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Need some perspective

secondwife64's picture

Ah yes. There never is an end to the unexpected crap that comes with being married to a man with grown kids. I’ve got a new situation to wrap my head around and need some perspective. Here goes:

Hubby and I are out of state for combo work and vacation. H’s son lives in said state, in a different city from where we are vacationing (a four-hour drive from where H and I are).

When it comes to the skids behavior, the son is not nearly as bad as the two daughters. The son is, however, totally indifferent to me. He can acknowledge my presence, but that’s about it. In the 20 years I’ve been with H, the son has never asked me a single question about me or my life (my job, my family, etc.). I mean heck, after 20 years the kid knows virtually nothing about me. OK fine. I’m well with that since I have disengaged.

So, the son invited H and I to a concert in his city. Now, whenever I am included in any plans, my experience has taught me to assume that my inclusion is pretty much H’s idea and any skid includes me because of H’s expectation, weak as it may be. In these rare get-togethers, I don’t have fun and feel tense and uncomfortable the whole time, mostly because I’m ignored or shown indirectly that I am simply tolerated. I’ve learned to turn down any invitation, knowing they are insincere, and encourage H to go alone. I do think it is important for H to spend time with his kids and I see no reason to choose to be uncomfortable by going with him on visits. I’m done with that and at peace with staying away as my method of self-preservation.

Since we are traveling with a dog, I felt H should go to the concert with his son and I would stay with our dog, (whose company I prefer anyway). That is what we did and I am fine with it.

What I didn’t know was the son bought four tickets to the concert, ostensibly two for he and his girlfriend, and two for H and me. Here’s the surprise: H just got home and told me that his son gave “my” ticket to another female. So, the foursome was son, his girlfriend, H and a female friend. If you didn’t know any better, you might think is was a double date and a blind date for H and the female.

This just seems like a really huge dick move to me. Am I wrong?

3littlemonkeys's picture

Hmm. Interesing. Possibly a dick move.
Was the other female the friend or sister of his GF?

ThatGirl's picture

He paid money for the ticket you didn't use. I see nothing wrong with letting someone else use it.

secondwife64's picture

I'm wondering your age thatgirl and if there is a generational difference of perspective here. Are you under 35? In my generation and my husband's generation, something like this would be seen as unusual, whereas younger people might not see it that way. H's son is over 35.

ThatGirl's picture

I'm 43. Tickets like that are non-refundable and it would be a shame to see it go to waste. Your SS gave it to one of his friends, probably about his age, right? I really wouldn't think of it as some sort of setup.

stormabruin's picture

It sounds like because you chose not to go there was an extra ticket to be used. It appears your SS's intentions were good, in that the ticket was there for you.

If the other girl is the son's friend, that'd be creepy. It wouldn't make sense just to let the ticket go to waste, & it's hardly fair to expect him only to pass it to a guy friend. There's nothing indicating the groups would pair off into couples.

stormabruin's picture

That your SS would want to set his married dad up with a girl he hangs out with? Am I reading this wrong?

stormabruin's picture

How is it a dick move if you had the option to go & chose not to? Should he have just tossed the ticket?

secondwife64's picture

No. He should not have just tossed the ticket. Like I said, I was not aware that the son had purchased all of the tickets and it simply did not occur to me that the son would invite one of his female friends to use the ticket. I just completely didn't think of that, so I was surprised when H told me.

I guess it seems to me that the son might have considered the possibility that giving the ticket to a female friend of his, and therefore giving the evening the appearance of a double date, could be problematic/insensitive if not a "ha ha I got you" moment.

secondwife64's picture

You've explained nicely exactly what I thought goforit. The fact that this situation could be looked at as completely innocent is what makes it so difficult. If someone heard this story, but didn't know the history of 20 years of skid behavior toward me, then yeah, everything looks fine. What's the big deal?

And if course and as usual, the most hurtful thing about the whole mess is that my H is one of those people who says, "What's the big deal?" And then if I reveal my thoughts and feelings and try to explain to him why this is not a very nice thing to do, then I am percieved as having some sort of problem. You know, that I read too much into things, bla bla bla.

And that is really the issue -- that this kind of stuff has consequences, but the consequences are only for me. Each time something like this happens, the perpetrator gets to hide and I have to deal. And every time my H doesn't "get it," the distance between us grows.

The manipulations these kids come up with and engage in is astounding. God, you really gotta give them points for creativity and perseverence. And of course their general aim, which is to cause problems in my marriage if not destroy it, is achieved just a little bit more.

I'm starting to believe that there is nothing I can do. Disengaging is really the last option, and when even that doesn't get the crap to stop, well, I'm just out of ideas.

secondwife64's picture

To say "stop looking for problems that are there" sounds judgmental. You are making a lot of assumptions. That is one, and another is that the skid is polite to me -- he is not. Ignoring someone and acting like they are not in the room is not polite. Not by a long shot. You can "invite" someone somewhere and still be "impolite,"

stormabruin's picture

Concert tickets aren't usually cheap, & the fact that he purchased one specifically for you & invited you so you could attend with your DH shows effort. You are the one who chose not to go, yet you're being judgemental about who he's allowing to use the ticket you didn't want.

It really does sound like you're looking for a way to make him out to be the bad guy. Maybe he's been an ass for years, but it isn't showing here.

Would he have been more polite if he'd just invited his dad & offered you nothing?

Hell, I'd have gone just to enjoy the concert with my DH.

stormabruin's picture

" Did her DH make out with the woman after the concert? Did they make googly-eyes or play footsie during the show?"
I can tell you if I was the girl & my friends married dad DIDN'T make out with me, make googly-eyes at me, & play footsie with me during the show, I'd feel slighted. I'd like to think I wouldn't agree to a blind date with my dad...a man probably twice my age & NOT get some action. LOL!

Jsmom's picture

He had an extra ticket and didn't want it to go to waste. You had a chance to go and chose not to. Completely understand that, but you can't fault him because he did have good intentions this time.

secondwife64's picture

It's hard not to experience the present based on past events. I could fill pages of the stuff my H's kids have done over 20 years. A lot of it is pretty ugly, so I have formed some opinions. Those opinions are not going to magically disappear because the skid invited my H and I to a concert. Maybe he is trying to make amends. If so, talking through his dad and inviting me through his dad isn't really changing much. And some important details were left out. I did not know it was going to be a foursome. I did not know he had purchased the tickets. I assumed the three of us would attend the concert and that we each would pay for our own ticket. That's the way things have always been, so I think it is fair of me to make these assumptions even though they were wrong. At any rate, he did not give these details to my H, I did not know them, so I can't be held responsible for facts I did not know.

Also, my decision not to go was based on several things. Lack of information was one of them, and, as I mentioned, H and I would have had nowhere to take our dog. Somebody had to stay with her, and I figured H and the son could have a nice time together. I had absolutely no reason to believe his son would be disappointed if I didn't go. Based on his past behavior, I thought he would like spending time alone with his dad. Heck, I thought I was being gregarious to bow out.

The thing is, the skid was just here a couple weeks ago. He stayed with us, ate meals with us, walked around the touristy places with us, etc., for 2 days, and he only spoke to his dad. He had absoultely nothing to say to me. Nothing at all. Not even hello or good-bye. That's the way things have been for 20 years. Additionally, he brought his dad his X-mas present, which the two of them messed around with for a couple hours. There was no X-mas present for me. I don't really want a present from him, but I don't consider going to visit a couple, and giving a gift to only one person in that couple civil or polite.

I've written posts on StepTalk about relational aggression, and ingnoring people (his visit here) and purposefully leaving people out of things (the X-mas present and playing with said present) qualify as indirect aggression. Just because there is an appearance of everything being hunky dory, does not mean they are. I imagine anyone seeing us walking around the touristy areas would think everything was just great. Just because this one time it appears he did something nice, does not mean everything has changed, his intentions were pure, and the aggression has come to an end. That's what makes indirect or relational aggression so dificult to deal with. The people who do it are never held responsible and the people who are targeted begin to distrust anything the aggressor does. That's not looking for for a way to make this kid a bad guy. It's logic.

And so, what would it have been like if I had gone to the concert? Would I have been ignored the entire evening? Would my husband not notice or pretend to not notice while I sat around with my thumb up my ass? Most likely. Being ignored feels terrible. I've experienced it over and over again for a very long time, and I know how awful it feels, so I'm not going to take that chance.

Then, when H comes home and informs me that the evening was not in fact the two of them, father and son, but a foursome and that his kid brought his girlfriend and a female friend of his for his dad to talk to while he and his girlfriend enjoyed time together, well, I hope you'll excuse me if I find that a littlebe hard to take. Please excuse me if I have doubts about the kid's intentions. This isn't me looking for a problem. The problem already exists and has been there for a long long time.

I don't think I'm looking to make this kid a bad guy. I said it looked like a dick move. Big difference.

ThatGirl's picture

but a foursome and that his kid brought his girlfriend and a female friend of his for his dad to talk to while he and his girlfriend enjoyed time together

Did SS or your husband use that wording? If one of them did, then that person is guilty of the "dick move." Anyone who worded it like that is trying to get your goat, plain and simple.

secondwife64's picture

Thanks everyone for your comments. This discussion has certainly helped me gain some perspective.

As far as me asking H if he knew about the foursome, I did ask and H did not know. The son said nothing about it to him and he said he was surprised to see the son's girlfriend and a female friend there. So there's that.

Also I want to be clear that I am not ranting and raving about this and pressing any kind of case that the son is a horrible person. When H told me about the evening, I just said, "Hmm. That's weird." I posted to see if anyone else thought it was weird and possibly a "gotcha" move, or a dick move as I called it.

Because there is such a long history of crap with the skids, I don't really trust anything they do anymore. I know this about myself and that it's probably not very healthy, and that's why I posted -- to solicit some other perspectives.

As far as trying to guess another person's motivations for doing something being a worthless use of my time, I agree completely. It can be hard to avoid, though, when presented with a situation that seems so strange. You ask yourself "why did so-an-so do that?" You think about it, ask a few freinds, and then, hopefully, move on. That's what I intend to do, and it helps me to move on if I can hear a few other opinions about the situation.

After hearing from all of you, I can see that this really isn't that important and I should get over it. Gotcha. Will do. Still, I do believe that this whole deal was strange from the get-go. I don't know what the kid was up to, if anything, but I just can't see this as normal behavior. That's his problem, not mine. I get that.

Kayro, I didn't say I thought this situation was a blind date for my H. I said I thought the situation, as it turned out, gave the appearance of a blind date, and perhaps that was what the skid wanted. Perhaps the skid wanted to put it out there for me to hear about and be kinda embarrased about. Perhaps it was totally innocent, but just like I don't know that he did it purposefully, I also don't know that it was totally innocent. I can't say either way. What I can say is that to my mind, the series of events is odd, and I'll have to just leave it at that.

Also Kayro, the skid was way beyond 15 when I married H. Not sure where you got that. He was out of college and supposedly and adult when I first met him.

And I understand that you would not be particularly interested in your SM's life. I don't expect my H's kids to be interested in my life either. What I do expect though, is some level of social and interpersonal politeness -- the same kind of social and interpersonal politeness that you would give to any other adult. I was raised to speak to people respectfully, and that having a conversation with someone who is clearly new to the social situation is good manners. Asking other people about who they are and what they do is conversation. That is what you do when you meet someone. It's like a verbal handshake. It's what grown-ups do. H's kids never did it, never have, and never will.

And that's what I find so incredible -- that they would hang on to that for 20 years. That, after 20 years, my H's kids, sisters, parents, all of them, have no friggin' idea of who I am or what I do. I find it incredible that after 20 years, not one of them was able to break from the group and extend a friendly hand of conversation to me. I was toast from the very beginning. It's just so unbelievable to me that grown-up people would do that. I don't think I will ever understand it.

And one last thing, and maybe this is the thing that I'm really getting at, which is that disengaging -- giving your H and his kids that "alone" time the kids seem to want so badly, bowing out of family gatherings because you've stopped trying to be part of the family, is STILL NOT ENOUGH for these people. It's still not enough for them to drop the BS and the games.

As I said, I can't know if the son's whole concert deal was a game. Maybe it wasn't. I can accept that. And if he was truly trying to make amends and be friendly, I should have gone. But as one SM said in Wednesday Martin's book Stepmonster, sometimes it's just too little too late.

donna123's picture

Secondwife64, I see what happened as a huge dick move and most cleverly done…my word. If SS was on the up and up he would not have kept his plans (tickets for all) secret from you and your DH. And, believe me, if you did the same thing to any of this configuration of people they would feel just the same way that you do. For example, if you invited SS’s wife (when he marries) to an event and invited one of your male friends along to keep her company, he would be livid. Age is irrelevant in this scenario.

SS knows you historically decline such events for the very specific reason that he makes sure that you feel excluded, so why bother, right? He gets to double hit you with this one. If you assert yourself, you look like you are overreacting to his kind-hearted generosity, plus everyone gets along just fine with each other when you aren’t there, thereby proving once and for all that the problem is you—not him and his hateful feelings toward you.

I doubt anyone was made to feel excluded in this little social quartet. Get how that works? It is one of the backlashes of disengaging. They still find a way to draw you back in to their battle if you aren’t astute to their motives.

Now depending on how much time, thought or effort you want to spend showing him his “dick” behaviour depends on you. Myself I say have at it folks. It’s not worth wasting any time scheming or planning a return favour but if one should just happen to fall into your lap for heaven’s sake, snap it up, and show SS how it feels. Then just laugh your face off (to yourself of course) when he gets all upset and bothered which he will.

If SS were on the up and up he would have told you he had bought four tickets, he would have told you he was bringing his GF, and if for some reason (can’t think of one) he forget to mention those details to you guys, he would have given the extra ticket to one of his male friends. If he were sincere in making amends he would also have contacted you directly to ask you to reconsider seeing as how he had already purchased the tickets.

My opinion? Total dick move. So just laugh at SS, because it’s a pretty lame move and therefore not worth getting upset about. Just shows you how much class he has.

Don’t waste a minute trying to convince your DH because he has no clue and that is also very typical.

sandye21's picture

Totally agree with this ^^^^!!! I wonder what would happen if you invited SS to dinner with the two of you, and invited a female 'friend' that was SS's age to it because you 'assumed' SS's GF was not going to come. And even if GF came, think about the fireworks when SS's GF finds out you invited an intended 'replacement' for her. And - isn't this what really happened? The good old replacement for evil SM. Talk about wishful thinking! If the 'history' wasn't there, I could buy that this was innocent and SS had good intentions. Not this time. Been there!