Q: Hey Meredith and Love Letters readers,
I've been dating this guy, "Steven," for almost a year and a half. Prior to meeting me, he had a child, "Adam," with his ex-girlfriend. She ended up cheating on him and they broke up shortly after Adam turned 1, and he's 5 now. Adam is shared between both of their houses -- more with her than him -- but whenever she drops him off at Steven's place and I'm there, she gives me really mean glances and won't even speak to me.
At first I thought, "Alright, I'm the new woman in Steven's life. She has a reason to be upset if she still has feelings for him." But as time went on, she wouldn't even ease up just even a tiny bit. Things actually got worse with her texting Steven to see if I was there before dropping Adam off.
Steven recommended requesting her as a friend on Facebook just so I can break the ice and try to be on better terms with his son's mother. When I did so, I sent along a message stating: "I know we haven't really got along but I'd really like to be friends with you, just for the sake of Adam and Steven." She accepted my request but when I went onto her timeline, it was just full of really hateful things directed at me (Not being paranoid, she mentioned my name...a lot). Steven doesn't have Facebook so he wasn't aware of her mean spirited comments.
I don't know what to do, I need to be nice for the sake of Adam and Steven, but she is driving me batty with how mean she's being. I get that I'm the girlfriend and I might be stepping on her toes a bit, but I love both Steven and Adam very much and have no plans of leaving. However, her bad attitude is shaking my confidence. What can I do so that she'll maybe even warm up to me a little?
– Playing Nice, Mass.
A: Don't look at her Facebook page, smile when you see her, and let Steven be the communicator. There's no reason for you to have to reach out to this woman right now. It's Steven's job to be the go-between, and you can't break any more ice.
Instead of brainstorming ways to warm her up, talk to Steven about how this will work if she continues to freeze you out. Will this affect your ability to get close as a couple? What will happen if you decide to move in together? And -- are you missing something here? Is there a reason she's so hostile toward you even though they broke up years ago? Find out whether Steven has a plan for keeping the peace as this relationship moves forward.
I hate to say it, but sometimes ex relationships are just like this -- in perpetuity. Sometimes they don't get better, and people just learn to work around one another, occasionally scowling and eye-rolling and playing nice for the kids. As you talk to Steven about managing this discomfort, ask yourself whether you can be happy in the relationship, even if it means a lifetime of occasional dirty looks and stepping on toes.
Readers? Should she be worried about making this woman like her? What's Steven's role here? How can they move forward? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.