How to deal with my kid's step mom

My ex husband married a woman who seems very nice. My problem is anger over the fact that someone (her) came along to save him when he really doesn’t deserve anyone’s help.

She is good to my kids, but has never once reached out to me to set up ground rules, anything. It’s like she’s afraid of me and what I will tell her about him (makes me think of the phrase “if you are afraid of the answer don’t ask the question”. Should I reach out to her to have a chat?

Don’t assume you know why she hasn’t reached out and don’t assume she “saved” him. Assumptions about where he is emotionally and what their relationship is or isn’t really not or any of your business now that you two are divorced. Afterall……you’re the Mom and I would ask why in the world you haven’t established some sort of relationship with her? You’re the mom for heaven’s sake. The fact that she is great with your kids puts you in an enviable position. You have no idea how blessed you are that your kids are well cared for when with their Dad. As far are “reaching out” to her……absolutely! You set the tone, many of the ground rules and much of the overall expectations for the care and parenting of your children. She will, hopefully, take her que from you (especially if she’s not an experienced parent). You need her as an ally. My suggestion is, take your focus off your ex and his relationship and keep it squarely on your kids. Count yourself lucky to have a warm and caring adult helping to raise your kids. I have great love and respect for my ex’s new wife. My daughter adores her and they have a wonderful bond that takes a great burden off my co-parenting shoulders. I do all I can to support t

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I think I see why you two are divorced. The entire tone of your post is that you’re upset that you can’t control him anymore. You may believe he really doesn’t deserve anyone’s help, but she married him, so obviously she thinks differently. Most married couples do help each other. It’s great that you can acknowledge that she is good to your kids. As the others have stated here, if you have a problem with anything she does or says around your kids, you need to take the step to reach out to her. Don’t expect her to be a mind reader and reach out to you. That is not fair to either of you.I’m worried about your phrase It’s like she’s afraid of me and what I will tell her about him. If you want to talk about legitimate concerns for your children when they are in her care, by all means, call her. However, if you want to trash him, please don’t. She won’t care. She probably already suspects what your opinion of him is. After all, you two are divorced. If you got along, you’d still be married. She understands this. By trashing him, you’ll only make yourself look bad.

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I’m going to disagree with the other posters.How do you deal with your kids’ stepmom? You don’t.You and your ex are the co-parents. There is no reason for you to set ground rules with his new wife. Her role, as step-parent, is the same as any other adult that your co-parent allows around his kids. Which is, they support the parent’s position. So if there are ground rules to be set, it is with him, not her.The co-parenting ground rules have to do with communication and scheduling. Pick ups, drop offs, medical issues, phone time with the kids. As others said, you don’t talk to her about bed times or menus any of that. His house, his rules (and if he lets her make rules, that’s his perogative).The time will come that you and the stepmom are at a school event or something together. It will be awkward. Be polite and make small talk if you can manage it. That’s about it.


Don’t do it. Your anger is yours alone. She doesn’t deserve to be hit with venom, especially if she’s a good person. And she’s good to your kids. Be thankful he didn’t find someone who treats your kids badly.

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As a second wife, and someone who has made every attempt for amicability with the first wife, only to be met with disdain, I’m truly saddened by this experience. My husband’s former mother in law was very distraught at her daughter’s conduct since it created great strain for the entire family. I’ve learned that all it takes is for one very insecure ex to ruin others for a lifetime. My advise, don’t harbor unfounded resentment toward someone you don’t even know. Don’t cast false narratives about a second spouse you know to be innocent and someone who would have done anything to assist and help the first wife in any way. It’s destructive and damaging to not only children involved but extended family members also. I will always be grateful for the ex wife’s mother as she knew exactly what her daughter was falsely brewing. The ex wife has held that anger against us to this day. As the old saying goes…”mothers know best”.

As a second wife myself, I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I read your post. Unless your ex literally has bodies buried in the basement, there is no reason you should be warning his wife against him. Whoever he was when he was married to you, he may not be that guy with her, and you don’t have the right to bring your issues into their marriage. If he’s a jerk, she’ll probably realize it eventually. But it is far more likely that the two of you should not have been married, and maybe the two of them should be; it isn’t for you to decide.

It also really isn’t up to you to set any rules for your ex’s wife. It is up to the two of them to determine the role she will play in their household. He is your children’s father, and as such, he has the right to make decisions about how his children are raised as well. You yourself stated that she is good to your children, and I applaud you for recognizing that (I, myself, have long been painted as the villain in my stepkids’ lives by their mother), so maybe that’s good enough.

My husband’s ex once told me that she felt bad because she had been a terrible girlfriend to my husband, and then she was a terrible wife, and then they had a terrible divorce. It sounds like maybe the terrible divorce thing also applies to you (I’m making no judgment about what kind of girlfriend/wife you were). The best advice I can offer is, if you had a terrible divorce, then try to be good parents to your kids. That is the only thread currently connecting you and your husband, so make it a healthy one. Let go of your need to get back at your ex. He’s in your life until your last child has reached 18, and to be honest, probably beyond that as well. (Weddings, grandchildren, etc.) I empathize with your stated need to co-parent the children. I came into my situation thinking that would be possible, but it has turned out to be futile trying to co-parent with my husband’s ex-wife. And sometimes, I guess it is. So in that case, you need to just do what you can to serve your children’s best interests, and stay out of your ex-husband’s marriage; it isn’t your business or your concern.

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@lspalm What would you say to her if you reached out? There are a few things that are okay but most topics likely would cross a few boundaries.

Don’t reach out. She most likely is not intimidated by you but feels your ground rules are for your house and theirs for their house. Realistically you can not manage who what when where or how at the ex’s home just like he can not at yours. It is the biggest problem in co parenting in my situation. It’s out of the control of both of us when the kids are at the other home. You can just sit back and worry and bite your tongue while they are gone and do damage control when they come back. (at least that is what I do) However, when you do damage control please act wisely in how you speak to the kids about their father. You divorced him but they did not and they don’t need to field your opinions or any negative comments toward him. (I only tell you this because I had a friend who did this and it really freaked me out to see so I have always used extra caution when it came to the words I used… and my ex is 100% jerk so its been hard) As far as the temptation to tell this woman about her husband …yeah, I understand the want so very much but again, that’s crossing boundaries that you should not even consider. This is her husband now, regardless of what occurred in your relationship its done and saying something about it is stirring a pot that you may not be prepared to handle even if she believed anything you say at all. Sit back with the knowledge you have on your ex and watch it play out. Leopards don’t change their spots so you know it will happen over and over again…be content with the fact that he is no longer doing it to you anymore.