Marriage Problems > Relationship Advice > 6 Tips for Dealing With Your Husband’s Ex Wife

6 Tips for Dealing With Your Husband’s Ex Wife

When you marry a man who has an ex wife, you marry his entire family – and sometimes his ex wife brings problems that seem impossible to deal with. These six tips for dealing with your husband’s ex wife may not solve every problem you’re facing, but they might help you transition more smoothly into your new marriage.

Searching for help online is a good way to learn how to deal with your husband’s ex wife, but reading articles won’t solve all your problems. You may find it helpful to read through the readers’ comments below. You’ll see you’re not alone, and perhaps find good ideas for coping with ex-families. I also encourage wives to read, read, and read some more! Remarriage is complex and emotional – which is why I recommend books such as The Smart Stepfamily: Seven Steps to a Healthy Family.

One of the most important tips on how to deal with your husband’s ex wife is to accept the things you cannot change. When you’re married to a man who has a family from before, you have to remember that there are some things you’ll never change. It’ll only hurt you and your husband if you focus or fixate on those issues.

Here’s what one wife said on How to Tell Your Ex You’re Getting Married about her stepchildren and her husband’s ex wife: “During our weekend visits with his kids I tried to change things, such as poor eating habits. Big mistake. It wasn’t my job. The biological mom was fine with how they ate. It wasn’t a ‘hill to die on,’ and the battle only created stress.”

Part of loving your husband is learning what kind of relationship you’ll have with his ex wife. That’s what these tips are all about: finding healthy ways to cope with your husband’s ex so she doesn’t destroy your marriage. For instance, what do you think about having lunch with your husband’s ex wife? It may sound inconceivable or even crazy…but what do you have to lose?

6 Ways to Deal With Problems Caused by Your Husband’s Ex-Wife

These tips on how to deal with your husband’s ex wife are not meant to solve serious relationship problems or teach you how to cope with an angry, bitter, or depressed woman. It would take more than a single blog post to solve the problems caused by your husband’s first marriage! These tips will get you started, though. At the end of the post I share a few resources for remarriages and stepfamilies.

Remember that how you deal with your husband’s ex wife will affect your marriage. That’s why my first tip is to try to create a bond with her – even though this is the one tip that most readers do not like at all.

1. Invite your husband’s ex wife out for coffee

One of the best ways to build a healthy remarriage is to get your husband’s ex wife on your side. It may sound foolish or even stupid, but what if you called her and told her you really do want what’s best for her children? Ask if she’s willing to meet you for coffee hour or so.

how to deal with husband's ex wife
How to Deal With Your Husband’s Ex-Wife

Consider telling your husband’s ex that you love her kids and want to learn more about them. Notice the good parts of how she’s raising them – she must have done something right over the years.

This tip for talking to your husband’s ex wife isn’t about being sneaky or pretending to like her. It’s about genuinely trying to connect with her. If you reach out with sincerity and grace, she may respond in kind. And who knows…maybe your husband’s ex wife will surprise you with a kind response.

2. Let your husband’s ex wife get to know you

If your husband’s ex is angry and bitter, it might help if she got to know who you are as a person. She may be less likely to criticize and hate you if she knows you. It’s incredibly easy to criticize people we don’t know, people we’re perhaps jealous of (after all, you’re married to her ex husband and her kids probably like you!).

Let her be angry, upset, and even bitter. Of course she’s an angry – her ex husband is remarried, and she has to share her children with a woman she never chose and may not even approve of! Remember that it’s more difficult to criticize people we know and like…so maybe if your husband’s ex wife got to know you better, she might ease up a little. You might not be able to change your husband’s ex wife, but being nice to her might help you deal with problems.

“Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb,” says relationship expert and author Barbara De Angelis. “It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your husband every day.” Connecting with your husband’s ex wife may be a practical and valuable way to love your husband and his children.

3. Tell your husband’s ex wife what she did and does right

Is your husband’s ex a good mother? Does she have a super clean or well-decorated house? Focus on what she does well, and tell her how much you admire that trait. You’re not trying to shmooze her or lie to her; you’re focusing on her positive qualities. Noticing what your husband’s ex wife does right — and telling her what she does right — might soften her, make her less angry or negative. Maybe you need to take the first step towards peace and friendship.

The added benefit of telling your husband’s ex wife what she does right or well is your own attitude toward her. If you deliberately focus on her positive qualities, your own heart will soften. You’ll find it easier to deal with problems if you actually like some things about your husband’s ex wife. This is especially important if you’re living with a difficult husband who treats you badly…you may find a friend in his ex wife!

4. Learn as much as you can about how to deal with ex wives

How to Deal With Your Husband’s Toxic Ex-Wife
“How to Deal With Your Husband’s Toxic Ex-Wife” image by accasperberry via DeviantArt

The more you learn about coping with angry, unreasonable people – and setting your boundaries – the easier it’ll be to deal with your husband’s ex wife. If you’ve worked with people, you know how challenging it can be to deal with bad moods, unreasonable demands, even mean people. Your husband’s ex wife may be all of that and more…which means you need to learn how to deal with problems people cause. This is for your own emotional health and well-being — as well as for your husband’s sanity and your marriage!

Do whatever it takes to make your remarriage successful: attend marriage workshops, read relationship books with your husband, go to family counseling. Learn how to cope with your own anger and frustration, and how to make the most of your new marriage. It may be unfair. It may be difficult, frustrating, and even aggravating. But, you may have to do most of the work when you’re dealing with problems caused by your husband’s ex wife.

5. Leave your stepchildren out of your marriage problems

No matter how angry his ex-wife is, or how frustrated or hurt you are, don’t involve your husband’s kids in the problems. The kids are (probably) innocent bystanders – and you’d be better off focusing on connecting with your step children instead of involving them in adult marriage and remarriage problems.

If you’re struggling with feelings of insecurity and low self-worth, read When You Don’t Feel Good Enough for Your Husband.

6. Forgive your husband for his past marriage (and choice of ex wife!)

Sometimes new wives get angry at their husbands because of the problems the ex wife is causing in their new marriage. Sometimes anger is warranted; sometimes it’s not. If you think your husband made a bad marriage choice in the past, deal with your resentment without taking it out on him or your relationship. Your husband was a different person when he met and married his first wife. So was she. Like it or not, your husband fell in love with her and wanted to marry her. Now you’re dealing with problems caused by your husband’s ex wife…but he didn’t do any of this on purpose.

Don’t make your husband pay for a decision he made years ago. He may already feel bad enough about the problems his ex wife is causing. Instead, accept your husband for who he is right now – and that includes his first marriage and his angry ex wife.

Help for Dealing With Your Husband’s Ex Wife

How to Deal With Your Husband’s Toxic Ex-Wife

The Girl’s Guide to Marrying a Man, His Kids, and His Ex-Wife: Becoming A Stepmother With Humor And Grace by Sally Bjornsen will help you cope with your husband’s toxic ex-wife – and other toxic family relationships – by showing you how to survive the holidays, custody, finances, and other complications of marrying a man who was married before.

Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today’s Blended Family by Susan Wisdom and Jennifer Green will help you learn how to tailor your expectations of your husband and children. This book will help you remember that no family is perfect. You’ll learn how to set boundaries when you’re dealing with a hostile ex wife or a demanding stepchild, and realize why traits like flexibility, tolerance, forgiveness, and openness are especially essential in a stepfamily situation. This book will also give you practical tips for making “us” time for talking, problem-solving, weekends away, and enjoying your marriage to constantly renew and strengthen your bond as a couple.

Do you think your husband’s ex wife is absolutely impossible to deal with? Read the comments below – you’ll see you’re not alone. You’ll find inspiration and wisdom, issues and conundrums, and problems and solutions.

If you’re a Christian, take your problems to God. Jesus is the greatest healer and advocate; the Holy Spirit is a wise counselor and guide! Your heavenly Father is the source of all love, peace, healing, grace, joy and freedom…and He has answers to your “how do I deal with my husband’s ex wife?” questions. You might also consider talking to your pastor or a Christian counselor.

Are you getting marriage advice from your friends? Read 3 Signs of Godly Relationship Advice.

Your thoughts are welcome below! Feel free to share your story, or respond to other readers’ comments. Writing can bring clarity and insight, and help you untangle your thoughts and emotions.


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533 thoughts on “6 Tips for Dealing With Your Husband’s Ex Wife”

  1. To anonymous: You have whackadoodle going on only the new wife is the hot mess. You don’t know what he’s told her. I’m now divorced from the man whose ex wife intrusions led me to Google this site. He recently told his brother in law that he still loved his ex. So I’m done. She went off yesterday on a post I put on FB in 2013. She got told off by another person who had answered 6 years ago. Sorry you have crazy around your kids. When they get older they can refuse to see him. Why not see if the kids can stop based on he’s hurting her?

  2. Okay, I happened upon this site while trying to find information to assist my dilema with my ex. I read the 6 tips eagerly, because inspite of the fact that I am the ex, this may help me to understand and grasp issues in my situation. I feel so bad for some of these ladies, sincerely. I could not imagine what some of you go through. I can’t for the life of imagine anyone going through what I go through either, though. And just for a moment I want to share at least one ex wives side. Please use my information as you see fit. As I said I am the ex wife…the first wife. I left my ex quite a long time ago in the middle of the night with a baby, a toddler, and cuts, bruises, and a black eye. I had two bags, a car seat, and what little toys I could manage to grab quickly. That was almost 11 years ago. I barely survived my ex husband. Somehow he behaved enough to gain unsupervised visitations after 6 mos. of supervised ones. I was told he broke the cycle of violence and the court deemed him able to be unsupervised. During our divorce, my ex met his current wife. Usually this means that he is moving past a relationship. However, in this one he didn’t and won’t still to a point. He has sat outside my apartment, tried to break into my apartment, tried to harrass schools, chased me around my yard while my babysitter wrangled my kids to safety, and so much more. After 11 years you would think he would grow tired. Yes, he has changed…some. He is no longer chasing me around the yard, but, he still is consistently trying something. He wanted to get our children cell phones then bragged to them that he was putting tracking devices into them so he always knew where we are at. The kids refused them. He told me he will always love me(which I told him would never happen ever) I have short conversations with him only and only about the kids. I meet him in a public place for pick ups and drop offs, and I was the biggest cheer leader for the marriage to the second wife. Let me be honest, I felt if she was in the picture than it would make him spend less time fixated on me. Obviously, I don’t want him. I have gone out of my way to be nice to the new wife in hopes that she will love and protect my children like they were her own while they are with them. Instead, my children and I are met with animosity and open hostility from her. No this would not normally bother me if it was only focused on me. I have learned to be tough after all these years. I could not care less what she thinks or feels and I know her real issue isn’t my fault it’s her husbands. But, the kids are involved and they were hurt, then resentful, now they just hate both of them. And I am so exhausted from the years of craziness. He hasn’t changed who he is the kids came home after visitation and told me how worried they were about her because “dad hurt her.” and inspite of how much of a lunatic she has been I feel bad for her. She hasn’t left him and apparently has no intention to do so. She loves him….This is not my problem once again except my kids are involved. I can’t protect them from what happens in an environment that is choatic like this. I can’t even answer their questions. I can’t be involved at all because of who he is and let me be honest it is not my place. I am the ex.
    Not all ex wives are horrible. Some of us wish we could have a productive relationship with the step parent. Not all of us are trying to hurt the new relationship…I just want my kids safe. I am exhausted from the continual onslaught of manipulation, hostility, and just pure craziness coming from their direction. Some of us just want peace. The 6 steps to dealing with the ex sounds wonderful, unfortunately, there are some that are just too immature or screwed up.

  3. I have been with my husband for almost 9 years. I have a son from my first marriage and he has a daughter from his first marriage. The kids are both teenagers now. My son’s father pretty much disappeared when my husband and I moved in together, not seeing my son at all anymore. So, we have had my son 100% of the time while his daughter goes back and forth between her mom’s house and ours. She has always shown a ton of jealousy because my son and I live with her dad and she doesn’t. My husband has always told me that she has an “Electra complex”. Which I guess means that she is actually in love with him (weird!) and she has been like that since way before my son and I were around. The ex-wife feeds this by telling my step-daughter that when she is at our house, her dad should only be spending time with her. The ex-wife still sends my husband texts about memories of times that they spent together and how she still loves him. She contacts him for some reason or another pretty much everyday. She tells me that it is all my fault that her daughter and my husband are not as close as they were, even though she ruined their marriage by cheating on him. She tells me that her daughter hates me and my son. I have tried for years to make peace with both the ex-wife and my step-daughter. I always try to make sure my step-daughter feels like she is part of the family. I take her shopping for new school clothes, formal dresses, out to lunch, let her borrow my clothes… I try, but every time I turn around her and her mom are saying mean things and doing things to hurt me. I have built an emotional wall against them and I feel myself resenting my husband because I never had to deal with problems like this before I met him. I just wonder if I am going to feel like this forever… god, I hope not!

    1. Have you asked your husband to have a chat with his daughter about her mom, you and your son? And their relationship? Maybe she needs a Daddy-Daughter day and some things can get discussed. You’re a good person, I’m sure your husband could help. Your son was abandoned by his dad but your husband has filled the void. So maybe his daughter needs to know it isn’t about her… It’s about your husband being a good guy. Also… I’m sorry his ex is awful. But he needs to explain, you’re not the reason for their not being a family, the reason for the breakup was her cheating. He divorced the mom, not the daughter but she needs to know Baby Mama Drama ended it not Dad. Also the “I still love you” crap from BMD, well, I recommend you ask Hubby to remind BMD that doesn’t matter now, he’s with you and also cheaters don’t really love the one they are cheating on.

    2. Your comment really resonated with me. I found myself nodding my head over and over. My husband and I have been together for 5 years. Our family is a his 2, her 2, and our 2. We have 6 total kids and the 4 older ones all come and go. My ex and I, along with his wife and my husband all have a wonderful friendly, respectful, supportive relationship. I always tell people we are “one big happy family”. But his ex? Holy bananas…just like you said – telling their kids things about me and my children, literally calling my older kids names, sending my husband gifts, pictures, memories of times when they were together…it’s literally crazy to me. I try to let it all go and not pay much attention but JUST like you said I resent my husband at times for bringing all this stress into my life. It’s difficult to think of it that way and to feel that way about your husband. His ex is even remarried and they have a child together – you would think she would just want to live her own life and stop focusing so much time on ours…it’s exhausting. Hang in there – at least I feel like I’m not so alone.