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Spouse too close to the Ex?

betterman's picture

First of all, I want everyone to know that my name "betterman" does NOT mean that's
what I think of myself. It means I joined this blog to BECOME a "betterman".
Just wanted to make that clear.
Okay.....So where is the line drawn when it comes to your spouse ( male or female ) being
"too close" with the ex? And how do you bring this subject up without looking like your
insecure? or a freak?
Basic problem; My wife talks to her Ex just about every day. Could be texting, phone or
e-mail. Whatever. Sometimes it is more than an hour a day. Sometimes it has been at odd
hours ( 530am, midnight ). Now, my wife's ex is an "every other weekend Dad". He has no
interest in his child's school life, medical life or friendship life. He does however get into
his son's sporting activities. My wife plans, pays and escorts her son ALL the time.
Dad depends on "Mom" to do everything and to communicate everything to him and for him.
Please understand, I want a good relationship between my wife and her ex. That is better
for our relationship and me! Hence, my question to start the blog entry.
Now also keep in mind, I work overseas (at the moment) and have to find out how close they
are through coming home to surprises while on R&R.
Any takers? Anybody have an opinion?


secondwife20's picture

too close since the ex isn't interested in the child's life except the sports.

The only reason those two should be talking is to talk about their child. Otherwise, they shouldn't talk. That's how I feel about my DH and his ex wife. They should not talk to each other unless it's about my SD8 because that's the only bond they have (unfortunately).

I think it's kind of odd that they talk every day at an hour at a time (even my DH doesn't do that!)... or that they talk too early or too late. I would definitely approach your wife about this.

Welcome, by the way!

betterman's picture

My Ex wife claims that it's ALL in the name of the child. And that
they have a great relationship. Again, I'm all for her having a good relationship
with the Ex. I am glad that others feel the same as I that my Wife is too
close for comfort.
I have confronted her about this and all I get is anger. Name calling.
I'll tell a detailed short story. On the last week of the football season I was
texting her through the game ( she is a football fan ). I come to find out that
she was also texting her Ex for the same 3 hour time frame. Going back and forth
more so. Now, this might be petty, but she never informs me of it and when asked
about it, lies or downplays it.

I must say that I am not being bias here or withholding any important info that
might sway the opinions. I myself have a less than desired relationship with my Ex.
Maybe that's my issue? Who knows.
Thank you again for the response. I'm glad I joined b/c I have other questions pertaining
to the children.

SM#1's picture

since I have never been in your shoes. But I can say that I wouldn't like this either. There is no reason for phone calls at night or that early in the morning. It would make me feel insecure and my mind wonder. Just the idea makes my skin boil.

melis070179's picture

I have this problem with my exH...he calls & emails all day, everyday. He asks me to do stuff for him like I'm still his wife. He wanted me to do his taxes online for him yesterday. He wants to be "best friends" We get along so much better now that we aren't married, but man do I get annoyed by this behavior. I have to not answer most of the time, he's the type that if you give an inch he'll take a mile. I still try to be nice because he can be quite the psycho as well and things are much less stressful if we're getting along. But its a fine line. In my situation, it doesn't bother my DH at all. He's actually encouraged me to talk to him & not hang up on him when he's getting on my nerves. I would NEVER encourage him to talk to his ex, in fact I would laugh my ass off if he ever hung up on her! He's not jealous and he treats everyone well, whether they deserve it or not, but in my opinion even though it doesn't bother my DH, I think it would send my exH the wrong message if I acted like his best friend. I like boundaries and it sounds like you wife doesn't have them with her ex...and she should ESPECIALLY if it bothers you, but also to maintain a healthy PARENTING relationship, not a personal one, with her ex.

"Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There's too much fraternizing with the enemy"

now4teens's picture

First of all, Welcome to our little family!
It's nice to have some more "testosterone" on this site. Wink

Ok, now that's out of the way, on to more serious stuff...

You said, "Now, my wife's ex is an "every other weekend Dad. He has no interest in his child's school life, medical life or friendship life."

And then you said, "My wife talks to her Ex just about every day. Could be texting, phone or e-mail. Whatever. Sometimes it is more than an hour a day. Sometimes it has been at odd
hours ( 530am, midnight )."

So my question to you would be: What the hell ARE they talking about if NOT the kids????

The ONLY thing that exes SHOULD be communicating about is their children. Period. Anything outside that, sorry to say, is an emotional affair. Add to that the huge amount of time and the time of day, and YOU KNOW what it is.

When you wake up first thing in the morning the only person you should want to talk to is your SPOUSE. And ditto for the last thing at night.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. I hate to be so blunt, but I think she's messin' around on you.

"Of course things worked out nicely for Carol Brady...she had a live-in maid and Mike's first wife was DEAD!"

betterman's picture

Well,,,,I must say that I never expected to get this response.
The other sign was that his girlfriend broke up with him b/c she
said he was too close to her!(my wife).
This is all going on while I am overseas and cannot be home( not military ).
I guess I need to take a little harder stance on this. But it is difficult
being away.

Sita Tara's picture

For once I disagree.

My exH and I talk often. And many times get off topic about the kids. Sometimes we support each other as SPs of challenging kids. Sometimes he complains about SM to me.


SM calls to chat too. Sometimes about exH. And I always offer them both an ear and support. I chose my words carefully, and try hard not to fan the fire.

Because I like them both and want to see their marriage succeed. Sometimes I disagree with SM, sometimes exH. But I leave that to them to work out.

So not all situations are created equal on this one. If the exs have a good parent/friendship then it's possible there's nothing else there. I can't speak for my exH, but my DH has no reservations that I have anything but friendship in my heart for ExH.

Oh- and I know this is not achievable for most people. BUT my exH and my DH actually take all the kids to pro/high school sporting events. Often if there's an extra ticket, exH or Dh will offer it to the other before another friend. They both co-coached the kids on a Y baseball team two summers, and take turns buying tickets to the kids high school team events and sit together.

Weird. But in a good way for the kids.

Now BM is an entirely different matter. We would treat her this way, and tried to at least treat her respectfully and civilly, but she always reacted in a suspicious and paranoid way.

"Om Tare Tutare Ture Mama Ayurpunye Jnana Putin Kuru Svaha"
~Sita Tara Mantra

now4teens's picture

There are distinct red flags that make this very different than your situation.

The odd hours. The EVERY day.

AND the way she reacts to him when he brings it up. THAT's the key.

If your DH said to you, "Sita, I am a little concerned about the amount of time you spend on the phone with you ex. It makes me feel insecure."

Would you respond by attacking him and calling him names?
OR would you consider how it makes your DH FEEL?

You have to admit, with Betterman being out of the country, of course he's going to feel threatened with his DW spending SO MUCH TIME with another man (emotionally speaking).

And if it's making him feel badly, she needs to consider HIS feelings in all of it.

I stand by my original statement. If the first thing in the morning you wake up and want to talk to someone OTHER THAN YOUR SPOUSE, then there's a problem! 5:30am and you need to call an ex- BIG RED FLAG!!!!

"Of course things worked out nicely for Carol Brady...she had a live-in maid and Mike's first wife was DEAD!"

Sita Tara's picture

That communication and valuing your spouses feelings is first and foremost.

DH has on occasion voiced how it upsets him that sometimes my first thought is to have exH fix something (he is an independent handyman, and does remodeling stuff for us.) And though even DH realizes that's his manly ego talking (because he is HORRIBLE at home repairs and a procrastinator to boot) that I need to understand why it's important to him that I ask him if he could help me fix it first. It's his house and I'm his wife.

Then...after he spends 8 hours on his day off cussing and jabbing tools into his thumb, or breaks something, the next time a complicated repair comes up he will tell me to see if exH has time.

"Om Tare Tutare Ture Mama Ayurpunye Jnana Putin Kuru Svaha"
~Sita Tara Mantra

disgusted's picture

I think the other factor here is the betterman's wife isn't being honest with him about how often she talks to ex husband...I do think that their communication is excessive but that's just me.

Also, if betterman's wife knows that her frequent communications with her exhusband is making him uncomfortable or raising concerns for him she should stop. If talking to her ex is more important to her then how her current husband feels about it..Then I guess we know which relationship matters more to her.

My ex and I had a very good co parenting relationship for 8 years (until he married the skirt clad devil)...He used to call every week to talk to the kids and to talk to me about the kids or other family things. But DH was always right there, it was never done behind his back, in secret, or anything like that. Half the time DH spoke with xh too when he called.

I think having a good relationship with your ex is great for the kids but it should be kept appropriate..And I think what betterman's wife is doing isn't appropriate at all.

In a perfect world their would be retroactive abortion capabilities. ~ disgusted

sparky's picture

"Sometimes it has been at odd hours ( 530am, midnight )." I do not talk to anybody at 530am or midnight so why would any body talk to their X at that time a day?

sam's picture

went to many sites and read many books and watched many shows on second marriages and they all say the same thing!To protect your current spouse from hard feelings and the feeling of the relationship feeling threatned a spouse should only speak with their ex "business like"and only about the children.They should not be reminising or talking about their past together as that shows no respect to the current spouse.They did divorce for a reason.They can get along good but only in a way where nobody starts to question.Therefore i would ask your wife why she is doing these things and if there is still feelings ther for her ex.Tell her that you feel threatned by him and it needs to stop before it becomes something bigger in the future.If you dont then you will always have that in the back of your head and starts to cause havoc on your relationship.

betterman's picture

Said. Hell, this is better than going to a shrink!
I agree with you 100%.

SM#1's picture

why didn't they end this when his marriage went down? Bettermans wife seems to not only disrespect her own marriage but also his. If she knew they were divorcing becuz of the constant conversation why didn't they just stop?

I am not sure that she is having an affair. She may lean on the ex a bit becuz she is loney when Betterman is gone. It does not mean she is "cheating" (everyone defines cheating differently) on him. Its possible but maybe her response was to be very upset becuz she told the ex how great Betterman was about the relationship and won't divorce her over this?? Maybe she really does not understand how hard this is on Betterman?? I don't know but I would look for some solid proof before asking her anything about an affair.

sparky's picture

"It's nice to have some more "testosterone" on this site." Yeah its great when the guys join up and it helps to diffuse the PMS.

"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. I hate to be so blunt, but I think she's messin' around on you. Sorry" Dude, I dont want to hurt you but theres something going on here and its not about the kd.

sparky's picture

"I have confronted her about this and all I get is anger. Name calling." Shes guilty. I went through the same thing when my X was doing the girlfriend.

bellacita's picture

maybe she just has guilt over the situation or unresolved issues or maybe she just doesnt know how to handle a different kind of relationship w him now. maybe old habits are hard to break.

BUT getting defensive when pointed out to her is a sure sign of something inappropriate.

welcome to the site! im definitely enjoying the male members such as rags, msloan and now u!!

"Given the right reasons and the right two people, marriage is a wonderful way of experiencing your life."
~the late great George Carlin

betterman's picture

I don't think she is. Yet. I have thought about contacting
her Ex's girlfriend, But then thought better of it. My issue is
with my wife, no one else. I just wish she would stop the secrets
with her Ex.

bellacita's picture

"enjoying the male members" what the hell is on MY mind this am??? tee hee!

"Given the right reasons and the right two people, marriage is a wonderful way of experiencing your life."
~the late great George Carlin

sparky's picture

The new thing going around is the emotional affair. They dont have any phyical contact but they are best buds and always there for each other. Funny isn't it? He isn't there for his son but he can be there for her. Why did they get Divorced to start with?

doglover1's picture

If he has no interest in the childs life (other than sports) than there is nothing to talk about. Also why is she so offensive? IF your not guilty than why act that way. If this was my situation I would tell my H that he needs to make a choose...her or me. Or maybe i would make it for him.

sam's picture

that a emotional affair is just as devastating as a physical one and will lead to a physical one if nothing is done about it from your wife.I agree with doglover1 about giving her an ultimatum.

sparky's picture

"The other sign was that his girlfriend broke up with him b/c she said he was too close to her!(my wife)." You've already answered your own questions and so now you need to make some decisions of your own.

betterman's picture

The writing does seem to be on the wall doesn't it?

imagr8tma's picture

Her communication with her x needs to be "business like".

Personal discussions should not be going on and there is no need to talk to him every day for an hour.

If he wants to know what is going on in his kids life, He needs to speak with the kid.


Tell her how you feel. If she loves you she should respect your feelings as well. The two of you should come up with what works for your relationship. She and the x are supposed to be over. The only link they should have is the son. AND if the son is old enough to hold conversations - he needs to hold his conversations with the son.

MSloan86's picture

I would be pissed if I was in your place.

When dealing with ex’s we all can get touchy. These are people that were intimate with the person WE love and WE are intimate with.

My wife was getting chatty with her ex on Facebook about random things and then people from the past they knew. I told her that kind of chit chat has no bearing on SD and the this guy abandoned her and their daughter for years. Why are you being so friendly? Be polite in discussions about SD because it is in SDs best interests if her BioDad wants to be involved. Anything more is BS and disrespectful of you.

disgusted's picture

I think Msloan wrapped this up nicely and I agree 100%..Her on going communication is very disrespectful to you, betterman...

In a perfect world their would be retroactive abortion capabilities. ~ disgusted

betterman's picture

me feel better that I'm not nuts to hear all of these
It's not easy being out of the country and go through this.
My conclusion is that she at the very least has a relationship
with her Ex that is seriously questionable.
Her son is eight and can speak for himself. The Ex is fully
able to involve himself in his school, friends, sports and life
without talking to my wife for every little detail that comes along.
What I do about it, and how I handle it, is what I must think about and
put into action.
Thanks for everyone's support and comments. Good. Bad or ugly ones. They all
have had my attention.
I'll let everyone know of the outcome.....

stepmum's picture

There may not be anything you can do about this right now, since as you said you are out of the country. It must be very frustrating!

I don't really know how long you have been with your wife or been a part of your step-son's life. However, if you and your step-son are close, I really hope you will continue to be there for the son and not push him away because your wife is...uhh...having issues. I very much know what it is like to love my step-sons and to feel myself dis-attaching from them when the bio-mom visits. I try not to but it is one of the hardest things in the world.


Hanny's picture

First, let me say welcome. I agree with most of the comments especially about her getting angry or denying her actions. That is a big clue that she knows what she is doing is wrong. My BF talks to his ex a lot, she calls probably daily, some days more than once a day. They have two kids, girls 14 and 19. The 19 year old has been acting up and staying out all night, new BF, so BM calls all the time telling him about what is going on, how the girls are feeling, if they are happy, or sad, if they took a poop today. HA I'm exagerating, but I did say that to him one day after a phone call...'and did M have a bowel movement today?'. He gets the picture, but still keeps talking. And it does seem to be mostly about the kids. My psychiatrist said it is called 'emotional enmeshment'. Meaning they are still emotionally attached through the girls. I try not to let it bother me, we don't live together and have no plans to most of the time I let it slide and have pretty much gotten use to it over the past 5 years. I tease him about it to get my point accross. But I do think you have an issue here and need to address it. It can't be easy and has to be a lot of stress on your part being away and wondering about this.

BMJen's picture

this type of relationship. When my son was 8 I had contact with his dad, about once a month when it was absolutley necessary!! Still to this day it's the same way. We can sometimes go six months without uttering a single work to one another, and that's fine by me!

They may have a "good" relationship. But this is to good. And if his girlfriend left him because of it that just shows you that he won't pick anyone over his x either! I'm surprised the x girlfriend isn't a member here yapping her head off! LOL!

And you are overseas, in the military or civilian contractor I assume. I would just deal with it while there, when you get home pack up and move the hell out.

My husband would never have that, and I would never expect him to.

My relationship with my husband is the only one I'm concerned about.......f the x's. That's why they are x's.

Tara12's picture

B - first of all welcome and I am going to be very very blunt with you because it sounds like you are a good man and you buddy are getting the short end of the stick. She has no reason to be talking to her ex that much at all. They are not talking about the kid. My exH used to do this to me all the time. He would call me all the time wouldn't even ask about my son but would want to sit there and talk to me all the time. Why? Because he was still emotionally attached to me but I had moved on. I would be polite the first few times but after a couple of weeks I had to tell him look I am not comfortable with this I have someone else in my life and if you want to call and talk about our son once a week and catch up on his school or whatever (my son was like 5) then that is fine well never heard from him after that. You wife is having an emotional affair with her ex and she is enjoying the ATTENTION that she is getting in your absence. I don't know if it because she is lonely because you are out of the country or what it is but I agree with the other women on this site that there are all these red flags that are common up and - this is just me but I wouldn't trust what she is telling you at all. This is something you are going to have to confront her about in person - when do you get back to the states?

Sita Tara's picture

And after re-thinking this, in light of you being overseas, she may be in a vulnerable position and not thinking as clearly about your feelings in the matter.

I don't think she should be chatting with her exH all the time, especially at odd hours of the day, while you are a million miles away. But she does need to find adequate support while you are gone.

That being said, is there any support system in place? Family? Friends? Because I am a highly independent person, but if I was on my own for months at a time, I might not feel connected to my spouse anymore. Not that I would EVER feel anything but friendship for my ex. However, if my marriage wasn't sound and secure with a deep connection before my DH had to leave, I might feel some unexpected resentment. I had this happen when shortly after I moved in with my DH years ago, he took his first post military job at a consulting firm who under exaggerated the time he would spend out of state. It turned out to be M-F EVERY week. I know in his experience to be in a safe environment and come home every weekend seemed like a step up from sleeping in a hooch in Korea or a tent in the desert. From my perspective, I moved out of a small relatively easy to clean house with one cat and 2 sons EO week, to a large, not updated 90's poorly constructed house, with a new SD EVERY weekend, who's cat had two litters of kittens back to back and a fifteen year old outside overgrown sheltie. PLUS still maintaining my little bungalow, working full time and going to college half time. I had to finally tell him, this was not working for me. And I didn't give ultimatums as I thought he really liked the job. But he didn't love it as much as me and found a different one.

I'm not saying all that to suggest you change jobs, as you are married and likely she at least knew this was the deal going in, and obviously jobs are not a plenty at the moment. BUT some of us women feel if we're mostly on our own anyway, we might as well be all the way, and that's not healthy for your marriage.

So I would continue to try to communicate your feelings with her, and maybe start looking for others who are close to her that you trust and are good friends/family to help her deal with your absence, help with difficult repairs or give her a break to do something she enjoys, to have dinner with her and the kids. If you are in the military or affiliated, there may be programs or at least other wives in the same boat too. I didn't ever go through total deployment type stuff, but even trying to disconnect so I wouldn't be upset on Mon and reconnect on Fri for two days was not helpful to grow our relationship.

"Om Tare Tutare Ture Mama Ayurpunye Jnana Putin Kuru Svaha"
~Sita Tara Mantra

Colorado Girl's picture

First of all...I love your name. "Betterman" by Pearl Jam is one of my fav's. (Not that it's pertinent to your situation, but it's what I thought of when I saw your name...)

Here's what I think (and I may be repeating some other posters but I wanted to state my take without other influence), I think that your wife could have a case of enmeshment with her ex. It may really harmless on both their parts...which would be fine if she were single. But she's not and their constant communication is causing you discomfort so she NEEDS to fix it. I don't care if you ARE just jealous, it's her duty to help alleviate that for you. As your wife, she needs to make sure that she can conduct herself as your wife while balancing herself as a mother of another man's child.

It's about balance and compromise.

Just because the two of them are okay with constant contact, one person is not. You understand that they have to have SOME find a balance. Figure out the amount that you would be comfortable with and see if it's acceptable to your wife.

My husband's ex-wife CONSTANTLY calls my husband. She is also mentally unbalanced and my husband is the only stability she clings on to. I've grown to appreciate the need she has for him (I don't like it...but I've at least come to UNDERSTAND it), so I just set certain boundaries. Like I prefer that she call him on his cell instead of my home phone and if she calls during any family time, the calls to voice mail. Those types of things. It all balances itself out and everyone really does get their way.
Sure, I have days when I can't help but roll my eyes like when she calls to tell him Happy New Year...but eh, whatever.

"For every ailment under the sun....There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it; If there be none, never mind it." ~ W.W. Bartley

mysticalwolf71's picture

Their is no way that I would let that happen in my house. It's fine if they talk about the kids and subject about the kids. But this is more about them than the kid or kids.

You except it now and let it be, you'll wake up a very lonely guy.

bewitched's picture

"To Thine Own Self Be True" William Shakesphere
It's just great when ex's can get along. But that's it. Get along. They are the ex-not a new best friend. And she is crossing the line...I mean, what the heck could they possibly be discussing at midnite, at 5:30 in the morning? Since he's just not that involved in his child's life, it's most likely not the kid. And even if it were-was there an emergency at midnite? Or that early in the morning?

Let her know in no uncertain terms that this makes you uncomfortable, that it is crossing the boundries of your marriage. Then let her make her decision. You can't force her to stop...the only control you have is over yourself. So you can draw your conclusions from her actions. Either she respects and values her marriage, and your feelings, or she doesn't. Pretty clear message.

lil_teapot's picture

If it bothers enough to talk about it, it's obviously a problem. Maybe it's completely innocent. Maybe something fishy is happening on one or more of their parts. Maybe you might be feeling a little insecure cuz you're overseas. Maybe some of all of the above.
It sounds like maybe your wife is trying to include her ex in the parenting cuz he doesn't sound like he's that involved. Maybe she wants to be the bigger person and try to keep the ex involved in the kid's life. I am not really sure.
The problem is that too, if she's lying or 'lying by omission' that is a bad thing. Your feelings need to be validated, and you need to know that you can trust her especially if you're overseas.
Maybe you can try talking to your wife and telling her how her behavior makes you feel.
I think when you are together, it would be a good idea to have some relationship counseling together. It couldn't hurt.
Good luck...and welcome!

carolina's picture

hi B,
I just read about your situation and all the feedback you got. I'm actually in the same situation but with my DH who thinks that there's nothing wrong that his ex is calling him all the time (and I don't think it's all about the kids!!)he also gets mad at me and calls me paranoid when I question him about all that communication. I even found amessage in his cellphone that says that she's afraid of his infidelity !!I don't know exactly what to do either...