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Required to introduce new spouse to ex-spouse?


Your Question:
Hello,

I've been divorced 2 years and have a 6 year old son. My ex wants to meet my new wife. I know this is a reasonable request, and I do wish things could be mellow and copacetic between everybody. The fact of the matter, is that I just don't trust my ex whatsoever around my new wife.

I wouldn't normally think twice about this, but my ex is emotionally unstable, very angry. She's a destructive person to deal with. I almost got a restraining order against her for her threats to come to my place of employment because I wasn't able to take our son during her time.

I usually give in to her demands, just so I wouldn't have to deal with a sociopath.

Additionaly, my new wife thinks very lowly of my ex after getting to know her from her volatile behavioral patterns that she has consistently shown, and doesn't want to meet her if she doesn't have to.

However, my ex demands that she has every right to meet my new wife according to the court. Is that true? If there any legal recourse for my ex with this?

I just want to know what to do to protect myself with this.

Unfortunately, I don't know any other dads that have gotten divorced, so it's nice to have a place to ask questions that may just be simple ones.


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My Answer:
Hi,

With a kid involved, you're right that it's reasonable that your ex would want to meet your new wife, that you'd want them to meet, and that your new wife would want to meet your ex. That's in a reasonable situation, of course.

If your ex isn't a reasonable person and creates trouble at every opportunity, then it's up to you to do what's best for your home life.

Don't worry about any legal issues if your ex doesn't meet your wife. If your court orders don't require it, she has about as much legal right by demanding to meet your neighbor's gardener as she does your wife.

It sounds like you were at a place I was some years years ago-- fearful of the conflict and the chaos of my ex if I didn't try to keep the peace. I've transitioned more to a place of learning how to manage her and doing my best to avoid reacting to her.

Think of your ex as a preschooler... very black-and-white thinking. Learn how to respond to her, and you'll be empowered.

Hold her accountable for her inappropriate behavior, and immediately be able to thank her for her appropriate behavior (i.e., reward).

Set boundaries with her, and whenever she wants something, outline clearly the reasonable approach that it will take for her to get it. Then enforce that.

Ignore communication from her that is not productive, whenever you can (i.e., just tell her once that you're not comfortable introducing her to your wife at this time for reason XYZ, then ignore her further antics). Only reward communication that is productive.

Over the course of years, I've faced less and less exposure to my ex's antics. I've also been back to court many times. I've called the police four times and had reports written up (nothing ever happens, but having to talk with LAPD seems to put her in line for a while). I carried a micro-cassette recorder in plain view at exchanges, so she would know that she's being recorded (this was among the best things I discovered to keep her calm).

Eventually, it was evident that the exchanges were the most frequent points of conflict. Rather than blame, our custody evaluator did one of the most valuable things for giving greater peace to my daughter, my (current) wife, and I. He recommended that exchanges occur at school when possible, and residential exchanges are to have the receiving parent at curbside and the other parent remaining in the house. So, our orders are written up that we really have no contact, save for doctor or teacher appointments. A blessing.

So, my message to you is rather than you and your wife getting bothered or intimidated by her-- take a proactive approach to understand what makes her tick, learn what strategies help minimize your exposure to her, and ALWAYS force consequences on her for poor behavior. That's the only way the status quo won't remain in place forever, as it'll either teach her the rules, or by necessity you'll need new court orders at some point to reduce the conflict.

Best,
Eric





This website gives common sense advice that is not intended to act as legal guidance nor psychological guidance. The author is neither an attorney nor licensed psychologist. For specific legal guidance or specific psychological guidance, consult with a licensed professional.


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