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The long and winding road

Mountains's picture

I have been reading posts on this site off and on for a while and have found the information and sharing very valuable.  I wanted to share a part of my story with older skids during my 12 year marriage.  The road has been long and winding, sometimes with many potholes and detours, but after 14 years together, 12 married, we have emerged somewhat in tact and stronger.  Though, at times, I wasn't sure the outcome.  This post is focused on my SD59, spoiled and pampered her whole life especially by BM.  NOTE:  I realize in hindsight I made mistakes along the way and may not have always handled things the way I would have liked, but, realized a long time ago that no one gets an owners manual to help guide you.  This forum has provided some much needed, but hard earned, guidance.

DH and his first wife were married over 40 years and she unfortunately passed away from cancer after a short illness.  After her passing, DH and I began having lunch, dinner, or just getting together with friends.  Over time, we realized we loved each other and wanted to get married.  He had two grown kids (the skids were SD45 and SS42 at the time) and I had one (DD10).   Two years after the BM passing, we got married.  SD, SS, SDIL all have fits over their dad dating and really went nuts when they discovered I was younger.  Long story short, DH thought and hoped things would get better and his kids would accept me and my DD, but it was not to be.

Turns out, the SD thought she would become the family matriarch, including taking over care of her father.  Bear in mind, my DH was living hundreds of miles from her, working full time, and very much active in his life.  For whatever reason, she thought he would retire, move to her home, to be a full time grandfather.  (SD has two children that were born late in life to her)  I am thinking that was DH first mistake in her book, not wanting her to be his mini wife.  

Before we married, DH thought if I wrote the skids a letter laying out my financial stability, family history, etc., they would not be so opposed to our marriage.  I refused and in hindsight am glad because turns out nothing we have tried over the years has been effective.  SD told DH that he was being taken advantage of and I would rob him blind (pot calling the kettle black).

I found out after we were married SD was always calling with "money problems" ... not asking directly for money but whining about what her husband would not let her have, like new eye glasses, vet care for dog, etc.  Her husband has a wonderful income and turns out had put her on a budget to stop her spending everything dollar so she turned to DH since her BM was not longer around to bail her out of credit card debt, pay for her maid service, etc.  The calls pretty much stopped after DH quit sending her money (that took a while to cut off...DH finally saw that he was circumventing the SIL's attempts to teach the SD money management).  

When we married, the sgrands were under the age of 5, and I was excited to be able to do for them as I love children.  SD informs DH that she did not want me trying to win her affection by buying her kids gifts.  So, while they were little, we did birthday, christmas, etc., for the sgrands but nothing more.  And, shockingly, we never received thank you'  DH did address with her a few times and we would get one card with all the sgrands signature (few times=2).   By the way, my child was never acknowledged -- at all.  period.  ever.  DH sent DD's high school graduation invitation to SD which 6 years later, still haven't gotten a response (lol).  I can see not doing anything for me, but to ignore a child is not something that I can easily forgive.  That, I still struggle with today.  

Three times I have written SD inviting her to visit but never got a response.  DH has finally said that we have done all we can, and there is no more to do.  I have let her know that I did find some of her mothers things that were packed away in a storage unit and let me know if she wanted them.  She did until I told her that she would need to pay for the shipping.  Not sure what to do with it now since the SD has gone silent on the subject.

Now, it is clear to DH that she has kept the sgrands from him because he would not give in to her demands.  We get no pictures, not even the school pictures, no calls from the sgrands, nothing.  It breaks his heart but realizes that giving in would not be good in the long run.  I do want to add that DH has diligently gone through BM's estate and made sure she received everything her mother wanted her to have which was significant enough to ensure SD would never have to work (which she has not since before sgrands were born).  Now, we have our estate and the skids have their BM's so that I won't have to go through the nightmare of splitting DH estate if he preceeds me.  

Has the DH been aware of all the issues with SD over the years?  No...he was blinded to her manipulative ways and found it easier to give in than to deal with it.  After alot of issues, tears, and discussions, DH realizes that respect and consideration are a two way street and he has made it clear that until the SD accepts the marriage and shows respect, then they don't have alot to discuss.  There are calls on holidays and birthdays, but not much else.  We do do for the sgrands for now, but even the DH thinks they are old enough to be able to call or reach out.  He really doesn't like it when he has to ask if they got their gifts.  

One of the biggest lessons DH has learned is that silence when SD makes outrageous lies about me is the same as agreeing with her.  He thought not responding was the best way but now sees that it just makes her feel she is right.  Once he started firmly but politely disagreeing with her, she stopped.  That was a huge step forward for him.

I realize this could have gone a much different way if we had not toughed it out and some days, I was not sure I had it in me to deal with "one more drama".  But, by grace and alot of wine, we have made it through to a good place.  Sorry for the long post (it would be a novel if the whole story with the SD was written).  Thank each of you for your insights and sharing.

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

i feel like, from SDs point of view, you married her much older father (are the step kids older than you, too?), made it quite clear that you are not her mother and then started funneling her father's wealth (that her mother helped him earn) away from  his bio kids and to your own. Not that it's a reality, just what it seems she feels from your story. It's frustrating to everyone involved. I also feel bad for the SIL that he has to teach his wife money management.


Personally, I feel like it was a bit of bad form to demand that SD pay for shipping of her mother's things. A little petty. 

Mountains's picture

Wow, was not expecting such a negative response to what was I thought a positive note about working through issues.  I had always seen such supportive comments on this site that yours was a surprise.  As I mentioned in my note, I did not provide all the issues with the SD because there is not enough space.  But let me say, I don't feel that a 50 yo woman should call her 80 yo dad and manipulate him into paying for her floors in her new home, or pay for her designer reading glasses, or pay for her new car.  Those are a few examples of the things she has wanted from him during our marriage. 

Let me clarify about paying for shipping the items.  I spent four weeks vacation time going through DH house helping him sort through late BM things after we were married at his request.  SD wanted everything, including unused wrapping paper, bows, etc.  We paid several thousand dollars to have a moving van take all the stuff to her.  We thought, at that time, if she had her mom's things, she would not feel so anxious.  Several other times over the years we would get a call or email with a list of additional items of my husbands or her BM that she wanted.  After about the 2nd or 3rd time of going to the time and expense of shipping things (like a favorite frying pan), my husband said that it was getting ridiculous and she needed to step up and decide what was really important to have.  He felt that if she had to pay, she would be more judicious in what she wanted.  Turns out he was right.  BTW, she sold most of the stuff that she had to have because she did not have room for it.  I sure don't feel we were petty.

I did not mean to imply in my note above that I made it clear I was not her mom.  It was made clear to me that I was not their mom, which was fine.   I am younger but brought the same amount of resources into our union as the DH.  He had no wealth -- his late wife had a significant estate that was carefully transitioned over to the skids (as I meantioned above).  His late wife did not leave any of her wealth to him, just the skids, and we respect that.  What I was trying to say above is we did make sure out estate (sorted out after about 8 years of marriage) was clearly ours accumulated during our marriage.  We were advised to do that and tell all the kids how the estate is set up to avoid emotional problems down the road.  I still work because I don't want to the DH to have to worry about me down the road.

Over the years, there have been many major health issues the DH has suffered.  Through it all, not one time did the SD come visit (in fact, she has never visited even though as I said she has been invited more than once).  I emailed her during her father's illnesses to keep her informed.  None of my communications were acknowledged. 



TwoOfUs's picture

You don't have to explain yourself in this detail. Brisket-maker clearly didn't ready your post. I never saw that you were 'funneling wealth' - just stopping the gravy train to a clearly over-entitled grown woman who felt entitled to her dad's resources. That's absurd and, if I were her, I'd feel ashamed to be sponging off my aging dad at 50. How pathetic. 



SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

I started my post with "this is how SD sees it" and was worried that people would think that I felt that way so I added the disclaimer that what SD thinks isn't reality. All I was doing is trying to give a different viewpoint.


I also tried to commiserate with how frustrating this must be for OP. 


Why am i being attacked?

Indigo's picture

Of what you were saying in your post.

I kinda wish that you could channel & translate SD-31's viewpoint. I think it's likely something similar.



Aunt Agatha's picture

Oh I disagree with this, but especially about the shipping!  If any extended family member or anyone else offered to send me things they found from my parents, I wouldn’t assume they would pay to ship it.  I’d offer up front!  Or wait until I went to visit to pick it up.

But here’s a grown, financially able adult skid who has clear boundary issues.  She’s made it clear she wants nothing to do with SM. Why should anyone pay for what this unappreciative person wants?  

Mountains's picture

Thank you, Aunt Agatha, for your response.  I, too, would offer to pay if someone wanted to send me family items.  I did mail at my expense a baby doll of hers that DH shared was her favorite as a child last year.  Never got a response  but at least she has it.  I was hoping she would accept the invitation to visit so she could take the items back with her since she would be driving not flying. 

marblefawn's picture

Your husband is a gem! He backed you up and stood his ground. While the relationship with his extended family might not be what you hoped, at least you don't feel as if he betrays you by endorsing their bad behavior. We should all be so lucky!

Mountains's picture


Thanks so much for the support and response.  It has taken a while but he has finally seen what happens when he does not stand his ground.  People think having adult skids makes it easier, which we all know, is not true.  Adult skids just bring a different set of issues to the table.

ItsGrowingOld's picture

I will never understand why some offspring think that their parent(s) estate is eventually going to be their windfall.  Blows my mind. 

Your husbands daughter will never be happy IMHO.  Sounds like there is not enough of anything to fill the big hole inside her.  Sad.

Enjoy your life*smile*

Mountains's picture


I agree with you about estates.  It boggles my mind that the SD wants to take her fathers things now, before he is gone!  She wanted to come through our house and identify all his things she felt should go to her.  We both said no...our house is not a pawn shop.  But, my DH did put together a list of things that the skids and sgrands are to get when the time is right, which I feel is the more appropriate approach.  Yeah, the SD told her dad that she felt she lost her family when he remarried....what is sad is that she could have had a bigger family if she would have just tried to get to know me.  It is sad indeed.

TwoOfUs's picture

Oh gag. 

What about when SHE married? Didn't she 'lose' her home when that happened because she gained a new home? My dad passed away 10 years ago (very young, 49) and my mom hasn't chosen to remarry...but I don't feel like her home is 'my' home. I have a home with my DH...because I'm a grown-up. 

So entitled and sad that she looks at his home and his money as hers. It is HIS...and, frankly, I don't care if you're a hot-to-trot 25-year-old and he wants to drape you in diamonds and silk. It's HIS money...and if that's what he wants to 'spend' it on, that's his decision. 

I absolutely hate when kids get all territorial over their parents' possessions. So money-grubbing. 

marblefawn's picture

...if it's not too personal...what will happen to your things when you, you know, die? Do you have a trust setup so your things go straight to your daughter, regardless of whether you or your husband perish first?

I'm asking because I've been thinking about setting up a trust so my family heirlooms stay in my family, even if I die first. I have no children. It's very awkward, though, to see this through because I have to pretty much admit I'm only setting it up so SD doesn't end up selling my heirlooms on Ebay!

Mountains's picture

Yes a trust was set up so that it goes to daughter.  The hardest part was just sitting down and figuring it all out if we go together.  What is right is not always fair and vice versa so we plodded through it for a long time.  When DH sold his house, half proceeds went to skids representing their BM’s portion.  We really did try to make it clean and as simple as possible.

MoominMama's picture

I dont think you were petty over the shipping. This sd was only ever after money by the sounds of it. This is a regular problem when men remarry especially in later life. Soon find out how much their children care for them. 

She should be glad you are there to look after him in old age,, i bet she wouldnt do it!

it is none of her business that he remarried and if she doesn't like it then stuff her. 

Was he divorced from the BM before she passed away? Wondering why her estate did not go to her husband as it usually would. 

Mountains's picture

DH was not divorced or separated when she passed -- but she made it clear that her family inheritance was to go to the skids in total.  I don't know why he was left out but he seems fine with it.  I got the impression theirs was not a happy marriage but they stayed together because it was what you were suppose to do. 

CANYOUHELP's picture

You have a wonderful husband lady.  Indeed you are blessed to have a husband who makes you the priority in his life, as you fully deserve.  Many of us on this site only dream of our husband's actually stepping up to the plate to include us as wife/ family with regards to step kids.  You are the fortunate one here....hug your husband and appreciate him every day; most of us will never know the man who will protect our emotional health, like your husband does yours... Smile

Nothing is perfect, but you have a man that truly loves you and puts you first in his life, from what you have described.

strugglingSM's picture

Your SD sounds like my MIL. Her father married after her mother died - she was in her 40s at the time, I believe - and she has never gotten over it. She talks all the time about her terrible her SM was - in front of me, a new SM to MIL’s grandchildren! - and is convinced that money that was supposed to go to her went to SM. She even told DH - in front of me - that he should make his brother the executor of his will to be sure SSs “get what is rightfully theirs.”

Her father and this woman were married for 25 years. After her father died, she and her siblings stopped talking to this woman, who just passed away last summer (8 years after MIL’s father died).

DH has told me that MIL is “protective of” SSs because of that. I told DH that made me uncomfortable that his mother so openly talks about her “terrible stepmother.” I’ve also told DH that I think MIL is being petty, especially since she has no idea if there was actually any money left since her father spent his last years in assisted living. DH tells me that I just don’t understand. DH has also angled around about “inheritance” for SSs...too bad he had zero assets and no cash when he met me. So, yes, SSs can count on their guaranteed inheritance of zero dollars and they can thank their mother for nearly bankrupting both herself and DH while married and during the divorce.

sandye21's picture

Like you, when I married DH he didn't have two coins to rub together.  He moved into a house I paid for and brought nothing - no furniture or household supplies - nothing.

We had been married a few years when his Brother and Sister-in-law visited,  We then took a trip to visit with SD and her husband.  SD was particularly nasty that weekend.  Even the Sister-in -law noticed all of the puffing up, sighs and rolling eyes whenever I opened my mouth.  On the way home, Sister-in-law made a statement that she assumed I was going to leave my savings to SD.  I replied, "I will be leaving it to charity."  A few days later I went to the bank and made sure it was.

Something should be said to MIL about the SM comments.  She knows you are a SM.  I can understand maybe one 'accidental' mean SM statement but if it is happening  more than once, you would question her motive.  I'd make sure to let her know you will not be leaving anything to the SSs, "I'm just another one of those mean SMs!".

strugglingSM's picture

...with friends and sometimes with DH that I’m going to leave everything to a cat hospital when I die. It’s supposed to be even more funny because I don’t like cats.

Someday, I will tell MIL how uncomfortable her comments make me and I will try to do it in a way that makes her feel bad. Of course, she is not very good with empathy, so she probably won’t get why her comments might be hurtful to me...she thinks that naturally she’s right about this woman, therefore, making her statements true.

NarcissisticSkids's picture

I wish my DH were like yours-you are sooo fortunate that he is not being sucked in by an adult entitled daughter!! I think it was good of you to let the spawn know that you found some of her moms things- it would be up to her to get it if she wanted it. I am amazed at how many adult skids are angry when their parents choose to remarry, because it muddys up the ability for them to make a clean sweep financially. In a previous blog I commented on how my awful SS39 told an ex girlfriend of his that “when my dad dies, I will inherit a whole bunch of money”....I never told my DH about that comment, but the skid could care less about his father, only money. Consider yourself so very fortunate-your DH sounds like a really great guy....

still learning's picture

All of her mothers things that DH is willing to part with should be shipped and crated to her once and for all. It would be worth the cost of shipping to get her off your back  plus there would be less *stuff* in the house for you to deal with.