Wedding Woes

Make it a conversation about division of labor and this is part of it.

Dear Prudence,

Do you think it’s fair to put my future husband in charge of his kid’s needs unless they have a relationship with me? I am engaged, but my fiancé and I have decided to wait to get married until his kids are in college, which will be a couple years. I’ve been reading this column long enough to know how stepmother’s often get saddled with taking care of stepkids that treat them horribly. My fiancé’s kids are polite, but a bit distant. I am completely fine with that arrangement. They have a great mom, and I don’t plan on trying to replace her.

The big issue I’m worried about is that my fiancé and I are planning on buying a new house together once we are married. I am adamant that this is our space. Currently, his wife has primary custody in large part due to the fact that she lived in a much better school district. They each have rooms at her mother’s house and the oldest stays there when he is back from college. Their father has always been very present, but has been able to carve out a lot of space for our relationship separate from his children. I’m just not a major part of their life, and I don’t want to be in charge of regular meals or birthday parties or presents, unless they decide to develop a relationship with me. Some of my friends have said that the stipulation for doing things for my future step-kids is particularly callous. I just don’t want them to treat me like crap and expect a motherly experience from me.

I also really want my home to be my home, and I don’t want to have to cater to people that I don’t have a strong relationship with. I have not discussed this with my husband and I am really worried about doing so. Am I being unreasonable? Am I being selfish? What is the best way to bring this up to my fiancé?

—Possibly Evil Stepmother

Re: Make it a conversation about division of labor and this is part of it.

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    mrsconn23mrsconn23 member
    First Anniversary First Answer 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited May 9
    I think LW is overly worried about this since there is no indication that their H has any objections to how LW's relationship with his kids is going.  It reads like LW is getting wrapped up in an idea of who they 'should' be as a stepmom.  

    LW throwing in the statement about not cooking, planning bday parties (for adults/almost adults?), or buying gifts unless they develop a relationship with her gives me pause.  

    First of all, they're not I don't think you need to worry about renting the bouncy house for your backyard or anything. 

    Secondly, who normally does cook? You? Him?  Both? If they don't have crazy diet restrictions or preference, then why is this an issue?? Just cook what's on the menu if they're there?

    Third, yes, if you don't know would be weird to buy them gifts.  However, why can't whatever he gets for them be from both of you? 

    Relationships are a two-way street.  What has LW done to develop one with them beyond basic politeness? 

    As far as the house, I don't think they need reserved rooms, but why can't they have a room that's 'theirs' when they do stay where they can leave things in the closet or a dresser or something.  But just make it clear that guests may stay in that room if his kids aren't there.  

    I think LW needs to loosen up a little, unless they didn't mention something that could change my mind.  
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    I agree @mrsconn23, it doesn't sound like LW had tried to have any relationship with his children. They are a part of his life so one would think they will be a part of their life in some capacity. I would think gifts would come from both of them. Looking into the future there could be weddings and grandchildren. Does LW not want to be involved in any of that. I think that is a pretty callous way to view family. I am very grateful that my stepmother put up with my teenage self and treated me well and was a good grandmother to my children when they came along. 
  • Options
    This feels weirdly transactional for people who live with you, at least part of the time. It’s like you want a contract for how to interact with real, individual people. 

    Also- it seems like you’re putting “having a relationship” completely on the kids without any sort of work from you. Do you want a relationship with them? Take the actual work of the home out of it. Do you want to know them? You shouldn’t be expected to do all the work/care for them but are you saying you won’t do anything for them? That does seem particularly cold. 
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    banana468banana468 member
    First Answer First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment
    I do not understand the concept of not wanting to have a relationship with the partners children.   There's something bitter in the LW that's putting me off.  

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    levioosalevioosa member
    First Anniversary First Comment First Answer 5 Love Its
    Something with LW is not passing my smell test. I thought the letter would be something along the lines of inheritance with future kids or whatever when they mentioned buying a new home, but...whatever this was? It was odd. 

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