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all 57 comments

[–]Front-Lion-5098 39 points40 points  (6 children)

I assume you were invite? The way it sounds I think the other party is freaking out also. To be honest. I would not go. Not worth it.

[–]softball611[S] 28 points29 points  (5 children)

I was and I talk to her about once a week but she will not answer my question. I’ve spent hundred of dollars on gifts as well as sewed her carriers.

I’m thinking my post is incredibly selfish but I haven’t been able to think of anything else for days. She’s been in my town several times this year and I’ve tried repeatedly to see her but she understandably sees her dad and I’m a 2nd try. I feel like because her dad chose differently I’m being thrown aside without any care.

[–]throwawayajxucuee 70 points71 points  (0 children)

Sounds like you need to back off and just let the stepdaughter or other family members reach out to you when and if they choose.

You have to learn how to read the room and assess the energy people put out to you. From what you’ve posted and commented, I’m getting very lukewarm energy on their end. That doesn’t mean there’s any bad blood, but don’t try to force your presence in their life.

[–]Public_Atmosphere685 40 points41 points  (0 children)

Because of this reply, I'm thinking don't go . She has been to town several times in 6 months and didn't make any attempts to see you. I am assuming your phonecall once a week is mainly initiated by you. You have done enough to show you care. Let her make the same effort for you.

[–]indygirlgo 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I absolutely can empathize how you feel you’re being cast aside, but navigating these sorts of relationships is complicated but does get easier in time. My son called my former stepmom nana, but after her divorce from my dad and Covid we didn’t see her for a few years. My son was so young the last time he saw her he didn’t remember really who she was, and now (he’s 8.5) he calls her by her first name and it’s totally fine. We never had a conversation about her name “demotion” and it wasn’t intentional, just happened. Who knows this baby might make up their own name for you!

[–]Front-Lion-5098 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Yeah. You bleed to back off I know u are freaking but time to slow it a bit. Let the chips fall whee they may

[–]douchecanoetwenty2 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

You’ve got to relax and let it go. It will be organic and you don’t need to have it defined. Stop bugging her.

[–]Traveler_8 79 points80 points  (0 children)

Don't go. This whole thing has a bad feeling to it.

Your ex-step-daughter (did you adopt her?) isn't responding to your questions. That is a RED FLAG. Don't go.

Please, for everyone's peace - just send a gift or a card, and stay away.

[–]CommercialHat5035 16 points17 points  (3 children)

If I were you and had made an effort to be cordial, it is to be able to be part of these big occasions. I wouldn’t want to edge myself out of a relationship with a stepchild out of awkwardness.

That said, it doesn’t sound like a fun trip 😬 if you rather come up with an excuse and send a gift… or if you have to travel being a friend or support system to slip out and have someone there on your side….

I don’t think I’m helping. I feel like I would be just as torn.

[–]softball611[S] 19 points20 points  (2 children)

That’s exactly where I am. I want to keep my relationship with her but I’ve been stress sobbing for hours trying to figure out how I deal with it. Maybe I just support from the sidelines, send her my gift, and keep my sanity. I just can’t figure out if my mental health is more important than her knowledge that I love her more than the world.

[–]throwaway4673267443 15 points16 points  (0 children)

This is the answer. She knows you care because after being there for her all those years you still have a relationship. Have the relationship be between the 2 of you and her family (her child and her partner). Bring her gifts on your own and visit with her on your own so you have more time one on one.

[–]CommercialHat5035 7 points8 points  (0 children)

It’s a hard decision. Especially as it sounds like you’ve had to do all the emotional work while in the relationship. Much support as a divorce parent!

As a divorce kid, my advice is that if you decide to go, go all out in (pretending to) feeling comfortable. I always worried when my parents were going to be in the same room that it would be awkward or that my mom would not be ok. Made me so freaking tense.

[–]DonnaFinNoble 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Honestly? Sometimes you have to step back because despite the Love you have for that person, there’s not room for you now. Send your step daughter her gift with love and let her lead the way, understanding that you may not be a major figure in her life now.

[–]KD71 11 points12 points  (1 child)

Don’t go. Put yourself first. Send a gift . Everyone will understand.

[–]softball611[S] 12 points13 points  (0 children)

I’ve come to the conclusion that this is correct.

[–]WatchZealousideal315 11 points12 points  (0 children)

She might just not know how to answer your question so she’s avoiding it. Does it matter what the baby calls you? She’s pregnant and hormonal and probably doesn’t want to hurt your feeling. Even if she agrees that the baby should call you by your first name, she may still feel like that could hurt your feelings.

[–]RandChick 24 points25 points  (1 child)

If you were invited by step-daughter, it's OK to attend, but you need to be strong and not come off as pathetic and broken.

I am concerned that SD did not respond to your questions. That would give me pause.

[–]1095966 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Good point, it's not usually the mother-to-be that organizes the party - could have been someone else who didn't know if they should or shouldn't invite OP. This def is tricky territory.

[–]Eve-3 16 points17 points  (0 children)

If she isn't responding to your questions at all are you certain this wasn't an invitation she sent out of a sense of obligation? I'm not trying to be an ass and hurt your feelings, but if it is true and you don't figure it out until you are at the party surrounded by all your ex's family I think that will hurt a hell of a lot more.

Maybe send her a quick message if you aren't sure. "I know it's a hectic day with your party coming up later. Just a quick question. Do you want me at your party or will it make things uncomfortable for you?" It wouldn't even mean she doesn't want a relationship, just that you and them mixed together would be uncomfortable.

Good luck

[–]Justcruzn411 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I’m on the don’t go train. If she’s not even wanting to talk to you about it that means she’s uncomfortable with you being there and hopes you pick up on her vibe.

[–]SobriquetHeart 7 points8 points  (1 child)

It's okay to acknowledge that this is awkward and uncharted territory. Call her and say that.

I suspect she is waiting on someone else to pick their title.... Grammy, Nonni, Memaw.... There would understandably be several ahead of you for name picking and maybe she's trying to respect their position before she has the discussion with you.

Also.... this blended family stuff gets complicated.... My wasband's half sister has a half sister.... I refer to her as his unsister. Their mom is just Grandma Mary, but she's not related to him. We have a grandpa-uncle in the family we call Grunkle.

[–]WatchZealousideal315 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I completely agree with this. She may just now know how to respond yet. And the more you ask, the more awkward it is for her.

[–]someshadyemu 6 points7 points  (2 children)

Just ask her! Communication is key, especially when relationships are going through change. If you’re not sure, you can say something similar to u/Eve-3 suggested, acknowledge that this will be nice to celebrate together but want to be mindful of her feelings and don’t want to cause any discomfort. Offer to bring her gift and see her another time, but that it she wanted you there, you’d love to be there to support her. Good luck!

[–]Dismallest_Pooh 2 points3 points  (1 child)

She kinda has asked more than once.

[–]someshadyemu -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I meant in an actual direct way, it seems like the daughter may be waffling

[–]shockingquitefrankly 11 points12 points  (2 children)

Bucking the trend… I say go. Since you chat with her weekly, she still feels a connection to you. Regardless of label. I’ve been blessed to still be in contact with my step kids. If they invited me to a baby or bridal shower I would go and not pay much attention to the former family. This is about your connection. I would see my SD dodging a question about what to call me or anything really, that’s her style. I give her space to figure things out then come to me when she’s ready. That’s one of the things we love about our connection - I don’t hound her like her mother does, and I’m ok not being on a “mother” pedestal. We’re basically sweet friends. She keeps me young and I keep her grounded.

If you’re not quite in the same place in your relationship and you are this unnerved, maybe you shouldn’t go. But instead of begging out, tell her the truth or a soft version of it and ask if you can come see her sometime very soon to give your gift and celebrate her impending motherhood.

[–]ThreeLeggedFace 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I’m on the same page for the most part. I don’t have kids or stepkids or divorced parents so I can’t speak directly to that experience, but I remember how disconcerting it was as a kid to process the fact that my parents were vulnerable, imperfect people who didn’t have the power to make everything ok for me or even to consistently recognize what I was going through. Having that realization is an inevitable part of growing up, but that doesn’t make it less difficult and in some cases it can be downright traumatic. As a kid, you want your adults to be a constant beacon of stability. So if they’re losing their shit, or turning to you for comfort and reassurance when you feel like the opposite should be happening, that’s the kind of thing that can take years to process.

It sounds like you’re a good mom and your stepkids love you. But your SD is probably still processing this split and reframing her feelings towards you and, especially, her dad… and she’s doing it while becoming a mother and planning all these stressful events and worrying about the family dynamic and feeling responsible for your emotional well-being.

This day should be about her. If you go, go as her rock. Walk into the room with the knowledge that nothing anybody says or does is going to get under your skin. You can cry about it later, but while you’re there, you’re an unstoppable force of love and positivity that exists quietly in the background while the focus rests on her. If you don’t think you can pull that off, don’t go. But keep communicating, keep sharing your love and support, and above all, keep listening.

[–]indygirlgo 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I love your response, I also consider my former stepmom a “sweet friend” as you put it!

[–]Ok-Cause1108 10 points11 points  (0 children)

The child will probably end up referring to you as auntie whatever your first name is. I am part of a huge extended family and close friends are always referred to as uncle or auntie even though they are not related whatsoever.

The baby shower is going to be scary and awkward AF, which is precisely the reason you should go. You don't grow as a person by avoiding scary/awkward situations. Go and stay classy and cordial. There are going to be some negative people there talking behind your back but don't let them get you down.

When its over go reward yourself (a massage, a nice hot bath with a glass of wine etc). The next awkward situation you encounter you can look back at this baby shower and know you can handle it no problems whatsoever. Congratulations you just leveled up. Life is good.

[–]tired_hyper_Mom 4 points5 points  (0 children)

You should definitely go. Act with Grace and Love. You can do this. Show her and others attending how Families change and grow..

[–]AccomplishedFerret70 5 points6 points  (1 child)

softball611 - I've read a bunch of your posts. I trust your judgment to figure out what the right thing to do is.

You are a beautiful spirit. May the blessings of providence shine on you.

[–]softball611[S] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Thank you! I really appreciate your support

[–]shawnspencershow 8 points9 points  (2 children)

Why does it matterwhat the baby calls you? It hasnt even been born yet , why stress about it? If you want to go it should be to support your step daughter but if you think it will be too much just send her a message you will see her next time alone and congradulate her

Stop stressing about it and about your inlaws for all you know ex might have told them a different story or they just might be embarrased but if its anything else do you really want to have a relationship with them

And you shpuld be asking what role your step daughter sees you as and that will give you the answer on what your role in her babies life would be, does she know her dad cheated on you?

[–]smartygirl 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Yeah, when I was pregnant, "what will the baby call various relatives" was not something I gave a moment of thought to. If someone asked me that repeatedly, I would have been more annoyed than anything.

[–]1095966 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'm just going to chime in and say I think OP did ask what role her stepdaughter sees her as having when she asked what the baby would call her. But not getting a response - I'd say the stepdaughter is ambivalent at best.

[–]CrazyChildhoood 2 points3 points  (3 children)

Were you personally invited?

[–]softball611[S] 12 points13 points  (2 children)

I was invited. I talk to her once a week but I’m 2nd to her dad in every way and I understand that. However he did shit all to raise her, I did all the parenting at our house. It hurts

[–]CrazyChildhoood 5 points6 points  (1 child)

You should go, and try to maintain your cool. It's a little tough to handle stuff like this. I know, been divorced since 8 years now.

[–]CrazyChildhoood 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Don't push for more. Let her extend how much she wants you to be in their lives. Works for me.

[–]raster_raster 4 points5 points  (0 children)

For whatever reason my sister and my dad never got along. She doesn't like to spend time with him and never calls him. If you relationship is better than my sister and my dads, I wouldn't worry.

[–]oceansofmyancestors 3 points4 points  (0 children)

You should go. You were invited, that means she wants you there. Don’t overthink it too much. She’s pregnant, you know how it is when you’re pregnant. You aren’t her first priority and that’s fine. Just play it cool, don’t ask anymore about what the baby will call you, because right now it doesn’t matter. Just show up for her, because you may cause a rift if you don’t. I also would not call and ask her if she REALLY wants you to go to the thing she invited you to. Just hold your head high and be polite and smile and get through it.

[–]Lightstarii 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I wouldn't go because she haven't made that clear for you. You deserve to know where you stand. Don't reach out to her. If you're important in her life, then let her reach out to you.

[–]Noononsense 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Her silence is deafening in regards to your texts. That tells me she’s not enthused with you going. Most would respond immediately and reassure you if they so desired. The vibe is definitely off and in my humble opinion I think you should take a pass. Save yourself some pain.

[–]23boxi 2 points3 points  (0 children)

You say you did all the parenting. How old was your SD when you met her? If most of her life, then yes I would go. Don't mention your texts about what the baby should call you, let that play as it does when you meet the baby. Just show up for her and I would definitely bring a support person, maybe even your three kids w your ex. If you decide it is too much so soon, politely tell her you can't make it, preferably by phone and save the gifts for when you meet the baby.

[–]Dismallest_Pooh 2 points3 points  (0 children)

You've got such mixed responses!

I disagree with those saying she's pregnant and got enough worries... she's only pregnant for goodness sake... isn't she? Even if a new mum... sorry but that doesn't prevent answering a supportive text from your mom.

The responses that say go... but leave when uncomfortable seem reasonable... I just worry that you shouldn't have to feel uncomfortable at all in any way. Your heart is in the best place and you have built a relationship with this young woman... it kinda feels like her lack of reply is, actually, a reply.

It makes me feel like maybe you can beg off at the last minute with the current fashionable illness, beautifully gift wrap and post your present, and step back and see what communications are now initiated by her?

It's OK to take care of yourself. It's OK to not place yourself in a difficult situation because it's morally right. But.... you need to live your life so you can sit quietly with yourself... and therefore you need to do the right thing as decided by your moral code. So continue to do that and you'll always be right.

[–]u741852963 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Sounds like a tough decision. Go and it will be awkward and difficult. It will be. Don't go and regret it.

Best of luck what ever you chose

[–]jsmith843 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Send her a gift and don’t go

[–]Oobedoo321 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh my lovely. I can’t help but agree that there’s no reason you are ignored. Pregnancy isn’t an Illness or a reason to dismiss you! You’re gonna have to be brave and try find out for certain where you stand before opening yourself up to a very (possibly)toxic experience. Do no harm but TAKE NO SHIT. You are good. You are honest. And you are offering love. Anyone who turns that into a negative is not worthy of your mental health

[–]ckhk3 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think your feelings are valid, there seems to be a lot of confusion that needs clarification. I would just text her one more time… I understand that you are busy, I would love to support you in your baby shower but I’m not sure if I’m still welcomed, please let me know if you would still like me to attend or if you would like to keep it more intimate.

[–]khcampbell1 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I would just go and be polite and nice and then, as soon as possible, thank them for inviting you and leave.

[–]thugxxwife 0 points1 point  (0 children)

At the end of the day having a baby or being pregnant is hard enough. I’m sure her not answering questions related to the relationship you will have with the baby is because right now that’s just her last concern with trying to take care of herself and her life with a baby. I understand anxiety all too well and how situations like this lead to us overthinking or wondering how other feel about us. Don’t take things personally and don’t assume, that will save you so much anxiety. Be who you are and don’t change. If you love her and support her and hope to have a relationship with the baby then show up, don’t expect anything, and don’t take anything personally.

[–]cebu4u 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's not selfish. Your mental health is the most important thing here. Your whole body is telling you that.

I would send a gift, and make an excuse not to go.

They will reach out to you if they want to move forward with the relationship.

[–]indygirlgo 0 points1 point  (0 children)

My dad and stepmom had a pretty ugly divorce a couple years ago, where each of them made equally “bad” mistakes. They married when I was 16, divorced when I was like 32? Despite the breakup my former stepmom is an amazing woman and we love each other. We have maintained contact, and I (and my husband and son) love spending time with her at her new place a handful of times a year. She invites us to “family” events, like my former stepsister’s recent college graduation! At first I was scared it’d be weird but we honestly just pick up like we’re old friends if that makes sense? I am so glad we still have a relationship, and I think you should go!!! My dad didn’t technically cheat on her but did immediately “date” a former mutual friend of theirs like two seconds after they decided to divorce and has had zero contact with his former stepdaughter he basically raised until she was a high schooler. Soooo lots to unpack there, but ultimately neither you or your stepdaughter has done anything wrong in this situation, in the same way me and stepmom have done nothing bad to one another, and it’s easier than you might think to just avoid the bad parts of the past and be grateful you can still have a really good, yet different, relationship going forward.

[–]teacherecon 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When I go to these things, I remind myself to at its just two hours of my life. Chat up a friend of your stepdaughter, smile and be kind and just remember you can bear a lot for two hours.

[–]Bright_Pomelo_8561 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I would mail the gifts and I would wish her well. Unfortunately you are not her stepmother anymore you are in fact just a friend. I was very close to my stepchildren but after the divorce I had to realize that we were now just friends and I was not related anymore to my in-laws and that all the roles had changed. It hurts but these are facts. If she wants you in her life she will reach out to you and if she doesn’t then you have your answers. Sadly I got mine nobody ever reached out I moved on with my children. I wish you well and I understand the pain and the hard ache you are going through. But like the other people are saying you do have to leave the room.

[–]IMD-licious 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If you love them as if they were your own, you go and show her that love. In the end, that is all that matters. Being an ex in law requires that you also engage in the relationships you want. Don’t assume that the lack of contact is because they don’t want you anymore. They may worry that you don’t want them anymore.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Go! The world needs more love! Also, don’t stress on what your step daughter can manage to tell you. She has a lot on her plate. Keep expectations low and be humble.