herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Dilemmas: 'My second husband is so jealous he wants to ban the children's dad'

Dear Virginia, I’ve recently married again to a man I love dearly, but he’s told me that he doesn’t want me to see my ex any more.

My ex and I have a great relationship — we were childhood sweethearts, and have two children, so we see a lot of each other. But my husband’s become jealous and wants to stop my ex having a cup of tea when he collects the children.

After a lot of discussion, he’s grudgingly said it’s okay, but that he won’t be around at those times. It makes life so awkward for us all and I can’t help feeling angry. It’s so silly. What can I do? Yours sincerely, Emma

Virginia says

On one level, I have never heard anything so immature and pathetic, but try to imagine what your husband is feeling. He must feel that you still find your ex attractive — or perhaps that he finds you attractive. And when he comes over and refers to old times and mutual friends, your husband feels redundant.

Could your ex ask your new husband for a drink on his own — maybe to ask advice on the children? Perhaps you could make the occasional remark about how, although you like your ex very much, he was hopeless in bed. Harp on about how awful it used to be.

Explain that you know how difficult it must be, but that it is good for the children to see that you all get on together.

Does your ex have a new partner? Couldn’t she come over, too?Is there any chance that you and your husband might have children of your own? If that happens, the situation will change immediately.

Readers say

You need to talk

Have you examined how you are around your ex? Your husband may find it difficult to see that the affection and intimacy that you and your exhusband had is reflected in your relationship now. You need to talk about this again.

Jacqui, by email

Tell him you love him

Well done for maintaining a civilised relationship with your ex-husband.

As for your current husband, did you not discuss this situation before you married? He needs to think about how it would affect your children if you were to stop their father coming into their home. Why should they suffer because of his insecurities?

You should also ask yourself, if you give in to this demand, who else might he ask to stop calling at the house — friends, colleagues, or anyone else he may feel threatened by?

I suggest you explain that it is him that you love and want to be with and he should give you the one thing all good marriages are built on: trust.

Shereen, by email

Respect his feelings

I’m left wondering which counts for more: “I love him dearly” (making your husband sound like a cosy old pet), or “a great relationship” (with your ex, who obviously still lights your fire. Do you have regrets? Unless you really do want to go back to your ex, you need to be aware of your husband’s sensitivities. Genuine respect for your husband will help point you in the right direction.

Don Manley, by email

Give him a break

It’s rarely acknowledged how hard it is to be a stepfather. Just when your husband feels he’s getting somewhere with your children, along comes their real dad. Give the man a break. Your priority is to calm his fears and reassure him that you love him and that he’s doing a great job.

F Forster, Wicklow

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