My Mother in Law and My Husband's Ex Wife

Updated on April 01, 2012
A.E. asks from Dallas, TX
30 answers

So I just found out that my mother in law is helping my husband's ex wife plan her wedding. I'm a little hurt...not actually I am hurt. Here is some back ground info: My hubby was married to #1 for a while and had kids. She left him for another man and he was devasted. He then remarried and that one didn't work out either. Then he met me and and here we are. During our relationship there have been times when his ex would call all the time and ask him to help her with whatever but I think once she figured out I wasn't going anywhere she backed off a bit. And to this day she likes to go up to him when we are at children events and rub his arm and ask about friends they use to have when they were together. I just sit there and smile acting like it doesn't bother me. Well, my MIL has told me and my mom recently that the ex #1 is a wonderful person and has a great personality and just so wonderful she doesn't know what happened between her and her son. Well, just recently the ex got engaged. Then I find out that my MIL is helping her with the wedding (she let it slip in conversation) since the ex's mom isn't in good condition. I know I shouldn't be upset but it does hurt. I mean I didn't have a wedding and I don't even have a ring but he calls me his wife and I call him my hubby. And I guess I just want to vent. I don't know. I was thinking about mentioning this to my hubby but not too sure. I don't want to make a big deal out of it and have him think I'm jealous or something. I'm just a little hurt.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

No we are not officially married by the court or by church. We have to be registered at this church for one year before we get married. So we have some more time left. And I don't have a ring because money is super tight right now and we have a big family and all kids play sports and some play two.

More Answers


answers from Jacksonville on

You know, there are times when my mouth opens and words come out before my head can stop them. This may have been one of those times.

"You don't know what happened to them? From what I've been told Ex screwed around on your son. I imagine that was the problem."

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

1. If you want a wedding, talk to your man about it. Get a ring and get married.

2. Don't be jealous of his ex. Your boyfriend's mother (she's not your MIL until you're married) has a relationship with the mother of her grandchildren. Good for her.

3. Why are you standing there with a fake smile plastered on your face while your boyfriend's ex wife rubs on his arm? You should be ON that arm, close enough to him so that it is obvious that you and he are together. I'll bet she only gets that close because you're stepping away.

4. Perhaps when you're engaged, she might like to help plan your wedding. Until you set a date, you have nothing to complain or be jealous about.

Best of luck.

ETA; I agree with Krista. Talk about getting a simple gold or silver band. Or a silver CZ ring! CZ looks just like the real thing and nobody will know but you. There are some beautiful ones out this. $32. Beautiful.

Set a date and make it official. Get premarital counseling through your church (statistics have proven that couples who get premarital counseling are happier and more successful).

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Well, first off she's not your mother-in-law.

Secondly, while you're perfectly entitled to feel whatever you feel, your boyfriend's mother is also entitled to spend her time with whomever she pleases. She's also entitled to spend that time however she pleases.

Thirdly, I think people are reading way too much into this. My grandmother is still upset over my uncles first divorce 25 years later even though they never had children and he had three kids with his second wife. My mom is still great friends with the first wife but not the second. Oh well. Tough noogies. You can't control people's friendships and relationships and who they bond with. It's not a slight against you that your boyfriend's mother is still feeling a bond with his ex-wife.

If you want a similar bond then work on your relationship with her. If you want her to help plan YOUR wedding then get engaged and plan a wedding and ask her to help you. Build a bond with her. And maybe you shouldn't call each other spouses when you really aren't yet. You haven't earned it.

EDIT: It's especially NOT out of line for your boyfriend's mother to be helping his former wife because she's the mother of his children. Who better to coordinate the children's participation if your boyfriend and his former wife don't get along than a go-between like his mother who is still friendly with her? Reign it in. For the sake of your boyfriend's children, reign it in. They're much more important than your misplaced feelings of angst.

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answers from Washington DC on

I'm not sure why you are letting this get to you.

His mom is setting a good example to her grandchildren by participating in their mother's life. Did you expect her to just write them off since they didn't work out? It's NOT the kids fault that the parents couldn't make it work. So she is still involved in her life - so what? They have kids together.

As to YOUR situation? Are you upset that YOU are not married yet? Why not go to the courthouse and make it legal? What's stopping you from doing that?

There's nothing to make a big deal out of. Be thankful that they are pleasant to each other in public...they could be yelling and fighting over the kids. Yeah - she's proving a point that she has history with him - so what? EVERYONE has history, baggage and what not. SO WHAT?!

Be thankful that your soon to be MIL has the manners to behave and keep a good relationship with her grandchildren. DO NOT hold ill will against her. Fix whatever it is that is bothering you about it. Maybe you are upset that you aren't married? I don't know. Since you aren't married are you concerned that she won't help with YOUR wedding? I don't get it. Foster a relationship with this W.. She's a mature W.. If you have kids together - you will want her to be involved in their lives right? Why let some as petty as this bother you and interfere with your relationship with her? I don't get it. I really don't get it.

Get a ring. Get over it. Get married. Get involved. You are a grown W., not some high schooler. Act like an adult. These are going to be your kids too - so get involved in their life. Just like their grandmother is.

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answers from Dallas on

I can understand your hurt feelings. My philosophy on divorce is just because you divorced him/her doesn't mean I have to. My older brother has been married twice and is currently married to 3rd wife. I am still friends with all his former wives and whatever happened between any of them is not my business. My mom and brothers/sisters still consider each of them family and that's how it is.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

1. Does MIL really not know why they divorced? Have husband remind her.

2. Are you legally married? MIL may not see you guys as married if you did not legally get married.

3. If your husband and his ex have children together, she will always and forever be in your lives. Figure out how to not let her get to you.. If it means seeing a marriage counselor to learn how to work through this, do it.. It will be worth the time..

4. MIL sounds like she was fond of the ex and had a long time relationship.
It is better for them to be kind and fond of each other.. mostly for the children involved. Nothing worse that them not getting along.. I know I am a product of this type of situation.. it was so awful for me and my sister.

5. You are the "winner" in all of this.. You have the great husband. He loves you, you love him.. Pity the ex.. and continue to just ignore.
The best revenge is indifference.

I am sending you strength.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Is it really the MIL helping the X that is bugging you, or the fact that you guys didn't have a wedding? Are you married, I'm not sure from your post.

MIL and X-wife have a bond, the children. Those children are MIL's grandchildren... and Grandmas want access to their grandchildren. So they probably stayed in touch because of that. What those two women do together is really none of your concern, as long as it doesn't have anything to do with you and your relationship. In fact, your best case scenario is that the X if s "wonderful" person who is happily married: she will not be interfering with you/your husband and she will be raising your husband's children with love.

Some people just try to make the best out of any situation. I wonder if your MIL is like that? Maybe she forgave the X for the good of the kids and still loves her. Some people can do that. Its really much better than the opposite, which is everyone hates each other and the kids can't be around anyone without a fight errupting.

If you want to talk t your "hubby", make sure its about YOUR relationship... not his X-wife and MIL.

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answers from New York on

Couple of things... he's not your husband so she's not your MIL. You may refer to one another in whatever manner you wish, but that doesn't mean that his mother needs to treat you as though your are her daughter-in-law.

I wouldn't say a word to your "hubby" because the bottom line is that his mother liked his first wife, alot. She may not know the details of what happened between her son and his ex-wife. There may have been a lot of "things" going on that led up to her having an affair or maybe not.

She's getting married and her former MIL is helping her plan the wedding. Is it a little strange? Yup. Unheard of? Nope. Something you should make an issue out of? Definitely not. Of course it hurts- my guess, though is that you are equally upset about the fact that she's getting married (time and attention dedicated to her AGAIN) and you haven't had that time given to you.

Just because you have to be registered in a church for a year to get married doesn't mean you can't get engaged. If it's a money issue, then talk with him about whether or not a ring is essential to you... if he asks you with a simple band and you say "yes" then you are engaged too! No more pretending.

Sorry, but I just don't read this and think "she's happy with her relationship status" at all.

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answers from Washington DC on

Sounds like this is -- perhaps totally unconsciously -- MIL's way of saying "I'm disappointed that my son is not married." She may not intentionally be hurting you; she may sincerely still like the ex and want to play the mother of the bride role since the ex's mom can't play it. But I think there is a message in there aimed at her son and at you too. IIf MIL has made comments in the past about your not being married, how did you respond then?

I would not get into this with MIL. She's an adult and can use her time and efforts however she likes, even if you're against it. If you tell her "I understand you're free to do this but it does hurt my feelings," frankly, she could easily respond that she would be glad to help with your wedding if and when you have one.

You have every right NOT to be married but that's how an older generation would see this -- "They aren't married so I'm going to be involved in the wedding that IS taking place." I want to be clear: I'm not defending her or saying the ex is a great person, I'm saying that this is how MIL's generation views these things, and if you want to maintain a positive relationship with her, I would stay out of this whole issue.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Hmmm...well, it's not a just IS.

She might be a wonderful person.
Why not get to know her and find out?
This woman (the mother of his kids) isn't "going anywhere" so if I were you, I'd make it my J-O-B to make her a friend. That would be the adult way to approach her. Get to know her and form you OWN opinion of her--as a person, not as a threat. Life will be a lot easier for you.

BTW, til you're married, you're not his wife, no matter what he calls you.
Please, please make sure you aren't blurring the lines here. Sounds odd to me--the church won't marry you for a year, but he calls you "wife" now?

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

It sounds more like you are upset that the ex is getting what you want to have more than who is planning the wedding. Perfectly understandable but you may want to look at that instead of directing your hurt towards his mom. She isn't doing anything wrong or anything that should hurt you, ya know?

I wanted to add I don't see this as she is disappointed in your relationship or is making any digs at you. If anything it shows she thinks you are content and happy in your relationship with her son and wouldn't have a problem with it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

In my opinion, it doesn't matter if you're married or not. If you two are in a committed relationship there still should be some respect here. Just because you aren't married doesn't mean you should just go ahead and lay down like some old door mat.

If I were in your situation and that was going on, I don't know if I would be able to hang around. You said your boyfriend was devastated when she left him. Your boyfriend's mother still thinks the ex wife is awesome. It also sounds like the ex wife thinks it's all right to be a cheater and still mingle with the family of her ex. Personally, I wouldn't have the nerve. I'd be embarrassed as hell. I also don't know of any self-respecting woman that wouldn't be able to move on with her life instead of hanging around the family of her ex, except for keeping it cordial for the kid's sake only. Calling up my ex MIL to shoot the breeze outside of the kids sounds desperate to me. Move on with your life. I also will respect his new woman. I when you have respect for yourself, you tend to respect others.

Isn't she getting married? Does her fiance have a mother? Why doesn't she ask her? Also, what kind of self-respecting man would let his soon-to-be wife plan a wedding with an ex MIL? He sounds like the door mat!

I don't know, but that sounds like a big mess an the potential for some hurt feelings, mainly yours. It sounds like no one really gives a rat's behind about your feelings, so that's something you might want to think about.

EDIT: I'm so sorry everyone is harping on an on about you not being married. That wasn't the question. I tried to answer your actual question the best I could. Good luck to you, and yes, you have a right to be upset. No one can take that away from you. Those are your feelings.

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answers from Jacksonville on

Hmmm. I don't mean to make you feel bad, but ARE you married to him? From reading some of your other posts (scanned briefly) and your comment about that you "don't have a ring but he CALLS me his wife and I CALL him my hubby" makes me think that you aren't actually married.

Which certainly plays a significant part in any response I might have about the issues you seem to be having.

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answers from Washington DC on

hm. quite a bit going on here.
like a few others, i don't see any need to lecture you on getting married. if you're committed and happy, there's no issue.
i'm not sure that's the case, though. why call each other hubby and wife if you truly feel it's no big deal? and you mention that you didn't get a wedding or a ring, so my thoughts are that this is more of an issue with 'hubby' than with 'MIL.'
it was pretty insensitive for MIL to tell you and your mom that she doesn't know why the ex and your fellow split up. that being said, there's nothing whatsoever wrong with her ongoing relationship with the woman, who is not incidentally the mother to some grandkids. and she's totally within her rights to help out with the wedding.
that doesn't mean your feelings are negligible. i think you should talk it over with your SO, because this is something that is clearly important to you. not his ex's wedding (none of your business) but your hurt over being treated as 'less than', or at least your perception that you are. it doesn't sit right with me that the only reason you're NOT having that conversation is because you don't want him to think you're jealous.
that screams to me that you are.
i hope you find a good solution.

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answers from Seattle on

Not to offend you, but I will agree here... he is not your husband and she is not your MIL. It appears that her son has burned through a couple of relationships and she likes to maintain a good relationship with the mother of her grandchildren. I see nothing wrong or upsetting about this.

I can understand your jealousy of his ex, but really, if you do want to marry this guy you need to get that under control. You should be happy that he has a friendly relationship with his ex, because this woman will be in his life for the rest of his life whether you like it or not. They will always be their kids' parents.

Last but not least, given his history of failed marriages, I wouldn't be surprised if no-one is holding their breath to see how they two of you work out. It's understandable that they don't want to get too involved/attached to you yet. I think that once you have been married for a while this will fade and you will eventually feel more accepted... if you get over the fact that they took some time to warm up to you and reign in your jealousy.

Good luck!

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answers from Austin on

Jennifer S., Clarified Mom, Mommyloveskids and I are in the minority here. We agree with you. MIL has a problem, Houston.

I would however not say a word and wait til MIL needs my help with something big and let her know then how hurt I was regarding this situation. Yes, I am passive aggressive at times...

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answers from San Antonio on

I'll leave the whole marriage thing alone, since that's not what you're asking about.

Since they have kids together, she's going to be in your life until the kids are 18. I can understand why your boyfriend's mom wants to be on her good side. It's so she can still see the kids. As far as the touching at kids events, she may be like me and be a very touchy feely person. I'm forever touching people when I talk to them, when I walk by...I can't help it. Touching is something that is very important to me. It makes me feel connected, it shows that I care about the person on some level. If I don't touch you, then I could care less about you. Perhaps she is the same. She may touch your hubby because she does still care about him. (Hell, my ex was extremely abusive and I still care about him. Why? Because he gave me my beautiful baby!)

I also have a big mouth and have very little issue with confrontation. I think I would have said, when the boyfriend's mother wondered why they divorced, "If I remember correctly, it's because she was sleeping around with other men and betrayed your son." If she makes a comment about what you said then simply tell her that you seriously thought she was asking, you didn't realize it was a rhetorical question and apologize.

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answers from Dallas on

You're not married to him, and he has kids with her. Your ''MIL'' has grandchildren with this woman. You came late to the party, so you've got to take the whole package deal, really. Can I understand why you're upset about it? Of course!!! Do I think you have a RIGHT to be upset? No. So no, don't say anything to your "husband", or your "MIL", because I think the person who needs to change their attitude is you.

Good luck!

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answers from Redding on

I was still good friends with my ex MIL. It happens.
You b/f loves you right?
Don't worry on it.

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answers from Charleston on

Whoa. You have every right to be unnerved by this. First, YOU need to tell your hubby that the ex's touching is inappropriate and inconsiderate of your relationship, and that if it happens again, HE needs to put a stop to it. The ex is goading you for a reaction. She is crazy.

Second, your MIL can do whatever she wants, but I do see this as a bit crazy and weird. I am assuming that this ex was the one who cheated on her son? Why on earth would she support this woman? You just need to make it clear to MIL if it comes up that you don't want to hear about any details or plans for this as you don't understand how she can be so supportive. It doesn't have to be confrontational, just factual. Your husband cannot control what his mother does with this ex, but he can back your feelings up, and he should feel that this action on his mother's part is quite strange.

Sounds like the fact that you didn't have a wedding ceremony and rings may be bothering you slightly. Mention that to your hubby and perhaps the MIL. Maybe you could plan a small ceremony (with the MIL's help since she's so great at this) by a justice of the peace? Can you save for some rings? I think you're missing the symbolism of the actual wedding and rings, and what they "mean". Don't deny yourself of these things if they are important to you. You don't "need" them to be married, but they symbolize your commitment to each other.

You are so normal for feeling hurt. Start healing now, by getting this off of your chest with your husband. It will draw you closer if he understands. Good luck!

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answers from Detroit on

Yeah, she sounds like a peach. She left her husband and kids. She sounds manipulative and your MIL is falling for it.

I wouldnt worry.

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answers from Atlanta on

Well, are you married or not? Just calling each other husband and wife doesn't make it so. If you want help planning a wedding -have a wedding!

Having said that -it's a bit strange for your MIL to be so buddy-buddy with the ex, but they did have kids together and they were married, so there's a relationship there. Does she not know the woman cheated on her son and that's why the marriage ended? Interesting. How does your husband feel about all of this? Why on earth wouldn't you mention it to him? It's his mother and his ex and you're bothered by it!

If my husband and I divorced, I can tell you that I would still talk to my MIL. I know there would be situations with the kids and that we would see each other in conjunction with the kids. We have a relationship that wouldn't just dissolve if I divorced her son. Now, if I cheated and left her son for another man, I don't see her being that chummy with me, but we would still talk. I would NEVER ask her to help me plan a wedding though -so that is very, very weird.

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answers from Dallas on

Ok maybe you should start planning your own wedding. This way your MIL would probably be more than happy to help in the planning and you'd have something positive to focus on. I understand your frustration, but the insecurities could really stem from not having a ring yourself and her not officially being your MIL. And don't get hung up on them having a relationship because there are children involved and that's important. Lastly, if money is tight...then really ask yourselves how many sporting activities do the kids really need to be in?!

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answers from Dallas on

Your name is "loving life" but it doesn't sound like it. It sounds like you're occupying your energy on jealousy over something silly. You should be happy your man is with you now, committed to you, and that the ex is moving on to someone else. MIL can be friends with whomever she pleases, so focus on your own life, your kids, and your man, then you truly will be loving life.

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answers from Chicago on

Well, I think you might be envious of the relationship ex still has with your hubby's mom, and also of the fact that she is having a wedding and all the stuff that goes along with that. Of course your marraige is the important thing, not all the pomp and circumstance, but let's be honest, (almost) every girl wants a wedding and a pretty ring.

You need to tell your hubby that it really hurts your feelings when MIL talks so sweetly about his ex to you and your mom. It's not making a big deal out of it. He should then tell his mom to knock it off. She can still be friends with her if she wants, that's not really your business. But for her to flaunt that friendship in your face is not fair. Whether she likes it or not, YOU are his wife now and she should respect that.

I say all this with the assumption that you are legally married. Just because you didn't have a "wedding" or a ring does not mean you aren't married if you have a legal marraige.

ETA: Well, after reading your SWH I see that you are not legally married. That still doesn't mean that his mom shouldn't respect you and your relationship with "hubby". Why don't you do a legal ceremony at the courthouse and then wait for the church wedding?

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answers from Dallas on

Well, you don't need a ring or a wedding to show your love and commitment! Marriage is overrated these days anyway. And I wouldn't worry about his mother. Some women are just mean. I can totally see how it hurts your feelings though! You have every right to be upset. She doesn't know what happened between them?? Sheesh, talk about a slap in the face! Just remember that you are his woman now, and he obviously loves you and only you. As long as he always has your back, I wouldn't worry about his mother. My MIL is a total witch sometimes, but I'm not married to her...

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answers from Dallas on

Wow, gray area. I would be just as upset if I were you. But I have to say, as the only wife to my husband (he was with baby-mama for 9 years but never married her), my MIL says to us how much she hates the ex to our faces, but behind our backs is the same way yours is, buddy-buddy. She says it's for the sake of the kids. Well I am here to state plainly - she only has to be civil, cordial, and respectful, nothing more. The kids are the only bond between them. If your future MIL has a stronger relationship with the ex to the point of planning the wedding, you have every right to feel a twinge of hurt. Does she mention ever wanting to help with your wedding when the time comes? How about next time she asks for your help with something you tell her to call the ex? Or when it does come time to plan your wedding, leave her out of all the details since she's already done her duty to someone else. It will be your day.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My SIL remained close to my husband's ex-wife (even though she cheated on him then left him & their 3 yr old daughter).

After about 4 years, my SIL finally decided that she probably shouldn't continue the rlshp w/my husband's ex-wife. I never said a word.

I, say, try not to let it get you upset.
Develop your relationship w/your hubby (or whatever he truly doesn't matter), try not to let it bother you. Don't get into the semantics of "MIL is helping his ex plan her wedding" because when all is said and done......that does not matter.
What does matter is that you are happy & have a healthy relationship w/your hubby.
Life is much too short to let things like this paralyze you.
Enjoy your life, your time w/hubby & kids.
It will be okay.

p.s. My hubby & I had some issues in our marriage (including w/his ex & my stepdtr when I became pregnant) so my relationship w/his family is not what it once was. I still have to do several vacations w/them every year & tons of get to-gethers.
You know what? It is okay. No one is evil. In this situation & in life, we are all doing the best we can (or should be). There's no "playbook" or instruction manual on how to go about all of this. So.....we all do the very best we can.
Don't let it get you down.
Move forward in life with a healthy, happy attitude.
That is all you truly have control over. The rest will follow.
Try not to let it bother you. We cannot control what others do nor should we have that opportunity.
Hang in there honey. Nothing lasts forever. Just be happy! Best wishes to you!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

You MIL doesn't know why or what happened with her son and her --- uhumm - she left with another man. Personally, I think this is a bit much, but then it's her choice not yours. I sure wouldn't like it. And I think you may have to lay some lines down with your hubby. He can be friends with her as parents for the children's sake, but it doesn't mean he has to flirt or allow her to flirt or try to act like they have some kind of close, meaningful relationship. He needs to get real and put his actions and emotions where they belong. It sounds to me like the ex would not really devote herself to anyone and is likely to divorce again, sounds like she has problems with self esteem and puts her acknowledgement of self into men rather than her own self. This is all her choice and your MIL's choice and you'll have to deal with it. But I would definitely have a talk with your hubby but first decide the issues that you want to address and try to keep emotions out of it. You two are either together, and deicated to your relationship or not. Lines have to be defined. Keep a positive attitude about it all and realize you have to be true to yourself and make a choice to be happy within your own self, don't allow her/them to take anything away from you.
As for jealousy, the definition of jealousy is wanting something that belongs to you, truly, actually belongs to you -- the definition of envy is wanting something that does Not belong to you and wanting it anyway.

This is my opinion whatever it may be worth to you. I hope you find peace with this. P.S. Work on developing your relationship with MIL and children too.



answers from Dallas on

She isn't your husbands ex.
She is the mother of the grand-children.
So she is basically helping her grand-children's mommy.
You can never undo that core (mom, dad, kids, grandparents)
You can only join it.
Congratulate your step-kid's mom on her new found happiness <3

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