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The ever-so-present ghost of the ex-wife

(53 Posts)
CostaRicanBananas Thu 17-Dec-15 16:36:03

I have a problem with my husband’s relationship with his ex-wife. There have been various issues with regards to his arrangements to see his children, including lies that he’s told in order to keep peace / sell a different picture of the situation to me / keep everyone happy. However, this post is specifically about his communication with his ex.

I have snooped and I know that they communicate frequently, possibly on a daily basis. There are phone calls and messages, and although I have not read anything inappropriate (sexual or flirty), I don’t want my husband to be his ex-wife’s pen-pal. The times when I snooped, I noticed that he had deleted previous messages so I only caught the latest one. If they had been written to anyone else, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but this is the woman who always wants to be present and who isn’t in a relationship. And I have a DH who likes to be needed and the attention, no matter how innocent.

I have told myself time and time again that he’s married to me, has got our pictures all over his social media and that his daily life is with me. There’s no question of his dedication to our lives together, but would he tolerate me being best buddies with my ex? No, he wouldn’t. Have I explained this to him? Yes, of course, which is why he feels compelled to hide it – I have even said, in moments of despair (because sometimes, even without seeing the evidence you just sense that something is up), that if there was nothing wrong then there would be no need for lies and secrecy.

I hate it and it’s ruining the dynamics of our relationship. I occasionally check my whatsapp and I can see that he’s been on his, which he seems to do frequently – don’t you just hate the joys of modern technology?! I can’t help thinking that it’s yet another exchange between the exes. The truth is that I think about it all the time, almost to the point of obsessing about it, but I am not going to behave out of character and start messaging my own husband all day long for the sake of keeping him occupied?! How can I address this and does this qualify as emotional unfaithfulness??

roundaboutthetown Thu 17-Dec-15 16:55:00

? What were the circumstances of their break up? Were they this close to each other when you married? Does she live nearby? Does he go round to see her in person all the time? On the face of it, you sound paranoid, but you haven't been particularly enlightening.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 17-Dec-15 17:24:07

I wouldn't like this but I've no idea what you do about it.
He doesn't seem to care that it bothers you.
You can live like this for the rest of your life or you can make a decision to not put up with it anymore!?

LeaLeander Thu 17-Dec-15 17:32:19

I think when you become involved with a man who has children by another woman, you are signing up for years or decades of him communicating with her on a frequent basis. Regardless of the breakup of their marital relationship they have a very intense bond - they are co-parents of the same children - and there is nothing you can do to change that. I don't think he should have to apologize for being thoroughly involved in their day-to-day household goings-on. It's where his kids live. How old are they?

If you don't like the amount of time/attention he has left over for you, you would be entirely within your rights to leave. But in your shoes I wouldn't ask anyone else to change a modus operandi that seems to be working for all of them.

Owllady Thu 17-Dec-15 17:35:31

I agree with lealeander

OnADarkDesertHighway Thu 17-Dec-15 17:39:33

The problem is not the ex-wife but your DHs attitude to it. His attitude could have stemmed from your insecurities about it. Perhaps your insecurities arose from his attitude.

Either way he lies about it and needs attention as you put it. You are insecure with it and 'snoop' Hardly a great combination.

Do you feel threatened by their relationship? Do you trust him - your attention comment suggests he has form to be susceptible to flattery. Do they have kids or a need to be in contact?

Agree with him the level of contact you both consider acceptable and necessary and make it clear he does not lie to you about it. If he cannot be honest with you he fears your reaction or he has something to hide. This will not go away on its own.

BTW your DH posting your life on social media means fuck all in terms of his happiness.

My DP sees his ex-wife a lot and and it is a total non issue. I know and get why and he has no reason to lie about it. Those are the issues you need to discuss.

brunette123 Thu 17-Dec-15 17:44:19

It is one thing to message about their children but if they are chatting and keeping in touch about other things then that is out of order imo. I had an ex who was like this - I accepted he had children with his former wife but they were always in touch about non-child issues and I feel that this was unacceptable. He would pop round to hers for a cuppa even when the kids were out or at school. It was made worse by me never being included in anything involving the children and I feel he used them as an excuse to keep his toe in the water so to speak.

DiscoDiva70 Thu 17-Dec-15 17:50:14

So although you admit you've not read.anything inappropriate or flirty you still have a problem with them communicating?hmm

Why? They have children together and you knew this when you got with him!
They should be allowed to remain civil and discuss things regarding their children without you snooping on them.

Duckdeamon Thu 17-Dec-15 17:50:30

She's not a ghost she's essentially the OW. If you think their communication goes well beyond good communications between parents and friendliness and into a friendship, from which you're excluded, then you wouldn't be unreasonable to consider it a dealbreaker. I would.

The deletion of messages and desire to be needed by his ex are particularly dubious.

BrandNewAndImproved Thu 17-Dec-15 17:50:53

I get it op.

One of the reasons I split up with my dds dad was because of this. She had photos of him up on the wall of her living room, would basically beg attention from him and made herself indispensable to his family. She gets used for lifts and babysitting but feels happy to do all of that to be "in" with them.

He could see it but I felt he liked that she still had a thing for him, massive ego boost if your ex puts pictures up in her new house of you iyswim.

Duckdeamon Thu 17-Dec-15 17:51:29

I know someone who has recently cancelled her wedding for similar reasons, although in their case nothing was hidden.

Interrobanger Thu 17-Dec-15 17:55:56

He's having regular daily contact with another woman and is actively hiding it from you.

Yes, I'd be pissed off too.

ChatShitGetBanged Thu 17-Dec-15 18:08:05

I wouldn't like this, sounds unnecessary

as an ex wife myself, I need to communicate sometimes, with my dc dad and get along fine with him. however I rarely text him and when i do, only ever to do with our dc. we have a brief chat when he picks up / drops off dc but nothing else

ChatShitGetBanged Thu 17-Dec-15 18:10:03

and I might have dc with ex but I don't have an intense bond with him, as leeleander suggests is normal, yuk, never even did when I was with him

LeaLeander Thu 17-Dec-15 18:21:44

Well, forgive me. I certainly wouldn't bear the children of a man I didn't feel a bond with, or basic respect for. Others' mileage varies, apparently.

Offred Thu 17-Dec-15 18:41:49

I don't have an intense bond with either father of my DC either. That sounds like my absolute worst nightmare!

My communications with XP are non-existent. We do not talk at all. Sometimes at handover I mention things to him about DC that are necessary or once in a blue moon he will text about something to do with DC if it is unavoidable. one text in nov asking if kids were at mine, one in oct asking if he could take them somewhere, before that one text in August asking if he should pick them up from mine or my sister's wedding.

Xh has 50/50 care and we maybe text once a week 'I'll drop off uniform in about an hour, if you aren't in I'll leave it in the porch' was today's. I rarely even reply.

I only talk with someone if I want to talk with them.

That said if I wanted to talk to xh/XP because we were amicable an there were no feelings on either side then I would chat away and take an interest. I'd be mighty pissed off at getting shit for it. What I absolutely would not do is lie and cover it up and delete messages. That's really out of order.

Interrobanger Thu 17-Dec-15 19:34:24

What I absolutely would not do is lie and cover it up and delete messages. That's really out of order.

It's the concealment that's suspicious and would piss me off.

My DH has to talk to his ex quite often about their DC. I hope that neither of them considers themselves to have an 'intense bond' with the other (yuk). But DH always mentions when he's spoken to his ex and often tells me what they talked about (even though I'm not particularly bothered or interested.)

He does it because he wants to be open.

OP's DH wants to hide.

CostaRicanBananas Thu 17-Dec-15 21:21:29

I would never dispute the need to discuss the children, that's not an issue. However, their communication isn't strictly about that although there's no flirtatious language - or not that I've seen.
I haven't come across anything with anyone else that made me feel uncomfortable. However, the best mates relationship that DH seems to have with his ex wife really bothers me. I think that she still reaches out to him about daily stuff as one would to their partners, just without the 'loves you', and DH seems happy to indulge.

ColdWhiteWinePlease Thu 17-Dec-15 21:32:20

You can't stop them communicating, they share children. I have children with my ExH, and I have to text and call him quite a bit. Does it mean anything to me, or mean I love my DH less. NO! It's just the way it is.

I sometimes delete messages between me and ExH, because my DH uses my phone, and I know he hates my ExH for what he did to me. It's to save any arguments and it's no deeper than that. My DH doesn't have kids, so he doesn't really get what it takes to co-parent from 2 houses!

Offred Thu 17-Dec-15 21:39:29

Surely it is nice for them to be friends though? It's only threatening to you if there are feelings there or if he is secretive about it.

It's him being secretive about it that is causing this difficulty. If he feels he can't tell you because you are being unreasonable then why is he still married to you? I just can't imagine wanting to stay married to someone I couldn't be myself with.

iminshock Thu 17-Dec-15 22:24:32

They have children. It's good that they are friends. Please stop your negative attitude. No wonder he hides stuff from you.

CostaRicanBananas Thu 17-Dec-15 22:57:17

It is not that simple or straightforward, as in a lot has happened that has brought us here: hidden stuff, lies from DH and overreaction from end too. However, I am posting here asking for help and guidance. I don't to feel this way. I don't want to be obsessing over whoever DH is whatsapp'ng with. And I most certainly don't want to have a problem or feel threatened by their best mates relationship.
But then I think that if she was with somebody this probably wouldn't be happening. Can you honestly say that most men would be perfectly ok with their partner frequently messaging their ex husbands? Which in turn makes me think that I can't possibly be that unreasonable... Haven't you got friends to chat to?
But above all, I don't want this to create any more bad feelings than it already has, but I don't know how to turn a new leaf.

LeaLeander Thu 17-Dec-15 23:03:21


My sister is married to a man with teen children and not only do he and his ex-wife communicate frequently, the wife (who has no partner as far as I know, to address your concern OP) comes to their holiday gatherings (Christmas, Easter, birthdays, etc.) and vice versa. She and my sister closely collaborated recently on a big gift/milestone celebration for one of the children, actually.

Offred Thu 17-Dec-15 23:06:07

If he's an habitual liar who is making you feel insecure then leave him.

No-one needs that. The point about her being with a man is silly. It's not them talking that is creating the problem, a man being a controlling dickhead about his partner's ex is not a good thing to aim for.

Get rid of the source of the problem - the lying man you are married to.

finetonive Thu 17-Dec-15 23:17:45

How did you meet your husband?
Were the two of you having an affair which broke up the first marriage, resulting in a second marriage to you?

If this is the case (and I apologize if it isn't) it could go some way into explaining why you feel so insecure about the fact he is in constant contact with her

Deep down you wonder that if he was capable of cheating on her, is he now capable of cheating on you as well?
He's done it once, so is capable of doing it again.

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