A. OK, there are a ton of red flags here. To begin, although intellectually, most understand the parameters of co-parenting, when it comes to their own new relationship, all reason goes right out the window and they revert to high school—“You can’t talk to her, she’s your ex.”
Granted, it was very bad ex-etiquette to keep the backpacking trip a secret—you should have been in on the planning, the more transparent, the better. (Ex-etiquette for Parents rule #8, “Be honest and straight forward.”) But it was obviously kept a secret because you’re openly having a problem with your husband continuing these relationships. If he’s lying to you it’s because he felt like he had to make a choice—ask him to choose and you will lose. Your husband has a child.In regards to feeling that you’re being compared to the ex and “I feel like the extended family wants a reconciliation…” Any time you start a sentence with “I feel like…” make sure it has something positive following those words. Otherwise, you’re reaffirming a negative expectation and undermining your own impact on this relationship. Dad married you for a reason. Reinforce that. Don’t get wound up in a battle for position. Work toward no preconceived notions—a clean slate for each meeting, holding no grudges, no spiteful behavior. (Ex-etiquette for parents rule #5, “Don’t be spiteful and #6, “Don’t hold grudges”), and giving that little boy the best life you can. That’s what, “Put the children first” means. (Ex-etiquette for parents rule #1) He didn’t ask for the divorce and since you joined the club, your responsibility is to help, not hinder. That’s good ex-etiquette.