Resentment Issues

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-10-2007
Resentment Issues
Tue, 03-25-2014 - 12:01am

Hello all. I haven't been on here in such a long time. I am in serious need of some advice and to be honest I just need to vent and get this all out before it consumes me. I have a lot of resentment towards my husband's ex wife that has been years in the making and I desperately want to make peace with it. Hubby and I will be celebrating our 8th anniversary next month. His kids are all grown and at this point we only see them from time to time anymore. It has been 14 years since his divorce. He rarely deals with his ex wife, however last year they had a long phone conversation and seem to finally be on the same page and made a lot of progress towards healing past issues. My problem is, and it is my problem, is that I resent her for having caused years of disagreements in my marriage and I have never been able to talk to her about it and get closure for myself. I have tried to just put it behind me but the problem is that she basically was allowed to cause issues and be inappropriate and not have boundaries which made for years of unhappiness in our marriage. It wasn't right and it wasn't fair. I blame a lot of it also on my husband who did not set boundaries for her from the very beginning. I am now at the point where I dread any family event (i.e. graduations, future weddings and funerals, etc.) where she will be attending. I brought it up in therapy once and the therapist told my husband if his ex was causing problems then he, not I should be the one to address it. The therapist also said that if his ex is doing things that upset me that it should be a concern for him and he needed to talk with her about it. He has always just ignored most of her antics just to keep the peace. I heard my mother in law tell me once that when they first got divorced they used to fight like cats and dogs. Maybe he got tired of all the fighting. Maybe it was hurting the kids. Maybe it made dealing with her that much more difficult so he just decided to ignore things.

I believe that when two people get divorced that there are certain boundaries that should not be crossed. They are no longer married and they need to go from having deep, loving emotional ties to a civil co-parenting partnership. She should never have constantly called him to vent about her second marriage. He should never have been her confidante. She should never have continued to ask him for personal advice. She shouldn't have been so familiar with him during pick ups and drop offs making constant comments about his hair or his clothes. She should never have run by our seats at her son's soccer games giggling flirtatiously as she ran past us back and forth. WTH??? She should not have continued to give him his favorite candy for Christmas and Easter and for crying out lout Halloween. She should not have tried to convince him to not convert to my religion because she was jealous that he never went to church with her. She should never have helped the kids make a photo album as a birthday present, the first birthday I ever spent with him as his wife,  with several pictures of her in it. She should never have brought up the fact that she lost her virginity to my husband right in front of me ( that was the kicker for me). She should never have called each and every weekend we had the kids and drill them about what I was feeding them, how much sleep they were getting, where we were going. Calls during dinner, calls when we were at a movie, calls when we were out having fun and damn it multiple calls over and over if my husband didn't answer his phone. She didn't have to call the kids on Christmas when we were on the way to my sister in laws and then call my sister in law right after we got there and had just sat down to open presents just to wish her, yes they are still her in laws according to her, in laws a Merry Christmas.She did not have to ooh and ahhh at my husband's close up picture in his tux on our wedding day (not my idea to invite her in to my house and have her eyeballing all our wedding photos). Always just blurting out things in front of me and me having to stand there like an idiot upset and embarrassed but I can't say anything in front of the kids and I can't appear to be overly sensitive or jealous. She has never been outright rude or mean to me but these inappropriate things I mentioned above, and yeah, I know it could be a LOT worse, have gotten to me over the years.

I guess I should just bring this up to my therapist. I mean the past is done, gone and can't be changed. I don't have to see her unless someone gets married or graduates which is no time soon.  I will not risk telling her these things as she will turn her kids and my inlaws against me. I just wish that at the time my husband would have just stepped up and put up boundaries since he knew how those things affected me. I mean when I do things that he doesn't agree with he immediately lets me know. Why couldn't he have done that with her? It could have saved so many arguements and awkward moments. I just got the the point where I stopped going with him to pick ups and drop offs and only saw her when I absolutely had to. I have ALWAYS been nice, calm, and civil with her. I have never, ever said a mean word to her and have never badmouthed her to the kids. Ever. I always thought that if I just was nice and ignored all the things she did that she would stop. I have always wanted to know if the divorce was mutual and she remarried and brags about how very happy she is then why overstep your boundaries with your ex? Is it she doesn't want him but she doesn't want anyone else to have him? Is it why has he moved on and why is he happy with her and wasn't with me type of deal? Is it ignorance? What? I could care less what my ex does. We never speak and I could care less what he does with his wife. I would NEVER, EVER overstep my boundaries with my ex and especially not around his wife. I mean discuss my sexual past right there in front of his wife? What kind of an idiot does that? My husband even told me that she tried to sabotage three of his past relationships by badmouthing things he did in their marriage to three women. Who in the hell does that? Anyways, thanks for allowing me to vent. I really, really need to find a way to just get past the past.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 03-25-2014 - 10:48am

Yes I think that dealing with this in therapy is probably the best way because you do need to get over it and not live in the past, esp. if she has stopped doing all these inappropriate things.  I do agree that the stuff she did sounds pretty crazy and as you said that she did this with 3 women before you, then it definitely has nothing to do with you.  Who knows why?  Jealousy?  She didn't want your DH to be happy because they divorced?  The reason really doesn't matter.  And you should really be upset w/ your DH for not stopping this because he really should have done more to stop it.  the fact that he didn't stop it probably encouraged her to keep doing it, but maybe you don't want to keep being mad at your DH because you want your marriage to be happy.  But there is no good reason to keep letting her past antics keep bothering you now.  You just have to let it go.  I think that's what happens when you keep things in a lot--I'm sure I did that in my 1st marriage.  I'd try to be nice and let my exH do anything he wanted (what he was doing was not anything terrible but just things that bothered me like going out too much and not helping enough around the house) but then it would all build up & I would explode.  Then he pointed out that things might have been better if I had just mentioned what was bothering me in the first place and he wouldn't have done it.  But it seems like you did mention it to your DH a bunch of times and he really didn't do anything so I don't know if there would be much point in rehashing that now.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-10-2007
Tue, 03-25-2014 - 2:14pm

The only reason why she doesn't still do it is because her kids are grown and he never sees her. My fear is that she will again be inappropriate at the next graduation, wedding, etc. Because she was never given boundaries, well that is until she kicked their daughter out and he finally stood up to her when it was HIM that she upset. I have made it very clear to my husband that if she ever says something inappropriate in front of me again the gloves are off. I will be assertive, not rude, but I will not longer bite my tongue.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Thu, 03-27-2014 - 5:51pm

Hi D, so good to see you!  I hope the vent helped a little bit.  :)  

Yea, I feel for you, even though there isn't really any contact any longer.  I remember some of those stories, geesh!!

Yea, I mean it isn't going on any longer, so I am curious why this is currently bothering you?  I think that is the root of what needs to be looked at.  Why now??  What is going on within you??  

Sometimes things just bother us more than our spouse, and vice versa.  I would definatley get to the root of all of this now, BEFORE the next big family event.  Hang in there and let us know how things go....

Serenity  CL making a marriage work

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Fri, 03-28-2014 - 11:27pm

Hi DP--

Oh YES I remember you!

And the stories....OMG....I remember them all....I just wasnt remembering they were ALL your situation!!!  --((((HUGGS!!))))

YES I agree with Serenity re: YES work on this re: counselor NOW, re: ??why bothering you NOW, and also to get a better handle on it before next *event* (grandkids....??!  ...UGH!!)

Also...yes/yes/yes/yes......who you really ARE (or should be) upset with is DH for NOT setting boundaries with her,...and as ML etc said, you DID tell him your feelings and he ignored, counselor told him, etc.............I'd say THAT is the unresolved part to deal with................

Honestly, she can be as inappropriate as she wants, and as long as DH ignores her and keeps her out of your life, you'll be fine.......................................(he just needs to start doing that from now on)........


she does all that BS because of HER insecurities....................needs to make herself feel good that way,...obviously regrets not able to hang onto him.........and she sees you with him......HAPPILY with him.....and eight years yet......hah, BELIEVE ME....that rubs her every time.......

((((MORE HUGS!)))) 


Keep us updated!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Sat, 03-29-2014 - 9:23am

One other thought....

The past is the past, and you can be FINE going forward if DH sets and maintains boundaries in present and future situations.  I think one of the reasons your DH and the other guys like him (my SO was like that MANY years,....I think why I relate/understand/sympathize with you so much!!) is because they are basically "path of least resistance" guys........they just want to keep the peace and not deal with things.............

...SOOOOOOOOOOOOO, what happened in the past is you tried to be polite/accepting/civil......and she was out of control/awful/threatening to alienate his kids from him etc if he crossed,...."least resistance" was just giving what she wanted and forget about it...........

I think GOING FORWARD, if he was given some hands on/concrete steps to take for potential situations, it would therefore be "easier" for him to default doing I'm thinking talk this all over with your counselor, then bring DH into the discussion.


If you set up a signal for physical situations where you were uncomfortable, at graduations/weddings/etc....then DH would know you're uncomfortable, and have a plan in place to immediately remove both  you and he from situation---even if appearing rude to kids......

big plus for you/he---the kids are getting old enough now to RECOGNIZE mom is inappropriate, and not hold it against dad for being "rude" to her, etc.

(more hugs!!))

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-10-2007
Sat, 03-29-2014 - 10:23am

I will tell you why this has come up recently. I am friends with my stepkids on social media as of course is she. Over Christmas she tagged them in pictures so the posts were on their page and posted several pictures of them going to a neighborhood holiday event. A friend of hers commented on the picture oh you look so wonderful and happy. She went on and on about how her life is perfect, that she has the most wonderful husband in the world and a great new releationship with her kids now (there were past issues where her current husband forced her to kick her daughter out her senior year of high school). I have heard that if you are a person that contantly brags about something that that is a sign of insecurity.  She has always talked like her current hubby is Prince Charming. Always interjecting him into the conversation...Bill says this, and Bill does this...and Bill thinks I should do this. That honestly struck a nerve with me. Anyone who has intentionally sabotaged 3, count them 3, of her ex husband's relationships by purposely seeking those women out and telling them all the skeletons in the closet from her marriage is NOT a nice person. Anyone who goes out of their way to make their ex husband's current wife upset and uncomfortable is NOT a nice person. On the outside she is a very kind, sweet, loving person. She puts on the air of being a, as she puts it "devoted wife and mother" and a good Christian woman. I find that repulsive and wrong. I have done NOTHING to her. I have always been nice, made conversation, even given her hugs at events. I have a very strong belief in honesty and fairness. Nothing upsets me more than two faced people who do mean things, get away with them, and aren't held accountable for their actions. I am a Christian too and it is a slap in the face for her to be all holier than thou and the sweet southern belle as she pretends to be when she has done these things that I feel are wrong. It's great that her life is perfect and she is happy and to the outside world she has it all.

I was discussing this with my mom yesterday and we decided that she is either 1 or all 3 of these:

1. not emotionally over my husband and their marriage, 2. doesn't want him but doesn't want anyone else to have him, 3. so resentful of their failed marriage and what HE did that she wants revenge. Lastly, she may be thinking if she wasn't to blame for the failure of the marriage and her ex is such a jerk, why is it working in his current marriage? What do I have that she doesn't? If he is a jerk, why is he still married? Again, not my problem, let her focus on HER CURRENT marriage.

Either way she isn't a nice person. On one hand I do feel a little sorry for her that she has not been able to get past everything but at this point it is going on 15 years since the divorce, move on!! She needs to focus on her husband and their life.

As far as future events here is the problem I see. My in laws are absolutely crazy about her. They are all very close. In the past when my husband has confided in his mother about things his ex has done, my mother in law defends her and gets upset at her own son. How do you defend your former daughter in law purposely sabotaging your son's relationships? So my husband is always afraid to stand up to the ex for fear she will go running to his family and they will side with her. I have myself felt caught between a rock and a hard place not wanting to confront his ex for fear she will turn her kids on me and my in laws to boot!! I have felt held hostage and it isn't acceptable.

I agree that hubby and I going forward should have a plan of having a united front at the next family event, which I am assuming will probably be a wedding. I want for us both to be able to politely yet assertively deal with any inappropriateness she may dish out despite what his family would say. They pretty much enable her behavior saying well her current husband is controlling and we feel sorry for her and her current in laws haven't accepted her so she has no one else to turn to. I have never asked anyone to not still have her as part of the family. I have no problem with that but don't enable her when she is inappropriate. How would they like it if their husband's ex came up and started talking about their sex life and how he took her virginity? I mean really people?

I want CLOSURE. I want to be able to go to family events with my husband and be able to not fear drama nor uncomfortable situations where everyone in his family is going to jump on the ex is right express. My crime is marrying a man whose marriage fell apart and who had a MUTUAL divorce and who had been divorced for 5 long years before I met him. I deserve to have family respect how we feel when she decides to have her head up her rear. Also, I agree with all of you that she is insecure and there is some jealousy on her part. One time my step son told me that his mother hates it when people disagree with her or when they don't like her. Drives her crazy. Insecure but that should not affect MY MARRIAGE!!!! Yell

I will be working this out with my therapist. I do feel better getting it all off my chest. Thank you!

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Sat, 03-29-2014 - 1:41pm

Yeah, she has issues.........but the big thing (from what I see over here), is the behavior of DH and also of his family.

My SIL had to deal with issue of her MIL still being great "friends" with the exW, and it really s*cks.....

IMO, DH needs to tell his family how to behave, and set some personal boundaries for when they dont.---hope counselor can help you on this......

Meanwhile........FORGET about the woman----you are the only one with power to stop her from dominating your thoughts----

(((((((((tons more hugs!!))))))))

Keep us posted!