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Ex-wife, husband ties. Effects on a new relationship or marriage?

Tagged as: Marriage problems, The ex-factor<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (25 October 2011) 5 Answers - (Newest, 1 November 2011)
A female United States age 41-50, anonymous writes:

I'm seeking opinions on a situation with my husband and his ex wife.They have children together so I understand they will always have some connection/communication although the two daughters,and a son are all grown with lives and families of their own.

I have never stood in the way of my husband being there for any special moments with his children and completely understand he and his ex wife need to be there for their kids as parents and they will be in each others presence on occasion.

What causes me some discomfort is the fact the ex wife has sought advice from husband,has had inappropriate conversations about husbands relationships in the past with him,has leaned on him/him with her also emotionally.

My husband in the past before our relationship has also leaned on an ex lover for emotional support via phone conversations across country in addition to the ex wife.This is something I told him was not acceptable for me in our marriage as it disrespects my privacy and our marriage.

She is also still very close to husbands family and I understand that given there are children from the marriage but it seems they all resent any one else who is in or has been in husbands life because they desire things as they were.They have more contact with her than my husband.They have been divorced for 16 years and were divorced for many of those before I entered the picture.

My husband sees no wrong in this so I say very little to avoid problems.The children are not fans of their father or mothers current relationships and seem to be stuck in victim hood over the parents divorce and say/do things to make myself and the ex wife's partner look bad.

My husband seems to wallow a bit too much in the past as well and falls for the complaints of their Mothers partner and if I encourage gently the benefit of the doubt he becomes angry.

I don't understand because I too have an ex husband and two children either of which is a problem.I leave the past alone other than an occasional conversation with my children privately or a child related occasion.

Also the ex wife started calling for advise shortly after our marriage.Not one word of well wishes or the subject brought up.I wished my ex and his current spouse well and left it alone, our children are grown.

So,I don't get her motivation.And of course the facebook invite was involved too but not accepted by husband bc he stopped using it.

This was also shortly after our marriage.And of course every family member of husbands is connected to her on it which is their choice totally but it causes me to wonder if tales are carried between them and the ex in reference to our lives via FB.So,my profile is blocked from them and made private.Comments have been made for me to suspect this may be the case.

I suspect the calls were a way for her to gauge if her ex husband would still be there for her and he sat there and advised her.I realize it is husbands doing as well for continuing the behavior although it has improved on his part.

Any opinions from people with similar circumstances and how they dealt with it?Having a civil relationship with an ex is good but where do you draw the line and let go some?

View related questions: divorce, ex-wife, facebook, her ex, his ex, my ex

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A female reader, Dorothy Dix Australia + , writes (1 November 2011):

Hi. Yes, perhaps he is going through a bit of a midlife crisis.

And that is nothing to do with anything you have done or said. This is about him.

It's possible that he has a sense of time passing him by and unfulfilled dreams. Maybe he needs to either change career, or if not that, take up some interesting hobbies and have more fun.

He is a bit uninspired by his life at the moment. Perhaps a little bored and in a rut.

In fact, I don't think it's about you or the ex really. This is something going on in his life. Maybe a sense of something missing.

That something might be "not enough fun".

This is something only he can control. It's really up to him to decide.

He needs more "newness" in his life.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (29 October 2011):

This is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks for the replies.Good points were made in all of them.

Dorothy comment:

From what you are saying here, it is bothering you, and the fact that it does, might be saying that you are not so sure about his true commitment to you.

It's like there's some unfinished business. He can't seem to emotionally let go.

*Yes,this is exactly what is troubling me.*

Once a person remarries, the new life partner is your number 1 priority. Everyone else, comes after that.

*I agree but he has problems with seeing it this way.

I have also raised a fuss before but given he becomes angry and filibusters me I try to avoid the subject.*

Rescuer comment:

The wife was probably doing what you suggested.

*I have never met her(yet)let alone suggested anything to her.I just stay out of the way when it comes to their grown children.I've done the reverse thing.He says he wouldn't mind but I know that is not the case.And she is the ex-wife hopefully she will accept that as time goes by and so will he.We have been married four years.

As far as the family.I avoid them.They are they type that can't handle change in their clan.*

Justhelpinagain comment:

Once an ex has become part of the family they don't get completely exed!

*No,they don't and that's understandable after a long marriage.What is hard to understand is when the ex is valued above the family member(husband)and they hang onto it as much as the ex if not more.Especially after so many years.The ex contributed to the break up as well but they lay it all at my husbands feet.Guilt is a big factor in this problem with husband and they perpetuate it so does

the grown children.*

I appreciate all these opinions and advise.I sometimes second guess myself and wonder if I have valid reasons for feeling uncomfortable.

I don't know if the problem will be resolved.Just yesterday my husband started conversing about his younger years and how he "misses those days" and yes those days included ex wife.As soon as he said it, he said he was sure I have those feelings.

I miss being a young woman physically but I've lived,sewn my oats a bit so to speak.I like who I am today.No,I don't miss "those days".They are gone.My focus is on today and hopefully a few more tomorrows.

Apparently something is missing in the here and now.I also suspect mid life crisis.I asked him calmly if he was having a mid life crisis after the conversation then he back peddled and said he didn't miss those days he was happy with me in the now...

Which was said to avoid hard feelings from me I'm sure.I get missing youth but I prefer to live my life,the years I do have left,enjoying today.Hopefully it doesn't escalate into divorce.I'm tired of being forced to live in his past.

A person can only wallow in it so long before it becomes unhealthy and ridiculous.

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A female reader, Dorothy Dix Australia + , writes (26 October 2011):

Hi there. The one thing you don't want to do is to feel you are being compared with, in any way. And you most certainly, don't want to start comparing yourself with his ex or exes.

Just so long as you and him generally speaking, have a happy and stable marriage and you trust each other, well then there probably isn't too much of a problem.

The most important thing however, is that in his life, you ARE his number one priority. No ex or exes or even his children - no matter what age they are - should ever have a greater importance to him, than you.

This is something you do need to clarify with him, so you know where you stand in his life.

And because he has had children to his previous wife, does not make her and those children any more important to him, than you. Under any circumstances.

I am not saying they should have no significance to him and that he should forget they exist - no, not at all.

What I am saying however, is that more commitment should be made by him, to his life now with you. And less time talking with his ex wife - for whatever reason.

Understandably, there may be some occasions, where he might have to be consulted about one of his children who might still be at home with their mother, but realistically, it shouldn't be for tiny little things. Surely, his ex wife can make most everyday simple decisions without consultation with him.

His ex wife needs to be a little more self-reliant and independent as much as possible. It was a lot different when they were still married. However, that's not how it is now, is it?

From what you are saying here, it is bothering you, and the fact that it does, might be saying that you are not so sure about his true commitment to you.

It's like there's some unfinished business. He can't seem to emotionally let go.

Once a person remarries, the new life partner is your number 1 priority. Everyone else, comes after that.

And as long as you do feel important to him, and that he treats you with respect and dignity, well then things are probably for the most part, going pretty smoothly.

At some point though, this situation does need to be thoroughly addressed and looked at, for what it is.

He might not fully realize just how much it impacts upon you. Especially, if you only make a casual comment every now and then - without discussing it fully.

He really does need to be told exactly how you feel about it.

Because if you don't talk about it in great depth - and soon - well then down the track it might make you so unhappy, that you might one day decide you won't tolerate it any longer. Then you might just decide to walk out on him altogether.

It could be heading that way. You are after all, pretty unsettled and unhappy about the whole thing now, aren't you? So if nothing is done, it's only going to get worse.

If you do get really fed up with it, then you might just see a lawyer and apply for a divorce. Or at the very least, be seriously thinking about doing so.

Action needs to be taken now. Don't delay it any longer.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (25 October 2011):

Honeypie agony auntYuck, sounds a lot like my situation about 5 years ago. IT is hard to deal with.

The thing is, in your case, he had been doing this (talking, supporting, advicing) his ex for 16 years before you came into the picture. So for him (and her) it feels "normal".

I do think you have little to worry about though, if they HAD feelings for each other, they wouldn't have stayed divorced for 16+ years.

I think you should tell him how it makes you feel. My husband talks occationally with his ex (a LOT less now then 5 years ago) - it still bothers me, but.. in the end it's about trust. I choose to trust my husband. However, I DID tell him to not discuss out marriage or me with her. As THAT is none of her beeswax. I assume he is respecting my wish.

I don't believe in telling a partner who they can talk to and whom they can't. I DO believe you can let them know how it makesw you feel. No one wants to be "discussed" by their spouse and the spouse's ex. It's about trust and respect.

I hope that made sense.

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A male reader, JustHelpinAgain Canada +, writes (25 October 2011):

Its hard to draw a line with exes, especially with children. But there is a line defined by reasonableness and consideration for ones partner. I think it is quite normal for some contact with the expartner. It doesn't sound like you have a trust issue but I think your husband is lacking consideration for your feelings. Possibly you havent made your feelings clear enough to him? I occasionally meet up with an ex from many years back but certainly don't think my wife wants to know. Once an ex has become part of the family they don't get completely exed! My wife's exes are still in contact with her family and I know its not comfortable, especially when talked about in front of you. Its another aspect of our great modern times. But, if you think your husband is not showing reasonable respect for you then politely tell him, don't make a great debate or relationship issue out of it. He does need to draw the line with what he lets the ex do, phoning home, and getting advice, doing odd jobs, etc in my opinion is too far and allows the ex to get manipulative, ex-wives do seem to possess a kind of bitchiness towards their expartners exes that men arent always aware of.

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