Updated: October 7, 2012 7:06AM
Dear Abby: “Disappearing Stepmother’s” letter brought back memories of my stepdaughter “Amy’s” wedding. Her mother also tried her best to prevent us from being involved. However, Amy included all four of her parents in the wedding. Dad and Stepdad walked her down the aisle together, and her mom and I lit the bride’s candle together.
The bride needs to develop a backbone and stand up to her mother. The dad (who’s paying for half the wedding) should at least put his foot down about the guest list, and invite whomever he and his wife would like to be there. Otherwise, resentment poisons the relationship between stepmom and stepdaughter.
Dear Stepmom: I encouraged “Disappearing” to attend the wedding to support her stepdaughter and inject a dose of reality into the “fantasy,” and readers were quick to share their views:
Dear Abby: I, too, am stepmom to two young women whose mother harbors animosity toward me and my husband. When the girls were kids she filled their heads with lies about us. Their father and I remained noncritical and constant.
There were some rocky years, but my stepdaughters and I have made it through. When the younger one was married two years ago, she did a beautiful job including me. Her mother spent the wedding day spewing vile lies about us to anyone who’d listen, and is still bitter these 26 years later.
The girls see their mother as she is and do not let her affect their relationship with us. For this I credit my husband, who never tolerated her ill treatment of me. Stepmoms are not looking to be in the spotlight or take anyone’s place. But we are an important part of the modern family and should be treated with the honor and respect we deserve.
Made It Through
Dear Abby: I work in the wedding industry, and all too frequently I see the engaged couple manipulated by a parent in order to hurt the former spouse and alienate the stepparent. It is the bane of my professional existence. They cause so much stress for the couple I’ve had brides cry in my office and choose to elope rather than deal with the drama.
Parents must realize that their children are loved by many people, and the best gift they can give them on their wedding day is to set aside differences in order to support the couple.
Dear Abby: My husband’s former wife has been a huge challenge for me, even showing up at our small wedding ceremony and slapping me in the face. The children were there, and I kept the evening going by hugging them and saying I was sorry their mom was so upset.
Now, as I watch these grown kids and their kids making their way through life, I am proud to have been part of showing them what a solid, loving family can be without alienation and selfishness.
Barbara in Illinois
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