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The bitter ex-wife

Liz-be-fit's picture

THE ISSUE- co-parenting with our ex's has been really difficult even though we tried for about the first 8 months to make it work. It was hard when we were married to them, it seems even harder now. It has gone down hill in the last 4 months or so. Our ex's have both stated they are jealous of how we are when with each other, how we act toward each other, and how we parent our kids together, and how they feel its better than our previous relationships with them. His ex-wife tries to tell me horrible things he's done or gross habits and tells me she wished she could have made it work WITH him and that its not fair that he does all of these things for me that he didn't do for her. I try to tell him that she says things like that to me but to him all she says is "oh that's great, I really hope you guys work out!" is it just me or does that sound completely two faced?! I have stopped talking to her bc we tried to be friends but she just kept talking to me like that and I couldn't take it anymore. On top of that I'll try to help with problems our 6 year old is having ( bc she asks for my advice) and even if she knows what she's doing is wrong (bc she says she does) then she does it anyways (then if I get upset she says she doesn't give a shit what I think??) I'm so confused! I have no idea what to do.

WHAT MY BOYFRIEND SAYS- he doesn't believe me that she says those things bc "its not like her." he has also seen very mean and hateful messages from her to me on my phone but then she messages him explain her point then calls him and apologizes and says she wants to fix it( this has happened four times now) he then told me after a few days of me being so overwhelmed and depressed that I shouldn't worry about it anymore and that he would just talk to her from now on, which is really sweet and I know he cares but she still is so fake with him it makes me sick. I've given up on trying to make him see it and realized that I cant let it ruin our relationship.

WHAT OUR COUNCELOR SAYS- I do love our therapist and she's helped our relationship a ton but I just don't think she understands where I'm coming from at all with how judgmental she's been about how I feel about his ex-wife. She says that I should talk to her and make it work for our kids but I feel it is past that. I try to talk about just the kids and if it doesn't go her way she gets nasty and personal and says terrible things about my boyfriend and turns it into being about her.

I just want to say I have so much respect for women who get along with their step-kids parents, it is really hard and I applaud every single one of them for making it work!

So....what do I do? suck it up and fix it? or let it go and try to be happy with my boyfriend and our growing family?


SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

Stop talking with her. She's trying to drive a wedge between you and it's working. She's taking up your time and space by making you two discuss her.

Also, why is he willing to discount your word that she said those things?

Gwynnafaye's picture

If you must talk to her, record your conversations. Then you have proof of what she says.

not your momma's picture

Stop referring to your SD as "ours." She's not yours. She has two parents. And stop communicating with her mother. Let your SO do the parenting.

mapitout's picture

"I just want to say I have so much respect for women who get along with their step-kids parents, it is really hard and I applaud every single one of them for making it work!" Yeah, in your shoes that would be how one would feel, but in her shoes, she's angry; angry that it didn't work, angry that he found you, angry that you might like her kids and they might like you, angry that you breathe air.

Livingoutloud's picture

Too much drama for my taste. Why are you talking to her? Your BF doesn't believe things she tells you anyways, so what's all this drama for?

strugglingSM's picture

Sounds like your SO's ex hasn't moved on from the relationship. I think the only way to successfully move on is if you stop doing many of the things you used to do in a relationship, including socializing with that person. I know that's harder to do when you have a child, but if one person is still emotionally attached, the best thing (for everyone) is to move to a purely transactional relationship around parenting. Don't share info about your personal life, don't be buddy buddy by giving her advice (especially if she never follows it), don't have conversations with her about what your SO was like with her, what she misses about the relationship, etc.

It will be better for her in the long run if she has limited contact to allow her to truly let go of the relationship.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

Also sounds like SO himself hasn't completely moved on from the relationship either. He seems all too willing to believe the words of his ex over his current girlfriend - even when he sees the texts.

OP, have you given thought to why he chooses to believe his ex over you?

strugglingSM's picture

Totally agree on that. When I first met my DH, BM called him daily, sometimes multiple times a day, usually just to chat or complain or insult DH, not to discuss matters dealing with the children. I pointed out to him that other than the fact that they didn't live together, his relationship with BM was pretty similar to when they were married. I said to him, "either she hasn't moved on or you haven't moved on, but someone is holding on to the relationship." Shortly after that, he stopped taking her calls.

still learning's picture

" On top of that I'll try to help with problems our 6 year old is having..."

There is no *our,* not your kid.

"( bc she asks for my advice) and even if she knows what she's doing is wrong (bc she says she does) then she does it anyways (then if I get upset she says she doesn't give a shit what I think??)"

So you're not a parent, you're dad's girlfriend and you're giving the mother parenting advice. Yes I'm sure you know exactly what you're talking about Wink

"I'm so confused! I have no idea what to do."

Save yourself years of heartache and give him back to her.

blayze's picture

Your counselor is wrong. Stop paying her. Unless she (personally) has turned a bitter ex into a nice one through conversation, she has no idea what she's talking about and shouldn't give out such stupid advice. You tried. No guilt. Leave the conversations between parents now. The only time that women get along with their step-kid's mother is when said mother has moved on and puts her kid's best interest above her own ego. That is not the case with your boyfriend's ex.

twoviewpoints's picture

It's only going to get harder for you if you don't stop encouraging the child to call you 'Mommy' (I read your profile) and stop with the 'our child'.

You are not an equal co-parent with BM. You are not a more superior parent to her child than BM. You are in for a world of hurt if you keep on this path.

The actual parents need to be doing the co-parenting and the communicating. You need to set healthy boundaries and stay on your own side of them. You and BM will never be besties and you will never be this child's mother.

You can help your BF parent in your home on his time. But if you continue on with this the way you currently are things are going to grow rapidly worse. I know that isn't what you want to hear and I know you aren't going to believe me. All I can say is spend on time on this site. Read. Read other stepmom's stories about their steplife. How it all started for them. How they raced in trying too hard. How resentment built. Keep reading. And than read some more.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Not every step family blends and co-parents where the bio parents and step parents work together and are friends. In fact, that kind of relationship is fairly rare.

The reality is what you are living. A bitter and jealous ex who wants their former spouse back. Time may or may not change that.

Things you NEED to do to make this situation better: stop talking to the ex and let your SO handle it; stop letting his DD call you "Mommy"; stop giving advice, even if asked; stop helping parent the little girl; dump the therapist and find one that specializes in step family dynamics; have a VERY serious conversation with your SO about why he trusts his ex more than he does you.

You are not a step parent yet. You are dad's girlfriend. ENJOY being the girlfriend with all the fun frills that come with it. If you two stay together, you'll have plenty of time to deal with the drama. For now, let it GO.

Things you MAY WANT TO DO or look into: disengagement; parallel parenting; slowing down your relationship until things cool off or you have a plan in place moving forward; an exit strategy if things don't work out; your own therapist that you can see privately.

Your only real option, if you want to stay in this, is to let your SO do the parenting and minding of his ex. By all means, form a relationship with his daughter, but let him do the heavy lifting and dealing with his ex. There is no reason to talk to her or be friends with her. You don't need to interact with her. That is your SO's job, and if he can't or won't do it, you need to think long and hard if you want to put up with this for the next 12+ years.

ihateholidays's picture


This is exactly what you need to do. You don't parent. Your SO parents. You don't ever have to talk to his ex, your SO deals with the ex 100% of the time.

You are not the mom. I totally get feeling threatened - I am a biomom as well as a stepmom. I don't parent my skids, and I don't want anyone else parenting my bios. I am the mom.

ihateholidays's picture

And dump the therapist!

I found a therapist who was a stepmom herself, and it was a huge difference. Don't put up with that guilt trip crap - everyone is not able to get along if the BM is playing games, and you shouldn't have to bend over backwards in this situation. Don't let them guilt trip you! If BM has the issues, she needs to deal with them herself.

SourGrapes's picture

Sweet baby Jesus on a cracker!


Stop talking to BM. Stop referring to your soon-to-be skid as "ours." And for the love of all that is holy, do not allow soon-to-be skid to call you Mommy.

Your bio states that you have your own BS5. How would you feel if he started calling another woman Mommy? How do you think that would impact your relationship with your ex and his new partner? It's just a HUGE overstep. I don't blame you for wanting to make a magical blended family. I think most of us on this board got into our relationships with some stars in our eyes and rosy dreams of a happy blended family. Then reality took over, we did a Google search such as 'my stepkid is driving me insane', and wound up here.

Let your FDH deal with BM, directly. Do not have any contact with her that isn't necessary AND strictly about your SD. Let your FDH parent his child. Also, be very sure that things are truly over between BM and FDH. It sounds clear that she isn't over him, and since he's willing to take her word over yours, it seems like there may still be something lingering on his end too.