Blended families are always tough. Even when everyone is trying and even when everyone usually gets along, thing are bound to come up.
When personalities don’t mesh all that well and it turns out people aren’t really trying? That can be tricky to navigate at best.
OP in this case is the father of a son, while his wife has a daughter. For the most part, the family gets along fine, though his son is much more of an introvert than his stepmother and sister.
I (M/37) have a 13 y.o son. I was a widower when I met my now wife. She has a 16 y.o daughter from another relationship. The family is often on pretty good terms.
My son is the quiet one in the house, he keeps to himself a lot but not to the point of being concerning. My wife and stepdaughter are the complete opposite.
OP has asked his wife and stepdaughter to back off trying to force him to participate in things since it makes him uncomfortable, and they said that’s fine.
They both encourage him to be outgoing and share activities and join gatherings with extended family. My son complained about having to be forced out of his comfort zone and having his need for space invalidated.
I spoke to both my wife and stepdaughter and asked them to give him space and freedom to spend his time however he wanted. they apologized and promised to let him be.
Recently, OP decided to throw his wife a mother’s day party including her family, but he came home to hear something unexpected.
As mother’s day was approaching I wanted to throw my wife a surprise mother’s day celebration. It was no longer a surprise because my stepdaughter gave her the heads so she could prepare.
Yesterday I got off work earlier than usual to get final arrangements done (we planned to celebrate at the restaurant and invited her family there) I had the key and while I was entering the house through the front door I overheard my wife and stepdaughter talking to my son.
His wife and stepdaughter were basically bullying his son into not coming to the party because he would make things “awkward.”
My wife was asking my son if he could convince me to let him stay home and not go with them to the restaurant to celebrate. I paused and decided to keep listening.
My son said why and she told him that his introverted and socially inept “attitude” will make her family uncomfortable and will ruin the mood. He promised her that he’d be well behaved and would try to interact and socialize with everyone but she said that she wasn’t buying it.
He kept reassuring her but she snapped and told him that technically, she’s not his mom so she didn’t get why he wanted to celebrate mother’s day with her so badly.
My stepdaughter threw some (I don’t remember) backhanded comment and then both of them were shocked to see me standing there.
When they saw him standing there they shut up quick, but when he sent the kids to their rooms his wife continued to defend herself and act as if she was the one being wronged.
Both were staring without saying anything. I told my son and his stepsister to go to their rooms then told my wife that the celebration was off, cancelled. she tried to argue asking why repeatedly and I told her why.
She tried to explain that she didn’t mean it like that and that I only heard part of the conversation but not all of it.
I told her I was done arguing and the decision was already made. She yelled asking what she was going to tell her family and said that I was making tremendous mistake towards her.
Now, she acts like she doesn’t understand why he would cancel the party (or really why he’s so upset) so he’s wondering whether or not he’s overreacting.
I ignored her while she kept throwing tantrum after a tantrum. Early this morning she took my stepdaughter and went to stay with her folks. not a single call or text from her so far. Situation is full of tension. I’m upset still but more hurt to be honest.
I mean yes I did say I was going to have this celebration but I thought that what she said to my son was too harsh to ignore.
Let’s throw it over to Reddit to find out what they think!
The top comment urges OP to consider his son first and to make sure he’s protected from further abuse.
If he doesn’t, there could be lasting damage to their relationship.
OP is NTA, but he could be if he doesn’t take the corrective steps ASAP.
This person says people like his wife don’t change.
They really hope he doesn’t let her off the hook.
I’m not sure there’s any way to redeem an adult who treats a child this way.
What do you think? If you see some hope for this relationship, tell us why in the comments!