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Handling Your Spouse's Hostile or Jealous Ex

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 19 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Handling Your Spouse's Hostile Or Jealous Ex

Even after a couple has ended their relationship, one of the partners may hold on to jealous or bitter feelings, forcing the other to deal with sometimes unreasonable behaviour for the sake of their children. When marrying someone with children, it can sometimes fall onto the stepparent to take some of the brunt of the leftover feelings of their spouse’s ex. Handling such a person isn’t always easy, but cannot always be avoided.

Securing the Support of Your Spouse

The single best tool in dealing with a spouse’s hostile or jealous ex is the support of the spouse. An ex exerts far less power to cause havoc in a stepfamily if their ex spouse makes it utterly clear that their antics will not be tolerated and will not give them the results that they are seeking. Often, trouble with an ex goes on longer than needed because someone takes no action, hoping that the situation will right itself, but that is rarely the case. If an ex is attempting to make life difficult for a new spouse, the situation needs to be addressed and the ex needs to be made aware that while they will always have a connection in matters regarding the care and welfare of shared children, their input is not welcomed in any other area.

Keeping the Kids Out of Family Squabbles

Sadly, children often become the real victims of the unsavoury behaviour of their parents if the pair cannot seem to maintain a respectful relationship. A couple who were once partners in life can become bitter toward one another if things don’t work out as they’d hoped, but the children should be kept out of the disagreements of their parents. Children have every right to a loving relationship with both of their parents and it is up to both partners to make sure that their kids do not feel torn in their loyalties. Stepparents can help by assuring the children that while their parents may have difficulties with one another, both love them and want them to be happy.

Making the Effort toward Family Peace

In the best possible stepfamily scenario, all of the adults would take steps to create an atmosphere of harmony for the sake of the children. The reality often falls somewhat short of this ideal, however, with complicated adult emotions causing ongoing hurt and conflict. Stepparents can sometimes offer calming input by assuring their partner’s ex that they are a valued part of the children’s lives and that no one has any desire to usurp their authority when it comes to the kids. Knowing that an ex’s current spouse understands and supports the need for natural parents to remain paramount in their children’s lives may help them to alleviate some of their hostile or jealous feelings.

Distancing Yourself from Drama

Despite their best efforts, some stepparents find themselves in the unfortunate position of being the target of the unsettled emotions of their spouse’s ex. When this happens, the best that they can do may simply be to steer clear of the ex as much as is possible, leaving their spouse to handle all contact with the children’s other parent alone. This is unfortunate because kids can benefit from seeing the adults in their lives conduct themselves in a mature and respectful fashion, but it is better to provide some distance than to jump in to an already turbulent situation, only adding to the drama. Taking the high road will show the children that even when faced with difficulties, responsible people can keep control of their response.

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@Paula - some people never give up do they. They have to be hostile. This is her problem not yours. You just have to ignore it and let her get on with eating herself up from the inside! Han <3
HBS^8 - 17-Feb-17 @ 9:53 AM
My partner doesn't get to see his children dedpite me taking them on and them knowing me. His ex partner has caused trouble none stop for 3years, I moved away from the area due to this enough was enough, now my partner made the decision to give everything up and move with to be with me. Now I'm to blame for him not seeing his kids, and I get things like "everything was ok before you came along" & "and he's still sleeping with me" stalking my social media her getting her pals to contact me, accusing me of brain washing her kids the list is endless!Even 3years on she's still the same!
Paula - 16-Feb-17 @ 12:08 AM
My son does not want me to have anything g to do with his ex wife. They have 2 children and she is preparedto meet up with them to keep contact with their grandparents.He never wants to meet up with children, prefers to be with his friends, which is fine, but daughter in law, still wants us to have time with them,as do we.He got so angry when we met up and now forbids us to meet. He has a new woman in his life and wants to put the old one behind him, but how is it possible, when they have young children together?
Worried - 1-Jan-17 @ 9:12 PM
My partner of months, was having access twice a week until he was hospitalized in early Dec.I advised his ex he would not be seeing children for few weeks as he was in hospital.She demanded to know which hospital (saying kids wanted to know 11 &12 years btw).She is now refusing access and the 2 meets p/w, says we can give her kids Xmas gifts and she will pass them on but my partner can have no contact "its too upsetting, and you wouldn't tell me where you were" Can she do this? Was I wrong to conform to my partners request to not divulge his whereabouts (last time he was in hospital she wrote to the ward, telling him she was changing kids names and he would never see them again). Where do we go from here?.Btw they were married when kids were born and he is on birth cert...
Ann - 1-Jan-17 @ 11:12 AM
Rosie - Your Question:
I'm so sad. I'm having to let go of my relationship with my 3 year old stepdaughter, who I love. I have been in her life since she was a baby. I just cannot take her mother's behaviour anymore. Hermmother trains her up to say things to my daughter (who loves her to bits) 'you're not my sister'. We play with the dolls house and she roleplays her mum locking me, her dad and my daughter in a room and saying not to play with us while they have cuddles. It just hurts too much. I'm always so happy to see her, but always end up crying (away from her obviously). My husband totally understands and supports me. He's just so sad too. Can anyone offer advice?

Our Response:
I am very sorry to hear this. It is very upsetting when a step-parent is close to a step-child and there is a separation as essentially there is little the non-biological parent can do. I can only advise you to seek legal advice as dependent upon the situation there may be some recourse - but unfortunately it is unlikely.
BeingAStepParent - 22-Aug-16 @ 2:35 PM
I'm so sad. I'm having to let go of my relationship with my 3 year old stepdaughter,who I love.I have been in her life since she was a baby. I just cannot take her mother's behaviour anymore.Hermmother trains her up to say things to my daughter (who loves her to bits) 'you're not my sister'. We play with the dolls house and she roleplays her mum locking me, her dad and my daughter in a room and saying not to play with us while they have cuddles.It just hurts too much.I'm always so happy to see her,but always end up crying (away from her obviously).My husband totally understands and supports me. He's just so sad too. Can anyone offer advice?
Rosie - 20-Aug-16 @ 4:05 AM
Part 3 - We're fully expecting text messages about uniform and water and school trips. I feel sad that this is the approach he is taking but I don't blame him in the slightest. She earns a good wage and has a house in London (for free) with an incredibly small mortgage and there are no financial obligations to go back and forth while there is 50/50 child care. My question is overall how does anyone approach and start to make this better? I'm scared for my partner that she'll start using the children against him again and while I can't stop this happening if she chooses to I want to help him and protect him against all the pain and stress again. I don't believe in giving her what she wants for an easy life and neither does he and sadly if there continues to be no goodwill in my opinion there isn't much we can do. Do we sit back and wait for her to offer a slight olive branch? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
PerkP - 16-Aug-16 @ 11:56 AM
Part 2 - Continued... The items were things she didn't request in the Consent Order and to my knowledge had never asked for. We knew what this was and just ignored it however my partner got a message from a work colleague kindly telling him that things were being said about me and then I received the messages so he had to contact her to instruct her to take it down and apologise. During this debacle she even text my partner moaning about something else and didn't mention the items once to either of us which confirmed to us it was all for show) Eventually he wrote up to 3 letters to her solicitor just about contact and copied in pictures of her text messages and finally she gave in. She still refuses video to have some control but he gets phone calls 3x a week which is all he wanted. We both suspect the content of the letter was irrelevant and that it was just a shouting out against the world but we've had no reply at all. He knows her better than me and claims she's unfortunately the type of the individual that thinks paying for things will fix them and so didn't expect another letter to come through. She's also texting his own mother saying she's got no money left which is absolutely ridiculous with her wage and ridiculously low out-goings. She apparently spent all of his money when married and threatened to divorce him if he stopped it and i've personally seen her level of shopping addiction. She spent £100 on school shorts for the youngest boy when they only had 5 weeks of school left... Another arrangement that I noted when I met the children was that she would buy all the uniform and then bill him for half of it. He initially agreed and then realised she thought the children needed 3 pairs of Clarks shoes a year each and the most expensive top of the range M&S plain clothes. The children go to a state school that requires nothing but plain white polo shirts, grey shorts and a school caridgan and jumper with a logo on. She would e-mail him with receipts and just expect him to go halves on everything and it was particularly indulgent. He's finally cut off the arrangement and told her they can buy separately and she's turned predictably bitter. We're now in limbo about the texts he'll receive ( even though we've agreed to ignore them) and the trouble she'll cause through the school. She previously wrote multiple disingenuous notes in their Contact Books about how she couldn't afford things or obtain them due to him. They were all ignored by us and the school. The whole situation is rather typical in my eyes and my solution to it (and is something I always voice to him) is to ignore it. Unless it's an emergency I've said to him that I would completely ignore it. While there is no goodwill there can't be any co-parenting and I know he agrees. We're fully expecting to be messed around with contact in the future as it's only been a few weeks of constant contact and we're fully expecting text messages about uniform and
PerkP - 16-Aug-16 @ 11:55 AM
I'm in a new and serious relationship of 1 year with a father of two young children. The ex-wife has been nothing but disruptive. She left him and there was to my knowledge no affair, violence or anything. He bought her a house around the corner and she complained it wasn't her 'dream home'. She stole things from the house that weren't on the Consent Order and forced my partner to ask her to move in to her house a week early because he was going abroad for work and didn't trust her to not steal more. She left peacefully but then proceeded to ring his own mother and start a huge facade about being kicked out. Since then he says she's been nothing but bitter. Fast forward to me meeting him and there was a predictable back lash from her when he stopped answering her goading and pointless text messages. However the most important thing was that she wasn't letting contact happen with the children. They have 50/50 child care and on the weeks he asked for video phone calls 3 times a week for 5 minutes she never picked up the phone on a consistent basis. She would do it once if he was lucky and then would ring unannounced on his weeks expecting to talk to them whenever she pleased. When I was around he never stopped her speaking to them and patiently and calmly kept asking her to reciprocate with no success. The pressure rose until he finally snapped and told her he would no longer have anything to do with her unless there was an emergency. Not believing him because he'd been so nice she was totally shocked when he didn't pick up the phone and start phoning up to 20 times in a row. He did very well ignoring her and sacrificed his own 1 phone call a week if lucky with his children. I supported him in the background greatly. We had a lovely feeling of having some ' time off ' when she had the control taken away and we no longer needed to deal with anything. Texts kept coming through about the children to get his attention but they weren't urgent and he completely ignored them. It was bliss! We both knew however that it wasn't a sustainable option and eventually a solicitors letter came through the door from her stating she wanted contact 3x a week ( exactly what he'd been trying to get for the last 18 months! ) and more money and split uniform costs and lots of generic things. My partnerwrote back agreeing with contact with both of them and tried to set up a routine. This failed as she is incapable of taking instructions from him and desperate to be in control. (Before this letter had happened I had received multiple messages from her family about giving away her things. My partner and I started clearing out old furniture and things she'd left behind and wasn't interested in like bits of fabric, books and cabinets. I put these things up on offer on social media and didn't expect her to see them at all. She proceeded to be told by another female who was connected to my partner and all hell broke out! The items were things she didn'
PerkP - 16-Aug-16 @ 11:50 AM
I've been with my partner now for 3 yrs, ( anniversary was 3/8/16) not yet married,before he met me he had a one night fling with his cousins wife, Wrong I know but when we got together he explained it meant nothing, she kept dangling the carrots & each time he went for a bite she'd make up excuses as why not to meet her daughter has popped round, her son has popping in, or she going shopping with the daughter, My partner lost interest in her when he met me but because she wasn't getting his attention she'd send him texts "I Love you", "I Miss you", we both know she'd never leave her Rich husband, also shes an alcoholic and tends to text when shes had a few, she sends Christmas cards one from the both of them an another "To Someone Special" signed S same with my partner's birthday in feb & Valentines day..... "To Someone Special All My Love S" Makes me sick!!!!! My partner said to ignore her I try but its infuriating for me, it got to the stage where we were hiding in my partners flat to get away from her, she finally got the message and gave up......... Until 9/6/16 I went round to my partners after a row with my parent's I have a key to his place so i let myself in, thinking he'd be in bed asleep, I was going to crash on the sofa not wake him & explain the next morning, as I approached the front-door the living room windows were open which was strange as he doesn't leave those open while in bed but no lights were on in the living room, bedroom was also in darkness but with window ajar as normal for the night, I let myself in heard movement and thought hed got up to use the bathroom when i geth to the top of the stairs i find him fully dressed with a glass of red in his hand in the kitchen, swirling the wine, not impressed look on his face, then I hear movement in the bathroom, I say are you ok? Ive had a massive row, can i Stay here tonight, he then proceeds to tell me he has company, I ask who? then I say " YOU have company? DO YOU WANT ME TO LEAVE in a firm voice but i didnt shout, he replied no Shes going now, so I asked who's SHE? so if you have company do you want me to LEAVE??? slightly raising my voice he said no you can stay, Then she came out the toilet, and it was her the Cousins wife..... no shoes on, fully dressed, then says ohh hello how are you to me all polite, and then says I'll go & leave you 2 to talk grabs her shoes from the dark living room & Leaves & had the cheek to text him 10-15mins later as we are still standing in the kitchen to ask how I am??? as you can Imagine I was furious!!!! He explained that he bumped into her outside the pub & invited her back for a drink & Chat.... and that nothing happened which to this day i don't believe but he swears nothing happened they only sat and talked and he said they talked about me & she offered him money from some family inheritance but then couldn't get it for him ( that her husband kept from him, hence they are not talking since we got together) Anyway
D - 13-Aug-16 @ 1:05 PM
Kimber - Your Question:
Me and my new husband have been married for a little over 3 years. He and I both have x spouses, I have 2 children and he has one with her. We have none together. His x wife has for sure been having issues with him getting remarried. She all but refused her daughter to attend our wedding, she constantly tries to one up us with trips, gifts, and is very controlling with the time. He took her back to court for more time and to reduce what he paid her, and he paid her very well I might add. He was granted most of the things he sought. This caused more turbulence. She lies to try to keep us out of the picture. For example; I asked to go eat lunch with my step daughter one day at school and what time she had it. She told me the time she goes back to class. Luckily I got to the school early and the lady in office told me accurate time. The x wife is a very pretty woman, I am not what you would say full of myself, but I believe myself to be attractive. She talked a lot of smack that later got back to me that although I was a pretty girl, I wore lots of makeup ( I hardly wear any) and she wears quite a bit in my opinion. I'm not like her, I'm laid back where she is uptight, she is on the go and I'm a homebody. For the longest time I could not figure out why she behaved the way she did, there is so much to tell but I'll spare everyone lol. Then a good friend told me she was jealous and a control freak and was probably resentful he had moved on. Can this really be true?? She has even gotten remarried, the same year we did I would say 5 months after we did, to the first guy she dated after she and my now husband split. What should I do?

Our Response:
I can only really direct you to the information in the article, which says, despite their best efforts, some step-parents find themselves in the unfortunate position of being the target of the unsettled emotions of their spouse’s ex. When this happens, the best that they can do may simply be to steer clear of the ex as much as is possible, leaving their spouse to handle all contact with the children’s other parent alone. This is unfortunate because kids can benefit from seeing the adults in their lives conduct themselves in a mature and respectful fashion, but it is better to provide some distance than to jump in to an already turbulent situation, only adding to the drama. Taking the high road will show the children that even when faced with difficulties, responsible people can keep control of their response. In addition, with regards to your step-daughter, if you get on with her, keep trying to forge a relationship, but perhaps keep her mother out of the conversation, because then your will not be saying anything that could be deemed antagonostic. Sometimes, a jealous ex just need the slightest bit of fuel to create a fire. I hope this helps.
BeingAStepParent - 25-Sep-15 @ 9:57 AM
Me and my new husband have been married for a little over 3 years. He and I both have x spouses, I have 2 children and he has one with her. We have none together. His x wife has for sure been having issues with him getting remarried. She all but refused her daughter to attend our wedding, she constantly tries to one up us with trips, gifts, and is very controlling with the time. He took her back to court for more time and to reduce what he paid her, and he paid her very well I might add. He was granted most of the things he sought. This caused more turbulence. She lies to try to keep us out of the picture. For example; I asked to go eat lunch with my step daughter one day at school and what time she had it. She told me the time she goes back to class. Luckily I got to the school early and the lady in office told me accurate time. The x wife is a very pretty woman, I am not what you would say full of myself, but I believe myself to be attractive. She talked a lot of smack that later got back to me that although I was a pretty girl, I wore lots of makeup ( I hardly wear any) and she wears quite a bit in my opinion. I'm not like her, I'm laid back where she is uptight, she is on the go and I'm a homebody. For the longest time I could not figure out why she behaved the way she did, there is so much to tell but I'll spare everyone lol. Then a good friend told me she was jealous and a control freak and was probably resentful he had moved on. Can this really be true?? She has even gotten remarried, the same year we did I would say 5 months after we did, to the first guy she dated after she and my now husband split. What should I do?
Kimber - 24-Sep-15 @ 1:06 AM
My boyfriendsplit with his wife 18 months ago. We've been dating for over a year. I haven't met his kids yet, but have met his ex to try to show I want to do the right thing and handle it as best I can. She has been texting me calling me the 'wicked stepmother' and saying meeting me will be damaging for her girls. But he wants me to meet them and it is causing endless arguments. I want to do the right thing by them, but it seems to be at the expense of my relationship. He doesn't feel they would be damaged by meeting me. The girls are 4&8 years old. I really don't know what to do. I'm scared of the power the ex has and that she will turn them against me and the pressure will be the end of my relationship. But if idont meet them it will continue to break his heart. I can't cope with the constant drama either. Any advice would be amazing!
Daisy - 23-Aug-15 @ 4:12 PM
Swifty - Your Question:
My former step children are having issues with my new fiance. The 18 year former step son lived with me for over a year so he could graduate high school. His mother moved 10 minutes away out of county and his real father lives near also. I did my parental duty even though I was technically not his step father anymore. He graduated and moved in with his father so his girlfriend could move in with him. His older sister moved to Japan 2 years ago and was married now divorced and all of them, exwife, former stepson and former stepdaughter are causing drama because I am updating "MY" house and moving, but I refuse to let a 22 year old move back in with me and my fiance. They are all blasting me on Facebook that a stepparent should do the responsible thing, which I no longer am a stepper entry because of the divorce. I love the kids and would within reason but I am no longer responsible for their actions. Am I looking at this the wrong way. I want to move on but yet they keep causing drama and now some of my neighbors are buying into it.

Our Response:
This is a tricky situation. I can only suggest you keep away from social media temporarily so that you are not subject to this, as social media really isn't the place to air such views. Of course you are well within your rights not to support your step-children to this extent, especially if you are trying to set up a life with your fiance. However, communication is the key. Stress you are still willing to love them, see them and support them, but you have your own life and they need to be able to appreciate and respect this.
BeingAStepParent - 14-Aug-15 @ 12:14 PM
My former step children are having issues with my new fiance.The 18 year former step son lived with me for over a year so he could graduate high school.His mother moved 10 minutes away out of county and his real father lives near also.I did my parental duty even though I was technically not his step father anymore.He graduated and moved in with his father so his girlfriend could move in with him.His older sister moved to Japan 2 years ago and was married now divorced and all of them, exwife, former stepson and former stepdaughter are causing drama because I am updating "MY" house and moving, but I refuse to let a 22 year old move back in with me and my fiance.They are all blasting me on Facebook that a stepparent should do the responsible thing, which I no longer am a stepper entry because of the divorce.I love the kids and would within reason but I am no longer responsible for their actions.Am I looking at this the wrong way.I want to move on but yet they keep causing drama and now some of my neighbors are buying into it.
Swifty - 13-Aug-15 @ 1:07 PM
I can't help be angry and people don't want to be around me anymore. What do I do? M
Va - 26-Mar-15 @ 6:07 AM
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