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      Get Smart on the Web   09/16/2016

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ex-wife's disapproval

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i have been silently watching this forum since starting a romantic relationship with my first cousin, "RJ,"in august 2012. (i should really write "our story" at some point; it's pretty cute).  you guys have been a lifeline, without even knowing it..so thanks! but here i am, with a complicated matter i just can't seem to resolve. it's a little tricky thing called:  :undecided:  THE EX-WIFE!  :undecided:

in a nutshell, "RJ" has two awesome kids (a boy and a girl, 11 and 7). they live with their mom, and spend every other weekend with dad. things have been going along ((i thought)) quite swimmingly.  RJ and I dated for just over a year before he had "the talk" with the kids, and formally introduced me as his girlfriend.  He even took it upon himself to inform the exwife earlier on. She had little to say on the matter, at the time.  I'm the first relationship RJ has had since the Divorce, but it seemed to us that the kids adjusted well. We all get along great, the kids have asked questions here and there, and we are really starting to operate as a family. "RJ" and I recently moved in together (in december), and nowadays, we mostly spend our weekends all together. all is well with the world...or so we thought.

The other day, the Ex-wife claimed that the kids are confused about our relationship (this is Possible, but i wonder if she is just trying to stoke the fire). She admitted that she told them i can be "daddy's cousin or daddy's girlfriend, but not both".  she still believes cousin relationships are "illegal and immoral" (even after sending her articles/links! we live in new england!).  she said that she has a "major problem with it." and went on to write a vaguely threatening text saying that she "doesn't want her kids to turn out like RJ's f'd-up family."

no wonder the kids are confused! 

We don't know how to best handle the situation. We don't want to confuse the kids even more, or put them in the middle "dad says...., but mom says..." I almost want to reach out to the Ex-wife, but I don't know if that's my place. her and i have absolutely no type of relationship (never have); she will barely answer my friendly "how are yous?" ... and RJ still has difficulty communicating with her and is feeling defeated.

i feel like having a relationship with my first cousin is hard enough in the this small town, and adding an ex-wife and two kids...it's just overwhelming sometimes.  I love RJ dearly, but I don't want to mess up his kids ((or worse, have them turn against me/him/us)).  what should we do? 

*deep exhale*

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Hi, and welcome to the site :)

Not that it matters too much but does the ex-wife have a current relationship?  I'm just wondering if she's acting more out of jealousy and vengeance, which is so likely in a divorce relationship.  As far as the kids go, don't worry about your relationship as cousins having anything to do with messing them up.  If they've been raised well and love and respect their father, it won't be an issue.  They'll learn to trust what they see more than what they hear.  If I were you, I wouldn't get in the middle of communicating with the ex-wife.  You'll just invite abuse and I'm sure if she's saying these things that she has plenty enough to spare you some.

Indeed, you can be both "daddy's cousin" and "daddy's girlfriend" at the same time.  If that relationship should turn into marriage, in my view, the marriage relationship takes primacy and you become "daddy's wife" who just happens to also be his cousin.  In my view, it's no different than finding out that two people happen to be both second and sixth cousins (happens often) - we call that "second cousins", not "2nd and 6th" (because they could also be so many more at once that they don't even know about - fair chance YOU are my 6th cousin!).

Let RJ handle it in his own way.  He might just know her better than she knows herself.  Best to just continue to show the kids unconditional love, never say any unkind thing about their mother in their presence (not even a backhanded compliment), and always just be reasonable, fair, and firm in parenting.  Divorce is messy.  It doesn't get any less messy until the kids are grown.

Best wishes,

CM

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thanks, CM!! divorce is so, so Messy indeed!

the ex wife is currently dating someone (not the man she left RJ for *smh*), although they are taking things much more slowly. she quipped that one reason is that "the kids already have enough to deal with" from RJ and I moving in together.

i guess what it boils down to is the fear that there IS truth to what she is saying.  RJ tends to brush off the ex's comments as jealousy/boredom, and he obviously knows her better than i do.  however, she has been a parent longer/more actively than both of us.  maybe the kids arent as ok with everything as they seem. *sigh*

it just occurred to me that the exwife is the only person who knows of our cousin relationship and has voiced opposition to it. hmm..maybe im just being defensive.

rj and i dont have very many close friends, and ive never written on a board before....im finding this process quite theraputic.

:) 

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nesters,

Sour grapes M'Dear, sour grapes. It sounds as though she is looking to pluck the sliver from RJ's eye, with the beam in hers. Beyond that, I fully agree with CM on this. Don't take the bait. The kids WILL see her venom for what it is. Much as one does not feed the trolls on the internet, don't allow yourselves to get into a silly game with this woman. It will only encourage further, escalating bad behavior out of her. If the children have future questions about the nature of the relationship, (other than the physical, which is not for detailed description) and the legalities of it, bring them here, and show them the facts. Do not denigrate their mother, just let them know, that on the topic at hand, she is mistaken. She has views that have become the norm over the last century and a half, but there are many views from that time period which have come to be seen as being in error. We're doing our part to correct that on our topic...

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nesters,

I really appreciate your concern for your cousin's children.  They need all the positive energy around them they can get!  The truth of the matter is that it isn't your issue to deal with (as much as I know you would love to make this road easier for the young'uns).  Mom and Dad need to figure out how to handle this amongst themselves.

RJ needs to put his foot down with the ex.  If she won't be civil out of good will for her children, she can be legally compelled to be.  He should save any and all communication from her that is anything more than logistics of dealing with the kids (when/where for pickup or drop offs).  I don't know what the laws of your state are, but you might want to double check just to make sure that there is no legal fodder for her to use against you.

This could all blow over soon without any ramifications.  I wouldn't take that chance.

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Read your story and it hits home... In our case, the ex is taking legal action to prevent the child from having any contact with me.  For the exact same reason- illegal, immoral, confusing, and sick. The child has a new, but very strong bond with my children and myself. We all met only last year. Children don't know we are dating yet but we are so close as a bunch!

Is it possible that there are legal grounds for this? She affirms there are. So says her lawyer. Any wisdom?

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cousinpauline,

You have not mentioned which State you are in, so I shan't either. However, I did take the liberty as a mod of having a quick peek. I'm not 100% confident in my tracker, but it's USUALLY pretty accurate. If so, and you are where it says you are, his ex wife is full of beans. You are in a place where, not only the State it's showing you in, but all surrounding/bordering States are quite friendly indeed. It is legal for 1st cousins to marry throughout the region by and large, with few exceptions. Have a look here: http://www.cousincouples.com/?page=states and see if it isn't a whole lotta green in your little neck of the woods. If not, come on back here, and give us the State you are in, and we'll see where you stand from there. If your State, and all the surrounding States are as I think they are though, she's in for spending a bunch of $$$ on a shyster lawyer who is only too eager to relieve her of it. Personally, if it were me, I would let her. I would let her spend her last dollar down this misguided path, and, then, perhaps, in the future, she would be much less inclined emotionally and financially to try any more such shenanigans.....

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Welcome to CC Nesters!

I will let RJ handle the situation. You need to keep on loving your nephew and niece. Stay positive...love conquers all even a jealous ex...

Cousinpauline, I suggest you start a new thread so as not to confuse others reading this thread. We can focus on nesters on this thread and focus on your new thread...thank you muchmuch.

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the Ex-wife claimed that the kids are confused about our relationship

Just ask the kids if they are confused about the relationship.

Imho it's prob better if it's your cuz that does this.

Forget the ex-wife & her wooden spoon.

Lori :)

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I agree 100% with everyone else's responses.  The only other advice I would offer is for you and RJ to consider actually having your own talk with the children about it.  Of course, without bringing the mother into the conversation AT ALL.  Just like someone above said, never say or imply a negative thing about the ex in front of the children in under circumstance.  You could start the conversation by asking if there's anything they want to talk about in the house or any issues they feel they might need to talk about to you guys.  Don't directly bring up the cousin issue to them- if you ask them if they want to talk to you about anything, don't put it past children to be honest with you and tell you what's on their mind.  If they have any questions or problems, they can voice them, you can respond in a calm and loving tone and don't bring up their mother.  If they bring up their mother, don't let your response include any opinions on her, just say something like, "I can't speak for your mother, but your father and I..." and so on. 

It is NEVER a bad idea to talk to children about any activities or issues that exist under the roof that you all share.  That should be a more common practice in many households.  If the children have concerns, they should be addressed and comforted.  Always let them know you love them, and say nothing negative about the ex ever. 

Hope this helps. 

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thanks for the responses and sorry for the late reply.

I wish things would have blown over by now, but I am still confused.

RJ had a sit-down with the kids and asked them if they had any questions or confusion.  We agreed I would be "off running errands," so, I wasn't even home.

His son (11) understands and accept our relationship 100% (it seems) and was quite vocal during the discussion. He articulated in his own words the girlfriend/cousin thing. If anything, I think he and I have bonded more closely since the sit-down with Dad.

His daughter (7) is often the chattiest/most opinionated of our group was stone. cold. silent. RJ tried to pry a bit, and she disgruntledly mumbled, "I get it." Asking her if something was wrong didn't get much of a response, nor did RJ asking her in private if she had questions.  She has since taken a few noticeable steps "away" from me (less affectionate, didn't request to speak with me on the phone when Dad called her during the week).  She also has been addressing notes/card (3 or 4 of them) "to Dad & Cousin AK" instead of "to Dad & AK". 

I wish I had a window to her world/mind!  Clearly something is amiss. Is she modeling after her mom out of loyalty? Is she bothered  by Dad having a serious girlfriend or bothered because I am their cousin? clearly I'm a worrier and a stress-ball and it's driving me crazy. 

The last thing I want to do is hurt these kids.  I worry they will be bullied. I am scared that they will feel torn between "mom's opinion" and "dad's opinion." ... please tell me this gets better. :( does love really conquer all, pepe??

P.S. In this time, the ex-wife has told RJ that she is uncomfortable with the kids being alone with me.  He did not respond to her.  this stuff seems to roll off his back like rainwater on a duck..but I am not that tough. sometimes, I am really afraid that we are doing the wrong thing.

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I think it might be time for you and RJ to have a friendly chat with the

family attorney of your choice.  You will both know first hand what is legal

in the state you are in and any other information he thinks is relivant to your

situation. Including her "being uncomfortable with them being alone with you". Unless you

are a child molester or abuser, I don't think she can legally  do that. I am not a lawyer and I

don't know for sure. but food for thought

The children will eventully make up their own minds about the situation regardless of what

their mom says to them. As stated do not say anything negative about her and that will go a long

way in your relationship with them.

Best wishes as you continue on your journey.

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ditto what romalee said.

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I agree with Romalee, too.  Don't let this woman's issues come between you.

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nesters,

You haven't joined, so you have no profile to check, to see if you have your location there. Even as a guest, we mods and admins see IPs, and, for purposes mentioned by Romalee, I have a little peek on occasion to see where folks are. Not street addresses or anything like that mind you, just an idea which State or country someone is in so as to surmise their general legal status. You haven't mentioned where you are, so, trust me, I shan't either. However, I did take the liberty of having a little peek. Provided my tracker is accurate, you are in what we here call a "friendly" State, and, oddly enough, you are TOTALLY surrounded by OTHER "friendly" States.

I basically said the same thing previously to cousinpauline in this thread, and, oddly enough again, you two are in the same State, albeit opposite ends of said State. My advice to both of you stands. It is sour grapes on the part of the ex's. They can flap their yaps all they want to, but there isn't a damn thing they can do about it LEGALLY. Again, provided I have an accurate location for you and cousinpauline. If the tracker is right, you would be very hard pressed indeed to find any BETTER region in the US to be in from a cousin couple standpoint.

I'll also add that we aren't attorneys and all of this is for informational purposes only, and your mileage may vary. I'm awful confident in my advice however. BUT, all of that said, it certainly doesn't mean the the ex's can't poison the impressionable young minds here. My advice on that front? Drop it for now. Cuz has had a little "sit down" with them, with mixed results. Actions speak louder than words. Show them the happiness between the two of you, and sooner or later, the young lass will come around. Any more talk on the subject will seem like pressure. By the same token, any more talk from the ex on the topic will seem that way as well. Don't get in a p*ssin' match with her. Let her blow off at the pie hole all she wants. Take his lead. Water off a ducks' back. He knows her better than you. Chances are, this will not be his first time seeing her put her foot in her mouth. Sooner or later, with good behavior on your parts, and less than stellar behavior on her part, the truth will be shown for what it is. She can't stop them from being in your company, alone or otherwise. If she tries, she will be shut down in very short order. It may either shut her up, or make her double down. Either way, DO NOT get sucked into it. Let HER show her hind side. You be yourself.

For now, you are the GF, but LEGALLY you ARE still Cousin AK. Once the subject gets dropped on your end, (and the sooner the better) the girl will increasingly see you as the GF, and within a matter of time, will respond accordingly. Kids are resilient. They pick up on subtle clues, even if they do not totally understand the full dynamics of a situation. They work with the obvious. When it sinks in that "cousin" AK is more accurately "Daddy's Girlfriend" AK, the responses will change. It may be hard, and it may take a while. There may even be jealousy on her part that is a bigger factor than any thing her Mother would say. You know, the "I'm not so much Daddy's girl now, AK is" sort of thing. There is most likely already some of the "she's trying to replace Mommy" thoughts going through her head. These sorts of things would cross her mind regardless of whether you two were cousins or not. That is only another piece of drama added in. It behooves you two to lessen that part of the drama. It's out there, and they know if there are further questions, they can ask. Until that time, I'd let it ride, and let it sink in... Be the good parent/role models you would like yourselves to be.

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this is "nesters"...i did sign up for the forum, i just forgot. Hi!

wow, im touched by the responses. its really whelming to know you guys are here and hearing me and taking such time to reply so thoughtfully.

we dont anticipate that the ex wife will take legal action, but it is a possibility.  and you've done your homework, Hawk, we live in CT.  im lucky to have a family law degree in the family, if it should come to that. 

as silly as it sounds, im much more concerned with her opinion and  judgements of us.  she has a lot more influence, especially over the daughter.  RJ worked his rump off when they were married so she could be a SAHM (and go to school and get her teeth fixed...), and he sacrificed a LOT of parenting opportunities with the kids.  its a big game of catch-up now, and hes doing great as far as i can tell. however, i think "mom's opinion" still trumps.

i really am clinging to the "the kids will come around" notion....i cant express how much better i feel just sharing this.

it is like a little knife whenever his daughter calls me "daddys cousin." im scared that the only reason she tolerates me being in her life IS because im related. im tempted to add, "and girlfriend!" its childish on my part, but im trying.

im trying. 

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One very important point:  if you are "daddy's cousin"  you are also cousin to his daughter!  My cousin's children know I am their cousin also and I love them!  Go with the idea that "blood is thicker" and emphasize your mutual family history. 

Keep coming here and keep us posted.

HUGS

Nat

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crackers,

Welcome Aboard.

Yes, I did see that is where you are. Having access to a family law practitioner will certainly help. If you've been to the main page, you already know that your State is one in which you two can marry, should things progress to that point, and you decided to do so. There is nothing, including a sour grapes ex, to stop you. Should the ex try to take legal action, let her. It will be a good learning experience for the former SAHM. It sounds as though she should have studied family law, instead of whatever she did go to school for.

Keep trying, you'll get there with the daughter, trust me. Sooner or later, her BS filter will develop to the point she'll be able to smell it a mile away. Just act like you would in any other relationship with a man with young children. Plan outings or other events the whole family unit will enjoy. It sounds like there will be more "domestic tranquility" with y'all than there is at their mother's place. That is exactly the effect you want. I don't want to harp, but, again, please do follow his lead and let this roll off your feathers, and not ruffle them. Relax, take a deep breath, and keep your patience about you. The appearance of you as "Daddy's girlfriend" will speak louder and better than being more forward about it, and insisting on that title. It WILL sink in. Eventually, whether she says it or not, that will be the obvious view of you she has. Look for her to just quietly drop the "cousin" part. It is probably going to take longer than you would like. I hate that for you, but things rarely ever fall into place with the snap of a finger like we would have them do. That's just the way it works more times than not.

Stick around, and let us know how things are going for you. We can, and will be, your support system. Several of us, (and, I dare say most of us) are not with our cousin. You are. It's fine with me that I'm not, and never will be. I didn't really join here with any expectation that I ever would be. I joined, and stuck around to be sort of a voice out in the cheap seats to members who do have the chance to be with, or are with, their cousin, and need an unbiased (well, sort of) opinion on handling delicate situations. You have a delicate situation here, but not the most drama we've ever seen here. Not by a long shot. You'll do fine by just taking this as it comes, and not pushing too hard. Focus on the relationship and love for your BF/Cuz that you have. With that as the primary focus, everything else will work around it.

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