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I might be an adult StepKid

1dad4kids's picture

My Dad passed 14 years ago from cancer. He and my mom were very much in love. He was a great man, I see a lot of him in my DH. 

Recently my Mom has started dating. At first it was exciting, I helped her get over some emotional humps regarding my Dad and her relationship really took off after that. 

My mom went away for a retreat and when she returned we'd made plans for a phone conversation (they weren't allowed phones at the retreat and she lives hours away from me). I called and called her and she never answered. I found out later she'd gone out with her bf and intentionally left her phone at home. 

I was hurt, and angry. I told her this. It wasn't so much that she spent time with him instead, but that she didn't even text me to tell me she was leaving her phone at home. Luckily my brother was staying at her house watching her cat so he told me she was fine. 

Since then, I can't get on board with her bf. They are coming to visit for my SS10's birthday and honestly I'm dreading it. He seems nice, all my other siblings have met him and like him. My little brother said it's annoying never being able to talk to my Mom alone anymore but he's happy she's happy. 

I'm happy she's happy too. Honestly. I'd been encouraging her to date for years. But I have this feeling of neglect associated with their relationship now. 

It's stupid. I know this. I read these posts on here and I'm sure as hell not going to be one of those grown spoiled step kids. I would never, ever tell my Mom or her BF these feelings and I'll try my darndest not to show it. But still, I just want to get the f over it. 

Anyone have some "forgiving" advice so I can just enjoy their company when they visit and form an honest opinion of the man before I write him off due to my Mom not taking my call for one day? (See how stupid that sounds?)



Picardy III's picture

I couldn't imagine being annoyed with anyone outside my immediate household for not keeping their phone on them. Not my business - it's their life, and nobody should be reachable at every second.

Did you have a plan with your mom to, say, chat at a specific time that night, and she ghosted you? If that's what happened, I can see being annoyed that she didn't reschedule.


Merry's picture

My Mom must have been a real catch in her 80s. She had lots of male companions, and my siblings and I got a kick out of it.

One of the relationships turned serious and they were talking about marriage. Naturally, this was the guy I liked the least. But it was because he was a selfish jerk. But I never let on to my Mom that I disliked him so much. Except for maybe that one time when he was unkind to my dog.  Or maybe the other time when he called my brother, who lived a thousand miles away instead of me who lived across town, when my Mom fell and was taken to the hospital.

They decided not to marry, thank goodness, but they remained close companions until he passed. His kids treated my Mom like a queen. And we included him in family events too. It tested my ability to be a sane grownup at times.

Your feelings are normal. Your relationship with your Mom doesn't really change, and underneath it all you do want her to be happy. But it is an adjustment, that's for sure.


JRI's picture

My mom, a.very conservative widow,  moved to a senior community at 93 years old.  I started hearing about her friend.  Friend stopped by her cottage each morning for coffee, she and Friend ate dinner together in the dining room each night, etc.  Pretty soon, she was driving Friend around (she wouldnt have been able to get into his SUV).  I heard all about Friend's life and met him.  He was nice.  She especially loved Happy Hour each Friday with him.  I couldnt believe it, Mom boozing up, the band playing, boyfriend next to her.

When Mom's condition made it necessary to move to the assisted living building, Friend still stopped by for coffee but she saw him less frequently.  But Mom was placed at a dining table with Friend2. She was 95 by now.  Friend2 was a nice, funny man who called her his girlfriend. I watched him in action and thought he was doing a public service by being so friendly and flirtatious with all the ladies.

Mom is in a different long-term facility now under quarantine, but Friend1 still calls. So ladies, dont think it ends at any certain age.  My observation at her senior community was that there was plenty going on there.


advice.only2's picture

Oh gosh yes it does! My grandmother (94) is in assisted living and she talks about two different men that she has dinner comes over for smooches in the evening and the other is just too busy being a free agent, but she likes to keep her options open.

JRI's picture

I think the kicker was Mardi Gras.  My sister died in February and I felt so bad for Mom, poor Mom.  So when she invited me to Mardi Gras at her adult community, I went.  Beads, hurricanes, Dixieland band, okay, here we go.  Mom was sitting next to Friend rocking out to the music.  What happened to poor Mom?  Next thing I knew, Friend was crowned King of Mardi Gras and stsrted a conga line to The Saints Go Marching In.  Before I knew it, Mom was up ON HER WALKER following the conga line.  I stumbled up after her and she made it once around the room.  Yeah, poor Mom.  My brothers cracked up when I told them.

JRI's picture

Your grandma is a smart chick!  Lol.

Dovina's picture

think of it this way...for most people when they start a new relationship they are caught up in it. They are in the puppy love stage, and for everyone else its WTH where did you go? Its new for them and they are enjoying it. Be happy your mom has found someone to enjoy life with. Especially now because her kids are grown and have their own lives.

I am sure in time you may even like this guy and realize this is great for your mom. If he isnt a good guy you can get all the tricks of the trade from this site on how to wreck a relationship  (just kidding). 

Be polite, get to know him, and be glad your mom has a new zest for life Smile

ESMOD's picture

It sounds like you have become really used to your mom being "there" for you whenever you wanted to talk to her.  I don't even think that it's that you are enmeshed with her.. or that your relationship was unhealthy..but you were used to her just being "there" whenever you needed or wanted to talk to her...because she really had nothing better to do.  

Now, there is this new relationship and she is carving out time for him.  Going out without her cell phone.. maybe because she didn't want her date interupted.  This means she isn't as immediately available.  Now, I can get being a bit upset if she had made a plan for a specific call at a specific time then did not meet that expectation.

It also may be that you were so used to the responsibility of checking in on her to make sure she was ok..that it bothers you because you worry when you can't reach her.  

I guess it's also a bit like the friend that becomes a third wheel and left out when her other friends meet and then do things without her.  

I think you need to understand that at your mom's age.. she definitely came along when we were not always immediately available via cell phone.  It likely doesn't make her feel as "naked" when she leaves it at home.  She wants to go on a date and enjoy that time without interruptions from "student loan forgiveness calls.. and home warranty spam.. "

As long as you see your mom as mentally and emotionally capable of maintaining her own relationships.. I do not think at any point you should blame her new friend for the fact that she is less available than she had been.  If it is a safety concern.. then you can approach her with that.. but she is an adult and entitled to have adult relationships.. hopefully you will find her new friend interesting.. and I hope you will treat him kindly.

1dad4kids's picture

You're right on both accounts as to what's bothering me. We made a plan and she broke it. And I couldn't get a hold of her so I was worried. Not to mention pregnant and my brain was running all over the place. I did remember, hours after coming up with all sorts of terrible outcomes, that my brother was at her house so he was able to tell me she was safe. 

I am actually certain I will like him. But everytime she talks about him I want to steer the conversation away, because she is ALWAYS talking about him or he's beside her so she's distracted by him. So you're right about that too. Selfishly I'm wanting to call her and talk about my kids or the weather or nothing and she can't hear me, but I seem to know every detail of her new romance lol. 

I do hope meeting him in person and seeing her (it's been months) will just change everything effortlessly and all this won't matter. 

ESMOD's picture

It is a little funny how the tables turn.  When our parents get older.. we worry about them. are they eating right.. doing ok.  Did they wreck the golf cart if we can't hear from them..   My mom was famous for not hanging up  their phone properly.. and when she passed.. my dad is notorious for not answering the phone if he doesn't feel like being bothered. 

It's funny.. my brother and I will literally call each other sometimes when my dad won't pick up for long stretches.  Before he got sick and has needed caregivers during the day.. we might not be able to touch base with him for 2 weeks or more.  My dad is now 90.. and then he was in his late 80's.. so we had legit concern.. though he was fairly healthy.. things happen.  

I told people that I was not going to feel guilty if he died alone at the bottom of the basement stairs because he had conditioned us to think he was "ok" when he didn't answer the phone.. we only got worried when it stretched beyond a week or two.  Now he has daily help.. so we at least have that comfort.. .

It sounds like she is in the first blush of crush/romance.. Iguess even older people can be carried away and become focused on only the new partner.. because it's new and exciting.

I also know that it's easy to get used to our parents just being available..whenever we want.. whenever we have time...but often we are not as available to them.. busy lives.. kids.. jobs etc.. but it hurts a bit to see them replacing some emotional needs with another person.  I can totally understand that.

SeeYouNever's picture

You're an adult and you feel like your mom is neglecting you because she didn't answer the phone? 

I have one of those moms that likes to go on retreats as well (maybe they are friends??). I have learned that if you call her on a weekend you might not get a reply until Sunday night or Monday because these retreat locations never seem to have very good service. Sometimes that is the point of the retreat to get away from the stresses of your everyday life and just enjoy being in the moment. I think you need to let your mom on a longer leash she's an adult too. you're already taking it your frustrations with her out on somebody you haven't met. Try to be open-minded since you're grown there's a lot less pressure on the relationship unless you put it there. As for your communication with your mom give her a grace period of a day or two to return calls. Let her know about this just express that when you don't hear from her you begin to worry.

If you end up hating her boyfriend then so be it but at least wait until you meet him to find a good reason. This is a issue between you and your mom.

1dad4kids's picture

I'm trying not to have any preconceived perceptions of him affect our potential for a friendship/relationship. My mom is really into him, and I haven't seen her so happy since I was in high school and my Dad was cancer free. She deserves to be happy so I'm trying my best to make sure she stays that way.

Aniki's picture

I understand your situation. I AM an adult stepkid! In no way am I trying to be hurtful or insulting, but... Is it possible that you are upset that she has a bf? Yes, you were encouraging her to date. And, of course, NO ONE could ever replace your dad. But is that a part of you that expected/hoped that she would not find anyone? Could it be a childlike hurt that your phone call was forgotten over the excitement of spending time with her new beau?

After my Mom passed away, I was extremely concerned about my Dad. He was basically "going through the motions" and merely existing - NOT living. About 2 years later, he reconnected with a former friend of theirs. She and her DH had been stationed with my parents several times (military). Her DH passed away a year before my Mom. Anyhoo, they started emailing, then talking on the phone. As Dovina said, they were "caught up in it". It was a bit disconcerting to have to end a phone call with Dad or be expected to leave his house when he had his nightly phone call with his new lady. Part of me was happy his zest for life was back. I never admitted to anyone, but a small part of me was a child who worried he was trying to replace my Mom. Certainly NOT the case, but I still had that feeling.

When she came up here to stay with him, I did not want to meet her. It was that child inside me, balking. However, DH and I went because I would never intentionally do anything to hurt my Dad. I was nervous as can be and felt very awkward. I partially approached it as I would a work meeting: be polite, keep the topics light, avoid deep personal stuff. Dinner turned out very nice and I learned that she was a lovely lady. They got married 4 years ago. 

I completely understand that feeling of neglect. No one can replace your Dad. It may take some getting used to , but it is important that your Mom is happy and living life. {{{hugs}}}

1dad4kids's picture

Thanks for sharing your similiar story. 

I think I'm long past worrying about her letting my Dad go. He's been gone for so many years and she's just finally taken his stuff out of her room. We've been begging her to let go for so long. 

I'm happy for her and the bf. But maybe I'm nervous too. I'm hoping when they get here I feel differently.

tog redux's picture

Well, I do have to say it's a little odd that you expect your mother to check in with you and let you know where she is on a daily basis, or that she's leaving her phone home.  I'm going to guess that your mother is probably fairly young, too - right? ie, in her 50s or 60s?  My mom is 86 and still very active and spry and she gets annoyed if she feels like I'm treating her like a child.

That being said, it's also understandable since you've been her support for the last 14 years, that it feels like you are losing a friend a bit, or that she doesn't need your support anymore.  

1dad4kids's picture

I had made plans with her to talk on the phone the next day as we hadn't been able to talk for over a week. It wasn't that I needed her to check in, she ditched me. And she was not apologetic in the least. 

I realize this sounds super juvenile, but you're right. I don't have many people in this world I care about so when she doesn't need me to care about her anymore I am feeling somewhat of a loss. 

advice.only2's picture

Did you talk to your mom about her blowing you off for the planned phone date? She might not have felt it was all that important and didn't think of how it made you feel.

As for meeting her boyfriend remember he's probably just as nervous as you are, but I think it shows good character that he's taking the time to meet all of her children.

1dad4kids's picture

I did. She wasn't really apologetic because she had forgotten about it- didn't intentionally blow me off but somehow that felt worse lol. 

I'm sure he's nervous to meet me. My mom said he talks in a very "old school" manner and uses outdated terms to refer to people. Although she said she's been correcting him as she doesn't approve of that sort of talk anymore than I do, but I'm not nearly as gentle as she is lol. I'll take it easy on him provided he doesn't actually turn out to be a racist. 

Zen mode's picture

Was supposed to take place? Dealing with similar issues with my adult step children 5 years post relationship, if their dad calls or texts them and gets no reply for days on end no biggie, on the other hand him not replying immediately to their texts or calls elicits an " are you all right? Trying to reach you" my own children and I do not have this issue because we get back to each other within a reasonable time frame, even if it's a "sorry will call you when I can".

I get how you must feel though, my youngest son living at home just got a girlfriend and suddenly is less available than ever. It's natural. 

1dad4kids's picture

If my brother or I don't get back to my Mom in her idea of a reasonable time frame she's contacting them other one to get a hold of us lol. In her defense my brother is an anxious depressed narcissist with suicidal tendencies and I seem to always be pregnant. 2 very good reasons to worry.

She did forget the call, although that really didn't make me feel any better lol. 

StrawberryPie's picture

My passed passed away almost a year ago (after many years of him being sick and my mom being his primary caretaker).  My role with my mom has kinda shifted to a parent / teenager role.  I check on her, make sure she is safe and happy.  And shes busy with her friends and doing various things.  My calls almost always go to voicemail now.  I'm so relieved she had a life and some happiness.  Maybe thinking of this as a new phase will make it easier?