Stepchildren Are Still Rude After 10 Years

By Amy Dickinson | February 17th, 2023

And their father does nothing to help

sad woman, with husband trying to console her, despite the face that her stepchildren are still rude. Photo by Iakov Filimonov

Although she has been married to their father for 10 years now, her stepchildren are still rude to her, humiliating her by ignoring her, even in her own home. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson advises in this edition of “Ask Amy.”

Dear Amy:

My husband and I have been married for 10 years.

We each have two grown children from previous marriages. My children love and accept my husband as family. My husband’s children have never accepted me. I met their father years after their parents divorced, so I was in no way a cause of their break-up.

An example of their behavior toward me is when they visit for Christmas each year, they bring their father a Christmas gift and wish him a Merry Christmas, while they completely ignore me.

I am left sitting there with a feeling of disbelief.

I’ve spoken to my husband about my feelings, but it doesn’t really help. He says his family is dysfunctional.

What should I do?

– Simply Hurt

Dear Hurt:

Your husband’s astute observation is that his family is dysfunctional.

I assume you’re thinking: “That’s right, Einstein.”

But an accurate description is not a solution. Your husband seems to be passively standing by while his children humiliate you – and in your own home.

You also seem to have lost your own voice.

His children obviously want to have a relationship with him, so he should convey to them that he won’t tolerate this rudeness toward you. If he had done this at the outset of your relationship, they might have been retrained by now.

You’ve asked what you should do about their behavior.

You have absolutely nothing to lose, and so you might take advantage of this post-holiday period to email both of them and say, “I’ve been married to your father for 10 years. I had no role in the breakup of your parents’ marriage, which happened before he and I met. I regret that I’ve been tolerating your rudeness toward me for a decade. I’d like to have a positive relationship with you, but at the very least I do expect you to be polite toward me when you’re a guest in our home.”

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from rude stepchildren to DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2023 by Amy Dickinson

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