My family has "chosen" my ex over me
I have been separated from my husband for nearly 4 years. During this time he has remained close to my family. We were together over 15 years and as far as separations go, we had an amicable spit. We co parent very well and generally there are no issues between us. I do not have an issue with him remaining in my families life. Essentially we split, they didn't.
My issues are, my family have made no effort to accept my partner. We have been together for 2 years so he's not a new fixture. They are inviting my ex on family camping trips (only my family is going and my ex's partner who they have welcomed with opened arms), dinners and general gatherings. Over the last year I have received minimal invites and the ones I had been invited to, they invited my ex as well. Which he attended and I made no issue from that. I am not a terrible person and I have tried my absolute hardest to be ok with this fact but after they tried to hide a camping trip from me after I had discussed with them I feel excluded and shunned from my family while my ex enjoys their company they still tried to hide it I advised them I will not be attending Christmas with them. I might have reacted on emotion as I am very upset but I honestly feel they would just prefer it if I didn't go so he could and it would be less awkward. I have received a message from my sisters husband advising me that if I won't be joining them for Christmas over something as petty as a camping trip, not to worry about his gift (we draw names and buy for 1 family member to keep cost down) and I have really upset my sister. I have explained how I feel excluded yet they continue to "hang out" with my ex and exclude me. I was VERY close with my family and I am devastated this is happening. They feel I am controlling who they can and can't associate with. I have never asked them to cut ties and won't but I just want them to realise how much it hurts when they exclude me in preference of him. He can join in on my invites, why can't they extend the same invite for me. My partner feels this is because my family don't like him. He distances himself at gatherings and this too creates tension as they feel he's not making an effort. I don't know if I am over reacting. It is starting to create a family divide as half can see it from my perspective and the other think I am being controlling and it is pushing them further. Half can see my point are being very supportive and this is pushing the other half further and from them also
Welcome here, I hope we can be of some help. I can well understand how upset you are.
I guess the first thing - well at least for me - is priorities. My partner and offspring are the most important things and get my total support and consideration. If my partner feels unwelcome by my family - and this is not because of anything he has said or done, then my family is failing and are less in my eyes. Frankly it is simple consideration and hospitality to make the newcomer welcome.
Actually it is a bit of a trap to think of a family as a cohesive whole. They are of course individuals, each with their own personalities, faults, strengths, likes and views, and this may in fact be part of the solution.
Rather than trying for a blanket acceptance do you think it might be better to foster good relations with those that do put you and your partner first - at least in the short term?
I'm not advocating saying anything untoward to the rest - why cause friction - just suggesting it might be more pleasant all round if you were with the more friendly people.
If I may say so there is an up-side to your ex still being in the fold. It means your children are not in that most unhappy position of having to choose, or see one partner knowing it creates hurt or disapproval with the other. Now grandparents and all can interact.
Frankly your brother in law is not being helpful and I'd try to ignore his words. If you have explained matters to your sister and that is not enough it's probably time to leave them alone for a bit. It's very easy for things to snowball, and in the long term that would probably be a cause for regret all round.
While I might associate with those that are more simpatico I don't think I'd encourage any sort of divide, quite the opposite I'd probably try to smooth things over.
On another matter if your partner has a family how do you get on with them?
Please come back and say what you think about all this
Firstly, welcome to the forums. Sorry to read what you are currently going through.
I cannot say I have seen a case where a family has chosen the ex partner over their own family member. That does sound extremely strange to me, it is quite a hard one to give any advice on, may I ask, what are you looking for on the forums regarding this situation? Advice, or just wanting a place to be heard? Anything is fine but just want to get a better grasp so we can offer you the best advice possible on the situation.
Please, post back as much as you like, we are always happy to talk.
My best for you,
Gosh, that sounds like a pretty tricky situation, and most unfortunate as well.
I feel you’ve been very adult about the split with your husband, and it seems that the rest of your family is not quite at the same level as yourself or your Ex.
It seems that they’re quite capable of accepting your ex-husband’s new partner but not yours? And feeling upset about that is perfectly normal.
I’m not a fan of Chinese whispers and going around in circles to solve a problem. So on the basis that you might want a suggestion for a strategy .....
If your Ex and partner get along with your new partner, here’s what I would suggest:
You and your Ex organise a function - BBQ get together (for example) - where you and partner, Ex and partner, your children attend, and you invite the family from your side and your Ex’s side - set the example - make it a joint invitation from the 4 of you and the kids. See what happens, and have the BBQ anyway. You have nothing to lose, because:
- You’ll probably have a lovely time, even if family doesn’t attend, meaning you could start a new tradition for your children.
- If some family (from either side) attends, then you know who you can rely upon, and start a new social network.
If you want a place to be heard and have a vent, I’m up for that too - I had a Mum who had the weirdest ideas about what was appropriate, and not, around family relationships - this stuff can be so destructive sometimes. I’m a fan of being pro-active. Life is too short to be playing games with people.
Croix and Jay have both made great points above in their posts.
Bestest, cheers M 🙂
Hi bjay, welcome
Mmm, my thoughts were the same as Criox.
As I was reading your story I automatically thought- you have 3 options based on what I'd consider,
1. Let your family off the emotional leach. As Criox mentioned, involve yourself with those family members of like minds. I'd not visit the others but I wouldnt object to them visiting me as your ex wouldnt be present..
2. Continue on as you always have but with a different attitude i.e go camping and enjoy the gathering and enjoy your children's fun with all the family. Accept your partner won't be as popular as your ex, thats ok.
3. Divorce those members of your family that you can no longer tolerate over this situation.
Numner 3 is the last straw that hopefully wont come but if this situation flares up you might find that your hurt needs a remedy and it would be one if you dont find a peaceful outcome. If family have little empathy then a natural rift is probable.
Ideally number 2 is the best ideal but only you know if you and your partner will survive it happily. Frankly I'd find it bothering in the company of my ex
Number 1 has merit. Criox eluded that your partner and children are a family unit in itself and thats where your potential for happiness lies and should be "priority". You can distance yourself from this situation, let them enjoy your ex, have your own camping/holidays and try not to dwell on it.
If discussion comes up questioning your decisions you could ask them to mentally reverse the situation and if they have any empathy they'll get why you have drifted.
Yes you have been close to your sister but life is full of humps and troughs.
Let them have their fun. Create your own. Thats what I would do. I hope that helps.
As Jay said, this situation is rare but I've known one. My ex's ex husband invited himself on family gatherings he'd heard on the grapevine. I was never happy about it, I felt uncomfortable. But unlike your family my partner had clout and her family told him nicely that she had a new partner now.
By speaking up it puts you in a poor light. Thats why option 1 is better...and fairer on your partner....and less stress
I am amicable with my ex's family. I and they will send a birthday message, Christmas card and stop for a chat if we pass in the street but I don't attend family functions with them. They are a wonderful group of people and I am sad contact is minimal.
I agree with all you stated. I think it is unfair part of my family have not given my partner a shot. This group were very close with my ex so I can't help but feel this is them sticking in his corner. Mind you it was a mutual decision to separate so there really is no one "at fault" and no need to "choose".
Appreciate your input and advise
I needed a place to vent and gain perspective and hear suggestions and advise on how to handle it. It is hard to see past things sometimes when your emotions are running high. I can't talk to family about it and my partner struggles as he is upset they haven't tried to accept him. So his responses although supportive are more based on his feelings. I prefer to not involve close friends in these matters, especially this close to Christmas.
Thanks for your support
It certainly feels like they are more accepting on my ex's partner. He has had a few relationships since our split and they have made an effort with them. I think that is great!
My partner has not been extended the same courtesy. I can't see why either! If he treated me poorly or was rude to them I could come to terms with it but he is a good person, steady job, own home, great morals, he has been fantastic with my kids and I know he has my back, fully. What I'm trying to say here is, he is not feeding me drugs after a recent release from prison for abuse on his ex. He is the opposite of this. A good man.
I like your suggestions and this might be a nice annual event.
Hi White Knight,
Speaking up has put me in poor light. I have always been one to discuss an issue rather than whisper and whinge behind their backs. I find this has been a blessing and a cruse all in one lol.
Appreciate your suggestions. I do not want to create a family divide. Last thing I am trying to achieve. I think I will distance from the "dark" side of the fam and gravitate more to the "light" side.
I think you are on the most sensible track and I suspect in time that your relationships with most of these people will smooth out, though the trust that is lost is sadly probably permanent.
I don't know what it is people have to take sides when there is no need, perhaps a sort of self-validation because they liked you ex in happier times - dunno.
I'm not sure I understand you reference "he is not feeding me drugs after a recent release from prison for abuse on his ex.". Was this something your ex did?
Frankly if it was me the thing I'd be most concerned about (from the matters you've mentioned anyway) is the effect this distance is having on your partner. If I try to put myself in his place I might be somewhat hurt that you are worried about those that do not value him.
Now I'm not saying this is rational, and I know from what you say he understands your position and supports you. It's just an irrational feeling. Many people can be insecure, even if it is not warranted. - What do you think?
I hope more and more of the 'dark side' convert