…but maybe you should have told me about my daughter’s new stepmother? A letter writer is dumbfounded when her ex gets married again without telling her.
Be the grown-up, advises our elder.
I am in need of some sound advice. I do not have a great relationship with my oldest’s father. When I mean by not great, it’s practically non-existent. We only communicate about our child and it’s via email. I recently found out that he remarried and he has yet to tell me. I am upset. Not because he remarried but because he did not have enough respect to let me know before hand. Hell, I was not even introduced to the woman who is around my daughter. She herself has not reached out to me to have any type of conversation. His first wife was absolute nightmare, and I bet she would probably say the same thing about me. We did not get along at all; it was due to the fact that my child’s father was lying and making the situation worse than what it actually need to be. I have to admit I was very immature at the beginning because I was still hurt. I tried to be cordial with her and reach out to her to squash the whole thing but nothing ever seems to work. I did the same thing with him and there was no resolution. So I just stopped entertaining their BS. Now fast forward to the situation at hand. How do I handle this? Do I reach out to them or just sit back and wait? And the answer is sit back and wait, how do I not let this anger fester inside me. All I want is to be respected as my daughter’s mother. I’m not asking to be friends; I do not even mind my daughter having a relationship with her. As far as I am concerned, she now has someone who is going to love and support her. I am really just tired of being disrespected. I do not want to create a mess or stir up any drama. Help!
You are absolutely right to be upset. Since you and your ex share custody of your daughter, he should have not only have let you know that he had remarried but he should also have arranged an introduction between you and his new wife. His failure to do so, however, says way more about his own boorishness and immaturity than it says about any disrespect for you.
Although it would have been both appropriate and gracious for the new wife to have reached out to you independent of your ex, I don’t think she deserves the same blame for failing to do so as he does. It is his responsibility — not hers — to inform you about any change in his circumstances that could potentially affect your child — and your ex’s remarriage certainly counts as such a circumstance. For all you know though, the new wife may have urged your ex to let you know about their marriage. He may have refused. Or he may have told her he would do so and then just never got around to it. As a new wife, she probably did not want to rock the boat by either intervening in his relationship with you or contradicting his wishes. In short, I think you should cut her a break.
I don’t blame you for being angry at your ex’s childishness in not telling you about his marriage. But for the sake of your daughter, my advice is to handle the situation going forward with more class than he has. Instead of stooping to his level, I suggest you model the kind of behavior you expect from him. In other words, show him how a mature, responsible adult behaves. To this end: email him congratulations on his wedding; then mention you would welcome the chance to meet — or at least talk to — his new wife, so that you can share information with her about your daughter. When you speak with New Wife, offer her your best wishes on her marriage and let her know that you appreciate the role she will play in your daughter’s life. Keep any conversation you have with her short and cordial, and never say anything about your ex to her (or about your ex’s ex, the woman you didn’t get along with). You regret allowing your ex’s ex to bait you into bad behavior. And you for sure don’t want your relationship with New Wife to turn into the sustained nightmare that your relationship with Ex-Wife was. To keep this from happening, it’s important that you try to control your anger. You are completely justified in feeling the way you do, but vent to your friends or vent to us here at EWC, and try to keep a civil tongue in your head when you communicate with your lying ex. If you treat your ex with respect even if he doesn’t deserve it, he may be shamed into finally giving you the respect you do deserve.
I hope this helps. We are always here if you’d like to talk more about this. Please write back and let me know how things go. I will be rooting for you.
Letter #: 430923