I genuinely looked forward to watching King Charles III’s coronation ceremony yesterday. Since I live in Germany, and Germany is an hour ahead of the United Kingdom, I didn’t even have to get up early to watch the whole thing live on my television. While I can understand why some people think the British monarchy should go, I can’t deny that I enjoy watching the pageantry of their traditions. And so it was yesterday, as I tuned in– first on German television, then on YouTube, where I found plenty of live coverage in English.
I think I love watching the British royals, not necessarily because of the family itself, but because I love all the sights and sounds of their parades. I love watching the horses, especially, all smartly decked out, prancing down the wide boulevard between Buckingham Palace and whichever church is hosting the main event of the day. Yesterday, it was Westminster Abbey again, but it’s not always Westminster Abbey.
I also love hearing the wonderful music invariably played at British royal events. Yesterday was no exception, as there were choirs and orchestras playing, and they sounded so gorgeous on my HomePod, hooked to my TV. Some of the music played was obviously composed for the coronation, including one piece that addressed Queen Camilla in song. Prince William and Princess Catherine both looked regal in their robes, and their children, as usual, were so beautifully behaved.
The ceremony itself was interesting, although I confess that I fell asleep a couple of times. I think that had to do with the fact that I was watching it in bed and I don’t typically sleep all night without waking up at least once. So yes, I dozed off a couple of times, only to be startled awake by the beautiful music booming through the HomePod again.
I was a bit surprised to find out that the new king and queen are both anointed in oil. Charles had to undress, get anointed, and then get dressed again in different robes. Camilla was also anointed, although I don’t think they did it as part of the ceremony yesterday. Charles’s anointing took place behind giant screens with crosses on them.
It reminded me of what I’ve heard and read about LDS endowment ceremonies, where church members wear special garments that allow temple workers to anoint them with “sacred” oil. I kinda wonder if the church got that bit of the endowment ceremony from Britain’s coronation ceremony. But who knows? I’ve never been Mormon, and all of that stuff is probably only meaningful to those who attach meaning to it… which I don’t. Charles isn’t my king, and the LDS church isn’t my church.
I got a little choked up, anyway, though… because if I weren’t from the United States, I’d be British. Or really, I’d probably be Scottish. I think I inherited a lot of national traits from my ancestors, like a love of good music, an affinity for good spirits, a tendency toward depression, a quick wit, an appreciation for interesting stories, and an affection for time honored traditions. Most British royal ceremonies incorporate those things… I might even include depression, since I know not everyone appreciates the British Royal family or their soirees.
It’s not lost on me that the huge production that went into yesterday caused issues for the locals. Yes, there was an opportunity to make a lot of money– hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, airlines, cruise lines (especially in the case of Cunard), and souvenir shops all probably made out like bandits.
London isn’t cheap to visit under the best of circumstances. I’ll bet hotel rooms were scarce and very expensive! I wonder about those who booked hotels a year in advance. What did the hotel managers do? Because I’m sure the price went up for those dates. Did they jack the price up on the people who booked ahead? What if they paid in advance? I mean, this could have been a thing. A year ago, Queen Elizabeth II was still living. What if someone had planned a trip to Britain for the weekend of May 6, 2023 and planned WAY in advance, as I tend to do for trips that involve cruises?
However, along with all of the money, excitement, and pomp and circumstance, no doubt came traffic snarls, loud crowds, pollution, and everything else that comes with huge events. I’m sure some people– even including those who don’t have a problem with the monarchy– were annoyed by the whole thing.
Some people simply don’t like Charles and Camilla. I saw people commenting about how Diana should have been queen. To that, I say no, she shouldn’t have. Charles and Diana should never have married in the first place. They didn’t like each other, let alone love each other. Yes, Diana was beautiful and extraordinary, but she wasn’t suited to being Charles’s wife. It’s clear to me that Charles and Camilla deeply love each other, and have for well over 50 years. They should have been married to each other in the first place. I think, if Charles hadn’t been who he is, they would have married and never divorced. As far as I’m concerned, Camilla is the rightful Queen Consort.
But that doesn’t mean that Diana wasn’t an incredible person. It’s tragic that she died so young, under such terrible circumstances. She should have had more of a chance to find the right person to be with, and do the work she loved to do. Her story is very sad, and what makes it worse is that her death could have been prevented.
It’s all I can do not to offer a rebuttal, though, when I read comments about how awful Charles and Camilla are. Charles didn’t ask to be a prince. He was born into that situation. And he didn’t ask to have his family meddle in his love life, back in the 1970s and 80s. Most anyone else would have been permitted to marry the person they loved. He obviously loves Camilla. Yes, it was wrong for Charles and Camilla to have an affair when they were married to other people. But… to be fair, it’s not as if Diana didn’t also have affairs. I’m not sure about Camilla’s ex husband’s fidelity.
Charles and Camilla may be royal, but they’re also human… and as the second wife of a man who married the WRONG person in 1990, I have great empathy for Camilla. I think she’ll make a fine Queen Consort. Divorce generally sucks on many levels, but sometimes, it’s absolutely necessary. And I think it was necessary in the case of Charles and Diana.
On another note, I’ll bet Charles and Camilla are tired today…
I’m glad I was able to watch the coronation. Regardless of what I might think of British royalty, yesterday’s ceremony was historic. If nothing else, I just really enjoyed the music and watching the beautiful horses (and missing having my own horse). I also enjoyed seeing my new favorite royal, Princess Anne. 😉 It was a nice way to pass the time alone, while I wait for Bill to finish his latest TDY assignment, and we start making some summer fun plans. I am in some serious need of fun, after the last three years… and the last six months, really.
Well, I have a few things to do today. I might try to finish preparing the garden furniture for the summer. Noyzi needs a walk. I need to practice guitar for a few minutes. I have a book to finish, and a roast to cook. So, I think I will end today’s post, and get on with my Sunday. Hope you enjoy yours…
Happy Easter, everybody. I’m going to make this a short post, because Bill and I have some plans today. We’re going to Frankfurt to see an art exhibition. Afterwards, we’re trying a Frankfurt area Greek restaurant for the first time. It’s already almost 10am, so I’m going to need to get dressed and put on some makeup, soon.
Easter is a special day for Bill and me, not only because of Christ’s resurrection, which is special enough, but also because it was on Easter in the year 2000 that Ex demanded a divorce. I’ve written about that incident plenty of times. Anyone who wants extra details can click here for more of the story. Or, they can click this link.
Suffice to say, Easter 2000 was pretty shitty, as Ex did her dastardly deed while they were visiting my in-laws’ house with their kids. They had been geographically separated, and she had forewarned him that they “needed to have a talk, buddy.” (her words). She made accusations, then demands, and threw in some cold-hearted insults to boot. Bill begged her to reconsider, but she was resolved, and told him he might be a better father and husband to another family.
So, although Bill hated to prove her prior predictions right (she’d always said he’d “leave” her), Bill said he would sign the divorce papers she’d already prepared, courtesy of a “how to” book. She hadn’t expected him to agree to her demands, and was reportedly devastated when he said yes to her divorce proposal. Once he’d agreed to the divorce, she locked herself in my in-laws’ guest room for hours, until it was time to visit the notary public she’d already arranged, but apparently never expected to use.
Bill was also devastated that day, but once he survived it, he began to recover. And now, 23 years later, he’s thriving. He has a good job, no financial problems, an exceptional credit rating, and a much better marriage. He’s recovered his relationship with one daughter, and is getting to know his grandchildren. He’s healthy, and enjoying his life, seeing and doing things that would have been impossible to do if he’d stayed with Ex.
I know a lot of people think I “trash” Bill’s former wife. And I know some people think I’m “trashy” for doing that. Frankly, it doesn’t matter to me what they think. I write about this stuff because it’s outrageous… but I also know that other people are living in similar or worse situations with their toxic spouses or significant others. I write for them, to let them know they aren’t alone.
Yes, I write about our situation to process some of the fuckery. But I also write about it to show that there’s life after divorce, and things can and will get better with some patience and effort. It will take work and perseverance, as well as mindfulness in avoiding finding a similarly toxic partner. But, as the old song goes, “If you want out, it’s up to you.” And you can get out, and move on to something better.
I don’t know how other people feel, but I think it’s better to be alone, than be on a roller coaster of abuse, be it psychological, mental, emotional, sexual, physical, or any combination thereof. I also know that there’s almost always someone else out there… someone who could well be a much better fit.
So, if you’re suffering with relationship abuse this Easter Sunday, I hope you’ll hear the church bells ringing, and they’ll wake up your resolve to improve your situation. You can resurrect your life. You’re worth the effort. Things can and will get better, but… “If you want out, it’s up to you.” Take that first step. You can do it.
Ugh… Monday morning again. This week, I get to endure it all alone, as Bill is on another one of his many business trips. I truly hate it when Bill travels alone. I get lonely hanging out here by myself. The good thing is, I often finally manage to finish books when Bill goes away.
Early this morning, thanks to a bout of insomnia, I completed Heather Gay’s book, Bad Mormon, which I’ve been trying to get through for the past week or two. I bought this book just as it was published last month. I probably would have read it regardless, but I think it was a discussion on the Recovery from Mormonism board that made me decide to take the plunge so soon after its publication. There was a time not so long ago when I eagerly devoured books about ex Mormons, but I’ve since sort of lost interest in upbraiding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I also had absolutely no idea who Heather Gay was before I read her book. I don’t watch her on the Bravo reality show, Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, nor am I the sort of person who attends medical spas. I’m not impressed by vapid celebrity wannabe types, nor do I like facades. Someone on the RfM thread mentioned that Heather had been written up in the New York Times, though, and I am a subscriber to that publication. So I probably read the New York Times piece and headed off to Amazon soon afterwards. If you like, you can read the New York Times piece, too. I’ve used a gift link in this review.
Anyway, now I’ve finished reading Heather Gay’s story of becoming a “bad Mormon”. Overall, I’m left with a mixed mind. The book starts out very interesting, as Heather explains her family of origin and their devotion to Mormonism. Heather Gay (nee Deans), now 48 years old, was born in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, the third of six children. Her parents moved around a lot when they were first married, so her siblings were born in scattered places across the United States, much like my sisters and I were (we’re Air Force brats). When Heather was five years old, her parents moved to Denver, Colorado, where they settled for the rest of her growing up years.
Heather’s parents were fairly devout members of the LDS church, and she lived by the strict lifestyle rules of the faith. On the surface, she lived the wholesome lifestyle expected by her family and church leaders. She participated in church activities, dressed modestly, eschewed premarital sex, and did not use alcohol or other forbidden substances like coffee, tobacco, and tea. She dutifully submitted to interviews with her bishop, who asked her probing questions about her sexual habits and other personal topics. This was all normal in the LDS church, where members must prove “worthiness” before they can attend temple ordinances.
Heather attended college at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, earning at degree in Humanities. Then, having graduated BYU at age 21, she decided to go on an 18 month church mission in Marseille, France. She’d had visions of enjoying French culture and becoming super fluent in the language, but the reality was that she spent most of her time there trying to convince very reluctant and resistant French people to join the church. And she had very little success in that endeavor.
Before she could go to France to sell the LDS church to the French, Heather had to attend the Missionary Training Center at BYU. There, she developed a crush on one of her language teachers. She was flirty and bawdy with him– as much as female LDS missionaries can be when they’re being heavily indoctrinated in religion and crammed with language training. One day, their class was in a different room, and the teacher tried to “warn” everyone through a lesson that they were being watched by the powers-that-be. The next day, the handsome teacher was gone, and Heather was sure it was because of her outrageous behavior (which would have been perfectly normal and appropriate for us “Gentiles” at her age). Years later, she looked him up on Facebook and determined that there was an entirely different reason for the teacher’s sudden dismissal.
At this point, I must interject. This part of the book was fascinating and a quick read. I was really enjoying the book through her stories of her mission in France, especially since we’re about the same age.
When Heather got back from her mission, she met her husband, Billy Gay, a member of so-called Mormon royalty. He came from a wealthy, connected family, but to Heather, had seemed very grounded and normal. She loved how he went surfing and lived a low key lifestyle, even though she hated his penchant for booking Southwest Airlines. Although she noticed some subtle signs that maybe they weren’t a good match, Billy and Heather got married, and he bought her a Porsche.
Then, Heather was pregnant with her first of three daughters, and the reality of being a Mormon wife hit Heather with a traumatic force. She was expected to quit working to be the perfect wife, mother, and helpmeet. Heather had a drive to work, a creative bent toward photography, a head for sales, and other ambitions. But she was supposed to be a good Mormon wife… quiet, obedient, servile, and always facilitating her husband’s and children’s dreams. The lifestyle was stifling, especially since Billy didn’t seem to appreciate his wife’s efforts toward domestic perfection. By the time their eldest daughter was eight years old, the Gays’ ten year old marriage was on the skids. Much to Heather’s horror, after a period of separation, Billy served her with divorce papers.
There Heather was, living in a McMansion that, without her husband’s help, she couldn’t afford. She was raising her daughters mostly without Billy’s help, although he insisted on having access to the marital home. Before their split, Billy showed up after Heather changed the locks. There was a fight, and Heather called the police, who filed domestic violence charges against Billy. At that point, there was no going back, and Heather soon found herself enjoying life as a woman outside of the LDS faith, drinking, partying, and getting stopped by the police while driving under the influence of alcohol.
Then, as she struggled to recover from her failed marriage, Heather ran into a woman at church who asked her who’d done her Botox. The woman said she’d been “spocked” (meaning her eyebrows took on a vulcan like appearance, like Mr. Spock on Star Trek). The woman, who was a nurse, offered to put Heather in touch with her boss, an ophthalmologist turned facial plastic surgeon who ran a medical spa in Salt Lake City. Soon, Heather was also involved in the business, and eventually bought it with her friend. As the spa blossomed, Heather found her way out of Mormonism, and apparently into certain television viewers’ hearts.
Like I mentioned up post, I’m of a mixed mind about this book. I loved how it started, even though I struggled to get far at first. Those darn afternoon naps have a tendency to kill my reading efforts. Heather offers some very juicy and revelatory comments about her experiences in the LDS church. I’ve been reading about Mormonism for many years now, since I’m married to an ex convert, so none of what she wrote was personally shocking to me. I was just surprised by how very open she was about it in the book for others to read.
Mormons typically regard temple rituals as secret– er, sacred– and they don’t talk about them outside of the temple. Now, it’s true that Heather Gay is an exmo, but she still has family members in the religion. I would imagine the backlash for being so open could be very serious… not unlike what Prince Harry is now experiencing in the wake of publishing his book, Spare. But just as she once taught church investigators about the LDS religion, so is she now teaching non-members about the church… but in a much more negative light.
My positive impressions of Bad Mormon started to wane as I read about Heather’s divorce. It’s not that I don’t think the divorce was warranted. It clearly was. It’s more that Heather seemed to trade one artificial construct for another. Although I know a lot of people love Mormonism, I’ve always thought of it as kind of the Wal-Mart of religions, borrowing a lot of stuff from many different faiths and passing it off as something “different”. I also know how difficult leaving the religion can be, especially when a person’s entire family is invested and devoted to it. Ex Mormons are some of my favorite people, because a lot of them are very brave and intelligent, while still kind and friendly. I also love that so many of them have lived abroad, like I have. I ‘ve found many ex Mormons to be very thoughtful and interesting people, with good taste in books and music.
I guess I was turned off a bit when Heather went from being a member of a very demanding and kind of fake religion to peddling cosmetic spa treatments. I know a lot of people are into their appearance. Heather writes that looking good makes people feel good, after all. I guess I’m just not that impressed by extremely image conscious people. I find that a lot of them are not very genuine underneath the veneer. Naturally, I don’t know anything about what Heather Gay is like. I’ve never seen her on her TV show. I thought the first part of her book was very interesting and substantive. But then, she falls into this sort of vapid lifestyle change that seems less genuine to me. I found it off-putting, and frankly, simply found Heather’s story about building her business less interesting.
I’m sure there are a lot of people who will love Bad Mormon. I see the book is already getting high marks, with only a modest number of neutral and negative reviews. I did really like about half of this book. The second half, however, impressed me far less. Heather Gay seems very fixated on looks and money and other obvious trappings of success, and while those are important aspects of living to a lot of people, I don’t find excessive image and money consciousness attractive. I am especially unimpressed when the image and money obsession is coupled with religion, although at least in Heather’s case, she finally decided to leave the religion.
Don’t get me wrong. I like having money, and I like looking attractive when I can. I just don’t like a shallow, single-minded focus of those things, because they don’t tend to last, and they usually matter a lot less to most people than less tangible markers of success.
Anyway, I’m truly not sorry I read Bad Mormon, although I do think it could have used some editing, especially in the photo section. I commend Heather Gay for figuring out the truth about Mormonism and living life on her own terms. I wish her well, and hope she continues in her successful endeavors, even if I, personally, don’t necessarily admire what she does for money.
Overall, I think I’d give Bad Mormon 3.5 stars out of 5.
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A couple of days ago, I was watching YouTube videos and happened to catch one by Farron Balanced. It was about Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene’s big plan to “fix” problems in the United States. She announced on President’s Day that she thinks it’s time for a divorce. Apparently, Marge thinks that the two major political parties in the United States are too polarized to function and have “irreconcilable differences”. So, to fix this, she thinks the United States should “break up”, much like she and her ex husband, Perry Greene, have.
I don’t know if Marge and Perry are officially divorced yet. I do know that Mr. Greene filed for divorce in September 2022, according to People.com, citing an “irretrievably broken” marriage. I’m sure it’s not been easy for Perry Greene, as his wife is a very controversial figure who frequently says and does things that put her in the spotlight– and often for negative reasons.
This latest stunt also has Marge in the news. I don’t know if her divorce is what put this idea in her mind. Perhaps she’s been blissful as a free agent, no longer tied down to a partner with whom she’s no longer compatible. But she’s making headlines now, as she proposes that the United States should also “divorce”. Let the blue states do their thing, and the red states will do theirs… Right.
Did Marjorie ever go to Civics class? I took that class in 8th grade, back in the mid 1980s. I remember Mrs. Rockwell taught us about how the U.S. government works, the importance of voting, checks and balances of the three arms of the government, and how the idea of “united we stand, divided we fall” was championed by our Founding Fathers.
Now, I’m not one to be overly impressed by the Founding Fathers. As George Carlin famously pointed out, our country was founded by “slave owners who wanted to be free.” However, MTG is a Republican, and the Republican Party just loves to talk about the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and other shit like that (*snark*). So it seems really odd to me that MTG, who practically oozes redneck Republicanism, would dare suggest that our country should go against the ideas of the Founding Fathers. Basically, it sounds like she wants to throw in the towel and say, “Fuck it.”
I’m glad Marge isn’t the only one in charge. I think she has a hell of a lot of nerve to make a suggestion like this. Because not everyone in the United States identifies as “left” or “right”. Quite a lot of us are moderates who embrace ideas from both sides of the spectrum… although I have to admit that I no longer have love for today’s Republican Party, precisely because of Trump loving dipshits like MTG and her ilk.
I’m no fan of Mitt Romney’s, but he’s publicly stated that Marjorie’s idea is “insanity”. Romney told the Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday, “I think Abraham Lincoln dealt with that kind of insanity …”We’re not going to divide the country. It’s united we stand and divided we fall.”
On this, I absolutely agree with Mitt. Because unfortunately, there are a lot of less educated folks out there who listen to what MTG says and think she’s onto something good. Many of those folks would love to fight the Civil War again, not realizing that they would not be the winners if the South had won that particular war.
Former Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. also agrees with Mitt Romney. Cheney criticized Greene on Monday, highlighting the unconstitutionality of Greene’s proposal.
“Our country is governed by the Constitution,” Cheney tweeted. “You swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Secession is unconstitutional. No member of Congress should advocate secession, Marjorie.”
Unfortunately, a lot of people haven’t gotten the message that most Republicans are only interested in helping rich White people stay rich. But they are voted in by much poorer, less educated, and more racist people who think the Republicans care about their issues. They haven’t thought about what it would mean if states like– oh, Mississippi or Alabama– had to make things work on their own. A lot of red states are “takers”, as Joy Reid points out. They’re poor, and they need federal money to keep going.
I don’t know if MTG is aware of this, but the powers that be in Russia have long been predicting that the United States would break up someday. According to this 2008 Wall Street Journal article, some thought it would happen in 2010. In the 80s, the Republicans talked about how evil communism was, and how we’re “better dead than red”. And yet, here’s MTG playing right into Putin’s hands. Because if the United States “divorced”, it would just make the country weaker and easier to control.
I really think a lot of people who might agree with MTG are less interested in the practical implications of what a national divorce would mean, and more interested in preventing cultural progress. A lot of Republicans are uncomfortable with the idea of historically disenfranchised people gaining power. They can’t fathom the idea that old ideas about sexuality, family structure, race relations, and the division of wealth can or should be challenged and/or changed.
Now is not the time for the United States to be broken up, with citizens feeling like they come from a “broken home”. Just because Marge couldn’t save her marriage, that doesn’t mean she needs to spread the idea of a new Civil War, even if she claims the split should be “bloodless”. She wants Biden impeached and removed from office? I think she’s a traitorous disgrace who has shown that she doesn’t cooperate and can’t work with others. Instead of splitting up the country, why don’t we get rid of these rogue political idiots who don’t care about serving the people of the United States?
I’m so tired of Marge and her ilk, especially as she keeps bringing up how “terrible” it is for children to learn about woke ideas. You know what I think is more terrible than abortion, controversial books and kids learning about non traditional families, and gender identities? Kids being shot in schools… or kids bringing guns to schools and shooting their teachers. I think kids losing their parents to gun violence is worse than a kid growing up with two moms or two dads. I think valuing money and property over human life– already born human life, that is– is much worse than learning that someone can be transgender, or that Christianity isn’t the only valid belief system.
It’s high time for more moderate thinking in the United States… and for people who learned something in 8th grade Civics class to be in charge. Come on… are you with me? Are you as tired of this shit as I am? And I’m watching it from Germany. I can’t even imagine how stressful it is to be in the US right now. Jeez!
And I kind of feel a little like a child of divorce, watching two sides fight over who gets custody. It’s totally shitty. Maybe it’s time Congress got an enema and we flushed away political turds like MTG.
In other news…
I just bought new sound equipment so that I can hopefully make more music videos soon. I’m having a real hell of a time since I revamped my office. Sadly, I think that soon, it will be time to make a video for Arran. :'(
Apologies in advance for yet another post about Ex. Now that Donald Trump is going to be back on mainstream social media, my fixation on her could be coming to an end soon. Or maybe not. After all, I’ve been married to her ex husband for twenty years, and I still can’t seem to move past the awesome fuckery of it all… Luckily, Bill is worth everything and more.
I’ve often said that Ex did me a favor when she divorced Bill. He’s the best friend I’ve ever had. We are disgustingly compatible, except in the mornings and the evenings. Case in point, last night at barely 9:00pm, Bill was sitting at the bench in our dining room, eyes closed, head leaned back, mouth open, and practically in a REM state. I was still quite wide awake.
This morning at 5:45 am…
I wasn’t quite awake at 5:45 am. I had just read a letter sent to an advice columnist in The New York Times. It was written by a second wife whose stepson was getting married. She and her husband had reached out to the bride’s parents, hoping to form a bond. Stepson discouraged her from contacting the bride’s mom. She soon found out why…
My stepson is getting married this year. His father and I embrace our future daughter-in-law and looked forward to meeting her family. I began corresponding with her mother and expressed our interest in flying out to meet them. My stepson discouraged this; he said they would be visiting our area soon. But we weren’t introduced to them when they came. Later, I received a call from his fiancée’s mother, who clearly mistook me for my husband’s ex-wife. She said she loved meeting me and referred to “the new wife” — me! — as “not blood.” At Thanksgiving, my stepson and his mother flew to visit his fiancée’s family and made lots of wedding plans, including for a rehearsal dinner for which we will pay half. How can we get past all these hurtful exclusions, some affecting our pocketbook? (I note: My husband’s relationship with his ex-wife is frosty.)
I hadn’t yet read the columnist’s advice as Bill went off on his early morning tear. I also hadn’t had any coffee, and wasn’t quite ready for Bill’s insane early morning energy. I did, however, see some of the crappy comments on Facebook regarding the situation in the advice column. Lots of people were projecting their own experiences in their reactions to this letter. Some people were downright mean!
I wasn’t focused on Bill’s early morning chatter, because my sleepy brain was still processing the advice column and people’s tone deaf comments regarding the situation. Stepmothers so often get a raw deal… even as I will admit some stepmothers deserve it. But not all stepmothers are assholes. Just like any other group of people, it takes all kinds. I saw a lot of people saying the stepmom in the letter was “whining”. Others wondered about the circumstances regarding how she and her husband got together. I notice that few people assume stepfathers are “the other man”, but stepmoms often get that assumption, especially if the first wife is still living.
I’ve mentioned before that more than one person has asked me if I caused my husband’s divorce. Um… that would be a NO. I had NOTHING to do with it. I didn’t know Bill when he and Ex separated. I didn’t meet him in person until almost a year after their divorce was final. And, thanks to Ex’s extreme parental alienation tactics, I didn’t have a chance to fuck up what was left of his daughters’ childhoods, either. I only saw them once when they were still kids. Meanwhile, Ex got her very generous child support in full and on time every month.
It’s not a secret that I’ve been pissed off at Ex forever for being such a hateful, mean-spirited cunt. Sorry… not a nice word, but in her case, it’s absolutely warranted. And I don’t feel that way just because she severely alienated the children, which was bad enough. I don’t even feel that way because she “invited” me to my own in laws’ house for Christmas. I feel that way because she abused Bill in ALL ways… including the ways that are too horrible and humiliating to mention.
Put it this way. If she were a man, she could have gone to prison for what she did. She absolutely could have gone to prison as a woman, too, but that would have meant admitting to being a sexual assault victim and reporting what she did to the police. It also would have meant seeing what she did for what it really was, which, at the time, was much too horrifying to ponder.
That all being said… and I am being totally serious, here. I do realize that there’s a certain freedom in being so alienated from my husband’s daughters for so long. The wedding scenario in the letter above will never be a concern of mine. Bill wasn’t invited to his daughter’s wedding, which I gather was not official, as younger daughter and her husband are devout Mormons and no doubt did the religious ordinance sans the “unworthy”. Younger daughter did tell Bill she’d wanted to invite him, even though she got married before they started speaking again. I guess she figured inviting Bill would be more trouble than it was worth. I doubt Ex and #3 were there for the temple sealing, as they are reportedly not temple worthy. I doubt they got that way for a religious ordinance.
Because my husband’s daughters were so alienated, there wasn’t too much drama coming at us from them. I remember when we first got married, Ex ominously wrote in an email that she would never want the children to get in the way of our relationship. And then she did all she could to make it so they rejected Bill. That decision was calculated to hurt us, and it did. However, instead of breaking us up, it made us a stronger unit. Twenty years later, we still laugh at each other. We still inspire each other. Younger daughter speaks to Bill, and is now getting to know him again. And, aside from that one Christmas fiasco, I’ve never had to worry about any weird or awkward situations involving weddings, graduations, baptisms or other family events.
It’s hard to think of this as Ex doing me a favor. The truth is, it was all very hurtful. I totally understand the letter writer’s pain. What makes it even worse is that society, in general, has no regard or empathy for stepmothers. We’re often seen as interlopers, at best. While stepfathers are often commended for “stepping in” for bio dads who weren’t there… whether or not the bio dads wanted to be, stepmothers “can’t win for losin’.”
Over the past twenty years, I’ve heard that my husband’s kids are “none of my business.” I’ve also heard that I “must love them as if they are my own children”. I’ve been asked if I broke up my husband’s first marriage. I’ve been told that I should regard younger daughter’s children as “my grandchildren”. I’ve only met younger daughter in person once, and that was twenty years ago this summer.
I don’t think the vast majority of people really stop and think about the many scenarios that cause subsequent marriages. This is a subject that is so personal and painful for so many that people tend to come up with a narrative that they apply to all situations. It’s a type of prejudice. Many people who hear that someone is a subsequent wife wonder how she became a subsequent wife. I guess we can thank fairy tales for that image…
Stepmothers are presented as money grubbing evil shrews with no feelings. The bio mom is always innocent and sweet. The stepmom is a selfish bitch who steals other women’s men from them. It’s laughable, in my case. I barely ever dated before I met Bill. I’m definitely not a man stealing hussy, although sometimes I legitimately can be a bitch. 😉 I try hard not to be a bitch unless a situation calls for it.
In my case, being a second wife has been a weird experience. My parents never divorced. In fact, there’s very little divorce in my family, as a whole. I don’t have stepparents, and never expected to be one myself. So, when Bill and I decided to get married, I optimistically figured I’d just do the best I could. Bill had warned me that his ex wife was a mean person. In fact, he once told me she would “rip me to shreds.” Maybe she might have done that, if I took anything she says or does personally.
I don’t take Ex’s behavior personally, because I know that it wouldn’t have mattered to her who Bill married. She would have been nasty to ANYONE. She saw (and probably still sees) Bill as her possession, even though she threw him away, and she would have resented any subsequent spouse. I’m just glad I can see that for what it is and feel quite free to tell Ex to fuck off. She deserves it. Being nice to her would not have changed the way she would have treated me. In fact, it might make her feel even more threatened. If I was a “Snow White” type, all sweet and kind, she would have probably been even more spiteful and jealous, like the wicked queen in the aforementioned fairy tale. Ex doesn’t like other people showing her up, and being determined to fake keeping sweet for the sake of optics would have probably made her behavior much worse.
My husband’s ex wife is so incredibly dysfunctional that there was never a hope of my having a normal relationship with Bill’s kids. She treats them like possessions, rather than people in their own right. Fortunately, younger daughter claimed her own self-determination. Older daughter, I fear, is going to stay stuck. I don’t think my situation is necessarily the norm. Most mothers aren’t as hateful and selfish as Ex is. They don’t wish for their children to be mistreated or disliked by others. Ex talks a good game about being a good mom, but her actions are opposite to what she says. I was never going to get a chance, no matter what. So, I never had to worry about my feelings getting hurt by being snubbed by younger daughter’s mother-in-law. But we also didn’t have to contribute money toward her wedding.
Of course, now that she’s talking to Bill again, younger daughter does get financial and other help from her dad on occasion. Bill gave his daughter and her husband some money for the deposit on the place where they are now living. To her credit, younger daughter offered to pay Bill back. Apparently, Ex would make her older kids pay her back for things, even as she’d happily take their birthday money to buy diapers for their younger siblings. Bill was horrified, and told her to consider the money a wedding gift. She was very grateful and thanked him profusely.
I think, if I were the stepmother in the above scenario, and my feelings were really hurt, I might consider having my husband go to the wedding alone. Then I’d hit a spa, take a short trip, or do something else fun for me. So many people were commenting that the stepmother should just step aside and know her place. I figure in a situation like that, my “place” might be outside the wedding venue, somewhere where I’ll be welcomed. But that’s just me. And, in fact, this was the approach I took in 2004, when Ex invited me to my in-laws’ house for Christmas. I stayed home, and Bill went to see his kids… for the last time, it turned out, until 2020.
If going to a spa is too self-indulgent or ballsy, then maybe the stepmom should just enjoy the wedding like any other guest. Don’t offer to help in ANY way, unless it’s specifically requested. Let the moms do the heavy lifting. And then, if the wedding gets too boring, cut out and go do something more interesting. It sounds to me like the stepson doesn’t like her very much, anyway. She married his dad, not him. Let Dad handle the bullshit. Stepmom can detach and please herself. Some will say this is a self-centered solution, but it doesn’t sound to me like the stepmom can win in this scenario. Either she cares too much, or not enough. So she might as well please herself.
I am a very lucky woman. My husband is wonderful. He’s kind, generous, reasonable, and adorable to me. He’s his own person. He accepts me for who I am. In fact, he even celebrates it. Bill told me this morning that he enjoys my outspoken personality, because I often say the things he’s thinking. He worries a lot more about offending people than I do, so we balance each other out. If I were more like him, I doubt our marriage would have lasted twenty years. People would be constantly violating our boundaries.
Below is the columnist’s advice… which I think was pretty sound:
I totally understand your bruised feelings. That phone call on which you were mistaken for your husband’s ex-wife sounds awful! I suspect the explanation lies largely in that “frosty” relationship between your husband and his former wife. Visits seem to have been organized to keep them apart and to prioritize your stepson’s mother. (I get that: I happen to be a mama’s boy myself.)
Now, your stepson certainly could have handled introductions more deftly. But ceremonial occasions — like “meet the parents” — can be tough for children of divorce if their parents are antagonistic. So, unless I am misreading this situation, try to forgive your stepson and take the long view: Life won’t end at the wedding! Getting to know your stepson’s in-laws may simply take longer than you expected.
As for splitting the costs of the rehearsal dinner — which I assume was acceptable until you were treated unkindly — I would stick with that plan. If my assumption is wrong or if the price exceeds your budget, speak up. But don’t make a fuss on principle. Letting the small stuff slide in favor of building better relationships is often a wise strategy. I hope it works for you and your husband.
Again… if it were me, I might consider making other plans for the wedding day. It would depend on the level of disrespect shown to me, and my husband’s feelings on the matter. I don’t enjoy getting into conflicts with people or going to places where people don’t want me around. Stepmothers have feelings, too, and I’m not one to show up for things just to promote the status quo. But that’s me… and my husband is the type of person who understands. My focus is my relationship with him, because I married him. The stepson in this case is an adult, and presumably intelligent enough to understand that his perspective isn’t the only one that matters.
I know a lot of people read my rantings about Ex and think I’m the problem. I’m being honest when I say that I married Bill because I love him. I always hoped to have a good relationship with his daughters. I was definitely willing. At first, I was willing to be cordial to Ex, too. She made it very clear from the beginning that she saw me as a competitor and an adversary. She didn’t want her daughters to get to know me, and did all she could to see that we never interacted without her close supervision. I’m not Ex’s ass monkey, so I opted out of the arrangement she unilaterally made for me without my input. I think, as an adult, I have the right to opt out of her plans for handling me. She made it abundantly clear that the kids weren’t “mine”, and she would heavily moderate any influence I might have. So I figured the best thing to do was to let her have HER kids. I had no rights to them, but neither did I have any responsibility.
Now Bill’s daughters are adults, and they can theoretically decide for themselves what’s best. I’m glad that younger daughter gave Bill a chance and is now able to bond with him. Maybe if more stepmothers saw themselves as wives first, there might be some less pain in these situations. But then, sometimes stepmothers really are second moms. Like I mentioned above, everybody’s got a story, and not all situations are the same. The right way to handle any situation depends a lot on the people involved. In my case, Ex is so toxic that it’s best to simply opt out to the extent possible.
I will say, though, that opting out of Christmas 2004 was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. She tried to punish me for doing that… I guess, assuming that Bill would resent me for the way Ex retaliated. But Ex is an adult, and responsible for her own actions. If she wants to try to punish me for not dancing to her tune, she can certainly try. I don’t accept her punishment. And it’s clear that she never knew Bill, nor did she ever love him. I do love him, and because I love him, he probably won’t be alone when he’s an old man. Ex, on the other hand, probably will be. And now that the kids are grown, I’m having a good laugh at her. 😀
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