To be irked by presence of ex wife

(212 Posts)
Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 18:33:30

...I think you may probably tell me to get over it but here goes.. DH rarely has anything to do with his ex..not acrimonious it's just as the kids are grown up there is no real reason for contact.However his parents are a different constant contact .They had a big photo up of her until recEntly . I should say we have been together 15 years. Anyway, this doesn't bother me but the " side effects " do...that is, every time we have a family event she comes too. It's all very civil but I think it's odd and TBH I feel very awkward. It's happening again soon...parents have a big wedding anniversary coming up and she's invited again.I can't do anything about it I know but it just makes me feel so uncomfortable..She's the mother of DHs kids etc.. I get that...but I'm his wife..I just feel "second best"...what do you think?!

I think it's weird tbh!!! They are perfectly entitled to continue a relationship with her, but why would they be inviting her to events like that?! Is it not all a bit awkward? And having photos up of her is a bit disrespectful too! What does your DH think?

phantomnamechanger Sun 16-Feb-14 18:39:26

how long were they married? how long has she been part of the ILs lives? why can't she still be their friend independently of her ex?

I'm not saying I would like it myself, but I can see both sides - it's not necessarily that they are doing it to spite you or to make you feel less welcome/important/'s not like they are trying to force him and her back together. Maybe its for the benefit of the GC, maybe they really like her, even tho the marriage did not work.

This might make you feel better. When my friend got engaged to her now DH and he arranged for her to meet his parents at their home, they only had his exW come round the same evening! shock He stood up to them and they have now been together 20 years BTW!

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 18:40:10

He agrees with me but just ignores it and tells me to do the same.I appreciate there is nothing I can actually do but I just wish someone would think..hang on, how does this make Prima feel?

HappyMummyOfOne Sun 16-Feb-14 18:40:31

I dont think its weird. She was their DIL and will always be the mother of their grandchildren. Its lovely that they haven't just cast her aside as they obviously like her.

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 18:41:50

phantom that does actually make me feel a lot better!!

KingR0llo Sun 16-Feb-14 18:41:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sadbodyblue Sun 16-Feb-14 18:46:05

sorry I think yabu. as happymummy says shes the mother of their gc and as such part of the family.

you say the break up was amicable so of course they are still friends and have a history with her. yes they invite her to their parties, again normal.

I expect they feel just as loyal and are just as fond of you op and I think it's just a situation you have to put up with.

but of course can see your side.

sadbodyblue Sun 16-Feb-14 18:47:56

to add if they are nice to you I guess they are just nice people who have no idea how you feel.

reddaisy Sun 16-Feb-14 18:48:10

It is very weird. If I was her I would decline their big event invitations politely but meet them separately if I wanted to.

KingR0llo Sun 16-Feb-14 18:53:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 18:53:03

Well FIL and I get on great but MIlL clear,y prefers her..Nb I didn't say the split was amicable I said there's no acrimony now...My point is I think after 15 years they would get I'm here to stay!!! And yes I honestly think in her shoes I would decline.

Amicable split or not, their loyalty should be to their son, and of he feels awkward then they should not be inviting her!!

They should continue the relationship with her separately- jeez, i am on great terms with my ex but my DM wouldn't dream of inviting him to family parties!!

KingR0llo Sun 16-Feb-14 18:56:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tattychicken Sun 16-Feb-14 18:56:51

I don't think it's weird, I think it's lovely. She's obviously still family to them. And lovely for the children to see her do included and see her picture on the wall. They are setting a wonderful example and I really think you need to grin and bear it.

Jengnr Sun 16-Feb-14 18:58:58

It's good that they've maintained a good relationship with the mother of their grandkids. BUT they should have asked their son the first time if he would feel comfortable with her being invited and he should have told the truth if they did.

It's a bit late now though.

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Sun 16-Feb-14 18:59:30

How long were they together OP?

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 18:59:46

Really.? A 27 and a 25 year old need to see their Mums picture on a wall???!!

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 19:00:19

They were together for 10 years..

VelmaD Sun 16-Feb-14 19:00:28

Yabu. Their party, they get to decide. I went to my exhusbands daughters christening, and my exhusbands girlfriends birthday. Raised a few eyebrows, but we are divorced we dont hate each other and the kids connect us all. They are friends with her in their own right, and are clearly happy friends for it to have lasted 15 years past the divorce.

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Sun 16-Feb-14 19:01:29

If they were together for years and years and she was like family to them, do they really need to dump her because their son did?

You say they don't think about you when inviting her..but they probably feel that if the ex can get past it you can.

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 19:03:11

.. Er..why do you assume he dumped her???!!

Sparklysilversequins Sun 16-Feb-14 19:03:55

I think it's petty, pathetic and immature to have a problem with this. Everyone in an entire family having to do things your way because you are not comfortable with it? So what if your MIL prefers her to you? Presimably you have your own family and friends who love and prefer YOU don't you? It's amicable and there's good relationships going on within and extended family, do you know how rare that is and how good for the dc involved? Grow up.

Leviticus Sun 16-Feb-14 19:06:29

DH's parents divorced when they were boys. DMIL is still invited to large family events on DFIL's side and still socialises with his siblings. It's lovely and is in no way a reflection of how the family feel about DStepMIL.

KingR0llo Sun 16-Feb-14 19:06:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

whatever5 Sun 16-Feb-14 19:07:57

I can understand why you don't like it but I think it's tough luck really. My mother often invites her ex SIL to family events as she has known her since she (my mother) was a child and has always got on very well with her. She wouldn't do it if her brother minded but he doesn't.

I presume it's the same with your PILs. They wouldn't invite your DH's ex if your DH minded but they aren't so bothered about how you feel about it.

sadbodyblue Sun 16-Feb-14 19:09:07

surely at big family dos the gp want all of their family and friends around them. sounds lovely.

you have been his wife for 10 years now so obviously a fixture to his family and friends.

SparklyTwinkleGlitter Sun 16-Feb-14 19:10:15

I think YAB a bit U.

As the Grandchildren are grown up, she's obviously been a part of the extended family for many years and if they all get on well, it seems entirely reasonable for the PiL's to invite her.

I think you need to look at this from the point of view of the PiL's and their grandchildren. The PiL's want to celebrate the occasion with their whole family and naturally the grandchildren want both their mum and dad there.
In fact, I think it's rather lovely that the PiL's want to maintain these relationships.

It isn't about you and I don't think your feelings should be considered as if you are some fragile being. As you say, you've been with your DH for fifteen years so they're well aware you're here to stay.

Also, please don't follow the childish suggestions about missing family events that she attends. It would make you look incredibly petty and small minded.

I have grown up step children and am still in touch with an ex P of the oldest one (only via Facebook). I got on very well with her as we share similar interests but it doesn't mean I think any less of my DSS's wife. I love her very much but they're just different people.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Sun 16-Feb-14 19:11:10

She is a friend to them as well as their son's first wife. Maybe you should have thought about making friends with her too and then you wouldn't be allowing yourself to feel second best. Only you is doing that. Nothing they are doing means that.

hickorychicken Sun 16-Feb-14 19:11:34

I dont find that strange, i know if me and dp ever split i would still see his family. I can imagine its really not nice for you though Op, im sorry i have no advice though.

paxtecum Sun 16-Feb-14 19:12:15

My XH siblings invite me to their family parties and I attend.

We've been friends since we were teens. My XH is a very selfish person and they actually prefer me to him.

My XMIL is just like my XH - they are welcome to each other.

I now have a dilemma as my DD and Son in law have just split up - I won't be taking down photos of the Son IL in a hurry as the DGC will notice they are missing.

SingMoreWhenYoureWinning Sun 16-Feb-14 19:12:52

I don't think it's weird. If they were inviting an ex gf who'd spent 2 months with him then yes. But they were married for 10 years. She is their grand kids mum.

Apart from which, if it's a big 'family' do, isn't it nice for your sdc to have their mum there?

I think that yabu. The dc are grown up now but they were 15 years younger when you met their dad. They were together 10 years and is the mother of their grandchildren not a girl he dated at uni for 6 months.
My exh is an amazing father and a lovely person. My dp is a lovely person and offers to pick exh up from train station when he visits the dc. Exh stays at my parents house when he visits and is going on holiday with my parents, my sister and our children in the summer.
My parents love my exh and thankfully my dp is a grown up and understands this and is happy that we all get on. It is a great example to set the children and far easier we all get on as we have many years of our dc still being children ahead of us.

So what if mil prefers her your dh prefers you and that's what matters.

LizLemonaid Sun 16-Feb-14 19:13:40

I'm human and probably wouldn't LOVE that but I think it paints your pils in a good light, that they don't cast her aside as a pp says.

You can't re-write history. she had his children. There's always going to be good and bad and this is 'the bad' for you.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Sun 16-Feb-14 19:13:56

It actually shows great loyalty from the in-laws and should your marriage fail you know they wouldn't cast you aside. Have you got children with your husband?

KingR0llo Sun 16-Feb-14 19:14:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsMagnificent Sun 16-Feb-14 19:14:17

As harsh as it may sound she was part of their family before you came along. I have a lot of respect for your PIL to maintain a relationship with her. You say you feel second best but I doubt anyone views you that way. Your are their sons wife she is their Grandkids Mum.

Ratbagcatbag Sun 16-Feb-14 19:15:49

Hmmmmm, honestly doesn't seem odd to me, but then I'm best friends with my dh ex, and we all get on fab. I don't think it's saying your second best, I think it's just saying they like her too.

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 19:16:01

* so what if mil prefers her yor DH prefers you and that's what matters*

Yes you are absolutely right and I will remember that. and of course I will make sure I look my best at the party!!!

DoJo Sun 16-Feb-14 19:16:18

I wouldn't take it as a slight on you - them being friends with her in no way suggests that you are second best or that they think that you aren't there to stay.
They may well not think 'how does Prima feel' but then, I'm not sure that it's reasonable to expect them to. Your husband needs to think about you and put you first, but they are entitled to do whatever they want. I think it does say more about how you feel that it makes you so insecure about your position in the family, especially given that your husband has chosen not to say anything to them so the chances are they have no idea that it makes you feel this unwanted.

YeahThatsWhatISaid Sun 16-Feb-14 19:16:25

Sorry but I think YABU. You have been with your DH for 15 years! I don't see why you think it implies that your PIL think you are second best. Maybe they just see her as part of the family as she is them other of their grandchildren. It doesn't mean they think any the less of you.
I wouldn't say or do anything if I were you.

KingR0llo Sun 16-Feb-14 19:16:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bowlersarm Sun 16-Feb-14 19:16:36


You are their DSes current wife, and great that you are.

Your DH's ex is their dil, plus the mother of their grandchildren.

She deserves a relationship with them, regardless of their relationship with you.

One doesn't exclude the other.

YeahThatsWhatISaid Sun 16-Feb-14 19:18:37

confused why would you feel it nessecery to look your best at the party? You have been with your DH for such a long time. Is there something else going on that makes you feel insecure about her sad.

needaholidaynow Sun 16-Feb-14 19:18:42

I wouldn't want my mum and dad "together" if a family occasion came up. When they split things were always amicable, but they both moved on and have different lives ever since.

They haven't spoken to each other for years now. No reason to.

I couldn't care less if DP's ex and DP's family share family occasions together (which they haven't done so far), because I can't stand my "ILs" so his ex is welcome to them smile

TamerB Sun 16-Feb-14 19:22:38

I can't see why it affects you. I have a friend who is still very friendly with her ex's family. She has known them since she was 16yr old, there is a lot of history and she is the mother of their grandchildren. I don't think she would go to a big family do, but she loves them so still sees a lot of them. She goes on holiday with her SIL because they are good friends and both single.
You have your position.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Sun 16-Feb-14 19:23:38

SingMore has a very good point. They have quite possibly kept her close as the mother of their grandchildren whether they are friends or not. Mature people are able to put their own feelings aside when there are children involved.

TamerB Sun 16-Feb-14 19:24:24

If my son broke up with his fiancée I would keep in touch-I have known her 7 years now and she is a real friend. I can't see why it would change.

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 19:26:36

My remark about looking my best was simply about feeling confident. I will feel awkward at the I have at other parties looking my best helps me feel better ..that's all.

hickorychicken Sun 16-Feb-14 19:31:07

I see what you are saying kingr0llo i should say maybe then im nearlly suregrin
I like to think that would be the case.
Its like my cousins dad is really good friends with her stepdather and her dad comes to family stuff all the time despite him and exw been split 20 years.

KhloeKardashian Sun 16-Feb-14 19:33:44

I don't think it is weird, it is amicable, she is the Mother of their Grandchildren.

VoyageDeVerity Sun 16-Feb-14 19:36:14

Good lord this is bloody odd.
Why on earth does she want to rock up to family events after all these years.

I suspect just to piss you off actually.

hickorychicken Sun 16-Feb-14 19:37:45

Voyage hmm
Or maybe because the PIL's are lovely and welcoming and she gets invited hmm

Caitlin17 Sun 16-Feb-14 19:39:54

She is and always will be the mother of their grandchildren. Unless she was a terrible
mother and the children themselves have turned against her why should the grandparents reject her?

Your in-laws are setting an excellent example of behaving like proper, mature grown -ups for their grandchildren.

shakinstevenslovechild Sun 16-Feb-14 19:40:19

My in laws have my dhs ex fiance (from 17 years ago) living in their spare room. She hates me, they hate me and dhs Mum never misses an oppourtunity to tell me that his ex is the woman I will never live up to in their eyes. They were only together for 18 months and have no children together hmm

On the other hand his ex who he was with for 7 years and has 2 children with is as hated as I am. I don't think it would bother me as much if it was her who they still involved in family occassions because she and dh and his family still have a link through my DSC, if they had a relationship it would make it far easier for my DSC now that they are thinking about getting married and have children etc.

NachoAddict Sun 16-Feb-14 19:40:26

Yanbu. My inlaws would often invite us round and her and we all had to sit round a table together and chat away like best friends. Its just odd. Especially because when she's not there they pull her to pieces. Mil even said once that she wished her breaks would fail so the she (mil) could keep dsd. They put up with her because ex would stop them seeing dsd otherwise.

I have nothing to do with any of them anymore. They are dp's problem, not mine and I feel so much better for bowing out.

They see his ex's new baby with her new partner several times a week but haven't seen ds, their own flesh and blood for over 7 months. We live about 6 mins away.

springykyrie Sun 16-Feb-14 19:42:18

Then you can hmm me too, because I think it's weird.

Perhaps if they'd asked you if you mind, Prima, that might be one thing, but they didn't, just blithely carried on without a thought for how you may feel about it. Disrespectful and weird imo.

whomadeyougod Sun 16-Feb-14 19:44:57

i think staying in touch with ex inlaws is ok if there are children from that marriage , i would not go to family events if i was her i would feel like a cling on .

needaholidaynow Sun 16-Feb-14 19:49:00

They see his ex's new baby with her new partner several times a week but haven't seen ds, their own flesh and blood for over 7 months. We live about 6 mins away.

That is weird.

Sounds like something my DP's parents would do. They would probably class DP's ex's new baby as one of their grandchildren! Would be another head fuck for their grandsons who they never bother with.

foslady Sun 16-Feb-14 19:49:33

I'm off to my xBIL's wedding on Saturday.
My dd is bridesmaid.
So will xh and the woman he left me for.

It's not for my xh or his partner to dictate if I go or not, it's up to my xBIL. He and his partner want me there. My dd wants me there. It's 5 years since he left. If xh's new partner doesn't like it then tough, it's not her event to dictate invites. (and I became good friends with his xgf that he lived with before we got together).

revealall Sun 16-Feb-14 19:50:34

YABU. I would understand how you feel if it was early day's. The PIL's should give you and their son some respect by not bringing up his ex. However it's been years! You are together and have been for years. I really can't see why it would bother you (although I can see why you might feel second best if they genuinely like her better).

Liara Sun 16-Feb-14 19:52:12

Unless they are inviting her instead of you YABU.

I am from a massive blended family where exes are systematically invited to events (and there are lots of them!)

It is really nice for the children (yes, even the grown up ones!) to feel that there is no need to 'pick sides' in terms of who is included - everyone you love is, whether they be current, step, ex or whatever.

Does make for some seriously oversized events though. grin

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sun 16-Feb-14 19:52:55

Has she not remarried in all this time? Does she have a new partner and new set of in-laws? If she has they must wonder why she keeps hanging round her exh's family.

NachoAddict Sun 16-Feb-14 19:57:26

needaholiday MIL was saying while ex was pregnant that of course she would have the new baby over night because dsd would want her baby sister to come with her. DS was 10 months old and never stayed the night. One time we had been there ds was asleep upstairs and she said oh don't forget to take your baby home.

Life is bliss since I went non contact with them.

TamerB Sun 16-Feb-14 20:02:51

I think that since the general trend on MN is that PIL are a necessary evil they can't understand that some are loved! You don't just break it off because the couple do. If I broke up with my DH it doesn't alter the fact that I have a separate, long standing relationship with his parents in my own right. I wouldn't go to a big family occasion, but I would see them regularly on my own- as I do now. I can't imagine DH cutting off my elderly mother after all these years.

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 16-Feb-14 20:06:38

I have a good relationship with my outlaws. The new wife he left me for doesn't approve. She's welcome to him. She was the moment he told me about his affair. She's not welcome to rewrite my existence or relationships with my wider family.

We are linked through the blood of their DGC. I've known them all my adult life. My FIL for longer, he worked with my dad all my life.

I don't understand why my divorce means I should make adjustments to my relationships with anyone but the man I divorced. I'm not local so event attendance isn't an issue but they come to see me when ever they go to their son and his wifes house. I also have contact with my BIL who i've always got on very well with.

I have contact because they're people I've shared so much of my life with. I care for them, they for me. Its absolutely nothing to do with spiting my XH's wife.

I don't understand why she is getting so much under your skin. I read it as a mass insecurity and possibly even jealousy on your part. You need to find a coping strategy because if this has been going on fifteen years its no doubt going to go on indefinitely.

Right or wrong fair or not, it is what it is.

Look to the strengths. He chose and chooses to be with you. From the little I interpret, you too are welcomed. She is not outwardly antagonistic. The gatherings sound big so you are not on top of each other.

If it wasn't for the history of her being first wife and she was just a relative you didn't see eye to eye with how would you handle it?

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 20:07:49

She hasn't met anyone else since they split. I suppose I also sensitive cos I know Mil has said they should have stayed together

needaholidaynow Sun 16-Feb-14 20:15:12

NachoAddict That's bloody awful!! Your poor DS! sad I am glad you have cut contact with them. They sound like they don't give a shit about their grandson in favour of a child that is really nothing to do with them. I feel so sad and angry for you and your DS. What the hell is wrong with some people?

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 16-Feb-14 20:15:19

I'll bet your mother in law has also passed comment that you make your DH very happy, that you are well suited, that you cooked a wonderful meal/ hosted a great event, looked fantastic etc etc etc. maybe not always in your earshot but over fifteen years I bet they number in the hundreds or even thousands. If it helps ask your DH to think about a few for you to fall back on in insecure moments. Don't put him on the spot give him a few days - you know how it is you always think of these things the next day and not when you're pressed for them.

Are you sure that you have the complete picture of what was being expressed? Stayed together for the children, because thats what married people do, because thats what she felt her audience ought to hear her say, because she was having a momentary bitch and knew that was a cheap way to hit a nerve?

zipzap Sun 16-Feb-14 20:16:10

Just out of interest - do the PIL have a picture of you up in their house that was as big and prominent as the one of the ex and at what point did they put it up relative to your relationship with your dh?

MaryWestmacott Sun 16-Feb-14 20:24:39

I think it's lovely they invite her, I think it's very bad form of her to accept. It must look to the whole extended family she is trying to stamp "my territory" all over it, it's nice they still like her, but really not that MIL makes it clear she prefers the first wife.

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 20:27:31

She had a picture of their ( dh and his ex ) wedding day up until we got married but had a picture of the ex up until only very recently! I don't have a problem with their friendship ..I just think they are a bit insensitive..and as a result I. Just feel awkward in her's al,it's as if MIl sees her as the real wife....

nkf Sun 16-Feb-14 20:30:10

Maybe they like her and maybe they don't realise that you feel uncomfortable. If the split was amicable and a long time ago, maybe they think everyone is cool about meeting. Or their grandchildren like to have their mother at big family events. What does your husband think?

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 20:33:30

DH doesn't like it but he's a " don't rock the boat " kind of person so he will never ever say anything

alistron1 Sun 16-Feb-14 20:40:39

My parents split up over 20 years ago. At events involving my mums family my dad is still invited because he's still part of the wider family - even though dsis and I are adults and our mum has been married to her DH for longer than she was to our dad!

KingR0llo Sun 16-Feb-14 20:50:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NachoAddict Sun 16-Feb-14 20:51:06

needahokiday They resented ds from the off because they feared dsd would get pushed out. Far from it but Mil is a strange woman. DS is better off without her.

needaholidaynow Sun 16-Feb-14 21:05:04

Nacho Wtf??? They have completely contradicted themselves by pushing their grandson out then haven't they? Your MIL sounds a lot like mine unfortunately. My DP's brother is the worst though- he told DP that him, me and our boys can all drop dead and that the boys are shitty children and are scumbags and that he loves DSD. MIL said that DSD will hate DP when she is older for not letting her go to her house. Can you blame him for not letting her go?! They try brainwashing her when she is with them, and try filling her head full of shit about how she shouldn't want to be with her dad and her brothers and should come to see nanna and uncle knobhead every weekend.

2rebecca Sun 16-Feb-14 21:17:44

I don't think YABU. I could understand her including her if the break up was recent and their grandchildren young out of fear that they would lose contact with the grandchildren.
If your husband isn't unhappy about the situation or isn't willing to tell them he's unhappy with the situation then you are stuck with it.
My dad wouldn't invite my ex round without checking that I was happy with it first. To me that's normal as I expect him to love me more than my ex and for my opinions to be more important to him than my ex's.
Similarly if my son marries and divorces keeping a good relationship with him would be more important to me than keeping on good terms with his ex, whoever caused the split.
I don't think this situation is them putting you as second best (you are still invited) but them not putting their son first.
They obviously like her so you're stuck with just going to the extended family occasions you have to go to. Them being "in constant contact" sounds odd, but not much you can do about it.

Ziplex Sun 16-Feb-14 21:33:44

Bet all the nasty commenters are ex-wives!!
My Grandmother kept a photo of my parents in prime position up until she died... They were married 5 years and my Dad had remarried, he and SM when Gran died had been married over 30 years.
My Mother by good grace didn't attend family parties, partly because I didn't want her there!! I find it utterly awful when my parents are in the same room, I panic and my anxiety hits the roof.
YANBU IMHO I wouldn't want my husbands ex there and he wouldn't want mine plus our children wouldn't want them there as they are well adjusted and happy.

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 21:37:01

I do have to accept I'm stuck with it Imkniw but I dont have to like it...mind you, wait till the DCs get married and that will be a whole other dilemma !!!

thegreylady Sun 16-Feb-14 21:49:04

Primadonna do you and your dh have dc together?

woollytights Sun 16-Feb-14 21:49:18

YANBU. It's not "lovely" if it makes people uncomfortable.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Sun 16-Feb-14 21:52:47


They get to invite whoever they want to family events. Its your own insecurities that are making you have a problem with this. She is family to them. If you didnt like their neice would you expect them to stop inviting her because you wanted it?

ENormaSnob Sun 16-Feb-14 21:53:06

Trying to picture xp chuckin some shapes at our family parties...

No no no

Its weird.


MisForMumNotMaid Sun 16-Feb-14 21:54:18

You don't have to like it.

The only bit in your control is management of yourself and finding a way to not allow each event to be a little more stressful than the last is so necessary to not end up like a pressure cooker ready to explode at the slightest future comment (which will no doubt happen).

Is your DH definitely not up for saying something?

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 21:56:13

No we don't have children. I don't think I am insecure... Certainly not jealous..I just feel awkward that's all esp since MIL has said she wishes they'd never's just not easy being around an ex

YoureBeingASillyBilly Sun 16-Feb-14 21:57:32

One of my uncles divorced his wife about 20 years ago. Until about 10 years ago i thought she was an actual blood aunt to me because my mum's entire family have treated her like a sister and she has been invited to every event. We celebrate her birthday just like the rest of the family. She kicked him out btw.

Primadonnagirl Sun 16-Feb-14 21:59:32

DH won't say anything cos he is of the opinion we shouldn't make a fuss...which I realise I can't do but I wish I didn't have to smile sweetly throughout it all..but I suppose it's only one day ( and not as bad as the time they invited her for Christmas lunch!)

MisForMumNotMaid Sun 16-Feb-14 22:06:20

The jealous and insecure comments weren't intended to be bitchy. I was no doubt projecting from my own situation. I'm sorry if they have offended you.

Do you think the awkwardness could stem more from discomfort you feel on behalf of your DH?

JohnFarleysRuskin Sun 16-Feb-14 22:10:25

They are weird, really.

My dad gets on well with ex-h. Would he Invite him around to stuff without my say? Nooooo

ADishBestEatenCold Sun 16-Feb-14 22:13:14

YANBY. Actually, OP, you are a far, far more patient and understanding person than I would be in these circumstances.

I understand that they like her and that, as the mother of their grandchildren, she is part of their family, but that you have been subjected to 15 years of feeling uncomfortable at family events held by your ILs is intolerable.

I think that it is time for you to put your foot down over this and more than time for your DH to support you in this. There is no need for anybody to fall out or be offended and no need for your ILs to change their plans to have their ExDIL at their event, but I do think your DH should tell his parents "We do understand that you're fond of ExDIL and want her at the party, but actually Prima and I do feel rather awkward with these situations. We would rather take you both out (for dinner, or whatever) to celebrate your anniversary (or whatever this event is), instead of attending the party, and that way you can have the best of both worlds".

I have got to say, while I do think that successfully blended families can be rather wonderful, I am stunned that there are posters on this thread who seem to think you are being unreasonable for feeling this way.

WooWooOwl Sun 16-Feb-14 22:30:41

I can't see any problem with the situation except your discomfort, and that's really not a good enough reason to stop extended family members treating each other as family.

I consider my ex to be part of my extended family because I share children with him. We are the most important people in the world to the people that I love more than anything, so to me it seems weird when families don't make the effort to get on.

Maybe your in laws had to put a lot of effort in to maintain this relationship in the early days after the split for the sake of the grandchildren, and over the course of fifteen years (and ten before that) they have grown to consider this woman who they happen to like as a permanent fixture in their family.

It's a nice thing, so much better than their being animosity or a complete lack of contact for no real reason.

pigletmania Sun 16-Feb-14 23:53:51

Yes they can remain friends with her separately, but should resect their ds and his marriage with you. What they are doing is inappropriate and weird, having a photo of her in their house hmm

pigletmania Sun 16-Feb-14 23:56:02

Christmas lunch [shick] doesent she hava family to go to!

pigletmania Sun 16-Feb-14 23:56:25


Dumpylump Mon 17-Feb-14 00:17:05

The trouble is, I quite see why op is uncomfortable with this - I would be too, but after this amount of time has passed, how do you ask the PIL to stop inviting her to things?
I imagine the response would be "oh goodness, after all this time you're upset? You were fine up til now, don't be so silly!"

RonaldMcDonald Mon 17-Feb-14 00:22:09

I think that it is up to your in laws

Tbh I have a great relationship with my ex mil, always did.

I think that there is and should be space for all. My MIL has pics of me, the kids and I and even probably a stray wedding photograph on one of her sideboards.
She's a doll and it is up to her.

Once you accept that you cannot control the past or old ladies it will all become a lot easier

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 17-Feb-14 00:26:20

Yabu and really quite childish.

They are allowed to be friends with whomever they wish they can invite them to events hosted by them and display what ever photos they want to.

All this you can't be friends because we are no longer an item should have been grown out of when you hit 15.

Being friends with one does not devalue the other and in the absence of safety issues and abuse is not showing disloyalty.

Your DH chose you because he loves you that's what matters

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 00:48:55

Ive just had a think about the family response if uncle re-married and brought up that his wife didnt like first wife being at family events. Quite frankly he'd have to pick us all up off the floor and wait for us to finish laughing in order for us to be able to tell him to trot on. The idea that we'd suddenly stop having auntie X at everything is actually unthinkable. It just wouldnt happen. She is family. And hasnt done anything to deserve being kicked out of it.

ComposHat Mon 17-Feb-14 00:59:12


Your husband has a history. He had children with his 1st wife, his family have a relationship with her, as a close friend as well as the mother of their grandchildren. Preserving a close and amicable relationship was beneficial for all concerned when the children were growing up.

Do you really expect them to obliterate their past just because he is now married to you or to say 'right ex-daughter in law, the grandchildren are now of an age when you aren't needed to facilitate grand parental visits, will you now please fuck off out of our lives.'

sunbathe Mon 17-Feb-14 01:14:46

YANBU. In your shoes, dh and I would be making excuses for the big family celebration.

Taking dh's parents out separately for a lovely dinner, would be the way forward for me.

I see it as a lack of respect on his parents' part and a lack of politeness on the ex's part.

missingmumxox Mon 17-Feb-14 01:22:25

Gosh ! I know this is aibur but still, I get the op, but... My grandparents always since the first divorce in the 80's of one of their children invited the other half as it was a "family get together" they expected the divorced couples to get on with it for the children or not turn up, for the record I know my grandad disliked one of the ex's with a passion ( for the record they had 6 children spanning 23 years, gran and grandad that is)
They even hosted a 21 st an cared for the entire extended American family of my cousin of disliked ex along with all of us.
Disliked ex was, at my granddads funeral a few weeks ago, I like him he has always been a great dad and uncle, real life and soul of the party, sometimes and I get this but if someone has been in your family for years whatever happens they are part of your family and it doesn't just affect the children.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 01:22:34

"I see it as a lack of respect on his parents' part and a lack of politeness on the ex's part."

See that sort of implies that you think the family should revolve around you/dh. Doesnt it occur to you that the family have formed their own relationships with her completely separate from her being the DC's mother and DHs ex? They may have become as close as parent/daughter over the years and his siblings feel like she is their sibling or a very good friend. Would you feel it was disrespectful or impolite if she was a best friend of theirs that you didnt like?

sunbathe Mon 17-Feb-14 01:30:30

If I were in the ex-wife's position, I would not attend the big family dos. Just see the ex-pils on other occasions. It just seems rude on her part not to step back. confused

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 01:34:21

Even if these people were your best friends and like sisters/brother to you? (Like my aunt who isnt my aunt but is)

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 01:35:39

I just couldnt imagine aunt X not being at our family do's and i know my blood aunts would be angry at the thought she stayed away because of something their brother or his wife had said.

HadABadDay2014 Mon 17-Feb-14 01:52:40

I adore my PIL, me and DH have been together 10 years. I go out with MIL and I see her even without DH and DC.

I would hate to lose her as a friend because of a failed marriage and would think mil had been very false the entire time of my relationship with her son.

deXavia Mon 17-Feb-14 01:57:54

Are you my StepMum? This is exactly the set up we have. My Mum is still seen as part of my Dad's family some 35 years since they divorced, she is always invited to family get togethers - even now my Nana has died. I do accept my StepMother has probably not liked it, or felt awkward - possibly even my Dad in a sort of silent, lets not make a fuss way. But my Grandparents, Aunts/Uncles and Cousins would have thought it odd not to invite her - whether we were kids or grown up.

Its how our family works - and I accept that's not for everyone but the precedent was set early on and just never changed. For the record my mum attends as she is genuinely close to the family but doesn't make a show of being there, its just not her style.

So to be honest I think your biggest problem is the time to have dealt with this has past - it would be odd that 10 years on you "suddenly" seem to have a problem with it. If you'd done or said something earlier - people may have been annoyed by it but possibly would have addressed it earlier. Now I think they would just be bemused or it would suddenly become this BIG issue which then makes it all a hundred times more awkward.

innisglas Mon 17-Feb-14 03:19:15

How annoying! I am in that position with my ex's parents, my daughter is the grandchild of his parents and I have always got on really well with them and consider myself a personal friend of her grandmother.
Unfortunately his succession of wives think as you do, which put my daughter in the position of spending Christmas with them when I am not invited in order to please them. Everytime my ex splits up with his wife of that moment I am again invited to the family occasions.
I honestly don't know what is going through the brains of these women, they knew he had been married before and had children when they got married. They know that we have been separated for umpteen years and that if we had wanted to get back together we had all the opportunity in the world. But no, they tell his mother who she can be friends with and invite to her house.

TamerB Mon 17-Feb-14 06:56:35

If people genuinely love their ILs, which lots do, you don't just switch it off and sever contact because the couple have split. I can't see that it makes any difference- otherwise the message is 'we didn't really like you, and you weren't really a member the family- you were just someone we had to put up with'.

Primadonnagirl Mon 17-Feb-14 07:52:45

Good mix of different points of view here. I agree with those of you who are saying I've probably left it too late to say anything...I think so too. And I wish I was big hearted enough not to mind but I do. But some posters seem to think I'm saying the ILs shouldn't be in touch with her which I'm not at all. I'm just saying relationships change over time and I do think it's part of divorce to accept that family dynamics change and that to have two " wives" together is likely to be awkward. I'm not her enemy..we can make reasonable conversation but I would be lying if I said I was comfortable about it.

TamerB Mon 17-Feb-14 08:13:53

I agree that although it is normal to stay friendly, two 'wives' together is best to be avoided. Generally the ex sees this and changes the dynamics. A bit late in your case, unfortunately.

diaimchlo Mon 17-Feb-14 08:44:22

I do have to accept I'm stuck with it Imkniw but I dont have to like it...mind you, wait till the DCs get married and that will be a whole other dilemma !!!

I was wondering when this point was going to be raised. IMHO YABU you have been with him 15 years, his exW has maintained a relationship with your DH's family for that time and at no time in your posts have you insinuated that she has made a move on your DH or treated you with any disrespect. You obviously were aware of the situation and all his baggage when you met and married your DH, I do not understand why it is bothering you so far down the line.

I really feel for your DSSs when the family events are centered around them.

Greenmug Mon 17-Feb-14 08:53:26

I think it's unfair of your MIL to say to you that they should have stayed together, that really is insensitive.

From how I read your posts it sounds to me that you don't for a minute think they your IL's should not have contact with this woman, just that having her at family occasions makes you feel uncomfortable? It's good that they still have a good relationship and of course you know that there's nothing you can do about this now, but I do kind of understand that it's probably not easy for you. But as lots of others said, it doesn't really matter and I suspect that your DH's ex has no idea how you feel so just go and enjoy yourself. You have nothing to feel uncomfortable about.

Pooka Mon 17-Feb-14 08:57:28

My step mother is lovely. She has been my stepmother since I was 14.

My mother maintained very friendly relationship with my granny and with my aunts. She had been DIL for 20 years when my parents separated and was and is the mother of the grandchildren (including me) and nieces/nephews.

As a consequence she was often invited to family "dos" at my grandmother's house (I.e. Aunt's 60th, grandmother's 80th). And has also come to my father's 60th and 70th parties at his and step mother's house. My mother and step mother actually click quite well. They have lots to talk about- books and films for example, without ever talking about my dad/relationships and so on.

She came to my grandmother's funeral - and it was lovely that she was there. There were so many people there that she had known when she was married to my father - the friends of my younger aunts and so on.

My step mother is absolutely not second best. I can see that my mum is sometimes greeted as an old and rarely seen friend, and I can appreciate that that could make my stepmother feel sidelined. But it doesn't, because she is confident and clearly married to my father, and my dad and mum only really talk about us and the grandchildren. They don't click as well as my mum and stepmother do!

I know the separation was horrible for my mother (dad had an affair, not with step mother) partly because of the loss of my father's family (she actually was terribly fond of my grandmother - more so really than her own). So it is lovely that it has panned out that she still participates in some family events, is in regular contact with my aunts, gets on with my stepmother, and stepmother isn't threatened by this at all. I don't think it would have panned out like this if dad had stayed with the OW, however. I don't think that would ever have been comfortable for either of them.

Pooka Mon 17-Feb-14 09:03:51

I should point out that my mother wouldn't have expected To be invited to these things (barring my dgm's funeral). And actually I think I find it a bit more awkward that my sm does (it's was strange at first to have them all in the same room smile ). But now I'm older and have children of my own I appreciate the 'adult' way things have been dealt with and the sense that there is no animosity between my stepmother and mother and the family as a whole (however badly my father behaved 30 years ago). It makes it easier for me to know that my mother and stepmother can get on and I don't have to compartmentalise.

sparechange Mon 17-Feb-14 09:32:10

YANBU, it is very odd.
Just out of interest, what capacity is she introduced as at family events? A friend, or the ex-DIL?
Is MIL religious, and sees her as the 'legitimate' wife?

eddielizzard Mon 17-Feb-14 09:35:51

i wouldn't be happy about this. i wonder if there is some subtle way to go about this, but probably not!

BruthasTortoise Mon 17-Feb-14 10:01:10

I can't imagine that my parents would invite my ex or any of my siblings exs to family events unless we had specifically requested it. They just wouldn't do anything on purpose to make our lives any more complicated and there would be no necessity for the ex's to be invited to family events. My folks would have respect for our feelings, something with your PILs sadly seem to be lacking.

2rebecca Mon 17-Feb-14 10:07:08

It seems a very female problem. Lots of women who get divorced still seem to want to visit their inlaws and be invited to their ex's family events. Do many men do the same? I suspect men move on more and maybe stick to their own family events and spending time with their friends and aren't that bothered about going to their ex's family gatherings..
I remember there was a thread about a woman's ex who was always pitching up at her parents when she was invited round and people thought it was odd. Maybe daughters are more vocal in telling their parents they aren't coming if their ex is going to be there as it makes them feel awkward as women don't do the "anything for a quiet life" act as much.
It sounds as though it's mainly a problem when the ex hasn't got a new partner and is maybe short of company and misses the extended family stuff.
I didn't expect to be invited to my ex's family dos once we separated. We didn't live that near though, maybe this is more of a situation for SAHMs with inlaws round the corner who spent alot of time with their exinlaws in the past.

LoonvanBoon Mon 17-Feb-14 10:30:32

I understand why you don't like the situation, but I do think you're being unreasonable to want your PIL to exclude the mother of their grandchildren from family events.

You said that you don't object to them being in touch with her, but feel that they haven't acknowledged the change in family dynamics; & you feel it's awkward for there to be "two wives" present.

I think this is the problem - that you're seeing her primarily in relation to you - the wife who came before you - & then in relation to your husband, as his ex-wife who is now no longer part of the family.

But I don't think relationships within the wider extended family are as simple as that. While she was married to your DH she presumably developed her own, independent relationships with her ILs. It sounds like they got on well & cared for each other. She probably encouraged & facilitated her children's relationships with their GP - a role still often left to the mum / wife - & that has forged a very strong bond.

So she's not at these events as the ex-wife, she's there as the mum of your PILs GC & as someone they probably love, quite independently of her relationship with their son. Her presence isn't a reflection on you, but it does reflect the fact that the relationship between you & your DH is not the sole determinant of the extended family dynamics. Why would you expect it to be?

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Mon 17-Feb-14 11:00:27

It seems a very female problem. Lots of women who get divorced still seem to want to visit their inlaws and be invited to their ex's family events. Do many men do the same? I suspect men move on more and maybe stick to their own family events and spending time with their friends and aren't that bothered about going to their ex's family gatherings..

Maybe it i more of a female problem, but dealing with the inlaws is often left to the wife.

I've seen umpteen threads where women are trying to find their MIL a gift because "dh won;t bother" or trying to get their PIL involved more with kids etc. More of an emotional effort is often made by the woman I think. Also we are told frequently we should treat these people as family (I've frequently seen posters berated for allowing their mother at the birth but not their MIL!) so are they family or are they not?

2rebecca Mon 17-Feb-14 11:06:45

I insist my husband sorts out cards and presents for his side of the family, he also tends to phone his side of the family about stuff. I've always worked though and have more than enough to do with my time without visiting ex-inlaws. My ex-husband is quite capable of ensuring our kids see his relatives, I see no need for me to be involved with this. I've always chosen independent men though. My inlaws are not the same as my family. They are my husband's family. If we divorce then I'd send them xmas cards but I wouldn't be always popping in and I'd probably feel awkward going to any of their extended family events.

BruthasTortoise Mon 17-Feb-14 11:15:57

Vegetarians I think posters are berated for not treating their inlaws as their husbands family. And I've never seen a thread on MN where the poster has even flamed for not allowing the MIL to be at the actual birth, there have been a few where the poster has requested their hisbnad's family don't visit for weeks or months while their own family is welcome from the hospital on. Even in those cases there's much support for the woman getting the final say as it's her choice who visits and nothing to do with her DH.

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Mon 17-Feb-14 11:18:04

That's all very sensible (and I do the same), but I suspect if you did a straw poll on MN it would also be unusual.

According to much of MN wisdom many men are incapable of buying their own socks. hmm

Davsmum Mon 17-Feb-14 11:20:51

My ex husband's family continued to invite me to family gatherings/events after we divorced.
My ex met someone and remarried and I was still invited but I always turned down the invitations because I thought it would be unfair to his new wife. I still saw his family on other occasions that he was not involved in.

starfishmummy Mon 17-Feb-14 11:27:08

Its up to your pils who they invite to their parties and home.
Either get over it or decline their invitation op

dunsborough Mon 17-Feb-14 11:31:06


It's weird.

SlimJiminy Mon 17-Feb-14 11:54:34

Sometimes the PILs can feel a huge sense of guilt when their DS and DIL split up. I know my GPs felt like they needed to provide some stability for their grandchildren when my uncle left his wife - make up for the damage he'd done iykwim - and it was no reflection on how they felt about his new wife.

They invited exDIL to family gatherings and it lasted from when they separated right up to when my GPs passed away 16 years later. No question about it - they loved my aunty as much when the relationship broke down as they did when they'd been together. And they couldn't have just switch off when the kids turned 18 or whatever - she was still the kids mum/our aunty - just not his wife anymore.

I really do think you should suck it up and play nice - your 15-year relationship is just 15 more years that she has been their mum. Their feelings towards her don't lessen because you've been in the picture for a long time. I bet they think it's great that you all get on so well/can be civil for the sake of the kids, who will always be their grandchildren, whatever their age.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 12:26:48

OP if not insecurity or jealousy can you pin point exactly what it is that makes you uncomfortable about her being there?

MollyWhuppie Mon 17-Feb-14 13:05:42

I am surprised at the number of people who think yabu for feeling the way you do. I am amazed that people think it's fine to throw tact and diplomacy out of the window and ride roughshod over people's feelings in these situations.

I think they should think more carefully about how you, their DS's wife might feel about having to share your Christmas day with your husband's ex, and other such occasions. I find it quite frankly bizarre, and actually quite inhuman to suggest you are in the wrong for feeling the way you do.

I'd like to think that I would be more sensitive to everyone's feelings. That's not to say that they shouldn't have a relationship with his ex, but it's wrong that you should be put in uncomfortable situations for them to do so.

I think you'd have to have the hide of a rhino for it not to get to you just a little bit. Clearly there are a lot of rhinos on MN and I would take some of these responses with a pinch of salt.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 13:16:45

Really molly? So lets say your best friend who you've known and loved and shared these events with for 25 years and a family members spouse suddenly expresses their discomfort at your friend being so much in YOUR life do you just drop friend from family events because someone you arent as close to has some issue with her?

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 13:17:48

Why is one family members (until this point unexpressed) feelings more important than another who has been in your life a lot longer?

MollyWhuppie Mon 17-Feb-14 13:25:54

sillybilly Yes, if I had two important people in my life, I would try to be sensitive to feelings on all sides and would hopefully come up with solutions that meant no-one had to feel uncomfortable.

If I was the ex, I would also accept that I wouldn't be such an important part of that family anymore. I certainly wouldn't expect to have pride of place at any of my exes family gatherings, and I know it would be jolly uncomfortable for any current wives/partners.

It's totally insensitive to think otherwise.

MollyWhuppie Mon 17-Feb-14 13:28:16

Not saying one person's feelings are more important than the other, but both should be taken into account. It does not seem that the OP's have been considered at all.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 13:38:57

I dont think anyone has side the ex wife should have pride of place!

In my aunts situation she has now been in my family for 40+ years, she isnt "uncle johnny's ex" to any of us and never was but to a new wife of his she would be. Her best friend is my mum's sister, they go everywhere together, they raised each others dcs, she babysat me and most of the nieces and nephews at one point or another. She visits my nana just as often as the rest of the family (on her own if that makes sense- not just tagging along) she also caters pretty much every family event we have. She is a sister just as much as he is a brother tbh and it honestly would be unthinkable that we didnt invite her to things if uncle re married to save awkwardness. No-one would stand for it and thats not to say second wives (or husbands) arent as embraced, they are, just like she was all those years ago. She poses no threat at all to any new partners of uncle, shes not hanging around in te hope he'll notice her, shes there because she loves the people and we are family to her like she is to us. The only person who could view her as 'surplus to requirements' would be uncle but to the rest of us she is family just like the other aunts and uncles.

MollyWhuppie Mon 17-Feb-14 14:26:07

Your situation is totally different as your uncle never remarried. Who's to say things wouldn't have been different if he had had a new wife in the early days before the 'status quo' was set?

I still think people should be kind and considerate to other's feelings. If I had two friends who were divorced, I probably wouldn't invite them both round for dinner with their new partners unless everyone was happy with it.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 14:36:07

The status quo was that for 15 years before they divorced she was already a family member. Even if he had married a year after they divorced aunt would have been just as much aunt as she had been the previous 15 years. Do you honestly think that if a new partner had come along my blood aunts would have told her to toddle off now because they had a new SIL? She was their friend and sister and that will never change. Any new partner/wife he gets will be welcomed just the same. Her relatiosnhip with our family has developed so far beyond that of uncles wife that it would probably break all our hearts to end that. Well we just wouldnt.

AmberLeaf Mon 17-Feb-14 14:42:40


Its nice that everyone gets on.

mind you, wait till the DCs get married and that will be a whole other dilemma

What dilema?

LoonvanBoon Mon 17-Feb-14 14:51:14

Molly, your example (inviting friends to dinner) isn't a great analogy because it doesn't even involve family.

The situation here seems to be to be much more similar to that of SillyBilly's family, in that the OP's husband's ex ISN'T primarily the OP's husband's ex within the wider family context. She's a much-loved member of the PILs' family: the mother of their GC, possibly a valued aunty, & so on.

Of course OP may not enjoy being in her company - that's natural enough. But to expect everyone else to cut out a family member is totally unreasonable. Why should one's person discomfort in the presence of another trump the feelings of all those who do want to see this woman - especially if we're talking about events organized by the PIL / GP.

And as OP herself has acknowledged, she needs to get used to all this because with older stepchildren she's going to be in this situation an awful lot in the future. Or do you think her DH's children should have to exclude their mum from future weddings, parties & so on, just in order to be "sensitive" to their stepmum?

We all want to be treated sensitively. We don't all expect people to write their loved ones out of important events just because our relationship to them isn't a comfortable one. There are people in my extended family I'm not keen on, but it wouldn't occur to me to expect them to be excluded just to make my life easier.

You said that you'd absent yourself from family events if you were the ex, Molly, but why would you do that? Tact & diplomacy is one thing, deciding that your ex's new relationship somehow invalidates several of your own relationships, & their history, is something else.

LoonvanBoon Mon 17-Feb-14 14:52:55

Sorry, "one person's" not "one's person".

2rebecca Mon 17-Feb-14 15:19:08

I love my brother's wife but the loyalty and love I feel for my brother is greater. If they split I'd keep in touch with her but I wouldn't invite her round at the same time as my brother without checking he was happy with the idea first, and if he had a new partner I'd expect him to check she was happy with the situation.
I find it odd so many people show so little consideration for their family members and seem to feel that people who have married into a family should have priority over the people whose family it actually is.
It sounds as though alot of the grandparents here have very little love or respect for the opinions of their sons.
And yes I do think the views of blood relatives should be more important than the views of people who were once married to that relative (but aren't any longer and need to get a life of their own)

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Mon 17-Feb-14 15:19:38

I am surprised at the number of people who think yabu for feeling the way you do. I am amazed that people think it's fine to throw tact and diplomacy out of the window and ride roughshod over people's feelings in these situations.

No, I just think the exwife's feelings matter too. And clearly so do OP's PIL.

MollyWhuppie Mon 17-Feb-14 16:17:57

I don't think anyone on this thread has said the ex should be cut off - just that the person their son is now married to, for longer than he was ever married to the ex for, her feelings should be taken into account in terms of family gatherings, Christmas etc. and she not be made to feel like shit.

They can have a relationship with her - just not rub the OP's nose in it. That's what kind, considerate people would do.

Commenting to her that her DH should never have split up with the ex is just cruel.

divisionbyzero Mon 17-Feb-14 16:35:55

yabu and yanbu: Ultimately, a mother of your children/grandchildren is just that for life, but it must be pretty hellish for you, the second you let it get to you.

The simple fact is that how you feel you need it to be, and how it is, are two different things. I know it is easy to say, but there is only one of those two things you can reasonably change.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 16:46:34

Molly you still seem to be viewing the ex wife only in relation to who she is to the OP. her being there is not rubbing OP's nose in it (in what exactly? She hasnt done anything to OP) she is there because she is family. Her feelings are just as important as OP's . The fact that the dh has been married to OP longer only matters to him and OP. To the rest of the family the ex has been family for 25 years.

2rebecca Mon 17-Feb-14 16:55:15

She isn't "family" any more though. She is still her children's mother, but she is no longer any relation of her ex-husband and his older relatives to whom she is neither a blood relative nor a relative by marriage. That's what divorce means.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 17:02:47

Would you like to tell my aunt that shes not family then? Because she sure as hell feels like family. Family is more than just marriage or a name. At the very least she is my cousins' mother. She's family. And even if you cant get your head around that- she is lifelong friend of my mum and her sisters and like a daughter to my nana. That counts for a lot.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 17:21:26

"Oh hello auntie jane, just to let you know a stranger on the internet has decided you arent actually family so i cant call you auntie anymore. I'll just call you jane when i see you in future although that wont be very often as you are no longer invited to any family events. Dont worry, if uncle johnny gets divorced from current wife we can all stop crossing the road to avoid you. Till he meets someone else that is at which point you are once again surplus to requirements. We have a max limit of aunties you see. Talk to you soon. Maybe."

2rebecca Mon 17-Feb-14 17:23:28

How many women here who are divorced would want their exhusband to be always turning up to extended family events and babysitting though? You decide you can no longer live with someone and your relationship isn't working and your extended family won't let you move on by forever inviting him round.
If my family had done this they'd have seen alot less of me. Some of them do see my ex from time to time (and I get on well with my ex) but that's completely different to inviting him to every family gathering and pretending the divorce never happened.
Divorces happen for a reason. Ignoring that will hurt the real family member who is divorced.

LoonvanBoon Mon 17-Feb-14 17:27:02

Divorce is something that happens between two people. The implications of divorce for the wider family are likely to vary from case to case, but it's nonsense, rebecca, to imply that it means divorcing your children's grandparents.

If only blood relatives & relatives by marriage are allowed to count as family,to be consistent you're going to need to discount long-term partners who aren't married, adopted children etc. Anyway, what a cheek to try & tell other people who they should count as members of their family! The PIL in this case DO count their ex DIL, their GC's mum, as part of their family, & that's all there is to it.

On your picture, women (as it's a woman in this case) are to be defined purely by their relationship to one man, & can be discarded once their legal & sexual partnership no longer exists. No doubt there are PIL who take precisely that view with regard to their children's exes, & that maybe one of the reasons there are often sadly issues with contact with GC & so on.

In the OP's extended family the attitude seems much more mature & inclusive - a bit sad that some people see that as a negative.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 17:28:48

It doesnt really matter how many women here wouldnt want it- everyone's situation is different and what is ok with some is not ok with others. OP's DH and his family have clearly not had problems with her relationship continuing to this point. I'll say again- she isnt just "johnny's ex" she has relationships with these people completely independant of him.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 17:32:47

This has reminded me if an 'issue' my exp recently brought up. He wanted to know why i was 'friendly' with his mum and his fiancee's family. What he means by friendly is that when his mum collects my dcs for contact i chat about the dcs for about 20 seconds and tht one day when out my dcs saw his fiancee''s family and waved and said hello, i smiled and said hello too and they stopped an chatted with my dcs for about 1 minute then we said goodbye. Aparently this is odd an he doesnt see why i need to be so friendly with them. confused

LoonvanBoon Mon 17-Feb-14 17:34:51

And if having to see an ex-partner at the occasional family event is enough to prevent people from moving on, how are on earth are they going to manage with regards to their children?

In any case, the OP has said in this case that her DH doesn't feel as strongly as she does about the presence of his ex at family occasions, so the issue isn't about her DH being able to move on. They've been together 15 years, anyway!

For the OP there seems to be an issue about feeling her PIL preferred her DH's ex-wife; & certainly if they make that obvious to her, then that is a problem. But that's not in itself about her presence at family events.

Maybe the ex's children wouldn't be too thrilled about their mum being excluded from their GPs' parties & so on, either - or doesn't that matter?

ADishBestEatenCold Mon 17-Feb-14 18:34:01

Primadonnagirl, you've maybe already mentioned this, if so I'm sorry for rehashing, but has your DH's ExW remarried (or is in a relationship) and, if so, does her DH/DP attend these family events?

sleepyhead Mon 17-Feb-14 18:55:00

My uncle's ex wife is my aunt. She's the mother of my cousin, my mum still considers her a sister, my gran considers her a daughter. She was "officially" part of our family for 18 years, but my uncle divorced her, we didn'tconfused

My uncle's current wife is lovely, everyone gets on with her and likes her a lot. She's part of the family too, but there isn't the same shared history so the relationship is different. I consider her a friend, but not an aunt.

Both get invited to everything. Sometimes they both go (weddings, funerals), sometimes one or the other. I'm glad no one made us choose.

cardibach Mon 17-Feb-14 19:06:22

Great. Haven't RTFT, but I could be the ex wife in this scenario. I have a relationship with PiLs and I am the mother of their first grandchild. I am invited to events in my own right, not as the ex, and now it seems this is offensive and weird. Fabulous. SO all the work I put in to ensuring their was no 'atmosphere' in her family for DD was in vain as the OW/new wife will find it odd.
Lucky my ex married a mature adult not a High School mean girl, really, isn't it. Grow up OP.

ADishBestEatenCold Mon 17-Feb-14 19:40:16

"Lucky my ex married a mature adult not a High School mean girl, really, isn't it. Grow up OP"

I think that sounds rather harsh cardibach. It does sound as if all the people involved (in your family situation) do get on well, without anyone taking a particular stance (or making particular comments) that would cause an uncomfortable atmosphere for any individual.

That's great, really good, but do you think that would still hold true if your MIL was going around saying to your ExH DW (or in her hearing) that "she wishes (her) DS and cardibach never separated".

Do you think the atmosphere would still be as comfortable for all individuals then?

Liara Mon 17-Feb-14 19:42:29

I'm just saying relationships change over time and I do think it's part of divorce to accept that family dynamics change and that to have two " wives" together is likely to be awkward. I'm not her enemy..we can make reasonable conversation but I would be lying if I said I was comfortable about it.

So when his dc get married will you not attend the wedding? Or do you expect their mother not to? Because if it is neither, then there will be 'two wives' there. And if you believe this is awkward, then you would be making her feel awkward at her child's wedding - which would be wrong of you.

innisglas Mon 17-Feb-14 20:18:53

I think you should not have married a divorced man, but now that you did, you should get on with it.

IAmOwedMoney Mon 17-Feb-14 20:20:01

I think you should not have married a divorced man, but now that you did, you should get on with it.

I second this.

KingR0llo Mon 17-Feb-14 20:27:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Primadonnagirl Mon 17-Feb-14 20:30:06

I should not have married a divorced man??? wtf?? So no one is allowed a chance at happiness the second time around?? Let me be clear..I do absolutely respect her role as the mother of my Dhs children.. I have a good relationship with her..I do not for one minute think my Pils should cast her aside...BUT my point is I have been his wife for 15 years now and I don't think it is unreasonable for me not to want to be enthusiastic about pretending we are all some happy blended family . Clearly such families some of you have described..but that's not our experience. I am merely saying I struggle to pretend this dynamic is Ok and I'm tired of putting on a polite face. it doesn't mean I hate her..don't love my step kids etc..I just want some respect for my feelings.Not that it matter but the ex hasn't had a partner since they split so I can't draw any comparisons to her life..but if she did I doubt she'd want me turning up at her parties!!!


YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 20:37:40

But OP why is it not ok to you? Can you say why, if you get on with her ok etc why its not ok?

stooshe Mon 17-Feb-14 20:42:00

Take the Patti Hansen high road. She is the wife of Keith Richards and has two children for him. Keith is still friendly with Anita Pallenberg, mother of his two eldest and ex heroin addict companion.
Whilst Keith's mother was alive she was still friendly with Anita and there are many family photos with Patti and Anita in the same photo.
As Willie Nelson said...there really isn't anything as an "ex" wife. Especially if the split was amicable and children were involved.
We get a lot of stories on here of mother in laws (especially) who side with errant sons and leave out the "hard done by" ex and children.
Your in laws could have one of those sorts. Bump up your confidence and go forth with the knowledge that if you and your partner split, you won't be cast into "never existed" sea, like many others are when they split with a partner.

KingR0llo Mon 17-Feb-14 20:43:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Primadonnagirl Mon 17-Feb-14 20:49:31

Why is it not ok ?? Well I suppose because it's awkward on introductions ( Mil introduces her as her first daughter in law) .we all tend to sit together ( cos the rest of the family are much older)so we are into " forced " conversation..we have little in common ( other than a husband!!) so it's polite conversation territory's not frosty but it's like talking to a colleague it's very uncomfortable for honest who feels completely fine with ex and current partner together ?! So I feel after 15 years his parents should accept the dynamics have changed..I don't mean that she's no longer a part of the family but she has a different role do I.

Primadonnagirl Mon 17-Feb-14 20:51:44

Being lighthearted now..but would you expect Diana and Camilla to get on at a family do??!!

KingR0llo Mon 17-Feb-14 20:58:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 21:05:39

Yes tbh i reckon camilla and diana would have gotten on for the sake of appearances.

I dont feel awkward around my ex and his fiancee but thats probably because i have long since stopped giving a shite whether conversation flows or not- if i need to see them i do and say whatever needs said. Exp and fiancee obviously do find it awkward as he raised it and they hid in the kitchen like children when his mum invited me in for 3 minutes at xmas while my dcs gathered up their things.

I really disagree that its inappropriate to invite a close frend and the mother of your GCs/nephew nieces to family events.

IAmOwedMoney Mon 17-Feb-14 21:10:58

Camilla cheated with Dianna's husband, did you too?

I guess Dianna would have tolerated Camilla for the sake of her son's. They were friendly at the beginning.

KingR0llo Mon 17-Feb-14 21:13:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MisForMumNotMaid Mon 17-Feb-14 21:13:52

This is a very interesting thread. Its really interesting to see this dynamic from the other view point. The second wife in my circumstance was sleeping with my then husband whilst i was looking after a newborn and disabled toddler. I bare her no malice - he was the cheater (she cheated on her husband not me). She resents me though which I just don't understand. I've tried and succeeded to maintain good relationships with the wider family. My MIL accepted her but didn't take down my wedding photos, i did. I gave her nice ones of the DC to replace them with. They made me uncomfortable.

The Camila/ Diana thing is interesting. It would have been Diana in the public eye at the engagement/ wedding/ birth/ Christening wouldn't it? Camila at the day to day public ribbon cuttings at Charles' side.

They would have been stuck in the same room, all very political as to who sat where, no doubt with neither having any say. Very much you chose this life you're stuck with it. All stiff upper lip no emotion allowed.

Primadonnagirl Mon 17-Feb-14 21:15:53

Oh I knew someone was going to say I was not the other woman!!! They had been divorced a long time before we I said the Diana ref was lighthearted! Meaning two people with the same husband in the past don't automatically get on!!

Primadonnagirl Mon 17-Feb-14 21:17:51

Please forget I mentioned Diana...

MissFenella Mon 17-Feb-14 21:26:21

When you are sat around a table with her making polite conversation why not ask her?
' X number of years on why do you accept these invites now that the children have grown?'

I feel MIL and Ex must know you will feel awkward and just couldn't care less. So front ex out about it if it bothers you. If you cannot face asking her straight up then you need to suck it up I think.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 21:30:51

X number of years on from what? confused she never stopped being their friend and the dcs mother! People still only seeing her in relation to the OP and her dh. Why must family events revolve around them?

2rebecca Mon 17-Feb-14 21:37:24

Someone mentioned whether or not the grandchildren would "object" to their mum not being invited to their gran's family functions and I wonder why they would.
I haven't been to any of my exes extended family functions since we split and he hasn't been to any of mine. If he's visiting his relatives with the kids his partner goes with him. My husband goes to my relatives. My kids would find it odd if we pitched up at each other's relatives. Obviously when the kids get married etc we'll both be there along with our extended families, but that's because the event will revolve around the kids who we are both related to, not each other's families who we aren't. I no longer think of my ex's nieces and nephews as my nieces and nephews, where as I'm called auntie by my husband's nieces and nephews and his ex isn't.
I think it's fine for people to choose to go to their ex's family events if everyone is happy with the situation but I find it odd that some people think that the member of the family who used to be married to that person and now isn't shouldn't be consulted about it and asked first. Why would you want to make a member of your family feel awkward unless you disliked them?
In this case it sounds as though the husband hasn't actually objected, but he can't enjoy visiting his parents if his wife is tense if his ex is there.
I wouldn't do that to my son or daughter, no matter how lovely I may think their ex is if they separated and asked me not to invite them round whilst they were there I wouldn't invite them.

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Mon 17-Feb-14 21:43:44

When you are sat around a table with her making polite conversation why not ask her?' X number of years on why do you accept these invites now that the children have grown?'

yes, make the Ex feel bad about hanging out with people she actually likes hmm The Ex is the one who should feel awkward, not the OP and yet the ex has been grown up maybe she assumes the OP is as well?. If the ex can be Ok with it, the OP needs to get over herself.

It sounds like the OP isn't too keen on the PIL, sounds like the ex is.. Why shouldn't she continue to hang out with people who she sees as family for 25 years plus?

LoonvanBoon Mon 17-Feb-14 21:55:38

She's a Family friend to his wider Family, no more than that. One who it is inappropriate to invite to Family bashes.

It's just bizarre that some posters think they can prescribe what role a person should play in someone else's family.

It's up to the husband's wider family what role his ex wife plays, what she means to them, what their feelings are for her, because they have relationships with her that are independent of her relationship with her ex.

How dare anyone else say "she's a family more than that". How the fuck do they know? As for claiming that it's "inappropriate" for her to be invited to their parties - so the PIL don't get to choose who they want to celebrate their upcoming wedding anniversary with, then? How one earth is that reasonable?

People are still only seeing her in relation to the OP and her dh. Why must family events revolve around them?

Yes, I agree this is the whole problem - & I just don't get why this is so hard to grasp.

The OP doesn't have to like it; she doesn't have to pretend they're one big, happy blended family (beyond common courtesy, which is no big ask towards the mother of your husband's children). She just has to accept that her feelings towards the ex do not determine her role in other people's lives. That's all.

Primadonnagirl Mon 17-Feb-14 21:58:50

Well, I'm on the defensive here but I don't see how you can say the ex is grown up and I'm not...if the ex is Ok with it I should be??! That just doesn't make sense. She is perfectly entitled to feel comfortable..I'm saying I don't.Why do you assume she is all sweetness and my pils are lovely and all embracing? The truth is she is perfectly polite towards me as I am towards her but like I said it's in a forced formal way.I think we are equally uncomfortable.

Primadonnagirl Mon 17-Feb-14 22:00:17

And MIL isn't lovely and welcoming. To me.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 22:11:23

To be fair OP lots of family relations are forced politeness out of nothing other than politeness. Surely you are forcing politeness with some of the other members of the family (i know there are some in mine that i just dont bother with outside of family events so dont know what to talk about with them) that you dont see that often or know very well? Do you expect them to decline invitations because you find you have to force conversation with them?

2rebecca Mon 17-Feb-14 22:18:02

I love visitng my extended family and don't feel any forced politeness when there. My inlaws are fine too, I'm not as comfortable with them, but I haven't grown up with them. They have always been very welcoming to me though, and never made me feel second best wife.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 22:20:35

I have a huge family (possibly because we seem to hang on to all the first spouses grin) and there are a lot that i dont see from one xmas to the next and if i happen to be sat beside them on the sofa would have a bit of trouble thinking of what i know about them to ask.

MissFenella Mon 17-Feb-14 22:25:30

Yes the ex should feel awkward, she is the ex. Why would anyone want to hang around their ex in laws? Madness!

Be friendly, share a cup of tea, make a call now and again but repeatedly turn up to family events like Banquo's ghost? Nah.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 22:30:13

She's not repeatedly turning up. She is being invited! By people who want her there because they have a relationship with her. Why is that so hard to understand? Some people can work out how to be adult enough not to suddenly hate a person just because someone else they love doesnt want to live with them anymore.

MissFenella Mon 17-Feb-14 22:42:21

Invited not compelled to go.

I don't agree with the view that the former wife's happiness/desire to hang around her ex's family trumps the feelings of the OP? The OP is the daughter in law after all.

MissFenella Mon 17-Feb-14 22:44:05

And being adult is also about recognising when it is your time to bow out gracefully rather than keep giving it 'I was here first'.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 17-Feb-14 22:55:09

Umm- do you know this woman? What makes you think she is giving it "i was here first"? confused

OP is also not compelled to go. And as has been said that you are ignoring- she hasnt been divorced from her children or their grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins/her friends

LoonvanBoon Mon 17-Feb-14 23:41:04

MissFenella, do you think all women are entirely defined by their relationship(s) to their husbands / partners, or is it just ex-wives? Pretty offensive, either way.

Your posts seem almost wilfully obtuse. The ex-wife has bowed out of her marriage, but there is no reason for her to bow out of her relationship with her children's grandparents.

The husband's relatives don't all belong to him, they're not part of his baggage. They are independent people with the right to form their own relationships: & in this case the husband's parents seem to have their own, independent relationship - which they clearly value - with their son's ex-wife / grandchildren's mum.

This isn't a case of whether the ex wife's feelings trump those of the current wife. It's a question of whether the current wife's feelings should be allowed to override the feelings, choices & values of her husband's family.

The idea that the the ex wife in this case "should feel awkward" is pathetic. Why should she feel awkward? Is she no longer of any value just because she's not this man's wife anymore? You have no idea of the depth of relationship she might have with her former in-laws.

And the idea that she has an "I was here first" attitude is pure conjecture on your part & sounds incredibly childish.

I acknowledge that OP's MIL may well not be all that nice, & may not be welcoming to her. If she'd posted about how her MIL was undermining her by comparing her unfavourably to her husband's ex, I'd have been the first to say she wasn't being unreasonable.

But the thread was about being irked by the PRESENCE of the ex. At events she has been invited to by people who have their own relationships with her & who value those relationships.

Nobody has the right to demand that people should write other people out of their lives / shared history / family just because they find their presence irksome.

ComposHat Mon 17-Feb-14 23:59:35

I wonder if the genders were reversed. Daughter with second husband, first husband still close to former in laws, whether there would be this level of angst and possessiveness. This isn't a rhetorical question, I really don't know.

2rebecca Tue 18-Feb-14 00:00:32

They don't, but if my son asked me not to invite his ex along to an event because he and his wife feel more relaxed when she isn't there and I refuse he might rightly conclude that I was prioritising my relationship with his ex over my relationship with him.
It is sad that sons' feelings are considered so unimportant by many mothers.
Why not just see the exwife at the umpteen other times when your son isn't there?
Also why aren't these women moving on with their lives? I can't imagine that clinging on to a family you were once part of but now aren't is good for your self esteem.
Exhusbands don't go in for this sort of behaviour, it does sound as though women have more difficulty letting go and moving on.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Tue 18-Feb-14 00:15:35

They still are part of the family though. Thats the whole point that you are willfully ignoring.

spindoctorofaethelred Tue 18-Feb-14 00:42:34

MIL and FIL are divorced. FIL's mother has always said to MIL, 'we didn't divorce, did we?'

I think that if FIL attempted to exclude MIL now, for his partner's sake, his mother and his adult children would be Cross with a capital C.

cardibach Tue 18-Feb-14 07:46:44

Sorry for the big pause, only just caught up with this. Those of you saying how lovely for me that we all get on - really? You think that just happened? My ex is married to the OW. A bomb went off in all our relationships. What mature adults do is work through that so everyone can coexist in peace if not harmony.

Animation Tue 18-Feb-14 08:09:28

It does feel very uncomfortable. I suppose you have to put up with the discomfort is all I can think in this situation.

I don't personally think I would be able to hook up with a man with an ex wife and children for that very reason. I know I wouldn't be very good at fitting in that kind of situation.

Some women can do it with ease I know.

Bonsoir Tue 18-Feb-14 08:18:28

My DP has an exW and his DF has a vague relationship with her because she is the mother of two of his GC. In our case the relationship is weak because the DSSs don't live with their mother anymore and are most unlikely ever to do so again. It would be odd for GPs to blank the mother of their GC.

Peacesword Tue 18-Feb-14 09:01:20

I get you Primadonnagirl. I'm in exactly the same position. Dp's xw is an integral part of his family, they were married for years and she is like a daughter to dp's mum.

I don't have an issue with that whatsoever, and from the start of our relationship knew she was always going to be around at family stuff. I actually found it a real shame, when we eventually met, that she clearly had an issue with me being around (and she has had 2 or 3 partners since they split by mutual agreement) - and she's been incredibly rude to me. That's her stuff to deal with though, I'm not going to avoid anything because of one rude person, no matter who she is.

I think the issue for you though isn't the ex, it's your MIL. She is saying insensitive things, and it's that that is making you feel uncomfortable and "second best", not the xw's presence - and that's not on. I wonder if some of the x's discomfort is because she knows what her MIL feels?

Is your MIL generally insensitive?

LizLemonaid Tue 18-Feb-14 11:00:50

I think the only way to change things is to decline invites yourself from now on. That may be a catalyst forchange but maybe they will all think "phew we can relax now".

Somebody else said why do u care if your mil prefers her? My xmil hated me! No higher accolade.

Animation Tue 18-Feb-14 11:09:45

I know I would decline invites if I was in that situation.

Fleta Tue 18-Feb-14 11:15:21

Well I'm about to become an ex-wife and I would hope that my PILs won't dump me

foslady Tue 18-Feb-14 14:26:01

Fleta I'm still good friends with my 1st exh's family - they were disappointed I didn't go to his funeral but out of respect for his 2nd wife (although hadn't realised they'd split by that time) and I'm still good friends with exh2's family. My daughter goes for tea to her grandparents weekly, they ask if they can have her in the hols, she's close to her cousins and her Aunt and Uncles. I have done nothing to offend any of them other than to divorce their family member who no longer wanted to be with me. They were upset by his behaviour and we talked. I even said that all they could do was to accept the new woman as that was his choice now and not me. I make sure that there are presents and cards to her cousins/grandparents from her as he cannot be trusted to buy for them on her behalf (and yes I did give him chance to but he never did). I get cards from them. I don't visit every touch and turn - in fact I can't remember the last time I went to the exIL's house. But I will be at his brothers wedding on Saturday. They want me there, my dd is a bridesmaid. If exh and is partner can't cope then that's their problem. They will have each other, I will be walking in alone, sat through the ceremony and wedding breakfast on my own and staying for as long as is presentable on my own. And I will be there because the happy couple want me there.

Each family is different, not all families have this outlook, that I accept. But you cannot expect a whole family to wipe a person out of 15 years just because someone new has come along and doesn't have that kind of attitude. Especially when children are involved. My dd is happy to tell me of her cousins, how she had a lovely time at her grans etc because I am accepted. If I was shut off from all this I know she wouldn't want to tell me in case it upset me and would feel that she had to live a 'dual' life.

lavage Tue 18-Feb-14 15:30:22

It's lovely to maintain the relationship with an ex-IL but if the ex is at every single family event then that can be pretty hard on the new couple. I cannot imagine prioritising my kids' exes over them... which is what this MIL is doing.

OP your real problem is not your insensitive MIL but the fact that your DH won't stand up for you. If he won't talk to his mother, then calmly refuse to see your ILs. They can get on with it or adapt to make the situation at bit more comfortable for you - the choice is theirs but at least you won't feel so awkward. Life is way too short for this.

tattychicken Tue 18-Feb-14 19:15:02

I think Fos puts it very eloquently.

iamsoannoyed Tue 18-Feb-14 20:50:47

I can see why it might have made you uncomfortable to begin with, I really can.

But it's now 15 years on and you and DH are still together, so I think you should be secure enough in yourself/your relationship with your DH to let it go. It might not be how you'd choose it to be, in an ideal world, but it's only a big deal if you chose to let it be one.

Your PIL have chosen to remain good friends with their ex-DIL and mother of their DGCs. They sound like they see her as a member of their family (which is quite nice, really)- if that is the case, I can understand why they would invite her to family events.

I don't think you have the right to dictate what kind of relationship your PIL have with their ex-DIL. Actually, nor does your DH. He could voice his opinion about it though, but shouldn't expect them just to cut her out after all this time on his say so. I can imagine that them suddenly becoming distant/ not being invited to events she would have previously without explanation (or even with one) would cause a great deal of hurt and the fall-out would (IMO) not be worth it

It was deeply unpleasant of your MIL to say to you that your DH and his ExW should never of split up. You wouldn't have been unreasonable to tell her so either.

You could chose to decline invites to all events she is also invited to, if you really cannot tolerate her presence- but that depends on whether you wish to be a part of your DH's family's life or not. If you are happy to be a distant part of that, then I would simply absent yourself. If you want to be a close to his family, I would make your peace with it and move on.

Mimishimi Tue 18-Feb-14 21:25:42

YABU. If they were together for 10 years, it's quite likely that the in-laws and her became good friends in that time. She is also the mother of their grandchildren. I wouldn't cut out a DiL that I liked if she and my son broke up (unless she wronged him).

SelectAUserName Wed 19-Feb-14 06:32:11

OP, how recently (or otherwise) was it that your MIL made the infamous comment about wishing your DH and his ex had never split up? If it was in the early stages of your relationship then, hurtful as it must have been to hear at the time, perhaps it's time to let that go and move on from it secure in the knowledge you've proved your staying power. She may well have changed her mind by now anyway if she has seen how happy you have made her son. If it was within the last few weeks or months, then YADNBU and your MIL is an insensitive weirdo!

I totally get why you would feel uncomfortable about this (I'm a second wife myself, although my PILs are no longer with us). I think some of the comments are harsh and unjustified, as if you're demanding your PILS should drop ex-DIL altogether which you've quite clearly never suggested. I can also understand how you can get to a point after a long period of time where you think "jeez, can we not have ONE family event without DH's ex?!" which can come as a surprise to those who think you've been fine with it all along, but it's like drops of water wearing away at a stone, especially if at every event for 15 years you've spent it in a state of "forced politeness" and never felt truly able to relax.

It's all very well to praise the PILs for having this mature friendship with their ex-DIL, but unless they originally asked their son how he felt about them inviting his ex to the first post-split event and he made a classic don't-make-a-fuss response of "it's fine", which they've taken at face value ever since, then it's a little insensitive of them to not at least consider how her continued presence might make him - the reason she's part of their family in the first place, and their own son - feel, never mind the OP. No question that she should be involved in any event focused on the children, but it is possible for the PILs to be a little more selective otherwise: invite ex-DIL to enough occasions to reassure her of her continued importance to them, while maintaining their friendship privately too, but having the odd smaller get-together without her.

Of course, they could be sitting there saying "oh well, I suppose we'd better invite DS's ex again, it would seem odd not to after all this time, honestly I thought she'd have found herself someone else by now and be too busy to turn up here all the time"! Whether there's any basis in truth for that or not OP, maybe you could tell yourself that's how it is and so help yourself feel less uncomfortable at the family events grin

Primadonnagirl Wed 19-Feb-14 23:15:24

Thanks Select I think you sum my situation up nicely.Sadly MIL made that remark about two years ago...she is very entrenched in her views and thinks if you get married you stay married etc.I also think you are correct in observing its become a habit or us all which will be v hard to change now. TBH I have always felt uncomfortable but never dare speak up is I didnt want to be mean, but now I wish I had.I think I realise now it's too late but I do take issue with posters who think I want to get rid of the ex .. I really don't. I just feel we should all move on and that means recognising I am the wife now and may not feel comfortable with it..nb I'd love to see ther faces if I turned up with my ex h!

ADishBestEatenCold Wed 19-Feb-14 23:36:59

"I'd love to see ther faces if I turned up with my ex h!"

Me, too! grin

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 19-Feb-14 23:38:22

1) it wouldnt be the same situation if you turned up at your PIL with your ex as you arent their daughter, they dont know him from adam

2) you are his wife now and only his. You arent their wife. She is still their friend and mother of the GCs.

You say you feel you should all move on now- i agree- i think you should move on and let go if this feeling awkward about her being there. There is no reason for it except something in your own consciousness telling you it should be awkward. It really doesnt have to be and only you can control whether You feel awkward about it. The only person who has removed this woman from his immediate family is your husband. The rest if the family have maintained their relatiosnhips with her. There is room for both of you. It isnt a competition or either or.

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