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Dutchess_III's avatar

What would be the politest way to introduce my dad's wife to people?

Asked by Dutchess_III (36028points) June 30th, 2014

My dad married Jane in 1981. She’s only 8 years older than me, which makes her my husband’s age. My dad passed away in 2004. Jane is coming to visit us. I don’t know how to introduce her. I’m not the least bit comfortable calling her any form of “mother,” considering she could easily be an older sister. None my sisters have ever considered her any kind of mother, either. She’s just “Jane.”

My kids, however, have grown up always calling her “Gramma Jane.” Everyone is comfortable with that.

I always call her “My dad’s wife,” as I did in the question, but I’ve never had to actually introduce her to someone. I don’t know how she’d feel if I introduced her that way.

Any suggestions?

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18 Answers

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Hi, I’d like you to meet Jane, my dad’s wife.

El_Cadejo's avatar

While I don’t have the age thing as an issue, both of my parents remarried, I never considered my dad’s new wife or my mom’s husband to be my mom or dad. Whenever introducing them it’s always been this is x my mom’s husband or y my dad’s wife.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So I’m probably making more out of this than I need to. Thanks.

JLeslie's avatar

You can introduce her as:


Jane my dad’s wife

My friend Jane

The kids grandma Jane

You could ask her which she prefers. She would never ask for you to call her mom I would assume, so I think the question is safe and you won’t get an answer that would bother you.

zenvelo's avatar

You could call her your “Jane, dad’s widow”....or “Jane, my late father’s wife.”

GloPro's avatar

@zenvelo If it were me, I would not say widow or deceased or late father with every introduction. It puts a little raincloud on the moment.

I prefer Jane, my dad’s wife.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Ask her how she would prefer you to handle introductions. Sounds like you get along well enough that it probably doesn’t matter.

dappled_leaves's avatar

There’s only one way to introduce her: Jane, his wife.

marinelife's avatar

I don’t think it is good to call her your dad’s wife since he is no longer around. I would call her Jane, who was married to my dad.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@dappled_leaves That’s exactly what I was thinking. I even started to look it up!

MollyMcGuire's avatar

This is Jane. Why do people need to know more at that exact moment?

Dutchess_III's avatar

You usually list a relationship. If I didn’t mark her as part of our family I would think it would make her feel a bit awkward and self conscious. If my dad had ever introduced me without saying “This is my daughter,” I’d find it odd and a bit disconcerting.

Stinley's avatar

How about “This is Jane who was my dad’s wife”?

JLeslie's avatar

I wouldn’t use the past tense personally. I think saying she was your dad’s wife implies divorce. Not that there is anything wrong with divorce, just that it would not be the correct message. Maybe I interpret it differently than most people. If I knew your dad had passed away I guess I would know what you meant.

I also agree it is nice to introduce her stating the relationship, unless she prefer that not be done. My dad’s widow is most accurate, but she might prefer not to be labelled a widow.

I would just ask her how she prefers to be introduced if you are worried about it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I agree. The past tense could cause curiosity which people may or may not react to.

JLeslie's avatar

I just tried saying it out loud and I see how the past tense actually does come sort of naturally though. It’s different saying it than hearing it for me. Strange.

jca's avatar

@Dutchess_III: Can you update us as to what you did? Did you ask her how she wanted to be introduced? How did you introduce her?

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, I didn’t ask her. I decided that would be rather…uncomfortable.

I only had to introduce her to one person and I said, “Raj, this is Kathy. She’s my dad’s wife!”

We just had a great time. In the past Dad and Kathy would come up from Florida to visit and they always stayed with my sister. They’d come here (30 minutes away) to spend a few hours with me and the kids for one day during their visit, but other than that they spent the whole 4 days with my sister and her family. It made me sad that they did that, but oh well.

Anyway, when Kathy was planning her visit I just mentioned that, if she wanted to, she could stay with us for a couple of days. She said, “Wait! Yeah! OK! That would be great!” I mean, it didn’t even occur to her to stay with us! So it was a first and we had a wonderful time.

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