I'm a nearly 50, first time married to a great guy with two teenage sons - we just married in February 2013. My husband and his ex are active parents, and get along well overall. The young men are 18 and 14. The older has just started college, and the younger one has just started high school. The younger of the two is dads favorite - clearly - although dad denies this.
While there is nothing overt, I feel like I am living in a house where there are two families, and I'm only allowed into one of them. There's dad, the two sons, the ex, and the "childcare provider" whose been in the picture since the boys were quite little. Then there is my husband and I. The young men and I get along well; the older one and I get along great, and the younger one is friendly and respectful to me, but I often feel like he just tolerates me.
I love being fully invested in my family - my nuclear family as well as my new family. In my new family, there are times where I think it is okay to expect to be included, but am not. For instance, school functions -- I am welcome at sports events and concerts, but not at things that are more specific to the child directly - back to school night, large group general parent meetings, etc. There was a parent night at the school to help the parents learn more about the school, and expectations of the students - it was clear I wasn't welcome. I feel it would be valuable to know about the school and the sons classes so that I can support the "rules" and expectations at home.
The older child just went off to college, and his mother did all the preparation and purchased all the items the son needed for school. Many of the items she purchased, we had available for the son - new bedding, towels, etc. Dad admits that there was no conversation with mom about who would do what - perhaps that's my husband's fault, but Mom never asked us how we could help. When I complained to my husband he simply replied "she's his mother".
Dad will ask for my input on "kid issues" but he always calls mom to discuss issues, even when it is irrelevant to her. Recently, the 18 year old wanted to bring his girlfriend on vacation with us. My husband wouldn't give him an answer without talking with mom first. I thought that was silly since the son is 18, and it was OUR vacation. She wasn't involved at all.
The mom is a good person in general, and really loves her kids. I don't want to take over her role, but I'd like to be part of the family. The examples above are school specific, but this is generally how things work over all.
So everyone.............. What's fair to expect, and how can I make a place for myself in this "family"? I feel alienated and lonely everytime the young men are with us (every other week).
Thanks for your wisdom. Cathy
on Aug. 23, 2013 at 10:53 AM