How to deal with "ex-life" an ex-wife interference?
Hi. I’m 34 years old and I’m not American. I came to the USA so I and my husband could get married and start a life together. He is 36, he was married for 11 years and has been divorced for 18 months. He has two kids, a 10 years boy and an 11 years girl. They seem to be very sweet and nice kids and my husband have a very good relationship with them, he’s a very caring dad. My husband and I have been living together since the last June and we got married one month ago. It was kind of fast… but we had our reasons.
I still haven’t met the kids. He wants me to, and also do I, but we are trying to be careful and not to rush things. His ex-wife doesn’t seem to be a bad person, but she is obviously still hurt, bitter and, unfortunately, I think she’s still in love with my husband. She has told the kids she would be mad if they met me, so now they are afraid to do it. There’s more than that of course, I don’t think it’s an easy thing for kids to be introduced to their parent’s new partners.
Well, I can’t say I was prepared to all that. It’s tough. Marriage is already a challenge without having to deal with our husband’s ex-life. It’s like I’d gotten an ex-wife myself. It’s a lot of interference. His “ex-life” consumes his time and money, also our schedule is subjected to his ex-wife schedule. It’s almost like we were living all the five of us together. And I confess… I’m having problems dealing with it. Mostly because I want to be supportive and understanding to my husband (I don’t want to be a jealous bitch) but at the same time I want my husband to draw limits, so his ex-wife won’t break into our privacy. I’m not a jealous person, I can put myself into the “ex-wife’s” shoes many times. I hope my husband can support and even be friends with his ex one day.
I'm not worried about my husband's feelings for his ex, this is not an issue. I know he loves me. Right now, though, I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by all the interference. The reason I'm writing this post is because I’m afraid I don’t know anymore until what point I should understand and be sensitive to his ex-wife interferences in our life, and when should I just say “no, I won’t take this or that”.
Despite convincing her children I’m a bad person, here are some of the things that she does: she calls my husband’s mother all the time telling her things that not always are true. She also calls my husband all the time, asking him direction when she’s lost in the traffic, asking help to surf the internet, inviting him to celebrate her birthday the two of them. She wants him to do the lawn, to help her with her work, to tell him about her dates. She acts like they were still married (besides dating other men). She also insists that during the two afternoons of the week when he takes care of the kids he should be at her house instead of taking the kids to our house or somewhere else. All that… combined with messages she sends to his phone saying she misses him, etc. It feels like a lot of interference.
My husband is a very gentle and nice person. I understand that he doesn’t want to hurt her more than he already did, or more than necessary. However, my perception tells me that he has hard time being firm and assertive. He says he doesn’t like to argue and doesn’t want to create more problems, but sometimes I feel like he’s afraid of her.
Well, we have being talking a lot about all that, we communicate well. My problem is… although I understand certain things they still bother and upset me. I’m already “traumatized” with the phone ring when she is the one calling! (god, I’m getting neurotic I guess). The solution I’m used to is talking…tell him how I feel, even if I get annoyed by something little (It’s not always about that little something but the sum of every many repeatedly little things). And now… my husband is getting tired to talk. He turns his eyes, he sighs deeply, etc. And I don’t know what to do.
I wonder if any of you could tell me if it’s normal not to like things like, for example, although my husband’s relationship with his ex is not good, he still keeps most of his books and cds at her place (he says it’s all about not having enough space here). He has the copy of the ex’s house and car keys with him. He still had his credit card on some of her shopping accounts and only removed it because I asked. He seems not to bother having so many links and connections with her… which I think are no longer proper between ex husbands and wives (unless you have one of those few amazingly friendly relationships between you).
Making the long story (not so) short… how to manage the interference without ruining your married life? How to communicate your feelings without “overloading” the husband’s ears? What is normal to accept from an ex-wife (or ex-life) and how to distinguish it from the bad interference?
Thank you all for listening…