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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I married my husband in 1993. We had been dating for 3 years

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I married my husband in 1993. We had been dating for 3 years before. We both had children, my children were living with us and continued to live with us until they finished school and were married.
My husband's son was 10 years older and had been living with his mother until she died in 1992. My husband had divorced his ex several years before I met him and was not on good terms with his son. I never met his son until the Mom died.
We tried to blend the family, his son resisted, but would show up and not engage, then his wife tried to advance the situation and was often rude.
At this time I have done 2 Christmas's, 2 Father's Day 2 Easters etc. I told my husband that I was only inviting my children for Thanksgiving Sunday and if he wants his son to come is is to choose another day and invite him, but I won't be enabling it anymore, it's up to him.
This is alot of tension between us. How should I be doing this? Is there another way?
Dr. Z. :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern today

Dr. Z. :

I am so sorry that your husband's son and wife have been treating you in this way, I can imagine how this causes stress on you

Dr. Z. :

I would like to ask a couple questions to get some more information, so I can give you the best answer possible.

Dr. Z. :

I imagine you have told your husband about your concerns over his son's behavior, how has he responded?

Dr. Z. :

When you spent the multiple holidays together with his son and his wife, was it always at your house or were they ever at a neutral location (e.g. restaurant)?

Customer:

I cannot see any suggestions

Dr. Z. :

Did you see the questions I asked or is the chat not working for you?

Customer:

Sometimes in a restaurant but the snub was always there. Never their house, although my children have invited then in the past to family occasions.

Dr. Z. :

Okay and when you suggested to your husband he invite his son on another day for Thanksgiving how did he react?

Customer:

Angry, why bother to invite at all, he is never going to invite them to anything

Dr. Z. :

Okay well it seems like you are definitely making an effort and a compromise, because I am sure you would not want to invite them at all, but you still do just on a separate day so that it does not hurt the time you spend with your family during Thanksgiving. If your husband will not make a proactive effort to curb his son's behavior towards you, then I think you are doing everything right. My only suggestion would have been initiating a discussion on the subject instead of making a demand for Thanksgiving, but I doubt the results would have been that different.

Dr. Z. :

With a discussion, your husband could have felt more on-board with this compromise and may have supported more, but that is not a guarantee.

Dr. Z. :

I also do not know what your living arrangements are with his son, like how far a part the family lives from each other, but I think you could have pushed your husband for his son to invite you and him to their house for thanksgiving. So this way you are not cooking two thanksgiving meals.

Dr. Z. :

But I think your plan was good and fair, because you tried to impart a compromise

Dr. Z. :

May I ask do you have any other step-children from your husband's previous relationship?

Customer:

His son is about 20 minutes and my children between 20 and 40 minutes. All in different suburbs of Montreal. This doubling up has been going on for 2 years as has the conversation. ABOUT TOO MUCH WORK... This Thanksgiving I suggested that maybe it is enough of this doubling up..one turkey is enough work for me. I suggested he invite his son the next week to celebrate his birthday. My husband is not too good a compomise.....he is hoping that by being difficult that I will give in. I do not want to be difficult but to know that I am being fair without feeling guilty would make me feel better.

Customer:

No other children. Both ex's are dead. It shouldn't have to be so complicated. The only son from my husband's first marriage is jealous of my children especially my son...My husband raised my son as his own. The marriage was an arranged marriage, old school Italian...

Dr. Z. :

I think you are doing the right thing, I imagine that you have tried on so many occasions in the last 20 years to gain your step-son's favor and it has not worked, so there comes a time when your time, energy, and love should be directed toward people who love me back. I think demanding that your husband invite his son the following week to celebrate his birthday and Thanksgiving is the best compromise that you are willing to do.

Dr. Z. :

The reason I asked because I wanted to see if you had any other step-children that treated you in a similar way, but it seems like it is just him and his issues. Your husband should understand that they way his son treats you is disrespectful to the entire family and that he is projecting his own insecurities (e.g. jealousy) and taking it out on the family.

Dr. Z. :

Have you considered going to couple's counseling? Maybe your husband will be more responsive if he hears this from an objective person (e.g. therapist)

Customer:

Couples therapy, not my husband, he is a President of his company and a self made man. He is mostly always right. He is a kind guy. He does not particularly enjoy his son and wife either but blood is blood, you can't choose family. I will just have to say that I gave it my best and not make 2 turkeys. He does not want to make waves and doesn't want me do so either. I will not invite and he says he won't invite either so I guess we will see if they try to invite themselves. So awkward....

Dr. Z. :

I am sorry that you are having such an issue with your step-son, blended families should not be this difficult, but the sometimes they are. I think it is good that your husband is not inviting him and his wife though, that will at least show his son that your husband supports you in this matter. Hopefully they will not invite themselves to Thanksgiving dinner, that will make things awkward, I agree.

Dr. Z. :

Is there anything else I can assist you with?

Customer:

Thanks for reminding me that because my husband will not invite his son he is supporting me even if it is not obvious. Over the years I have wanted him to openly support me but I guess there really isn't another way without a confrontation. We don't want to make what we have worse.

Dr. Z. :

I think he does not want to openly support you because as you mentioned he does not want to make waves, but I believes by not inviting his son is a form of symbolic support for you. I think he should openly support you, but that may not be possible given how you described your husband, still I believe your husband agrees with you that his son should not treat you or the rest of your family the way he does.

Customer:

No, no more questions thanks. I'll give you a good.

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