The ex files....back for more advice on dealing with a family member''s ex.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-01-2004
The ex files....back for more advice on dealing with a family member''s ex.
Tue, 08-28-2012 - 1:51pm

Hi again...and once again thank you for all your encouragement and good has proved very helpful.

Just to brief you....

I have a family member I am very close with. They began their relationship in their late teens. It has been on and off since then. Since my family member got pregnant before she married they kept it together and ultimately have two children.

During the course of their relationship, the road has been VERY rocky. His family is resentful of her and does not care for her or her family, and barely speak to any of us.

He has been verbally and emotionally abusive as per my "friend" and her family members who've entrusted us with "actions".

He has left several times to persue a lifestyle he told her he missed out on since she got pregnant and "tricked" him into marriage.

Their last split was about 4 or 5 years ago. After several months apart and some pretty unforgiveable accusations he supposedly came back to her for the sake of the children, now not children but pre-teens. She had always kep the door open.

Much of problem seems to be her parents who can't seem to get over the fact that one of their children will bear the "stigma" of being divorced" and she is and has been encouraged to put water in the wine and turn a blind eye to keep the peace for the sake of the kids. Also, her parents feel that any other man who is interested may be a molester....and repeatedly discourage her from moving on with her life, even with family friends who come highly recommended.

Since the last reunion, this man has once again walked out (this I believe is the 3rd time). This time things got more serious with attorneys involved and her actually making attempts to remove his name from their joint acquisitions. Once again his departure was fraught with drama and abusive language and behaviours including some questionable parenting skills.

Now several years later, he has decided he "regrets" his actions and wants to work things out....and unfortunately she is willing to take him back, if she has not fully already done so....and many of us fear she is only setting herself up for failure and trouble once again.

My dilema is twofold. I want HER in my life, not her family who has encouraged her to accept him and accept him back over and over....and I do not want to associate with her if he is in the picture. I am fine with having a relationship if he's not around, just not attending any family functions where he is present, as I feel he continues to use and abuse. I can't tell anyone how to live...but do I have the right to remove MYSELF and to let her and the family know exactly why.

Secondly and more pressing....I am planning a family reunion to which she and her teens were invitied well before I knew of their likely reconciliation. I received her response a while back noting she and the family would be attending (which I thought to mean her and her brood....I did not think it would include her almost ex. Should I say anything? Should I ask? What if they all show up together. I don't want to embarass anyone, especially myself. After all we are all in our 40s and 50s and he's not a kid, so I want to treat this delicately. Any suggestions, on how to handle this?

Thank you in advance

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2010

There's a couple of those types of people in everyone's family.  My answer to this is if you invite her she should bring her family.  It's up to her who "family" is to her.  How hard would it be if you formally indicated he wasn't invited.  I don't think there is any other option. 



iVillage Member
Registered: 06-12-2011

That's the problem when you get so involved in other people's marriage.  When they are upset or angry and separate they vent and tell their business. Then they reconcile and they have forgiven all and friends and family members are still upset because of how that person was treated by their spouse, g/f or b/f.

Almost every family has someone like that in their family, including myself. But the bottom line is none of your business how she conducts her marriage, maybe some day she will wise up and leave him or they  may spend the rest of their life together. From  what you have stated they were very young when they got married and it is obvious that he was not mature enough to handle marriage and kids at such a young age and still may not be. But the bottom line is...he is her family and he is her kids dad, so it would be perfectly correct to bring him to the family reunion if she so chooses. You may be worried for nothing because lots of guys don't like family affairs anyway and he may choose not to attend.

I have learned the hard way to butt out of my family members  marital affairs after driving a wedge between my relationship with my niece and my sister when I butted in their marriage. I was upset by things that their spouses had done to them and I only knew of these things because they had told me these things when they were venting. I told them their spouse was not welcome in my home and was upset because they had gotten back together with them; so as a result they did not come because they felt they were not welcome. If their spouse had done something to me I would have been absolutely right in saying they were not welcome in my home, but since they had not I was in the wrong. I had to learn to accept their choices even if I didn't agree with them and to treat their spouses with respect as a guess in my home or at family functions. Today my niece is divorced from her husband and my sister is separated and our relationship is in tact because I learned to butt out. I think you should learn to do the same or you could lose your relationship with you family member.