Why Is This Woman’s Divorced Boyfriend Acting Like He’s Still Married?

acting like he's still married

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

There are multiple reasons people get divorced, and every divorce is unique. But almost always, when a couple splits up, among the reasons why is that the couple no longer has the desire to spend time together. Period. I mean, you get divorced because you want to be apart. But that’s not the case for a woman who wrote to me about her divorced boyfriend acting like he’s still married.


My boyfriend and I been together for two years. He was married for 16 years, divorced for 3. They have no kids. Repeat: they have NO KIDS. He initiated the divorce.

His family continues to invite his ex-wife to every family event, and she attends—even out of town events!

It feels like I am a side chick while they all get together and he “plays house” with his ex.

I keep getting excuses from him why she’s still hanging around like “this is my first divorce so I don’t know how it works” or “my family loves her” or “she’s been around for a long time”. He sees nothing wrong with the situation. He even gets invited to go on vacation with his ex wife and her family.

Is it me? Or is this weird?  Aren’t there supposed to be some boundaries?


A couple more things she explained: The ex-wife recently attended the boyfriend’s birthday party, there are family photos that include the ex-wife all over his parent’s house, and get this—the boyfriend, his mother and the ex-wife go holiday shopping together once a year, and the girlfriend is not invited.


Here are my thoughts. Rarely do I tell people if they should stay in a relationship or leave, but I have to say in this case, the answer is crystal clear. This relationship is toxic and very, very unhealthy for this woman’s self-esteem and happiness. I think she needs to break up.


Alyssa Dineen -
Online Dating Coach and Stylist


She is most likely feeling frustrated, resentful, angry, confused, and deeply hurt, by both him and his family, and it’s been this way for a long time with no indication that things are going to change.


Here’s the thing. When two people are in a relationship, if they want to both be happy, they need to prioritize each other. Well guess what? The boyfriend is completely prioritizing the ex-wife. Is he doing it on purpose? I don’t think so.


This guy is clearly not out of his marriage emotionally, and neither is his family. I’m not saying that when two people get divorced they should never speak again, or that the family should turn their back on the girl, but acting like she is still part of the family isn’t going to allow anyone to move on. I guess what I’m saying is, either you are divorced or you want to get back together. There is no in between. It sounds to me like the ex-wife would get back together in a second, but I’m speculating.


Carolyn Oyler - Northeast Florida luxury homes and real estate


Meanwhile, the girlfriend is really getting a bad deal, and I personally think she deserves better. Shame on the guy and shame on his family for making her feel like an outsider and rubbing the ex-wife in her face.


Sounds like the boyfriend could really use some therapy to figure out why he is still in this relationship, and what he wants moving forward. As for his family, I have no idea what is going on in their heads, but if they are like most people, they want their son to be happy. So, hopefully they will support whatever decisions he makes in the future.


My Intuitive Health - Heal your Mind, Body, and Soul, in the Kitchen


If the girlfriend does end the relationship, one of two things will happen: either her boyfriend will beg her to get back together and things will change, or he will let her go and continue to pretend he is still married to the ex-wife. Sadly, I think the latter is what would occur. But on a good note, that frees up the girlfriend to find love with someone who is completely committed to her, and who isn’t emotionally attached to an ex.


The bottom line is, when most people get divorced, they get divorced. And sadly, completely opposite of this guy, they can’t even be in the same room with an ex. That isn’t good either. But, I think over time, divorced couples can become friends, and they can even attend each other’s family functions on occasion. I think that’s nice, and I can understand the sentimentality and warmhearted feelings for an ex that might always be there. But that is very very different than what’s going on in this situation. These people have not let go. They are technically divorced, but emotionally still married.

Like this article? Check out, 4 Stories for Those Frustrated With Dating

Listen to the Divorced Girl Smiling podcast View the DGS trusted divorce professionals! Divorced Girl Smiling is now offering a private, no-cost, one-on-one phone consult

Sign up for the Divorced Girl Smiling newsletter to get articles on divorce and dating.

Sign up


    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 “Why Is This Woman’s Divorced Boyfriend Acting Like He’s Still Married?”

    1. Ellen Feldman

      Considering they have no children together, this is pretty strange. Clearly both the boyfriend and his ex want to be together all the time or they would tell their families to leave them alone. Your writer needs to break up and see what happens.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *