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You need to let her sleep in the bed she made and *really* feel it or even if she does somehow come back to you she won't have learned a damn thing and you'll be right back where you are now eventually.
"Show me a completely smooth operation and I'll show you someone who's covering mistakes. Real boats rock." -- Frank Herbert
Loc: North Carolina
I too had an ex-spouse who seemed convinced that our being divorced should have no effect on our ability to be a family. I distinctly remember an email from her the day after our divorce becoming final where she said that she saw no reason why we could not still go on trips together with the boys AND that she knew we would never be like some of those divorced couples who were so hateful towards each other.
When I read those words, I was convinced that she was just completely nuts. How could she not see that divorce meant separation, and separation meant SEPARATE lives?
Now, my ex has not persisted with these grandiose notions in the years that have followed. She never got the point of actually suggesting activities together, though I'm quite sure that she would be one like your wife who could envision her and her new husband and my wife and I attending an event for the kids together (not happening, by the way). Eventually I think reality DOES sink in a bit.
I am a firm believer that an AMIABLE relationship between ex-spouses should be a doable thing when there are children involved. But amiable to me simply means that we aren't hateful towards each other, that we try to agree on mutually beneficial arrangments regarding the kids, etc. It absolutely does NOT mean that we are friends.
My ex-wife is NOT my friend. Friends do not do some of the things that the ex'es or STBex'es do in the stories you read here.
But that does not mean that we cannot be amiable. And I think you are more than capable of being amiable in your relationship with your ex, even while I know that there is still a big part of you that wishes for another chance. Your ex-wife however still seems to be stuck on the two of you being good friends. I don't know, maybe YOU can do that, but I have found that I absolutely could not.
"Laying down the law" does not have to be confrontational. While I can certainly see the possibility that your ex will not respond favorably to you suggesting that your lives become a bit more, well, separate, I do think you are going to have to try to take her to that place. You might remind her that you are not living in a state where polygamy is allowed, and therefore you cannot continue to play the role of spouse for her.
When the kids are in her care, they are in her care. Arrangements that need to be made because of sudden changes in her circumstances should first be made within her OWN well of resources, NOT by turning to you and asking you to pull from YOUR well of resources. Even if that is how it worked in the past, the dynamics are different now.
I would even go so far as to say that visitation with the kids by one spouse, when they are with the other spouse, is a bad idea. It seems kind and friendly, but you will eventually find it to be intrusive and bothersome. And her constant invoking of your lady friend in to your activities with the kids smacks of disingenuousness. I'm sure your ladyfriend, if she were honest, is not keen on spending regular time with your ex-wife. I know for example that I have no desire to spend any time with my ex-wife's new husband.
In short, an amiable co-parenting relationship where both parents private lives are respected is a good and desireable thing. Continuing to use you as a second husband of sorts is not.
Just my two cents worth.
"Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon."
I know from what i have gathered from another site that is very pro reconcilation is during the period the spuse remarrys, it is very important you do not become an OP.....sharing like an EA. I think it makes sense because how would they ever see that their new spouse actually isnt feeling all their needs....see they reserved that thought for us the left behind....THEY DONT MEET MY NEEDS MANTRA.....THEN THEY KEEP YOU AROUND AND HAVE THE OTHER PERSON TOO.....with you not so available they just may see.....hey it isnt even what they thought...but u have to leave them to themselves to find this out...you cant fix it....and being too available probably has the opposite affect....I am sure you get that...you are just trying to implement it with boundryman.....WHICH IS A GREAT IDEA
OH MY GOSH...I JUST TYPE MY THOUGHTS THEN REREAD AND GO WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY BRAIN IN MY OLD AGE ...I DO KNOW THE WORD IS FILLING NOT FEELING....WHEN YOU ARE FILLING A NEED NOT FEELING A NEED..O GOODNESS LOSING IT.
Loc: The Great State of Confusion
As always Bill your post is spot-on and stated more eloquently than I thought possible.
Post separation X said: "Just because we're divorced doesn't mean we have to stop being family."
Upon barging into the bathroom while I was naked in the bath: "Maybe we'll be one of those divorced couples that doesn't mind seeing each other naked."
While discussing the first approach of what had been a yearly vacation tradition for us after separation: "Of course we're still going on vacation together, I can't imagine us not going together." (I chose not to go at the last minute because the spew became vitrolic, infuriating her which resulted in her filing for D immediately upon their return)
Yes, my X is "nuts" and she has very non-conventional views of many family/relationship interactions. I've always thought that was because she had such a fractured/abusive family life and childhood. She also has no one she can rely on but me (and now OMH?) in her life and is no doubt unwilling to give that up.
X once mentioned to me how much she wants me and OMH to "get along" with each other. I responded dryly, "I really can't see us ever being best buds."
I too have sensed that her overtures to and about Ladyfriend and "disingenuous."
The other day she made the comment that I am, "A black and white kind of guy." in comparison to her interpretation of the sitch between us now as opposed to an unspoken "grey" interpretation she holds. Translation: There are no rules or boundaries as far as I'm concerned it's all about what I want and what works/makes it easy for me.
I unloaded on X once after she abused my courtesy of picking the kids up (there was an afterschool activity DS was in that I sponsored so it made sense) by going out for drinks with OM because she had "Such a horrible day" instead of coming straight home from work to meet me at the time we agreed I would bring kids to her. She immediately called me after I dropped the kids off to say, "That is why we are divorced." (She has made that comment a couple of times since we separated in reference to me becoming angry over her behavior). I replied, "No X, the reason we are divorced is because it is all about you. You don't care about anyone but yourself, not me, not your children. You don't treat a friend the way you treated me tonight." She was dumbfounded and had no response.
Here's a new trick. DD called a little while ago to let me know she and DS were going to be at day camp today. She went on to mention I might "need" to pick them up this afternoon (wonder where that suggestion came from?). I told DD I couldn't because I have a meeting this afternoon and that OMH would probably be the one picking them up if X can't.
Edited by sleeper (08/11/0903:17 PM)
"Fear is the mind-killer" Muad'Dib Me 53, XW 44, DD 14, DS 12 Bomb and OM 12/15/06 Separated 01/02/07 Divorced 05/13/08 X married OM(OMH) 08/2009 Married 06/09/13
Sorry sleeper that it's rough right now. It does seem like things love to crash down all at once. This poor woman I work with had her son and husband both die in the same month of two totally different causes this summer. Sometimes life just heaps it on...
"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." Robert Collier
"One's best success often comes after their greatest disappointments." Henry Ward Beecher