Unblended Families and Holidays

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2009
Unblended Families and Holidays
13
Wed, 12-19-2012 - 3:43am

Hello,

This is the third Christmas since my SO and I got serious, and it's always a hassle because of his (grown) kids.  My daughter (27) accepts his presence in my life and understands that I want him around for holidays.  She is not too crazy about his daughters (ages 27 and 23) but she has never tried to get me to have a celebration that excludes him and them. His daughters, however, who seem to pay very little attention to him most of the year, get absolutely possessive during the holidays.

The reason I am annoyed right now is that the youngest daughter suggested to her father that they should have a "small" Christmas Day meal at her house.  Since the house is very tiny, it wouldn't work out for "a lot of people" so I am not invited.  It will be just her, her sister and her dad.

While I can understand that they would like to have their father to themselves, I think it is rude to make a plan that excludes me on Christmas Day.

Initially they had tried to get their father to go with them to visit their married sister for Christmas but he had to change his plans because of work.  Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to see him at all at Christmas.

My SO's solution to the invitation that excludes me is to spend Christmas Day (the 25th) with them, but to find time in the evening for us to be together.  I am kind of thinking I don't want to.  I feel he should have told his daughter that while they could exclude my kids, they had to invite me.  He and I are not married, but we spend most of our time together.  I feel that he is acting like he wants to be with me when they don't want him, but that when they have time for him, they get priority.

I don't do that to him. I've tried to include him in all my family plans, even though my kids are not any crazier about him than his daughters are about me.

I already gave up on Thanksgiving, which he goes off to spend with his daughters and his late wife's family.  And I certainly don't expect his daughters to want to spend all of Christmas with my family. I understand that they want to have their own celebration.  But I think they should have invited me, and I think he should have told them so.

I don't particularly want his daughters at my Christmas Eve celebration. Last year they were not exactly gracious guests. (They were not rude, but they didn't blend with the other guests even though one of my guests is a woman who has a positive gift for getting people to talk.  They froze my daughter out of any attempts at conversation and did not offer to help with the cleaning up, setting the table, etc.)   But they have been invited. It would have been wrong not to when I was inviting their father.  I wish they would refuse the invitation, but it looks as if they are coming. And, of course, my SO is going to drive them to and from my house and then go to midnight mass with them instead of all of us going to midnight mass together.  He will not spend the night with me that night.

Maybe I am being unreasonable and selfish, but I feel that if we have a serious relationship, we ought to put each other first for this sort of thing.

At times like this, I think that marriage (which we talk about periodically) is not a good idea.  And as for Christmas Day, I don't need him to come over at all.  I want to tell him that he can spend the whole day with his girls and I'll spend my day with my kids. (We have Xmas Day family traditions that I was willing to sacrifice/modify to be with him.)

Am I just being unreasonable?

Dabby

Pages

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 12-19-2012 - 2:44pm

I don't think you're being unreasonable at all.  After 3 yrs together people should view you as a couple even if you're not married.  I don't think his DDs should have to invite your DDs but you should be invited.  But more importantly is that your BF doesn't care that you're feeling left out.  He should be the one to say that he wants to spend the holiday with you.  So he is showing you that you're not that important to him--at least that his DDs' wishes come before yours.  I wouldn't want to get married under those circumstances.  And while I think that adult children might not always care for the parent's new partner, they should at least be polite and try to get along with other people if they are going to accept an invitation to a party--if they don't want to mingle, they should stay home.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Wed, 12-19-2012 - 7:31pm

Ugh!  I hate working through this kind of stuff. 

Seven years now with SO and as we grow as a real couple and family, every year brings a new set of challenges.  What was okay the first couple seasons (not doing much together was okay) to now my SO saying "I am not saying anything is wrong with your traditions, but I want us to start our own."  But I LIKE my traditions.  Undecided

My family is pretty set in our ways, we all live in town, and thus far there hasn't been another set of in-laws to take precedence over what we do. 

I don't think you are unreasonable.  I just think you are a little farther into the "we are a family" than he is.  We have have so many Ex's and step's and Ex steps in my world, I can't even tell you.  For example, my DD26 spent Thanksgiving with my xH (not her dad) instead of with the rest of us.  She is an adult, and has every right to spend a holiday how she wishes.  But yea, it was weird knowing she was at her Ex-Step dad's house with his wife.  My DD12 wasn't even there, she was with me! 

I don't know D, there is no one right or wrong way.  For some people it is just too hard, and they go there separate ways for the day.  Especially if any travel is involved.  If your SO is anything like me, change is hard.  You will need to be very careful with your words.  I feel very strong about seeing my family, so you must tread lightly with any reference to that possibly not happening. 

It has taken me this long to finally be open to the idea of doing something different next year.  We are talking about going camping in a large Yurt and inviting any of our family that wants to come join us, either for the night or just for the day.  

I don't know if anything in there was helpful, or not.  All I can add is to be honest with your SO about your feelings, but don't elude that he is doing anything wrong.  My SO doesn't necessarily enjoy the company of my grown kids, so it is clearly a senstive topic. 

Lastly, just remember that things that we may assume "well, that is just how it is done" may not be true for everyone.  For your "we are a couple," may be perceived by someone else as "they are not married," then perceived by someone else as "let them each spend it with their kids how they wish."  

Hopefully you two can talk through this.  Don't get too hung up on this year at this late date.   But after the holiday dust settles, bring it up for what you want to do next year.  That is what my SO did and it worked for me. 

Good luck and let us know how things go.  Don't lose sight of enjoying the time you DO spend with your SO or kids.  :) 

Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Thu, 12-20-2012 - 8:57am

Hi Dabby--

No, I dont think you're being unreasonable.  I agree with the other poster who said you seem to be more into the "doing things as a family" with him than he is...................one thing I noticed, you referred to his "late wife", as in deceased.  I think this could be part of the issue with his adult D's......they're  still grieving, and it's difficult for them to see their mom essentially "replaced" by you at the family gathering.............

Yes, they do need to move on eventually, but I would take that thought into consideration at least partially when looking at their behaviors. (and, no, it doesnt excuse their behavior at your place on xmas eve).

However, re: Xmas day this year.....................

I can understand your feeling upset that he would prefer to placate his kids at your expense....and, as Serenity noted, it is disturbing that he seems to be ignoring your feelings..........so, yes, most definitely keep this in mind before marriage----------and, probably after the holidays this year, have some discussions re: how things would look after marriage----------as another posted, some people look at you "not married" and think, "oh, they're just BF/GF" and dont *consider* you as part of small family event as a wife would be........and MOST DEFINITELY you need to be included when married...........

Here's my thought for this year, ....IF feasible-----

They have all sorts of movies that play on xmas day these days....

Spend your xmas with BF all day..................then HE goes to dinner at DD's, and YOU go out to movie with your DD.  You each have about 2 hours quality time with your own D, but you're also together for the rest of the day.

(Also, the movie will keep your mind occupied so you're not felt like you're just "left at home" while he's gone).

Perhaps, next year it will turn into tradition where you ALL go out to movie,....after having his kids to YOUR place for dinner,....or some such thing.....IDK....

Anyhow.....you're not "unreasonable".....and I'd be feeling miffed as well-----but I think Serenity (or Musiclover? hit the nail on the head re: it's because BF seems so willing to throw you under the bus at the holidays............(and, to be honest............he's probably completely clueless about it all----his DD invited him over, and he said yes................I doubt he thought much more about it, until/unless you brought it up............that's how men I know act alot, anyhow..........)

BEST WISHES!

Keep us posted!

Happy Holidays!

Avatar for cowboys_grl
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2010
Sun, 12-23-2012 - 1:18pm

musiclover12 wrote:
I don't think you're being unreasonable at all.  After 3 yrs together people should view you as a couple even if you're not married.  I don't think his DDs should have to invite your DDs but you should be invited.  But more importantly is that your BF doesn't care that you're feeling left out.  He should be the one to say that he wants to spend the holiday with you.  So he is showing you that you're not that important to him--at least that his DDs' wishes come before yours.  I wouldn't want to get married under those circumstances.  And while I think that adult children might not always care for the parent's new partner, they should at least be polite and try to get along with other people if they are going to accept an invitation to a party--if they don't want to mingle, they should stay home.

Ditto!

Kiki (hit my magic age of 45 and no longer TTC),but mom to a beautiful teen DD & 2 angels in heaven & married to my best friend

Community Leader
Registered: 10-22-2001
Wed, 12-26-2012 - 2:02pm

~hugs~

No, not at ALL!

I would say you are busy, Christmas with your family ALL Day, Afternoon, and Evening!...;)

Also your invitation to them for Christmas Eve I would withdraw.

I think it's rude for them to expect to be included but you and your family excluded. Do not like that after Christmas Eve and Christmas Day he puts you second.

He doesn't seem to be standing up for you...kwim?

So sorry you are going through this...

<3

Nightangel
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Wed, 12-26-2012 - 3:32pm

So, how did Christmas go?  I agree with the others that you are NOT being unreasonable at all and I would think your SO would stand up for you to his DDs.  I do not understand this in light of the fact you have been serious for 3 years.  I have DDs around the same ages as yours and your SO's and I can tell you we've had trouble because of their immaturity.  

I totally understand how you feel as dh and I have 7 adult children between us and we are a totally unblendable family for many reasons and, especially at the holidays, I think how much easier it would be for us to just have remained in separate households, continued to date, and not even TRY to spend holidays with each other.  As it usually ends up, we have my DDs over and his kids either aren't there or disappear as his DS20 did at Thanksgiving when my DDs were at our house.  My DDs don't even like being around my dh and I feel like I'm being pushed into some "mother" role with HIS adult sons and it's not comfortable to me.  

I hope you were able to enjoy Christmas anyway.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Mon, 01-07-2013 - 8:10am

Hi D---

just wondering re: an update---how did it go?

BEST WISHES in new year!

L

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2009
Sat, 01-19-2013 - 2:06pm

Thanks Serenity for your answer.  It turns out that I spent a lot of the holiday season sick with the flu and afterwards catching up on all the things I hadn't done before, so I didn't get to post here.

I did try to talk to my SO, not in an accusing way but explaining that while I understood that his daughters wanted to do something alone with him, I would have preferred it if they had said so instead of making the excuse that the house was too small.   He just didn't get it.  He really believed that this was the reason. But it never occurred to him to say, "Well, let's just do a potluck at my place" or something like that.

Anyway, I didn't make a fuss.  They came over for Christmas Eve and then we all went to mass together (a compromise).  The next day he had his holiday with his daughters and joined me and my daughter in the evening.  My daughter, who was feeling sick with the flu, was not too thrilled to have him there in the afternoon, but she got over it.

I don't know what it will be like next year.  Maybr we will be living together.  Maybe we won't.  I don't know where this relationship is going, and I think you are right that part of the problem is that to me "we are a couple" is very much an idea that affects how I feel people should view us and yet others may just see that "they aren't married or even living together."

Thanks again for your excellent feedback.

Dabby

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2009
Sat, 01-19-2013 - 2:23pm

Hello Laurena,

Thanks for your comments. As I said in another message, I am sorry I didn't reply sooner. I just haven't been on ivillage much and didn't get to the message boards when I logged on. (Christmas, the flu, new semester at work, etc.)

Yes, he is largely clueless. His  cluelessness is one of the things that is getting me stirred up lately about a lot of other things.  He is the nicest, sweetest man--but not a good communicator or very attuned to people's feelings (including his own).

At bottom, the real issue is that he too is still mourning the loss of his late wife and the way it ended the family he knew. He is a creature of habit who dislkes change except when pushed to it.  He started dating because he was lonely and he was glad to find me and certainly seems to love me.  But he is very clear that his kids are "his family" and that I am someone with whom he is just beginning to forge a relationship.

I am very attached to my kids, but I think I realized during the difficult years after the divorce that I can't let them call the shots in our relationship.  If my daughter had said that she was going to have a little dinner at her apartment to which my SO and his daughters were not invited, I would have told her I couldn't attend.  I realize that my SO's daughter is trying to fill her mother's place by being the one who hosts "their family" celebration while my daughter still has me. But that's what makes it tricky.  For them, the place of "mom" is never going to be filled by me.  But I want that for my SO the place of "Significant Woman in My Life" should be filled by me. And when he goes to a celebration that excludes me, he seems to be denying my significance.

That being said, I agree that it has to be dealt with gradually.

Thanks,
Dabby

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2009
Sat, 01-19-2013 - 2:26pm

Thanks Musiclover and Kiki,

Yes, Musiclover captured my feelings perfectly--what hurt was that he seemed to be ignoring how it would make me feel. I did talk to him and try to explain the situation, but he just didn't get it. (I didn't act angry or accusing, I just said that while I understood the need to have separate time, I wanted us to acknowledge that this was "time for each parent with his children" instead of an event from which I was excluded.)  But we got through the holidays (and then I got the flu). 

Thanks again.

Pages