BM and DH attending events together?

ulrike1October 23, 2009

What do you ladies think about this? I will be out of town for a seminar for a week. During that time, SD has a performance at her college, which is two hours away from our home and that of BM. BM called and asked if DH would give her a ride. Her DH has another obligation and cannot attend. BM hates to drive and there is no easy other way to get there.

So, presumably my DH and BM will spend pretty much the whole day together, as a couple and with SD. In the past we have gone to SD's college and given BM a ride, but as soon as we get there, BM usually branches out on her own. I am guessing this time she won't. When it is the three or four of us, it works out that she and I do most of the talking because DH is uncomfortable with her (and he and her DH tend to talk more), but it is clear to me that she would prefer the focus be between her and my DH. She (or they) always sit with us at the event.

I'm not asking that DH turn down her request, since it is a rare set of circumstances, but it still feels kind of uncomfortable for me. Would it for you?

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I could handle it, but my Hubby wouldn't be happy about it.
Does your DH even want to go?
And is there even the slightest chance that BM might want to get something started?
Or that SD might still harbor 'Mommy & Daddy back together' dreams?
(Not that your hubby would go for it, but that would be messy...)

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 2:16PM
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are you jealous a bit?

I live far away from X and see him only occassionally. But when i am in hometown, my X loves to have me around-i can tolerate that up to a point only, spending too much time wiht him reminds me why we got divorced LOL.

I do not have any problem going to DD's events with X if i have to, i am not as thrilled as he when that happens but I can handle it.

I don't know if X's wife is jealous of me. Probably not. When X and I are together at the same location we sometimes talk about "old times" like when DD was little. I don't know if his wife feels uncomfortable. She probably does because she attempts to hug and kiss her DH all the time in my presence. LOL we have been divorced for a very long time and feel nothing for each other.

I like his wife and like i said I don't see them that often. If i would have to deal with attending each event wiht my X, i would go crazy. i can only tolerate X that much. LOL i wonder if your DH is the one who wants to attend events with X. men like attention.

On a contrary my SO cannot tolerate presence of his exwife. He hates her guts. I certainly do not feel jealous and don't care if he would attend events with her. She is terrible. maybe if she would be nice i would worry about it. haha But i would like them to have more decent relationship than what they have. I think it is better for Xs to get along.

and since Xwife is apparently married herself i don't think you have anything to worry about. I doubt she is after your DH.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 4:50PM
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Eehh, it doesn't sound like a big deal. She asked for a ride to the event, your DH has other plans so they will hang out for the day, maybe. Things may not develop that way. It doesn't sound like anything to worry about.

On those few occasions when BM and DH deal with each other at that level, I don't really even think about it. In fact, I would say, that BM thinks about it more than I do. Once we both were at a party at SD's home celebrating her work promotion. I had a couple of places I had to go during so I left and came back, left and came back. Both times when I returned she was talking to DH and then drifted away when I came in the room. I almost laughed and wanted to say to her "No worries!" She probably thought she was respecting me, I didn't really care.

No worries for you either. Just enjoy your seminar. Her motives aren't important, and really, neither are her actions. Just your husband's reactions and his motives. It sounds pretty innocent to me. Look at her as what she is, a part of your husband's past showing up for a family event to whom he's giving a ride even if it's for the whole day. No biggie.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 5:29PM
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Thanks for your feedback, gals! Sweeby, my DH is like yours--he is very unhappy about BM asking to go along. He is always so disappointed when she is going to be at an event, because then he can't really enjoy himself. And this is the first one in a long time where he doesn't have me as a "buffer" to take some of BM's attention off of him.

No, I am sure BM doesn't want to get back together with my DH--but she is rather territorial and always likes to make sure everyone knows they were married, the girls are theirs and not mine, etc. etc. DH and I have a private joke about it. Any time we go somewhere with her, we see how long it takes for her to tell people she was his first wife. She always manages to work that into the conversation. And she does what we privately call her "family body language," where she tries to make it just the four of them when we are walking along. Her ideal is that the two of them are walking along heads together, SDs following behind, and me and her DH trailing up the rear. My poor DH does all sorts of desperate maneuvers to avoid letting her do that. But this time he will be on his own.

Am I evil to say I'm glad I don't have to go? Ha!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 7:36PM
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Hi Finedreams, thanks for your response. Good question if I feel jealous. I have discussed that with DH before. In a way it would seem natural, given BM's demeanour towards my husband. And yet, it doesn't feel like jealousy. It feels more like a sense of injustice, if that makes sense. I don't feel threatened at all by BM and never have. Annoyed, yes, ha. It's more like dadgummit how come I have to have this person in my life and getting all grabby with my husband to top it off.

I have a question for you about the "old times" talk with your own former husband. Do you include his wife in the conversation? When I am with my ex and his wife, he is kind of insensitive and will bring up people we knew, things we did with the children, etc., when his wife is right there, without explaining it to her. To me, the polite thing is to give the other person the background they need to understand the conversation. To me that is a prime signal to the new person that you honor and respect their position as the partner of your former partner.

BM does not do this. She frequently tries to engage my DH in a conversation about their life together, the childhood of SDs and so forth as if I am not there. Things like "That reminds me of when Professor Jacobson fell asleep while he was giving the exam..." Or "That's Susie, from tap dance class" (20 years ago). Or "this was a wedding present, I think, maybe from the Doddlemeyers" (whoever they are).

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 7:51PM
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You're right, it truly isn't a big deal. I think I am reacting more to conventional thought than my own beliefs in this matter. I have had people say to me "you mean your husband goes to this or that event with his ex alone?" etc.

And I am probably picking up my DH's discomfort as well. He says it makes him feel helpless when he has to do these things with her. Like the girls are hostages. I always tell him to pretent it is a business client who he doesn't like but pays his company a lot of money.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 7:56PM
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"No, I am sure BM doesn't want to get back together with my DH--but she is rather territorial and always likes to make sure everyone knows they were married, the girls are theirs and not mine, etc. etc."

Well I can say -- she has every right to make it clear the girls are hers. And to make it clear she was married when they were born. I see how much you enjoy putting her down for no reason, which smacks of insecurity to me, when it seems for the most part, she has been cooperative with you and your DH.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 3:16AM
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Nowhere do I see Ulrike putting Ex down..The insecurity seems to lie with Ex, she does sound territorial, and a big pest too. Ulrike, it could be worse..I have a girlfriend who dated a guy who was taking his DD to college with his Ex and wanted to share a hotel room (to save money)LOL Good thing she dumped him over that, or I have a feeling she d be a frequent contributor here...

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 10:17AM
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I actually understand jealousy. Like i said i feel none towards SO's X simply she is hideous person (remember SD's wedding ordeal?) and she did some other awful stuff. But if she would be gorgeous and nice person maybe I would fell jealous.

My SO does feel jealous when i even mention my exhusband. and if i have to spend time with X then SO is upset.

I think it is very normal to acknowledge whose children are they. I don't think his exwife has to act like children are yours, they more certainly are not. It is not being territorial, it is just acknowledging what is real.

i don't think you can erase the past. They have children together and always will. they will have grandchildren together, it will never go away. They were always be "their" children. I think if people have hard time accepting that they should not marry divorced people.

It is OK to feel jealous (hey all of us felt jealousy) but no need to deny reality. I think as long as your DH spends time with X in regards to their children it is fine. If he starts going to the movies wiht her, then i would start worrying. LOL

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 10:59AM
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when SO and his DDs talk about old times when he and their mom were still married it doesn't bother me because I didn't know him then. Your DH and X share the past that you do not share, you can't possibly be included. You didn't know him then. Why worry that somebody from 20 years ago was a tap dancer or whatever, it is their past. You have your own past. No point to worry about it.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 11:12AM
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I don't see anywhere in this post where ulrike put the BM down or insulted her. What are you talking about kkny?

Ulrike, if you trust your DH, which it sounds like you totally do, then you have nothing to worry about.

The BM in my case used to talk to DH about their past together in front of me. This was years ago, long before we got engaged or even lived together. She would say "oh, remember that cruise we went on???" I always found it kind of pathetic. The cruise had nothing to do with SS as it was before he was even born! LOL. Or one time she said something about "remember the time we visited your dad in FL." Again, this was before SS was born.

These things, IMO, seemed to be said for the sole purpose of rubbing it in my face that they had a past together. Well DUH. Everyone has a past with someone else, for the most part, save for the rare childhood/highschool sweetheart type couples. On other occasions, when she would send me nasty emails or voicemails, she'd say "hope you're enjoying my sloppy seconds."

YUCK. She is just crude like that.

I just chalk it up to her insecurities and I think it's the same in your BM's case. She has an issue, even now, after DH and I have been together for nearly SIX YEARS, with me and my presence in his life. This woman actually called me the NIGHT BEFORE MY WEDDING and said SS was going to kill himself because he hated me so much???? Mind you, he was 6 yrs old at the time.

I don't know what world she was living in, but he was super duper excited about our wedding---got really into the wedding plans---loved his tux--and those issues were all his! DH asked him the day of the wedding if he was sad about anything and SS looked at him like he was CRAZY and said "why would I be sad?"

BM is the QUEEN of projecting HER issues and HER feelings onto her son.

ANYWAY--I am rambling--but my point is---in this case, I think your BM is maybe a little odd, doesn't have good boundaries, but I don't think it's anything to be jealous of. I can see why it would bother you, though. Mostly, I'd feel sorry for DH that he has to be in an uncomfortable situation.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 11:17AM
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I think kkny refers to ulrike metioning how BM makes certain kids know they are her kids (not SM's) and that she was married when kids were born. I see it as somewhat putting down. Like there is something wrong with it.

I wish SO's Xwife was territorial in regards to her children so I wouldn't have to explain that i am not their mother (the mother was passed out drunk in a meanwhile). I think this BM is involved and copperative mother, it is OK to feel jealous since she seems to be around a lot, but why putting her down?

lovehadley SS's BM is crazy alcoholic so is my SO's exwife. I don't see how this woman does anything wrong besides wanting both parents to be involved with kids' life.

I think when my SO is jealous because of my exhusband, it is my SO's issues not my exhusband's. I don't blame my ex. So why blame BM? When i feel jealous for no reason it is my issue no one else's.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 11:41AM
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LH, your childs mom may have issues, OPs apparently did not, but for OP to say oh my DH and I bet on when Mom will mention she is the mom or the first wife, yes that is a put down of wife # 1. There is no need to to put down first wife/mom

LH, just because your SKs mom is crude, is no reason to suggest every mom be insulted. But you choose to do so.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 2:45PM
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"LH, just because your SKs mom is crude, is no reason to suggest every mom be insulted. But you choose to do so"

How do I insult moms KKNY?

I try to look at each situation objectively.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 3:14PM
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OP puts down her SKs mom. As in mom wants to make it clear that kids are hers.

Then LH goes on to say "I just chalk it up to her insecurities and I think it's the same in your BM's case:"

Making it clear that kids are moms is not a mark of insecuriy, complaining about is. IMHO.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 3:39PM
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I was referring more to this statement OP made regarding the BM's insecurities.

"She frequently tries to engage my DH in a conversation about their life together, the childhood of SDs and so forth as if I am not there."

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 4:43PM
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I've been a mom for 23 years... I cannot recall ever feeling the need to make it clear to anyone that I was the "MOM". My son had a stepmom. She would make him call her mom. I never made an issue of it. Quietly, to myself, it bothered me a little but why would I visit that on my son? I know I'm his mom and he knows I'm his mom... that's all that matters.

Quite honestly, I can't imagine reminiscing with any of my ex's in front of his new GF or wife. When my mom does that when we have family gatherings at my dad's house, it's rather annoying.. and he doesn't have a wife. She totally sounds like she's reliving those times and it's a little creepy since they have been divorced 25 years. I guess it depends on the story and how it's said... with my mom, when it's like she's mentally going back to when they were sweethearts, it's too weird. When it's a funny story about us kids, that's a little different, but then we also give a little background for those that weren't there... like our husbands/wives & kids. It's just plain rude to act like "it's our secret" past.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 5:07PM
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I would feel uncomfortable with DH and BM going together. Remember they are divorced. He is no longer responsible for her. BM is an adult and should be able to drive herself.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 5:15PM
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I was going to say, as well....I am not just saying this from the point of someone who has a DH with an ex who likes to "rub in" their past. I don't care at all that BM & DH used to be together! I find it almost amusing when BM talks about it---well, when she used to---she doesn't anymore b/c she cannot contact me. But I think it's humorous because I am the woman he married---not her. They were together VERY off and on for 5-6 years, and wow, he never proposed.

The thing is--I would CERTAINLY never point this fact out to BM because a) it's rude and I would not stoop to her level and b)she knows it anyway! I don't need to SAY it.

Anyway---my parents are divorced and my mom is remarried. My dad has a long-term (6+ yrs) serious girlfriend. I am careful about what I say in front of my mom's husband or dad's girlfriend. This is not to say that I NEVER bring up memories from my childhood, but I am CAREFUL about what I say. I don't say things about couples vacations my parents took in front of their respective partners. ETC. It's RUDE. It makes everyone feel awkward.

It's just one of those common courtesy/sense things. IMO.

As far as clarifying whose kids they are, I think it's FINE. But it sounds like the BM in this case is kind of forceful about it. It's one thing to say "oh, I am Susie, the girls' mother, nice to meet you." THAT is to the point and clear. It's another thing IMO to say "Hi, I'm Susie, Dave's first wife, and the girl's mother." That just sounds kind of crazy to me.

I would think it ODD if BM were to introduce herself as "Hi, I am D's ex-girlfriend, SS's mother." who says that???? She would just say "Hi, I'm SS's mother, ____." And my DH would say "Hi, I'm SS's dad, and this is my wife, LH."

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 5:16PM
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Ima, you may have no need to make it clear to anyone that you are the mom, but refresh my memory, is there a regular SM in the picture for any of your kids, where Dad has 50/50? Becuase that sitch is more likely to create mom saying I am the mom.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 5:18PM
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Sometimes I think ya'll just like to agrue.

KKNY "but for OP to say oh my DH and I bet on when Mom will mention she is the mom or the first wife, yes that is a put down of wife # 1. There is no need to to put down first wife/mom "---but OP is not talking to and putting BM down to BM or the daughter, she's saying it to us and repeated a private talk she makes with her husband.

It would be an issue if BM said "I'm the mother and the first wife" and right there SM adds "You know, BM, I don't think there's ever been a time you did not think you just had to repeat that".

What SM and DH talk about in private is not a personal put down to BM in any way that needs to offend BM.

LoveHadley "As far as clarifying whose kids they are, I think it's FINE. But it sounds like the BM in this case is kind of forceful about it. It's one thing to say "oh, I am Susie, the girls' mother, nice to meet you." THAT is to the point and clear. It's another thing IMO to say "Hi, I'm Susie, Dave's first wife, and the girl's mother." That just sounds kind of crazy to me."--- I agree with the first situation and agree it's a bit unnecessary too in your given second.

If daughter is making the intros she most like is doing it proper "This is my mother _____ and her husband ______ and this is my father _______and his wife ______". But somehow I can even imagine some would then be agruing which parent should be intro'd first.

In a casual one time simple passing acquaintance I doubt any of it really matters to who is actually meeting you all unless the meeting is of some meaning like daughter's teacher or the like. You all meet up again and the who is who becomes more important.

If my DS32 and I along with his BD and DH all stood together, nobody would need to clarify. DS32 is the spitting image of BD. And no one would confuse anyone else of ever being any one's daughter other than mine as my daughters look very similar to a mini me.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 5:50PM
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If BM feels the need to assert herself as the skids actual mom, let her. She is their mother and so what? I PREFER for people to know that my skids are NOT my kids!!! I won't ever claim them that way and don't have to. If she spends time talking about old times, then let DH check her as it's really his job. Or just drift away, avoid the situation or look at it as someone looking at the past. Stop sweating. Let other people worry about their marriages, ex's, social standing and so forth. You know who you are. And so does she.
I say again, this is a tempest in a teacup and truly no big deal unless you make it one. Let them go, keep it moving and forget about it.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 6:12PM
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LH, its hard for us to tell how forceful the mom is. But my recollection is OP in earlier posts referred to how she and her DH were raising the SKs and how it is not appropropriate for Dad to make decisions regarding the kids without her input. Maybe I have her confused with someone else. Mayb not. But it seems like the kids mom has been a real mom, and yet not interfered with Dad having 50/50, and been very gracious. Yet still OP complains. A lesson to all moms.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 7:16PM
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DH and I were so lucky, when we were first married, to hear about a family counselor who was an expert in blended families and remarriage. We didn't feel like we had any major problems between us, but with four kids at an age that is supposed to be tricky for blending, we wanted to be sure we were making the best choices to build a solid, loving stepfamily.

This guy was so great! He really helped us figure out things that were good for the kids AND good for our marriage. One of the main points he made over and over again is that a top mistake remarried couples make is trying to judge their family by the standards of first marriages. And one of the topics he talked about was "insecurity" as regards previous spouses of one's spouse.

He pointed out that remarried people have the challenge of having to juggle opposing family needs as regards the protective barrier they build around their connection. And that acknowledging that contraction is vital to a sound marriage.

So, for example, if an old girlfriend of my DH were to consistently behave in an inappropriately intrusive manner, it would be a no brainer to let that friendship die off, not contact her anymore, etc. But with BM, that is not an option (beyond doing things to minimize her intrusion). We do the best we can to keep her at arm's length as a former mate of my DH, but we must (and want to) keep things friendly as regards the girls.

The counselor said that to NOT feel intruded upon by the types of things our BM does would be abnormal. That a close, committed couple would normally not tolerate that kind of thing. So, our task was in part to be able to acknowledge the emotions involved. Mine, that it doesn't feel good to see someone treat your mate as a mate. And DH's, that when someone is an ex and you no longer care for that person in a romantic/bonded way, it feels creepy to have them position themselves as your mate.

That was very helpful. And during the first few years, when BM would barely acknowledge my presence, DH and I always had a "cleansing" ritual after events with her, where we could each express what didn't feel good about the encounter. This brought us closer together every time, so that behaviors from BM that could have had a bad effect actually helped us build trust and solidarity between the two of us.

It also made it easier to be friendly and welcoming to BM when she was with us. And she gradually started dealing with us as a couple and built a relationship with me as well. All of which was very, very good for the kids.

Of course still, if she had her druthers, she would act like she was DH's "date" at kid things. Eeeeuw.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 8:35PM
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Ha, it's beyond me why she feels the need to do that stuff! I would never in a million years run into my ex and his wife at a civic event (without the kids) while they were talking to friends and waltz right up and say "Hi, I'm _____ and _______'s mom." But BM did! We weren't even talking to these people about the SKs, they didn't even know we had kids. So embarassing.

And at school events, we used to joke that I should wear a nametag that said "Not _______ and ________'s Mom" so BM wouldn't have to be so vigilant.

I think the fact that BM and I do have a good relationship is in part because I would bend over backwards to be sure she was acknowledged at school things, even if I was the participating parent (our kids all went to the same school, had some of the same friends, etc.). But if DH was there, she would always try to arrange it so that the two of them were with the kids. So much so that the SKs themselves would get a little skeeved out about it.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 8:44PM
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Yes, the "secret past" thing--rude in general, and especially rude in this situation!

I just don't get it. I mean, I like my ex, he is a nice man, but the last thing I would want to do is position myself as being in a romantic or nostalgic relationship with him. It would seem like doing that with my dad or something. Ha.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 8:49PM
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I believe some people feel the need to hold onto a 'position' and maybe a little jealous or insecure (or a lot!) when they get divorced and when their kids have a step parent. It's like they have formed their identity around being the wife & mother... perhaps THAT is a reason it becomes so important to share it. I think that's more true if the husband/family had status. Or maybe it's just plain jealousy or insecurity because the new wife is younger or prettier or smarter??? who knows???

Why would a secure parent care if anyone mistakes another person for the child's parent? Why would a secure parent worry that the child is going to 'like' or think another person (step) is 'more fun' than they are? Is parenting a competitive sport now? Do we win if our kids only acknowledge that WE are the parent, WE are more fun, WE are liked more? Is that what it's about?

kkny, once again... let me say that #1~ My kids are now grown. There is no shared custody anymore. (and I have a different perspective now that the kids are grown than I did when they were young... I see that much of the bickering over petty things don't make much difference in the long run. #2~ Yes, my son lived between my house and his fathers for several years.. much more than you can say about YOUR "sitch". #3~ My son did have a stepmom that did act like SHE was his mom. While it did annoy me, I did not let it be an issue because I know he's my son. He's almost 23 years old now and we have an excellent relationship now. Where she is, who knows? Actions speak louder than words and her words meant nothing then because I was in his life BEING his mom.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 9:10PM
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Ima, some SMs overstep, as in saying they have as much right as dad to make decisions such as relgion of the kids. When SMs overstep, mom (and in this case, an apparently responsible and reasonable mom) may make certain all knows who she is.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 7:29AM
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WOW! Ulrike I think i will just comment on YOUR original post and subsequent posts... I think somewhere along the line some other discussions/situations kinda hi-jacked your original post..... and question.

From reading your post and your responses on this thread - I don't think I would feel uncomfortable. It seems from reading your post about the counseling between you and your DH that your guys are commicating well about the blended family you guys are a part of. That is a good thing! You all seem to have a good working relationship with BM and her DH. Which is a really, really, really good thing. You all are cordial and have been able to tolerate each other in a positive way.

You all have rode together to events for your SD on other occaisions and I wouldn't think it would be an issue now. I understand your DH may not feel comfortable with the situation but the BM may feel all that comfortable as well. I know they have past history and children and that may be the reason why it raises a question for you.

But i would just continue to do what you and your DH do - communicate about it and do what you feel is best for you both. Heck if DH feels too uncomfortable with the situation he is under no obligation to allow her to ride with him... and he can refuse and just not have to deal with the situation at all.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 10:07AM
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I sure understand where you're coming from, as a mom. I think having a stepmother in your children's lives is one of those many "sharing" moments people face as families morph and shift. And people handle those in different ways. Who hasn't been to a wedding where the mother of the groom wept copiously, obviously distraught about losing her "little boy" to a "usurper"? Versus those where the mother of the groom seemed happy to be gaining a daughter?

Stepfamilies are the same. Some people are more "wired" than others to have their children bond with others. Some people are into "it takes a village," while others are more like Norman Bates' mother in Psycho. (Well, maybe that's an extreme example, but we've all seen very possessive parents, I'm sure.)

I know if my ex and his wife had insisted that my kids call her "Mom," it would have been upsetting. However, my kids DO call her "Mom" sometimes, because that's what her kids (their steps) call her, and that isn't upsetting to me at all--I think it's sweet. She brings a very different set of experiences and outlooks to their lives, and there are certain areas with both my kids where she is the parent who is a better match.

Bottom line, it's not a competition. Having someone love and care for your children is a blessing.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 12:31PM
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Thanks so much for your response! I appreciate your thumbs up about the way we have handled these things in the past. I won't pretend it has been an emotional piece of cake all the time, but looking back I think it has been good for the kids, and so, good for DH and me.

Mulling it over, the thing that distresses me is that in the back of my mind I was probably thinking that once the kids were in college, BM would be in our lives less. I just didn't picture her and DH attending things as a couple like this. (I was about to edit out the phrase "as a couple," but no, that really is to an extent what the arrangement is, isn't it.)

There have been times in the past where people have been confused about who I am because they met DH and BM at events and didn't realize they weren't married. My task is to put that in perspective--what does it matter what those people think? And BM behaving in a spouse-ish way towards my DH doesn't have any REAL impact on our marriage. It is any empty symbol.

I'm just nervous about the thing tomorrow because I know DH is sad his good time will be marred by having BM along, and he will want sympathy for that, but I will want sympathy too, ha!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 12:44PM
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I understand where you are coming from....... no matter their past history - He is your husband and of course things that cause an issue for him will cause one for you as well........ simply because you are connected to him as his wife. I am sure it would be the same it if were the other way around on some level.

His interaction with the kids and by default BM will always be there as well, as even though they are in college they will also have other events in their lives where He and BM will be involved as their parents.... i.e. weddings, events, births, etc........ That is just the "beauty" of being a part of a blended family.

I would keep your attitude about her actions when you are around and not read into them to much.... It is an empty symbol in the grand scheme of things. She is the kids mother and you are your husband's wife. What happened in the past is just that - the past. If she feels the need to bring it up - fine. It doesn't change what is the present - which is your marriage to DH. As you commented - and it is true - it has no real impact on your marriage at all - unless you choose to let it. So let it just roll on off down you back so to speak - i wouldn't think it was that important to let her get you upset over.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 1:30PM
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Thanks for the pep talk, Imagr8! I think we women just overthink things. I also have a very active imagination, so I can just imagine how BM will be acting tomorrow, which doesn't feel good.

Two years ago, BM, DH and I attended the freshman orientation for SD, and even though we would presumably never see those other parents again, BM would have these conversations with them where you truly would never guess she and DH had been divorced for years. She would say "We do this" and "we do that" even if it is something the kids do at my house. Surreal.

All right, I am heading out to the social cocktail hour, where I would much rather be than hanging with BM. Rolling off my back just as you ordered.......

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 7:46PM
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You attended SDs college orientation? I havent heard one bit of appreciation for mom volunatarily including you on anything. It just sounds like unless everything goes exactly your way, you dump on her. I dont recall meeting any step parents at my Ds orientation. Many kids only had one parent, as the parents couldnt leave other kids home.

Is SD going to school locally?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 10:49PM
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if kids do something at mom's house and something at dad's house it is very appropriate to say 'we do this or that". my X often refers to "we" meaning me and him when he discusses our expectations of DD. Of course she says "we do", should she say 'we and SM do" LOL that would be silly.

I also think that if you felt a need to be at orientation (which is by itself OK just unclear why? you don't trust DH?) then you should not complain that mom and dad acted as parents, as "we", because they are. If you want to be present at events that are meant for parents then you should maintain boundaries.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 11:35AM
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Some interesting things have been said. My father visited a few years ago while my mother was visiting. Sheer coincidence. It was the holiday season. I asked them if they wanted to join my DD and I at a holiday festival that we were planning to attend. They agreed. And they were a "couple" so to speak...(a couple of grandparents, at least) while we were there. It was wonderful for me to have my parents there. While it would have been fine to have my SM there too, it was really really nice just to have my parents.

My SM was not only invited to my high school graduation but invited on stage with my parents (per my request). She didn't thank my mom, nor did anyone expect her to. It wasn't my mom who allowed it. It was me. If the kids are comfortable with it, that's what matters.

"...I believe some people feel the need to hold onto a 'position' and maybe a little jealous or insecure (or a lot!) when they get divorced and when their kids have a step parent...Why would a secure parent care if anyone mistakes another person for the child's parent? Why would a secure parent worry that the child is going to 'like' or think another person (step) is 'more fun' than they are? Is parenting a competitive sport now?..."

Well said, Ima. The kids know what the relationships are. We know what the relationships are. Who cares what everyone else thinks? As someone said "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind".

And Ulrike, if it's any consolation, that "couple" time that was spent with my mom only reinforced to my dad just how annoying she is and how grateful he was to be married to my SM. And yes, he told me that. And although I love my mom I could understand why he said that, and why they weren't together, and how my SM is a better fit for him now in his life.

Kids need as many people who love them in their lives as much as possible. I think it's great your skid will get to have both of her parents there for her. Hopefully they can both remember that the reason they are there is to support her...not be self-serving, self-congratulatory or self-absorbed.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 11:53AM
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I think if one is in a situation where one is generally included and treated fairly (or more than fairly) as OP, it behoves one to be gracious.

And yes, FD, I see unnecessary territoraily here.

Silver, for your dad to badmouth your mom as to how annoying she is is not nice. I dont badmouth my X to my D -- there is no need to. I'ld rather take the high road.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 12:46PM
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KKNY, I'm in my 30's. They've been divorced nearly 30 years. My parents talk to me as if I'm an adult. Both of them. I prefer honesty to some self-aggrandizing spiel of taking the high road.

Parents are people. I believe in being honest with kids, especially when they are adults. He didn't say "OMG, your mother annoyed me so bad! I'm glad I divorced that ______". It came up in conversation, and he did it tastefully. He never badmouthed my mother when I was a child. I appreciate his honesty, and it works for our family.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 12:53PM
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Silver, I am in a similar situation now. I'm 29 and my parents have been divorced since I was 18.

They both treat me as an adult--because I am! I am married with a family of my own. I know why they got divorced and I know they are BOTH happier. It doesn't bother me in the least when they are honest. My mom has told me that she felt unappreciated by my dad, that he wasn't afectionate, etc. As an adult now, I can sympathize/emapthize with how that marriage must have been hard for her. My dad has told me how got to a point where my mom's alcoholism was too much and he felt he needed, for his own sanity, as well as mine and my brother's, to get out! That is okay too--I understand.

They are both different people apart and even though they were married for 23 yrs, I think they are both better off. I like that they treat me as an adult and respect me/trust me enough to relay their own experiences.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 1:53PM
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I must say I am perplexed by some of the later comments that imply that the children are some kind of possessions or chattel! And, that seem to have the bias that only the mother has any rights to the children--the father being, what, the sperm donor? I guess I should back up and not assume that all posters are from the U.S. or Canada? I know in some countries, children are indeed considered that way.

Of course I would be at the orientation--why on earth not? I have been a full participant in the raising of the children, am paying a chunk of their tuition, will be expected to help them with projects, and they live in my house half of the time. Fortunately, at the orientation, no one was swabbing mouths for DNA proof.....

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 2:10PM
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I never said only the mother had rights, of course fathers do. Stepparents have very limited rights. And although no one has tried to stop you from participating, you seem to think you are entitled to it. You talk about MY house, MY this, isnt is also DHs?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 2:18PM
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Ulrike, upon re-reading your posts, something hit home. My mother would subliminally (meaning it is my perception that she is doing it unconsciously) refer to things that would exclude SM when speaking with my dad. I used to think it was funny to watch SM squirm while they talked intellectual mumbo-jumbo that they are both interested in, while SM is just not that cerebral, LOL. But then I realized it was just rude. Just as rude as going out somewhere with a friend, and their friend, and then talking the entire time about the time the two of you went to band camp. "Remember the piano player! OMG. And then you said... and then I said... LOLOLOLOLOLO". And the other friend is just sitting there. Just rude. No matter who does it, and no matter when. I don't care if my mother was married to my father first, or that she is my mother.

Being the child of someone is just as important as being the parent of someone. And if either of my parents used their "status" as my parent to deliberately make another person feel bad or insecure I would be ashamed. Just as I would if my daughter made that distinction when inappropriate.

The thing is, usually a person can work intricate family relationships into the situation without making anyone uncomfortable. Who the heck cares if some person at some function knows you were married or not when your child was born?! Why is it any of their business?! That's posturing, it's one-upmanship and it's not what Emily Post would advocate. The maven of good manners always stressed that it is not the fork we select but how we make others feel at ease that demonstrates good behavior.

In this day and age, divorce is extremely common. I believe most people would understand that your Skids have a split family and think nothing of it.

Your DH needs to grow a spine, and when she tries to walk with him AT THE EXCLUSION OF YOU he needs to gently reach back, grab your hand, and pull you to his side. And then continue his conversation with the mother of his child as respectfully as he can. No more joking about her body language. Perhaps you should get it in there first. When you go somewhere, introduce her before she gets a chance. Respectfully say, 'Hi, I'm Ulrike, and this is my DH, John, and this is SD's mother Patricia.' Let her know that you know her "position" as "baby incubator extraordinaire" and you would never try to take that from her. Not that you could!!!!! LOL. I am my daughter's bio mother, but I know that position is not exactly gilded on the shelf. Your relationship is what you make of it. Donating some sperm or an egg does not make you Saint Bio-Parent.

Children are smart. They know who their parents are. And they know who cares about them and who enables their family dynamic and who is tearing it apart. Stand tall, be strong, and keep your cool. Believe me, as the daughter of a SM, a BM and a father, I know where my chips lie and the older I get the clearer the situation becomes.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 2:38PM
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"'Hi, I'm Ulrike, and this is my DH, John, and this is SD's mother Patricia.'

I think this is good advice. If upsets SM when mom states the facts, get it out in a way that doesnt upset SM.

I've got the other side of this, my DD says X is always going down memory lane with her in front of his SO.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 3:35PM
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Great Post Silversword.......... Great Advice.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 3:53PM
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I think you're funny KKNY. IMO, it's not that SM Ulrike is upset when BM states the "fact" that she is the BM of the child in question. This issue is BM constantly barges into conversations with that "fact" (that really I think very few people will actually care about hearing) and it's annoying and disruptive. Get it out in a way that causes the least embarrassment and drama, for everyone involved.

My suggestion of preempting BM's birth announcement, if you will, was simply to show BM that SM understands her need to be acknowledged and is comfortable doing so, and this takes control of the situation in a respectful manner and does not embarrass anyone, such as:

1. BM, because I'm sure those who have had conversations interrupted to hear from which birth canal SD REALLY came from did not think very highly of BM and her social skills.

2. Those semi-strangers in a public place who just had to witness some dirty family laundry being aired.

3. Bio-dad, because you know he was getting some sympathetic looks.

4. SM, for obvious reasons.

5. And last, and most important, Skid. How humiliating.

Nip it in the bud. Take a cue card from Dave Letterman and tell the world before someone has a chance to try to use it against you. The truth will set you free.

KKNY, I think that going down memory lane with children is different. I'll ask my DD if she remembers something that she and her dad and I did together. That's normal. Kids shouldn't have to give up their history. But there is no competition there, or shouldn't be any competition between children and adults for memories. I don't think that's rude at all, unless he's talking about really personal things about you with his DD in front of his SO, which would be inappropriate for a father to talk about with his daughter anyway. My dad talks to me about his ex-girlfriends in front of his current wife. And he tends to go a little more in detail than his wife would like, simply because he's not that bright where women's feelings are concerned. I take it upon myself to either say something funny and derogatory about the woman (I know, she played a mean guitar, but her hairdo looked like a tornado hit!) and that usually gets us back on track. It's not just what you say, it's how you say it. And no matter how much I don't like my SM, I will not allow her to be made unnecessarily uncomfortable (by that, I mean through no fault of her own) in my presence. It's just wrong.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 3:53PM
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SS, it might be that OP is sooooo involved with SD, that mom is pushing back. This woman thinks she is the equal of any parent, entitled to her opinion on the childs religion etc.

As to my X, Apparently he talks about the "good old days" which to him were before we had kids. Which irks me he would say that in front of DD.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 4:14PM
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KKNY, I don't think that's the case here, but it may very well be that BM feels her toes are trodden upon and is fighting for her "rightful" place. Here's where I'm coming from. Once upon a time I had a boyfriend who was extremely popular. Everywhere we went everyone wanted to talk to him. He had lots of ex-girlfriends and they all remained friends. Well. I wanted them to "respect my status" as his current girlfriend. When we went places I wanted my presence acknowledged. When we went to parties, I would make sure it was known that I was his girlfriend. If I was not part of a conversation, I would sometimes walk up and make it known (through grabbing his hand, etc) just what my position was. Well, we broke up. For various reasons. And I grew up. And I realized that there is no respect in demanding respect. All it does is make a person look needy and desperate. Of course, my boyfriend could have addressed my insecurities a little better, but he was young too.

I've learned my lesson. When my DH and I go out, or to business functions, or family functions, we arrive together, then work the room, so to speak, separately.

And amazingly enough, everyone has no problem discerning our relationship, or that of our children to us. It happens organically. I am confident enough in who I am, and who he is, and our relationship, that I don't have to do that painful dance anymore.

What a relief!

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 4:23PM
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I think that if SM is never invited to children's events and only mom and dad are present, then of course she could feel excluded but I agree wiht kkny if she is invited and treated fairly there is nothing to complain about. it is OK to feel awkward but it certainly not mom's fault.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 5:06PM
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silverswood, you said previously that you are estranged from your mother and that she was and is indeed is a very bad mother. maybe it explains your position and of course if she is that bad, your dad spoke this way of her. normally it is not appropriate but under these circumstances...

I don't know why people take some extraordinary circumstances of nonexistant, estranged, dysfuntional mothers and compare to normal functioning involved mothers. Just apples and oranges. Not every mother needs to be replaced. And not every spouse has to be hateful of their exes, plenty of people get along.

Ulrike's DH gets along with ex, they attend events together, and ex is involved mother, I think it needs to be celebrated not condemned. Why looking for bad stuff when there is none? Why looking for drama?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 5:16PM
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Silversword, your emphasis on DH and I taking charge in the introductions is a good one. Like, if we are at a community event that BM and her DH are attending, and we see BM walking up, we can say "Oh, hello, BM," and then turn to the people and say "We'd like you to meet BM." It's easy if they know the SDs--we can just say "This is SD1 and SD2's mom." People are pretty good at figuring out the family tree at that point, ha.

But what if it's people who don't know us well, who don't know that we even have kids? Do we have to say "This is DH's first wife and the mother of his children"? What you said about "airing dirty laundry" is so true! It's like, why do these people have to know and why would they care? It's just embarassing.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 5:38PM
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Ulrike, what about if you said something to new people who don't really know you, don't know your Skids, and have never met BM, as she walks up,if you think she is going to do the "I'm the MOM" thing, say:

Oh this is "Helen",Helen, this is Pat and Bob Smith. We just met Pat and Bob tonight." Then if BM doesnt get the hint that you dont know these people and that they dont know the Skids, and BM starts saying "oh yes, I am Susie and Joanie's MOTHER, Joe here is my ex, I am his FIRST WIFE" then you could sort of make a joke and try to keep it light and say"Oh Helen, we just MET these people, they don't know the kids,"Susie and Joanie" but thanks for updating everyone!"

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 12:16AM
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FD, yes, I am estranged from my mother. That is now, not then, when the situation I'm talking about occurred. And like I said, my dad didn't just out and say "man your mom is one annoying SOB" or anything like that. It came up, in a civilized way, years later, as part of an adult conversation about relationships. Nothing more. All I was trying to get across by sharing that experience was that the "Bio-parents" who are acting as a "Couple" for events with their children are often doing just that.... ACTING.

Ulrike, I think you are caught between a rock and a hard spot. Yes, preempting her announcement may be a little embarrassing, but it's embarrassing ON YOUR TERMS. Rather than hers. And yes, it's polite to introduce someone who just barges onto the scene, regardless of how idiotic and bumbling they appear. Drunk uncle John fumbles his way up to you at a dinner party where you are standing with a couple you literally just met..."Mark, Sue, this is my uncle John... Uncle John, this is Mark and Sue. We just met." Sure, now Mark and Sue know you have a drunk uncle John. Most likely they will sympathize with you and admire your tact.

Same with Bio-Mom. Just smile, and introduce her "Oh hello BOP (Bio-Obnoxious-Person), let me introduce you to Mark and Sue. Mark and Sue, this is BOP, Jane and Josh's mother. She lives in Richfield and makes a career of annoying us and sucking my husband dry." Except more tactful than that. If you can ;) Don't say she was DH's first wife. That's not pertinent. What is still valid is that she is the parent of her children. If she says "nice to meet you, I was her DH's first wife," she's the one who looks like a ninny, not you. And leave it to Mark and Sue to ask who the heck Jane and Josh are, and why the heck their mother just crashed your conversation. They'll figure it out, or they won't. Either way, it's BOP who just made the awkward impression, not you.

I would not expect BOP to catch the hint that Shannon is dangling simply because she doesn't care, she has her agenda and that is to make absolutely sure she gets credit for her mother badge. Give it to her upfront. Take the higher ground. Someone who is your friend would understand the sub-context and keep personal things personal, but someone like her would most likely keep pushing through and ignore the subtleties. Or, because you just met them, be even more inclined to make sure they know the history right away.

I also agree that if a person (ANYONE) is invited to an event where they are not directly involved, and they are treated with respect, they should not complain. But Ulrike is not complaining. She is asking how to deal with awkward situations. I think she should be invited to all functions as long as she behaves herself as an honored guest. She is DH's wife. It comes with the territory. Whether BM likes it or not.

And, lest I be raked across the coals, I have BM and SM issues, and I am a BM and a SM. Every situation is different and has so many facets it's IMPOSSIBLE to judge the situation of another. Who knows if any of us is really a whack job and the BM's are really the sane ones? LOL. Or V.V.? The only thing I can do is say what works for me in awkward situations.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 10:37AM
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Thanks, Shannon and Silversword. I really appreciate your thoughts about handling this aspect of the whole dynamic. I think I am just having a period of rebellion as regards the whole thing. I am sick of it. I want to wriggle free of the burden of the phone calls, of wondering whether my time with my husband will be interrupted, of the constant reminder of the sharing of his focus, etc.

I just reread what I wrote (tempted to delete) and realized that if I substitute my SDs for BM in the equation, I have an entirely different reaction. Their calls are always welcome, their little typical adolescent dramas are opportunities for me to further bond with them (I'm the "go to parent" for interpersonal issues). And when it comes to them, I never resent the presence of their mom in their lives. To the contrary, what a safety net to have her. I enjoy talking to her about them.

No, it is in the realm of my marriage where her presence has become burdensome. I guess I am just too monogamous. Ha!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 11:31AM
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Well, I can understand. It's sticky, awkward and everyone has a pretty high potential for getting feelings stepped on.

Get her presence out of your marriage. Remember that you are married to him, and nurture that relationship. Let her be the big shot.

I found with my SM, who used to be 100x worse! that if I just relaxed and let her run her course instead of fighting the current... I was a lot happier. When she needed something above and beyond, I made it "my pleasure" to assist her. Amazingly, once I stopped fighting her insane, demanding, bratty, self-involved (all my personal perception, of course!) behaviors, she relaxed too, and became appreciative. It's still not perfect, but it's tolerable. And I actually enjoy her company now.

Be gracious. She's probably, like you said, just wanting to be a part of the family. Make a space for her as the birth mother of those skids you love. What a gift she has given you! The advantage of your DH being at the place he is now, because I'm sure he is an entirely different, more evolved person than he was when they were together. You owe some of that maturity to her. But don't let her be a steamroller.

Perhaps, when you can see potential for her to "pair up" with your DH... do it first!!! Take HER arm, and be her buddy. Tell her, "why don't we let the guys hang out..." and then chat with her about how wonderful the kids are. I'd imagine everyone would have a better time!!!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 11:47AM
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