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His ex-wife still controls him

Dear Bunmi,

I met my husband five years ago when he was separated from his wife. As soon as his divorce went through, we got married and his 16-year-old son now lives with us. He rarely sees his mother and she seldom calls him.

They also have a 17-year-old daughter who opted to live with her mother. I’ve always been pleasant to her when she calls, yet she refuses to meet me. Her brother accepts me, so why can’t she? I’ve lost the will to be nice to her. After her calls, my husband tells me what she’s been up to, but I can’t be bothered to show any interest.

His ex-wife has now started to ring him more often. She always wants him to solve one problem or the other, especially about their daughter. She was the one who caused an end to the marriage.

In a few weeks, the daughter will be IS and she’s made plans for an elaborate birthday party in her house. His ex and their daughter are always asking for money and my husband is too soft to say no, despite knowing how upset this makes me. I don’t know what to do.

Am I being unreasonable? I know my husband loves me, but having his ex around is making me unhappy.

Demi, by e-mail.

 

Dear Demi,

A man needs to distance himself from his ex if he is to form a strong relationship

with someone new. Although your husband divorced his wife, they remain emotionally tied and each would like to get over their hurt. The children too wouldn’t say no to reconciliation.

You have walked into a family’s mess and it’s no wonder you feel insecure. Something has to give. The victims here are the two adolescent children who ‘re confused and harmed by the divorce. Do not think of them, or judge them as you would two adults. They’re insecure teenagers and you need to help them maintain good relationships with their parents.

If the daughter remains hostile, grin and bear it. Forgive her resentment of a new wife who has intruded into her parents’ broken relationship. By trying to love your husband’s children you will strengthen the loyalty and affection he now gives you.

Let him realise he needs to place more emphasis on your relationship instead of

running to his ex at the slightest opportunity. Time, though, will sort this mess out and your soon-to-be-IS step-daughter will mellow once she starts committed dating.


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