Long post about adult steps and disengagement.
I have really changed my interactions with the adult skids over the last year and a half. I now refer to my step life in the prepandemic phase vs post pandemic. I had made the decision to step back pre pandemic, then March came along and helped facilitate that and so my disengagement has only become obvious to the skids in the last six months or so.
With the OSD and her family moving out of state, things have been in an interesting state of flux. OSS (40 ish) and OSD (45ish) were/are very codependent and enabling of each other so it's been interesting to see where he and his wife are now reaching out to DH more and attempting to engage with me as well. After the drama last summer where I learned that NOTHING I say is between step daughter in law and I and after having her ask me advice on marital issues which were then shared with OSS, I've set up really strong boundaries and am pretty disengaged.
I've restricted my social media accounts too. Enough things were said over the last 2 years that I feel pretty sure OSS was seeing posts involving my family even though we weren't connected on social media. He has continued to make little veiled references to "zens family" which I find so peculiar since there is so little interaction there, especially after the fiasco of the holiday season 2019.
Initially the first three-four years that DH and I were together, I put a lot of energy into organizing get togethers and even encouraging DH to invite them over often. It never went as planned. Never. Not one single time in 6 years. Here is a short synopsis of what regularly occurred.
1. a rotation of who would be late. Out of 4 kids it seemed they took turns drawing straws on who would be egregiously late. We are not talking 10-15 minutes folks,we are talking anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half late to EVERY single event for the first three years of our marriage. From ticketed events to casual get togethers. If you are “time sensitive” as I and DH are it gets old always waiting on people who value their time more than yours.
2. Constant communication issues. Chasing; as I like to call it. Any interaction seems to result in an inordinate amount of back and forth. Then either last minute changes, cancelations or amendment to the plan by them. Hey I get it, family life takes compromises and coordination. They all do it. Commit to something then it’s forever a moving goal post. It’s exhausting because you never know if what you’ve planned with them will actually happen. Anything was likely to happen. I do not have this issue when setting anything up with my own adult children, which probably makes this all the more glaring.
I saw this early on with YSS who we would make plans with and usually end up changing our own plans to accommodate him to have him switch gears and either bail on us or ask for us to change what we originally were going to do with him to accommodate him. This could be anything, and I mean anything from us now driving 45 minutes one way to pick him up from wherever he was that day, to literally running his errands for him. He was in flux on his living situation and had no car so it was fairly common for him to have prolonged stays with DH or others. I set a firm boundary around doing this after one weekend when DH and I were still dating and we spent 6 hours essentially doing YSS (34) errands for him. After some back and forth and this going on for hours I finally spoke up and told DH in the future YSS should either run his own errands or DH could do them when it wasn't our time together, I certainly had other things to do such as my OWN errands and odd jobs around my own home.
3. Never wanting one on one. Yes I get it “family” yada yada. A lot of lip service given, yet very little reciprocated engagement. They are likely to invite themselves or the others to any one on one you do have planned with them, including people you don’t even know. This has happened several times where a “friend” or other vague associate was invited to come to a dinner or a planned get together either along with the spouse or in lieu of the spouse or a plus 1. To me this is weird, without some prior communication. An example of this is we bought tickets to a very popular Xmas event for all the adult children, their spouses and the grandchildren. It wasn’t cheap, one of the children ended up bringing her BFF instead of her spouse without saying a word or mentioning it, we were simply introduced at the event. One grandkid didn’t come and also gifted their ticket to the sibling to bring a guest, all without saying a word to us. Uhmmm hey guess what? I could have invited MY BFF or another couple if I had known your spouse or kid wasn’t coming.
I’ve now disengaged and take their momentary enthusiasm for future get togethers when we are in the “moment” with a grain of salt and turn it back to them in replying with “yes we should” or “that would be wonderful, YOU plan it and send me and your dad the details” it never happens. Not once in six years. I don’t even discuss the possibility or logistics any more with DH because then being the good guy he is he bends over backwards trying to facilitate making it happen and all of the above then occurs. I’m just not interested in being their events coordinator, friend or even "step mom" any longer.