Your Boyfriend’s Ex-Wife: 10 Tips To Getting Along With Her


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By Jackie Pilossoph, Divorced Girl Smiling Editor-in-Chief

I’ve written so many articles giving advice to women on how to deal with their ex’s new girlfriend. But I’ve never looked at the issue from the girlfriend’s point of view; in other words, what if you’re the girlfriend dealing with your boyfriend’s ex-wife? That’s a hard place to be in, too!


The idea for this article was sparked by this email I received:


I’m the new fiancé who is despised. I dated my fiancé in high school, and after ten years of not speaking to each other, his ex left, moved out, got a new boyfriend, and we started to hang out again. Again, this was AFTER she left. We hid our relationship from her for a few months before telling her, and she drilled my name out of the kids. Since that very day everything has gone south with the kids, her texts, hurling insults, telling my fiancé I need to die, she can’t accept me, she hopes the kids hate us both….

I’ve even introduced myself at a birthday party and said it was nice to meet her, after her calling me a whore, trash, ugly, bitch, desperate, saying she was going to drive out to his place and punch me in the teeth. That was over a year ago and it is still going on. I even wrote an email to her explaining my willingness to communicate for a mutually respectful relationship for the children’s sake. No reply.


Being an ex-wife whose ex-husband now has a wife, I feel like I can offer advice on what makes this relationship easier.


But first, let me begin by letting you inside the mind of ex-wives, and explain that even before she ever meets you (or sees you or hears about you), there are several reasons she already does not like you. Here are some possibilities:


  • He left her for you, or he left her for someone else (or for another reason) and now you have him.
  • She left him and isn’t happy with her own life.
  • She has these overwhelming feelings of resentment towards him and can’t believe you are with him. She thinks you are stupid for trusting him.
  • She has no feelings for him but annoyance, and you are now with him so you are annoying too.
  • She doesn’t feel like it’s the right thing to do to like you. In other words, she feels like she’s supposed to hate you, and liking you doesn’t even enter her mind.
  • She’s jealous and she seriously doesn’t even know why.
  • The man she thought she would grow old with is now in love with someone else. Sadness is hiding behind anger, annoyance, and bitterness.
  • She might be intimidated. Maybe she has gained weight or is older than you and is embarrassed about her physical appearance.


Whatever the reason might be that your boyfriend’s ex-wife treats you like garbage, here ere are 10 tips to getting along with her:


  • Keep your distance. Stay out of the spotlight for a bit. I know you are now the love of her ex-husband’s life, but stay back a little bit, especially when it comes to the kids. There might still be times when he is going to do things with the kids and his ex will be there (sporting events, birthday parties, etc.), they might even go out for lunch together with the kids if convenient. Don’t let that bother you. It is all being done for the kids.


  • It’s OK if you aren’t invited to something. Don’t get all bent out of shape if he doesn’t invite you to every single kid thing. Trust me, if you aren’t there, he will miss you and appreciate you more.


  • Don’t be a suck up to her. Be polite and kind, but let’s be honest, you and your boyfriend’s ex-wife are never going to be best buddies, so don’t be over-the-top, fake and all lovey dovey. It’s just cheesy.


  • Accept that you aren’t going to be the ex-wife’s favorite person on earth. Think about it. She’s supposed to despise you. That’s the norm. Sad, but reality. But even if she likes you, she probably won’t show it much and that’s OK. On the other hand, I once had an ex-wife of a boyfriend act like she really cared about me—poured it on thick, only to find out she was a backstabber, which is my next point.


  • Do not trust her. It is what it is. She will always be loyal to her kids and believe it or not, her ex-husband, if a situation arises. She does not have your best interest at heart. She does not have your back. And, she could have some manipulative moves that irritate and/or infuriate you. Try to ignore her and have as little contact as possible if that’s what you think is going on.


  • Always take the high road. It isn’t easy, but you can never lose by being the nice one and not reacting to anything negative she might say or do. Your boyfriend will see it, his kids will see it, and so will the ex. And it will annoy her more.


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  • Have the kids’ best interest at heart. If they are weird or cold or rude to you at times, it could be because they feel guilty for being nice to you because they feel sorry for their mother. Of, they are confused. Do not take it personally. Remember, they are dealing with A LOT. Just be a friend to them. Don’t try to hard and remember that whether you like her or not, his kids LOVE LOVE LOVE their mommy.


  • Don’t complain about her or badmouth her to your boyfriend. Doing so is a good way to turn him off. Everything you could say about her he already knows and feels. He doesn’t need you to tell him. He has a lot going on. Help him by being supportive and staying out of the drama.


  • Remember, she isn’t the enemy and she didn’t divorce YOU. Even if she hates you or is mean or rude to you, you don’t have to hate her. You aren’t the one going through the divorce. He is. Let him have his divorce. You are his happy place, his peacefulness, and let’s be honest, his future.


  • Remember that you haven’t heard her side of the story. Try to remember how his wife might feel, and that you have never heard her side. You will never truly know all the things he did to contribute to the demise of the marriage and if you think you do, you are crazy. I’m not saying he’s a bad guy, just saying that you shouldn’t judge her because you don’t know everything.



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Author: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling offers advice, inspiration and hugs. If you want a Cinderella story, be your own fairy godmother. You're the only one who can pick out that perfect glass slipper!

10 Responses to “Your Boyfriend’s Ex-Wife: 10 Tips To Getting Along With Her”

  1. Lisa

    Hi – thank you for the article. I was wondering if you could give some advice about how to deal with my boyfriend’s ex during Christmas. My boyfriend and his ex have been divorced for 6 years. It is their tradition to spend Christmas Day together with their two kids and my boyfriend’s parents and sister who travel from out of state. Last year I also spent the day with them at his ex’s house which was very uncomfortable. This year Christmas is at my boyfriend’s. please help with advice so there is no drama. My two teenage kids will also be with me.

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      Hmm, have to think about this one. Is there any way you can just get through it? It probably means a lot to your boyfriend. Maybe talk with him about it in a nice way? Are you feeling threatened by the ex-wife? That might be another issue. The best advice i can give is to spend Christmas w them for your boyfriend. But, don’t resent him for it. Talk to him. It might not be as big of a deal as you think.

  2. Stefany

    What if my boyfriends ex wife is still invited to the holidays with his family? I’m having a lot of anxiety and just dreading thanksgiving to tell you the truth. I’m not sure if she’s going to be there or not yet but I already told him I’m not going if she’s going to be there because I dont feel that she should be there. This should be a time that him and I can spend with his kids and family, not her.

  3. Sarah

    Hi Jackie,

    Thank you for looking at things from the girlfriend’s respect. I am the girlfriend and it is so much tougher than I could ever imagine, then something happens and it gets tougher!

    My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 12 months. He has been divorced for 3 years and his ex-wife and kids live a whole day’s travel (due to connecting flights) away.
    Ending the relationship was her decision (she was in love with someone else). He feels an immense amount of guilt that he can’t see the kids as frequently as he would like but skypes them every week and tries to visit them every second month. She does not allow the kids to come to him and if he pushes back on anything she won’t answer when he tries to call to speak with the kids.

    Recently he has started a new job and he has been away working for the last 5 weeks. He is about to get one week off where he must go and see the kids. I will get to see him one night in transit on the way there and one night on the way back to work. I am OK with that because I would never stand in the way of him seeing the kids and he will be back in a couple of weeks for the holidays. This evening I found out that her expectation of the month that he has off over the holidays is that he is living with her and the kids for the entirety.

    I am yet to meet the kids as when he first suggested it, I thought I was doing the right thing by asking him to make sure she was comfortable with it. 6 months later she still isn’t comfortable with it. She also seems to have some sort of memory loss and has suddenly forgotten my name preferring to call me “what’s her name.” The double standards are outrageous as in the 12 months I have been around, she is now onto boyfriend number 3… all of whom have spent time with the kids. Two of them were without my boyfriend even knowing these men were spending time with his kids.

    I am beginning to grow frustrated as I believe the longer her behaviour is condoned the harder it is to change. I am not a horrible person, I don’t want to taker her position, I just want to get to know these two little humans that mean the world to the man I love.

    My boyfriend knows exactly how I feel and has tried to address with her however she throws a tantrum and then he doesn’t get to speak to the kids until she has simmered down.

    Away from this, we have a wonderful relationship. It all happened very quick but there is something special that hopefully will overcome his ex. My fear is that if we don’t find a way forward with his ex, she will put him in a position where a choice will need to be made and well…they are his kids. It isn’t a choice.

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      First of all, congratulations on finding love! That is wonderful. But what I want to say is, everyone seems to be giving this ex-wife a ton of power. I mean, your boyfriend is the father. It appears to me like he is very afraid of her, and that could stem from years of being abused by her emotionally. Why is he so fearful of her? Why would he let her move the kids so far away in the first place? No court will allow that in ILlinois, at least. But I don’t want to judge him because I don’t know the whole story. You seem great. I think you made a mistake (with good intentions of course) when you left it up to the ex wife for you to meet the kids. She will never, ever be ready for that. I don’t know what it is about women who leave their husbands and then get really angry when the husband falls in love (which is so common!!) You are right. She is re-writing history. I’ve seen that with a lot of ex’s. So, my advice is, your boyfriend is his kids’ father and he has to start taking some initiative. He has every right to say, “Have the kids here at this time, I’m bringing So and So”-I don’t want to say your name for anonymity purposes. 🙂 Tough shit if she is upset. YOu sound like you would be a great addition in those kids’ lives. It is good for them to see their dad in a healthy relationship. I know it’s hard for you. You don’t want to push, but you want what’s best for the two of you. TEll your guy (in a nice way) to get some you know what and stand up for himself. Sorry to be so harsh, but it’s true. I wish you all the best!

      • Sarah

        Thank you Jackie!

        That was exactly what I thought I should do – I just needed someone to say it was OK and I wasn’t overstepping the mark.

        You are spot on about the power that is given to the ex and it being a result of how she treated him during their marriage – I mean he is no saint either, but for a confident guy he has some odd hang-ups that are all a result of her bullying.

        Legally their custody arrangement is relatively normal from what I have seen of others, however she just continually comes up with reasons to be involved and suggests weird things like the four of them going on holidays together. He is against it but I find I am continually asking “does she realise you are divorced?”

        Since reading your reply I have made my position clear and all I can do is support him and hope the conversations with her go well.

        Thank you again and for any ex’s reading this… cut the girlfriend a break occasionally – they aren’t all evil.

  4. MJ

    Hello. I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 2 years. He is the sweetest man Ive ever met. His ex wife walks all over him and he lets her. He’s got 3 kids. 10,12,14. He was married for 15 years. So was I. Between us we have 5 kids. I am a child of divorce as well. So I completely get what’s going on with her. He tells nothing to his kids or her about me so she’s always assuming he’s out catting the town and says I have low self esteem for staying with him. We’ve NEVER Met. She doesn’t know me at all. She tells her children lies about being him with tons of woman to her children. Is there anything I can do. Like I said. He doesn’t stand up to her. At all. He avoids drama like no ones business, clearly. I can’t tell him what to do. He’s a grown ass man. I’m just looking for advice. Thank you!

    • Jackie Pilossoph

      I don’t understand why these ex-wives care so much about their ex husbands being happy!!! It drives me crazy! I bet she was the one who wanted the divorce, right? If that is the case, then like all these other ex-wives I know, they are burning with anger that their ex found someone, and possibly deep down, regretting divorcing them. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do but support the way your bf chooses to handle these situations. You can give your input, but you can’t get upset with him for doing things on his terms or you risk losing him. REmember that he has his reasons for the way he treats her and the kids. You might do things differently, but this isn’t your situation to handle. It’s his. Give input, but then let him handle it the way he sees fit. I know…it’s frustrating!!


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