Unblended Families and Holidays

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


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?



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..........)


Keep us posted!

Happy Holidays!

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.  :) 

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.