Ex-Etiquette: Presence of spouse's ex...

Ex-Etiquette: Presence of spouse's ex adds to holiday stress

There are 66 comments on the TwinCities.com story from Nov 30, 2009, titled Ex-Etiquette: Presence of spouse's ex adds to holiday stress. In it, TwinCities.com reports that:

Q My husband's parents invite his ex to all their family get-togethers, and I'm anticipating that this year I will be having a holiday dinner with my husband's ex-wife. It makes me uncomfortable.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at TwinCities.com.


Memphis, TN

#21 Jun 12, 2013
So this weekend my husband our kids and I are renting a house on the water with a boat . My parents and his parents are meeting us there also AND he invited his ex wife's dad and stepmom and their two girls to stay in the house next door . My husband thinks I should be ok with this ...?? This is crazy right ??? It's embarrassing to me and he doesn't know why! I'm sure they are nice people but its weird and I don't think it's ok or right ! Please tell me what you think
Thanks so much
30 years later

Plaistow, NH

#22 Jun 25, 2013
Unbelievably, I have been dealing with this for 30 years. Only it's my ex that I can't get rid of. I had to actually leave my brothers's hospice room room so he could visit. He had to make a dramatic entrance at the funeral. The sad truth is that my brother finally realized what my ex was and wanted nothing to do with him the last few years of his life....but my family ignored that. My suggestion to everyone is to nip this in the bud or you will be dealing with it forever, and sadly I think family members do this as a passive aggressive way to hurt you.

Hattiesburg, MS

#23 Jul 29, 2013
tell your hubby if she attends-- then you will not. Montell Williams once said ,"They don't call them xs for for nothing". I would think your in- laws may want to realize he has a new wife now.
Renee waterloo il

Belleville, IL

#24 Oct 3, 2013
I have the strangest situation. I get along with my husbands ex. And her husband and her mother. They all treat me very well. My husband invited them all up from Florida for Christmas. I go all out for Christmas, decorate everything. Won first place for decorations 3 years in a row. This year because they are coming, my family said their not. It just isn't right. Personally i don't think it should matter to them if I'm ok with it.
My sister said I should have 2 different dinners. That will never go over with my husband
They don't realize that their making it worse for me. Any advise?
Newly wed

Cambridge, UK

#25 Oct 8, 2013
sorry but you all talking about the mother not respecting her son....someone tell me when divorced parents ever gave a rats ass about anyone else in the family!!!!!!! No offense but if you just got over yourselves and realised that you bought children into the world who maybe would love the idea that after 12 years maybe the parents would be grown up enough to go on a holiday together for the benefit of the rest of the family that they created and then shat on!#just saying

Brisbane, Australia

#26 Oct 8, 2013
My boyfriend of 2 years who I dearly love has a heart of gold and just always wants to try and keep everyone happy (at his own expense and sometimes mine). Jealousy and insecurity of the ex-wife is a major issue. She has lately caused such a scene about not being invited to family events she has got an invite to his nephews 21st... and guess what I haven't! This is because I made it clear I would not be happy if she was there. However, I believe this situation needs nipping in the bud right now. Yes she will go and I won't, but I have no intention of letting this happen again. Unfortunately it probably means you need to pretend you are more mentally deranged than the ex to stand up and be noticed, but sometimes we all need to stabd up for ourselves. The ex mafe a choice which sadly akso comes with the deal of also being an ex to the exes family. Wish you luck with your situation too!

Visalia, CA

#29 Oct 14, 2013
Ive been dealing with the x showing up to family gatherings for 5 years. inlaws love her company my husband doesnt mind hanging out with his ex either. Husband finally decided to support me and he has told inlaws if she goes we dont but it has made it awkward now my relationship with inlaws is not good and relationship with stepkids is not either.

Prairie Du Sac, WI

#30 Oct 22, 2013
I have a little bit of a different opinion being the hated ex. I understand that it must be awful to move on with the new relationship .However to be dropped like a hot rock by people that were your family. I was with my husband for 22 yrs.Then because it was a challenge to my exes family uninvited to a baby shower. I had known about for months and been in the nieces life since I was 18 and she was 4.I had no intention of attending the holiday's. But to expect there to be two of everything so that it is easier for the new spouse or exes family is unreasonable. What does that teach the children. That you don't even try to get along because it is a challenge. The children wantbto see a family.How selfish of the new spouse to think that family is a signature on pieces of paper..it is a day here and there buck up. Do you not think the ex has to deal with you in their lives ? How one sided

Prairie Du Sac, WI

#31 Oct 22, 2013
[ exactly!]]

Prairie Du Sac, WI

#32 Oct 22, 2013
Newly wed wrote:
sorry but you all talking about the mother not respecting her son....someone tell me when divorced parents ever gave a rats ass about anyone else in the family!!!!!!! No offense but if you just got over yourselves and realised that you bought children into the world who maybe would love the idea that after 12 years maybe the parents would be grown up enough to go on a holiday together for the benefit of the rest of the family that they created and then shat on!#just saying
Exactly!!!! All about the new. Not what was built before

Orleans, Canada

#33 Oct 27, 2013
I am having a similar problem right now. I have just seperated from my husband just this past August and we were married for 14 years and have a 13 year old daughter. Our marriage was over years ago and I knew he was talking to other women online but he always denied meeting them. He denied a lot of things. I also had a long distance affair during our marriage in 2001 that lasted for 18 months. I was sorry for what I did, tried to make the marriage work but was always thrown back in my face. I once heard him on a long distance phone conversation back in 2009 that the thought of going home to me made him sick to his stomach. We haven't had sexual relations since 2005 and I found many things on his computer that led me to question his sexuality. All of which he denied.

Anyways, I left this past August and had been seeing a man since end of 2011 which my husband knew about. At that point, we were living together but seperate lives and he travelled a lot for his job. There was no dishonesty on my part. I got my own condo in August and my new bf would come over a couple of times a week.

My ex would call me for no reason and try and tie up my time, says he doesn't like my new bf even though he as never met him and doesn't want my dughter around him.

I had to put my foot down when my new bf and I decided to move into together. He just made things rough, would still call me "honey", texts me saying he loves me and misses me even though when we did live together, he would be in one room and I'd be in the other. My ex accidentally saw this text pop up on the screen of my cell phone and was very upset. He told me I should cut ties and only have relations with him if it had to do with out daughter. It got so bad that my bf moved out ( he moved in September) until I really forced boundaries with my ex and my bf did not come for Thanksgiving dinner to meet my parents. This realy hurt my bf.

I'm known as a kind and considerate person and I don't like hurting my ex and telling him to get lost but now Christmas is around the corner and his family lives in another city and it's costly to go there at that time of year. I want to start fresh and want to spend Christmas with my bf but now I feel like I'm going to be the bad guy if I say to my ex that he is not welcome. He and I have more of a friendship going on and should have never married each other. I've gotten past everything that's happened but he still lingers around. He had no problem finding or talking to women while I was still with him and now he says he is all alone and hates it. I'm tired of the sulking and guilt trips and started to put my foot down. Then I feel like the bad guy.

This has caused so many problems between my new bf and I that we almost broke it off permanently and he still hasn't moved back in until this is resolved but my ex still looms in the background. Why should I have to worry about my ex's plans for the holidays? Is this my problem and how should I go about it? My ex and I got in a fight over this tonight when he dropped my daughter off. It's giving me bad anxiety and I just want to move on! Any suggestions about the idea of Christmas and telling him i want to be with my bf and part of the time with my daughter?
Tired of drama

Minot, ND

#35 Nov 23, 2013
My ex husband and his wife and her parents are all invited to my daughters house for Thanksgiving. I have put up with his presence at birthdays, ect. But now to share holidays with his in-laws with my kids is just not acceptable. I have decided to sit this Thanksgiving out, he was abusive and mentality harmful to me and my four kids. I wish my daughter would understand how uncomfortable it is.

Prospect Park, PA

#37 Feb 16, 2014
My wife went to her ex husbands surprise 50 th and helped set up. I told her I thought it was wrong that she would go and that it would upset me but she went anyway. Now what?
JP in MI

Montgomery, AL

#38 May 14, 2014
I too have been dealing with the ex-wife attending every family function. And I mean every function, every baby shower, wedding, holiday, you name it. We, my husband and I, live 2 hours away while she lives across the street from his parents and attends the same church etc. In all this time I have expressed that I wished she would pick some occasion. I understand that it was a long marriage but as several previous posts indicated, the family will rally around her, leaving me out. It has been very awkward all along. Right before New Year their youngest daughter committed suicide. I had been around her since she was 3. Every other weekend, every summer, every other holiday. I am grieving as much as anyone else in the family. But I was asked to leave by her because she could not stand me being there. WTF? Really? Guess how I have felt for all that time. And I suppose as the stepmother, this death can't possible faze me as much. Point is, I don't want her to not see family that she was part of, but there has to be a cut off and there are times where she has no business being there. If I had no business being there for a funeral of a child I helped raise for 10 years, then she has no business being there for the next wedding.

Norcross, GA

#39 Jun 20, 2014
I read these posts and I am relieved to not be the only woman in a current relationship where his parents invite the ex to Church every Sunday, all Holiidays, and pay No attention at all to her attitude during the event. I went to One Birthday party, the ex was a complete witch, I will not be attending Church or Any Holidays period, its funny because I just googled this due to speaking to his Mom today and she invited us to the 4th of July and said, ya know shes going to be there just to let you know... I got off the phone with her and thaught how rude it is to expect me to deal with that somewhere where I shouldnt be made to feel uncomfortable. So, I mean I wouldntinvite her exs wife over to my home and invite her to the same function.... its rude. These people need to get manners, and if my significant other would rather spend a holiday with them, he should just leave.
5 year girlfriend

Mason, WI

#40 Jun 24, 2014
I agree with this post so much I wish I could post it to my boyfriend's family group on FB. His 19 year old daughter recently added the ex wife to the family group non FB. Around the same time my boyfriend insisted that his ex wife was family. I truly believe that the older daughter and exwife have never had boundaries with my boyfriend. The exwife has interrupted our relationship on numerous occasions to include my boyfriend and kids not attending my ownly sons graduation party. The exwife also called my boyfriend and asked him if I was riding with him to his sons basketball game and since he said no she's not she invited herself to ride with him. I went to the same game- I would think she would be embarrassed or apologetic on either of these occasions but it is obvious she still thinks she is #1. She left my boyfriend while he was extremely bus with a cattle farm and his own business yet the family respects her like there was no divorce. Where is my place? She has walked right into his house unannounced and uninvited. She has brought all three kids to a bonfire I was having with my boyfriend and my sons parents to chew him out for not answering his cell phone creating a "Jerry Episode" event in front of my ex husband and his wife to the point that my boyfriend nor his kids attended my only sons grad party the next day. Now she is going to my boyfriends niece's grad party 5 hours away and my boyfriends daughter and his sister are mentioning for the exwife to bring my boyfriend's dad to the grad party. I am just in a state of mind like wth!? After 5 years of being with my boyfriend and being very close to marriage I am doubting whether I want to be any part of this anymore...which I feel is exactly what the daughter and exwife want for my boyfriend- why!? Don't they want him to be happy- which we are when the ex isn't involved...Anyway, I loved this post and find it the best advice out here for anyone in my situation. I probably will take it and try it myself...I love my boyfriend so much and we have so many things in common. It saddens me for family embers not to acknowledge the new woman instead of catering to the exwife...
5 year girlfriend

Mason, WI

#41 Jun 24, 2014
I wanted to direct my post at "Dreamer"...I love your post and truly believe that is how a respectful caring family should act...

Apple Valley, CA

#42 Nov 20, 2014
Have the same problem, after my husbands children had kids of their own every holiday, birthday the ex wife (who left the kids with their father when they were still in diapers 27 years ago) is invited to our home by the daughter who is 27. This has been going on for 8 years now. The woman is crazy to begin with. When she is at my house, everyone ignores her. She follow me around and my mother saying off the wall stuff and acts like it's her house going advice and telling me what to do. I have told my husband that this is not working out and I've really tried but I'm not doing it anymore and you need to tell your daughter not to invite her. My husband thinks if he does that he will not see her or our grandkids anymore. I told my husband that she needs to do the holidays at her house because I have no control over who she invites but that I could deal with that. My husband doesn't want to deal with it and just hopes it will go away...and it does until the next holiday. So I think this holiday I am going to tell my husband to take the family out to dinner but I am not going. I will go and spend time with my mom. I don't care if the x wife goes or not, but I am hoping that this will wake my husband up. This is the only problem that we have ever had and I should have done something about this at the start, but I was trying to be a nice person and I've let them run over me and take advantage of me. It's nice to know that other people are going thru similar situations.
Vexed Ex

Oceanside, CA

#43 Feb 12, 2015
I am so happy to hear I am not the only one with this problem. My Dad has continued to invite my ex-husband to all our family gatherings. It makes me feel uncomfortable because I have a new boyfriend that is trying to get to know my family and my ex-husband, who was well liked by the family, continues to show up as if nothing has changed. He also does not bring his current girlfriend with him at these events. I have asked my Dad to consider my feelings but he just accuses me of being selfish. I however, am not invited by my ex or his family to any of his family gatherings even though I still have a good relationship with my ex-mother-in-law. His family respect his feeling and the feelings of his new mate. So I have stopped going to family gatherings and make plans separately to see my siblings.
runner up

Northville, MI

#45 Apr 2, 2015
I too have the same issue, every holiday birthday etc.... I understand that she was the first one introduced to the family,had a child together, but divorced after 10 year's. We get along the ex and I but I feel she had done her part and no longer needs to be at family functions. It doesn't give me the chance to get to know his family and they can't really get to know me, lot more wrong with the situation but won't get into that whole deal. Just makes me uncomfortable and awkward. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated

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