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Getting married and DH's Ex Behaviour

(24 Posts)
The1975 Fri 10-Nov-17 16:16:08

Has anyone else experienced new issues with partner's ex after getting married? I'm sorry this is a bit of a long one, but I've been sitting on this for a while....

I'll be honest, I'm not her biggest fan, but I try and maintain a polite and cooperative relationship with her as I don't want the children to have to deal with conflict. Tbh, I've always struggled with her behaviour. She phones up and demands changes to schedules, or books things during the time when kids are with us, without consulting us. Sends frequent emails/txts on how my DH should be parenting and refuses to return clothes, school uniform etc, which places added stress on us.

I've kind of just had to suck it up, but things seem to have got worse since we got married. Two days after the wedding, we were at a local event that she was also attending. Lots of our family and friends were still around and so came with us. Ex decided that was an appropriate time to walk up to my DH outside the school hall and spend 20 mins telling him that youngest DS wasn't coping without seeing her more often and various other issues.

A week later, older DSS wanted to come over and spend some time at ours, as it was her week, but he wanted to see my DH. But (said ex during the call) DS said he didn't want his Dad to pick my DD up at the same time (kids are at the same school). Ex suggested that childminder collected DSSs and take them back to hers. And then my DH could drive over to hers after he'd collected my daughter from school and dropped her home first. Fortunately, my DH told her no, he wasn't doing a 40 min round trip when he could get both kids at the same time and be home in 10 mins.

She's also starting texting him all the time, but this isn't about the kids. e.g. 10.30 at night - oh I've just started watching XYZ program, you'd really like it etc. My DH just ignores it, but it's actually really bothering me.

I think the final straw came when we'd arranged to go to a party at my DH friend's place. It was quite a big do and they are old friends of my DH and his ex, so we checked in to make sure his ex wasn't going (they're also her friends, so we didn't want to treading on anyone's toes/noone feeling awkward etc). Friends said she wasn't going, so we said we would.

DH happened to mention to her we were going to the party and she went on for ages about how it was such a shame she wasn't going as it was going to be such a good party. And then lo and behold, she emails DH the following week to say she's decided to go now. DH tried to say politely that we'd only said we'd go because she wasn't and had then made plans to go on and see family (as it was quite a long way away). Only to be met with, oh that's fine I don't mind if you're going as well.

Perhaps I'm just being paranoid, but it seems ex is going out of her way to be difficult right now. DH said she's always been like this, but this does seem to have got worse since the wedding.

btw, she ended the relationship 2 years before DH & I met.

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 10-Nov-17 16:36:17

Sounds like pretty normal ex-w behaviour to me!

It can be annoying but there has to be a lot of "smile and wave" dear, gritted teeth and do your best to not let an hostility show to the kids who are after all what matter most.

DH needs to try harder not to engage with her (eg. regarding the party). Also by "avoiding" her at events like these where there are mutual friends makes it more of a big deal (and pretty difficult for the friends). Be the bigger person and go whether or not she is going (but arrange with DH that you'll both quietly slip away if it is great on the night. You have to have his agreement that he will leave as soon as you want to otherwise that can be an issue too ).

Maintain a united front and she'll get fed up.

SandyY2K Fri 10-Nov-17 17:50:51

Try not to let her get to you. He's your husband now and divorcee's do come with baggage of the Ex spouse.

Your DH seems to handle her just fine, except he had no reason to tell her you guys were going to the party in the first place.

That's why she decided to go.

Hermonie2016 Fri 10-Nov-17 18:16:49

I am not sure if the 2 incidents such as meeting him and discussing their son or being at the party when you were going are really out of order..just seems that she feels ok with being around him and you.Its not as if she is rude or hostile, just a different approach to you.

Not sure I understand the school pick up but if ds is pre or teen it could be someone the ds asked for.I know my friends children are not happy to have step sisters especially discussed at school so would ask for separate pick up.

It could be that she is happy he has moved on and feels absolutely fine with it all.

PhoenixMama Fri 10-Nov-17 20:09:50

I think that sounds like they have a good relationship. Yes it’s annoying her telling him how to parent but my exh and I still tell each other how we think the other should/could parent. Neither of us are experts & we’re feeling our way.

I really like my exh’s new partner but we’ve still had some missteps- on both sides. I think that’s totally natural. We didn’t choose each other as partners but we still need to make it all work for dd.

My marriage with exh didn’t work but that doesn’t mean we aren’t friends. We spent 10 yrs together & have an amazing kid together. We still know each other’s likes and dislikes so recommending tv shows or books comes naturally. (Tbf his new partner & I swap more book ideas lol - he can sometimes be left out!)

You DH has married you. Whether you all go to a party (of both of their friends) or not based on whether she’s going to be there seems petty. What do you have to lose?

Belleoftheball8 Fri 10-Nov-17 20:23:51

I don’t think the event was a big deal she was talking about their dc which she had concerns about. The party again they are also her friends so why should she not go, they were her friends before you were on the scene. As for the separate pick up maybe her ds wanted some alone time with his df or to chat to him about something that he didn’t want his step sister to hear? The texting I would simply just ignore.

lifeandtheuniverse Fri 10-Nov-17 22:15:48

Phoenix - well said, completely agree

swingofthings Sat 11-Nov-17 07:31:53

Besides the texts unrelated to kids late evenings, I don't see any outrageous behaviour in what you describe. The part about DSS not wanting to be picked up at the same time than your DD has nothing to do with her, she was passing on the message. It's an issue between him and his dad.

The part about the party, I also don't think is totally unreasonable. Ok, so she made up her mind at the last minute, but in the end, she wasn't saying that you guys couldn't come, she was fine with you being there, it's you/him that has an issue with it, that's not her fault.

Same with discussing issues after the event. It was indeed an occasion when they could discuss things calmly. If your OH couldn't talk about you had to go etc..., then surely he could just have nicely said so and suggested a time to discuss things.

Unless you become good friends, there will be things that will annoy you/your OH and vice versa, that's just the way it is. She is probably posting somewhere saying how she has enough of never seeing clothes going back at hers, how she's expected to be flexible with arrangements, but given a hard time when she's the one asking, and how you being unreasonable making things difficult when your DSS has events schedule during their time that he really wants to go to.

The good things is that it gets easier as they get older. Communication with the ex reduced and gradually only takes place with the child. In the meantime, you are best to stay out of it and let it not be your problem.

RoderickRules Sat 11-Nov-17 07:37:05

Child might just want to be picked up by his dad?
Feeling usurped by your child?
Both children at the same school?
Must be difficult for DS.
Personally I’d do whatever my child wanted.
Wouldn’t you?

The1975 Sat 11-Nov-17 09:50:46

Actually Roderick, I wouldn’t. Our kids spend a lot of time together and for the most part, over and above the usual squabbles, they all get on really well and enjoy spending time together. We also try and give all the kids some 1:1 time as much as possible. But if my DD was asking to be picked up from school on her own I would explain it wasn’t practical for me to make 2 trips out so she could have a 10 min car journey to herself.
Sure you can pass on the message, but that’s not how it was put. It was very much DS wants to be picked up on his own so you’ll need to do this.

Earlier in the year I was “informed” at the school gates by our shared childminder that ex had told her to tell me that DSSs didn’t want my DD to sign their Father’s Day card.

Now it was irrelevant anyway, as I’d assumed they would want their own card and I had bought one for them to give him. And I got a Step Dad card for my DD. But if my DD had said this, I would have said sure, you have your own card, but why don’t we make another one that you can all sign together.

The1975 Sat 11-Nov-17 10:14:52

Thanks for the feedback. And perhaps I’m lettting this get to me more than I should.

I guess I feel that I’m trying really hard to make a happy home so DSSs feel they are treated the same when they are with us. And just simple things like making sure they have nice clothes they like, waiting to do activities they’ll enjoy on the weeks we have them etc. But it feels like that’s not respected.

I don’t have any concerns about her relationship with my DH, he makes a joke about it now - here comes another X missive....

I guess it would be naive of me to expect there wouldn’t be some impact. I just thought I needed to worry about the kids.

headinhands Sat 11-Nov-17 10:19:32

So you didn’t want to go to this party if she was there in case it would be awkward for her. She says it won’t and is going. And you’re upset. Why?

Belleoftheball8 Sat 11-Nov-17 10:19:44

Your dss is. Young teen who might have wanted a private chat with his father that didn’t involve his step sister there’s nothing wrong with that op. As for the cards again he might want his own card for his father it sounds like he doesn’t feel he gets enough time alone with his dad. He might want to do more boy stuff and can’t

RoderickRules Sat 11-Nov-17 10:35:29

you are missing the point.
Treating them equally and meeting their separate needs are two different things.
He might not want to suddenly share his dad.
Can’t you see that?

NewLove Sat 11-Nov-17 11:20:33

I a child demanded a separate lift off me (or demanded any lift) they would be walking home... Sounds over indulged

The1975 Sat 11-Nov-17 12:11:32

Head in hands. I didn’t want to go to the party if DH ex was going. I really don’t want to spend what little free time I have in her company. So that’s why we asked the hosts in advance. If she’d already accepted, we would have declined. Because they are her friends too.

My point was, she had no intention of going until DH mentioned we were. We won’t be making that mistake again.

The1975 Sat 11-Nov-17 13:16:04

My OP was asking about dealing with my DHs ex’s behaviour (which I feel has become more and more intrusive & demanding) since our marriage.

DSS are with us 50% of the time. My DD 100%, as her Dad is not around. DSSs do have 1:1 time when my DD and I are not around and also doing bike rides, doing projects or games etc. I’ve also taken younger DSS out with DD so DH can spend time with older DS. I know he misses his Dad, but we are doing what we can.

Where I am struggling is that we don’t intrude on her time with her sons. We return things promptly to her house. We ensure kids go back with all their school kit. We send on information. It’s common courtesy that this should be reciprocated and it’s not.

My DH is not emailing and txting his ex every day with every random thought that occurs to him about the kids. Or demanding we have them back to take them to a poetry reading during her time, or texting late at night to tell her about a good book he’s just read, or an album he likes that she might. Because we have our own life.

I’m p*ssed off about it and I wanted to know if others have experienced similar issues. I wasn’t expecting to be told I’m doing a sh*t job at step-parenting.

SevenNationArmyWife Sat 11-Nov-17 13:29:58

In the gentlest was possible there is nothing you can do to influence her behaviour. Your DH needs to have as clear boundaries as possible but that’s up to him really.

You can’t force her not to text or not to attend parties or even to return clothes. Disengage as much as possible and make the clothes your DHs problem not yours. The kids will get older and these problems will fade.

Oh and don’t expect support on Mumsnet as a stepmum. It’s just not the right forum.

RoderickRules Sat 11-Nov-17 13:37:28

So, you are supporting each other, and she must find her own sources of support outside of her child/rens father?

You won’t go somewhere if she’s going. Silliness.

His parenting your DD takes time from his existing children. I don’t think you can separate the ex issues and child issues.

It might be difficult for his exw to adjust too...perhaps she’s trying to find her place in this set up. As well as looking out for her child/ren.

Put yourself in her place, then think about how to respond. How would you like to be treated in this situation?

It sounds like you are threatened by her.

mustresistwine Sat 11-Nov-17 13:49:10

She sounds like a pain! 10:30 at night texts to tell him what she’s watching? confused

And it sounds like she wanted to be very publicly getting his attention at the local event...

Just focus on your relationship with DH (which she is not a part of, whatever she may think) and don’t let it become a divisive issue for you. Maybe DH should be upfront & day ‘please keep texts etc to important stuff about the children’ so things are clear?

The party, meh

If you are all there at a social event it’s just one of those things it’s not like a triple date grin and surely you & DH would treat her the same as any other guest with polite chit chat if you can’t avoid her

NachoAddict Sat 11-Nov-17 13:59:59

The lift thing was ridiculous and I woukdnt have agreed to that for mt own child or my step child. If he wanted a chat with his dad I am sure he could have done it when he gets home.

The other stuff sounds like she is trying to re establish some kind of place in her exes life. Texting him reccomendations and changing her mind when he says he is going. He was encouraging her by telling her he was going. He didnt need to mention it.
When I was with my ex I had a very friendly relationship with his ex and we have continued that even though I am no longer with him. So I am not saying that exes and new partners cant be friends but there are boundaries.
I am friends with my ex and when we see each other we chat, we care about each other and often ring/text about our child but when he is in a relationship I respect that and don't do anything that woukd give his partner cause for concern, after all we didnt work out, I want him to be happy and causing waves in his life wouldnt be fair.

swingofthings Sat 11-Nov-17 14:49:58

I think your problem is that you are jumping to believing everything you hear. The likelihood that she actually asked your joint childminder to tell you that she didn't want the same card by her DS and yours is very farfetched and the most likely scenario is that she opened up to her that she was concerned that you might think this to be appropriate and your childminder is just a school gate gossiper who put a bit of twist because she's bored and likes a bit of excitement in her life!

The biggest mistake people make is to assume that what they hear someone said someone else said is deliver true to form. 9 times out of 10 it isn't. Unless she says something to you directly, take it all with a pinch of salt.

As to the issue of DS being picked at same time than your DD, totally agree with you, he should be told that this is not acceptable, however, I don't see how it has anything to do with the mother, except that she was delivering the message (fair enough, she should have told her son to discuss the matter with his father directly).

user1493413286 Sun 12-Nov-17 20:31:27

It sounds like now you are married she is trying to re-exert her position or role in your DHs life. I wouldn’t want to attend a party with OHs ex present and I wouldn’t be too keen on her randomly messaging, if it was a one off fine but I think it’s difficult enough situation that the ex continues playing a role in both of your lives so boundaries are important. Hopefully it will calm down if he continues to act the same.

Biglettuce Mon 13-Nov-17 22:25:08

She’s jealous and trying to assert a claim to her territory ie your husband.

It’s common I think. DHs Ex did the same. Lots of texts, chats, popping up out of nowhere.

It’s a bit pathetic really. You can influence your DH to some extent to stop pandering to her. All the stuff about pick ups is just nonsense, she’s just making a meal out of simple stuff. The cleaner any handover, the more regular the schedule, the less going through the Ex.

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