Dear Ex-Wife

I am writing you this letter because you refuse to even say hello to me when I say hello to you, or when we are in the same room together.  I know I should be thankful that for 2 years I haven’t ever had to have a conversation with you.  Not a mean one or a nice one, just looks and glares from you.  I learned a long time ago that your opinion of me doesn’t matter, and I don’t need to have a relationship with you.  However, your kids see what a bitch you are to me, and I think you are doing more damage to your own character by the way act.  Even your boyfriend is pleasant to us, but you can’t seem to bring yourself to be nice for even 2 or 3 minutes.  It used to irritate me, but now I just feel sorry for you.  I feel sorry for you because you act as if you are happy and have moved on with your life, but clearly you haven’t and you are still so bitter about your divorce.  It must be hard to carry that hate and anger around all of the time, but at the same time trying to convince yourself and everyone around you that you are happier now than you’ve ever been.

Let me be clear, I do not wish to be friends with you.  You are not the kind of friend I would have in my life.  However, I do think that we should be able to be cordial to each other.  I am helping to raise your kids for crying out loud.  The way things are now I spend more time with them than you do, and I’m going to be around for a very long time.  They will have brothers or sisters because of me that they will be bonded to. Wouldn’t it be easier to just accept our lives for what they are?  I have had to do that, and it hasn’t been easy.  You have 2 amazing kids that love you very much, but they also love me and their dad.  They worry about hurting your feelings, but they are smart kids and have learned how to make you feel better.  It’s sad they have to lie to you though because you are so uninvolved and insecure with your relationship with them.  They feel like they have no other choice.  You’ve punished them for not calling you every day when they are with us, you’ve punished them if they want to see their dad, you’ve done everything you said you would never do to try to turn your kids against their dad.  You are their mom, they will always need you and love you.  They shouldn’t have to chase you down and tell you that several times a day.  They are your kids.  Your teenage kids who are trying to figure out who they are and need a little space to grow.  They are not your friends.  If you want friends…go make some.

Your hate and negative outlook on the world causes them great anxiety.  They are scared of very simple things that kids their age should be excited about.  They are afraid to live their lives.  Is that what you want for them?  It’s not what their dad wants for them, and as their stepmom, I don’t want that either.  They are smart kids who need a little bit of guidance, self esteem, and freedom to start making some decisions for themselves.  Especially your daughter.  She’s such a kind soul.  She’s also very impressionable and I worry that she’s learning that as long as she marries someone with money she’ll be ok in her life.  She doesn’t seem to understand that women can be more than a wife and mother unless they are single.  She talks all the time about money, and how worried she is about it all the time.  She gets that from you.  She hears your fights with her dad, and knows that you are always mad about money, but then says you need more money from her dad.  You know you are divorced right?  You know that he’s no longer your husband and shouldn’t have to keep taking care of you.   You need to get a real job with one of your many degrees and not work 15 hours a week in a teenager job.   Do you really feel like you deserve alimony?  You know it won’t last forever?  He’s a great dad, and always does and always will take care of those kids.  He divorced you because he doesn’t want to be with you or take care of you anymore.  It’s time for you to step up and take care of yourself.  Not only does he pay you alimony, but also a lot in child support (and you do nothing for the kids with), and he goes way above and beyond that.  A lot of my own money goes towards your kids.  YOUR kids, not MY kids.  I take your kids shopping when their clothes don’t fit, I do homework with them, I buy stuff they need for school, and I buy a lot of the food they eat, I buy gifts they need for friends, and I’ve helped buy things for you.  I’ve never heard so much crap about money as I have from you.  You are such a gold digger!  How is it possible that with 4 adults now taking care of your kids instead of just 2 there is so much bitching about money?  Oh, I know why…you are the one who doesn’t really work, but loves to spend money on anything to keep you from working.  It angers me that money that should be in my household goes into yours.  It angers me that the person I love pays you a great deal of money every month and then we have kids wearing clothes that don’t fit and never have things they need for school.  How do you look at them with their flood pants and not try to get them new clothes? I can’t bear to allow them to have to be that way.  I give up things of my own for your kids, and you can’t even do it for your own children.  It’s so pathetic.

I’m not trying to replace you.  I would never try to do that.  I have a mom and a stepmom and I know how it works and doesn’t work.  I am trying to make sure that I am involved in their lives.  They need it and they ask for it whether you want to believe that or not.  I do not poison them against you, even though you give me plenty of ammo to do so.  It would never help anything.  I stick up for you when they complain about how you never do anything with them and care more about yourself and your boyfriend.  I make sure they have a good relationship with their dad.  I give them a lot of time alone with him.  Not because I don’t like the kids and don’t want to be around, but because it’s good for them to build their relationship.  They tell us they beg you for time alone and you don’t give it, and your boyfriend doesn’t make sure they get it.  That’s sad.  They are growing up before your eyes and you will look back and regret these missed times.  I am their stepmom, and I take that very seriously.  I wish you took your place in their life seriously.  I think it would make them very happy if you did.

I ask that you stop acting like a bitch, and stop bad mouthing us to the kids.  You are only hurting them and yourself.  I know you are trying to hurt us, but we know who we are and what we care about.  I’m glad you are their mom because you brought them into this world.  However, just because you have a working uterus does not make you a good mom.  It’s time to step up, let your bitterness go, and be the mom those kids need you to be.


~ by Stepfamily Letter Project on November 12, 2009.

5 Responses to “Dear Ex-Wife”

  1. Keep doing right by the kids – they will remember that, and you will know in your heart you’ve done all you can. It sure can be hard, though, can’t it? Hang in there, stay strong.

  2. WHY LORD WHY did I not find this site until now!?!? I could have used this BIG TIME two years ago when my husband’s ex-wife purchased my step-daughter’s bridesmaid’s dress for OUR wedding after making it impossible for me to schedule a day, or half day for that matter, so my step-daughter, my niece and I could have a fun day in the city shopping for dresses and spending quality girl time together. She was ‘just trying to help…take something off my plate…’
    Wow, thanks for being so thoughtful.
    I just threw up a little.

  3. The above is so Oh My God!! This is so true. I watch my boyfriend’s little girl struggle with this exact person who is supposed to be her mom. It breaks my heart…all she wants is unconditional love and acceptance from her mom and she will never get it because the bitterness and “I AM THE VICTIM” that she sees on a regular basis at her mom’s. I deal wit many comments like “My mom says, you are not my family cause you and my dad aren’t married” or “my mom says you shouldn’t do that cause your not really a mom”. Mind you, we have lived together for 5 years now. She says these things in anger at her mom typically, and I continue to swallow my pride and come up with something nice to say, but later cry because I don’t understand having that much bitterness or insecurities. She ignores the fact that her child has a slight learning disability and how wonderfully smart her daughter is and uses it as “poor me” my daughter has a learning disability and I am divorced….it goes on and on. She hasn’t read a book to her child in 4 months. I read with her everyother night when she is at our house. Her reading ability had a years worth of growth last year, simply by reading with her 3 nights a wk for 20 min.
    Thanks for the letter, it made me feel better knowing, I am not the only one! Long reply, sorry, needed to vent this am.

  4. Wow, I am both a mom and a stepmom. I see both sides because I am experiencing both sides. The letter above saddens me. It is just as angry as the anger the stepmother is feeling she receives from the mom. I, as the mother, say hello to daughters stepmom only to receive no response. I have come to except that this person believes they have a right to be disrespectful but then again maybe she is just insecure and has heard too many half-truths about me.

    As a new stepmom I have to deal with a stepwife that is hostile and angry. She has decided that I am the scapegoat for all her problems. As negative as she is I would never overstep my bounds to say the things up above. Keep it about the children with out the sacrasim and name calling. Until you have been in both shoes you dont know what she is going through.

    I have thought about what I would have liked my stepmom to have done when she became a part of my daughters life. I am using that experience to exstend an olive branch out to my husbands ex. I dont know how this will be received but I must try to let her know that I am not here to replace her role as mother or overstep my bounds in regards to their children. Step mothers must understand that they are the ones invading on the other womans life. No matter how long your husband has been divorced there remains a level of turf control that the exwife feels possessive over, mostly related to the children. I find that many stepmoms overstep their bounds without any regard for the mothers feelings. Then the stepmoms get mad when the mother puffs out their chest and exerts control. There is so much hatred spewed in these situations and it is counter-productive.

    If everyone, stepmothers and mothers alike, could for one moment set down their insecurities and sense of self rightousness, maybe they can instead treat each other with kindness and compassion. Isn’t that what we all want? Isn’t that what is best for our marriages and children?

    Peace begins in your own heart.
    Wearing both shoes

  5. Turf wars…. individual psychological struggles that can turn pathological for the very ones they “fight” for, their children.
    Divorce is the finalization of a marriage, meaning the end of the marriage. Both parties sign at the end. Signing at the end means the parties take responsibility that they are no longer married. Divorce is the end, you don’t get to keep the perks the marriage brought nor should you expect your ex partner to become celibate following the divorce. These are both unrealistic for both parties and sets up major resentment between parents and thwarts growth and development of the children.
    I am a mother and did feel pangs of “loss” over moments my children had with their stepmom at first. Having a stepmom was not my children’s choice. I am 1/2 the party to my children having a stepmom, as I signed the final decree document of divorce. I am responsible for my children having a stepmom, therefore I am responsible to help them deal with having a stepmom.
    We are all given ONE mom and ONE dad. Children know who their biological parents are, they do not get confused… unless they are very young and no one helps them. Children crave their biological parents, and in divorce the children will also have step parents. Biological parents made a decsion to divorce they should also make a decision to help their children process and work through it all. Afterall, doesn’t everyone want emotionally healthy children.
    I am also a step parent, to 5 young children. My biological children are grown now and live on their own, so we did not have issues with blending families.
    From the beginning I have, when the subject came up, told the stepchildren that I am not their mother and that everyone only gets one mother. In the beginning they would ask me “then what are you”. I told them I was their stepmom, so I am responsible for you when you are with me.
    The mother of these children has repeatedly said bad things about my husband to them, such as “he is a horrible father and always has been”, “he never wanted you”, “he keeps his money from you” and it goes on and on. This has gone on for 9 years. The children now live with us, as the mother is unable to care for them any more, drug use/mental illness. The children have had to and still are working through all the things their mother has told them, as they are finding the reality she taught them is untrue.
    My husband’s ex wife is very bitter, angry and resentful. She did not go to marriage counseling, she worked out the divorce agreement and signed the papers. Her resentment, bitterness, and anger is her own, not mine or anyone else’s. She is a grown and highly educated women. Perhaps life has not turned out the way she thought it would following her decision to be divorced. This is the life she chose and the one she continues to choose. Her decisions are not my responsibility. Caring for her children, in a stepmother role that does not overlap with a mother role, is my responsibility. I will do what I can to help these children grow but I will never try or work toward being their mother.
    My husband’s ex does not acknowledge my presence. When she comes to our house to pick up her chidlren, with her parents, she does not look at me or say anything to me. The children race outside to meet their mom and grandparents. I go outside to see them off, as my husband is many times working. When I walk up the grandparents say hello and I say hello to them and then I always say hello to the ex. She does not look my way. For a while I was a bit intimidated by her behavior and became hesitant as to how to approach her and the situation. After a lot of contemplation I will not let her dictate how I behave toward her or anyone else. I will not let my step children see that I treat her any differently than I treat anyone else or that she has control over my behavior. She may respond in any way she wants. I am not going away or retreating because she is unhappy with the decsion she made to divorce my now husband.
    Yes, I also have a turf.

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