“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#1 Jun 1, 2014
Dear Amy: Five years ago, my husband left me for his younger co-worker. He saw our two daughters (9-year-old twins) only

twice a week, and never kept them overnight.

We all survived, and my children seem happy and well-balanced today. They now see their father more frequently, and stay with him one night a week.

I have never spoken to my children about their father's relationship with his girlfriend or his behavior in the past. I never disparage him.

Today my ex-husband asked me to speak to our two daughters (now 14) about his girlfriend. He is afraid they "don't like" her because they are conflicted about my feelings about her.

He caught me off-guard and I said, "Um, OK" but almost immediately regretted it. It's not my problem if they don't like her. I don't think anything positive can be gained from me broaching the topic.

Since I haven't mentioned her name or anything about her in four years, it may be painful for me! How do you think I should handle this? Putting the Kids First

Dear Kids First: If you could put yourself in the shoes of adolescent girls and their extreme sensitivities and maternal loyalty, you would see that there is a strong possibility that they are preventing themselves from accepting this other woman out of loyalty to you. But if you truly want them to live a well-balanced life, you will let them off the hook.

I assume you have never met your ex-husband's girlfriend. Therefore you cannot advocate for them to "like" her.

However, what he is really asking is to let the girls know that you are OK.

You can do this in a myriad of ways. After an overnight, you can say, "What did you guys do? Did 'Christy' go to the movies with you?... You know, girls, I'm OK. You know that, right?"

They might not even realize that you know the girlfriend exists. They have likely been editing themselves for years out of fear that they would upset you.

It is not necessary for you to advocate for a relationship you don't care about. But if you crack the door open, your daughters will eventually walk through it. And this is putting the kids first.

Dear Amy: My husband and I have a blended family all great, independent, gainfully employed young adults.

This year on Mother's Day I got a card or little remembrance from each of my stepkids. Although my children called on Mother's Day and said they each had a card for me, nothing was received. This has happened before.

This year my husband reminded my kids the holiday was approaching. Afterward, I messaged them both that I'm disappointed and hope that on my birthday in six months they could get their act together and mark the day, on the day.

They are both upset with me. Now I feel terrible.

I tried to be direct, but it feels like that backfired. I'm really not mad. I just want them to do better. Do I need to apologize to them? A Beloved Mom

Dear Mom: It would be almost impossible for a human being to miss the approach of Mother's Day, which becomes more of a national festival each year. Your kids don't need a reminder; furthermore, the reminder didn't work.

You did the right thing. You have a right to a little acknowledgment from them.

If you discuss this with them, you need only say, "Hey, I'm treating you like the adults you are. I don't want to upset you; this isn't the end of the world, but I do expect you to get it together. Consider this my attempt at a course correction."

After this, if nothing changes, you will have to put your disappointment in perspective.

Dear Amy: "Fed Up" was frustrated because her daughter had left her two cats with the mother to raise.

I think she should gather up these cats and take them to the daughter's apartment (where animals are not allowed). This puts the problem back where it belongs with the daughter. Cat Lover

Dear Lover: This is definitely not fair to the cats.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 Jun 1, 2014
1. No, this is not LW's responsibility. She acted correctly by not trashing the girlfriend. If after 5 years teh twins don't like teh girlfriend that is not LW's problem and her ex is an idiot to try and make it so.

Maybe the twins recognize something in GF that Daddy is blind to.

2.Your kids call you on Mothers Day but don't send a card. Perhaps they have better ways to spend their money than supporting Hallmark.

3. I don't remember the original letter. If daughter can't keep the cats and Mom doesn't want them, find a home and have them adopted..

If daughter doesn't like that she can find an apartment which accepts cats.
Cass

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#3 Jun 1, 2014
LW1 - ITA with PEllen. Besides, even if the twins don't see anything in GF that is negative and that Dad does not recognize, they'd be blind not to understand that the GF was a major player in their parent's breakup.

So, yep, tell the kids you are okay now, that you are happy they have a good relationship with their dad, and they should continue to do so. Considering that the kids are 14, not 4, I think it's also perfectly fine to tell them that the breakup was painful and hurtful for you - 5 years ago - but that you have healed and moved on with your life.

It's not your responsibility to convince your children to like their stepmother, especially since she is only a part-time presence in their lives.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#4 Jun 1, 2014
1- It's letters like these that show Amy as such a hack, I can't understand how she became a syndicated advice columnist. LW needs to tell her ex to suck it, and bad-mouth his girlfriend to her kids at every opportunity

2- Wah wah wah wah WAH! Acknowledge me! Know I exsist!

Get over yourself, lady
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#5 Jun 1, 2014
1: I agree to an extent that the gf situation is not the lw's responsibility - that is the part about making things easier for her ex and his gf. What is her responsibility is to find out whether it's bothering her daughters and making things easier for them. I have to agree with Amy on this one. I grew up in a household where my dad's divorce and his ex-wife were only whispered about. Dad NEVER mentioned his divorce or his ex-wife in my hearing. My mom finally told my year older sister and me when we were probably around 4-6 years of age. It was done in a whispering tone and she only told us because we'd heard someone in the family saying one of our sisters was adopted and not a real sister. That wasn't true but it was what made my mom tell us about dad's previous wife. She also said we were not to mention the woman's name nor her existence for that matter. Any and all subsequent mention of this woman was always done in a hushed tone except when someone said something my mom took amiss and then she (my mom) would scream about how awful the woman was. My dad was never around when this happened. So we (or at least I did) grew up thinking this mysterious woman was going to come and take our dad away if we even said her name out loud. I pictured her as a femme fatale like Natasha in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. And yes, I continued to think this until after my dad's death when I was 19. That's how this kind of secrecy can affect a kid. The lw NEEDs to discuss the gf with her daughters and let them know that she knows about the gf and it's ok with her. She should also tell them it's ok for them to like the gf if they are so inclined. Their liking her would not be a disloyalty to their mom. She needs to do this for her daughters, not for her ex or his gf. It has nothing to do with them and everything to do with her daughters.

And Julie, my post is not meant to be "all about me." The part about me is why I know - from personal experience - that what I'm saying and what Amy said is the correct thing to do.

2: I just don't "get" a person who feels hurt because someone doesn't follow some artificial tradition of gift-giving. I also don't think she should be the one talking to her kids and demanding presents. Her husband should tell them how hurt she is by their not giving her at least a token gift, card, or phone call. And if it's all that important to her and they're not following through, perhaps she should follow their lead and stop buying them gifts. She can explain why when they call to complain.

Since: Jan 14

Location hidden

#6 Jun 1, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
1- It's letters like these that show Amy as such a hack, I can't understand how she became a syndicated advice columnist. LW needs to tell her ex to suck it, and bad-mouth his girlfriend to her kids at every opportunity
2- Wah wah wah wah WAH! Acknowledge me! Know I exsist!
Get over yourself, lady
The more I hear about and see how many good, caring and compassionate people there are in this world, the more I'm confident that they will counteract the ugliness you and others of your ilk keep spouting. They will prevail and they will be the ones who make this world better.
boundary painter

Waco, TX

#7 Jun 1, 2014
Glance into the next month for LW2's twin girls.
(a) They admitted to their mother than their father's SO "gives off a vibe" they don't care for
(b) They want to know what their Dad is hiding or feeling so guilty about
and said he acts like an insecure boy at school who many girls see as
a "puppy" who'll do tricks to get girls to like him.
(c) They admit that they don't really like or respect him or the SO.
or
(d) other

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

United States

#8 Jun 1, 2014
greenwichvillage wrote:
<quoted text>
The more I hear about and see how many good, caring and compassionate people there are in this world, the more I'm confident that they will counteract the ugliness you and others of your ilk keep spouting. They will prevail and they will be the ones who make this world better.
Republicans?
Cass

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

#9 Jun 1, 2014
Pippa wrote:
1: I agree to an extent that the gf situation is not the lw's responsibility - that is the part about making things easier for her ex and his gf. What is her responsibility is to find out whether it's bothering her daughters and making things easier for them. I have to agree with Amy on this one. I grew up in a household where my dad's divorce and his ex-wife were only whispered about. Dad NEVER mentioned his divorce or his ex-wife in my hearing. My mom finally told my year older sister and me when we were probably around 4-6 years of age. It was done in a whispering tone and she only told us because we'd heard someone in the family saying one of our sisters was adopted and not a real sister. That wasn't true but it was what made my mom tell us about dad's previous wife. She also said we were not to mention the woman's name nor her existence for that matter. Any and all subsequent mention of this woman was always done in a hushed tone except when someone said something my mom took amiss and then she (my mom) would scream about how awful the woman was. My dad was never around when this happened. So we (or at least I did) grew up thinking this mysterious woman was going to come and take our dad away if we even said her name out loud. I pictured her as a femme fatale like Natasha in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. And yes, I continued to think this until after my dad's death when I was 19. That's how this kind of secrecy can affect a kid. The lw NEEDs to discuss the gf with her daughters and let them know that she knows about the gf and it's ok with her. She should also tell them it's ok for them to like the gf if they are so inclined. Their liking her would not be a disloyalty to their mom. She needs to do this for her daughters, not for her ex or his gf. It has nothing to do with them and everything to do with her daughters.
And Julie, my post is not meant to be "all about me." The part about me is why I know - from personal experience - that what I'm saying and what Amy said is the correct thing to do.
2: I just don't "get" a person who feels hurt because someone doesn't follow some artificial tradition of gift-giving. I also don't think she should be the one talking to her kids and demanding presents. Her husband should tell them how hurt she is by their not giving her at least a token gift, card, or phone call. And if it's all that important to her and they're not following through, perhaps she should follow their lead and stop buying them gifts. She can explain why when they call to complain.
LW1 - Good point about asking the daughters what it is that they don't like about the GF and letting them know that it's okay to like her if they feel so inclined.

LW2 - I don't think she is demanding presents. I think she wants to get a Happy Mother's Day card from her bio kids, just like she does from her step kids. Maybe Mother's Day, and Father's Day, and Valentine's Day, and birthdays are too silly holidays for adults to worry about, but parents do tend to want to be acknowledged on those day by the kids they raised. It's just a nice feeling when your kids give you a card on Mother's day (I am speaking as a mom). It's a little gesture of love.

I wonder if LW's kids don't make this gesture because she raised them to believe that she is "just mom" - not important enough to bother to send a card to on a silly holiday. I find it kind of sad.

Since: Jan 14

Location hidden

#10 Jun 1, 2014
edogxxx wrote:
<quoted text>
Republicans?
Quite unlikely when they're like you. This is not partisan. Its being an intelligant, understanding and tolerant human being, qualities you don't seem to possess.
Pippa

Hancock, NY

#11 Jun 1, 2014
Cass wrote:
<quoted text>
LW1 - Good point about asking the daughters what it is that they don't like about the GF and letting them know that it's okay to like her if they feel so inclined.
LW2 - I don't think she is demanding presents. I think she wants to get a Happy Mother's Day card from her bio kids, just like she does from her step kids. Maybe Mother's Day, and Father's Day, and Valentine's Day, and birthdays are too silly holidays for adults to worry about, but parents do tend to want to be acknowledged on those day by the kids they raised. It's just a nice feeling when your kids give you a card on Mother's day (I am speaking as a mom). It's a little gesture of love.
I wonder if LW's kids don't make this gesture because she raised them to believe that she is "just mom" - not important enough to bother to send a card to on a silly holiday. I find it kind of sad.
1: I think it's also important that the girls should feel able to talk about their visits and not have to hide the existence of the gf. They don't have to like or not like her but keeping her existence a secret, if that's what they've been trying to do, is hurting them.

2: I don't do mother's day or any special day. To my mind, getting a gift on an "expected" day like that doesn't necessarily mean much. It's a commercial holiday and people are sort of coerced into buying a gift or showing up or calling their mom (or dad or whoever) on that or other holidays. It just means more when kids (or other people) give gifts for no specific holiday or reason other than they want to. It's how my immediate family operates and it works well for us. I can't recall the last time I purchased a birthday card for example. But I do buy and send a lot of friendship and "thinking about you" cards.

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#12 Jun 2, 2014
L1: I have to agree with Abby. While it is NOT the mother's responsibility to make her ex's household better, her concern should be her daughters. It's a lesson in respecting people, it shouldn't be a contest when it comes to your kids.

L2: I don't get that people put so much importance on this crap. It's one day -- there are 365 days in a year. How do they treat you the rest of the time?

L3: I'm with Pelly on this.
not a ghost

San Antonio, TX

#13 Jun 2, 2014
LW1 shouldn't have to pretend that her ex and his "partner in crime"
are someone the girls must see and idolize though. At fourteen, if
those girls would rather be with their mother full time and put their "daddy" and his unladylike lady out of sight and out of mind, they
should have that choice, too, as long as they are not mean about it.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#14 Jun 2, 2014
not a ghost wrote:
LW1 shouldn't have to pretend that her ex and his "partner in crime"
are someone the girls must see and idolize though. At fourteen, if
those girls would rather be with their mother full time and put their "daddy" and his unladylike lady out of sight and out of mind, they
should have that choice, too, as long as they are not mean about it.
I disagree.
Most 14 year girls I have known would rather be with almost anyone besides their own mother.

No indication that the GF is unladylike. It is 5 years later and they are still together.

Partner in crime is harsh after 5 years.

Kids, especially teenagers need to be told to do things including spending time with non-custodial parents. There is no way to convey to the dad that the girls don;t want to see him or/and his GF without being mean about it, as far as I can see.

Toj

“Where is Everyone?”

Since: Jul 12

Location hidden

#15 Jun 2, 2014
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>
I disagree.
Most 14 year girls I have known would rather be with almost anyone besides their own mother.
No indication that the GF is unladylike. It is 5 years later and they are still together.
Partner in crime is harsh after 5 years.
Kids, especially teenagers need to be told to do things including spending time with non-custodial parents. There is no way to convey to the dad that the girls don;t want to see him or/and his GF without being mean about it, as far as I can see.
I agree. In regards to making kids do things -- kids will also use the BS line about not wanting to go to the other parent's home for various reasons but all to manipulate, as most teens (and kids along with adults) will try to manipulate their parents to get what they want. It's the parents' responsibility to get the kids what the need which is sometimes very different from what they want.
blunt advice

Morristown, NJ

#16 Jun 2, 2014
1. And these girls should like the hoe who took their dad away because???

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#17 Jun 2, 2014
blunt advice wrote:
1. And these girls should like the hoe who took their dad away because???
After 5 years the relationship is likley to be for the long term. Holding a grudge much less encouraging children to hold a grudge is not something I can condone. Adultery is not a big enough sin for that in my book.

As teenagers they can be expected to act with civility. Affection or liking can only grow organically from continued contact with the GF. You can "legislate" that.

Noteworthy though, is that fact that GF is not Dad's wife. You can push more for a formalized relationship than with just a girlfriend. In my book , at least.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#18 Jun 2, 2014
blunt advice wrote:
1. And these girls should like the hoe who took their dad away because???
Oh yeah.

Women stopped being chattels and objects of property a while back. Same goes for men. The GF did not take the Dad. Dad chose.
not a ghost

San Antonio, TX

#19 Jun 3, 2014
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>
I disagree.
Most 14 year girls I have known would rather be with almost anyone besides their own mother.
No indication that the GF is unladylike. It is 5 years later and they are still together.
Partner in crime is harsh after 5 years.
Kids, especially teenagers need to be told to do things including spending time with non-custodial parents. There is no way to convey to the dad that the girls don;t want to see him or/and his GF without being mean about it, as far as I can see.
I'll agree to disagree with you. In my opinion, LW1 seems to be far more gracious to this
pair than they deserve. If she were to tell the man, "Why don't you tell them her good
qualities yourself? Come on over" and give him and his SO a chance to present reasons
for those girls to "hear them out", I'd have to call LW1 the "true" lady.

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