*This is a work of nonfiction and opinion based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.*
What would you do if you were a single parent and the partner you’d been dating for years suddenly revealed to you that they don’t like your kids? Would you continue a relationship with this person, knowing that they wouldn’t treat your children as they deserved to be loved and treated as young innocents? Or would you cut and run to protect your kids from a hostile family environment?
That’s a question that my friend Ryan was presented with shortly after he married his second wife, Ali. Unfortunately, Ryan’s wife Tabitha had passed away from breast cancer a few years before, leaving twin daughters behind for Ryan to look after.
Ryan and I had been friends since childhood, something that happened naturally as we were thrown together so often because our parents played cards together every Thursday night when we were kids. I was close with Tabitha as well, and helped Ryan and her family care for her at home in her final days.
It was tragic for Ryan to lose a wife so young, but we all encouraged him to, when he was ready, get back out there and start dating again. It was one of Tabitha’s final wishes that Ryan find someone else to love and marry who would love her babies like her own.
So, he found Ali. Theirs was a long distance relationship from the start, she lived in Oregon, he lived in Connecticut, but their love blossomed through online messages and finally phone calls and FaceTiming. He flew a few times to Oregon to spend time with her and was so enamored that he proposed to her on his fourth trip out and she accepted.
Ali had a job where she could work from anywhere, so she decided to move to Connecticut to be with Ryan. Of course, she knew that he had two little girls who were seven years old at the time of their marriage, but she had never met them or even talked to them before meeting them.
The twins were too young to even remember their mother before she died, so they were excited that their father was bringing them home a mommy. Unfortunately, it was not the right mommy.
Within days of living in the house with Ryan, he had a feeling things wouldn’t work out with her, but hoped for the best.
Ali didn’t want anything to do with this little girls. She wouldn’t talk to him, wouldn’t play with them, resented the time he spent with them because she refused to go anywhere like out to eat or shopping in public with them because she was afraid they ‘would cause a scene.’
I tried to warn Ryan that there may be an issue here, but he pressed on and the wedding happened and marriage certificates were signed.
It was only after that that Ali was honest with Ryan.
“I don’t know how you expect me to feel. They’re not my kids. I’m never going to treat them like they’re mine, because they’re not, they’re your dead wife’s kids.”
Ryan was shocked and didn’t know what to say. He tried for months to juggle a life between his kids and Ali, who would have nothing to do with his kids and wouldn’t spend time with them as a family together.
Only eight months into the marriage, Ryan surrendered and asked her for a divorce. Ali was happy to go.
I have no idea why Ali would have chosen to marry a man with two kids if she knew she would feel so coldly toward them, but some people just cannot be explained.
What would you have done if you were Ryan?
Hi, I hope you enjoyed this story! I am a freelance writing single mom trying to create a better life for me and my daughter through words. If you enjoyed this, please consider leaving a small donation: https://ko-fi.com/maryduncan
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