My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years and have a 2-year-old daughter. This is my husband’s second marriage and he has a son from that marriage who lives with the ex-wife.
My problem is that my mother-in-law keeps calling me by the first wife’s name. She helps us out by watching our daughter so it happens quite often. My husband thinks it’s not important and says I should just ignore it, but I can’t.
Queenie, is he right? If not, how should I handle it when it happens?—Second wife
Dear Second wife,
I disagree with your husband. I presume your mother-in-law also has contact with his ex-wife and her grandson, but she should be able to keep the two of you straight in her mind. If she does not take the trouble to do so, she is being downright rude to you. Make a point of correcting her – politely! – when she calls you by the wrong name.
And if it continues to happen, you might want to find out whether she also sometimes calls the ex by your name. If she truly cannot remember which of you is which, she may be having memory problems, a possible indication of approaching senility, in which case you should be careful about leaving a small child in her care and perhaps a complete check-up for your mother-in-law would be a good idea.