Time Frame > Shock Wears Off, Reality Sets In ( 6 to 12 months)

Step children

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Just wondering, if your spouse/partner had children, are you still allowed to see them after their passing? I AM lucky enough to see my husband's children relatively often, although it's always something his ex has control over, and she thrives on that. Any tips on negotiating while grieving? My three bio kids are so attached to their step-sibs, so I do everything I can to keep them together, but dealing with an unstable ex is difficult, especially now.

Wow kflex, I couldn't imagine having to deal with a crazy ex while in the throws of grieving.  DH had an ex that was crazy and I have nothing to do with her anymore so I certainly can empathize with what you have to deal with.
Is there any chance you can mention to her that you need to establish a schedule for the next while to have some stability for all the kids sake while they are grieving the loss of their father.  This will take the focus off of you and puts it on the kids.
Best of luck to you during this difficult time.

I have done that. We have a schedule, I told her that my kids need that. She has a personality disorder (my sister is an MSW and this is her speciality and after just a few interactions with the ex, she nailed it). The ex also loves the attention she gets and really thinks of herself as the true grieving widow, but that's a whole other story...

So we have a schedule, I stick to it, but if she feels that I'm not giving HER enough attention as she works through her grief, she pulls them from us. It's a power struggle, something she tried with Justin often. I speak my mind, though, and am firm and consistent. She always comes around and eventually feels guilty, but she still puts me through it. She thrives on drama. I have put up boundaries, and I have to keep them, for my well being. But I fear that the time will come when I don't give into her demands of my attention and friendship, and we will see them less and less. I don't know if there's an answer, or if anyone else has a decent working relationship with the ex and can offer tips.

Yes you definitely need to keep your boundaries up!  I wouldn't be surprised if eventually you decide enough is enough. Unbelievable.
Hugs to you!

My husband's ex is an interesting and complicated person. She does have a few disorders of the mental variety. She is extremely greedy as well. She wouldn't talk to me for years before my husband died. As soon as he died, she couldn't wait to talk money. My stepdaughter was 19 at the time! The ex only got close to me was to find out about the money. For the benefit of my stepdaughter, I made it work. I befriended the ex so I could know what her concerns were. I always acknowledged her perception of how hard her life was (financially) even though she was well taken care of. I saw she needed attention and someone to feel sorry for her. I gave it to her. Even though I personally didn't agree with it. I did it for my stepdaughter. It made things easier and the ex became more pliable. We don't see each other or talk often but I make sure to invite her to the kids birthday party and she is welcome in the house when she is in our area which is not too often. I came to find out the reason she needs so much attention. Her family discounts her as a complainer when she expresses her challenges. She does have diagnosed mental health conditions so she is not fabricating anything. I listen to her and offer my experience in how I handle things. I guess having a child with autism and adhd made me more accepting to challenges and how to overcome them. The point I try to make is when I showed the ex compassion, it was easier to get what I needed from the relationship. It doesn't matter to me that she is stuck on attention for herself. What matters is I need to get what benefits my stepdaughter. I suck it up for my stepdaughter.

Its a different way of doing things. I see she tends to withhold the kids if she feels she is not getting enough attention so maybe it might work for you. I hope you find a workable resolution. It is too stressful to deal with this issue on top of grieving and being a single parent.

Best wishes,


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