Holiday question, Please Help - FamilyEducation
Holiday question, Please Help
12/07/2009 at 12:41 PM

I am new to this whole step family thing and need some advice. I am engaged to a man with a 10 yr old daughter and we are also expecting our first in June. We were planning on spending the holiday with my parents two hours away bc he and his daughter are going to MT. skiing for a week over the New Years. I am staying behind to save up on PTO for my coming maternity leave. He just told me yesterday that he is going to spend Christmas Day
with his daughter and ex. I am feeling very hurt and left out but feel selfish if I say anything. Any advice would be so appreciated.


What?????? Why on earth would he be spending Christmas with his ex? Why are you feeling "selfish" if you say anything? Please clarify.

Thanks for the response. Feeling selfish bc this is what his daughter wants and I should be the mature one here and let her have one last XMAS together. He and the ex haven't been together for 8+years but have been spending every holiday together for the childs sake. It's been very tough to break into this circle let me tell you.

How old is his daughter? A 10 y/o is certainly old enough to understand that her parents are not together, her father is with you and there is going to be a new tradition started this year. When will she no longer "get what she wants"? What makes this the "one last holiday" together? Still do not get how you feel it is selfish to expect to spend this holiday with your partner. Are you and this man the couple or are he and his ex still the couple? Are they still a family or he is starting a family with you? If you do not set boundaries and make your expectations clear, you will never really break into the circle, you will always be on the outside, spending all or part of every holiday alone.

Your fiancé was never going to spend Christmas with you anyway correct? He was going to MT with his daughter to ski and you were planning on staying behind to save your PTO. It is not like he is abandoning you on Christmas to be with his ex. You were part of the decision for him and his daughter to go to MT. As for him spending Christmas day with his ex, I would feel hurt and jealous too. However,since he is going to be in MT anyway and he has spend the last 8 Christmas days with his daughter and ex it does not sound completely unreasonable for him to do the same this year. I can imagine this is very hard for you to spend Christmas without him especially since you are carrying his child. However, you already made the decision to do that. You only got hurt when you found out the ex was involved. You must decide if you should ask him to allow his daughter to go alone to her mothers for part of the day and then plan something special for him and his daughter for the rest of the day. OR just let him attend his ex's event. I personally would not have the fortitude to agree to him spending the day with his ex, but I can see how a reasonable woman would allow that. Good Luck!!

These kinds of issues are going to be coming up for the rest of your life. Your husband is always going to be divided between his two families. The sooner you develop some level of patience and understanding for his situation the better your relationship will be. The 10 year olds feelings are and should be more important to her daddy than yours are. I know you are pregnant, so that makes your emotions harder to hold in check, but, that's the way the cookie crumbles. This is a difficult situation. For all of you. But the 10 year old has my sympathy.

sfryberger, Just curious what you decided to do this yr. In my opinion, if the idea of your fiance spending the holidays w/out you bothers you now, it will only eat away at you when future holidays/events come around. Are you absolutely certain that this will be the last yr your fiance spends the holidays w/ his ex w/out you? I don't know what your realtionship is w/ his ex-wife or if you even have a relationship w/ her, but if you do all get a long, have you considered including her in future get togethers? I know that sounds strange, but I know a couple who still see each other on the holidays, even though he is remarried. That may not be a possibility for you, but it's an option to consider. Otherwise, I wld start a new tradition w/ just you and your fiance, and his daughter, if she agrees. Don't push her to do anything she doesn't want to do, just do what you feel is best for you and your future husband and your new baby on the way. In other words, if you settle and agree to something you're really not comfortable w/, the relationship is not going to work, and you will never be happy. All in all, you and your fiance need to compromise. His daughter shld be very important in your decision making, but it is you and your fiance who shld be deciding what's best, not his daughter. Always include your step-daughter in your lives, but there's no need to include the ex, unless of course you and everyone else are comfortable w/ this arrangement. Let us know how things work out for you. Always discuss how you feel right away. Your fiance may think you're fine w/ his decision to spend X-mas w/out you, when really you're not. The last thing you want is to start a new life in disagreement. When my mom died, my dad started a new tradition of seeing cousins on his side of the family for X-mas Eve. The tradition before that was always spent w/ family on my mom's side who I was always closer to. My dad naturally figured I wld just follow his lead on X-mas Eve and spend the day w/ his side of the family. This was the case for many yrs as I felt guilty and just conformed to his decision. However, it was never what I really wanted to do. It was his choice, not mine. Now that I have my own family, I've put my foot down and started making my own decisions. My dad doesn't like it, but he knows he has to accept it. We still see him on X-mas, but he also knows we have other family we wish to see as well. It was hard to break away from my dad's tradition that he set for us, but I did it, and I'm glad I did. The longer you wait, though, the harder it is to do. I hope you make the right decision for you and your new family. Best of luck!

Dear Concerned, Thank you so much for your long and thoughtful response. I really appreciate you taking the time to write. I told my fiance that I was disappointed with the decision and that, in the future, it would be expected that we spend Christmas just with our family (of course that includes his daughter). He wholeheartedly agreed. In the end, he decided that he did not want to spend the holiday without me and he, his daughter and I celebrated Christmas Eve morning together and then he and I drove the 3 hours to my parents and spent Christmas and the weekend together. Then, he and his daughter left yesterday to spend a week in Montana with his parents and her cousins. All in all, everything went well for her and she seemed to enjoy Christmas with her mom and her boyfriend and her mom's family. And in turn, her dad and I had a great weekend with my family. Again, thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words. Sarah

Glad things worked out for you, your fiance and his daughter to spend time together as a family and you then got to spend the rest of the holiday together. Setting boundaries and expectations from the start is best for the future of your relationship. Having the week together with grandparents and cousins will give them some wonderful bonding time also. Hope things continue to work out so well. Best of luck with the new baby.