DF still concerned with ex wife's feelings regarding our relationship

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2012
DF still concerned with ex wife's feelings regarding our relationship
Mon, 10-15-2012 - 9:43am

Hi all!

I've posted before and I think I mentioned this before, but I need some advice. My DF has been divorced 4 years. He lives 2 streets away from xW and used to spend a lot of time there doing little tasks for her until I put an end to that (not completely mind you).

 When we met in April 2011, they still were doing all holidays together and church on Sunday as a family. I put an end to all of that as well. He also had numerous pictures of her throughout his house and office and after many many months of my persistance, he finally got rid of the pictures in his office at work (the one's at the house were gone first.) He kept telling me that the pictures were in the house because they are of "his sons mother" and didn't see a problem with them. I said, "put them in the kid's room then." Finally he did.

At the office, he said it was silly of me to come in and scope the place out for pictures of here. Everytime I walked in, I was uncomfortable. He had a mouse pad of she and his sons when they were little that he refused to give up and said I was shallow because it bothered me. I copied pics of the boys when they were babies, had a mouse pad made, and let him know he could replace the one with her on it. (Why he doesn't understand that I felt disregarded is beyond me.)

Also, he still feels it ok to go over to XW house and do homework with DS etc. Finally, after I gave him an example of her having a SO and him not being ok with DF  being over there all the time, I think he got the picture that it is inappropriate.

There have been occasions when XW calls and says DS's are fighting and he needs to rush over and save the day. Well, I have been left alone at his house while he runs to fix things at XW house. The last time this happened, by the time he got there, boys were done fighting. DSS 14, DSS 12 btw. I blew a gasket and said I had had it with him leaving me to go save her and that it's ridiculous.

Also, she manages to call and text every weekend we are together and call him when we are on vacation for silly things like "DS won't go to dinner with me." , "DS won't take his shoes off" etc. These kids are teenagers!! I can't even count the amount of times that she has interrupted a nice vacation or evening.

So, last night, I was at his home and he was taking DSS's back to XW house. I said, "I''ll go with you," "Why would you do that?" he said. When he got back, I blew up and said I would never take a backseat and that it is total BS that after a year and a half, he is afraid to let me be anywhere near her. She still loves him and he said it would be best if she met me after she is in a relationship. REALLY???

I said again that it is complete disregard for me to leave me home alone while he scoots over to her house. He said he didn't want me there in case he had to discuss things with her. Am I crazy, or do divorced people move on and act like adults? He said that I should respect his wishes that he doesnt want me there and I told him that if he leaves me again, I won't be there when he gets back. He kept saying "why do you need to be there"? I said, "why not?" I think that's the most important question. I told him he is more concerned with her feelings than mine and how can he marry me when he's still not emotionally divorced from the first marriage?

Incidentally, he has introduced himself to my XH and all is fine there.

Am I being petty? Thanks all! 


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-29-2012

Hey Peace!

Sending lots of love your way because I know pretty much how you feel. My DF and I, his ex W (finally it is official she is an ex and not a soon-to-be-ex!) and his mother live give and take an hour apart from each other. DF was also initially into the have-to-go-over-to-save-the-day mode because his DS is still a toddler. He'd be over at his ex's house almost every evening after work because his son had some issues with biting and hitting him. So he wanted to 'bond' with his DS.

When it became clear that the issue with DSS was just a passing phase, I made it clear to him that HE was the one who chose to divorce her and then HE was the one who proposed to me. There was no back handed tactic, I did not force his arm to come and be with me so I should not be treated like some second fiddle.

And I didn't care what his exW thought about me dropping by when she called to say there was an emergency over there. If he goes, I am going too. I am invested in the well being of my DSS as much as they are in their DS. As for now I think she gets the hint because the emergency calls have dwindled to nothing.

Now that you have made your DF see the light about letting you come along the next time he goes, I'm sure it'll be a matter of time before his exW stops calling him over for 'emergencies'.

I mean, c'mon its not as if parental duties are not shared.

I wish you all the best and do update us if there's any progress or otherwise.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
But bear in mind how upsetting his wife would find you being there and try to remember he is probably avoiding that situation to protect YOU not HER. Good point---something I've had to tell myself more than once also------------- (I'd tend to get PO'ed that she could be "queen of the universe" and her wishes---not to have me at public venue she's at also----get priority over my being where I'd normally be..........) "A great post, Nefecat. I hope you stick around! Serenity" DITTO.
Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
A great post, Nefecat. I hope you stick around! Serenity
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2012

This is a subject very close to my heart. I have been with my new partner almost 2 years now, and neither one of us hase met our ex partners. Both because our respective Ex Partnrs have made it very clear they would find it too upsetting. 

Whilst my Ex husband has never behaved unreasonably toward my BF, we have a relationship where we have no involvement other than the children, which upsets me as I miss his friendship but I understand makes it easier for him (he is in a loving new relationship and actually was before I got involved with BF). However BF's ex wife is still single - he left her (for me) after he discovered she had had an affair - that was almost 4 yrs ago and hge tried to make the mnarriage work for the sake of the children dor 2 yrs, until we met. Anyway, I digress. My point is that she has been extremely violent and trheatening toward both him and (more so me). She has had a serious mental breakdown over the demise of her marriage and is still single and hopeful he will return. BF is far too nice for his own good and we have fallen out several times over similar things to yourself. I am trying to realise that actually it will be my actions that push him away if i continue to act so jealous and not her attempts to win him back that will seperate us. He does spend time fixing thinsg at her housem but I accpet this, she is single and has 3 small kids (all his) and no family near by, I think he should help in those cases. I draw the line at any family events though - ie, he can't pop round for a meal with the kids, or do their homework - he has joing custody so has plenty of time when they are at ours for that, but DIY or when the kids re ill is different.

At the end of the day they left these women for a reason, if they wanted to be with them they would go back and there would be nothing we could do to stop them anyway. Far better to give them a little bit of freedom and remain the happy, sexy person they met and original fell for, and not the turn in to the nagging wife they left - this does mean compromise and mutual respect though, there needs to be bounderies.

But bear in mind how upsetting his wife would find you being there and try to remember he is probably avoiding that situation to protect YOU not HER. He has to have some sort of relationship with his ex beacuse of the children - try not to make it harder on him. Your relationship split has obviously taken onna very different path to his. Hope this helps - and yes, it does take an AWFUL lot of willpower to bite my tongue at times....! 

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006

It sounds like to me you two are experiencing what happens when the previous relationship hasn't truly moved on into two single people.  Although they had been divorced for quite some time, they were still living there life as a family.  So it wasn't until you came along that either of them decided to start acting like they are divorced.  It makes things tough, but it sounds like he is slowly making the transition. 

Then add the fact that an affair was involved, even though you had nothing to do with it, can cause delay in the healing process.  And since you will continue to live so close to her, your DF will need to learn to be even more diligent with his boundries. 

Keep us posted!


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
RE: PS, the reason they divorced was due to her affair. plus DF wanting to wait to introduce you until she has a BF...?..apparently the affair didnt work out, and now she acts like she wants him back? Although some exW's dont even want the guy back.....they just want him around 24/7 to take care of (whatever), and a GF interferes with his availability for this....! And...yeah....I agree--completely inappropriate for him to leave you there visiting at his place because he "needs" to run over to her place to save the day/etc. Hard to say what all he's "getting" out of this (being the savior? preventing WWIII with her raging at you?, who knows...) , but, yeah, in appropriate, and glad he seems to be seeing your point of view more...... YEA! BEST WISHES--- keep us updated :)
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-23-2012

Thanks for everyone's replies! I have been trying to reply for a couple of days now and I keep getting an error message. Anyway, after a day to think about it, I brought the topic up to DF again and the first thing out of his mouth was "you were right, I was wrong. There's no reason why you shouldn't be in the presence of exW." He said he was concerned for her feelings and I reminded him that he needs to be concerned with mine, not hers. He agreed so we will see what happens next time! I do appreciate the advice and I will ask for her to only contact him for emergencies only when we are on vacation etc.

Also, someone asked where we will be living. We are building a house about 2 minutes from her (not ideal for me) and I just found out my ex and new df are moving to the same area. So, we should be all one big happy family!!! haha!

PS, the reason they divorced was due to her affair.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I do think you made a good point about the fact that things didn't necessarily have to change until there was a 3rd person in the picture.  My ex & I were friendly (after the intial period of me being mad at him for wanting a divorce) so we probably did stuff that other people would consider wierd, like me letting him watch the kids in my (our old) house cause it actually was convenient for me.  It wasn't until I got a BF and he pointed out stuff that was bothering him that I had to consider it.

One example:  my ex took his stuff but he had even left some clothes (probably old stuff that he didn't want) in the bedroom closet.  When he first moved out he was at his mom's and then rented one bedroom in a house w/ 2 other guys, so he didn't have that much space.  So after a while my then BF mentioned that it bothered him to see my ex's clothes in the BR closet when he was staying overnight there--to me it didn't even register that they were there, so once he said that, I asked my ex to come over & get his stuff or throw it out.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2008

Is it likely that you and DF will continue to be living where DF lives now (in relation) to proximity of ex's house?  One thing I noticed pretty quickly in my situation was that when my DF moved in with me (and keep in mind we are only about 20 minutes away from ex) many of the "annoyances" that used to happen b/c he was living much closer to her did stop b/c there was some distance between us at that point.  Now, if anything "major" happens-the last one was about a year and a half ago-the distance kind of gives DF the time to decide am I going to make the drive down there or not, and if so what are the ramifications of that decision?

Where will you be moving when you get married?  His house, yours, or another one that's completely different?

I will say this...what you are describing would be too much for me personally-however, when I looked at when you met (April 2011) till now that's not really that much time for your DF to have completed the process of removing himself from their old marital relationship...Yes, you point out that they've been divorced for 4 years, but, until you came along there was no reason for him to actually terminate that relationship completely.  I may have forgotten, why did they divorce?

I recall (pretty early on in our relationship), a phone call from ex about one of the older boys needing a camera for a class trip (can't remember whether it was to be purchased or whether it was just did he have one to lend). However, I do remember thinking, uh can't she be making this decision herself and why is she bothering him for something that miniscule?  Here's what I learned...It was because he was allowing himself to be "drawn into" it (by taking the call at all and not just screening it).  That was VERY early on...7 1/2 years later, she wouldn't think to make that kind of call and he certainly wouldn't be answering it...Honestly, it really didn't take that long for that kind of stuff to stop...however, remember he has to come to a place where he doesn't allow it anymore.

It also wouldn't be acceptable to me to be interrupted for silly things...she's still doing it b/c he's not establishing any boundaries and still "coming to the rescue".  The whole disciplining issue is a perfect example of that kind of boundary.  Each parent should be capable of disciplining on their own time-yes, can one parent support another's discipline if asked (like if a punishment has been established and it coincides with the other's time) sure, that would be a way of showing a united front, but not crossing a boundary.

I also do like how you are doing things that show you are respectful of the parent/child relationship (i.e. replacing the mouse pad-but you are correct there is no need for ex to be in that photo anymore).

Also, think it was great that you offered to go with him-frankly I think that is very important b/c there shouldn't be "anything to hide" KWIM? 

As far as him needing to discuss anything-haven't you heard those types of discussions on the phone before? What is different?

Has he ever been to any therapy to deal with this?

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006

No, you are not being petty at all!  I do remember your story, so thank you for the refresher.  This is a common disturbance on this board.  Sounds like he is slowly coming around though.  So that is a good thing.  My SO was slow, also.  :smileyhappy: 

I have to say I was giggling as I read your post.  Not sure if it was because I could relate, or just your gift for telling a story.  I could totally see each event litterally playing out visually in my head. 

I told him he is more concerned with her feelings than mine and how can he marry me when he's still not emotionally divorced from the first marriage?

You got it, my dear.  See, in my story, SO was still legally married.  Then it took another 2 years after their D was final for things to get about where you would expect them to be.  Two divorced adults. 

Guilt often gets the best of man.  Not often do you hear the roles being reversed.  So, in your case, I would say since him and his xW were still acting married, just presumably without the sex (but maybe, it does happen), that it may take some more time to get to the place you would expect.  I have heard it can take up to two years, which was my experience. 

And honestly, Peace, if this is his nature, it may not ever totally 100% go away.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing.  There should still be some respect towards the other parent of our children (in most cases) and if those teenage boys get in a fist fight in the yard and teeth are flying, she will probably still call and he will probably still go. 

I think going with him to drop off or pick up should not be a big deal, you are engaged for goodness sakes!!  You hit the nail on your head in your above statement.  Unless there is a pressing issue at hand, your DF should be indifferent if you go with him, or not.  My SO chooses not to go with me, as he really has no desire to go.  But that is his choice, and you should be offered that same choice, IMO. 

Waiting until she has a BF to meet you?  You have got to be kidding, right?  Sometimes people think they are being nice, and really your DF is doing her a disservice by shielding her from reality.  Even just a wave from the porch is a great way to break the ice if she really that uncomfortable. 

I am curious......is this your DF's idea or hers?  Has she said "I am not ready to meet Peace?" or does your DH just assume she doesn't want to meet you, or is this really all about HIM being uncomfortable and nothing to do with either of you?  I am kind of starting to wonder. 

Now, even with all of this said, I believe that my SO has only seen his xW's BF once or twice in passing, and they have been together 4 years!  My SO has no desire to say two words to the man.  I think it is rediculous.  Their kids are older, and youngest just turned 18.  Probably could not have avoided it if kids were younger, though. 

And I agree with (oops, forgot who posted before me) that he should not be answering the phone during your private couple time.  This will not change after you get M.  This all needs to be addressed before. 

Lastly, one little funny.  My SO still had a picture in his wallet of his xW and two of his kids.  This was a picture that was given to him while he was living with me, but still M, probably 5 or 6 Christmases ago.  So a sore spot for me to begin with.  I kind of forgot about it, as it was stuck to the plastic and honestly, you could hardley see it.  Probably a year or so ago (after 5 years of being together, his D being final for 3 years) I saw his wallet open and just blurt out "So, how long are you going to keep a picture of your xW in your wallet." And he said "you mean the pictures of my kids?"  Yea, perspective.  I call boloney, but men are just different sometimes.  The idea of replacing it just honestly does not cross their mind, KWIM?

It was left at that and shortly after he did finally take the picture out of his wallet. 

It is important we bring up these and talk about them, but ultimately there has to be some rediness on their end, also.  All I can do is mention thing as "I am uncomfortable with," "I don't understand," "could you please help me understand," or "I really think considering we are engaged, this is not longer appropriate," etc. etc.  BUT, we have to let go of the result of that conversation.  Sometimes there is just one thorn in our side that they really don't see an issue with. 

I have found that over time, my SO eventually figures out he is just beating his head against a brick wall and eventually stops.  Or one day it dawns on him that it is no longer appropriate. 

Enough babbling out of me.  Keep us posted!