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HELP! Contemplating divorce because of husband’s ex wife

Starbright08's picture

Looking for help from experienced step moms or step dads out there. I'm only 7 months into my marriage and seriously contemplating filing for divorce from my husband due to ongoing issues with his ex wife, which have now trickled down to my step children. The impact that all of the chaos is having on my biological son (14) & I is growing. Quick background: I'm 37 with a 14 year old son, my husband is 39 with 3 children from his 1st marriage, ages 9, 11, 13. It's been an ongoing battle between my husband and the ex wife from co parenting techniques (ex wife feels husband should call her vs. calling the kids, wants everything to be on her terms, etc). My husband wants very little to do with her due to her character, but has tried to remain cordial only to have it blow up in his face. This is why he started directly calling the kids (via their cell phones or house phone) to avoid unnecessary arguing with their mom. I've encouraged him to talk to the ex wife if she insists, but he dreads it and only does so when absolutely necessary. On to the next part, for her own reasons (still unbeknownst to me) she does not like me and chooses to act as if I don't exist. I've only met her once and since then have reached out respectfully asking if there's anything I could do to help make things easier for the kids and everyone involved in terms of coparenting only to be ignored. I'm fairly certain the children have been told things that aren't true about myself/my husband, as they now act very stand-offish towards me, and also to my son whom they used to have a great relationship with us both. It's all just becoming too much for me to bear. She's constantly threatening to go back to court to request more child support (although my husband has been paying as court ordered since the divorce and more). I feel like she has control over nearly every aspect of our life and is hell bent on making us miserable. The most saddening part is I'm worried about how all of this will affect my son. On top of being the breadwinner and taking care of the majority of our household expenses, I'm ready to move forward with my son and resume back to our happy and peaceful lives before I entered into this marriage. I don't feel that I have the support I need from my husband, and I've mentioned this to him many times. There are so many examples I could give, but figured I'd spare you all the time. 

Please, please can someone give advice? I don't know if I'd be making a mistake but I feel I would have such a burden lifted off of me, and be able to enjoy my life again. 

what do I do??

Kes's picture

Yours is a story that is not uncommon here - and except for the biological child still in your care, (mine were grown when I met my DH), your story is incredibly similar to mine, ie hostile and unco-operative BM, children being PAS-d (parental alienation) by her, and tussles over money and/or visitation.  I suggest you read "Stepmonster" by Wednesday Martin, and a book or two on Parental Alienation. 

Now that the BM has shown her true colours, it's a good idea for you to have nothing whatsoever to do with her, and for DH to have very strong boundaries around any contact with her, which should be limited to practical, child-related matters to do with drop-offs or eg changes to the schedule.  Try to keep the latter to an absolute minimum.   I encouraged my DH to put the phone down on NPD BM as soon as she raised her voice, and after about 5 yrs, he ceased having any voice phone contact with her whatsoever, only text and email.  Your DH should not get drawn into futile and circular arguments with her. 

Only you can judge if you've had enough and it's time to leave - my life was made a misery for well over a decade by the NPD BM and her PAS'd daughters. It's better now, but I met them when they were 5 and 7 and they're both in their 20s now.  Getting older and leaving home do not always put a stop to the problems, as you will see from the adult step kid section. 

Doodlemadmummy's picture

Do whatever your guts are telling you to do.  Our gut reactions are there for a reason, to protect our sense of self and signpost the way forward. Ignoring them enables us to live a life in denial and distortion, but ultimately those same gut reactions will come back knocking at your door in the future.  You can take advice from people, but you are the only one who wears your shoes, the only one who knows how you truly feel.

Take heed of your gut reactions, whatever they are telling you, because they are indeed your greatest indicator of what is best for you.

I wish you well.

tog redux's picture

Kes above has good advice - your DH needs to set boundaries on BM. That means following the CO to the letter, minimizing contact with her, and protecting you from the nonsense. Putting the kids in the middle as communicators isn't the answer either. And he can't be afraid of court, let her take him back, he will only pay as much as the law allows. 

BM in our situation was much the same and it took my DH a while to learn to stop giving BM so much power by arguing with her. It was a terrible time though, and my stepson ended up alienated from us for over 3 years. I have no kids and I don't know if I would have stayed if I did. 

Talk to DH and let him know what you need for yourself and for your son. Set ironclad boundaries for yourself, do not ever contact BM again or allow her to contact you. Don't allow the skids to disrespect you or your son. 

My DH protected me as best he could. That's why I'm here. If he didn't, I would have left. 

Sandybeaches's picture

Welcome to the site!! 

Your situation is very similar to mine except I am 18 years in!  I had a son going into this and my husband has 2 children with BM.  In my situation BM is toxic and wanting my husband to come back to her however I didn't know any of that in the beginning.  It took many many years to realize that we could not win this situation with BM.  I also must say there were not as many things in place as there are today to limit how much you have to deal with an ex.  

With all of that said, it is my view that in every situation you have to evaluate the motive of the BM.  For example in my situation, BM wants my husband back so nothing we ever do is going to work and produce the end result which is co-parenting harmony.  So we had to put things into place to limit contact.  I do not know your situation but I see a red flag with her wanting DH to call her instead of the kids.  For most things it is not necessary for her to talk to DH. 

Your motives sound as though you want the right things but I can tell you, you need to get control of this situation NOW and early on.  You are setting the precedence for how this is all going to go through the years right now so you have to make a firm ground. 

I can tell you as many others here will to, it only gets worse.  I can't tell you how many times I had wished I set these boundaries right away.  It took us years to realize that even if we tried to play by her rules she was still going to cause trouble.  My step-kids are adults now and she still is trying to cause trouble any chance she gets.  Put your foot down and set boundaries.  Do not encourage him to talk to her when he doesn't want to I see that backfiring on you!! 

SteppedOut's picture

Why are you paying most of the bills? 

Seriously, answer this question honestly, yes or no.

Is your (and your son's) life better now that you are married?

If the answer is no, then you know what to do. 

Harry's picture

Your life is never going to change. BM will always be trying to control your home.  Making you the third class person in yoir own family.  If you are paying all the bill,  the Question is why do you need this?  Look like your DH should of stayed married to BM.

Rags's picture

As far as your DH is concerned, he is right regarding not contacting the BM except when absolutely necessary. He is as much a parent to his children as she is and there is zero reason for him to abdicate control and authority to his X.  He needs to step up, put his proverbial foot up BM's ass and get her  under control, introduce his kids to the facts rather than abandoning them to BM's manipulations, and make any attempt by her to manipulatve the Skids, him and you as painful as he possibly can.

But, as you have already realized, it is time for you and your son to get out and back to your happy life with this failed man, failed parent and failed husband and his shallow and polluted gene pool to their own devices. He is far from being an equity life partner to you, won't keep his X out of your marriage, and is failing in raising his own children both as a provider and as an example.  Who would want that kind of abject failure as an example for their own child?

Time to go.

IMHO of course.

Starbright08's picture

I want to thank all of you who took the time to read my story, and also want to thank those of you who have replied with advice. After a lot of reflection and prayer, I have decided to end my marriage. It is not easy, and I am not perfect, but I see that my husband has a lot of maturing and growing to do as a man, then a father, then a husband. He's not able to accept when I come to him in love to express the errors in some of his ways. His ego and pride are too big for that. The last straw is him hurting my son by referring to him as "your son" while talking to me, and he refused to apologize for how he hurt him and the way he said things. He also hasn't spoken to my son in days. I feel stupid, embarrassed and disgusted that I married him. I don't mean to offend anyone, but I made a mistake letting love overrule logic. I have a great career, my own home, no unnecessary debt, I have morals and ethics in regard to how I treat people and being honest. I had no business marrying a man who makes substantially less than I do, with 3 children, an ex wife, tons of debt, bankruptcy, and the list goes on. Lesson learned. I'd rather stay single than deal with all of the chaos from him and his family. Thank you all again, and I pray that you and your families stay safe and healthy during these times. God bless.

Winterglow's picture

I wish you all the best in your path forward. He truly didn't deserve you - his loss. 

TheBrightSide's picture

You made decisions, good ones, early on in your life to determine how your life was going to look like in adulthood.  You worked hard at your career, you didn't amass a huge amount of debt and you and your ex husband (father of your son) divorced amicably.  Good for you.

Your DH, however, did not make those same choices.  That's on him.

You are ENTITLED to want the life you want for you and your son.  Rather than continuing in this marriage and waiting and hoping this man will change, you recognize that its not on him to change (although this is what you initially hoped).  You quickly realized that all you control was YOU.  What's awesome, is you have the financial means and a huge independent spirit that allows you to make this decision quickly.  

Good for you.