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Step-Mother Issues...Long...

I'll try to keep this brief, but here's the background to my question. My father divorced my mom when I was two, and remarried a woman named Trish. They were married for 22 years and called it quits last year after questions of infidelity. Needless to say because I'm in the legal field, I was thrown in the middle of their divorce and had to basically make sure that it went off without a hitch (that everyone was treated fairly and that my father got what he wanted out of it). Anyway, a year later, after several dating stores with multiple women, my father found a new interest by the name of Linda. They met in March and were living together by May, but I didn't judge because I know from personal experience with my DH, if you live together you pretty much instantly figure out if you can stand that person or not. So, after a few months of hearing about Linda, I invited my father and her to come to AZ (they live in AR) so I could get to know her. I was optimistic about the visit, as I was 99.9% sure she would be better than my witch of a step-mom, Trish. Also, she has a daughter my age and has a few pets, so I thought she would feel pretty comfortable, since we had things in common. Well, they came to stay over Labor Day weekend, and from the moment I picked them up at the airport I got the vibe that she had no interest in me or my DH. I wrote it off them being tired from traveling and gave it another shot the next morning. However, despite the numerous "get to know you" questions I could think of, I would get literally one word answers from Linda. My DH even tried to strike up conversations with her about the freaking weather, and still got one word answers. Then to make it worse, I asked her to close their bedroom and bathroom doors so my kittens wouldn't get in there, and despite asking them several times, they left all the doors open for my kittens to shred the toilet paper across the house. Finally after many awkward moments, we decided to take a trip to Sedona to see the rock formations. My father and Linda talked the whole time, but didn't say a word to my DH and I. Finally, the last day of their trip, my father asked me my opinion of her, in which I told them I was really surprised by the lack of interest from Linda to try to get to know his only daughter, and I felt that she had no interest in anything other than herself and him, because he was the only one she would talk to (and she wasn't shy around him). He listened contently and tried to say that maybe she wasn't as talkative because he had already told her about me. I responded in saying that she would feel more comfortable in getting to know me if she would just ask questions or simply respond to mine. Needless to say, then returned home and got married this month. They have now re-invited themselves out here for sometime in January and I honestly don't want to go through that ordeal again. I've entertain several different people over the years, but it's pretty bad when you look forward to your in-laws coming to stay much more than your own parents. I haven't given them the "yay" or "nay" on their proposed trip in January, as frankly, I pissed that they would invite themselves, and I don't care for my father's new wife, Linda. What would you do? Would you suck it up and let them visit for a second time? I really don't want to relive that experience for a second time, as there isn't enough wine in the world to get me through it. Any advice would be really appreciated!

Re: Step-Mother Issues...Long...

  • um, no. ?they aren't allowed to stay over unless you let it happen. ?if they want to come out for another visit, give them a list of local hotels to pick from. ?
    <img width=100 src="">
    <a href="">[the bliz-og]</a>
  • Your father's wife may be shy around new people, she may be awkward socially, or she just may not be all that interested in bonding with you. ?Since he met her when you were already grown, she's not going to have that role of step-mom. ?

    I would either let them visit and give her a clean slate but not expect too much to have changed, or let them come but set some real boundaries. Have them for a short time and book some activities in there, or have them stay in a hotel and meet up for dinner. ?You've already talked to your father, but you may want to reiterate that you want to make sure you are treated with respect by guests in your home. ?

  • Honestly, I think you're nitpicking. The cat/door thing...your father could easily have shut them, yet you put the blame on her. If it's something they're not in the habit of doing, it's easy to forget.

    Some people are slow to warm to others. It's nothing against you, it's just was is.

    This was the first time you really spent any time with her. I think you might want to give it another chance before writing her off completely.

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  • I agree with the hotel there are several by our home...but I think awkward silences still would happen during dinner...etc.

  • I agree that it was ultimately my father's responsibility, but they are both adults in their 50's and I don't think you should have to baby-sit anyone at that age...out of general respect for anyone's house you may stay at. I asked both of them on seperate occasions and together during dinners to keep the doors shut.
  • i think that if god forbid something happens to your father this decision will haunt you!

    she didnt do anything so obsurd that you should punsih yuor father!

  • It's not that I don't want to see my father, but my god, I just saw him last month, and I had already made the decision that I would travel to AR to see him instead of them coming stay with me. That way my DH and I could stay in a local hotel and visit both of my parents, as we pleased. And to put it more in perspective, my father and I aren't terribly close, so it's unusal that he would want to see me twice in 4 months.
  • so it's unusal that he would want to see me twice in 4 months.

    Based on how you described your previous talk, it sounds like he was truly listening to you.  Sure- he threw out some "excuses", but all in all - he comes across as a reasonable person.

    Maybe he talked to her about it and maybe this next visit is going to be her making more of an effort. Maybe something was going on w/ her the last time and she was out of sorts, maybe she's the kind of person that doesn't do well w/ meeting people the first time - and maybe she too wants to try and make a better effort. 

    As you can see- there are a LOT of maybe's. 

    You've met her ONCE. It didn't go well.  My take- invite them to stay w/ you and make a genuine effort to start from scratch and see how it goes.  If it's not any better- then you really have firm ground to NOT have them stay w/ you again.  But if it IS better- don't you want to know that it CAN be better?

    She may have just "screwed up" the first time out. I dont' feel the rest of your relationship w/ the two of them should be based on what might have been a mistake.


    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Honestly, I'd tell my dad that you have a things going on the weekend they want to come out and suggest they stay in a hotel. I understand the whole "dads new wife deal!" I met my dad wife AFTER they spontaneously got married if vegas without telling anyone and after only knowing her 3 months!! The day I met her she didn't say one word to me! I was so pissed and hurt. She was more in to getting to know my aunt, my dads sister! To this day, 3 years later, i can't stand the witch! I only tollerate her fo rmy dad..does your dad not have a clue how she's was with you? I would bring it up to him if she does it again. If she gives you one word answers anymore, thats' so disrespectful, and i dont care if shes shy, thats BS....she isnt shy......i would even confront her about it, but in a nice, muture, adult manner...good luck! i feel your pain!
  • Thanks nice to know I'm not the only person in this situation. I would confront her in a nice mature manner, but she doesn't call me. In fact, the first time I ever spoke a word to her is when they came to visit. Oh and by the way, I wasn't invited to the wedding, which went on even though they had already called it off once between the time they came in Sept. and got hitched in Oct. I'm pretty open minded about people, and really hope this was the start of a new relationship, but it's hard to build that when the other person has no interest in you. I voiced my concerns about her in general and the way she acted during the visit to my father on several occasions, but he chose to get married anyway, so I honestly just don't want to deal anymore. My step-mom Trish, was the same way, in the fact that she came first, and she never had any intention of having any kind of relationship with me....sense a similarity....I just feel as an adult I don't have live through that again...even though he is my dad. Is that so wrong?
  • sounds like it was uncomfortable but she didn't out and out say anything rude to you. I'd invite them out for a weekend (short visit) and give it another try. If it doesn't go better, it's unlikely they will try to come again and if they do, you can just be "busy." I'd give it another go, though, and not close that door.
  • My advice has two parts.

    The first ... why would your father pick someone different than he ever picked before?  It's a cruel trick of nature that people tend to find the exact same people they broke-up with.  It doesn'tsound like he gave himself a whole lot of time to recover, reflect and respond to the demise of his previous relationships before jumping feet-first into his new ones.  So YOU shouldn't have expected someone so different.

    The second ... they can visit without so many expectations of bonding and getting-to-know-you time.  They can visit and do things around town without you.  They can visit without you playing hostess and tour guide and daughter of the year.  It may all go a lot better if you let them visit and take HER clue that it doesn't have to be more than a place to visit, sleep, share a meal or two, and say hi-how-are-you.

    Don't give up on your dad because his new wife is justlike the last.  Becuase he wants to visit but doesn't wan it to get too deep.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • The good news is...she isn't your step-mother.  She's your father's wife.  Big difference - she can be as big or as little a part of your life as works out with your relationship with your dad. 

    I would take the weekend that they invited themselves over as Wife#3 wanting to make a better impression.  After all, I'm sure they have other things to do with their time/money than visit you in AZ (even though the weather is great).  That's what it really seems like to me.  If it doesn't work out - then let them stay in a hotel, or limit visits. 

    I would also say, plan a schedule that works for you.  I assume you and dh both work, and it might not make sense for you to take off in order to spend time with them - but your dad should know his way around while you and dh are at work, and you can catch up for dinner.  Maybe newwife will have the sense to say "so, how was work today?"

  • I agree with SueBear, she's your father's wife, not your step mother. And maybe for this first visit, this whole "getting to know all about you" theme was a bit much. Maybe she's shy, maybe she's extremely introverted, or maybe she believes it's okay to simply spend time with people without putting forth a lot of social energy. Nothing wrong or rude about it, it's just a different personality.

    And of course, you are under no obligation to host anyone you aren't comfortable with, or if their schedule isn't convenient to yours, but I wouldn't write the new wife off as hopeless yet.

  • image klwills:
    I voiced my concerns about her in general and the way she acted during the visit to my father on several occasions, but he chose to get married anyway, so I honestly just don't want to deal anymore. My step-mom Trish, was the same way, in the fact that she came first, and she never had any intention of having any kind of relationship with me....sense a similarity....I just feel as an adult I don't have live through that again...even though he is my dad. Is that so wrong?

     Wow - sense of entitlement much?  You honestly expected your Dad to NOT marry someone because the FIRST and ONLY weekend meeting you had did not have that birds singing, bells ringing, best friend forever responce you were hoping for?

    How condescending of YOU to expect that your father would put his life on hold until his adult, living in another state, daughter approved.

    Look - don't get me wrong.  I am sure that the fast pace of the relationship puts up redflags.  I would be worried about that too.  But that is not HER fault, that is your FATHER's Fault.

    The same way I am also sure that your past relationship with Trish is totally coloring your opinion here.

    But other than the fact that this woman was quite and that BOTH of them (your dad included) forgot to close a couple doors, your snap judgments are going to ruin what relationship you DO have with your Father.  

    You do not have to have them out, but you DO have to be a grown up and try one more time.  


  • Regardless of everything that has happened the only thing you need to do is to be polite to this woman.

    If you don't want to welcome her into your home then don't.  Just understand that she is now your father's wife and your relationship with him will suffer from it.

    Personally I think you should be willing to give her  another chance.  You have to wipe the slate clean in order for this to work (and at this point I don't think you are capable of doing this).  She was completely out of her element when she came to you, and it was probably a very stressful visit for her.  Be reasonable with your expectations... you have only met her once.

  • I don't know how long the planned visit is, but maybe you could let them come visit, but gosh since it's january, you just can't take any vacation time.  Like encourage them to come during the week so you're really only spending the evenings with them. 
  • Tell your dad that unfortunately you won't be able to put them up at your place, but you're really looking forward to dinner when they come into town.  Then for heaven's sake, keep an open mind.  If I were meeting the scrutinizingly critical daughter of a new boyfriend, I too would err on the side of keeping quiet in order to avoid offending.
  • i can see why you arent so close!
  • My hesitation for round 2 stems from more than just a few awkward times when they came to visit. They got engaged right before the came to stay the first time in Sept., my father broke off the engagement by the middle of Sept. and involved me on all the reasons it wasn't going to work between them, and then when they made up and decided to get married in Oct. he spent his time trying to convince me of why going forward with the marriage was a good idea, when in all honesty it sounded more like he was trying to convince himself. I honestly would have rather been naive to the whole breakup scenario, because when he decided to forgive and forget, he forgot to realize that not everyone else would feel the same way. Even my grandmother, my father's mother, said the marriage didn't sound like a good idea based on their polar opposite differences. So it's not that I don't want to spend time with my father and Linda just because the first time around it was a little awkward, it's that he left a bad taste in my mouth after all of his debates of whether they were a good fit for each other. So based on this additional information, how would you handle it now? Would you still give her a second chance? And yes, my DH and I both work full-time, and I just started school full-time as well, so there's limited time to begin with.

  • Where in that post does it change that your father is married to that woman? 

    You still need to be polite to your father's wife if you want your father in your life.  Sucks that he poisoned the well but that doesn't change things.

  • Thank you for everyone's was very very helpful!
  • This isn't advice for the visit - but if this marriage doesn't work, I would not give your dad free legal aid.  Tell him you're really busy at work and don't have the time for his divorce, esp. since it is out of state.

    Maybe you don't make divorce easier for him, he won't be so quick to get married!

  • Okay, I'm thinking maybe you were trying too hard. Maybe you made her uncomfortable? I say let them come again, but this time, relax. Don't drill her with questions. She is your dad's wife. Make her feel welcome in your family.

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