My Ex-Husband Got Angry Because I Don’t Want His Daughter to Spend Christmas With My Family
When a marriage ends and there are children involved, and then one of the parties remarries and has children of their own, the relationship between the two families can become a bit complicated. What few people realize is that if an ex is going through a difficult situation in their new family, such as a serious illness, this can become even more entangled. One Reddit user had a similar concern, and we would like to tell you about it.
My ex-husband and I divorced 7 years ago, and we share custody of our 13-year-old daughter. He has remarried and has a 5-year-old daughter with his new wife. His daughter often spends time with my daughter. They adore each other, but the girl does not come to my house, and they rarely meet there.
Recently, his wife has been diagnosed with cancer and has started treatment. The other day, he came to drop our daughter off and asked to speak to me. He talked about his wife’s circumstances and how his family won’t be able to have a Christmas celebration this year. He said it wasn’t fair for his daughter and asked if I could “include” her in my family’s celebration. He pointed out how the girls will have a great time together, bonding and making memories.
I said I was sorry, but my family’s traditional celebration is a sacred thing and I do not feel comfortable including anyone else. He said that his daughter may not be family to me, but she sure is to her half-sister. He asked me to stop and think about what’s best for the kids here. I suggested he take his daughter to spend Christmas with her grandparents and tried to cut the conversation short, but he stopped me and started going on about how cruel it was for me to decline to include his daughter, who’s already having a hard time adjusting.
I saw that he was beginning to cry, so I stepped back and said I was no longer feeling comfortable having this conversation. I asked him to leave, and he did, but still texted me asking me to agree to let his daughter come spend Christmas. He even offered to stay away if that’ll make me less uncomfortable. I said no, and now he’s calling me selfish and cold.
A point worth mentioning here is that my family is going to attend, and they said that they too will not feel comfortable in this situation.
Tips to help children cope with a similar situation
- Try to get the parent to talk to the child. No matter what the prognosis of the disease is, parents need to talk openly with their children about the situation they are facing. That way, they can know what is going on and what to expect.
- Try to stick to routines. It is important to let children go about their normal lives as much as possible. This will give them a sense of security about what is going on. They can rely on friends or family members for support.
- Give them some space. If the child likes to write, they can be encouraged to express their feelings in a journal. This can help them manage their emotions and process this trying time safely and privately.
- Do not neglect family time. When talking to a child about a serious illness, such as cancer, they need to know that it does not affect the love you have for each other as a family. This is also reflected in the quality time you spend together, such as on a holiday or a family outing.
- Don’t forget to show affection to them. In the case of cancer, it is not a contagious disease, so it is okay if a child wants to hug or kiss their loved ones who are going through this process.
Under what circumstances would you be willing to share a holiday with your ex’s family?