You are here

Step Children threw DH a 'special day' party and did not invite me.

OutOfStep's picture

I've been married to DH for 15 years. His children were teens when we first got together. I tried for several years to be nice to them, but after many many many disrespectful acts on their part, I stopped trying to be nice, and probably was obviously so, so I know some of this discord falls on me. A few years ago after some especially distasteful episodes, I told my DH I didn't want anything to do with his son. Some months ago I said I was willing to let bygones be bygones, but DH said I had to apologize to SS - He says I'm the 'adult' (kid is almost 40). This will not happen!

So just recently, SS and SD had a surprise 'special day' party for DH at a local establishment and purposely did not tell him about it in advance because I was not invited, even though many of DH and my friends were invited. When DH got to the party and saw what it was, he decided to NOT call me and let me know to come to the party, since they had obviously not included me. He told me after he got home and filled me in on the event that he didn't want to get in the middle (in other words, he did not want to stand up to his rotten kids). So it's OK to hurt my feelings, but not his 'kids' feelings. Plus he sees them several times a month, so it's not like he can't have time with them. I encourage it, just not on Friday nights through Sunday morning.

When DH and I are together on vacation or other places with our friends, things are mostly OK. I just have such a hard time knowing what to do when it comes to his 'kids' (they are both in their 30s with no significant others) because I know they will always 'win'. It's hard to disengage myself entirely.

The comments in these forums are very helpful, however I've still found it very difficult to not get upset about these types of incidents. I'm very close to just ending the marriage to get away from it.

hereiam's picture

Your DH's kids are asses. I will tell you right now, my SD23 would be mighty sorry if she ever pulled this crap. My husband would be pissed and there's no way he would not have called me to come. That is, if he even stayed at the damn party. My SD may not think I'm the greatest person that ever lived, but she knows how her dad feels about me.

Your DH's kids AND your DH should be embarrassed and ashamed. They all need to grow the hell up.

still learning's picture

He is in the middle because that's where he's chosen to be. Yeah the kids are jerks but DH has allowed this from the beginning of the marriage. Life is too short to be so miserable. I don't blame you for considering ending the marriage. The skids have no respect for you but neither does DH.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

And you should go to counseling so that what you are feeling about what happened here can be affirmed.

It was WRONG for him not to call you to come join the fun when he found out it was a party, and that the party was FOR HIM! This situation is far different from the steps taking him, or meeting him for dinner....this was a party and I am not sure if I caught if there were friends of yours there as well. Because if there were....I would be ballistic.

Furthermore, you should not have to apologize to his son just because YOU are the adult. The jerk is 40 which puts him very solidly in adulthood.

OP, talk to that counselor so that you can have help in establishing some boundaries and solid points when your DH starts this carp with you again. And it will happen again.

I took a moment and asked DH what he would do if his daughter pulled this. He said he would call me and actual leave to go get me, and if Twit didn't like it he would leave, especially if there were friends of both of us there. I tell you this because a year ago he would not have felt that way....counseling, along with living with my Twit for awhile and seeing her in action first hand, opened his eyes wide.

OutOfStep's picture

I will go to counseling. I have access to Healing Touch with a person who is also a counselor. That should help me get everything in perspective. I feel that things will not change with my husband, so I need to be able to rise above it and determine what I actually need for my own health and well being. Thanks.

Poodle's picture

He didn't want to "get in the middle" :jawdrop: What that means is that he and/or his kids perceive that you have excluded them from relevant celebratory events. For example, if you had held a surprise birthday party for him with your friends and deliberately excluded them, I'm not saying they'd be justified, but they could want revenge.
But I'm assuming that is not even the case? That at birthday and other celebrations there is room enough for everyone to involve themselves emotionally?
That being so, the stunt they pulled was irrational.
And in any event it was intended as a public humiliation. I would be so strongly tempted to let the friends/family members know exactly what happened there, although maybe not as the humiliation could rebound on you -- only you can judge that.
And the DH just has to step up and admit that this was an aggressive act. I would not let it rest until he did. "Getting in the middle" was not the issue. "Being pushed to one side" by his grown kids and being used like a stage puppet by them, with the friends/family being the audience, was.
This can't be glossed over but DH must make some reparation.

OutOfStep's picture

There have been no surprise parties for him. He is free to invite them to events outside our home. I won't invite SS to our parties with our friends, even though my DH thinks his 'kids' should be invited to any party we have. Why would I put myself through that tension!
My husband will never make any stand on this. I have already asked him if he was OK with this event - he said 'No' but still did nothing. I was a public humiliation. He did tell me that one person asked about me (she is aware of the situation) and the two of them discussed it and decided to NOT CALL ME! Some friend.

jam's picture

Your story makes me so angry I just don't even have words, nor know what advise I would have that would help. His kids are rotten and so is HE! By doing nothing, he just gave them the green light for more. I am sorry you had to go through this. I know it makes you angry and must make you feel helpless. Only advise I have is to get a good counselor. Good luck sweetie!

Poodle's picture

OMG. Cut that friend right out of your friend circle. And if the SS has been not invited to your functions with friends, the way it sounds is that DH is being passive aggressive and himself vengeful. He secretly, to an extent, basked in this pay-back party where YOU were excluded. Definitely call his bluff and go to the counseling alone. It will readjust the balance in your relationship such that if he persists in this crap, you will find the strength from the counseling to put down some markers as to what you expect from him in future. I agree with SDM, people can change a lot in counseling so don't necessarily give up on him, but definitely draw clear lines in the sand as to what you will tolerate and what you will not.

OutOfStep's picture

Oh yes, DH definitely loved his 'special day' party - that's why he was there until after midnight!!! The Skids are surely feeling very smug and surely laughing at how they 'got back' at me and that their daddy played a part in it.

ChiefGrownup's picture

Within days of us getting married DH and I had discussions that included the concept of "him in the middle." We agreed that he is not in the middle. His place is by my side at all times. That's what marriage is, we are the team.

I also told him flat out the whole thing would never work if he felt he had to ask my "version" and compare it to SDthen13's "version." If he wants to put me on the level of a kid, I cannot survive here. If he cannot trust me as a responsible and caring adult to report accurately what I see, then he has no business being married to me.

He embraced those ideas. And you know what? It's still hard!

Do not know how anyone can live being treated like a junior partner or a perpetual 7th grader.

Your DH was put into a bad and embarrassing situation. But the way he handled it made it worse. There he is yukking it up with all your circle and you are nowhere to be found. That paints you to his friends as either the wife who doesn't care enough to show up or as the ball and chain he escaped from for a short breath of freedom. Just great.

If this kind of thing is typical in your marriage, you would be justified in leaving. Only you know whether you have enough tenderness for him left to talk it through first. If you do, I suggest being bold and blunt, as I was with my DH. Make it crystal clear either you are his special lover or you are not. If you are not special to him and are not his delight, no reason to be together and certainly not for you to go through this demeaning and demoralizing crap. You can be loving when you say all this, but you can be very clear at the same time.

There are men out there who will love you and not want you to miss a thing. Really, there are. I've got one! No need to feel like a steerage passenger in your own marriage.

Poodle's picture

^^^^^^Yes, THIS^^^^^^^^^^. I think he might be redeemable but you want very clear evidence of what will tell you he is prepared to recognize the damage done and make reparation. Discuss what would constitute that in your counseling.

OutOfStep's picture

Your comment "There he is yukking it up with all your circle and you are nowhere to be found. That paints you to his friends as either the wife who doesn't care enough to show up or as the ball and chain he escaped from for a short breath of freedom." - I'm sure that's what our friends were thinking... No one may have asked for fear of the answer - I'm sure he would not have said 'She wasn't invited'.

I definitely feel like second fiddle even though he claims to not want to separate. When I asked about splitting up, he said, well 'if you want to do that, it's YOUR decision'. Helpful - no offer to stand up to the children. I guess sometimes blood is simply thicker than water.

OutOfStep's picture

Yes, I've suggested he just move in with the SD! The SS spends all his time with his sister anyway and is always at her place. DH just gets defensive when I say this.

Iamwoman's picture

I agree with every commentator here, and am so angry at your DH for you. I chose to reply to this comment because “SS spends all of his time at SD’s place” does not sound even remotely normal.

Is there some kind of incest going on there?

Your DH has created incredibly unhealthy relationships between himself and his kids, and himself and you. He is the common denominator here. So what if you said some regrettable things to SS in the past? He probably deserved it.

If DH doesn’t care whether you stay or leave, then I would be the jerk who leaves and takes whatever I want with me, including something DH values, just to make him care.

OutOfStep's picture

Thank you for your insights Cat.

I have always thought DH was VERY passive aggressive and I'm getting more and more confirmation of it. I am getting so tired of him saying things like - well if SS is invited to the same event as we are, WE can't go because the SS will leave if I am there! Awww, poor little SS. Recently we were invited to an event at a neighbor's where the skids were also invited. He said, oh no, we couldn't go!!! I said that I was going anyway - he could stay home! So I went, the Skids showed up, no incident, the SD texts DH that it's OK for him to come to the event I guess because I wasn't making a scene(!), so he comes down then. So weird.

As I mentioned earlier, I have told DH I am willing to let bygones be bygones with SS, but DH says NO because according to him, I have to apologize to SS! As I said, that will never happen. I may have been snotty to SS from time to time in response to his disrespectful comments, but I have endured 18 YEARS of disrespect from him.

I have been putting my thoughts together about next steps as we have many financial entanglements, etc. It will take a when time, but I am sure if I say that's it, he'll just let me go since he will never stand up to the SS and SD. I just have to get my ducks in a row.

clydella's picture

Ok, this totally has pissed me off for you, grrr. I don't even know what to tell you, except that I'm sorry, your DH allowed this to happen.

My DH made it clear to my SD when we 1st got together that where he goes, I go, do not try & separate us, it won't work out well for you SD. There were a few times, she tried to get DH all to herself but it never worked out for her. Your DH needs to grow a back-bone and tell his grown children to suck it up, plain & simple.

If I was you, I would plan a 'special day' for myself on DH's dime and exclude him from it, give him a taste of what that feels like and you most definitely deserve it. Gosh, I'm so pissed for you.

OutOfStep's picture

I appreciate all the support here. I am going to try to rise above their obnoxious behavior and do things for myself, especially when he is off with them doing heavens knows what.

weekendwidow's picture

They are all acting like assholes. OMG, my SD22 got married last year and didn't want me or my kids to come to the wedding. My DH said to her, not inviting your stepmother, stepbrother and stepsister is a deal breaker. Either everyone is invited or count us and out gift out.

Your DH needed to defend YOU. I'm appalled (yet not surprised) that he opted not to embarrass his offspring. My DH did that initially - always chose their feelings over mine. We went to an AMAZING counselor and in just 2 visits withe her, his entire attitude changed. Your DH needs to understand how the two of you are a team and his kids have nothing to do with that team. Unless and until he does, this will recur - A LOT.

Good luck to you.

OutOfStep's picture

They have done plenty of birthday dinners without me and that's fine because I don't want to be around them anyway. He and I do our own thing separately too. Perhaps someday I will get the you-know-what's to call them out.

I have thought about calling some of the folks, but then I think some of them already figured it out.... they don't want to be in the middle either! Oh well.

Thanks for the support. It's good to know I'm not crazy in thinking this 'party' was beyond their normal disrespectful behavior.

still learning's picture

Calling those folks who are your mutual friends is perfectly acceptable. Letting them know why you weren't there will clear things up so they don't have to wonder and "figure it out." They are in the middle and were put there by rude skids and DH. Skids and DH likely made several excuses for you from you were busy or sick. Speak the truth, if you stay silent then they win.

Rags's picture

Change the locks next time DH leaves and when he comes back tell him through the door that some days you want him at home and some days you won't and you will let him know when the next day you want him there is. Then tell him "Sounds a lot like how you are with me when it comes to your kids and our friends huh?"

Then turn out the lights and go to bed. If DH is still sitting on the door step in the morning tell him that you will take him out to coffee to discuss how things will be regarding your marriage being both yours and his top priority from now on and that you and he are either equity life partners in all things or you are nothing to each other.

His choice. Depending on the choice he makes he gets a key or divorce papers. Make it clear that you do not expect nor will you tolerate him giving up his children but neither will you tolerate him tolerating their toxic manipulations.

I have no use for this weasel of a husband you have who has no courage and is sneaky and untrustworthy. Were I you I would not tolerate his shit regarding catering to his toxic spawn at your expense for one more second. Staying at that "special day" celebration for one second after walking in the door to the place and seeing that you were not already there should have been an instant deal breaker once he found out you were not invited. He should have done an about face and been out the door to call you to come immediately or to tell you to get ready for a nice dinner that would just be the two of you. Then he should have walked back inside, called the party to order, apologized to friends and told them that he would not stay at a celebration organized by his children that his bride was not included in the he should have left to pick you up for dinner.

Donnadreams's picture

:jawdrop: You know what, your DH is a supreme jerk and you should take him to task for this. I would kick him to the curb for his actions. They only do what they are allowed to do. I would make him go to a therapist or tell him that the marriage is over. It's abusive what he did and allowing his children to be like that to you is abhorrent!

OutOfStep's picture

Thank you. I will take care of myself.

It will all work out, one way or the other. I just cannot/will not call those Skids - I don't want to speak to them at all, because they will surely just turn it around and say that it was me in the first place who didn't want to be around SS (which is true), even though I've told DH (and SS via email) that I am willing to let bygones be bygones. It's not just them though - the fact that DH went along with this particular episode is SO WRONG.

goodwitch's picture

This is horrible--I'd tell DH he wasn't invited into the bedroom. And to sleep in the other room until he found the balls to make this right. And I agree I would call one or two friends or make a note of not being invited and how sad it was that the step children were so immature on Facebook. Rumor mill would get this thing kicked off in the right direction.

If it were me--his stuff would be on the front lawn. But that's me and I've had 4 husbands so I'd just tell him next and I'd go looking for number 5.

Shaman29's picture

I'd throw H out if he ever did this to me. Your story makes me so mad at your DH.

There are several suggestions on here for you. I hope you can find a solution that works for YOU and makes YOU HAPPY.

Poodle's picture

^^^THIS^^^ Listen to SA she is so right here. You owe it to yourself to put them in the picture to whatever extent feels comfortable. Then if they go to these functions again you know for sure they are either too mixed up or conflicted to be any part of your own social circle.
Sounds like it's time to weed your garden and give the beautiful flowers some space to grow.

godess-clueless's picture

Just wondering, how were the mutual friends made aware of this dinner? How did the children happen to have addresses or phone numbers to call? My adult children don't have that kind of information. Do most adult sc? Something here doesn't add up. I have arranged to have people get together for surprise parties . If a surprise is meant for one particular person of the couple, it seems the door is wide open for the friends to be calling to ask the usual"what should I bring" to the other spouse. If sc was giving impression it was for both, first remark out of most mutual friends would be to question the missing spouse. Was your husband in on this from the beginning??

OutOfStep's picture

The skids are 'friends' with many of my DH friends (also my friends) on FaceBook - my DH thinks it's cool that his kids are 'friends' with our friends.

My DH wants a 'peer' relationship with his kids, not a parental one. They sent a 'FaceBook' invitation to selected people to meet at a local establishment for this 'special party' honoring my DH, so the friends probably had no idea I was not invited. DH claims he had no idea and that his DD convinced him to come down to the establishment since they had not seen him for a couple of weeks (he had been out of town for about 12 days).

One of the 'guests' at the party posted a photo after the event on FaceBook. I saw it along with other friends comments on how fun it was! I was so irate, I posted -> "I sure wish I had been there, but I didn't know it was happening." And SS posted "Exactly" in response to my post! I am amazed at that - I sent a copy of the post to DH and asked him if people asked why I was not there and what he responded if he asked. I'm sure he will never respond to it!

I think he is indeed sneaky and not forthcoming with me about what he does and what he feels (this has also been his pattern with some single women 'friends' that we have). At least I really know where I stand and will take appropriate measures once I figure out what exactly I need to do.

goodwitch's picture

My stepchildren are blocked on my facebook--so is their mother. Block them ASAP. Then they will not see the posts you put on your mutual friends pages.

Teas83's picture

I hate the passive attitude that your husband took. He didn't want to get in the middle of it? To me, not standing up for you is as bad what his kids did. He might as well have been in on the planning of the party too.

I'm sorry this happened to you.

OutOfStep's picture

I think I need to start looking for an attorney and figure out how things in this very complicated financial and property relationship need to go. This commentary has really opened my eyes. It's not just the skids, it's DH too. It's obviously more than just this party (although this was the worst by far), it's everything for the past 18 years.

I won't even go into the other things that have upset me and undermined my self-confidence over all this time.

Poodle's picture

Having read this thing now about the SS my personal feeling is this is irremediable and the very fact that you are awaiting a comment from your DH shows you have been so undermined by their group aggression that you're not realizing you don't need an explanation but an exit strategy.
What I strongly suggest to you now (as a divorce attorney myself) is to for sure list for yourself (not necessarily on here, these web pages have ears) all the other things that have upset you and undermined your self-confidence. These could be most relevant to any financial dispute or settlement. Get it all down in writing before you book your appointment with your attorney because if you think aloud in their time you will pay $$$ more. But if you give them a full list and they read it they can decide whether it's legally relevant in 5 minutes.

joan mary's picture

I agree that you need to find an attorney and quit asking your husband what he wants. I think he has already told you what he wants. He wants the love and approval of his adult kids. Stop listening to the words that come out of his mouth since they have no meaning. Listen to the "tongue of his shoes". His actions tell you everything. That he would 1. Stay at the party without you. 2. Allow his kids to exclude you. 3. Want you to apologize for standing up for yourself says it all. The only people in his life that he really cares about are the kids so let him have them.

Start by telling him that you WANT a separation and he should move out until you can decide what you want. The peace and quiet will be a good beginning for you to see how destructive he has been to your mental health. No more questions about what he thinks or cares about. Unfriend all of his kids and anyone that might repost some of their stuff. Better yet, drop facebook entirely while you go thru this painfull period of your life.

Get a good counselor that can help you get yourself together and realize that 15 years of being slowly sufficated will take some time to heal.

Take care of yourself.

20YearsAsAStep-Mom's picture

Listen to Cat. That is great advice. My situation is very similar and I am seriously considering following her advice too.

That was terrible treatment of you and the posters are right. Your DH is as guilty as the steps. My DH doesn't have a spine either and I feel like I am the only one hurt, as you were.

Good luck and hugs.

Poodle's picture

In my view this situation with the DH allowing the SS to sneer openly on FB when the W expresses public anguish is virtually irremediable. However I agree with Notasm that anything is possible. But what I would say is that you can still be a glass half full person about your marriage, but nonetheless you will want to preserve and protect that half glass. So go see an attorney stat and get them to lay out the whole picture for you, the options, the variations, and so forth. Treat it as a confidence booster. If you know what you are worth financially within the marriage, what is your leverage, this can boost you emotionally and lead you to your next step. Now whatever you do make sure DH knows nothing about your little advice-gathering exercise and don't leave any electronic or paper trail. And definitely search around for recommendations and pay for the best you can afford. I know I would say this, but legal focus can enhance emotional focus.

OutOfStep's picture

Thanks again for all your great comments and support ..... but here's the latest....

Tonight we had an event to go to. SD showed up part way through.. She latches onto DH. I didn't know she was going to be there. We had decided to eat at a little restaurant next door with some friends (these are real friends of mine - they were not invited to the 'special party'). Next thing I know, SD is tagging along. I said to DH, she's not invited (he hadn't even told me she was coming to the event, much less that he expected her to join us for the evening. Surprise!). He said 'You can't say that!'. So, I go get a table for 4 as I said I was going to do. As I'm waiting for the friends, he strolls in with SD. He says, 'You only got a table for 4?' I said 'Yes, that was the plan'. So he says.... 'Well then, xxx and I will be moving on', and he left!!! I texted him to just stay at her house tonight since it was obvious she was more important than I am and said I was sick of his sh*t and that he never consulted me about her coming along or even that she was showing up.

About 90 minutes later he texts me that SD has gone home and did I want to come and listen to music at the restaurant where I had just been earlier where he left me! Are you kidding me? I did not respond. He shows up later at home and says 'You should have come to listen to the music'. I just glared at him and said there was nothing to discuss. He then comes over where I am lying in bed watching tv, gives me a peck on the cheek and says good night and goes to the guest room. No comment about SD, leaving me at dinner with our friends, my text or anything at all.

I have truly had enough of his BS.

sandye21's picture

^^^THIS^^^ DH does not seem to be taking you seriously. When he knows you mean business, and it might mean money, it will be amazing how he changes his priorities. I write this from personal experience.

marblefawn's picture

OMG, this is unbelievable behavior from the whole lot. That said, my husband would have acted the exact same way regarding the original party - I would bank on it.

Should he have called you to come to the original party? I don't know. It sounds as if the bridges were burned a while back so he had a great excuse to not call you. 

The real issue is the next event you described. It was your evening to plan and you didn't invite SD, and yet there she was. So he will bring SD uninvited to YOUR party, but he wouldn't think of inviting you to a party SD planned? That ain't right. Even my lame husband wouldn't do that.

This is the problem with disengagement as I'm experiencing it. The world goes on (happier, apparently) without disengaged SMs there. It's isolating, humiliating. And your husband and my husband can't or won't do what has to be done for everyone to play nicely, so we remain isolated and humiliated.

One last thing...don't blame friends who were at the original party - they actually ARE in the middle of a mess that isn't theirs to fix or meddle in. I'm sure they would have felt awful if they had known how this went down. The awkwardness of you not being there is a good thing - it shows friends the ugly people you are dealing with. Keep the blame where it belongs - in the family.

I'm really sorry you went through this. My mouth dropped when I read your posts. Therapy has helped us, but it hasn't fixed us.


marblefawn's picture

I should be working, but I can't stop thinking about this!

So, by "special day" party, do your skids mean, "it's a special day because we've engineered an utterly humiliating scene IN SM'S ABSENCE, replete with her own friends in attendance, giving the illusion that SM doesn't actually exist and, on top of that, we managed to put DUMB DAD right in the middle but we know he won't have the you-know-whats to do the right thing and alert SM to this SPECIAL DAY" ?????

Like what the hell is a "special day" party anyway? This was nothing but a mechanism to drive a gigantic wedge between you and your husband, and your stupid husband FELL FOR IT! They wanted to send a message to you and everyone else, and boy, did they pull it off.

I'm not saying your husband wasn't to blame for his kids getting to the point where they'd even attempt something this divisive and ugly. He's probably let them call the shots for years and that's why you're disengaged and they're beyond passive aggressive. But I have to admit - this was clever on your skids' part. They forced your husband to take action (call and invite you) or appear that he was OK with excluding you...They forced him to take sides in the guise of a "special day" party! Brilliant!

So if you pick apart what really happened in the beginning...

Your husband didn't knowingly exclude you. They did.

No, your husband didn't call in the midst of this "party" to invite you. Right or wrong aside, that might have looked ungrateful on his part after his dear kids threw him a surprise party. Everyone's having fun and suddenly he takes out the phone to invite you...cold shower on a party...and that would have looked like he was shifting to your side.

Bottom line, they used his emotional tie to them to put him in a pretty unmanageable spot, especially for a spineless guilty daddy.

Everything else after that initial party was your or his reaction to the way that party went down. It worked. They have driven a wedge the size of China between you. I know there were cracks before, but they wrenched those cracks open like the Jaws of Life to cause this...and now you're thinking of leaving.

Let's back it up, sister. Your husband behaved terribly since this happened. He has been a shit to you. He has put them ahead of you in a public way and that hurts even more than the private slights. But let's remember their motivation was well disguised and he was manipulated by his skids. I believe, when he walked in and realized it was a surprise party and all your friends were there, it was not a great opportunity for him to think clearly about what the right thing to do was. He's weak. He's guilty.

I am not defending him, but as I thought about how it probably all went down, it became clear your husband hasn't the emotional intelligence to figure this stuff out for himself in utter penitence, let alone in the midst of a surprise party.

I think I might be done with him too, if I were you. But if you're not sure you want to throw in the towel yet, take him to counseling with you. I feel certain a counselor will have a ball with your husband. And I think there might be a chance he sees things differently with a third party holding a mirror in front of him.

Either way, ugh, so sorry. You must feel awful.