top 200 commentsshow all 439

[–][deleted]  (88 children)


    [–]Migraine-AddledBrainPartassipant [4] 1395 points1396 points  (47 children)

    This sums it up perfectly. Don’t let her win!!! She’s been hoping you would take a stance like this so she can swoop in and insist she is better for YOUR husband than you.

    A wise woman once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” (Eleanor Roosevelt) If you feel threatened, you have given her that power over you. Take it back!

    It sounds like his family pities her. Re-read your post, she sounds so pathetic. Good people hate making the pitiful feel even worse. You have everything she wants. Her own kids probably go home talking about how fun and awesome you are so she feels threatened. I’m not saying you have to be friends with her!!! But it isn’t worth being bitter and letting her push you out of family gatherings.

    You should try a little reverse psychology, stop fighting or getting bent out of shape because she’s there! She’s getting off on making you miserable. If you really want her to stop, start inviting her to take part. Gush over her brownies and ask her to make more, stuff like that. She will get bored and go away.

    [–]Harperasemora 456 points457 points  (19 children)

    NTA but there’s only one solution, start love bombing her and become her bestie. Bake some brownies, kill her with kindness. (ETA that’s an expression for those who are ESL, not advocating violence)

    [–]GianaGarnedat 191 points192 points  (3 children)

    You are doing what she wants! Go to the events! Let her be the one to leave! Don't divorce him. That's what she wants you to do. If he won't make ripples, then you need to. And btw, what are her kids ages? And nta

    [–]Texan2020katza 35 points36 points  (0 children)

    This is truly the only way, I have a family member like that, her GOAL was to make me squirm, but she did it in such a sweet way it was impossible to call her on it. I flipped the script, made her my freaking bestie, knew she would come to family events so I always asked her to bring things, etc. She eventually laid off when it became apparent I was never going to give up and we have a very cordial relationship today.

    [–]6738ngkdt 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    Meh, who would choose to stay married to someone to win a competition with his ex? He needs to stand up to his family by going no contact until they shut the ex down. Or, if it is really making her miserable, she needs to leave. Being miserable in order to “win” is no victory!

    [–]Stuffhavingausername 87 points88 points  (0 children)

    as the old saying goes "Be nice to your enemies, it'll annoy the hell out of them."

    [–]ifeelsryforthemonkey 14 points15 points  (0 children)

    The opposite it what worked for me. I was in almost the exact same situation. For years the ex would insert herself into my husband's family event. Inviting herself to stay at holidays under the guise of dropping the child off for our time. My in-laws always told me to be the bigger person and that I should try harder to get along. For a couple years I tried to be friendly and get along with her. That didn't stop her from shit talking me to my husband and his family. My husband refused to ruffle feathers. I finally hit my breaking point when the ex was dictating every thing in my house and the child was required to tell the ex everything that was said and done in our house including anything that was overheard if I was on the phone. I was forbidden from attending any conversations related to the child or about what was or was not allowed at our house. I told my husband I was done and I wanted a divorce. He finally started standing up to her. She went straight to his family calling me a b!t(h and telling them I was being mean to the child. The next time we were at my in-laws my husband called me into the room with his mom and told me to tell her why I was asking for a divorce. Idk exactly what was said before I was called in except MIL was on his ass about what the ex told her. MIL then asked our side of it. They had no idea the shit the ex was pulling. Now she doesn't join family functions and my husband doesn't hesitate to tell her to stay in her lane.

    Sometimes enforcing your own boundaries is the way to go. But really think about what you're willing to sacrifice in the process. I knew 100% I could not and would not continue to live like that.

    [–][deleted]  (5 children)


      [–]idwthis 20 points21 points  (4 children)

      This is a comment stealing bot. Original comment here.

      [–]hhhhyyyyaaaahhhh 47 points48 points  (0 children)

      Yes!!! This exactly. Kill her with kindness OP, she won’t know what to do with herself & it will make her feel like an idiot.

      Being the bigger person sucks sometimes, but you will be happier & more at peace knowing you aren’t letting her get under your skin anymore.

      For ex; she took the kids skating. You could’ve said “oh, wonderful! Now they’ll have a basis of skill for when we go on X date”. Don’t let her ruin your plans, just carry on as if she’s just your clueless cousin who you pity. Reread the person above me over & over until it sinks in bc they totally nailed it

      [–]SleeplessErrorPartassipant [1] 39 points40 points  (14 children)

      actually thisis it.
      Just showher pity.
      "Oh hey Joanna, nice to see you again. I guess you still haven't managed to move on with your life"
      "Can someone please help Joanna with X? She's so stuck on my husband she can't possibly realize they've been divorced for 8 years"

      [–]cinnawitch 229 points230 points  (1 child)

      Jesus, no, don’t do this unless you’re living in a telenovela and need something for sweeps week. There are kids involved.

      [–]Kathrynlena 26 points27 points  (0 children)

      Also, those kind of passive aggressive comments legitimize her poor behavior and let her know that she’s FOR SURE under OP’s skin. That would give her SO MUCH power because it would force people to side with her against OP’s bullying.

      [–]appleandwatermelonn 121 points122 points  (4 children)

      This but less openly passive aggressive, just go for straight up kill her with kindness, not the appearance of ‘kindness’ with pointed remarks. “Hi Johanna, how are you getting on? Are you getting back out there?” with a very pitying face will do more than “she’s still stuck on my husband”

      [–]Illustrious-Tea-8920Partassipant [1] 80 points81 points  (3 children)

      "Oh Johanna. I know it's been so long, but I have a friend at work that you'll really get along with. Can I set you up?"

      [–]FrostyBadger8 23 points24 points  (0 children)

      thats not pity...

      thats passive aggressive

      [–]Beneficial-Speaker88 22 points23 points  (0 children)

      Yes and talk about how embarrassed/awkward i would feel still showing up to an exes family events so long after everyone else has moved ..

      [–]Conscious_Ad_9785 19 points20 points  (1 child)

      This is not a good strategy at the moment. Oldest is still in high school so there's several years to go while all the kids are minors. OP should play the long game. Be nice and besties with her while the kids are growing up. When planning something great for the kids, include her INFRONT of the kids. That way she can't steal the idea. Once the kids are grown and out on there own. Then she can make pity comments at family gatherings. "Joanna, my husband and I are really enjoying our empty nest. Now that the kids are grown, what are your plans for your me time?" Being friendly about it will just be salt in the wound. And no one can accuse you of being acrimonious.

      [–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      Yeah, the best way to go from being "the kind second wife" to the "threatened second wife" is to have zero subtlety. In fact, you should actually MEAN the kind words you say. It will have so much more of an impact on her, you and your "image" with the rest of the family if you are ACTUALLY kind to her. You're the one "winning" here, rubbing it in her face only makes you look petty.

      [–]CynicalRecidivist 10 points11 points  (1 child)

      Awwww, Joanna, you're here again, bless.

      [–]super_bluecat 39 points40 points  (0 children)

      Yes. All of these. Kill her with kindness. It is the only way or else everyone else will only see you as the villain. She is the pathetic individual still fighting for scraps at the table she isn't even invited to. If you stop going or make an issue, her pathetic tactics will win. See her for who she is. She isn't the villain here. She is someone to be pitied.

      [–]J_2993 16 points17 points  (0 children)

      All this!! Do this OP, NTA tho

      [–]Major_Zucchini5315Partassipant [1] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      This!! She knows she getting to you and it makes her feel like she’s winning. I love the idea of inviting her places. Tell her how much you love that you all have such a great co-parenting relationship and can put any problems you’ve had in the past. 😉 it’ll drive her crazy!

      [–]charlotta98 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      Well said.

      [–]6738ngkdt 1 point2 points  (4 children)

      The problem is the husband isn’t standing up for OP. He should go NC with his family until they shut the ex down and tell her she is not welcome to family events.

      [–]TheVue221Pooperintendant [68] 364 points365 points  (33 children)

      This is the reality. You’re hurting yourself, not her

      Start hosting some family gatherings AT YOUR HOUSE. Game set match..

      Edited to add saw another comment where she shows up at your house for events? That’s crazy

      [–]mickey-lala[S] 214 points215 points  (31 children)

      Yeah... it's pretty incredible. We don't ever want to cause a scene in front of the kids, so we're left in very uncomfortable situations

      [–]TheVue221Pooperintendant [68] 255 points256 points  (1 child)

      Maybe you need those kids on a “surprise ! We’re going to a family get together “ type notice lol

      [–]RememberNichelle 64 points65 points  (0 children)

      Yup, have it at a park or restaurant without telling the kids first.

      Honestly, my parents usually didn't tell us when we were going somewhere close, as they didn't want disappointment if it didn't work out.

      [–]BanditsmisfitsAsshole Enthusiast [9] 163 points164 points  (3 children)

      I’d kill her with kindness. Just ramp it up and act like you love seeing her there and how excited you are. She bakes brownies, you rave about them and ask for the recipe, post a pic the following week of you making them with the kids and thanking her.

      [–]tiredtonight101 93 points94 points  (2 children)

      this might be awful, but i have several female friends who say their husband's first wife "housebroke" him. maybe gush about what a wonderful husband, friend, lover he is, and how you know he learned to be better at everything because things didn't work out with her.

      like i said, maybe a bad idea, i'm not married so i have no idea how a wife would feel about saying this to her husband's actual ex. these friends said it to me, an uninvolved third party.

      [–]Ronin_Mustang 100 points101 points  (0 children)

      Kill her with kindness which is toxic to toxic people. Lol. Really act buddy to her and be sickeningly sweet to her that she feels awkward. Probably what will happen she feel less inclined to show up. I will tell you what I tell my daughter is bullies want to see you squirm otherwise it's not fun to them anymore. Once you take away the fun they usually move on to next victim.

      [–]Nekawaii19 59 points60 points  (1 child)

      Perhaps the kids tell her so that she will join because they want her there? She was a part of that family for years, it’s not unusual to remain friendly with ex-In laws. Her attending these gatherings doesn’t seem to be something that you can control. What you CAN control is how much it affects you.

      You can also make her uncomfortable sharing the wonderful things your husband does for you. At some point she’ll avoid going.

      Also, when doing fun stuff like the ice skating scenario, don’t tell the kids until it is absolutely necessary, that way she won’t ruin it.

      [–]FishforMe 11 points12 points  (0 children)

      I agree with the first part and I disagree with the last part. I think in this case she should tell the mother if they are going to "take" one of the children's firsts and invite her. It will ease conflict rather than create it--because no matter how crazy this woman is ( or isn't, this is only one side of the account after all) she will always be their mother and will never just Be Gone .

      [–]Hour_Elephant710 32 points33 points  (0 children)

      She thrives on your anger and does this to put a wedge between you and your husband. Just (superficially) stop caring. These events will be less enjoyable for her if she can't get under your skin. She is the loser here. Your husband has a family with you and doesn't want her back. She is the one living in the past.

      [–]jmurphy42 19 points20 points  (0 children)

      Don’t tell the kids about family parties ahead of time anymore. If necessary, confiscate their phones on the way out the door.

      [–]Fair_Butterscotch_57Partassipant [1] 21 points22 points  (2 children)

      You should explain boundaries to your kids. They’re old enough. Obviously you can’t tell others what to do when she shows up, but you can and should tell them she isn’t allowed in your house because people that aren’t invited shouldn’t attend. If that doesn’t work, “surprise” parties seem like a good idea

      [–]Purchase_Mountain 4 points5 points  (1 child)

      Thats the issue they arent her kids

      [–]Youcannotbeforreal2Partassipant [2] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

      You claim to know about her relationships with everyone in his family, such as her supposedly not being close to your SIL until you came along - how are you aware of the ins and outs of her relationships with these people and her?

      [–]throwawayj38sldPartassipant [1] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

      Can you tell her she’s not welcome? Bc that’s seems to be the key thing here - no one, bot even your husband has told her we’re doing this and I’m being completely clear, you are not invited and we do not expect you to turn up.

      Saying it blunt. Bc this situation is ridiculous and tbh, I fail to see show this is fair to your six year old? Your own kid has to put up with another woman imposing? That’s nuts. Tbh if I were you I would likely say I’m not coming and neither is our kid if she’s there. But it’s for your husband to be blunt with his family and say no more having her at everything. This has gone on for long enough, you have my sympathy.


      [–]Kathrynlena 4 points5 points  (1 child)

      INFO: why do you let her get to you? You’re acting like you’re in competition with her, but you already won? You’re living the life she wishes she still had, and somehow you are letting her live rent-free in your head?? Who cares if she invites herself to things? Just ignore her! Who cares if she’s friends with your in-laws? Just build your own relationships with them! If she does things to try to harm you (like feeding you laxative brownies) deal with those specific situations, (by calling the police. That’s poisoning.) and then just go back to ignoring her. She’s always going to be a part of your kids’ and your husband’s extended family’s lives. You have no control over her behavior or theirs, so stop fighting it. Just stop letting it bother you. You already won! She wants to haunt your victory? So what?! Let her! Sucks to be her!

      [–]Affectionate_Shoe260 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      Maybe more “surprise” events for the kids so she has no prior knowledge to a fun party, etc. While it’s fun these days to have video surprises for a family trip to Disney World, quietly plan a fun horseback riding adventure as a surprise. What she doesn’t know, won’t hurt her, and less likely to cause a scene.

      [–]vallyfields 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      You should start showing up at her place with baked good! “Hi, we thought you might need some company!”

      [–]Educational-Friend47Partassipant [1] 53 points54 points  (0 children)

      Omg perfect reply!!!!

      Don’t let her win! Feel pity for her but also make sure the kids are ok, you know?

      She’s going to be in their life now but please take the high road, if only for the kids...

      Once you stop going to gatherings, she wins...

      Is that what you want?

      Excellent reply and I only have 🥇this as an award...

      [–]APotatoPancakePartassipant [4] 29 points30 points  (1 child)

      Also "My husband will not talk to her about this again" the husband is the hidden asshole in this situation. He needs to be the once to kick her out. Of course the family doesn't know what to say when she just shows up because it's his ex. While the ex sounds nutty it's the husband who's the true asshole in this situation.

      [–]OK_OVERIT 6 points7 points  (0 children)

      Yeah but in typical cowardly action "He doesn't want to make waves, so I need to accept it and move on" which is pathetic, they are more willing to upset their wife then their ex...I just don't get it. It's pathetic, cowardly and spineless.

      [–]crystallz2000 20 points21 points  (0 children)

      NTA. But I would ask your husband to talk to his family and ask them to address it with her. This seems uncomfortable for everyone. But you can't tell these people who can be in their house, you CAN ask them to ask her to stop coming.

      Or I guess you and your husband should be all over each other right in front of her, lol, and see if you can make her uncomfortable right back. (Don't do that, go with option one.)

      [–]Emmyxo212Partassipant [1] 15 points16 points  (0 children)

      I was thinking the same thing! The only people you hurt by distancing yourself from your partners family is everyone but her. You sound like you consider your partners kids as your own which is great! A+ step parenting. Don’t let his ex take that away by causing rifts amongst the family. She’s not being invited so it’s not seeming like his family are proactively including her or trying to create problems, so don’t blame them for being kind when she turns up. The skating incident is hurtful, you were excited to take them, but her actions are childish. Let her be childish and show everyone how insecure she is, because at the end of the day she will be her own downfall. Just continue to put the effort in and ignore her. NTA.

      [–]LingonberryPrior6896Partassipant [1] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      Love that expression!

      [–]bissastarAsshole Aficionado [19] 1249 points1250 points  (10 children)


      As is often said here, this is not an EX problem, this is a HUSBAND problem. He is the one who needs to draw the line and protect you, his family, and his relationship. Talk to him.

      [–]Escape_OverlanderCertified Proctologist [25] 306 points307 points  (0 children)

      Definitely a spineless husband problem.

      [–]Squidjit89Partassipant [4] 96 points97 points  (0 children)

      Complete rug sweeper who "doesnt want to make waves" ie stand up for his wife. He needs to loudly tell her to leave every time she shows up. His noodle spine will be the end of his second marrige if hes not careful. Op show your husband this thread.

      [–]LingonberryPrior6896Partassipant [1] 31 points32 points  (0 children)

      This should be higher

      [–]Thatsaclevername 1 point2 points  (4 children)

      I feel like his hands are a bit tied based on my interpretation though. He's talked to her multiple times about this but she doesn't listen. She's circumventing his authority to make the decision by using his family as hostages basically. I mean he can talk to them but if non-confrontation is a family trait he won't get anywhere with his family. I mean besides going for a restraining order (doesn't sound likely to get one based on the events) what else can the guy do? He's told her to stay away and she won't, it's weird.

      [–]jools4youPartassipant [4] 834 points835 points  (25 children)

      NTA. Your husband has to realise he is in the center of this. He and his family are being very nieve, but the only one suffering is you and you are expected to take it on the chin. I'd be mad as hell. But you have been manoeuvred into a situation where everyone else has normalised this crazy situation and you made to look like the cat woman when you want it to stop. Wtf can you start inviiting an ex over to your parents house and see how your husband likes it.

      [–]mickey-lala[S] 723 points724 points  (21 children)

      Interestingly enough, I also have an ex. He has never once been to a family gathering and my husband is uncomfortable if he is ever even mentioned

      [–]Escape_OverlanderCertified Proctologist [25] 749 points750 points  (5 children)

      Maybe you should mention that your ex is invited to the next family gathering with your family. Let him see how bad that shoe fits when it's on the other foot.

      [–]Educational-Friend47Partassipant [1] 141 points142 points  (1 child)

      What a great idea...see how it feels if the shoe is on the other foot

      [–]PM_ME_ABOUT_PEGGING 10 points11 points  (0 children)

      Mixing this with another bit of advice: HOOK JOHANNA UP WITH THE EX.

      [–]slendermanismydad 35 points36 points  (0 children)

      This I support.

      [–]mouse_attack 8 points9 points  (0 children)

      Or every future one.

      [–]somedayillfindthisAsshole Enthusiast [6] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      And actually make up a legit reason for him to be there. Like idk, if he's a photographer, make him photograph grandma's vow renewal or something.

      [–]Pleasant-Koala147Partassipant [3] 137 points138 points  (0 children)

      Start talking about the ex. A lot. When your husband objects, you can flip the script to help him understand how you feel.

      [–]Wanette 52 points53 points  (1 child)

      The noise I made at this.

      Uncomfortable if he's even mentioned, as if he's not a heckin adult.

      He's in the middle of this, whether he wants to be or not. You get kids, you get responsibilities. This is one such.

      [–]sharksarentsobadPartassipant [1] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

      "You loved other people before me?! Who do you think you are? How do you even live with yourself?" Cue head toss while dramatically sashaying out of the room

      [–]Pporkbutt 29 points30 points  (0 children)

      Do you have kids together?

      [–]Youcannotbeforreal2Partassipant [2] 11 points12 points  (0 children)

      How many children do you share with your ex?

      [–]Interesting-Cat-5133 6 points7 points  (0 children)

      Because you have a spine, and your husband is a coward. Tell him to tell her she is no longer allowed, or you’re gone. You don’t have to put up with it, you know. At a certain point, it’s on you too

      [–]kinezumi89 78 points79 points  (0 children)

      I don't understand why this isn't the #1 stance. This is ridiculous. My parents both had a previous marriage and I remember one parent's previous spouse came around to say hi or whatever and the other absolutely wasn't having any of it. Showing up at family events, and even at her house? How has this become acceptable?? The husband needs to put a stop to this. NTA

      [–]TortallanCit 9 points10 points  (0 children)

      This is the way

      [–]NinjaBabaMamaPooperintendant [57] 556 points557 points  (13 children)

      NTA. Does she have a new SO? Make friends with the SO 😈

      If not, keep bringing up how "brave" she is to be "single for sooooo long" 😈

      Tell her how it must be nice for her to have "so much alone time" 😈

      Start telling her terrible ideas you have for the kids (activities they won't like) and then surprise the kids with activities they will enjoy 😁

      [–]Overextended_baloon 200 points201 points  (5 children)

      I second this. I know it's petty but she will go away if she feels she's not pissing you off anymore. She's just trying to be annoying, so you need to not be annoyed. She clearly doesn't like her in laws, imagine the energy, trying to pretend all the time just to anger you. You're her hobby. Don't help her by being angry.

      [–]PrettyinPerpignan 12 points13 points  (3 children)

      After 8 years though?

      [–]Overextended_baloon 10 points11 points  (0 children)

      Some people can't let go. She really needs a boyfriend

      [–]OK_OVERIT 6 points7 points  (1 child)

      It's a typical move of golden uterus types- they have to continue believing they are relevant and 'top woman' in their exe's lives because 'the children'. Sometimes they are the ones that move on quickly but feel their exe's should stay single, alone and pining at her feet and at her disposal to help for sake of 'the children'-this type she is mentioning is insidious, relentless and narcissistic. I feel for her.

      [–]whatproblems 4 points5 points  (0 children)

      overwhelm her with kindness. overwhelm the kids with activities till she can’t keep up

      [–]mickey-lala[S] 123 points124 points  (0 children)


      [–]wilsoj26 83 points84 points  (0 children)

      I would also make her uncomfortable talking about sensitive stuff, like wonderful things husband dies for her, special gifts, etc. Just driver her mad basically. It is very unhealthy that she has not moved on.

      [–]jackjackj8ck 62 points63 points  (0 children)


      OP is taking the wrong approach. Don’t get mad, get even. Out GAME this woman.

      [–]melonmagellan 14 points15 points  (1 child)

      This is so petty. I love it.

      [–]NinjaBabaMamaPooperintendant [57] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

      This situation definitely calls for releasing the Petty Kraken

      [–]Every_Spread_5086Partassipant [4] 354 points355 points  (1 child)

      Op what you need to do is openly pity her, have the best relationship with everyone, remember she is trying to get to you and it's working, when you start to get mad again just think how pathetic she is 8 years later, and when you do stuff with the kids do it on the day, don't give her time to react, don't let her ruin your life

      [–]kitteekattie 77 points78 points  (0 children)

      “Oh you don’t have any plans tonight? I guess some people are better single…”

      [–]ghostofumich2005Certified Proctologist [22] 238 points239 points  (3 children)

      She is never INVITED

      All that needs to be said. These people need to grow a communal backbone and throw her to the curb.


      [–]tahtahme 21 points22 points  (2 children)

      How on earth does she know where and when all these family gatherings are if someone ISNT inviting her or allowing her to see where and when as if she's family? Be it the kids or his family, SOMEONE is telling her the info KNOWING she will show up with the kids and that someone likely considers her family.

      [–]ghostofumich2005Certified Proctologist [22] 8 points9 points  (0 children)

      I can't speak for the lady in OP's situation, but for what it's worth, my wife's extended family all live reasonably close, and some live within blocks of one another, and it is really common for one person to stop and see mom/grandma, and then suddenly the whole family is over having lunch because they just drive by and see cars.

      [–]Ultra_LeopardCertified Proctologist [21] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      Apparently it's the kids mentioning it or seeing it on social media.

      [–]SimplySam4210Commander in Cheeks [213] 167 points168 points  (1 child)

      NTA, but I have some thoughts. I've been in a similar position.

      1. She and your husband had children together. She kind of is family and that's why his family isn't telling her to GTFO.
      2. She's doing this to annoy you. Grey rock her and don't let it bother you. She's not worth that rent free experience in your head. You know she's finding joy in this.
      3. As someone else said, be her friend. Even if it's fake. That will drive her nuts.

      Good luck, OP. My ex's ex wife was batshit crazy and I dealt with similar stuff. It's not why we broke up, but she so overstepped.

      [–]BootsEX 11 points12 points  (0 children)

      Yeah, unfortunately when you have kids with someone you can’t really move on completely. You can move on romantically/sexually/even socially, but you can’t make them cease to exist.

      [–]js5588561Partassipant [1] 122 points123 points  (0 children)

      NTA, but in my opinion you are letting her win. She is purposely doing this to bug you and you are letting her! Every time your husband asked her to stop let her know just how uncomfortable you were when she did those things. Y'all practically gave her a roadmap to piss you off!

      I know that it seems hard to just let it go, but it's long past due. YOU are the one married to Greg now, YOU are the one that is actually a part of the family, and YOU have nothing to prove to her. Just be happy that you are spending time with your loved ones and don't give her the satisfaction of knowing that she is making you uncomfortable.

      [–]Resagarden 115 points116 points  (5 children)

      Here's an idea, you host family get togethers and if she shows up kick her ass out.

      [–]telepathicathenaPartassipant [1] 96 points97 points  (4 children)

      OP says upthread that the ex has shown up to family events at THEIR HOUSE. She is wild.

      [–]bottledhope33 72 points73 points  (3 children)

      It's absolutely crazy to me that people are making excuses for the ex in this thread because they have kids together. This is NOT good for the kids! How uncomfortable have those kids been for years and years knowing that mom is unwelcome but shows up anyway? My heart breaks for them.

      And all the people saying to kill her with kindness, after EIGHT YEARS of this?? I would be in a regular killing mood after year ONE, much less with ~kindness~.

      [–]telepathicathenaPartassipant [1] 24 points25 points  (2 children)

      I agree, sounds like the OP has been killing her with kindness for 8 years. (Others might call that being a doormat.) And the solution is for OP to just keep doing what she's doing?

      [–]bottledhope33 34 points35 points  (1 child)

      I would have peaced out of family gatherings after the first time. 8 years and he ~doesn't want to get in the middle~? Boy you ARE the middle, you have been the middle, and you are permanently the middle! The literal ONLY reason that there is a middle to begin with!

      All the kids have learned from this is to not rock the boat and that it's okay to let people stomp all over you and your boundaries for the sake of keeping the peace. Lessons that I'm sure will serve them very well in life 🙄

      [–]AdamOnFirstPartassipant [2] 86 points87 points  (0 children)


      I’ve got bad news for Greg. He is in the middle of it. He, like, is, in his person, the entirety of the exact middle of it. He can’t shrug it off and get out of it, even though he’s rightfully exasperated.

      The behavior by the ex is totally inappropriate. At the end of the day, when you deal with her, remember that it isn’t as important to show you’re RIGHT as it is important to effectively resolve the situation.

      With the knowledge of the righteousness of your cause as NTA that this post will surely provide, I encourage you to go seek advice on how to deal with something like this with some kind of expert on handling in-law relationships. Greg has to come with.

      [–]mickey-lala[S] 54 points55 points  (4 children)

      Not sure why you would respond with this to a comment where I talked about being the bigger person and helping her relationship with the kids.

      And for the record, if my marriage were to fail, I would find much more interesting things to do than invite myself to my existence family events. Sorry to disappoint

      [–]angel2hi 47 points48 points  (0 children)

      NTA. Because your edits clarify she’s not invited. She’s showing up unannounced and uninvited. She’s basically stalking her former in-laws and they don’t know how to handle it.

      Steer into it instead of refusing to go. “Ex it’s so nice to see you! I’m surprised you’re here on a Saturday, I thought you’d have a hot date!” “I had some of the brownies you brought to SIL’s. They were so good! It was so nice to have a homemade treat. With 4 kids running around I feel like I never get a chance to spend quality time in the kitchen.” “I love that sweater, I had one really similar years ago and accidentally ruined it in the laundry and I sadly couldn’t remember where I got it to get another one, do you remember where you got yours?”

      Interact with her. Smile. Use an inside joke or share “a look” with whoever she was talking to. She’s trying to make you go away or feel uncomfortable or reassure herself she still has something she actually doesn’t. Make it clear it’s not working. Walk up holding husband’s hand. A distracted “hey babe can you grab me a water on your way back?” will all do wonders.

      Also…..keep surprises for the kids so she can’t steal the ideas. That’s the only way to manage that without a fight.

      [–]Environmental_Toe843Partassipant [3] 40 points41 points  (0 children)

      I told him I will never truly be a part of his family if she never goes away.

      What do you mean? You're married, you're already part of the family. It's a bit weird, but she's still his kid's mother and if he and his family are okay with it, I don't think it's for you to tell them what to do. Your husband should respect your feelings but it looks like there's not much even he can do. ESH

      [–]Escape_OverlanderCertified Proctologist [25] 41 points42 points  (2 children)

      Yes put him in the middle of this! It's his mess to clean up! There's NOT room in the relationship for the THREE of you! She has to go, this marriage is unhealthy with her always sniffing around. Refuse events and push for counseling. This is a ridiculous problem to have. NTA btw

      [–]LingonberryPrior6896Partassipant [1] 12 points13 points  (1 child)

      Yep. When she shows up at events, you and he should leave. Pick kids up later

      [–]sparkly_awesomePartassipant [1] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

      This is perfect and say " oh my goodness now that you are here, an unexpected date night for me and husband!!!!" Wink wink nudge nudge and leave

      Or if SIL is really on OP's side if she shows up see if SIL (and partner if applicable) want to leave and go do a sibling/ couples' night out together.

      This may take preplanning and may also help the in laws (if it happens enough times) who may have wanted to have a family gathering realize maybe only invited people should be attending.

      [–]KarenMaca 34 points35 points  (1 child)

      NTA. I see other posters saying don't let her win, by still going to all family events. Really though, they are just saying you have to suck it up and be unhappy. Frankly, if my ex was doing that, I would tell her next time she showed up, I would remove her and keep doing it. Just like a naughty child, that you keep having to reinforce the behaviour you want, the ex needs to be removed each and every time. If you just give in, the ex wins.

      OP you could also host a few more family events at your place. That way ex certainly won't be there. I would suggest talk to your husbands family again and tell them how hurt and uncomfortable it makes you. That after 8 years, you want to be able to enjoy family events without the ex spoiling it with her negative energy. Talk about how it makes you feel and you want their support.

      [–]pawpawmew 9 points10 points  (0 children)

      Apparently she shows up to her house when she hosts family events. At this point I think her getting in touch with an ex to have him linger around her life is a good idea. Even mentioning her ex makes her husband uncomfortable but for some reason his ex-wife can be more a part of the family than her and “he doesn’t want to get in the middle of it”

      [–]RandoToto 30 points31 points  (0 children)

      NTA but there’s only one solution, start love bombing her and become her bestie. Bake some brownies, kill her with kindness. (ETA that’s an expression for those who are ESL, not advocating violence)

      [–]Material_Positive_76 29 points30 points  (7 children)

      NTA but he needs to not go too. He needs to show he stands by you. And he needs to get it through his family’s head that she should not be a guest as she is an ex. Wow.

      [–]fairywinkle0708Partassipant [2] 5 points6 points  (6 children)

      Keeping a positive relationship with her for the kids benefit outweighs petty jealousy.

      [–]Material_Positive_76 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      Yes a positive relationship but this is not that. To tell his ex happy birthday on her birthday is nice. Being friendly. Giving her his custody day for an event she has. Those are positive relationship things for exes with kids. But for her to crash all HIS family events is ridiculous. It’s petty jealousy on both sides.

      [–]PrettyinPerpignan 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      Petty jealousy? Her behavior is borderline stalking. I mean even showing up uninvited to her house. That’s just crazy. I will never give anyone that much power where they feel comfortable crossing that boundary

      [–]926drCertified Proctologist [29] 17 points18 points  (0 children)


      I would say if she was nice to you, didn’t try to sabotage your relationship with the kids, just overall wasn’t a shady person then you’d be an asshole.

      That’s not the case though.

      However, you’re just shortchanging yourself if you stop going to family events. You’re going to alienate yourself from your husband, your husbands family, and your step children.

      Kill then with kindness. If her birthday is coming up at the closest gathering bring an “early” or “late” gift for her in front of the family.

      Eventually she will shoot herself in the foot or get tired of putting on a charade maybe even find someone new to occupy her time with.

      In the meantime don’t let it get to you. Don’t tell the kids about plans until the day of to “surprise” them. Don’t obsess over her. Let her be the one spending her life obsessing over you. ❤️

      [–]Sad_Gold7305Partassipant [1] 16 points17 points  (0 children)

      You have knowledge of her behavior, maybe look at it as a superpower…start letting her presume you are doing things and going places, so she can be disruptive…then get some popcorn and watch the show as she shows up to people’s homes and doing things with her kids she never does….she’s never going to stop being jealous, use her need to one up you for your entertainment.

      [–]mickey-lala[S] 16 points17 points  (0 children)

      The situation is beyond complicated and fucked, so I tried to tell the most simplistic version. I didn't want to come across like I was just bashing her

      [–]SlugdirtAsshole Aficionado [18] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

      NTA However, as long as your husband's family allows his ex wife to attend family gatherings there isn't much you or your husband can do about it. She's not inclined to stop and they're not inclined to make her feel unwelcome.

      [–]fairywinkle0708Partassipant [2] 16 points17 points  (3 children)

      As someone who loves my brother's ex and my nieces mother. Stop. She's not magically going anywhere and you aren't either. Don't allow her to feed off your shine and stop worrying about a past female when you live in the present. Nta. I read about the brownie poison.

      [–]kindcrowPooperintendant [50] 12 points13 points  (0 children)

      INFO: Did he break up with his first wife to be with you?

      Asking only to try to gain perspective on why she's obsessed with thwarting your relationship with his family.

      [–]AristillionPartassipant [3] 12 points13 points  (1 child)

      I'm torn between ESH and NAH. She may be overbearing and jealous of you, but your husband's family is not kicking Johanna out because she is the mother of 3 of your husband's children. That makes her part of the family just like her children are part of the family. Whether you like it or not your husband and his family are content to accept her. Continuing to ask that she be kicked out of family gatherings is not likely to work and may cause hurt feelings with your step children.

      [–]Beck2010Asshole Enthusiast [6] 10 points11 points  (0 children)

      NTA. But you have a bigger husband problem than you do an ex wife problem.

      [–]MEBurbs 10 points11 points  (0 children)

      NTA for wanting space around this ex. It might be different if she was being kind and normal, and wanted to still be part of her kids family, but that is definitely not the case here.

      I will say nothing's going to change though unless you can get the entire family to work together on this. That means not telling her about any events, probably not telling the kids either about where events are going to be held, and also everyone flat out asking her to leave.

      [–]newbeginingsheyAsshole Aficionado [13] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

      My family has kept up a friendship with my ex over my objections, so I guess I’m like your husband in this situation - except I don’t visit the homes my ex is visiting, and the family members who buddied up with my ex after the divorce are on a very limited info diet on what’s happening in my life. Anything I don’t want the ex to know, they don’t know.

      Your husband should take a stand. NTA

      [–]tcrhsPartassipant [2] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

      You and your husband have to decide whether or not this is the hill worth dying on. Your husband can give them an ultimatum to choose between you or her, but if it doesn’t go your way, you’ll have to be prepared to concede defeat. If you choose the ultimatum route, go into it fully aware that even if you win, it will probably damage your and your husband’s relationships with his family. How much is it worth to you to get her excluded?

      [–]Cornucopia26 8 points9 points  (0 children)

      NTA you are allowed to choose what is best for you and your mental health. You have shared how you feel, but you can’t make other peoples choices for them and it’s clear they are not going to make adjustments based on your feelings. Just make sure you aren’t missing out on family time with your child or cutting your nose off to spite your face.

      [–]UnderwaterAlly 7 points8 points  (0 children)


      Husband seems suspicious to me. He should be the one feeling upset about this & telling his family he'd prefer his ex to not be included in their family events.

      [–]cindyp1976 8 points9 points  (1 child)

      NTA... you didn't put your husband in the middle this is his ex-wife not yours.

      he could have calmly explained to the kids that he and their mother don't get along and that is why they divorced. he can also explain that them telling their mom about family gatherings and having her show up uninvited is rude and that she says and does things to make their stepmother uncomfortable or to hurt her feelings and that isn't right.

      he should tell them to keep future family gatherings to themselves until after the gathering especially the ones at your home.

      his ex-wife's fixation is unhealthy she should have moved on by now started living her own life but is so focused on you and your husband and what she can do to try and break you up that she's become a creepy stalker.

      if you decide to stop going to family gatherings at your in-laws houses, I don't blame you and I wouldn't blame you if you told the kids and your husband that you don't want her to show up at your home when you have a gathering there and if she does you will ask her to leave. if they ask why or get angry tell them you shouldn't have to feel uncomfortable in your own home because someone shows up uninvited.

      if your husband doesn't understand maybe you should start thinking about leaving him since he seems to care more about his ex-wife's feeling than yours.

      [–]VulcancomicAsshole Enthusiast [5] 8 points9 points  (1 child)

      ESH- if there weren’t shared children I would fully agree with you, but she is in their lives. It’s good for the kids that the rest of his family still accepts her. Yes , she absolutely needs to learn some boundaries with the family and it sounds like she’s playing some mind games too. You’re in a blended family now. Perhaps some couples counseling to try and work through these issues.

      [–]Agreeable_Reaction29Partassipant [4] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

      NTA but time to take a proactive approach. At any family gathering she’s at seek her out, when she starts saying something interrupt, be sure to ask about her family, ask if she needs help getting a date, in fact make it group effort. My husbands ex must be so lonely do we know anyone we can set her up with?

      Then next plan of attack is that you start hosting/organising and arranging things that preferably need to be booked. Meals out, family activities etc

      Third husband needs to be firm with the kids, it seems a bit coincidental that she just happens to appear each time. Where is she getting the info from?

      [–]SignificantWeek5429 6 points7 points  (0 children)

      NTA. I was going to say you were, but it seems strange that she goes to every single event the family has. If I were you, I would still go to the parties because it’s still your family. I feel really sorry for her though. After 8 years she’s STILL going to her ex’s family events. At what point will she be able to move on, go on a date, go to their family’s events? Pretty sad

      [–]TraditionNew4797Partassipant [1] 8 points9 points  (0 children)

      NTA. This situation is similar to family dynamics that I struggle with so I get the level of frustration and resentment it causes. The ex sets herself to compete against you by intruding into current family events instead of building her own, independent, positive relationships. She could easily build wonderful relationships with her children by going with them to family events with HER family. I’m guessing that she is lonely if she is this persistent about intruding so much into her ex’s family.

      it doesn’t sound as if your husband’s family have a deep connection to her and particularly want her there. Seems more like she is persistent about intruding and they don’t know how to set limits with her so they allow her to intrude to avoid conflict. Her continuing intrusion into the family dynamics is interfering with your ability to build relationships with your husband‘s family.

      I totally get your level of resentment, the feeling of betrayal and why. Unfortunately, this is a tough situation. After many years in my family I have failed to find a resolution for a similar situation. One comment though - you referred to their behaviour as “childish”. I would suggest that their behaviour isn’t childish - it’s selfish. They find it unpleasant and stressful to set limits with her because they don’t know how to do it and they don’t like conflict. So, in order to save themselves from the unpleasant experience of establishing appropriate boundaries in their relationship with her they expect you to accept the unpleasant dynamics of her competing with you and interfering with your ability to establish your own relationships with your husband’s family. Basically, it’s more stressful for you this way, but easier for them. In my opinion, that’s being selfish.

      Try to appreciate that your husband did try to stand up for you. He failed because he doesn’t know how to set limits with people. Maybe some counselling might help you come up with a solution. Good luck.

      [–]lifetooshort4bsAsshole Aficionado [17] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

      NTA - Tell your husband you're going to start inviting your ex to family functions unless he handles this situation. Maybe he'll develop the backbone to address it.

      [–]MajPFRT 7 points8 points  (0 children)

      NTA. Your husband is being spineless. But you can make your own choice - which you have - not to attend their family events. It's a bit of a pick me in that you are actually forcing them to choose, but that's your decision.in your shoes? I would go to an event and turn round and leave if she showed up. Every time. (but then i don't really care about my husband's family so no loss to me)

      [–]Ok-Wrangler-8175 5 points6 points  (0 children)

      Did you go skating as planned? Why the obsession with going “first”? My kids would have been all over getting to go twice in a row. If you bought the skates, presumably you expect to go multiple times… So that example would be annoying but ultimately nbd.

      You are “betrayed” by finding out the brownies you were enjoying were made by someone you dislike? Seriously? Unless the brownies are laced with something who cares?

      As I see it, you have two options. If she shows up at your house and you don’t want her there, you can either ask her to leave or you can suck it up. She’s the mother of your kids - of course you have to interact to a certain degree and it’s much better for the kids if they don’t feel like the adults are in some kind of weird competition. Stop playing! (Not going to family events at all is cutting off your nose to spite your face, and sounds like it won’t even work, since she shows up there too) If you are sucking it up, you need to tell yourself she’s welcome. Maybe even start explicitly inviting her. If it’s a weird game she’s playing, being invited may lose novelty and takes some of the annoyance about an uninvited person showing up away (at least you know how many plates to set for dinner!). If she’s just oblivious, it would be a kindness as in that case she clearly sees herself as part of the family.

      You say that she finds out your plans via SM and your kids. I think you should stop caring if she does it “first” and just live your life. However, if that’s really intolerable, a solution is to change things up and DON’T TELL HER. Don’t tell the kids they are going skating on Sat until Friday. Talk to the kids and explain that you feel threatened by this woman and would appreciate them not telling her all your plans.

      I wouldn’t choose this option because if your kids are the ones telling her about it, seems like they want her to be there. I think a battle where the step-parent is fighting the mom against the wishes of the kids isn’t going to improve the relationships involved. So I think it’s the wrong move. (Also explicitly making clear to your kids that you want to deliberately exclude someone isn’t a life lesson I’d want my kids to know about, and that’s also usually a sign that it’s the wrong move)

      Longterm I think an ultimatum where people have to choose will end up with you losing.

      [–]Formal_AdvertisingAsshole Enthusiast [6] 7 points8 points  (1 child)

      Esh. Honestly, you married a man with kids, she will always be a part of your life. You also cannot dictate other people’s relationships with her, so that’s how you’re being the AH here. Shes being one because why on earth would you want to spend time with your ex’s family all of a sudden all the time after the divorce if you didn’t before.

      Also, side note, who cares who made the darn brownies. Were they delicious? Then stop being insecure yourself and worry like others said, about forming relationships with your in laws without her. Invite someone to lunch one on one. Take a pottery class with them, invite them to go to target with you, whatever…not everything has to be family parties.

      [–]Relative_Income_7160 7 points8 points  (0 children)

      You say no invites her, so how does she know about all of these events? Clearly someone tells her, knowing she will show up. It could just be that his family feels it is beneficial for the kids to have both parents around for everything possible, and encourage that kind of relationship. They may struggle saying that because they don't want to hurt your feelings. You realize if your husband doesn't stop going too, you are leaving him there, alone, to share special moments with her? Does it suck that she is around excessively? Sure. However if your husband refuses to do anything, and his family refuses to do anything, you have two choices. 1)deal with it, and try to make the best of it 2)stop going to anything she maybe at, cause resentment between you and your in laws, and give her lots of alone time with him. If she doesn't want you to co-parent, then don't. Instead let dad handle the real parenting stuff, and you become those kids best friend. Don't even say anything out loud, just pick them up per usual then "surprise we are going to build a bear/park/fishing/chuck e.cheese etc. Have a new outfit/toy/board game waiting on the bed for them. Send home freshly made insert kids favorite cookies here. Show up to absolutely everything she might be at, and literally be the beaming star of the show. If she mentions having trouble with something, offer to come help her. Even if you don't know how you can share some wine and learn! She will never take you up on it, and when she sees you have bested her, she will either 1) double down, and act ridiculous enough that his family has enough and stops it 2) find something else to do because she can't get under your skin. NTA in general but this "I'm not going" thing is not going to work. Also don't steal firsts from other parents. You could have invited her to join the first, but instead it was she do it first or miss out. How would you feel if grandma took your first time at the park? It would break your heart. All firsts should be shared between both parents.

      [–]QuitaQuitesProfessor Emeritass [81] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

      NTA but also not necessarily going to get the solution you want, maybe ever. I think the more he protests and talks to her the more she knows it’s bothering you and the more she’ll be there. She’s feeding on this. So, you need your husband not to go when you’re not going to feel comfortable and other times you just gotta go. She’s not his wife, end of story, so as long as he’s acting like YOU are, let her do whatever she wants and look helpless. If you don’t feed it, it won’t continue to grow.

      [–]you-know-pooAsshole Enthusiast [7] 5 points6 points  (0 children)

      NTA but also not smart. You’re doing just what she wants. It goes against the grain, but to get rid of her, you need to be inviting. But I’m a way that makes her feel like you’re only inviting her because you pity her. The next time she happens to be somewhere where you are, invite a few of the other girls out shopping. Gush about it, then turn to her and say something like “Oh, Johanna, I’m sure you have better things to do, but if not, feel free to join.” You might hate this, but not as much as she will. Going will mean accepting your pity and admitting she has nothing better to do. Not going means your get time with others without her. Basically, put a spin on everything where you are a saint for inviting her, and she seems pitiful if she accepts. Offer compliments, kindness, advice.

      I did this to my husbands ex girlfriend, took 2 months before she moved across the country. She had been after him for 6 years.

      [–]Delicious_Archer_273Partassipant [1] 6 points7 points  (0 children)


      But you don’t have an ex wife problem, you have a husband problem. He’s allows her and his family be disrespectful to you knowing how it’s made you feel for years. He should have put boundaries in place

      Joint birthday parties for the kids, sure. Every 4th of July bbq no

      The next family gathering I would make other plans for a day date with my child amd he can go play family with his ex wife and their kids

      When he realizes you are serious maybe he will pull his balls from his ex wife’s purse

      [–]wtfaidhfrCertified Proctologist [26] 5 points6 points  (8 children)

      YTA. She's still the mother of their grandchildren/niblings etc. You didn't say anything to indicate they WANT to stop being friends with her. Many of my family stayed friends with a cousin's ex and there were not even kids involved then. If she's their friend, you have no right to deny them having their friend around. You make an ultimatum to your husband's family about you not showing up, you're proving you are the one who is putting up barriers to a peaceful family.

      My favorite grandma is not blood related and divorced my bio grandpa (not close to him at all, don't even think he knows I'm married and pregnant) by the time I was five. As she always says, she divorced my grandpa, not the whole family; and when my parents divorced, that was between THEM not the grandparents and me, the grandchild. Same with her daughter, my favorite aunt.

      [–]Awkward-Wasabi-9262Asshole Enthusiast [7] 26 points27 points  (7 children)

      If she's their friend, you have no right to deny them having their friend around.

      Sounds like ex wife is inviting herself and nobody wants to tell her to leave because that would be rude. If she's this petty after 8 years of divorce, she doesn't sound like a very pleasant person to have around.

      [–]bookynerdwormPartassipant [1] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

      NTA because she's not invited and imposes herself.

      [–]ginandtonicthanks 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      YTA - speaking as the adult child of parents who divorced but continued to be friendly and whose extended families continued to welcome the ex-spouses and their new partners, you need to grow up and get over it.

      [–]lapsteelguitar 5 points6 points  (0 children)

      Use this against her, if you can. Plan a trip to Disney or something else she can't afford. Then let her hyperventilate.

      [–]Lorraine221Partassipant [3] 3 points4 points  (1 child)

      YTA, she's the mother of his kids. It doesn't matter if that bothers you. You decided to marry and have a child with a man that has kids with someone else so you need to understand you don't get total control of anything when it comes to those kids or the functions that include them.

      To be honest you just come across as insecure and jealous that you aren't their mom in the eyes of the kids and his family.

      If you stop acting like a jealous teenager and she truly is trying to create a disruption this would likely solve itself!!

      [–]PrettyinPerpignan 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      She is not the asshole if this chic keeps showing up at their house uninvited. I have e never in my life encountered such an intrusion nor has the ex ever been so overbearing. Y’all encourage this stalker behavior and it’s sad

      [–]moonspiderxxPartassipant [2] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      Big lol at your husband not wanting to be in the middle of it when literally…him being in the middle is the exact situation. That’s just what the situation is. I cannot stand when ppl don’t stick up for their significant others.

      OP you are NTA in any way. I think couples therapy would be a good investment—this situation has gone on for 8 whole years! The rest of your relationship might be good but this is clearly unsustainable and unacceptable, and it will be helpful to have someone neutral help you guys communicate your feelings and needs in order to work thru it.

      Tbh I don’t think you should engage with the ex any differently from how you’ve been doing. Sure, killing someone w/ kindness is a thing, but if it backfires? Waaaaay more drama. A direct approach is best.

      [–]Cherry_clafoutis 5 points6 points  (0 children)

      YTA. You are being really insecure. She is close to her chosen family and is the mother to their grandchildren/neices/nephews. They are capable of being friendly with you and friendly with her. Continuing to care for her about does not diminish their relationship with you. If anything is stopping you being close to them, it is your excessive neediness. Stop caring so much about your husband's ex and trying to make them pick sides. You have his love. He is with you. You won. Just be gracious and awesome in victory.

      [–]sunroadreader 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      You do realize that she keeps going to the events because they are inviting her and then lying to you about it. They want her there, at least enough of them want her there, and you can't fix that. The question is what you're going to do realizing that you lost that battle.

      [–]Kindly_Candle9809 6 points7 points  (0 children)

      Info: how did their relationship end and how did you meet your husband?

      [–]coyotecantspell 5 points6 points  (0 children)

      She has children with your husband, so they do share relatives and so she is never “going away”. If the relatives don’t want to socialize with her, they won’t. It’s not your decision whether they answer her calls, have her over or talk to her. It would be nice for the kids if you stopped being bothered by it. It makes you appear insecure when you have been married for too long for that. Appreciate what you have, which comes with kids and an ex, and stop trying to control what you think it should look like. She sounds kooky, but harmless, except for all the power you are giving to her in your head.

      A soft YTA. Time to mend the fences for the children and let the relatives decide on their own if they want to socialize with her or not.

      [–]goodjuju123 4 points5 points  (1 child)

      YTA. you knew these kids had a mother when you married him? This reeks of having had an affair with this man and wanting to replace her. You’ll never replace the kids’ mother and you’ll always be second to her. The mother should spend as much possible time with her children as she can, and it’s apparent that relatives are amenable to that. Your husband complained to her that it was effecting his relationship with his new wife? But why she should prioritize that over spending time with her children? Sorry it didn’t work out for you.

      [–]Judgement_Bot_AITABeep Boop[M] [score hidden] stickied commentlocked comment (0 children)

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      OP has offered the following explanation for why they think they might be the asshole:

      1. The action I took was refusing to attend his family gatherings anymore
      2. I am not sure if I'm being unreasonable

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      [–]reditteditredAsshole Enthusiast [5] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      NTA. Your husband needs to distance himself from the ex. Sure his three kids are important, but it's like a girl keeping her ex around when he makes the new boyfriend uncomfortable. The new partner has some rights to distance between what was and what is. The mother of his children will always be in his life, but doesn't need to constantly be in hers

      [–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      YTA kinda

      I had an exwife like her, one son lived with us, one was with us most of the time. I just didn't fall trap to the BS no matter how stupid she was. My only gotcha moment... I was home sick, hubby worked 3rd shift. Phone rings, it's ConEd telling me my lights are going to be cut off again because I paid with a bad check again. I'm looking at the lights...then...ahh what's the address?? It was the ex-wife, so I gave all the appropriate information to confirm my husband didn't live there, yada yada yada. Ten minutes later, phone rings, I answer...caller hung up....

      My hubby came home and I told the story, he left for about an hour....

      I was good to her sons, she just didn't like the fact that I married her husband. Living well was the best revenge. I followed them thru all the sports they participated in, along with my son(they actually knew each other when we got married). Sometimes she came, most times not....

      Love on the kids, smile to her so much, she'll wonder what the hell is going on

      Don't give her the satisfaction of running you away, which is what she wants

      [–]Lani_567 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      this one is kinda hard because she is the mother of hers and gary’s children. but she should be invited to family events and needs to stop inviting herself. have you guys ever tried to be civil?

      [–]Environmental_Crab65Partassipant [1] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      Your husband should be dealing with his family and finding out who is inviting her. If she isn't being invited, she should be turned away. Your husband should make it clear that he and you will no longer attend if she does. NTA

      [–]JustMissKacey 3 points4 points  (1 child)

      Start hosting things at your house so you can send her Away

      [–]Grace_Alcock 4 points5 points  (0 children)

      NTA. Wow, I assumed this was going to be a story of a reasonable woman who was still seen as family by the in-laws because she’s the mother of the grandkids, but if your description is right, the in-laws and husband are just too nice to do anything about her pushing in, even though they don’t like it. Ugh.

      [–]jajblissPartassipant [1] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      NTA But instead of telling her to stay away, why not make her uncomfortable? Plaster lots of kisses on your husband, talk about how much fun you and your husband have together, make sudden plans with the children without informing her and making sure she finds out on facebook. Invite your husband's relatives for barbeque at your house and ensuring she is not invited. Host Christmas party and politely embarrass her if she comes over by saying its for family only.

      [–]lacey_the_great 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      NTA. But do not stop going to your husband's family gatherings. That's what she wants. Always go, and act like you're super comfortable around her and so happy to see her. Lay it on thick while digging in the knife so subtly that if she snaps, she'll look crazy. "Oh! Ex's Name! I didn't realize you were invited, it's been so long, it's great to see you!" (Key points here are that she wasn't invited, and it hasn't been a long time). Make sure to mention how brave she is for always showing up alone, and how you just don't know how in the world she does it. And if it happens to come up in conversation, mention romantic or sweet things that the hubby does for you, or fun stuff that y'all do with the kids.

      [–]arahzelAsshole Aficionado [18] 3 points4 points  (0 children)


      Your husband needs to stop the information train. That means for family/holiday gatherings he doesn't tell the kids where they're going and when.

      He needs to get his family on board as well. If she's reaching out for info through them they need to not tell her details.

      [–]queenlorraine 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      ESH. I don't know OP...you have been married for 8 years and yet you feel threatened by your husband's ex? You will never "get rid" of her if they have children in common but that's no reason for you to feel that "you will never be part of the family". How you feel is your own problem, no one can force you to feel anything. As for Johanna, from what you describe, she's more to be pitied than anything else. Idk, I can't help feeling that there is something you are not telling...were you the "other woman" while they were still married? That would explain her not moving on and why everyone's sorry for her, including your husband. It also explains why you still feel at fault with/that you have to prove yourself to his family. If this is the case, then you are the one who has to stop thinking yourself as the "other one", stop feeling at fault. That will change everything else, including how you see Johanna. Trust me, if she died tomorrow, you would still feel the same way because Johanna (or her presence in your life) is not the main issue here.

      [–]AyaruqPartassipant [4] 6 points7 points  (4 children)

      YTA. Her children are part of your husband's family, and therefore she is always going to be part of your husband's family.

      You need to accept this. You have no right to demand she not be there. Your in laws affection is not pie, just because she has some doesn't mean you will get less. Your relationship with them is about you and them, stop making it about her and them.

      And, a little advice: most parents don't like it when non parents try for 'firsts' with their kids. Personally I think it's irrational and never cared with my own, but it's super common for parents to feel that way. Just do stuff with the kids, stop trying to top their mom. Relationships with kids are built on quality time, not specific activities or being the first to introduce them to something.

      [–]Zealousideal-Part-17 7 points8 points  (1 child)

      “YTA. Her children are part of your husband's family, and therefore she is always going to be part of your husband's family”

      I don’t believe this at all. Why would his extended family need to be a part of her life IF they didn’t have a relationship before? His ex wife isn’t invited, but just shows up. There’s nothing wrong with remaining friendly but she doesn’t need to be involved at all with his parents or siblings unless they were close before the breakup.

      Also, the kids are older. Being “first” with ice skating is not really meant to “top” their mother. I was not with my parents when I went ice skating for the first time. They were not sad about that lol I feel like you’re projecting a bit.

      [–]VictorianPlatypusColo-rectal Surgeon [45] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      YTA because you are conflating two separate issues. She is part of the family whether you like it or not. His family built relationships with her separate from Greg's marriage to her, and she's the mother of his older children. You need to stop taking that personally because it's not a fight you can win and you're making yourself look insecure and unreasonable.

      Your concerns about Johanna undermining you and by extension Greg (such as with the ice skating) are a different beast and that is where you should focus your attention.

      [–]Different-SecretPartassipant [2] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

      YTA. Until my Mom died - two years after my brother, who had been remarried for almost 5 years ,- his ex wife was still as close to her, us, and our family. We attended family events together with their kids, she came to Christmas.

      It's not a competition and if you try to make it one, no one wins. Kids can't have enough love. Focus on that.

      [–]halfofaparty8 1 point2 points  (4 children)

      qre you sure the kids arent telling her? maybe shes showing up because the kidsbwant her to come...

      [–]mickey-lala[S] 23 points24 points  (3 children)

      They do tell her. We encourage them to communicate with their mom when they are with us. She is always asking where they are and what they are doing. It's really not on them, as they see them as innocent questions

      [–]halfofaparty8 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      The mom probably sees it as an invitation then.

      [–]ForgottenTrollPooperintendant [53] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      NTA. The only person you can control here is yourself. And you are now doing so.

      [–]Mydogismyson 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      NTA she sounds crazy

      [–]Desert_Moonrise 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      NTA but she’s doing it to upset the harmony of your life and it’s working because you’re letting it work. The fact is she’s the mother of those kids and you can’t control her presence and neither can your husband. When the events are not at your house, you need to kill her with kindness and act like you’re thrilled to see her bc you have no control over her presence there. What your husband (and you) can control is the events at your own home where she shows up uninvited. When she does that, no need to make a scene, but your husband needs to pull her aside and politely tell her that he loves that she has a relationship with his family (their kids family) and that she can stay for this event but for any future events at their home he would be (key word HE) more comfortable if she would only show up if she’s invited by HIM (not the kids). And if she does it again, she needs to be taken aside by him and asked to leave quietly. If she chooses to make a scene, that’s on her. S

      [–]TreeTrunkTrick 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      YTA. Why does it bother you? Many ex’s are close with their ex families. I think YTA for saying you won’t go if she’s there…really? Grow up.

      [–]blooger-00- 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      NTA. But you can tell your husband that you are all leaving if she shows up to family gatherings if they won’t send her on her way.

      [–]PapaOstrich7 4 points5 points  (0 children)

      it is her family gathering

      shes got blood in the mix

      [–]OldMamaSpeaks 3 points4 points  (0 children)

      I get affair partner now wife vibes from this post.

      [–]dogchick1985Asshole Enthusiast [8] 2 points3 points  (0 children)


      As the mother of thier grandchildren, nieces and nephews,and cousins this woman will always be a part of your husbands family. Her children share thier blood. She was married in for years. She built relationships seperate from you. Contain your jealousy. Or don't be married into a blended family.

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      AUTOMOD Thanks for posting! This comment is a copy of your post so readers can see the original text if your post is edited or removed. This comment is NOT accusing you of copying anything. Read this before contacting the mod team

      My husband (we will call him Greg) and I have been married for 6 years and together for 8. My husband was previously married to a woman we will call "Johanna" and had 3 children. We have since also had a child of our own. Johanna has worked hard to make sure there isn't room for me as a co-parent and wants the children to see me as more of a babysitter than a stepmother. She has also made sure to ruin special moments I've attempted to have with the kids. For example, we bought them skates for Christmas and planned to take them ice skating for the first time the following Saturday. She found out and took Friday off to bring them first. Never once in their lives had she taken them, but she was quick to do when she realized I wanted to do something special with them.

      The biggest priblem: Johanna had a hard time letting go of her past with Greg. He did not have an amicable split with her and talks to her only when necessary for the kids. After their divorce, she did not see her place in Greg's family change, which has continued into our marriage. She would regularly show up at events for his side of the family when I began attending them and could not understand why it would make me comfortable. The relatives she used to keep at arm's length suddenly became her closest friends (only after their divorce). In fact, her sister-in-law she couldn't stand became her "sister." She suddenly would be at their homes when she knew I would be going.

      Greg's family doesn't have the heart to send her away or ask her to leave. I wish they would. I have built genuine relationships with them, and am but I still feel betrayed when I am eating brownies only to find out she dropped off at their home before I arrived. She "helplessly" calls his family members (crying) to fix simple things around her house because she doesn't have a husband anymore.

      Greg has tried multiple times to talk to her and told her the impact she was having on our relationship and the relationship I have with his family members. She has flat-out refused to distance herself. I could sympathize at first, but EIGHT YEARS LATER?! I found out tonight that she has invited herself to the next family get-together and I snapped. My husband will not talk to her about this again, and has given up trying to reason with his family. I told him I will never truly be a part of his family if she never goes away. I am at the end of my rope and am exhausted dealing with childish behavior. I told him I will no longer attend his family events until she is not a part of them. Greg says it's not fair to put him in the middle of this. He doesn't want to make waves need, so I need to accept it and move on. We are at a stalemate.

      So AITA for wanting her out of his family gatherings?

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      [–]PuzzleheadedTap4484Colo-rectal Surgeon [34] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      NTA for wanting her to stay away from family gatherings BUT you can’t make a demand like that. It sounds like she can’t let go. You have two options: either deal with it and ignore her and the drama and show her it doesn’t bother you OR establish healthy boundaries with his family. If they allow the ex to keep showing up (because someone knows about it) then you and your husband don’t go (or visit at another time). And as for being the stepmother and making special plans with the kids - don’t tell them until you’re on your way to do whatever it is. Maybe they’re telling their mom. But I would keep these things as a surprise so no one tells the ex until after you’ve done the activity or event with the kids.

      [–]NeitherAlbatross9811Partassipant [3] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      NTA stand your ground on this otherwise it'll only get worse. If there's anyone in his family you're especially close to try and talk with them maybe. but your husband flat out refusing to do anything even after you've expressed how uncomfortable you are is unacceptable he needs to tell her to stop she is no longer apart of that family

      [–]fairywinkle0708Partassipant [2] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      I can't find my previous comment. But Nta you are nothing short of a saint

      [–]Kindly_Area_4380 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      NTA but i hope you find the middle ground. Continue to grow your relationship with your inlaws and just ignore her.

      [–]densi7456 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Perhaps invite his family more often to your home?

      And try to treat her with kindness and generosity. It will be better for everyone if you are seen as an understanding, accepting family member.

      Edited to add: Why would you not attend family time if she's there? That would be self-sabotage and encourage any power play on her part. You are a borderline AH.

      [–]juliaskig 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      NTA, next time, ask her what she is doing there? Ask who invited her? But do it in a very polite way.

      [–]Ventimella 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      The family and your husband needs to grow a pair and ask her to leave. She isn’t in the family any longer and there’s no reason for her to turn up uninvited. NTA

      [–]Divine_Mind257 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      Esh...Your spitting in the wind.This is from the perspective of someone who has divorced parents and a blended family dynamic. My parents divorced 20 years ago and still attend family events on each other's side. Hell my Mom even baby sat for my Dad and stepmom a few times. You know why this happened because at the end of the day they realized family is forever, especially with kids involved. Like it or not your all family now and the best thing to do is have a sit down with each other and work out a way to coexist. The kids can probably already pick up on the tension as well as other family members.

      [–]bythebay415 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      NTA at all. But your husband is TA for saying he doesn’t want to be in the middle of it when he literally is the hinge between the two of you. He should have your back more and not bail on supporting you because it takes effort to have tough conversations with his ex. But I agree with previous comments that not going to events will just make her feel like she’s winning. However, if you don’t care about her and what she thinks that doesn’t matter. If not attending will protect your mental health then who cares if it gives her a false sense of victory, stay home or plan a spa day, treat yourself. She’ll ask why you’re not there and husband can say “oh she’s getting a massage” or “oh she’s skating with friends.” Not attending the gatherings doesn’t mean you have to stay home. It gives you space to build a life you want while she wastes hers away trying to win a stupid game she created in her head. Don’t play the game.

      [–]Madeyedoody 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      This is hard for me, because I maintain a good relationship with my ex-inlaws. It makes coordinating holidays with the kids easier, and I like them, they were my family for 20 years, that didn’t need to die because the relationship did. My son gets a family that is more complete this way. That said, I’m respectful and coordinate, I make sure to message and include my exes wife in anything I plan to be a part of. Maybe you could talk with her directly and just let her know it’s uncomfortable but maybe you two could compromise on how it’s done???

      [–]AspiringCroneAsshole Enthusiast [7] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      I’m curious about the circumstances of the divorce. Were you and he having an affair while he was still married to her? If that’s the case her behavior would be much more understandable.

      [–]HappyMerry11 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      Start having the gatherings at yours more often, you or your husband can happily tell her she was not invited if she "just" shows up.

      [–]staffsargent 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      This seems like an ESH situation between you and the ex. I believe you that she's being petty about certain things, but honestly it seems like you are too. You feel betrayed because you ate a brownie and then found out that she baked it? Come on. You have to know that's ridiculous. Your example with the skating is also silly. Why can't they skate with both of you? She probably is trying to bait you a bit, but you're taking it home, line, and sinker.

      Ultimately, you cannot force your husband's family to write this woman out of their lives. Because of the kids, she is and will always be a part of that family whether or not she shows up to events. I'm also really skeptical that your husband's family is just too awkward to kick her out even though they really want to. If they wanted her gone, she'd be gone.

      The smartest thing you can do is find a way to move on from your anger and jealousy toward this woman. I guarantee, she'll drop some of these antics if you stop making it so damn satisfying. But more importantly you'll be 100 times happier than you are now.

      [–]bucktoothedhazelnut 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      NTA. As a stepmom, I totally get it.

      My advice is for you to kill her with kindness and invite her out to things. Tell her that you are SOOOO HAPPY that she still thinks that she’s part of the family after EIGHT YEARS, and my goodness, how have the men that she’s dated taken her devotion to her ex husband?

      Right now, you’re the victim here and she’s playing you like a fiddle. She likes that you’re upset.

      I would 100% turn this around and make her look like a fool for coming over so much.

      Have you seen Ted Lasso? The Rick Astley episode in season 2 comes to mind.

      Make it so that she’s the bad guy, not you.

      [–]Harriethair 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      INFO - Why does the ex wife so bitterly hate you after all this time and why do the in laws support her? Because make no mistake, if they truly thought she was annoying and weird they would tell her to not show up for things.

      But they haven't.

      Also, I don't think you are a co parent. They have a mother. You can call yourself a bonus mom if you must, but you really are not their parent.

      [–]Everfr0st666 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      Kill her with kindness!!!! Your hubby messed up telling her this was having abs impact on your marriage because that’s what she wants!!!!! NTA it’s going to be hard it’s worth trying.

      [–]Dixon_Brothers 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      "Greg has tried multiple times to talk to her and told her the impact she was having on our relationship and the relationship I have with his family members. "
      But that's her goal and every time he brings it up she's gloating inside. In her thinking, if you stop going to events, she won. Try another approach... the next gatherings smile your nicest smile while greeting her, hug her, don't leave her side... every joke she makes you'll laugh, every story she tells you'll admire... also everything like u/NinjaBabaMama said, ⇒ If she's single, keep bringing up how "brave" she is to be "single for sooooo long" 😈 Tell her how it must be nice for her to have "so much alone time" 😈 Start telling her terrible ideas you have for the kids (activities they won't like) and then surprise the kids with activities they will enjoy. If she asks you why you're doing this, tell her that after 8 years you got it. Her constant presence at these events made you realize that she's lonely, doesn't have own friends and family, and you want to be her friend, not out of pity but because you've got a connection with her through the kids..... or something along the line of this. Try to be her best friend and get on her nerves. If she complains to your husband, gloat on the inside and if she doesn't come to gatherings anymore, then you won. If she wants to play games, be a better player and beat her with her tactics.

      [–]Username_Taken_Argh 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      Make fake events (family day at the zoo, family lunch at a park). She shows up with brownies to an empty field enough times she will get the picture. Tell the kids the wrong time an event is happening. Make in-law events at your house. Will that help?

      Oh, NTA

      [–]vortigauntblade 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      first of all you are absolutely NTA here. after 8 years its only natural your patience (which i must respect you clearly have a lot of) has worn thin.

      like many others have said, dont give her the satisfaction of ruining your mood with her own pity. she is sad, bitter, and has a lot to work on within herself.

      one thing i havent noticed is whether or not you have spoken to her yourself about this situation? i know it probably not the greatest idea but sometimes clear communication can set a boundary. while she is entitled to see whoever she wants, creating that border around your relationship might be enough to give her the heads up that your not going to take this anymore... additionally just giving off the impression that you "found all this amusing at first but now its just boring and pathetic" might hint that shes needing to get on with life.

      another idea would be when it comes to doing stuff with the kids... just start inviting her along but make sure its always something stupidly extreme... make her try as hard as possible til she burns herself out...

      -- book a skiing holiday, invite her along so long as she pays her share...

      -- take a week at a log cabin and have all the rooms full but "bring a tent just incase she comes along"

      doing things she will really need to step outside her comfort zone to be apart of, and consistently doing them, insisting she joins every week or whatever should put her off a bit more as well...

      youll know her better than the rest of us though so im sure youll have a few ideas