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! Just another complex divorce issue!
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. In other words, SHE was the one who wanted the divorce.” We hid our relationship from her for a few months before telling her, and she drilled my name out of the children. 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 your boyfriend’s ex-wife, and explain that even before she ever meets you (or sees you or hears about you), there are several reasons she already might 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 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. Your boyfriend’s ex-wife 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 badly, 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.
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 your boyfriend’s ex wife.
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.
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.
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.
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. Or, 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.