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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?!

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.

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

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!

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

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).

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.

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

I think Fos puts it very eloquently.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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'.

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.

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.

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