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His ex is always at family 'do's'

(217 Posts)
redwiner Tue 06-Jul-10 19:27:44

I have been with my partner for about a year, I am a widow and he is divorced for 7 years. His ex is very good friends with his mum, mainly for babysitting reasons but also as they have known each other for about 15 years. Although they don't have many family get-togethers whenever they do have them the ex is always invited-and attends- and I feel very uncomfortable about this.
I don't have any reason whatsoever to think they are likely to get back together, that's not the issue at all here, I simply feel very uncomfortable being around her as she knows everyone much more than I do, and it feels really odd to be with my boyfriend when his ex-wife is there laughing, chatting with all the family etc.
I have made excuses not to go to a few things but I know he would like me to be there. Has anyone else ever been in this situation, do you think I should go and think 'what the hell' even if it makes me feel very awkward or should I just not go?
In my family my mum has stayed friendly with various exes of ours, but at family gatherings they are not invited out of respect to the current partner, however his family seem to think it perfectly normal. I am getting really wound up as another 'do' is coming up shortly and I really need some advice please!!

compo Tue 06-Jul-10 19:30:25

I don't think she should be invited out of respect to you

has she got a new partner? You'd think she'd have better things to do

Choconellie Tue 06-Jul-10 19:32:54

Yes!! I've been there. It used to upset me too, tbh I thought it was weird. However over time I thought 'well why shouldn't she be there, she has history with these people, who am I to say who people can be friendsw with'. She wasn't bitchy or anything to me.
However I do believe it caused the family to 'delay' getting to know me and accepting me as the new partner. Took 6 years in fact!!!

Vallhala Tue 06-Jul-10 19:33:24

What the hell! Go!

Who knows, she may be equally as uncomfortable around you. Either way, you consider her no threat, she is the mother of your DPs children and she clearly is on very good terms with her ex in laws.

Which is good for the children, good for your DP, which in turn makes for a content, happy DP and thus is good for you.

If you keep declining invitations you'll never be as relaxed or as close to DPs family as his ex, so as I said, what the hell! Go!

sunshiney Tue 06-Jul-10 19:33:57

Yanbu I think they are a bit insensitive towards you. Can't see what you can do besides ask your dh to get her uninvited but that would probably cause issues.

Go to the family gatherings dressed up, with your head held high and big smiles for all, especially her!

ImNotBossyBoots Tue 06-Jul-10 19:34:50

Do your partner and ex have children together? Maybe its a way of 'keeping her onside' so that they still get to see the children?

If not, i think it a bit odd and would find it uncomfortable too, however i wouldn't not go as i would feel that it may look as if i don't want to be part of the family iyswim?

The other thing is if you don't go, you'll never get to know them!

shockers Tue 06-Jul-10 19:36:08

If they share children then unfortunately she will always be connected to his extended family by them.... I say unfortunately, but I actually think it's rather nice. I think it's also something that will get easier with time if you give it a chance.

thisisyesterday Tue 06-Jul-10 19:41:14

when you say for "babysitting reasons" do you mean for children from her relationship with your partner? ie, are the in-laws grandparents?

if so then i think yabu a little bit. they've known each other for 15 years too, so are friends- and why shouldn't they invite people they have been friends with for such a long time?

i think you should continue to go, get to know everyone better, try and take it in your stride. try not to think of her as the ex, but just as another random family friend.
you are who he is with now... she doesn't matter, does she?

redwiner Tue 06-Jul-10 19:42:08

No, she hasn't got a new partner, hasn't had anyone since marriage broke up, which, incidentally, was totally amicable and neither of them had anyone else-they just simply grew apart and didn't want to be together any more.
I have been out for lunch with his mum on my own and it was totally fine, but it seems if a birthday or something happens she is invited. Apparently the family do 'see my point' but not to the extent of not inviting her it seems.
I know it's true she does have history with the family, but to me thats the whole point. Her part in HIS family is history - and although the children are absolutely fine with me, they really like having their mum there, which makes me feel like an outsider when they run from mum to dad playing and laughing etc.
This probably makes me sound like a right old misery, but I'm not. I'm getting really unhappy about this and not sure whether to say anything or not, or if I should just either go, or not go but keep it to myself just how I feel. I don't want to have to justify why I feel like this, surely I'm entitled to.

lindsell Tue 06-Jul-10 19:42:24

I had something similar when I got together with dh, his ex-w would be there at family gatherings and knew dh's family far better than I did and I felt awkward about it too but it has got a lot better (dh and I have been together about 8 years now) and now I know her and his family better it doesn't bother me at all. After all she is invited with her (and dh's) children and if everyone can manage to get on together in situations like this it makes it so much easier and more pleasant for the children (and in fact for everyone).

So yanbu to feel awkward but I wouldn't say anything and just try to get to know her/his family so that you don't feel so awkward.

redwiner Tue 06-Jul-10 19:47:39

So it sounds like the general consensus is 'give it a go' then!
Okay, okay, I'll do it, but if I have a horrible time I'll come back and have a moan ok? lol.
Thanks everyone for your input, it has really helped.

Morloth Tue 06-Jul-10 19:48:26

I think you should go along.

I am very close friends with my SIL and MIL very very close and if DH and I split I would be deeply hurt for those friendships automatically ended as well.

If it was a mess I suppose I could expect them to take DH's side but in an amicable split? No, they are very much part of my family now as well as my sons'.

It sounds like everyone but you is happy with the situation, so I guess you need to decide whether this is something you are willing to either put up with or split over.

You will do yourself no favours if you try to insist, especially if everyone else is amicable and the children enjoy having them there.

piscesmoon Tue 06-Jul-10 19:57:23

I would just go with it. I was a widow and DH 2 is just part of the extended family of DH1. It would be very difficult if DH2 wanted to cut them off. Do you not have a good relationship with your ILs from first marriage? I just mix them all, it is much better for the DCs.
I think that you either accept it, or stop seeing him-they are going to find you very controlling if you want to tell them who they can invite or not invite.
She is his ex- and he has chosen you.

Morloth Tue 06-Jul-10 20:02:51

piscesmoon " is much better for the DCs."

That is it really isn't it?

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Tue 06-Jul-10 20:04:46

I agree that it may be a little insensitive of them but if there are children involved I also believe it is a wonderful example to be setting them as well.

I am still soooo close to my ex MIL, she comes to stay with us at weekends to visit the dc's. She looks on my DH as part of her family as he is now married to me and is her gradchildren's step-father. And she is my ds2's Granny as well even though her son is not the father.

It does seem strange to some people on the outside at times but really the relationships were mainly kept so close for the sake of the children but also because we actually like each other as well.

Animation Tue 06-Jul-10 20:10:23

Redwiner - I can see where you're coming from, feels a bit inappropriate to me. You'd think she might decline some of these family dos. Why is she coming to them all?

redwiner Tue 06-Jul-10 20:10:46

I suppose it's because I've never come across a set-up like this before is why I'm having a problem. Also, I worry that I'll find myself thinking about the two of them together. I never realised I was insecure before but I suppose I must be.

redwiner Tue 06-Jul-10 20:13:02

The ex hasn't got much family of her own which is why she goes to the opening of an envelope with the family.

Morloth Tue 06-Jul-10 20:15:35

My exBIL is still part of our family, as is my Sister's DH.

If the split really was amicable there is no reason for them not to get along and for her to stay a part of her children's family.

exBIL brings his DW with him to family gatherings as well along with their child.

My nephew (sister and DH's daughter) and my "step" neice (exBIL and DW's daughter) consider themselves "half" siblings because my Sister and exBIL have worked so hard at still raising their children as a unit even though they are no longer together.

I am sure it is hard to do, but it does seem to work.

Morloth Tue 06-Jul-10 20:16:27

Our "family" is huge though and you can join it simply by turning up often enough so that may have something to do with things. grin

thisisyesterday Tue 06-Jul-10 20:19:13

you say that her part in his family is history?

that isn't true. they have children and that means that as their mum she is still very much part of that.

it IS best for the children if they can be amicable, and i fail to see why the grandparents and the ex should cut off a 15 year friendship just because you can't handle the children enjoying their mum and dad

i would HATE to feel that if i broke up with dp he would cut all ties with my parents. i really would

abouteve Tue 06-Jul-10 20:26:44

I have been on the other side of this in a way. Was close to DD's fathers family when he met his current partner. I slowly stopped being as close and only have attended one or two important family occassions as I felt it wasn't fair on his new partner. I tried to limit visits even when they used to babysit. Nowadays I visit her nan at Christmas, that's about it but she is nearly grown up.

Animation Tue 06-Jul-10 20:30:34

They are divorced after all - socially, that usually means mixing in new circles a bit.

Why don't you give him a big snog at the next do - she might get the message.wink

shimmerysilverglitter Tue 06-Jul-10 20:34:06

I never understand this being considered "odd". She has a history with these people, so the relationship with her ex (your current) didn't work out, why on earth should she be written out of the family by everyone else because of it?

It isn't easy, course not but you just have to get on with it. I would resent highly if someone told me I could no longer be friends with my ex SIL (best mate) and left out of parties/functions etc that she and my children were at even though I was wanted out of deference to his "new" partner. Things will either tail off naturally or they won't, either way I think "sensitive" new partners would cause a lot of bad feeling in this situation.

thisisyesterday Tue 06-Jul-10 20:39:38

animation... why would hte op snogging her partner make any difference?

or are you implying that the ex only goes because she wants him back?

is it so hard to imagine that she might want to go because she knows these people well, she has known them for over 15 years and they are her children's family??

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