When you’re in love, you feel that you can conquer all odds together. You can prove to the world that your feelings for each other are stronger than any force that would try to destroy your dream.
Loving a single parent after your other parent has died may make you feel the same way, that the two of you can forget the past and begin a new future. You both may feel that way, but you shouldn’t forget that there are children to consider who often don’t wish to let go of the memories and their love for their dead parent.
This stepmom is making all the mistakes that a stepparent may commit. Especially egregious is her desire to replace the mother of her husband’s kids. If she couldn’t do it, she felt that she’d remain a mere second best for the rest of her life.
This story is shared by one of the stepchildren, with the username u/HairPotential1113 on Reddit’s r/AmItheA–hole forum: “My dad is married to Jani. They’ve been together for a little over six years and married for about four now. Dad was a widower when they met. I’m 16f and my siblings are 14f and 12m. Our mom died 8 years ago. Jani has not adjusted well to being a stepparent. I think she thought she would be just a parent to us because our mom had died and didn’t consider that we’d still talk about and have photos of mom. Over the years, she has been to therapy, and her and my dad have gone to couples sessions. In the last year, the five of us have gone to family therapy, and she has admitted it’s hard for her because she feels like she’s second best or a consolation to us and that we don’t really love and want her. Dad assured her that ‘we’ all love her just as much as mom, that she’s his number one and is vital to our family.”
This girl continued to relate that their stepmom would discuss with the therapist how worthless she felt because her stepchildren failed to make her feel that she was really part of the family in many ways. They were so attached to their grandparents, uncles, and aunts on the side of their parents but didn’t show the same closeness to her parents and two sisters. Also, when OP celebrated her 16th birthday, her guest list included her parents’ relatives only and none from her stepmom’s family.
OP then wrote, “My sister was the first to speak during all this, and she said nothing was ever done to make her feel bad. That she just doesn’t think of her as her mom or as her parent. Once that was said, she was talking about how much that makes her feel bad and like she’s not truly accepted. The therapist asked us to consider whether we’d be willing to deepen the relationship so she felt equally as loved and important as our dad, and dad wanted us to consider ditching our typical Christmas dynamic and spending the time with her parents exclusively this year.
“Then, three weeks ago, she brought up that I had made something for class that went into detail on my family, and she pointed out that she and her family were not mentioned. Then she asked me why my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were mentioned on both sides, all with their own pages, but I couldn’t make room for the most important woman in my life (her). I told her because she is not the most important woman in my life. I told her that will always be my mom, followed by both my grandmas. She asked if she was just second-best then, if she was unimportant, and I refused to answer. Afterward, my dad and Jani both told me that I was cruel to say she wasn’t the most important woman in my life when she is there every day and has done her best.”
Did anyone in the AITA community blame this girl?
VixieWillow commented, “NTA – and I think stepmom needs a different therapist because it doesn’t seem like she’s getting a lot out of this one. Your feelings about this are valid, and dad is wrong for trying to force you to deepen the relationship when it sounds like stepmom is burning bridges and looking for a ‘ready-made family’ of her own.”
Kynykya4211 likewise voiced out, “As a therapist, I applaud your remarks. 👏 The person they are seeing now is wildly off-base and not helping stepmom to gain the self-awareness she needs.”
Any_Ad6921’s words gave support as well: “I am not a therapist, but I was thinking the same thing. I don’t think any decent therapist wouldn’t be addressing Jani’s need to replace the children’s late mother and their maternal family. It sounds like this woman never had children of her own or couldn’t for whatever reason. I wonder if she saw a single dad with three young children and no mother in the picture and thought this was her chance for the children she never had.”
Meanwhile, Few-Entrepreneur wrote, “I feel like this is something MANY people need to hear. It’s okay to put yourself first in your life BUT it’s not okay to demand to be #1 in someone else’s life without their consent.”