Step-children offer humiliation as their gift
DEAR AMY >> My husband and I have been married for 10 years.
We each have two grown children from previous marriages.
My children love and accept my husband as family.
My husband's children have never accepted me.
I met their father years after their parents divorced, so I was in no way a cause of their break-up.
An example of their behavior toward me is when they visit for Christmas each year, they bring their father a Christmas gift and wish him a Merry Christmas, while they completely ignore me.
I am left sitting there with a feeling of disbelief.
I've spoken to my husband about my feelings, but it doesn't really help.
He says his family is dysfunctional.
What should I do?
— Simply Hurt
DEAR HURT >> Your husband's astute observation is that his family is dysfunctional.
I assume you're thinking: “That's right, Einstein.”
But an accurate description is not a solution.
Your husband seems to be passively standing by while his children humiliate you — and in your own home.
You also seem to have lost your own voice.
His children obviously want to have a relationship with him, so he should convey to them that he won't tolerate this rudeness toward you. If he had done this at the outset of your relationship, they might have been retrained by now.
You've asked what you should do about their behavior.
You have absolutely nothing to lose, and so you might take advantage of this post-holiday period to email both of them and say, “I've been married to your father for 10 years. I had no role in the breakup of your parents' marriage, which happened before he and I met. I regret that I've been tolerating your rudeness toward me for a decade. I'd like to have a positive relationship with you, but at the very least I do expect you to be polite toward me when you're a guest in our home.”
DEAR AMY >> Thank you for the comic relief with all of the questions about brides forcing wedding guests to dress a specific way.
Almost 59 years ago, I walked down the aisle to start a life with my hubby.
We were in our late teens.
Naysayers thought we were doomed from the start.
Even my parents disagreed with my choice to marry. I paid for my own modest church wedding.
Afterward, as I looked at the amateur pictures, I caught a glimpse of the pastor's wife in “curlers.”
She thought there would be a need for a witness at this “teen marriage.” (The church was full.)
We're still married, and I still smile at that memory.
My advice is for guests to “come as you are,” and to be supportive.
DEAR BRIDE >> These goofy questions would be flatout funny, if they weren't so oppressively sad.