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Future stepchildren are mean

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#1 User is offline   doubleexposure

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I am not sure how I should be feelilng. My fiancee has been widowed for 2 years and we are planning on getting married in the near future. His children are very mean, swear at me, and the daughter will not allow the grandchildlren to be around me. We are living together and my fiancee has to see his kids and grandchildren by himself, so I miss out on all the fun things with the grandchildren. I do not swear or anything like that and wish my fiancee would talk to his children about this. Iknow he loves me but he is afraid to cause problems with the kids. I know the kids need time but is this normal for a fiancee to go without his wife to visit his kids and grandkids? I want to be understanding but I am really feelling hurt.

#2 User is offline   Etiquette Now

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Dear DoubleExposure,

This is not normal or acceptable. If you two are planning on marrying, you two should be together on everything. He will be teaching his children and grandchildren how to treat people well by standing up for you. It is proper to inform others that you cannot abide intolerable and rude treatment.

However, it is probably best for him to follow his daughter's wishes about visiting his grandchildren for now. I feel that he should inform her of his feeling about it though.

Best wishes,
Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Now

#3 User is offline   doubleexposure

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Thank-you, are you saying that i shouldnt mind him visiting his children and grandchldren alone? You know i think i could understand him visiting his grandchildren, but i guess i feel almost betrayed, when he visits his children, because they treat me so badly.We were actually allowed to see them before, but her and i got in an argument over the way she talks and treats her dad, so now she said i cant see them, so i guess i feel kind of lilke she is punishing me. Her father of course thinks because she is treating him alright now, he shouldnt stir the pot but of course not me. I think this is why i feel betrayed. They didnt even call him on fathers day, but he just ignores it, just to keep harmony in the household i guess I have been brought up so differently, i would never of dreamt talking to my father badly etc., Because her mother has died 2 years ago, should i be trying to let these kind of things go, or should i let my fiancee know how i feel about these things. Like i said before, i dont think i mind him visiting his grandchildren, but when it comes to his children, i think if he just left her alone for awhile, she might come around to see, we are a package deal, i might be wrong, i have never dealt with a death, and want to givea her a chance, but my patience is getting very thin. The one time i was talking on the phone to her, she used the f word, and i said isnt that nice, now you will go to church and everything will be ok, and i told her that i didnt think she shoudl be saying the f word, she said my name and then it isnt the f word its f--k, you know the thing you do with my dad. I was very upset, and sometimes, i get mad at my fiancee because he doesnt stand up for me, but then i dont want him to not be able to visit his grandchildren. Please help me know how i should act.. Thanks so much

#4 User is offline   Etiquette Now

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This really is beyond etiquette advice. This is something you and your fiance need to discuss. The daughter seems to resent his relationship with you. And, your fiance is stuck in the middle. It sounds like you two need to have a long talk and perhaps visit a family therapist.
Rebecca Black, Etiquette Consultant, Etiquette Now

#5 User is offline   Yvonne Kelly

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Ah, life with adult stepchildren.... Everyone somehow expects it to be different, easier, but the reality is these situations are such a challenge for everyone involved. I agree that the completely disrespectful behaviour is unnacceptable, but the way one goes about challenging it will be the determining factor in how relationships continue afterward. Your partner is in a double-bind, you have no control and feel simply like you are a sitting duck and easy target for their anger and resentment about the situation, and his children are finding it very difficult to accept that their Dad can move on with his life so easily (in their eyes)when they are still unable to accept that their mother is gone and things will never be as they were supposed to be.

I would agree that getting some professional counselling with someone who is versed in the issues of step and blended families, particularely adult stepfamilies would be a wise move. You are trying to be sensitive to everyone's feelings and your partner is trying not to offend or ask too much of his children in order to avoid pain and conflict, but until you know the actual right things to do, things will not change and this has the potential of becoming an unbearable situation if it isn't already.

I will recommend an excellent book on the subject that would be good for you to read and then give to your husband. And give it to him in the spirit of "we're all hurting in this situation so let's see what we can learn and begin to understand so we can help each other." The book is "Stepwars - Overcoming the Perils and Making Peace in Adult Stepfamilies." by Grace Gabe, M.D. and Jean Lipman-Blumen, PH.D. I use it all the time in my own work with families and I know you will find it a wonderful resource. You can check out my website for other resources to support you: www.stepinstitute.ca Remember that what you are struggling with and the dynamics you described are perfectly normal in adult stepfamilies. That is not said to excuse all behaviours but to put them into context and to help people see the importance of trying to understand where everyone is coming from.

Remember also to take care of yourself in this situation, and if you decide to work on this and stay the course, make every effort to give to yourself what you aren't getting right now from everyone else, the love and the respect that you deserve. These situations normally take some time to work through, but if you and your partner can eventually arrive at the same page and work together, then it will be a much easier journey and more fulfilling. It begins with you and giving yourself whatever it takes to make you feel strong and at peace. Best of Luck.
Yvonne Kelly, MSW, RSW, Certified Stepfamily Counsellor and Coach, Co-Founder and Director of the Step and Blended Family Institute

#6 User is offline   doubleexposure

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Thank-you so much for your help, like both of you have said, i think maybe we will seek the help of a therapist.

Thanks again

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