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Unusual and Sad Situation
Old 03-24-2019, 07:26 PM   #1
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Unusual and Sad Situation

My husbandís ex came over today to ask 2 favors. For background information I met my husband after he was divorced for a year with 2 boys ages 8&10. She made our lives a living hell dragging us to court repeatedly and lying to the kids. Fast forward 20 years and about 4 years ago started to be nice when we saw her. She has stage 4 cancer and has exhausted local options. She wants to go out of state to a special cancer center but they wonít see her without a companion. She has no one to go with her. One son self centered like her. The other would go but it would jeopardize the special military training he is undergoing so not telling him. So she asked my husband to go with her and me to care for 3 animals I am allergic to and canít be boarded. We said yes with no hesitation but after she left I have mixed feelings. I feel we should do it but sometimes really wonder seriously if my empathy gene is too big since I really feel for people in bad situations. Anyways it just brought up old resentments that I thought were forgotten.
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Old 03-24-2019, 07:41 PM   #2
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I can understand.... there is no doubt that you are being "put upon" more than you should given the history and the relationship... but OTOH, she is in a real bad spot and you are doing the right and generous thing by agreeing to help her.

Maybe you can think of it as really more stealthly helping the step-son that would break his special military training if she told him.

Can you care for the animals in her place?
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Old 03-24-2019, 07:41 PM   #3
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My So's ex made his life hell but in this situation I would offer to go . He would strangle her in the car .It is so sad that she has no one to ask . I know by your posts you are a good person so do it and thank God it is not your situation.
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Old 03-24-2019, 07:45 PM   #4
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Your big empathy gene is what makes you, you.

No way is this going to be easy. Of course you have mixed feelings. It is hard enough to take care of someone who has been good to you. This says more about the people you and your DH are, than about her.
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Old 03-24-2019, 07:46 PM   #5
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Gee. I wonder why she has no friends.
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Old 03-24-2019, 07:49 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone. Yes I am caring for the animals at her house. We have 3 Maltese one of the few breeds I am not allergic too. I do consider it a gift to my stepson that I love very much. We took him at age 13 because his older brother was beating him up.
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Old 03-24-2019, 08:41 PM   #7
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Gee. I wonder why she has no friends.

My thoughts exactly. The fact that after 20 years, she has to ask her ex to help says it all. I'd tread carefully in helping her as she may find ways to make the OP & her husband's life in hell again.
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Old 03-24-2019, 09:12 PM   #8
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Teacher Terry, your empathy gene is too big. And the animals would rank #2 on my list of what's wrong with what is taking place.

I am glad the world has people like you in it. I wish more people were.
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Old 03-24-2019, 09:15 PM   #9
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You did the right thing. Family is family extended though it may be. Of course you’re doing it for your husband and his sons along with just the fact that it’s a person in need. As a male, I don’t see how I could ever turn my back on the mother of my children. At the end of the day, he has to look at them and know he did the right thing. You’re a saint for helping him with this situation.
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Old 03-24-2019, 09:30 PM   #10
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This is probably the reason I only lasted 4 years as a social worker and then moved on to a different job in human services before teaching. I also have a huge heart for animals which I have had to put the brakes on and not take anymore dogs because we can’t afford it. Yes we are family no matter what and I try to put myself in her situation with no friends and dying. When I broke my wrist and my husband was gone even though my friends are younger and working someone came over every night to help me.
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:32 PM   #11
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You did the right thing. Family is family extended though it may be. Of course youíre doing it for your husband and his sons along with just the fact that itís a person in need. As a male, I donít see how I could ever turn my back on the mother of my children. At the end of the day, he has to look at them and know he did the right thing. Youíre a saint for helping him with this situation.
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Well you never met my ex. There is a reason some places have the death penalty.

If it was my ex, I would tell her to phone the cancer society and beg for a volunteer, and I'd only do that on a day I was being generous.

Otherwise I'd tell her it was God's punishment before she goes to H_LL.
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:52 PM   #12
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Wow sunset what could she have possibly done to warrant that reaction?
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Old 03-24-2019, 10:59 PM   #13
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My So's ex made his life hell but in this situation I would offer to go . He would strangle her in the car .
I like your solution, but for a different reason. TeacherTerry, could you go maybe instead of your DH? That way he could stay home and take care of those 3 animals you are allergic to. (I am assuming your DH is not allergic to them, so he could do that task with no problems).
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:09 PM   #14
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No I cannot handle her and this is his good deed for his son. I would go if it was my ex.
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:11 PM   #15
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I like your solution, but for a different reason. TeacherTerry, could you go maybe instead of your DH? That way he could stay home and take care of those 3 animals you are allergic to. (I am assuming your DH is not allergic to them, so he could do that task with no problems).

Speaking from my experience:


It is extremely difficult to take care of a dying cancer patient. Their personality often changes for worse, whole lot worse. The patient may make demands, make you feel guilty, etc.. So, I'd be really careful for the OP or her SO in helping his ex. Of course, being an ex means it'd be easier to drop the support if things get hairy. To Op - be careful. Try to protect yourself from getting over-stressed on the account of the ex. My 2 cents.
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:11 PM   #16
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Dear TT,
I sympathize. It took the Los Angeles DA to tell my ex AND her mother that if they continued harassment of me and my new wife they would end up in jail.
I asked DW, who is the most compassionate person I know,and she said that there was NO way I would do it.
I have not spoken to her in 22 years, and I cannot wait for her to die, so my sons can inherit the $2 million house she lives in that she got in the divorce.
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:42 PM   #17
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I think you two have no idea what you just volunteered for. The commitment in time alone could be a whole lot longer than you imagined it might be.

If it were me, I'd shame the hell out of that son who you describe as self centered as she is. I'd find his employer, spouse or SO, friends, social media, etc and let the whole world know what a shitheel of a son he his if he doesn't want to help take care of his own mother.

The one and only way I'd do it is if she signed over all the assets she would have given those sons in inheritance and she was worth a lot. Why should they inherit if it's you and your SO who's there for this?
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:44 PM   #18
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left I have mixed feelings. I feel we should do it but sometimes really wonder seriously if my empathy gene is too big since I really feel for people in bad situations.
Tough question... I think I can understand as my instinct, too, is to drop everything and help. When that happens, my jeanie sits down with me for counsel... and we look at the consequences of getting involved. We look at alternatives, like:

How long will it last?.. a week, a month, more?
How will it affect our life? the selfish part... can we handle it and stay balanced?
What would really happen if we weren't there?
Could the help end up extending beyond what it looks like today.
Settle on a long term plan by thinking through all of the "what if's"... with a clear unemotional look at how to extract from a no-win situation.

In my case... what began as short term help, turned into three months of working with an "alone in the world" widow and eventually getting involved in her money decisions as well as finding a path to the short future: settling debts, reorganizing her mixed up home, working with a lawyer...
In short... putting our own lives on hold to help her.

That was 15 years ago, but the lesson learned was compassion has to be balanced with reason. We are still a "go to couple" in our community, but are learning to balance compassion with reason... and to share the future outlook with the people we are there to help. It's not always easy.

I respect and admire the commitment you've made, but am not surprised, judging from your posts. Wish you the best in making good things happen.
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:51 PM   #19
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How long will it last?.. a week, a month, more?
How will it affect our life? the selfish part... can we handle it and stay balanced?
What would really happen if we weren't there?
Could the help end up extending beyond what it looks like today.
Settle on a long term plan by thinking through all of the "what if's"... with a clear unemotional look at how to extract from a no-win situation.

All good questions for a situation TT & her SO is in.
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Old 03-25-2019, 12:24 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
My husband’s ex came over today to ask 2 favors. For background information I met my husband after he was divorced for a year with 2 boys ages 8&10. She made our lives a living hell dragging us to court repeatedly and lying to the kids. Fast forward 20 years and about 4 years ago started to be nice when we saw her. She has stage 4 cancer and has exhausted local options. She wants to go out of state to a special cancer center but they won’t see her without a companion. She has no one to go with her. One son self centered like her. The other would go but it would jeopardize the special military training he is undergoing so not telling him. So she asked my husband to go with her and me to care for 3 animals I am allergic to and can’t be boarded. We said yes with no hesitation but after she left I have mixed feelings. I feel we should do it but sometimes really wonder seriously if my empathy gene is too big since I really feel for people in bad situations. Anyways it just brought up old resentments that I thought were forgotten.
Tell us more about the anticipated length of time your DH’s trip to the out of town cancer center with his ex will involve. Do you feel there is any implied obligation beyond this?

Try to encourage your DH to identify options and to keep those options open as his ex’s future reveals itself.
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