couples

Is it normal that... I've never met my husband's ex-wife?

This reader is facing an awkward first meeting that she thought would have happened a long, long time ago. Another question for our iVillage brains trust.

My husband and I have been together for 10 years and I’ve never laid eyes on his ex-wife.

She’s yelled at me on the phone a couple of times but that’s about it. If I were an ex-wife, I’d make a point of meeting the woman who would be spending significant time with my kids, but she’s done everything she can to avoid meeting me.

I think my husband is expecting a scene when we come face-to-face.

It then got to a point that we hadn't met for so long it's like we missed our window. Years later, she requested a meeting but I'd just given birth to my first child and wasn't in the right place to deal with a meeting that would be awkward at best and extremely uncomfortable at worst.

Now it's been 10 years. My step-children are older and make their own way to and from our house. We no longer need to meet but whenever I mention to someone that I've never met my husband's ex-wife and mother of his first child they completely freak out.

"How is that possible?" they exclaim, which makes me feel silly.

But it really wasn't my doing.

When my husband and I first started dating he did everything he could to avoid me meeting his ex. At the time I didn't think anything of it. We were in the first flush of love and he always picked his daughter up and dropped her off. Our paths didn't cross at all.

I figured we'd eventually meet. I'd had no indication that she didn't want to meet me. Because they had been separated for several years and had both been in other long-term relationships before I even entered the scene, I didn't think it would be such a big deal.

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I later found out that it was.

I started to question my husband, then boyfriend, about why I hadn't met his ex-wife. He fobbed me off and then started sighing a lot.

"What do you want, to sit down and have f%[email protected] coffee with her?" he asked. His outburst made me suspect something else was going on.

He later confessed that she was very upset about our relationship. I was the first woman he'd lived with since they'd split. She was also very upset that his daughter liked me.

I tried to be sensitive and understanding but really, it made no sense to me. They'd been apart for years, both had other relationships and she didn't want to even briefly lay eyes on the woman who would be spending every weekend and much of the school holidays with her daughter?

Now my stepdaughter is about to turn 21. She wants me at her party to help celebrate, however also feels uncomfortable at the thought that the party will be the scene of my first meeting with her mother, and to be honest, despite the years that have gone by, I'm not sure exactly what kind of reception to expect.

Should I bite the bullet and reach out to her before the big event?

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