Childless stepmum and partner's ex, the mum

(16 Posts)
Fatgirlfromiowa Sun 09-Dec-18 23:53:30

I'm a childless stepmum who has acquired a lovely 16yr old step son who is living with me and his dad, whilst he goes to college. He's not necessarily the concern. It's the fact that my partner is still friendly with his son's mother. When I first met my partner he struggled at first as he always thought he might get back with his wife at some point, even though she had been married to her second husband for 6yrs.
However, she has now announced that she's separated from her 2nd husband. I've always suspected that she still holds a torch for my partner.
Sadly, she's recently lost her mother. She's asked my partner to join her and their son to attend the funeral. She's suggested they stay over night in a hotel with her and her son from a previous relationship. My partner was bewildered when I said I was uncomfortable with this, particularly as he didn't like his ex mother in law.
Whenever I question this, I'm told I'm being stupid and that it's important for him that he maintains the relationship with his ex for the sake of their son. He said he still loves his ex, but only as a 'sister'. This just makes it difficult for me to discuss any of my apprehension because it makes me feel like a bad step mum. In addition. I do like his ex wife, I'm just confused, as this is me territory for me.
I'm also beginning to imagine what will happen at Christmas. It's my first Christmas away from my family, and we're very close: my partner wanted to stay at home to be with his son, so we agreed that I'd go to my sister's for Christmas, whilst he stayed at home. This was ok with both of us. However, I can imagine that my step son will feel bad that his mother, having spilt up from her husband, lost her mother, and this will be the first Christmas that she's had without her son, he will probably ask if she and his half brother can spend Christmas with him and my partner whilst I'm away Christmas day. Am I wrong to feel uncomfortable with this?
I should add, that since moving in together I've been enjoying our gourmet meals and drinks together and have packed the weight on, so now feel threatened by the ever energetic, trim ex.
Confused and feeling insecure, but not sure if I'm just over sensitive.

OP’s posts: |
seahorse85 Mon 10-Dec-18 04:10:14

Not over sensitive in the slightest! He's wanting to have his cake and eat it. How would he feel if you were staying in a hotel with your ex / spending Christmas Day with him too? The 16 year old doesn't need that level Of contact between his parents.

They are in some semblance of a relationship I'm afraid. I'd talk to him. If he's not willing to listen to how you feel then I'm afraid it'd be curtains for me.

swingofthings Mon 10-Dec-18 05:06:40

You need to be very careful as you are risking to let paranoia take over your life and it could be your lack of trust pushing him away.

He is your partner and he is committed to you so you have to trust him. If he still has romantic feeling for his ex and does she, they will most likely find a way to get back together regardless of what you tell him he can or can't do.

Would be reasonable for him to drive back after spending time with his son after the funeral? How would he feel to do that just to alleviate your anxieties? As for Xmas, you are currently torturing yourself anticipating what might happen.

You need to let go of your fears he will leave you for her and just keep an eye on any behaviour that is suspicious. At the moment there hasn't been yet. Remember that it is very hurtful to have a partner you love who doesn't trust you and that alone can affe t how you feel about them. You have to trust him when he says he sees her as sister (something that I could have easily felt for my ex if there hadn't been issues preventing it).

Winterishere2018 Mon 10-Dec-18 06:53:55

Sod that for a game of soldiers. Why on earth do they need to share a hotel room and I certainly wouldn’t be going away from Christmas. You do sound like you feel second best op and it’s no real life to live.

blackcat86 Mon 10-Dec-18 07:31:44

I wouldn't be comfortable with the hotel bit although he should attend the funeral to support his son. As well as his MIL it's his son's grandmother who has passed. Your DP needs to find some boundaries here.

swingofthings Mon 10-Dec-18 07:53:23

Where does it say they intend to share a hotel room? Staying at same hotel is quite different to sharing the same room. Considering she will have two kids with her, same room would a bit difficult any way.

HeckyPeck Mon 10-Dec-18 10:26:31

Are they sharing a hotel room?

Who’s idea was it for you to go to your sisters alone?


Fatgirlfromiowa Mon 10-Dec-18 12:06:27

They're not sharing a room. My partner is staying in the same room as his son, which his ex had paid for.
Going to Christmas on my own was a long standing idea, as he's not really into Christmas, and knows that it's important to me and my family. My family really struggled with me leaving the area, when I moved 4 hours away from them to live with my partner, and I hoped this was a good compromise.

OP’s posts: |
Bananasinpyjamas11 Mon 10-Dec-18 13:01:56

You are not being paranoid and this is very insensitive of him. If her husband were still on the scene he’d hate it too, which should tell you everything.

A lot of people seem to do this, keep close with the ex with kids until they get a serious relationship, which then puts it into perspective.

Your DP is also a fool, she presumably had okaying boundaries when she remarried but now she’s not she feels she has some power over him. And she’s right.

My DPs Ex still likes to tug on those strings with him too, even though she’s a long standing relationship. He bf doesn’t know she sometimes calls my DP in the middle of the night. Honestly. Some people don’t really grow up. Put me off my DP that’s for sure!

As you do not have a child together it does make you more vulnerable, she’s playing the mother card. It’s pretty low and he’s being a prat. It’s not about whether they are about to jump into bed. It’s about another woman claiming your partner. They don’t actually have to friends because of kids. Often what’s best for kids is clear boundaries and parents who don’t manipulate or confuse anyway.

What to do? I wish I knew the right thing. What’s best for you? Don’t be a mug. Don’t take it lying down. And don’t feel like you are making too much of it. Draw some kind of line.

HeckyPeck Mon 10-Dec-18 14:05:13

I think the funeral it’s right for him to go along to support his son. If it’s too far to drive back then a hotel would make sense, but if not then there’s really no need for it.

Could your DP and DSS have come along to your sister’s with you? If he chose to stay at home thinking his ex wife might come over for the day then that’s really weird!

Anuta77 Mon 10-Dec-18 16:05:28

My DP also has an ex whom he "loves" like his "sister". Their kids are 18 and 16 and there is nothing romantic between them. When this ex was presented to me and was very friendly with me, I saw her as a friend and has no issues with it. When we had a fight (because I don't like when ppl put their noses in my personal life and this woman doesn't know boundaries), I started having an issue with my DP being "close" to her. We had lots of fights, but of course, he can't change something that was in place years before I came, just because I didn't like it. I read a lot about it and there's no one way of handling these kinds of "triangles" as my therapist called it. Basically, in a good relationship, both partners try to understand each other. you understand him and he understands you (instead of calling you stupid) and you try to find a compromise.

I decided to make peace with the said ex and use it to my advantage. If she's a "sister", she should visit us, because that's what family does and bring the kids when I want them for dinner, this way my DP doesn't need to drive to pick them up or bring them back. She brings gifts for our baby when it's his bday (I invite her, just so she can again bring her sons), etc.

If you like her, include her (if you can fight them, join them lol), you might feel better. It worked for me, because I realized that what I didn't like was being excluded.

Bananasinpyjamas11 Mon 10-Dec-18 16:38:29

@anuta I’m not knocking you if it works. However it sounds like accepting an affair. I wouldn’t want to be in any kind of ‘triangle’.

Anuta77 Tue 11-Dec-18 02:39:38

I don't think it's like an affair if it's not romantic, he had another wife after this one and they stayed friends. After my fight with her (we almost separated), after some initial resistance, the contact between reduced and seems like they got used to it. He goes there every week to see his sons, but she no longer calls him just to chat and rarely asks for help. Last time she did, he refused because he's busy with work and our house is his priority. He realised that he could lose this relationship, so he's making efforts for our family. And since she says she cares about him, she doesn't want to be the cause of our separation...
The OP should tell her husband how she feels (only feelings not accusations) and ask him to understand her. When you act vulnerable, men seem to be less defensive...

Bananasinpyjamas11 Tue 11-Dec-18 08:26:48

I’m glad that the contact is reduced. However it sounds a bit rubbish for you, particularly at first, and you did suffer emotionally. No ‘friendship’ should cause pain to the partner. Something is crossing a boundary.

The therapist called it a triangular relationship as even if it’s not sexual, emotionally your DPs ex is putting herself on a level with your relationship. Basically she needs to back off! That you put your foot down and threatened to leave did need to happen. It’s so fustrating though isn’t it that you had to give an ultimatum? The OP probably needs to doo this.

I guess I’d class crossing the line things that really should be just you and your husband - for example:
- emotional needs. Beyond friendship - more what a partner needs.
- reserving the right to call your partner at times / frequency that is beyond a normal friendship. E.g. my DPs Ex calls his very late at night. Friends just don’t do that. Not on a regular basis. It’s infringing on the relationship space.
- a certain amount of manipulation and control - e.g. pulling at your DPs emotional strings
- acting as if they were still married
- asking for jobs around the house and help.

TooSassy Thu 13-Dec-18 11:29:44

FWIW I don’t think there is anything wrong with healthy boundaried relationships between exes.

What you’re telling me doesn’t sound too unusual. If my DC lost someone important to them on my side and they were very upset and had to face a funeral, I could absolutely see my saying to my ex, ‘could you be there to help support the kids’, especially given I will no doubt also be grieving given the loss is in my family.

I don’t think there is a problem at all, especially given he will be crashing in a room with his son.

What is a problem here is the insecurity you have and how that’s showing up in your relationship. Is there a reason (that’s not on here) as to why you feel threatened? Are they overstepping healthy emotional boundaries with one another? Are they over reliant on one another? Is there something more to this than just the above?

If not, then my advice is that you sit your partner down and are just very honest about how insecure you feel and that you’re worried he may go back to her. Voice it. Don’t let it chip away at you and see what he says. If he is committed to you, he will do everything in his power to make you feel secure.

You worrying about Christmas is also not helping. You’re with your family, why don’t you just focus on that? I don’t know, I guess I’m just a little more pragmatic about these things. My ex cheated on me and my view is simply if someone is going to cheat/ leave you, they will. Nothing you can do will change that - you can’t control someone else’s actions.

All you can do is focus on you, on how amazing you are and all the great qualities you bring to this relationship.

I’d talk to your DP, this situation is far better than a hostile ex!

PerfectPeony Thu 13-Dec-18 13:30:28

My parents have been divorced for 20 years and they have more of a brother/ sister relationship now.

I understand why it bothers you but you have to trust him. Do you trust him?

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