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Engagement Inquiry

oakmoon24's picture


I'm new to the site so please forgive me if I don't use some of the appropriate abbreviations, I'm sure I'll learn them all in time!

A little back-story: My SO and I dated for two years (2010-2012) and then we split. He ended up dating another woman, got very manipulated and decided to have a baby with her after dating for 3 months. This woman is an abusive narcissists, with too many addictions to list. After the birth of their daughter, their first intimate moment resulted in the conception of their second child. Irish twins, 10 months apart. After the birth of their second child, at 2 or 3 months old...they split because their relationship was so incredibly toxic. They have been separated ever since. Last June SO and I reconnected. Once his baby mama found out, she was livid. She knew us before when we dated the first time and she is aware of the connection we share and how much we love each other. Since she found out, she has written to me personally a couple messages, that really seemed to have no other meaning than trying to get me to walk away and she lashed out at him both through text and phone calls, as well as screaming at him several times in front of their children. She has told the children that I am a horrible person, that I will never be family, that they need to hate me and other terrible, adult things that children should not be exposed to. All the while she's been a neglectful parent, who has her mother raising her children (since she sleeps most of the day and works late nights) and has now attempted to cut off all communication with my SO; telling him to speak directly to her mother instead of her. She won't even greet her children when we (rarely) drp them off at her home; the walk in to a dark empty house and have been trained to quickly close the door behind them. The entire thing, in my opinion is quite immature and mostly detrimental to her children, which she doesn't seem to care.

*A side note about my relationship with Skids: We have a great relationship full of love, respect, caring, communication, learning and support. Our home is always happy and we stay open to talk about feelings and life's "big scary stuff". 

So here is my question - my SO and I recently got engaged (yay!) but I know it's not appropriate to tell the children in the instance that they see their BM and tell her. She needs to hear it directly from my do we do it? I would assume in person would be best, but with her track record, we are both scared that she will react poorly and in front of the kids. We're also scared to tell her before the kids go back to her or are with her, should she lash out at them about it. She will ignore my SO's calls and then (if she does reply) she'll reply via text. Is it ok to text someone, "Hey, I'm engaged FYI..." ???


Thanks for your input in advance!


hereiam's picture

It's really none of her business but if he feels he must tell her and texting is the only way, it's the only way.

tog redux's picture

Please do be prepared for how awful this is going to get, and how much damage a woman like this can do to you, your SO and the kids. Please do not go in with blinders.  This woman is going to go batshit crazy and this will include trying to cut him out of the kids' lives in whatever way she can. It will get ugly and stressful, and you will wonder many times if love is enough to get through this.  It may be, or it may not be.

That being said, DH doesn't have to tell her anything. 

oakmoon24's picture

The blinders came off quite early dealing with this one. I'm hopeful that her negativity can only reach so far, she doesn't have a leg to stand on besides the fact that she gave birth. Thank you for your advice!

tog redux's picture

Listen, I've been there - you have no idea how far she can take it, including ensuring your SO doesn't see his kids for years. Don't underestimate a high conflict ex.  

Ispofacto's picture

These kids are young.  You have years of pain ahead of you if you stay.  It will get much, much worse.


StrawberryPie's picture

And in my experience with high conflict BMs, things escalated dramatically after enagement, and then after we got married.  I would not rush to let BM in on the good news.  Soak it up.  She will make your life even more of a living hell.

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

If you don’t tell her she may react badly. If you do tell her may react badly. You don’t owe her anything, and it is none of her business. There’s a more than even chance she will send a not very nice text back, at the end of the day it’s up to you. Don’t underestimate this woman. 

GoingWicked's picture

This was my biggest pet peeve with DH, is that he just could not keep stuff like this to himself.  He just had to let BM know when we eloped, when we were expecting, almost like he had to just try to see if he could make her jealous.  My opinion: don’t say anything, it’s not her business.  Why do you want to poke the bear?

oakmoon24's picture

Thank you for your advice. Not trying to poke any bears just looking to be as respectful as I can in uncharted territory. 

susanm's picture

There is your first mistake.  What you see as being respectful, she will see as opportunities to mess with your life.  Any opening you give her she will take and run with.  At no point will she suddenly see how nice, or kind, or good in any way you are.  All she will see is someone handing her ammunition on a platter.  

Can I get an amen here, ladies?

ndc's picture

Why does she need to know?  It sounds like you're already living together (you referenced "our home"), so there's unlikely to be any immediate change for her children.  Is it that the kids will know and you don't want them to have to keep it a secret?  How old are the kids?  I'm guessing in the 4-6 range?  What kind of custody does your BF have?  Is there a firm court order?  

oakmoon24's picture

It's less that she NEEDS to know and more I'm worried about her hearing it from the kids, 5 and 6, and then they have to deal with her inital reaction. I'm sure with time they will see what kind of person their mother is but I'd like to do everything in my power to keep their mental health safe. No firm court order.

ndc's picture

You need a court order spelling out custody and child support.  Without that a HCBM is going to mess with your boyfriend and hang  him out to dry.  I wouldn't marry him until he's got that in hand.

young_step_mom's picture

Plus, don't count on them every "seeing" what kind of person their mother is. Even is she's a POS (like my BM) she will ALWAYS be their mother and they will follow her blindly. Believe me, my SS is definitely old enough to "know" his mother and she still trumps my DH at every turn simply because she is "mom."

Thisisnotus's picture

WTF? It is none of her business if you are engaged. Why do you think she has to be told? .If the kids tell what. If she acts like a raving ass what...not your problem.

oakmoon24's picture

I'm just new to being a step-family, having had a nuclear family. I'm just looking for input from people with experience on what's best to do for the kids. Thank's for your advice!

advice.only2's picture

What is your reasoning that you have to let BM know you are engaged? Is it because you feel this is a life event that will have a big impact on the children? If that is the case then by all means tell the children, as it's affecting their life. But if you told BM and she reacts negatively (which you know she will) then what? It won't stop you from being engaged, all it will do is put a huge damper on your joy. If you think you should tell her because it's the "right thing" to do, think again, does this woman do anything that is considered proper or right? Nope, so tell the kids and they can tell her. Either way the outcome is going to be the same.

oakmoon24's picture

I only assumed it was the appropraite thing to do as this is all new to me. It seems like overwhelming opinion is just to not tell her anything. Which is ok by me for sure, saves us a potential dramatic conversation. Thank you for the advice!

advice.only2's picture

The sad reality of having a HCBM (High Conflict Birth Mother) is that no matter what you do, you will always be wrong.
She will always find a way to take stuff out on her children, because in her mind they are appendages of her and should act accordingly.
Your DH will need to enforce strong boundaries in place and needs to learn NO! Just because BM shrieks and screams loudly does not mean he should back down and give her, her way.
We had to call the cops of my DH's ex every single time she showed up. It took almost two years before meth mouth finally figured out we weren't joking around and we would keep calling the police, after that she never showed up at our house ever again. We changed our number everytime she got a hold of it, she would call and I would hang up and call to have our number changed. It took four times before she finally stopped calling our house. DH would only respond to her in text messages. She would call his phone constantly and he would just ignore it, until she texted him then he would respond. It took her six months before she finally just would text.
Think of your BM as a feral dog, one that has been left to do whatever it pleases. Now you have to train it to understand that you and DH are in charge and aren't going to allow her feral crap anymore.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

You can't expect normal behavior from a High Conflict ex. Basic courtesy has no place in dealing with one. Your SO should be practicing parallel parenting, and keeping all comms strictly about the children.

High Conflict females (exes, SDs, mothers, whomever) tend to really ramp up poor behavior once a wedding is announced. I don't recommend telling your BM anything at all, because it will be the kids who suffer for it. There are many stories on ST of couples who've chosen to elope, or picked up the skids for visitation and surprised them with being in the wedding that weekend. There are also stories of weddings ruined by toxic SDs and exes, so play it safe and say nothing.

You've chosen to be with a man who bred with Crazy, and it comes with its own lifestyle that throws conventional coparenting out the window. Instead, it's about protecting yourself and your loved ones from becoming collateral damage.

tog redux's picture

Yep, we eloped for the ceremony, and then did a dinner 6 months later that SS didn't know about until he arrived at our house for his visitation weekend. 

Siemprematahari's picture

You don't owe BM an explanation so do yourself a favor and don't start that trend. Regulate as much as you possibly can with this unstable creature and know that you are not obligated to share anything with her that pertains to your life.


susanm's picture

You are under no obligation to tell this woman anything.  The kids will know nothing about an engagement or marriage.  Just live your life and tell her nothing.  Some day she may find out that you got married and at that point your response is "What is your point?"  You are the only one worrying about being respectful and you are letting someone else have way too much of an effect on your life.  Tell your soon to be DH to keep his mouth shut about what goes on in your home and be as happy as you can be by keeping this woman as far away from you as possible.  But for God's sake, get a custody order in place and follow it with no exceptions before real trouble comes along!

Sandybeaches's picture

I would not tell her.  In a perfect world it would be a nice gesture to let her know but let's face it none of us here live in a perfect world. 

Sure we all watched Step-mom and saw that no matter how much Susan Sarandan was upset with Step-mom Julia Roberts she remained mature and reasonable and even liked her in the end, NOT REALITY !!  Nice idea and concept but not with crazy BM's!

I have been there.  The kids a bit older and at the wedding.  I spent the day waiting for BM to show up and ruin the day.  Because of this we did a destination wedding so she would have a harder time getting there.