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They're your babies, not your pawns

reclaimingmypower15's picture

Does anyone else's husband's first wife hate his second wife with the fire of a thousand suns? No? Just me? Man, it sure feels that way. It's been 11 years since my husband's divorce. His ex wife didn't want the divorce. Still behaves in a way that seems to convey she'd take him back in a heartbeat if only he'd ask her to. Full disclosure, my husband and I had an affair and he divorced his 1st wife to be with me. This is not, nor has it ever been, something that I'm proud of or am looking to excuse. I fucked up, acted impulsively and childlishly. It is something that I am deeply remoresful for. I do not regret it because I can't change it. I do regret causing pain and suffering to another and very much wish that I could somehow heal the wounds that I have caused. It is this harsh reality and the burried, undiscussed truth of our situation that has lead me to this platform. Surely there's someone out there reading this who is living something similar?

She's remarried, has been for 7 (ish) years. I thought/hoped when she remarried some of the bitterness, the resentment, the mean-spirited behaviors would cease. They haven't. She continues to be vengeful and uses her children as pawns in her and my husband's long expired chess match. Having a neighbor pick up their son and bring him home to an empty house while she and her husband are traveling in lieu of having his dad pick him up and bring him to our house until their plane lands. Having a friend take their daughter to practice even though she knows my husband will also be there (he's the coach of her team and we live right up the street). Hearing of a trip we're planning and then taking them on said trip before we do. Hearing of a concert we'd like to take them to and then, since it's on "her day," taking them to said concert. It's been 11 years of these kinds of behaviors with no end in site. It feels hopeless and exhausting to think about the future.

I'm sure there will be many who think/respond with fire to this post. The "Well what do you expect" responses. I expect humanity. I expect humanity...


Ispofacto's picture

I've always been of the opinion that you can't wreck a relationship that wasn't already wrecked, but maybe that's just me.

Whatever happened between the adults, the kids are innocent and don't deserve to be jerked around.  Less is more when it comes to letting her know your plans so she can't sabotage them.  Don't tell the kids about trips until the day of the trip arrives.


grannyd's picture

Hey, Ispo,

Over the years, I’ve found your posts to be both engrossing and articulate. Your descriptions of ‘Killjoy’ and her machinations have been so entertaining that I’ve felt guilty for enjoying them so much. On this first occasion, I’m obliged to disagree with your opinion. Pardon

Even good men have their moments of weakness (testosterone?). Oftentimes, when a marriage is going through a rocky spell and an attractive woman casts some woo, lays on flattery and makes herself available, an otherwise decent husband will stray. It happens. This, in no way, excuses her partner’s behavior but it takes two, yes?

At the risk of sounding vain, I was a fine-looking woman in my day and had more than one offer from both married and single men. Tempted? Sure. However, my marriage vows meant more to me than an illicit sexual encounter. The poster knew, perfectly well, that her erotic consort was married with children yet made the decision to encourage a relationship and destroy a family rather than behaving morally.

Now, with the offensive moniker, ‘reclaiming my power’ she complains of BM’s continued bitterness. Is she referring to the power to have sex with a married man yet expect tolerance and grace from his abandoned wife and children? Oh, please!

Indeed, I’m an oldster whose standards of decency may be out of date, according to today’s yardstick, and my attitude towards infidelity is colored by my own, bitter experience. However, Ms. ‘reclaiming my power’ is posting to the wrong venue. ‘Ashley Madison ‘ought to be more to her taste.

CLove's picture

With a fire of too many suns to count, and SHE was the one caught cheating and bragged about it to her friends. There is another thread on steptalk detailing all the ways the stepmother is the stepmonster, and many many stories such as mine. With husband - he and I met when he first stepped out after first separating. She was caught online with dudes and pics. And insisted nothing was ever physical and then he found out it was indeed physical. Well, we started our relationship when they were "officially separated-not-divorced". Never a really great move, but she also had her boyfriend shacked up with her, so they were not even dallying anymore.

Welcome to steptalk. The best you can hope for is perhaps dont make your plans known. Things will probably get better as the children age out of visitation schedules, but really not much you can do to battle the stigma of Affair Partner turned Wifetress.

Merry's picture

Several sources report that about 20% of people in marriages cheat. And I'd bet anything that is drastically underreported.

There's just not  much you can do about the ex's behavior or her unhealthy need to hang on to this hurt. She will continue to punish you and your DH until she can let it go, which might be never. Your best response is to be happy in your marriage. Don't play her game, don't give her power, don't tell the kids about vacation plans or events. And if she does learn about something and beats you to it, so what. You can enjoy it all the same.

I hope the kids do get away from her ugly game and have a more mature relationship with their dad. But don't count on even that. They've observed this treatment, and maybe they will operate from their own place of hurt.

I hope you can get to a point where her silly games are meaningless to you.

SeeYouNever's picture

If you were the other woman then she is justified in hating you and honestly you shouldn't force yourself I to her life because that just cruel. If she wants nothing to do with your for the rest of her life then that's not unexpected. Also not unexpected if she turns the kids against you. Things will go more smoothly if you make yourself scarce

It's stepmoms like you that make it harder for the rest of us. A lot of people assume a 2nd wife is the other woman for it's frustrating for those of us that aren't.

My DH was separated when we met, he had a male roommate and lived 3 hours away from BM. He was in the process of divorce but not complete. BM accused him of cheating and living a double life when she was the one who got a new guy every time he had a deployment. SD even confirmed she met her stepdad before she met me. So was my DH I married man when we met? Yes but not one of those "yeah we're still technically married but living together in a sexless marriage..." Liars. Big difference.

CajunMom's picture

Regardless of the status of your DHs prior marriage, you are always going to be seen as the "one" who broke up that family. I know...society and their one sided thinking. Your DH was just as much to blame, but the men pretty much get a pass. It's something that happened, you can't change it but you are going to have to accept some women will NEVER forgive "affair" participants. And that unforgiveness will trickle down to the kids unfortunately. 

As a second wife, I've also had to deal with lies about "stealing" DH, in spite of the fact the BM left him overseas, came back to USA and filed for divorce, then strung him along for 2 years before he finally met me, my "legal" friends and he got himself unglued from that first Nutter wife. I was totally innocent and had that "affair" mess thrown at me. So, yeah...many SMs (or second wives, however you choose to identify) deal with that "did she break up the marriage" mentality, even when we are innocent.

I wish you the best but as SeeYouNever said, I'd make myself scarce, let your DH handle any BM conflict and when the kids are around, just be yourself. Best to you.

Rags's picture

if you quit communicting plans for trips, concerts, etc... to the kids so BM can't steal the experiences.  You and DH plan them and just leave on the trip or to the concert as soon as the SKids arrive for DH's visitation.  

You and DH earned her ire. However, that does not mean you have to continue to play her game.  Play your own game, and win.  

I would be completely open with the Skids.  Tell them about the affair, express your regrets, and start the healing process with the kids. BM cannot ever be your concern. Only you, DH, your marriage, and the relationship that you have as a family.

My XW was a serially adulterous skank whore and I would not waste the moisture to piss on her if she was on fire.  Fortunately I did not sully my gene pool with her so once she moved out, while pregnant by her Geriatric Fortune 500 exective sugar/baby daddy I was free, had zero exposure to her toxic crap once the divorce was final.

You may not ever  be able to recover the relationship fully with the Skids.  You will never mitigate the situation with BM. Don't try and do not give her another thought.  Make keeping her at bay your goal with her rather than her ceasing her vitriolic revenge scheme.

Good luck.


justmakingthebest's picture

I didn't even meet my husband until they had been separated and living in different states for over a year and I am still hated beyond belief. A bitter person will be bitter forever. 

I will say that I feel she is more justified in her hate than others, but like Ipsofacto said, you can't break up a strong marriage. You didn't force him to have the affair. He was just a coward that didn't break it off first. 

All you can do is be present for the kids and not focus on her behavior. Just based on the years that you are stating the kids are or are probably close to teens at this point. Soon they will be driving themselves and all the transportation stuff won't be an issue. They will also be able to choose how they want their relationship with you and their dad to continue. Just keep that as positive as possible.

AgedOut's picture

I think she has the right to feel how she feels in this particular situation. Not only does she know he cheated on their marriage, you are the 24/7 reminder of it. He should have ended his marriage before starting the next one. She will never get over such a shitty thing, and that's her's to live. 

That said, temper Dad's reactions. Because really he's the one who should be dealing with the fall out of his actions. He should stop telling kids of plans until the day of. But the rest of it? If it's on her time, it's her choice. That's what I'd say to disgruntled BMs, BDs, and everyone else. You can only control your own time, well Dad's time, you can't control her time or her feelings. Even when you get why she has them. Just because you moved on doesn't mean she should just get over it because you're happy w/ it all.  



As an aside, I disagree on not being able destroy or able to wreck an unwrecked marriage. It only takes one partner to betray their marriage. Many times the other partner is caught unaware and it leaves a scar. Not all scars heal. 

My rule of thumb to others (not me, I'm blissfully happy ...gag!) if you want to spread your junk all over or start something new, be a decent person and end what you have before starting the next one. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

While I understand your message, you're the wrong messenger for it. Assuming you knew he was married and had kids when you started your affair, even if you are remorseful now, your concern about her using the kids as pawns sounds hollow. It sounds especially hollow because it doesn't sound like it's for the betterment of the kids, but to soothe your DH.

Do the kids still get to go to the concert? Yes, and if it's on Mom's time, she gets first dibs to take them. Do the kids still get to go on the trip? Yes, and nothing stops Dad from taking them a second time. Do the kids still get to play sports and be in activities? Yes. Do they get home safely? Yes.

Adult decisions were made that ruined the intact family structure for the kids. Now, whether it all falls on DH's shoulders or if BM needs to share in that burden is hard to say. I'm not of the mindset that cheating is THE worst thing someone can do, but I also don't think it's something that is ever truly forgiven and forgotten, especially when the affair partner sticks around, becomes the new spouse, and tries parenting kids.

Basically, stay in your lane. If your DH doesn't like what BM is doing, he can take it up with her. He has options of going back to court if she is violating their court order. He can stop telling the kids about upcoming plans and just take them when they arrive. He can only schedule activities on his time with the kids (sucks, but that's life for a lot of step families). He and his XW are going to have a contentious co-parenting relationship, so it's probably best for them to parallel parent. If the kids aren't in his custody or in your house, then it needs to not be your concern.

Also make sure you're taking into account the kind of relationship the kids want to have with you and their dad. As they get older, they'll form their own opinions about their parents and stepparents. It may get better or worse. If your concern is truly about the kids, then part of that is going to be accepting to a certain extent how involved they want to be with you and their dad. You don't have to tolerate disrespect and uncivil behavior, but you also can't expect them to be as close to you as they would be their parents or even their stepdad. Doesn't matter how much effort you or Dad put into it. If it feels like no matter what you do it just ends with the kids not getting closer to you, then start backing off. Stepkids don't NEED us, so they get a lot of flexibility in determining the level of relationship they have with us, up to and including none at all. And that applies to any stepparent, not just you.

la_dulce_vida's picture

As the mother of 3 adult children, their father and I have no one else to blame for the demise of our nearly 30 year marriage.

If my ex had cheated on me and gone off to marry his mistress, you can be sure I would find it very hard to forgive either one of them for hurting my children and destroying their family. 

Have either one of you ever asked for forgiveness? Have you ever apologized to the children or BM?

frustratedbonusmom's picture

Well I get why some may respond with fire, yes I understand her anger, but at the same time she is remarried, time to move on.

My DH's ex- is remarried, and while she is nice to my face I know she does not like me, and for no reason because she does not know me at all. She just creates stress for DH and sometimes for the both of us. 


grannyd's picture

My ex-husband was a serial cheater. Our break-up came about when I woke up at 3.00 AM to see him, in flagrante delicto, with my best friend, in the back seat of her car. To add insult to injury, I was babysitting her two young daughters that night. The shock and pain that I felt was almost unendurable. In fact, I suffered a complete breakdown and ended up hospitalized for over a month.

My own two daughters have no relationship with their father; he fled across the country to avoid paying child support.

If affair partners were to consider the suffering that they cause to the families that they destroy, they might think twice about their selfishness. As much as I’d like to give kind advice, you simply don’t deserve it. Some sins are too destructive to either forgive or forget. As far as I’m concerned, today’s laissez-faire attitude towards adultery is completely inappropriate!

CLove's picture

No one deserves that.

Shieldmaiden's picture

Grannyd - I am so sorry you had to go through that. You deserve better. 

Shieldmaiden's picture

There is your answer, you two cheated. It takes two, but she doesn't seem to understand that her husband was the one that broke his vow. Why would she want him back? Furthermore, I would be wary of a man who would cheat on his wife. 

Having said that, she has a choice to make. She can take all her hurt out on him and use her kids as pawns..... or she can do what is best for the kids. IMHO, I wouldn't want this man. He  has proven himself to be a cheater.

grannyd's picture

As is often said, Shieldmaiden, 'When a man marries his mistress, he creates a vacancy'.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Have you considered the possibility that the skids prefer to be picked up by or spend time with those people instead of their father? This may not be solely on BM. 

And both you and your husband need to realize that this  may never get easier and always be awkward because of the way his first marriage ended. 

DPW's picture

I come from a different camp, maybe a different generation or makeup, who knows, however, I'm never surprised by anyone cheating. I do not think we were made to be monogamous, to be honest. I think we can be monogamous, with effort, but are we wired that way? Nah. Not a popular opinion, I'm sure, and this is coming from someone who has never cheated and has been cheated on several times. 

I also think that the married cheater seems to always be measured on a different, lower degree than the third party. This I do not understand as the married cheater is the one who is breaking his/her vows. Like stereotyped stepmothers, the third parties in these situations often get the sh*t end of the stick and are plagued by stereotypes (vixen who seduced my poor weak father) and have to live far longer with the consequences of the affair than the married cheater in a lot of cases. 

We all make mistakes. We all weigh mistakes differently - degree of infraction, length of repenting, forgiveableness, etc.?

So, OP, with all that being said, you can't be surprised by reactions to you, but I think too there is a certain point where people need to move on and also never use the kids during the process. 

Rags's picture

XW was knocked up by her geriatric Fortune 500 Sugar/Baby grandpa daddy when she moved out of our home.

I won't ever forgive her. Though after 32 years since the divorce was final, it is little more than a passing irritant when related threads  come up as a STalk topic.

Fortunately, I avoided polluting my gene pool with her.   Unlike GrandPa sugar/baby daddy ... and her other cheat spermdonor who knocked her up after grandpa finally married her. All 4 of her pregnancies that I know about were out of wedlock and two of them were with cheat babies.

None of them mine.

Dance 4

She is on at least DH #3 the last I heard.  


Elea's picture

I am in the same camp. BM has an obnoxious, dysfunctional, snooty personality. She is all drama all the time. What I didn't realize is how much of her would rub off on the SK's. DH gets along with everyone so I thought his personality would even the SK's out. I was wrong. SDiablas got the worst of both of them instead of the best. Which is Not what I imagined would happen.

I met DH when separated but he had not initiated divorce proceedings. BM threatened that if he ever divorced her she would murder the children and she tried to kill herself one time which made her threat seem plausible. DH was scared or a coward? Hard to say when it is potentially your kids lives on the line. BM's history is whor**** (literally) so I don't buy into her moral high ground stance. 

Either way, he actively pursued me, not the other way around. I was not that interested in him which seemed to make him even more interested. (This seems to be a man thing.) He did eventually win me head over hills but only after I got to know him. 
As one person above mentioned SK's don't need you and I would add that goes both ways, especially as SK's become adults. SM's don't need SK's either so both get to decide what level of relationship to have. For me, I don't think SD's personality will ever meld well with mine. They are far too similar to unstable BM.