Personal Debate - Christmas Gatherings

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AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6698
Personal Debate - Christmas Gatherings

I would love to get some unbiased insight from some people that have a different world view than I do.

If you (a woman) lived with someone for 10 years (a man) and had two precious little girls together (Never married), then you broke up and got together with another woman, would you still come to the man's family get togethers? Would you expect the man's family to buy you and your girlfriend Christmas presents?

Thanks for all words of wisdom. The guy in this story is my brother, and I am afraid world war three is about to break out. My personal opinion and that of my parents is that she is still the mother of my nieces. My Sister and BIL though, do not think she should be there and do not want to come if she is there. It would be a huge help to have some other opinions, as I do not know any other homosexuals. I also do not want to loose my Brother or my nieces.

ETA - She and my brother still live in the same house (Different bedrooms) for the sake of their kids. I do not foresee that being a permanent situation.

Sapphire Sunsets's picture
Joined: 05/19/02
Posts: 673

If sincerely invited i would go to the get togethers.

I wouldn't expect them to buy me or my s/o gifts. If we had been married, then yes i would expect something for being an exDIL.

I am shaking my head at why they still live the same house together. Does she have her g/f stay there overnight? cause thats not gonna help the kids.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

My mom used to come to family gatherings held at my dad/step-moms, or all 3 would attend at one of my siblings houses. That being said my dad/step-mom did not buy presents for my mom and vice versa. The only former family member who was not invited to family gatherings was my ex-BIL who was an abusive alcoholic and only after my sister left him did we find out he had been having an affair for over 10 years. Family gatherings were so stressful when he was there, although no-one else in our family drank he was always drunk and we had to tiptoe around.

My family always just seemed to gather people and keep them. We only ever did gifts for the kids (I have 9 siblings and it just got to be too expensive) so there was no issue of gifts for exes. When there are children involved it makes it so much less stressful if everyone can get along. There was a time that my SM was jealous of my mom and could not be in the same building as my mom (she made a scene at my sister's wedding, my high school graduation...), it was so nice that my Step mom finally matured and accepted my mom (when my dad died almost 5 years ago my parents had been divorced for 30 years).

Your ex-SIL (in Canada after living together for 1 year you are considered a common-law marriage) will always be the mother of your nieces and should be respected in that position IMO. As for them living in the same house...if it works for them... I have heard of couples who have a house together living on separate floors (like apartments)...

eta: I do not see this as a homosexual issue but that could just be me

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6698

"Sapphire Sunsets" wrote:

I am shaking my head at why they still live the same house together. Does she have her g/f stay there overnight? cause thats not gonna help the kids.

All three are living in the same house. I think he is staying there so he can still be with his kids, and because all of their finances are intertwined. I agree that you would have the same situation if it was another man. It is just so hard. I can not imagine if something happened in my relationship with DH, bringing another man to MIL's house. SIL would always be welcome, it is just weird for her to bring a new relationship.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

All I think is ick.. sorry.
Ok.. I do think it is ok that the ex comes if bringing the children, whatever the living arrangements are. I do NOT think it would be appropriate to bring a significant other, regardless of gender issues... IF divorced and remarried, not just dating then possibly. It depends on the family.

As far as gifts, you never should feel forced to give or not give a gift to anyone. Depends on you. I never bought gifts for significant others of family members. Even after my sister was with someone for 5 years I didn't instead I bought them a family gift like a board game etc.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3255

I think this has nothing to do with homosexuality, and everything to do with families and relationships.

I wouldn't rush over with my new bf or gf and expect open arms and gifts. Once the relationship has been well established and everybody likes each other, THEN it's time to jump into that. Does the new gf buy gifts for the in-laws? For everybody?

I think new relationships when you have kids can be tricky and you have to tread carefully. My parents split up when I was little and my mom had some different boyfriends over the years. They didn't become part of family gatherings until they had been around a while, and certainly my grandparents were never expected to buy them gifts!

I think you can include people without being forceful. And I agree that no one should be forced to buy gifts for others.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6698

I talked to my mom and she said it went ok. All three came, but no one made a huge show of anything. Thanks for letting me talk things out.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

Glad it went well. I think that (for the kid's sake) if everyone can stay on good terms, that is the best case scenario.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3255

Glad it worked out.

For the record (not that it matters), I think their living arrangement is not benefiting the kids. It is probably more confusing than anything. I have a friend going through a divorce and her husband won't move out for financial reasons (he thinks he will lose rights to his share of the house) so she is going to have to SELL the house and move her daughter out because of it. Right now it's a very unhealthy environment for her daughter, living in a house with parents who aren't together and don't like being around each other.

My parents split up when I was young and they did us a favor, as we were able to see them both move on to other relationships (my dad's has lasted 39 years and counting) and they were able to be clear and true in their love for us without the weirdness of being around each other when their relationship had ended.

Just my opinion.

The gay thing probably makes it easier if the kids aren't making the connection. I didn't get that my Dad was a gay for a while.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6698

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

Glad it worked out.

For the record (not that it matters), I think their living arrangement is not benefiting the kids. It is probably more confusing than anything. I have a friend going through a divorce and her husband won't move out for financial reasons (he thinks he will lose rights to his share of the house) so she is going to have to SELL the house and move her daughter out because of it. Right now it's a very unhealthy environment for her daughter, living in a house with parents who aren't together and don't like being around each other.

My parents split up when I was young and they did us a favor, as we were able to see them both move on to other relationships (my dad's has lasted 39 years and counting) and they were able to be clear and true in their love for us without the weirdness of being around each other when their relationship had ended.

Just my opinion.

The gay thing probably makes it easier if the kids aren't making the connection. I didn't get that my Dad was a gay for a while.

I think the situation is heartbreaking for the kids.

Joined: 03/08/03
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I think the situation is heartbreaking for the kids.

I'm so sorry.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I'm so sorry.

Thank you. The situation has just been such a shock to the family. They were together for over 10 years.

Joined: 03/08/03
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Thank you. The situation has just been such a shock to the family. They were together for over 10 years.

Believe me, I understand. My parents were married for 11. It was a huge shock to my family back in the early 70s, as society just didn't accept or understand and my dad had to keep things under wraps which goes completely against his nature or his idea of what is right.

If it helps, everybody did come to terms with it and accept it. People who grew up in a generation when such things were NEVER surfaced -- my grandparents, Dad's husband's grandparents, their circles -- everyone came to accept it and even love each other and recognize that we are all family. My dad's husband's dad was a total tough guy, born in Rumania, moved to Canada under difficult circumstances, total man's man tough guy, ended up telling my dad years later, "I love you like my own son, so lucky to have you in the family."

My grandmother ended up hosting their wedding at her apartment many years later, when it became legal in Canada.

And my mom, the one who was hurt by it at first, is friends with my Dad. In fact as she is very ill now and nearing the end, she asked him to come see her, and he unhesitatingly booked a flight.

Not to derail and I know the situation is hard, but maybe it will help to know that these things do eventually get resolved and the pain eases and acceptance comes.

It will take time but the kids will adjust. But I don't deny the pain of the break-up and the confusion all around. It is not an easy thing. I'm truly sorry it's so heartbreaking for them and for the family.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6698

Thank you. My biggest fear at this point is her never letting us see the kids any more.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I'm glad it all worked out and I think it is nice that they are trying to do things like this so the kids don't get pulled in all different directions.

I would be okay at them coming as long as there was no arguing by anyone. The gay thing doesn't bother me. I think that if I bought a present for her before I would still buy something. My aunt's sister came to dinner yesterday and we don't normally exchange gifts with her but I got her a small gift as a token.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"Jessica80" wrote:

I'm glad it all worked out and I think it is nice that they are trying to do things like this so the kids don't get pulled in all different directions.

I would be okay at them coming as long as there was no arguing by anyone. The gay thing doesn't bother me. I think that if I bought a present for her before I would still buy something. My aunt's sister came to dinner yesterday and we don't normally exchange gifts with her but I got her a small gift as a token.

I agree with all of this, the bolded in particular.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3255

I always buy for people who come to our house for Christmas...but if I were the guest, I wouldn't expect it.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6698

My mom bought as normal for my brother and his ex, and got something small for the other woman. My sister said that it was awkward to have everyone opening lots of gifts and her just getting something small, but no one knew for sure if she would be there or not.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4104

My family's attitude is the more, the merrier. We've had ex-in-laws, former stepkids, even my sister's uncle's girlfriend -- and her husband! (That was an interesting relationship, it was basically a 3-way marriage, they were all together for over 20 years until my sister's uncle passed away earlier this month.) We don't get gifts for anyone outside each of our immediate families so I wouldn't have a track record of getting a gift for my nieces' mom before & wouldn't feel obligated to get her or her partner anything this year.

Having parents break up is always heartbreaking, but ITA with Laurie that it's far better than living in the constant chaos of a broken relationship. Kids know when it's not working.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6698

"Spacers" wrote:

My family's attitude is the more, the merrier. We've had ex-in-laws, former stepkids, even my sister's uncle's girlfriend -- and her husband! (That was an interesting relationship, it was basically a 3-way marriage, they were all together for over 20 years until my sister's uncle passed away earlier this month.) We don't get gifts for anyone outside each of our immediate families so I wouldn't have a track record of getting a gift for my nieces' mom before & wouldn't feel obligated to get her or her partner anything this year.

Having parents break up is always heartbreaking, but ITA with Laurie that it's far better than living in the constant chaos of a broken relationship. Kids know when it's not working.

Christmas morning was just my parents, my sister and her husband and kids, and my brother and the two woman and two kids. In a larger group setting it would not be as noticeable, but Christmas morning it was much more noticeable.

I understand about in being hard for them to still be living together, but she is the one that made the changes in the relationship. I can understand where he is coming from. I would not be willing to just leave my kids either.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3255

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Christmas morning was just my parents, my sister and her husband and kids, and my brother and the two woman and two kids. In a larger group setting it would not be as noticeable, but Christmas morning it was much more noticeable.

I understand about in being hard for them to still be living together, but she is the one that made the changes in the relationship. I can understand where he is coming from. I would not be willing to just leave my kids either.

If she made the changes in the relationship, doesn't that make him a likelier candidate for custody?

I know, none of my business...no need to answer. But I don't think the person who leaves gets first crack at keeping the kids, necessarily.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6698

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

If she made the changes in the relationship, doesn't that make him a likelier candidate for custody?

I know, none of my business...no need to answer. But I don't think the person who leaves gets first crack at keeping the kids, necessarily.

I do not really know how it works. I am close to no one who is divorced. (I am very blessed in that both my parents, In-laws, and all of my friends are still with their first spouse) The people (acquaintances) that I do know that are divorced, the Dad only gets the kids sometimes. Such a sticky situation.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3255

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I do not really know how it works. I am close to no one who is divorced. (I am very blessed in that both my parents, In-laws, and all of my friends are still with their first spouse) The people (acquaintances) that I do know that are divorced, the Dad only gets the kids sometimes. Such a sticky situation.

I think things have changed quite a bit over the years, although it does vary by location. But they don't automatically give custody to moms anymore, and to be blunt, it is sad that being gay will actually make it harder for you to get custody. But it's true. He doesn't have to have her live there to keep the kids. If he wants joint custody, he can have it. We have friends who divorced and have shared custody, and when the mom tried to move to another city with their daughter, the courts upheld his right to keep her where she is...the mom couldn't just up and move and take her.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6698

Thanks for the replies. Right now, I think they are just trying to work things out themselves. I do not know how it will go when they try to make changes.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3255

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Thanks for the replies. Right now, I think they are just trying to work things out themselves. I do not know how it will go when they try to make changes.

Well I wish them AND your family the best of luck. The most important thing is that they're both trying to do right by the kids. Whether they make the best choices or not, if the right motivation is there, the kids will know and appreciate it.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6698

Thanks.