Updates: “Still her Stepdaughter?” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Still her Stepdaughter?” who wrote in several months ago wondering whether she should invite herself to visit her deceased father’s recent ex-wife, whom she missed very much, despite mixed signals since the father’s/ ex-husband’s death in April ’11. Keep reading to see whether she did, indeed, invite herself to visit her stepmother.

I really appreciated your advice and that of your commenters. I decided to go ahead and invite myself up. Mentioning to her that I’d be in the area anyway, as some suggested, was a good thought but not really a viable option for me, since I never have any reason to be in that part of the state other than to see them, and indeed haven’t been up since my dad’s death. So I decided to be direct. I was talking to my great-aunt about it, and she suggested we go up together this past weekend, so I called “Charlene” and simply said I’d be at my aunt’s (in a city about halfway between mine and Charlene’s), that we’d love to see her, and would be OK if we came up. She seemed pleased with the suggestion, and we had a nice time.

The visit didn’t really give me any solid signs as to what kind of relationship she envisions having with me and the rest of my family since my dad’s death. It’s a little awkward since she and my dad divorced less than two months before he died, and as I mentioned in my first letter, I’m not sure if she considers herself an ex-wife or a widow. Still, I feel better knowing I’m doing my part to stay in touch with Charlene, and that’s a good feeling.

Thanks so much to all of you for helping to make sense of a situation that really was quite simple, but too overshadowed with emotion for me to navigate well. I’m confident that in the future, I’ll continue to show Charlene and that, regardless of the choices my dad made, our family’s feelings toward her haven’t changed.

Thanks for the great update! You sound like a kind and compassionate step-daughter whom Charlene should feel lucky to have in her life.


If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Yaay, I’m glad to see a good update! Hopefully it will be easier next time you want to visit her and you’ll be able to build the relationship with her that you want. 🙂

  2. yay!

    i also think it will be easier the next time.. sometimes that first, initial meeting is awkward and weird (like a first date, or asking someone you dont know very well on a friend date, ect), but after that everything can flow naturally!

  3. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    I just reread the original letter, and I must say that I think all this shielding her from the truth is kind, but misguided. Hey, look, they WERE divorced, remember? Somehow, I very much doubt she was THAT oblivious.

    One other thing that would probably help clear the air would be simply to say, “You know, Charlene, even if my father was still alive and you two had gone your separate ways, I would STILL want you in my life — you’ve simply become that important to me.” Yeah, I think that would be an absolutely great thing to hear if I were Charlene…

    1. Mark, I must say, that was a logical, compassionate, and very kind piece of advice.

      LW, Mark’s advice is spot-on. Let her be the one to decide whether or not she wants to continue a relationship.
      Something tells me that she would want to continue one.

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        i concur.

    2. MissSally says:

      That’s a good thing to say … thanks! I can’t believe I haven’t thought to let her know that until now.

  4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    LW, you have class. Let’s be friends.

    1. MissSally says:

      I’m just now seeing this … I’m the LW. Thanks for the support!

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