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Would you approach the Ex Wife?

(32 Posts)
LemonDrizzled Wed 13-Mar-13 20:21:48

I have been with DP for 18 months. His ExW left him 3+ years ago for OM. They have 3 DC who are young adults. We all get on fine. I have met ExW twice and she is chilly but polite.

Coming up is an activity for the oldest DC that we wanted to go to to support him. ExW has told DP she is uncomfortable going if I am there. So I have dropped out cheerily because DC1 is the priority and would presumably prefer having both his DPs there.

My question is this: Should I try to talk to her and reassure her that I care about her DC and will always act in their interests because it makes DP happy? Or just leave it to DP to negotiate with her? He can't see why she has a problem with me as we met two years after she left. He doesn't get that this is an emotional reaction.

What would you do?

scaevola Wed 13-Mar-13 20:23:11

Leave it to DP. But probably have a word with him about what you would like him to achieve on this one.

Uppatreecuppatea Wed 13-Mar-13 20:30:51

Firstly, I think it is very sensible and reasonable of you to bow out. It shows your maturity.

I think the mother is being completely unreasonable. Will the OM she left the marriage for be there?

My advice is to stay bowed out this time but ask your DP to let the ExWife know that you wanted to be there to support the DC and ask for her to be more reasonable next time.

You are part of their lives and would reasonably want to be involved.

Frankly, I think she has a cheek but in these situations, the DC always come first and whatever is best for them should rule your decisions.

crazycrush Wed 13-Mar-13 20:34:15

She's best left alone. IMO she's just still possessive of your partner (attention seeking behaviour) and I doubt you would manage to win her over or reassure her.

LittleEdie Wed 13-Mar-13 20:39:50

I think it's completely normal to feel awkward around an ex's new partner, and given a choice I can see why she'd rather not have you there. It needn't be a big deal. Remain friendly but you don't need to talk to her.

LemonDrizzled Wed 13-Mar-13 21:33:36

Thanks all. I am reassured by your responses.

Uppa I totally agree the DC should come first and the adults should act adult. I will have a riotous evening with DPs Dad who doesn't want to go along grin
crazy I don't for a minute want to be her friend (although in other circumstances we would probably get on as we share a lot of values) Also she treated DP very horribly and although he is generous and forgiving I am not!
Little I feel similarly about my XH new DP but I swallow my discomfort "to practise for weddings" as my DD1 says!!
I will talk to DP about what would be a good next step. Maybe to encourage her to go along with her DP?? That might help her. I will be spitting if I find he goes on Saturday!

LittleEdie Wed 13-Mar-13 22:03:52

I see what you mean about practicing for weddings smile.

WallyBantersJunkBox Thu 14-Mar-13 00:22:43

It sounds a bit attention seeking on her side, doesn't it?

She left him for another man, but she has a problem with her exes new partner who he met and took up with in a completely honest, healthy and upfront situation.

Is it because she has left the OM op, and feels jealous and insecure? She has no right to feel uncomfortable around a situation that she engineered herself.

You are taking the mature moral high road and thinking about the DC, which is great, but did the DC want you there?

Given the circumstances you have described I would be inclined to convey to her, perhaps via DP, a suggestion that she gets the fuck over herself and that she's not in charge. More politely worded, of course and TBH only if my relationship with DC was so good that DC would prefer me to be there.

WallyBantersJunkBox Thu 14-Mar-13 15:45:35

Love that response Solid, absolutely love it.

Actually, if DC1 is a young adult, surely it's all about him/her at this event? What does s/he want to happen? Ids/he wants all of you there, then the mum will have to suck it up.

racingheart Thu 14-Mar-13 16:00:54

It's not about her wishes, it's about DCs. What does DC1 want? If you are wanted there, go.

HerbyVore Thu 14-Mar-13 16:03:22

I agree with SGB - there are going to be plenty of occasions in the future that she is going to have to face her exH's partner being there, graduations, significant Birthday's, Weddings - why should you have to bow out because she is uncomfortable?

If she feels uncomfortable that's her problem not yours, especially as the situation is of her own making.

springyhiphop Thu 14-Mar-13 23:06:37

My guess is that she's not jealous of your relationship with her ex, she's jealous of your relationship with her kids.

and, tbh, that's a tough one for all of us. Regardless whether we went off with someone else or not, it's irrelevant.

LemonDrizzled Fri 15-Mar-13 15:27:56

Interesting replies-thanks to all who replied. DC1 probably won't mind either way whether I go along. DP is all for keeping ExW sweet as long as I am not upset (which I am not).
ExW is a bit of a strange one and not at all cuddly or hands on with her DC. But springy you may be right she could feel left out when I do stuff with them. She thinks showing affection is "spoiling" whereas DP is a very huggy jokey sort and so am I. Maybe they have been expressing a bit too much enthusiasm for me!
I shall keep quiet for now and see how things develop in future.

Grinkly Fri 15-Mar-13 22:43:37

Practising for weddings could be something your DH mentions to his ex, better to get into the way of mixing now than later.

LittleEdie Fri 15-Mar-13 22:58:30

Well if you're all over her DCs in fronts of her that does honesty put a slightly different complexion on it.

badinage Sat 16-Mar-13 00:54:32

If the mum's new partner is going to this event, it does seem unreasonable for you to be asked not to, but if he isn't, it seems fine if it's a parents only event.

I do get the sense though that you're setting yourself up for some unnecessarily adverserial relationships with the other women involved. You say you can't forgive your DP's ex's behaviour towards him, but maybe your ex's new partner feels the same towards you? It's better in blended families for new partners to concede that no-one can judge the rights and wrongs of past relationships, let go of resentment that's not yours to feel and try to be friendly and civil for the children's sake.

It does also sound as though you're competing a bit in the affection stakes with your partner's children, trying to be something their mother is not. The thing is, she'll be things that you're not, just as your ex's new partner will have her own unique qualities. It's not a competition.

springyhiphop Sat 16-Mar-13 00:59:22

springy you may be right she could feel left out

erm, do you have your own children? Do you know, or have you experienced, the exquisite agony of your children having another 'mummy'? Feeling 'left out' doesn't come close.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 16-Mar-13 10:03:56

Yes but to be fair that's your issue and insecurity, not one that should rule over your children's day to day life.

She just needs to suck it up, it's absolutely not her right to dictate if the OP can or cannot attend if the DC are old enough to express their feelings.

She left her DH, she should expect he will move on. She has made her bed and she should lie in it.

Where in the posting did the OP say she was being the mummy? Just tactile I read.

springyhiphop Sat 16-Mar-13 10:41:52

of course you suck it up. It doesn't mean it isn't torture.

I may be wrong but there appears to be a distinct erm lack of respect for this woman - possibly, pawing her children about (in front of her) is seen as ok. If she is not tactile then back off when she's around.

LemonDrizzled Sat 16-Mar-13 11:47:10

Ha ha springy you make an excellent point but I can assure you I haven't pawed her children! The DC concerned is over 6 foot and 18 stone!

I was more meaning DP and I joke around and laugh and hug. And the atmosphere is quite silly at times. Whereas she is a very serious-minded person. And I do have 3DC of my own who spend time with XH and his DP. It's not exactly agony but I do feel sad when they go away with XH without me.

I take you point about respect for XW. I'm sure there were faults on both sides to make her leave DP. He is quite eccentric! She was probably driven crazy just as I was by my Ex.

Incidentally the DC has now bought me a ticket for tonight because he hadn't been told his DM didnt want me there. And she has "sucked it up". I will report back what happens.

Thanks for the feedback. It's very valuable!

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 16-Mar-13 11:50:08

The op hasn't said anywhere on here that she is pawing the children, or even infront of the ex wife. She just said it could have gotten back to the ex that she was a jokey touchy kind of person.

Why should the op change her innocent good nature just to fit into the ideals of this woman who decided to break up her family. Does the OP's DP question everything the OM does? I doubt it....

I'm not doubting it hurts at all, but tbh I would rather my ds be in two safe loving environments than two unhappy ones.

I am a mum and a stepmum and I get sick of the "Disneyfication" of the stepmum role. If you show love and affection you are overstepping the boundaries and trying to take over, and if you remain a respectable distance away you are cold and unloving.

You are damned if you do and damned if you don't.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 16-Mar-13 11:51:28

Have a lovely time at he event Lemon!

LemonDrizzled Sat 16-Mar-13 11:54:59

Oh and badinage thanks for the reminder about bearing someone else's grudge. You are absolutely right I am fighting DPs battles for him because he is a pushover and doesn't stand up for himself. It's not my business!

LemonDrizzled Sat 16-Mar-13 11:56:26

my "innocent good nature"??? mwa ha ha ha ha ha!!

Thanks WBJB you made me laugh!

WallyBantersJunkBox Sat 16-Mar-13 12:15:25

wink

Evil stepmums need to stick together.

Your name is making me hungry btw. confused

badinage Sat 16-Mar-13 12:29:48

Fair play to you Lemon and glad it's worked out so that you can attend.

As I always seem to be pointing out on here, the things new partners hear about their partners' exes is heavily filtered through the lens of the people who've broken up with them. It must be really hard to see an ex objectively after hearing all that, but the truth is everyone involved will have their slant on it and people are different when they are unhappy.

If this woman is 'serious-minded' and that's not just someone else's assessment of her, looking at this optimistically it's a win-win for the DCs because if this goes the distance, they'll have a set of parental figures with complementary natures; eccentric dad, serious mum, fun and affectionate SM and as yet unknown characteristics in their SD figure. But of course people change depending on the relationships they are in. She might be less 'serious' now she doesn't have to be the sensible one in a partnership with an eccentric. I'm sure you're different in this relationship to the way your ex might have described you in your marriage to him eh?

LemonDrizzled Sun 17-Mar-13 00:25:37

Well it all went fine in the end. ExW popped round to collect her tickets and DP was up a tree (!) so I fetched them and chatted to her about the evening and said I hope she wouldn't mind me being there. She relaxed a bit and it turns out her DP has big family problems and isn't around and she is stressed. I told her about "practising for weddings" and we parted civilly. Then the event was amazing and DC was a star. We were all excited for him. result!

badinage Sun 17-Mar-13 00:30:50

I'm so pleased.

What a smart move of yours to confront the situation head-on. She was probably feeling a bit vulnerable as her partner is not around and wasn't able to attend. Most people are at heart reasonable and respect an honest conversation about the potentially sensitive situation of blended families getting on. Well done.

CointreauVersial Sun 17-Mar-13 00:36:01

Well done, OP. It always cheers me up to hear about parents/step-parents behaving as mature adults for the sake of the children. Glad you had a good time.

Grinkly Sun 17-Mar-13 01:33:13

How nice. Great everything turned out well.

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