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Short-sighted Ex-wife not helping to build blended family

tigerlily74's picture

I asked the Ex-wife out to dinner!

Okay, I know many people here will think I'm nuts and that I'm just asking for trouble - and that's what I'd like to discuss.

You see, my brother-in-law comes from a divorced family. Both his parents remarried and his sister found it very difficult to accept her stepmom. Long story short, the two ladies (the Ex and the Second Wife) got to know each other and built a friendship which allowed the two sides to come together amicably. Fast forward to today, the entire family - with both sets of parents - gets together for family occasions, celebrations and they've even gone on holiday together. The end result? The kids, my bro-in-law and his sister, benefit from having both parents in their lives. The blended family dream.

So when my DH met me and got to know my bro-in-law's family, I knew he longed for his family to be like this someday. We've been married three years now - together as a couple for 4.5 years. The older two of his three kids, SD30 and SS34, cannot abide me as they believe remarriage is a sin. *roll eyes*

Now, his Ex was the one who forced the divorce on him. They were married for 30 years - the last 10 of which were acrimonious and saw them leading separate lives. Since she's moved on with her life, and I don't feel threatened by her at all, I thought if both of us ladies were cordial with each other - like my bro-in-law's mom and stepmom - perhaps we can start to build a bridge. At the end of the day, I figured if us ladies are comfortable with each other, then they could have family occasions with both the Ex and DH present and that may help the skids accept the situation better.

So I emailed the Ex and asked her to dinner. Initially, she accepted my invitation. Then a couple of days later, she replied that she changed her mind and that she did not agree with my suggestion that friendly relations between us might help the children.

"As far as I understand, it will make no difference whether we get to know each other or not. It will not 'pave the way for improved relations' or make things better for ' everyone, especially the children' as you seem to think, simply because these relationships were damaged by DH (& please forgive my bluntness), together with you. I was not involved at all then when the rifts happened, & I certainly don't want to be involved now. It's not my role, responsibility, or even my place to be."

[Aside: Wow. WE damaged the relationships??? Er, lady, YOU were the one who shut DH out for 10 years, forced the divorce on him and broke up the family. Take some responsibility, why don't you!!!]

So the dinner never happened. No big loss, really. But a pity she can't see long term how her children are the ones to benefit if us ladies did take the first steps in helping the family heal.

Anyway, I wanted to know if anybody here has a family situation like my bro-in-law's where both sets of remarried parents are friendly and make the blended family dream possible. Do share as it would be encouraging to know it's not peculiar to my bro-in-law's family!

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

With children that age BM isn't incorrect in her belief that its unlikly anything will change.

You're not her friend. Heck you DH isn't her friend. General society tends to agree once the children are adults the parents need to interact ends.

She may feel that attempting to meet you at this point is not only completely unneeded but also opens the door for problems.

tigerlily74's picture

Interesting. So you don't think there's a need to blend the families when skids are adults?

My bro-in-law and his sister are adults themselves, and they enjoy having both sets of parents around during family occasions. That's possible because both sets of parents (especially the Mom and Stepmom) are friendly (although not necessarily "friends").

oneoffour's picture

But your brother in law and his sister were much younger. I would guess they were children. When you have adults there is no need for parents to show you how wonderful life can be and all is well and there is nothing to be afraid of... When people are adults they already have formed ideas about their values etc. I think trying to force the issue will backfire on you. The ex does not want to be a part of her ex husband's brave new world and she is entitled to feel that way.

I sincerely doubt that seeing mommy and stepmommy being friends will make your stepsons in their 30s change their opinion of you. I quite like my ex's wife. She is going through some horrendous health issues right now including dystonia and the first signs of dementia. She is in her early 50s. I cannot MAKE my adult children like her. This is their choice whether to do so. I would hope they are kind and compassionate and usually they are. I would be disappointed in them if they weren't. But I cannot MAKE them like her.

tigerlily74's picture

Firstly, I didn't force the issue. I invited her and she had the option to decline. Which she did. End of story.

Secondly, my bro-in-law was already in university when his parents divorced. His sister was only slightly younger, but still almost an adult. If anything, my bro-in-law said he was impressed that his parents acted like adults and could put aside their differences for the sake of the whole family. That was what I was trying to do.

Thirdly, I didn't intend to become the Ex's friend. Being friendly doesn't mean we have to be friends.

Lastly, the only person I was doing this for is my DH. I know he would like to have a blended family. I don't need to be liked by anyone but him.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

You step children were about the same age I was when my parents divorced. The youngest was 25 when you came into the picture.

That's alot different than just stared university and just became and adult.

I was married for 3 years and I'm no way supported by my parents at 25. I was out of college employed and trying to have a family of my own.

Let's see 19... I was in college and staying at my parents during the summer.

That's exteremly different. Maybe at 19 I'd care to know a new partner my mom or dad might have since it does directly impact me and I hardly consider at 19 year old in college an adult.

I'm also confused... you state your bother as the child of the divided family was happy to see his parents get along as adults for the sake of the whole family.

But this isn't about the children or the whole family as you explain later

It's about you partner who feels sad that this isn't the case. You want to make him happy and BM / the kids don't care to help you in this little crusade. So who cares more about the whole family here? 2 against, 1 for, and the other only for because partner is for.

tigerlily74's picture

For me, it is about making my DH happy.

But it is also about the kids' happiness in the long run. My bro-in-law and his sister are happy that they can have both sets of parents around during family occasions.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought DH's kids would be happy to have his Ex and DH around for those family occasions. Actually, I know I'm right because they are constantly trying to engineer situations where the Ex and DH are both present. However, DH is a great husband and he doesn't attend events that I'm not invited to. So my thought was that if the Ex and I were on cordial terms, the kids would be able to have both parents (plus me) there.

I'm quite happy for things to remain as they are, coz I have no desire to be at their gatherings when I'm not wanted there. I'm happy for my DH not to attend and to remain by my side. I'm fine if the kids shoot themselves in the foot and don't get to enjoy their dad's presence.

So, no, I'm not on a "crusade" as you have assumed.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

Or maybe they are secretly trying to do a parent trap sort of thing to get you out of the picture.

BM is the saint because she sees what's up and respects that her ex is happy as is.

She respects that the kids don't want to be around you which means no big happy family Christmas because DH won't go without you.

She's not still not short sighted. This isn't just about you and her. It is about you and the kids as well. Dinner now and then isn't going to make them like you any better and may cause them to dislike you more because they will see it as an intrusion.

tigerlily74's picture

BM is a saint? Wow, assume much?

I haven't even told you how awful she was to DH and the kids. If I really was trying to get everyone here to jump on the "she's a bad witch" bandwagon, I would have!

Curious Georgetta's picture

The situation that you are describing is not one that involves the ex and she may feel no compulsion to try and fix your husband's relationships with his adult children.
You

Keep in mind that you are viewing his history from his perspective. His children may have totally different memories and perspectives. The truth probably is somewhere in the middle.

You cannot engineer a fix in this relationship. If your husband is dissatisfied with his relationship with his children, HE needs to take steps to try and resolve or discuss lingering issues. He may envy the relationship that your BIL's family has but it does not seem that HE is taking any steps to create that as a reality for himself.

Keep in mind ,if you are experiencing him as so inept that he needs you to fix his relationship with his kids his kids may have experienced him as inept in managing their relationships as kids/young adults.

Supporting your husband does not mean stepping in to fix or remedy his relationship issues. If his
children have a problem with him, that is a problem that neither you nor his ex can resolve.
That is problem that only he and his children can fix.

tigerlily74's picture

"He may envy the relationship that your BIL's family has but it does not seem that HE is taking any steps to create that as a reality for himself."

At present, he is not. He thinks it's too early to try to mingle given his children's unhappiness. I think he is right. That's why I haven't tried to contact his adult children - it's way too early for me to build direct bridges with them. And I don't feel inclined to anyway given their treatment of me.

Maybe I was silly to make an effort with his ExW. What's done is done though. Moving on...!

Curious Georgetta's picture

The situation that you are describing is not one that involves the ex and she may feel no compulsion to try and fix your husband's relationships with his adult children.
You

Keep in mind that you are viewing his history from his perspective. His children may have totally different memories and perspectives. The truth probably is somewhere in the middle.

You cannot engineer a fix in this relationship. If your husband is dissatisfied with his relationship with his children, HE needs to take steps to try and resolve or discuss lingering issues. He may envy the relationship that your BIL's family has but it does not seem that HE is taking any steps to create that as a reality for himself.

Keep in mind ,if you are experiencing him as so inept that he needs you to fix his relationship with his kids his kids may have experienced him as inept in managing their relationships as kids/young adults.

Supporting your husband does not mean stepping in to fix or remedy his relationship issues. If his
children have a problem with him, that is a problem that neither you nor his ex can resolve.
That is problem that only he and his children can fix.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

I'm saying that BM doesn't want to make waves when what is working works and she's not wrong for that.

For all she knows and cares you could be an insane women who wants to start hell. I'm not saying you are.

She isn't wrong for wanting to protect herself when there is no demand for them to coparent at this point.

It's wonderful it worked for you BIL that doesn't mean it will work for you guys.

There are tons of factors to consider in doing this sort of thing and a simple email isn't going to solve all those things.

Maybe she just doesn't want to be around her ex.

As others so strongly pointed out just a few days ago the only reason they had to maintain contact was the kids. Now that requirement is done.

My parents are divorced. I was an adult when they did it. I'm adjusted well enough. I have no desire to meet either of their new partners if they start dating again. They can all they want and I won't be rude but I don't expect them to suddenly all be best friends.

I don't need big happy family Christmas to be ok. I'm an adult. I don't need mommy and daddy being best friends to be ok and I respect my parents enough to not expect them to just play nice for my sake.

I respect both of them enough if they say they don't want to meet the new partner. Were doing just fine thank you very much.

I'd prefer we keep our odd state of balance and personally would find it rude if some woman who never raised me (you said they are in their 30s) suddenly wanted us to play one big happy family to fill their desires.

This is about your wants it seems and not the children. Maybe you feel if you and BM can play nice it will mean they will like you more.

Also if I may add from the way you opened your post it's clear that you understand your request is not "normal" or even advised. You clearly understand the possible negative outcomes. BM knows them too and has decided the unlikely positive outcome does not way the most often common negative outcomes.

twopines's picture

>>>Maybe she just doesn't want to be around her ex.<<<

This is exactly how my DH is. His adult kids are in their 30's, and his ex and I are a friendly terms. He will not spend any of his free time with his ex. If they wanted to be around each other, they would have stayed married.

My own divorced parents haven't spoken to each other in over a decade, and my brother and I don't give it a second thought.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

B.S.

No one here seems feels the need to force others to play big happy family just to make their partner happy.

tigerlily74's picture

I asked. Nicely. She declined. I accepted that. No one is forcing anyone to play happy family. For anyone.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

But you come here trying to bad mouth her because she turned you do for you misguided attempt to play family for your husband.

That doesn't seem very nice to me.

Then you comment about how we must all be against blended families because we're not jumping aboard the blame BM she's a witch band wagon.

tigerlily74's picture

You know what? Fine. You are right. I'm misguided. I'm not nice. I'm the witch. Peace out.

tigerlily74's picture

"This is about your wants it seems and not the children. Maybe you feel if you and BM can play nice it will mean they will like you more."

Ahahaha. Trust me, I DO NOT CARE if the skids like me or not. I disengaged a long time ago and they have no power over me.

The only thing I care about is making my DH happy because I love him. Now I know he wants to have a blended family despite how old we all are. Maybe it's an Asian culture thing, but we do tend to like big family gatherings. [Qualifier: asking the Ex to dinner was completely my idea. He never suggested it and would never do so.]

I do respect that you do not need to get to know your parents' new spouses nor have any desire for family gatherings. To each his own, I guess.

tigerlily74's picture

Maybe she just doesn't want to be around her ex.

Also, with regard to this, she is still making a huge effort to be part of DH's family. I'm not sure why. Maybe she sincerely wants to remain on good terms with DH's father and brothers. Maybe it's to ensure she's still part of the family inheritance. I have no idea. But she comes to all DH's family's gatherings - especially DH's elderly father's birthdays.

If she really didn't want to be around my DH, she would've cut these ties when they divorced. She hasn't.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

My mother still goes to see my dad's parents. They love her and made it clear she was stop their daughter no matter what. They actually prefer her to my dad in all this because though my mom left my dad my grandfather says it was my dad's biggest mistake for letting her go.

Maybe she just doesn't want to get to know you.

Maybe she's putting her kids over you and her ex.

As you said you don't care about what they feel and it's not about them. It's about your husband.

A blended family isn't about the adults. It's about the kids. She seems to be respecting her children's desires more than you.

You offered, she said no.

End of story. She's not "short sighted" as you titled this.

tigerlily74's picture

Yes, she may be respecting her children's desires by not wanting to be friendly. After all, she benefits from her kids unacceptance of me. Previously, she was the one they blamed for the divorce and broken family. Now, DH is the one they blame for marrying me and she is suddenly coming up smelling of roses.

However, I think, she would be a better mother if she helped them accept the new reality - that they are divorced and are no longer a family unit - the kids would benefit in the long run. That's why I said she's being short-sighted.

But, fair enough, I accept your counter point of view. I guess I'm wrong in wanting to please my DH, and he is wrong about wanting to have a blended family. I'm just surprised that no one here thinks that having a blended family is a something worth pursuing.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

Never said he was wrong. I said don't try to pretend this is about the kids.

BM doesn't have to do anything to help make the kids like you and just because they don't doesn't mean she did anything wrong.

Many children will ALWAYS hate the new wife or husband because they wreck their dream of mommy and daddy getting back together. BM could be your best friend sleeping on your couch for a slimber party calling them up saying "damn this woman is great you should come have pizza" and they could still hate you.

They feel it is wrong for him to get remarried. So be it. My grandmother was disowned from her family for that same reason. Maybe it has something to do with religion. I don't know. Whatever.

It's not her job to make adult children like you.

You're not their family in their minds. They were 25 and older when you came in. You played no part in helping to great the adults they are today. They don't need a blended family for their well being.

I think you'd be a better step mother of you respect BM and the children enough to not make her out for being a bad guy because she doesn't want to try playing family just to make her ex happy.

tigerlily74's picture

This was a helpful reply.

If I made her out to be the bad guy for declining to accept my dinner invitation, I apologise. I see how that was wrong.

I do think she was wrong to absolve herself of all blame and take no responsibility for the way things are. But that's just me.

Thank you for making the effort to clarify and correct my thinking.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

Please do not read a hostile tone.

You are not privy to BM's thoughts or what she shares with the children.

What she tells you may be one thing completely different

She's not going to message you saying "I talked to the kids and they said they did not want me to go to dinner with you because they don't care, they don't want to get to know you better and since that was the only reason I was going to never mind," which may be to some degree what happened.

Instead she says in not these words, "I do not want to get to know you for myself and do not see how doing so will benifit my children"

You put it out there that she should do this "for the kids." They aren't kids. They are adults with their own lives. BM has little impact on them at this point. They don't desire mom and SM get along. That's not on her.

Aunt Agatha's picture

The adults involved - there are no kids here - have said they are not interested. Clear boundaries have been set.

It seems you and your DH aren’t willing to accept that. If I was the BM, yes I’d be leery of meeting anyone who didn’t respect other adults’ boundaries too.

tigerlily74's picture

Goodness. This really is a tough crowd.

I invited her to dinner. Nicely. She declined. I said no problem. How is that disrespecting anyone's boundaries? GEEZ.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

By calling her a bad mother for turning you down.

Oh wait she'd just be a better one if she did things your way

Your not respecting your step children's wishes. Your ignoring their feelings because they don't fit your image.

tigerlily74's picture

Tell you what, I'll respect their wishes by staying away. As I have been since deciding to disengage. It's much easier for me after all. If they don't get to see their dad as often as they would like, that's not my problem. Quite easily done.

Focused_onourlife's picture

This is all you can do at this point. Your DH is going to have to accept the fact that he will not have a blended family. It's not your fault or problem to fix.

Aunt Agatha's picture

The adult steps have made it clear they don’t want a relationship. It’s always tough when someone doesn’t want to be friends.

But instead of accepting that these two 30 year olds don’t want a relationship with you, the reason doesn’t matter here, a scenario is concocted that involves getting their mom on your side so you can, if I’m understanding your post correctly, get their mom to put pressure on them to accept you and be their friend.

Seems like boundary violations to me are not with the BM - but the 30 year olds. The BM is right to respect her adult offspring’s wishes.

I’m sorry this is painful for you and your SO.

tigerlily74's picture

Let me be clear: I was in NO WAY getting their mom to pressure them to do anything. I simply wanted to be friendly to see if it could possibly lead to an improved situation.

If my attempt to be friendly is crossing boundaries, then that's my bad. I didn't realise being friendly was such a big transgression. But let's be clear that that was ALL I was trying to do.

This is painful for my DH. It's NOT painful for me.

advice.only2's picture

I understand your thought process on this and it’s commendable that you were willing to try. My DHs mother is very willing to be at family events with her ex husband (DHs Dad) and his wife so that the family can all meet up for events and not have to schedule separately. The SM does not want to be anywhere near my MIL so separate events happen. For me I see both sides of it, but I think it was very brave of you to try doing something other than just hating the BM because she exists.

tigerlily74's picture

That's precisely it. Anyone else in my position - where the Ex ignored DH for 10 years, had two affairs, and forced the divorce on him - would demonise the Ex.

I was trying to get to know her as a person without letting the past colour my view of her.

However, if you read everyone else's responses, I was wrong to try. I was misguided. I was crossing boundaries. I was disrespecting people.

Thank you for trying to understand my thinking. I really appreciate it.

tigerlily74's picture

Sorry, I shouldn't have said "everyone". You didn't say any of that at all. I wasn't referring to you.

ETexasMom's picture

Being civil and being best buds are two different things. You can be civil to each other and attend family events together. DH and late BM's parents hate each other but they still manage to attend the grandchildren's birthday parties. They are civil to each other at events where they need to all be in the same room.

However parents being civil with the new spouse does not mean the Adult Steps will be open to inviting you to events. That is totally on your adult steps and your husband. It has nothing to do with the ex. My 3 oldest step children's mother died of an overdose when they were small and after her and DH had been divorced for years. I came into the picture when they were teens. A few years into their 20's SDs get pissy and want to tell DH I wasn't welcomed at family events because I wasn't "family". DH declines any event I'm not welcomed at and Steps finally get tired of not having him at the events and start including me. Your steps not inviting you is between him and his children. Your husband needs to set boundaries with his children about respecting his partner. Unless the ex is demanding the kids don't invite you this has zero to with her.

tigerlily74's picture

Sigh. I was merely trying to be friendly - and see whether that would lead to things getting better. I wasn't on a crusade, as someone else said. I didn't have a plan where I expected everybody to fall in line. If the skids didn't respond, so be it but at least I tried. I wasn't trying to be friends with anyone.

My husband does set boundaries and he does not attend things where the Ex is present and I'm not invited. So it's not about that at all.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

May I add though this is off topic a bit.

We tell step parents all the time that they don't have to meet agree meet BM. That doing so isn't always what's best for the kids. They don't have to be friends or even try to be around them.

Why is BM not allowed the same thing? How is she wrong and not doing what's best for the kids when a step parent wouldn't be in this exact situation?

lieutenant_dad's picture

You're getting flack due to your title me thinks. You call BM "short-sighted", which is generally not a compliment.

Not wanting to blend isn't "short-sighted". Some people truly think that once you're divorced, that's it. Civility continues, but under no circumstances should joint events be conducted that don't need to be.

My SF HATES that I just a blended Thanksgiving every year. He doesn't like my dad and doesn't want to be around him. That's totally fair given that my SF is very much a "divorce ends the relationship" type of person.

My dad, on the other hand, doesn't have a big issue with it. He comes from a large blended family, and he just goes with "family is what you make it". He's not wrong in his perception, either.

My SF would never go to lunch with my dad in this fashion to "blend" the family, and as an adult, I respect that. My relationships with my parents now are not dictated by the other parent but by me. I'd be furious if my dad's GF tried this with my mom to make my dad happy. If my dad is upset by our relationship, I expect him to come to me about the issue, not have his GF, whom I like, try to orchestrate something behind my back. I'm an adult and have the relationships I have for various reasons, and while I'd appreciate her trying, I'd be more upset that my father didn't just come to me himself.

tigerlily74's picture

Haha, you're probably right, lieutenent_dad. Too bad I can't go back and edit the title of my post!

I honestly wasn't orchestrating anything behind anyone's back. It was a simple invitation to dinner. And it was extended with genuine intentions. Maybe DH's hopes of a blended family (in the fashion of my bro-in-law's family) are unrealistic since the skids are all adults.

I guess my takeaway from all the comments on this thread is that efforts to build bridges are not always appreciated!

lieutenant_dad's picture

But you were trying to orchestrate something. You were trying to build bridges and get the family to blend like your BIL's family.

No, you weren't orchestrating a big party for everyone, but you were trying to start down a path of changing the relationships of everyone within your DH's family to make him feel better.

I'm not saying what you were trying to do was wrong (short-sighted maybe ;)), but all because it wasn't wrong don't mean it wasn't intentional and goal-fed. You tried to be the catalyst for change, but no one cares - not even really you.

tigerlily74's picture

HAHA, was I being short-sighted? }:)

Yes, you're right. I tried to be a catalyst for change. If by that I was trying to orchestrate something then I'm guilty as charged. I suppose my thinking has always been: I can't change other people. But I can definitely control and be responsible for my own behaviour.

So, in future, if a situation arises in which the BM and I have to interact, and she remembers that I had been open before, and that gets her to be more cordial, then perhaps we would have avoided another awkward moment. Who knows?

That's being quite long-sighted, surely Wink

Aunt Agatha's picture

Lt. Dad said in a much more elegant way what I was trying to say. You seem like a kind hearted person and this is difficult because you care about your DH.

But in step life, there are so many pitfalls that even the best of intentions, sadly, can’t help.

I certainly hope your DH can find peace with what he has with his adult kids. He sounds very supportive of you, which is also great!

tigerlily74's picture

Thank you for appreciating that my intentions were benign and that I simply want to make DH happy. In fact, he too was very appreciative of my efforts - and that was all that mattered. Smile

oneoffour's picture

This division between your DH and his sons is purely that. THEIR division. So as nice as it is that you want to make things better for DH this is on him and his sons to work out,

My DH does not see his sons as often as he would like. I am open to him visiting them or them coming here. But I will not force the issue with him. When he sighs as gets all victim-y about not seeing them I ask him when was the last time he spoke to them or invited them to do something with him. This works both ways.

As long as you are open to your DH spending time with his adult sons and do not put up road blocks and are accepting of them then you have done your job and there is nothing else you can do. Let it rest.

Java_Junkie's picture

Interesting discussion.

My daughter is 22, almost 23 - lives with her mom, and seldom communicates with me. My son, 19 *JUST* joined the US Army and is in Ft Benning right now, with a slick new haircut and some swanky camouflage duds. My ex is still bitter about the divorce (finalized 5 years ago). I say still bitter about the divorce, though actually she was becoming a bitter hag while we were married, so...

Anyway, she’s remarried and I’ve had a whole lot more “sidebar conversations” with her new husband than I have had with my ex or my daughter in the past year. He and I have talked about the kids and (s’prise, s’prise) he and I agree that my ex has treated the kids like babies their whole lives - and that has prevented them from developing. Child rearing styles was, indeed, one of many reasons we divorced - though the part that killed it was HER INFLEXIBILITY and her ADAMANCE that she have full control. My problem was that I allowed it - and she ran over me... she could be pretty abusive, and didn’t care if friends, family, or the kids were watching. She’s doing him differently than she did me, which is good - but he’s also not taking her crap and points things out and says, “Y’know, that’s just going to enable the bad behavior...” and she’ll say, “I know, but I don’t know what to do.” Holy cow, she admits to him that she doesn’t KNOW something??? The biggest know-it-all who I was able to work on to a point has finally ADMITTED she doesn’t know??? Hallelujah!

Anyway, she won’t talk to me still. But I get along fine w her husband, though I don’t know if she knows we’ve spoken.

But when my son came to me and said he wanted to join the Army, that was tired of stagnating at his mom’s and doing nothing to improve his life because he had no real opportunities, I walked him through some of that, but he wanted to *just go* and not tell his mom or anyone. His recruiter and I encouraged him to tell her, but I called ex’s new husband to give him a heads up so he could ease her mind a little, being that I know she is a HOT HEAD. We spoke for about an hour... it was good, and I’m glad I called him because they warmed to the idea, and all is well.

YMMV.

I have ZERO interest in having conversations with my ex. I have nothing to say to her, no business, no schedules or child support, no insurance, nada... as far as I’m concerned, she’s leading her life and I’m leading mine. Her lack of parenting was a problem, and her new husband is holding her accountable, though the adultkids will hopefully start their adult lives soon. And it took a phone call to my ex’s new husband.

SacrificialLamb's picture

You stated you wanted to do this for your DH. However, these dynamics in his family were broken before you arrived. You can't fix what is already broken.

You likely are feeling like an outsider and are also wanting some acceptance. You feel that if you broker peace, then you will finally be looked upon favorably. I get it - I tried the same thing. It was easier when the two different families didn't see each other.

Everyone here is an adult. The kids can choose who they want to spend time with. I know intact families where the adult children rarely come around.

If I am remembering correctly, DH sounds like a great guy from your posts. The best thing you can do is thank him for being a great DH to you, be a great wife and enjoy your lives together. The adult kids should not be in the forefront of your marriage, so don't put them there, creating a subject to fight over.

tigerlily74's picture

Yup, his family situation is not one that I think much about, really. They are all adults, so thankfully DH doesn't feel the need to be in their lives on a daily basis. I tried to be a peacemaker and won't be taking it too much to heart that it didn't work. We'll just get on with our lives! I definitely do not give them the power to affect our marriage. Thanks!

notsobad's picture

I’m friendly with my exHs GF. She and I get along very well. We aren’t buddies but if she invited me to lunch/dinner I’d go.
My son loves her and she loves him.
My mom and her are actually close, they trade baking and recipes and chat regularly.

We aren’t one big blended family but it does make get togethers easier. My youngest graduated last year and we were all there to celebrate. It was nice for him to have both parents and steps around without any animosity.

As for DHs ex, nope. I’ve tried to extend olive branches only to have my hand slapped. Anything I do is overstepping my boundaries.
I think the difference between the two women comes down to insecurities.

ExHs GF is secure in her relationship with exH and in herself. I don’t threaten her and her standing as GF, or stepmom.
BM is and always has been very insecure, in herself, in her relationships (she’s broken up with the last BF) and she always thought DH would spend the rest of his life pineing for her, waiting for her to come back and berating himself for letting her go. I threaten her and she feels I could affect her relationship with her kids. Which is crazy but crazy is as crazy does.

tigerlily74's picture

We aren’t one big blended family but it does make get togethers easier.

Finally, someone who seems to get exactly what I was talking about!

I'm glad you've shared an example of a blended family - on your ExH's side. Although I must say it's a little strange that your mom and your ExH's GF are close. I wonder how that came about!

As for your DH's ExW, she does sound incredibly insecure. And it makes me wonder if my DH's ExW is the same. You see, after we got engaged, she tried to get him back - telling his family that she is open to "exploring the possibility of reconciliation". (Note it wasn't a straight-up offer to reconcilie. Only to see if reconciliation is possible.) I returned the engagement ring and told my DH to go think about it carefully. But he decided to stay with me and not return to her. I guess the ExW "thought DH would spend the rest of his life pining for her, waiting for her to come back and berating himself for letting her go"? I doubt I threaten her, but maybe she's just uncomfortable with the fact that he chose me over her. Hmmm!

Curious Georgetta's picture

Keep in mind ,that it seem that your husband's children's issues are in part related to religious
belief's. You may have an eye roll moment regarding their beliefs , but if this a tenet of their religion (and the religion in which they were reared in the home with your husband) , they may view his remarriage as his violation of the very principals that he instilled in them.

You do not have to agree with their religious beliefs but you should not be dismissive of the impact that these beliefs have on their character and behavior. If their father shared these beliefs
when they were growing up, they may feel that he misled them or that he has abandoned the principals that he instilled in them.

In any case, you cannot fix these issues . Father and children are the ones who must come to terms

tigerlily74's picture

On this issue, I know for a fact that DH brought them up on a very moderate and compassionate doctrine. They, however, switched to much more conservative and narrow-minded denominations when they were young adults. I think this was a reaction to the turmoil that was going on at home. Having read some of their communications with DH, it's easy to see why they switched to more conservative denominations: they obviously need the black-and-white strictures these doctrines dictate. The result is that they find it very hard to accept the realities of life outside church. Indeed, they often preach to DH and talk down to him. I find it all extremely bizarre.

You're right. These are all issues for DH to deal with. Certainly not me!

notasm3's picture

The relationship with the ex is different in each and every situation. And the ex can change very much who he or she is over the years.

BM was very much a ho-bag who slept around a lot from age 15 on. (Back in my day - remember I am in my 70s - people who slept around that young were truly damaged) She literally was the town bike. She and DH had one child (now deceased) from a random ONS where he married her since she was pregnant and then a 2nd child (the disgusting SS32) years after their divorce as both just had random sex with no BC. She cheated during their marriage multiple times.

But now at 50+ she is the most holier than thou church lady who ever existed. She is a militant member of a very strict evangelical church. She and her current DH (a former heroin addict) speak in tongues and profess to be so pure and true now that they have repented their horrible misdeeds in the past. I honestly don't care what happens in their lives.

I just want nothing to do with her, her DH or SS32. After she excluded DH from the elder SS's funeral 9 years ago I don't care what her issues are. She can just go eff herself and die.

tigerlily74's picture

Wow. She sounds like a piece of work - then and now. You really don't need all that drama in your life!