In the early days of my relationship with my (now) husband, I was eager to get to know his former wife. After all, she couldn't be too bad of a person if he'd loved her and remained with her for nearly fifteen years, right? So, I dove in. Whenever I would see her, I would attempt to engage her in conversation. I love people; it doesn't matter who it is, most everyone has an interesting life story and I love to hear 'em all. So I tried to get to know her better at every opportunity.
It became increasingly obvious that she really wasn't interested in getting to know me. I didn't take it personally, but I was a bit saddened for her children that she didn't seem to care who I was or what I was about. I was spending so much time with her kids and she didn't seem concerned about who I was or what kind of influence I was on them.
Over the course of my relationship with my husband and his kids, I've had my fair share of trials and head-scratchers where the bio-mom/ex-wife was concerned. She's certainly a unique person and is as unpredictable as the weather. Regardless, it's really not my place to judge her or - at this point - regard her as anything more than my step-kids mom. She's just not my kind of people, if you know what I mean. Even if we didn't have all this "stuff" between us, I doubt very much we'd be friends who'd chat on the phone or go out for coffee.
There are times when mutual acquaintances (usually other parents) approach me and tell me how "weird" or "mean" or "odd" my step-kids biological mom is. No matter who it is approaching me, it always makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. I know she's "weird". I know she's "mean". I'm painfully aware how "odd" she is. But it doesn't make me feel good to talk bad about her with other people. It certainly doesn't help anything, and I'm sure it only makes me seem catty and a bit "weird", "mean", and/or "odd" myself. There's just no winning in this situation; either I defend her or I agree with the statements made by others.
On the flip-side, there are some days when the bio-mom has done something so irrational or selfish or mean that I'm practically begging for someone to walk up to me and start a conversation that revolves entirely around how much she sucks. It never happens when I want it to.
For those of you in my position (or even those of you in the bio-mom position), has anyone found a way to combat this awkwardness? Short of moving out of our small-ish city, I'm out of ideas. Is there a tactful response I can use in these situations?