Talk

Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Is it possible to be friends with the ex wife?

(35 Posts)
NCforthisthread18 Sun 27-May-18 14:01:37

Me I mean, with her. We were sort of acquaintances for years (overlapping social circles) and I’ve always liked her. DC’s of similar ages and live fairly similar lives.

My relationship broke down about five years ago and was single for a long time after. Then a few months later, I heard that she’d left her DH for another man and they got divorced. Unfortunately the new relationship didn’t work out and she has also been single since.

About 2 years ago, I bumped into her ex-husband at a conference and we ended up going for a drink. We had such a great time and it was all very unexpected but we fell in love over time and are now about to move in together.

I have a good relationship with his DC’s, he has a good relationship with mine and also his ex-wife and I get along. At a distance to be fair, but we respect and I think we actually like each other too.

However, a few of my friends thinks it is really weird and that we should not become friends as it’s messed up.

I am certain that there are no romantic feelings between my DP and her, the marriage had been over for years by the time she left. They were living like siblings and had not had any kind of sexual relationship for very many years, since the youngest was born.

She is on her own and last Christmas, we invited her over to have lunch with us and both sets of DC’s as it was his “turn” to have the kids for Xmas and I felt sorry that she was going to be by herself. She doesn’t have any other family close.

As I say, I trust that the relationship between DP and her is a purely platonic one. They were friends for years before they got married and TBH, I think it was a sort of marriage of convenience as they both wanted children and hadn’t found the right person to have them with and time was ticking by rather than a great passion between them.

Am I tempting fate by inviting her to be so close? Am I being naive and foolish to extend a hand of friendship?

Cricrichan Sun 27-May-18 14:06:33

I really like and have become friends with a long term ex's wife. We live in different countries though.

Somerville Sun 27-May-18 14:09:54

Inviting her to family events like a Christmas meal doesn't seem at all weird. (Why do you friends find it thus?)
Just be careful about boundaries because ending up falling out with each other could rebound onto the kids, making communication/shared events harder in the future.

ohreallyohreallyoh Sun 27-May-18 14:12:48

Personally, I think you sound like an amazing new partner and your joint attitudes towards each other will ensure the children grow up with a very strong sense of security and understanding of what it is to be fair and reasonable.

I think it is unusual. I am 10 years divorced and have never had anything to do with my ex’s new partners. None of them have been very nice and all of them, without exception, have caused stress in our children with their poor attitudes towards me. Of course, the issue is really my ex who lies to them about me and is a game player in the extreme.

I wouldn’t change a thing. But I would be aware that a new partner in her life could shift the balance. Don’t assume it will always be like this.

Storm4star Sun 27-May-18 14:13:09

There were no kids involved, but my mum is very good friends with her exP and his partner. My mum was with him for years but just preferred being single. She already knew the woman he went on to marry, but as acquaintances at that point. But now they are all good friends and there are no issues.

NCforthisthread18 Sun 27-May-18 14:16:10

Yes, I agree with you about boundaries Somerville. I don’t think we’ll ever be best friends as such, but she is pleasant company and civil and gets on well with my DC’s, as I do hers.

I think the reason my friends think it’s weird is because none of them have this in their lives. They are either on not very good terms with the ex or the DC’s don’t like the new partner. So, quite a different situation.

It’s just, how close is too close? Family events that involve her are one thing but what about birthday parties for my DC’s? I would be happy to but maybe that is overstepping boundaries?

Theimpossiblegirl Sun 27-May-18 14:18:31

It sounds wonderful to me, and so nice for the DCs.

My BIL and ex SIL attend all family functions with their new partners. None of us find it weird, they were very young when they married and all get along really well- they were all glad to see the other settled happily. It's great for the kids on all sides, a really mature and sensible set-up, but very rare I think. It's lovely for us too, selfishly, as we haven't lost (ex) SIL who we love like a sister.

Storm4star Sun 27-May-18 14:20:15

I just think, how lovely for all the kids if you all get on. There’s so so much bitterness around in these types of situations that I think it’s fantastic if you get on well.

Itsalottery Sun 27-May-18 14:21:37

I am quite friendly with my ex's ling term gf. We don't socialise but sonetimes she cones to things of my dc and we chat/ get on well. I think it's a good thing.

Somerville Sun 27-May-18 14:24:35

I think my rule of thumb would be that if it was the kind of occasion to which I'm inviting other wider family members, and especially her kids, then I'd be happy to invite her. So yes to your kids' parties, potentially. But then take your cues from her - if she tends to come, and seems happy enough, then continue inviting, but if she says no to a few in a row, or you get any sense that she's attending because she feels she should, then stop.

Boundaries would be more of a concern if you were going out with her alone, or with a group of friends; I'd be worried about things like having an off the cuff moan about something DH had done to annoy me, or a laugh about sex life or something. Anything like that would be a bit cringe with an ex.

And I know it's sometimes easier said than done, but try to ignore what your friends think about it, since they're not managing to look beyond their own situations.

greenlanes Sun 27-May-18 14:24:53

It sounds great particularly for the children. You sound thoughtful, kind and respectful. I am an ex-wife and would love a relationship like that with my ex's partner. Sadly like other pps he is a liar and has caused so many issues. His partner is not blameless either. There is a very poor relationship and my DC suffer. I think the comment about boundaries is useful and worth giving some thought to.

Mum4Fergus Sun 27-May-18 14:26:22

I'll let you know in the morning...she's arriving shortly to stay for a few days.

NCforthisthread18 Sun 27-May-18 14:30:00

Thanks greenlanes. I’m really sorry your DC’s suffer as a result of problems between your ex and new partner. I understand that all too well as my exDH’s new partner is the same. She doesn’t have children and, I think, is jealous of the fact that they come first. But I do feel sorry for her at the same time as, having been married to her now partner, I fear the issue is more that he doesn’t make her feel reassured and loved. But it’s not nice for the DC’s who just want everyone to get along.

Cawfee Sun 27-May-18 14:30:04

Keep some boundaries and don’t talk about your love life with her but I think you are doing the right thing. It’s nice for the kids. You sound confident and grounded so even if he did decided to dip his wick back in the ex wife you know you’d cope and be fine. He could just as easily mess around with the woman who serves him in the supermarket. You just never know and what you have to be is self confident, independent, not totally in his shadow so if things broke down you could stand up and be just fine. That way you can be friends with anyone.

NCforthisthread18 Sun 27-May-18 14:31:31

don’t talk about your love life with her

Ha ha, no danger of that whatsoever! I would be mortified at the idea of us “swapping notes”! 😱

DelphiniumBlue Sun 27-May-18 14:36:58

It can work.
One of my friends got to know her DHs ex , slowly and over some years.
They ended up going on holiday as an extended family a number of times, with no problems, and it was great for the kids ( I think at least 10 years between the 2 sets of DC).

eloisesparkle Sun 27-May-18 14:53:52

Why not ?
You aren't the OW.
He was free when you got together.
It's great for any children involved too.

SharpieHorder Sun 27-May-18 15:03:55

It wouldn't sit well with me, I would be waiting for the whispered 'fancy a threesome?' from someone.

NCforthisthread18 Sun 27-May-18 15:05:15

Sharpie, if you met any of us you would realise how funny your threesome comment is! 😂

Shambu Sun 27-May-18 15:18:59

I would be waiting for the whispered 'fancy a threesome?' from someone

Who the fuck do you know that would ever say that?

I know a couple of divorce couples who all get on really well. When it happens it's great

Southernstars Sun 27-May-18 15:33:42

I have had my exh and his wife stay overnight at my house when they have been visiting my DD (they live a long distance away). I have no interest in my ex at all and get on with his wife. I think they are well suited and I have no desire to be with him.

We have also spent Christmases together and I have noticed is we all have similar views on life so would get on anyway.

Lemonyknickers Sun 27-May-18 20:11:21

My DH mum and dad did this. MIL chucked out FIL, when DH was 4. FIL then found a new girlfriend a few months later who he stayed with until his death last year (40years). All three went on holiday together when DH was little, Xmas Easter etc they got together and actually now FIL is dead we still all meet up for lunch every few months as SMIL has been in DH life since little and is part of our DC lives.

I admire them for keeping things nice for the sake of little DH and am aware that to begin with it must have been awkward but it worked. If it works for you stuff convention, the DC will have a better life and that's what matters.

NCforthisthread18 Sun 27-May-18 20:14:43

It’s really heartening to hear personal experiences where this has worked. Thank you flowers

NCforthisthread18 Sun 27-May-18 20:16:09

I would be waiting for the whispered 'fancy a threesome?' from someone

Who the fuck do you know that would ever say that?

Quite! I don’t think there is anyone we know who would dream of saying something so uncouth!

mindutopia Sun 27-May-18 20:21:10

I think it would be a really positive thing if you’re all comfortable with it. I’ve become good friends with an ex’s wife. We weren’t married and no dc but it was a long term serious relationship. We stayed friends after we broke up and a couple years after he met her. She’s lovely. We actually have loads in common. My now dh and I went to their wedding and she and I talk much more often now than I do with my ex. Similarly, my mum and my dad’s long term partner became good friend. My dad never married her (he passed away about 10 years later) but she came to our house all the time and my mum used to meet up with her for lunch and coffee. My dad’s been dead for 20 years now and we have both kept in touch with her. Certainly as a child it was a really positive thing that everyone could be amicable and create the best possible situation for me.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: