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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!!

Confuzled Tue 06-Jul-10 22:09:53

Animation - she is family herself, so of course she'll be there. She is not on sufferance, she is welcomed. The children are members of that family and she is their mother. Everyone gets on and helps raise these children together, and that's just as it should be. She is presumably a much loved family member in her own right by now, and why would they suddenly start to exclude her when that could hurt a lot of people, just because a new partner finds a very positive setup makes her feel a bit (understandably) insecure?

This ex clearly has no interest in the OP's partner. They split, mutually and amicably: no third parties, no hankering regrets or unresolved issues. They are co-parents and will be for life. They are all happy with this family setup it seems, and it is no threat at all to the OP. I think they sound great, and after all, if she has kids with the OP herself, won't she be reassured to know her husband and his family are grownups?

I think actually that in the OP's situation I would try to befriend the exwife. It might make the whole situation not only easier, but easy. She might even find she likes her as much as the rest of them do.

Salbysea Tue 06-Jul-10 22:03:52

because she's part of the family Animation, she used to be part of the family through the OPs DP AND their children, now he's not through him but still is through the kids

Animation Tue 06-Jul-10 21:55:31

Of course the children' feelings are a priority, but the OP said that their mother was there at EVERY function. Why does she need to be there at every one? Is it solely because of the children?

ChippingIn Tue 06-Jul-10 21:51:59

What swallowedthefly & confuzled ...

Please try to get to know her and the family - there's enough 'love' for everyone.

And there really is no need to think about them together - if they haven't got back together in 7 years, they're not going to get back together now!

You should not be jealous of the children 'running between Mum & Dad' - enjoy seeing them happy!!

PortiaNovmerriment Tue 06-Jul-10 21:47:35

Try to lighten up and just see her as any other guest. I think this is your issue really, and you just have to go and take up your place in the picture too. Believe me, it's a zillion times better than the Jeremy Kyle slanging match kind of families that so many people have. And it's great for the kids to see adults behaving like, well, adults.

Confuzled Tue 06-Jul-10 21:46:35

I am honestly not meaning to sound harsh, but in essence: you are asking your partner's family to put your feelings ahead of his children's best interests. They are not only unlikely to do this, they are unlikely to like you for asking them to.

qk Tue 06-Jul-10 21:45:04

This is difficult for you.

However, the exwife is the mother of your (sort of) MIL's grandchildren so she will never, ever be out of the picture and you will need to find some way of accepting this.

My parents split up and my mum has remained in contact with my dad's brother, sister and mother - even though my dad has divorced my mum, my mum is still permanently linked with the above mentioned people because they are blood relatives of her children.

Also, my DH has recently had an affair. My MIL was absolutely furious with him, she told me that she would sooner cut contact with her own son than have difficulties seeing her grandchildren. Fortunately we are trying to reconcile, but the point is that the mother of the grandchildren is a very important person regardless of any divorce.

If the split was by mutual agreement and there was nobody else involved, the ex wife should have no problem with you and vice versa.

I hope I have not been too blunt, but she is a member of this family so you can't have her excluded.

Lindax Tue 06-Jul-10 21:43:03

my ex-SIL is still very much part of our family and gets invited to all family events.

She does admit to me its very strange for her, and the main reason she does it is to keep the family connection for my niece.

she has had to put up with the discomfort of meeting my brothers many many girlfriends/partners over the years, knowing they would naturally be suspicous of her presence - some even asked her what her intentions were shock.

yabu to think she should not be invited for your comfort. as previous posters have said be grateful that everyone gets along so well and try to break the ice with her (you may be step mum to her kids one day!).

Confuzled Tue 06-Jul-10 21:42:34

I appreciate this is hard for you, but she is a member of the family. She is the mother of the children of that family. IMO it is fantastic that relationships are so good, because that can only help the children. You read so many heartbreaking threads on MN about kids after relationship breakdown, and MIL issues, and in all honesty I think this is wonderful. I'd try to reframe it in your mind - this is not about her as his partner, this is her as those children's mother. She's sort of like a SIL now, I think.

I do sympathise, but I'm afraid their best interests are more important. This is a positive post-divorce co-parenting set up and I applaud the family for it. They sound lovely - and that has to be a good thing for you, going into the future as another new member of the family.

The children's best interests mean this is a good arrangement. Is there no way you can try to make friends with her yourself, given you have a role in her kids' lives too?

swallowedAfly Tue 06-Jul-10 21:41:24

Message withdrawn

JumpinJackFlash Tue 06-Jul-10 21:37:00

I think it's understandable how you're feeling, you're the new girl and they all know each other well and have shared memories together. But, believe me, you wouldn't want her being the ex from hell and causing trouble over contact, money or just being plain nasty like some exes can. So maybe look on it as a bit of a blessing?

I bet you'll find that as you socialise more and more with them, you'll become more confident about your own place in the family. If it were me, I'd be gently getting to know her. You and she are going to have a relationship for a long time and it really is best for the children if you all get on.

Salbysea Tue 06-Jul-10 21:35:53

YABU, my parents weren't together but both were invited to family dos on both side, as MY mum and dad rather than anything to do with the fact that they were once a couple IYKWIM

SloanyPony Tue 06-Jul-10 21:32:58

Presumably the children come to these events too? So she is in a sense accompianying them?

I see nothing unusual about that at all - if she's got the kids, they go where each other goes?

Or is it that you have the kids for the weekend and a do happens and she comes even though its her weekend off?

Either way, I think its nice - ideally you'd all get along together. She doesn't sound like a nutter or anything...?

jesuswhatnext Tue 06-Jul-10 21:19:42

every so often my exdh and i are invited to the same function - we have no dc together btw - we do have mutual friends of nearly 30 years standing and have been divorced longer than we were married for iyswim - exdh and present dh get on fine, chat etc. not busom buddies but you get my drift - exdh has a partner of about 10 years - she is a total loon, i have tried and tried to chat, exchange pleasantrys etc - she plainly hates me, feels threatened, god alone knows why! i am his EX wife, the clue is in the title!
she make herself look really silly and quite juvenile.

i guess what im trying to say is, just go with it, his ex may be past history in some respects but to keep things amicable is surely the way to go - and dont forget, she is his EX wife!

slushy Tue 06-Jul-10 21:04:00

I think YABU they split seven years ago and forgive me here but his family have built up a relationship with her for 15 years, you can't expect them to throw that away because of a year relationship when they have probably only actually known you for 6months.

I wouldn't mind at all, but then I am on good speaking terms with most of my exes, and other than when pg have never got jealous in a relationship (sorry).

Just swallow and remember it is great for the children. I have tried not to make this sound harsh as I don't want to come across as having a go, why not go over and chat to her it is what I would do. Also be grateful you don't have endless arguments and custody battles to take on smile.

Lonnie Tue 06-Jul-10 20:56:58

as a child of divorced parents where both families continued to invite the divorced partner to family events (and my father even now 35 years later is invited to my motehrs brothers birthday parties) Can I just point out how importnat it is for the children to see their parents together like this not arguying not bickering and not having any family members speaking badly about the other?

YABU its understandable it makes you feel insecure but really this is a good thing just be yourself and you will find your own way to have a relationship with them. She isnt stopping that

Animation Tue 06-Jul-10 20:50:50

Thisisyesterday; My tongue is very firmly in cheek.

However, I am validating the feelings expressed in the OP which are understandable. You'd have to be mega mega confident not to feel a bit insecure - coming into 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??

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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