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#1 of 21 Old 12-02-2008, 11:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi! I am the mom to three (4 1/2 yrs, 8 months, due in late July) and stepmom to two(7 yrs, 3 yrs).

My husband's ex wife is a nightmare! She is just about as rude and nasty as she can be- all the time. She never thanks me and goes out of her way to say things to her children that make it harder for me at our house. I am the bigger person and bite my tongue pretty much nonstop (with the kids and her) but man it gets exhausting!

There are several times now that my husband's ex has emailed my husband to ask if he can print her several copies of resumes, print off pictures for her and has handed him her work papers for him to fax in. My husband has daily, easy access to printers and photo printers, however I feel that this is inappropriate of her to ask him. She is an adult and I guess it makes me mad bc we already pay alimony and over the amount of child support we should so she can "survive". Then we take the kids her time too bc something always comes up, it's just like she can't stand on her own two feet. Hello! You are an adult, and not with him anymore. Go to a Kinko's. Am I overreacting bc I greatly dislike her or is this something that should bother me?

I told my husband it bothers me and he asked if he should just say no. I told him, he does not have to be mean about it, just tell her he cannot. Or put it off and off til she just does it herself. He said if it truly bothers me, he won't do these things anymore. Should it truly bother me? And if so... There have to be ways to tactfully say no. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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#2 of 21 Old 12-03-2008, 01:19 AM
 
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Sorry I do not have any suggestions but I can say we have gone through a similar situation with my boyfriends X. I know it can be frustrating. Eventually my BF just had to start saying NO. This became more frequent when he starting dating me. She would call him 10 or more times a day with questions or need his help with something
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#3 of 21 Old 12-03-2008, 03:14 AM
 
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Um, it would bother me.
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#4 of 21 Old 12-03-2008, 10:05 AM
 
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There are several times now that my husband's ex has emailed my husband to ask if he can print her several copies of resumes, print off pictures for her and has handed him her work papers for him to fax in. My husband has daily, easy access to printers and photo printers, however I feel that this is inappropriate of her to ask him. She is an adult and I guess it makes me mad bc we already pay alimony and over the amount of child support we should so she can "survive". Then we take the kids her time too bc something always comes up, it's just like she can't stand on her own two feet. Hello! You are an adult, and not with him anymore. Go to a Kinko's. Am I overreacting bc I greatly dislike her or is this something that should bother me?
I could have written this part of your post word for word. My Hubby's Ex was always an overly dependant person, but the "last straw" was the night she called my Husband (then boyfriend) at 10:30 at night, insisting that he walk across town to get the car, drive the 20 minutes to her house (HER Father lived 10 minutes away and had a car in his driveway), and show her how to turn the heat on in the house because it was gonna get down to 45-50 degrees that night and she was cold. My Hubby went riding to the rescue, didn't get home until after midnight and still got up at 6 am for work the next day. (He didn't want his daughter to be cold that night.) I almost left. (What business does this woman have taking care of a then toddler if she doesn't even know how to turn the thermastat up in the house she's lived in for 5 years?) My Hubby's Ex, like your Hubby's Ex, is a big girl and needs to grow up. She's no longer married to your Hubby, so she's no longer his "responsibility", if you know what I mean.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#5 of 21 Old 12-03-2008, 02:53 PM
 
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I think the issue is more with your husband doing these things than her asking. She is out of line asking but not if he's willing to do them, KWIM? He should start saying "no" to her. Those kinds of ties need to be cut in order for both of them to move on. Was their divorce/seperation fairly recently? I ask because my ex and I did the "friendly relationship" thing for a short period of time too where I basically held my ex's hand in doing everyday things. It was hard to let go of the old roles we were familiar with but once I started telling him "no" things got better.

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#6 of 21 Old 12-03-2008, 03:02 PM
 
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This was a problem for us in the beginning of our relationship. DSD's mom was used to using DH (BF at the time) as her support person. She was always calling and asking for favors, similar to the faxing printing thing. Very early on, she was borrowing money as well, but DH cut that off.

I was annoyed because I felt that these things were her problems, not DH's. Also, we were blending our family and I was pregnant. I felt that his focus should be on our family (including DSD), not hers.

We wound up in counseling over this. Things have changed. DH set boundaries, and she has stopped using him as her "get me out of this jam" person. We are better off for it.

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#7 of 21 Old 12-03-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
I could have written this part of your post word for word. My Hubby's Ex was always an overly dependant person, but the "last straw" was the night she called my Husband (then boyfriend) at 10:30 at night, insisting that he walk across town to get the car, drive the 20 minutes to her house (HER Father lived 10 minutes away and had a car in his driveway), and show her how to turn the heat on in the house because it was gonna get down to 45-50 degrees that night and she was cold. My Hubby went riding to the rescue, didn't get home until after midnight and still got up at 6 am for work the next day. (He didn't want his daughter to be cold that night.) I almost left. (What business does this woman have taking care of a then toddler if she doesn't even know how to turn the thermastat up in the house she's lived in for 5 years?) My Hubby's Ex, like your Hubby's Ex, is a big girl and needs to grow up. She's no longer married to your Hubby, so she's no longer his "responsibility", if you know what I mean.

Similar Situation.

My hubby's ex called him freaked out that she thought there were bats in her attic. Demanding that he come (she lives over an hour away, we agreed to allow her to move that far because it was supposed to offer her a larger support system, yet she still expects dh to come to the rescue) and check for bats and fix a window in the attic (She bought the house, had been living there for 3 months, and had her father stay for a week to make any repairs she needed) And- here's the kicker- dh had just returned from the 2 1/2 hour round trip from her house about an hour earlier. She started pouring on the "Do you want to let your daughter sleep in a house that might have bats?" I told him to tell her she was right and that we would be right there to bring dsd back home with us until she had hired someone to check it out. Instead, I made a few phone calls and found a nusiance animal trapper who agreed to go out and check it out (she paid the $25 house call not us) turned out it was squirrels playing on the roof, no bats and the squirrels were not even in the house! She has done similar with locking her keys in the car, and locking herself and dsd out of the house before she moved further away.
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#8 of 21 Old 12-03-2008, 03:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
She started pouring on the "Do you want to let your daughter sleep in a house that might have bats?"
Ah, yes, the "our child is gonna suffer terribly if you don't help me" line of guilt. :

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#9 of 21 Old 12-03-2008, 05:32 PM
 
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It's so interesting to read your post, because it's so similar to what I experience with my DH and his XW.

XW is better than she used to be, but she still has bouts of asking DH for favors that are unrelated to the children. Her most common requests have to do with fixing her car or other mechanical stuff in her life (he went over to her apartment last weekend to light the pilot light on her furnace) or to ask for money when she's short at the end of the month (on top of what we already give her for CS).

It's hard because DH and I don't see eye-to-eye on him helping her. I see his doing favors for her as a sign of some buried affection or love that he still has for her and he sees it as helping her to be successful so that she can be a good mom to his kids.

I have accepted the fact that it's not that one of us is right and one of us is wrong, but that we simply don't agree.

I'll tell you what I did and you can choose to take the advice or leave it.

I sat down with DH and explained to him very kindly that it hurts my feelings when he does non-child related favors for her. I explained to him that due to our past (another story for another day!), I feel that her asking him for favors poses a threat to our relationship.

I think he truly appreciated that I was honest with him about WHY I don't want him doing favors for her and that I didn't simply issue an edict or get bitchy about the whole thing.

We reached a compromise. If she asks him for a favor, he will try to help her figure out a way to accomplish what she needs without him. If, in the end, he still feels that it's in everyone's best interest for him to help her, he comes to me with her request before saying "yes." We talk about it and make a decision together. This has accomplished four things: 1) XW doesn't ask for very much anymore because she knows that DH is discussing everything with me, 2) I get to be involved in decisions surrounding XW, thereby minimizing my insecurity about DH's relationship with her, and 3) DH doesn't feel stretched between his current wife and his ex-wife because I've never expressly forbid him from helping her, and 4) DH is getting better at setting boundaries.

I think honesty (especially honesty that comes out calmly and kindly) is pretty much always the best policy.

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#10 of 21 Old 12-03-2008, 10:01 PM
 
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This is interesting. I can't remember the last time I asked ex for a favor. Any kind of favor.

But... I recently redid dd's bedroom. I stripped the wallpaper, painted furniture, fixed some wall damage, ect. I am finally to the point where I want to put up shelves and I cannot get the drywall anchors to work for me : I put them in according to all of the directions I've read but they simply fall out when I put the shelves up. It leaves a giant hole in the drywall that I then have to repair and repaint. I am getting really frustrated!

I asked dd's dad if he could come over and put the darn shelves up for me. It would take him 10 minutes while it's taken me weeks. He agreed. Unfortunately, things seem to have gotten a bit strained between SM and dd (and consequently between me and her) shortly after he said he would so I haven't asked again.

Anyway, I guess this thread hit upon a nerve for me. Thanks for the insight from the other side
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#11 of 21 Old 12-03-2008, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your input! It really has just made me realize that if it bothers me, it is ok to ask him to stop enabling her. I talked with my DH about this further and calmly explained the reasons it bothers me. He is on the same page as me now and gets it.

For the woman who wrote this: But... I recently redid dd's bedroom. I stripped the wallpaper, painted furniture, fixed some wall damage, ect. I am finally to the point where I want to put up shelves and I cannot get the drywall anchors to work for me I put them in according to all of the directions I've read but they simply fall out when I put the shelves up. It leaves a giant hole in the drywall that I then have to repair and repaint. I am getting really frustrated!

I asked dd's dad if he could come over and put the darn shelves up for me. It would take him 10 minutes while it's taken me weeks.


I think if this were the situation, I might not be pleased he was going over to help, but could understand. However, she doesn't even try, just relies on him to be an adult for her. It is helpful to see things from your perspective as well- so thank you. It is easy to also forget she is a person too, not just the enemy. However, knowing her, you are 1000% more woman than her! Good for you!
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#12 of 21 Old 12-05-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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This is an interesting thread. I'm reading it from "the other side" as well. I think sometimes we get so caught up in societal scripts about what a divorce "should" look like that we forget to be reasonable. I know my ex and I both ask each other for favors -- we were together for 10 years. He is still used to me helping him with his book-keeping for his business (I did it all when we were together, now he calls me with questions and sometimes brings it over to work on at my house, but he has hired a book-keeper) and I am used to him helping me with things related to car and house maintenance.

Of course, we are still pretty newly divorced, and we are both making steps towards figuring out how to handle this stuff without the other persons help. But then again, we don't each other, so why not ask the other to help sometimes?

Obviously some people are really one-sided about wanting help but not giving it, or asking for unreasonable things, and that's not cool, but little things, like hanging up a shelf when he's there to pick up his dd? Seems totally cool to me. I hope my ex doesn't end up with someone who would have a problem with that.
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#13 of 21 Old 12-05-2008, 12:15 PM
 
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I think the issue is more with your husband doing these things than her asking. She is out of line asking but not if he's willing to do them, KWIM? He should start saying "no" to her
i totally agree with that. She wont stop if your husband would not start saying no to her, she will keep going on.
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#14 of 21 Old 12-05-2008, 01:14 PM
 
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Obviously some people are really one-sided about wanting help but not giving it, or asking for unreasonable things, and that's not cool, but little things, like hanging up a shelf when he's there to pick up his dd? Seems totally cool to me. I hope my ex doesn't end up with someone who would have a problem with that.
I think the big thing is that the ex's need to start developing their own support network, obviously in the very begining it is harder, but to rely on an ex to swoop in and save the day with keys, cars, money, physical labor, etc. over and over is not appropriate. And in the case of the PP with the shelf, she tried alot to do it herself, that is a lot different than wanting an ex to be your go to guy when something is wrong
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#15 of 21 Old 12-05-2008, 01:38 PM
 
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This is an interesting thread. I'm reading it from "the other side" as well. I think sometimes we get so caught up in societal scripts about what a divorce "should" look like that we forget to be reasonable. I know my ex and I both ask each other for favors -- we were together for 10 years. He is still used to me helping him with his book-keeping for his business (I did it all when we were together, now he calls me with questions and sometimes brings it over to work on at my house, but he has hired a book-keeper) and I am used to him helping me with things related to car and house maintenance.

Of course, we are still pretty newly divorced, and we are both making steps towards figuring out how to handle this stuff without the other persons help. But then again, we don't each other, so why not ask the other to help sometimes?

Obviously some people are really one-sided about wanting help but not giving it, or asking for unreasonable things, and that's not cool, but little things, like hanging up a shelf when he's there to pick up his dd? Seems totally cool to me. I hope my ex doesn't end up with someone who would have a problem with that.
I always find it so enlightening to learn the opinion of folks who are on the other side of an issue than me. In particular, it was the part of your post about "societal scripts" that made me re-think my position a bit and examine my own feelings about DH helping his XW.

I think that a large part of the reason that I find DH's favors for his XW so distasteful is that never, ever, in a million gajillion years would I call my ex-husband up and ask him for a favor (unrelated to my children). Truly, I can't imagine it. When we separated and divorced, I moved on. I don't hate my XH at all. In fact, we get along very well and have a successful co-parenting relationship. But that is where our relationship ends: with parenting. Did I depend on my XH to take care of things that I couldn't take care of when we were married? Yes, of course. I'm not mechanical, I didn't know how to run the lawn mower, I couldn't do basic home repairs, I couldn't diagnose problems with the car, etc. But after we got divorced, I figured out other ways to deal with those problems. I don't live in a vacuum. I live in a community of neighbors, friends and family and once I was on my own, I turned to those resources, NOT my ex-husband. AND (and I think this is most important), I was determined to be as self-sufficient as possible, knowing that in the end, it's always best to be able to depend on yourself. I bought a manual on how to run my lawnmower and I read it. When my sink got clogged, I went to Home Depot, asked someone what tools I needed to do basic plumbing, bought some embarrassing "Plumbing For Dummies" book, and took my sink apart. It took HOURS, but I managed to do it and my bathmat was the only casualty. When my car was making funny noises, I spent about a week following leads to find a reputable mechanic, who now, 6 years later, is a good enough friend that we invited him to our Christmas party.

What am I trying to say?

This is it: Aside from the insecurity and doubt and trust issues I experience when my DH helps his XW, my problem is that I have come to see her as a weakling and him as an enabler. It actually makes me angry that she doesn't have the motivation or self-esteem to truly try to help herself. I don't understand someone who won't even try to take care of themself. And it makes me angry that although DH sees this, he continues to be her hero. DH and his XW are NOT friends. I help my friends, I do favors for my friends, I go out of my way for my friends, and so does DH. What DH and his XW have happening is very lopsided and it's the result of her being incapable of helping herself and him not having the backbone to say no, mostly out of habit (because they were together for 10 years, even though they've now been divorced for 5).

All that said, you're right: there are certain societal expectations about what divorce is supposed to look like, and for us to fall into that trap is folly. Personally, I made the choice to cut the apron strings when I got divorced, recognizing that this man was no longer part of *my* family. I respect that my way is not the right way for everyone and I think it's wonderful and amazing when ex-husbands and wives are able to maintain a workable friendship.

However, when one of the people in this former marriage meets and falls in love with someone new, the dynamic changes and all three people need to be comfortable with the relationship between the ex's, or the new love will never be able to succeed.

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#16 of 21 Old 12-05-2008, 02:46 PM
 
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My ex and I do not have children together, but we'll swap child care for our steps (they've become best friends).

At the beginning, though, it was tough--I wanted a clean break, support-wise, with an eye toward maybe being able to hang out as friends one day. He had no idea how to exist on his own.

The last straw was when he called me to pick him up at the mechanic after his car died. "You have a girlfriend, call her." "She doesn't have a car." "Take the bus." "But it's COLD out." And so on. We really did have to carve out boundaries.

With my partner and his ex, the "favor" lines are fuzzy. My partner hasn't asked his ex for any sort of favor in a long time (see my thread--more hassle than it's worth). She used to ask him for a lot, but now they live in different cities and that was really helpful. Sure, if he's physically in her house for another reason, he might take a look at why her CD drive is making that gawdaful noise (because he's a techie). But he won't go out of his way to do anything unless it's for the direct benefit of their daughter and there's no better way to do it. He won't change her oil, for instance.

We do end up spending more money on SD than the parenting agreement calls for (we'll quietly pick up co-pays when we take her to the doctor, we'll buy extra clothes and send them in her backpack), but that's because her mom is really really broke (she's underemployed, has sent out 1000s of resumes, no luck) and we're not.

The key, as others have said, is boundaries and balance. If my partner felt he was enabling dependence, he'd stop--but SD's mom is desperately trying to get a better job.

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Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
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#17 of 21 Old 12-07-2008, 02:44 PM
 
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I think the big thing is that the ex's need to start developing their own support network, obviously in the very begining it is harder, but to rely on an ex to swoop in and save the day with keys, cars, money, physical labor, etc. over and over is not appropriate. And in the case of the PP with the shelf, she tried alot to do it herself, that is a lot different than wanting an ex to be your go to guy when something is wrong
I don't think it's unreasonable for an ex to be part of her support network. I think that's the way it SHOULD be - that you stay friends that support each other because that is the best thing for the children.
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#18 of 21 Old 12-07-2008, 02:55 PM
 
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Ask yourself if you would be willing to do these favors for your neighbor or any other friend.

Also ask yourself if you would want him to do these favors for you if your relationship with him ends as his previous marriage did.

If the answer is yes, then continue. If no, it is time for DH to stand up for himself.

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#19 of 21 Old 12-07-2008, 03:24 PM
 
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I think the ex being rude to you and wanting your dh to xerox and fax things are two different issues.

I have friends who are divorced and get alimoney and the are always broke. I think I'd figure that if she doesn't have to spend $10 at Kinkos, she can spend it in a way that will make your dsd's life more comfortable.

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#20 of 21 Old 12-07-2008, 08:40 PM
 
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You could always look at this way.. if he helps her find a job.. he may not have to pay alimony.
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#21 of 21 Old 12-08-2008, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think the part that is the hardest to swallow is that she is such an unkind person- to him and to me. She is not thankful for all the extra ways my DH helps her, just finds a way to bitch about that too. She also does have a job, we pay alimony and child support over what we are supposed to and STILL are the ones buying everything for the kids.

She says nasty things to her kids(my stepkids) about me and how incapable I am, which is funny bc I am the one constantly taking care of the kids(which makes 4 when my stepkids are over) and I am capable enough for her when she needs something from it. She has an issue with DH and I having a baby together, so proceeds to tell her children he is their half-brother and not their "real" brother. Technically, he is their half-brother, but really, is that supposed to affect the love between them or their relationship? I believe she wants it to. I feel she is not thinking of her children when she says that, just her own feelings. She conflicts her children by the words she says, just so she can feel better.

Also, I do believe there is some insecurity on my part, which I am trying to deal with. However, that is NOT the only reason. I think that it is time for her to move on from being in the habit of relying on him so much. After sitting down with my husband and being TOTALLY honest- he understands now why I feel the way I do.

Obviously, the relationship bw me and the XW is strained for sure. It truly does suck bc I would love to have a more cooperative relationship. However, this also proves difficult since I have no respect for someone who cannot stand on their own two feet. I was a single mom with my oldest for several years and didn't go running to my ex for help any time things became hard. I have a different viewpoint than that.

Thanks to everyone for all the comments and thoughts!
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