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Inviting/Excluding our stepparents to/from our events

Anon2009's picture

Feo's blog really got me to thinking and I wonder what you all think about this too.

Is it ok to exclude stepparents from "our" events, like our birthday parties, graduations, weddings, etc.? Is it a good idea?

On one hand, yes, it is our event, so we do get the final say in who is invited. However, if I were to invite my dad, mom, friends, stepsiblings, or anyone else I know to an event, and didn't extend the invite to their SOs/spouses, there's a chance the people I truly want there won't go.

My stepmother is not someone I'm close to, or ever will be. However, I don't want to run the risk of hurting my dad's feelings by not inviting her. I also wouldn't want anyone inviting me to an event, but excluding DH. I guess I feel that if you want to not invite your SPs, that is fine, but be prepared for a) Dad to not attend and quite possibly b) for YOUR partner to be excluded from events.


smdh's picture

I think that as long as the sparent won't make trouble or cause embarassment, they should be invited out of respect for your parent. That's just my opinion. I don't like my ILs, but I invite them to our events, kwim? Yes, its definitely your decision, but like you said there are consequences to those decisions.

I think that once parents are divorced and remarried, it is unfair to the new spouse if the kids invite the parents as though they're all still one big happy family. I know my dh would never attend one of SDs events without me.

Love is defined by another person's happiness being essential to your own, so if you love your parent and a piece of their happiness is tied to their new spouse, it makes sense to invite that person.

I love my dh and therefore would never make him choose, which is why he'll always choose me. He will never choose a person who forces him to side with them because he understands that they should love him enough to take him as he is (which includes me). He loves his daughter, but true love is reciprocated, and denying me to an event is not a reciprocation.

smdh's picture

Hurt? Or angry? Because I wouldn't be hurt. I don't care what SD thinks of me and I loathe the thought of having to watch her graduate or get married, BUT I'd be pissed as hell because she'd expect MY dh to hang out at an event with her mother as if I didn't exist. She doesn't have to like me, but I do think she has to respect. And expecting my dh to go to an event that includes her mother and pretend I don't exist is disrespectful.

3familiesIn1's picture

Mmm, if you don't extend the invite - you can also add offending\hurting feelings of the person you did invite to your list and making any future events questionable don't you think?

In your example, lets say you invite your dad but not your SM to your event - whose to say next time she hosts a dinner she may not bother to extend the invite to you at all - never mind your SO. After all, its her dinner she is putting on - your Dad isn't so ....

I would think that too is something to consider - you don't want her there, maybe she will extend that to you in her future events which then translates to you missing events with your Dad.

I guess as long as you are prepared for the long term consequences and potential escalations.

My friends step daughter didn't invite her SM to her graduation - her dad told her he was going to bring her along as she was his wife - the daughter stated there would be no invite for her, the father stated no wife, no attendee, the daughter said no attendees I don't have a father - and that was 4 years back - neither one has spoken since. Its a shame, no more relationship all about a graduation invite which is a drop in the bucket of life....

WickedStepMom18's picture

I guess I am cut from the cloth - Can't we all just get along? - but I do understand that there are situations where it is valid not to invite someone. Because I know how sensitive I am - I would never exclude anyone. I would end trying to manage all the emotions and hurt feelings and drama and then hating myself for inviting everyone!!

New second wife-step-mom's picture

IMO, I think anyone that would invite one of a couple and say you cannot bring your spouse/SO is rude and not taught proper manners. To all formal or family events I have been invited to they always include you and one other (of your choice.

3familiesIn1's picture

Actually, when I read your post I agree. This year the company I worked for decided to cut costs and do an employee only Christmas party - no spouses.

So, we didn't attend - why would I want to go to that without my spouse - idk - I see those people all week - I like to spend my evenings and weekends with my family\husband - going to a party without him didn't make much sense to me.

So I like how you put it. That changed my mind right there - it took the Step out of the situation.

New second wife-step-mom's picture

Thanks. The way I see it, are these kids not taught any manners/respect. Do they go to work and the boss puts their desk next to so and so and they don't like that person so they refuse to go to work? As you go through life sometimes you will find yourself in situations and with people that are not your type of people. Sometimes you just grin and bear it the best you can for the sake of family and respect or maybe just plain ole manners.

Elizabeth's picture

I will never understand this. No matter what you think of that person, it is who your parent chose to marry and, at a minimum, you should respect that. If your parents were still married, you wouldn't invite your dad and exclude your mom, right? They are a couple, and they deserve to be treated as such.

DASKRA's picture

I always say be the bigger person. Don't exclude someone because you don't like them. It may be your event but if they are a spouce to someone you care about I would say don't invite that person at all. It causes more drama in the end when you tell someone they can't come.

GoodbyeNormaJean's picture

No. It would hurt my feelings if someone invited me to something but not my partner. It would hurt my dad if I invited him but specified that my stepmom wasn't welcome. Plus its pretty rude, really. My stepmom is nice though. She is a class act. What she sees in my dad is a mystery but God bless her for it.

LilyBelle's picture

I tend to think about it in terms of what would be done if it was not relatives.

Pretty much any social occasion, if you invite someone, it is considered polite to also invite their spouse.

Work meetings, business lunches, professional occasions, spouses generally are not invited... but social events, to not invite a person's spouse would be impolite.

My work is having an end of the year ball. Spouses are invited.

Would you consider inviting a friend or co-worker to the event and not inviting their spouse?

My rule of thumb is always treat our family with the same common courtesy we give to general society.

Would you invite your best friend to a wedding or birthday party and not their spouse?

If an event has ticketing seating, as graduation often does, it might be acceptable to explain to the step parent that there are a limited number of tickets, but the step parent should then be included in any social events associated with the graduation, such as a dinner or party.

I think it is appropriate at times to have set aside time for just kid with parent... if no one else is invited, it is fine. And if a kid is close to their parent, they may want some time alone with their parent. My parents are still together, but sometimes I ask if I can have a lunch with just my mom or a shopping trip- a mother/daughter thing.... I think that kind of thing is fine, but not leaving someone's spouse out of an occasion where other spouses will be invited.

Anon2009's picture

"I think it is appropriate at times to have set aside time for just kid with parent... if no one else is invited, it is fine. And if a kid is close to their parent, they may want some time alone with their parent. My parents are still together, but sometimes I ask if I can have a lunch with just my mom or a shopping trip- a mother/daughter thing.... I think that kind of thing is fine, but not leaving someone's spouse out of an occasion where other spouses will be invited."

I agree with all of this.

smdh's picture

I think the bioparents should each have their own. There is no requriement to have one.


I totally agree with this. There are very few events where I think both parents need to celebrate together. In fact, right now, the only one I can see us "sharing" is a wedding.

bi's picture

speaking as a sd, i would invite my sf to things. if he treated me like shit, it would be a different story, i'm not inviting anyone who is disrespectful toward me to anything. but he's not, so that's not an issue.

as a sm, i would be relieved to not be invited to things that are sd's days. i did go to her graduation, because fdh wanted me there. i spent most of my time outside because bs was disruptive during the ceremony, and that suited me fine. she is pregnant now, and i'm dreading the invitation to the shower, if it comes. i've already told fdh i am not throwing or attending a shower for her (another story there, most already know why). i still don't even want to see an invitation. i'm not looking forward to any wedding that may someday take place, either. i hope if she marries, she just goes to the courthouse to do it.

the way i see it, she has done everything in her power to make every single day about her and only her from day one. so i'm not really interested in focusing on her on days that really are hers, as she has inserted herself so rudely and taken away from so many other days of my life with her ME ME ME attitude. it's really hard to want to honor and pay attention to and focus on someone like that.

realitycheckmom's picture

My stepfather abused me and to this day my mother says it never happened. I still expect him to show up to family events even though he hates me as much as I hate him. I tolerate him for my mother and my daughter. She loves her grandfather and he worships her. I will ask if my mom has to bring him and the only time I told her he was not allowed to come was the birth of my daughter. It was a special thing between myself and my mother. I just didn't want him to be there. Luckily he didn't want to come. We get along better now but if he wasn't so good to my daughter it wouldn't be happening.

catiscutemmxii's picture

I am sad to hear about that.
I am not in your situation but I think I would also do the same.
Sorry about that, hope everything goes well.

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christag's picture

You'd think that it would be rude to not invite a spouse, but that's what my skids do. I have never been invited to any of their events - graduations, birthdays, holidays. They don't come to our home for events either. They function as if I do not exist. If my Dh wants to see them, it's without me.

I'm not sure I would have even gone to SD's wedding since I heard the entire focus of the event was memorializing her dead mother. Perhaps if I did actually get invited, they might realize how pathetic they are, actually move on with their lives and drop all the obsession over their BM and acknowledge that their dad's life doesn't revolve around mourning and he's moved on and is happier with me than he ever was when married to their mother.

So they all can keep pretending and living in their own little world by excluding me. If Dh doesn't want to play along, then he doesn't get invited either, doesn't get to go to weddings or see his grandkids. I wish my Dh had the courage to stand up to them and say he won't go without me but he caved in after the skids were estranged for almost 5 years. They showed they were willing to completely exclude him so they have all the power. He wants to see his grandkids. He wants to avoid all the guilt over starting a new family so soon. He can't tell them to get over it and stop being so pathetic.

Anon2009's picture

Never would it come across to me as ok to do to someone else, parents/stepparents included. I certainly wouldn't want it done to me/DH. I agree, and also feel that the fact that a certain event will be celebrating my accomplishments does not mean I should play these immature games with others. It's a day where I should be getting congratulations and love from people, not a day where I should be treating others like $hit.

What these SDs also need to remember is that they don't have to spend the entire time talking with SM. There will be lots of other people there who they should also talk with. But they should treat SM with the same level of respect that they show all the other guests.

herewegoagain's picture

If you have a best friend that you wanted at "your event", but didn't really care for her boyfriend or husband, would you tell her that the invitation is extended ONLY to her? I doubt it. There is your answer. Just because it's the spouse of a parent you should NOT have a right or treat them any different than you would the boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse of your best friend...If you did that to a friend, that would be the end of your relationship. And well deserved.

New second wife-step-mom's picture

When my children got married I gave them the option of inviting their father. Mind you, I cannot stand this man but I told them I would not give them any problems, just do not ask me to take pictures with him (I was single at the time but still I wanted no pictures with him. He is a drug addict and you never know what he will pull off or how he may act or look when he shows up. They chose to not invite him, not me.