Surving New Relationship Post Divorce

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-12-2014
Surving New Relationship Post Divorce
Wed, 03-12-2014 - 5:49pm

I came through a messy divorce, where my husband was mean to me and my daughter.  I met and moved in with a lovely man (also divorced). We have been together two years and throughout this time his ex-wife has been manipulative and mean and nearly drove us apart many times.

His ex had an affair which caused the end of their marriage. She moved on three weeks after he left (despite being 'suicidal') with a new boyfriend and moved in and bought a home with him six months later. My partner pays everything for their kids despite having no money for himself, and she has a full time job. Her new boyfriend is equally generous and by rights she should have a happy life. But she has caused all sorts of problems. We went to see a counsellor over a year ago, who even as an independent person pointed out her maniplative and controllling ways. Despite this, my partner has held several confidences with his ex - which she shared with her friends and always gets back to me. An example was that I had to move overseas ahead of my partner and asked him to not let her come between us while I was out of the country. He did see her for parents night etc (which is of course fine), but what let me down was on the advice of a friend he secretly arranged to meet her for a walk in the park to get 'closure'. He hid it from me until I found out from her friends, that she was embarrased he offered a walk in the park - expecting he should be taking her for a fancy dinner after their time together. I find it difficult to understand what closure they need 18 months after break up when they have both been living with other people for over a year. She tells everyone I am a bad mother and gossips about us a lot in public. Again she asked my partner for extra money (despite their legal maintenance agreement, and he gave it to her and told her not to tell me as financial things were difficult between us, as I had been paying a lot of our bills during his divorce). Again she told all her friends using this as an example of how I am mean, and how our relationship was shaky. These types of things happened several times until I think the penny dropped with my partner, and he has limited his communication with her for last two months. I am still struggling to overcome these issues after a year of this nastiness despite their being some peace for the last two months.

Another issued has cropped up. My partners youngest (16) coming to visit us. Recently her godmother (friends with my partners ex) came to dinner. During dinner she said that women with careers were selfish and their children always end up drug addicts or school drop outs (despite knowing I am a successful business woman). I was very very upset that my partner allowed someone to talk to me like that. It seems a great coincidence she said the same things my partners ex has been saying. We agreed we would spend no time with her. However he asked his youngest if she would like to see her godmother during her visit (she has very infrequent contact - probably years since she last saw her). I'm very upset about this. I can't understand how my partner would want to spend any time with someone who treated me that way, especially after having to endure his wife's nastiness towards me for the last year, and her calling me a bad mother.

I am feeling really sad. I have known my partner for a long time, and I and everyone knows he is a good mad. He doesn't like conflict or upsetting people, so I understand why he might want to make this work for his daughter (although I think if he avoided it all together it would not have been a very big deal for his daughter). I know he wants us to get married and settle as a family, and I loved him so much. However I am feeling very let down that he would want to spend time with this women who was so mean to me in my own house, regardless of the circumstances, and very let down that he did not do more to protect me and / us from his ex (given she was happy with someone else).

I am really confused, and unsure what to think. Please help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009
Thu, 03-13-2014 - 2:01am

I don't understand your confusion!  You say you met this man and moved in with soon after your divorce?  Your husband was abusive, and now you have a man who will not stand up for you against his ex other words, you picked another unsuitable man.  He may be divorced, but he's attached to his ex wife obviously.  But at the same time, you're friends with a friend of his ex wife, and you're surprised she says the same things to you that the ex says about you?  Then you're picking the wrong friends, too.  And you may be a successful business woman, but it seems you can't stand up for yourself.  Why should your husband stop this woman from talking to you this way?  Can't you speak up for yourself?  I think you moved in with this man too soon, because he's still too involved with his ex wife, and you're not going to change that.  You need to learn to stand on your own two feet, and not be so dependent on any man.  If he's seeing his ex, if he's keeping it a secret from you, then he's a liar, and not to be trusted.  You should think of ending the relatioship and being on your own.  This man isn't making you happy, he's making you depressed and unhappy. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-12-2014
Fri, 03-14-2014 - 8:51am

Thanks - I guess that'sa  wake up call Laughing

I do have an issue standing up for myself - it has surprised me recently and you are right, something to work on!

Its hard to think of him as a liar given our long history. He is very unable to be unkind and after 23 years a marriage his ex nows just the right buttons to push to manipulate, even involving the kids. He is guilt ridden about leaving (depsite her affair) and I think didnt want the kids to think bad of him, so he has always tried to be kind. I had seen clearly the way she uses him for money and emotional support (understandable if she wasnt living with another man!!) but he couldnt for a long time. I ended up in a very bad emotional response every time she called with the latest drama, and I guess he got to hiding things because of that. I think perhaps he can see her ways now. He now has every email she sends on autoforward. The only thing is I can't recover from that all important loss of trust which was hard gained, after my marriage ended un happily.

So yes - I am depressed and maybe its time to move on. It just seems such a shame. We were so in love and my daughter (8) and his three older children all get on great with us. Just sucha  shame for me to drag them all through another break up after two years of being together, because of his nasty ex and his inability to deal with it appropriately. Its so very sad.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2014
Sat, 03-15-2014 - 11:50pm

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-2014
Fri, 06-27-2014 - 11:48am

It's always difficult to navigate a new relationship with a manipulative ex in the picture. Trust me, I feel your pain. My ex-wife has severe bipolarism and it has manifested itself in various ways. What you need to do is have an honest conversation with your boyfriend where all cards are on the table. Seeking counselling is a great step, but continuing that honesty is the true key.

My divorce lawyer was an invaluable resource to me even after my divorce and often posts blogs regarding post-divorce advice. If you’re interested in reading them, I'll post a link below. All the best.