A woman had her kids' best interests in mind by maintaining civility with her ex-husband and his new wife.
However, her ex-husband snapped and said her friendliness was excessive.
He claimed it made the other new wife feel uncomfortable.
Redditor "MommyNeedsAdvice28" explained:
"I used to be married to Jake, and he cheated on me with Melissa. We divorced over it and now he and she are married."
"Jake and I have kids, a boy and a girl."
"At the holidays, we agreed to have a family Christmas with Jake's family. He wanted me there for the kids sake, and I agreed, it would probably be good to have some normalcy."
"Melissa would also be there, and I was determined to make stuff work out. I felt hurt by her, of course, but she's married to the father of my children, she is their stepmother, and civil co-parenting is what's best for the kids."
Even though the Original Poster (OP) was wronged, she made an effort to get acquainted with Melissa.
"So at the event, I sat next to her at dinner and tried to make conversation, about her job (we work in the same field) her hobbies and travel, the kids, etc. I treated her just like I'd treat family or a friend."
How Do You Do It Wow GIFGiphy
The OP noticed a peculiar reaction from Melissa when she interacted with them.
"Later when the kids were playing with her and Jake, I came by to join them for that. And it seemed like she was weirded out by something but I didn't know what was up, she's a kind of socially awkward person so I thought maybe she was just in a shy mood."
"A month later, it was our son's birthday and he wanted to go to the zoo, he wanted both mommy and daddy and his sister there together. So we went, and Jake also brought Melissa."
"I tried my best to be friendly again, asking her about her new job that I'd heard about from Jake, making small talk about the kids. I asked her for her number to be able to coordinate things involving the kids, sometimes she drops them off at mine rather than Jake."
After that, I sent her a couple messages, all about the kids. Asking things like 'Did (son) leave his gloves in your car?' Or 'I can't reach Jake, what time are y'all dropping off the kids at mine?'
"I also sent her one text about a big thing that was happening in our career field. More as a heads up, than expecting a conversation."
The OP soon discovered what was causing Melissa to be awkward around her.
"And after all this, I had no real sign anything was off... Till Jake blew up at me for being 'overbearing' with Melissa, trying to push a friendship when it apparently made her uncomfortable, 'hovering' over her whenever we were in the same place."
"He said that they wanted me to be civil but that it was 'creepy' for me to have 'made' Melissa give me her number, that I was hitting her up like we were friends, and that it was uncomfortable."
"I feel so taken aback, Melissa never said anything like that to me."
"I said that I'd like to talk to Melissa about this, and hear it from her."
"He said no, she was blocking me, and she wanted me to back off if we're ever in the same place."
"It seems crazy to me, I don't know how much of this is coming from him versus her. I feel like I was trying to make stuff chill for our kids sake but she is pushing me away."
"AITA (Am I the A**hole) for trying apparently too hard to be friendly with my kids stepmom? My ex husband cheated on me with her which makes everything so much more awkward."
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to weigh in by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
"NTA. I am guessing that in order to justify the affair to themselves, they had to mentally turn you into the villain."
"The fact that you are behaving nicely and maturely threatens that narrative (and forces them to consider that maybe they were the a**holes in that situation), so they're trying like hell to put you back in that box."
"Unfortunately you cannot reason people out of positions they did not reason themselves into, so even though they are being stupid, I would pull back on the friendliness and communicate about the kids only." – crockofpot
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"This is what I thought. That Melissa was awkward because OP wasn't fitting the evil ex image Jake had painted, and when she asked him about it he blew a gasket the way liars do when they are on the verge of getting caught." – IAMA_Shark__AMA
This Redditor, also divorced with kids, discovered her ex-husband had been manipulating his new wife.
"This exact thing happened when my son's dad got his girlfriend pregnant and married her, when my son was less than a year old."
"I had left him due to emotional abuse. But obviously we had to stay in contact because of my son. He made up so many lies about things his new wife said about me, or things I said about her."
"She divorced him over abuse, and we started talking seriously. He had worked so hard to keep us from being friendly!" – sometimesiamdead
This person totally related to being vilified by the "other woman."
"My first husband and I split up because he was banging my friend. They later married."
"When I say I tried to get along with her for my sons sake, I mean there was no slice of humble pie that I did not eat. There was no sh*t sandwich I didn't take a bite of, no pride I didn't swallow."
"I knocked myself out. Trying so hard to get along with her. She was not having it."
"For the life of me I could not understand why she was so ugly to me. So determined to keep the feud going no matter what kind of olive branch I extended."
"She snubbed me, insulted me, undermined me, lied to her husband about me. Anything to keep bad feelings at the fore."
"It was baffling to me at the time. I was the injured party. I was the innocent victim. If I'd been her, I'd be ashamed to show my face after what I'd done to my friend, and grateful that the person I'd hurt was kind to me. Nope. Wasn't happening."
"She stirred the pot at every chance, instigated drama where none needed to be, spread hate and discontent at every opportunity."
"Like you said—they needed me to be the monster. I had to be a bad guy, because if it turned out I was a really nice, reasonable person they had done this to, then what would that make them?" – speecyspicymeatball
"While I agree with him trying to portray OP as villain, I do believe the new wife is also in it."
"She's not socially awkward but just trying to avoid OP over either her own narcissistic nature that she got the man from OP or the guilt of being a homewrecker."
"I also believe that they both are doing to keep a face in front of the mutual friends who might be giving the ex and new wife cold vibes over the cheating and they needed new fodder to get them on their side."
"Rest, OP you are a good forgiving person and NTA." – AuroraBlue93
Hopefully, the OP can maintain the civil relationship she wanted for her kids.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*
The book Divorcing and Healing from a Narcissist: Emotional and Narcissistic Abuse Recovery~Co-parenting after an Emotionally Destructive Marriage and Splitting Up with a Toxic Ex is available here.