Mutual affairs with BM

klmsheDecember 4, 2008

I haven't posted since this summer when I had concerns about my two adult SDs. Most of the advice I received was to back off and let DH do more concerning them. I have, and I'm ashamed to say we haven't seen the girls since early summer. I haven't called them often, and obviously DH hasn't either. He loves them, just as he loves his mom and brothers, but seeing them a couple of times a year seems to be enough.

I feel like I need to give a little background on our history. DH and his ex started their divorce in 97, and it wasn't over until 02. We met in 99 and were married in 02. We had full custody of oldest daughter, who had had no contact with BM since 97. (The younger SD and SS would visit us every other weekend.) Early in the divorce proceedings, older SD accused BM of abuse and took dad's side, so BM refused any contact with her for almost 6 years. A few years ago, SD23 and BM patched things up. Then SD23 became engaged. We planned a shower for her, but we could never pin her down on a day. Then suddenly, she informed us that "Mom" was planning her a shower, and DH's side of the family would be invited. She did NOT want us to host a shower for her, which hurt us deeply. She said that we should all get along with each other. I sent a gift, but did not go to the shower. No one from DH's side went. BM is evil incarnate - she's stolen from us, broken into our house, lied under oath, lied to the children about us, friviously sued us, and I could go on. The point is, it's hard to forgive and forget the things she's done.

Now, SD23 has called to invite us to grandchild's first birthday party. We certainly want to go, but we're sure BM will be there. We haven't seen or spoken to her outside a courtroom EVER. How do we handle being in the same room with her? SD wants us to be one big, happy family, but that's not going to happen!

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You can go & keep your distance or not go. I would approach it in much the same way as I would, perhaps going to a holiday party where you're boss expects you to be there but there will be co-workers there that you can't stand. The mature thing to do is rise above it & go. If it's intolerable, at least make a brief appearance & cordially say you really can't stay, wish you could but have a prior engagement...etc. To blow it off because 'she' is there, makes you come across as the immature or unreasonable ones.

That's just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 6:03PM
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I am with your SD. It will not be easy in the beginning but it will be best. You now share a grandchild. Do you want to miss all of the important occasions in grandchildren's lives? I would go, swallow the lump in my throat, keep control of my temper, be polite but quiet. Eventually it will get easier to attend functions in each others presence. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 7:07PM
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I would not go. Given that you have not spoken to BM outside of a court room would be enough of a red flag for me. You can forgive a person and not subject yourself to them. I do not believe that ex's and steps and everyone related to the grandchild has to be one big happy family. With so much water under the bridge with the DH's ex I think it is unreasonable for anyone to think that you should be doing things together.

I have a close relationship with my SD33 from my 1st marriage. She and hubby are planning to start a family soon. She would not expect her father and his wife and my husband and me to attend a birthday party for her child. I could tolerate limited time with her mom but not mom's boyfriend. Alcoholics, all except my ex's current wife. My children would not expect that of me. They are not delusional.

Have your own thing with the grand baby and have a good time. I would think that attending this function with Bm there would just be asking for trouble, extra stress and memories of her instead of the child.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 11:34PM
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my circumstances are a little different than most. i never went to any social events if she was going to be there. i did go to funeral and weddings, the reason was: she became ill one day when we were visiting his children, son made a mad dash to her home and we drove the DIL over at a more sedate pace. i finally told my husband you need to go up and wait for the ambulance with the 'kids', she could be dying. he went and the conclusion was she told him she loved him, sorry she divorced him, "it was just menopause". he sued me for divorce with eviction papers. in the end he realized it was me he wanted, but it left me with a strong dislike for the woman. i told my husband to go to functions without me but he wouldn't. she actually did us a favor, she put out the torch he was carry for her when had to choose who he loved. BTW it was just a panic attack probably because her boy wouldn't go through with his divorce to marry her.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 10:56AM
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Everyone's situation is different but in mine I'm too stuborn to stay away from a step family occasion just because DH's ex is there. When we first married he wouldn't go anywhere she was. It wasn't that much of a problem since she lived 300 miles away and didn't come around much, had little to do with her kids that she had run off and left when they were in their teens. But for my SGD's 16th birthday party she was going to be there and my DH announced he wasn't going. I told him that yes we were going, to quit being silly about it. We did, it was outside and we were never in close contact with her. The next event I remember was the same GD's wedding. I was seated between DH & her, no problem. When it was time for pictures I got completely out of the way, figured it was her day. Then the GD was calling for me to come get in the pictures. Later there was a baby shower for the GD. I attended as did ex and her mother. I decided to make friends with her mother and we remained cordial the rest of her life. She even came to our house for a visit (without ex) when they were in town. The next time that I remember was when we went to see this same GD's new baby. I was holding it when ex came in, came over to look at it, I asked her if she wanted to hold it, she did and my DH was ready to leave then. Fast forward several years and his family was having a holiday dinner at a son's house. She was there when we arrived. My DH stayed outside to talk to the boys, I went inside, she came over and hugged me like I was a long lost friend, we proceeded to talk. After dinner my SS decided he wanted a picture of the original family. He asked if I minded and I graciously said I didn't (although I thought it a bit of a strange request), he went to his dad and asked him and you could hear the "NO" all over the house. My DH was ready to leave and we haven't been to another family event since. When her mother died a few years ago I called to express my sympathy. Shortly after that ex moved here for the kids to take care of her because she had nowhere to live, had been living with her mother all these years. My DH is highly PO's because she expects them to take care of her after she ran off and left them. She does work a little at a store and we are still friendly when I see her. Afterall, she has done nothing to me, nor I to her. They had been divorced for 5 years when I met him. All 3 SC married and she didn't attend either wedding so I was MOB/MOG. They are wonderful kids and though they will take care of their mom in these later years there is still some resentment of her leaving them. We have a good life and I can't help but wonder if she has regrets.

I guess my point is it depends on the situation and if it will cause a war. Sometimes when you have lemons it's better to just make lemonade rather than carry a grude. I would go to the baby's party, enjoy myself and ignore the ex other than to be cordial. Why stay away from something you would like to attend. Just remember ~ there can't be a fight if you don't participate regardless of how the other person acts. Didn't mean to write a book but this brought back memories over the years.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 11:02AM
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It obviously is a subjective decision, but having both been a step-child and now being a step-mother, I have to say, do what's best for the children. My mom cheated on my dad with her boyfriend and eventually divorced my dad for him. My Dad understandably was very upset about it and did not want to be around him. He did attend a small reception after my wedding where they were, but he brought a guest. When DS 7 was born, so began the nightmare of trying to schedule holidays and birthdays so that both sets of my parents could see him separately. My dad pretty much begged off attending the big party usually attended by my mom and DH's large family. It was very difficult for me to try to schedule something "just for him" and sometimes, he just missed out. Just a few months before he passed away and had missed yet another birthday celebration for DS, I broke down in tears and told him how hurtful it was to me that he could not be there. He promised me that he would never let the fact that my mom was there keep him from attending another of DS's parties. Little did we know he would not live to see DS's next birthday.
In my own situation, I am a SM to DS 14 and DS 12. DS and BM are "fairly" cordial, and she and I have always been cordial to one another. We have attended "public events" with her present, such as sports, church plays, baptisms, etc. but never birthday parties (we've never been invited.) Lord willing, there will be graduations, weddings and births in the future involving DSSs. I certainly plan to act "grown up" and civil enough to attend those events and NOT force my DSSs to choose between their mom and their dad, as I did. That is just my own personal opinion. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 11:44AM
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There is no right or wrong answer here. If you want a relationship with the grandkids, you do what you have to. If you can plan separate events without the ex, fine. But, if the parents of the children don't want to hold two birthday celebrations, etc. then you have to suck it up and go or don't go and don't complain you don't have a relationship with the kids.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 2:40PM
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I have the same problem with my SD's biomom...the woman can't even be in the same room with us without glaring and whispering and's horrible. We've had to be at my SD's wedding, and the birth of her first child. You could cut the tension with a knife. After consulting with my SD about this, we've agreed to take turns with attending birthday parties for the grandchildren and baby showers etc... Obviously, when it's a one time event you sort of have to go...With the wedding, we were seated on oposing sides of the room and church and although moderately uncomfortable, we got through it and my SD had a happy day. When it's our off year for birthday's, I host a little birthday party for our grandchildren and everyone seems comfortable with this arrangement.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 3:40PM
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Do you really want to miss out on all of those events in your grandchild's life?
Or would you rather smile pleasantly and behave like a lady no matter what, causing Ex to either behave herself or expose herself as a jerk?
If you repeatedly don't go, you're basically relinquishing your role as grandparents.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 4:39PM
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Thank you all for your suggestions. We're definitely going to the birthday party, and I know it's about the grandchild, not BM. I'll be kind and gracious. I really appreciate the boost everyone's given me.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 8:01PM
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