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To what extent should I spend time around DP's ex?

(31 Posts)
vitabrits Fri 21-Nov-14 13:02:27

It happens around once every one or two months. At family events centred around the older teenage/adult kids. I'm feeling uncomfortable around her, and grumpy and tense for a few hours after. Tonight I turned down sex with him for the first time ever as we've just got back from an event where we've spent a few hours around her, and I just don't want to be intimate with him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 21-Nov-14 13:04:03

Why do you think you feel this way? Is she hostile or unpleasant towards you?

Rebecca2014 Fri 21-Nov-14 13:14:26

Why? Is this your problem or is she rude to you?

vitabrits Fri 21-Nov-14 13:15:34

Nope, it's all polite. I know it's over between them. There's no pressure for me to spend time with her except from myself. I love the kids and don't want to make them think I'm not interested in their lives by not attending things. But this is getting ridiculous.

Quitelikely Fri 21-Nov-14 13:23:34

I suppose if you don't want to spend time with her then you don't have to. You do have to accept that she exists though.

Why is your dp still involved in her life?

loveareadingthanks Fri 21-Nov-14 15:40:37

Because those are family events. I'm assuming stuff like school plays, kids birthdays, where both parents naturally want to be there. And it's civilised and nice if parents' new partners can also go along amicably.

It really is best for the children if they can see adult, amicable relationships after their parents split.

Can you work out why you feel like this? Just general awkwardness, or something deeper?

Bluetonic123 Fri 21-Nov-14 15:50:08

I think it's part and parcel of going out with someone who has children. Could you try to get to know her as a person rather than thinking of her as just being the ex?

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 21-Nov-14 16:19:17

I'm still not seeing what is ridiculous, sorry. Is it the number of events? Do you think exes should stay away from each other? Do you feel threatened or insecure?

AMumInScotland Fri 21-Nov-14 16:28:57

You're not giving any reason why you have a problem with this, so it's hard for anyone to make much in the way of helpful comments.

Your partner has children from his previous relationship. He is still involved in their lives. This is a good thing.

He, his children, and his ex are apparently happy for you to be involved. This is also a good thing.

You don't have to be best friends with her, so what about the situation is making you tense and grumpy?

If it's something about the way that she or your partner behave, then you need to work out what that is and why it bothers you. If it's just the fact that part of his life doesn't revolve around you, that's just something you have to accept when you're with someone with children, or else bring the relationship to an end if it's just not something you can deal with.

BackforGood Fri 21-Nov-14 16:36:21

It does seem like a lot of events where you have to both be there, tbh - what are all these occasions ?
I agree with others that it's great if everyone can be civil and that everyone gets over the inevitable tension when you first meet, so bigger, more important events can ll go smoothly later in life, but equally, I'm agog at there being events quite so often that you both need to be at.

AcrossthePond55 Fri 21-Nov-14 17:26:54

What exactly makes you 'uncomfortable'? Maybe if you could tell us it would help.

If she treats you politely and the family includes you in celebrating whatever occasion it happens to be then, sorry, I think you need to grow up. It's not fair to take things out on your DP simply because you are insecure. They all have a 'shared history' and there will be times they may discuss past events that you were not part of. That can be hard, but that's just part of being with someone who was married before.

If she is rude or if you are 'sidelined' or excluded by her or the family during celebrations then you have a reason to be upset. But you should discuss this with your partner, not put him in the deep freeze.

A separate issue is that if you don't feel like having sex for any reason, then don't have sex. But if you are doing it specifically to punish him, that's unfair too.

mynewpassion Fri 21-Nov-14 17:29:22

If you are in the long haul, your going to have to have better coping strategies instead of taking it out on your DP. Weddings, christening, graduations, etc

vitabrits Fri 21-Nov-14 21:45:47

Sorry, I meant my reaction was ridiculous.

It's been things like parties for family birthdays, mainly. She was hostile at first but now friendly.

What I think my reaction is coming from is a feeling like I don't have firm enough boundaries on this. I don't want to be too close to his ex. I feel dirty after we've been together, which I think for me is a sign that I'm letting my interpersonal boundaries be violated.

DP only likes to hang out with his kids if I'm there, so I feel a bit of pressure from that. And his ex is very involved in all but one of the DC's lives - what I mean is, they come as a package, even the adult ones, so it's really hard for me to develop a relationship with the two older DC's (both adults) without developing the same level of relationship with their mum. I think I need to step back a bit and let the DC's and their dad work out how they are going to relate as adults - at the moment I feel that I'm the glue in the middle. DP is very happy with this arrangement but it's not working for me.

I've always had problems setting boundaries so I think this is part of a bigger issue.

vitabrits Fri 21-Nov-14 22:03:36

I think she has boundary issues (I've posted before about her asking for a threesome with me and dp! !!) - it did not happen and never will - and I'm picking up on that. I think DP is just used to her, but I don't want to take her on as part of our new family. I want the kids to know they are 100 percent welcome, but I'm not willing for her to be.

When we've all been together I find myself asking dp for reassurance they are not sleeping together. ...they are not.

I think I'm letting unhealthy situations occur and I need to woman up and set some appropriate boundaries for my family unit. I just love making dp happy by spending time with him and the kids but I am going to have to accept it's not working for me when ex is there.

mynewpassion Fri 21-Nov-14 22:58:01

They are welcomed at your house but I am assuming that some of these gatherings will not always occur there.

She's their mother and will always be a part of their lives. I think if your DP can't associate with them without you outside your home, that's a problem.

AcrossthePond55 Fri 21-Nov-14 23:10:05

Well, I can see where you should be able to set boundaries for 'your own turf' i.e. your home. If you and DP are living together that is something you will have to work out with him before you set that particular boundary. Because he will have to be willing to back you 100% if you don't want to include her in things at your home. Even if he does back you up, prepare for some resentment from the children at excluding their mother when she's been included before.

However, you do NOT have a right to dictate who is invited to someone else's home (i.e. your in-laws or DP's home if you don't live together, or adult children's homes). Don't put yourself into a position of saying 'if SHE's going to be there, I'm not coming' because you will lose that one, big time. You will find yourself excluded from family affairs or you will cause resentment and thus lose the good-will and respect of the other family members. I can guarantee that if I was given a 'her or me' ultimatum, it would be the ultimatum-giver that was shut out.

She's his ex. He's with you now. Has he given you reason to doubt his fidelity? If not, remember that there's no better way to drive him into her arms than to continually accuse him of sleeping with her. If you have reason to doubt him, then I think you want to take a look at your relationship & your security in it.

vitabrits Sat 22-Nov-14 00:23:05

Yes I don't mind dp seeing the kids outside of our home, but he always wants me to be there which is a problem for me.

I'd never ask anyone else to choose to have me there over her. It very rarely happens anyway. Most events have been at either her house or ours.

I just wish dp would go and see his kids without me. Or invite them over but not expect me to host their mother too sad

AcrossthePond55 Sat 22-Nov-14 04:10:30

Is there a reason why he insists you be there? Is it possible that he feels your presence is 'insurance' against the 'ex' making a pass at him (considering her 3-way request)? Is it so that you won't worry that there's 'funny business'? I can see that I would insist my DP be there if I, myself, felt uncomfortable around my ex for some reason. Were there any accusations from the ex against him that might make him nervous to be 'alone' with her? Maybe it's just that he doesn't like the feeling of the 'old family' group. I think you need to really talk to him and try to figure out why he's so insistent. What would happen if you refused to go?

As far as your house, well, it's his house, too, and I guess he can ask whomever he pleases, even the ex. Plus I'm sure he doesn't want to antagonize his children by suddenly excluding their mother. All you can do is be gone when she's there. You have that right. But again, I would want to get down to the real reason. You can only make a decision as to whether or not you'll continue to put up with the ex as a 'package deal' when you have ALL the facts.

vitabrits Sat 22-Nov-14 04:31:21

He likes me to be there because he doesn't feel comfortable with ex according to him. I think it's the old family feel as you say.

He won't invite ex here without my being ok with it. So I can say no. I just don't like disappointing him, I like to please everybody.

I think what's happened is that I've imposed my own family values in the situation. My parents are very enthusiastic about everything to do with their children, and I'm the same with my younger ones. So as we've got to know each other I've just automatically gotten involved with celebrating things as a family, which is not what DP's first family is like. ..... if I had just held back and followed his lead ie supported him rather than jumping in and organising things we wouldn't be in this boat.

vitabrits Sat 22-Nov-14 10:10:36

Feeling much better today. Have apologized to dp for letting my insecurities affect our relationship yesterday.

The reasons I feel I want to keep very strict limits on how much I see DP's ex are:

_ previously hostile to me. Hostile to dp periodically.
_ Drama queen/gossip
_ Has committed fraud against own sister who is now non contact with her.
_ Somehow complicit in mother and step father's bankruptcy resulting in stepfather being non contact with her.
- irresponsible and fraudulent financial behaviour while with DP resulting in him still paying off debt (obviously he shares some responsibility for this as they were married and he didn't take action to deal with the problem soon enough).
_ virtually no interests or friends outside of children.
_ financial irresponsible behaviour continuing, involving oldest dd now.
_ extremely sexually inappropriate contact with dp (suggesting threesome).
_ my gut feeling of how needy and insecure she is and not wanting to get caught up in that.

Was helpful to write that down. Sad and unfortunate reasons but not as 'scary' as I was feeling.

NorthWitch Sat 22-Nov-14 12:33:50

I think you should take the 'ex' factor out of the equation and just realise she's not a good person that you would want in your life and that is why you feel uncomfortable. Asking for a threesome - Yuk!

If you can't go no contact keep it as low as possible. Treat her like you would treat any other person, at work say, that you don't like but have to deal with. Keep personal stuff to yourself and the conversation superficial and polite only. Tell DP he'll have to cope with it on his own sometimes - it's his ex not yours - he needs to be able to set boundaries on his own.

AcrossthePond55 Sat 22-Nov-14 14:18:35

Ahh! Now I get it! I can understand you not wanting to be around her and your DP not wanting to be alone with her! Difficult situation.

All I can suggest is that you discuss with him starting to reduce contact. Is she actually specifically invited or does she just 'tagalong' with the kids to events at yours? Do the kids just invite her themselves when you invite them over? The answer to those questions will play into how easy it will be to reduce contact, iyswim. I think I'd start by reducing/eliminating the times she comes to yours. You really can't do anything about things at hers other than just not going.

You'll still have to get DP on board, but all things considered, I wouldn't think that would be too hard if you agree to stand together. It'll be harder convincing the children that it's time to stop playing 'all friends together'. It could mean an uncomfortable discussion of some of the points you raised.

I do think that this may not be the best time of the year to get all 'hard-line' about it if you think she (or the children) will cause a stink. I think I'd probably muddle through Christmas as best as I could and start addressing this after the first of the year.

vitabrits Sun 23-Nov-14 01:48:53

Thanks North and Across, those suggestions are really helpful.

DP and myself definitely try to keep the kids out of any friction. They know without being told really what the situation is, because they've grown up with their parents. In fact I think things are probably the calmest for them now that they've ever been.

LuannDelaney Sun 23-Nov-14 02:02:31

If you don't have any children together, then I wouldn't, I'd find a man without baggage. Sorry .

vitabrits Sun 23-Nov-14 03:57:39

One child together smile

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