Now he is coming back wanting to get back together and it is something I really truly want, but there is a small twist. He is in a professional-level band with another woman who, throughout our relationship, caused a lot of problems – admitting at least two times to him and once to me that she had feelings for him, saying she didn’t want me around at certain times because it “ruined the band dynamic,” inviting him to things like weekend yoga retreats without me, and throwing ego fits if I was somehow involved in band business. At 34 she has never had a real relationship, and I felt a lot of times that she used him, emotionally at least, as her boyfriend. My ex had a really hard time putting up boundaries with her for fear it would ruin the creative spirit of the band, and he would make excuses for her behavior, saying things like “she does not really want to be with me, she is just confused,” and “I’m not attracted to her so it doesn’t matter how she feels.”
While we were together, I tried to be understanding of the situation since they worked together and it wasn’t going to end anytime soon. The problem was that they would do band things sometimes 40-60 hours a week, or go on week-long writing retreats together where he and I would barely talk, and then they would make sure to take time to have “friend time” to “find a connection outside the band” without me. I tried to find ways to bring harmony to the three of us, figuring out things we could all do together or sitting down to have hard conversations with her when her ego would be out of control, but I didn’t would more often find myself bending to what she wanted because she would use the fear of loss of band harmony to get him to do things her way. There was no relief from her, she was always there. When we broke up, knowing that she would no longer be a part of my life was like letting out breath that I didn’t even know I was holding.
The rest of our relationship unrelated to her was actually really wonderful, we were able to communicate on a level that I have never had with anyone, we managed to have fun no matter where we went, and our chemistry was out of this world. Aside from fights related to her, our only fights stemmed from the fact that he was afraid of commitment. Now that he wants to get back together, I find myself so torn between wanting to say yes and not wanting that tension back in my life. I know that taking him back means opening the door to her as well. He is still in the band with her, and although he and I have discussed my feelings several times since we ended things, he still has trouble understanding why I would be bothered by her. Is it fair for me to ask that he cut her out of his life? Or even just cut her out as a friend while still maintaining a professional relationship?— Missing the Music
He cannot cut his bandmate out of his life as a friend and not have it affect their professional relationship. You know that, surely you know that. And he does not understand why you are bothered by her, despite several recent conversations about it, so it’s safe to assume that nothing between them has changed as a result of his wanting to ease tensions for you, and it’s also safe to assume that, should he actually cut her out of his life completely — meaning, break up his band and what is, I gather, his main source of income, you will be the sole reason for that and the person he will blame when — not if — he feels regret about that decision.
I wish I had a different response for you, but I do not see this ending happily. The main source of the tension you felt while in the relationship with your ex is still present. Nothing has changed, she has not gone away, and asking her to go away will only ruin the otherwise happy dynamic you share with your ex because he will grow to resent you. I would express to him how happy you are that he feels ready for a relationship again, that you are flattered he wants to renew yours, that you still care for him and want him to be happy, but that you feel that what you need to be happy (his cutting his bandmate out of his life) is in direct conflict with what he needs to be happy (keeping his band together), and you can’t ask him to make a sacrifice like that for you, knowing how much that would affect so much of his life and livelihood. Tell him you wish him well and it breaks your heart to tell him no, but you know it’s the right decision for you both.
The question is: Should my husband and I attend the party since our daughter was not invited? I don’t want my son to think we are supporting this attitude. I realize the party is for our grandson, but I don’t think he really even wanted the party. He also knows what his mother is doing. — To Go or Not to Go
If you want to retain a relationship with your grandson and with your son, you better go to that party. Your skipping it will not only be a snub toward your DIL, it will also look as if you are indirectly taking sides in the family rift, and you better believe your DIL will frame it to her husband that you are choosing your daughter’s side over your son’s. So far, you have not been pulled directly into the in-fighting or asked to take sides, so don’t! Let your daughter, your son, and your DIL figure it out (or not) and you keep going to all the family events you are lucky enough to be included in.
I promise you, if you draw a line in the sand now and take a side, debating whether or not to attend a grandchild’s party will not be a problem you’ll contend with because you simply won’t be invited. And what would skipping the party prove anyway? You think your DIL is going to be all, “Oh, they obviously don’t support the way I’ve been treating their daughter. I totally understand and I will start acting nicer!” No way. If you skip this party to make a statement, your DIL is not going to change a damn thing except how she treats YOU. You think everyone is upset now? Just wait til you are alienated from your son and grandchild/ren. Actually, don’t wait! Just go to the party and try your best to give the appearance of being neutral in this sibling drama.