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There's Always A Reminder That I Am The Second Wife

Feeling crappy again today. How do you deal with your in-laws who feel as if they are still obligated to stay in touch with your husband's ex-wife because of the grandchildren? I feel hurt, betrayed, and insulted that they are doing this. I feel like they should understand since my in-laws are also in their second or third marriage.

My husband is close to his dad, and I am very thankful for that, so we usually go to his parent's place every other weekend. But now, it's getting harder and harder for me to be genuinely happy to go there when I know they are still talking to her.

I know that they have known her longer than they have known me, but it sucks! They don't even like her. Tell me that I am not the only who feels this way about their in-laws?

What hurts even more is when I see there is a picture of her in the guest bedroom. It hurts so much that I just want to burn that picture.

I can't even talk to this to my husband, because I know he won't understand, and even if I did, he'd probably just get irritated and say that I have to get over it. He just doesn't get it that getting over it is hard to do when I am always being constantly reminded that I am the second wife.
theyoungwife theyoungwife 18-21, F 7 Responses Feb 17, 2013

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I have given this a lot of thought, and here is my conclusion: No matter how much you berate yourself for "not being good enough to just let it go and get over it", no matter how many people tell you that you are not being mature about it, or you are over sensitive.....that's BULL!! No one can understand the DAILY hurt that second wives feel, the constant reminders, put downs, and jabs, whether intentional or not from our spouses, step children, in laws and his friends. Let ANY ONE of them walk in our shoes for a day and see how "detached" they feel. Here's the deal, at least my take: He isn't standing up for you as a couple or you as his partner and thats bad, it means he has some work to do. He may or may not ever do that work. But at the end of the day, YOU are the one whose feelings are hurt, not any one else's. You need to stand up for you and say "NO!" Loud and clear. Whatever form that takes, prepare yourself, say your peace to the inlaws and whoever else you need to. It should only take once. Remind them that you love your husband and care deeply for his family, and that you have respect for their home, but that you feel disrespected and insulted when they talk about his EX wife. Just tell them you have no desire to hear about her. What they do in their own home is their business, but they should show you respect as their son's WIFE. If they cannot or will not do that, then it is with malicious intent and you and hubby need to discuss other plans for visiting. Please believe me, there are many mothers in law that just LOVE TO MEDDLE!! They like to stir up drama. The picture in the guest room is an easy fix...just take it down and put in in a drawer while you are there. And as a suggestion....DON'T put it back, let them put it back. If they see it is gone, they will get the hint. If they put it back, that's their business. Just take it down each time. chances are, they will eventually stop putting it up or ask you about it. That gives you a chance to tell them that it makes you very uncomfortable to have to stare at a picture of HIS EX WIFE, and makes you feel disrespected and hurt. Not to mention that its hurtful to THEIR SON to be reminded of the failure of the first marriage. One day, in the future, YOU WILL BE THE ONE left hurting, regretting, and bitter over the fact that you let these people treat you as LESS than the first wife. Do you think she would have stood for it?? I think not!! BE worthy of yourself....treat yourself with respect and others will do the same. That's just my advice.

I am in a similar position but it has gone on for over 30 years. My husband was married to his first wife for about 7 and I married him about 10 years after their divorce. I should have walked when I sat down with his mom while him and his dad were in the garage and she proceeded to call me by his ex\'s name at least a dozen times. I was trying to be polite and didn\'t say anything. That is where I believe I went wrong. He has two children with his ex and him and I never had any. This is also my first marriage. His oldest son was graduating from college and I elected not to attend so I wouldn\'t make his mother uncomfortable. The next time we went to his parents house his mom told me it was good i didn\'t go as ex deserved to be there. Made me feel all warm and fuzzy. (not). They then had family pictures taken while there and ex is in it. They have it hanging right when you walk in their door so it\'s the first thing you see. And to top that off they sent us a 8 X 10 of it. WTH. But now for the past couple of years hubby\'s niece seems to think that his ex needs to attend their family Christmas, and other family functions. His mom just passed away and about a week before passing she tells me. It\'s to bad ___ (hubby\'s ex) couldn\'t be here. My head is spinning and it feels like someone just punched me in the stomach. I\'m not sure why after 30 years there\'s this need to bring her back into the family but I feel it is very hurtful and disrespectful. To both my husband and myself. I\'ve spoken to my husband and he was shocked at what his mom said to me. But just yesterday he said basically his family is his ex\'s by blood. Their childrens blood. So I asked him. Let me get this clear. Your family is her family and not mine. He said yes. Well isn\'t that special... Sorry for the long story but don\'t wait like I did. Nip this in the bud ASAP. There are so many other occasions they brought her up and I don\'t plan on being second fiddle to anyone. Luckily I have a loving family that love me for who I am and love my husband. In the meantime I will go with him for special occasions but if her name comes up or she shows up I will excuse myself. I\'m too old to put up with the inconsideration of his family or his ex. Good luck to you.

hi. my suggestion would be when they bring her name up next time is to say something like, i love you guys and all but i dont like hearing about so and so. it hurts my feelings.

if they do it again you could say something like every time i hear her name it chips away from my love for your son. it is something i cant control it is just how it affects me.

you could also try, well i guess the only way i can get out of hearing about so and so is to divorce your son.

i once left a dinner out with my husband and mil when my mil brought up my husbands ex in an extremely hurtful story. i got up went to the restroom walked out the restaurant and called a cab from a nearby store to take me home.

i refused to see my mil for months or maybe over a year. its been quite a while. she didnt do that again.

you wouldnt put up with that from friends so if they dont shape up skip going to see them and it doesnt matter if it is a holiday, their birthday, your husbands birthday etc. you dont deserve the bad treatment you've been getting.

with respect to the picture in the guest room i would at the least turn it face down or maybe stick it in a drawer of their house. it is beyond rude to have it out and actually crazy to have it out, and actually crazy for them to even still have it.

hope this helps. you shouldnt have to suck it up, they should shape up instead. and really your husband should step up and help but ibcant say that mine did but it felt right when i walked out and refused to see her and let her ruin my sundays and holidays. i wish you the best.

I understand how you feel, I am also in the same position as you. But try to detach your feelings and not be emotional if they are still talking to their grandchildren's mother. As long as they respect you and treat you as your husband's wife, that is what is important. Part of the challenge of being a second wife is embracing your husband's past; his ex wife and mother of your step-kids is part of that, so you hve to embrace and accept this. Your in-laws cannot just totally remove the ex-wife from the picture because of the children. This is temporary while the kids are still young, but soon, you wouldnt have to hear of the ex-wife anymore. Do not complain of htis to your husband, he will only think you are immature. It is hard to not feel upset either, I know. So the best way to handle it is to detach on this issue. And the next time your in-laws bring up or mention her name, tell them directly but respetfully that you are not interested to hear about her and you do not appreciate hearing anything about her from them because it makes you unhappy. You need to let them know, htey are probably not aware that they are hurting your feelings.

I hear you lady! It sucks and we second wives must suffer in silence. At least ur in laws don't like her. My in laws think his ex wife was and is the greatest person to walk the earth. It's so freaking awkward. I have expressed my discomfort, only to be labels jealous and immature. Wish I had some helpful advice to give u, but know that u are not alone in this sort of situation. Hang in there.

I'm lucky that my in laws hate the first wife and never talk to her. But in a way I know exactly how you feel because my mother in law seems to always have something to say about first wife. I'm lucky that she only says negative things..but still it bugs me just having to hear it every time.

I know how ur feeling!! its so annoying when the ex wifes name is always mentioned! Why do they need to do that in front of us??? Why did we have t meet someone who was already married previously! hopefully itmakes them better husbands second time round

I feel for you but I have to ask, what exactly do you mean when you say they keep in touch with her? Could you give an example? I'm not entirely sure since you say that they don't even like her. Since you said they feel the need to do that because of the kids then that doesn't sound TOO bad. Although if you stay in the guest room when you go there then it's rather disrespectful to keep her picture there, I'd say. You should ask your husband what's with that, and bring it to his attention that it bothers you. But don't do it in an accusing/demanding manner, use a pleasant tone and do it when he's in a good mood. If he dismisses you even then, well that indicates you may have some communication problems regarding your marriage.

But I think a more pertinent question would be how do your in-laws get along with you? Do they ever make you feel unappreciated or in any case less appreciated than her? If that's the case you should bring this to your husband's attention. But again, use a pleasant tone. Not trying to say you should be servile or anything, but this is about his parents so you should probably proceed with care.

Hope you can work this through.

It's like they feel obligated to invite her for Christmas, and buy her gifts. Keeping in touch on Facebook, and helping her with her car problems, etc. Last Christmas, I was very uncomfortable sitting across the Christmas tree and saw her names on more than one gift.

They talk about her when I'm around, which makes me very uncomfortable. I'm not trying to sound selfish, and if I do come across as selfish, I apologize. I try hard to not let it bother me by keeping it all to myself, and not bother anyone about it. However, it's getting harder and harder everyday.

I think eventually I might want to find a therapist, so I have someone to talk to about it.

Thank you so much for you comment. I've talked to my husband about the picture, he told me I should talk it with my in-laws. I replied that I couldn't do it because I don't want them to think of me differently.

My husband said that his entire family likes me a lot and thinks I'm the most wonderful person that he could have married. His aunt told me in writing, when we had a "welcome to the family part", that she wholeheartedly believed that I was his soul mate.

Again, thank you so much. I hope all of this will be over sooner rather than later.

Not your place to tell your in-laws that the picture makes you uncomfortable. That's one your husband should take. I did. My husband was uncomfortable about my mother still having pictures of my ex & I up in the house. I spoke to her and she changed it. Sometimes the in-laws don't even realize that they're doing anything wrong because to them, all they see are the kids. My mom liked that my son was in the picture. Ur hubby just needs to gently point out that he's moved on. On another note, if I were in your shoes & the family kept inviting the ex to family events, then I would be upset too. There's really nothing you can do to change that. They're going to do what they want. I would ask my husband to spend those holidays with me and I would hope that once his family seen that inviting her meant that their son & his current wife wasn't attending..... Well, lets just hope they have the good sense to move on from her as well. That doesn't and never should mean leaving the kids. Kids Welcome! No need for new distractions/drama/ex-wifes. =0)

I also told my husband about the picture with his ex when you first walked in of her and his family. A picture taken several years after we married. He spoke to his parents and their response is. This is part of our life and she (me) just needs to get over it. It was not only me it bothered but also my daughter in law as my stepson\'s ex wife is also in the picture.Maybe I would if she wasn\'t being thrown into my face everytime I turn around.

I told my husband about it, which he said that there's nothing he could do. I guess I'll try to talk to him about again. I LOVE spending time with his family. They are so welcoming, but as time goes by, I eventually get uncomfortable.

Maybe there isn't a solution to this problem, all I need is a way to deal with it. I don't want to resent them for something as stupid as this. I'm just human, and wanting to feel like I'm my husband's only one is normal, isn't it?

Yes, It's your right. And he is your property! You ever try throwing the law in his face? :) I know it's funny but it you get an attitude and work it he might run to a corner and cower. You are his WIFE. You can ruin him. You run this!

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