“Why does my husband’s ex-wife hate me?”

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Why does my husband's ex-wife hate me**Join us for the Stepmom Sanctuary Retreat 2017! 

Read this article and the nearly 800 comments it generated on Huffington Post!

Countless stepmoms can’t understand why their partner’s ex refuses to acknowledge them or treat them with basic human decency. They continually ask “Why does my husband’s ex-wife hate me? I’ve never done anything to her.”

And the truth is, not all exes who act out are high-conflict. Some just have a hard time adjusting to a new reality that includes a stepmom. So here is a list of the most common reasons your husband’s ex acts like she hates you.

1. She doesn’t hate you, she hates what you represent: The failure of her marriage, the break up of her family, the woman her ex-husband became a better man for, the fear that she might have ruined her child’s life by not being able to make the marriage work.

2. She’s afraid her kids will love you more than they love her. An irrational fear, as the chances of that happening are basically nil, but a common fear nonetheless.

3. She perceives you as overstepping boundaries.  This could include showing up at a parent-teacher conference, forcing the kids to call you mom (yes, that does actually happen), calling the kids “mine,” posting pictures of the kids on your Facebook page, trying to co-parent with her by responding to messages sent to your husband, etc…

4. She perceives you as overstepping boundaries by participating in events she believes are reserved for “mom” and participating in events not only reserved for mom, but that are “firsts.”  These might include: taking your stepdaughter to buy her first bra or getting her first haircut; participating in any sort of cosmetic experience (hair color/new hair style/ mani-pedi day); talking to her about the birds and the bees; painting her nails or coloring/cutting her hair the way you like it or similar to yours (even if your step is a teen and she requests this, it could still push mom’s buttons).

Think of any sort of milestone and you can be sure that mom wants to be there for it.

5. She has unresolved grief about her divorce. For a long time she could just ignore the painful feelings that accompany divorce. She didn’t really have to face it. She may even be remarried, but never actually grieved the loss of her marriage and family. Enter stepmom, and suddenly it’s real and it’s in her face.

6. You act as a mirror for her. When she looks at your strengths, all she sees are her weaknesses.  If she never thought she was a good business woman and you own your own business, that insecurity is magnified. Same could be said for your intelligence, physical appearance, age, housekeeping skills, creativity, fashion sense, how much her kids enjoy being around you and your happy marriage.

7. She perceives you as doing all the parenting while dad is “let off the hook.” Stepmoms often help their husbands out with household duties and life in general. That’s what a marriage is all about: partnership. You shuttle the kids back and forth to school or help with homework, you schedule appointments, etc… Often this has to do with gender roles, but all mom sees is that at her house she’s doing all the work while at yours you’re taking care of the kids and dad “does nothing but works.

8. Now that you’ve come along, dad is asking for more parenting time. With your support, your husband may now see that he should exercise his visitation more or that he’s now able to provide more stability for his kids. In turn, he requests more parenting time and/or parental input.  You’d think this would be a good thing, but this change in dynamic can be threatening and/or scary for mom. Not everyone likes change. It’s easy for her to pinpoint your presence as being responsible for this.

9. She doesn’t know you. When mom sends her kids off to be with their dad, and this woman she doesn’t even know will have full access to them, she can feel like she’s being a bad parent. She doesn’t automatically trust you just because dad does. But at the same time,  she doesn’t necessarily want to meet you. A no-win situation for all involved.

10. She sees her ex-husband being a different man with you.  It can be painful to see the man you think treated you so poorly, treating another women like a princess. She might think he’s being a fraud, or she might think “Why wasn’t I worthy of being treated like that?” She might still be grieving the loss of her marriage while he’s moved on. It’s nearly impossible for her to have good feelings towards you when she’s still processing – or in denial of – the loss of her family.

11. You actually did something worthy of her negative feelings:  Are you consciously or subconsciously trying to make her look like a bad mom? Are you trying to prove to your husband that you’re a better wife than she was? Are you trying to make your stepkids love you more than they love her? Do you try to show her up in any way? Do you want the school faculty, PTA or your neighborhood moms to think you’re a better caretaker than she is?  Take a look at your behavior and your motivations. You’re going to have to be honest with yourself to see how you might be contributing to the high-conflict dynamic.

© 2012 Jenna Korf    All Rights Reserved

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128 thoughts on ““Why does my husband’s ex-wife hate me?”

  1. I don’t think you missed any at all. This is really a great post. A good reminder that, most of the time, it’s not about us. I think all stepmoms should keep this list on hand; it will definitely help us shrug (or be compassionate) and move on if she’s acting up.

  2. Those are 95% right! Aside from the reason about actually trying to get the bio mom to hate , those are all the bio moms issues and have nothing to do with the love and care of the kids. The bio mom needs to really truly honestly take a look at why she hates and she would see its not the stepmom it’s her jealousy and insecurity! Why would any woman not want people to love and care for their child as she does!? The onus shouldn’t have to just be on the stepmom to watch her “boundaries” the bio mom also needs to be more reasonable and see things for what they actually are, not what she makes them out to be….Check out Huffington Post Live and read article on divorce and “How i stopped hating my ex’s wife”….(stepmom dealing with very confrontational and unreasonable bio moms issues)

    • I agree with you completely! I’ve been accused of doing too much, trying to be the mom… So I backed off a little and then was accused of not caring enough! It’s a no-win situation for the adults, but the kids are the ones who matter anyway. I made a decision to not ever hold back on the love, or attention, or care I provide them. You would think the bio mom would be happy to see her kids so loved, instead of threatened by it.

      • Yes, one would think that they would be appreciative and happy that their kids are handled in such loving manner vs tossed aside. My husbands ex stepped over boundaries many times..He wouldn’t say anything to her cause as he claimed “he didn’t want drama” I told him you are enabling it so it continued until he got tired of it. Then I was hated on cause I did better then her as their stepmom then their own mom…Yet if I was a not caring stepmom I would still be hated upon. So honestly just do your best for those kids. They will see who and what as they grow up.

        • Sometimes the ex wife is just so bitter and miserable with her own life, she becomes determined to make her ex husbands life miserable and anyone he tries to move on with.
          My exhusband remarried an amazing woman. She loves my daughter, and cares for her. I know my child is safe when she goes to visit her dad. AND THAT IS MY ONLY CONCERN. MY CHILDS WELLBEING.
          My husbands ex wife on the other is bat sh*t crazy. She doesn’t care for the happiness of her children. She is hell bent on making sure the father of her children is miserable if he refuses to meet her insane demands – and her demands are constant and unrealistic. The fewest text she will text my husband in a day is about 30. But there have been days when he has received up to 100 text. While he is busy working, and she is sitting on her keister with nothing better to do.
          The craziest thing about it is, SHE WAS THE ONE WHO WAS having an affair with a much older man, and married that man as soon as the divorce was final. And that was not the first time she cheAted. My husband forgave her many times, but there came a point he just couldn’t continue living that way anymore. So he chose to end the marriage, and she was livid about it.
          Obviously only someone who is completely out if touch with reality would believe in their own unstable mind that it was ‘ok’ for her to be married and financially supported but also have other men on the side, and never come home, leaving her husband to take care of babies… So of course whoever her ex decided to move on with (me) she HATES. Because she knew that the control she always had on him would end. And if did.
          Now my situation is very crazy. My husbands ex had been diagnosed with being bi-polar, and having a borderline personality disorder. Me personally, I think she is a female sociopath…

          • Oh my word! I am in very similar situation. My husbands ex-wife is also bipolar with personality disorder! What a life we lead! Some days are fine and she wants to be my best friend and other days she says or texts the most vile things and even speaks negatively about my me & husband to the children (ages 11&13). What is even worse is that she torments the older child and that child is on the verge of living with us permanently. “Mom” doesn’t realize she is pushing her children away! We live a very good life and the children see a loving relationship and live in a beautiful home that is organized. They are on a schedule and enjoy helping keep their rooms clean. I cook 3 meals a day and I really try to compensate for her shortcomings. At “moms” house they live in a messy, unorganized, cluttered mess with pets. They eat take-out almost everyday and they do not go to bed at a consistent time. Sharing custody with “mom” and having the children go back and forth from such extreme home environments is stressful for them. She even makes an issue out of the clothing that they wear from her house. She writes HER name on them! They surprisingly are well-adjusted and are “A” students in school. I want what’s best for them and protect them from their own mother but it’s so stressful. There is SOOOO much more but you get the idea.

            How are you dealing with this? I’m stressed from it daily!

          • Wow! I have three children and my fiancé has two. His ex had an affair for two years; during that time, she mostly vanished. Then they separated and divorced and she was still mostly gone. The youngest was in Kindergarten during the finalization and has all the classic symptoms of abandonment. My fiancé tried very hard and even had live-in help, but was emotionally wounded and constantly battling her unreasonable demands when she would come into town. He lost two nannies and a job because of the shenanigans. But still, she was mostly gone and would just float in and cause disruption.
            Now, however, she has become a full-on nightmare. She has a complete and total feud with me and even though they are on their 6th court-ordered Parenting Plan, she still refuses to follow it and brings constant chaos to the children’s lives. I’m heavily invested in these 5 children and love them all, but I fear my own children don’t deserve the problems she brings and I most-certainly don’t need the anxiety and stress.
            I’m at the point of thinking it’s best to just leave. I think I make her worse than she would be (not that i blame myself, just saying she HATES me with a passion) if I weren’t here. I also fear that these two sweet children are going to be so broken and hurt that there might not be much recovery until they’re much older. I’m just not sure I want my children to have to deal with the fallout. I’m not sure I want to. I already spend loads of time and energy trying to negate her actions, but I feel it is a loss.

      • I just found this blog and I have been a stepmom (aka step-monster) for 15 years, of which the ex wife has remarried no less that 4 times. My beautiful daughter (I have always considered her mine…not a step) is now almost 18 (two months to go) and I am hoping things will get better once she is but the closer it gets it seems the more antagonistic and nasty the ex gets. I love reading these blogs. It really makes me feel like i’m not alone and that I am not crazy or doing something wrong but that’s it’s something in her that is wrong. She is now trying to block all communications (i.e. daily good morning, I love you, and have a great day texts) that my daughter an I have have always have.

        As a bio mom and an ex, I have always made it a point to treat my son’s step mothers (again there’s been a few for him too) as an asset a partner in raising him and I don’t understand ex’s that don’t do the same. I mean for goodness sake, a step mom or dad is just another person trying to love and help raise your child.

    • I actually got along with her until she overstepped boundaries like smoking in the car and having my daughter perform day care services for her.

    • I definately and full heartedly agree that boundaries should be on both sides. After knowing my bf (now husband) for 1year I took the time and stepped forward to get to know his ex. Figured she has heard about me. He was “friends” with her. And since he has two kids with her, like it or not she will be a part of my life if I move forward in life witwith this man. She OVERLY OVER STEPPED HER BOUNDARIES many times. At that time I didn’t realize it until it became your obvious. When he started staying over on the weekends, he would start to get unnecessary texts and calls from her. Just to chat.. She knew when he would be coming over. In all this, my bf was the one to blame honestly. He is the one that should have pulled those lines and boundaries and stopped her from crossing it. He didn’t, damaged my trust eventually. We worked thru it and he realized that he doesn’t need to make her happy, her moments gone… It’s my time now…yes respect her, but don’t let her take over our life’s…
      We have come a long way now. She still has her issues with me but I keep my head up and don’t let her get to me. I am here to stay.. I never speak ill of her to her kids or anything, I do what a mother does, hairs, showers teaching them values, helping with homework.. What’s funny is the kids themselves tell me “mommy doesn’t do that with us” playing etc…as long as I am doing right by my husband and his/out kids that’s all that matters

  3. I especially liked number 6. And I do think it’s accurate. Which isn’t to say I don’t have insecurities that pop up when I see her too!

    • I definitely agree with you on #6. I know for a fact my husbands ex wife hates me because I am about 17 years younger than her. I am thin, and I am a go-getter. Until I entered the picture she did nothing. Kids stayed with grandmother and friends. She disappeared for days at a time, was really messed up on drugs, and even had to go to a “mental rehabilitation” center in Florida for her drugs and bi-polar issues. She isn’t bi-polar. She is just a bad person with malicious intentions. She hates me and her ex more than she loves her own kids. I get along great with my childs step mother and my ex husband. We respect each other’s boundaries. My husbands ex wife text him 10 + times a day. And the more she texts and violates his personal space the less he responds to the nonsense. I actually respected her when we first married. She use to have a respectable job. But when she started lies about me to my kids school I realized I wasn’t dealing with a normal woman. This lady wanted to destroy me. All because of jealousy. She post slander about me on twitter. And even said I was jealous of her because I thought she wanted her ex husband back. Lol! Never thought that, and even if she did i wouldn’t care. I would laugh. After cheating on him with every Tom, dick and Harry in town. No one wants her

    • Melissa,
      Yes I agree with you. 6 is accurate, in my experience as well. But I do not have any insecurities when I see my husband ex wife. She has been on a downward spiral for about 10 years now. She was forced to go to treatment center, we still don’t know if it was for her mental issues or drug issues. Her mother threatened to stop supporting her if she did not go. (She is 47 by the way – and has not had a job for 14 years). She claims to have her life in order and is writing a murder mystery novel (been claiming this for 5 years – yet to see any book though)
      You know you are dealing with an insecure person/parent when they get angry at you for being nice to their children. It is true insanity when a bio-mom is so insecure in her own mothering skills, that she begins to hate the new wife, because her children like “dads new wife”.
      I am so grateful for my daughters step mom. She genuinely loves my daughter, treats her good, and I feel my daughter is safe when she goes to my ex husbands (my daughter father) home. And it is because of the awesome woman my ex husband married.
      Unfortunately the same cannot be said for my husband Ex wife. She has been nothing but conniving, and difficult. Before we hit married, she rarely saw her own children. She had them at her sisters, or with a friend of hers who had children of similar age. She basically alienated all those people, and her mother had to start paying the friend to pick up the kids, keep them, etc.
      Then I entered the picture. My husbands ex was remarried already.
      I genuinely wanted to help my husband who works 24/7, and was trying to raise 2 kids with no help from their mother. I never wanted to be the kids mother, THEY HAD A MOTHER, just a very dysfunctional one. But as soon as she found out that her “friend” wasn’t keeping the kids anymore, and they were spending more time at dads, she decided to be a mom to them. Basically her intentions were malicious. She only stepped up because of her insecurities, she was afraid her children might actually be happy at their dads… To me, that indicates a very bad individual. My concern is for my child’s safety and happiness. Her concern has only ever been to make sure her ex husband was unhappy, and that everyone believed she was MOM OF THE YEAR.. but no one has ever thought that. She just keeps getting crazier. Luckily the kids have gotten older and see through it all..

  4. I don’t hate my ex-husband’s wife but she sure hates me (as does he) so that probably explains it. She is welcome to him. And it’s been 15+ years. About time to have gotten over it, no?

  5. Did your husband’s ex help him through school, help him get established in his career, put her own goals on hold to start and raise a family and then see him walk off with his higher earning potential to move a younger woman who hasn’t paid those dues into a nice, new, more expensive home while she is middle aged with kids, long out of the job market and has little prospect of finding a new partner? Maybe it’s that.

    • I get so tired of hearing the ‘woe am I’ stories from the first wives who ‘sacrificed so much’ for their ex-husband. No wonder their husband’s leave them; because they are relentless victims who are hacked off that the bank up and left them. There are plenty of women who get married, have children and maintain a balanced relationship, maintain a career and financial independence. The issue, as I see it, is most ex-wives I have seen are bitter because THEY MADE THE CHOICE, of their own volition, to have children and stay home to raise them. Most of the women I know were bored with their careers and wanted babies and their ex-husbands gave them a pretty nice stay home life, raising kids, going to yoga and coffee dates with girlfriends. Then, when their husband meets a nice women who is not draining their bank account and bleating on about how much she has sacrificed, they think, that seems like a better deal.

      • You’re in denial. Some of us WERE the BANK, were beautiful, hard working, great wives and moms and HE was a selfish idiot who put on a good front to get us. He left when we wanted LOVE in return and knew he could pick another woman from the endless chain of commodity women in denial, like you.

        • I’m sick of hearing the woe is me from first wives, bio moms too!
          If your ExHusband remarries a woman who CARES about your children and treats them kindly – shut the F up!
          Be a little grateful that this woman wants your kids around and wants to help. Get off your high horse, stop believing that because you were able to reproduce, that you are entitled to control your ex husband with these kids until HE DIES (for God sakes, Mosquitos REPRODUCE! It ain’t that hard to do) You are not special!
          I personally am so grateful for my ExHusbands new wife! Why? Because she treats my daughter good, and loves her. I do not want my child going to her dads and being treated like the red headed step kid! I want her to feel accepted.
          I have a question for All YOU BITTER EX’s AND BIO MOMS? Would you prefer it if the new wife hated your children, and excluded them from their life, therefore making their time with their father miserable? (Some of you miserable ex wives probably secretly want that because you want your children to be miserable just so your ex and his new wife can be Miserable as well – because you realize that both are empathetic people, and empathetic people actually are sad and miserable when they see children in pain {emotional and physical})
          TOO ME THAT IS SICK!
          My husbands ex wife is a soulless greedy pathetic excuse for a mother and human being. She is one of the most hateful individuals that I have ever met in my 35 years on this earth!

          • Just wondering how you cope when you see her. You have basically just described my husbands ex and I am struggling to deal with her hateful ways. She is always asking my husband to have the kids while she goes away for work or wants to go out, which means I’m the one looking after the kids. I can’t help feel that I am doing her a favor and in turn she is just a nasty person to me. I have tried to just be civil to her but she won’t have a bar of it. It makes me really angry when I do so much for the kids and I love them and she can’t even acknowledge my existence. Any advice??

      • I’m sick to death of the woe is me from the ex wife. Some ex wife’s move on and their ONLY care is for the children. Then there are the super crazy ones like my husbands who couldn’t careless if the children are happy. Just as long as they hate me, and me and my husband are miserable. The kids used to like me at first. And then their mother found out they actually liked me, and they were happy, and she got insecure and started spreading rumors and started telling them horrible things about me. And they of course distanced himself from me. They believe their mother. Because she is their mother . I finally realized there was no point in me trying so hard anymore. The more I tried, the more she made my life unbearable. So now we have a awkward family dynamic. If you even want to call it that. My husband’s ex-wife has even told the children awful things about my young daughter. And so now my stepchildren do not speak to my daughter. And my daughter doesn’t care, and doesn’t speak to them . And it’s all very messed up for the children involved. But I realized I could not beat crazy + evil

        • Merry…I totally agree with you I am in the same boat, I feel your pain. Don’t let her idiocy ruin your life, one day the kids will see her for what she is and they will realize they were wrong about you.

          • Merry and Sandy – I agree, try not to let the crazy ex ruin your life. Stay mellow and kind. I have tried to stay calm and that approach has helped lots! Just yesterday my step daughter told me she appreciated that I am happy to see her when she visits. As Jenna has suggested, the book Divorce Poison is very helpful. Once I began to learn about bio mom’s point of view, and the tactics to tackle alienation I have calmed down a lot.

    • I don’t see what your ex being a cad has to with his new wife. I can see being angry with him, but why hate his new wife for it?

  6. Sounds like my life, minus my husband going through a divorce since him and his ex were never married. I always try to see her side of things, like how would I feel in her shoes, but at the same time she lacks the maternal aspect of being a mom. I can’t help but pick up the slack for my stepkids well-being. She may be a mother, but she isn’t a mom.

    • Sounds like my husband’s ex, she got the kids taken by CPS, but is mad that I show up at school events, and that they live with us. She only gets weekends and one day a week for 3 hours but lets everyone believe they are just visiting us. Some people are just loons and can’t let go.

    • Exactly! Same in my situation. When I entered the picture, my husband was working so hard to pay this woman $3200 a month, when the kids were never even with her. The money wasn’t going toward anything for them. He would buy schools clothes, pay for extra curricular activities, pay for anything they need. Yet still cutting her a check, that she uses to buy a bucket of prescription pills with.
      I felt it was the right thing to do, to interact with the kids, and show an interest in them. I have a daughter from a previous marriage and my ex husband has remarried and moved on, as have I.
      I like his new wife! She treats my daughter with love and care. And that is important to me. I respect her and am grateful my ex husband found such a kind woman to marry.
      Unfortunately my husbands ex is not thankful that I am kind towards her children. Did she want me to treat them like i didn’t like them? Make them feel like they are not wanted?? I think they feel enough of that by their own mother, who doesn’t have any maternal side, unless she feels her kids are happy with their dad and me “the new wife”. Then a maternal side shows up (if you want to call it that, we usually refer to it as her mask).

  7. I’ll give you one more – my ex’s girlfriends (yes, multiples, all who think they are “the one” and bend over backwards trying to rove it) completely enable him and allow him to make my life hell. He has two that he’s gone back and forth between, playing them against me, and them against each other, but all the while these women pay his bills, while he doesn’t work, because he’s busy “fighting for his daughter!” – he’s over $15k in arrears in child support (with a lousy $535 a month obligation) and yet these women pay his bills, take care of his child, forgive his infidelities…… and then don’t understand why I’m not just thrilled to see them at school functions??? Why her boyfriend can call repeated court hearings (of course, to be fair, I’m sure he tells them that it is ME calling the hearing) – costing me missed work and thousands of $$ in attorney fees – but it’s all supposed to be ok because they smile and try to be friendly to me at school functions they don’t even have any business being at? I’m sorry – when you support a man who is a deadbeat dad, who does not pay child support in addition to dragging mom to court 4-5 times a year, I don’t care how nice you are to my child, you are NOT acting in the child’s best interest. Supporting a man who willingly and proudly does not support his children is definitely going to make me not like you – whether your my kids stepmother or not. To all stepmothers (and wanna be stepmothers) who just constantly hear about how horrible the BM is, it would pay to take a look at the man you married or want to marry and remember, there are two sides to every story.

    • Sounds like you are bitter. And just need to move on with your life… You can’t change your ex husband. You can’t control him. You can only control YOU. The truth will always come out. Stop using every ounce of energy you have, thinking about your ex and his girlfriends. Make sure you have a good attorney if he is fighting for sole custody. If he just wants to see his child, I think that he should be able to, unless he is a pedophile, or addicted to dangerous drugs, or is a known alcoholic and will drink and drive with your child in the car. As far as his “multiple” girlfriends. That is not your business. Remember you are not with his, so he can have as many as he wants, and if they don’t know about each other, then Who the f**k cares?!? It shouldn’t be your problem anymore.
      You have to let go of obsessing over his girlfriends, and his life. Consider him to be their problem now, and be happy you are rid of him.. If they show up at school things, who cares. That just means that your child has lots of people who show up for her and care. Some children have no parent show up for their activities. You will never move on and find the happiness you deserve if you can’t let go of obsessing what/who the ex is doing.
      And please don’t get offended by my advice. I am genuinely trying to help you so that you have a chance at happiness. When you are not happy your child feels it and suffers as well

    • Yeah – Andi I wish other women who are smitten with biodad would do the homework on what they are getting themselves into. so many guys are just bad news. Good luck!

  8. Okay, so we all know the issues, but I would venture to say that most step-mom’s want to be able to be able to talk to the bio-mom, and want to be able to be civil especially for the sake of the children. So how do we fix this? How can a step-mom approach a bio-mom to discuss these things? I’ve tried twice now and both times my husband was blasted for for it, and she never responded to me.

    I totally understand that there should be boundaries, but how can you set boundaries when her idea of boundaries if to pretend that you don’t even exist… She tells her ex-husband and her children that I, along with my daughter and the rest of my family, will never be an important part of her children’s lives. She debates them on the fact that they now have a “sister” (step-sister). She tells them that her husband is a liar, and that he broke a promise to both her and her parents when they divorced. We get this from the 5-year old who brings up random things like this, and when we ask him where he heard it… it’s always “from mommy”…

    At what point do we stop being vilified?

    It’s unfortunate, but not every marriage makes it. It’s a fact. Heck… my marriage may not make it. I hate to look at it that way, but seriously… If my husband came home today and said, “I want a divorce”… what could I really do about that? Should I hate him for it? Should I hold onto that grudge and make everyone that associates with him guilty by association? That is what this woman AND her mother are doing… They treat everyone as if they do not exist. My husbands parents and family… guilty, our friends and neighbors… guilty… anyone that speaks to us… guilty. We’ve even had some of the kids friends parents stop speaking to us because of her… seriously… OMG! We are upstanding people with great jobs, loving families, and we love and care for our children. We take care of our homes and ourselves, and we would be more than willing to be civil to all of them (if not even friends!!). She talks to her ex because she has to… no other reason, and it’s brief and to the point… usually lambasting him for something, or requesting his W-2… ha!

    So again… my question… how do we fix this and forge a mutually beneficial relationship for the children, and for ourselves.

    Why can’t we all just get along? And if it’s her ex-husband she’s mad at, then why do I need to be guilty by mere association?

    • Hi Susan, unfortunately there are times when you’re not going to be able to fix anything and there is no chance to forge a relationship. She has to want it. She has to want to resolve conflict for the sake of the kids. If she doesn’t, no matter how hard you try, she will make you wrong and use it to build her case against you. The best thing you can do is these situations learn to accept the situation as is and know that you’re doing the best you can for the kids. Focus on yourself, your marriage, your family and all the good things in your life and remove her as much as possible from the equation of your happiness.

      • Unfortunately, that is the problem. Lots of step-mom’s out there saying how they would really like to work with the mom’s, but very few mom’s seeing past their own demons to realize that whatever happened between themselves and their husbands is not the fault of the children, or the step-mom. The more love an understanding in this world… the better off we’ll all be.

        • We have tired to get alone with my husband ex-wife for the pass three years now.. The three children lives with us now.. See gets the kids every other weekend. I have bent over backwards to let her see her kids even on his weekends.. An she still ain’t happy, since day one all she has done is cussed me and put my own three kids down, by saying the are dog shit ugly and her is fine as can be.. On Friday I meant up to drop the babies off to her, I got out to let her know the middle child was sick all week and tried to hand her the medication, the next thing I notice she start pushing her body against mine, and yelling in front of the kids I wish your daddy would just died, and saying how big his private parts are in front of the kids, ages 9,7,6 years old, I keep walking away and she keep jumping right back against my body with hers pushing against mine.. Then I finally got away, start walking back to my truck next thing I heard was her car engine racing loud and when I looked back I started almost running cause if I didn’t she would have smashed me in between her car and my truck, mind you she’s doing all this I. Front of the babies.. If she doesn’t get her way I the worst name in the book.. I just don’t know what to do anymore..I had to go get on medication cause I’m so stressed out over this!!! I need help

    • Believe me, for the past 8 years, I’ve tried talking calmly to bio mom, I get threats of police and plain ignoring and rude behavior. My husband gets told that ‘I didn’t have kids with your wife, I will not co-parent with her’ Some people cannot be reasoned with, I blame mental illness in this case!

  9. Ok – here is my situation and I am looking for any advice out there. I am stepmom and my husband and I have been together for 3 1/2 years and married for a little over 2. My husband’s ex has been nasty towards me(through texts to my husband) since the first time the kids came home and talked about me. I did not have children of my own so she constantly told my husband that I did not know anything about how to take care of children because I was not a mom and she thought I was always overstepping my boundaries because I was nice to the kids and tried to treat them as best as I could. I know am a mother and she still treats me the same way…so anyway, after my husband and I were married he wanted to have more time with his kids and even took a different job to help facilitate this. He asked his ex if he could see the kids more and she would never respond so he went to an attorney and asked to have papers drawn up to modify his visitation. We never heard anything from her and about 2 months later, just after our attorney sent her another letter my husband received a letter in the mail saying that his ex had filed a petition to move the kids out of state due to the fact that she was getting married. This went to court and my husband lost so now his kids live almost 1000 miles away and we see them 4 times a year. So even though she has gotten everything she wanted she is still very nasty to myself and my husband and she refuses to have any communication with me at all (which is fine because I would rather be ignored than be treated like crap). My stepkids are getting older and it is beginning to really have an effect on them because their mother talks horribly about both of us in front of the kids. I just want everything to be civil and for us to all get along on the rare occasions that we are together. My husband is losing his relationship with his kids and it is killing me to watch them cry and be so upset when they have to leave their dad and I just want to know what to do make it better???

    • Hi BLM, I’m sorry to hear that your husband’s kids are so far away. I highly recommend you read the book Divorce Poison by Richard Warshak. It’s a great guide on Parental Alienation Syndrome and other dynamics, such as one parent bashing the other parent in front of the children. It gives specific tools to use for different scenarios with the goal of keeping the relationship between the alienated parent and child intact. It even gives examples of what to say to the children. It’s a must-have resource for anyone in your situation.

  10. I really appreciated this posting and although all comments don’t necessarily fit our/my situation, many of them hit the nail right on it’s friggin head! I am both the BM (which I dispise saying because it triggers the words “bowel movement” for me) and the Step, of course in different situations. My fiance and I have been together for 5 1/2 years, he has 2 kids and my son’s father is remarried. So, I get the irrationability the Birth Ms go through as suggested in #1 and 2, but I also sometimes hate my boss and my job yet somehow find the will to hold back my frustrations in lieu of not loosing those things I’ve worked so hard to accomplish (Duh, right?). So why is it that we as Step Ms need to accept the Birth Ms irrationability seeping into their actions? Birth Ms, what’s up with not being able to take our own accoutability on this? I like how Jenna has pointed the perpetual finger at both “sides” ie 1&2 describe the emotional struggles of the Birth M then 3&4 follow it up with the “egging” on of the unaware Step M. Yes, can we not agree that we are both to blame? However, I can’t help but thinking of the process as the Birth M being upset at the situation and taking it out on the Steps as the figurative red-headed step children. Now, Birth Ms, before you light your torch and come after me in the middle of the night, I recognize that not ALL situations are like this and many Steps are to blame (Steps, you too please put away your torch lighter). We are all trying to “figure it out” but the Steps did not necessarily ask to be put in such a difficult spot and many never understood that it would be this difficult. When I look at, for example, #1 “she doesn’t hate you, she hates what you represent,” I can’t help but understand that feeling, but a fraction of a second later think, “well how is that the Steps doing?” Why is the Step expected to change her behaviors of overstepping, while the Birth M is supposed to be understood and poor behavior “allowed?” Really? It reminds me of how often times couples who have kids deal with maritial problems and the kids become the catalyst. It’s not the kids that are the problem, the maritial problems existed prior, however the kids are forcing the parents to confront them. I am really interested in seeing feedback on this. Again, I am both a Birth M, dealing with a Step M, as I am a Step M dealing with a Birth M. I find being a Step and having to take the fall the most challenging part.

    • I appreciate your comment and am glad you enjoyed this post, Collene. Two things I’d like to point out. One, you say that the stepmom didn’t ask to be put in such a difficult spot. That’s true, but isn’t it also true of moms? When they married and had children they didn’t expect to be getting divorced. And some say that with divorce it should be obvious that one day your ex will remarry. But the reality is that when a woman is going through a divorce, she’s not thinking about that. She’s trying to process a million other emotions and thinking down the road about a stepmom entering the picture just isn’t on her radar. So really, neither woman asked for this.

      The second point I want to make is that your reaction was like many others in thinking that this article was meant to be an “excuse” for the bad behavior. That was not the intention of it at all. It was simply to give a glimpse of what some moms are feeling and what is driving their behavior. I in no way advocate bad behavior or aggression or consider these reasons to be valid or rational “excuses.” 🙂

      Hope that helps!
      Jenna

  11. Hi Jenna! Thanks for your response – again I loved this article. Both points are noted and I agree.
    I’m really interested to see what the Birth Ms and the Step Ms who allow their emotions to govern their interactions have to say, as this is where my trouble lies. I do understand how my “parent in-law” feels and believe her feelings to be justified. I would like to focus on things I, as the Step M, can do to eventually lessen their effect on our family.

  12. Perfectly stated. I don’t want to be the primary mom. I don’t want to take charge. I just want the respect that comes from doing the right thing for the bet interest of the kids. I respond we’ll to positive reinforcement. Tell me that you understand this., and that you appreciate that I care enough about your kids to blend. Count your blessings that your ex picked a person like me.

  13. Numbers 3, 4, 7,8, and 11 hit the nail on the head for how have felt for the past year. I am the mom and this girl is the fiance, I don’t feel that giving a title of step mom is warranted until after you actually are married, personal belief. Anyway, I have been divorced for 5 years, and I have been remarried for 3 years. My problems began after the girl had been dating my kids father for 4 months, when she decided to refer to herself as the stepmom. first off, I feel that is a little unrational and unrealistic, they weren’t engaged, only dating.I never referred to my current husband as stepdad until he actually was that. The fact that my ex now wants to step up more as a parent is frustrating and I do blame her. He is almost 40 and she is in her mid 20’s. I feel as an adult and a parent, if he wanted to be involved with his kids more, he should have done that from the beginning, not just because she is in the picture now. He was engaged once before and nothing changed with that girl, who was 19. I actually liked her and we had no problems. She was his fiance, not trying to be my kids mom or step mom. The current fiance and I got along in the beginning, we as couples socialized together, but all of a sudden it all changed when one day the now fiance stepped over a line and I felt she stepped over a boundary. Be mindful, she too is a mother and is dealing with a step mom situation. From my knowledge of that situation, she tries to control everything and that is what I began experiencing in my situation, her attempt at control. She texts my preteen daughter talking with her almost everyday about teen stuff, she acts like her BFF vs a parent figure. She has lied on me several times to my ex and my current husband. My daughter shares information with her and then she takes it to my ex and then he calls and gripes me out, because she doesn’t feel that what I have said or done as a parent is appropriate. What does she know, she is barely an adult and has a 5 year old boy, she has raised a pre teen daughter and how I talk with and discipline my daughter is none of her business. The boundary issue is the largest for me and it focuses typically around my daughter because I have one and she doesn’t. Her constant contacting her via text, calling and facetiming her asking her to come hang out with just her, hacking my daughter’s instagram constantly and posting pictures of herself and changing my daughters status to say “your dad and ##### love you”. it is ridiculous!!!! I feel like I am dealing with a kid and I don’t know how to do that, cause it has led me to not only have no respect for her but to absolutely despise her. To try and resolve the issues on each side, I have been in counseling, there have been one on one meetings between me and my ex, group emails agreeing to different things, etc etc. For a week or so everything will go smooth then she will do something and it sets me off! My ex is NOT a man of his word, and neither is she. I don’t care for people like that and I am really struggling to make myself deal with either of them. On more than 2 occasions, and very recently, my ex has called or come to see me, and totally bitched about her. Saying she is crazy, that she wants him to try and get custody of my kids, he has said in these words “she wants to be the kids mom”, tells me that she freaks out when people mention my “family” but are ok when “their family” (her him and my kids) are referenced. She recently told someone that “she would feel better if they blocked me on Instagram”. When I am hearing these crazy ridiculous things from my ex and friends of mine, I don’t know how to deal with it? I feel like I am in high school again…..

    • Preach it, Sister. My ex was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Many of you will know what I went through without outlining it here. The last of my marriage was filled with agony. I was three months pregnancy when he confessed to sleeping with prostitutes. Needless to say, he was not at the birth. Later I successfully finished my career goals and was commissioned in the Navy and I am now doing very well. The child that was born last was diagnosed with severe autism. Thank God for Navy benefits. I provide 100% of all three sons’ needs. The Navy has provided many, many hours of therapy and been amazingly supportive, including being sensitive with my duty assignments. My ex contributed NOTHING for this child’s 8 years he has been alive.

      Now he’s met some nobody with a bad record that’s easy enough to look at online. She 35 and never been married and no kids. There’s a reason for this but “brilliant” guy isn’t getting this. Now all of a sudden he wants the kids to fly out and spend time with them now that they are playing house. We are Christian and agreed to support their spiritual development. I am a chaplain and conduct services on Sunday. So when I wasn’t taking them to church in town, he accused me of neglecting their spiritual development and that I was no longer a positive influence. Then he started taking them, which was fine if he wants to but then he developed this persona with the church. “Oh look its that poor single dad again who has an ex that won’t take her kids to church. He is so brave. He has to do so much” You should have seen the turnout to help him move house, the poor victim in all this.

      Now he thinks it ok for him to sleep with a woman he is not married to, while my son stays with him? Double standard? Ya think? So we are going to take me to task to conducting services on base instead of taking the boys to church but you can sleep with your girlfriend? Nice. Oh and by the way, she’s not Christian. (Only important here because it something we care about and he is acting with a double standard). How would he feel if the shoe was on the other foot??

      If he thinks my precious little autistic son who is helpless without full time hands-on care is leaving my house to be in the same room with this chick, he’s been smoking something. I am going to the attorney Monday and going for full custody. He hasn’t been in the same room with him in over a year and never supported one dime toward him. (And slept with prostitutes when I was pregnant)

      I have no sympathy for step moms. If he’s not married anymore, find out why.

      • Well, I being a step mom can’t believe you would say this. Not every case is like that. The mom in my situation was the one running around with a co-worker. Terrible thing to say. I also, am a mom and spend time with my children and their dad’s girlfriend of whom I have no problem them calling her their step mom. She is a good influence on my kids and I respect her for that, and she knows it.

      • You have no sympathy for step moms? Why? What if you meet someone who has kids and You become a step mom and the kids bio mom treats you like dirt.. Karma is funny like that.
        Unless you don’t plan on becoming a step mom because you never plan on moving on with your life, and you just plan on stalking your ex husband and keeping tabs on his life and sex life and religious life forever. And you die a bitter lonely old hag..
        Because believe NO MAN is gonna want you with all this baggage you are carrying. No man! Unless he is stupid, unemployed and you will support him. Otherwise at your age and your baggage, your options are not that open.

      • Well how very Christian of you. I relish examples of high and mighty hypocrisy. You get a gold star. Good luck.

    • Again… Not your business to worry about who your ex is dating. However it is confusing for the children if a woman who is not married to their dad, to refer herself as the stepmother. I have been married to my husband for 7 years and I have never really referred myself as step mom. They call me by my name. I have never wanted to take their moms place. They have a mom. However I do treat them kind and am fair to them. I have a child from a previous marriage, and I treat everyone fairly. I would love us to be a happy family when they are with us, and for them to be a happy family at their moms. But sometimes it doesn’t work that way. In my case it is because of my husbands ex wife insecurities. She felt she lost control over him when he married me. And she did. She should never been trying to control him anyways. They were divorced. She became obsesses with me, and did nasty things to me and told the children horrible things about me. Thank god that the kids have emotional sense and see that my actions are consistent. And their own mothers words are not. They saw through the craziness a while back. Now that they are older (15 and 17) they choose to spend majority of their time at our home. We never have spoken about their mother in a negative manner. And we provide a loving and stable environment.
      The kids will see if you are harboring anger for your ex. As they get older they want stability, not a mom who is obsessed with dads new girlfriend. And trashing her, and can’t seem to accept that she can no longer control him…

    • So let me understand this? One minute your ex is calling you and pissed at you for the way you discipline your and his daughter. The next minute he is ‘totally’ bitching about how his new wife or girlfriend (whatever she is) is trying to make him sue for custody of your daughter?
      Hmmmm.. That makes so much sense
      *sarcasm*

  14. Wow. Some things you’ve described above I would say are common with step moms, such as referring to herself as a stepmom even though they’re not married. Many of us have done that simply because it’s easier than saying “so and so’s girlfriend” or whatever. But some of the behavior is definitely not normal stepmom stuff. I don’t know if this is the case here, but some people have “high conflict” personalities. They absolutely can’t see where *they* contribute to problems and therefore can’t change. You might want to check out this site for helpful info on dealing with such a personality type. http://www.highconflictinstitute.com

  15. Hi Ladies,
    I have a slightly different twist. My husband and I started dating after he had been separated from his wife for 10 years. Not divorced. Separated, living apart, no hook-ups, or flirting, for 10 long years. When we decided we wanted a relationship, he told her that he’d met someone and wanted to go ahead and divorce. I didn’t think it would be a big deal but it became horribly nasty and now nobody speaks to anyone, including the adult son who is 22 yrs. old. The son refuses to have any contact with his father. My husband doted on his son all those years and had continuous contact almost daily, coached his athletics, vacations, money, cars, etc.
    The ex-wife tells everyone that “I had an affair with her husband” and has somehow managed to convince her son to think of me as “the mistress” as well.
    Unfortunately, my dear husband was lazy about not going through making the separation legal, and now we are paying the price, both emotionally with the ex wife baggage and estrangement from the adult son, plus financially with $$$ alimony.
    I cannot understand why any woman could not forsee that a 10 year separation would not logically end in divorce. How else can life move on for either of them? I would have welcomed both her and her son into my life, my home, with respect. I am very hurt by the way things turned out.
    I welcome feedback and comments, since this has been a painful issue in my life.

  16. Hello,
    I read the article and think it is quite interesting. As the “birth mom” to two boys I can relate to a lot of what is written. While my Ex husband does not have a girlfriend currently, I want to be prepared for when it happens. I take great issue with the terms “birth mom” and “step mom”. I don’t believe there is such a thing. I am my children’s mother. I am not their “birth mom”.. I did not place them for adoption at birth.. I am their ONLY mother, the only one they will ever have. I don’t believe in step mom’s at all. Why should my children be forced to recognize another “parent” just because their mom and dad could not make their marriage work? Why should they be forced to accept someone just because their parents chose new partners?
    I am hopeful that if/when either me or my ex has new partners that those people are nice to my boys, and care about them. That they are friends with them. However, they will never be a parent to them. I think it is entirely inappropriate for an Ex’s new partner to go to parent/teacher conferences and am dumbfounded that this even exists! Events related to children (soccer games, plays etc) something that you would invite other friends to fine… but private parent teacher conferences about OUR children… no thanks. I believe that the Ex’s partners need to understand their true roles in the children’s life… a friend… not a parent. I would not remarry and expect that my new husband be a father to my children… they already have one. And you can bet that I would be quite resentful and angry if my Ex’s partner stepped into that role as well.
    My EX and I have a great relationship now… and both of us feel this way. It just seems so unnatural to have another person try to play mommy/daddy to children we created. I hope that when/if we meet new partners that I can be on good terms with her, but she will not be my child’s “step mom”, “other mom”, or any other term with “mom” in it… she will simply be another adult in their life who cares about their well being and treats them well…

    • Thanks for your comment – and your honesty, Michele. There is no one size fits all for families and if you and your ex both agree on what role a stepparent will play, that’s great. I just hope that’s explained to this person early on. Also, something that commonly happens when men re-partner is that they change their minds about certain things. So even though he says right now that a stepparent will only be a friend, be aware that that may change.

      Honestly, depending on the age of the kids, it’s logistically difficult for a stepparent to just be a friend, because of so much responsibility that gets placed on their shoulders when they marry someone with children. If the kids are teenagers it’s much easier to fit into the friend role because they’re just about done being raised and are hopefully already on their way to being responsible adults. But if the kids are small, the stepparent inevitably will end caring up for these kids when they’re in their house. They will prepare meals help with homework, shuttle them to school and after school activities, help their spouse teach the kids about responsibility, read them bedtime stories, help with bath time, etc… It’s not being a mother or a father but there is parenting that is involved. It is nearly impossible to be responsible for a child that lives in your home, to care and nurture them and then behave as only a friend would. Steps are simply more involved, emotionally and physically, than a friend is.

      One thing I noticed from your comment is that you seem to have a negative view of stepparents, saying that you don’t believe in them (we’re not Unicorns, we *do* exist ;)) and adding “why should the kids be forced to…” I don’t know if you ever had stepparents, but I did. And I have to say I’m thankful that I had FOUR loving adults rooting for me as opposed to two. A stepparent *can* be a positive addition to your child’s life. Do you think you’re able to try to see it from that perspective? As someone who can *add* to your child’s life instead of subtracting from yours? Either way, I commend you for attempting to educate yourself about these difficult situations. 🙂

    • Hi PJ,

      I read your response to Jenna’s article almost 2 weeks ago and it is still something I’m thinking about so figured I should reply. I respect your opinion and since you’re on this site, figure there must be some sort of internal re-consideration/conflict brewing. Maybe not, but at any point, thought you might want to consider another side. There is no voluntary acceptance of “another mother” in your children’s lives. As Jenna commented, we do exist and that is with or without the other parent’s permission.
      I am the step-mother to 2 wonderful kids and they are kids who I have chosen (key) to parent. They were 1 1/2 and 3 when their father and I began dating. We married 6 years later (so yes we took it slowly), and have gone to a family counselor both before and after getting married. We do not take our kids, however we go to assure that we are “leading” in the right direction. I am an educated woman. I lead my home spiritually, emotionally & in proactive/thought provoking ways. To suggest that I should not/can not/or am not allowed to mother children in my own home would never happen. I love these children, they are a part of my family, I chose them and I would never let anyone outside of my immediate family suggest otherwise because it is best for the children. Men, yes even the good ones, are not all that kids need. My husband is great and no doubt he could take care of everything himself. However, kids need both a mother and a father to balance life, not just a mom today and a dad tomorrow, but both WITHIN the house. There is a balance that can be extremely beneficial to kids when there is both a consistent maternal and paternal influence. Ex parents will disagree and many times I have helped my husband to see his ex-wife’s viewpoint in a disagreement.
      My points are that step-parents are just that and you are unable to will them away…sorry, but that they can be extremely beneficial to the children’s lives (and yours). Your choice in the matter is if they are beneficial or adversarial to you.
      I honestly do wish you the best of luck!

    • Actually, she will be your children’s step-mother. You, on the other hand, will always be their mother. Please stop being so insecure.
      I am a mother and a step-mother. As a step-mother, I do not over step boundaries, my step-kids already have a mother. My job is to make them feel welcome when they are with us and provide a wholesome family atmosphere. That’s it. I didn’t sign up to raise them, I’ve got my own to raise.

    • I hope that you’re able to move past this mindset. As Jenna said, when kids are small it’s impossible NOT to do a lot of parental things when they’re in your care. Not because we want to replace their mom, but because young children need to be cared for. Many mothers would have no problem with a daycare worker helping their child with homework, or rocking them before a nap, but will completely lose it if a stepmom does those same things. It’s obvious that it’s because a stepmom represents a territorial threat to the mother, while a daycare worked does not. But there is no reason to be threatened, because your child will always see you as their mom. No matter how many adults they have raising them.

      I don’t get all the fuss about names. When I was growing up, my friends and I spent a lot of time at one kids house, and everyone called her mother “mom”. She often cooked meals for all of us, or gave us rides to and from games. Not one of our mothers freaked out or was threatened by this. They liked her too, and appreciated the extra help when they were working or needed a break. Maybe you could see stepmoms in the same way?

  17. My heart is hurting. I’m trying very hard not to cry or allow myself to make any emotional outbursts about it, but my heart feels like it may explode.
    I have understood for some time why God hates divorce so much. The first reason being that it breaks a covenant designed to show the relationship between Jesus and His Church. The second is it breaks a covenant that was designed to last a lifetime. The other reason is to protect the family ties involved in covenant and a family. All the promises made are to God and each other.

    If you break the covenant, you tear down the family. The special love and intimacy among all the parties is lost because they are divided. Division breaks down.
    Then you add other parties from the outside and the jealousies begin. Playing of games. One against another. Using people.

    I’m ranting because of the sadness I feel. See, I am the outsider. I married someone divorced with children. It’s been a good relationship between us and the ex over the years and doable. We cooperated with each other … we got along … we dealt with the problems as they came in mature ways. In fact, people have always admired the way we handled it and everybody got along so well. Since I had no family of my own, it was always easy for me to be bendable in most of the situations we faced because it just worked and I was more flexible. My husband’s work schedule required that he work holidays a lot and no real traditions were ever established. We were just happy to be with the kids when we could.
    The game changer in the past few years? Grandchildren. They change your life. Everyone loves them. Everyone wants to have a part of them. Everyone wants their affection. You would think with all the love, that things would be better. Unfortunately, that is not true. Even in the best situations, you have jealousy and hurt. You have possessiveness and pulling. The sad thing is that the married kids who were the ones who had to grow up in a broken home, are now the ones who are caught in the middle between the grandparents and the “outsiders.”

    Who else gets to be on the outside? I think the Dad gets the brunt of it. Sympathy runs high for the mother of the kids and it does seem that she (the maternal grandmother now) holds the trump card. In every situation. She can cajole … she can whine … she can justify.

    Over the years, I have heard it all. “We don’t know how much longer Great Grandma will be around, so we need to spend ____________________ holiday with them.” Then, it’s “We don’t know how much longer Grandma or Grandpa, or whoever will be around, so we need to be together.” “We must attend the reunions.” “We must do this.” “We must do that.”

    Now all those excuses are done and what is left?  What I am hearing is that she doesn’t like it that her grandkids love and enjoy being with me. She wants to pretend after all these 27 years I don’t exist. She wants to forget that over the years I have taken care of, invested time with and given generous gifts to her children and grandchildren – been the one the kids called upon to help on a very regular basis all the while recognizing that they were not my children, giving deference to her at family gatherings and trying to stay in the background.

    While I can and I do appreciate and am sensitive to her feelings, it is not an easy thing to sit back now and watch her be welcome and able to be surrounded by her family on the special holidays, occasions, etc. Grandpa and “Step-Grandma” can figure out what they want to do on their own. Or, they can visit another time.

    Penning these feelings is harsh to me, but it is just keeping it real. I have to express it in some way and not allow my heart to become bitter. Life is pretty grand for the most part. It’s this time of year that is most depressing and difficult for those who are not part of the plan.

    I love the fall of the year and the change of seasons. I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they are becoming a very sad time. I am looking forward to the new year.

     

    • Jeanette,

      I was so sorry to read your post. My heart goes out to you because you’ve been able to make it through what many of us consider the “hard part.” I guess there’s another chapter to consider.
      I am the “step-mom” (I just find it funny the way we have to categorize ourselves as parties to the whole arrangement). Anyhow, I am the step mom to my husbands 2 kids, have been since they were 2 and 3 1/2 and my son was 1 1/2. We are now 6 years later. The “parent” level aside, I have seen my husbands parents be very competitive and threatened by his ex’s parents (the “other” grandparents). They refer to them as the “not real” grandparents and such. It’s childish, selfish and somewhat embarrassing. They say it in a joking manner and have never said it to the kids or (intentionally) made them feel in the middle, however, it is their believe and they get VERY concerned when our kids go to their house. I see it and initially I found it somewhat odd and a illogical feeling of being threatened.
      I would say this. Forget it. You are a grandparent of the child (children). If another grandparent wants to act like a child, then let them and let that be to their detriment. My hope is that the children (now adults) will see the guilt games and respond. Either way, self-destructive behavior has a way of resolving itself overtime. For now, hold tight to your place, don’t let childish behavior drag you down or push you out. You have been a great role-model in your step-children’s lives and will continue to be so in your grandchildren’s and that is all that matters.

  18. Perhaps it’s is simple minded on my part, but BM’s, suck it up. When you decided to leave your marriage, you gave up the right to vote. Dad can and probably will remarry. You need to make that woman, the one entrusted with your most precious possession, your new best friend.
    She’s doing a great job and you’re insecure? Boo hoo! Be glad that junior is growing up with fewer scars & find yourself a hobby.
    I’m so over walking on eggshells in my own home because you can’t be a self-aware, responsible adult.

  19. Hi, I’m a step-mom and a bio-mom. I get along great with my ex and his girlfriend but my husband’s ex is a nightmare. She has slandered me, lied to the kids, pretends to still be married to my husband ( even though she’s married ) and takes every opportunity to hurt me, my husband and even my innocent children.

    The only thing one the list that I have to disagree with is “Do you try and prove you were a better wife?” as part of #11. Of course I try and prove I am a better wife-he divorced her! I am the better wife-for him. The ex is a better wife for her current husband than his ex. My ex-husbands girlfriend is a better match for him. This is jealousy and living in the past, plain and simple. It has nothing to do with the kids. If the bio-mom is still concerned over this, she has unresolved issues for her ex-husband that she needs to resolve.

    For the record, my husband and I have tried to talk with her and her husband. We invited them to counselling, my husband has tried talking to them individually….but nothing works. When she doesn’t need help, I am a monster, a horrible villain who is responsible for every issue her children have. But, she has no trouble asking for my help when she needs it, because deep down she knows I’m good to her kids. She is just jealous that my husband married me, and there is no cure for that. She has successfully compromised my relationship with my step-kids, but I have never said a bad word about her to them. They will see their mom for who she is as they get older.

    • Maya I totally agree with everything you said. Op my husbands ex is a sociopath. Hates her ex and me more than she loves her own children. She is not a good person. She exploits others, uses people, and is an adult bully, all while playing the victim. She has burnt every bridge she has ever had. I am pretty sure there is not a person in our town that can say a nice thing about her. Even people who don’t know her, have heard her name, or seen her in the front page of our local paper for is identity theft, fraud, hot checks, and the most recent she was In the paper for a car accident, she was driving and had no insurance on her vehicle, she injured an elderly couple, while driving under the influence of illegal drugs (prescription oxycodone, and Xanax that she had no RX for) .
      Yet she is constantly bashing me to the kids, telling them lies so that they think I am the cause of everything wrong in their poor moms life… It’s worked tho, because I have no relationship with them. They use to like me in the beginning, until she got wind that her children were actually happy at dads house, then she had to destroy that. Again, she rather her children be uncomfortable and upset, than be happy and well adjusted. And why? Because she hates me for being kind to them and showing them some attention. I never once have asked them to call me mom, I have always tried to respect their mother. And I knew they had a mother (yes, a very mentally insane one) but they still have a mother, and I didn’t feel they needed another one. So anything I did for step kids was to help my husband, since he is always working hard to support our family.
      I treated his children from the day I met them like anyone with a heart and compassion would treat children. I have my own child from a previous marriage, and I have always been fair to my step kids. And treated them kindly.
      Since their mother never was sober or stable enough to even attend any school events, like her sons soccer games, or her daughters cheer events. I would go with my husband to them. Of course the ex saw this as over “stepping my boundaries”.
      Personally If my ex husbands wife wanted to attend any of my daughters events I would be happy! The more people there for her who love her, the better in my opinion.
      Recently my step daughter who is 15, cut the bottom of her foot on glass in the pool at her moms house, but had to have a friend bring her to our house in order to get someone to take her to the doctor. Her mother wouldn’t wake up to do it. I was afraid of taking her because if her mom found out she would go bananas. No one could get in touch with this woman tho, the child needed medical treatment. So I took her to one if those quick clinics and she had to get stitches in foot, I did have my husband meet me there because I was scared of the wrath I would face by my husband ex wife for getting HER child medical attention. Again my point is she couldn’t give a crap about the kids and their well being. Even tho she refuses to be a mother and do the things moms do, like take to doctor, school, or acknowledge her kids. I truly believe that my husbands ex wife would rather Her Own Children bleed to death, than me help them with anything. In my opinion that is the true definition of Evil…

    • Hang in there. Our BM is finally starting to be reasonable. It’s taken six years of boundaries and only interacting with her about the children’s needs. I’m in a couple of support groups for stepmoms. It’s also in my nature to research. After the initial chaos and traumatic stress of attempting to coparent I realized that our BM is mentally ill. We then implemented strategies used for coparenting with Borderline Personality Disordered and narcissistic individuals. It was still a struggle due to her need for chaos and narcissistic supply. But we’re seeing light at the end of the tunnel. This time it’s not the gleam off her syth but days and sometimes weeks of low drama due to minimal contact. We use an app for scheduling and whenever possible we interact with her in a public setting and often with a mediator of sorts, school counsilor etc.

  20. Great article and I would like to add another perspective. Sometimes the problem may not be entirely your husband/boyfriends ex wife. Maybe the problem is him. My ex husband is an alcholic who frequently would endanger our kids, watch porn in front of the kids, and was finacially irresponsible. He is also a habitual liar. Hence the reasons behind the divorce.

    (I am by no means saying I was perfect wife (I did not drink, use drugs, lie, or intentially put my kids at risk). However I would be a horrible mom to continue to expose my kids to this)

    He intentionally violates our divorce agreement, broke into my home on multiple occasions and stole my belongings. Refuses to acknowledge receipt of important information. Will change the schedule on me without telling me then call me all upset because his GF has to watch the kids. Never introduced the GF to me or the kids. My kids have flat out asked “Why is she always at his house?”. Our youngest son was horribly hurt at school and had to be removed for an extended period of time, my ex refused to help with the situation. Then he lies and tells people he is a victim and I do these things to him. In an effort to keep it as sane as possible I always talk with my counselor before responding to him.

    Clearly his GF thinks he is wonderful and most likely believes the story about how he is a victim.

    Maybe consider adding this to a list of reasons why the ex wife appears to hate you. She really doesn’t know who you are and your BF / Husband is lying about part of the situation.

  21. I’ve just discovered this post (yes, I’m relatively new to being a stepmum and hungry for anything I can find that helps!!) and it really gave me lots to think about. Even though we may not intentionally do any of these things, sometimes, without even realising or intending to do so, we end up feeding the insecurities of another. I’m so thankful to Jenna for posting this list, as it has really increased my awareness of the things I do and say that may get back to my stepchildrens’ mum and potentially cause problems. I have no wish to cause her pain and the absolute best thing for everyone, especially the children, is for us to be able to forge a workable relationship. But sometimes even the best of intentions are misconstrued. I’m thankful for the grace of God in these instances.
    And for awesome stepmum blogs – we’re all in this together!
    Thanks again.

  22. Maybe because she was SCREWING my ex-husband and hated my kids? UNTIL she found out how much child support he was paying and fought (and won because I was ill) for custody of my kids for the money? Then lied to them that I was having an affair on their crappy father and turned them against me and painted her tramp-whore self like Snow White?

    Gee… I wonder why I hate her.

    • Anyone who has had any dealings with the family court system in this country knows better than to believe this. First of all the stepmom didn’t fight for custody, your ex did. Secondly, being sick is not grounds for a change in custody. There’s obviously a lot more to this story.

    • Get over it!!!! You are only hurting yourself when you continue to hold such hatred. You want to be bitter and miserable forever. Or do you want to move on with life, accept what happened and let it go. And you don’t have to like anyone. But for your own happiness – GET OVER IT AND LIVE LIFE!

  23. Pingback: Why she may not like me very much | from dust beautiful things

  24. I read something similar to this original post on another site but the comment area was closed…
    I’d like to also remind those that most divorces are initiated by women and in case there are some of you that may be disillusioned that it is always the husband who causes the infidelity… well, after reading hundreds of posts in various sites written by 2nd wives and stepmoms along living with my own situation, I’ve come to realize that not only I am very much not alone in dealing with this horrible situation, but I also see a very clear pattern in the behaviors of some of these women have. For starters, my own situation consists of my husband’s ex wife had 3 affairs during their 22 years of marriage. So SHE was actually the one with the problem of infidelity, which was also the cause for their divorce. And this is not uncommon! 2nd; they have extreme anger issues along with controlling issues. They always want to be right in everything and they thrive in trying to win people to their side instead of working on solutions and taking blame on themselves when they are the cause to blame. 3rd: They have extreme (and I mean extreme) insecurity issues and are quick to become jealous of anything or anyone, even if there is no logical need to be, they seem to create it out of their own mind, along with having some kind of twisted sense of belief (or is it hope?) that everyone is jealous of them. 4th: They love to manipulate, it gives them a sense of power along with prolonging the need to control and use threats when needed. 5th: They use their children as pawns without the slightest concern for their children’s mental health. 6th: They play immature games with their ex’s especially when finding out that they moved on with someone else with the hope to cause friction: Call unnecessarily, asking for help with tasks they can get someone else to do, try to set their children against their former spouse, follow them around, spread rumors trying to deface them (and I can go on and on but I could be here for hours.)

    Now to those women who were hurt by their ex husbands because they have committed adultery and were the cause for their divorce… I feel for you. I do. You must feel horribly wronged and abandoned. I too do not favor adultery. But I also assure you, that in many, many situations and in many posts made from 2nd wives and stepmoms like me that situations like this may have other insinuating circumstances and please do not be so quick to jump to the conclusion that it was the husband’s fault. And to please read posts carefully before you respond. And if you are one of those unfortunate women, please don’t allow your children to be in the middle. In most cases I think it would be fair to say that it was not the children that caused the divorce, but your spouse. Please keep that in mind that in the end the most pain that is felt will be your children’s pain. You may be without your former spouse, but your children will always know their father. It is always best to stick to the cardinal rule of never badmouthing the other parent in front of them and never stray from that and to let them be their own judge when the time is right. If you feel the need to speak badly about your spouse is too strong, I strongly suggest to seek professional counseling or a support group in your area. Don’t allow your children to share your torment. They have their own trying to live through a divorce and the absence of their other parent no matter what the circumstances. I’d also like to mention that not only am I a “2nd wife”, I am also an “ex-wife” with a teenage son that I share with my ex husband. The difference is that no matter how bad the circumstances were with my ex-husband, we both realize the importance of being parents and we both love our son. The reasons for our divorce had nothing to do with him. We have a very mature and civil relationship when it comes to him.

  25. Just looking over what I posted before and I’m just so frustrated with this issue that affects myself and so many 2nd wives and stepmoms along with the knowing the fullest of the fact that in the end the children suffer the most. I can’t fathom why there are so many of these women that actually justify their wrong doing just to make themselves feel better about themselves.. without even caring about those that they are torturing, including their own children, by their actions. And it’s just to fulfill their need to satisfy their own insecurity and their quite unrealistic and unobtainable need for attention at the expense of everyone. It’s sickening. And also the fact that many of them don’t even think they actually have a problem is mind boggling! These women should seriously consider having children to begin with, but we all know that will never happen, because they don’t think they have a problem.

    • Helen

      Totally agree. My husbands ex is a sociopath. No conscious, no remorse. She used the kids to hurt everyone. Which now has turned on her. No one wants to deal with her. People avoid her and want nothing to do with her. She is miserable. She use to make us miserable until we cut out ALL contact. The kids see thru the crap and are done with her as well

      • My husbands ex is crazy too. She has her good days but other days it’s like she is out to just ruin us. She doesn’t spend time with the kids and only talks crap about us around them. Finally her younger daughter understands little of what’s happening and wants to just stay with daddy and step mom(Me). Slowly the kids will see who does what for them. Mommy has no rules at her house but daddy and step mom have chores, rules and regulations that they follow. the 12 year old girl always says I don’t want to do it because mommy doesn’t have us do that, and dad always asks does this look like mommys house to you young lady ? .. They can never find things at mommys house. THings are taken from our house and “lost” at moms. Sadly we now have to keep tabs on what goes out the house with the kids so we can let their mother know we expect it to come back. We are not rich, everything is saved then bought with well earned money. Because of mommy the girls have no respect for anything. I pray lord give me the strength to be a positive role model to these little ones.

    • I know exactly what you mean. The behaviors are so similar it makes me wonder if there’s some sort of crazy ex-wives playbook. Just look at some of them who are on here making accusations and justifying their bad behavior. It would be comical if it wasn’t so painful for everyone to deal with.

  26. I really liked this little article. I am the EX-WIFE in this case and I think a lot of step moms should read this. As I too am also an EX-STEP MOM! Currently, I am being forced to co-parent with the new girlfriend. She has been around since day one of the separation papers, so I am assuming she was in the picture long before he left. It started by phone and text, he would not respond to me, but only she would. First it was on his phone. Then the communications between her and I were forced onto her phone. He would ignore me completely. When I finally put my foot down and blocked her phone and started e-mailing his personal e-mail, I now get e-mails back from HER on his e-mail! She seems to always reply with you just want to talk to him. But that is not my intentions, my intentions are to talk to him about the kids. I don’t know how much more clear I can make that to her. The sad part is, he lets her act this way. I have not seen him or talked to him in months, I drop my children off to her, he is never even present. 🙁 It is horrid!

    • Although I am on the other side (the new wife), I do understand your dilemma as well. From what you wrote you appear to seem genuine. Further reading that your ex husband refuses to comply with you concerning the children and lets his girlfriend handle it convinces me even more that something is not right. I too agree that you should arrange a meeting with her to try and reach a civil agreement and to discourage any ill feelings if there are any. If that doesn’t work, if I were you in your situation, I would first refuse to speak with the girlfriend concerning your children. Continue to ignore texts, emails, phone calls personally from her. She has no right to your children, not only morally (she is not married to him) but legally as well. Second, if your ex husband continues to refuse to cooperate with you on important matters concerning your children without his girlfriend involved, then I would look to get legal help in some way through whatever custody agreement you have with him, especially if it states mutual agreement on matters and how they should be handled concerning children between the two of you.

        • Me? No I’m a “new” wife. Read my prior posts in regards to my own situation with the toxic ex wife.. I responded to DD the way I did because she DID sound genuine to me. I can’t be so shallow as to believe there aren’t certain (although much fewer) situations where the problem really DOES lie with the new girlfriend or wife. Although in my perspective and those I know around me, it is the total opposite, and these type of horrible problems seem to stem from a toxic, jealous, controlling and manipulating ex wife.

      • Yea not buying it. You can communicate through a third party. Ex-wives like to get their digs into your husband and put him in a horrible mood that the entire family has to deal with.
        Get over it.
        You got divorced.
        Email the plan and that is that. Deal with it.
        Don’t ask me to watch them when they are sick and you have to work, and then refuse me as a parent any other time.

  27. If your husband refuses to communicate with you, and the new girlfriend is good to your children and spending time to get them, you need to speak to her about this. Face to face, woman to woman. If your ex husband won’t speak to you, do not blame this woman, instead of becoming her enemy, speak with her and find out what is going on. maybe you ex husband has told her things untrue about you, and that he doesn’t want to deal with his ex wife. Sounds like the girlfriend has been caught in the middle. She is maybe trying to be please him, in hopes to marry him, by showing him what a good mother step mother she can be. You should sit down with her woman to woman and speak with her.

  28. My husband has three kids with his ex wife. When we started going together I had absolutely no intention of being a mom. I of course loved his kids ,but the position for mom was already filled and coming from a divorced family I knew what it was like when step moms over stepped their boundaries. I of course helped my husband with the kids, but I did not attend school functions or volunteer for class parties or anything like that knowing it wasn’t my place, no matter how much the girls begged me. She would call and text my husband every day asking him to take her back, faking illnesses, asking for help in things that didn’t involve the children, and just being overly rude. She despised me from the beginning no matter what I did. She would refer to me as a slut to the children and I even have a video of it she sent to me. She never called me by name and if it wasn’t slut she would call me toddler,(due to the fact that my husband is 28 and I am 23). After awhile I got tired of dealing with it so I tried to talk to her about it but she blew up at me and accused me of wrecking her marriage however, they had been over for two years before I even came into the picture. She cheated on him several times he even took her back the first time he tried to divorce her and they went to counseling but she continued to cheat and he left her. The children saw her with all these random men and were even taken on vacation with some of the men while she was still married to their father. The middle daughter walked in on her having sex with one because her mommy was screaming and she was worried about her. The oldest brought a condom out to my husband because she found it in the bathroom and considering he was no longer sleeping with his then wife he knew it wasn’t his. She was abusive and constantly beating herself up (I know this because the officer went on record at court because he caught her doing it and she admitted to it) and calling the police or getting arrested for other various things. She even insisted her oldest daughter had ADHD got her on medication and then stole all of the pills and used them to get high. The middle child she said had seizures yet when ever my husband had her she never had a seizure, nor did she ever have any at school like the child’s mother claimed. She took her to a whole bunch of specialist all who found nothing to be wrong with the child, but due to the fact that the seizures sometimes do not show any signs, prescribed a very low dose of diazepam, the mother took that too.
    Last year she lost her rights to visitation and moved out of state. She hasn’t seen or spoken or even attempted to make contact until recently. Her youngest child doesn’t remember her at all. The oldest has to go to see a therapist as does the middle child. The youngest had speech delays but since their mothers being gone she suddenly began speaking and hasn’t stopped since. The girls have improved in school and made more friends and participate in all kinds of sports and clubs from 4h, to girl scouts, to cheerleading, and soccer. They are happier kids and due to her absence I have had to step up a little more in the mommy role. She really hurt the children while she was here.
    Now she is trying to get her kids back. She got into a new relationship and this is normal when she lived in state she would do this all the time. However, I am terrified for the kids and its not that I do not want the girls to have their real mom back there is no more real bond than a mother and child, and even I will never be able to fill such big shoes. She was there for everything their first breathe, their first steps, their first words, and every monumental thing that has happened, except for this past year. She has began attacking me again sending threatening messages slandering me on facebook, telling her friends back up here to give messages to the kids. I have picked them up from school in tears several times due to this. The oldest doesn’t want to go back with her she is terrified. They never went to school when she had them and she would pass out for days leaving them to fend for themselves and even having neighbors and landlords calling the cops on her.
    I am not really worried about me, sure it bothers me what she says I am human, but the kids have come so far only to be set back again. I can protect myself but the kids can’t. I hurt for them she has openly admitted she doesn’t care about the kids but she is only doing this to hurt my husband. I highly doubt the court will allow her to take the children out of state but it wouldn’t be the first time they have sided with her no matter how much evidence the police and we present them with. It just shows how much this judicial system needs to change. They are designed to protect the mothers even when its the father that does all the child rearing. She owes over 5k in child support just from the past year.
    I have done everything to make her not hate me I have done all of these things listed and yet she still despises me. So eventually I gave up if she isn’t going to be a mother and love her kids I will. They stole my heart the first time I met them. I fell in love with their father but when I married him I married them too. So all the moms out their keep in mind sometimes we aren’t the evil step moms. Most of the time we had no intention of ever being a mother we only wanted the man we married and loved his kids but allowed you to do your job as mother. However if you don’t do it someone has to especially with girls they need a female figure in order to learn essential things. Someone had to explain what is happening to their bodies otherwise, it would be terrifying. The only thing I am trying to do and while maybe it is over stepping my bounds is protect my kids from a swinging door mother and try to teach them to be good people and to realize that even though life is hard sometimes you can accomplish anything you want with a little hard work and faith. I apologize if this offends anyone I just needed to vent and I cant do this to my husband anymore it really hurts him emotionally because he feels its his fault I am in this situation as well as his children.

    • To HSS
      First, I’d like to commend you on your wonderful efforts you have placed on the children despite the horrible situation you are currently living in along with a poor prospect of the future concerning their mother stepping in again. They seem on the most part finally found some stability in their lives. Unfortunately, you are probably right in any future courts decision to favor the bio mother as far as custody is concerned. They may not give her full, but she may get joint. My only suggestion is that the both of you (you and your husband) fight tooth and nail for full custody, never slacking from it. Keep scrupulous records of everything and anything she does which would harm or lead to harming the children. Try to retain a good lawyer with full knowledge in dealing with those that have intense narcissistic personality disorders so he/she can make a plea to the court that the bio mother is incapable of maintaining a safe, secure and healthy home for her children based on her past and whatever records you compile of her recent behaviors by keeping a journal.

      This may seem a bit hardball, but I know the consequences when little or nothing is done to adhere some kind of control over these destructive women. They absolutely and with little or no mercy, destroy their children well into their adult hood. And they selfishly do this to comfort their own sick mind. So, spare no expense, find a good lawyer and FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!

  29. I thoroughly enjoyed this article. I’m a step mom to 2 and mom to 2 (with my husband.) His ex wife is a psycho. Bitter, mean, violent, abusive, slanderous, uses the kids as pawns, attempts to control my husband and his time with the kids. She wanted the marriage to end because she felt she got pregnant and married too early (17 and 21) and felt she missed out on “life” and blamed my husband of course. Still does actually and she’s now 34. She left to find greener pastures before I ever met my now husband. My husband met me, we have been together over 6 years, married for 5. While I do not believe it’s right to stereotype people, In General , woman can be very vindictive and cruel, and the ex wife in my personal situation is straight up the spawn of Satan. She absolutely hates my husband and myself with a vengence and it’s painfully and embarrassingly obvious she has not moved on even though it’s been so long and she was the one who wanted a life free of a “ball and chain”. We can all admit, I hope, that this certainly doesn’t mean all ex wives are evil. Men just as often as woman I’m sure, turn out to be the evil ex. Just as sometimes the step mom turns out to be the one who sucks at life.

    I have discovered some useful advice for women in my position. If possible, remove all access to you and your family from the evil ex or as much as possible. We had to move far away from the evil ex ( into another state actually) but it was worth it. We pay a ton more in gas (we did not change the visitation schedule we are still able to maintain their exact same shared parenting visitation schedule) but you can’t put a price on sanity. We have 2 phones. One is just for her and the kids so she can’t harass us on our main line. We communicate thru txt only 95 percent of the time because a) we have the conversation proof if needed later and b) have you ever tried to yell and argue at someone thru texts? Not so easy and it’s not nearly so emotionally draining. Our pick up and drop offs we had court ordered to be at the police station (due to her assaulting us). Use video cameras on your car to monitor interactions. We also gave up vacations and other nice things to afford a good lawyer when she drags us into court inevitably (oddly enough even though she defies the divorce decree regularly, not us, giving us ample ammunition to fight her bi polar schizophrenic made up accusations). We refuse to allow her to control us by making us angry. The distance helps ALOT with that. Evil exes that are losing their control over a situation due to their ex moving on from them happily will sometimes resort to controlling your emotions by picking fights. A miserable angry person can only feel a slight version of happiness when they tear someone else down. Especially be on the lookout for the evil ex to innocently start something nonchalantly. She knows your husbands buttons, and she loves to push them. Don’t let her ( or him). Refuse to engage. Bite your tongue, send her on her way as if what she said didn’t even faze you. Punch a pillow afterwards. Seriously. Take up an aggressive sport like boxing, or better, mma fighting. Learn a valuable skill while pretending the punching bag is her.

    The most important thing is the hardest of all those but it’s free. Don’t engage. The toxic ex is a disease that once you let it in it will destroy your family by drenching you with hate and bitterness. Keep interactions short sweet and minimal. Don’t even talk about her when you aren’t dealing with her. The less time she absorbs in your life the better your life will be. Hold out hope she will change but keep your guard up in case she doesn’t. Unfortunately you’re in a war and if you’re not prepared you’ll get ate up.

    This is advice for dealing with a very toxic ex. If you can be friends with your ex, awesome, and I’m happy for you. Oh the things I would give up to be in your position….

  30. I posted the long winded comment above. Forgot to add what originally drove me to this website, among others. I have been searching for answers. Why? Why is my husband’s ex so hateful? Why does she cause issues that end up hurting her own kids? How can she tell such bold faced lies and look at herself in the mirror? Surely she must have a mental illness? She has a boyfriend, why does she even care about my husband and me enough to be so bitter and vengeful towards us?

    I’ve come to the conclusion that some people are just really messed up. Yeah it probably stems from their own unresolved issues. Maybe from childhood. Maybe from their broken marriage and their inability to find closure. Who knows? No one’s perfect, some have more issues then others. You can’t control other people, you can only control how you respond to other people.

    Take good care of your spouse, be a great mom and love liberally. The more good you put out, the more good will just be in your life in general. And don’t feel bad about setting clear boundaries for people who do not have your best interests at heart. Be loving and gentle but firm and strong. The toxic ex can wreak havoc on your marriage, your health, and your kids stability.

    I no longer care what her priblem with me is. That’s her issue, not mine. I’ve got a husband that needs me and kids that need a stable environment free of emotional turmoil.

    Hope this helps someone. For years I didn’t realize her toxicity and my marriage was filled with stress, bickering, and horrible fights due to us being stressed out to the max. We had nothing left for each other or our children after our daily emotional drain (interactions with the ex). Getting her out of our daily life was like a 1000 lb weight being lifted off our shoulders that we didn’t even know was weighing us down. We aren’t failures because we aren’t friends with my husband’s ex. We’re actually better off. Took me a while to get here. And it really help’s to know I’m not alone. Very cool site. I wish we could get together for coffee once a week..lol … I wish there was a stepmoms support group in my city. I’d join for sure.

  31. It should always be about the best interest of the kids. It rarely is. Our situation is no different. Mom is terrible. Lets stepdad beat on her and the kids. CPS does nothing. We have been in a 2 year long court battle for custody. The kids love me, they love their daddy and they want to live here. Mom HATES me. I have offered her help, bought clothes and shoes and car seats for her and her new husbands child, and have offered to help pay for a safe place for she and the new baby to stay. She will not accept anything. She will not relinquish the kids for their best interest. She has no reason except she is not a good mother. She is just a mean and hurtful woman.

  32. Pingback: What divorced moms should know about stepmoms – a stepmom’s perspective

  33. Hang in there and don’t give up doing your best to cope with mothering the kids the best way you can and fight to get custody if they are minors. Prioritize your current marriage especially if your husband is compliant and willing to stand up for himself, you and his children. Do the best that you can to distance yourself from the psychotic ex. Personally ignore her attempts to destroy your life but DO keep journals and records of phone calls, etc for future need to get restraining orders against her. But also know that you can only do your best, and sometimes that doesn’t even work. Try to keep in mind that in the end, kids grow up and eventually move away, whether or not they have been permanently damaged is pretty much out of your hands after they grow up. What matters is that you did your best to try to help them, hopefully in time they will see that for themselves… if not, then they don’t. Don’t blame yourself for that. Even the ex will run out of her own ammo by that time without getting civil actions placed against her by restraining orders if it gets that far and that eventually will stop the lunacy and she’ll wind up in jail. Or in time, may even find other fish to fry. What I’m trying to say that it won’t last forever, that is if you don’t let it with help both legally and personally. So if you value your marriage, cling to knowing that in time it will finally end.

  34. My husband’s ex of almost 10 years has the need to be right. In order for her to have closure and move forward she has to let go. But to let go would make her wrong, because despite her wanting the divorce and moving out, she failed to think ahead to the prospects of her then husband moving forward, hence me. 🙂
    She moved out and 6 weeks later he met me. There was absolutely no looking back for him and she has been a living nightmare ever since. Would rather be right than hsppy.
    I have a ex husband who I share a daughter with for 18 years. If you multiplied the amount of children my husband and his ex has to the number I have with my ex, her dialog (emails, texts, phone calls,etc.) with my husband far exceeds what is necessary. Suggesting she will take anything she can, even if it’s negative attention. Truly sad and has wrecked 3 childhoods.

  35. These “reasons” are all legitimate on most levels and for most reasonable people…however, when the ex is the one to leave the marriage because her then-husband was “too ambitious” and doesn’t want him any longer but doesn’t want anyone else to have him, either, well…a future SM, *any* future SM…will automatically be targeted and there’s nothing that can be said or done to change the ex’s stance. Also, if ex hates her former husband more than she loves her kids (trust me, you can easily pick them out of a crowd by their post-divorce behaviours and attitude towards their former spouse), well…it’s game over before it ever began. Speaking strictly from first-hand experience about my own personal situation with my husband and his ex-wife, which continues 18+ years after she chose to break up her family and the children concerned are adults.

  36. Pingback: RE-BLOG: “Why does my husband’s ex-wife/partner hate me?” by Jenna Korf | A Day In The Life of A BCBonusMom ...........

  37. Another great article, Jenna! Having not had kids of my own, I’ve always had a hard time putting myself in their mom’s shoes. But, I’d like to think I’d be happy that my kids were loved and cared for by their stepmom, rather than threatened by her. I know it’s extra hard on her because she hasn’t found her true happiness, and my husband (her ex) and I have. That must not be easy for her. I just wish she would put her kids feelings first, rather than putting them in the middle of her unhappiness. It’s certainly gotten better over the years, but there’s still growth to be had…

    • I find your positive wishes for their mother to be admirable. You can get so easily caught up in the negativity over time. Clearly, you’re happy and want the same for her.
      Despite her likely not wanting that for your blended family.
      Kudos to you. 🙂

    • Thank you, Shawn! I do find it helpful to look back at where you started and notice how much better things are now, even if they’re not perfect. I hope we’re all on a never-ending path of growth. 😉

  38. Being both a biological mom and a step mom, I have seen and felt both sides. It is an interesting article and the only other reason i can think of is that perhaps she is disappointed in your behavior as a woman. My ex has re-married and i didn’t initially think anything about his new wife. But as time has gone on, I’m sad that she allows herself to be so controlled by him, that she defends his actions that hurt my kids, and that she claims to have the kids best interest in mind…but her actions don’t. Part of why i left my ex was the way he treated me…i dont want my girls thinking that’s normal. And not that I’d change me leaving, but sad it has been replaced with an equally if not more disfunctional relationship. I’m disappointed she tolerates his behavior.

  39. I needed this today. I hate being a stepmother. I absolutely hate it and I had no idea what I was in for. Almost two years later and everything is about the ex and the kids. I feel like I’ve totally lost myself and I only stay married because financially they all need me.

    • I feel like I’ve totally lost myself and I only stay married because financially they all need me.

      What about your needs? They’re responsible for their needs and you’re responsible for yours. <3

  40. My ex is getting married to someone he’s been with 6 months (our divorce has only been finalized 10 months). I personally can’t stand the broad. She is a paralegal and tried to file a restraining order on me because I attempted to introduce myself. The court threw it out. But her action makes it hard for me to want to have anything to do with her.

    • To Not R’s
      Hate to sound a bit patronizing, but you did mention your divorce was finalized 10 MONTHS ago. And they started dating 6 MONTHS ago. From what I understand, what are they doing wrong? Just because he started dating 4 months AFTER your divorce shouldn’t be an issue with you. After all, you BOTH divorced BEFORE they met.. am I right?

      It sounds like you are a bit jealous that your ex husband moved on with his life at a quicker pace than what you expected. Remember you can’t control his life, but you can positively change your own. And the best way to do that is by letting go of that type of control you wish to still maintain over his life (from what you wrote, you put that across very obviously) . Once you do that you can move on with your own life. If you don’t, acting out in jealousy and hatred will only eat you up in the end. You will only cause yourself tremendous grief, leading to your own destruction in the end, leaving you feeling worse than better. And possibly any children involved will be hurt the most out of your own actions and behaviors due to your own insecurities.

      Sorry, I am being “straight-up” with you…

      • I’m ok with him moving on. It’s shocking, yes, but he deserves to be happy. I was more responding to the topic of the post of why exes don’t like new wives.

        • I am too responding.. that is to the topic: “Why does my husband’s ex-wife hate me?”

          Again, I may sound a bit patronizing… but it’s only because I recognize the trend when I see it. You responded back that you wish to see your ex husband happy? Well, if his new wife makes him happy, then why should it matter to you how that he married again? And why do you express such hatred towards his new wife?

          And I have to say, if she felt forced enough to try to get a restraining order against you, then there is something wrong there. Even though it didn’t follow through as you claimed, it takes a lot for a person to even bring that into concept.

          There are lots of reasons that a person can file a restraining order, but I would feel the biggest would be harassment and threats. So the questions I need to ask are: Do you harass them? (with nonsense phone calls, etc) Do you threaten them either physically or psychologically? Do you stalk them whether in person or on the internet? Do you go on their property uninvited? If children are involved, do you try to set them against their father?
          There are some states that are more lenient than others when it comes to restraining orders especially when children are involved. It also depends on the judge and the courts in your state. I suppose (just suppose) if you ARE harassing them in this way, the both of them can keep future logs of every incident. If she is a paralegal, she’ll probably know what to do. Just because it didn’t go through this time, if the both of them compile enough evidence, doesn’t mean it won’t go through the next time.

          Again, in my true heart, if I can possibly help someone, on either side… I will try. If your problem is what it sounds like to me.. I would suggest very strongly that you STOP doing what you are doing. Please get some counseling for yourself. You will save yourself anguish and save yourself (and others) from spiraling downward.

          • You are making an awful lot of assumptions so I will clarify. I attempted to introduce myself ONCE. I have never contacted her in any other way before that or after. I also do not harass my ex in any of the manners you mentioned. In fact, when I moved on and got into a relationship of my own, my ex was tracking my phone, going to people for information and then harassing me about my whereabouts (during my non parenting time.) so I am not the evil/jealous ex you’re painting me out to be. I divorced my ex because he attacked me one night. I haven’t looked back since. What irritates me about soon to be “new wife” is what I Mentioned above.

        • Obviously you are going to be an bitter ex… Great!
          Your marriage is OVER. THE DIVORCE is final. He has moved on. You should do the same. If he wanted to get married and have 10 kids immediately that is his decision, not yours! Because you are no longer his wife. You no longer get to make any decisions about his life! If you were not so focused on your ex and what he was doing you could move on. My advice to you if you want to be happy is to never look at his social media, never get in his business, and move on.
          Don’t try to make his life hell because he moved on. Men do seem to move on faster than women. It is what it is. Some women move on faster. The point is, what business or right do you have to hate the woman involved in the situation. Hate your ex husband (which will cause you bitterness and prematurely age you).
          But MOVE ON!

  41. I’m sorry, didn’t mean to make you feel attacked.. but this is what YOU wrote:

    “My ex is getting married to someone he’s been with 6 months (our divorce has only been finalized 10 months). I personally can’t stand the broad. She is a paralegal and tried to file a restraining order on me because I attempted to introduce myself. The court threw it out. But her action makes it hard for me to want to have anything to do with her.”

    Isn’t it?

    And that you “personally can’t stand the broad” (Your ex husband’s new wife)

    Again, I apologize if you feel as though I’m attacking you, I’m not. Just responding to what you wrote… In your message, you wrote that your ex husband got married 4 months after your divorce. That makes YOU the ex wife. Again, if you feel attacked.. believe me that’s not my intention. My only intention is to clarify… and to possibly help. That is all.

    Just to let you know, it’s not just me, but many other women that are step moms in this situation that are constantly manipulated in this way by the ex wife.

  42. Great article. I would add “She’s struggling with mental illness”. This is the situation we’re in. It’s exhausting and difficult, especially when she’s not doing well. I know I’m supposed to let my husband deal with her, but a lot of the time I have no choice because her dysfunction is directed at me. Trying to be compassionate helps, but there are definitely times when I wonder whether it’s all worth it.

  43. Oh ya my husbands exwife hates me and has for years. She even stalks my social media pages desperate to great any information about me. Her daughter has lived with us for 2 1/2 years full time and yet we never get a shred of appreciation just bitter jealous rude behavior over and over! It’s never easy but when you’re dealing with an unstable person it’s even worse and they only person they hurt is the child(ren)!

  44. Yep. She cannot stand that I am financially successful. It literally eats her up inside and yet she does nothing to improve herself or to move out of her hourly position. Very, very sad and pathetic woman.

  45. You forgot one….maybe she committed adultery and helped destroy your marriage. Pretty hard to like someone after that. Yes…I know it’s mainly on him. But there is nothing lower that another woman can do to a fellow woman than sleep with her husband.

    • Yes, Dawn. If a stepmom became a stepmom through an affair, I advise her to pretty much never expect mom to come around. And can’t really blame mom for having negative feelings towards her – at ALL.

      • What if you didn’t become a step mom through an affair but that is what the bio-mom believes? How can you move past that?

        • I’ve found that sometimes people are doing what they need to do for their own comfort and sometimes that means holding false beliefs about you. I’ve also found there’s not much you can do about it. You can’t convince her otherwise because she NEEDS to believe that about you. Maybe deep down she knows the truth… but regardless, her beliefs about you don’t matter at all. Unless she’s spreading those lies to the kids and others, then you must correct the lies to the kids and any other family members. But I wouldn’t waste your time trying to convince her of your innocence.

  46. My situation is a little different. My ex was a wonderful father, we got along very well, but we just were not meant to be married. There were no custody issues nor visitation issues; I wanted my children to have him in their lives as much as possible. But, in walks the new wife (widowed) with five children of her own. Her children were the same age as my two. He no longer took his son on the annual College World Series trip; he no longer took his daughter on their weekly date night. He chose to go to his step-children’s events rather than our children’s event. He did not even show up to our daughter’s May Day event when she was the May Queen of the school. I am mad at both of them; him for becoming a non-existent father and her for allowing him to do it. I have been a single mom for 15 years now. I have seen my daughter crave for her dad’s attention, but become constantly disappointed. I have seen my son uncomfortable after quarterbacking a football game and all the other fathers come to congratulate their sons, yet his leaves before the game ends to avoid traffic. I am a bitter mother, not a bitter ex-wife. I resent the fact that my children sacrificed for the new family he married into. I had no problem with him marrying again, I was happy for him. It was when he chose his stepchildren over his own that I became upset.

    • I’m so sorry, Margaret. That is truly sad for your children. Many people just don’t know how to join families. Many parents don’t know the importance of spending quality time with their kids. It’s heartbreaking.

    • Margaret – Its one of those situations- you know he is a good man. You said so he is. And he is still but he has more kids to juggle. Just because he didn’t stay longer for a game or missed a thing or two because he has 5 more kids to juggle doesn’t make him a bad father. He now has more responsibilities, he is a part of your kids life and his that he has with his new wife.. I am sure he is doing the best he can to stretch himself out to all kids equally as much as he can. How do you know that if he is even making it to all of his new wife’s kids things at school . You dont know that. There will be days that he will miss some kids things here and there as they might fall on the same days regardless of the fact if they’re your and his kids or his and his new wife’s…The fact that you said the words CHOSE HIS STEP KIDS OVER YOURS shows you are exactly that kind of woman that finds the smallest things to pick on. Did you ever put yourself in his shoes and think if you married to a man that has 5 kids from previous marriage and now you have 7 to juggle(2 of your own and 5 step kids) you would try your best to spend time with all of them as much as you can, your kids know that you are their mother(nothing will ever change there) but the new husbands kids would need your love too and you would work hard to gain their love and respect so they love you as much as your own kids. the reality of the matter is ALL KIDS WILL HAVE THINGS THAT DADDY WILL NOW MISS – daddy will miss step kids things and daddy will miss his kids things..You saying he is putting his step kids first is a childish comment, sorry but that is. (YOU SAID HE IS A GOOD MAN) SO DO YOU THINK HE IS SITTING THERE GOING LET ME PICK MY STEPKIDS OVER MY KIDS…..KIDS ARE KIDS….All he is doing is working with and all kids as much as he can. Sorry but the just cause HE CAME TO THE KIDS THINGS AND DIDN’T STAY TRILL THE END DOESN’T SHOW ME HE PICKED SIDES, just cause he missed one or two things doesn’t mean he puts his new step kids first…If you think this way then I feel bad for your kids as they will think the same. You need to show them that daddy isnt doing that, daddy just has more things on his hands but that daddy loves them. I am a step mom, and my stepkids miss their own mother a lot as she spends more time going out, I sit there as a good step mom and tell them how much mommy loves them.

  47. Question, are you a biological mom who has to deal with a step-mom? YES
    I am a biological mom who was married to a very manipulative and controlling man. I finally got out of the marriage with two beautiful kids. My kids are 7 and 9 years old now. My ex and I are both re-married. My husband (the kids step-dad) has respected boundaries when it comes to the bio father. He is there for me as much as possible but also backs off when he needs to. The kids step-mom has done the opposite. She has called me a bitch in front of my 7 year old and also forces the kids to call her mom. Recently she decided she would be room mom for my 9 year olds classroom. She has a bio kid herself but seems to try and do more for my kids than her own which comes across as extremely controlling and suffocating. I am totally cool with the kids having 4 loving parents and being there for them but when it seems to be her personal vendetta to out do me as a mom it does make me dislike her. I do feel like I can’t do the things she can since I don’t receive any child support and have to work full time. Plus my ex is now making a ton of money so she gets to work part-time and be there for all the school events. I would be ok with her wanting to be there for the kids but when she does everything she can including try to talk over me and take control when the kids are around I feel like it completely over-steps boundaries. So while I know there are amazing step-parents out there I also know that many bio moms get a bad rap for disliking the step mom when there could be very valid reasons! I think a lot of your points are valid. #10 could have an add on about how the bio dad can actually be a fraud-mine most certainly lied the entire marriage and creates a fasad that shows people how awesome is when in fact he is a lying manipulative person…so I am not upset at all about the fact that he treats her better I am more upset at the entire lie that is their lives and the fact that my kids have to grow up with parents who teach that type of behaviour. I only hope that they learn enough from being at my house to not end up like them.

    • In response to T….I feel the same way. My situation is SO similar, even the ages of my kids. My ex’s new wife will keep things from my knowledge and attend things in my place (like a field trip even or a school program….the papers are sent home the day they go with my ex, they never tell me about it, and then i have my kids asking why I didn’t show up). I have had to go to extreme lengths to get duplicates from the school of everything for the 1 day a week she picks them up. And even when my kids cry, they scoff it off as me being controlling, when really my 2nd grader just wanted to have her mom there or at least have her mom tell her she wasn’t going to be there and that her step mom would. That is just an example. the lack of care or concern for boundaries is sick. How can we address the boundary issue? The only ones losing are the kids. Healthier relationships for everyone would be better. To any of you step mom’s out there that sense there is the same issue in your situation how would you suggest handling or approaching her? I am a step mom too, but we don’t have the issue with my step kids. My husbands ex and I are fine. We just “get” it, we respect those boundaries. So how do you help someone to “get” it?

  48. You hit the nail on the head! She has really acted crazy! She got into the family line at my husbands dads funeral!! She showed out!!! It goes on and on! She lies on me all the time to try and turn the kids against me! It works on the daughter but not the son!

  49. In my situation, the friction is caused by the ex’s mental illness. She left my husband for another man and took their daughter with her with no warning, no counseling, no threat of divorce and she thought if that did not work out, expected to be able come back to him in a heartbeat. That was not the case. That man dumped her and I was already in the picture and ruined her plans. We have a no contact policy now that his daughter is 20. It is a sad situation for the daughter especially, but she was made an accomplice at a very young age to her mother’s deceits and knows that her father and I have done nothing to hurt her or her mother. She is happy and relaxed in our house and we support her in every way we can, happily. I would like stepmoms to know that it is OK to protect yourself and your family from people that are ill and wish others harm–especially those who include their children in their sick plans.

    • Does anyone think it’s weird when ex tries to inject herself into the spouse’s position even though her ex husband has remarried? Is there a term for this behavior? I am the stepmom. My husband’s mom was very sick for a long time. He wanted to take his kids to visit his mom before she got too sick but ex fought it, first said they should not visit their grandmother at all because it would be too traumatic. Then she insisted that SHE should take kids to visit my husband’s mother. Now, I am pretty easy going. Had ex respected my mother in law or had any kind of relationship with her while she and my husband were still married, I actually would have been fine with that. But, ex always told my husband that his family was a disappointment to her. She made him feel bad about his family. Thankfully my husband stood up for himself and me. It was hard but he said he would take the kids to visit his mom. My mother in law became so ill that she moved into our house. For 4 months we all took care of her, along with hospice nurses. It was challenging but also beautiful in many ways as she got to know me and my girls. She loved living with us. I cooked her favorite foods and we watched her favorite shows. Ex even came to our house to visit which I thought was a healthy thing to do. Wow, I thought things were getting better. I was wrong. When my mother in law passed away, instead of ex giving condolences, she bullied my husband with texts, insisted on bringing my husband’s children to the funeral with her instead of having my husband’s children attend his mother’s funeral with their father. She insisted that the kids wanted her to attend all aspects of funeral and lunch! Again, had ex and my mother in law ever had a relationship, I would have been fine with that. It was sad, instead of giving him space to grieve, he had to deal with his ex’s drama. It was all about her.

      Thanks for this blog. It has helped me so much. I only found it a few weeks ago but I have been reading other sm’s stories and feeling better that it’s not just me. It has helped to learn about the ex’s feelings too. Yesterday, I actually looked in the mirror and thought, hey – I look kinda pretty today.

      • It’s beautiful that you were able to care for your husband’s mom. And I love that you gave yourself a compliment yesterday! Keep up the love. 🙂

  50. What a great post and reflection on the bio-mom’s side of things. It’s easy as a stepmom to question why she wouldn’t be supportive of your loving her children. Thanks for a lesson in empathy!

  51. There is also the fact of what the ex will say about the other parent to their new spouse. Putting falsehoods in their mind that the other parent was this terrible person.

    The new spouse may not see the way they react to the ex but it certainly shows and that reflects on the other. When us “ex’s” see that and feel their reactions we tend to harbor resentment towards the step parent. I felt this way and she seen me as this evil person until we actually sat down and talked.

    My ex husband hated the fact that we actually got along and communicated with each other. He’s on his 3rd wife now in 10 years all because they would get along with me. He lives in Houston and I have only seen this woman 3 times since they have been together and she HATES me. Thank goodness my daughter is 23 now and can see through all the BS.

  52. Number 11.. None of those apply to me. And she is horrible to me. I go out of my way to make her feel number 1 in the girls life. Making crafts for them. I struggle with there personal hygiene . One is special needs. They show up looking like they just left a mile run. When I had nicely spoken to her about shaving her special needs arm Pitts. For a daddy daughter dance . She sounded positive and understanding. I just put my self shoe on other feet. Nobody should have that first time but me. Meaning her being mom. After that she turned evil. Becoming narcissists and not even thinking of her actions around girlso. Or my son! Trying to turn girls against me… Heart breaking cause I feel close with them. And always tried to help them lately they weren’t wanting me to help them and if I even had them shower they called mom on me. My husband doesn’t agree. But for children I would consider council with her. For sake of children’s best needs. Cause I am miserably uncomfortable about her lies and bul lying me.. Thoughts please

  53. Because he was abusive in their relationship & she knows that your honeymoon period will end at some point. In the meantime she’s not snubbing you, she daren’t be friends with you because then she’d have to warn you about what your future holds. It’s a lose lose situation for her: if she warns you you won’t believe her but if she doesn’t it’ll be at the cost of her conscience when you become his victim. Her only choice is to keep her distance which will be construed by you as ‘hating you’.

  54. I’ve been subjected to years of harassment and bullying tactics by my husband’s ex wife. It was a rollercoaster ride with her, to say the least. Luckily, those days are over, and she just windled away. Celebrating 1 year of peace.

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