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Expectations of an adult step child/child of divorce

Posted by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 5:59 AM
  • 10 Replies

I see my father once a year. It's been that way since I was about 13 years old. He was in town this weekend for my grandma's birthday. I don't have a great relationship with my dad but a decent one. I email my step mom more than I speak with my dad. I saw a photo posted on my step mom's facebook a couple months ago of my dad & half sister. Someone made a vague post on it about how great a picture it was and how it was such a close call. I had no idea of what was going on & asked under that picture if everything was ok & followed up with a "how's everything going" email. SM didn't respond. I've spoken with my father on the phone 3 times since then & exchanged emails with my step mom. I learn today that my dad had a heart attack. Obviously he's fine but I was hurt that A. someone who I don't know, knew what was going on (based on the response on the picture that was posted months ago) when it happened but I wasn't good enough to tell and B. that never in any of those calls or emails they felt like they should tell me. I just thought it odd that they wait until my grandma's birthday to say something, months after the fact and that someone who is either friend's with my dad & step mom or step mom's family knew before my sister & I did. The person who commented on the picture doesn't live close to them so it wasn't like they were waiting to see me to tell me in person.

I know that at this point in my life whatever relationship I have with my dad is what I put into it. He doesn't make the first move. I don't know if my expectations are too high to think that I should have known about this shortly after it happened. I wonder if something happens to my dad will my step mom tell me. I was angry and I was hurt but I sure wasn't going to bring that up at my grandma's birthday. I don't feel I should have to tell my dad or step mom, hey if anything happens to my dad please let me know. My step brother's knew, others knew and here I sit in the dark as to what is happening to my own father. This is kind of a vent and maybe get some insight from others as to what you would have done in my step mom's shoes or what you may have gone through.


by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 5:59 AM
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leegirl_jm
by Ruby Member on Jun. 29, 2014 at 7:06 AM
I think health issues are very private, if it is a heart attack and he recovers quickly, I wouldn't call DH's family, unless he instructs me to. Why? He didn't tell anyone when he had his stroke many years ago. He doesn't want his family worried unnecessarily, mainly his mother, she is the reason because he fears it would kill her to hear such news.

We tend not to tell people so as not to worry them however if I tell my children then I would tell SS if he and I communicated.
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mamabear2014
by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 7:53 AM

if i were you, i would have wanted a phone call letting you know what's going on. i live 2 hours away, but still very close to my family, and i still find out about things much later. some people just don't find it necessary to share such informtation.

CampClan
by Bronze Member on Jun. 29, 2014 at 8:25 AM
My ex went through the same thing with his own father & step mom. Ex's mom & dad divorced when ex was 5. When we got married in 1999 his dad married someone he had known for less than 6 months. When we celebrated our DD's first birthday exFIL & SMIL informed us that a cousin my ex was very close to while growing up had committed suicide. Ex hadn't seen the cousin in over a year & was very torn up. I was more livid that they chose to tell him at our DD's party!
Birdseed
by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 9:31 AM
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I think you need to talk to your Dad about that.  Obviously, he did not have an issue of privacy as Leegirl mentioned because other people were well aware. 

While I realize that health stuff and level of privacy varies from person to person, I would say that in *most* families, if someone has a major issue--one that requires hospitalization for example--family tells family. 

There are exceptions of course.  My mom didn't tell me she was back in the hospital right away because I was on vacay and she "didn't want to ruin it."  Good gravy.  I am the medical POA! 

Still, I think that in the OP's case, it sounds like less of a privacy issue and more of a proximity issue.  Out of sight, out of mind. 

leegirl_jm
by Ruby Member on Jun. 29, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Why not? Perhaps they acted on a false assumption when they didn't tell you. You have not been very close with your Dad since you were 13, I think you should say this and try not to be angry at your stepmother for not telling you this time.

I can imagine a SM thinking that you have only a fair weather relationship and they wouldn't want to bother you with this. 

Quoting amyjo76:

...... I don't feel I should have to tell my dad or step mom, hey if anything happens to my dad please let me know.


Career Woman, Wife and Mother of Two Children, a Girl and a Boy.

amyjo76
by Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 11:13 AM

In the past, he told me when he tore his ACL & when he had to have surgery. He told me about throwing his back out. Little things like that. I'm not angry at her but both of them. More disappointed & hurt than angry I guess. I wasn't going to ask a bunch of stuff at my grandma's party because I didn't see it as the time or place. It bothered me that my step brother's knew and that some person that wasn't family knew. It is more my dad's responsibility to tell me than my step mom's. Just a quick email, text, call, something to tell us what happened. I've had some heart problems lately (which they both knew about & I had asked if anyone on his side had heart problems.) It's important for me to have that kind of information for my cardiologist. As a parent, I couldn't imagine NOT telling my children that something like that happened. I wouldn't expect him to call me if he stubbed his toe but a heart attack is kind of a big deal.

A little backstory: I was a daddy's girl. My dad cheated on my mom with step mom & was remarried 3 days after the divorce was final. This happened when I was 8 & he had little to do with my sister & I after that. When we went for visitation, my step mom & him sat in their room the whole time. When I became an adult & then a SM, I realized that things weren't or couldn't have been easy so I told them both I wanted a better relationship with them. I thought we were in a better place than we are I guess and I will express my feelings kindly so it hopefully opens up the lines of communication.

What kind of a false assumption? It might be helpful to have some perspectives before I call :)

Quoting leegirl_jm:

Why not? Perhaps they acted on a false assumption when they didn't tell you. You have not been very close with your Dad since you were 13, I think you should say this and try not to be angry at your stepmother for not telling you this time.

I can imagine a SM thinking that you have only a fair weather relationship and they wouldn't want to bother you with this. 

Quoting amyjo76:

...... I don't feel I should have to tell my dad or step mom, hey if anything happens to my dad please let me know.


leegirl_jm
by Ruby Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 11:39 AM
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Now that you have provided more detail I guess there was no false assumption.

I guess you have to ask him the reason for not telling you but it is his private business and he can decide who to tell or not.
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Fayanne
by Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 11:45 AM
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i think it all comes down to your father's perceptions of your relationship.

Did he tell his wife not to inform you? Did he think you didn't want to be bothered?

Time to reach out to your dad to tell him, yourself, that next time, you'd appreciate knowing

bestefforts
by on Jun. 30, 2014 at 1:46 PM
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I have not had any relationship with my own father in many years. At this point, I could not tell you what state he lives in. If something happened to him, I probably would not hear...nor would I care. Bottom line is...as an adult, it is now my responsibility to build and maintain relationships.

I feel sorry that OP feels hurt and left out of her father's life. But I can't support being angry with other family members for not informing her of dad's medical issues. Before jumping to any conclusions, I would simply ask dad and SM why she did not receive a call - and accept whatever answer is given. Then she can communicate what she would like to happen in the future and ask if there is anything she needs to do differently to make sure that happens.

Moxiesbuddy
by on Jul. 1, 2014 at 12:48 PM

Amyjo, I can understand your frustration with being left out of such a serious event, and I think you're handling it wisely. If you're trying to rebuild the relationship with your dad and SM, then choosing a good time to share your feelings and intentions is going to benefit all of you. The fact that you need family medical history is another reason to stay connected. Since you just got together at your grandmas, maybe it'll be easier to maintain the relationships.

When there hasn't been regular communication, people can think that's your choice, so making any effort is going to show you care. Hopefully, they'll want to reciprocate.

Moxiesbuddy

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