Would You Rather Be The Ex-Wife or The New Wife?

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

I ran into a woman the other day, who has been divorced for several years and has three young children. We asked each other the usual questions you ask when you haven’t seen someone in awhile: “How are things,” “How are the kids?” “How’s the job?” “How’s the love life?” and of course, “How are things with your ex?” Her answer to that question was shocking. She told me that her ex moved to another state, got married, had two children with his new wife, and has not spoken to or seen their children in a couple of years. He has also not paid any child support.


While my gut reaction was to feel very sad for the kids and the woman, something occurred to me: What is the new wife thinking? Here’s what I mean by that. Could you honestly love, marry and have children with a man who had no contact with his children from his previous marriage? I mean really. Doesn’t that say everything you need to know about the guy? What is lovable about a person who abandoned his children, both emotionally and financially? How could ANY man or woman leave their children? It’s baffling to me.


Now, please keep in mind that I realize I only heard the ex-wife’s side of the story, and that I know nothing else about nor have never met her ex-husband. I get it. That said, facts are facts. This man is GONE. Birthdays, holidays…he’s out. The kids never spend ANY time with him. They are growing up without one of the two most important people in a childhood. It is truly heartbreaking.


I bet if I asked the guy, “Why did you move out of state and leave your children hanging emotionally and financially?” he would answer, “My ex-wife made it impossible for me to stay. She has alienated our children from me.” He will play the victim and insist he was forced out. And, that might really be the case.I do believe in parental alienation syndrome, (it is a real thing where moms or dads try to turn the kids against the other parent. It’s really sick). What I have a hard time understanding is, why do these people give up?And, in this guy’s case, why would he move out of state? I guess it’s more convenient and easier to play the victim, take your ball and go home–like a child.



So, back to the new wife issue, I was thinking, if I were this woman (with the three kids) would I rather be me or the new wife? The answer hands down is the ex-wife. Think about it. The new wife has her cute little family right now, but in the back of her mind, she will always know she is married to a man who left his family and didn’t look back (both emotionally and financially). Try living with that. Isn’t the guy’s guilt going to eventually catch up with him? When he realizes that he loves his kids more than he hates his ex-wife, will he regret what he did?


This isn’t the only case where I feel like I would choose being the ex –wife versus the new wife. How about people who got divorced because of cheating? Or addiction issues? Don’t you think your ex is going to act the same way with his or her new spouse? Do you think he or she is going to be different? If he/she is a cheater, they are a cheater. If he/she is an addict, they are an addict. Period. The new wife (or husband) is getting the exact same thing as you had, sometimes worse.


It remains to be seen whether or not my friend’s ex’s new marriage and family will survive. Maybe, maybe not. All I know is that his abandonment of his children will always be staring them in the face, every minute of every day. They will never be able to ignore the truth. And that will cause issues eventually. So so very sad.


So, a great way to coping with divorce is to ask yourself, “Would I rather be the ex-wife or the new wife?” If you are really honest with yourself, you’ll pick you. Why? Because what you have in front of you is very different than what the new wife (husband) has. You know what SHE/HE has. You had it. It didn’t work. And now, you have the potential for something or someone amazing to happen to you that could work. And that person will not have left his ex-wife and three kids in another state. That’s a pretty easy choice, isn’t it?


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    Divorced Girl Smiling welcome video
    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at: DivorcedGirlSmiling.com

    2 Responses to “Would You Rather Be The Ex-Wife or The New Wife?”

    1. Diana Stewart

      I’ve never done this but I have a specific question I don’t want to ask anyone else because I don’t want anyone outside the family to know. Found first husband in bed with little sister. Our daughter was 3. Past all that and relationships mended. Wasn’t completely broken handed but it had only been 3 years with him. Met john as a nurse taking care of his best friends wife why’ll she was in labor. We dated a few months and got married. Was mistake looking back but i was raised to take my vows seriously plus i was raised a baptist. My life with john is a horrible hamster wheel as my daughter calls it after all the years living with john as well. I started out a good Christian wife but didn’t handle the first affair he had very well. There was a lot of anger I simply didn’t know what to do with. More affairs that he blamed on me. If i hadn’t been so psycho he woudln’t have cheated. My mind was a mess and i didn’t understand what was going on. I was losing my mind literally. We had to boys and when they became teenagers the weekend parties were always hosted at our house. Drugs, sex and alcohol. We fought constantly about it. I’m a nurse and didn’t want my nursing license to be put in jeopardy and i lost the battle anyway. All those boys and girls and John was everyone’s best friend. I started traveling as a nurse. Why didn’t i leave him. Fear of never getting to see the boys. They weren’t going to come hangout with their boring christian mom. But after affair number 5 and i had told him previously i was done with him and I couldn’t take anymore plus affair number one was my best friend and he made such promises to her and then turned his back on her to stay with me (things i found out later in life) that she finally drank herself to death. John did a 180 and started going to church and then our pastor called and said that john wanted to have some marital counseling and would i come to one session. I went but got there before him and told the pastor who had no clue what john was really like because he hid it well and i never bad mouthed him to people. This time was different. I had filed for divorce and i told him why. I had been a Christian my entire life and had gone to Bible College 2 years and in all that time i had never met or had an encounter with satan. That had changed. I had been living with satan for 24 years. I wasn’t the only one who described john like that. A fool i took him back but said one more woman and I’m gone for good. Well there was two more and the last two brought up in counseling he lied to our pastor about them as well. I got a text message from number 5 that he swore nothing went on. She told me he said she was his soul mate and that he was going to leave me and then the one after her he had to admit to because he got caught lying about both of them in counseling. Moving on i left January 2017. My daughter couldn’t be happier. My youngest son believes this is what’s for the best because he isn’t going to change and our oldest son rarely speaks to me because I’m the reason he can’t have a normal relationship with women. He says he grew up in a psycho’s house. In high school he slept with his little brother’s girlfriend. Of course i found that out much later in life. This son and his dad work part time in a family restaurant and in front of josh our son they were always joking which waitress was going to be mrs. starkey that night. While we were separated he started sleeping with a waitress who kept losing her job for stealing and coming in high or stoned. He was helping her thru her heroin addiction rehab. She lost her two kids because she drove them around while she was under the influence. He’s helping her to straighten out so that she can get her kids back. She got picked up for drinking and driving again a few weeks ago. Divorce should be final in two weeks. He refused to get a lawyer so I’m paying for all of it and i tried talking to my lawyer about him getting his own but it just wasn’t going to happen and i guess I’m tired of messing with him. Didn’t mean to ramble on but after reading almost everything i could on your webpage, i guess i chose you to ask because you’ve probably heard it all. The last few years after counseling i gave it everything to make it work. The reason I’m writing you is I’m still a psycho to my exhusband and my oldest son. I admit I yelled and cried a lot. Ive stood by john no matter what was going on in my life but he never returned the favor. I had a hysterectomy the week of the Indy 500 because his whole family comes out for the race and i had some complications and he promised he would at least stay the first night with me. After my surgery he took off and he never came back. Race week! It’s been stuff like that our whole marriage. I had other surgeries or procedures and just rarely there for me. I had to quit two jobs because my mind was a complete mess. I couldn’t keep my mind on my job and I’m a Labor and Delivery nurse. Our youngest son was molested on a camping trip by john’s best friends son. John never believed him and he thought it was all made up so he would quit hanging out with the drunk friends. His mother our entire marriage never bought me anything for Christmas. She did for my daughter so i kept my mouth shut. John was always showere with gifts each year until i made such a big deal they started giving us money as a couple. My kids were always wanting to know why i never got anything. That’s why i finally said something. Petty I’m sure you think and you’d probably be right. Ok the reason I’m writing you. I fell like a failure. I feel like i didn’t keep it together and be a good christian wife all 28 years. My daughter says i have got to find a way to deal with this. Ive been replaced by an addict who is the same age as our daughter and who is causing him problems I never would have never dreamed of causing him. She keeps losing her job. I worked hard and gave him most of my money when i got paid and now I’m paying for our divorce. I feel cheated about that too. I’m trying not to hate. I’m trying to find the bright spot. I know I’m better off and no i don’t want him back but he’s over there in our house or was ours and moved her in before i got my things out and she went through my stuff and our daughters. They are always doing things together. I failed at being married to him and he ain’t worth it but its me who feels like I failed and if i would forget our oldest son would remind me. Ill take anything you have to offer even if it’s harsh. Ive been typing so fast that there are a lot of mistakes and I’m aware of them. Sorry. Sincerely Diana

    2. TAS

      I just read your post and I wanted to comment. I am in the middle of a divorce myself. Our circumstances are different but the heartbreak of divorce is the same, especially with kids. First, it sounds like you have been acting in a codependent role with your ex. His behavior warrants major red flags and alarm to anyone who is not in the midst of a relationship with him(you). Anyone not married to him could easily and harshly judge the situation because our emotions are not tied up in it. He is a professional liar. He had you duped and maybe was even duping himself. You kept going back because you didn’t want to let go of the “dream” of having a successful and happy marriage. But I can say firsthand that it takes two (healthy) people to make a marriage work. You could have kept going back and he would never change. I know you feel like a failure but you have to remind yourself that you tried your best and put your sanity, let alone your heart and soul on the line for someone who continually trampled it into the ground. You are better off alone (for now at least). Love and prayers💚


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