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Musing on Ex and Step Relationships
Old 03-12-2018, 10:44 PM   #1
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Musing on Ex and Step Relationships

I'm curious how far relationships change when there is a divorce (ex) or a remarriage (step).

If you divorce, surely your spouse is now an ex-spouse and their parents are your ex-inlaws. How about kids of the sibling ex-inlaws, who used to be your nephews and nieces. Are they now ex-nephews and ex-nieces?

Similarly, how far does stepdom reach? When my step-daughter marries, do I now have a step-son inlaw? Is their child my step grandson? Will his kid be my step great grandson?

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Old 03-12-2018, 11:04 PM   #2
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Hmmm... Most of the time, you never see them again. I imagine most divorcees never see their ex again. And they rarely see the spouse's relatives even when married, let alone after the divorce.

So, it does not matter.

PS. I know of people who never even contact their own kids who are under custody of their ex. Very sad.
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Old 03-12-2018, 11:11 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I'm curious how far relationships change when there is a divorce (ex) or a remarriage (step).

If you divorce, surely your spouse is now an ex-spouse and their parents are your ex-inlaws. How about kids of the sibling ex-inlaws, who used to be your nephews and nieces. Are they now ex-nephews and ex-nieces?

Similarly, how far does stepdom reach? When my step-daughter marries, do I now have a step-son inlaw? Is their child my step grandson? Will his kid be my step great grandson?

I think this depends on the individual and family. In my case, during the 21 years since my divorce I have not had contact with former inlaws, nephews, and so on, except at my daughter's wedding. All of us live in (many) different states. So, the problem with what to call them has not reached the stage of being awkward. Of course my daughter and I are still close, probably closer than ever, but that takes work because we live in different states.

A dear friend of mine has a step-sister. The whole family gets together at every holiday or other family events, and he just calls his step-sister either that or his sister, and he calls her kids his nieces. As to what to call your step son-in-law, I think that is up to you, your stepdaughter, and others in the family. I'd probably opt for calling him your son-in-law because at some point it all gets just too confusing.
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Old 03-12-2018, 11:11 PM   #4
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Without going into the horror stories with my ex, my sons finally came around to see what a flake she was and the stories she told about me were just bitter lies.
On a new page in my life, I have remarried, and DW's sons and families have welcomed me with open arms. It is a wonderful feling.
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Old 03-12-2018, 11:17 PM   #5
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Similarly, how far does stepdom reach? When my step-daughter marries, do I now have a step-son inlaw? Is their child my step grandson? Will his kid be my step great grandson?

Yeah, and whatever happened to Stepin Fetchit?
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Old 03-13-2018, 02:01 AM   #6
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I think it really depends on the relationship, length of marriage, etc. When DH married me, he had 3 adult daughters (youngest was in college at the time). None of them ever lived with me except the youngest one summer. I didn't raise them. We have a good relationship but it is different meeting as an adult than if I had helped raise them as small children. Some of them already had children when DH and I married. I think of their children as my step grandchildren. They all live out of town so it really doesn't come up that often. They call me by my name.

We did see (and still do see) DH's ex-wife from time to time since they share children and grandchildren. I met some of her relatives and it was fine. DH would refer to his former mother-in-law for example when talking about to her others. But, with those who knew her he just referred to her by name. But, everyone got along well and so maybe that makes a difference.

As to whether a stepparent would continue contact after a divorce I think it depends. If a stepparent raised a stepchild and has a close relationship then it does often continue after divorce. On the other hand, with a short marriage and older kids I can see there being no real contact after divorce.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:37 AM   #7
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Is there a reason to get stuck on labels? For me, anyone related to my ex-wife is an ex-, but they are totally out of my life so I don't even think about them. Her siblings didn't have kids until after we split so I don't even think of them as ex-nieces/nephews because I don't think of them. If I did still have an association with any of them I would probably think more of them as friends, because the whole ex- labeling would seem awkward.

Steps I have no experience with but it seems to me that most people refer to stepkids kids as grandchildren, and I would probably do the same. If my spouse died, and I had a decent relationship with the stepchild I would probably continue to them of them that way. If we were never close I probably just wouldn't see them anymore and there'd be no need to label their kids.

I don't think there's any need to get hung up on labeling, or be totally accurate on whether its as step grandchild or a grandchild.
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Old 03-13-2018, 06:56 AM   #8
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My parents divorced soon after I left home and entered into second marriages with people who had their own families. I have never thought of having step-anythings; I've just always referred to my mother's husband or my father's wife. In any event, I never saw much of either of the new spouses or their families over the years, and now that my parents have both died, I probably never will again. (I have lived over 1000 miles away from the family for the last 40 years.)
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:40 AM   #9
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The good news is that while it can be awkward, it's an awkwardness that everyone understands! Even if you fumble around an introduction like, "My mom's husband's daughter", people will still know what you're talking about.
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Old 03-13-2018, 08:26 AM   #10
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No two people or families have the same experience, there are so many people and moving parts involved.

Is there a particular reason why you are asking the question? If it's just curiosity every single person here will give you a different answer.
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Old 03-13-2018, 08:43 AM   #11
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Very individual, and very much based on the duration and closeness of those "extra" relationships, and in particular whether the neices/kids and the then-spouse had relationships that were close from childhood to adulthood. Also the degree of acrimony in the split would be a big factor.

I was married 3 years and never saw any of them again, which was probably more fair, if a bit sad. If that had been 23 years, it would be completely different... or not.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:02 AM   #12
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..............Is there a particular reason why you are asking the question? If it's just curiosity every single person here will give you a different answer.
What prompted the post was that my step daughter (25 and married when I met her) was recently remarried and now has a new baby. That got me thinking about whether there is a formal or legal definition of these types of non-blood relationships.

From the replies so far, I'd say that 1) this is a touchy subject and seems to bring back bad memories and 2) no one has referred me to an authoritative source, so perhaps it is all a personal construct - different for everyone.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:07 AM   #13
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There probably is no "official" answer. I can tell you that my parents referred to their new spouses' grandchildren as just grandchildren, not step-grandchildren.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:52 AM   #14
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What prompted the post was that my step daughter (25 and married when I met her) was recently remarried and now has a new baby. That got me thinking about whether there is a formal or legal definition of these types of non-blood relationships.

From the replies so far, I'd say that 1) this is a touchy subject and seems to bring back bad memories and 2) no one has referred me to an authoritative source, so perhaps it is all a personal construct - different for everyone.
Some people have good experiences too,it is an individual thing. Sometimes there are a lot of trials and errors along the way.
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:58 AM   #15
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When my DW and I married (2nd marriage), she was of the mindset that my children became her children, and that took care of how she thought about grandchildren etc. That said, I think every 2nd marriage has it's own opinion on that. Some having to do with age of children when the 2nd marriage takes place.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:24 AM   #16
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I never had, never wanted, kids; now I have five granddaughters......I've been around all their lives, and they call me "Opa".....both the eldest, just turned thirteen, and the second one in line, coming up on ten, know that I'm not a blood relative, but I'm still "Opa".

To the two year old twins, and the six year old, I'm "Opa", period.

And they are all MY granddaughters.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:04 AM   #17
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I have a civilized relationship with my ex-wife. After all she is the mother of my children and will be forever. I think she wants a better relationship (she is remarried) with me for the sake of 'family' events. But, the manner of her departure from the marriage and the family - I won't go into the gory details - has poisoned the well. I have forgiven her and am not bitter nor hold a grudge, but that doesn't mean I willing to risk more pain.

Like my old grand pappy used to say "Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die'.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:47 AM   #18
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What prompted the post was that my step daughter (25 and married when I met her) was recently remarried and now has a new baby. That got me thinking about whether there is a formal or legal definition of these types of non-blood relationships.

From the replies so far, I'd say that 1) this is a touchy subject and seems to bring back bad memories and 2) no one has referred me to an authoritative source, so perhaps it is all a personal construct - different for everyone.
In another thread I happened to come across what is a "qualifying relative" as far as deducting medical expenses qualify, in IRS pub 502. The first bullet says

Quote:
Son, daughter, stepchild, or foster child, or a descendant of any of them (for example, your grandchild),
So, stepchildren and their children have legal relationship to you for those purposes, but there's no specific name given.

If you put in your will that certain assets are to be dividend among your grandchildren, that would probably open a can of worms as it's not clear. I would specifically name each grandchild, specifically including or excluding the step daughters kids as desired. If excluding them, maybe state "my natural grandchildren, xxx and yyy." What I've done in a somewhat similar case is to name such beneficiaries in a Transfer On Death account, which is a lot easier to update than a will. I just fill out a form on Vanguard and keep a copy in my records and it's done.

I can't think of another case where there's any legal standing that's important. Grandparents really don't have legal rights on medical decisions, schools, etc, unless specifically assigned, so it doesn't matter if they are step- or not. What other situations might there be?

So that's the legal definition as I see it. Formal definition? Who cares! Almost everyone has some non-traditional family relationship to deal with. In social situations, you can refer to the baby as "our grandchild" or "Spouse's grandchild" or whatever you are comfortable with. I think that's the key. I don't care what Emily Post says, it's what feels right to me.
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Old 03-13-2018, 01:43 PM   #19
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Thanks for the all the replies. I guess my step daughter's ex husband is now my ex-step-son-in-law, but he will always be my step grandson's dad.
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Old 03-13-2018, 01:57 PM   #20
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Thanks for the all the replies. I guess my step daughter's ex husband is now my ex-step-son-in-law, but he will always be my step grandson's dad.
Unless, of course, he marries your sister...and then......
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