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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Brief history: I have 2 terrific sons(18 , a sr in high school,

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Brief history: I have 2 terrific sons(18 , a sr in high school, and a 21 yr old who has high functioning Aspergers and goes to college in another state). My ex-husband and I have been on exceptional terms since our divorce in 1996. I have enjoyed a great remarriage since 2000 to my sons' stepfather. My husband and I have raised the boys. My ex is extremely wealthy and has focused on his professional life. He is on his 4th marriage.....which brings me to the problem.

Problem: We have all got along famously until my ex became involved w/ his now 4th wife, K, who often doesn't even greet us in public and has spread horrible rumors about me through our tightly knit community. I am a professional, educated woman who loves her family and is trying to navigate this situation. My ex only makes excuses and fears confronting her. Our sons respectfully XXXXX XXXXX concerns during the tumultuous dating relationship and up to the wedding.

My younger son has many upcoming events related to his senior year in high school. He is being interviewed by Ivy League schools and has worked hard. K continues to display her disdain for my son and makes backhanded comments about his 'ruling' their home; being raised with no discipline, etc. I am trying to be civilized but ready to tell her completely off and defend my sons since my ex will not.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your ex's wife could possibly be very jealous or she has a personality disorder. Most likely, it is jealousy. She may see your great relationship with her husband and feel very threatened. This makes her feel lower in rank than you so she tries what she can to undermine you and your family.

Since your husband is not willing to deal with his wife's inappropriate and hurtful behavior, that leaves it up to you and your sons to cope with how she is acting. It makes it difficult to cope with someone who feels she has free reign to express her negative feelings to you both privately and publically.

One of the best things you can do is something you have already done- ignore her. Though it is difficult to do, by ignoring her you take away the "power" she feels she has to upset you. The more you react, the more she gets something out of it. Pretending she is not there or just walking away doesn't allow her to get a reaction, which is probably what she is looking for in order to feel superior.

The second thing you can try is to react to her by saying "I'm sorry you feel that way". It is the best way to respond to someone that cannot control their own behavior because it puts their issues back on them and not on you.

Thirdly, to deal with the public comments, try enlisting your family and friends help. Talk to them about what she is doing and ask them to respond to anything they hear in public by letting others know that she is possibly jealous and what she says is not the truth. Do the same yourself if you are confronted with a rumor. If others can hear that she is just spreading lies and is jealous, then it takes a lot of importance out of what she is saying.

And consider getting counseling for you and your sons. It can help to have the support and it will help your sons express their feelings and to know how they feel as a result is very normal.

I hope this has helped you,
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
I hope this was helpful to you. If you have more questions, please let me know.


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