Are Stepmoms Not Real Family? One Woman Asks After Bride Excludes Her from Family Table

A woman shared her pain in Mumsnet’s Am I Being Unreasonable? (AIBU) forum regarding how her stepson’s fiancee seems to be viewing her as not a real part of the family.

The original poster (OP), who goes by the username wink1970, told the following details: “This is bothering me, though I’m not sure it should, so your opinions are welcome. My beloved stepson and I have been in each others’ lives for over 20 years. We have a terrific relationship, and I love him very much, as I know he loves me. A fortnight ago, he got engaged to a girl we all like very much, mostly.”

Photo: Piqsels

However, OP continued to tell that she was recently informed by her stepson’s fiancee that she would not be permitted to take a seat at the wedding family table since she’s not “family.” The younger woman — perhaps, after realizing she had been too frank — changed her words to “there’s no room,” as she wants someone else there, and the seating plan would turn out to be odd numbers. And so, OP has to content herself with taking a seat at one of the guest tables.

But OP could not rest easy. She feels that her exclusion was somewhat brought about by a couple of incidents she and her husband encountered with her stepson’s fiancee. She clarified this in her post: “To avoid drip-feeding, we have had 2 run-ins with her in the last 6 years; she is obsessed with the fact that DSS is ‘the product of divorce’ & has lectured us about how to behave when in the same room as DH’s ex-wife. Honestly, DSS is really not fussed, I’m not the OW, and the ex-wife has remarried twice since splitting with DH 30 years ago. We have also managed various family meetings (including a 2-week holiday for DSD’s marriage) with ex-wife with no problems at all. I’m not sure if this is related to the seating issue, and other than these 2 incidents (both when she was drunk), we get along really well with her.”

And so, OP wants to know the opinion of those in Mumsnet to regain her peace of mind.

Photo: Pexels/Lucas Pezeta

One commenter gave a very helpful answer: “Honestly – the top table gets far too big when your parents are divorced and re-married. I’ve been there and had the same conversation. It was just my DH’s parents and my mum and dad (without new spouses). Regardless of how long they’d been married (my dad and mum both had new partners married similar time to yourself!), I didn’t want four parents on my side and two on my DHs, it would just make the whole top table too big and a bit stressful – so just had two parents each. I wouldn’t be upset by this at all personally, as it’s just the way seating plans work, especially for top tables.”

On the other hand, this commenter presented another view: “I would have assumed that the bride and groom and the wedding party would sit at the top table. (usually a long table, facing the room), and the parents of the b&g (along with close friends, other family) would be seated at the (usually) round tables in front of the head table, then other tables behind them, and so on. I would have expected in your shoes to have equal status as a blood parent.”

Photo: Pexels/Kampus Production

This person shared the same insight: “I think aside from the direct issue of where you should be sitting, you’re not being unreasonable by being bothered by this if only due to her attitude and delivery. She seems very domineering and like she’s trying to make a point of excluding you. Why is it being framed as her wedding and about who she wants there, rather than a joint decision largely weighted towards DSS when it comes to his side of the family? And saying ‘you’re not family’ seems pointed and unnecessary – ‘it’s going to be parents only,’ fair enough, but you are family. It comes across like she’s trying to make a point that you are not.”

This commenter was also taking OP’s side, but advised her to brush her negative emotions off: “Good luck going forward with this one! I sympathise with your feelings, but the only way forward here is to go along with it, don’t make a fuss, and enjoy the evening. At least you’ll miss the opportunity of being told off by your DIL 😉”

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