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What should I do about ex's new wife being horrible to me?

(41 Posts)
lavand Sun 19-Jun-11 11:52:29

I have had this problem since last October. My children's father and my ex husband has recently married. He and I split up 9 years ago, long before he got together with her. I have known her for about 6 years as she lives in the same village and children go to same school etc. Everything was civil and fine until they got married. My ex and I had a few issues with our dd (12) over the past year about her not wanting to visit etc, but that has now been sorted. Then of course problems do crop up with parenting and my ex and I have had a few disagreements and different views on things. I think this is normal. Anyhow we still co parent no matter what.

I recently told him I was unhappy that our dd was left in bed asleep, in their house alone with her ds (11), while she went to work, with no phone line as they had just moved in that w/e. My ex was away for the night with our ds. I said it calmly and wished for it not to happen again. Since then she has been really frosty towards me, not saying hello when I say hello, walking away and giving me a dirty look when I drop kids off at theirs or at kids events at school. My dd is doing a show at school this week and my ex and his wife are coming to watch. I am taking my parents along too. I am really worried that there will be an atmosphere and she will make it obvious she does not want to talk to me and that she will blank my parents in front of my dd. So what do I do? do I say something politely to her or my ex in advance or just leave it and see what happens? I don't want an argument I would just like her to be civil and get over it. If she wants to come to my dd's events then I feel she needs to stop being so silly. We have a lifetime of this. Children may get married etc and will she blank me constantly, I feel it needs sorting.

gillybean2 Sun 19-Jun-11 16:30:27

Perhaps mention to your ex that you've noticed that his new wife has been frosty to you since you spoke to him about the incident the other week and ask if the two things are related. My guess is she feels angry/upset that you have criticised her as a parent and possibly realises that it was out of order to think it was ok for your child even if she thinks it was for her own.

See what he says and then maybe ask if she intends to keep this up or if he thinks she will calm down at some point. And be clear that you won't be biting your tongue on issues where you feel your dd has been put at risk un-necessarily and if she doesn't like it then he better ensure it doesn't happen again. But you are happy to move on from it now and hope that she will too as life will be much easier all round if you can get along.

Bonsoir Sun 19-Jun-11 16:34:39

I don't think that leaving your 12 year old DD and her 11 year old DS in bed asleep at home when she went to work is any kind of parenting crime - I'm not surprised she's a bit frosty about you complaining! You must get over the idea that you can micro-manage your DD's life while she is at her father's house - the details are none of your business.

Northernlurker Sun 19-Jun-11 16:38:09

YOu've crticised not only her parenting but her step parenting as well. I'm not surprised she feels pissed off with you. Do you think dictating how she runs her home and her responsibilities was particularly civil? I don't. I think you're reaping what you've sown here and you better just wait for the ice to thaw.

allthefires Sun 19-Jun-11 16:38:12

I disagree Bonsoir. IMO the children are too young to be left overnight alone. Then you have to factor in that there was no phone to call for help on.

Bonsoir Sun 19-Jun-11 16:40:34

Were the children left overnight? I didn't read that. I agree that 12 and 11 is too young to be left overnight, but I don't think that is what happened.

feckwit Sun 19-Jun-11 16:42:57

I assumed the step mother left them sleeping in the morning when she went to work? If so, I think that is reasonable. If it was over night, then not reasonable...

balia Sun 19-Jun-11 17:06:50

Yes, it does depend how long they had been left, how sensible they are, etc. If it is overnight you have been very restrained, but if she just nipped into work to pick something up, for example, you were probably stepping over the line. To put it in context, my DSS's mum used to leave DSS, then 4, alone in the house while she walked her older son, then aged 11, to the bus stop and waited with him for the bus (so at least 30 minutes) and DH was told it was 'her call' by Cafcass. And - without being funny - how do you know this is what happened? Be wary of taking everything kids say about a new stepmum at face value.

allthefires Sun 19-Jun-11 17:16:14

Agree clarification is needed on circumstances and also what the dad had agreed. Afterall he would have know children would have been left alone.

IMO the only circumstances you do get involved on what happens when your child is in their house is when there is a safety issue. Otherwise you do need to get parenting differences slide.

allthefires Sun 19-Jun-11 17:20:23

Agree clarification is needed on circumstances and also what the dad had agreed. Afterall he would have know children would have been left alone.

IMO the only circumstances you do get involved on what happens when your child is in their house is when there is a safety issue. Otherwise you do need to get parenting differences slide.

allthefires Sun 19-Jun-11 17:20:59


lavand Sun 19-Jun-11 21:12:07

Interesting replies. It was my dd (12) and her ds (11) who was left alone while she went to work all day. Just to clarify I did not criticise her directly as I asked my ex if he knew this happened first. He didn't really answer whether he knew or not he did agree however that it was not so safe. They had only just moved into the house that w/e and there was no phone line connected and no mobile phone connection (we live rurally). To me that is not the right thing to do with regard to my dd not her ds, as that is non of my business, as she is his parent. I did not blame her and I just said to my ex I prefer this would not happen as it was something I would not do. My dd also woke up with a fever - she was ill the rest of the day. I only live 5 mins walk away so I just feel if she was going to work at 8am then why not tell me and I could of picked her up. This happened over 4 months ago and every time I see her at school events (our children go to the same school) or if I drop my children's things off at their house I am subjected to dirty looks and being totally blanked, I am never acknowledged when I say hello either. This is bothering me so much because my children have noticed. Sure I agree that parenting differences happen but I just felt that this was unsafe. There was not phone line, no smoke alarms and it was a strange house.

The other issue is I did have to get a solicitors letter sent with regard to my ex hitting our children and my dd not wanting to stay and him saying she must etc etc - it's a long story, but now this has been sorted, it was before Christmas. Dd is now happy to go again. I have a feeling this is also a problem. I know I cannot get this over on this forum because it's such a long story - but I didn't do anything wrong I was just trying to protect my children but also still trying to help my ex. I am sure she would of done the same for her children.

I like your advice gillybean.
Thanks for replies everyone.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sun 19-Jun-11 22:05:43

Have you re-married also since your split from your ex? I only ask because I wonder whether your feeling a bit put out by this new marriage - not saying you are, just wondering if you are IFSWIM.

Also, how come your dd went to sleep at the other house if her dad wasn't there anyway? Why didn't she just stay with you?

lookingfoxy Sun 19-Jun-11 22:25:21

Surely if there was an emergency then they could have come to you if your only 5 mins away.
I really don't see any issue with this.

lavand Sun 19-Jun-11 23:45:00

Not put out at all by his new marriage we have been split for 9 years. I do agree why didn't she sleep with me. It was her Dads w/e and I just assumed he was there. The first I heard was 10am when dd came home and told me about it. I know I only live 5 mins away but I was never told of the plan so therefore I didn't know - I could of been out and she had no phone in the house and no mobile signal.

My real question is what should I do about the dirty looks that have been going on over 4 months (I thought they might stop so have not said anything sooner). Do I say something to her or to my ex?

VivaLeBeaver Sun 19-Jun-11 23:57:35

I would say something to her. Tell her that you want o move on and be civil in font of the kids, etc.

fortyplus Mon 20-Jun-11 00:11:28

I would try to break the ice by saying you think it's nice of her to go to see the play

PotPourri Mon 20-Jun-11 00:17:26

Gillybean gave good advice.

I think yuo need to try and talk to the new wife. Perhaps even ask if there is something wrong as you are picking up tension from her, and you really do want to make both your lives easier by working together.

lavand Mon 20-Jun-11 09:03:12

Thanks for the replies.

marycorporate Mon 20-Jun-11 17:16:34

From the point of view of a step mum, if I needed to go to work and left my 12 year old step daughter in the house in order to do so, and her mother complained about it; my response wouldn't be very pretty...

I'm sure she'll get over it quick enough though. She just feels like she's trying to run her house as best she can with her husband, son and step daughter the way she sees fit and there's another woman butting in trying to tell her she's doing it wrong.

gillybean2 Tue 21-Jun-11 06:51:34

Sorry MaryCorporate but just because that is your choice doesn't make it right for every one.

If my 12 year old ds went to stay with someone (whether a relative or not) I would be livid if I found out he'd be left home alone with his younger friend/cousin while the parents went out for the whole day to work without my knowledge and without having a means for the dc concerned to contact them or me.

And I wouldn't care what your response was, it's not your choice to make. You don't even have PR for that child.

There should have adequate childcare arranagements in place while you are at work. And if the dc concerned are old enough to be left at home (imo these two dc were not) AND all the parents concerned are happy about it, then you should be able to contact the dc and them you should they want or need too.

lavand Tue 21-Jun-11 09:17:24

I agree with you gillybean. She does not have PR. The thing is I did not directly criticise her I asked my ex first, so really I was complaining about him allowing it to happen (if he knew about it, he didn't say) but in a very calm way. I feel if you are going to leave children alone at home then all safety measures need to be put in place and to me one of the most important factors is to have a phone and smoke alarms in the house. imo 12 is too young to be left asleep and alone in the house with an 11 yr old. Yes we all need to go to work but I was never told and being 5 mins away I could of just picked her up.

I find it odd that she has sulked about it for over 4 months now and made a scence about it in front of children. Of course step parenting and parenting is hard and of course there will be parenting differences. But surely we should all be able to talk about it if something major like this comes up, not take the hump for months. My ex and I are co parenting. This is what it will be like for many years and we all just need to get on with it in a civil and grown up way rather than treading on egg shells around each other.

Bonsoir Tue 21-Jun-11 09:23:24

lavand - of course she cross. She doesn't have parental responsibility for your DD and yet you are blaming her for leaving your DD alone at home (which, as this thread proves, is not universally found to be unreasonable). The only person you should have raised your queries with is your exH.

DelilahDoolittle Tue 21-Jun-11 09:34:20

She did raise her queries with her exH.

chocolatehobnobs Tue 21-Jun-11 10:25:55

You do have cause to be unhappy about the situation. IMO they were too young to be left alone. I would speak to her directly and suggest you move on.

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