My ex-husband and I divorced when my kids were toddlers. He ended up marrying a woman he worked with. Because my ex didn’t want more children, his new wife told me she wanted to “co-parent” my children. She said my kids were her only chance at motherhood.
Naturally, this caused issues over the years in terms of boundaries. He and this woman are now divorced. Now the problem is that on her Facebook page, she has photos of my kids and lists them as “my son” and “my daughter.”
This is very hurtful to me. My kids are the most important relationships in my life. I worked hard at being a single mom with very little help.
This woman is no longer even married to my ex. I am not sure what to do. Should I consult an attorney? Should I ask my ex to talk to her? (I understand they are still friendly.) I don’t want to involve the kids. She makes an effort to stay in touch with them.
She’s a difficult person to deal with, and she seems to love to push my buttons. I don’t think I would get anywhere asking her myself. How should I handle this? -- The Mother Who Raised Them
DEAR MOTHER: Some stepparents (even former stepparents) are in fact valued “parents,” and a reference like this wouldn’t necessarily cause problems. However, I agree that referencing your kids as “hers” should be at your discretion.
Tell her directly, “The kids value their relationship with you, but I’m their mother. For you to claim they are your son and daughter is silly and wrong and I’d like you to change it.” Even if you don’t think she would respect your request, you should still make it.
Once you’ve asked her to correct the information on her page, tell your ex-husband. If they are still friendly, he will be able to back you up.
You will have to consult an attorney to see if her actions and your distress amount to a legal issue.
I have a friend who always makes negative comments about me. For instance, she’ll pull on my gray hair and say, “Letting yourself go?”
She laughed in disbelief when I told her I go biking, as if I’m not capable of exercise! Weight — mine, hers, anyone’s — is a major topic of conversation.
Nothing about my life is off-limits to her; she’ll make a crack about everything (my home, my looks, my cleanliness, etc)! She makes racist comments about others.
I’ve considered being direct but kind (the “you hurt my feelings” approach), but I really want to just insult her!
I’m concerned she’ll make comments about or to my children, and I’m to the point of not wanting to be around her, but our kids have become close friends. I really believe she’s just clueless and not malicious.
She had a horrible upbringing and now a terrible marriage. This behavior might just be “normal” for her. What do you suggest? -- Stuck
DEAR STUCK: If you are convinced your friend is clueless, than you should attempt to clue her in. Tell her, “I don’t think you mean to offend, but sometimes you say things that are quite insulting. I don’t like it.”
Nothing you have to say about this person makes her sound like an appealing friend, however. You don’t have to be close with every parent in your child’s life. If she is persistently toxic, I suggest you get on your bike and ride into the sunset.
I’d like to add a suggestion about what to do with a wedding album when the couple has divorced.
When my mother died, I inherited all of her photo albums. I have been sending the pictures of the now-divorced couples in our family to their children. Many of them expressed that they really appreciated this.
Even though the parents may feel they get a “do over” when they divorce, they forget the children still have two parents and that some of their best memories were before the split. -- Sandy in Vancouver WA
DEAR SANDY: Wonderful suggestion. My own daughter treasures a wedding photo of her (now divorced) parents.
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