My boyfriends borderline ex-wife is making me borderline crazy!
December 27, 2012 9:56 AM Subscribe
How should I address the fact that my boyfriend's unstable ex-wife continues to inappropriately contact him and his family?
posted by anonymous to human relations (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Our background: We have been together almost 2 years. We are both 30 and have building family on our mind. We live together. We are very much in love and have discussed marriage and children. We communicate well, but when it comes to the subject of his ex-wife, it's obviously tricky. While he had some grief to deal with over his failed marriage, he is over the depression of picking the wrong person.
His background with her: They were together 8 years, married a little over a year. She was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder as a teen and has been hospitalized in the psychiatric ward for several suicide attempts as young girl. He claims she seemed to become completely stable when she met him. She ended all her treatment and stopped all meds.
But, in the end, she cheated on him multiple times, constantly belittled him, spent all of their wedding gift money and savings to go out partying, shopping, and probably on the men she was seeing. She also refused to have any sexual contact with him as the relationship went on. He says she was very good at pretending she was the perfect girl for him, and in the beginning, even when she acted out, he was always hopeful because she would have periods of acting sweet. It was a very emotionally abusive relationship, and anyone who has ever known someone with borderline personality disorder knows just how manipulative they can be if they never seek help.
The issue: We are waiting for the divorce to go through. It is uncontested, and thankfully they had no children. Something wasn't filed correctly initially(his fault for attempting to do this without a lawyer), so his paperwork got backed up in the courts. We hired a lawyer to fix the problem and the judgement should come through in the next few months.
He says he told her when they were breaking up that he wanted no contact from her ever again unless it has to deal with the divorce paperwork. Unfortunately, she has not listened.
Since we have been together, she has asked him to babysit their dogs-he explained to her that he has said his goodbyes to the dogs and she can have them. She contacted him to wish him a happy birthday, sent holiday cards to his family, sent sympathy cards to him and his family when his grandmother passed, invited him to come out to her birthday celebration, invited him to meet up with her and her sister when her sister was visiting town, texted to ask if his parents house on Long Island was affected by Hurricane Sandy, and just yesterday informed him via email that the dog they had together passed away. (Did I mention that even though she never legally changed her name to his, she uses an email address containing his last name against his wishes?)
All of these seem like harmless gestures, but when you've been traumatized by a person with borderline personality disorder in the midst of their sickness, it's not coming from a harmless thoughtful place. These constant reminders trigger unnecessary memories and it has become her way of staying connected to him and baiting him into conversation.
His way of dealing with this has been to ignore her and not respond because he feels if he engages her at all, that's giving her too much attention. Regardless of her motives, it's still frustrating to try and move forward in our life with her constantly popping up.
It's very sad that his dog passed, but is it wrong of me to feel like it wasn't necessary for her to tell him about it? He hasn't seen the dogs in 2 years, there's nothing he could do about it and it just made him feel terrible. I fear that with her selfish attitude, she will continue to update him on these matters for a very long time. Is he going to get an email about his other dog at some point? Will she let him know if something happens to a family member of hers or if something happens to her? I don't trust her not to.
I want this woman out of our lives so that he can leave his past where it belongs and not bring it into our budding future. I know he's fresh with grief over the dog, but how/when can I point out that this was just another inappropriate manipulation on her part. She felt terrible and needed him to feel terrible, too. It's enough.
I get that he needs to have some way of being able to contact her for emergency purposes related to legal matters, but I'm fed up. What do you suggest I do or say? Should I even do or say anything?