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Still struggling...should be ok by now shouldn't I?.....

(25 Posts)
Nelli29 Wed 19-Jan-05 10:43:49

Hi everyone, I hope you are all well. I'll get straight to the point, I hate being involved with my dh's ex. I hate it , I feel like I want to stamp my feet and shout ITS NOT FAIR. I know this is very childish but nethertheless thats what I want to do. I just can't get her out of my head and its affecting my relationship with my DH, as when I know he has met her or has spoken to her I feel a compulsion to know everything that was said like a paranoid schizo!! I have never been like this before and the intensity of my feeling have shocked me. I have been with my DH for almost 2 years and I would have thought I would have a handle on it by now. Everytime we arrange things with sd which obviously involves contact with ex it drives me insane, she is so devious and I find myself having to second guess her all the time. She ring up dh crying etc on the phone about things, but being quite clever she is also nice to me and about me so if I say anything I end up looking like the bad guy. She is always bringing up the past when talking to my dh, even when her own husband is in the room. Sd and myself get along very well and when she is with us we always have a nice time(she is 6) but I find myself getting very tense and having to control these feeling , which means having to suppress them , or quite often I have a private cry out of view from sd and dh. My dh is aware that I find it all quite hard and although he does understand and he has been as supported as anyone could be, he is getting a little tired of the whole thing and is often short tempered about it, which to be honest I completely understand as I'm boring myself!! I just don't know if I will ever be able to deal with all this in a positive wasy. I struggle with self confidence at times and it doesn't help that ex is v attractive blonde , nice house, loads of dosh etc etc... and part of me feel a little inferior and I know that she thinks I am insignificant. My dh says he doesn't see her in that way and all he sees is all the vile things shes done to him and if it wasn't for sd he would have nothing to do with her. I know this is how he feels and I know how much he loves me, and we are trying for a baby of our own at the moment which may be why I'm a little over sensitive about it all, but sometimes , even when he is just talking and planning time and holiday with sd I clam up and to him it looks as though I am being selfish, and uninterested but thats so not the case I just dont't know how to deal with the envious feelings inside me. Talk about rambling! Will stop now , Thanks for listening - Nelli xxx

amynnixmum Wed 19-Jan-05 11:05:53

I don't have any experience of this so no advice sorry, just didn't want your post to go unanswered. {{{hugs}}}. I'm sure someone on mn will have been through something similar.

tarantula Wed 19-Jan-05 11:47:34

Hi Nellie {{hugs}} cos I think you need some. Ive been with dp for nearly 12 years and I still feel insecure and frustrated occasionaly when he is organising things for dss (and I have a very good relationship with dss mum too). Its perfectly normal to feel left out and depressed because after all in a way you are being left out as this is something that is special between your dh and his dd. Im sure you are doing a fantastic job with your sd and trust me things will get better over time. you have done so well so far. And repeat to yourself ad infinitum "dh is with me not with her so I am the one he loves" Itll work if you say it often enough. And of course you arent a paranoid schizo I used to question my dp endlessly about everything. Its normal. And dont know about your dh but mine is useless about telling me anything so it is necessary to question.

otto Wed 19-Jan-05 11:56:42

Hi Nelli. You've posted several times asking for advice, but it doesn't seem as if anything we say can help you come to terms with your situation. Maybe you need to talk to somebody impartial such as a counsellor who will be able to help you work through some of your feelings. This is certainly something I considered doing when I was at a low point. I do hope you get pregnant, but you must remember that having a baby won't help everything to magically fall into place.

Nelli29 Wed 19-Jan-05 13:49:33

Otto - Having a child is something that we have both wanted since we met so its not something that I have thought up in the hope it will magically fix things. I know its a not easy but I have been ready for this since I was 16!! (now 29)so I can't help looking forward to it when it happens.

As for talking to someone, I am lucky in the respect that I work in a surgery so I have someone here I confide in from time to time, which does help. Things just felt worse today as we had an incident last night with ex, so it was at the forefront of my mind.

tarantula thanks for your reply, its good to know that I'm not going mad.

I know I have just got to accept things as they are and get on with it but sometimes I just need to let off some steam somewhere where no damage will be caused, which is why this site is so great!

I just seem to get incredibly low about it sometimes xxx

reflection Wed 19-Jan-05 15:39:42

Oh my god. Thank you. I thought I was the only one...Nelli I too have found being constantly involved with my Dh's ex very difficult. I haven't found an answer but coming here has really helped my understanding that I am not a bad person but I do know how you feel. It just gets so tiring. I find it hard to let go of the injustice. Falling in love with a man that has history is no easy thing. I have been with dp for 4 years and things have got better but I do have to come here and get advice or a less emotional view point every now and then. Just keep talking and posting. Let it all out.

beansprout Wed 19-Jan-05 20:43:06

Nelli - how you feel is very normal in these situations. This is a unique set up whereby we have to somehow have to get on with our dp's ex - where else does that happen?!! Please just keep talking to us about it, it is completely fine.

Oh and Otto - I did go to a counsellor who told me that how I felt was completely normal and ok and suggested I stop beating myself up about it. Some people adapt to this situation v quickly, but many of us don't. And that is completely ok. There are no quick fixes here.

Clare1406 Wed 19-Jan-05 21:15:31

Nelli29, i can honestly say that MN is probably better than any counsellor, coz everybody has got a different slant on things, & if you put it all together, you realise that your feelings are normal, you just have to say to yourself that you are obviously a better person than ex, otherwise DP would surely still be with her!! Most of us SP's feel the same somewhere along the line.
We had discussion here a couple of weeeks ago, & Beansprout put things into perspective for me.

Thanks Beansprout.
BTW, Beansprout, do you know why they deleted a thread of mine on the conversation with Carproad?
Didn't say anything offensive, i thought.

sunny1 Wed 19-Jan-05 22:24:55

hi nelli29,

I felt exactly the same when DH & I got together 6 years ago. It took a long time for me to 'get over' the ex situation but did eventually.

What about suggesting your DP texts his ex with arrangements for SD instead of phoning then you wont feel so bad bcoz he's not talking to her?

valleygirl Thu 20-Jan-05 11:07:11

Hi Nelli29

Sorry that you are still struggling - but to be honest I'm not surprised. it took almost 3 years for us to get to the stage where i can now honestly say that I am ok about the ex. We even went round to her house for dinner last week to discuss issues about the kids since she is moving from london soon and so we won' see the kids as often.
But I can still keenly remember the feelings I once had for her - the way my stomach tightened when she called about some trivial thing, how demandign she was at times, how i took out my frustration out on my dp. Not fair on him, and there he was caught between two women who needed very different things from him!
I went to councelling to deal with my feelings and you know what if I hadn't gone I'm not sure if I'd still be in the relationship. It's one thing having friends to talk to, but they are always going to be subjective to your feelings 9and can't really relate to your situation), what I found useful was having someone professional not only tell me that what i was feeling was normal and OK, but helped me come to terms with what being a step mum meant and helped me get to the bottom of what my insecurities were all about.
So don't rule counselling out, someone impartial and who's trained to deal with people like us going through stressful emotional times can make such a difference.
As for trying for a baby of your own, the stress you are feeling is undoubtedly going to hinder your chances of successfully conceiving. And there is something to be said about having a baby to compensate for a fragile part of a relationship not necessarily being the best thing. Babies don't come along and act as a fix-all, and unless you come to terms with having the ex in your life (for EVER! sorry but it's true!!) then a baby might be an added strain.
Why not do what i eventually did - we got a phone with an answer machine so we just screened calls. If she called we didn't pick it up and unless it was urgent (which as you know it almost NEVER is!!) then my dp would call her back the following day from work when i wasn't around to get wound up by the fact that he was speakign to her. It really did work.
Funny how things change - these days I am the one she does a lot of the communicating about the kids with as i usually pick them up after work mid week and at weekends, so it makes sense that I am the one she e-mails to make arrangements with.
2 and a half years ago this would have been unimaginable to me! So things can and do get better.
take care of yourself - you've coem this far in gettign closer to your sd, the rest will follow.

beansprout Thu 20-Jan-05 13:11:53

Clare - nothing offensive at all. Not sure why anything would have been deleted.

I think step-parenting is a huge thing, and not something we should feel we should have to get over. I have recently become a parent myself and despite the lack of sleep etc, emotionally speaking it is a walk in the park as nature steps in and supplies a bond that simply doesn't exist for me as a step-parent. I had (still have) such good intentions, but have found the reality v different.

Nelli29 Fri 21-Jan-05 09:20:49

valleygirl After a terrible night last night and reading you message this morning I have decided to take some positive action and am going to make an appointment with a counsellor. I guess I haven't got anything to lose, it can only be a benefit.

Last night sd rang twice which is fine, but dh had to speak to ex to arrange holiday times as we are booking some flights and I just instantly tensed up. I knew I was doing it but couldn't help myself, and the evening just got progressively worse. I don't understand why I can't handle this better, when my dh and I first met , I obviously knew all about ex but was fine about it , it didn't bother me at all , in fact I felt I had the upper hand and I was confident and secure, I don't understand whats changed. Now I feel insecure, my confidence has dropped and I've built the ex up so much in my mind its ridiculous! I am a reasonable sensible 'normal' person but I just don't get it. I know my dh loves me but there is still a tiny part of me that is convinced that a part of him still feels something for her, which I know is silly because he can't stand her and all he ever does is defend and support me, he has never given me any reason to think like this but nevertheless I can't get it out of my head! I realised last night though that I need to do something because this is no good for me , him or sd. The problem lies with me, and my feelings about the ex, My relationship with SD is good, she is 6 and I have known her since she was 4. I've had my ups and downs with feelings about sd but things are good now on that side of things, and although occasional I feel a bit sad I cope with it and get on with things. Hopefully things will get better.

Thanks for listening

Nelli xxx

Caligula Fri 21-Jan-05 09:38:23

Nelli I think what you're feeling is absolutely normal and good on you for recognising the need to do something positive about it so that you can move on to the next stage of your relationship without all this mental anguish. Good luck with the counselling.

beansprout Fri 21-Jan-05 16:09:06

Nelli - I really do know how you feel!!
I really think you are more than half way there, as you are not in the blame game and are taking responsibility for how you feel. It took me a long time to do that, but the best part of it is I can actually do something about me, whereas I can't change everyone else. Good luck with the counselling, I'm sure you will get a lot from it. Please let us know how it goes. Mine really helped me as I started to replace the "bad" label with "normal". What a relief!!!

valleygirl Sat 22-Jan-05 12:53:15

Hi Nelli29

I hope you get yourself a great counsellor who will help you come to terms wirh your feelings about the ex. It is so easy to build the ex up as this bogeyman presence - just waiting for that next call, waiting for the next decision that will seem to put your needs second or even third. If it makes you feel any better she probabaly has issues galore about you too!
The worst thing is when you know that you are allowing your feelings about her to affect your relationship with your dh. you end up feeling as if you're playing into her hands somehow.
Anyway I'm sending you loads of positive thoughts and let us know how things go with your counsellor.
big hug

islean Sun 23-Jan-05 09:51:33

Nelli good luck. This all struck a cord (EX Major I think) because I've been to hell and back with my DP's ex.

She has a few more issues than the usual - if she doesn't keep in touch with DP and her DD ALL the time she believes that something terrible will happen ie they will die and that its only by constantly being in touch that she can cope with the terrible anxiety that causes her.

She also hadn't let go of the relationship - out of habit or preference she still seemed to prefer turning to my partner over her own, and was threatened by me because she hadn't ever thought about the reality of her ex ever taking up with someone else. The reality, along with something of a guilt trip at the way she ended their relationship left her going full pelt for BM of the year award inside both her, and our, relationship, hit her very hard......which meant it also hit me.

I ended up seeing a counsellor because like you I was going through the roof every time she called(and boy did she call). I learned to recognise that much of it was down to her issues not me which I shouldn't take responsibility for. I found ways to not absorb her issues like a sponge but to put up mental walls that kept her out of my head. The stress I was feeling was a natural response because she was imposing her needs and issues on to us.

Each of us have boundaries when it comes to what we can cope with when dealing wth others and when they are crossed (especially if you have no control over it) you will get stressed and knotted up. There's nothing wrong in feeling like that.

I learnt that while she is a part of our lives she doesn't have the right to impose herself, she was still grieving for that relationship but that didn't mean we all had to wallow in it, and we have the right to have some uninterrupted private time with each other where the past wasn't allowed to go. Your DH can help in this if he refuses to discuss the past with her, its not saying it means any less to either of them but insist it stays where it belongs - it takes two people to have a conversation. Its not just about sorting out your feelings, its about renegotiating the boundaries of your relationship with her and your partner so you can all live with the situation. You have the right to say to your partner and her that you am not comfortable with her bring her emotional issues and their past relationship to your partner to deal with. She may not like it, DP's ex hated it and me for suggesting it might not be appropriate behaviour - but she stopped, and is getting herself some help, my DP came along to counselling with me and discovered a few ways he could help both of us to - some of it was down to him as much as her because he hadn't made the boundaries clear to her so she thought it was ok, and I'm still here and (mostly)sane

In my case we talked around it and ended up with a shared online diary so everyone can add all the little details to it such as picking up times or lost socks. That way we save talking for the big issues and texts for emergencies. My partner keeps the talking to practicalities rather than allowing it to drift to social stuff (and crying on his shoulder is out, he made it clear that's what her new partner is there for) - and that if he needed to talk over something to do with the children with her that affected me too I would be included in the conversation. She still calls more often than I'd like when she's feeling low but mostly from 30+ 'boundary violations' a day we are down to a manageable couple of conversations a week about practical stuff and my stomach muscles are slowly relaxing.

There's no right and wrong about this you have to work out what is ok for everyone - including you.

Bad guys of the world unite (you have nothing to lose but your relationship, sanity, self esteem etc)
issy x

beansprout Sun 23-Jan-05 12:49:04

Wow Issy, your post has blown me away. You are clearly a very loving and wise woman. So glad the work you have put into the whole situation has paid off. Dp is a lucky man to have such an understanding partner. xx

pinkdiamond Sun 23-Jan-05 13:20:57

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anniemac Tue 25-Jan-05 12:39:43

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Caligula Tue 25-Jan-05 13:05:32

Great advice Anniemac, I think very often the reason the parties involved feel hostility to each other is because of their own insecurity about their relationships, whether that be ex-wives fearing the new stepmother will muscle in on their mother-child bond, or second wives fearing the influence of first wives.

Once people feel safe and secure in their own relationships, all that hostility evaporates. Looks like you've got there. Congratulations!

anniemac Tue 25-Jan-05 13:45:43

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Nelli29 Fri 28-Jan-05 11:40:52

anniemac - whether it was you intention or not you message has made me feel quite down. I think I am doing ok. I am a reasonalbe person and am alway polite and friendly to the ex when we meet, for instance I dropped sd off at home on my own for the first time last weekend, I went in , had a chat with her , her husband, and 2 of her friends. I am handling this as best I can, but I do get upset at times and I can't help that. As for trying for a baby, I have waited for this all my life and there is no way on earth I am going to put it off because the ex might be upset. As for sd , we have acted out plays with her two dolls, her being the mum of one and me being the mum of the other and yet them being sisters, she understands this and I think it would be good for her. It has absolutely nothing to do with the whole 'we can do it better' thing. I am indifferent to the ex and am slowly learning to detach but it will never be easy. I think I deserve some credit and control over my own life!

anniemac Fri 28-Jan-05 13:33:31

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Nelli29 Fri 28-Jan-05 15:24:33

anniemac Thanks for you reply, I think I just read your post at a bad time. Didn't mean to snap. You are right in what you say about my conflicting threads, but honestly thats how quickly and intensely my feelings have been changing. One minute I could cope with anything thrown at me the next it feels like the whole whole is against me! It sound as if you have come through alot within your relationship and I do appreciate the advice. I just can't get rid of the knotted feeling in my stomach. I can't really pin down what exactly causes it , its probably a mixture of things....everything?! I just want things to settle down so I don't have to think as much...its exhausting.

anniemac Fri 28-Jan-05 15:53:08

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