Post # 1
I will be my fiance’s second wife.
His family seems to struggle with the concept that it is not just a cut and paste, plopping me into the place of the previous wife.
For example, Christmas traditions. There are sooo many christmas traditions that he and his ex used to parttake in, and they always get so offended when we don’t want to go to eery single one of them. We are a new couple, and we are creating our own NEW traditions. I have family traditions that I bring to the table, and we need to FIGHT tooth and nail for time to incorperate those amongst the booked solid calendar of all the other traditions
In general my Fiance and his previous wife were much more enmeshed with his parents than him and I are, or want to be. When he and his ex got married, FI’s parents bought them a house right next to theirs. Well, for him and I as a couple that did not work (honestly, they are overbearring, and I hae no clue HOW the ex dealt with them), so we moved. They hated us for this
They expect us to do EVERYTHING with them, and expect us to invite them to EVERYTHING. This is not the dynamic my Fiance and I want. We would like to have some independent family time too, sheesh. We tend to cut them out, and whenever they find out that we went for a day trip without them they get PISSED.
Anyway, any second-wives ever had this type of experience with your husband’s family? WHere they expect you to be the same as the other wife, just a different name and face? And they expect the overall family dynamic to be identical?
(Reading this back, I say “they” a lot. It is mainly my FMIL)
Post # 4
@freshflowers: I don’t think this is a “second wife” problem. I think this is a “crazy inlaws” problem.
[They get upset if you take a day trip without them? That’s crazy possessiveness – whether or not you are the 2nd wife].
I will say this: so long as your Fiance is on your side, you will be alright. in-law problems are only bad when they bend your partner to do their will. It doesn’t look like this is happening, which is good. Most of the time it should be he that handles them (because they’re his parents).
Post # 5
@freshflowers: I haven’t experienced exactly what you’re talking about, but, in other ways, I think I do understand some of what you may be feeling.
For me, getting married meant an ENORMOUS change from my former life as a never-been-married-40-something-career-woman who spent major holidays with my parents and other extended family out of state and my free time doing what I chose to do. When I married a divorced dad who lived in another state, and I eventually had to quit my job, leave my entire life-as-I-knew-it behind, and relocate, my world dramatically changed, while my husband’s and stepchildren’s lives changed, but on a much smaller scale.
One of the changes involved how I now spend my holidays. In part because my husband is a pastor, and, in part because I have stepchildren who are in a shared (split 50/50) physical and legal custody situation, I no longer can travel to see my family at Easter or Thanksgiving, and my Christmases are now determined by which parent has custody of the minor kids on which days and the fact that my Darling Husband and his children and I end up splitting (the time that the kids are with us at) Christmas between DH’s parents/family and my parents/family, both of which are hours away from us.
I do love DH’s family, and I am blessed to have them in my life. However, my life as I had always known it — and my holidays as I had always experieced them — are much different now that I am married.
Post # 6
@freshflowers: We have the opposite going on! His ex never wanted to do anything-didn’t even want to go to ANYONES houses for holidays, etc. Real hermit (and the opposite of him) His mom has told me about how she was always nervous to call to ask if she could drop something off for her son because she never knew what mood the ex would be in. She also wouldn’t let my SO put a doorbell on the house because she didn’t want to be bothered….
I love his family and we spend a TON of time together. I think it is different for me though because I am a huge family person and my family is over an hour away. I love how close is family is.
I think you have a case of crazy inlaws who need to be put in their place. Thank goodness your husband is on the same page.
Post # 7
@freshflowers: In one sentence… Fiance needs to man up to his parents & defend the new up-coming marriage.
His parents need to be told straight forward that it’s no disrespect towards them, but there needs to be change in some traditions & everyday involvement because it’s not the same relationship (as ex) and needs them to honor a fresh start he’s making with you.
My FI’s parents have both passed, but I get “diggs” and “that’s not how we do it” from his kids (23 & 17) which is understandable to a point & I tolerate for most things. But then his ex puts her two cents in, she’s never even met me… at our first meeting she refused to shake my hand & turned away when we were introduced & doesn’t acknowledge my existance to this day – almost 6 years later and we live across the country from each other. My Fiance would crumble when it came to her demands years after their divorce, which is weird because he’s a manly-take-charge-man. I’m pretty soft spoken but finally told him “Man UP! We’re not going to be supporting your ex … financially, mentally or physically and she is no longer your responsibility” He got the message loud & clear.
When it comes to holidays we take little from his past & a little from mine and then we had all four kids come up with some “new” traditions for us to start. When he hears his kids say “that’s not how we do it, or we always do it like this” FI now tells them “I’ll let your mom do it that way, we’re going to do it different” and it seems to work better now.
I’m sure you’ll find your nitche, but he’s the insider and has to set ground rules with parents.
Post # 8
@ApollosAgapi: Geeze. What a rude ex!
I’m glad SOMEONE can relate. I feel like an alien sometimes with this particular issue.
Post # 9
@freshflowers: What @paula1248 said. It isn’t about wanting you to plop into the ex’s role.. it’s about them not wanting their son to grow up and have his own life. I’d venture to guess that this might have had something to do with why his ex is his ex. I certainly wouldn’t put up with that.
It sounds like your man is willing to stand up to them and that’s awesome. You have every right to make your own life with him and his mom is just going to have to deal with it.
Post # 10
@MexiPino: Yep. He and his ex were very… “complacent” as a couple. That’s the only word I can really think of. They weren’t the most driven folks as a couple, which was a huge contributer to the relationship with his parents.
Him and I are the opposite of this. We are very strong willed as a couple, whcih i think is just a bit jarring for his parents. it is a big contrast to the previous dynamic.
Post # 11
As the holidays approach, I’d communicate, very well, what you and your Fiance will be doing and what events you’ll participate in that they are hosting. Fiance & I have established new traditions with the old. It has to be a nice blend and can’t be all one sided or there will definitely be resentment. Its difficult, I understand. We are facing our own situation with holiday gift giving between his family and mine. Hopefully, with time, it will get easier.
Post # 12
@freshflowers: I’d have to wonder if the in laws weren’t part of the problem with the last marriage. Honestly, I’d be tempted to run screaming away from that. I mean, to have them RIGHT NEXT DOOR? Yowza. That sound like a sitcom, like Everybody loves Raymond.
I agree with pp…..this is something your Fiance needs to address, seeing how they are his parents. If it comes from you, they might end up resenting you. I’d just make sure that you include them for some portion of the holidays, and then do what you guys want to do as couple, without asking for their input or permisssion. I’d be very tempted to make “intimate Christmas and New Year in Hawaii” a tradition with that dynamic though.
Good luck OP, and happy holidays!
Post # 13
@Bridey77: It was pretty much exactly like everybody loes raymond!
Post # 14
This is so funny i just posted something very similar. Me and my husband got married a few weeks ago and his family thinks im the devil. They dont really respect me, they think his ex wife is a saint because they are gullible and believe everything she tells them. So im stuck being the “bad guy” while she gets away with murder! Just hope and pray it will get better thats all i can do. Its really disturbing though because second marraiges have a way higher divorce rate because of this reason!!