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Question about moving on when OW is very involved in kids' life

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hoya96 posted 8/9/2013 08:51 AM

I have a question for those of you who had the AP marry your ex, and subsequently get VERY involved in your children's lives. I'm not sure if this belongs here or in New Beginnings, but this is the forum I frequent.

The OW is now my children's stepmother, and is really taking the "mother" role seriously. I have every confidence this is not about my children, rather about me, as she has 3 young children of her own, and purposely antagonizes me. It's a long list of behavior, but I see it for what it is.

At any rate, I see her constantly, on a weekly basis. It is also complicated because the children attend the same school where I work - as of this upcoming year, OW has now joined several parent committees, which means she will be on campus (my workplace) even MORE.

I know what to *do*. I do not ever engage with her. I am NC with ex except for necessary e-mails (NEVER phone or face to face conversations) about finances or scheduling. I have them both blocked on all social media. I have distanced myself or cut off mutual friends. I did 2 years of weekly IC. I feel I have done everything in MY power to heal, move on, and set healthy boundaries.

My question is this: I hear a lot on SI about "putting the ex in the rearview mirror" and "creating an entirely new life and leave it in the past" etc, etc. I have done that in SO many ways - I am VERY happily re-married, I love my job, my kids are amazing, I'm in the best shape of my life (running daily), I have a great social life. My life is so great - except that I share 3 children with ex and OW, and they continue, 3 years later, to engage in such inflammatory and antagonistic behavior.

How do I "shut it out" when she is in my life so constantly? At parent teacher conferences? At Mother's visiting day when *I* am the mother? Etc, etc? I mean, I know what to DO (ignore, ignore, ignore) but how do I just ... not CARE that she is still so involved in my life?

Anyone else dealing with this? I feel like I am always thinking "only 9 more years" (until youngest turns 18) but I don't want to go through the next 9 years feeling that way.

gahurts posted 8/9/2013 09:04 AM

At Mother's visiting day when *I* am the mother?

Why is she there with your kids when you are there? You should always get priority in any mom activites or events that involves your kids. Let her be mother to her own kids.

hoya96 posted 8/9/2013 09:09 AM

Why is she there with your kids when you are there? You should always get priority in any mom activities or events that involves your kids. Let her be mother to her own kids.

I imagine because she knows it's very hurtful to me.

My husband (also faculty at our school) and I have spoken to the top administrators at our school about this. They have encouraged me to get a restraining order if at all possible, as that is the only way the school will intervene (they are sympathetic and supportive to my situation, and *personally* appalled on my behalf, but policy-wise, can't get involved).

My lawyer said that unless she actually engages in altercations or threatens me, I can do nothing legally.

devistatedmom posted 8/9/2013 09:26 AM

Your x works there too? Man, that makes it really tough! I don't know if I would be able to take the high road and not tell everyone that his new husband likes to screw married men, and that yours was just the latest! Ack!

Are your kids in the same grades as hers? Ie. are all events together? If there is a mom's day tea or whatever, shouldn't she be where ever her kids are, and you go to your kids' classes?

Honestly, I don't know what you can do, other than do what you are doing. Keep ignoring her, keep loving your job, make sure your kids are happy, and just keep going. It sounds like you have been moving forward and have rebuilt your life; it really sucks that there is no way to leave them totally behind and not have to see them all the time.

I hope someone has something useful for you.

hoya96 posted 8/9/2013 09:49 AM

Your x works there too?

Are your kids in the same grades as hers? Ie. are all events together? If there is a mom's day tea or whatever, shouldn't she be where ever her kids are, and you go to your kids' classes?

No, my current husband (re-married) is also faculty. He is very involved in the kids' lives (we have the kids about 65% of the time), and we pay 2/3 of their tuition as well as all associated costs...but he still respectfully steps back when ex comes to school for parent events (and there was no infidelity, and he did not know ex - we began dating after ex divorced me).

Her 3 children go to a different school. She has no connection with my school other than her stepchildren.

devistatedmom posted 8/9/2013 10:09 AM

Oh...ok. That's a little easier.

If she is only coming there for your children's events and her children don't go there, then the best thing would have been to have it in the D papers that only the parents are allowed at the parent/ teacher interviews and mark related/behaviour related information would only be given to the parents. But it's too late for that.

When it's the mother's day celebration, do your kids seem to "mind" that she is there and you are there? Do they make you both a card, or is she trying to block you out and make your children make the day about her? If your kids seem ok, then I don't know what you can do other than suck it up. If the kids would prefer it just be you there, then I'd put an email to your X saying look, this is mother's day, and she has no business being there. My H doesn't go trying to take the attention away from you when it's the father's day celebration. See what happens.

I'm doubting he will go along with that though. Hmm. I'll have to think on this one.

standingonmarble posted 8/9/2013 10:37 AM

This is going to sound a little inmature, mean girl like, but can't you surround the troops and have them do "battle" for you?? Let them make OW feel uncomfortable for overstepping her bounds? Shunning seems the easiest. She's a bold woman and if you always have taken the high road, she probably doesn't even know you're bugged by her, which is good.

How does she find out about the Mother's day thing in the first place?

sparkysable posted 8/9/2013 10:42 AM

Oh, she's got some audacity!

Sometimes, I've seen where the OW does this kind of stuff because they want to play mommy. But in this case, she's got her own kids. I can only think, then, that this is her way of bonding together with your XWH, and show how *wonderful they are. what great parents they are* in their messed up mindset.

that being said, she's got some god damned nerve.

I know she's only doing it to get to you, you're not supposed to engage, etc. And I get that your school's hands are tied. But geez, I wish someone could find some reason, somewhere, to put a stop to it.

hoya96 posted 8/9/2013 13:06 PM

Thanks for the replies.

She knows about all the events because my school is excellent about sending electronic weekly updates with all events. It's a very expensive private school, so there's always a LOT of social/family activities, and ways to promote the "family atmosphere" of the school.

My colleagues (kids' teachers) schedule separate P-T conferences for me because they know how upsetting it is for me to have to sit there with her.

Everyone is privately very supportive (they fill me in anytime she or ex is in the building, they let me know when ex tried to circumvent me on an academic issue without talking to me, etc) and I know they all have my back, but for professional reasons (which of COURSE I understand) they are all very polite and businesslike to her face. Heck, when my kids reach grades 9-12, it's likely my husband and I will have to deal with them as educators OF the kids.

Parents who know (I don't go around broadcasting it, but the parents of my kids' best friends know) are supportive to me, but polite to them. It's all so hard because no one wants the kids to suffer because of this (ie I refuse to let you play with them when Dad and stepmom have them).

My kids are very uncomfortable when she and I are in the same arena. My oldest knows about the affair (not from me - he was old enough to "get" that Dad left mom, mom and best friend aren't friends, Dad is now with best friend) and is VERY protective of me - will not speak her name around me, and often hovers right with me when she is around. My younger two aren't quite as informed but know that something happened since now Mom and stepmom no longer speak (and they were BFFs) so it's always this awkward, tense situation.

And no, they do not make her cards, do anything for Mother's Day, include her in parent stuff at school. I have tried to speak with ex about how uncomfortable it makes me to have her at my workplace, and I am told to "get over it. Let it go. She is committed to the children and will act as their parent."

Pippy posted 8/9/2013 13:10 PM

This woman is trying to replace you as the mother - no doubt being encouraged by your ex. That way he will feel less guilty if THEY are all one big happy family. "See my kids are even happy with OW, so what I did was okay"

I would have a consult with my Lawyer to see if anything can be done.

missmydogs posted 8/9/2013 13:56 PM

That woman is a nutcase. She acts as though she wants to be you. I have no idea how to get that madness to stop. Perhaps a D modification, with school terms clearly laid out? Idk. But good luck to you.

caregiver9000 posted 8/9/2013 14:00 PM

First off your story always makes me both hurt for you and furious at the audacity of this OW!!

I wonder if you have made her too comfortable with your professionalism? What if you stared at her, much like you would bubble gum on your shoe, and if she looks at you, smile knowingly. Whisper at the nearest person that you would like to get the recipe for the cookies they brought, or ask if they are willing to chair some committee, while you glance at the OW.

She seems far too comfortable in YOUR space and I would do whatever I could to change that within the bounds of professionalism. Now if you accidentally provoke her to demand you "stop talking about her" then she has become confrontational and is obviously delusional and you have the grounds you and the school need to ban her from future events.

It feels like weak advice. I am sorry. I really have a ton of sympathy for you and I can easily imagine how distressing her being there is.

Ashland13 posted 8/9/2013 14:00 PM

I'm so sorry, Hoya. I've seen this before and am told by nearly exh that it's coming...that is, only a matter of time before he will introduce OW into life out from under the rock they hide under.

It is simply not something I can imagine...the OW part in it, that is. I'm so sorry for the difficult time at your work place, as that's a hard enough thing to earn and keep in the first place. To me a workplace should be sacred, but boundaries are in question with affairs in the first place, right?

Although I'm not in the same spot but will be at some point, I wanted to say that I don't think you have to hide those feelings...I don't. I can't. It's too much.

I think it's what you do with them that's more important, like you're already doing, keeping to that exhausting and lonely high road. I commend you for already being in contact with her when you've had to, for I've said basically that I simply will not do it. Anyone who accepts OW will lose me and if/when that occurs, maybe they weren't my "friend" to begin with? That may sound harsh, but it took a long time to get that backbone.

"We" have to learn to share school events also, but luckily he doesn't yet have the audacity to bring OW-or any of the tribe-that I've seen. I think you're very strong and as I said, commend you for it.

I have a friend who is a BS, out a few years past me. OW there is a bit like the one you describe, in that she appears with the Ex and just kind of strolls around the place. She actually appears at the home of my friend and this appalls me. I see her in our town and I look the other way, while she blatantly stares at me, knowing of my friendship with the family she ruined. She also knows my story so may be another reason she gawks.

The lack of boundaries I try hard to understand but do not and I'm sorry I don't have any active advice, except...chin up!

I agree with you in your post's theories, for OW in the case of Nearly ExH made a big competition and I didn't even know she existed. It's like a contest, or game, where no one really wins and many people lose.

I hope the school year will go by fast. At school where DD goes, I finally did tell a few trusted people there, because it emotionally wrecked me to see him strut around. People knew he was gone but not yet the truth and now many do.

I hope there'll be a way to make *your* visiting days *yours* again.

hoya96 posted 8/9/2013 16:56 PM

Thank you so much for the replies, and empathy.

Legally, there's not much to be done. I *just* finished (signed by judge 7/29) a 10 month, $$$, modification suit that ex surprised me with. I raised all these issues with my lawyer (including her e-mailing me about kids, showing up at my work, etc) but unfortunately as long as it is "kid focused", she can serve as the person designated by ex to handle coparenting.

She has been at my home many times to pick up kids. All I can do is make sure she is not on my property (kids go out to car).

It's so hard because I have to always maintain my professionalism. She seems oblivious to any shaming behavior. I don't feel I can enlist the help of fellow parents because of my role as teacher - in several years I will be teaching these people's children.

I don't really think there's anything I can do to change the situation - I'm trying to figure out a way to get myself to a place where this isn't detracting from my quality of life. It all seems terribly unfair. My husband and I have talked about pulling the kids out of our school and putting them in public for my sanity - but I don't want their education to suffer because of this woman.

I hate feeling like a victim - I just don't know how to get myself free of this.

vcr1995 posted 8/9/2013 18:57 PM

Maybe your new dh should stop stepping back at school events. If it pisses the ex off, then you have a bargaining chip to use. Your new husband will back off if his whore will.

SBB posted 8/9/2013 19:28 PM

Yuck. Just yuck. Do you have 50/50?

She is immune to shaming because she has no self-respect. Neither does her husband.

I had to have a laugh at the thought of 6 kids running circles around them at home. No wonder she is so hell bent on sticking herself in your face.

Surely there is an OH&S (stress, anxiety) angle you could use here? This is your workplace after all.

She has no business being there. None at all. I'm guessing as her children grow she'll be crazy busy with managing their activities.

If all else fails I would go down the road of "I have nothing to be ashamed of here - let her shame herself as much as she likes".

When it is all over you and everyone at the school will remember how much and how often she made a fool of herself.

With some distance you will see the humour in how ridiculous she looks doing this. You can see some of it now but it is largely clouded by your discomfort.

At the end of the day you will look back on this time and you won't remember the awkwardness but you will feel pretty damn good about yourself and proud that you maintained your dignity in the face of this fuckery.

I don't know how you do it. There is no way in hell I could stand this situation.

I would be talking to my L about having her excluded from visiting MY workplace without the children's father in attendance or something like that.

She is trying to jeopardise your job by goading you like this. If you flip out or react or discuss it with other parents etc. etc. etc. all put your job/career in jeopardy.

Fuck.That.Bitch. I'd be making sure to have a laugh with parents/teachers at every opportunity. Not about her of course but she wouldn't know that.

Fooled Me Twice posted 8/9/2013 20:44 PM

I'm with vcr1995 on this one - perhaps your new husband should start taking a bigger role in terms of PT conferences, fathers day events etc. Let's see how much he likes it.

I'm really sorry for you - truly make my stomach turn as she was supposed to be your best friend.

homewrecked2011 posted 8/9/2013 21:32 PM

The OW does the same stuff to me. My XWH has actually said, "Leave me and our 4 children alone". (Her 2 plus my 2).

hoya96 posted 8/9/2013 21:44 PM

Thank you all.

My husband has stepped back out of respect for the kids (he would LOVE to be as involved as possible - they are the only 3 children he will have and he loves them like his own) - he never wants to make them feel uncomfortable or caught in the middle. We both see how the kids feel "awkward" about how the OW acts - my 10 year old son has even commented to me that she "tries to act like she's our mom".

I think part of the reason my kids feel so happy and comfortable in our home is that they don't feel manipulated here.

Strongbutbroken - we have joint legal custody but I am primary physical.

Homewrecked2011 - I have been told, verbatim, "we're both going to be completely involved with our 6 kids so you'll just have to accept this" (my 3 plus her 3).

Do they read this in a manual or something?

tryingagain74 posted 8/9/2013 22:05 PM

Ugh, hoya. Your situation really pisses me off. As a fellow teacher, I understand how you have to maintain an appropriate pattern of professional behavior. The last thing you'd want to do is jeopardize your career or your reputation in any way just because that hussy feels the need to act like she gives a shit about your kids when it's all just a bunch of manipulative BS. I teach in a different district from where my kids attend (and the OW's kids will attend), but teachers talk-- if I behaved inappropriately at my kids' school, it would get back to my colleagues, and I've been through enough without having my professionalism or emotional stability called into question.

I keep taking the high road, which is sometimes really, really hard, but like a previous poster said, at some point, you'll be years in the future, and you'll have achieved the zen state of "meh" as far as the OW is concerned. Keep something else in mind-- your youngest is still a little guy, but you have a pre-teen and a teenager. They're probably not going to be so willing to tolerate her presence as they get older. Obviously, you want your kids to be polite and decent, but I doubt that they'll be quite as acquiescent to her presence when they're older. She may find herself being frozen out by them. They will also likely put the pieces of the puzzle together (like your oldest has) and probably won't be so willing to have her involved.

She sounds incredibly narcissistic. That she could think your kids would want her there (especially without your XWH-- what the hell is that all about?!?!) is incredibly self-absorbed. Sounds like your XWH is getting exactly what he deserves in a partner, but it's a shame that so many innocent kids have to be involved.


p.s.-- I love this blog posting (which is not mine, nor do I know the blogger) about "the cut direct." This is how I plan to treat the Owife once we eventually cross paths. I know that the Owife in your situation seems deliberately obtuse, but maybe you could employ one of these methods if you don't already? Scroll down the page to the second post:

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