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Stepchildren, family events & ex-wives

(107 Posts)
Emilymaria Thu 23-Jan-20 21:19:42

I met my husband 2 years after he and his first wife separated. We married four years later. He had two children, I had none (sadly, we didn't have a child of our own). We lived 200 miles distant from them, something that was neither his choice nor fault. We spent years flogging up and down the motorway once a fortnight to see the children who vacillated unpredictably in their reactions and feelings towards us. This, I learned, was due to a regular drip of poison from the ex and her family. Poor kids. They were used as meal tickets, weapons, leverage and excuses, but rarely treated simply as children. The ex sat in a well of self-pity for years, as a highly qualified woman, wouldn't even take part-time jobs in her field and wouldn't consider meeting someone else because her ex husband had 'ruined her life'. She lied to the children, cheated over money and didn't let up on demands even when my husband was being treated for cancer. Her reasoning over the last? "Nobody asks me how I am." Eventually, when my mother died, she wanted a lump of my inheritance. After much soul-searching I agreed to turn it over in exchange for full and final settlement (she even lied about that to the children, saying she 'didn't know' it was my inheritance - but we have the solicitors' letters proving, unequivocally, that she did). All this from a 'committed Christian' - her words. My problem is that, ten years later, it still eats away at my soul that I gave a woman, for whom I have nothing but contempt, money that my parents worked for. My husband and his, now, adult children say "Let it go, move on". Easy to say. I would love to. Even so, with all I've done for the kids, time I devoted to them, gifts, advice, shoulder to cry on over 25 years, I was excluded from their graduations and treated as nothing but an ordinary guest at the first wedding. The second one is coming up. I've been told I won't be at the top table. I didn't expect it. But I'm so throughly pee'd off with the whole ghastly saga I feel that I don't want to attend at all and have to put on a brave face, yet again. Not keen on acronyms, so interested only in reactions/advice/commiseration from others who've been there, too. Maybe I won't feel so isolated, angry and guilty for using my parents' hard earned money so wantonly. And I do want to move on, but I don't know how.

crazyH Thu 23-Jan-20 21:33:25

How dare she expect a share of your mother's inheritance? So, was there no divorce settlement? I just don't understand. I am husband left me for his present wife, but I had a fair 'settlement', before he could go off and marry her. My solicitor made sure of that. My exhusbands wife is quite rich but I wouldn't expect to have a share of her money.

Bibbity Thu 23-Jan-20 22:27:02

I’m not shocked that she asked. People like that do plague the planet.
But I am absolutely floored that you gave it to her!!
Where the hell was your husband telling you no! A solicitors letter means nothing! And she would’ve definitely been told she has no claim on your money.
I’m not supervised you’re still angry. If I were you I’d consider bowing out.

FridayIsComing Thu 23-Jan-20 22:50:31

I am so sorry to hear what a difficult time you have had and are still having. You have been kind and supportive to your dh and his children. It is a shame your dh is not encouraging his adult children to place you in higher regard. Perhaps they would like to but feel conflicted due to their loyalty with their mother.
You should be proud of yourself for managing to establish and maintain a relationship with the children especially when they have a difficult mother that has probably talked negatively of you and your dh. The fact that the children have graduated and are getting married means you have contributed to raising them into decent grounded adults.
I understand what its like to give, give , give and for everyone to say let it go conveniently and not being able to do so. It can be soul destroying. I hope you find a way past it all.

Hetty58 Thu 23-Jan-20 22:55:27

Why on Earth did you give money to this woman? Why did your husband not stop you? Incredible! What expectations did you have? To dwell on it now is just pointless though.

MissAdventure Thu 23-Jan-20 23:20:49

Some men, and presumably women seem to give in to ridiculous demands from exes.

Some misplaced guilt, or loyalty, or just for a quiet life, often.

Eglantine21 Thu 23-Jan-20 23:52:36

Well, as far as the money is concerned, I can understand how it grates. Does it help to to think that it bought you freedom from her constant demands and so was worth every penny. Maybe not, but I bet your parents would have said use it to get her off your back, your peace of mind is what’s important to us.

With the wedding, do go. Look as glamorous as possible, tell everyone how happy you are, what a wonderful life you have,charm everyone to death. Leave them all thinking what a lucky man your husband is.

I’m not religious but the good book has it right when it talks about being heaping coals of fire on your enemies head!

MissAdventure Fri 24-Jan-20 00:01:32

I would say that you did what you thought was right at that time, with less knowledge about how things would be than you have now..

With hindsight, you may have taken a different course.

If only hindsight came before we took leaps in the dark.

paddyanne Fri 24-Jan-20 01:49:05

seeing them once a fortnight isn't raising them.My ex SIL only sees his once a fortnight or less and its a disgrace.Children shouldn't be put on a shelf and only taken out when it suits the absent parent ,Money and "things" dont make up for lost time .I imagine that like my daughter these childrens mother and her family did the bulk of the raising...12 out of every 14 days and I'm not surprised she wanted compensated for being almost a single parent to THEIR children.It was your choice to give her cash so you need to live with it ,but you aren't and never will be their mother who was there for them all through their lives not just once a fortnight.

rosecarmel Fri 24-Jan-20 04:54:32

EmilyMaria, you and the ex-wife both found yourselves in similar wells after being married to the same man-

If you attend the wedding, be yourself- Choices that people make in the process of planning a wedding, as well as during the event itself, can be revealing- Should you attend, be observant, watch for red flags as well as sincerity amongst the guests and the bride and groom- People watch, dance, strike up a conversation with someone you've never met- You never know where you'll meet your true love .. smile

Daisymae Fri 24-Jan-20 08:35:52

I would think that your husband would sit with you at the wedding. Personally we have had second partners on the top table which caused no problems to anyone. I would insist on a show of solidarity from my husband. I would be inclined not to go in the circumstances that you describe. With regards to the money, you got rid of other demands so you did get something out of it. Time to let your anger go on that one. That's the thing with second marriages when children are involved, the ex's still pop up from time to time.

sodapop Fri 24-Jan-20 08:53:18

Only you can move on Emilymaria and decide that you have devoted enough time to resenting your husband's ex wife and its time to enjoy your life. You are wasting so much time and energy on this woman but surely your husband could have done more to improve things.
I paid off some debts from my husband's ex to get a clean break settlement. It's done and we must all get on with things.

It seems a bit harsh that you are excluded from top table at the wedding but again I feel your husband is not being as supportive as he could be. I hope you can put this behind you and enjoy your life without resentment.

maryhoffman37 Fri 24-Jan-20 10:36:57

Why on earth did you do that? It is incomprehensible to me. But since you did, you have to try and forget it.

crazygranny Fri 24-Jan-20 10:40:11

Please don't feel badly about the grown up children. From experience I know that there are only two tickets given for family to attend graduation and the whiney woman wouldn't pass up the chance of being there so you could go. The same probably applies to the wedding. That woman probably kicks up such a stink that they make sure you're invited but can't do any more without hearing her go on about it forever. After all, she's got nothing else to do!
I'm sorry you have given up so much to her but don't let her poison your relationship with the children. They probably know exactly what she really is. It's not that they want to hurt you. They are probably more than grateful for your easy going approach to dealing with the whiner - but how would they say that without admitting what a pain their mother is?

newnanny Fri 24-Jan-20 10:45:48

When my dd got married she had me her Mum and second husband, her Dsd and his new partnrr, grooms Mum and second husband and grooms dad and second wife all on round tables surrounding small topntable for just bride, groom and bridesmaids and best man and flower girl. There is always ways a way. Your dh should sit with you no question about that, wherever you are seated. He should dance with you too but would also be required to dance with mother of groom. No need at all for him to dance with ex wife. Youbdhould not have given his ex wife uour inheritance, you now know that but itvtoo late to do anyghing about it now. Move on and in time you could look forwsrd to relationship with husbands grandchildren. Make sure you establish right from birth yoh will be known as nanny Emily. Tell you dh in advance he must support you in this. If/when any of his children get pregnant tell them also before ex wife dan put stop to it.

tickingbird Fri 24-Jan-20 10:46:17

I cannot for the life of me understand why you gave this money to her. I understand your feelings of anger and resentment totally but it is true that if you lay down like a doormat you’ll be treated like one. This woman knows she had no right whatsoever to any share in your inheritance but chanced her arm because, at some level, she knew you’d give in. I’m also interested as to how she even knew about it. I wouldn’t be sharing that much information with your husband’s side of the family I’m afraid. Try to let it go now as difficult as it must be and play your cards far closer to your chest from now on. Good luck.

TrendyNannie6 Fri 24-Jan-20 10:46:56

I am shocked you gave her money. Obviously hoped for a quiet life. There’s no way I would have done that, and why didn’t your husband try and stop you. Well it’s done now, you have to put it all to the back of your mind, what’s done is done.

Rosina Fri 24-Jan-20 10:47:15

When we are under pressure and emotions are running high, it's easy to take decisions that seem to be a quick fix /good idea - and they can be disastrous mistakes. Believe me, I have the T shirt for several of these occasions. They can't be undone, so it is vital that you erase this from your mind and don't let it keep gnawing at you. I do think your husband should sit with you at the wedding, or insist that you sit with him at the top table. If neither happens, then go, smile and laugh, and show the ex that she can't upset you with petty spitefullness. Let it all go - you cannot change the bad behaviour of others but if they can't see it having any effect, then they are frustrated and they have failed. It is all in your hands - good luck.

Babsbada Fri 24-Jan-20 10:52:30

Your husband sounds less than supportive. You should sit together at the wedding and if that means you're not at the top table then neither should be be. Look great, buy yourself something lovely and socialize. Not an easy situation but don't allow bitterness to wreck your day.

Hellsbelles Fri 24-Jan-20 10:57:56

Sounds like it was a good few years ago.
That time has gone, and likely so has the money.
You have spent years being aggrieved over this. THIS is the real shame. You have allowed her to get under your skin all this time and it still gets you now. For your own health ,let it go.

Bluegrass Fri 24-Jan-20 10:58:09

Your decision to give some of your inheritance seemed right to you at the time. We can look back with regret but should tell ourselves 'I did my best' and now it's time to accept that once and for all. You are dwelling on this and other matters because you aren't happy at the moment. Try to think positive and use some of the advice of others. I hope you'll soon be feeling happier.

Bluegrass Fri 24-Jan-20 10:59:29

I'm not sure, if my postings are seen, could someone please respond to this to confirm? Thank you!

Lucasmema Fri 24-Jan-20 11:00:11

I have walked the same route in the same shoes.
The only difference was it was an inheritance from my grandma.
My story differs very slightly and this is where the problems/control/etc come into play.
My ex husband is married to my husbands ex wife, who is the biggest liar and manipulator who ever walked this earth.
They had an affair for 3 years before I threw him out and I had two children of 3 1/2 yrs and 9 months. They engineered a friendship between my now husband and I, as they were going to swan off and leave us with 5 children and a mountain of debt.
Since then she has lied about cancer twice to her teenage children
Lost two homes
Been evicted from her business they ran
Been declared bankrupt
Destroyed her children’s business
Destroyed the relationship between my two now adult children and their father.
She has manipulated her way through life but has always used her children with my current husband against him to get what she wants.
I feel for you, but you have to let it go before it destroys you.

Lucasmema Fri 24-Jan-20 11:00:55

@bluegrass I can see your posts

Notthatoldyet9 Fri 24-Jan-20 11:02:36

Well yes, but you know yourself it is more about your bitterness than her
You made a choice to in effect pay her off and it did not give you the feeling you wanted
Where is he in all this ?