How do I cope with my husband’s deep friendship with his ex-wife?

My Questions and Answers | | Expert Author
Updated On: July 27, 2020
A worried woman

Hi ma’am!

I am 42 years old. It has been 2 years since my second marriage and we have decided not to have any children because of our age.

Both me and my husband have been married twice. My first marriage ended 17 years ago and I have moved on with no regrets. My husband’s marriage ended 5 years back. He has 2 children from that marriage, who live with their mother. He is extremely attached to his boys, aged 13 and 9.

The problem that I am facing is that my husband is in constant contact with his ex-wife, for the sake of children, but it doesn’t end here. I have read their exchange of messages which clearly indicates that their conversation doesn’t stick to the welfare of the children but goes on to much personal remarks such as appearances/gifts, etc.

Also, my husband goes and stays at the woman’s house, ‘to please his children’ and all four of them go for outings, movies, food etc. a ‘big happy family’.

I have confronted my husband in this regard but he does not see anything wrong in it as he now considers his ex wife his best friend.
I have no say in this as everything is done ‘for the happiness of the children’. However, I feel extremely disturbed, anxious and insecure about this relationship.

Please advise on how to handle this situation, as they talk every single day and my husband goes and stays with them at least 2-3 times in an year.

Thanks in advance,

A stressed-out wife.

Related reading: 15 things divorced people should know when getting into new relationships

Prachi Vaish says:

Dear Stressed Out Wife,
Forming a new family, while the old one still hovers on the periphery, is indeed a tricky situation, especially when there are children involved. You know what happens – sometimes when partners get out of the marriage and all the pressure and commitment obligation is lifted, suddenly they find themselves enjoying each other’s company because now they don’t have to be someone else for the sake of their partner and they enjoy being themselves. I think this is what your husband is experiencing when he says his wife has become his “best friend”.

There is no denying the fact that he has chosen to make a life with you now and that he has a commitment towards you to make you feel welcome and a part of his life. At the same time, they have shared years together and have a common past with two children to continue to bind them. These are both facts that need to be balanced tactfully. Here’s what you can do:

Tips to improve your second marriage

1. Try and develop a friendship with his ex-wife and get closer to his children. This way you will stay clued into their plans and if you can actually strike a good friendship, she will herself start to set up boundaries with your husband because women respect the boundaries with their friend’s partners. Try and make this a genuine friendship and not a fake one.

2. Instead of trying to cut down on his time with them, try and make more opportunities for you and him to spend more time together. Try new activities, new trips, new hobbies. Remind him of how fun you are and why he married you in the first place. Create your new memories instead of trying to replace old ones.

3. See a marriage counsellor who has experience in “second chance marriages” and who can teach both of you skills to balance the new life and the old one.

All the very best!


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