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DH can't ignore BM

ladybug3's picture

I've written about this a little in the past, but something happened again today. Since BM got served with the papers it's been almost complete radio silence from her, which has been so nice. Then out of the blue today she texted DH, "I understand you completely." He was at work but he took the time to call her to find out what she meant. Even though I've told him a million times I hate it when he talks to her about anything other than SS. And besides that, since this whole court thing is going on I've stressed to him how important it is that he gets all communication in writing, i.e., text messages. 

I'm so tired that he can't ignore her. They were together for four years so she's very good at getting under his skin. She knows exactly what to say to make him want to know more. She texted him a few weeks ago, "Can I ask you something?" I was sitting right next to DH when he got the text and I told him not to respond. A few days later he went to pick SS up and he asked her what she had wanted to ask him. So he only ignores her when I'm around. But he has no problem telling me about their conversations, like he doesn't think he's doing anything wrong. I hate when he starts talking to me and the conversation begins with, "You're never going to believe what BM said to me today..." 

I've tried a tactic I've seen suggested on here where I ignore him when he talks about BM. He got irritated with me that I wasn't listening to him, and I told him I didn't want to hear about BM. He got pissy and walked away. "She makes me angry and I have to talk to someone about it, why can't I talk to you?" is what he always says. I told him why, it doesn't seem like he cares. 

I texted him today that it really bothers me when he can't ignore her. He told me he does ignore her, he just wants me to know what's going on. Calling your ex to find out what her cryptic text message meant is literally the opposite of ignoring her, and I said that. I don't understand how someone could be hurt so badly by their ex but then still care so much about what they have to say. 

I don't know how to get him to listen to me. I've repeated myself so many times (sometimes crying, sometimes screaming), because this has been happening our whole relationship. I'm terrified that it will never stop, but I love him so much I can't think about leaving. I don't want to get nasty but I'm starting to think it might be the only way to get him to listen. Like asking, "Do you still love her?" and things like that might make him realize how serious this is to me. 


SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Anger is on the flip side of the coin that love is on. He is communicating with her because he wants to and he likes it. 

MurphysLaw's picture


susanm's picture

Agreed.  Anger is night next to love.  No one can get under your skin like the person you love.  You know that you are over someone when you have reached the point where you have no strong emotion about them at all - apathy.

It sounds like he and BM have unfinished business.  That does not mean he does not love you.  It is possible to have strong feelings for 2 people at the same time.  But he is not over her yet or her cryptic messages would get nothing more than a shrug and an eye roll.  And he certainly would not feel compelled to talk about her over and over.  Especially when you have made it clear that you don't want to hear it.  They may need to hash things out once and for all or he may just need time.  Only he knows what he needs and only you can decide if that is a deal breaker for you.

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Wrong. Apathy is a bland emotion. Anger and love are furious emotions.

lieutenant_dad's picture

You can't make him change. You have to accept that he'll only change if he wants to change. No tactic will work if he doesn't want to do it. And he isn't asking for help, so he doesn't want it.

The only power we have in a relationship os over ourselves. It's not his job to change to suit you; it's your job to determine if his flaws are a dealbreaker for you or not. 

WarMachine13's picture

Tell him to talk to a therapist about BM and why he can't create a boundary with her.

hereiam's picture

I get that he needs to vent to somebody and that he wants it to be you, however, when it's something that he invited into his life by responding to her stupid cryptic messages, that is different and I completely get where you are coming from.

I have never minded hashing things over with DH regarding BM, but had it been something of his own doing, I would have told him it was HIS problem, stop dealing with her unnecessarily.

Luckily, by the time we were dating, he was done with her inane crap. So much so, that she left a message with his sister that he needed to call her right away, as she just found out that they were still married. He never did call her, he just went to the county courthouse to confirm. He never did find out what she REALLY wanted. Didn't care.

Just keep standing your ground and explain to him that he is adding stress to both of your lives with these antics. Why CAN'T he ignore her? Curiosity is not worth the extra stress.

I was also lucky because those years when SD was young were before texting, so it wasn't as convenient to contact people with your every thought.

Your DH is either going to get tired of this and figure this out... or not, you can't make him. It seems to be what he wants to do, for some reason.

ladybug3's picture

That's what sucks so much about this. They had been separated for three years before I met him, and he told me he had plenty of time to grieve and heal and move on. Then as soon as he actually did move on (with me), she started nonstop calling and texting. Turns out he wasn't as healed as he thought he was. 

Capricorn63's picture

When I first started dating my SO, he and his ex had been divorced for over 5 years.  I was completely blown away with how much communication that they had that was emotional / super charged/ high conflict.  I had only been divorced for 3 years and me and my SO had already figured out how to disconnect pushing each others buttons.

I switched to the BIFF response system, with none of the 3 A's and our communication had gone to ZERO.

I started looking at all of my SO's crazy communications and trying to help him stop.  It took me a year to figure out that dealing with a bipolar ex BM, not so easy and it was ruining our peace and calm.  I told my ex to remove me from all of it, don't share any of that with me, protect me from your crazy ex for my mental health.  He did.  

I then taught him how to use the BIFF system and all communication crazy stuff stopped.

It worked for us.  He doesn't even respond to her any longer. He quit feeding the monster.

ladybug3's picture

I've never heard of the BIFF system, I'll look into it. I'm glad it worked for you, I hope it works with my DH. Thank you!

Capricorn63's picture

by an Attorney who was highly involved in Family Court with High Conflict Couples.

B - Business like

I - Informative

F - Firm

F - Friendly

Then he also took that system one step further and said communication should not ever do the 3 A's

No Advice

No Admonishment

No Apologies

momjeans's picture


When I first started dating my SO, he and his ex had been divorced for over 5 years.  I was completely blown away with how much communication that they had that was emotional / super charged/ high conflict.  I had only been divorced for 3 years and me and my SO had already figured out how to disconnect pushing each others buttons.

Oh, yes. So much this.

My DH was SO enmeshed with BM when it came to volatile communication via text, years later. 

Shut this sh*t down ASAP, while trying your best to be an outlet for him, but also gently pushing him towards therapy too. 

Want2's picture

“Like asking, "Do you still love her?" and things like that might make him realize how serious this is to me.”

Why don’t you just say this is serious to me. Why play gotcha games? Do you want the drama? Tell him you’re serious and if it doesn’t stop here’s what’s going to happen.

I am guessing you don’t have anything to fill that last part in that would make it stop. 

ladybug3's picture

I hate playing games and I hate drama, which I why I am always open and honest with him. I have told him hundreds of times that it bothers me when he talks to her. My thought is that if I showed him that it's hurting our marriage he might listen. 

And you're right, I don't really have anything to threaten him with. Not to mention, even if I did threaten him, he could just not tell me about their conversations. He doesn't actually have to stop if he doesn't want to, and I would never know.

tog redux's picture

My DH used to argue back and forth with BM early on, when they were still in court, trying to settle custody etc. I used to feed into it some, too.  Then at one point, he starting ignoring her when it became impossible to deal with her.  He found out that ignoring her was the worst torture for her, and that made it easier to do; but of course, that meant he was still engaged with her, just by ignoring.

Then SS was alienated for 3 years and he never heard from her and it was awesome.  Now he ignores her because he has nothing to say to her, not because it upsets her.  So he has truly reached indifference.  He tried to be civil with her this time around but within a few emails she was threatening him with court, so that was it. He's not going back to that crap. She lost the privilege of a reply from him if she can't be civil.

Anyway, the best thing you can do is just say, "hmm" but don't get too caught up in it. If he wants to engage with her, that's his problem. He'll pay the price eventually, and give it up.

shamds's picture

About 5+ years since she kidnapped his 2 daughters and ceased contact, the stuff his daughters sent him were word for word crap nonsense their mum had brainwashed them on. Hubby was upset and crying and told me about it.

as a wife i was supportive to him trying to help him digest what reality would be. In my case hubby wants nothing to do with exwife. They have not communicated or met since the divorce over 11 yrs ago.

even now when exwife tried to use her same taunting manipulative tactics on hubby and coax him to come to her home, hubby ignored those requests... when things are over there is no being there for them. Even if the exwifes parents or sibling dies, you don’t go. They aren’t family. 

If kids guilt the parent, doesn’t change things the emotional ties are severed. Only exception would be if everyone was on a civil friendly communicative  type relationship which is very rare

step to grown children's picture

Indifference is the opposite of love.

But just because people make you angry doesnt mean you love them.... 

stupid drivers make me angry sometimes, inconsiderate people at the grocery store make angry too...

so, does that mean I love them?

I DO NOT LOVE MY EX but he makes me mad when he does not follow the custody rules, misses the kids' appointments. etc. or "forgets" to tell me about a school event.

He probably doesnt tell you because he knows you are going to get upset.

For some bizarre reason I wanted valdation from my exhusband even after the divorce, it took some time but I finally got over it... but it was my DH who helped me through it. just being loving and patient with me knowing how much his comments hurt me, he reversed all of that. dont push him away and onto her... that maybe what she wants.