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  • November 21, 2017, 08:18:58 AM

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Author Topic: Ex-wife still included in holidays  (Read 8885 times)

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LifeOnPluto

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #75 on: November 10, 2017, 11:55:18 PM »
OP, it sounds like you're prepared to take on the responsibilities of being the stepmother in a changed family. But factually you are the girlfriend who moved into the father and young childrens' home shortly after a divorce, and a marriage to the father isn't imminent because you are still married to someone else.

There seem to be broader issues and family dynamics at play than the ex being invited to events, and I understand why your boyfriends' parents may not be comfortable staying at the house.  Rather than a single-topic issue for an etiquette forum, this may be better suited to professional therapists who are experienced in guiding families through transitions.

Best wishes.

This. From your BF's parents' perspective - and his ex-wife's perspective - it looks like your BF moved on incredibly quickly from his marriage. They don't know (yet) whether you're going to be a permanent fixture in his life. I think the only thing which can change that perception is time (and eventually, marriage).

From an etiquette perspective, in THIS particular scenario (where the divorce is so recent and the children so young), I don't think it's rude for your BF's parents to invite his ex-wife to family events. That said, nor is it rude for you (and your BF) to decline invitations. If his parents are also holding the party on his custody time, your BF would also be perfectly within his rights to decline on behalf of his children too.

However, given my above comment about it being early days, I think the best course of action is to show his parents that you're definitely an important part of his life now. For that reason, I'd recommend going along.

Going forward, I also really like the idea of you and your BF hosting more holiday events together in future. That way, you can control the guest list (and can accordingly decide whether or not to invite the ex-wife).


JeanFromBNA

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #76 on: November 13, 2017, 12:46:21 PM »
Regarding the way the kids act toward the OP when their mom is present, i donít find this at all strange. The kids have only known the OP a very short time, assuming the OP started dating their dad after the divorce, and the OP and the BF dated long enough to know they were serious before involving the kids. The kids have known their mom their whole lives and of course they will be affectionate toward their mom over their dadís new GF they have only known a few months.

I do agree with this point.  OP, please don't feel slighted about this.  This behavior is very normal and expected.  The kids may not know how their mom will react if they are nice to you in front of her.  This isn't about you, I promise.

Yes, I absolutely get this and don't take it personally at all. They are 5 and 7 and are doing their best to deal with the situation.

Just a little background, their parents were living "separately" under the same roof before we ever began dating, so the divorce really has not been that hard for them. They live about a 5 minute drive away and we get them 50% of the time. And yes, they love me regardless of how much time they have known me. They are constantly in my lap, kissing me, drawing pictures for me at school, telling me they love me so much, etc. I want to do what is best for them of course. The fact is that they are much more happy and relaxed around us when their mom is not around.  I don't think it would negatively impact them by having separate celebrations.
Divorce can be hard on kids in the best of circumstances.  It's not just about logistics.  And because they're so inexperienced, they may not know how to say or show that, or be afraid to do so. 

Zizi-K

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #77 on: November 13, 2017, 01:10:10 PM »
OP, it sounds like you are in a not-great situation regarding the holidays, and it is one that likely no one is really happy with (not you, not your boyfriend, his ex-wife, their kids, OR the in-laws!). One question I have is: are you spending ALL of your holidays with your BF's parents?? What about your parents, and other people you might like to spend time with? Most people I know split holidays between families anyway, so if you start spending some time with others groups other than BF's family, that would cut down on the amount of Ex time. Another question: what is the holiday schedule that they agreed upon in the custody agreement?

In general, since it is all relatively new for the in-laws, I think you and your BF could take one of two strategies:
1) wait and see. His ex may start dating, or get sick of spending every holiday with her ex-in-laws. (What about her own parents??) Things may change to your liking with a little bit of time.
2) Create some agreed-upon boundaries and live them. That might mean coming up with a reasonable plan and suggesting it to the rest of the family. Host Thanksgiving yourself, either on Thanksgiving or on the day after. Allow Ex to do whatever she wants on her day, and then you have the kids on another day (or visa versa). Depending on the custody agreement, start your own Xmas tradition at your BF's home rather than going to the in-laws. invite the in-laws, but not the ex. Or you guys take Xmas eve, and let her have Xmas day. Another idea: take a little trip during one of these holidays. Take the kids, or let the ex-wife have them. All of these suggestions are designed to start getting everybody used to the idea that not everyone needs to be all together during the holidays.

rashea

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #78 on: November 13, 2017, 02:52:53 PM »
I see a few things. The first, is that they may not have been willing to stay with you for religious views. I think that has to color everything. They may not have been willing to spend the night under the roof of a couple they see as "living in sin" (not my view, but a potential view that they could have). So, that could be part of it. If they truly believe that marriage cannot be dissolved by divorce, then they may see continuing to invite her as the only option. In this case, your boyfriend needs to have a conversation with them (without you, because actually, this part has nothing to do with you). He needs to have the conversation that weather they accept it or not, he divorced her. And then have him talk about what that is going to mean going forward. He may have to decide what consequences he is willing to accept. This may mean cutting back on time with them, or something else.

The second is that it would be good if you could get to a point where it isn't awkward when you are all in the same room. Beyond ballet recitals and school functions, there are going to be birthday parties and dances and weddings. I'm not saying work on this now, but at some point, it would be lovely if the adults in these children's' lives could sit down and figure out how to keep it as comfortable as possible. That might mean inviting her over sometime when emotions are not running high (like not the holidays) and talk about how to make joint functions as comfortable as possible. This might include negotiating some events where you aren't all there. The fact that the children can sense the tension (and behave differently when you are all together) is not great.

Finally, I think that for the question of this holiday, I would find a way to suck it up. It's not right, it's not fair, but unless your BF is ready to make major waves right now, it's the best option that keeps all the other options open for the future. Other posters are likely right in thinking that you aren't permanent in the eyes of the in-laws yet. And while you two are acting permanent, they probably aren't seeing the details of that. If he's willing to make minor waves, maybe you can arrange it so that she gets there early with the kids, hangs out through dinner, and then leaves while you two show up just in time for dinner and then stay late and take the kids home. That way they get a bit of both, but the only "shared time" is actually during a meal when a smart hostess can seat people with some care.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

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bah12

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #79 on: November 13, 2017, 02:57:57 PM »
I have only read the OP, not the replies, but wanted to offer my gut reaction.

If your boyfriend is uncomfortable with the presence of his ex-wife and family events, then he is the one that needs to figure out how to work that out between him and his family.  If he's just going to let them dictate the level of relationship he's going to have post-divorce and not speak up when he's uncomfortable, then he shouldn't be surprised that he continues to be uncomfortable.

About you:  You are in a relationship with a divorced man who shares children with his ex.  Co-parenting is a good thing.  Her and he both having the ability to be in the same room with their children, at the same time, is a good thing.  The ex didn't divorce his family and I think it's a sign of healthy, self-confident individuals who can continue a friendly relationship post-break up...especially with there being children involved.  I can certainly understand feeling awkward and uncomfortable...but why?  Is she doing something that makes you feel that way?  Is your boyfriend?  If you're going to have a successful relationship with him, then I do think you need to get to a place where you can accept some level of his ex-wife being in the picture...and especially when the holiday events are taking place outside your own home.

Whether or not you choose to forgo the holiday's with his family is up to you.  I think you just need to decide what you are and aren't ok with in regards to a relationship.  Maybe dating a man who co-parents his children isn't for you (and that would be ok...you get to set your standards). But, I don't think it's fair to think that you can have this relationship and a relationship with the kids and the ex not be part of that.  I would suggest you come to terms with her place in his life and the lives of his family members.   Let your ex decide what is best for him and his kids (without your input) and then you decide if that is something you can live with and make your decisions from there.

Huh

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #80 on: November 14, 2017, 08:32:40 AM »
I'm keeping strictly on the etiquette of this because wow, THAT'S a familiar story! (Except the oh we've been separated for years was a complete utter lie in my ex's case. One of his many many lies.  >:D)

Unless you are throwing the party, you have ZERO control over the guest list. You cannot tell the host who they can and cannot invite. I cannot tell my friend to not invite my ex to his birthday party and vice versa. Throwing a fit about it, as in saying, "Well if Ex is invited, I'm not coming!" is rude. And honestly, when you do that, you make the host want to not invite YOU. I have dealt with this for years in family and friend squabbles (Not related to divorces at all BTW) and had that recently with a party I was throwing, "Well if So-and-So is coming, then I don't want to come!" So-and-So ended up not coming, but I had to deal with the drama of "Are you sure she's not coming? I don't want to see her!" from my invitee and I was extremely unhappy with Invitee and ready to disinvite them. It was a big party with a lot of people, Invitee would not have had to interact with So-and-So unless they set out to. You can avoid people you don't want to see or talk to, or limit your interact to polite but brief interactions. I do it all the time. It's called being an adult. Suck it up.

If you truly don't want to see the person you don't want to see, then tell the person who invited you, "Sorry, we already have plans that day" and don't go. The only person you control is yourself. Absolutely, you don't have to be around people you don't want to be around. But that may mean missing out on something you want to do. You have to weigh whether its important for you to not see the person, or you to attend the event.

Again, the host controls the guest list. Trying to control it is rude. It annoys the host. Annoy the host too much, and they will think twice about inviting you to anything again. If you absolutely cannot be around someone, then don't go.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #81 on: November 14, 2017, 05:39:13 PM »
You can't tell the host who to invite. You can reasonably say something like "thanks, but I don't want to be at the same events as so-and-so, so I'll pass on this. Would you like to have lunch sometime, just the two of us?"

That is, I don't think you need to mislead the host into thinking that you'd love to attend, it's just that you're so busy with your underwater basket-weaving league that you don't have time for anything else, nor yet that you don't actually want to spend time with them. A lot of people will understand not wanting to socialize with an ex, especially at small parties: if the other person isn't actively dangerous, you might be okay attending a large party with them, but not a six-person dinner party. (If someone else your host wants to invite is actively dangerous, safety trumps etiquette, but there's no reason to think that applies here.)
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

Harriet

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #82 on: November 14, 2017, 06:13:52 PM »
 Zizi-k: the OP answered your first question (edit: at least, part of it) on p 4:


Princess91765 ~~

What about your family?   Do your parents have any relationship with your BF?

I don't really have much family here. My parents have passed away and I have one brother who is mentally disabled due to a horrific car accident.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 06:20:03 PM by Harriet »

gramma dishes

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #83 on: November 14, 2017, 07:19:19 PM »
Okay, just stop for a minute.  I'm getting terribly confused.   :-\

Did the OP change her screen name midstream or are Princess91765 and Queenbee123 two completely different posters in exceptionally similar situations?   ???

AngelicGamer

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #84 on: November 14, 2017, 07:20:53 PM »
Okay, just stop for a minute.  I'm getting terribly confused.   :-\

Did the OP change her screen name midstream or are Princess91765 and Queenbee123 two completely different posters in exceptionally similar situations?   ???

Changed her name midstream. It was a bit jarring but it's the same poster.



gramma dishes

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #85 on: November 14, 2017, 07:21:46 PM »
Okay, just stop for a minute.  I'm getting terribly confused.   :-\

Did the OP change her screen name midstream or are Princess91765 and Queenbee123 two completely different posters in exceptionally similar situations?   ???

Changed her name midstream. It was a bit jarring but it's the same poster.

Thanks!

Zizi-K

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #86 on: November 15, 2017, 06:58:52 AM »
Zizi-k: the OP answered your first question (edit: at least, part of it) on p 4:


Princess91765 ~~

What about your family?   Do your parents have any relationship with your BF?

I don't really have much family here. My parents have passed away and I have one brother who is mentally disabled due to a horrific car accident.

Oops, didn't catch that. I find it really helpful when OPs will change the name of the thread to include the numbers of update posts. I have been guilty of neglecting to do that, but I'm going to try to return to that practice and I hope others do too!

miranova

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #87 on: November 15, 2017, 07:10:52 AM »
I'm keeping strictly on the etiquette of this because wow, THAT'S a familiar story! (Except the oh we've been separated for years was a complete utter lie in my ex's case. One of his many many lies.  >:D)

Unless you are throwing the party, you have ZERO control over the guest list. You cannot tell the host who they can and cannot invite. I cannot tell my friend to not invite my ex to his birthday party and vice versa. Throwing a fit about it, as in saying, "Well if Ex is invited, I'm not coming!" is rude. And honestly, when you do that, you make the host want to not invite YOU. I have dealt with this for years in family and friend squabbles (Not related to divorces at all BTW) and had that recently with a party I was throwing, "Well if So-and-So is coming, then I don't want to come!" So-and-So ended up not coming, but I had to deal with the drama of "Are you sure she's not coming? I don't want to see her!" from my invitee and I was extremely unhappy with Invitee and ready to disinvite them. It was a big party with a lot of people, Invitee would not have had to interact with So-and-So unless they set out to. You can avoid people you don't want to see or talk to, or limit your interact to polite but brief interactions. I do it all the time. It's called being an adult. Suck it up.

If you truly don't want to see the person you don't want to see, then tell the person who invited you, "Sorry, we already have plans that day" and don't go. The only person you control is yourself. Absolutely, you don't have to be around people you don't want to be around. But that may mean missing out on something you want to do. You have to weigh whether its important for you to not see the person, or you to attend the event.

Again, the host controls the guest list. Trying to control it is rude. It annoys the host. Annoy the host too much, and they will think twice about inviting you to anything again. If you absolutely cannot be around someone, then don't go.

The fact that it is his own parents and it is a family holiday party doesn't make a difference at all to you?  I think people should be able to talk to their own parents about not feeling comfortable having their own ex-wife at EVERY holiday party.  I wouldn't ever tell friends of mine what their guest list would be but I definitely think talking to my own parents is not an etiquette violation.

Chez Miriam

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #88 on: November 15, 2017, 07:23:58 AM »
I'm keeping strictly on the etiquette of this because wow, THAT'S a familiar story! (Except the oh we've been separated for years was a complete utter lie in my ex's case. One of his many many lies.  >:D)

We know a chap whose marriage had been "dead for <over a decade>", and the first anyone knew about it [including his wife], was when he left her and moved in with the "love of his life" that he met 6 days after telling his wife it was over.

We stayed friends with him, and are still friends with him and his new wife [not the lady mentioned above], but I know the timing 'issues' cost him the respect of a few friends.  Talking with "rebound lady", she really did believe that his marriage was long over, and I don't suppose anyone suggested otherwise, but his family was (rightly) sceptical that the new relationship would last...

OP: not saying your case is anything like the above [or Huh's situation], but the people who have been around long before you were on the scene may have a different take than you do.  The in-laws-to-be may just really, really like the ex-wife, so now see her as a very close family friend.  [We see much more of the divorced-out-of-the-family aunt than we do our uncle (to whom she was married), and I don't know of anyone in our family/friend circle who thinks that at all weird.]

Good luck with finding a compromise that makes you happy.
"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."  - Julian of Norwich

Huh

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Re: Ex-wife still included in holidays
« Reply #89 on: November 15, 2017, 08:23:40 AM »
The fact that it is his own parents and it is a family holiday party doesn't make a difference at all to you?  I think people should be able to talk to their own parents about not feeling comfortable having their own ex-wife at EVERY holiday party.  I wouldn't ever tell friends of mine what their guest list would be but I definitely think talking to my own parents is not an etiquette violation.

HE could talk to his parents if it bothers him, and I can't really tell if it bothers him or if it just bothers OP. I would strongly caution her about kicking up a fuss with him or his parents at this stage about it, but you do you. Either way, he still cannot control his parents' guest list for the holiday party they are throwing. We've seen plenty of family disputes come up on these forums, where siblings don't want to see each other, kids don't want to see a certain parent/stepparent, etc. It happens. And you still cannot control someone else's guest list. The only person you control is you. Sure, he can talk to his parents and see if they can come to a compromise if it really bothers him, or he and OP can host a party and invite who they want.

You can tell family that you won't be attending if someone you don't like is there, but that could become you won't be invited anymore. Ask my friend who is no longer invited to any large family get-togethers because she doesn't want to see a particular family member (And for what I think are legitimate very good reasons.) Friend no longer sees that side of family on holidays because she's the one that refuses to see that person, that person has never said anything either way about seeing Friend. And so for that side of family, it became easier to just see Friend some other time. Or not at all. I'm definitely not saying they chose right, and I think Friend's safety was involved and back her 100 percent for not seeing that person. But. She still doesn't see that side of the family on holidays.

In the OP's case, it's just an ex that as near I can tell, hasn't made a scene/tried to attack anyone. I wouldn't make this a hill to die on, as they say, I'd suck it up, and go, and ignore her or be mildly pleasant when interactions must happen, and everyone will see and say on what good terms they are.

Or she and he can complain to the parents, refuse to be there if she's there, and everyone will see that too.