i have a friend who is getting remarried this weekend, and the fiance’s oldest two kids refuse to come. She fully realizes this has nothing to do with her or her relationship. It has to do with his ex refusing to acknowledge them. She has repeatedly discounted the 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.
Her 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. They 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. She likes her ex’s girlfriend. But while she wants his happiness and stability, a small part of her is afraid that him having a successful relationship means the problem was her.
2) Fear the kids will like the step more.
Of course they will. The step doesn’t have the burden of raising functional adults. She doesn’t care if her step son eats crap and plays video games all night. She also doesn’t yell at him for not doing his homework. All that is on her fiancé and his mom. She gets to be the cool aunt.
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. In their mind, 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.
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 she’s not going to make them come to the wedding. Why force someone to come to the happiest day of your life if they won’t be happy?