• My ex was diagnosed with Stage IV Squamous cell carcinoma & we have 2 children together, but his current wife hates him ever talking to me.

    Asked by Wanda on Thursday, January 24, 2013

    My ex was diagnosed with Stage IV Squamous cell carcinoma & we have 2 children together, but his current wife hates him ever talking to me.

    He has to have surgery to remove tonsils and then will do intensive chemo is all I've been told so far. Our two children (16 & 12 yrs old) from our past marriage live w/ me & have visitation time w/ him every other weekend. Issue is his current wife fights w/ him whenever he talks to me & he wants me to be involved in how he's doing w/ his treatment so when I have our kids I am able to update them on his condition. I know that 1/2 the battle of beating cancer is mental & I'm doing my best to stay out of the way to keep her off his back.Does anyone have any advice of how I can make this easiest on my ex? When he can talk or text me, then he will let me know the latest, but I don't know what happens when he can't communicate with me. I'm unsure of my role in all of this since we are both remarried & my husband is respectful of the situation and his wife is not. Our kids know he has cancer but what happens when his treatment starts?

    14 Answers from the Community

    14 answers
    • SMT4's Avatar
      SMT4

      I hear its really difficult for you and health conditions always raise the stakes of stress. Maybe you can meet with the lady over coffee or lunch in a common place and present to her how you see the situation and how it involves you. Sometimes our personal fears and emotions block the true situation. By discussing with her you intentions and purpose may alleviate her anxieties, and let her know your role is not to be his wife again but to be a support to your children during this time of their fathers treatment and keep them informed, to lessen their anxiety.

      over 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar
      gwendolyn

      Good for you for recognizing your ex's cancer will have a huge impact on your kids. The kids will need your emotional support, no doubt. You suggest that your husband is only able to communicate with you behind his wife's back. This is a very dysfunctional situation and I'm not sure you'll be able to change this. You can still be supportive of the kids without knowing all the day-to-day details. Encourage the kids to talk to you and share their concerns and questions. You can refer them back to their father if there are questions you can't answer.

      over 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar
      Clyde

      Its hard to comment without knowing both sides fully, but I agree with SMT4 about reaching out to the new wife. If nothing else, you will have tried and this looks like the least confrontational start. If worse comes to worse, your ex could slip notes to you through the children. Whatever you work out, he needs to sort out his home situation. On the surface, it sounds like he enjoys the drama of the situation which is not healthy on so many levels.,

      over 4 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar
      Grandy

      I understand her being jealous. But I have two close situations where the ex was very involved with their ex's cancer... Though in those situations neither had remarried. Your ex being involved could be threatening to the new spouse. Men enjoy being the hero. She doesn't wish him to be your hero while you seem vulnerable. Tough stuff!! After all, you ARE the mother of his kids! Everyones's feelings here make sense to me. Sorry there is conflict which you most likely do NOT need at ALLLLLLL!!!

      over 4 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar
      Grandy

      Ooops, HE is the ill one, but my answer still makes sense to me.

      over 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar
      karen1956

      What type of relationship do your children have with their step-mother? Is she willing to communicate with the kids when they are with you? Would she be willing to send emails? Can your ex bring the kids to an oncology appt and meet the oncologist? Maybe the SW at the cancer clinic can help?

      over 4 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar
      Harry

      This is a difficult situation. You could try the idea of talking directly with the second wife, but if she does not want to be reasonable then that won't work. I don't think it's a good idea to set up back channels with your ex because that will just increase the hostility when it comes out (which it will).

      So, what do you tell the children? The 16 year old in particular can probably figure things out on his/her own. I would tell them what you know, including the fact that you don't know a lot. Tell the kids that cancer is often curable or treatable but that the treatments can often make someone appear to be sick. They'll be seeing him fairly frequently and they can ask him for more details. As long as he isn't talking directly to you it probably won't cause trouble with his current wife.

      I know this isn't ideal or the way you would arrange things. But, given the attitude of his current wife, you probably can't do a lot better.

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      I think it boils down to your ex deciding if he would rather deal with his wife's issues or his kids potential issues. If he is more afraid of his wife than of talking to his children about his cancer, then he will need to assume responsibility of keeping the kids updated on his condition. If he wants you to assume that responsibility, then he needs to tell his wife that that's the way it's gonna be.

      over 4 years ago
    • derbygirl's Avatar
      derbygirl

      I think it's wonderful that your ex respects you as the mother of his children to want you as a part of his journey. Try talking to her or sit down and do the old fashioned hand written letter explaining why it's important for you to know what is going on with his care and treatment because of the children. Maybe your new husband could even meet and talk to her and tell her why he accepts you being a part of your ex's life at this time. Remember that ultimately it is your ex-husbands decision because he obviously wants what is best for his children. Sometimes adults have to put the pettiness aside and be there to offer support to someone going through the toughest fight of their life. I hope all works out for you. Take care.

      over 4 years ago
    • TinaJacques' Avatar
      TinaJacques

      Is there any chance that the three of you could meet with a mediator like a councilor? Maybe you can all come to an agreement that you are all happy with. I think it's time for her to grow up and put her husband's health first. You two have kids together so you obviously can't just leave the picture. It's time for her to put on her big girl panties and allow you and your ex to have a working relationship that is beneficial for the kids and relieves the stress from him so he can focus on healin.

      over 4 years ago
    • alivenwell's Avatar
      alivenwell

      This is a hard situation. Can he provide permission for you to hear his privacy information from the oncologist so that you have a good idea how to tell the kids? That takes his wife out of the picture even if she has permission to know the same information.

      over 4 years ago
    • Wanda's Avatar
      Wanda

      Thank you everyone for your advice so far. I agree with what you all have said. My ex's current wife knows that he has been talking to me about his condition and he has told her that we are adults and that she needs to act like one and not give him any grief about it. There is history between the 3 of us because she used to be a friend of ours back when we first met. We were married for nearly 12 yrs and when we parted ways it was my choice. She married him right after I divorced him and hates the fact that he still has me in his life. He tells me his marriage is miserable and she is convinced he's still in love with me. He and I both usually just avoid each other because it's easier for him in every way and I am ok with that until now. We have tried the counseling situation with our whole families even, since there are children involved and my husband and I don't want to deal with any negative conflict with my ex and his wife. I am happily remarried and my husband knows that this is about our kids and nothing more. She won't give me any information about his health and I am extremely worried about his mental health during this battle he is facing so we agreed that we would discuss and I guess I will just take it a day at a time. The part that makes this whole situation worse is that his mother (our kids grandmother) just passed away in November, so the kids have already lost a close relative and now for there to even be a possibility that their Dad could die too has put them over the edge. I will let my 16 yr old do most of the communicating with his Dad since they play online games together a lot. The times that will be hardest will be when he isn't able to communicate on his own. I am telling our kids to ask their Dad all the questions they have and to not be shy or afraid to ask. Sorry for the long reply...I just felt I had to give a little more back story to help give a better picture of what I'm facing. I PRAY for our children's sake that my ex has the will to beat this cancer if not for himself, then for his kids who need him. He has 4 children total (2 from his 1st marriage and then our 2 from his 2nd marriage) that they range from 18-12 yrs old and they NEED him. This is all so overwhelming for me...I can't even imagine what my ex is feeling right now. All we can do is pray that everything will work out for him. Thank you again for everyone's advice. I don't know how to handle all of this and needed advice from unbiased people, and I really appreciate your time and support.

      over 4 years ago
    • Wanda's Avatar
      Wanda

      Also my kids don't have a good relationship with their step mom. She isn't exactly a "warm" person and has caused a lot of drama for everyone in our family from her insecurity, so it makes it that much harder.

      over 4 years ago
    • BLBragg's Avatar
      BLBragg

      Hi Wanda. You are correct in feeling that a cancer patient needs emotional as well as physical support while facing treatment. Everyone here has basically the same advice for you and that is to in some way communicate the importance of your children's well being to their step mother although it "seems" she may be less interested in that. Stay with it, and don't stop providing the support to your husband, even if it has to be in the "background' for now. He will need the help and your children will realize how supportive you are giving them the confidence that their dad is being helped. Good luck to all of you.

      over 4 years ago

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