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Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB please

violetjane

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63
Long story short, I'm engaged to a wonderful guy who's the man of my dreams, we have a great relationship. 2nd marriage for both of us. Very good divorce for me, I have a great relationship with my former husband, we have 2 lovely kids together and we always put the kids best interest above anything else and its worked great- my fiance, uh, not so much. I don't want to be a cliche and bash the ex, but oh, the stories I could tell- lets just say she went scorched earth from day one in every way she could, with kids, with his family etc. They were married a long time, she didn't want the divorce but it wasn't fixable. She hates me and won't acknowledge I exist, and made sure to say the most horrible things about me to his family, and cried on their shoulders when our relatiosnhip began. He never wanted to harm his kids by 'fighting back' so largely our way of dealing is to just try and be nice, be available , and not go on the offensive hoping it would blow over.

So 3 years later, it has not. His family just now is somewhat polite to me, ( he has several siblings) but not all of them are. 2 of them won't even talk to me. I've tried hard for years to be nice but not try and look like I was trying 'too hard', never tried to assert myself into the family dynamic bc I know I came late to the party and they were very friendly ( and still are) with his ex- who, again, has said terrible things about him, openly to his family, and bc he didn't participate they sort of chose to side with her.)

Anyway, cut to today where i see on his mom's FB and there are a bunch of pics of them all together at a cooking class together( his mom and one sister are FB friends , none of his other siblings ever tried to connect with me and wont comment or anything on his page if i'm in the picture or whatever- yes , these are well educated adults) and it really hurt my feelings. I knew they got her a cooking class as a bday gift, but i didnt know they also all registered as well to do it together, and as much as I thought i was used to feeling slighted and left out, even though I've never been anything but nice and kind despite being treated badly, it still really hurt. oh, and his brother's wives were there too, so really, I'm the ONLY S.O to not be a part of it, save two that live out of town, and on FB one sister made the point to tell teh out of towners " sorry you couldn't be here". I mean to do it is one thing, to post a million pictures where its so obvious to the rest of the world just feels like a hard slap.

I guess I'm wondering if anyone else has perspective on being a 2nd wife, and when you are, if your new husband's family refuses to accept you , how do you handle it? My MO has been, be nice, be polite, try not to let it bother you, be the bigger person, but damn sometimes that is really hard. I don't really have anyone to talk to about it IRL , fiancee is great but i dont want to make him feel worse than he already does about it. FTR, they're pretty rude to him to, they didn't want him to divorce the first wife.

I'm fragile on this topic so kindness, please.

Thanks a million
 

Laila619

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

I'm sorry. I know it's hurtful and it sucks to feel excluded. I think they will accept you more once you are married. You are still "only" engaged in their eyes. Some people don't think of a couple as official until they are married. And since they have kids together, they will always be linked and they will always want to have a relationship with her since she is the mother of their grandchildren and their nieces/nephews.

You say she didn't want the divorce, but he ended it anyway. Can I ask what happened? Did he cheat on her? If so, that would explain them siding with her. Keep in mind, you probably don't know the real story. You're hearing his side, but she might have a very different story to tell, especially if she wanted to fight for the marriage but he didn't. What was so bad that it "wasn't fixable?"

I think your MO is right. Just keep being kind, friendly, polite, etc. They will eventually come around, I think.
 

violetjane

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

Laila619|1457533053|4002009 said:
I'm sorry. I know it's hurtful and it sucks to feel excluded. I think they will accept you more once you are married. You are still "only" engaged in their eyes. Some people don't think of a couple as official until they are married. And since they have kids together, they will always be linked and they will always want to have a relationship with her since she is the mother of their grandchildren and their nieces/nephews.

You say she didn't want the divorce, but he ended it anyway. Can I ask what happened?
Hi Laila,

thanks for the response,

Of course I know all of the reasons why, but like any marriage that ends, there were a lot of problems. All I know, of course is his side, but he wasn't happy, he felt very controlled and as if his happiness and fulfillment didn't matter. He tried counseling and all that but in the end he felt that her interest was a lot more in remaining married for financial security and having a person on her arm for parties, that's about it. There are many other reasons but it just wasn't tolerable for him to spend the rest of his life with a person who , to him, demonstrated time and again it wasn't him that she cared about. I'm sure she has her own thoughts on it, which she's entitled to, but it's hard for me to see what I'ev seen and be objective about her, she's done some very ugly things. And I'm sure she thinks I had something to do with his divorce which i absolutely did not. We all knew each other peripherally and socially ( my ex h went to school with her) but that's all. We live in a small town so we started dating about a year after they split, but I think it was easier for her to blame something other than the failings of the relatisonhip.

But the point is, maybe I'm being idealist or unrealistic, but I'd think after some years his family would have a mindset that he's his own person and can make personal decisions about his life, and they would respect that and just try to show support and love for him, which would at the least, include showing respect for me. It feels very 'middle school' and it's absolutely a form of relational bullying. It's just disappointing and sad and I kind of didn't expect it, or at least expect it to last this long. I don't think they'll ever consider me 'one of them', they're a large family that have all coalesced long before me, I think they'll always see me as an outsider and I'm really trying to find ways to deal with those feelings, rather than get into the 'clique.' kwim?
 

momhappy

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

I suppose I see it differently than you. I don't see their relationship with her as having much to do with you (or even him for that matter). It sounds to me like through the course of their relationship, they all became friends/family. That is not something that just goes away when someone gets divorced. They may always remain friends and I don't think that it necessarily has anything to do with him (your fiancé). Being friends with her doesn't necessarily mean that they don't respect him and/or support him - it might just mean that they still like her and they should feel free to carry on their relationship with her even though they are divorced. I suppose if they were being horribly spiteful about it, then maybe that's different story, but it sounds to me like it's just been a difficult adjustment for all of them.
I'm sorry that you're going through this because I know it must be tough for you. I would just try to be patient and try not to make assumptions that might not meet your expectations (like assuming that they should all move on and end their relationship with her, etc.). Try to focus on the good things going on in your life and just continue to be kind to them. Hopefully, in time, you can form your own, special bonds with his family and you won't have to worry about their relationship/bond with her because you will feel secure in yours =)
 

PintoBean

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

{{{{Hugs}}}} VioletJane!

I don't have much to say, but you and your husband sound like lovely mature people, the way you have chosen to handle the ex situation, by putting the kids first. Props to being nice and cordial for the sake of the kids!

I'm wondering if your in-laws partly maintain the relationship with the ex because she is the mother of their grandchildren/nieces/nephews. My in-laws - I have one "icky" in-law my sister-in-law - I guess my DH's brother just has bad taste in women :razz: She has literally referred to her children as "the golden tickets". Your in-laws may genuinely like the ex, but I bet her "golden tickets" play a big part as well - perhaps they don't want to alter their relationship with the ex because it could affect their access to the "golden tickets"?

Anyways, sometimes I use the random comments thread or vent/rage of the day thread to vent things that I can't say in real life without bad bad ramifications. It can be therapeutic! And I have found PS to afford an opportunity to, besides vent :lol: , but be a place to solicit great advice. We have a lot of wise PSers.
 

chrono

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

After more than 4 years (and a child), my SIL is finally being accepted by her in-laws. Just persist in a gentle and slow manner and they will come around.
 

violetjane

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

this is all good feedback. I should say as well that I have no nor have ever had desire to assert myself in ex wife's place, and of course I understand they will always have a relationship with her. Again, I don't want to get into ex wife bashing, and even stating the facts would sound as if that's what i was doing, but suffice it to say, she treated her ex's family like a prize to be 'won ( along with alont of their old friends) and created an environment that i think made people feel they had to choose ( sadly, including their teen daughter.)

So the irony is sort of that i'm not even looking for a close relationship with any of them, i love my guy, and i have my own kids and i'm quite happy to live my own quiet life- i thnk just seeing the photos where they were all included brought me back to a 'playground moment' almost where i felt like all the cool girls left me out. It's amazing to still have those kinds of feelings, I'm 45 years old, and ( feel free to laugh) I'm a psychologist- I could completely reason through this with a someone else but here i am, a grown woman trained to understand people and I still have the capacity to feel hurt and rejected by peers. It makes me sad, and it makes me angry.

I belonged to a message board yeeaaarsss ago, when i was trying to get pg , and it was so , so helpful. I find pS recently when looking for ER settings but I must admit its nice to have a nice place to chat with other women again, as I said my private life is pretty private, sort of due to me personality ( introverted) but also my profession- as I said, small town. ;-)

i agree going forward with 'take the high road' will be my speed, at least that way i have self respect. but i will admit my inner child is acting out! :)
 

NewEnglandLady

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

I know my opinion won't be popular, but I'm posting it anyway.

If I were you, I would be up-front with his family and tell them that if they want a relationship with you and your husband, they need to NOT discuss anything having to do with the ex-wife. No talk of her at family functions, de-friend all of them on social media if you need to. They need to know that you and your husband are a brick wall when it comes to her--nothing goes through. And if they can't, then you can't have a relationship with them.

They can still like her, they can do whatever they want with her, it just can't make its way to you. It's obviously making you uncomfortable and I assume they know that, so if they're continuing to put you in the middle it's not something that will stop by doing more of the same thing (being nice about it).

A good friend of mine was in a similar situation with her husband's family. She cried about it, saw a counselor, tried group therapy, the whole nine yards. After 5 years, she cut all ties with her husband's family.

Not all that similar to your situation, but my sister had a terrible relationship with her first husband. They had a daughter and divorced when the daughter was 2. The kid is 19 now and my sister and her ex NEVER effectively co-parented (still don't, really, but the kid is an adult, so they hardly communicate at all). The judge when they divorced recommended that my sister and her ex parallel parent because he recognized they couldn't co-parent. He recommended they get an intermediary for any child-related decisions and never talk to each other again. My sister thought it was insane at the time, but now realizes the constant frustration an power struggle between her and her ex had more of a negative impact on their child than if they hadn't had a relationship at all.

Just saying this because if all parties are on board with having a better relationship that works for everybody (e.g. not talking about the ex around you), then great. But if they can't, then you have to do what's best for your marriage.
 

telephone89

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

Did your SO go to this cooking class?

I have different feelings on your situation depending on that answer. If he DID go, then, I think it's getting out of hand. HE needs to stand up for you. You are going to be his wife, you are part of the family. The ex is still the mother of his children, so she is still involved, but if he is not standing up for you - that's the issue.

If he didn't go, and it was just the other family members, well, there's not a lot you can do. I can understand that it hurts, but they are allowed to hang out with whoever they like, even if that includes nasty ex wives.

Overall though, I think your FI still needs to grow a backbone and tell the ex that this shit won't fly. Standing up for you DOES NOT mean alienating the kids. If ex decides to go crazy town after that, not your problem. But if your FI is letting people disrespect you and not doing anything about it, that's not ok IMO.

eta - They've also had her in their lives for a lot longer (I assume). You said they were married a long time, so you are still the 'new' person, even if it's been years. Hang in there!
 

Elizabeth35

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

I got remarried at 53 and my DH also has problematic ex. Very difficult woman who also bad-mouthed me to his 4 kids when we got engaged. Thankfully--his kids all defended me.
I read a book on step-parenting that was helpful. It explained that when an ex spouse gets engaged---there is almost always an immediate, irrational, emotional response from the ex. We got it from his ex and my ex--both of whom were the cheating spouse who wanted the divorce! They simmered down but it was interesting to observe knowing that it was common.

I have ALWAYS respected her role as biological mother--I am secondary and have never said a bad word about her to her children.
I have turned the other cheek---a lot. This is easy for me when I put thought into what kind of role model I want to be for his kids.

I also immediately began having HER parents over for dinner/holidays as they wer the only grandparents my step kids have. My DH had custody of the 4 kids and his ex did not regularly have her parents over. Her dad is gone now but her Mom is regular at family dinners and holidays. I also do not say a word to her about her daughter, even if she is bad-mouthing her own daughter.

As soon as we go engaged, his ex "accidentally" got pregnant at 42 and unmarried. I offered her my crib and I think that changed the tide.
It didn't cost me anything to be kind and it de-escalated the situation, while also demonstrating that her behavior did not bother me in the least. She is now fairly decent about me, not that we have much contact.

You are in a tough spot and I hi I you have behaved admirably. I would encourage you to have the best relationship possible with at least his parents and his kids. Spend time with them together, welcome them in your home.
I also would encourage your fiancée to sit with his parents and explain that you want to have a relationship with them. It's fine if they are close to the ex, that's good for the kids. But it has to be a separate relationship than what you and your fiancée have with them.
Your fiancée will also, have to help facilitate the relationship you have with his kids. That is something that will evolve over time but he can help greatly with that.

How often does he have his kids for visitation? How well do you know his kids so far?
And I would simply not look at FB--nothing good will come from that.

Good luck! It gets easier!
 

Matata

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

Elizabeth35|1457541887|4002082 said:
I also would encourage your fiancée to sit with his parents and explain that you want to have a relationship with them. It's fine if they are close to the ex, that's good for the kids. But it has to be a separate relationship than what you and your fiancée have with them.
Your fiancée will also, have to help facilitate the relationship you have with his kids. That is something that will evolve over time but he can help greatly with that.
:appl: Although if it were me, I would want my fiancée to be firm with his family members that you two are a couple, love each other, and they have the option of accepting that or not. If they choose to not accept, then forget about them. Go your merry way, establish your family unit with your fiancée, his kids, your kids. At some point, I'd wager his family would come round. There is nobility in turning the other cheek and trying to be the better person, but there is also no point in dishonoring yourself by being their doormat.
 

mom2dolls

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

I may have an unpopular response as well, but here goes.
I agree that your fiancé should stand up for you! You are going to be his wife. Regardless of their relationship with his ex, he has chosen to divorce her and move on with his life. They should be accepting of you as an extension of him and his happiness.

I think you have to look at the reality of the situation and each persons part in it, and decide if this is something you can handle for your entire marriage. If they never come around, can you and your fiancé have a healthy thriving marriage? How will he interact with his family if they are not accepting of you and continue the relationship with the ex?
What may seem small now, may become a bigger issue down the road.

Food for thought. I have been there. I am sorry you have to experience this.
 

violetjane

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

All very good feedback and I find all of it helpful and validating, thank you.

To clarify, my FI is great- he has been very forthcoming with his family, the ones that are awful to me are awful to him too- they're a strange family and are competative and put a lot of pressure and judgement on each other- so I think alot of it stems from them being upset with him for wanting the divorce, although no one but him had to live in that marriage. So its not a matter of him not standing up for me. They're just catty and exclusive and very 'you're one of us or you're not."

Also, it was not a whole family thing, I always go with him to those things, and its not great but people are polite enough. Actually one of his sisters is really nice to me, as well as one of his brothers. But then there's the rest of the sibs and SIL who vary from just unpleasant to downright bitches. It just zaps all my energy to even go to one family event.

Its weird to bc me and my ex husband are so friendly and amicable, to the point where I sit with him and his GF at school events, and they came over for a bit on christmas eve. Its just so hard for me to imagine on finacee's side how these grown women sit around planning this stuff and no one feels like an a-hole for purposely not including me.

BUT, I would so rather have this lovely man and a great relationship than a crappy marriage and be best bud's with his family, so I am grateful there. :) AND , I have a gorgeous new E-ring thanks to PS lol. :)
 

violetjane

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

mom2dolls|1457551843|4002158 said:
I may have an unpopular response as well, but here goes.
I agree that your fiancé should stand up for you! You are going to be his wife. Regardless of their relationship with his ex, he has chosen to divorce her and move on with his life. They should be accepting of you as an extension of him and his happiness.

I think you have to look at the reality of the situation and each persons part in it, and decide if this is something you can handle for your entire marriage. If they never come around, can you and your fiancé have a healthy thriving marriage? How will he interact with his family if they are not accepting of you and continue the relationship with the ex?
What may seem small now, may become a bigger issue down the road.

Food for thought. I have been there. I am sorry you have to experience this.

totally agree- your sentiment is exactly how people SHOULD behave, however, they clearly don't seem to mind if they offend him or even upset him by slighting me- they slight him too, for a lot of screwed up family dynamic stuff that goes way back) but also bc 3 years later they 'disapprove' of his decision to divorce her, even though he's 48 yrs old. Strange.
 

violetjane

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

Matata|1457544045|4002099 said:
Elizabeth35|1457541887|4002082 said:
I also would encourage your fiancée to sit with his parents and explain that you want to have a relationship with them. It's fine if they are close to the ex, that's good for the kids. But it has to be a separate relationship than what you and your fiancée have with them.
Your fiancée will also, have to help facilitate the relationship you have with his kids. That is something that will evolve over time but he can help greatly with that.
:appl: Although if it were me, I would want my fiancée to be firm with his family members that you two are a couple, love each other, and they have the option of accepting that or not. If they choose to not accept, then forget about them. Go your merry way, establish your family unit with your fiancée, his kids, your kids. At some point, I'd wager his family would come round. There is nobility in turning the other cheek and trying to be the better person, but there is also no point in dishonoring yourself by being their doormat.

excellent advice, and advice that I'd always feel good about. As much as I'd like to go rogue on them sometimes, i know I'd regret it. He and I both feel the same about them, it actually has strengthened our relationship, which is good. He wants as little to do with them as possible.
 

yssie

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

No advice Violet, just a ::HUG::

Family dynamics can be so difficult to navigate sometimes :(sad I'm sorry you're in this position, but I too admire your restraint! I very much hope his family comes to accept you as his partner, and as a wonderful addition to the family in your own right!!
 

Rhea

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

violetjane|1457552537|4002167 said:
But then there's the rest of the sibs and SIL who vary from just unpleasant to downright bitches.

Its just so hard for me to imagine on finacee's side how these grown women sit around planning this stuff and no one feels like an a-hole for purposely not including me.
It sounds like your fiancé's divorce was the first in his family. Is that right? I hate to throw out this card, but could the others be insecure? If his marriage appeared good from the outside and it didn't work out that means they could also end up divorced. Divorce may mean the loss of full custody of children, financial hurdles, loss of family home, finding their way in a new family, and not always being part of the family they married into any longer. That's scary. Holding on to the ex-wife and not accepting you keeps their world normal and relatable. Or I could be way off base here :))

I've not yet had any of my friends get divorced, we're all still in our early 30s so just getting married for the first time, but I took it really hard when an older mentor whose relationship I thought was very good got divorced.
 

momhappy

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

Unfortunately, you can't force people to like someone and you also can't tell grown adults who they can or can't speak about in your presence. Relationships (like the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law) aren't just something that you turn on and off like a switch, so just because a couple gets divorced, doesn't mean that all of the relationships have to end. He could still "move on" even though they maintain a relationship with his ex. In fact, the ultimate test of moving on would be to be completely okay with the fact that your ex is still friends with some of your family because it shows that you are content in your life and your choices. I am very close to my mother-in-law and if DH and I divorced, my MIL and I would probably still be good friends and if my DH didn't like it, that would be his problem not mine. I would say that as long as the family is not intentionally making anyone's life miserable, let it be. Move on, be happy, and don't worry about their relationship with her.
 

violetjane

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

momhappy|1457553696|4002182 said:
Unfortunately, you can't force people to like someone and you also can't tell grown adults who they can or can't speak about in your presence. Relationships (like the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law) aren't just something that you turn on and off like a switch, so just because a couple gets divorced, doesn't mean that all of the relationships have to end. He could still "move on" even though they maintain a relationship with his ex. In fact, the ultimate test of moving on would be to be completely okay with the fact that your ex is still friends with some of your family because it shows that you are content in your life and your choices. I am very close to my mother-in-law and if DH and I divorced, my MIL and I would probably still be good friends and if my DH didn't like it, that would be his problem not mine. I would say that as long as the family is not intentionally making anyone's life miserable, let it be. Move on, be happy, and don't worry about their relationship with her.

Thanks for the comments.. I feel like some things have been misunderstood-

- they don't talk about his ex with me or in front of me, and if they did i don't mind at all. I have no issue with them having a relationship with her, of course they do, it doesn't matter to me if they do or don't.

-they are intentially doing things to be exclusive of me, and of their brother, that's the part that hurts.

-im not expecting or asking them to 1) not be friendly with her 2) be overly friendly with me, I just would like them to treat me the way they treat everyone else, with consideration and kindness.

None of that is much to ask for, in my opinion. So I don't want there to be an impression I'm bitter that they might have a close relationship with her, I honestly couldn't care less- in fact my whole point is , they didn't have to "choose" , but they were put in the position to choose, and not by me. And it stinks and that's what I was trying to get across.
 

partgypsy

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

While this may be unpopular, the ex has known your to-be husband's family a lot longer than you, and has a relationship with them separate from the ex, in addition to being the mom of their grandchildren, cousins.

And while I understand why you don't want to get into details, sometimes there is selective memory from ex's about their ex. It is hard to believe they got married, stayed together, had children, and stayed together all that time, simply for "status". The real story is probably somewhere between his and hers, and who knows what the entire truth is.

My father divorced my mother and while we were pretty much adults at that time, I never did warm up to his new girlfriend. Don't expect everyone to be your best friend, though with time and getting to know you I'm sure some will turn around. The most important is the relationship with you and your fiancé.
 

december-fire

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Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

violetjane|1457552537|4002167 said:
... To clarify, my FI is great- he has been very forthcoming with his family, the ones that are awful to me are awful to him too- they're a strange family and are competative and put a lot of pressure and judgement on each other- so I think alot of it stems from them being upset with him for wanting the divorce, although no one but him had to live in that marriage. So its not a matter of him not standing up for me. They're just catty and exclusive and very 'you're one of us or you're not." ...
Violetjane,

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this.

It can be very hurtful and upsetting to have others exclude us or be nasty towards us. Being a psychologist doesn't mean you're immune to human emotions. You have a wonderful FI and, of course, you'd like his family to welcome you with open arms or at least be pleasant. Unfortunately, we don't always get what we want, and it takes more than one side of a relationship to make a change; you can't alter this situation if your FI's family doesn't want to change or sees no reason to change.

My Mother once told me to always consider the source. And, I'm sure you know that a question can reveal more about the person asking the question than any answer provided by the person being asked. You mentioned that your FI's family is rude to him and, in the quoted section above, you describe his family (or some of them) as competitive and putting a lot of pressure and judgement on each other.

Is it likely that they'll change who they are?

Does their approval matter to you because you respect them as individuals?

Or do you just wish there was acceptance and a pleasant relationship because they're your FI's family?

I suspect its the last case. The sad fact is that they may be showing you exactly what kind of people they are and, unless they decide they need to change, there is little you can do except continue to be pleasant and considerate.

I wish that weren't true, but I've found that trying to influence or change a person's fundamental characteristics (such as consideration or compassion) is merely an exercise in frustration.

You might want to reconsider your expectations regarding the kind of relationship you'll have with your future in-laws. Take a step back emotionally, continue to be true to yourself and treat them with consideration, but remember that whether or not they come around is a reflection on them not you.

By the way, you and your FI are to be commended for putting the interests of your children first. You both sound like caring, responsible individuals and I'm so glad you've found each other.
 

VirginiaZee

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 10, 2013
Messages
415
Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. Would it be worthwhile to plan an activity (say, getting coffee/drinks/apps, paint night at a local bar - where you get a glass of wine and paint, etc.) and then invite them to go too? Not sure if that would help but might be a way to show that you're interested in doing things with them.
 

marymm

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
4,075
Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

OP - I'm a little confused - the title of your thread and in some of your posts you refer to as "2nd wife" but in your opening post and elsewhere you say you are engaged and your SO is your fiance... I am guessing you are engaged to be married? If so, it is possible the in-laws may be more inclusive once you are a wife/DIL/SIL, as opposed to a fiancee; the wedding itself may well act to bring you into the family, so to speak.
 

ckrickett

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
5,348
Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

Firstly HUGS!!

I think you should just put them out of your mind. If they have that mentality that you are either "US" Or "THEM" then that sounds toxic. You know that they can be catty, and your Fiancee knows that. I would be cordial and polite at family gatherings but pay them no mind after those social obligations, and really it is their loss, not yours.

Enjoy your wonderful partner, your kids and your life and if his family wants to act like playground mean girl/boy cliques let them, your attitude is so much better then that and they don't deserve you.
 

momhappy

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
4,660
Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

violetjane|1457554083|4002185 said:
momhappy|1457553696|4002182 said:
Unfortunately, you can't force people to like someone and you also can't tell grown adults who they can or can't speak about in your presence. Relationships (like the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law) aren't just something that you turn on and off like a switch, so just because a couple gets divorced, doesn't mean that all of the relationships have to end. He could still "move on" even though they maintain a relationship with his ex. In fact, the ultimate test of moving on would be to be completely okay with the fact that your ex is still friends with some of your family because it shows that you are content in your life and your choices. I am very close to my mother-in-law and if DH and I divorced, my MIL and I would probably still be good friends and if my DH didn't like it, that would be his problem not mine. I would say that as long as the family is not intentionally making anyone's life miserable, let it be. Move on, be happy, and don't worry about their relationship with her.

Thanks for the comments.. I feel like some things have been misunderstood-

- they don't talk about his ex with me or in front of me, and if they did i don't mind at all. I have no issue with them having a relationship with her, of course they do, it doesn't matter to me if they do or don't.

-they are intentially doing things to be exclusive of me, and of their brother, that's the part that hurts.

-im not expecting or asking them to 1) not be friendly with her 2) be overly friendly with me, I just would like them to treat me the way they treat everyone else, with consideration and kindness.

None of that is much to ask for, in my opinion. So I don't want there to be an impression I'm bitter that they might have a close relationship with her, I honestly couldn't care less- in fact my whole point is , they didn't have to "choose" , but they were put in the position to choose, and not by me. And it stinks and that's what I was trying to get across.
Thanks for clarifying. I wonder, though, are they intentionally excluding you or does it just feel that way? I would assume that an ex normally wouldn't be invited to something because it would be awkward and since they've maintained a relationship with her, obviously, they continue to do things together. Am I making sense? I'm trying to be gentle, but I'm also trying to help you see the big picture. I know it sucks for you and it really does sound like you've been treated unfairly to a degree - but it also sounds like your situation is fairly normal in terms of how things can progress after a divorce.
 

sunseeker101

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 27, 2009
Messages
414
Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

Hello there. I haven't read everything but I'd just like to throw a couple of ideas out. You say that his family are not the usual, more competitive and negativistic than the norm. I'm making a guess that the dismissive superficial outlook that your statements relate about his ex has a lot in common with the general feelings and perspectives knocking around in his first (parental) family. It's no wonder they're disparaging you according to their likely 'closeness' to the ex-wife. No matter who you are, you're likely not to be as dysfunctional as her :) They probably recognize your future husband as an enemy of whatever egotistical madness goes on in that family -- that's why he's getting the brunt of it, and you're likewise addressed.

If the original family were relatively normal, why would your 2-b's feelings not be held in respect, even if they were heartbroken that the family their grandchildren belong to has been broken up? Wouldn't they balance an honorable concern with that with an honorable concern to do right by their own child? It seems his parents have taken his first wife closer into the heart of that family than their own son. If approaching normal they'd have to accept the situation and their son's positive resolution -- eventually. I think your approach is golden, either his family will cop their illogical brains on or it'll really become apparent to your husband that he really is last on the list. The thread is awash with great ways to handle it, I think. Best of luck!
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

I kinda feel this is his mess and you are stuck holding the bag.

I'm not a second wife. But in reading your narrative it sounds like everyone is blaming you for his choices, and he's letting them.

It's all well and good to say "turn the other cheek" when YOU aren't the one being attacked.

But when you are using at an excuse to not take accountability for the mess YOU'VE caused, and sorry but that's what your husband appears to be doing, that's not cool. That's cowardly.

Frankly, they are his family. It is his ex-wife. And he isn't standing up for you.

And that's not okay. I don't think there is anything you can do. He just needs to find a pair and fix this mess. Which is now INCIDENTALLY WORSE, since it has gone of for so long, than it WOULD HAVE BEEN if he's stepped up in the first place and said, "You have a problem with this, then you take it out on ME. I am an adult and make my own decisions and I own them. No one makes me do anything I don't want to do. So stop blaming wife #2 because she is a convenient scape goat."

But he didn't do that, did he?

And he has you buying into his lack of courage and taking the abuse from his ex AND his family.. I'd wake up if I were you and have a serious talk with your "wonderful" second husband.
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
3,077
Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

Oh, I 'm so sorry that the Facebook pics & comments did you in today, the icing on what's been a bitter cake for you. I'm hoping that the couple things I bolded below from a couple of your posts will be somewhat heartening
violetjane|1457552537|4002167 said:
To clarify, my FI is great- he has been very forthcoming with his family, the ones that are awful to me are awful to him too- they're a strange family and are competative and put a lot of pressure and judgement on each other- so I think alot of it stems from them being upset with him for wanting the divorce, although no one but him had to live in that marriage. So its not a matter of him not standing up for me. They're just catty and exclusive and very 'you're one of us or you're not."

it [the cooking class] was not a whole family thing, I always go with him to those things, and its not great but people are polite enough. Actually one of his sisters is really nice to me, as well as one of his brothers. But then there's the rest of the sibs and SIL who vary from just unpleasant to downright bitches. It just zaps all my energy to even go to one family event.
violetjane said:
Thanks for the comments.. I feel like some things have been misunderstood-
- they don't talk about his ex with me or in front of me and if they did i don't mind at all. I have no issue with them having a relationship with her, of course they do, it doesn't matter to me if they do or don't.
-they are intentially doing things to be exclusive of me, and of their brother, that's the part that hurts.
-im not expecting or asking them to 1) not be friendly with her 2) be overly friendly with me, I just would like them to treat me the way they treat everyone else, with consideration and kindness.
None of that is much to ask for, in my opinion.
Like marymm, I'm thinking it's possible that the situation may change for the better after you two are married. Weird as it seems to you, me, and others, in some families, the formality of a wedding to a family member does elevate the SO's status in a surprising way.

But even if the upcoming nuptials don't turn the tide & result in you being asked to join in select "play dates" like a cooking class or shopping expeditions, their not speaking of the ex in your presence & the fact that you are included in events-gatherings involving the whole family, where folks are "polite enough" & 2 of your fiance's siblings are "really nice to [you]", is a better situation than I feared you might have been dealing with -- and may be the best that you can realistically hope for from this essentially random group of people whom neither you nor your FH chose, but have rather been thrown together by happenstance. I suspect that were you to ask the neighbors, work colleagues, etc. of the cliquish, snotty ones, you'd learn that they do not, in fact, warmly "treat everyone else with consideration and kindness." ;))
 

Scandinavian

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 23, 2016
Messages
2,036
Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

I'm really sorry you are going through this. I think you should tell your FI that this kind of behaviour is hurting your feelings - maybe he doesn't reallise this. My best advice is be kind. And don't pick any fights. This is his family - so this is his fight.. If he loves you and understands how this is affecting you, he will stand up for you. I hope everything works out for the best. All such situations are probably difficult, especially because his first wife didn't want the divorce and might be hurt, jealous and sad.
 

azstonie

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 1, 2014
Messages
3,758
Re: Having problems as 2nd wife, ( gentle) thoughts & FB ple

Your fiance is the one who should have handled this already. If he does not handle it, prepare yourself for a lifetime of this BS because he's teaching them its okay with him for you to be treated like this. They know its rude and hurtful to do and say the things they do regarding his ex-wife in your presence/on FB---they want to see what your fiance will do about it. Its cheap entertainment for them. This is about him and his family, not you personally. No man WORTH HIS SALT would allow his fiance or wife to be abused or treated shabbily. And no sane parents of an adult child will bait and tweak his fiance/wife because they respect him too much to indulge in that kind of low rent behavior.

You've actually got 2 problems here, if you carefully examine this situation.
 
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