From the first day we talked, we never stopped. After a month we started also going out every night. After two months he left his house and went to his parents’ place for three months, and then he came to my house and we have lived together for the last two years.
We have his sons almost every afternoon and night and also every weekend. I love his children and am especially close with the 10-year-old. My boyfriend’s parents also met my parents and my children, and we went to their house for dinner and they came to our house.
My problem is that, although everything seems OK and although I have met his ex and I also helped her with her work and I take care of her children, whenever there is a family event, my boyfriend’s family invites her with the children and not me. My partner understands this because he feels she is alone in a foreign country and that she has no family here. I told him I don’t mind for her to come as long as I’m invited, too. He is very kind and he prefers to stay home as well so as to not hurt my feelings, but his family does not care about my feelings. They believe I’m of strong character and they only care about not hurting her. The children always ask me if I’m going, and I have to find excuses as to why I’m not going so they don’t think something is wrong.
Do you think that I should stop going to the other events they invite me to and keep my distance from them? When there’s a family event I’m not invited to, should I tell my partner to go and I go somewhere else with my friends or my family and just ignore it? I did not expect this from them as I helped everyone to go through this separation as smoothly as possible. — Second to His Ex in the Eye’s of His Family
I’m pretty shocked that you dated a married man (months before he actually separated from his longtime wife), moved in with him right away (has he even filed for divorce yet?) and seem surprised that you haven’t been welcomed with wide-open arms. Honestly, that you’ve been treated as well as you have, by the wife, the children, and the family, is something you shouldn’t take for granted considering they’d be completely justified in blaming you for the dissolution of the marriage. You dated a man who still lived with his wife, going out with him every night until he left his wife and family two months later. Five months after you started your affair with him you started living together. And you’re seriously surprised that his family feels some sympathy for his wife/the mother of his children?!
The way I see it, you’re incredibly lucky. It sounds like the kids don’t hate you for breaking up their parents’ marriage and taking their father from the family home. (Even if that isn’t a fair accusation, it would be totally understandable that a 10- and 12-year-old would see it that way). It sounds as though you even have a cordial relationship with the wife, who certainly has reason to dislike and not trust you. And his family, while not including you in big events, seem to be making an attempt to get to know you and are open to including you in smaller occasions. If I were you, considering the dynamics at play and how long your boyfriend’s marriage was in relation to the length of time you’ve been around (and whatever role you are perceived to have played in the ending of the marriage), I wouldn’t rock the boat. I’d be incredibly grateful for the graciousness that had already been extended to me and would continue building relationships with the people in my boyfriend’s life who mean so much to him, even if the terms weren’t entirely mine. I’d go to the smaller invitations extended to me and sit out the larger family events I wasn’t included in until everyone felt more comfortable with my presence.
I’d say give it another six months and, if you’re still feeling boxed out of large family events and like the ex/wife is a bigger priority, then talk to your boyfriend about discussing with his parents how important it is that you be included with him on all invitations. But for now, don’t ask him to skip the events he’s invited to and you aren’t. That will only serve to alienate you further from the family you hope will begin embracing you. Continue being of “strong character” and rely on your support system — your own family and friends — as everyone keeps adjusting to you as a new member of the extended family.
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