How to deal with bitter stepchildren

Amy answers questions about dealing with resentful stepchildren, stopping a hobby from turning into...

Amy answers questions about dealing with resentful stepchildren, stopping a hobby from turning into an obsession, and drinking at weddings. (Fotolia)

Amy Dickinson, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

DEAR AMY: My husband and I met at work. I was a divorced mother of one; he was married with three older teens and just about to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary. Miserable in his marriage, he pretended everything was great for the sake of the kids while waiting for his youngest to leave for college before divorcing. Cupid struck us both hard and fast; we felt we had finally met our soul mates.

He left his wife and moved in with me. She squeezed him for every penny while dragging out the divorce for three years and defaming him to everyone.

We married and have made a fresh start. His kids had no idea how unhappy he was and are upset to their core that he deceived their mother, but at some point, don't they need to live their faith and find it in their hearts to forgive?

I still have not met the children (now 22, 24 and 26) because they want nothing to do with me. My husband tries to reach out to them every month or so, but they make no effort to connect -- this is very hurtful to a father who made his children his top priority their whole lives.

Should I try to reach out, though I know they don't want to hear from me? He's about ready to give up. What should we do? -- Sad

DEAR SAD: You should not worry about these people living their faiths (that is really none of your business); rather, you should work to forgive them for being so hurt, damaged and angry. Your husband should explicitly ask for their forgiveness. He betrayed them, and now they are hurting. Despite everything, he should not criticize their mother or talk about how unhappy he was during the bulk of their childhoods.

He should continue to contact his children. You should set a goal to meet them to reconcile in the truest sense, so that these young people can heal and move forward. I highly recommend family therapy for all of you.

DEAR AMY: "Abandoned Guest" was bellyaching about being a guest at a wedding where the bridal party took a couple of hours to have photos taken and arrived at the reception on a party bus.

So what?! When you are in a wedding, you are on your feet all day. The event is about the couple, and if this is what they want to do, so what? And if they want to have a few drinks along the way, that's up to them. -- Bridal Party

DEAR PARTY: Starting married life drunk and disorderly is definitely a choice the couple can make; they just can't expect their wedding guests to like it.


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