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Does the BM still get to spend Christmas with DH's family?

Honeysuckle's picture

Hi this is my first real post- so apologies if this has been covered a zillion times before.....or if it's in the wrong place. I'm just happy to have a place for support.

This year will be the third Christmas since my DH split from his wife and we are trying to plan this year. They were married for 20 years and the split was messy and they essentially don't speak unless absolutely neccessary. She is very bitter and in the victim role. (He left).

The first year- they did a version of what they have been doing the last five years or so - which is spend it with my DH's cousin and her family. (He is an only child with no living parents). I was dropped off to spend the day with my cousins, then Dh took the skids to HIS cousins for lunch- then around 4pm he came to get me and we went onto my parents for dinner. BM then went to spend time with DH's family and then took the girls home (they live with her) .

Last year both the skids were o/s travelling so great- we spent the day with my family.

This year the girls really want to spend time with DH's family and we'd been wondering if BM would also want to and how it would work. Yesterday we found out= without any consultation with us that the three of them (skids and BM) have made plans to go down to DH's cousins together in the morning. I have never even met the BM (and frankly have no real desire to) and don't plan on Christmas day being the day. I feel this doesn't give me the option of going. I am pretty hurt.

My question is: when you divorce, don't you lose the right to spend the holidays with your exes family - especially if the DH has repartnered?

Do we need to do year-on-year-off type thing? Though this seems odd as the girls are 20 and 23.

Am I being too precious.

We have the youngest sd's 21st in Feb - but that's a whole other post. Sigh,

Thanks in advance

doll faced sm's picture

I dunno; I can see both sides. You're hurt and feeling left out/rejected. From their perspective, they bonded with her for 20 years and didn't ask for her to be forcibly removed from their lives.

My MIL chose my husb.'s former wife, and he was too much of a wuss to say no to either of them despite the fact (he claims) that he didn't want to marry her. So far as my MIL is concerned, I broke up her son's first marriage - never mind the actual facts.

Unfortunately for some (many?) of us, we will never be held in the same regard as the starter wife. }:)

Honeysuckle's picture

Sorry- wasn't clear- I have absolutely NO problem with skids spending the day with DH's family. especially since they missed seeing them last year. It's the fact that BM will be there too that I have a problem with. If she wants to keep in contact with them that's fine too-but I just don't really feel it's fair that it has to be Christmas - she has 364 other days of the year. But I guess we do too. I haven't met any of my DH's family yet apart from his kids and thought this year might be a good chance - though my mind wasn't made up.

realitycheckmom's picture

If your husband's family invites BM then yes she gets to go.

The rest of this post is utter garbage. These are ADULTS! There is no need to have mommy and daddy together for the holidays. Are they mentally handicapped and that is why their parents play happy family?

Did daddy cheat on mommy with you or are you 16? Why the hell would you allow yourself to be dumped on Christmas by your husband? Are you not really married? I just do not understand the reasoning behind the crazy dynamics here.

Your DH needs to man up and be with his wife not his ex and his daughters are old enough to handle splitting the day with their parents.

Honeysuckle's picture

"These are ADULTS! There is no need to have mommy and daddy together for the holidays."

This is what I'm hoping can be clarified after speaking to the cousin, his ex and then the girls. TBH I don't think this is what they really want- in fact they go out of their way to make sure they are only at the same things unless they really have to. It's been said thats it's really stressful for the SD's to have their parents in the same room together because of the animosity. SO has said to them he'll speak to their Mum to try and make things a little more amicable.

EG: My SO is a partner in a small (locally-produced goods) retail store and they are having their 2013 opening this Friday night. (It's a pop-up type annual store and this is the third year). I've had a little to do with it over the years too. So we are planning on going to the opening celebration. Both SD's worked in the store the first year with us both. BM makes hand-made silk scarves and throught the SD's has managed to get stocked at the shop (my SO is not the purchaser) and was invited to the opening too. She had the older SD check if SO and I were going as she didn't want to go if we were there. Plus, this is 100% my SO's gig- he has put three years of his life into this and would like to enjoy the night without his ex there. I guess he just wants to do the same thing at Christmas. He'd be fine if she DID turn up (but highly unlikely if she thinks I'll be there) and be polite.... but just prefer it if she didn't.

I'd definitely say that they are both without a doubt in the 'rather gouge their eyes out with forks than spend time together'. category. In hindsight, maybe too much like this- as I've had to encourage him to speak to her when there's been some worrying mental health stuff going on with SD2 and it needed attending to. Sigh.

Honeysuckle's picture

Hi thanks for your does help. Yes- it is sticky. The whole bloody thing is IMHO. I don't know that BM maintains much of a relationship with DH's family- but the kids want to spend the day with them so am guessing BM was also invited. To be clear, we don't know all the facts yet- the exact plans that have been made etc etc and who has invited who.

DH feels it's fine for BM to see his family- and is thinking if she does- then he'd go later in the day to see his family- as he's actually not that thrilled at the idea of spending time with her (or her with him either - and definitely not me). We go to great lengths to make sure we are never all in the same place. He also isn't wanting to play happy familes - but also wants to see his girls so gets stuck in the 'trying to please everyone' mode.

I was thinking that we should speak to the skids about it....and to be fair- I said only days ago that I wasn't even sure that I wanted to spend Christmas at all with either of them and might just do my own thing.

I agree- cpmplicated and yes the mother of his children - and they are fiercely loyal to their 'poor mother' who was left by Dad. Not for me I might add.

Honeysuckle's picture

I'm not sure we are playing the dysfunctional game quite yet- Dh sees his ex maybe once or twice a year. And he doesn't particularly want to spend Christmas day with her either.

But there is definitely a problem from their lack of respect for each other and lack of any communication that affects the girls and I as far as any social gatherings go. DH didn't go to his eldest's 21st as it was at his old place and his ex wasn't comfortable with him there which therefore stressed the kids so they politely said perhaps it was better to do something separate with him. He now gravely regrets not being more assertive in defending his right to be there. I didn't go to eldests graduation as BM was there. And last week when SD20 had been in hospital I wasn't allowed to take her soup and nice comfort food (SD21's request in case it 'made her Mum mad' ) I've been told by our counsellor that what happens at Mum's is kept separate from what happens at ours. It's a real division. I get that to a certain degree but it's really hard emotionally.

I'd prefer to have something at our house -but the problem is the girls not driving- so we'd have to pick up or BM drop off (which I know she'd be reluctant to do). Dh really wants to see his family as its been tradition for him.

Honeysuckle's picture

StepAside somehow I missed this post last night- thanks- it's really helpful - what you are saying really resonates with me and think I'll be taking this path despite what the outcome of the discussions with the rest of SO's family are.

If we had met, got along and were comfortable I might not have problems spending small amounts of time in BM's company. I honestly don't believe she is a bad person, just someone who has had a lot of pain in her life- including being left by SO- and is still grieving. She may or may not ever get over it. That's her choice. As you said, we haven't met, SO isn't her biggest fan and that's the facts. We can't change that right now.

"You can not allow people who fear confrontation, to choose avoiding them over treating you with respect." I'm not sure I understand this correctly? Do you mean my SO fearing confrontation with his ex and then avoiding her? Or fearing confrontation with his kids and avoiding the confrontation at the expense of respect for me?

As it stands after us speaking this morning, SO is thinking he won't be going to his cousins (#1) if his ex is there....he wants to rise above it all and be able to go, but at the same doesn't want the unnecessary stress. He'll see them another day- we can invite them to ours. He is thinking of spending it with another cousin (who I'll refer to as cousin #2) - which means I could go too - and the girls will just have to accept that they can't have their cake and eat it too. Actions have consequenses and if they choose to make plans to spend the day with their Dad's family and include their BM then they might just not be able to see him as well that day.

SD20 when telling him of the plans on Monday said something along the lines of 'well maybe we can have dinner together' insinuating that she knew he more than likely wouldn't be at cousin #1's. I said that we'd have to see-and that Boxing day might be better as I will be tired and not probably want more stimulation (and/or a dinner at our place).

This is all made slightly more tricky in that my family are not really around on the 25th - Dad is spending it interstate with his visiting family from o/s - long story- Mum is spending the day at a local food charity serving up hot dinners and my brother and my SIL are spending it with her family this year out of town, which I have also been invited to. I do have a trillion cousins of my own though that I can spend time with if I choose. Tbh I'm not a huge Christmas fan in the first much pressure to have a good day! I'm also struggling with a lot of feelings of emptiness and 'what's the point' atm (BP related).

"As for the division. It can be hard, but I think it's much easier to accept than and get it over with, than to continually try to fit in." I am finally realising this now- in the sake of my own emotional wellbeing. For most of my life I have always pushed against what I think is fair (i have massive issues with perceived injustice) and ended up in a lot of pain. Acceptance and mindfulness is something I am really working on in many areas of my life - in relationship to my anxiety, BPD diagnosis and basic wellbeing.

Thanks again StepAside - I agree it's time to be kind to myself and start making some new traditions. Maybe not this year, but at least the seed has been sown.

twopines's picture

Time to make some new traditions with your husband for Christmas. My DH would rather gouge his eyes out with a steak knife than see his ex. Ever.

Honeysuckle's picture

I agree. My DH feels more or less the same way about his ex- but if the girls want something bad enough they generally get it. Sigh. He knows it, they know it (esp the youngest - who is particulaly good at emotional blackmailing her father) He has a lot of guilt issues he still needs to work though.

Honeysuckle's picture

I like this. A lot. It's going to be my rule of thumb from now on and have just told DH this too.

Pilgrim Soul's picture

I disagree with probably everyone who commented so far. There is nothing wrong with you being in the same room with BM. You are not married to your partner, right? And he has not left his wife *for you*, correct? So at this point he needs to speak to his cousin in private and state that he is coming for Xmas and bringing you. Everyone else can have advance warning and plan accordingly. You will have to smile politely - and confidently - and make small talk. The BM will have to be an adult, and instead of her Poor Me act put on What's Best For My Girls act. It will show the daughters how adults handle themselves with grace and maturity.

It can be done, and should be at least tried. In my first marriage i cultivated a polite friendship with my then husband's ex-wife. We visited her and her boyfriend at their house for family celebrations, they visited us. The kids (grown by then) thrived. There was no conflict, some tension initially, yes. But it got better.

Next year you could plan something else. Have Xmas at your house? Go on a cruise? Have several celebrations? Create a new tradition if this relationship takes. You being able to handle the family get-together will make you a role model for the young ones (and possibly for your partner's future girlfriends if you decide this set-up is not for you.)

Honeysuckle's picture

Pilgrim Soul- I too agree that there is nothing wrong with us being in the same room. No, we are not married (but live defacto) and no, he didn't leave her for me - though we did get together only a matter of months after him moving out.

Yes, as you suggested the plan is for him to speak to his cousin and let her know that I might be coming too. His ex will more than likely do what she can to avoid us. I know it can be done...I'm just not sure I have the confidence to meet her yet- I have an anxiety disorder plus recently been dx with BPD- PLUS am slowly tapering of Paxil which is a journey in itself and requires most of what I have in me to get through each day. I know that my BP has a lot to do with my struggle with these relationships, but I am therapy and have good support. It just adds another level of complication to all of this.

When I'm feeling stable I feel like I can be the adult here and be a good role model for the girls. But so far BM really wants none of it. SD20 wanted to have her 21st at our place and now she won't as her BM won't come if she does. I'm not thrilled at the idea of her being in our home either, but for one night I'm willing to suck it up as it's not about us.

At the end of the day- my SO said he will speak to his ex about these kind of gatherings and making it less stressful for all involved. The youngest SD is very pleased about this as it's a huge stress for her too and I think finds its hard trying to keep everyone happy.

Honeysuckle's picture

@ImaSmom I guess that's why I'm questioning all of this- it's not an old tradition- only something they did in the last 2-3 years of being married. I also think that yes, my SO's family can invite whoever they want to their home. I spoke to SO about it more and he's going to speak to olderst daughter about her essentially 'hijaking' his family and making plans with them without speaking to us first - he'd told her he'd like to spend the day with them and feels like she's gone behind our backs to 'get in first' knowing that we might want to see them too. Apparantly she is also bring her boyfriend.

Honeysuckle's picture

Wow- that's just wrong.

I'm lucky that my SO would never make me do that- as he'd be going out of his way to avoid his ex as much as I do.

Honeysuckle's picture

Hi Wicked, firstly, I agree that I would be triggering my anxiety big time if I chose to spend Christmas with my SO and his kids- BM there or not. So, I'm aware in the interest of my mental health that going might not be ideal. But at the same time I'm at a point in my recovery of trying to not avoid too many anxiety-provoking situations.

Just to be clear, this isn't BM's family event I would be gate-crashing, rather my SO's family gathering. As I've said before, this isn't really a family tradition, just something they did a few times in the last years. It isn't something that has been happening for 20 years at all.

"He doesn't get to spend Christmas day with his relatives because his ex is there and he chose to leave this marriage and its traditions"...this seems harsh to me- do you mean he should under no circumstances spend Christmas with his own blood relatives because his ex and kids got in first? Family he grew up with in the absence of siblings and a father? He's perfectly happy to see his kids on Christmas eve or night- but the thing just seems to be that nothing has been discussed first and they have just gone ahead and made plans with HIS family (who they don't have much contact with the other 364 days of the year)

"There are some exclusions that really really are painful to SMs but, imo this isn't, and shouldn't be one of them." Rejection and exclusion came up in counselling yesterday- and I know that this is to be expected - I wasn't allowed to take some soup over to SO's sick daughter on Saturday and was really upset.

"I am sorry, sometimes divorce causes these problems. Not about skids at all. It causes problems with friends. When couples split up, who the hell still invites BOTH of them and any new partners round to dinner. It is absolutely unthinkable!" That's what is happening though- both of us potentially being invited. So, if this is the case, his family are inviting both of us- I would definitely politely decline- as I have done for countless other events due to not wanting to make everyone stressed (especially the skids who would spend the whole time trying to keep us apart as they have said. That wouldn't be fair on them imho when it's their special day like graduation etc). And personally I'm not that phased about missing out on birthdays, graduations etc...perhaps a wedding I might be more inclined to go.

I also agree that meeting them on another occasion might be a good idea. I just want him to be happy and have one day where he's not tied to me with my emotional demands- his life at the moment is not a bed of roses with me- my moods are insane and he puts up with a lot of my BP related bullshit. In hindsight, perhaps we can see his family on boxing day. It's the girls potentially not seeing him on the 25th that they are going to be unhappy with. They have had a very hard time accepting that they now have less access to their Dad than they are used to -they love Christmas and they love family- and this holiday signifies this.

Sigh, why is it so complicated? This whole world is new to me and I;m seriously not sure I can do it Sad

oncechoosetosmile's picture

It is a tough one.I actually just came back from my daughters formal and my ex and his new gf were there, too.I actually like his gf (farrrrrrr more than him) and she sems always quite happy to see me.I could not imagine to celebrate christmas with them though- the kids have two christmas celebrations and I mostly have them a bit more , which I love.
This lady has been in your partners life for 20 years and they have kids together.She may feel like a victim and feels naturally sad about the break up but that doesn't make her a horrible person.I don't think that the family should automatically get rid off the contact with her because he left hera dn has now someone else.
When I go home for my next holiday I will for sure visit my ex mil and she is looking forward to it.Ex hb and his gf don't have a problem with it.

Rags's picture

I generally have a more selfish and assertive perspective in these types of situations. I am my DW's husband and where she goes I go regardless of who has an issue with it. The SpermIdiot and the SpermClan have two choices, deal with it or STFU. That is it.

Were I you I would be radiant, go with your DH to the cousin's house for Christmas and beem the whole time. Be engaging, be confident and support your DH. No need to be confrontational, be nice, until they make it time for you to not be nice. If they approach that line. Maybe they won't.

In many cases the X is often much like a cockroach who is all confident in a dark and shadow filled room. When the light comes on they scurry for the shadow on a dark corner. Be the light, be radiant, be confident, be engaging and ignore the cockroaches unless they confront you. Then stomp on them. Not physically or profanely but in an expressive, smiling and confident way. One very effective and drippingly nauseating response that southern ladies are adept at is "Well, just bless your little heart". It gets the point across and gives you the behavioral high ground. Anything that lets you smack them while keeping a smile on your face will suffice. "My, having a bad day are we?", "I am so sorry you are having difficulty moving on with your life." "I am so sorry that you feel that way.", etc.........

I do find it odd that BM is maintaining this kind of contact with DWs family. When my XW left me for her geriatric Fortune 500 executive sugar daddy and our divorce was final I had no interface with my XILs except for the occasional random interface in a public place (restaurants, etc...). I certainly did not seek them out though I did visit their home a couple of times when the invited me over after running in to me at a business lunch occasionally. My DW has had occassional interface with the SpermIdiot and the SpermClan but not often. Most interface has been in court or at the occassional Skid visitation exchange. When she has interfaced with them, I have been there.

In your case BM has only your DH's past. You his today's and his tomorrows. Be confident, be radiant and do not let her chase you from his side. Not even once during the holidays. Never. PERIOD!!!

Your SD's from the limited info you have shared seem reasonable. If they are reasonable, then great. If they take on the BM cockroach characteristics, then deal with them like a cockroach.

IMHO of course.

IslandGal's picture

I-m so happy This!! I-m so happy Agree 100% with Rags!!

...and I think the "cockroach" description is just damned perfect!

twoviewpoints's picture

Way too much drama making in this one. I think it would be less stressful and more enjoyable for the OP, SO and the girls to start some new traditions. Everybody wants to see everybody else and they appear to be smashing it all into one day. Everyone is bound to be exhausted and nobody actually have a good time.

Christmas is on a Wednesday this year. It leaves plenty of time to work around. There is Christmas Eve, the weekend before and the weekend after. If the BM/SD's are set already on Christmas Day at cousins, pick a different day/evening, smack a bird in the oven (or whatever) and plan your celebration (inviting whoever you please)on one of the other times. It'll be much less stressful for you to run the day on your time in your home with your selected guest and it frees you up for SO and you to have a relaxing enjoyable Christmas Day at your parents. You could also invite your parents to your celebration. There is no 'rule' that says Christmas must be one day and people can only see each other once. Invite SO's desired family (the cousin and whoever else).

You and SO get holiday time with people you both enjoy spending time with (without the rush and drama) and it leaves the SD's and their mother free to do their Christmas Day thing with and where whoever. We can't control other people, we can only control ourselves and how we deal with other people.

The same with as the 21st bash for the SD. Their parents can either host individual celebrations for the occasion or they can do it all at once in a neutral place. Example: book a dinner at a local restaurant that has a family social room. Take the intimacy of it being in one home or the other away. Surely two grown women can manage to be in the same room (opposite ends and plenty of people to socialize with other than each other).

It doesn't matter if the SD's don't drive and someone has to pick them up. These are not little children. They are grown adult women that get themselves ready by x time and walk out the door to the waiting vehicle when it pulls up. Yeah, sure, maybe BM will be inside boo-hooing but BM is going to have to face the fact her husband of 20yrs has chosen to end the marriage and move on. She doesn't have to like it. Things like Christmas Day is just one of the first of things to come. The girls will be getting married (weddings to plan and attend), perhaps having babies (grandchildren for BM and your SO to have to share) and maybe even the girls leaving the immediate area to build careers and live their adult lives. BM is fooling herself if she thinks life isn't going to go on and people have to adapt to changes and new traditions just because her husband divorced her. Might as well help her start adapting. Plan your separate holiday , the girls either come or they don't.

Honeysuckle's picture

Wow-thanks so much for all your thoughts...I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you have all taken the time to share your opinions. One thing I have learned from my limited experience of forums is that there really is a wealth of experience and knowledge in groups like this - so I do intend to listen. It would be really unwise to put myself through unnecessary stress and anxiety, especially if there is some really useful advice and strategies to help me through this really challenging time.

To be honest, my mind is quite mashed up now at the end of a long day -it's 12:30am here in Australia and there's a lot of voices to take in within this thread.

So, I'll reply to the posts as best i can tomorrow and to hopefully fill in any gaps as I know I have most likely not been absolutely clear in the whole situation (but have got my main question across I hope). Tomorrow I hope to know more - that is after SO speaks to his cousin and after that, his ex. (I'm confused and being confusing I know- I referred to him as DH in the title - I just picked it from the abbreviation list on another page- am such a newbie to this- but think SO is more appropriate as we are not actually married.)

He just said before that he had mentioned to his eldest daughter a few weeks ago that he had been in contact with another cousin to see what she was doing for Christmas too- and wonders if that they then assumed that they were then free to go to his other cousins. But he's still not thrilled that no-one had a conversation with him about it before making any firm plans.

As for what I'm going to do, I'll write on that tomorrow. I've had a hugely emotional day - even without this stressor.

Thanks again for your support- I'm looking forward to getting to know your stories too.

Honeysuckle's picture

This is really good advice SA- thanks.....

"There would be many hours spent dreading the event beforehand, and many hours regretting going on the backside. If you do what is best for you, you won't have to spend all that time in worry/anxious mode." You hit the nail on the head here. I'm actually anxious just reading and writing about it here Sad

"Can't attend an event with their father's side, without their mother? For Pete's sake, that is game playing. Rude and inconsiderate. And inconsideration is a HUGE weapon in relational aggression and passive aggression." I agree- it's rude and inconsiderate is what hurts me the most. They worry about BM and that she be alone - she is the victim here and will never let her girls forget it.

SO has admitted that he will never see eye to eye with SD20 on what level of support he should be giving to her mother now post-divorce. As far as we are concerned- it's SD's CS (yes, don't start me - but she's entitled to it as long as she lives at home and attends university full time) and whatever small discretionary spending he wants to do on the girls - and that's it. As our counsellor said - his financial and emotional obligations to their BM ended when they divorced and settled. SD doesn't see it like that but she'll just have to suck it up and realise it's time for her mother to use the money she received to support herself and her girls.

Anon2009's picture

Personally, I think it was tacky of your inlaws to invite bm. They should've invited her out to lunch/dinner at another time.

But you say the divorce was messy. Was cheating involved? Bm and dh were married for 20 years. So I can sort of understand the ILs feelings.

EvilWickedSM's picture

I am still great friends with my exMIL and we get together on occasion. NEVER on holidays would I ever put my exH and his wife out so that I could be included in HIS family's holiday celebration. Nor would exMIL invite me. Am I offended by that....not in the least. I think someone needs to tell these skids that they don't need "mommy" there for Christmas...they're adults for God's sake, or tell "mommy" she is welcome to come over AFTER you and DH have left and have gotten to spend your holiday with YOUR FAMILY!!!

dadsnewwife's picture

I agree with all the other posters...hosts have the right to invite whomever they choose and it's the invitees who can make the choice to go or not go. And, don't come down on your SO's family for still feeling close to his ex. I was a wife, like her, who got dumped after 25 years and have NO desire to be anywhere NEAR my ex. Our divorce was one of taking sides...and yes, even members of HIS family chose me over him, but in the end, they were HIS family, not mine. I wasn't invited to family events because HE was family and they knew I wanted to have nothing to do with him after that. He broke my heart and wherever HE was, I wasn't. They knew this and still do. We have both remarried and our 20-something daughters have adjusted to splitting their time. Unfortunately, it's their father who has family around here, so I'm the big loser. I most likely will never see my 4 daughters around MY holiday table as they want to be with their father's extended family. I'm still close to one of my ex- SIL's who invited me to her son's graduation reception, but knew I wouldn't attend knowing my ex would be there. My youngest graduated high school in 2010 and she stayed after to see me and told me when she got back to my ex's house, he gave her a "look to kill" like she was a traitor or something. Whatever. My ex-MIL also did not condone what her son did and told me so. I was like a daughter to her for over 25 years and she has never truly let me go. I am also the mother of her only granddaughters. Just because a guy decides to dump his wife doesn't mean other family members are going to. What I don't understand of your SO's ex is WHY she even would even WANT to be where he is. My DD28 is getting married next year and just knowing I have to be around my ex makes me want to vomit, but we'll all be civil and my DD I'm sure will keep us separated as much as possible.

Anyway, the ex and I have both remarried and I now have a wonderful new family I'm a part of, but I always get a little sad at the holidays going to my new dh's family (the only one I have around here) and seeing everyone's kids there, but mine. Sad It will never feel truly like "family" as my ex's family was to me because my daughters ARE a part of that family. Luckily, my dh's ex had to move out of state years ago to live with her mother, so I've never even met her. My dh and I both feel like the one poster who said, "My dh would rather gouge his eyes out than be where his ex is." My dh and I BOTH feel that way about our exes.

I guess I don't understand why your SO's ex still would want to be where he is, but I agree with everyone else...she WAS family for a longggggg time, so the only thing YOU can do is go and be anxiety ridden or stay home and enjoy your time alone. I personally think your SO would stay home with YOU and make other plans with his daughters.

sandye21's picture

I to agree with the other posters who say it is DH's job to have a non-confrontational discussion with his cousin. Sorry how the divorce happened but BM is no longer part of the family. When I divorced my ex I wasn't considered part of his family anymore. BM will get over it and spend future Christmases with her Boyfriend. Life will go on.

Honeysuckle's picture

I think that's the problem- life is only going on very slowly for BM- I suspect there is still a lot of resentment and anger over the divorce. She does not appear to have a boyfriend or SO that we know of. The SD's have admitted she's happier so I guess that's a good start.

JacksGal's picture

Another side of this coin... My brother and his wife divorced after 26 years of marriage. We love our former SIL and she is still part of our family. In our case, my brother has no objections. She will be invited to my daughter's wedding next year along with her boyfriend who is a very nice man. My brother will go too and he will be happy for her. We chose not to let her drift away. She did nothing but treat my brother like a king, he was the one who wanted out. My brother was out of the country after the divorce for nearly 4 years and it was my former SIL who was at every wedding and funeral. She was invited and came for nearly achievement for her nieces and nephews. We only want her to be happy. We love our brother, but he's not dated anyone seriously enough to bring around yet so we haven't had any awkward situations, but I know my oldest sister made a point of telling their children that their mother was her friend. It may seem awkward from the outside, but for us it isn't. Personally, being the youngest, I don't remember my SIL not being part of my life. I would feel like I was leaving my sister out, not my former SIL. Should my brother find someone special, (and hopefully this time older than his kids) we would also go out of our way to make her feel welcome and we'd hope she would understand.

Honeysuckle's picture

Interesting to hear your side's useful to hear both sides. I totally understand the feeling of closeness to your SIL- I know for a fact that I would feel the same about my SIL and cannot even fathom her not being a part of my life should they ever part ways. Should he re-partner though I'm not sure how things would pan out at family gatherings...I can't even think about that atm as they have just had their first baby!

I guess the thing I keep thinking of here is that it's not a sibling or MIL (he has none or living parents) in this situation that the BM is wanting to spend time with at Christmas- it's a cousin of SO- yes they were fond of each other, but not close in the way you might be with a SIL or MIL. And they don't see each other any other time of the year. It's more about the fact they have a historical relationship, rather than a close one like you or I with our SIL's.

Thanks for taking the time to weigh in though, it's much appreciated. Smile

Honeysuckle's picture

Okay- so SO spoke to both SD23 and cousin #1 yesterday. Here's where things are currently at:

SO told SD23 that he felt hijacked out of his own family by them organising something with their BM at his cousins without discussing it with him first. He explained it was akin to him inviting himself to her aunts (his ex SIL) house for Christmas. (who he's always got along with, but wasn't in regular contact with post-divorce). She really hadn't thought about it like that (imo these girls are really lacking this kind emotional intelligence) and that the repercussion of them doing this is that he would not be able to see them on Christmas Day. He said she seemed genuinely surprised - not angry- just more like 'oh, we hadn't thought of it like that'. **cue me rolling my eyes**

SD23 also said it wasn't 100% confirmed that BM would be going- SD20 wasn't quite up to speed. But if BM knows we are definitely not going then she more than likely will.

He then had a long chat to his cousin after dinner last night and talked to her about where his relationship with his ex is and that he probably wouldn't come if BM was there with the girls. She didn't realise that almost three years down the track things were still so awkward and from what I can gather things are ok- there's no hard feelings between him and his cousin. They themselves are having a low key Christmas this year and they made plans for us to get together (without SD's) between Christmas and New Year.

As my SO's cousin is also a psychologist my recent BPD diagnosis came up. He has often spoken to her about my mental health struggles (with my permission). He needs support of his own and funny enough, unbeknown to us- she and her hubby (also a psych) have just written a DBT program (the type of therapy that's most highly recommended and effective for BPD - so they really understand what he's up against).... I asked him this morning after a rage episode to do with SD20 why he stays with me. Sigh.

So, at this point it looks like the two of us will be spending Christmas with cousin #2 without the skids (yay!). The girls just have to decide that they are happy with their decsion to spend the day with their BM which will mean that they see us either 1) that night or 2) another day. Christmas eve isn't an option as SD23 is spending it with her bf's family so perhaps boxing day. TBH I might then spend the 26th with my Mum as she will have been doing the charity work on the 25th.

I'm interested to hear how SD20 responds to the news that she probably won't see her Dad on Christmas Day if they choose to spend it with his cousins and her BM. She is the more emotionally labile of the two and also the one who's been know to passively emotionally blackmail her father. So we'll see how that pans out.

IslandGal's picture

Kudos to your DH for speaking to his Cuz & SD23.

I wouldn't worry about SD20 - she is old enough to sort out what she wants to do.

Honeysuckle's picture

Getting there. He still hasn't spoken to SD20 about it - and she's the one most likely to make a fuss. Though hopefully I am wrong. He was supposed to see her yesterday but that didn't happen and then she's working (at our store) on Thursday and said he would then. I have suggested that work isn't the most ideal place to have such a conversation...but at least he's thinking about it.

I get exasperated and ask why he can't just pick up the phone and call her - but he said it's sometimes easier as he can get his thoughts and responses together more coherantly when they chat online. IMHO he's scared of her- she's smart and fast and an excellent debater at University so he often comes out second best in these kind of discussions (ie: she gets what she wants).

The more I read here I'm guessing that this is not an uncommon problem between Dad's and their daughters.

Disillusioned's picture

My H's ex has Christmas dinner every year on Christmas Eve and she invites H's family. H's sister goes along with FIL.

For the most part it doesn't bother me that they go, especially as it doesn't interfere with Christmas dinner on Christmas day for DH and I....but at the same time yes it irks me as H's sister loves to make sure I know that she is oh so close to H's ex while at the same time treating me like crap

Last year H's ex actually invited H and I to join them as well LOL. H immediately said no but I thought it would be a great idea...H's sister wouldn't know how to handle the fact that H's ex and I get along so much better than H's sister and I do :?

IslandGal's picture

I wanted to also add that my DH would NEVER accept an invitation that didn't include both of us - regardless of whom it's from. His family are also very considerate and wouldn't do anything so blatantly rude as to invite BM to ANY Xmas dinner.

I would never dream of inviting my ex to any of our dinners - christmas, birthdays etc. This is the reason for divorce - couples don't get along, and they break up.

Why invite dramas by doing something so damned inconsiderate as inviting BOTH BM and DH to any family gathering, as if they were still in an intact marriage? It just confuses the kids more, IMHO.

Divorce means two separate families, two separate functions - two separate lives. Better to let the skids adapt and deal with the changes - the sooner, the easier for everyone.

Honeysuckle's picture

Thanks for this Island Girl- this is the way I feel too- that divorce changes things and that now there are two separate lives. I think the girls are still struggling with this and it's not helped by the fact their parents don't speak or model any healthy behaviour to reinforce this.

Which of course, would make our lives as SM's that much easier. Sigh.