I’m getting remarried this weekend. (Yay!!) and my fiance’s oldest two kids refuse to come. We fully realize this has nothing to do with us or our relationship. It has to do with his ex refusing to acknowledge us. She has repeatedly discounted our relationship as a sham, a lie and whatever else she can think of. They have been separated for almost 9 years, divorced for almost as long.
My ex on the other hand, while certainly not pleased is silent on the matter. I’m actually pretty proud of his ability to stay quiet about it. We have been divorced for 3 years.
Getting remarried brings up all sorts of feelings and thoughts and fears. Being a highly sensitive person I tend to put my self in the ex’s shoes a lot. And here are the main things I’ve taken away….
1) No matter how healthy you are, it is hard to watch your ex move on.
Let me explain this. I like my ex’s girlfriend. And I would like to think we could be friends if they marry. But while I want his happiness and stability, a small part of me is afraid that him having a successful relationship means the problem was me. I realize this isn’t rational.
The take away? It wasn’t me, it wasn’t him… it was us. Too much crap and not dealt with well. But I’m a healthy adjusted person, so project this in to someone who isn’t, and you can see why my fiance’s ex refuses to see “us”.
2) Fear the kids will like the step more.
Of course they will. The step doesn’t have the burden of raising functional adults. I don’t care if my step son eats crap and plays video games all night. I also don’t yell at him for not doing his homework. All that is on my fiancé and his mom. I get to be the cool aunt. I get to be the one who softens the blow by sneaking him cookies when his dad is hard on him. But the role is reversed with my kids…
The take away? Being a parent is a far greater award than being the cool aunt/ step of an older child. (This doesn’t apply to young kids). Being a parent is heads and shoulders above this. So, like with everything else, it’s a lot harder.
But to a person with a severely damaged ego, the fear is real. They may be the problem that ruined their marriage, and the step may replace them in their kids lives.
So…. what can we do as the step? Nothing and everything.
Reinforce to the kids the role of mom and dad. Be clear what you want to see your role as. I call my step son my red headed step child, but have stated I am in no way his mother. My fiancé has done the same for my kids. We are the people they can come to when going to mom and dad is too hard.
Offer help and advice…. but only when asked. Just like your mother in law, the real parent may not want your input. Your spouse will, but the other parent may not. Accept that. It’s ok.
And in the end. If the bad behavior doesn’t affect you, don’t make it an issue.
In this situation, His kids are adults and I’m not going to make them come to the wedding. But I have told my fiancé that we need to be clear to them that there are no hard feelings.