Everything's More Complicated in Blended Families


     Milo’s 55th birthday is coming up and he wants to have a family gathering to celebrate. His grown children have made it clear they won’t attend unless their mother is included, too. His new wife will not hear of it because of the bitter fallout from the split. This inter-family conflict is leaving the birthday boy between a rock and a hard place. How do you think he should handle it?

  • Give in to his kids?
  • Give in to his new wife?
  • Forget the party and take his wife on a cruise?
  • Insist that everyone call a truce and accede to his wishes since it’s his birthday?

Our Panel Weighs In

Jon: Milo’s first wife has no place at his milestone birthday. If they had come apart amicably it would be one thing, but when there’s a lot of residual anger, there’s no way to pretend this is one big, happy family for a night. His second wife is right—and, besides, he has to continue living with her.

Janice: Under no circumstances should Milo give in to his kids, who are using the occasion to bully him. If he gives in to them now, there’ll feel empowered to hold a whip over his head forever.

Debbie: Milo has to get a grip—on his family, that is. Everyone is trying to manipulate him, and they’re losing sight of who’s important here.

Riley: The cruise is looking better and better . . .

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