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How to stop feelings of jealousy towards his ex?

(28 Posts)
redwiner Mon 14-Sep-09 15:50:48

I have a new partner, we have only been seeing each other for a few 3 months so I know it's still very early days. Partner has a 7 yo son to whom he is devoted, and he is still also very close to his ex wife. They have been apart for several years and I have no problem with them being friends - quite refreshing these days - but she asks him to do loads of stuff around the house and garden for her which he does, including decorating and gardening. She is apparently a bit 'delicate' and so he cooks her dinner sometimes and they go out as a family sometimes too. I find this quite hard as obviously I am not included. I am a bit woried that I am going to end up resenting her taking his time away from me in the future. I understand that this is the way they are, but isn't it about time after being divorced for 6 years that she accepted that he isn't there at he beck and call anymore like when they were married? Or am I being too harsh and should just accept it? I'm not normally a particularly jealous person but feel that I may become one if this carries on.

purplepeony Mon 14-Sep-09 16:45:23

On the surface it does sound excessive, but it takes all sorts!

I suppose there are several issues here- it's early days for your relationship- 12 weeks is nothing- you might not even last as a couple, who knows. Secondly, who initiated the divorce? If it was her, it sounds as if she might want her cake and eat it too..don't know?
Or did he leave and does he feel guilty?

Has he had many relationships before you came along? And if so, is the OW - his ex- an issue?

I think that if your relationship lasts, he should automatically wean himself off her, simply by wanting to be with the other person more, and doing those kinds of things with them, not his ex.

I'd say it is too early to put your oar in and upset the boat,just bide your time and bite your tongue, but maybe you can gently pick his brains and see why he maintains this level of contact- whether out of guilt, or that he still loves her, or if he isjust being kind- if it's the latter maybe he needs to wake up to the fact that women in his life are going to take a dim view of it.

Snorbs Mon 14-Sep-09 17:15:15

Could it be that he thinks he needs to do all these favours for his ex otherwise she'll stop him seeing his son? Eg, is "a bit delicate" a polite way of saying "emotionally unstable and liable to throw huge hissy fits unless everyone does what she demands"?

redwiner Tue 15-Sep-09 07:57:52

No, it's health-wise delicate, always got a bad back, neck, stomach ache, head aches etc. She never stops him seeing his son, they have a very good relationship - which I truly think is great- there are enough problems in the world. I know it's very early in our relationship still but we are both in our 40's and seem to both feel the same about each other, we have moved on quite quickly together, to the point where we are talking about having a future together. I would never ever try and stop him seeing his son as often, he wouldn't allow that anyway, but don't know how to approach the subject of her with him without coming across badly. How do I begin, what q's should I be asking?

HarlotOTara Tue 15-Sep-09 08:09:52

Maybe wait a while before broaching this as the situation may change as your relationship developes. I would imagine that the 'illnesses' are very useful to her (I am a cynical old bat) and maybe he is being manipulated. Who left who? He may be feeling guilty and defensive. Being friendly is one thing but if you are divorced then somethings are more appropriate than others, but then I could be totally wrong. I can understand your narkedness but maybe wait and see is the answer at the moment.

echofalls Tue 15-Sep-09 08:14:09

I think that the more serious your relationship becomes the less he will want to do so much for his ex. Hopefully she will also realise that he has a new partner and back off a bit. My cousin has an ex who does a lot for her and with the children, but when one of them is in a relationship their friendship takes a bit of a break too, not in a bad way..all very natural.

IME its much better he has a good relationship with his ex rather than a bitter one. He sounds like a really nice guy...good luck with your relationship!

Martha1 Tue 15-Sep-09 14:27:19

I understand what you're feeling - my partner's ex-wife left him but still rings him whenever she's bored, upset, depressed etc and still expects him to go and mow her lawn etc... He can't see that he is being used as her emotional crutch; he always replies to her constant texts in fear that she'll 'kick off' if he doesn't. They have 3 children together and I understand the need for contact about the kids but she seems to want him to pander to her every whim!!!

Talk to him about it, he may not realise that there is an issue. I spoke to my partner last night and he now sees my point of view and is gonna try and cut back on comms that aren't directly linked to the children. Good luck

purplepeony Tue 15-Sep-09 14:56:27

I agree that he might naturally back off- I suggested it earlier on anyway!

Many moons ago I dated a guy for a year- it was nver going anywhere for all kinds of reasons- but he had an ex and a son aged 4. He used to stay with his ex everyweekend ( no sex) and take his washing to her. ( he was living in a tiny flat with no washer) and he also used to pay for her to go to the hairdressers etc etc on top of maintenance.

I never felt any jealousy, but as I said it wasn't serious with us.

I think you do have to raise this with him- if you are serious about being together long term.

It might be that he has "got away with it" with women before you- it might have been a sticking point- do you know? He must have had other relationships in the 6 years since they split?

I suspect his wife is manipulating, and she needs to break this controlling behaviour.

Jujubean77 Tue 15-Sep-09 15:02:09

decorating and gardening shock

This would not continue for long if he were my man. She sounds really, really needy. Not a good omen for an ex.

I suspect she will blame you if he quits fannying around after her and hell will break loose.

onedayonly Tue 15-Sep-09 15:26:44

Dare I suggest that maybe they really are just friends? I really can understand how you feel, but could you maybe try and test the water a bit by suggesting you become involved too? Do you know his ex? If he was happy for you to be involved then I suspect there is nothing wrong, if however he hates the idea then maybe alarm bells would ring. It's a well known fact that one of the signs of an abusive man is one who constantly bad mouths and mistreats ex's...sounds like you have a good one there... nice, kind and considerate. Worth a try?

cissycharlton Tue 15-Sep-09 17:27:08

The best way to stop any feelings of jealousy is to make friends with her. Not perhaps the obvious but is surefire.

redwiner Tue 15-Sep-09 18:24:55

I genuinely don't think anything is going on with them, call it gut feeling. I have heard him on the phone to her and have met his son a few times (so obv he would have told mummy about that) and when I have heard them on the phone it just sounds like he's talking to a sister or slightly batty old aunt! I know he left her when the child was just over a year old, and suspect, without foundation I must add, that he does these things out of guilt. I feel a bit awkward about asking why he left - as he hasn't come out and told me himself- but will pluck up the courage next time I see him! I just don't want to come across as jealous/nasty/needy myself that's all.
What's the best way to actually come out and say, 'so why did you leave your wife and young baby then?'without sounding condeming?

ElenorRigby Tue 15-Sep-09 18:34:42

My advice, walk away now.

There are no boundaries between him and his ex, that is not acceptable. When you are divorced, you are divorced.

Whether it is her manipulating him or him being too soft/kind/whatever....
a year or two down the line this unacceptable situation will eat you up.
Save yourself that pain, it is early days...

onedayonly Tue 15-Sep-09 19:55:34

I don't agree. Redwiner has said herself that she genuinely doesn't think anything untoward is going on. Her ex and his ex wife could just be one of the very rare couples who couldn't stay married but are really good friends. If Redwiner can believe in herself and have faith in her bf then there's no reason this shouldn't work. I am really good friends with my exh, and he lives 200+ miles away from me, but when he comes up here we (ex, me and kids) go out for lunch etc. His gf knows about it and accepts that I will always be part of his life because I am the mother of his children. It makes life much much nicer.
Redwiner...see how he'd feel, and her, about you becoming part of the arrangement. You could make a really good friend.

ElenorRigby Tue 15-Sep-09 20:21:59

onedayonly do you have similar experience to the OP or others like me who have been there?

onedayonly Tue 15-Sep-09 20:25:40

Yes, I do. And as I said I do understand how she feels. And there are many many manipulative ex wives around, that's for sure. I'm just suggesting that, as she feels there is nothing going on with her bf and his ex, that she could become part of it instead of allowing them to leave her out.

onedayonly Tue 15-Sep-09 20:27:01

And I would also agree that she should run for the hills if he is not willing to include her in this.

ZZZenAgain Tue 15-Sep-09 20:28:08

personally I wouldn't be able to cope with that arrangement redwiner. You have to know what you can live with.

I would ask if he could tell you a bit about their relationship and why they broke up.

ZZZenAgain Tue 15-Sep-09 20:33:04

unless the details are going to rankle and hurt

ElenorRigby Wed 16-Sep-09 09:06:04

redwiner I would suggest you have a read of this essay on emotional adultery
It is written by a man who had been in your bf's position but then saw sense. Hope it helps.

Sorry if my advice seemed a little blunt but I've seen these situations so many times very often with poor outcomes.

I myself am a step parent that has been through the wringer over the 4 years DP and I have been together. Thankfully now things are getting better for us.

Buddhist proverb "To know the road ahead, ask someone coming back"

Id post your situation on Childless Stepmums and also the Step-parenting forum here.

Good Luck with whatever you decide.

purplepeony Wed 16-Sep-09 12:51:36

redwiner- something really stuck out like a sore thumb in your latest post- you don't know why they split.

What does that say about the level of emotional intimacy you have with this man? If you are talking of being together yet you do not know why his marriage broke up, it seems a very shallow relationship. IME those types of conversation are part and parcel of a relationship and happen quite early on.

I also feel concerned that you feel you have to pluck up the courage to ask. If there are boundaries over what you can and cannot say to this man, then it does not bode well.
Either you feel instinctivley that it is an area you should not venture into, as he is being quiet on it, or you have other issues with communicating your needs and wishes.

How can you possibly form an opinion of this man if you do not know how and why he is divorced? Granted, it would be only his side of the story, but it's worth asking, surely?

redwiner Wed 16-Sep-09 15:47:13

We have been very close and talked about lots of things, it's not as if he avoids subjects but, maybe it's a man thing, he hasn't asked me much about past relationships - has more or less indicated thats what happened before is all history - that what happens now is whats important. I have been to his flat, nothing there to hide, met his son, been out with both of them. I simply feel that as he hasn't asked for any more info than I have volunteered maybe he thinks thats how I should be with him. You're right though in saying that I should be able to be totally upfront with him so next time I see him (tomorrow) I will bring up the subject of his break up and see what he says. He has said that he wants me to meet his ex wife as he feels it is better that we at know each other, and he remains so friendly with her he wants me to see that there's nothing going on with them-so he's very happy to put my mind at rest that way - which again makes me think there can't be anything to hide or he'd want to keep us at arms length from each other surely? I don't know specifically why they split, but I do know they had not been happy for some time and so get a gut feeling that no one thing happened, just a final drifting apart which is why he may feel there's not actually much to say. I think I may be looking for problems where there are none.What do you think?

redwiner Wed 16-Sep-09 15:53:49

BTW, thanks ElenorRigby, I read that essay by the ex husband and it was really interesting. Assuming things continue to go well for us I will definitely be referring back to that for guidance. May even leave a copy lying around 'just in case' he picks it up to read!

purplepeony Wed 16-Sep-09 16:29:07

redwiner- there are so many possiblescenarios here-
he might be hen pecked, he might feel guilt, he might not want to let go...loads of reasons.

Just talk to him and even say you think it odd that you don't know why they split.

I know this is being OTT, and I don't mean this could be true, but for all you know he could have been a complete bastard, affairs, beatings, etc etc and helping her to keep her quiet/happy. I know that is in the realms of fantasy, but the point is youdon't know- and if you are serious about him, his past matters.

redwiner Wed 16-Sep-09 16:43:33

The ex wife has remained friendly with his mum and sister, and I get the impression that they are all very much at ease with one another. She knows all about me (well, what he has told her obv!) and he told me the other week that she said to him when he was dropping his son off that he must make sure never to hurt me as I'd been through enough already, (what with my hubby being killed) but I do take the point that until I know, anything could be possible.
As I said, I will talk to him tomorrow so will keep you posted!!

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