Couldn't find what you looking for?


Anyone have any advice for me on how to deal with my husbands adult children after the death of their mother?
Their mother dropped over dead, unexpectantly, in her early 50's.
I've tried to be supportive to them, respecting their loss, knowing that I will never take the place of their mother (nor would I want to) but I would like to be able to get to know them better and be their friend. Is this just impossible?
They are not mean to me in any way. I just feel like an outsider that will never be let in. After 3 yrs of being with their father I feel like a relationship with his kids is like beating my head against the wall!
The daughter, age 32, is always calling her father on his cell phone putting a guilt trip of some sort on him.
Every time I try to plan a "holiday" so that my husband can share it with his family it never works. I tried this last Christmas, worked for days in the kitchen, only for my husband to get a phone call one hour prior to dinner that his daughter was sick and couldn't make it...but her family was going to come.
We have tried to plan camping outings, some succesfull, but if I try to cook something to help out it is never eaten. The daughter has to cook. She has to be in control.
When the outings aren't sucessfull, meaning not everyone shows up or if we don't see them for awhile then she lays on a guilt trip to her father..stating we just don't get to see one another. We live only 1/2 hr away from the daughter, have always encouraged them to come our house. They have been here 2 times in over 3 yrs.
On our second wedding anniversary his son called (I'm sure he didn't realize it was our anniversary) and asked him to come over because my husband had been wanting him to do some maintance on his truck. They also invited us to go boating along with his daughter. Unfortunately I cannot boat anymore due to my injury. I told my husband to go ahead and go. He enjoys the boat. Well my husband went to his sons but felt he was letting me down so decided not to go boating. His daughter called the next day, whining to him, that he never spent any time with them anymore. (did I mention he works full time too?) But yet they don't darken our door.
Several times over these years I've experienced devastating things in my life with loved ones passing and with my health. Not once did they show up at the funeral home or share their condolences. Never do they ask how I am. It's like I just do not exist in their world! It's very hurtful to me.
Just to give some background....I told my husband when we married that we would have to live in my house (I already had it paid for) that I couldn't live in his house that he shared with his wife. When he moved out I was the one that suggested he take both of his adult children to his house (no one else aloowed! not even me) and they go through and decide who wants what. I never said I wanted anything out of that house. So it's not like I tried to take any of their mother's things away from them.
My husband did bring a piano (nobody wanted), a dresser, and a grandfather clock that his wife bought for him on their 25th wedding anniversary (because he wanted it) and an older TV. I've never treated these kids with malice or been unfair to them in any way...the only thing I did was marry their father after their mother's sudden death.
My husband son is quite different...he treats me much better we just live an hour away from them.
I've tried everything I know to get along...finally I've given up. This makes me feel really bad for my husband.
Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Or should I just continue to give up?


Wow, that's a lot of items to deal with. Having been married to a widower for almost 8 years. He has 3 daughters and I have a son and a daughter from a previous marriage. Yes, we raised 5 in the home all at once. To make a long story short, it has been the most difficult, painful, frustrating, stressful and exhausting time of my life. I have been physically ill because of the stress. My step-children are all now in college. I thought the resentment would fade but it is just as strong as ever. I have tried and tried to deal with it through therapy and medication but I am still on a perpetual cycle of the true ire I feel, especially for the youngest. They deliberately did things to me and then ran to daddy for him to recognize that it was their stepmother not those pure little girls who did anything. He, to this day does not see it. I had an epiphany the other day about how he has never realized that they could be lying or even manipulating him. I am not a saint by no stretch but I got to the point where I feel I tried and tried then felt as if I was letting myself down. Their mother died over 10 years ago and they are still using it as an excuse for their poor judgment and behavior. The youngest drinks, smokes pot and lies (check out her MySpace) but her dad REFUSES to see this because she was in the bed when her mother had a stroke. Again, that was over 10 years ago. Starting with the oldest my husband never gave them any tough love so the other two repeated the bad behavior. He took them to counseling a couple of times but he couldn't be bothered with his schedule being adjusted. Hence the continual behavior. It was always me that had to adjust or bend and not say anything. He would leave for weeks at a time and they stayed home (their mother and dad's home) with me. They'd act up and he would blame me. They hit, he would blame me. Now that I am writing this out.... Why in the hell did I stay? Probably because the man that I fell in love with had a good heart with good intentions but couldn't get ahold of his children. If you have issues with your stepchildren, get EVERYONE involved and stay involved otherwise boundaries are drawn and guess what? you are standing on the other side of the fence, ALONE. If I would have known then what I know now I really don't think I would have made the covenant to marry he and his family. It has reeked havoc on me physically, mentally and emotionally. I hate to be a failure but how can you fail when your intentions were pure and good? God is not proud of your successes but of your faith. I am not a bible beater or fundamentalist. All I know is that He has carried me a lot in the past 8 years. Best of luck! Run while you still can! ha!


I engaged to a 5 year widower. I am a 14 year widow, we both lost our spouses suddenly and tragically. His son is a wonderful young man who i get along with and has given us his blessing. His daughter is driving me nuts...she wants to tell us when we could date..we listened..we got engaged without her permission and she has not forgiven us. SHe said we crushed her because she wasn't ready and we had no right to do that. She curses her dad out all the time but did this before we got engaged and she said she will not come to the wedding and will move out if we get married. He loves his daughter and this is causing problems between us. We are arguing more than ever lately and its all over her. I have 3 grown children too and my kids lost ther father. They treat him with respect and are happy that I found someone. What do I do??? He is a great man and a great Father but she controls him and I don't know if I can live this way.


Wow! I thought it was just me who received this type of selfish and cruel behavior from my boyfriend's 30 year-old daughter. She continually tries to make him feel guilty for having a relationship. We have been dating for over a year. She talks to other people behind our back that he ignores her; she displays no manners and makes rude comments when I am around. She is miserable beyond belief. He does see this; but doesn't do anything about it. I am ready to dump him and move on. It is a shame. We have such a nice relationship. I'm just sick of the petty selfishness, self-pity he gets from her. He really does not deserve it. She is seeing a therapist, who is clearly not helping her. I've been accused of everything from trying to manipulate him to wanting to take their house away...none of it even close to the mark. Don't think my patience will last any longer. This girl even lives hours away. She is just terrible. She purposly has excluded me from everything they have done. I feel sorry for someone who is so miserable. I don't take it personally - it is just so sad that a daughter cannot sincerely be happy for their father, who is happy in a relationship.


It is actually quite terrible to lose a mother and then have someone new come and try to extrange you from your father. It is horrible seeing someone use your mother's crockery, hide your photo and insist that you are terrible.

The adult children are not behaving badly. Perhaps if you would all sign pre-nups the adult children would have a little more faith in you.

I have been in a situation where my father - gutless wonder - had to sneak out to see me.

Well he's divorced again. His ex's are unhappy. I have a good life but am still hurt by the choices these people have made.


Pre-nup, huh? Well, it's obvious where your thought process has gone. Straight to the vault. In any event, if a pre-nup was the only thing necessary, my problems would be solved. And guess what, every post above contains bits and pieces of what I am currently experiencing. Funny your obvious response as an adult child is one pertaining to money. It seems to be more important than even the parent's happiness. Go figure.


Pre-nup was done, in our case, before marriage. Not only for my husband to be able to pass his estate to his children but for me to do so as well. In my case I have personally helped their father along because he moved into my house that I had already paid for and he was still paying a morgage with his previous wife. Not making "house" payments has helped him be able to invest his money tremendously! I actually am more financially secure than my husband.
Of course, the children do not know this because it is none of their business!
By the way....a picture of my husband's former wife and his children are hanging in my house. That was my husband's life for 35 years and I respect that. Oh and another thing I do not use "mother's" things! The children got to take everything they wanted (what ended up to be most everything!) and our house is filled with things I (I'd like to stress the word I) paid for before we were married.

Not trying to be nasty here just trying to state the facts!

By the way it has gotten alittle better with my husband's daughter. Being married now for 4 yrs I've discovered that my husband's daughter could use some serious councelling. She just likes to create mountains over mole hills and likes to make her life a big drama. She is miserable in her own marriage and thinks everyone else should feel her misery (and we do!!!).


You married this man because you loved him and wanted to spend your life with him, you are not trying to replace the kids mom. Sometimes, when a bio parent passes, and the other half remarries, the adult children have a hard time trying to accept a new women into the family. They do feel threatened and they think that no other women can be to them what mom was. This is true, no other can takes the place of mom. But, they are adults themselves and they should want dad to be happy again. If this daughter had a normal life herself, this wouldn't be happening in the first place.
Unfortunatly, this is daddys little girl, but for you, it could be nauseating to watch. Kids have a built in knowledge when it comes to putting a parent on a guilt trip.
Concentrate on your husband, you married him, not his kids, but it is a package deal. This daughter has issues of her own. You do not have to kiss her fanny, you do not have to go out of your way to make nice, and you do not have to feel guilty about anything. You did not swoop in after their mom passed, it probably just happened. So what, it happens every day. When someone is so miserable with their own life, they seem to go out of their way to touch every one else's life in a negative way. Guilt trip after guilt trip shows up at your door all the time. If you and your husbands marraige is tight and secure, do not let this brat try to get between the two of you. Remind him that your not trying to keep his daughter out of his life and that he can see her whenever he wants. Her calling his cell is probably something that your going to have to deal with, that's just him being a dad and her being an annoying little snot. Remind her that your door is open to them, but it gets locked at a certain time. She needs to get a handle on her life and she can't so it looks like. Offer her your hand, offer her your shoulder, if she refuses, oh well, you tried.
This is just something that will run out of gas, i hope.
In the meantime, do what you have been doing, don't be the wicked step mom, you'll get that thrown in your face eventually. Extend the invitations to family gatherings, holidays, birthdays and so on, if she wants to cook, let her, if she wants to run the show, let her, then compliment her on the good job she did. Eat a little crow, but don't let your self choke on it. If all else fails and she still continues to be un realistic, maybe the time has come to drop the hammer. You are a human being with feelings that i am sure get hurt, a lot. Let her know that she is not the only one with them. Do not apologize and don't grovel, this is your marraige and your decision.


I've been dating a widower for over a year and we had talked about marriage, even thought about buying our wedding rings while on vacation recently. No date set but it was definitely in the plans for the future. During our recent vacation we visited his adult daughter and her family. When we arrived at the train station she didn't even get out of the car to greet us (especially her dad) after we had flown accross the atlantic to visit her. I was hurt but mostly hurt for him, after not seeing his daughter for over a year, she just sat in the car and waited for us to get in. I encouraged him to spend a lot of time with her and listen to her and I stayed in the bedroom a long time to allow him to have time with her. Naturally she expressed 'concerns' about her dad moving on and it seems that finances were part of the conversation....wanting to make sure that what is hers and her brothers' is safely guarded and that the 'new woman' doesn't take anything that is theirs. I do understand their concerns but it seems that their first concern, if they love their dad, should be his happiness and having someone in his life that makes him laugh and enjoy life again. I tried very hard to do the right thing while at the daughter's house, but it seems that no matter what I did or do in the future won't be right.

Now my bf seems reluctant to move ahead with our plans and says we will talk about it all when we get home (still on vacation). I'm trying to give him time and space and I'm not in a hurry to get married, but what concerns me is that his daughter may try to control what her dad does and I know he doesn't want to hurt her. She has a very strong personality and is very vocal about what she thinks. She says she's dealt with her mom's death (her mom was a good friend of mine) but from her behavior (the way she behaved when we arrived and then a long wailing spell for about 2 hours after we arrived at her house, and hardly talking to me) it seems that its still a work in progress and I'm sure that its an ongoing process.

I'm going to give it some time and distance (when we're back across the ocean things may fall back into place) but I don't relish the idea of having to deal with this for the rest of my life. Lots to think and pray about.


Until I read some of these messages about women who had trouble with adult step-children, I thought I had the worse problems anyone could have. My husband was married almost 30 years when his wife died and left him with a 15 year old-grand-daughter to raise and 3 adult children. He stayed single and never dated for 5 years until this grand-daughter was 20 years old, spoiling her rotten and letting her order him around about everything, giving her a fancy car while he drove a dilapidated van, taking her on nice vacations, hiring her boyfriend to work with him on a job so they would have money. I can't tell you how good a dad he was to her and all his own children, until he was bankrupt. He was bankrupt when I met him 5 years after he became a widow. I had to help him file for bankruptcy. His house was foreclosed before we were married. I had to help him get his business going again. He had nothing but the furniture in the home and his wife's jewelry. The grand-daughter and other adult children took all of it. I didn't want any of it.

All he took were his personal collectibles. He moved into my home, which was paid for, and much nicer than his. No matter how kind I was to the grand-daughter and the other adult children, they hated me. On top of that, they were all delinquent! One abandoned her children and got involved in drugs; one went off and had 4 children with a rotten man who never married her and abandoned her; the other is a compulsive liar and braggart, totally over-bearing, and the grand-daughter and her boyfriend got in trouble with the law for grand theft. These are just a few of the problems. There were so many problems with those children I cannot write them all. It would take a book. And they all tried to put him on a guilt trip about marrying me. Fortunately for me he was fully aware of how they turned out and they have not been successful in coming between us. We no longer even try to appease them. We don't want to see them any more. We are happy with ourselves and feel we have done all we can with those hard-headed kids.

He gets along well with my children and we are able to enjoy family life with them. But if I were in the position of any of the women who wrote here about considering marrying a widower with resentful children, I would make it clear to him that if he could not control his children in a manner that assured me they would NOT be allowed to come between him and me, I would not marry him. You should try to keep a good relationship with his children, and you don't want to come between him and his children.On the other hand, you cannot allow them to come between you and your husband either!


I see a common issue in many of these posts. In most of the posts the viewpoints expressed are stongly biased in one direction. They blame children for relationship problems, when responsibility for those relationships is with the adults. They blame the husband, without expression of understanding of the challenges he may face trying to maintain positive relationships with both the children and the new spouse.

In several posts, language such as "daughter is driving me nuts", "petty selfishness, self-pity ", "miserable beyond belief", "spoiling her rotten" is used to describe the children (adult or younger). This type of language, expressed in an e-mail, will certainly be communicated to the children, mostly through non-verbal communication. Maybe the authors need to question their own thought processes more carefully.

In one case, an adult, 30 year old daughter is blamed for the problems. In that case, the problems are in the marriage, because unless a 30 year old is still living at home, then the author has not been able to work out appropriate boundaries and acceptance of behaviours with your husband.

In all of the posts that mention children from both sides of the marriage, the children of the husband are denigrated, while the children of the authors are praised for being reasonable and getting along well. Boths sets of children always have strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps the husband's (widower) behaviours with respect to the children of his new wife are part of the reason for more positive relationships. Is he more accepting and less critical?

Marrying a widower with children is one of the most difficult and challenging roles you can imagine. If you don't accept the challenges, accept the children for who they are and not for who you want them to be, and blame them for relationship problems, then perhaps you are not suitable for that role. It requires incredible strength, confidence, persistence, and focus on postive behaviours to be successful in that role.

You can only change yourself - how you react, how you coach, how you manage stress, how you demonstrate positive behaviours. If you focus on your own behaviours and perceptions, you have a much better chance of positive family relationships and even influencing the children in a positive way. Stop blaming the children and your husbands.


As an adult daughter of a widower who is currently dating, I find the attitudes of the step-women interesting.

Rather than focusing on negativity, blame and emphasizing your 'martyrdom' and 'innocence', it is best always to look at situations evenly and attribute responsibility on your own behaviour.

STEPMOTHERS OUT THERE: #1. Allow your partners to have relationships with their sole, surviving parent. Allow this generously and warmly. My own 'stepfigure' has tried to stop this. My father, equally irresponsibly, is allowing it. The level of absurd insecurity that must exist in this woman to prevent a man from having a relationship with his child is absurdly paranoid. Don't let this be you. If you are experiencing insecurity, deal with it, own it, don't guilt trip someone else.

#2. 'TO THE VAULT', eh? The argument works both ways: then prove adult children wrong and sign the prenup, indeed, OFFER it, because these widowers are frankly so afraid of being on their own that they could let ANYONE take advantage of them.

>>My own mother was the wealth creator/builder for my father's large estate. When she died suddenly, he inherited the entire estate (as it should be). He is now saying that the 'live-in' GF of just 6 months will inherit everything when he dies. Not only is this short-sighted, hurtful, (insane) on his part, but fully greedy and disgusting on hers (he assumes she will give it to his children when she's done with it.. RIGHT..).

When there is a giant disparity in wealth when you get involved with a widower- keep in mind that everyone around is going to make assumptions about your motivations, particularly if you are:
a) poor
b) have poor children of your own
c) are divorced without support
d) considerably younger than your wealthy partner.

DISPEL assumptions that you are after him for his money and you may find that this goes a LONG way to improving your relationship with the adult children.

#3. EXPRESS RESPECT: many STEPWOMEN figure that they must steam into a household, turn things upside down, and and 'improve' things by placing your personal stamp on the living environment. Respect the home environment you are INHERITING.

You know what? Changing the drapes and furniture will really, truly not make you feel any better. The ghost of the widowers spouse will always be there. Simply redecorating/moving is not going to eradicate decades of family history. Don't even try. Give up now.

In your haste to turn the world into your own, you are forgetting that your widower is dealing not only with tremendous (suppressed) grief, but you're also shifting around the only living environment (stability) he has known. TAKE A BREAK. Settle down, relax, give it time. Yes - sometimes years. Don't be so impatient about the physical environment. Let all concerned grieve and adjust in due course. While your widower may say 'yes' to all of your demands simply because he wants to avoid conflict/make you happy - he's likely not doing it because this is his default setting/preference.

RESPECT the family traditions and environment you are coming into and adjusting to. Oh yes, you're saying: "But what about ME? My traditions? My things?" My response? Then date a non-widower and live in your own apartment - date until things settle a little more.

To many STEPWOMEN jump into the gap seeing an emotionally fragile, wealthy man and making assumptions about what they can get out of it.

For sure, my 'STEPWOMAN' likely loves my father. But his millions are likely sweetening the pot. Particularly since she's managed to coax thousands and thousands of renovations out of him within months of moving 'in' to our family homes. Reading his email, insisting he speak to us on speakerphone so she can over hear, gradually making all feel less welcome by complaining behind the backs of one family member to another, and then trying to prevent our father from having quality parent-child time without her present points to a person with severe insecurity/control/manipulation issues.

Many of the Stepmother postings above seem reasonable. The thing is? She likely thinks she is being 'reasonable' too. If she were writing this post, she would likely omit the paragraph of behaviour outlined above which is causing the adult children to treat her with distance, coldness, suspicion and more. So far, though we know all of the above, we have remained 'civil' and 'polite'. But honestly, how can you repeatedly invade a person's privacy, expect them not only to trust you - but to LIKE you? Be reasonable, be honest with yourself.


Dear 'Guest',

Fault in stepfamilies goes in both directions. There is so much competition for time, assets and affection that it isn't surprising that friction develops.

However, adult children are always put in the victim role. They didn't 'ask' for a stepmother. They didn't 'want' a stepmother. Do you actually think a grown woman of any description wants to be an outsider from the moment they walk in the door? Who wants to be viewed with suspicion and derision?

And no, children don't automatically get everything when a parent dies. Have you heard of shared assets? Doesn't a marriage of 20 years count as a partnership? Also, the second wife most times ends up alone. (biological children can be very distant to their own mother after a lifetime of enduring their step-siblings abuse and contempt) How will she care for her health needs in her senior years? Doesn't the second marriage deserve the same care and devotion devoted the MEMORY of the first?

What about the second wife who cares for a critically ill husband? The stress of being a caregiver and the 'outsider' is incredibly painful.

Yes, women try to put themselves in their stepchildren's shoes. However, ADULT stepchildren need to move on and not see themselves as the only ones deserving of love and understanding. Not all stepmothers are evil and corrupt, contrary to society's stereotypes.

There are countless books and forums for stepchildren. There are too few for the stepmother. Allow us to have one place where we can deal with our issues. I promise I won't go to a stepchildren's forum and express my views.

Thank you.


I am new to a relationship with a widower. He lost his wife of over 30years almost a year ago to cancer. I have never been married & am younger than him. I am a successful business woman but have always been open to a loving relationship. This man is a lovely person and I feel the relationship has great potential for us both.

Luckily, we are also adults who understand “slow” is the song we should dance to. However, I find myself hesitating because of his relationship with his adult daughter (aged 30). She is an only child and lives with him. He is protecting her from the knowledge of our relationship because he is dedicating his first year to her acceptance of her mother’s death. This has often made me feel like the “other woman” but he has a time limit so I figure I can/ should deal with it. This woman (and she is a woman at 30), appears to be overly attached to her Dad. She calls him constantly throughout the day to check on him & his whereabouts. She makes “dates” for them to go to dinner & concerts or shows. She seems to be financially dependant on him.

He, of course, shares in the responsibility. He buys her gifts, takes vacations with her, and doesn’t seem to ever say “no, this is inappropriate”. He says her mother was her best friend and he needs to help her.

Stumbled on this website & have read thru the posts. If I was scared before now I feel like running for the hills! I’m at a point in my life that, quite frankly, I don’t need a bunch of c**p. I realize, being older, most men will have baggage so I am accepting of that but is this too much? (Rhetorical - I’m asking myself this, hopefully will find the answer thru. others input). I’d appreciate some advice from both sides of the coin.

Btw – I lost my mother too & would be thrilled if my Dad met a nice companion to share his life with. Yea, second wives, the pre-nup stuff does apply with Dad. However, in my case I would want one to protect “my stuff”.


Very well stated. Thank you!