I have always been considered a good-looking woman. I had my fair share of relationships when I was younger, but never found the man of my dreams. It wasn’t until I was in my early 40s that I met my match.
An older man, divorced with children, which suited me fine as I never wanted children of my own. That was a deal breaker for most, if not all, of my earlier relationships. And I could understand that, so though I wasn’t finished with the relationships, I let those men go with my blessing.
The eldest of my husband’s children is only a decade younger than me, and the other three all only slightly younger than him. The youngest two, twin boys, are single and live together in another city where they both went to university. The oldest just got married; and the second is engaged. They are all lovely young men and treat me with respect.
The problem is the eldest son’s wife. She’s poisoning the mind of the second son’s fiancée. They are rude and disrespectful to me; and act as though I am beneath them. I can’t understand how my sweet stepsons have chosen these ill-mannered and evil women. And, of course, they are sweet as pie to my husband who doesn’t understand what I’m complaining about.
How can I get my husband to see what’s going on? And how can I get these women to stop being so horrible to me?
NOT a step-monster!
Your husband is probably half blind by their sweetness and half choosing not to see the ugliness so as to avoid the whole situation. It’s a defense mechanism that may work for him, but it’s not working for you.
Talk to him. Start with how much you love him, your life together, and his fabulous children. Tell him how much you appreciate the way he has raised such lovely and respectful young men. Then explain how the women treat you and give him concrete examples so he can really get the picture. Tell your husband that you hope to have a long life together, and intend to be an involved stepmother and grandmother, but that you need his help with the daughters-in-law.
The whole point is to nip this in the bud before it becomes a war of the women.
How do I stop someone when they start a comment with "I’m not racist but..." or, they "don't want to sound like a racist but..."?
These statements seem to be always followed with a racist comment or a comment that becomes suddenly racist by association, meaning based on how they started their comment. It's never a comment that I want to hear.
The other day I was chatting with some women in the change room about theatre. A retired school teacher said that she did not want to sound racist, but that she did not like rap and hence did not like a popular musical. Her taste in music was not my concern; but her subtle racism was tasteless.
Two of my adopted children are biracial and I felt like I let them down by not challenging this woman. How do I tell someone politely at the start of these types of comments that I am uncomfortable with where the discussion is going and ask them not to continue?
A Voiceless Wimp
Start by giving yourself a break. Most people have found themselves, at one time or another, in the middle of something uncomfortable. You sound like a thoughtful person who perhaps chooses to give people the benefit of the doubt before reacting. Not liking rap music does NOT make you racist.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the parent worried about their daughter’s distracted driving (July 19):
“Maybe this will get the attention of the young distracted driver: My granddaughter, living in B.C., recently lost her learners’ permit for three months for texting while driving.
“She needed her truck to get to work, so her mom had to drive her every day. That in itself was more than a bit humbling. Her learners’ permit will be extended for an additional two years. The fine is close to $400 and she will lose three points when her license is reviewed on her birthday. Her insurance will certainly increase.
“I agree that taking the car away from her sounds good in theory, but kids always have a way of wearing parents down. All this certainly got my attention, and I hope it arms the mom with enough gumption to follow your advice or better yet, gets the attention of the texting teen.”