18 Mar
His Ex-Wife Still Attends the Family BBQ

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’ve been married to my husband for 18 months and we’re both in our 50’s. I could really use your advice concerning his ex-wife. She still thinks his family is her family. She attends every family gathering, seems to be in cahoots with my mother-in-law, and they don’t get why the situation is uncomfortable.

My husband and I refuse to have anything to do with the family until they prune the Ex from the tree, but my mother-in-law won’t accept “our” family unless we accept who she chooses to have in hers. The rest of the family won’t take a stand either way.

Should we stand our ground and stay away until there is a funeral to go to? Or should we kick some butt and tell the ex-wife she’s been paid dearly to move on with her life, so move on?

New Bride


Dear New Bride,

With the help of tarot cards (which strangely resemble Uno cards from the top of my fridge), I sense you have underlying resentment against the ex-wife, perhaps based on the money she received in the divorce. Could this be the source of your “uncomfortable” feeling?

Now, one thing the tarot cards aren’t clear on is your strong desire to be around your in-laws. Unless they serve expensive French wines at every gathering, I don’t understand this territorial war over familial rights.

Exactly why are you picking this fight? Is it because your in-laws are such lovely people that you want to build a bond with them without the complications of past relationships? Or because you want to prove which female of the three has the power in your husband’s life now?

If it’s the former, the tarot cards suggest spending time with your in-laws outside of family gatherings: invite them over for dinner, visit them on a random Saturday, etc. As they get to know you better, especially in a more relaxed environment, they will probably want to spend more time with you than with the ex-wife. She will most likely pick up this vibe at family functions and begin attending less frequently.

If it’s the latter and you are simply engaging in a three-way power struggle, then the orgy tarot card comes up, which I interpret as meaning you are all screwed. No one can “win” this fight, and when it comes to issuing ultimatums to family members, honey, the only tarot card left is the Fool.

Heather, TMH

22 Responses to “His Ex-Wife Still Attends the Family BBQ”


Comment by Wendi.

Great advice, Heather. And now I’m picturing you wearing a big caftan and a turban while you gaze into your crystal ball.

Heather Reply:

Wendi, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.


Comment by BeckyK.

Well, see there are two sides to every story and I am guessing that the mother-in-law feels that she didn’t divorce the ex-wife, her son did. So why should she have to severe her relationship with her. Although I understand that the new wife is upset by this fact, I don’t think it will work for her to tell the mother-in-law what to do. I still maintain a relationship with my Uncle’s ex-wife even though he is not happy with that fact. Just because they don’t get along does not mean that we don’t still love her. I think that the new wife needs to just be confident in her relationship with her husband and make an effort to just get along. Because in the end you can’t control what people do anyway.

elizmk76 Reply:

Clearly you are not in this type of situation.

kcm Reply:

Anyone can invite anyone to their home. This is true. As my husband says he would like to be able to go to a family event with his wife….. not his ex-wife! What about the son’s wishes isn’t he family not the ex…

Clearly some of you have never been put in to that situation. It’s uncomfortable for everyone. Especially, if the ex-wife likes to stir up drama so everyone fees sorry for her. It’s not a pleasant party. It’s the ex’s pity party!

jeliza Rose Reply:

I totally agree. I wish I could sound more helpful. But in reality it’s positive. If his family wants to spend time with his ex it should be on their own time not his and yours. I could see some family events such as kids bdays but Christmas, thanksgiving, doesn’t she have her own family? I have the same problem. She comes with the package. I’m suprised we all don’t sleep in the same bed. I’m pretty much over it myself. Do you feel respected? Does your Husband? Then why hang out with those people, family or not? If you feel disrespected and you have talked to them about it and they don’t care, then you are only disrespecting yourselves now. I don’t think you are picking a fight. If they cared about the wishes of the two of you and your feelings they would allow a slow adjustment, not just wiz on you. If you throw a frog into a boiling pot of water in will jump out. Put the frog in a room temp pot and slowly heat it up and it will cook. Easy as that. If the ex not willing to even compromise, well now you know why that marriage didn’t last LOL If the family is not willing to compromise, what kind of family is that anyway?

sharon Reply:

why are people so scared of the mother in law they are not more superior than sons wife,exes should not attend family events out with old in with new.i certanily would not go to my exes family events.Exes should back of and get a life and move on


Comment by Teresa.

Becky K is right. Especially if there are kids involved. When I was young, and my step dad left, his family cut us off. Which was really hurtful. My step dad left my mom, but his family was still my family, aunt, uncle, gramma etc. On the other hand my Husband has a few steps and they all get along and in fact ALL of them came to our wedding and come to various other family outings. They put their differences behind them. You can never have too much family, blood/marriage related or not. And if you give it a chance, you might find that you actually like her, after all you have the same taste in men. and she may have had him, but you have him now.


Comment by thepsychobabble.

I’m in the “Why do you get to dictate who they invite to their home?” club.
If you really can’t handle being around this woman, then stay home. But ftr I think that’s a tad silly and immature.

jeliza Rose Reply:

Honestly, staying at home or finding something else to do sounds like a great option and not silly or childish. If you don’t feel welcome and included then that is not a healthy place to be. I could see how that could be said but all relationships take understanding compromise and work. I know that if my brother divorced I would go out of my way to make his new wife feel comfy in my home just for the sake of it. Doesn’t mean I would start hating on his ex. I would just simply tell her that we are making a place for the new wife and we will work the ex in when things are settled. Doesn’t mean I would discontinue my relationship with the ex either. But I wouldn’t force our relationship on my brother or his new wife. As far as the children, they will adjust. Adjusting is what life is about. Can’t make life perfect for them, other wise they will think it will be perfect always and as adults they will most likely turn out to be big brats expecting the world to revolve around them just as it did when they were young.


Comment by Lara.

I agree: MIL’s gets to choose who to invite to her house. But I wonder… exactly why IS it uncomfortable? Because it could make a difference. If it’s uncomfortable because ex-wife is a screaming hag, then I say she has a point.


Comment by Amy.

Great advice Heather. Invite the family to YOUR house.


Comment by GrandeMocha.

Maybe the MIL wants the ex back in her son’s life? Maybe the MIL just likes the ex better? Maybe the husband was a jerk to the ex and the MIL feels bad?

Penny Reply:

Maybe the MIL is a sh*t disturber, and enjoys the turmoil and drama? I have one of those! Maybe the X doesn’t know any better, and the family doesn’t know how to tell her it’s inappropriate to attend all family functions. Maybe the family just doesn’t have any allegiance to the husband, and it’s ok either way. You can choose your friends (and new Bride), but you can’t choose your family?


Comment by MzMasi.

Just because 2 people divorce it doesn’t mean they divorce the entire family… I get that. But, what is silly is a family not developing a relationship with the new spouse because they don’t want to upset the relationship they still have with the ex. In my situation, hubby’s ex forces herself onto my in-laws because its her way of staying connected to my husband. She can’t touch our marriage but she tries to interfere with the relationship we have with hubby’s family. They think they’re being nice to her and allow her to vent about what we’re doing with our lives (vacations, making our babies…) but what many in-laws need to learn is that they should NEVER choose an ex over a family memeber…

elizmk76 Reply:

I LOVE this post!!!!


Comment by marker8.

It was once best said ” Divorce is like a death in the family, you mourn it, remember the good times and move on with life. You cannot keep continuing to hold on to the past.” If one would continue to allow the ex to come around then there would be no room in the family for the new wife. Bigomy is against the law after all and he can only have one wife. I am living this situation daily and it is hurtful to everyone involved on every angle. It is respectful to abide by the wishes of your “blood” and what they want.


Comment by Jacklyn.

Dear New Bird,
Your mother in law is wrong. And you and your husband have the right attitude. If your mother in law had any respect for you she would have excluded the ex. The ex is not related to the family by blood ties,and if she was any good the son wouldn’t have divorced her.
I say stand your grounds. If your mother in law and the rest of the family don’t want to accommodate and make a comfortable place for you then you shouldn’t try to make a space for any of them in your life. Being alone is better than bad company. But you are not alone so you should leave all this drama behind your back and live a life without ex and baggage!
Best wishes


Comment by Melina.

I am in a sort of similar situation, except that my inlaws are the ones that can’t let go. My Husband and the ex share a child, and i have accepted this wonderful little girl in our lives. I don’t meddle and i don’t discipline, i just let it be. My father in law is the one who can’t stop helping, and kissing the ex’s ass. He is constantly trying to “help” her in any way he can. I don’t agree with him helping the ex financially. I think that any effort made should benefit my step-daugther directly. It makes me uncomfortable, because they make her feel important, when she cheated on their son and had a child with another man while they were still married.


Comment by mansviewpoint.

I am in a similar situation. I don’t appreciate attending my wife’s family functions just to sit around listening to stories of “The good ole days”. I find it rude and insensitive. I’m ready to go in about 10m inutes. Now I have chosen to just not go at all.
Ex inlaws have no place in current marriages or family gatherings… period.

jen Reply:

totally agree!! Having a ex still in the family is very rude and insensitive. My bf ex wife’s new kids are more apart of his family than my son. She is even invited to our godchild’s b-day party. I really wish the family would understand the situation from our point of view. There are kids involed but his family doesn’t have to still have a relationship with the ex and her new husband to see the kids. Just so fustrating!!


Comment by jeliza Rose.

OK so my problem here in lies. I am only a GF. It’s been almost 2 years now and a little over a year of living with each other. He has a big dysfunctional family that mostly live pretty close. The only one ones who doesn’t are his sister and his brother in law twice. That’s right, his sister married his BIL while he was married to his wife and had 5 kids. To me, very disrespectful of both of them and makes family functions disturbing when they come. Does that mean his sister is his own sister in law? What does it make the kids? Anyway, I really didn’t mind the ex wife at first. But after a year of her being at every family function (including his birthday party because her brother(his brother in law twice was going to be there which was at our house.), I have now chosen not to go to any of them. His family still refers to her as his wife, even in front of me and he does nothing about it. He says it doesn’t happen. I told him it makes me uncomfortable that she is at every family function and also just hangs out whenever. The family says they don’t invite me to hang out with them because they are inviting her instead. They have 2 kids together, 10 and 17. She never leaves their side. Won’t even let them spend the night at our house and won’t let them come over without herself also hanging out. Every weekend he tries to make plans to spend time with them but she won’t answer the phone and has the son return the phone call days later. They are always too busy to spend time with Dad but then don’t even tell him when they are going to be at their aunts which is down the street. The aunt doesn’t even call to tell him they are there without mom. The aunt and the ex are besties. Last Christmas, they through a big party and when BF asked his sister to not invite his ex she threw a fit telling him that if he’s not going to come because she’s going to be there that he is ruining the family Christmas. He asked his ex wife not to come and he will pick the kids up and she said that if she can’t come that he can forget about seeing the kids too. So that settled it for him. He wants to see the kids so seeing her is the solution. Now he says I am the one causing problems because I don’t want to hang out with her. He says I am making him choose between him and his kids. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I just want to be able to have a Christmas with him and his kids and family, why does that have to include his ex? Why does she not spend Christmas with her own family? They are close too. It only made me upset after the terrible things he told me she did to him. I know he did terrible things too so that just proves my point even more. Why would you want to hang with someone who has put you through so much crap? All they do is talk about times past and act like they are still together with out the intimacy. If she’s cooking the aunt will ask him to come figure out what the ex has done to the food so he can explain. What is the point of that. What does he know about it that they don’t know? I know it sounds petty but, day after day and event after event of listening to her cackle through the whole house and inviting him in to the conversation of old times, leaving me out always is getting old. I used to just deal with it but I’m bored and aggravated now. Everyone just sits around smoking and drinking outside while I sit and watch the damn TV with the kids. I don’t even watch TV. Even when I try and hang with them they have nothing to say to me and really I have nothing in common with them. I’m grossed out. If they love my BF so much why don’t they listen to his wishes? Why is it ok to threaten him with his kids? Why is it ok to say he’s ruining Christmas if he’d like to spend it with his family and kids with out his ex wife? Why am I the bad guy because I back up his thoughts and emotions? Why does he just roll over for all of them and tell me to get over it after he just told me how much it hurts him that she invites her? It all just makes me sick to my stomach. After work he’s going to go work out with his son on his ex wife’s porch. To me it’s twisted. The kids seem adjusted whether mom is there or not. She just uses them as a power play to have the ex’s family as her own. And his family would rather have her around than to not. So it leaves me basically left alone whether I’m at the family function or not. Plus watching him get stepped on while he does nothing about it. Gross, gross, gross. Please help. What ever you say could be helpful.

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