, it could affect whether their kids will have a close or distant relationship with their grandparent. I don't think young people can foresee the consequences like in dotz's case, but I'm sure my dad realized that for my sister.

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kkny

TOS, I agree, IRL I havent known anyone who loves their SM as a mom. My sister, who is a married to a man who has a son from his first marriage, does not pretent that she is the same as a mom, or the same as the grandparents of the grandchild. She is very happy in her life and in her role. She has been a key person in the persons education, but has no desire to push her way in further, be controlling etc. Everyone is relatively happy.

I also resent this -- when stepchild favors the mom, it is becuase mom is pushing. And for stepmoms themselves to suggest favoring SM at a wedding raises a bit of question -- are they trying to validate their own role?

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finedreams

Iamommy,
I really can't see why somebody who was never in child's life would want to walk her down the aisle. And why would she want someone she does not even know to do that? There is no rule about dad walking down the aisle. It seems like your DD has a decent grandfather, apparently responsible stepfather and maybe you have some other male family members. they qualify way better. the fact that someone donated sperm does not make him a father. walking an aisle....Why?

In our tradition both parents take their children (both bride and groom) down the aisle and stand by them during the ceremony. If DD would not have a father and G_d forbid something awful would happen to my dad or to my brother I would walk her alone. Of course if DD would want it otherwise she would do whatever, but i doubt so. I know your tradition requires a male there, but aren't there any other males who helped to raise her?

I do not consider any of those men, imamommy, that you had children with: fathers. It is not intended to offend, but rather to command you for raising children on your own to the best of your abilities. They do have a good mother. Now if you insist on importance of SPs in children's life why wiouldn't your husband take your DD down the aisle? Seems like he acts like a father way more than any of those jerks did.

You always talk about how BMs abandoned their children and how SMs took their place and should be honored as moms. Now your children's fathers abandoned them and in this case stepdad should be honored as dad. How is it different?

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finedreams

Something came to mind after reading about "loving" steparents.

Love v like.

DD was upset when her dad left SM, and DD said on several occassions: oh it is too sad, I LIKE her. Then she went to see her (after X and 2nd wife split already) and had dinner with her and once again said: i am glad we keep in touch because I LIKE her. I don't think DD would necesarilly say that she LIKES me. lol In fact on many ocassions she DID NOT LIKE me. haha But she sure loves me.

DD loves me, dad, grandparents, her GF, uncle, 2 cousins, her brother and already loves new baby brother that isn't born yet. And she LIKES everyone else including my SO, her SM, dad's TOW and she also LIKES her college professors.

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pseudo_mom

My daughter walked me down the aisle :)

Both my parents are deceased.

Its the same in any other step situation.

You suck it up for the sake of the child(ren)... its a one time event .. if BM has issue with SM she can put away her issues for day ... if SM has an issue with BM she can put her issues away for a day ... they don't have to be best buds ... but be cordial for the sake of the kids. Stop making demands over petty stuff ...

I don't remember fleurs complaining about placement at a wedding .. helena different story ... I remember those posts.

My SC's BM crying one day on the phone about being at the "headtable" when the kids get married ... I told her you can go right ahead I don't want to be up there. I am not an attention seeker .. I'll be happy in the back of the room :) I doubt hubby would sit with her at head table but thats his choice ... I have no desire to be on display.

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kkny

The statistics I have seen say only between 5-10% of men have full custody. I think that some advice given by SMs married to men with full custody doesnt always translate well to the EOW SMs. In between, the true 50/50, which there are some on this board, but, my experience IRL, is that most children end up spending more time at Moms.

That being said, I think there are also SMs who use Dads money as a sword. As in put me up front or Dad wont pay. Most studies say men have more money after divorce, women less.

Pseudo, it is kind of you to step back.

All that being said, I think when some SMs make general statements they are sowing seeds of discontent. I think the wedding issue goes back to the general question of is a SM a mom, and I think except in rare situations, no. Yes, she had dad, and she may have use of Dads money or her own to get what she wants.

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kkny

This was on the "Help with Wedding needed" started by Helenar on October 14.

Fleuers

RE: Help with Wedding needed

Posted by fleurs_gardener (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 18, 07 at 12:04

helenar,

A few years ago, DH's oldest daughter got married. I had been in her life for 14 years by that time and had treated her her just as well as i treated DH's other two children.
However, from the word go,when she was 9 yrs old this SD did not like me. I did my best to be nice, polite and kind towards her.

During all the preparations of her wedding, she never asked me once to participate in this or that except for to look into hotel arrangements for outside guests. I found the hotel and gave her all the information. The people stayed at the hotel i found.

During the weeks before the wedding, i mentioned to DH that his daughter had never said a word to me about the sitting arrangements and much less about a corsage. I finally asked this SD where she intended to sit me at the reception. SHe replied : with my father. That's it! That's all. I didn't know if it was at a main table for what. We were, just like the other people there, that is, her mother, DH's ex in laws, etc. sitting off at a side from the main wedding table. DH did come up and say a small speach. SD and new hubby also did one but never ever thanked her father and i for anything.

The day of the wedding, when we arrived at the reception, the place where we were told we would sit during the ceremony, was no longer the place we had been indicated. I couldn't believe it. We were now placed behind DH's ex inlaws and behind his ex-wife and placed beside the bride's aunt...in the second row. DH was not impressed. Apparently, SD had changed her mind in regards to the sitting arrangement that morning and i guess had forgotten to tell her father and i that we would no longer be in the front seats, front row. Oh well! I wasn't suprised!

When we arrived at the reception, DH and i noticed that everybody and anybody had a corsage...but not me! DH had one but not me. THAT HURT! DH even noticed that i was hurt and for once,,,,,he did admit that that was not right of his daughter to have done that. But do you think he ever told her about it! NOPE!

DH knew months ahead that this wedding was making me nervous and knew that i could very well make a scene at the reception. He begged me not to do anything and i promised him i wouldn't for one and one reason only. his was HIS DAUGHTER'S DAY...and no matter what i was not going to ruin it for her!

From that day on, i never set foot in this SD's home She begged me for years to go and visit them and i always refused. I wonder why!!!!
DH asked me for years why i wouldn't do a five hour trip to see his oldest daughter. I would always find an excuse not to go until one day i told DH...you better stop asking me that question if you don't want to be hurt. He continued. I finally said : your daughter treated me like s... the day of her wedding and you have never had the guts to talked to her about this and about how you felt about her attitude towards me and how my feelings were hurt, especially that she has never to this day thanked me for the wedding gift we got her and for which we had to borrow for!!!

In my heart, this SD told me exactly where i stood in her life on the most important day of her life.

Now, when i read your post, i think, knowing what i know today about weddings and SD....i wouldn'T even go to my DH's or fiancé's daughter's wedding if i was not to be treated with respect. I don't care if you are married or not to this girl's father. You have been in his life long enough to be treated with respect.

Keep on posting and good luck.

RE: Help with Wedding needed

 Posted by fleurs_gardener (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 18, 07 at 16:08

kkny,

The children did live mostly with the ex-wife and we had them EOW, xmas holidays, etc.

For the first 10 years of our relationship, DH and i never had one single holiday together as a couple and alone. We had the children every summer when DH had only two weeks off. It was written in the divorce papers that he had to have the children for 2 weeks each summer and since he only had 2 weeks holidays, we spent them with his children all the time until the 10th year, is said enough is enough. We will have one week with the children and one week by ouselves. Ex-wife agreed and so did DH. The one week that we took off to be with ourselves was ruined because the step son called everyday saying : dad, did you forget us. I had 10 phone calls of him. Dh asked the ex-wife what the problems was. She said she had forgotten to tell their son about the arrangement. Ya right!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No, i don't have children of my own and i don't see the reason for this question. I don't believe you have to give birth to a child to love a child, to care for a child or to understand a child.

Keep posting.

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theotherside

I know my older girls don't approve of the custom of anyone "giving them away," so their father wouldn't be walking them down the aisle even if we were still married.

My oldest kids, who were adults or nearly so when their father left, have not wanted much, if anything, to do with him. They considered his adultery a personal affront, not merely an affront to their mother. One of them actually said, "How could he do that, when he knows how I (the daughter) feel about adultery." (I think the subject had come up previously during the Clinton scandal). They would probably agree with ima that I would be crazy to take him back, and they don't understand why the younger children want anything to do with him. Don't bother complaining about how you think I should have hidden the adultery from them - my older kids realized immediately that he'd been having an affair, and then my exH introduced the younger kids to the OW even before having me served with divorce papers. They all knew before I did.

I am not sure my older kids would attend any events if their father were there. I think not. I can understand their position, even if it does make things more complicated. (I would have had to do a lot less driving during their college years if they had not been estranged from their father). I have no doubt that they are perfectly capable of foreseeing the consequences, and they seem to have every intention of remaining permanently estranged from their father. After all these years, I think it would be unlikely that they would reconcile with him.

I have at least two other kids who probably would not attend events if the OW, or possibly even their father, were there as a direct result of the embarrassing scene they created at the last one.

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kkny

TOS, I was married in a very small ceremony and no one gave me away.

I agree, the presence of the adulterers while the bride and groom pledge themselves to each other is a bit incongruous.

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organic_maria

I agree with Ima, it is up to the bioparents to both rise above their personal issues and think for their children.
I lost my mother at 11 years old. I love my SM and i love my three aunts her also took a role in raising me.
In my situation unfortunately we have biomom who is selfish. Doesn't share. Poisons the kids against their father. When i came into the picture its was 2 years after they divorce. Of course she told the kids i was TOW. LOl..kinda hard to have an affair when i was out of the province...lol...She practice Parental Alienation until the day my son was born. Then she would purposely invite him at times she knew he physically couldn't make it...(example : game is at 5pm - husband finishes work at 4pm we have to pick up baby at 4 :15pm, its take 1 1/2 hour to drive just to their home and the field they are playing is 20 minutes away drive from their house...so you do the math!) So she would create scenarios to pitt the kids against one another and tell her kids that 'daddy doesn't love you anymore cause child #3 is now born"
THat to me is just PLAIN EVIL. PURE EVIL. to say things like this to any child. No this woman does not think of her kids. SHe uses them as pawns for her own purposes.
So. No i do not want ot get to know this biomom in any sense. She is an evil person. Not because she is biomom but because of her actions to her kids over the last 5 years. She is an evil person who i want to stay far away from me.
Let her keep her kids, and raise them with those values. I'm a stepchild. I never met anyone liek this and the way this woman raises her kids is disgusting.
My stepkids are good...just confused and its heartbreaking at times. BUT she has them full time and she will be responsible for the adults they will turn into. Not me or my husband.
I do have friends where bioparents and stepparents all are friends and all look after the kids together. I wish it were like this but its not.
I agree with you IMA in your original post. BIoparents should put their diffenrences aside for the sake of their kids.

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almoststepmom

I have to say that I would want my stepmother right up beside my dad and my mom. I only visited EOW for a couple of years and then I never went at all to my dad's but mainly because I felt that my mom made me choose. And since I lived with her, I felt that had to be my choice. After I moved out of my mom's house and started to think about the way things had been as a child, I realized how my mother acted. I established a stronger relationship with my father and my stepmother. Now, I can say that if I need someone to talk to it would be my stepmother over my mother. My mother is still after almost 30 years the same bitter woman that she was when I was growing up. It makes it hard to communicate about anything to her and most of the time I choose not to and maybe that is my own bitterness at her for making me choose.

Now I am dealing with my son and his father and TOW. They have been married for ten years now so it is nothing new. The first couple of years were rocky as I was extremely bitter but I realized what all of the fighting was doing to my son. I know that if I ultimately made my son choose that he would choose me but I would never put that on him. It is wrong for me to make him choose like that. We are the adults and we have to learn to get along for the sake of my son. I do not want to put him through the same pressures that my mother put on me. Whatever events come up in the future, I will stand beside whatever choices my son makes as far as who he wants beside him and who he wants to invite. I will let him make those choices. I think that it will keep my relationship stronger with my son in years to come by just doing things to make his life better instead of worrying about who is going to be there. I know that TOW is a jealous, controlling woman that will demand that she be front and center next to my ex. But I have learned to just let her go because it makes life for my son much easier in the long run and personally I could care less about standing next to my ex.

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finedreams

no one can hide affairs from adult children. How is it possible? SO's DDs, especially older one, have the hardest time forgiving their mother. In fact it forever broke their hearts and older DD does not want to go to mom's house because of TOM being there. She speaks with mom on very limited ocassions. How can one not know if she moved out of the family house into secretly rented place with TOM? No one can hide that she was with him while still married.

And my DD was very sad and dissapointed with dad having an affair cheating on his wife, he also moved in with TOW right away. You can't hide that they had an affair even if you want to.

I honestly don't know what i would do if my dad cheated on my mom and left her, i cannot possibly imagine that. And no, TOW, would never be a part of my life, sit at my wedding or come close to me, in fact I would not allow her at my wedding. I can understand younger children, but not adults.

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pinkypup

Hi TOS.

You commented that you've never seen anyone IRL who loves their stepmom. Do you want to meet somewhere so you can meet my family?

My SD and SS have both parents alive and active in their lives. I've been helping to raise my SD/11 since she was three. She thinks of me as her Other Mom. She even refers to me that way. She has grown to love and respect me. My SS/14 is the same, but he's such a boy, they don't hug or stuff, but he tells me he loves me. And I don't think he's just saying that. It's not just a fondness, it's a family.

You can expect that if my SD ever gets married, odds are that only her Daddy will walk her down the aisle, she is a Daddy's girl and dreams even today of that special day when she can marry a man that is like her Daddy. But I can promise you that we will all sit together and smile and do whatever it takes to make sure her special day is just that, special.

Many, many many people do not have the relationship that we have with the ex-wife. But there are people like me out there. There are children who love their step-parents. I think it's a little closed minded to assume otherwise simply because you haven't been exposed to them "personally".

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gigglemonster

It should be what the bride and groom want period.

If bride doesn't want SM in the front row and have a corsage, then deal with it Stepmom. It's nothing to get in a huff about.

If bride wants SM in the front row and the same corsage as Mom, then deal with it Mom!

No one can say who means what to anyone. I love my stepfather to bits and pieces and have known him less time than I've known my stepmom (who I can't stand.)

And I am walking myself down the aisle, not being given away.

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kkny

It seems like the SMs have an answer for everything.

1. We do just as much as moms.

2. We love children as much as bioparents.

3. But, Bioparents should love their own children more, and if necessary, step back when SMs want something.

4. We wont even say when a SM steps over the line --

I think somewhere someone has to explain to me the rights/responsibility matrix of SMs.

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theotherside

For those of you who say the wedding is all about what the bride and groom want, and nothing else should matter, how far would you carry it? What if they wanted to get married in a nudist colony? Invite Scott Petersen or the unibomber (not that they are available)? I think everyone has a limit to what they think should be solely up to the bride and groom. For some people it would be getting married by a rabbi if the parent is Catholic. Or getting married by a priest if the parent is Jewish. It is easy to say that it should be the bride and groom's day, until they decide to do something that you don't approve of.

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kkny

Giggle,

Would you adjust this were SM says no money from Dad if I dont sit in front? Or would you just say, SD has to decide if money is that important to her. This is what I suspect is behind etiquette -- trying to protect mom from SM wining to dad that she has to come first.

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sieryn

"Stepmothers (and stepfathers) should be gracious enough to not attend weddings and other events if their presence would make anyone miserable - the bride/groom/graduate, the mother/father, or any of the siblings"

Okay here's a younger example; The day of my older SS birthday party last year I couldn't go because DS then 2 and 6 months were very ill (running fevers of about 103). SS was extremely upset that I wasn't there. BM stopped by to drop of his gift and he complained that I didnt' make it, she said 'Well, you get to see ME on your birthday isn't that better sweetie?' his response was 'Yeah I guess...but I want Sieryn here' So you can say all you want about kids not loving their stepparents but if you imply I should stay home just because BM hates me, well the only person that is going to hurt is my SS and I am not about to do that. Making HIM miserable would be horrible on HIS day. I agree with Ima, Adults need to suck it up and deal with their own BS.

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kkny

Still dont understand.

SMs love child, loved by child, yet only bioparents need to suck it up.

Ah yes, the world of the perfect SMs.

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pseudo_mom

If you don't approve DON'T GO!!!

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sweeby

Nice post Ima, and I agree about all of the adults 'rising above' and being gracious.

But I'd also like to add that the BRIDE and GROOM, by virtue of getting married, are ALSO claiming to be adults and should act like adults. They also need to be able to refrain from stamping their little feet and pouting about somebody "spoiling their special day." Yes, it IS their special day - to an extent - but a wedding is also about family - extended family - and community and church and so much more. It's a time to rise above petty spitefulness and selfishness, and to treat everyone with - at the very least - decency and courtesy.

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quirk

TOS, I agree, IRL I havent known anyone who loves their SM as a mom. that's not what she said though. TOS said she doesn't know anyone who loves their stepparent, period. Which may be true, I have no idea who she knows irl. But you can love someone and not love them "like a mom". I have never gotten my stepmom confused with my mom, and I don't "love her as a mom"; I love her as my stepmom... which is to say I love her dearly, I consider her immediate family, and I would tell anyone including my own mother to take a flying leap if they tried to tell me I had to exclude her from my wedding or other occasion. Not because I love her *more* than my mom, but because I expect my mom to love me enough to let me share my day with whoever I want, and I would want her there. Actually, hypothetically speaking, even if my dad and sm were to get divorced, and even if my *dad* said he didn't want her there, she would still be invited to *my* wedding. --and no this is not "favoring" my SM over my mom (or dad), I would tell SM to take exact same flying leap if she tried to convince me to exclude someone I wanted there--

For that matter, even if I don't love someone, if I choose to invite them to my occasion for whatever reason, I would expect the rest of my family to accept my wishes. For example, if I were to invite my mom and her BF to my wedding, and one of my brothers were to tell me that he wouldn't attend if mom's BF was going to be there, I would tell my brother to take above stated flying leap, even though I love my brothers and don't even particularly like mom's BF. (and he's not on speaking terms with at least one of my brothers, so this scenario is at least within the realm of possibility). Now, there may be circumstances where **I** might choose to not invite him (and this gets trickier--- when it comes to the idea of specifically excluding someone that would normally be included, and generally significant others of immediate family are included), but assuming I did, it's not any of my brother's place to second guess who I invite to my own damn wedding. Or my mother's or my father's. No matter how much I love them-- that doesn't give them the right to emotionally blackmail me.

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quirk

sweeby is right also (as usual)... "my wedding, my day" is not an excuse for being spiteful...

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kkny

Quirk, Is it being spiteful for a bride to follow standard etiquette and have dad and SM sit behind MOB, and if animosity, especially if SM was TOW, for her to sit further back. This seems to be standard advice. Is it spiteful for bride not to follow it? Or does the no spite only apply to treatment of SMs?

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sieryn

"Still dont understand.

SMs love child, loved by child, yet only bioparents need to suck it up.

Ah yes, the world of the perfect SMs. "

What do I need to suck up? Please tell me as I do not understand. My step son wants ME there, should I say no, you're mother gets jealous and angry when she see's your father with me so I'm going to stay home and miss your day? Who does that hurt? Its not about what I want or what BM wants its about what he wants.

And you know what? I am a pretty D@mn good SM..if I didn't take care of those boys they wouldn't have any sort of mother figure at all. Is that better? I bet you would say yes. Their BM is an alcoholic wreck who if she was a man would be called one of the worst dead beat dads around (I bet you would be quick to be on that bandwagon as well). In fact, DH had to remove what little visitation she had since the last time she saw them she broke their TV and hit SS11 in the head with a board game in a drunken fit cause they wanted to go to bed and not play cards with her. QUIT WITH THE DOUBLE STANDARDS.

This is why I quit posting here near as much, this isn't a place for support - its a flame war.

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kkny

Sieryn, you situation is not typical, yet it is used to set "rules" for all SM situations, including gee, Fleurs, who had kids EOW, 2 weeks in summer, till she cut that down to 2, and still wants front row at wedding. And no one critized her.

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quirk

kkny, first of all, i've never planned a wedding and I have no idea what "standard etiquette" says (and my guess would be if that is what it says it's because in divorce the mom is assumed to be custodial parent who raised the kid and dad non-custodial who did less which is not really the case for me), but imho my *parents* should receive equal billing as my *parents* which would suggest to me that seating everyone in the same row up front seems respecful and proper. And generally speaking I think people should be seated with their signicant others/spouses. So, off the top of my head without ever having done it, I would be inclined to seat my mom, her BF, my dad, and my SM all in the first row. If I were actually planning a wedding and someone could convince me of some compelling reason why to do it differently, I would consider it. Yes, if one of the people involved were TOW or TOM, that might be a compelling reason to do it differently.

and, for what it's worth, if one of bf's kids were having a wedding and they prefered I not attend or sit in the back or whatever, because their mom was upset about it, I wouldn't go, or I would sit wherever they wanted me or whatever. I would think their mother was wrong and being a big childish baby (and I might come on here and vent about it), but that's not the kid's fault and so why put them in a bad position of adding stress they don't need and didn't ask for? But on the other hand if the kid specifically excluded me, not because i had a habit of behaving badly in public or anything like that, just to be spiteful because they didn't like to see their dad in a new relationship, I'd be hurt and pissed about it, sure. I still wouldn't go if i wasn't wanted (or would sit wherever), but darn tootin' it'd effect my feelings toward and relationship with said kid. Not that I have any reason to think that'd happen... from what I've seen his kids are not perfect (whose are?) but aren't rude and disrespectful.

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gigglemonster

KKNY,

No, I personally wouldn't adjust it. FDH and I are paying for our wedding, by ourselves. Another reason why we delayed getting married. I couldn't be happier though, so this type of situation is avoided at all costs.

Our front row seating is Mom and SF with my siblings on that side. Second row is Dad and SM with siblings on that side.

If SM throws a fit, so be it. Don't come. I don't think she really cares to tell the truth. I'm not one of the kids spawned from her golden uterus :)

I will say my mom is a classy lady. If I had chosen for all four to be in the front row or even Mom to be in second row, my mother would not have said a word.

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kkny

Quirk, what every book I have seen is that Mom gets front row, unless she has not been involved in childs life. So that situation is addressed. And that some parents may be willing to sit togethor. But some may not. And anything I have read differentiates between SO and spouse.

I dont think a SD sitting you other than in front row is spiteful, but it appears what you are saying is that if FSD doesnt follow standard etiquette, (absent TOW situation, which you say MIGHT be a reason to follow etiquette rules), that you would interpret that as spiteful and disrepectful. Why would following standard etiquette be disrespectful ? Because you dont agree with it?

And I have yet to meet anyone IRL who admits to being TOW/TOM.

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pinkypup

We have true 50/50. Pick up Monday after school, drop off back at school the following Monday.

We have learned to get along, since we all realize we are stuck together for life...that includes weddings and the grandchildren that follow.

Since I'm paying for part of the future wedding, I assume I'd get some say in who is invited, so I'd probably make a personal request not to have the unibomber or have it at a nudist colony.

There are no perfect stepmothers, but it's a nice thought that somewhere in a parallel universe that a colony of stepmoms band together in all their perfect glory. it's probably right next to the Bio-Mom colony.

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pseudo_mom

1 out of how many? ok maybe 2 ....

Fleurs wasn't TOW... and has some serious medical issues... her hubby needed to deal with his children it shouldn't have been put on Fleurs... the days the kids were with Fleurs and her hubby, hubby put everything on Fleurs .. he did nothing and when Fleurs stood up for herself and told hubby to pound tar he decided he didn't want to do for his children anymore ... from what I remember he made demands of Fleurs and when she refused to do HIM any more favors he decided his children were second seems if she wasn't going to do for them he didn't want to either.

Fleurs tried being cordial with the children the more she tugged the more they pulled away ... when she stopped tugging the closer they got. She "disengaged" and her relationship with her SC got much better.

And from what I remember Fleurs can correct me if I am wrong... but they saw the children more often than the set schedule the issue you keep bringing up was many many years ago ... and they see the grandchildren and children more now that they (the SC) are adults.

I am sure she felt slighted at the SD's wedding because while they were with hubby she did for them while hubby their dad did nothing ... she assumed that because she did for them in his place, they assumed she was SUPPOSED TO do for them...... as I used to tell my SC "I am not your mother I don't have to do anything for you I do it for you because I want to not because I have to!!..." Yes its harsh but its reality ... "only mothers" are obligated to oblige their childrens every whim ...

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mom_of_4

I dont understand why the mom would have preference over the dad in general from an etiquette stand point... that to me doesnt make the first bit of sense. Even if my parents divorced I would want my father right there up front just like my mother.. and should they have dates and significant others I would sit them next to them...So I guess I would probably choose to follow very little of the etiquette standards and rather go according to my own concious, likes, and dislikes...

And, there is always something someone doesnt like or doesnt approve of with a wedding or any family combined event... With mine... my dad's side of the family is very conservative church going folks... and my DH's sister is gay and was going to bring her girlfriend with her to our wedding which I wanted to happen. But, I knew my ultra conservative dad's side of the family would have a problem with it (probably around the time that the dancing started and they danced together)... Well, too bad for them!! I simply mentioned as I was talking about the wedding and so on... so my other bridesmaid is K and she will bring her girlfriend... "Her What!" .. Her girlfriend... I assume there isnt a problem with that since she is someone I like and care about....

No problems whatsoever... I am sure my grandparents inparticular were cringing on the inside... but I have little tolerance for racism, bigotry, biased views etc etc and my family well knows this and they respected my decision and who I wanted to be there ... And on a side note I sat her up front with family.. because to me she is family to my sister in law and therefore family to me.

I think if my down home southern overly religous family can set aside their views for a day then anyone can who has an ounce of true selflessness and caring for that person and their special day!!

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kkny

I guess this is my disconnect -- it appears to me that the mother of Fleurs stepchildren was seeing the childen and caring for them more. I am not certain I remember a lot about her spending lots of time with kids. But every SM here seems to feel that SM should be treated same as mom, and it is disrespful when that doesnt happen.

And btw, she says she met her DH 19 years ago when youngest child was 19. Awful tight timing there.

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quirk

no, that's not what i said.

Seating everyone front row is what I would do. My mother has been living with her SO for at least 15 years, so he is the equivilant of spouse. If you want to seat one parent first row other second row **with their spouses** I have no problems with that. If you want to exclude a spouse/SO from being seated with the parent they're married to, I think there should be a very compelling reason... that is what I meant.

And what I said about BF kids excluding me... first of all, at this point, I wouldn't expect to be invited at all... I'm not engaged to nor living with their dad, I don't know the kids very well, I have no problem with being invited, not invited whatever, as they choose. I was talking about if I had become their SM and they either excluded me from the wedding or relegated me to seating away from my husband their father. Maybe I didn't make that clear. His daughter did get married in November (although it doesn't seem to have "taken"-- she's living with her mother now not her husband) a small courthouse thing i didn't go wasn't invited don't see any reason why I would be no hurt feelings absolutely nothing against her.

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imamommy

Wow, leave it to trolls to turn this into a b*tchfest!

Bottom line is that the bride & groom should decide who sits where or does what. I'm also sure they are well aware of who can or can't get along. and they are probably pretty sure of who is or isn't mature enough to 'suck it up' and be cordial. Unfortunate, but true. It's obvious from some of the responses, who is or isn't mature enough to put their own feelings aside and take the high road. But, at the end of the day, the mom/dad are the ones that have the obligation to THEIR child and to see to it that their child's day isn't ruined by THEIR behavior. If it's ruined by a stepparent, aunt or uncle or ex (or anyone else)... at least the child can't blame mom or dad for ruining their day. I for one, would not want to be the one to put a damper on any special event in my kids' life. and if that means sharing the spotlight with a guy that didn't help me raise them or being in the same room as someone I can't stand, then that's something that I need to get over so I don't ruin the day for my kids. Do I expect my daughter's father to walk her down the aisle? Well, she is going to decide who walks her down the aisle. NOT ME. It's irrelevant to ask me who should be honored, grandpa or stepdad. It's HER choice when the time comes. I allow my kids to feel what they want in their hearts for who they want.

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kkny

I dont know what you mean by trolls. I thought that meant someone who posts something not becuase they are concerned, have opinions, but just post something outrageous to see others opinions. I think everyone here has very real concerns. I thought at one time Fleur and HelenaR were trolls, but so many people defended them, I changed my mine.

Of course, decision is up to child. What I resent is when SM finds SDs decision "disprectful" when child is only following standard etiquette.

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ceph

Haha, apparently KK spends most of her free time reading etiquette books. Move over Emily Post.

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sieryn

I want to know why I am always dismissed as just 'Not Typical' but Fluers and HelenaR who in my mind are 'Not Typical' are paraded around as a standard?

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imamommy

Sieryn, because it fits someone's agenda to do so.

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mom_of_4

Here is the thing KK... If my ss,ss, or sd... chose to decide that they wanted me to not be at their wedding or wanted me to sit away from my husband or whatever else could happen I would respect their decision simply because I have more class and dignity than to throw a fit over something like that. I would be hurt. I would be heartbroken and yes it would probably change my relationship with my skids (please note this is not something I forsee happening but things change over the years so you never know) But, I would respect their decision and act accordingly. And, I think that is every adults proper place in that scenerio... to respect their decision and act with dignity and grace no matter what. It is what I would do out of the love I have for my skids no matter what their actions are. I know this is difficult for you to comprehend and probably for most people that do not have step kids that they have come to love and cherish as their own...But, just as I would do the same for my DD I would do so for them... I would not stop loving them. I would not stop cherishing them. But, that is a decision I would make for me as the person I am.. to rise above nonsense and petty differences and to follow my heart. And, I could only hope that they would see my actions and learn from them... as I, a parent, hope all the examples I set for them do. It is a simple as that.

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kathline

Actually...

Although I agree , in this age of do it your own way, that the bride and groom should decide who is invited, who sits where, and everyone should just suck up their decisions, I have to comment on the attack on KKNY for stating what etiquette says.

She is correct, both Miss Manners and Emily Post say that the mother of the bride is always seated in the first row, and that stepparents are seated elsewhere. Emily Post further goes on to say that at the reception, it is proper for the stepparent not to be seated at the parents table, but elsewhere.

Of course, many modern brides really dont care much about etiquette at all ( just look at the tacky proliferation of pay bars and cover charges at weddings)

When my SD gets married, I presume that even though we have 50/50 custody, and even though I have a good relationship with my SD, I will not be seated in the front row. I also presume her mother will cause problems over the wedding, as she still has a lot of hostility toward my husband. I and my husband will do everything we can to diffuse any potential tensions, so that my SD can enjoy her own wedding. Even if it means being wronged.

I suspect my husbands ex will try to insist on HER husband walking SD down the aisle, which will cause SD much anguish. Of course, the way that marriage is going, there wont be a stepdad by then. Its falling apart rapidly.

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kkny

Thank you for your kind words. I never meant it had to be that way, but SM shouldnt regard it as an insult if it is.

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finedreams

i don't really care about weddings. my parents had none and live happily ever after. in a way i am happy that most likely i will never have to deal with formal weddings for DD.

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quirk

well... i did admit that i didn't know what the etiquette books said... and i would assume if i were ever in that situation and the couple were strictly following the books that i would know that was the reason... so in that case, if the "compelling reason" were that they were sticklers for etiquette no i do not think you should be insulted. I would imagine, though, that a primary-caregiver stepparent might legitimately feel differently about it.

and, for what it's worth, this kind of thing is why i'm hanging out on a stepparent forum even though i'm not one... so i can find out where all the hidden pitfalls are before i inadvertently step in them...

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starr

sieryn, I have wondered the same thing. I actually know many people who love their step parents. When i think about it, I actually know more people who have a close bond with their step parents than those who don't.

mom_of_4- You pretty much said it perfectly. As a step child that is the path my step parents have chosen for themselves. I've always been so close to them, but now as I become a step parent I have realized even more how amazing they are and I am so thankful I ahve them in my life.

Although my father died a few years ago I had always envisioned my dad and step dad walking me down the aisle on either side. I sorta knew bio dad would not be happy about that but he was going to have to get over it. I'm sure that is not in any etiquette book, but I can't imagine any etiquette book telling a bride to slight someone they love dearly just because another guest has issue with it!

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sweeby

Actually, I didn't agree with Fleurs' resentment at her less-than-ideal seating. But since Fleurs was not TOW, I think I just sat quietly on the sidelines on that one, or perhaps just suggested that it wasn't worth getting upset about. I mean, what good has come of it? Only a nasty split that has lasted years. And while the SD has invited Fluers to her home, now Fluers won't go. Stupid situation that should never have happened. I think Fluers was off base for getting so offended -- but perhaps there's much more to the story.

But in general, WHY do so many people believe they can know someone's intentions judged solely by their actions. You can read SO many different attitudes into different behaviors. Take hypothetical 'second row seating' for a StepMother:

- Standard ettiquette, no slight intended...
- MOB insisted, SM gets the shaft (again), typical BioMom!
- MOB and Dad don't get along, hence perfectly sensible to seat them separately.
- Bride hates me and is publicly humiliating me!
- Groom's parents are divorced and can't be civil, so Bride's side seating arrangements were made to parallel Groom's.
- Some 'expert' told her this is what to do so very young and inexperienced Bride blindly followed, not intending anything.
- Love my StepMom, but she's not quite MOM. Second row is next best thing and a sign of honor.

The one thing I generally always assume is that any offense wasn't intended. Here's why: If they like me, they would never deliberately offend me. And if they don't particularly like me, they wouldn't care enough to bother to plot something out. And if they did plot a public offense, what better way to respond than by pretending not to notice?

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justnotmartha

Kathline, I agree with your post in that KKNY is arguing the side of established protocol and doesn't deserve grief for that. I believe, and this is only my opinion, that the grief comes from the statements made that indicate SM's who are very much a part of a child's life and who's attendance with 'honor' is very much wanted by the bride and groom should not have that as Emily Post does not believe in it. This, and I speak for myself here, feels less like an attempt by KKNY to simply educate us on etiquette and more like another way to put SM's in 'our place.' I feel that the point many are trying to make is that Emily Post gives us a good base to start from, but that each couple deserves the right to 'rewrite' etiquette based on their own circumstance. 'Our place' can not be dictated by KKNY or anyone other than, in this case, the bride and groom.

My SD has asked me what we should do at her wedding because she wants both her mom and I to be the MOB but worries how her mom will behave. To make it more 'difficult', she does not want her SF to have any fatherly role in the wedding at all. Granted, she is 13 and many things may change before her wedding, so my answer to her concerns was that there was no need to worry about it now and that time has a way of working things out.

As M04 said - "If my ss,ss, or sd... chose to decide that they wanted me to not be at their wedding or wanted me to sit away from my husband or whatever else could happen I would respect their decision simply because I have more class and dignity than to throw a fit over something like that."

This is the whole point I, and I speak for myself again, have been trying to make. Each of us as adults should have in within ourselves to set aside our own feelings, expectations and wants for one day to insure the happiness of someone we purport to care about. It does not matter if you are bio, step, or 2nd cousin twice removed.

And TOS, if the bride and groom wanted a nude wedding with their buddy Scott Peterson as best man I would hope that someone close to them could talk with them about the potential problems that would create, but ultimately it would be their choice. There is always the option to not attend if you feel that strongly against it. I think we can all agree that those are some far out there what-if's and much less likely to happen then having a step/bio dilemma.

Additionally, TOS - and I ask this not to be antagonistic but out of true curiosity - you danced around my question. Would you be proud of a child who told their sibling they would not attend if dad was there?

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kkny

JNM,

No my concern is SMs who get insulted if they dont have the limelight. And then suggest to others that is the appropriate response. I am not suggesting what your place is. I am suggesting that if the SD puts SM in second row, there is no reason to take offense. And end up not talking for years.

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sweeby

"No my concern is SMs who get insulted if they dont have the limelight. And then suggest to others that is the appropriate response. I am not suggesting what your place is. I am suggesting that if the SD puts SM in second row, there is no reason to take offense. And end up not talking for years. "

I'd certainly agree with you there KK -- And I suspect many StepMoms would.

I don't believe I had any sort of 'reserved' seat at my SD's wedding, so sat with my young son while my husband waited pre-ceremony and then walked his daughter down the aisle and gave her away. I don't even remember if I got a corsage or not, though I know MOB did. I suppose I could have been offended and blamed either SD or her mother -- but why? I don't think she intended to insult me; but rather she just had her hands very, very full and knew that for me, it was a non-issue.

Of course, had we been asked to pay for the wedding, it's possible I might have felt differently. But that's academic...

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starr

Well KKNY I agree with you there. I think that is what this whole thread has been about. No one has the right to throw a fit on where the couple asks ANYONE to sit including BM, BD, SM, SD siblings, aunts, cousins third removed, the kid who delivers papers and so on.

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kathline

We could all just encourage our children to elope :) Think of the problems that would solve

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imamommy

"We could all just encourage our children to elope :) Think of the problems that would solve"

I'm sure you meant that to be funny (at least I hope so) but it really is sad that there are probably many kids out there that are turned off to marriage altogether when they live through their parent's bitter divorce (I was one of those) and there are probably many kids out there that dread holidays, graduations and weddings when they know they'll have to listen to the bickering of the parents, bio & step. I'm sure there are those that elope just to avoid these kinds of problems and I think it's sad for the kids that feel that way and it's sad that the bickering parents that cause their children to make that choice, are too busy bickering (probably blaming each other for it) to see that because of their behavior, they will miss out on what could be such a special day.

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quirk

haha, kathline, don't i wish... i've been telling my mom since i was about 12 that i'm eloping when i get married, there will be no wedding. about 10 years ago she finally decided i was serious (i was, all along) and since then she's made it pretty clear that she will be hurt and upset if i get married and she is not there... sigh...

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forms

Wow, I have to admit I read about the poster who was taking notes of where everyone sat and what it 'really' meant and and who angsted over the corsage, I was somewhat incredulous. My guess is almost no one but her noticed these things. Probably no one gave it the meaning she did. To deprive yourself of the sweetness of knowing the grandchildren, or the opportunity to form a more mature relationship because of it...well, I guess everyone makes choices as to what's most important to themselves.

It would seem to me, that if someone were TRYING to hurt your feelings by being petty and silly and by withholding a corsage, it would be smartest to act like it didn't matter to you, even if it did. Imagine how pleased that SD and her mother felt knowing their zing to the poster really did hit home. Think of their disappointment if it appeared the poster didn't notice the offense and appeared to be having a good time.

I am both a bio-mom and a stepmom (custodial). If I love my stepdaughter and she does love me. Her mom is not much in the picture, but pops up every once in a while. If my SD chose to honor her mother at her wedding, I can't imagine making a fuss or much caring. It would only be symbolic and to meet some need in my stepdaughter, perhaps a nod to a relationship that couldn't be. And yes I bet my husband and I pay for most of her wedding and I would not say, "No, you don't get money for a wedding dress if you take your mom shopping instead of me." I would just imagine stepdaughter would be trying to create something with her mother that she had never been able to get from her before the wedding.

I simply don't believe that any type of relationship with bio-mom will have anything to do with the type of relationship I have with her. They are two completely separate things, based on our own private history with the child.

Bio-mom probably will not want me at the wedding. She's constantly wailing, "But ****I'm***** the moooooother." And she called me a whore for making Xmas cookies with 'her' kids (altho that didn't prevent her from coming up with the great idea of moving in with us a couple weeks ago, now that she's homeless). My guess is my stepdaughter will never cut me out of the wedding at her request; knowing my daughter, she will try to juggle to make everyone happy; and I'll help her juggle. Why should she have this kind of fussing. Bio-mom will be desperate to play hostess and will think it her 'right', and will be embarassing and difficult (if she's sane enough to know what's going on at the time). Me--I'll shut up and wear beige, and will help pay. I want my daughter to have a nice wedding. I really want that for her.

I do think however, that if I were banned from the wedding, her father would probably boycott it as well. Altho I was not the other woman and had nothing to do with my husband's first marriage breaking up, I do think TOW or TOM should stand at their spouse's side in the pictures and sit next to them at the table. You don't split up spouses, even if you don't like one of them. If you invite them, you are obligated to be a civil host/hostess. If you can't be civil, don't invite them, but understand that your bio-parent probably won't come either. THe reality is that the bio-parents ARE divorced and remarried, and pretending this didn't happen isn't going to make life better for anyone. If you can't cope, get therapy.

Any family member who tries to persuade the bride to uninvite a parent's new spouse is not acting in their child's best interest. If you can't contain your jealousy, stay home. It's not about Mom or Stepmom. It's about a holy union between the bride and groom. It's not about who's loved more, parent or step parent, or who paid for more, or who did more, or how the parents coupled or uncoupled. It's about the love of the bride and groom. Anyone who forgets that shouldn't be at the wedding.

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theotherside

justnotmartha,

Pride would have nothing to do with it. I would be neither proud, nor ashamed. I would understand if a sibling said he or she would not attend if their father were there. Even though it would make things simpler if that were not the case, I would not try to talk them out of it because they wouldn't say it if they didn't feel very strongly about it. However, I think that all my children, if the choice were having their father or all their siblings at their wedding/graduation/whatever, would pick having all their siblings there.

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justnotmartha

KK - I agree. There is no reason for a SM to expect the limelight. But there is no reason for a BM to expect it, either. The limelight should be on the bride and groom. This goes back to what I've been saying all along - adults should be adults and for this one day just do what is asked of them.

If it were me, after raising my SD since she was 5 and being told by her that I was her true mom, and SD suddenly asked me not to be a part of her wedding I would be crushed . . . but I would respect her wishes. I would be less concerned with not speaking to her and more concerned with finding out what changed between us though.

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ceph

Blargh!! "No my concern is SMs who get insulted if they dont have the limelight."
This whole original discussion stems from my FDH's BM who is insisting on the limelight. I know threads morph, but let's not forget that is was not a SM that brought us to this debate.

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ceph

LOL "We could all just encourage our children to elope :) Think of the problems that would solve"
We had just the opposite potential solution... We nearly decided to have a big fat wedding with a LOT of guests to muffle the problems we're facing with a small wedding - it's easier for FMIL and FFIL&FSMIL to all avoid each other in a crowd of 300 than of 40... but then we decided that they can act like adults so that we can have the cozy wedding we want.

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mom_of_4

LOL... sincerly (sp) DO NOT worry about anyone else... as I have said at my wedding we had the lesbian vs ultra conservative issue (which wasnt so much of an issue because my family knows how to behave and knows my temper hehe) and the step father in the pictures and being involved issue... despite this and ALL of the other issues that come with weddings it went off without a hitch....

I just bounced past the grumpy faces and said oh my goodness I am so happy you are here and moved on... you wont even remember it ... Just remember to have a really great bridesmaid to run recon for you... so you dont get pegged in a corner dealing with nonsense and you will be good to go !!

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doodleboo

I think standard protocal is cool and all but I also think it depends on the individual situation. Some kids do grow up loving their step parents. Some kids grow up hating their bioparents (sad but very true).

I still say it should be up to the bride and groom. If they have a close relationship to the step's and want them involved, suck it up Bio's. If they choose not to involve the step's, suck it up step's.

My girlies are only four (far from marrying) but I can tell you that if I didn't go to a birthday party, school play, family trip, exc. exc. they'd be highly upset. It should be the kid's decision at the end of the day.

Of course one of them calls me DanaCupcakeMamaTeacher which is a combo of all the names I am called at our house. We are obviously closer than alot of blended families. Again, it depends on the situation.

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kkny

Some children may love their SM and hate their mom, but on Wedding blogs, there are far far more entries like the following

Seating Arrangements for Divorced Parents
Dear Miss Etta,
My parents are divorced and both are remarried. My future in-laws are also both divorced and remarried. Everyone seems to have so many "requirements" I can hardly see straight right now. My father is footing the bill for our entire wedding. So my step mother has quietly indicated that as a courtesy to him I should give her, my step-mother (whom I secretly loathe) priority over my mother in seating. I am very grateful for his generosity but am not totally comfortable with that. What should I do? I am so stressed I can't see straight!
Missy H.
Winston-Salem, NC

My Dearest Missy,
HEAVENS NO! The tradition of honoring your mother has nothing to do with the cost of the wedding it has to do with her simply being your mother!

Best of luck,
Miss Etta

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mom_of_4

I think the difference here is that A) she secretly loathes SM and B)SM is trying to have priority seating

while here on this forum we pretty much agree that

A)it is up to the bride and groom and as an adult that loves and respects the skids we should respect their wishes
and
B)we would not push to have priority over BM bc almost all of us would have more class to rise above that especially after all we have been through and sacrificed for OUR CHILDREN
and
C)We generally have pretty good relationships with our skids until BM gets involved (and even after BM tries to contanimate our relationship in my case)

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kkny

Oh please, there are plenty of posters here who dont get along with their stepchildren. But by all means blame it on mom.

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justnotmartha

Perhaps pride is not the correct emotion in this case, but you would truly support son #1 if he chose not to be the best man for son #2, his brother and best friend, simply because son #2 wanted to have their father attend? You wouldn't try to talk to son #1 and see if there was a way he could put his feelings aside for a day, support his brother not only in his right to have their father attend, but as a brother and obviously important part of son #2's day?

Were I in your situation I would completely support each child's wish to have or not have their father at important events in their lives. But I can't imagine not encouraging my children to set aside their own issues to support their siblings for a day, a monumental day, for their sibling's sake. I think selflessness is an important lesson.

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imamommy

Oh Please......It must be a coincidence that the only time my stepdaughter has a problem with me is the day or two after returning from her mom's. When she's here two weeks straight, we get along wonderfully and two days at mom's and she won't talk to me.

Nobody could understand the dynamics of the step parent/child relationship until they have walked in those shoes. I don't hear many posters saying they don't get along with stepchildren, I hear a lot about BM interfering in the dad's new family, which causes problems.

*******************************************************************************************

"there are plenty of posters here who dont get along with their stepchildren"

and by all means, are you going to bring up fleurs & helenar again?

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justnotmartha

The above was directed at TOS, I should have specified.

KK - I think if you took a poll right now the majority of posters DO get along, or love and adore, their step kids. Perhaps on what ever wedding blogs you are looking for support of your stance on step kids don't like their step parents, but on THIS board, the one having this discussion, that is NOT the case. Just accept that and quit reaching farther and farther for support of your argument.

There are some crappy steps who feel they 'deserve' much more than they have earned simply because they married dad. We have all agreed they deserve whatever the bride and groom are willing to give them and need to just wear beige. What you seem unable to admit is that does not apply to all the members of this forum, who simply want their step kids to be able to do what makes THEM happy, not their parents or Emily Post. If giving their step a position of honor, be it less, more or equally 'important' as bio mom's, it should be their choice, and all involved should respect that choice without giving the kids any sort of grief. Period.

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theotherside

justnotmartha,

I would support my child's decision not to attend a function if there father were there. For my older children, this is not a whim. Unlike some of my younger ones, they did not suddenly get annoyed with him because he did something irritating. My older children have not spoken to him in many years, and they have said more than once that doing so, or being present at a function where he is, would be, for them, morally wrong.

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starr

It does not surprise me that your children haven't spoken to their father in many years. They have learned from a master on how to be bitter for years.

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justnotmartha

More wrong than selfishly putting their feelings above those of their siblings?
Courtesy of Wikipedia - :Morality (from the Latin moralitas "manner, character, proper behavior") is the learning process of distinguishing between virtues and vices. Generally speaking, morals are basic guidelines for behavior intended to reduce suffering in living populations.
The proper system of values and principles of moral conduct promotes good customs (virtues), but also condemns bad customs (vices). Moral judgment determines whether an action should be considered as appropriate or inappropriate, selfish or unselfish."
I guess I see the siblings not attending as possibly appropriate under your specific circumstance, but most definitely selfish. It seems their morality might then be at odds with itself?

1 Corinthians 10:24 - Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

I don't doubt that to cut their father out of their lives was a well thought out choice and completely within their understandable right. I can see that to attend an event in his honor would be condoning his actions, but I can not comprehend punishing your own siblings who have already been punished by him. Two wrongs don't make a right.

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kkny

Ima, I think I remember a thread re -- would you do again (marry someone with children) and it was overwhelmingly no.

Also, maybe child has trouble adjusting to chane.

JNM, it seems to me that some children are "willing" to give SM more limelight when Dad uses his money to demand it. I guess willing is in the eye of the beholder.

and JNM it is TOSs children SM who wont allow them in her house.

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finedreams

it is true that almost everyone said they wouldn't do it again (marry a man with children), which actually made me wonder if I am doing the right thing staying in a relationship. It did scare me that if everyone regrets, wouldn't I regret if i stay with him? and now all of a sudden everyone says completely different thing...

It is wrong to stay bitter for that long, but unless we all expereince our fathers cheating on our mothers and leaving for someone else it is probably better not to judge...I have hard time imagining my dad doing this to mom after years of marriage and me and my brother just being all happy jolly about it.

I can see how young children can be forgiving but it is way tougher for adults. The only comforting thought is that my da would never do that. But I imagine our pain if he did...

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theotherside

No, they did not "learn" to cut their father out of their lives from me. They were adults or nearly so when he left. They are adamantly in the "cheating is unforgivable" and "once a cheater, always a cheater" camp. Unlike the younger kids, they never wanted him back.

justnotmartha,

My older kids see attending an event at which he is present as condoning his actions. It doesn't matter whether you (or I) agree with that viewpoint. They believe it is wrong, and it would be wrong of me to ask them to do something they believe is wrong. No one thinks it strange when people boycott a graduation because they believe the commencement speaker has done something morally wrong.

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dotz_gw

I m just betting if the sky cracked open, and Prodigal husband returned, then a sib wedding was on the horizon, you d lobby the kids into forgiving dear old dad, because after all, he just made a mistake, and he s not with that horrible woman anymore......Hypocritcal at best, but most likely would be true.....

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quirk

kkny; in the example you gave, yes the stepmother is 100% wrong. I think that about 95% of the SMs on this board would agree with that. The problem is that you seem to take the 5% that don't, and attribute those attitudes to everyone else, and then interpret everything we say and do filtered through that lens. It's not true and it can be offensive. And you seem to do it so relentlessly that it sort of becomes the default to interpret everything *you* say through *that* perspective, so even when you don't mean it that way, it's easy to assume you do and take offense. You do sometimes have some pretty useful things to say, but it can be exhausting to wade through all your misinterpretations of what we say to find it.

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theotherside

dotz,

Are you that easily swayed from what you believe to be morally wrong or right, that your mother could "lobby" you into changing your mind?

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kkny

Quirk,

1. Very few SMs have stepped up to the plate and critized SMs for that type of things.

2. Dont know about percentage.

3. Only 5-10 % of men have sole custody, but many of the women married to them make sweeping statements about moms. Many people here in joint custody make sweeping statements about moms.

4. More moms have sole custody. Moms frequently see their standard of living go down after divorce, men see their standard of living go up.

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finedreams

IMO a lot of the problems come from dads making their wives to do their jobs. When SM has to do everything for the kids, of course she feels resentful if she does not get honored the same way as mom.

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sieryn

You make the same sweeping statements KKNY about SMs. Quote percentages all you like, I still live in that only 5-10% so to me its not just a minority situation - its my life.

This whole thing is ridiculous - which is why destination weddings are so popular...

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mom_of_4

Let's make believe for a moment. Let's pretend that your child decided "You know what I want my dad and his wife/SO sitting in the front row at my wedding."

What would you do?

And, I am referring to the posters that are continuously here ... GENERALLY have pretty good relationships with their skids (I happen to have a great one)... yes there are a few that dont and there have been folks that have popped on this site saying how they hate their skids or this or that ... but they are pretty much jumped on by just about every single one of the "regular" posters BM and SM alike to tell them that it is not skids fault... and they usually dont stay very long.

And yes, in my case and many others BM is the direct reason for complications in our SM skid relationship. And, I fully expect BM to act the fool (so to speak) when marriage time comes around... heck I expect her to act that way when prom time comes around... but I will do exactly as I have done every other time she wants to play her games ... take a step back and let her do her thing... and just be the man behind the curtain :-) I mean she threw a fit when I took sd out shopping for a dress for her kindergarten graduation...one that she was asked to take care of but didnt have the money or time but when I did it all of a sudden it was the crime of the century and I wronged her and I overstepped my bounds... whatever the girl needed a dress she asked me to take her shopping we gave BM the chance first.. she didnt do it... So yes, I only expect the worse. And, I have had to counter act the times that BM has told the kids I dont know what I am talking about and they dont have to listen to me ... But, nowadays the kids know better and in actuality have and show more respect to me than to their own mother.

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kkny

I hadnt even thought about prom time. Last year DD and I went shopping all over the county (and the next one) looking for a dress. She finally found one with a friend. This year, she went looking for a dress with a friend from the get go. Right now, DD invited me to "pre-prom" and plans on going to a breakfast at someone's house. I dont think she has told her dad about pre-prom (its at the high school, everyone takes pictures etc.) I will ask her.

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imamommy

I think I might have said no to would you do it again. Not because I don't love my husband or his daughter, but because I wasn't prepared for his daughter's mother to try to control OUR life through her daughter. I think a lot of step parents that that wouldn't do it again, feel that way because of problems they've had with interference with BM. Sometimes the child dislikes or treats SM mean because they transfer feelings their mother has. (as in the case of my older sister to my stepmom) and sometimes they just resent the stepmom being in their father's life, taking away some of 'their' attention (as in the case of my younger sister to my stepmom). So, while I know that stepkids don't always act that way just because of the mom's feelings, it's pretty obvious when the stepkid makes comments like "my mom said ____" or "my mom thinks _____" and in the case of my step daughter, her mom openly complains about me doing things with her (like baking or shopping) and then stepdaughter refuses to do those things. It's only an assumption, but it is probably because she is afraid her mom will be upset with her for liking me. I had a bitter mom so I know what gets said to some of these stepkids and the conflicting feelings they have about wanting to please their parent. Sometimes pleasing the parent is more important than the feelings of the step parent. That's a terrible place for a mother to put her child in... again, not always the mom's fault, but when the mom does that, she should be ashamed for it.

and if mom's are so worried about their standard of living going down and dad's going up, why not let dad have custody so mom can work and let dad worry about childcare, school projects, homework, doctor visits, etc.??? Dad's are capable of doing those things with their children but many mom's out there think that because they are mom, that they must be the better parent. That's not true and if you want to whine about taking on the responsibility, then give it to the dad. and not all dad's with custody (in your 10%, which I personally think is higher today than when that statistic was made) well, not all of them are married and having a SM take care of their children. My ex brother in law has his son and isn't married. I don't think SM's are necessarily resentful because dad makes them do their job, I think I'm more resentful that BM doesn't do hers. Her only job right now is to be on time for her visits on Friday and I can't even count on that. We've given up that she'll help her daughter with homework over the weekend (which rarely happens but when it does, we end up doing it on Sunday night). When BM starts to do what she's supposed to and stop trying to make our life (and raising her daughter) more difficult for us, then I won't have a reason to be resentful.

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sieryn

"I don't think SM's are necessarily resentful because dad makes them do their job, I think I'm more resentful that BM doesn't do hers. Her only job right now is to be on time for her visits on Friday and I can't even count on that."

x2

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finedreams

DD shopped for a prom dress and shoes with my mom. I was very busy finishing graduate school and having crazy time at work. They bought a beatiful dress on huge sale. On many ocassions in my life i was too busy to do something or simply could not afford something and other family members did stuff for DD or with DD. So? Do they resent me for that or want to be honored as moms? No.

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finedreams

from your post:
"and if mom's are so worried about their standard of living going down and dad's going up, why not let dad have custody so mom can work and let dad worry about childcare, school projects, homework, doctor visits, etc.??? Dad's are capable of doing those things with their children but many mom's out there think that because they are mom, that they must be the better parent. That's not true and if you want to whine about taking on the responsibility, then give it to the dad. "

imamomy Biomoms do work AND take care of homework, doctors visits, school etc. Also BMs do not whine that they take care of their children. I do not whine that I take care of DD. They are our children we are supposed to take care of them. SMs are the ones who whine (and sometimes rightfully so) because they have to do all that for the stepkids.

You contradict yourself. You don't like the fact that BM gave responsibility to your DH and yet you suggest moms should give a responsibility to dads. Hmmm

I wonder if BMs complain about SMs doing everything with kids because BMs would prefer dad does it, not dad's wives.
I have nothinf against DD's SM or XSM but if every time she was at dad, dad would not do much and delegate to his wife, maybe I would have a problem with that too.

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imamommy

"You contradict yourself. You don't like the fact that BM gave responsibility to your DH and yet you suggest moms should give a responsibility to dads. Hmmm"

I don't complain about the fact that BM gave responsibility to DH. I complain about the fact that DH spent six months and almost $10k in legal fees trying to get custody (or at least an order giving him 50/50, but he did ask to have SD live with us and BM fought it for six months) and my complaint is that three weeks later, she moves away and THEN tells us, signs over custody without any warning to her DD and then complains that I am doing 'mom' things for her daughter when SHE is the one that made that decision. She knew if she left, I would be doing some of those things and if she thinks that DH was going to do things like helping at school or taking care of their DD after school, when she's known that he's worked the same place for 20 years and isn't going to quit his job or change jobs because SHE moved away, then she's a nut.

If she doesn't want dad's wife to do her job, she shouldn't have moved away. Like I said, she wants to control what we do in OUR home and THAT is where the problem is, not because SD and I don't get along. (although that has something to do with a lot of the problems SD & I do have, but I don't blame SD for it because I know she loves her mom and is trying to make her mom feel better)

and that comment about BM whining, is directed at BM's that whine they have a lower standard of living and dad's standard goes up. It's common sense that whoever takes the child is going to probably have it harder because of the responsibility. If you don't want that responsibility, then give custody to the other parent. I was a working single parent so I do know how hard it is.

and if your ex delegated taking care of your DD to his wife, that's HIS choice and if the wife whined about it, she should whine to HIM. That has nothing to do with YOU. My only complaint about BM is that she doesn't do what she is supposed to, when she is supposed to and then she complains about all that I do. If she doesn't like it, she can move back and resume 50/50 and I'd be more than happy to back off and let her be "mom". She isn't here and I am. If she isn't going to do it, she needs to suck it up that I'm doing it and keep her mouth shut. If she lived across town and I was 'overstepping' and trying to do 'her job', then I could see a reason for her to complain, but she chose to leave.

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ceph

"Also BMs do not whine that they take care of their children

Ooh! Ooh!! Pick me! Pick me!!
A__'s BM whines all the time about taking care of him! It's incessant and terribly frustrating. Recall back in February when FDH was out of the country at his father's wedding, and BM's mother decided to take a holiday and BM said "but I'll have to take care of him all by myself for four whole days!"... I'd call that whining about taking care of your child and really wanted to point out that most moms take care of their own kids for weeks or even months on end.
Awhile back, we planned to go out of town for a weekend, and asked BM if we could have him during the week instead (keep in mind that the previous three weekends, we had him from Friday after school until Sunday afternoon) and her reply was "but that means I'd have to give up my whole weekend! Can't you just go for the one night?"

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justnotmartha

"Also BMs do not whine that they take care of their children. I do not whine that I take care of DD. They are our children we are supposed to take care of them. SMs are the ones who whine (and sometimes rightfully so) because they have to do all that for the stepkids."

Fine - are you serious?? I'm sure you must have meant to say YOU don't whine and not make a blanket statement that NO BM whines about caring for her children because they are all doing just what they should and taking care of their kids. After all you have read on this board I'm positive you could not really have meant to say that.

Furthermore, please let me know exaclty when I have whined about all I do for my SD. I have bemoaned the lack of participation on her mother's part, but NEVER have I complained that I am the one to do it. I make the choice to do it - I am not forced to. I do what I do because I love my SD and enjoy sharing those parts of her life with her.

I'm so suprised in you, Fine. Surprised and disapointed.

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wrychoice1

You are such a hoot! I burst out laughing when I read the second line of your recent post.

Who knew a simple question about wedding flowers would spawn such a lengthy debate.

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finedreams

justnomartha,
then maybe immommy should say that BM of her SD whines not that BMs whine (blanket statement). her statement is a blanket statement that BMs complain, don't work and should give the kids to dads. Nothing about her situation.

Every BM I know IRL works, and no one complains.

As she possible maybe meant some BMs then I possibly meant some SMs, certainly not you in particular.

So maybe from now on if SMs don't want to hear blanket statements about them, they should not write blanket statements about BMs but talk about specific people they know.

and ceph, that's specific BM you know who said that, right? It is not like "BMs whine isntead of working and taking care of the kids" right? It is specific BM who said that she does not want to take care of the kid. See the difference?

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finedreams

"That has nothing to do with YOU."

In a way it is. The way my child is treated is a lot to do with me. If my child would come home frustrated that instead of her dad she spent time with his wife or GF. Couple of SMs here described that they are the ones do everything when kids visit, dad often isn't even there. It would certainly upset me if my child goes to dad and he isn't even there and she has to spend time with someone else.

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finedreams

ceph, he lives with his BM, right? and you take him once or twice a week, recently he was only spending one night a week with you. It is not like he lives with you and she never wants him. or you have 50/50 but she is slacking. i bet you that's not how she sees it.

that's what i am talking about. most kids live with moms and go to dads here and there and if mom complains about not willing to sacrifice the weekend then she is blamed for it.

I know your FDH is not Biodad but in most cases there were two of them to make a baby.

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sandieanne

When a parent behaves in a way that harms their child, like causing a problem or scene or throwing a fit over SM or TOW, that upsets the child, the blame still belongs to the parent that should be rising above it for their child's sake. A parent may have justified feelings, but when you are the mom, you are supposed to put your children first, not after YOUR feelings.

That was the last paragraph of the first posting on this thread. I think the intent of this thread was to show that each and every person involved should be rising above the bull that goes on between either bio parents or bio vs step parents. In the long run, it doesn't really matter how a step parent came about- they are there. Feelings are hurt, but the needs of the children must be a priority no matter how hurt a person is. Ultimately, the bio parents should be the first to rise above the games and not allow their negative feelings to effect the children in a negative manner. It is a given that children are preceptive and will see that the feelings are there, but when those overwhelming feelings do spill out - which will happen- it is ok to use that as a learning experience for the child...not a regular way of life for the children.

I think everyone on this site knows or should know that sometimes when we are typing and relating our own experiences. A general statement can be made although the generalization may not be be intentional. We sometimes tend to spill out what we personally experience. I think we all know that each family dynamic is different and nit picking each line of a post will only take away from the positive feedback that can be had on this forum.

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imamommy

finedreams, go back and read what was written by me. It's NOT a 'blanket' statement to all BM's. It's a statement about BM's that want or have full custody and then complain that their standard of living is lower while dad's is higher because he can work more or without the worry of handling day to day care of his children. It's not directed at ALL BM's. Not all BM's complain about it.

and the way your child is treated is a concern to you but what happens in dad's house is not under your control. My SD comes back and complains to her dad that her mom sent her over to the BF's parent's house so they can go out to party and SD is upset over it. My DH doesn't have the control to 'make' BM stay home with their daughter. It may upset you what happens in dad's house but you certainly can't control it. When the BM tries to control dad's house, that is where there are problems. I'd say the same if dad was trying to control BM's house too. and I don't think it matters who is CP or NCP. My husband is CP but he still doesn't try to tell NCP mom what she has to do in her house. and when I said it has nothing to do with you, while it may be upsetting to you, it's really an issue for your ex and his wife to deal with because YOU have no control what they do. I didn't mean you have no right to have feeling about it. The point is that neither parent controls what the other does in their house and when they try to, it causes problems a lot of the time.

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kkny

Ima, you may be right that FD can't control what happens in NCP house, but that doesnt mean it "has nothing to do with her".

Sandi, I think a mom can politely stand up to SM (unless dad's money is backing her, which unfortunately is the case at times).

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finedreams

aren't you concerned that SD dances inappropriatelly, watches wrong TV shows, eats wrong, gains weight etc and both you and DH addressed that even if it is not abuse issue. you even called her BF's X-wife to discuss what's going on there. this was clearly overstepping. and didn't BM tell you: not your business? different story with bruises but many other things were overstepping.

so if DD would come home upset that she does not get to spend time with dad, i would talk to X and maybe revisit visitation arrangements. if he cannot be with her, I'd rather she was with me or other family members. why sending your kid to be babysitted by his wife? what is the point of visits then? luckily it was not an issue.

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sandieanne

I don't think BM has any right to 'stand up' to SM- no matter what the financial situation. BM should be 'standing up' to BF. If BF has no problem with what is happening in his home, then it is not up to BM to make changes in his or SM's home. SM did not marry BM. I believe most if not all communication should be between bio parents unless all parties are able to get along politely. Then the discussion of the kids should be limited as Bio parents are the ones ultimately responsible for the children. If there is a problem, BM should talk with BF. In my situation- as I said- each family dynamic is different- I don't deal with BM and that is a blessing. The lawyers and the counselors ALL believe that the parents need to deal with each other on the issues concerning the children. I believe in most cases- the discussions should happen between the bio parents with few exceptions. If there is a case where it is appropriate for BM to speak with SM, it should be politely. As we all know, when emotions and anger arise, polite usually goes out the window.

My bottom line is, if BM has problems with SM, she needs to address it with BF and BF should discuss with SM. SM should limit being in the middle of the bio parents games. I don't even talk with my SS's BM and she called my work to complain about me. It made no sense...is that a BM standing up to SM? No, that is game playing. The three sentences she has spoken to me have all been mean spirited. Is that standing up to me- no that's game playing. The parents are the parent- they need to deal with each other. I don't like what goes on in my SS's BM's house, but I nor my husband can do anything about it just like BM can't control what happens in our household and shouldn't control my life. If it is a problem that can't be solved by bio parents- there is mediation or the courts to settle the problem.

I still believe it is up to all involved to rise above the game playing, but as noted above, the parents are the primary roles models and at the very least- they need to rise above for the sake of their children.

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dotz_gw

TOS, No my mom cant lobby me to do much of anything since shes dead, but really she couldnt lobby me, say since I was about 4 years old.She called me high strung...No, I am a rock...I have my books and my poetry to protect me.....:)

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ceph

At the time that we asked if we could take him during the week so we could go away for the weekend, he was spending one or two nights a week with us, one or two with his mom and the rest at his Grandma's. So nope, BM didn't have him full-time... In fact, around that same time, A__ went for nearly two weeks without seeing his mom because she picked up a whole bunch of extra shifts so that she could save money to go to Toronto with her BF. And that's great, she SHOULD go on a trip with her BF and I'm glad she was able to make some extra money so that she could go shopping, but I was pretty choked that she totally ignored her kid to do it.

So sure, if BM had him six nights a week and no help from anyone else, she could b1tch and moan... But she doesn't. Until she got mad at her mom about the fighting incident, he was spending a good three nights a week at GM's place, so I don't have much sympathy for her when her own kid spends three nights a week with GM, usually one at Papa's, and one or two at Dad's. That leaves her looking after her own child somewhere between one and three times a week. Boofrickinghoo.
Just to be clear - I don't complain about the amount we have A__. I actually think we should have him more than we do and am happy that we've had him a little more lately. If BF complained about looking after A__ for between one and three nights a week, I'd tell him boofrickinghoo too.

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imamommy

Nobody says you can't be 'concerned' and yes, we have concerns about things going on at BM's house. That is the reason DH won't just hand over custody back to her. If she takes it before a Judge and a Judge agrees with her to give her back custody, that's fine. We'll think the Judge is crazy but DH will comply. But, DH does not call BM and tell her how to or not to dance, he doesn't tell her what to or not to let SD watch on TV or movies, or what to or not to feed SD when she's there. What he has told her when SD got sick from food, that maybe she should be supervised more in the kitchen. BM says "none of your business!" and with bruises, BM says "it didn't happen here" so DH gets nowhere so next time there's a bruise, she can explain to CPS. That is DH's decision, not mine. BM is the one that has called and told DH that he can't refuse to give SD soda with dinner and he can't refuse to let her watch certain shows on TV and I can't take her to karate, and I can't do girl scouts with her and I can't bake cookies with her or take her shopping. BM has NO RIGHT to demand those things because she doesn't "OWN" her daughter. She may think of her as property, but she is a child and DH can decide those things in his house, NOT BM. When BM decides to take SD to taekwondo, she didn't ask him, she TOLD him how much he owes for it. He paid. She didn't ask him to buy her school clothes, she sent her over in ripped up pants and flip flops a week before school started and told him to get her some clothes. When I took her shopping for the clothes (and paid for them), BM got mad.

In general, if a child comes back upset that NCP isn't there and spending time with them, then all the CP can do is offer to rearrange the visitation so he can have the child when he is available. NCP can always refuse to change the arrangements. But, demanding that he not leave the child with his wife or GF and that he must be there is not something a BM can control. That wouldn't be much different than a NCP father saying 'give me custody because you work all week and children are in daycare with strangers and I work from home (or work nights) so I will spend more time with them than you do so I deserve custody.' That wouldn't fly so why should a CP mom be able to tell dad who can or can't watch his children on his time.

I agree that the NCP should be there and I don't think it's right that SD's BM would leave her with other people or make her spend her weekend tagging along to the baseball field where she spends the day on the field coaching her BF's son and SD is alone in the stands or wandering around the snack bar upset that mom is ignoring her. But, BM is making the choice to do that and while we would be happy to keep SD on those days where BM treats her as if she's in the way, SD wants to see her mom. It's up to SD to tell her mom that she feels ignored. DH has told her but BM tells him to mind his own business. If she wants to give up what little time she gets with her child, then that's her choice. But we don't tell her she can't do it. All he's told her is how SD tells him she feels about it.

and I don't understand what you mean by 'stand up to SM'? If SM isn't treating the child right, it's not BM's place to deal with it. In fact, it would probably make matters worse. Dad should be dealing with it and I don't know what his money has to do with it. I'm beginning to think that kkny thinks of a man as just a wallet. Not all dad's have deep pockets to 'control' everything. Would you mind explaining what you mean kkny?

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ceph

About the parent not being there when the child is at their house...
FDH works three different shifts: 7:30am-3:30pm, 9:30am-5:30pm, 3:30pm-12am
Every fifth week he is on call 24-7.
So, obviously, we sometimes have A__ when FDH is at work or gets called in for a few hours.
Back before I was on the scene, he could only have A__ when he wasn't at work, and had to make sure his dad was around the weekends he was on call. But now that I'm here too, it's no problem to have A__ on a school night when FDH works at 7:30, I get A__ up and ready and off to school, then I head to the lab. I've had A__ two nights this week on my own because FDH is on the nights right now, but he gets A__ up and off to school in the morning. When he works until 5:30, he drops A__ off and I pick him up.
When FDH was out of the country for a few weeks and I had A__ a few times, BM realized that I take care of him too and realized that we have a great relationship. Now she is fine with A__ being here even when FDH is not. If it was constant, and FDH hardly ever saw A__ while he was here, I bet she'd (rightfully) have a problem with it, but she realizes that it's just more practical to do it the way we do now.

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finedreams

ceph, when SS is on dad's time, but dad is working and you watch him, it is OK. But then when SS's grandma watches him, it is not OK? When SS is on BM's time it is up to her if she wants grandma to be involved. He is on her time, she has custody and it is her problem who else watches the kid.

Went nearly two weeks without seeing mom, so what? What's the big deal? Two weeks is not "totally ignored". Was he in a foster home or with dad, grandma etc? I went every summer without seeing DD and was it totally ignoring my child? I mean if she would be with strangers in a foster care...How is that perfectly OK for dad not to see kids every day but is soooo wrong for mom not to see them for 2 weeks?

So if you take SS on a long vacation or grandparents take him, would it be OK for mom not to see him for 2 weeks? Or it is ignoring him? It is kind of biased attitude.

Yeah BM watches him only like three days a week but dad watches him even less.

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kkny

Ima, I worked the entire time I was married, albeit part time when DD was very little. I offered to X if he wanted to go to law school, OK by me. As opposed to his little eye candy.

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justnotmartha

D@mn Fine - have a bad day today? You are so missing the big picture to pick apart little things today . . . do you just need a fight to get something out of your system?

Of course there is a difference between A__ going on a trip with a relative for 2 weeks and mom pawning him off so she could work/party/sleep, what ever. You went a summer because DD was visiting her Dad on the other side of the country. A__ isn't visiting a grandma he never sees - he sees her more than mom it sounds! Mom could have gone over to see A__ if even for a few minutes but chose not to - working to make money for a trip with BF was more important. This mom actually complaind that Ceph and dad wouldn't cancel their plans because she wouldn't be able to make any then and have to spend the whole weekend with her son. GOD FORBID! She has custody. She shouldn't be 'watching him', she should be RAISING him. She choses to leave that to grandma, grandpa and the man caring enough to stand in as dad. But you want to pin her up as the poster child for poor, overworked and underhelped moms? Give it up!

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taximomz

ImaMommy, thank you. You have opened my eyes for me...well at least made me realize that I am selfish and I have to change. I have four daughters...they love their dad very much, as well as they step dad. Although they sometimes get angry with him and say his wife is ruining our relationship with our dad and stuff...whenever my girls say, I want my step dad to walk me down when i get married, my husband always says, not hats your fathers priviledge, all i ask for is a dance. But oyu know what? I would LOVE my ex's new wife not to be put on a pedistal...she HAS ruined my childrens relationships with their dad (ex. took away their bedrooms to make a second office and a storage room) anything not to allow them to feel like that with their home. I admit it everyone, I amselfish....I wanna be the brides mom and I don't even want her to get any attention....yet I feel my husband deserves it for raising my girls....BUT I read alot today, and realized that I MUST bite my tongue and agree with whatever my children want. GOD its gonna be hard.....life was so easy before he met her. Thanks for opening my eyes all...

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doodleboo

Tax-

It IS hard to put the kids first sometimes I know. I am in a bit of a different situation though....I'm the step parent of two girls who have a nut for a BM. It has been really really REALLY hard for me at times to think of the girls and hold my tongue. We all need to remember that the most important thing is ALL of us parents, steps and bio, think of the kids that have so much faith in us.

Good luck!!!

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finedreams

lol justnomartha not a bad day, but I am rather annoyed with what i am reading. I know some SMs do have awful BMs in their lives: drugaddicts, criminals, never see the kids (not two weeks, never), or cause scenes in public places, or abuse their children etc They are awful.

But for example ceph never said BM in her life is that horrible. Now all of a sudden when she is about to join SM club, BM in her life turns out to be awful! abandoned the kid! complains, whines etc. what changed? Must we all attack BMs so we are all in the same club?

Com'n what about EOW arrangement. people do not see kids for 2 weeks and nobody is bothered.

Yes, ceph's FDH is not biodad but he chose to act as dad, it is not like BM made him. There are plenty of not biodads out there. My grandfather was not biodad to my mom, but nobody ever knew her biodad, my mom never saw him, nobody ever saw him, and grandpa was the only dad and the only grandpa. So is he "a man who was caring enough to stand in as dad". pardon me, does not sound too good.

So if you are SM (hypothetical you) must you always talk how bad BM is? so if i am BM must i start b..ing about my DDs' SM, how bad she is? Why?

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imamommy

well finedreams, I think you might have missed the point then if that's what you think Ceph or SM's are doing. That may be how you interpret what is said.

I think Ceph is responding to you saying BM's never whine about taking care of their kids and you say you never whined. Neither did I (of course I had nobody to whine to) but the point is, that several months ago, Ceph talked about how BM did whine about keeping her son four days in a row and Ceph has also talked about A__ is being raised in four homes because BM sends him here & there. Yes, it's her right to do that because she has custody. But, she doesn't have a right to complain about Ceph watching him when her FDH is working. I didn't hear Ceph calling BM 'horrible', she was just saying what the situation is. I also see that she says BM doesn't have a problem with Ceph watching A__ because she knows ceph is taking good care of him. But, I have to disagree with ceph that if BM did develop a problem with it, that it would not be 'rightfully so'. The point is that one parent can't control the other parent and what is done in the other parent's house. We can always have our concerns and feeling about it, but unless our child is in danger, we can't 'make' the other parent be there, spend 'quality' time, or otherwise dictate their relationship with the other parent.

I don't think it's the worse thing in the world to not see the kid for 2 weeks. I've complained that BM doesn't see her daughter when she can/should or call her like her daughter would like. I don't tell BM she's terrible for that, I only say it here to vent. I don't care if she never calls her daughter or sees her again. It wouldn't hurt ME. It hurts her daughter and that is what frustrates me. It's very hard to watch a child suffer and not be able to do anything about it. So, while you think I am beating up BM here, I only vent my frustration because I have never told her any of the things I vent about here. Her relationship with her daughter is up to her to make, not me.

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theotherside

"and if mom's are so worried about their standard of living going down and dad's going up, why not let dad have custody so mom can work and let dad worry about childcare, school projects, homework, doctor visits, etc.???"

A major goal of child support, at least in my state, is to EQUALIZE the standards of living so the child has a standard of living as high as that of his wealthier parent. The best living situation for a child has nothing to do with which parent earns more money. You are not more deserving of custody just because you make more money. My children shouldn't have a lower standard of living just because they live with me.

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ceph

No, A__'s BM isn't a horrible mom at all! She can be frustrating, and there are days when I think that she considers A__ more of an interruption to her life than a part of her life. But she loves him and wants what's best for him, and when she has A__ she is a really great mom. This is what I've said about her from day one, so my opinions of her up-and-down parenting style haven't changed now that we're engaged. I've always thought that it was immature/irresponsible of her to ditch A__ at her mom's all the time, and I'm glad she's changed that pattern now. If you were to go back over the months, you'd see plenty of mentions of BM's whining and pawning off A__ when she has something better to do.

If she had EOW custody, and it was the norm for A__ to go two weeks without seeing her, then that would be one thing... But she doesn't have that. She is his ONLY legal parent, so she technically has sole custody and I think she should make an effort to arrange her life so that A__ fits into it. I've arranged my life so that A__ fits into it for Pete's sake and who the h3ll am I?

After BM got over her initial rude and dismissive attitude towards me, she's been quite nice. I can't say she's someone I'd ever want to cultivate a friendship with, but she's pleasant enough and isn't a complete nutbar like many of the other BMs people here deal with. I've said that many times over the months too - things along the lines of "I know A__'s BM is a walk in the park compared to the drug addicted wackos, but yeesh she's driving me nuts this week!"

So yeah, there are days that I think BM should pull up her socks a little, because all this pawning him off on whoever can provide food and shelter isn't good for A__. IMO, he should be with her 3-4 nights a week, with us 2-3 nights a week and GM or Papa maybe once a week. Now that she's mad at her mom over the fistfighting stuff, that system seems to be coming into effect and I'm happy.
I've never once said that she should have him all the time, or that she should have him more because WE don't want him. I have said that she (and we) should have him more because shuffling off to GM's (where he isn't required to bathe, or do homework, or mind his Ps&Qs, etc) isn't good for him.

How is it different that sometimes A__ is with us while FDH is working than when he is at GM's while BM is working? Well, we could start with that he is supervised while he is here, fed nutritious food (popcorn is not suitable dinner ar our house), has to bathe and do homework, he is talked with, played with, tucked in at night, and he gets to see his dad at some point. When he is with GM he is pretty much ignored (to quote BM "She'd let him run around with a hatchet if she thought he'd leave her alone while he did it") and has no expectations placed on him (resulting in that he has low expectations of himself). GM's place is overrun with pets, which doesn't mix very well with A__'s ADHD and anger troubles. GM doesn't read with him, give him cuddles, or tuck him in at night and gets angry with him if he has nightmares. Besides which, he doesn't see either of his parents when he stays at her place.
And probably most importantly, we WANT him with us! GM usually doesn't want him there.

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finedreams

well I can see now that he is not properly taken care of at grandma's house. it does make a difference. then it certainly is not a wise decision on mom's part.

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justnotmartha

Fine - makes me feel so much better that you are able to say you didn't have the facts and made a bad call. Thanks for that. Glad you didn't have a bad day!

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lonepiper

Fine, I'm also glad that you made JNM feel so much better about making a "bad call."

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finedreams

lol and i am glad that lonepiper is glad that JNM is glad that i am ...and so on...lol

hahah I don't think i made such a bad call though, it is still up to mom if she wants her kids to stay with grandma

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imamommy

"it is still up to mom if she wants her kids to stay with grandma"

Fine, that is the point I was trying to make. If mom, on her time, wants to leave kids with grandma/BF/SF (even if dad doesn't like it) it is HER call. Just as if dad, on his time, wants to leave kids with stepmom/GF on his time (even if mom doesn't like SM/GF) it's HIS call.

We all can have whatever feelings/opinions we want about it (like me thinking BM is wrong to give up her time with SD or that she's ruining her relationship with SD & SD is upset at what she's doing) and those are just my feelings/opinions. She still has the right to do what she wants. She just doesn't have the right to call up dad and tell him he can't leave SD with me or his parents or whoever HE chooses to have watch his child while he can't. She is entitled to her feelings about it but unless the person the child is being left with is a danger to the child in some way, it's nobody else's business. I think it goes both ways without regard to who is CP or NCP... (and who makes more money)

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justnotmartha

do I smell sarcasm, lonepiper?

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hopper_2008

My SD is getting married this year. If she wanted DH and I to sit in the back of the hall for either the reception or the wedding, I wouldn't care.

The thing I find odd is the attitude that SMs (whether they are the other woman or not) should not attend at all. Particularly if there are aunts, uncles, cousins etc who are bringing SOs that the bride or groom might not be particularly close to. That seems like some shoddy etiquette to me.

In my case I was not the other woman. My husband's first wife died of cancer. I, his second wife, met him 3 years after that happened. We have been married for 2 years now, together for almost 8. I am much younger than him, a couple years younger than SD that is getting married.

I offered my SDs to help with our wedding or be involved in the bridal party as they both saw fit, but they refused. SD did not offer me any role in her wedding. That is completely and totally fine with me. Its actually one less project for me to take on right now (I continued to work full time throughout graduate school and I am working on my dissertation now.) But the odd thing about this discussion is no one has discussed where the fathers/husbands fit in.

My husband and I very very very close. We work as partners in a high stress job where we have to worry about each other's emotional and physical safety. I know that if SD ever insisted that he not bring me to her wedding, or asked me to sit anywhere but besides him, he would walk out. He would absolutely and unequivocally refuse to treat me as anything less than 100% his wife and partner. Of course when his daughters want time alone with him, they get it...but on something like a wedding event with his entire family there, there's no way he would ever leave me home or not sit with me even if those were his daughters wishes. "My day, my decision..." is fine to some degree. But my husband would make his own decision that his daughter would absolutely not like. I guarantee you, if the forces of totalitarian fascism rose up and marched across the U.S.A. rounding up resistance leaders and intellectuals, they would have to kill us before separating us into two different camps. If anyone ever thought for a second my husband would or should leave me behind due to his daughter's emotional instabilities or insecurities, that is a thought they should get out of their head quickly.

I know through my husband that we have a very different relationship than him and his first wife because his first wife and I are very very different people. I understand to some degree why SD would be feeling very 'loyal' (for lack of a better word) to her deceased mother on her wedding day. But I met the kids when they were adults (or almost adults) and I have helped them out where and when I can but have no major influence on their lives besides being a pleasant and civil acquaintance (and of course being their father's love and partner.) Just by virtue of my existing they have an obvious point when they say I take time and emotional resources away from them in relation to their father. Of course, but that can't be helped. It takes time and energy to have a spouse (and it would even if their mother hadn't had died.) I know they don't like it, and they wish their dad did not move on particularly before they did after their mother's death, but he did. That was his decision and I believe it was the right one. We have a great relationship and he's happier than he's ever been according to him. Its not something I "caused" or "did to them" so I feel much of my SDs resentment is misguided.

So I guess in summary, no matter what the SDs feel toward me, asking me to stay home or not sit in the family pew would prompt my husband to walk out. And SD would have no one to blame for her misery but herself.

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theotherside

But you are younger than his daughter? No wonder they weren't happy with their father's marriage to you.

I wouldn't want to marry a guy who wouldn't put his children first.

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gigglemonster

I don't think her age has anything to do with Dad not putting his daughters first. Apparently the daughters were already adults when he remarried.

However, I would find it odd and highly inappropriate to refer to them as your SD's or that you are in anyway trying to place yourself in a motherly role to them since they are older than you. Or even if you were a couple years older -- I'd still find it extremely odd.

I know technically they are step-daughters to you, but I'd hesitate to refer to them that way. I'd find it offensive, imo. Not sure why I'm still trying to work that out, I would definitely have some jokes about it if it was someone I could joke with. But I'd definitely hesitate to try and place yourself in that role with them.

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kathline

"I guarantee you, if the forces of totalitarian fascism rose up and marched across the U.S.A. rounding up resistance leaders and intellectuals, they would have to kill us before separating us into two different camps. "

Em... Huh?

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kkny

Hopper, if it seems like "shoddy etiquette" to you to expect a woman who was involved with dad while he was still married, I would remind you that part of the wedding is promising to be true -- it is a little incongruous to see dad and TOW there.

And I agree, I wouldnt push the SM title in your situation -- you clearly indicate that there has been no mothering. You are Dads wife. That isnt meant to be degrotary -- just a statement of fact.

I tend to think there is less fighting over pews when mom is deceased. When mom is still alive, there may very well be more than one family people.

It sounds like you dont want much involvment in the wedding, just to be seated with Dad. I assume he and his DD have discussed whether he will give her away -- some people dont prefer that.

I think that many times there is some arrogance that comes with youth. I dont think it is too hard to get a man 25 years older to fall head over heals.

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hopper_2008

"I guarantee you, if the forces of totalitarian fascism rose up and marched across the U.S.A. rounding up resistance leaders and intellectuals, they would have to kill us before separating us into two different camps. "

Em... Huh?

Ha! That's a joke...sort of. Its probably not funny though to Europeans who may have actually had that experience in their families. My grandmother's father was a Communist resistance leader along with his wife in Nazi Germany and he was rounded up while out of the house and they never got to say goodbye to each other, so I shouldn't use it as a "light" illustrative example. It was also 70 years ago though.

I only referred to her as SD above for the sake of convenience. She is typically my "husband's daughter" in my normal conversational vernacular, it was solely for clarity I used the term SD. His children were all adults when we met, although his youngest daughter was in her last year of college and moved into our home after. She moved out about 2 years ago, but for a while I did end up in a pseudo-motherly role which was odd. I cooked for her, and bought her a car and insurance and some other things. No one seemed to have a problem with that arrangement though. I had the resources; my husband was still paying off college tuition and other bills whereas I was doing well and came into the relationship with a solid income stream and savings for down payments. So while I didn't do any "emotional" type mothering (it was more a friendship type thing) I did some of the heavily family lifting for a while.

Its funny because I look even younger than I am. I'm constantly getting carded when ordering a glass of wine or beer. But because I started school early, skipped a couple grades and did college credits in high school, I had the advantage of having a college degree at 19. Plus I was on heavy academic scholarships, even for my M.A. so I was never saddled with debt. I had interned with my current employer and got in as a full time staffer at 17. So basically I have many years of seniority and experience (and of course the corresponding wage increases) so in that sense I was very lucky. Now that the economy has turned bad people in my age group are typically worried about losing their jobs, but I don't have to be concerned with that. I escaped the infirmity that is youth so to speak.

I'm a stepchild as well. I could never imagine asking my mother to not sit with my stepfather or leave my stepfather at home for my wedding out of loyalty to my bio father. I find that shocking. Nor would I ask her to sit in the front pew without her husband! (We didn't arrange any seating at our wedding anyway, everyone just seated themselves.)

I would understand the SDs resentment to some degree I guess if I fit some "gold digger" stereotype (god, how I hate that word) but I don't. Yes, I'm younger than they are. Yes it has to be jarring to have your father marry someone that is younger than you. They are also very upset that we are closer than he was to their mother. But we are all adults and we all have the right to be with whom we see fit. In fact that isn't anyone, including in-laws, former in-laws, extended family, friends and professional associates who are anything but supportive of our relationship, because they know us and they absolutely know we are better together despite the pitfalls. But honestly, I couldn't be married to man that kowtowed to the lowest form emotional manipulation. This is how it is, you can help who you love, so here we are. When his daughter's make a big deal of it, he walks away. He, nor I, are going to play mind games with adults. He would never tolerate his children dictating the terms of his first marriage, and he won't tolerate them dictating the terms of ours. Its not about "who comes first." That game is silly and self defeating. There are a lot bigger things in this world to deal with than your feelings about someone's relationship. In fact many times when he has walked away from them over an issue that in the grand scheme of things is fairly petty (i.e. bad holiday scheduling, old wedding pictures from his first wife he put away) he has done it not out of anger, but out of disappointment. He doesn't tell his daughter's that, for it would hurt them but he tells me. I find it sad as well.

Losing your husband while he is out getting bread and radio batteries for the war refugees you have hiding in the attic, that's big stuff. Snarking over your husband's wife's seating at your 6 hour wedding event? Puh-lease. My husband and I can easily choose to absent ourselves from that without a twinge of guilt.

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theotherside

Why is it important to you to point out, more than once as a matter of fact, that you are closer to him than he was to his first wife, or that he is happier? And of course they would get upset if he put wedding pictures of their late mother away, after they had presumably been on display for their entire childhoods.

Yes, you most certainly can help who you fall in love with. You don't fall in love with a guy old enough to be your father if you don't start dating him in the first place. The same thing applies to avoiding falling in love with someone else's husband or wife.

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kathline

Although I would question the situation if the kids had all still been at home in their teens, I cant say that the OP and her husband have done anything wrong in dating and marrying. They were both adults at the time, and the kids were all grown up. There was no divorced wife. No one got hurt by their marriage, and they are making each other happy.

Often, marriages with large age differences do not work out because people are at different life stages, but occasionally they do work. Its not my business to comment on someones marriage, when its clear they arent really hurting anyone else.

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hopper_2008

Why is it important to you to point out, more than once as a matter of fact, that you are closer to him than he was to his first wife, or that he is happier? And of course they would get upset if he put wedding pictures of their late mother away, after they had presumably been on display for their entire childhoods.

He is happier than he has ever been in his life (so I've been told, I can't really judge anyone's happiness before I met them.) We are closer than he was to his first wife. It was as was a major strain in their marriage. She wanted to share in his work that he loved so much, he tried to put her on but had to let her go. The kids still have anger about that. To use a weak analogy, if he is the captain, I am his trusty 1st Lt. The kids and his wife were always resentful of the job, it makes the kids even more resentful towards me unfortunately that I am his first consult, not just relationship wise, but professionally as well. And like I said, its high stress, high impact so we are basically together 24 hours a day. And honestly, I enjoy it. I enjoy his company, his insight, even his relaxing friendship when we get that kind of time. The kids though very naturally ask the question, "why her, why not mom?"

As far as the wedding pictures go, my attitude is if I moved into the house you put the down payment on and pay the mortgage for, I'll live with whatever pictures you want to put up. My husband and I decided together to put up our things in our home. He still kept the baby albums and the pictures of his first wedding, but they are put away in boxes. I have some personal things also put away in boxes. It doesn't hurt us. I honestly can't help that it hurts someone else. I understand it. I do. But I can't help it.

Oh, and we never "dated." We worked on a project together and were immediately joined at the hip. There was never really a question of where our relationship was going. It was obvious in the first few days.

Hope this clears up your questions, but I doubt it will. I'm sure there's something else I've said that will rub you the wrong way. In any event, I only de-lurked to comment on the lack of agency given to the husbands in this wedding debate. I was curious if anyone had any insight on that besides me.

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theotherside

I am not convinced that the kids aren't being hurt - not as much as they would have been as children/teens (well, I guess they couldn't have been children, because their "SM" would have still been a child herself), but I am bothered by her emphasis on how their marriage is somehow "better" than his marriage to the children's mother. It shouldn't matter to her - the mother is dead, and poses no threat to her whatsoever. If the kids want the pictures to continue to be displayed, why would the father or his wife object?

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quirk

I don't think there was a "lack of agency" or whatever given to husbands. My response, and i think mom of 4 also, specifically related to my dad being equal to my mom, therefore blah blah. And while from a totally opposite perspective, tos also responded specifically regarding her children's attitudes towards their father, much more importantly than towards his wife. And a couple others distinguished their own feelings vs. their husband's feelings, or that their own and husband's feelings are the same.

Losing your husband while he is out getting bread and radio batteries for the war refugees you have hiding in the attic, that's big stuff. Snarking over your husband's wife's seating at your 6 hour wedding event? Puh-lease. My husband and I can easily choose to absent ourselves from that without a twinge of guilt. Or, if you and your husband are really as close as you say you are, you could just as easily encourage him to attend his daughter's wedding without you as a way to try to preserve his relationship with his children with no harm to his relationship to you. Yes, it would be hurtful to be specifically excluded (think i discussed that hypothetical up there somewhere) but once that happened, how would it be more hurtful if he went (with your blessing)? So why not encourage him to do so, with the intent of attempting to salvage his relationship with his child?

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dotz_gw

Hopper, Totally see where you are coming from on this one, the original point was where do dads opinions or wishes fit in...Agree your age difference has nothing to do with the post(wish it wasnt mentioned, as you may be getting skewed perspective)Quirk, I think she said her husband would walk out or not go if Hopper wasnt welcome, I dont know if encouraging him to go would work if his mind is made up...For my SSs wedding, I suggested to my DH, maybe I should stay home, I wouldnt want to cheat him out of the day, he wouldnt hear of that either..I agree with your statement Hopper, even if you ve done nothing negative to the SKs, just your existence bothers them...Loyalty to mom, yes....

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finedreams

My DD was embarassed to say that dad's new future wife (by the way TOW and pregnant already) is 27 (DD is 20). Not like future SM is that much younger than my X, but it is funny because DD is already 20.

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kkny

I think it is not only the age but the obsession with showing that she is a better wife, better person that first wife. I hope the SDs doent pick up on this attitude. IMHO, hubris goeth before a fall.

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theotherside

"I think she said her husband would walk out or not go if Hopper wasnt welcome"

I think he SHOULD go, whether or not his wife goes too.

I think the age difference has a huge amount to do with how his children feel about her.

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gigglemonster

I think all of it is tricky. The age difference, if Hopper is pushing "Dad is happier with me than he ever was" line to them.

imo, it takes a certain amount of tact and gracefulness in these situations. It really doesn't do anything to bring any of this up to your husbands children.

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imamommy

If one of my children told me they didn't want my husband (Step dad) at their wedding, well first of all they wouldn't.

My boys are not thrilled with my husband. They don't like him saying ANYTHING. But, my boys know that my husband is now part of the package for them. They were part of my package and my husband also has to deal with their attitudes. They have no reason for the way they feel, other than they could walk on me more easily before I met him. But, they love me and they know that I won't exclude him from anything. They may not like it but they know that is how it is. Just as I would not exclude my kids if my husband didn't want them there. There have been occasions that would have been much smoother if I had not invited my son's to be there, but that isn't an option. They can choose to not come, but they are always invited. Just as there are times it would be easier to not have SD there but she is part of the package too.

My kids were pretty much grown when I met DH. He didn't raise them and they have a cordial relationship because I insist that they treat him with respect and I insist that my husband treat them the same. It's been harder with my boys than my daughter. If the child knows their parent will leave a spouse at home if they throw a fit, then they might just throw a fit. My boys have tested me to see if they can get me to exclude my husband from things. They know I won't. If they want to spend time alone with me, they can & my husband would never have a problem with that. But, if there is a family gathering or event that family goes to, they know I wouldn't leave him home to apease them. Just as someday, when they are in a relationship and if I don't like their choice of partner, I will have to keep quiet when they bring her to an event. I love them and will respect their choice in partners so if they love me, they should do the same. Doesn't mean they have to like or love him, but they should have respect.

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serenity_now_2007

Hopper2008, you do indeed seem rather obsessed with demonstrating your superiority, not only to your husband's first wife and children but, like, in a general sense. And I can read this readily, because if I'm not careful I, too, can verge on the braggy side... I, too, have worked hard and succeeded academically and am very proud of it; I, too, have developed a big vocabulary which I use proudly; I, too, look younger than my age and regularly attract men far older and richer than myself (but have not and would not date them merely because they are older or richer); I, too, have ancestors affected by persecution and ill-treatment of some sort (most people do, somewhere along the line). But NONE of that defines me or 'makes' me better than anyone else, and I'd never trot that stuff out as some kind of testimony to my *character*, lovability, worthiness to be somebody's wife or at somebody's wedding, or 'right' to get my way. Book-smarts, fresh face, "trusty 1st lietenant" hero-worship smacking of a daddy complex, and heroic martyred ancestor notwithstanding, none of that proves a damn thing or entitles you to sit on any step-familial high-horse. Perhaps that's where your young age *does* show (I mean, besides your youthfully unlined face, or whatever.) I absolutely don't judge relationships with a big age difference **in theory**, but in actuality/everyday practice, it's just true that a lack of emotional maturity will show itself. Where it shows up in you is in your apparent delicate pride in being so much better in every conceivable way than your husband's first wife (you're younger, more energetic, smarter, more capable, you "understand" him better and make a better and probably more starry-eyed second-in-command); and in your almost gleeful, giddy pride in your opinion that he would "gladly" and "without a twinge of guilt" drop his daughter like a hot potato on her wedding day to nurse YOUR "insecurity" and "lowest form of manipulation". SAYS YOU. And it says a lot.

EVEN IF you have successfully played "the game of who-comes-first" (which you so deftly make out to be the province solely of SD, knowing full well that such a game takes at least two players) to the point where you have YOURSELF convinced ---and even HIM convinced, at least superficially, at least for now--- of his loyalty falling squarely on your side of a divide, the situation being talked around as "all SD's fault", rest assured he will have lingering feelings and lingering questions. And he will not discuss them with you. Lingering feelings of irreplaceable loss and very-difficult-to-bridge distance and long-lingering guilt over having missed his daughter's wedding because.... because.... [and this is where the questions will come in].... because his daughter had some issues with you being there and perhaps was being immature about it and said you couldn't attend, and instead of you being the one to say "look, it's her wedding, I realize the situation is a bit strained and strange for her, and I understand, so it's not a big deal, go and have a wonderful time", other words (or perhaps just silence evoking doom) made it more than clear to him that it IS a big deal and that if he goes without you, you DO NOT understand. So he cleaves, to YOU, not to SD, seeing that there's no way he can attend his daughter's wedding solo without you hating him for it but he slowly seethes and comes to hate *you* for what he had to miss. Especially when you start getting your first frown lines, or there's an even younger and more "trusty" assistant who "clicks" immediately with him over some project (as you've noted, this can happen in the blink of an eye). As he feels the grip of your control becoming tighter, more inescapable and worst of all more passive-aggressive and denying and deceiving about its own control, he will be actively figuring out how to get his d**k back, along with other things he will come to feel you have taken from him along with the chance to have a close relationship with his daughter that includes here-and-there a moment, or an afternoon, or a life-changing special occasion that should be all about HER without your smug face having to be seated right beside it or else. He will be able to find another young lover/protegee; he will never be able to get back the relationship with his flesh-and-blood and the important moments and decisions that nurture it.

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wrychoice1

Gee Serenity,

Another post that belies your screen name....not to be seen defending anyone else....perhaps this is a post you might have wanted to address to your father's wife?

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kkny

My X met his SO through work. He took her to one family function -- and it became all about her. That was the last. Now, it is dinners with X, DD and his family etc. I dont know -- maybe he is waiting till after his parents pass away etc.

Serenity, you hit the nail on the head. I couldnt understand why someone would have to prove themselves better than a deceased wife -- but insecurity comes to mind.

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serenity_now_2007

Point taken, wrychoice, this one does hit home and I'm having a bad day. I think what gets my dander up about hopper2008's posts is what other people have cited (the apparent arrogance and the striking need to prove herself superior, esp. to the former wife & kids), but perhaps I'm taking it more personally because of my situation. The only other thing I really reacted to that other people hadn't already mentioned as irritating is the projection factor. That is, hopper2008 making it out like SD is the one being childish, unreasonable, immature, insecure and manipulative about this situation. Which may very well be the case, but if hopper2008 isn't in some way, at some level, tugging the other end of the rope, then it's a non-issue. If it's a non-issue, then Hopper2008 would simply make sure her husband knows it's okay for him to go to his daughter's wedding without her (and doesn't stand on any principle or misplaced idealism about unity, loyalty or whatever and create a very difficult situation for DH and SD on her wedding day b/c she can't face the reality that she and SD simply don't get along and pushes it at the wrong time & circumstance.)

I guess I reacted especially much to the projection aspect because my Dad's wife plays that game of telling herself & other people similar things (i.e. "whatever HE wants to do"; "HE's choosing to do such-and-such"). It's crap, don't buy it if you ever hear this sort of thing. No parent except the lowest form would EVER so quickly and unequivocably "choose", "freely", to leave their kid in the lurch, even if said kid was being a brat. These husband/fathers DO NOT WANT TO TURN THEIR BACKS ON THEIR CHILDREN and they DO NOT do so easily. I mean, unless they are scum, in which case I'd have to ask why anyone would want to be with scum like that. These men (or women, when it's women in these situations) may seem like they are "choosing", but they are BACKED AGAINST THE FRIGGIN' WALL and make these apparent "free choices" under tremendous duress of one sort or the other. For example, I know this because my Dad got me a plane ticket to visit him behind my SM's back (via money order) and always calls me when she isn't around; he called NINE TIMES on and around X-mas ---when she was out--- because he felt so guilty about telling me I couldn't come. Because it wasn't what HE wanted. I know for a fact that SM was telling people "he decided" to not have me there, b/c he was so "disappointed" in me, or whatever the H3LL.... Meanwhile, these "independent decisions" of his always seem to benefit SM, for example HER sister and brother-in-law were there at Christmas in my place, and she got some home improvements done (FOR her not BY her, to be sure). My SM isn't fooling anybody! (Well, I can't say that.... she's not fooling ME and several others ---including my Dad--- but maybe she's fooling somebody somewhere.)

In this kind of scenario, if a parent seems to be making a choice to turn their back on their child ---especially on a really important or significant occasion like a wedding that they would otherwise never want to miss--- and their spouse is acting all "my dog ain't in that fight", or more obviously, even GLOATING about the parent's "choice": look closer, ask some more questions. Barring possible reasons such as the most scummy good-for-nothing parent or child on the planet, in most average situations with average people with average issues and flaws, there is more going on than meets the eye. It's more than one person tugging the rope. One way or another, the spouse is also manipulating the situation, or at the very least, is getting a big payoff (emotional, financial, circumstantial, etc.) from just "sitting back" and 'watching" the fight. Saying things in plain English (i.e. "don't go to your daughter's wedding without me or I will be very upset and might divorce you") is only one possible method of getting one's point across. Other methods include:

-The Silent Treatment
-Sexual Freeze-Out
-Generally Being a Stone-Cold B***h Until He Changes the Situation to Your Way
-Acting all Hurt and Crying ("Why Doesn't SD Love Me?!?!") to Play the Victim
-"Forgetting" to Do Something You Promised (such as get groceries to have food in the house) So He Gets the Hint You're Not Pleased About X situation
-"Forgetting" to Give Him His Prescription Medications That You've Made him Dependent On You For So He Gets the Hint... (a favorite tactic of my SM's; actually all of these are)

...and there's probably myriad other sick, twisted ways of controlling a situation that aren't even occuring to me because I'm just not that perverse. (Would have to get in that Stephen King "Misery" headspace to comprehend it more thoroughly.)

Admittedly I have some bitterness about my personal stepfamily dynamics (on one side of the family anyways), but apart from any offense it gives anyone, I hope that at least hopper2008 and perhaps anyone else who feels they relate to her will perceive in my words the effect that her apparent attitude may inspire in an SD in that kind of situation. And to just be careful, as kkny said, about the hubris factor. It's humbling to hear it, but hopefully it puts things in perspective b/c it's never a good idea to go around thinking of oneself as being perpetually in a catbird seat. Not with the way our society and relations between men and women tend to go. Plus I think it's good 'tactical' advice, to be kind of Sun Tzu about it: a strategic choice to 'lose the battle' (over being at the wedding) in order to 'win the war', or at least *appear* the bigger person and pre-empt any feeling DH might develop about being on a leash and starting to resent it. (Men tend to wriggle out of a leash millimeter by millimeter... you don't see it coming, and then poof! They're gone! Or even worse, they stay...) This particular advice isn't meant to be about pleasing the man, or the SD, but covering your own behind and not thinking you're invincible or always going to win.... or even always going to be around! So picture the points I made in my last post but with a bit less 'edge'... and hopefully it's illuminating.

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gigglemonster

I agree with kkny. "Serenity, you hit the nail on the head."

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hopper_2008

Ha ha.
OK. It seems that I have to clarify.
1.) I explain my academic and professional success for the sake of juxtaposing my husband's personal financial situation and mine when I met him. Others had asked if I had taken on a motherly role, and I replied that I had. The way I had taken on a motherly role was via family finances. The way I was able to take on the role of "breadwinner" was via this time line that I laid out. I very plainly said I wasn't better or worse than anyone. I said that I got lucky...very lucky, to have many years of seniority at work and not be saddled with educational debt. In light of those circumstances, I did take on some heavy financial lifting gladly and none of the parties involved reacted negatively to me doing that.
2.) I never said I am better than the first wife. I believe, as I have been told by my husband (who is in a position to make a judgment) that our relationship is better. What the SDs pick up on, obviously not through any fault of my own, is the fact that I have the one thing their mother always wanted. I know they resent me for it. They have told me this in no uncertain terms. But there is no action I can take that will assuage their insecurities. I had it before I ever knew their mother existed. I won't apologize for that.

(In fact there are many things that my husband's first wife was that I will never be according to my husband. She was beautiful. I am not. She was more beautiful at 50 than I will ever be at 30. She was graceful, humanistic, a wonderful hostess and exuded class. I will never be any of those things. When people think of a younger woman marrying an older man, they get a mental image of some pretty blond tart with an air of detached coolness. That's not me. I'm disheveled and frumpy, the continual ugly duckling. And always have my hands in things, I'm always getting dirty and thinking out loud like the socially blind but good hearted absent minded professor. I'm not any worse (or any better for than matter) than the first wife....just wildly different. I was just trying to explain that my husband's children are reacting to this fact. I don't believe he didn't love her. I do believe it just wasn't a good relationship for him, as he himself has told me. They married young and grew apart quickly. It happens. It's not an unbelievable and impossible scenario. In fact I suspect many of you have been in that situation. I am simply relating to the facts as I know them. I guess I'm just confused about how this can be read as me being insecure.)

3.) The issue of my "heroic martyred ancestor" was only told as explanation of a previous statement that a poster thought was odd (see the summary of my character above for further explanation) (Btw: he wasn't a heroic martyr....just one of literally millions in this world who attempt to do the right thing at the price of their own life.) It might seem facetious, but it was illustrative of the fact (and fitting in the bigger context) that my husband would not leave without me by his side in the context of a World War. He certainly isn't going to do it in the context of a family wedding. I know him. I have told him he can go without me. I really don't care. I don't particularly like weddings and can't even say I had a great time at my own. Really. I could care less about flowers and the electric slide. That's not smugness, that is honesty.

4.) I have no daddy complex. Neither my father, nor my stepfather lived lives I would ever aspire to or would ever be satisfied with. Like I said, I consider myself an odd character. Believe me, most of the time the major downsides to that make themselves apparent through self-consciousness and loneliness. In some bizarre twist of fate, I met a man exactly like me and vice versa. We vary slightly in our strengths and weaknesses. I assure you the hero worship, if one wants to term it that, is very much mutual.

The issue of attendance at the wedding is very much between my husband and his daughter. I have given no reason for anyone to plainly dislike me besides the fact of my existence. When it comes to anything emotional like a family dynamic, the LAST thing on earth that I am is controlling. My husband is the LAST man on earth that is easily controlled. I would never even be attracted to a man who is "on a leash." The unfortunate thing is, that the basis for me being disliked in this situation is in things I cannot change and issues that existed long before I came along. The act of requesting someone not bring their life partner to a wedding or run the risk of being accused of abandonment is inherently controlling. That is what my husband is reacting to, not anything I did. I absolutely refuse to bear to the responsibility of the choices of others. The simple fact is, if you ask of someone something that you know they cannot give, you need accept the hurt that comes along with not getting the thing you asked. I learned this a long time ago as a child from my own parents, hence I've know not to ask my husband to change his relationship with his daughter solely on my behalf. He won't give that and I will be hurt. I won't hate him for going to SDs wedding solo. He'll hate himself.

The dictation of the terms in which a family member is allowed to attending your wedding (terms that are different for everyone else no less) is a leash. It is not a leash that I hooked my husband up to. It is a leash, as serenity so astutely points out, that a man will inch by inch wiggle out of.

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