DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: Fifteen years ago, my husband officially left his first wife because he and I were in love. I never thought of myself as a “homewrecker”, especially since at the time, my husband and his ex-wife were separated, even though they were together a lot of the time for the sake of their children. It was a mostly amicable divorce, but to this day, his daughter, who was a teenager when her parents split, looks on me as the evil cause of her parents’ divorce. Their son is more accepting, and I have actually been on good terms with him and his wife since before they were married and moved out of state.
Each year since we’ve been married, the holidays become difficult because my stepdaughter goes out of her way to let me know I am not really part of the family. It still stings me, but it truly hurts my husband and can make our annual Christmas Eve family dinner a trial, rather than a pleasure.
My stepdaughter is now pregnant with her first child, and she claims she can’t be out late for our dinner, on doctor’s orders. So, for the first time her dad won’t get to see her for this special family event. She’ll spend, as she always does, Christmas Day with her mother and her stepfather, who she has absolutely no trouble with apparently, even though they too began dating before the divorce was final.
What can I say to my husband to make him less blue about how this holiday season is going to be for him, especially since he knows I’m why his daughter is still angry after all these years? And even though it has its tense moments, he really looks forward to this tradition, when for a few hours each year, he gets to be altogether with his kids, their spouses, and the grandkids. --- FOREVER THE OTHER WOMAN
DEAR FOREVER THE OTHER WOMAN: It sounds like your stepdaughter has a lot of growing up to do. Hopefully, being a parent herself will help her see things in a more generous light.
Perhaps, if logistics permit, you could suggest your husband pay a visit to his daughter sometime before your dinner on Christmas Eve. That way he’d at least get to see her, and you would have the excuse of needing to be home for preparations.
I hope that things will improve once the newest grandchild arrives, so that next year your family gathering will be a more complete one for everybody’s sake.
Need advice? Please send your questions to Someone Else’s Mom at AskSomeoneElsesMom@gmail.com.