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Le Sigh: some thoughts from people that have BTDT

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I would like to say a great big huge thank you to all of the great people on here. I'm much more of a troll than a poster, and reading all of these posts have been a godsend for me. You all help me keep my sanity and don't even know it.



But..... I am just looking for some thoughts from the steps out there. Some of you know the difficult situation I'm in, so Ill sum it up. My DP's wife... soon to be ex... basically abandoned him and took his son with her almost three years ago. He fell into a deep depression and didn't fight the situation, he finally got his head out of his rear end and started questioning giving her his entire pay check and working 80 + hours a week and just living for the once every other week he got to drive 2-3 hours to her just to see his sun (under her ever watchful eye.) 

So; fast forward 8 months, they both have lawyers, she is always screaming and yelling about how evil he is and hes cheating on her, I'm a whore, hes a drunk, she is perfect, he needs to give her more money. There was a court date before Christmas so DP could have some alone time on Christmas with his son. She had a death in the family 2 weeks before the court date (close family member) so in efforts to not be an a** he canceled court and she said they could work it out between them. FF.. she insists on coming to our home to *inspect* and then meet me. I had no problem with her seeing our home is safe and clean. Up to this point I had not met his son, but I made sure his room was nice, complete with toys, and he has his own bathroom decorated kid style. She met me, I insisted outside our home because I did not want her interrogation to be my first meeting with DP's son. She badmouthed DP the whole time, asked things that frankly were none of her business (do we plain on having children, what are my religious beliefs, family.) She also looked me up and my family and started talking about where my father lives, and the house I owned with my ex... all none of her business! urgh!  I sucked it up and played nice so DP could see his son for Christmas. 

In the end, she insisted on staying all day Christmas, took all the toys DP and I got his son made snippy comments about "family pictures" and made sure I knew they are still married.  I dealt with it. took it all.... and its the last time!!af.gif


So question is, am I unreasonable to say that is the last time that woman will ever cross my threshold. I dislike angry.gif her. She even made a comment during our meet and great that we may be friends in the future puke.gif She has called me names, yells at DP, makes outlandish accusations and overall does everything she can to make his (and my) life miserable. 

I know should the day come that we start our own family I will *NOT* want my children exposed to this person. DP says that will cause problems between our children and his son. I simply dislike her so much that I just cant stand the thought, sight, or sound of her.... Can this kind of detachment from the ex work going forward? Has anyone here done it successfully? Am I being unreasonable? I want what is best for his son, I just don't want her in my family. help.gif

post #2 of 20

I can only see detachment working if your partner agrees with it.  


I would not be willing to ban my ex from my home, or not visit his - and that works, because my husband gets along with him and I get along with my ex's wife.  


My husband's ex does not come in our home and I scarcely even speak to her, if I see her in public.  (I'm not generally a nasty person, but it's perfectly reasonable for me to be concerned that any benign thing I say to her may later be portrayed as an inappropriate attack or threat, or a confession to something I didn't do.  The less I speak to her, the less fodder I give her.)  That works, because my ex approaches her the same way and does not want her in our home.


If your partner says that no matter how awful his ex is, she's still his son's mother and if it makes things easier on his son to let her spend Christmas with him, he's willing to do it...that's reasonable.  If you don't want his toxic ex to be part of your life, your holiday celebrations, your home...that's reasonable.  The difficult thing is, it's not a matter of one of you needing to change the other's mind.  There's nothing wrong with what either of you is thinking.  The question is whether how you want to live your lives is compatible.


If he's just not sure how he wants to handle things with his ex, then you must tell him that he needs to give it some serious thought and decide.  If he sets a precedent of inviting her over for holidays, it will only get harder and more miserable to change that pattern.  If he wants to continue that pattern until his son is grown, it's only fair to tell you what you're in for, before you've invested 10 years of your life in the relationship.  But once he tells you how he wants things to be with his ex, you need to either accept it or move on.  You'll ruin your relationship if you spend it trying to change what he thinks is reasonable, or resenting him for something he told you up front he planned to do.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

It wasn't a consideration for his son to allow her here. He was comfortable from the first moment. He didn't even notice when she stepped outside to have a cigarette (I don't allow smoking in my home.) DP's son was 100% focused on him. It was simply her desire to remain in control. Every agreement they make, once in the moment she does not support him. ex: the gifts; DP wanted some to stay here so he would have things to play with, but when it came down to it... she swooped up everything. That's just one small example. I was not upset about her here, if she could be a normal person and not snarky I would be fine having a decent relationship with her. But she is so unpredictable I just don't want to continue to have her here because I do not want to set a bad precedent. He has said he is OK with her not being included in future holidays or family events. I just feel like that wording is not enough. He does not understand, I don't even want my children knowing her name. (preferably her face also, but I know that thought is insane) She does not understand boundaries, when she was here she was opening cabinets and closets, she even went into my room! I accidentally left a prescription bottle on my nightstand. It is not something I take regularly, she started asking all kinds of questions, what is it? why am I taking it? all kinds of personal and inappropriate things. How do you set boundaries with a person like that without setting them off?

-on a side note, I have no children, no ex, no family drama of my own. My parents were divorced but never remarried so I am so far from understanding the dynamic of a ex, step, current family I'm lost as to how to behave. I feel as though my entire world revolves around his situation and it just sometimes feels like it will always be like this. I understand once the court makes a decision and he has parenting time away from her and she cant manipulate him using time with his son things will get better. I just feel like the odd duck out. He is doing everything in his power to see his son every chance he has. Constant phone calls , texts and e-mails with the ex. He is stressed, and im sure, like me has a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. How do you approach boundaries in a situation that didnt have any before?

post #4 of 20

Hmmm...well, my first question is how did she act in front of their son?  Did she cut out the craziness or was she still yelling, etc., in front of the kid? If she was able to "behave" and it was pleasant for their son to spend time with them together, then yes I think it is unreasonable to forbid her from spending time with the whole family together.  Obviously if she was upsetting their son by badmouthing your dp, then I would be much more eager to seriously consider a more separate relationship between all of you. 


My advice is give yourself, and her, some time.  They are still married, and it must be hard for her to see him moving on etc. even if she was at fault partially or fully for the divorce.  It is HARD to send your kid off for someone else to parent.  I'm not trying to defend her bad behavior, but do try to see it from her eyes a little bit. 


My relationship with dsd's mom was, shall we say, contentious, at the beginning.  I'm not going to go into the details, because it was a long time ago and we both did things wrong, but suffice to say I could not imagine the day that we would even be able to be in the same room together without nastiness happening.  Now we get along fine, we chat, make small talk, buy each other's kids presents for bdays and Christmas, etc.  We are certainly not best friends and have never gone to hang out together or anything, but we are able to keep things pleasant and attend family events together without stress or upset.  Not to say everything is great all the time, because there have definitely been problems and ups and downs along the way, but eventually everyone was able to act like an adult for dsd's sake and at least kept any drama away from her. 


All that to say, maybe don't do anything drastic right now or throw down any ultimatums, etc.  You do not have to be friends with her, nor do you have to answer questions about your plans for future children, ex-husbands house, etc....!  Keep things light, neutral, pleasant, etc.  It sucks, and it may turn out that you never like each other, but if you are in the relatinoship to stay, I just don't think it is realistic to avoid her entirely. 

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

From the outside she was cordial. Made herself right at home, getting all handsey with my things, opening cabinets, the fridge, closets, etc. My DP didn't even notice the little things she said to me. She did the same thing to him, follows you into the kitchen, dining room, porch wherever alone and makes small comments, nasty little digs that make you want to respond but cant because that would escalate and she would freak, say we started something and swoop out with his son. So I swallowed it all down, her little digs about her husband, my books and movies, our cooking, even her sons bedroom in our home. How do you say, hea that's not appropriate without creating a scene? I just dont want to swallow down her nasty little comments any more.

post #6 of 20
Originally Posted by Lostgal View Post

From the outside she was cordial. Made herself right at home, getting all handsey with my things, opening cabinets, the fridge, closets, etc. My DP didn't even notice the little things she said to me. She did the same thing to him, follows you into the kitchen, dining room, porch wherever alone and makes small comments, nasty little digs that make you want to respond but cant because that would escalate and she would freak, say we started something and swoop out with his son. So I swallowed it all down, her little digs about her husband, my books and movies, our cooking, even her sons bedroom in our home. How do you say, hea that's not appropriate without creating a scene? I just dont want to swallow down her nasty little comments any more.

Yikes-okay, coming into your home and opening your cabinets is way over the top.  The little comments and stuff, yes, unfortunately you probably just need to ignore, but I would not be okay with anyone coming into my home and getting into stuff like that.  Really, any guest in anyone's home is not entitled to do that!  As to how to handle it...I have no idea, besides calmly and politely requesting that she refrain from going through your belongings and then ending the visit if she doesn't comply.  However, it may be difficult to explain to the kiddo why mom isn't allowed to that in *his* house...Was this under the premise of inspecting your house, ie.e. she was searching the closets etc hoping for something to use against you guys?  If so, I would hope that was a one time thing, but if she thinks she is entitled to come into your home and check up on you every time, you need to have a serious discussion about boundaries with your dp which HE needs to pass on to her, KWIM? 


Again, while it may make you crazy and want to freak out, unless she is sayign something that would upset the child and/or accusing you of something criminal or negligentl (i.e. abuse, etc.), I woudl try really really hard to kill her with kindness and just let it go.  You can't control what she says, you can only control how you react, etc.  Hopefully she will eventually get tired of the game and realize you are not an easy enough target for her. 

post #7 of 20

We had a similar situation (mom took off with baby, husband had to jump through her hoops until he could get a legal custody agreement in place). Once the agreement was in place and my husband had equal (and legally enforcible parenting time, he set firm boundaries. My husband picked his daughter up outside mom's house-- he called on the cell phone when he arrived and mom brought their daughter out to him-- and vice-versa when mom picked up. He didn't go in her house and she didn't come in ours. I was clear with my husband that nearly every aspect of our life was controlled by his ex or designed around his ex's needs/desires/schedule and I needed one piece of my life that was outside her influence. 


As some point, my step-daughter wanted to show dad her room at mom's house and mom let him in to see her room, so he asked me to let him offer the same courtesy. I said it was fine if he could please do it when I wasn't home, which he was able to respect. She has never been in our current house. 


I also had NO relationship with her for quite some time. She didn't want to hear me name or know I existed, and we basically made it as possible as we could for her to ignore my existence. We went months without even seeing each other. Even when I did begin to be present at drop-off and pick-ups, we pretty much ignored each other. One day my husband had to be gone when mom came to pick up, so he let her know ahead of time... we were both able to be perfectly pleasant for my step-daughter's sake, but we basically exchanged essential information and that was it. Still, 10 years later, we have minimal contact, but when we do we are always perfectly pleasant. 


I guess I am saying that, it is possible to maintain mostly not seeing or talking to her, and it is possible to keep her from coming into your house. But, like someone else said, your husband has to be on board with it. He doesn't have to completely understand it (my husband doesn't really get my instistence on the subject) but he can support it anyway. If it becomes an issue, I trust him to bring it up and talk to me about it and work together to come to a compromise if needed. 


That said, it has worked for us because mom also doesn't want a relationship with me. In fact, much of this was prompted by mom NOT wanting anything to do with me. I'm not sure how it would have worked if mom wanted a relationship with me and I said no.


Where I think this becomes an issue is with your own potential future children. I wouldn't worry too much about it now, but I would say that while it might be possible for your children to have absolutely no knowledge of her, I'm not sure it would be entirely healthy for them. My kids have a sibling who lives in two homes. We have to be able to talk about it. It has to seem like a safe place. They have to believe that their sister's mother is a loving and kind mother. The alternative is for them to believe that we let their sister go with a horrible, mean, awful person to live in an unsafe house with someone who makes horrible unsafe choices. That, to me, would be far worse for them. I got through it by thinking of my children and acting like the person I wanted my children to believe I am-- kind, friendly, and polite. They know that we don't have the same rules at the two houses, and may even know that sometimes we very much disagree with a choice she has made. But I think it is important for my kids to know that sometimes there are people that you don't agree with or don't get along with, but you can still be polite and respectful to them. 


It takes time. I spent a lot of time examining my own baggage, pushing myself to take the next step. My husband and I spent a LOT of time getting on the same page and a lot of energy planning for interactions with his ex. It takes time, it is tiring, and it takes way more of your energy than seems fair. She has control over WAY more of your life than you would like, and it will feel like that for a while. But you can find the balance if you want it and you work toward it. I'm ten years in and am starting to think that one day I could have an actual conversation with my step-daughter's mom...


Good luck! 

post #8 of 20

There's no reason she needs to be entering your home, or intruding on your DPs time with his son.  That's super bizarre!  My ex does not enter my home.  I do not invite him in (aside from the odd time it's below zero and the kids are dilly-dallying, and I don't want the door open - he stands in my entry-way and doesn't go any further).  My child with my current spouse does not know who he is.  He's just this weird guy that shows up and takes her sister and brother away occassionally.  We don't mention him to her.  Eventually she'll ask, but she's too young now to get it. She's only a toddler.  I don't even like my ex-husband looking at her, though, so I get what you mean.


You guys need to set clear boundaries, and hopefully once your custody situation is all ironed out, that problem will be resolved.  She shouldn't be entering your home and rifling through your stuff.  The idea that she would even consider scooping up items that you guys bought for your son is just bizarre to me.  I can't even imagine my ex being so bold (and he's pretty cocky). 


Were you supposed to have a solo visit without her?  And she just barged in?  Next time, do the exchange outside of the home.  Don't allow her to step inside, and firmly and clearly tell her when she can come pick him up.  Surely she can't just barge in and supervise your visit if you're firm about it?

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
There currently is no set custody agreement. She has never allowed DP unsupervised time. The court date he had was to get some alone time but out of respect he canceled it. She is super controlling type A and her son is all she has. No friends and an elderly mother. She is most likely going to have residential custody and DP with every other weekend, rotating holidays and some summer. She lives 200in miles away so my reasoning is they will end up doing 90% of the exchanges half way btwn us. So really being separate is going to be easy. Except his sports/school/birthday type of events witch DP will go there for. I know I will not be welcom; not really how I want to live my life but I am willing to respect her boundeies even if she wont. I just don't k ow how his son will feel in the years to come if I don't go..... heh. Way to complicated.
post #10 of 20

Give it time. I started out not attending anything that mom would go to. At some point I became an important person in my step-daughter's life and I started going to things that were open to anyone (like an open house or a school play or whatever). My husband would just let mom know ahead of time that I was planning to attend ("I just wanted to let you know that aricha and I are planning to attend the open house with M at the preschool this weekend.")  He wasn't asking permission, he was just letting her know so she could prepare herself to handle it like an adult-- it seemed respectful to give her advanced warning. We took it REALLY slowly, erred on the side of mom's legitimate feelings, worked on building my own relationship with my stepdaughter and our bond as a family, and always always keep my step-daughter's best interest at the forefront of our decisions. It takes time and patience and a lot of ability to reflect on your own feeling, as well as knowing when to put your own stuff aside for the sake of your step-child.

post #11 of 20

I had a sorta similar situation and I want to implore you to have your dh get that court date asap! My dh's ex did the same thing with taking off with the kid, dh had to track her down with a PI and such, it took years. DSD had been back in dh's life for four years now, and his ex is still angry and tries to control everything, and it is just getting worse as the kid gets older (he is a teen now). DH STILL caves in to her and to their son, which drives me absolutely insane. He is getting better, but even though he has legal rights, for some reason he still sees them as having the control (which is what she had when they were together). I don't get it at all, but this seems to be a fairly common thing with certain fathers. It sounds like your dh has some of this if he had her come over for xmas and didn't put his foot down about the gifts staying at your place. Of course, it is good to choose your battles, but if he wants a healthy relationship with his child, he needs to start setting boundaries and getting a backbone now, not years down the road.


It was, and is extremely difficult to see my dh, who is an incredibly assertive person, become so subservient to his child and his ex. It brings out my "mama bear" side, which is probably what you are experiencing, and it is very easy to see her as the enemy and want her out of your life, and to develop a hatred for her. However, as annoying and crazy and wrong as she may be, she isn't really the problem. Part of the problem, yes, but really, it is how your dh is acting which is the real problem, and it is harder to be mad at them, yk? For me, it hurts that dh will bend over backward for his son and cave into him and his ex when it's so obviously detrimental to us as a couple/family and to his father/son relationship that he wants so badly. 


I guess I don't have much advice aside from voicing your opinions to your dh in a gentle way, and to go to counseling asap. A good Marriage and Family Therapist will be able to help you both navigate the situation and should be able to help your dh get the confidence he needs. I find that most men seem to do better with a male therapist that they respect; this has worked for us and has truly saved us. Good luck!

post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your stories and advice! The first real court date is january 19th. I hope once he has things in legal terms he will have an easier time standing his ground.
They got into a texting argument last night. She started texting like it was ne texting her.. ie: tell me *dh* blablabla.... like she wasn't talking to him. The argument got him all worked up (today is his sons birthday. He went ti see him and didn't want to start an argumen.) He commented that he now understands why I hate her so much. We had planned on having a nice night together and it turned into a fight.... I have to say he is understanding of my feelings. I just wish it was over....... thank you all again for your stories and advice. ;-)
post #13 of 20

Do you mean the 29th? I hope that once he has some legal rights that it will help. Does he have a lawyer or is he going to be representing himself? If he is going himself, just be prepared for him to possibly not be as assertive as he should. It seems to be a common experience with some non-custodial fathers that they don't really stand up for themselves in court, for whatever reason....like they think they need to be grateful for anything, which isn't the case but it is the mindset; hopefully yours won't be like that!!! Lots of hugs and understanding sent your way :) 

post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Sorry. February 19th. Was responding from my cell.. lol. He has a lawyer, she tried to talk him out of having lawyers but he recognizes how sneeky she is and refused. I just cant wait to be able to relax. Everything she does has an agenda and its really tiring always being on guard waiting for her to freak out.... I found out today she booked his sons birthday party (his b-day was last friday) after dp was trying to talk to her about it for days ; she kept saying it wasnt important and she didnt have the money. Then she tried to tell him she would pay for it and he could just add his half to his support payment, in an effort to bulk the checks before court im sure. She is now doing all communication in e-mail, wont send anything to his personal account insisting to use his work account that he can only access at his desk and he spends 90% of his day away from his desk.... she is doing this on purpose, I just cant figure out why, whats in it for her. And I just cant help but be nervous for him as things get closer..... ahhhh! Lol, deep breaths...... be calm...lol
post #15 of 20

Can he set a rule in his work emails? If I get a message from my ex or his parents, I have my email set to automatically forward it to my other email, too. 

post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
I wish. He works for the government. Its in office e-mail. She could cc his personal account but refuses. :-/
post #17 of 20

That is not okay regarding the email. I would look into having the court order that they both use Our Family Wizard, which can track all contacts and helps to eliminate sneakiness. It does cost 100/year for each parent.

post #18 of 20

Just a question with regards to the email... Has she ever used his personal email? If so, was there ever a time when you replied in his stead? I ask because I was in that situation. I would email my ex, and his SO (now wife) would respond. After asking several times that he and I be the ones to communicate regarding our children and having that request ignored? I started emailing him at work.

post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
I have never and would never do that. It is highly inapropreate. She asked me face to face during our first meeting back in december and I told het absolutely not. I do tell him to be nice because sometimes he gets frustrated. She may see that in his e- mails. That he is more thoughtful but she is just trying to play a game and distract from the issues at hand with a stupid non issue by involving me.
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Just looked back. I didn't mention... she does accuse me of texting and e-mailing on his behalf ... I don't want to have the contact I have had with her.. I would not go out of ny way to have more contact.
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