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2 Bumps

How can I make my DH feel like a priority when my ex is very involved in my boys' lives?

My DH cannot stand my ex and all he seems to do is complain about him all the time, which causes a lot of arguments for us. Just mentioning his name makes him cringe. He just told me today that "it turns his stomach to see him buddy up with our friends". (My ex, who is the asst. coach for my son's soccer team, was socializing with some mutual friends before and after a soccer game the other night and that really bothered my DH). He feels he doesn't have a separate life because of him. But how can I separate our friends when they are my ex's friends, too, as a result of my boys activities (scouts, soccer, baseball) of which my ex is very much involved? I recently put my foot down and told my DH that I am not going to let him interfere with the relationship my boys have with their dad as my boys are my priority. Rather than leave, he has decided to "try harder" to deal with it. But after this conversation this morning, I'm not so sure this marriage is going to work because I feel as long as my ex is in the picture, my DH will always be unhappy. I want him to feel like a priority as well, but how can I do that in my situation? I'm wondering if it is all just a lost cause at this point and my DH will just never be happy.


Asked by palike at 3:26 PM on Oct. 9, 2013 in Relationships

Level 4 (42 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (22)
  • My priority if I were in your situation would be to realize that his feelings are his feelings & don't need to be fixed. It's not your job, regardless of whatever impulse you may feel, or whatever you think his expectations may be. It gets easier to listen if you don't feel like you "need" to "do something" or somehow make it better. You can let it be & just be present with him and understand how he's feeling (which is what ultimately helps!)
    It's really true with any feeling/situation, I think. Being able to hear a partner & let his feelings be what they are is what helps him engage in actually processing his feelings (having them & moving through them.) This in contrast to being stuck in them--stuck defending & struggling to validate them.
    If you try to fix them (reasoning with him, explaining things, debating, defending yourself against criticism) then you're inadvertently invalidating them. Which prolongs things.

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:07 PM on Oct. 10, 2013

  • Your husband doesn't need to be made to feel he's a priority. YOU MARRIED HIM for Pete's sake! But the ex is a permanent fixture and he NEEDS to accept that. COUNSELING. Make an appointment today. If he refuses to go, then it's sadly likely you made two bad picks in a row.


    Answer by gdiamante at 3:56 PM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • That relationship has to be a priority, because if you interfere with that relationship, technically your ex can haul you into court and have you held in contempt for interfering in that relationship. Tell your husband that, and see what he says. Is he willing to pay the fines, or sit in jail FOR YOU, when YOU get held in contempt because you do what HE wants and try to shove Dad out of the kids lives? Bet not.

    He is making a choice to make this into the huge deal it's become. This "try to" crap is for the birds. I'd tell him he either accepts this is how it is and how it will be, or he can pack up and head on his merry way to someone else. He knew you had kids and an ex, so he knew this was going to be life with you. If he didn't like it, he shouldn't have married you (nothing against you, just saying since he can't handle step kids, he shouldn't have married a woman with kids).

    Answer by wendythewriter at 4:34 PM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • You asked the other day, and I will give you the same answer, he has to get over it, or he has to move on. I don't get why you divorced such a "wonderful" father for such a douche that thinks now he is your husband, your children don't need their father? He married you knowing how involved the father was in your kid's lives. So he is controlling and thinks the world revolves around him, then he should have married someone without children.
    I don't get why you are trying so hard to "make" this fit? He needs to get a grip.

    Answer by 2kids2dogs2cats at 3:31 PM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • counseling for you ALL
    less activities for the kid
    stick to your own group of friends ( you and your NOW husband need your own friends, not your old friends or exes friends_

    Answer by luvmygrandgirl at 4:52 PM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • Look I guess by making him feel loved you can make him feel more important, but to interfere with the relationship between the bio dad and you kids isn't going to fly.
    I just want to point out that although one who was controlling, and went down a dark path, you have now picked another controlling person to be married to.
    You have to sort this out, and your ex should never cuss you out, period. He is able to control his temper with your boys?
    I think the 2 of you need to stay in counseling, for whatever reason your new DH is insecure, and HE needs to get to the bottom of it himself, I am betting that someone cheated on him prior to you.

    Answer by 2kids2dogs2cats at 4:01 PM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • At this point, he thinks we've talked enough

    But have you communicated effectively? I mean sometimes we can 'talk' until our jaws hurt, but didn't actually convey our feelings/thoughts efficiently. I think this is where an unbiased third party (counselor/therapist) will come in handy to help facilitate communication.

    Answer by mommy_jules at 4:32 PM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • I go back to my first answer. Counseling is REQUIRED. IF your husband refuses to go, then your marriage is NOT a priority to him.

    A counselor will listen to you both and find a third path to get you out of this mess. Without one, you're going to score two divorces.

    Answer by gdiamante at 8:52 PM on Oct. 9, 2013

  • Your husband needs to stop making this all about him. Your ex has done his best to be a decent father to his children. He should be respected for that. Your husband needs to realize that your ex is NOT part of HIS life, he's part of his children's life and he seems to be doing better than many.

    He thinks you've talked enough? Really? Then he's ready to pack his bags. Just a minute, are you going to counselling together? Or does he have sessions on his own? If not, then he needs them.

    If he thinks you've already spoken enough, what does he see as the next step? Moving to a desert island? He needs to get over his insecurities. You married him because you loved him not because you were looking for someone to replace your first husband.

    Answer by goldpandora at 4:27 AM on Oct. 10, 2013

  • He(your now DH) did know all of this about you and your kids and your EX before you got married, right? I would just inform your DH that your kids and your life is not going to change anytime soon. About EX/their dad being in the picture anytime soon. Get use to it or else.

    Answer by louise2 at 3:44 PM on Oct. 9, 2013