One of my husband’s sons won’t have anything to do with me, the other is keeping me at an arm’s length, his wife won’t accept me on Facebook, and the daughter is sooooooooo cold with me. I certainly don’t understand.
I asked my husband if he could please help somehow, but he said he cannot do anything because his ex is a sociopath who is probably going to ruin the parties if she sees me there. And he is terrified of losing the love of his children. I’m a good, loving woman who gives them presents and messages and receives nothing from them. Why would my presence make my husband’s children love him less? How can a woman who is separated from her man for eighteen years have such a hold on him and the family? — The Second Wife
If this were just one occasion you were being excluded from and it was a big occasion, like a wedding, and there was reason to believe your relationship overlapped with your husband’s previous marriage or there was some other obvious factor contributing to his kids not accepting/liking you or not wanting you in the same vicinity as their mother, I’d probably suggest you suck it up and skip the event. But this is a regular occurrence and, from what you say, there’s no obvious reason your husband’s kids have to shun you. Furthermore, you are married to their dad. You are part of the package now and, if they want their father’s presence, they have to accept yours as well. Honestly, I blame your husband for letting them get away with their treatment of you. He should not be accepting invitations that exclude you.
But I’m curious: Have the kids always treated you this way? If so, has your husband ever offered an explanation? Did they treat his ex-girlfriend, the woman he was serious with after his marriage ended, this way? I would keep pressing your husband for more details. Does he honestly have NO idea why his kids want nothing to do with you? I’m also curious if you and your husband ever invite the kids to your home or to parties/dinners/family get-togethers that YOU host? If so, do they come? If you aren’t already doing so, this would be a great way to establish a relationship with them without their mother hovering about.
You also need to tell your husband how much it hurts you when he goes to family parties that you are actively excluded from. Let him know that, when he worries about losing his kids’ love rather than worry about hurting or losing you, it makes you question his commitment to you. You say he is “good” to you — loving and decent — but it isn’t loving and decent to leave you at home every time one of his kids invites him over and you are excluded. That’s unloving and quite hurtful.
If I were you, I’d pick one person you feel is the most receptive to you out of your husband’s four kids and their spouses/partners and tell him or her how important it is that you have a good relationship with all of them and ask if there’s anything you can do to soften their perception of you. Don’t come out and ask why they don’t like you (that presumes their feelings and puts them on the defensive); simply ask if there’s anything you can do to improve relations. If there’s nothing you can do, you’ll have no choice but to continue giving it time. And while you wait, avoid trash-talking them to your husband or demanding he cut ties with them. Continue sending them small gifts or cards and giving them every reason to accept you and no reason, other than their own lameness, for not accepting you.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].