Holidays with boyfriend\husband’s ex-wife

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    I’d like to hear some other people’s opinions on the subject of spending the holdiays with a husband’s ex-wife. Does anyone think it is reasonable or fair for an ex-wife to expect that her ex-husband and his new (girlfriend\wife) spend all of their holidays together with her and their kids? The ex-wife feel like everyone, (including her) should celebrate all of the holidays together, rather than the children spending part of the holidays with her and part of the holidays with their father.



    Well, to begin with, I would have to examine the relationship of the husband and girlfriend/wife. How long have you been together? Are you married? How open is the relationship?…and how old are the kids? Do they understand or do they just want everyone to be together? There are alot of factors but I do have to say that I wouldn’t spend all my time with the ex..either way…maybe just one day for celebrating. However, if you do spend your time with the ex…and get along…more power to you. Also, maybe thinking about what is in the best interest of the children could help make a good decision. But, I feel that it depends on the kids ages. Happy Holidays!



    He and I have been together for 2 years and are getting married in the fall and we have a very open relationship. His children are 24, 21 and 8, all of which still live with the ex-wife. Let me start out by clarifying, I did not know him when he and his ex-wife were still together and had nothing to do with their breakup. His ex-wife was VERY rude to me when he and I started dating…calling me names, sending him text msgs calling me a WH… and a B….she even called the oldest child and offered to pay her $200 if she’d call me a WH… to my face the first time I met her. She repeatedly threatens to kick the older kids out of the house (they are both going to college) if they come over and spend time with their dad if I am around. She expects to be invited to everything that we invite the older children to. Last year, per the divorce decree, she had custody from when school let out until noon on Dec 26. He asked the ex-wife to let him pick up the 8 year old for a few hours on X-Mas eve and we also invited the older kids over…she would not agree and made the older kids feel guilty if they went off and “left her alone”, so they didn’t come either. Her solution was to invite us over to spend X-Mas morning with all of them…including her; we did not go. I have a daughter and granddaughter in town that we were spending Christmas with.



    How is the relationship now? My sister in law and brother do Thanksgiving at their house every year with both her parents and their respective partner/spouse. They all get along well and have been able to put the past behind them for the sake of their children. I have to say they are the most adult and unselfish divorced couple I’ve ever met. It’s really nice for their children and grandchildren that they can have the family together like that. They are surrounded by lots of adults who all have one thing in common, they all love them.

    On our side of the family, it doesn’t work. My parents are both idiots who still act like their feelings matter most. UGH get over it already! Bury the past and move on, you know? We can never have both of them here at the same time and it is ridiculous. I envy the nice relationship my sister in law’s parents have been able to create. Personally, I think both of my parents need to grow up and stop thinking of themeselves, but it won’t happen. Anyway, we have to choose a parent and dad is the one who misses out on births, Baptisms, First Communions and will miss in the future high school and college graduations. Oh well, that’s his choice, but it is sad for the kids. He even skipped my wedding because I told him point blank that his GF was NOT invited. (this is a different situation, in that he did cheat on mom with this woman and their divorce wasn’t final yet at the time of my wedding). I didn’t want her drama at my wedding and I have no regrets that dad missed it. Again, that was HIS choice.

    If you can all learn to get along and leave the past where it belongs, in the past, it will be better for his kids in the future, particularly as they start to get married and have children. If the parents refuse to spend the time together, the kids are unfortunately forced to choose and it really isn’t fair. I tell my parents it isn’t about them and if they can’t get along, don’t come.



    Both my parents attend many holidays and birthday parties together. My father has been remarried for years. I don’t think it’s odd at all…in fact, one xmas my stepmother invited my mother to her house for xmas eve. It was actually very fun and everyone had a good time.

    Maybe my parents are unique…but the divorce is over. They have mutual children and grandchildren and they both enjoy them very much.



    pattiewrites asked me “How is the relationship now? ” I’m not sure who you’re asking about, but I assume you are asking about my boyfriend and his ex-wife. They mostly communicate through the 24 year old daughter that lives with the ex-wife. Although the ex-wife still calls him a lot for things that have nothing to do with issues centered around the children. The real problem here is that the ex-wife thinks that the world revolves around her. She thinks that she should be included in every event just becuase her children are being invited. For instance, last year for my boyfriend’s birthday, I invited all of his children, his sister\brother-in-law and his aunt’s family over for dinner. She made the children feel guilty for coming becuase she wasn’t invited. I have no problem with attending “once in a lifetime” events such as graduations, weddings, children\grandchildren’s birthdays, etc. and being civil to his ex-wife. I already do this with my ex-husband and his wife. I’ve had them in my home for several events where my children\grandchildren were the focus of the event. I’ve even give my ex-husband’s wife hugs when they arrive\leave. My boyfriend’s ex-wife is manipulative, cruel and controlling and all done while smiling at you. For instance, she a few days ago told her adult children that if the minor child was not going to be there for Christmas this year (it is Dad’s year per the divorce decree) then there would be no presents waiting for the minor child at the ex-wife’s house when she came back because Santa Claus brings all the presents. She also tells the child that her “home” is with her mom and she just has a “room” at her dad’s house. I do not feel that I and/or my children and grandchildren should be required to endure this woman’s presence at every social event and every holiday gathering that we have where we would normally invite my boyfriend’s children.



    I meant how is their relationship now and yours and hers because both influence the situation. Can you all get along, or will it be sheer misery for the kids to have you all together? I agree that not every social event should include her, but it is nice for the kids to have one or two of the major holidays, their birthdays (not his), and other events when the parents can act like adults and leave the past in the past. Later, both will likely want to be present for their grandchildren’s birthdays and if they can’t get along, their kids may decide to exclude one or both of them from these events. For me, it is definitely not worth the stress to include both of my parents. My day would be ruined and so would the kids’.

    There are many factors that can affect the ability to manage it. How long have they been divorced? Was it years before you met him or just before? (I know your bf wasn’t cheating with you, but if he started dating you a week after they split, it is a little different than 3 years in terms of getting past it and hard feelings). Do one (or both) of the women in the situation feel threatened by the other? If so, time is needed (or counseling) to realize it doesn’t have to be a competition. The more time that passes, wounds heal and sometimes people can move past the past and enjoy the future as friends (or at least be cordial).

    It does take effort, but the bottom line is the parents’ BS is not the kids’ problem, regardless of the age of the kids. My parents seemed to feel that because I was 21 when they split that they didn’t have to spare my feelings like most thinking adults would do for a young child, and both felt it was ok to talk trash about each other to me. I put them both in their place (separately) and basically told them I don’t need either of them in my life, if they continue to talk about each other to me and that their dysfunctional relationship is their issue and not mine. My sister in law’s mother told me last Thanksgiving it wasn’t always pleasant with her ex, but she decided her kids were more important than stupid grudges from years gone by. The subject came up because I had commented on how amazing it is that they can get along so well, joking with each other and all enjoying the day.



    I have a step son, and he is 2. We get along great with his mom ((My DH’s ex fiancee)) and sometimes we celebrate holidays together. We all go trick or treating together, and my step son and his mom come to our house Christmas morning ((not first thing, they come over after they do their own thing)). But that works for us. I like my step sons mom, I would almost consider her a friend. But, at the same time, my step son is still real young, and this whole thing started out because he was so young and both parents wanted time with him even though they were not together. At 24 though, Mom should really cut the apron strings. Not letting her see her dad if your there? That’s a bit much!! Maybe you or your fiancee should talk to her? See what her deal is… I wouldn’t recommend befriending or having holidays with her if you have issues with her. Good luck. I hope things get easier for you.



    No, it is not reasonable for her to expect you to spend every holiday with her and her kids. Your boyfriend is the ONLY one who can put his foot down and stop her behavior. For you to do anything will only fuel her fire and give her ammunition to use to try to make the children hate you. He has to say no, and make plans without her. If she refuses to allow the 8 year old to attend, or punishes the 8 year old for attending, he needs to take legal action against her. This behavior is not in the best interest of the child and is certainly grounds for her parental rights to be challenged. He needs to tell her if she does not stop this behavior that he will sue her for full custody. He has to do this if he wants to have a healthy relationship with you. If he continues to give his ex-wife her way at the expense of your happiness, your relationship will suffer.

    I caution you against going along with this for “the good of the children” because once you accept it and do it once, you are stuck doing it her way every year. I made the mistake of inviting my husband’s ex-wife for Christmas day (his children are in their thirties) because she was by herself and I felt bad for her. Everyone got along well, so now every year, my husband’s children orchestrate a great big family present opening “ceremony” with her and all of us (usually here at our house with me doing all of the work.) I can’t seem to get out of it gracefully. For me to put my foot down would only make me look bad and so every year I am forced to bite my tongue and put up with it. It is awkward and uncomfortable and she usually “unintentionally” insults me several times throughout the evening and she never lifts a finger to help clean up after dinner. We never get invited to her house, EVER. One of his children takes turns and does it at her house every few years, but the other one never has it at her house. My husband should put his foot down and tell his children NO, but he doesn’t want to rock the boat. I don’t want my one year old to have to endure this every year. I am hoping we can come to a compromise and he will tell his children that we will do it every other year–which may be a good solution for you. I feel for you! Good luck.



    He should not spend time with the ex-wife, Christmas or not. I get tired of hearing it is for the kids. That is bull and we all know it, it is for the parents who never want to miss seeing the kids! The kids do just fine with one parent throughout the year so, what makes you think it will hurt them at Christmas. If parents really considered the kids, they would not have got divorced in the first place. If it was so important to them to have Mom and Dad time, then they should not have got divorced in the first place. They are with only one parent the rest of the year, why should they think it will be any different at Christmas itme or any holiday.

    Christmas and other holidays are time for family and friends. Guess what, the ex is no longer his family just because she is the mother of his child. By having an ex over, you are being unfair to a new partner. A new partner wants to build a life of memmories with her new boyfriend or husband, not him and the last women he screwed! How do you think it makes the new person in the man’s life feel when his family is talking to the ex about old memories…… an outsider that does not belong, that is how. It does not give the new wife a chance to build a relationship with her new partners family.

    So, all the bull I constantly hear about it is for the kids, makes me sick because the truth is that it is for the parents to try and reduce their guilt and because niether one of them be without the kids on the holidays. Guess what folks?…. They should have thought about it before they got divorced!

    I do realized there has to be contact for critical decisions regarding the kids and pickup / dropoff schedules and, this contact should be civil for the kids. There will also be school events that all will attend, and when in contact with each other, all should be civil for the kids. This does not mean you have to ride to the events together, or sit next to each other.

    So, I guess I am sick of adults using kids as an excuse for something that they really want that is not appropriate. As I said before, they should have thought about this before they got divorced and if the kids really are the most important things in their lives, they would not have got a divorce in the first place. I will add, if infidelity or abuse were in the marriage, then the spouse on the short end of that deal did not have any choice but to get a divorce. And, it is too bad that our court system will not make decisions based on morals, because if that was the case, then the spouse that was abused or cheated on, if I were the judge, would get all the rights to the kids and it would be up to them if and when the other parent got to see the kids. Why would we want someone with such poor judgment having any say over kids in the first place. I know we can not always stop that from happening, but in these cases, maybe we could.



    Fed, are you a child of divorce, or a second wife, or both?

    When our agreement was forced on me, I was perfectly happy to alternate holidays – I am a total Christmas freak and my ex is a grinch. It’s up to everyone else to do the holiday for him. But no, the judge said we just couldn’t deprive either parent of the kids at Christmas, so chop up the holiday – meaning we could never go to visit anyone, or have a relaxing celebration ourselves. And my ex, the grinch, agreed, because this was 50 50 fair. I don’t think the judge celebrated Christmas, and I don’t think he understood what it really means to do so from Christmas eve through Christmas night.

    I spent one Christmas with my ex when we first separated, and he was so nasty to me that I swore we would never ruin Christmas like this again. I served him a nice bacon and egg breakfast and he accused me of trying to poison him with cholesterol and spat it out back at me. He did his usual looking on at the opening of the presents (which I usually had stayed up all night preparing and assembling, without him when we were married) but this time, instead of a detached “well that’s nice” beaming, he was glowering at us all being happy.

    After the first divided Christmas, my teenage son started volunteering for Christmas day at a homeless shelter in Hoboken NJ, helping a couple of senior citizens he had become friendly with at church cook a gourmet dinner for 100 homeless people. It was his way of choosing what his christmas would be. The grinch did not approve, and actually tried to stop it in court. A new judge said hey, I hear it is just lovely in Hoboken this time of year. Let the kid go.

    Eventually, because the grinch did not want to stay up on Christmas eve, or New years eve, we got it set so that those were the times I had to celebrate with the kids. (Even though the judge had not said so) They were very compact celebrations, since we had to cram the whole family experience into a few hours – the kids were often involved in church on Christmas eve, or invited to parties for New Years as they got older – so I got chauffer duty. It became an issue last year who would pick up the youngest one from a New Years Eve party since it ended at 1 am – and of course, he HAD to spend New Years Day with the grinch – and you know, servant girl ex wifey thing here had to service the grinch. (Even though he’s a much better driver). The choice was – do I drop the kid off at his house at 2 am, or do we go home and sleep and let him figure out how to get the kid to his house? The kid chose to go over there, so I dropped him off. It was always me making it happen – not by choice – but by command – and always dealing with the reality of growing children, and changing circumstances.

    As for the Hoboken deal, the folks who would give my son a ride home always noticed something – when they dropped him off by me, I would be at the door, waving, maybe come out and have a friendly conversation. With the grinch, it was always dropping the teen off at a dark house. WHO HAS A DARK HOUSE AT 9PM ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT????

    Sometimes it isn’t for the parents – it’s for one parent, or for a screwed up court decision. Often its about one parent doing all the compromising, and one doing all the ordering. And judges do not want to be overturned by the ordering party, so they put these stupid compromises in place, figuring that eventually everyone will get on with it. Well, grinches don’t get on with it, especially if they have the court’s approval to oppress you.

    I could not stay married to the grinch. He was gay. I didn’t know that before we were married. He continues to deny it.

    The real reason he didn’t want to alternate holidays is because he did not want responsibility for all the chauffering. He wanted me to be responsible for “delivery”. That way he could continue to hide his problems with severe depression.

    As for the op, I think it is intrusive for the ex to insist on being part of the family celebration. Some families do at first have big gatherings and invite the ex if they are close – and everyone just deals. Eventually the ex moves on. But for the op’s fiance, it sounds as though she (the ex) is butting in, and I hope he told her to butt out, and planned a Christmas celebration accordingly. Perhaps the ex was playing the “you won’t get to see the kids if you don’t do it my way” game – and he might have caved, which he should not do.



    I started dating a divorced man in Aug 2008. He’s been divorced for over 2 years and has 2 kids from that union: 18 y.o. girl and 16 y.o. boy. The boy lives with him, the girl attends college out of the country. My boyfriend’s ex-wife is remarried and has a 1 year old with her new husband. My boyfriend has spent Christmas with his 2 kids and his ex and her new family. My boyfriend has spent vacations with his 2 kids at his ex’s house in Europe. Last summer his ex and her new family stayed at my boyfriend’s house when he and I were out of town. Recently my boyfriend asked me if I’d like to travel to Hawaii with him, his 2 kids and his ex and her family. I said no and I’d like to break up now, please, because this is way beyond my comfort level. It’s nice for divorced people to get along; I’m all for being civilized and polite at weddings, graduations, funerals, etc…but I draw the line at holidays and vacations. YOU SHOULD, TOO. Especially if your boyfriend’s ex-wife is rude to you. There is no man on the planet who’s worth having a hateful woman in your life. You will be unhappy. Why put yourself through that?
    Anyway, my boyfriend told his 2 kids that he (we) won’t be going to Hawaii with the rest of them. He is still on probation in my book because if he wants to spend Christmas 2009 with his ex and kids I will fire him and move on. I deserve better. I deserve my own traditions with him and to be number one in his life. Period.



    Maybe he should move on and fire you. Wow…you should be number one?! Are you kidding me!! These are his children, and you have no right to come between them, no matter how vacations, etc are done. If you want to be with your boyfrind on these vacations alone…then fork over some money, buy and plan it yourself. Since you are not really part of the family yet, you have no right to say how the children’s FAMILY vacations are handled. Either go with the flow or get out! There are only a few more of these times left for those kids until they have lives of their own. If you want to be Number One, I highly suggest becoming a nun or date men that do not have priorities already!



    I totaly understand your question…so many of us have the same story. To be frank, I’m 2 years in, there seems to be a real co-dependency with the ex, if only to keep the peace. I did not shared holidays in the beginning, he went back East to visit family and although I was invited I did not hav the time off from work to afford to take the trips. The next year we had become quite intigrated in daily life with the girls, we had become a real couple…well, only to the point the ex could control our schedule. When I tried to make some plans with him and cash in some time she “owed” to us, I was basically told to screw off and she hates me now. So, the holiday thing involving her was promptly gone…which frankly, is fine with me because we aren’t one big happy family, she needs to get on with her life as shewanted the divorce as much as he did, and we need to be left to have our relationship and family time with the kids. So, last thanksgiving we had the kids and all was nice and quiet. She had the kids @ Christmas, he went over in the morning and left me there wondering what was going on (granted I had tried to communicate with him asking him to let me know what to expect on Christmas). The way it turned out is that the holidays are going to be run how they want and anyone else is expected to be standing by in the wings until they are worthy of thier time during the holidays. Their excuse, the kids. So, after waiting around Christmas to be blessed with the presence of my boyfriend and his daughters at the ex-s whim, and really completely wasting my holiday and being upset, this Easter I was told the ex wants to see the girls (it is his Easter to have the girls), and so basically I cannot make any plans for a family Easter at his place with his girls on the year he has them until the ex decides her schedule. I was very clear with him after the Christmas incident that holdiays are as imporant to me as anyone else, and to please consider me as his other half in his relationship before he agrees to anything. But his priorities are obviously a bit mixed up and he’s gone and agreed with her agai without considering or consulting me as his significant other, again. So based on this, I need to make decisions to fulfill my holidays. I have decided that it is better for me to let him have his relationship with his ex to the fullest extent…I will not be waiting for them during holidays again, I will do as single people do on the holidays, spend them with friends, travel and whatever completes my holidays. I will not wait around again for thier ever-changing schedule and until he considers that we are the relationship in hiss life, that their’s ended over 2 years ago, and the girls will have lovely, fulfilled holidays on their scheduled time at each parents home and that integration does not need to occur every step of the way for them to be raised as complete, fulfilled you ladies. That by them seeing their father dedicating his life to someone that is good, kind and cares, is stable and loving, is all they need. My ex’s aren’t hanging around, so why should his? But until he draws the line in the sand with his ex, this is how it will be, which will make my presence absent during holidays at this juncture, and frankly, based on this, I see my presence becoming more and more absent as a whole in the future, because my idea of a relationship is with one other person, not two (especially a bi-polar thrid party).

    We all have to make our decisions, don’t bang you head against the wall. you had a life of your own before the relationship, maybe consider that still rather than succumbing to other’s whims. One of 2 things will happen, he will realize your are not worth loosing and he will make changes to solidify your relationship as his only relationship or he will continue to succumb to the ex and they can have their little life togheter aned you will have moved on to something more in line with a normal relationship.



    This is an interesting discussion to me. I can see both sides. I am a single mother with 2 kids, and I am dating a single dad with kids!

    I think you will figure it all out! Holidays are rough on split- families and doing something to make it easier for the kids is admirable if it works.

    I wrote an article about my Christmas holiday adventures on the [url][/url] Single Parents blog at Families entitled :
    [URL=""]My Multi Split Bonus Blended Family Christmas[/URL]

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