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:

 

1. He left her for you, or he left her for someone else (or for another reason) and now you have him.
2. She left him and isn’t happy with her own life.
3. 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.
4. She has no feelings for him but annoyance, and you are now with him so you are annoying too.
5. 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.
6. She’s jealous and she seriously doesn’t even know why.
7. The man she thought she would grow old with is now in love with someone else. Sadness is hiding behind anger, annoyance, and bitterness.
8. 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:

 

1. 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.

 

Worthy

 

2. 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.

 

3. 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.

 

Katz and Stefani Family Law Attorneys

 

4. 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.

 

5. 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.

 

6. 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.

 

Vestor

 

7. 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.

 

8. 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.

 

9. 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.

 

10. 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.

 

Like this post? Check out, “Why It’s So Infuriating When The Ex Gets A Girlfriend”

 

Divorced Girl Smiling, a novel by Jackie Pilossoph

 

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24 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
  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!

    Reply
    • 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!!

      Reply
  5. Marie C.

    Hi Jackie,

    Thank you so much for writing this. It is soooooo helpful. My boyfriend and I have been together six months, and we are living together. I knew him as a friend for five years, but even though I always had a crush on him, I respected his marriage and never told him so. After he divorced, he went out with a destructive woman for a while; but eventually he got out of that rebound nightmare, he and I got together, and we are in a very healthy relationship and super in love.

    My boyfriend’s daughter really likes me, and we get along well. She stays with us once or twice a week. I have never met the ex-wife, and my boyfriend doesn’t mention her too much anymore (he did at the beginning), but she had me blocked on social media for a very long time. Now it seems she’s unblocked me. I have no idea what she thinks of me, but I always been good with her kid, and lately I’ve been taking on more babysitting duties and such (my boyfriend works nights, so a lot of times when their daughter stays with us, she’s really staying with just me for several hours because he’s working), so maybe she’s warmed up to the idea of me now? Anyway, it is hard dating someone with an ex-spouse and a kid from that marriage. My hope is that she can at least feel comfortable enough one day to share her phone number with me – not so we can go on girl-dates together but that so that I can text her with pics or info re: her daughter when I’m babysitting her – but I don’t want to push it. My question is, should I just go with the flow forever? Or should I, at some point, consult my boyfriend to meet her? Right now, I feel weird, for example, when she comes to our house to pick up her daughter after a sleepover, and my boyfriend takes her out to the car while I stay in the house so that it’s not awkward. Is it just too soon for a cordial acquaintanceship?

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      Awww, you sound awesome and your relationship sounds really healthy. I say, you just keep being you. No need to meet the ex. Let her come to you. If she doesn’t, oh well! The two most important relationships for you are your boyfriend and his daughter. It sounds like she likes you, so you have no problems. There will come a time when you come face to face with the mom. maybe a birthday party or an emergency? Just be kind and polite and remember that you both love the daughter. Be classy and gracious and you can’t lose!

      Reply
  6. Arianna

    Great Article! 😱 I met my husband in junior high then I moved we didn’t know anything about each other for 20 years . He found me on Facebook, then we started talking we always liked each other. We talked about our marriages. We were going to through the same thing. Both spouses were abusive. In other words we connect. I moved back were we first met. We both got divorce and we are together now. Now the my husband is no longer with his ex she keeps being abusive to him. He gives her child support on time and when his 5 daughters need anything he is always there for them. One of the started coming to my house but all of the sudden she stopped coming. The ex always calls me a tells me bad stuff like you are so ugly, “ he hasn’t telling you that he slept with me several time ? “ my daughters hate you. I am going to look for you. Of course I never answer any of her messages. I just show them to him. I am sick and tired of her threats. He is being supported to them and I pursue him to keep doing so . I just don’t know how to deal with her anymore 😫 please help!!!

    Reply
  7. Holly

    I m in a situation with ex wife she does not bad mouth me she and kids live out of state I’m with my bf two years live with him for a year now and he always treated his ex wife one happy family kids were young when she wanted a divorce so now thirteen years later he says they are not best friends just friendly to her I’m going to go to the state where she is for his sons graduation and she is starting already she always text him with everything but the kids they are teens he tells me she has no one to vent too she has a bf I just think she will start something to piss me off why do divorce wives that cheated and wanted over really care that their ex found someone he has a heart of gold but I’m sure this will be my life now with her tell me does this ever stop consent contact I try to understand I guess she needs his attention or she afraid of losing her money train he gives her money all the time we. Dated in high school thirty five years later we are back

    Reply
  8. Cjay

    Advice needed please! I’ve been with my boyfriend for 18 months. We live together. A couple of months ago his daughter had a 21 birthday party which is ex said I wasn’t allowed to attend, him and his daughter accepted what the ex wanted and I didn’t go to the party. A couple of months ago his ex-wife threw their 21 year old daughter out due to not agreeing with a relationship their daughter was in. Their daughter came to live with us and has been with us for four months now. Their daughter is now about to graduate and the ex wife has said i’m not allowed to attend the ceremony (I had no involvement with them splitting up by the way and met him a year after they split up) Him and his daughter have again allowed her to make this decision and gone along with it. Me and him and talked and argued over this and in my eyes he’s just allowing his ex to behave badly and he’s never going to stand up to her. I don’t want our relationship to end but can’t live my life dictated by his ex….don’t know what to do 😭

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      I totally understand how you feel. It’s so frustrating and it’s hard to have respect for the boyfriend in this regard. Also, I’m really disappointed in the daughter! Maybe you could talk to her and tell her that you’d really like to come, what does she think? I mean, you did take her in to live with you when she fought with her mother!!! Ugh!! I don’t really know what advice to give you except that you have two choices: accept that the ex-wife is driving the car and that you are not invited to family events (which stinks.) or break up. But the thing is, if your relationship is solid, and this is the only problem, then I think it’s worth just accepting. I wish you all the best.

      Reply
  9. flavia saviato

    How can I say it to my boyfriend ex wife in the nice way that we are together now and please respect that?

    Reply
  10. Saoirse

    This is very helpful. But it makes one assumption that always seems to be made; that HE did something wrong. My boyfriend’s rx wife serially cheated on him, for years. Sat in therapy and pretended to work on the marriage, while still having an affair. And she acts like she hates me? I was years after (in spite of being the original HS girlfriend) we never even spike again until he was divorced. I have never done one single thing and she treats me like I broke up their marriage.

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      You have such a good point. I will have to go back and read the post. I also wrote a post about “why women get so infuriated when their ex gets a girlfriend,” and it’s all about that. –the woman cheated, left and then when her ex-husband gets a girlfriend, she goes crazy and rewrites history. I get it. Hang in there!!

      Reply
  11. Donnie

    Hey there, I know that this is an old article but i’m hoping that it’ll still get through to you.
    It is so tough reminding yourself that it’s all for the kids and that no matter what, you have to swallow your feelings and be there for the kids. My boyfriend is divorced with 2 girls who are 4 and 6. The relationship ended because she had an affair and told him that she had never loved him to begin with. Flash forward to today, he is a happy, bright, and confident man who i’m building this incredible relationship with. He always includes me and makes me feel so confident in his feelings for me and the strength of him and I. When it comes to our relationship, I have no complaints. It seems to feel though that there is no amount of confidence he can instill in me, i’m still defaulting on my own confidence when it comes to situations with his ex-wife. When he is telling me about something she did or said and I suggest an alternative reasoning behind it, he often says, “Trust me. I know her better than you do.” I believe this hurts me because it reminds me of the intimacy they have through knowing one another so well and in social situations for the kids, she often reminds me that they know one another so well. I’m not sure why this aspect bothers me so much but it just seems so intimate and when she does it, I feel that she is trying to hurt me. Another thing that shouldn’t bother me but does is seeing or hearing them laugh or talk together. I think my boyfriend is the most incredible man in the world and to me, who wouldn’t want him. She didn’t though.. but at some point she did marry him and with the way she acts now when were together, it makes me feel like she wants him again. She is unhappy with her life..and i’m afraid that she may be the type of person that will always be unhappy. I really don’t want her to be because I feel like that might take a toll on my feelings. When I see them laughing together it makes me feel like they’re connecting and that hurts. I don’t really know if I have a leg to stand on here because often times I feel like I don’t. There are two kids whose feelings are far more important than mine and I can’t figure out where I belong in this situation. They love me, he loves me, and i’m confident in our relationship but for some reason, with her I just can’t stop caring or overthinking things.

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      I have so much to say about this because I am the ex-wife! Listen to me, OK?? There is NOTHING between your bf and his ex. It sounds like he adores you and you have a great relationship! So, just be happy about that. He is not getting back with his ex wife. Trust me. If they laugh together or get along, it’s because there will always be feelings there. But, they aren’t feelings of “I made a mistake and I want you back.” I know this because I am in this situation. I really really like my ex husband. we coparent really well and still think he is hilarious. But neither one of us want to get back together. He is married and I am in a great relationship with the love of my life. But even beyond our children, I think there will always be a little bit of a connection, and that’s OK. No one is cheating or being deceitful. We got married because we liked each other and we still do. Please try to undestand that and don’t overthink it. I promise you, your bf loves you. You will be so much happier if you can stop caring that he has feelings (of platonic friendship only!!) for his ex. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  12. Worried

    Hi, my boyfriend and I have been together for a year he has been divorced for about 8 years now and has 4 kids with his ex. I have never been married nor do I have children. Our relationship has been really good we have spats but nothing that we can’t over and handle together. When we met and started dating he told me about his ex wife she was always mean to him and jealous of whoever he was with even though she remarried. She would keep his kids from him even though he pays child support. She never wanted to communicate with him or have anything to do with him until recently. He and I have been talking about marriage and we’re buying a house together and out of blue one day she contacted him to let him know she was divorcing her current husband and wants my boyfriend to let their 18 year old come live with us. I found it strange that she decided all of this around the time that he and I are getting serious. I’m worried that she’s going to try to get back together with him. He tells that he doesn’t want her anymore and I’m the one who makes him happy and I believe him but I’m not sure how to handle things if she does try. I can’t stop thinking about it. Please help

    Reply
    • Jackie Pilossoph

      So as an outsider, I have made this observation. Your boyfriend isn’t facing a “choice” here. It’s not “get back with her or get serious with you.” There is no choice. He will not get back with his ex. I would be shocked if that happened. Stop worrying and let your relationship play out. It souunds like he loves you and wants to be with you. The wife is most likely feeling insecure and might try to feel him out to see if he is interested, but trust me, he isn’t. He probably likes the reprieve of her being nice to him. That doesn’t mean he wants to get back together with her. Don’t make a big deal out of this. It’s not happeneing! Just enjoy him and keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll be fine!

      Reply
      • Worried

        Yea I think you’re right. I need to just enjoy him and what we have. I guess I overreacte sometimes. I let the “what ifs” take over in fear of losing him. I’m gonna relax and be there as much as I’m needed. Thank you for your advice. It’s eased my mind

        Reply

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