30 answers

Mother in Law Still Talks to Huband's Ex-wife

My husband and I are been married almost 2 years now. He has 5 children from previous marriage, and been divorce over 10 years. Their marriage didn't end in good terms. Ever since we got married, my huband's ex-wife has been bad mouthing on my husband in town and to the children. Thank god she lives in different state!! well, my mother in law still talks to this ugly women and expects me to understand their relationship. If my husband's ex was a nicer of a person I wouldn't mind at all. My husband also mentioned to his mother that he didn't want her to talk to his ex. Last time we visited her I was very firm about how I felt about their relationship, and told her that she can't have relationship with me if she wants to keep the relationship with my huband's ex.
Now my mother in law avoid talking to me when she calls the house, but she stopped talking to the ex. Am I being self-centered?
Has anyone been in this situation before?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

My MIL stop talking to the ex. She caught the ex bad mouthing about my husband in action. My MIL apologized to me 3 weeks ago and I have accepted her apology. She's coming for thanksgiving, and we are thrill to have her for the holidays!!!

Featured Answers

My MIL has always tried to keep in contact with my husbands Ex. She does it to stay involved with my stepdaughter. Its been 14 years and there have been times that that relationship was the only way we have known how my stepdaughter was doing. My husband' ex is not a nice person and makes it hard to have civil conversations. Some times it has been good that she talk to her and sometimes not as much. I think everyone tries to do the best they can in the situation they are given, It is not always the right way but the best they know at the time.

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You laid down an unreasonable ultimatum and she called you on it. You can not expect you mother-in-law not to have a relationship with the ex-wife. She is the grandmother to those 5 children. She will always be the grandma and the ex will always be their mom. I suggest you be the bigger person, apologize to your mil for giving her an ultimatum and then lead by example and show your step-children how an adult acts by speaking well of their mother and being a good role model for them.

9 moms found this helpful

i feel she does have the right to talk to the ex--after all she is the kids grandmother. but she also doesn't have the right to bad mouth anyone. maybe instead of saying that she hcan't have a relationship with you if she talks to the ex...maybe you could tell her that you want a realtionship with her but you don't want to hear anything about the ex!!sometimes you have to "tuck your tail between your legs" "and be the bigger person"!!!!

5 moms found this helpful

You know, there are 2 sides to every story. Maybe your husband isn't so squeaky clean for his part in the breakdown of the marriage. Just a thought.

As everyone else has said, of course grandmother is going to talk to the ex, how else can she find out how her grandchildren are doing? Don't be so petty and immature. The marriage is over, but the ties to each other and the children will be there forever. For the sake of the children, everyone needs to get along and be able to talk to each other.

If you are a smart woman, you will call your MIL and apologize and tell her you were having a bad day and ask her to forgive you. You will be surprised at what a difference that could make in your relationship with her. And whatever your husband says, it is his mother and always will be.

3 moms found this helpful

I agree with all the other posts. She is the mother of your MIL's grandchildren. Your MIL has every right to choose to have a relationship with her. Your husband chose to divorce this woman--his mother did not.

3 moms found this helpful

It's none of your business who your mother-in-law talks to. That's between your husband and his mom.

3 moms found this helpful

Yes you were out of line for asking a grandmother to cut off ties with the mother of her grandchildren. But I commend you for asking this question because it shows you possibly have some guilt for making such a demand. You said your MIL is avoiding you & you think she has stopped speaking to the ex, I doubt she has stopped she is just hiding it from you now. If I were you I would go to your MIL & apologize. You can turn this around for everyones sake but mainly for the 5 children involved.

2 moms found this helpful

Unfortunately, I think you are out of line. He has children with this woman. If he didn't, then I would think it weird his mother want to maintain a civil relationship with her but HE DOES. You need to be careful or you may be creating a resentment from your MIL if she feels she is having to give up this relationship because of you. I think it's great that his mother was trying to keep peace for her sake and that of her grandchildren. I wish my father's parents had been like that when my parents divorced. Having said that, be careful now that you are not going to create resentment with your stepchildren if their grandmother has stepped back because of you.

Yeah, I am VERY understanding of insecurities and ill feelings, especially when the ex is a real piece of work but in this case, I think you have some serious undoing to do. You need to stay out of your MIL's relationship with her grandkids and how she feels it's best to maintain that. Her talking to your husband's ex does not affect you OR him. It affects HER and her GRANDCHILDREN.

2 moms found this helpful

First let me say, that this would drive me crazy too!

Second, if I asked my mother-in-law to choose between me and her grandchildren, she would choose the grandchildren every time! And she should!!

Maybe you could just let MIL know how hard it is for you to hear about the ex, and ask if you can talk about other things? You really can't tell another adult whom they can and/or can't talk to, of course this upset her.

I would try to make amends with her for the sake of your marriage. You will really be doing yourself and your husband the greatest favor if you do. That being said, there is nothing wrong with letting your MIL know how you feel in a calm, mature way. Maybe you can all be happier once you get through this.

2 moms found this helpful

I have not been in this situation before (although my mom is on "good" terms with my ex husband, and when they do happen to see each other, they a re very friendly.) Your husband decided to divorce his ex, his mom did not. She's the mother of her grandchildren!
Even if you are not jealous on some level, your ultimatum sure came across that way! Maybe your MIL chose not to speak to you, after all.
In the end it's the kids that suffer since their mom is "not allowed" to talk to their grandma anymore. Very sad. Best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

You knew there was a nasty ex before you married him, and guess what... she's still there! She's not going away. It's just one of those things you're going to have to learn to live with, especially since there are kids involved. I think you were totally out of line being firm with your MIL. It's none of your business who she talks to and if I were her I'd be offended that you laid down such an ultimatum. I am divorced and my ex and I have a pretty good relationship, and I still talk to my exMIL quite a bit and my daughters and I go to visit her and my exFIL every year in Arizona. I try to keep my kids connected to them. I think you owe your MIL an apology for being so demanding.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello C., I just want to say as a Mother-in-law; that if my daughter in law were to tell me who to be friends with I am not so sure I would want to have a relationship with her either. Maybe your MIL thought it best to be a neutral party with her Grandchildren's mother so she was able to prevent problems. You have only been married for 2 years and she had a relationship with her for10 plus years if he had 5 children with the mother. I know that I have maintained relationships with family members that have divorced their spouses, as they were part of my children's lives as an Aunt or Uncle for many years. I have several x girlfriends of my sons that still stay apart of my life as well..
So to answer your question are you being self centered -- yes, and if you are building a strong relationship with your new husband and their children you have to know there is a prior history and not be threatened by it & remember that the other spouse may still be hurting that they split up but you are not i hifh school anymore so get past it.

1 mom found this helpful

My best friend got along great with her MIL. Then she got divorced, or course MIL took her sons side on everything. My BF is not a bad person, but she was bitter and did go arround town bad mouthing her ex. Now that a few years have passed, BF and exMIL are friends and talk frequently. ExMIL is invited to the family events. MIL and FIL have a great relationship with their grandchildren.

Keep in mind your husband's ex is the mother of MIL's grandchildren. No matter what she does nothing is going to change that. Of course MIL talks to her, probably so she can maintain a good relationship with her grandchildren.

Of course, I don't have all the facts, but this is the way I see it. If MIL had a friend that was an ugly person, would you tell her to stop seeing that friend? If I were MIL and you gave me that choice, I wouldn't be talking to you either.

1 mom found this helpful

They are both adults, I would think (in your mother in laws eyes) that you are disrepecting her by trying to tell her who she can and can not speak to. If she's civil with her ex-daughter in law, I think it's great (for the kids sake). I would hope sooner or later, she would stop bad mouthing your husband, but for the children's sake, I would hope she can remain frineds with your MIL.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, most do they all have a common interest the children. Make love not war. Love one another. Besides maybe they are friends.
My grandmother promised my brother and I she would not divorce us...I so thankful she had such insights in a brave new world and continued to write my mom and send birthday cards and letters she really loved us. Today Grandma has long past away and I am a grandma, my family stands strong blended and mended.
Love hurts and some people are not very mature.
Patience is a big part of marriage, especial a second marriage.
It is sad the first wife behaves poorly. I feel for her still carrying a burden that she got rid of over ten years ago. Divorce is very painful experience for all.
Try to mend your fence with your mother in law even if it takes time and an apology. Keep it simple. State the facts if needed and volunteer that you do not know her relationship with your husbands ex, but it is her business not yours. Your mother in law has a right to be friends with anyone she chooses and at the moment it sounds like she chooses not to relate with you. What a mess. Well you have some of my ideas. I wish you the best. Enjoy your day. A simple I am sorry seems to work most times. Ps That ulgy woman is your Stepchildrens mother. Have some respect if you want to be respected. It also sounds like see is very hurt or why would she bother to say those things.
Try to enjoy your day. Isn't family great.

1 mom found this helpful

I'll agree with the other moms that it's an unfortunate part of your marriage it appears you're just going to have to accept. I wouldn't like it either (especially if she's as difficult as it appears), but for the sake of the kids, setting the example of the bigger person is so critically important....albeit very hard to do sometimes.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I completely understand where you are coming from. I have a similar situation. I think is ok for the MIL to talk to the ex but I do not think that it is right for her to be buddy buddy with her, especially if the ex is the reason that the marriage did not work. My husbands ex cheated on him with his sisters fiance and my MIL started becoming buddies with her right after my husband and I got married. She goes in her the house and hangs out, gets on the computer, talks about the men she is dating, and they even went to a water park together. Not only is this disrespectful to her son, who I'm sure does not enjoy seeing the woman that stomped on his heart more then he has to, but also disrespectful to me and my place in the family now. She gave up her rights to his family when she decided to cheat. I HATE how everyone thinks that just because someone is a mother of children in this situation that she should be included, because thats not the case. The kids WILL always be welcome but she is not. She made her choice. Also, the ex knows exactly what she is doing, she is trying to make you feel exactly like you are feeling and making things bad with the MIL. I told my MIL how I was feeling and that I understood that she needed to talk to her and be nice but the "extra" things made me feel like I had to play 2nd to the ex and I already had to do that enough. They actually respected my feelings. (In the end after a lot of mistakes, apologies, and praying) She and I are slowly working on things and you have to try your best to be her best friend and fill the void and then she won't need to talk to the ex except about the kids and when she does she can talk about how great you are! HAHA Hope this helps since everyone else seems to be trashing you...I think people need to put themselves in the situation because they wouldn't like it either!!

1 mom found this helpful

I think it depends on what they talk about and how often. If they talk cause they see eachother at church ot the grocery store, and it's small talk about family, no harm. If they are actually seeking eachother out and are buddy buddy, I can totally see how that would make you feel bad. I agree that it's rude and improper of your MIL to be friends with the ex. That is not her DIL any longer even if there are kids involved. The kids are the main focus here, and yes you and everyone involved needs to play nice for the sake of the children, but your hubby has moved on, and so should yoru MIL.
Unfortunatly, everyone is in charge of their own relationships, and you cannot control that. Your MIL's personal relationshiops are her own, and by giving her an ultimatium, you are distancing yoruself from her and shedding some bad light on yourself. Sometimes we just need to voice our feelings and let the other person know how things make you uncomfortable or unhappy, and let them decide what to do about it. Tranfer the problem onto her shoulders. That way, she knows how you feel, and if she chooses to continue the friendship, well I guess you'll just have to grin and bear it. No one is perfect, not everyone is considerate of other's feeling. But it's how WE deal with that defines who we are or how happy we arein our lives. I am from a mixed family, and there is an ex involved. the only person who is really still friends with her is one on my sister inlaws, and yes it bugs me, cause the ex was horrible to my husband, adn she was even iffy to her child. She still bothers us, and is always throwing legal issues at us, among many other annoyances, but the way I deal with it, is I only talk to he sisiter in law if I need to. I am friendly to her, and I love her kid, my nephew, but I never get personal with her or too buddy buddy. There is usually on room for one sister in law, and if she chooses the crazy ex, well, good for her, I hope the ex never betrays her or treats her the way she treated her brother. I really hope you find a way to deal with the situation in a dignified manner. I do feel for you!

1 mom found this helpful

My husband and his ex divorced 15 years ago. He has 2 daughters from that marriage. His ex still talks bad about him. Her loss was/is my gain. He is the best husband/provider/father. My husband's family still talks to her and the kids and I am totally fine with that. That is someone that they knew long before I came around (we have been together for 12 years) and there are kids involved. I would never expect My MIL to give up her relationship with her grand kids.

I think if kids weren't involved then I'd be a little less understanding but even at that you can't control other people's actions...only your own.

How would you feel if you and your husband had kids, ya'll divorced and his family black listed you and your kids?

1 mom found this helpful

I think every situation is different, but you do not have the right to tell your mother in law who to speak to. You are her son's new wife, but that doesnt mean she has to stop communicating with the mother of her grandchildren. She may not be the best person, because of who she is to you and your husband. But, nonetheless she is still the mother of your husband's kids. Not to put you down or anything, you are of course to be respected and cherised.

But allowing people to make their choices and who they want to speak to is doing right. If your MIL has a good relationship with you then that is all that matters. There are always boundaries, but let her speak to her if she wants , dont give her an ultimatum. Best wishes and hope everything works out. Pray about it!

Your husband's EW still talks to his mother because that's her children's grandmother. That relationship does not change because he is now married to you, and I honestly don't think it's fair or realistic of you to expect it to. Being married to someone who was married before, especially if they have kids, is complicated. You need to be able to accept the fact that connections existed well before anyone knew you, even if it makes you uncomfortable - because it can be really, really uncomfortable. It takes being quite strong to not feel threatened by that. However, you cannot control your MIL or the EW's behavior and you cannot prohibit them from talking to each other. Their relationship has nothing to do with you and as hard as it is, you need to find a way to just let it be. Cutting her off from having a relationship with you is not a good solution.

I've been there, done that, with the EW and MIL in contact with each other, and the EW badmouthing everyone, and I know it's hard. You will come out looking much better, and FEELING much better, if you handle it gracefully rather than issuing ultimatums.

That relationship ended, but it was good practice for my current marriage. My DH didn't even have kids with his EW, but my MIL is still close to her. She's pretty much said that she's always going to be part of the family and there's nothing we can do about it. She still has her picture up on the wall in her house. One of my SILs feels the same way. They can talk and send each other Christmas cards as much as they want, but I don't give it any of my attention or let it bother me. She was part of their life for 7 years, they loved her and continue to. Their feelings for her didn't change because she's no longer married to their son/brother. I can't change that and it's not my business to try.

Again, I know this is hard stuff. I think one of the biggest lessons I learned from being a stepparent was that there are just some things I don't and will not have any control over, so stop trying to control them. This is one of the biggies. I wish you luck, calm and patience with this.

I'm in your shoes, but we all live in the same city. If the only reason she is keeping the communication open is for the grandkids, I see it. I'd hate it, but I see it. In our case my MIL watches the kids 2xs a week and is very active in their lives from my husband. In our opinion talking to the ex is the ultimate form of disloyalty, kids mother or not. The problem is that it is an opinion. She put my husband through hell and there is absolutely no reason for MIL to communicate with her. Believe me, the ex tries. She stops by to invite MIL to movies, brings her Xmas gifts from "the kids," and any other bull**it excuse she can. Whenever, I am not around she will sit next to MIL at sporting events. MIL is always cordial, always tells us, and wishes it would stop, but at the same time, doesn't tell the ex to stop. I can't control everything and I just have to realize that she is lonely and weird.

My MIL has always tried to keep in contact with my husbands Ex. She does it to stay involved with my stepdaughter. Its been 14 years and there have been times that that relationship was the only way we have known how my stepdaughter was doing. My husband' ex is not a nice person and makes it hard to have civil conversations. Some times it has been good that she talk to her and sometimes not as much. I think everyone tries to do the best they can in the situation they are given, It is not always the right way but the best they know at the time.

First I know there are two sides and I also know that the grandparents have a needed role with thier grand kids however when you came in the picture your husbands family had a choice to accept you as part of your sons life or not. You had to do the same. In order to receive you have to give. You probably were a little harsh confronting her and it put her on the defensive. Some grandparents are like kids. Tell them not to do something and they are going to do it more. I think if you show a little empathy and tell her it hurts you more than anything she maybe would understand. Not everyone handles divorce well. I say a long talk with your mother in-law is in order and take out the spite and anger. Be empathetic to her feelings and she should you. Tell her you lashed out because you were hurt and it was wrong of you. You are going to have this woman in your life as long as you are married to her son. Try and make it work. If that fails you can say you tried and move on.

While the ex wife might be the world's worst person, she is still the mother of your husband's 5 children. I'm sure that your MIL wanted to maintain a relationship with her because of that. And even if it was because she actually liked the ex, isn't that her choice? I'm not sure why you don't understand their relationship. The 5 kids still live with their mother, I presume? So if the MIL wants to have a relationship with those 5 grandchildren, she HAS to have a relationship with their mother. Even if not , it's a bit odd to try to control who she can and can't have a relationship with.

My situation is somewhat similar, my FIL is a horrible person who doesn't respect my husband and is verbally and emotionally abusive. We don't expect everyone else to stop being in contact with him, if that's their choice. It's painful, but for the sake of our daughter, we know that we have to be adults and learn to relate civilly, even if we don't like it. We want to show her that adults can communicate and be civil with people that they don't like or agree with. We don't want her to see us fighting and having grudges and trying to control other people and their relationships.

I hope you can find some way to deal with this for the sake of your husband's other children.

I actually do not agree with all the other posts. I am pretty much in the same situation. My MIl and husband's ex still talk and actually have a friendship. It wouldn't probably bother both my huband and I if... they didn't talk about us in front of his daughter. They do nothing but sit around and bad mouth both of us. We have asked that they keep their distance from each other out of respect for us. If the MIL wants to see her grandchildren, why can't she visit them when they are with their father? She does not need to keep a more than civil relationship with the ex wife. She still talks to her son and since he is the father, she has access to those 5 children. I have been dealing with the same issue for 8 years now. It will never get better until the ex and MIL grow up. You unfortuneitly will never win this battle. Your best bet... just be civil to the MIL and keep your distance. If you have to be around her, be polite. You don't need to go out of your way to make her comfortable. She should repsect you and your husbands wishes. I really feel for you on this. It is a very hard thing to go thru and unless someone is in your shoes... they should not be judgemental. That's just my opinion. Take it or leave it. The kids are the priority in this situation, whatever is best for them is the best thing.

My hubby has been told by his parents that no matter what happens between us - they are not giving up "their daughter". My in-laws had 2 boys - both boys are from their first marriages & they meet when the boys were about 5 yrs old... one of the "if you want to go to ???? house I need to meet his parent(s) first". The about a year or so later there was a wedding & they are still married almost 30 later.

Anyways... I gave them their only grandkids (4 so far & 1 on the way) - my brother-in-law hasn't found his soul mate yet & still is w/ out kids. And they look at me as one of their kids... after being in their lives for almost 18 years (I was 15 when I started dating their son) - it's hard for them to just walk away, just as it would be for me.

I'm not sure who has the kids... you & your hubby or his ex-wife. But sometimes grandparents talk to the ex just to find out what is going on w/ the kids. Also, just because the hubby & wife can't get along doesn't mean that everyone invalved couldn't. My mom use to talk to my real dad's mom now & then... yes my mom said some bad things about my dad. Maybe in her eyes they were correct, but I made my own judgement on my real dad & my step-dad. Actually, when my grandma was sick - my mom helped her when she was in the hospital... and when she passed my mom was at her funeral & no one had an issue w/ either. And my real dad was at my brothers funeral 20 years ago, and people did question it - it wasn't his kid. But he was their for our family including my mom (his ex), eventhough the marriage ended really badly & they were in the middle of another court battle for an increase in child support (which my mom did to him about every 2 or 3 years from the time I was a year old till after I married at 17). And sadly she was paid as much in child support as I made when I was working a 40 hr work week just a year ago... so he did pay a lot for 2 kids!

It can be hard to understand other peoples relationships when you have issues with someone, but honestly you don't have the right to stop the relationships. You are all grown people & the kids look up to you as to how you act & will follow your actions in many ways. So, if you have an issue w/ their mom, it could change how they feel or look at you... be the bigger person. Don't bad mouth his ex-wife & the kids' mom... let them make their own conclution of her and let others have a relationship w/ the woman if they choose to.

You know in life some people just "rub" eachother the wrong way & others don't... just mark it up as she "rubs" you & your hubby wrong, but maybe not your mother-in-law.

Take care & I hope you are able to find a way of working through this w/ you mother-in-law... it is nice to have a good relationship w/ them.

I've not been in your situation, but my first thought was she needs to keep that relationship because of the five grandchildren. Hate to tell you this, but she probably feels that the relationship with the grandkids is much more important than any relationship she might have with you. I am a grandmother and I can tell you without hesitation that I would keep that relationship no matter how you felt in order to keep my relationship with the children. You will, and should, always come second to the children.

I am assuming, that your husband's exwife has primary custody of the children, so it is only reasonable that your MIL would want to have access to her grandchildren. I was in this same situation myself 35 years ago, (My stepson is now in his 40's and a father and grandfather himself!)my husbands divorce from his ex was very, VERY unpleasant (the woman is crazier than a loon but that is neither here nor there!). My MIL seemed to be taking the ex's side in everything ( my inlaws didn't even attend our wedding!!). My Husband was very unhappy about the situation and basically gave my MIL the same ultimatum, if you talk to the ex I won't talk to you. We went about 10 years with basically no communication with my inlaws which meant that our children had no contact with their paternal grandparents. When my stepson became an adult the relationship between my MIL and the evil Ex basically came to an end but there were a lot of hurt feelings and anger during those years. How much better it would have been if we had just ignored the fact that they were in touch with each other, realized it was for the benefit of the child and gone on about our business!!!
Don't make this already complicated situation even more complicated by putting forth unreasonable demands. Try looking at the situation from the standpoint of your stepchildren and your MIL. Be the bigger person in this and as some of the other very wise Mom's have said...be a role model to your step children of how to handle these very delicate situations!!
I would sit down and write a letter to your MIL...set it aside and let it "simmer" for a few days, then re-read it and see if it says what you need to say to begin to repair the relationship. Then send the letter to her, and be ready to apologize for over-reacting.

Your setting your self up for a fail here. She has grandchildren who are with that mother. It is awful that she is talking bad about her son. But you can't expect a relationship that produced 5 children to not have ties. And as long as you let it it will cause you stress. I would tell that your upset not that she speaks to the other woman but that she talks bad about your husband. That to me would be the bigger problem.

I'm actually going through the same situation as we speak. My mother an i dont speak because i dont trust her anymore. My husband and i have been together for 6 years married for 3yrs. He has a 10 year old son who he really see's. He pays child support, he even has joint custody but his ex girlfriend makes false accusations about him. My mother in-law tells the ex-girlfriend all of our business/finances. She gives her our cell numbers(just a big mess). I dont mind her having a relatinship with his ex because that is her grandsons mother, but i feel asthough she shouldnt take sides or get involved in their business. Good luck to u

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