Funeral Protocol with Ex-spouses

I realize this is a completely different situation and I didn’t want to totally hijack the HarmoniousDiscordthread, but I’m interested in what others might think of these circumstances…

I anticipate a potential social trauma if my husband goes before I do. I’m Mr. K’s third wife. I am very close with his first wife, but #1 and I despise #2. There were no children from the union. Am I obligated to notify her if he passes before I do? I realize that that’s the purpose of newspaper ads, but I really don’t want her to show up at all. Is it OK to bar someone from a wake/funeral just because I don’t like the person?

I don’t think Mr. K has spoken to her in years, but he was married to her just the same. I’m reasonably sure there wouldn’t be a physical altercation (though there once was between us…I lost). But I simply don’t want to be around her (partly based on the fact that we had that incident years and years ago, and partly because she did the same thing to #1). What’s the protocol on something like this?

You might hate #2, but think about all the emotional and monetary investment she made in your husband. It’s not like they went out for coffee once and didn’t hit it off. They got married! They made the strongest legally-recognized commitment of all to each other, moved in together, consolidated their finances, got their families all excited, and made plans together and then went through the emotional trauma of divorce, immediately preceded by the agonizing and probably long-fraught decision to divorce…together.

If I were her and somebody who had been that important to me passed away and nobody told me, I’d be pissed. You think there’s tension between you and her now?

Okay…let me lay out the details. Mr. K and #1 were married for many years (though I think under 10). #1 left for reasons that are unimportant to this discussion. Mr. K immediately jumped into the #2 thing. She was MUCH younger than him. She told #1 (during one of many physical battles they had) that she was “like a kid in a candy shop” and didn’t want to leave the party.

They lived together for around 5 years, and she left him on their 1st wedding anniversary because he was too drunk to go out. (This whole drunk thing was a way of life at that time…no surprise there.)

She broke my thumb and tried to strangle me in my kitchen sink. I extricated myself from the situation by crawling out a window.

So…she had about 5 years of time invested, one year of marriage, and he paid her the money they agreed upon.

I haven’t seen her in many years, and she called once about 8 years ago and I gave her the cold shoulder.

What’s your opinion now?

It seems like it would be appropriate you make her aware of his passing, and anticipate her attendance at the funeral, but ask that she not attend the visitation. Then again, if she is really antagonistic, she may come simply because you asked her not to. Maybe your best hope is for #2’s passing before Mr. K.

Yes, you should notify her and allow her to come to the funerl. Even if you hate her with the red-hot heat of a thousand suns, surely you can be dignified and cordial for an hour or so? (You can always quietly ask the staff to remove her if she makes a scene.)

Part of adulthood is being able to put your emotions aside for social situations in which displaying them would be inappropriate. It’s much the same in the working world-- you may despise a co-worker, but you have to swallow it back in order to work together to get a project done. That’s what society is-- a job. We all have to work together in order to make things function smoothly.

As I said, if she starts making a scene, you could have her removed, but for God’s sake, don’t join in and turn the funeral into a Jerry Springer episode. That’s just tacky, and heated emotions don’t excuse tacky.

That it’d really piss me off if somebody I’d made such an important investment into passed away and I wasn’t even notified. And that I’d be pretty insulted that the next spouse after me decided for me that my marriage to my ex wasn’t good enough to warrant a funeral ticket, especially if I were “like a kid in a candy shop” during those 5-6 years and had to end the marriage because same ex–much older, and presumably not living in a dormitory, frat house, barracks or naval vessel at the time–put intoxication above our anniversary on his list of priorities. Whether or not she can attend the funeral is her decision. I’m not saying that Wife 2 isn’t an asshole, or that Husband is/was an asshole, what I’m saying is this:

If I were already on bad terms with someone and they pulled that shit on me, it would be on. At least in my own head.

I like you, I enjoy your posts a lot, and I usually agree with you. But I gotta tell ya, not telling someone about the funeral of a person they dedicated 6 years of their life to–during which time that person could’ve earned a new degree and changed careers, or naturalized into another country, or done any number of significant things instead–is probably on the first page of awful things to do to someone. I understand where you’re coming from, but you owe her the phone call. Take the high road.

If you invite her and she shows up and acts like an ass, then SHE is acting like an ass. If people find out you didn’t invite her, then YOU will look like an ass.

It’s your decision.

If it weren’t for the fact that she tried to kill me I might be thinking exactly like the rest of you. But I have to ask…if someone who was twice your size tried to kill you in your own home, would you be sending obituaries to them?

Me, I wouldn’t tell her until after the funeral if at all. She hasn’t had contact with you guys in years, the relationship was of very short duration, and there’s no reason to track her down to tell her.

I think some people are overestimating the value of the marital bond, when said marital bond was of a year’s duration about ten years ago (and likely to be much farther in the past when Mr. K passes) and was dissolved with no muss or fuss.

Only the one. :wink:

Oh hell no. Divorced, no kids, no reason or obligation to notify the woman. If she sees the obituary and decides to show up, just avoid her. You owe the woman nothing.

For what it’s worth, Mr. K and I have been a couple for almost 20 years, married for almost 10. We’ve known each other for over 30 (he used to be my brother-in-law, per se. #1 was my ex’s sister). #1 is my son’s aunt.

Noooo…I’d be explaining to the cops how I killed the pyscho in self defense, which would render your problem moot.

I know…good idea, but I don’t think I have it in me…aside from the fact that she really was 170+ lbs to my 90 bs.

This is why Karana created large caliber handguns, and hollow points.

Why is it your call, and not hers? Obviously she’s a fucked-up person, and probably a very bad person–I don’t know the details of her trying to kill you, but I believe you–but it’s still not your place to decide whether or not she gets to go.

When my father died, it never even *occurred * to me to notify ex-wives, other than my mother, of course. Ex-wife #4 did indeed come to the visitation and funeral, though. My mother, ex-wife #3, asked for and got a private visitation because she hates (yes, in the present tense) ex-wife #4 and did not want to risk seeing her. Truthfully, I wouldn’t know how to contact either ex-wife #1 or ex-wife #2 , and don’t actually know if either one is still alive.

A friend I’ll call David died a few years ago. He had had a brief, tempestuous marriage in his teens, followed by a bitter divorce, due mostly to her infidelity. His ex tried to contact him by phone some 25 years later, because she had heard he was dying. His second wife, with whom he had been very happy, was outraged and refused to give him the message. I always thought that was sad, as my assumption was that ex-wife # 1 might want to apologize and it might have done David some good to hear the apology and forgive her. I realize that is a big assumption to make, but I still think it was sad.

Kalhoun, I’m sure it will be a long, long, long time before you need to make this decision about Mr. K’s ex. Maybe she will have grown up, changed and be a better person by then, or maybe not. IMHO, you will be the bigger, more gracious person to at least notify her. After that, it’s up to her to show her ass or not.

Actually, as the survivng spouse, she has every right to decide who to notify/invite, and to chose not to invite a known troublemaker. Certainly, she has no obligation to notify the pyscho.

The details are drunk and sordid, but basically I came home, she was in my house, and grabbed me by the throat, backed over into my kitchen sink, and started squeezing. In my effort to get her off me, she broke my thumb. When I tried to escape, she blocked the door, forcing me to exit through a window.

She was with my husband, who was so drunk he doesn’t remember any of it, but that’s really beside the point. It was less than a year since their break-up (my son was in the hospital at the time…and she knew it). Just trying to lay out the details.

Why is it my call? Why wouldn’t it be? If she wants to think a good thought about him, she’s welcome to do that. But why does she have to be involved in the wake/funeral? Why wouldn’t it be my call, given the circumstances?

Incidently, I appreciate all the input here. I’ve wondered for a while (given our age difference) how to handle it. I welcome all points of view. Mr. K is in his early 60s. I just turned 50.

I’m with Oakminster, but never having been married, I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer the OP.

Have you asked Mr. K what HE thinks? Sure, he won’t be in the position to care much who does or doesn’t attend the funeral, but at least you know you would be going along with his wishes.