My boyfriend’s ex-wife does not want me at her daughter’s birthday party. She feels “uncomfortable” and “not ready to meet me,” as my boyfriend has just told me. (She’s also told her children this.) I’ve been dating him for a year now, and my daughter, his kids and I are now “blended.” They sleep over often. We hang out often. There are plans for him and his kids to move in with my daughter and me. (He has 50 percent custody.) There are a number of feelings I have about her not wanting me at her daughter’s birthday party, even though her daughter wants my daughter and me to be there.
Ironically, none of my feelings towards my boyfriend’s ex-wife are negative. When it comes to ex-wives, I’m now an anti-Mommy Wars mommy. Probably, and most likely, this is because I’m still traumatized by my previous boyfriend’s ex-wife, who didn’t quite understand that they were divorced. Once, unknowingly to her, she met one of my best friends at a lunch, and opened up to her that she didn’t understand why they ever broke up and how close they still were. My friend, of course, called me immediately to tell me she was still obsessed with him. There were other annoyances, to say the least, with this ex-wife. Even though we were well into our relationship, this ex-wife still asked my then boyfriend to drive her to the airport when she went on business trips. She also found him a place to live, along with a decorator.
Once, I walked into his place, and there was a fresh vase of flowers – from her (which means she had a key to his place). She also had a knack of telling people – we travel, sort of, in the same social circle – that I “stole” him and had an affair with him while they were still together (swear on my daughter’s life, this is not true. When we got together, they were separated). It annoyed me to no end how that boyfriend couldn’t just tell her to bugger off. And, though, he did tell her that he was with me, she continued to invite him over for dinner and prepare his favorite foods.
When he and I broke up and I met my now boyfriend, I was relieved (an understatement) that his ex-wife lived a 40-minute drive away. I would never run into her, we didn’t hang out in the same social circle, and I knew nothing about her. That’s how I wanted it to stay. Anyone who has been through a divorce, or is separated, know that emotions take over rational thought, and depending on the person, these emotions can get in the way for a very long time.
When I visited my lawyer to get a cohabitation agreement for my boyfriend for when he moves in (I’m realistic about relationships now, and know that often they do not work out, even if you have the best intentions; I wanted it on paper that what’s mine is mine, and what’s his is his, and that he could never come after me for my house or support), my lawyer suggested that I speak to his soon-to-be ex-wife to let her know that her children are in good hands with me, and perhaps even invite her over to see where her children will be staying. I am not opposed to this idea (even though I want to wait as long as possible for this to happen).
As a mother myself, I understand how other mothers feel about their children. When my boyfriend was annoyed, to put it mildly, that his ex didn’t want me (or my daughter) at her daughter’s birthday party, I was the voice of reason. I told him I understood, because if my ex brought a woman to my daughter’s birthday party, and I had never met her before, I too would feel uncomfortable. I explained that the day was about his daughter, and why add drama to her day? A meeting with his ex-wife could wait for a more appropriate setting. As I said, “She’s uncomfortable with it, which means I’ll be uncomfortable, which will make you uncomfortable. Who needs three adults being uncomfortable?”
I don’t know anything about his ex-wife, aside from what he tells me (more often than not, they are not glowing descriptions, as is the case with going through a divorce) but, still, I understand, because I am a woman and a mother, why she isn’t happy that a new woman (me) is in her children’s life. I suppose, when and if I meet her, what I’d like to say is that I have no intention of taking over her role, that her children will be taken care of, and that I will make sure they are happy. I realize she may never like me. That is okay. For my part, I don’t really have any opinion of her, except that it does affect me when she upsets my boyfriend, because I love him.
My boyfriend, I know, is truly committed to me and, as I’ve explained to him, I need to take his ex-wife’s lead on whether she wants to meet me or not and when. At the end of the day, as mothers, we want what’s best for our children. I can only hope that she wants what’s best for her children, without bitterness getting in the way that her ex has moved on. One of my friends, who got married to a man with two children, received flowers one Mother’s Day, from his ex-wife. The card read, “Thank you for taking care of my children when they are with you.” I don’t expect flowers. But I do expect my boyfriend to bring me back a piece of cake from the birthday party that I will not attend.