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Ideas on breaking the ice...

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I was just wondering if you ladies could give me some ideas to breaking the ice with SO's ex. Everything is still pretty new with everything. We met shortly after they seperated, its been about a year now and she still won't say anything to me, and says she hates me. And even his family hasn't even given me a chance, cause they don't want her to holdthe kids from them they say. Well SO and I are expecting this year, and I have never met his family, well his dad, but that is only cause I work the same place as him, we do not speak though.
I feel like if I can get her to be civil with me and I guess *except* me then so will his family. It just makes me so mad cause they say its cause of the kids, but HELLO I'm pg, if you don't start talking to me you will NEVER know THIS kid!! BTW his kids like me and I absolutely adore them!! Any tips would be great. This is so new to us all, that none of us know how to make it work.
post #2 of 22
Wow. thats a tough spot to be in. I can totally relate as dh and I met when they were separated (living apart) and starting divorce preceedings. So of course, she forgets about her current boyfriend and all of a sudden its all my fault and dh family falls for her fake tears and blah blah blah. You already know (and seem to be living too!) the rest.

So, how to break the ice? Call her, or go over there. Or maybe start with a letter? Tell her how great the kids are and that you would love to get to know them. Let her know how wonderful they are and gee, surely she KNOWS how easy it is to fall in love with these kids and why wouldnt anyone want to hang out with them? And since you're not going anywhere, wouldnt it really be in the kids best interest if you all got along? (and a freshly made baked good never hurt )

As for his family, your SO should be laying down some bounderies. (easier said than done, I know!) So, for you and your kids benefit, I hope he does so soon!

Dh and I had a baby quite soon too, his family wasnt too thrilled. But when I refused to take the baby to see them they learned pretty quick to start treating me with respect or lose their grandson.
I also spoke to his mom directly about her treatment of us. I told her that by treating me so coldly, and treating the ex so warmly in spite of all the crap she was putting us thru that she was risking losing her son as well. Was the ex really that worth it to her? Did she even realize how betrayed her SON felt? She didnt actually. I told her I loved her ds and it didnt matter how bad she (or the ex) tried, I wasnt going anywhere. The only person she was going to drive away was him.

Right now I would bet that your SO doesnt have the strength to fight his family or ex. Its wonderful of you to try and help difuse the situation (especially being pregnant and all!)

Good Luck!
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
OMG, can I just say, you hit EVERYTHING dead on!!
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
I also wanted to say though, was that he keeps me and the ex apart, we don't even see each other anymore. I'm not there when she drops them off or with him when he picks them up or what ever. He says it causes to many problems. So yeah it looks like everyone is winning, except us. And if I ever said anything about her boys, she would probably flip, thinking I'm trying to be their mom and take HER place ya know, since I already took HER husband. She is that kind of person. I'm tryin to take HER life.
post #5 of 22
Your dh's family may loosen up once you have the baby. My dh's refused to speak to him the entire time I was pregnant, or to see us when we were in the same city (they live abroad). But, as soon as dd was born they actually did send gifts for her, and I now have ok shallow chats with his sister on the phone. I may even be included in Christmas gifts - at least that's how I choose to read the "for everyone" gift cards!

With the ex, she sounds pretty set right now. You can try sending a letter or inviting her over - I've tried that in the past, and in my case it just brought down her anger on my dh for not 'keeping me out of her face.' It kind of depends on what her motivations are, though. I think that if my kids were spending a lot of time with my ex's new partner I'd welcome a friendly note or an invitation to come by and have tea and see their rooms at your place. I would definitely try to avoid saying anything that makes it sound like you want to be their mommy, though! Maybe something like "I have no desire to take your place - no one could, you're their mom - but I'm in their lives through their dad, and I'd like to make sure my presence is positive one."
post #6 of 22
I can't speak about IL since they were really happy that dh found a sane girl, but as far as the ex, it just took time. I know she was in shock at first and had some trouble dealing, plus, I was kinda obsessed too, just thinking that my dh had loved someone else. It wasn't pretty the first year or two. Now that its obvious that I'm not going anywhere, she's warmed up. We are actually NICE to each other (and it's not always fake now!) and compliment each other, and work through some problems together. We once took dss to swimming lessons together but it was a little weird, like, who tells him to stop running by the pool?
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Any tips for getting through these first years? I hoenstly would love to be able to have a "hi, how ya been" type thing with her at the least. I am a very open person. I don't like hating someone or whatever, it takes too much out of me and too much of my time. And with me having been through all this type stuff of getting used to another woman being with my kid and stuff, its like I want to say to her, you can not like me right now and not like the situation, I just want to tell you I've been there too, I understand yk. I know you will get used to it, and I want you to know I would like to be able to have a civil relationship with you then. I know those feelings of another woman cuddling your babies, just know I still remember they are yours. I am not trying to take them, just show them that just cause they are not mine doesn't mean I don't care about them.

Like right now, I'm not working since I'm on medical for the baby. I would love to watch the kids for her sometimes to make it easier on her. Cause I KNOW what its like trying to find someone and being able to pay for it. Things like that, I wish we could do for each other. Like today, she couldn't find someone and asked SO if he could be late for work. He said no ya know, and I just sat there, wanting to say, well I can, so bad. I don't want her to lose her job, it not fair. I just want her to give me a little chance, and not just outright hate me from the start. How desperate do I sound? :LOL

any tips for SO and I during these early stages to keeping us together and happy?
post #8 of 22
Lets see, we had a no yelling rule for us, and if she started (on phone) then we just hung up and soon it wasn't useful to her. I wrote her letters if I needed to say anything important (even if it was just a few sentences) so I wouldn't get flustered. I always tried to see things from her POV so I could understand/anticipate her anger. The more I included her and asked for her opinion, the saner she got. I got over my jealousy of her being the first wife,and the real mom, through sheer force of will!
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
thanks so much. Yeah, i think I have the she was first to marry and have kids with jealousy too. but then i remember I have a child and was married too. (different guys) I think my big thing right now is to believe me and him are the team, not him and her, like I keep thinking. Like they make the rules and I get told about them, and have to abide by them. I think time is all we ALL need here. Thanks again.
post #10 of 22
After years of doing everything alone, dh was glad to have someone else on his team. I didn't feel like they were a team. From the start, dh said he couldn't make any decisions without me, even if it made the ex mad, she eventually accepted it. Dh's pov is that he wouldn't buy a car without my imput, why would he make custody arrangements/monetary decisions/child rearing rules without me? I am his partner. Sure, it's not 100% my kid, but it is my house, my marriage, my life, too, and so even in the earliest days of our marriage, I was a part of mediation (mostly silently), and even telephone calls. Usually, dh and the ex would talk on phone then dh would say, "I'll talk it over with Jennifer and then call you back." This was good too beccause dh tends to agree with anything in order to get off the phone with her. Maybe talk to your partner about you feeling like you aren't on the team. Actually, maybe it is a good thing that in some ways your dp and ex are a team, the better to eventually coparent, right?
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
I mean team as She says me being there and seeing me pisses her off, so I'm not there when she drops them off now, or when he picks them up. Like whatever she says goes, and I have no say. He just says it causes problems, and he doesn't want to deal with it. Hello, she has the problem, and yeah, don't deal with it. She will get over it, if you don't give her her way. I on the other hand won't. I won't put up with being put aside to make her happy for 5 minutes. I want it like yours. Like when something comes up, get my opinion too before making up your mind. Don't just tell me about it later.
post #12 of 22
That stinks. I understand that your partner want to avoid conflict but that seems like a short term solution. In the long run, you don't want her having so much control over your marriage. How long have you been together? Sounds like her feelings are still raw.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yeah, its still pretty new, we got together shortly after they seperated, and we have been together for a year. We did seperate for a couple months cause I needed time to think if I was really ready to deal with this stuff (I'm 21) and I wanted him to kinda have a little "single guy time" so that I never had to worry if he regreted not being single long enough before getting serious again, ya know. I wanted us both to be sure of our relationship and what was to follow.
I think I just need to keep and open mind, and wait for her to find someone who makes her happy too.
post #14 of 22

The Bigger Issue- Keep a Formal Agreement

Hey, Kate,

I'm new to this board but I am 28 & have been a step mother for 5 1/2 years now so I feel like I can have some insight into your situation.

First a couple of questions? Has the custody arrangment been finalized and filed with the court? If not, you REALLY have to get one. It just makes everything simplier and that way there is no confusion on who gets what time, etc. Your dh's ex sounds like mine, who would take visitation away when she got mad. I LOVE having an agreement to fall back on and quote, etc.

You Have to Have a Formal Agreement. It might cost you $$ but it is money that is well spent for your sanity.

That being said, she should be sharing the pick up, drop duties. I think it is important for the kids for their parents to interact on some level at both houses, even if it is just for drop, off, pick up, etc. This duty should be completely 50/50. Also it allows forces her to see you, even if it is only occasionally, and you can always be sure to have a kind word.

However, have you talked to your fiance about how you are not comfortable with him making the drop off decision without you? Ask him for a compromise. You would like to go, but would be willing to wait in the car. This way you can interact with the kids, help get them in the car, etc. Also, every once in a while, you can get out, smile and wave hello. (This can be on the pretext of helping with the kids) It might seem small but it all adds up.

I hear you on the baby sitting stuff. I could watch my ss full time, but he still did after school and daycare, because his mother wasn't comfortable with me having too much time with him. You just have to let that go. She feels threatend and it can be hard for her to realize that you could never replace her in their heart. Hey, if you try, you'll only upset the kids.

We do sporting stuff with her and that helped. Her finally finding someone helpsed, but she can still get crazy. One thing that really helped was setting up an email account for all our out of town family for my dss. Sometimes we'll have him e-mail her. That has really seemed to calm her down for some reasons.

Just keep doing really small things, and don't worry about the rest. Talk to his family once, make sure your df supports your need for his family to support you!! Then just deal with them as best you can. If your df, had a court agreement then she wouldn't have any say about them seeing the kids, because that would be all up to you and your df. It is neccesary for everyones sanity.

Good luck
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Its not finalized, but they did agree on every other weekend. But she will call out of no where and be like I need you to watch them, I can't find any one, and if he does tell her no, she does her little, "you'd rather be with her and her kid, then seeing your own kids" blah, blah. Or she has called on the weekend he don't have them, and said the boys are crying for you, they want to see you, but the dealbreaker is, is she isn't leaving them with him, she wanted to be there too, since the drive is 45 mins. and they'd only be there an hour. Stuff like that. Like what do you say? BTW he let her, and I couldn't be there. That is the kinda stuff she gets away with, cause, "it's about the boys" To me, that was about her, and only her. I feel so bad though, cause he would love to see his boys anytime he could, but it's the "her thing" that gets to me/us. She throws herself in any way she can. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I would feel way too bad to say stick with the agreement, cause that would look like I don't want him to see the boys, and I do want him to, I want to, too!
post #16 of 22
Oh gosh no. Take all the extra time you can get.

You STICK to the agreement to make sure you get your time. But if there is extra time, you always take it. The agreement should also make sure you get your share of holidays, vacations, etc. We have every other weekend and once during the week. That is great because then you at least get to see the kids once a week. I think that is somewhat typical.

If you aren't comfortable having her in the house, etc., because she is manipulating your dh, can they meet with the kids for dinner somewhere or go somewhere neutral?

I'm sorry it is so hard. Give it a few years, it'll get better. Not what you want to hear, I'm sure, but sometimes it just takes time and being as nice as you can.
post #17 of 22
Oh, when I said we have him once during the week, that means I pick him up from daycare or school and take him back in the next morning. (We bought a house which is between where dh works and where his son lives so it only makes sense for me to do the exchanges, but I don't do them with her, I do them with the school, but she did have to sign off on it, but since my dh's job was able to pay more child support she had no problem signing off.)

It really is important to have something like a min. of one night during the week, which is something he should be stressing for in a final agreement. It sounds terrible, but I think an agreement is HUGE! He should also make sure ask for the right of first refusal, which is something which I wished we had asked for, which means if either parent needs a baby sister, they have to ask the other parent to watch the kids first. This is something which would have been really nice to have and is somewhat typical. However, the agreement should prevent your dh from having other time with his kids, it should just make sure there is a normal. Since his X sounds like she has to have "her" time, there should still be plenty of extra time with the kids still and you can always agree to meet halfway- the kids are in the car the same amount of time and she can get to her deal faster.

A helpful website he should look at is:


I found their article archives very informative when all of this stuff was going on with my dh's X. It also has useful links etc.

I also stress that finding some new normal like an agreement can give you is also critcal for the childrens well being. It lets them know what they can expect just as much as it does everyone else.

Good luck
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
If you aren't comfortable having her in the house, etc., because she is manipulating your dh, can they meet with the kids for dinner somewhere or go somewhere neutral?
That is my point. She is ALWAYS trying to get it to where its her, him and the boys, with me nowhere around. Like they are still a family, and I don't exist. That is the problem we are dealing with. She wants me and our baby on the way out of the picture, so she can get back in. That is why the whole THEM doing things, is a problem, its not about the kids, its about her wanting to see him. So them going to dinner or whatever, I believe is out of the question. Doing something like that would be giving her exactly what she is wanting, HER husband and HER family back.
post #19 of 22

So Sorry

Oh, I see that has to be difficult. I was always scared about that kind of stuff but it never really happend. Funny thing was though, she broke it off with my dh but when I came into the picture, suddenly I was the person responsible for the mess that she made out of her life, and man, did she make it a mess.

Actually, all the legal precedings that we had to instigate, really helped straighten her life out a lot more than she'll ever admit, which sounds weird but it is totally true. It forced her to actually start living like an adult again.

It sounds like your fiance REALLY needs to look into his paternal rights since it sounds like he is a caring father and not a deadbeat and request a weekday visitation and all the other stuff. Then he should alternate drop off etc., if she needs a babysitter then he can share the transportation by meeting half way. Plus, there should always be unrestricted phone access. You should always be allowed to go with him. If it upset her, that is her problem and not your fiancees. I realize that until something is finalized that isn't really true, but ... you start to see the neccessity?

Honestly, I hate to sound like a harpie, but it just brings so much peace. Plus, even if he gets smidges here and there of time like it is now iit won't add up to the weekday visitation and right of first refusal for babysitting, and it makes it absolutely clear that there is no possibility for reconcilliation.

Another thing it sounds like your fiancee is missing is how hard and confusing those type of encounters are for his kids. The tension between their parents is still too strong for it to be fair to them. Even young kids grasp their parents emotions and the positions she is putting them in are unhealthly and he should try and prevent those type of scenarios as much as possible.

While the courts still don't give fathers the same treatment as mothers, it has gotten a bit better. When you are talking about kids, the time and money to get things done right is totally worth it.

Will anything be finalized soon?

Good luck, I'll be interested to see how it goes.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yeah he should be getting the final paperwork anytime now, from her lawyer for him to go over and all that good stuff. I hate how men have a disadvantage in these situations. but I found him the best lawyer!! This woman I swear is a woman hater! She can get just about anything you ask for. He met her once, but she said to wait for the final papers from the ex to see if he even needs a lawyer (x has heard of the lawyer, and knows he has talked to her)! And she said, if he needs her, then she will take the case for him. So he does have that on his side, but like I said, he hates to fight her on anything, so who knows what will happen.
I looked at that link. I didn't know ex could add a clause about girlfriends and live ins and such. That is crazy!! I could totally see her doing that! I will be on the look out for that. : You should have seen what was in the papers during temp. CS!! She said she made $100 a week and he made $1,000+!!! Yeah, whatever!! :
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