Are you married to a guy who was previously wed to someone else?
Does it often feel like he’s putting the needs of his ex-wife before yours?
Is this causing conflict in your relationship? Would you like to know how to fix the relationship?
The guide below should help you. It features 17 tips for actions to take to strengthen your relationship in this situation.
I really hope this list helps you turn things around...
Table of Contents
I know this is not what you want to hear at first, but the best way to address a challenge is by exploring all root causes. In many relationships where there’s the case of the ‘ex’, spouses find it hard to get over the fact that there was or is another person in the picture.
Jealousy is a totally normal feeling, however, it could become dangerous. That’s why it’s important to check any feelings of irrational jealousy first before talking to your husband about the situation.
Has this happened before? Has a man you were dating gone back to his ex after he vowed it was you he loved? Or maybe this has happened to other people, certainly, you would not want the same thing to happen to you. I know it’s hard to trust other people, but it’s important to ask yourself this important question; do you trust your spouse?
If you already share a kid or two with this man, do you trust that he is 100% committed to being not just an amazing husband but also a father? Before saying, ‘’My husband puts his ex-wife first,” ensure you honestly answer that question to cross out any trust issues you have.
Here’s the truth; your spouse married you, he made a commitment to protect, love, and cherish you. Has he given you any reason to doubt his loyalty apart from his responsibility as a father and ex-partner to this lady? If he’s still paying spousal benefits and is a co-parent to a son or daughter they have together, then this woman is part of both of your lives.
Think about it, how do you feel about your husband being a parent to someone else? Do you think he still overindulges his ex-wife and child/children from his former marriage? Or is he just fulfilling his responsibility as a dad? Be sure to think about everything rationally before concluding that he is putting this other woman’s needs above yours.
Okay, so sometimes, it may not be your husband who is making you feel that he puts his ex’s needs before yours, it’s the woman herself. She probably brags too much or tries to stir trouble where she shouldn’t. That’s typical of manipulative or bitter exes; they try their best to send an “I’m still here” message.
That’s why it’s important to figure out the things she does or says to trigger you and try to deal with them. Responding to her all the time may just be exactly what she wants, so don’t give her the pleasure of being hurt, angry or upset whenever she tries to pull one of her tricks.
If your spouse’s ex is truly the one causing the problem, then just as I mentioned above, it’s important to think about strategies to keep your emotions in check whenever she is around. If she and your husband are co-parents, then they have to think about the needs of their children together.
You all will have to behave like adults for the sake of the kids involved. So, that could mean exercising, meditating, thinking only happy thoughts, and taking out time to rest before she comes around. The less stressed and aggravated you are, the better.
Okay, so this lady may be your husband’s ex, and he may even speak negatively about her, but try not to join in. First off, talking about her won’t be good for your mental health, you need to look for ways to keep her off your mind and not vice versa. So avoid talking negatively about her, especially to your spouse or in front of the children.
Her dating life, habits, or random life choices shouldn’t be your business, and if anyone else is talking about her, do the mature thing and leave the scene, you don’t need that negative energy.
Many times, some men don’t know that they are tearing their family apart via their choices. So your husband may feel he’s just being fair or respectful when he is really just putting this other lady’s needs above yours.
Maybe the children he had with her go-to better schools, dress better, or live better than yours, and to him, he’s just being a good dad to the children he has from this previous relationship.
It’s up to you to make him understand how putting their needs before yours makes you feel. Ensure you're not accusatory and don’t go on the offensive. Remember, it's his responsibility as a dad to take care of his child/children from this previous relationship, but he needs to do so fairly.
So, think about a peaceful time to talk to him about it, keep a leveled tone and let him know that you don’t hate or despise the mother of his children, and you love that he takes responsibility for them, but you expect him to put you first at all times, and you never want to doubt his love for you.
Sometimes, it takes a little reverse psychology to get the message across, because as stated above, some guys don’t know the hurt they're causing until they go through the same thing, or see the effects first hand. So rather than nagging or constantly mentioning how unfair, unjust and unloving, he is acting, use this tactic.
If you also went through a divorce and have a child with an ex, ask your husband how he would feel if you prioritize your former partner over him. If that doesn’t sink, maybe it’s time you pretended to be more involved in your ex’s life.
You don’t have to reach out to the guy, just say things like “ I wonder how ‘Spencer’ is doing, I hope he finally got that promotion, he’s a really hard-working guy you know” making thoughtful statements like this could be the trigger that would convince your husband to be more cautious when dealing with the mother to his children.
“My husband puts his ex-wife first and I wish he could just sever the relationship he has with her!” Yup, trust me, I know the feeling. However, before you go all out trying to strain the relationship they have as co-parents, it’s best you accept the situation. If he has children with this woman, she may always be a part of your lives, especially while they are still young.
Come to terms with the reality of their relationship and try to make peace with it. You knew he went through a divorce when he was still your boyfriend, and to be honest, marrying a guy with a child or children from a previous marriage is never easy.
Once you have come to terms with the relationship your spouse has with his children and their mother, it’s time to look to the future. Do both of you have a child of your own? Maybe it’s time to start trying. Think about other projects and visions you can embark on together that will improve your bond and union as a whole.
No one holds the key to your happiness but you, so don’t let this prevalent situation be one of the reasons why you sink into depression. Look for other ways to distract yourself by hanging out with friends, doing what you love, traveling, or spending time with family.
It will help you be the bigger and better person when you have to attend a wedding, birthday party, or event where the ex-wife is present.
It’s important to have a good relationship with your spouse’s children, but you shouldn’t make it a competition between you and his ex. Just be as loving and natural as you can be, because if you cross the line and their mother feels uncomfortable, then that would be another bone of contention between the both of you.
This may sound almost impossible, but it really isn’t. It’s normal for ladies to think they have to draw enemy lines when it comes to their partner's exes, but if this woman is level-minded and kind, it’s better to be her friend or at least be cordial to each other than to get on her wrong side.
However, it should go both ways, if she is manipulative or trickish, abort the mission and just keep being you.
Envy and jealousy can soon turn to jealousy, and it is so important that you don’t compromise your relationship because of the situation. If taking care of his kids and other responsibilities is one of the reasons why you feel he prioritizes his ex, please try to understand that he is required, legally and morally to do so.
Rather than harboring bitter thoughts, be thankful you married a responsible man and look for other strategic ways to become his priority.
How often should she come to the house? What kind of communication should your husband have with her? Is he allowed to pick and drop off the kids when you’re not around? It’s time to make some ground rules. If you don’t set any rules, she may just do as she pleases. So, send a strong but empathetic message from the beginning about what is allowed and what is not.
It’s not easy to keep a cordial or united front on your own, and that’s where a family therapist comes in. invite a professional to the house who can mediate between all parties involved and generally help the family dynamics. That may help all of you to create healthy boundaries and live peaceably in the meantime.
You could decide to go together or to go alone, whichever way works best. If your spouse doesn’t want to come, wing it solo and get the help you need and deserve. It will help you destress and see things from a more positive point of view. Plus, it will help you handle the situation better, and come up with strategies that should work in the long run.
After the divorce, your husband may still have feelings of love, guilt, or even loyalty for some time. While he may always care about his ex-partner, that shouldn’t make him pine or obsess over her.
So, if he is constantly talking about her, or the new relationships she’s getting into, he may still be stuck on her. Plus, if he can’t say no to her and constantly puts his ex first, this could mean that he still has unresolved feelings for her.
When a man no longer loves a woman, he won’t have a problem showing it. He would treat her like any other lady in his life, respectfully and cordially. He would be happy for her when she moves on, gets a new boyfriend, or remarries. He will also ensure that he not only makes you his priority but shows it too through the type of decisions he makes.
It’s important to show this woman that she can’t boss you around as respectfully as possible. Try your best to choose your battles and ignore her when necessary. It’s also important to set.
If your partner is still bitter about his old marriage, that could be one of the reasons why he still talks about his ex-wife. He may also talk about her because she is still very much involved in your lives.
For example, if he is still paying child support and other spousal privileges, he would certainly still have things to say about her. However, some men are not over their ex-spouses, and even though they have severed ties, they still won’t be able to get over the relationship.
Love is a choice, not just an emotion, and at the end of the day, everyone has to make that important choice about who they truly love. However, there are some situations where people find themselves being in love with more than one woman, with a difficult choice of who to pick. The truth still stands that many guys know who they truly love or want more.
I hope this list was helpful. Remember, don’t go on the offensive when relating to your spouse or his ex, just follow the tips above, and take each day, one at a time. I would love to read your thoughts on this issue, feel free to leave any comments in the section below and share this article with others who need it.