(in)Significant Others

"Huh?" – Me

I find it interesting.

I have no idea why it came to me today.

My thoughts started with my friend LJ who was recently reunited with her mother after twenty six years of separation.  I reflected on an email exchange we had last night and for some reason images of other adoptees I have had the honor of reuniting flashed through my head.  I observed a new theme I had never noticed before.

The dislike of the men in their mothers lives.

My friend (whom I will call A and all others will be B, C, D and so on ) was reunited five years ago. Once of the most common complaints she made to me privately was her mothers poor choice in men. She disliked her mothers then boyfriend intensely. Friend A frequently commented on the "trailer park trash" her mother dated. I once asked her if she said such things to her mother. She told me she did not but that the "trash" was a huge problem for her.

Friend B was reunited around the same time period. Like A she also complained to me about her mothers partner. He was a truck driver, drank too much, wasn't sociable enough for my friend. Unlike my friend A, Friend B fought with her mother regularly about her partner. The fights became so severe that their reunion was severed for some time. 

And then there is C. Her mothers boyfriend, turned husband, was too young, immature and ignorant for Friends liking. He too was a problem or Friend C in her reunion.

Friend D, reunited about a year ago, told me her mothers husband was and odd bird that gave her the creeps. She preferred not to be around him.

And off my mind wanders to an adoptee blogger who once wrote me and told me that her mothers husband was controlling, overly religious, cold, insensitive and abusive. Adoptee told me she felt limited in her ability to have a relationship with her mother because of the husbands presence in her mothers life.

I have many more examples. I have yet to find and befriend an adoptee who LIKES their mothers husband or partner (assuming he is not the adoptees father).

Odd. To me anyway.

I find myself wondering what is at the root of this.

Is there a belief on part of our children that we, mothers, have no ability to pick good men for if we had they would never have been adopted?

Are they afraid of some genetic predisposition for picking shitty partners?

Are the partners really even shitty?

Are they envious of having to share our time?

Has the mothers self-esteem been so shattered by the loss of her child that she picks men that are beneath her yet at the level she feels she is at?

Do our children have a desire to see us with their fathers and anything less will not be acceptable?

Naturally, my mind wandered from all these thoughts to my own male partners. My ex husband is a very likable friendly guy. The fact that we divorced did not change that. I believed (and still do) that if my daughter ever met him she would like him.  Same holds true for my current boyfriend. Good, decent, fun loving, respectable man. At least I think so.  I would be proud for my daughter to meet him.

In light of my experiences with other friends, I cannot help but wonder what my daughter might think.

More importantly, how would I handle it if she did not approve of my male partner and gave me ultimatums like some of my friends have given their mothers?


11 Thoughts.

  1. Darn! I always am the odd cog in the machine…
    My bmother’s husband is actually a prince of a guy and treats me like one of his own.
    Maybe it is just something with women adoptees? I noticed all your examples were women…

  2. I have a friend who relinquished through the same home that I was adopted out of. She noticed her own pattern of making poor choices. I wonder about that myself. Do female adoptees do the same thing? I know that I did.
    I would give anything right now just to know her name. Just to see a picture of her right now. Right now I am in a place where I would overlook issues in her love life. I wonder if that makes desparate.

  3. Dan – You are correct. My experience (in regardds to this theme) is limited to female adoptees. I have helped reunite a few males but they have never been critical (at least to me) of their mothers partners choices. It seems to be a huge theme with females. I just wonder why that it is. (And yes, I think too much!)

  4. Oh, and Dan – You mention something that I think is key and I know for a fact, confidently, would be the case with either my ex husband or my boyfirend “treating like one of his own”. Both my ex husband and my boyfriend would welcome my daughter. I know that confidently.

  5. Yes Suz, I would welcome your daughter and treat her ‘like one of my own’…your instincts are 100% dead on accurate in how I would feel toward her, : )
    The ‘root causes’ you speak of in your article probably vary from adoptee to adoptee, in some cases the Mom’s partner might be a shithead(be interesting to know if other people think of the Mom’s partner that way as well), other cases it could be resentment over having to ‘share’ their Mom’s time with the Mom’s partner, etc…
    I think you captured the potential ‘root causes’. Be interesting to hear feedback on this as to what others think.

  6. I think this might well be a female thing. My son adored my husband from day one, although he was jealous of my dedication and attentions to him. I’ve never known/heard from a reunited son who disapproved of his mother’s husband. BUT in addition to daughters feeling that way, I know of lots of first mothers who dislike or disapprove of their son’s wife. Hmmmm…

  7. Uhm… remember your recent comment on this post:
    “I find your protective defensive attitude towards your father very interesting. Not in a negative way, more an observant way. Makes me think how hard it can be for adoptees to gain compassion for their situation when all protecting the mother and the father and the family reputation, even decades beyond the adoption.”
    So you too attack the men involved, though aimed at the birth fathers.
    Just my little observation. 🙂
    It ain’t easy, is it? All this relationship stuff.

  8. Charlotte/Ine – Huh?
    You might want to read that post again.
    I dont see any attack towards birthfathers in my post. I see commentary on my observation of some female adoptees who have problems with the mothers partners – NOT their birthfathers.
    But I agree with you regardless, this relationship stuff is not easy.

  9. just my two cents…
    I don’t like my first mothers husband either. He is a very controlling person, he must control everything, if we were going to eat out, then we had to drive around for sometimes hours until he could decide what he really wanted to eat. (Meanwhile we were starving and we would have been happy with McD’s)
    The way I see it is,(my theory about my mother, not every mother) after having me, and relinquishing me, my mother was still so scared that she would never find a man who would love her, and not consider her “damaged” goods, I think she settled, for what she could get.
    My mother and her husband do not get along, she has left him on a few occasions, but she goes back. Each time he seems to clamp down with more control. I also think he resented the space that I took up in her life, and the fact that I did have a father who was not him. I think my mother thinks she is getting what she deserves. After all, she gave her baby away… (that’s what she thinks)

  10. If D was me then right on… and if not, then ditto to that one.
    I think it bothers me so much because their relationship IS weird… in B’s case they never would have been together if it weren’t for (what I believe were) her adoption issues following her. She agreed to have a kid for her best friends, and then the wife leaves him and they get together for practicality? They sleep in seperate beds, are rarely affectionate and yet, they refer to themselves as “together” and put on a public face of it.
    I actually noticed both my moms ended up in a situation where the husbands control them. My a-dad, when he was considering divorcing my a-mom told her many times he would “make sure she got nothing.” And B has said several times that if she were to ever leave Bill she would “make sure I have all my ducks in a row” because he would do the same.
    Also he clearly, at the very least, doesn’t understand me/our relationship. I suspect he’d rather I didn’t come around and disrupt his house. But at the same time, I think he feels that way about his own kids so, whatever.
    To give some credit to what you said, when I thought Rob was my dad, I was all about seeing them together. It certainly had a healing effect. Which is probably why it was twice as damaging when he wasn’t.
    But now I know the real circumstances, F*** that guy. I think women just want to see their moms happy and treated right. And adoptees especially, for obvious reasons.

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