My Husband Puts His Ex-Wife First (10 Reasons Why He Does This)

by April Maccario

Getting married to someone who was married before is a big responsibility, there is a lot you have to consider. Sure, they bring tons of experience and wisdom to the table, but there’s a lot of baggage too. The main source of baggage in most cases is his former spouse, after all, they did build a whole life together. It even becomes more complicated when they have a child or children. 

At that point, it's selfish to expect him to totally blank them, and you probably don’t. But, you’re a woman and a human being as a whole, it's natural to be a bit jealous of the attention he gives her. I have never been in a position where my husband puts his ex-wife first, but I have been a witness to this so many times I could write a book on it.

But, I’m going to do the next best thing; write an article that sheds some light on why your significant other seems to favor his former spouse quite a lot. There’s a range of reasons and based on your situation, you should be able to figure out where you stand.

My Husband Puts His Ex Wife First - Why?

1. They Have A Child Together 

If there’s a child involved, then best believe you signed up to have that woman in your face. Sure, there are some boundaries that should not be crossed since their romantic relationship is over, but she is going to be a strong presence - after all, she is the mother of his kid, not only an ex-wife. I’m not saying it won’t be challenging, dealing with the ex wife of your boyfriend, or husband is huge.

All the child support, among other things, will be constant reminders that your partner was involved with his ex wife. But make sure you keep it in mind that being a good mother or father means that there needs to be constant communication. On that front, you need to take a step back any time it involves the child they have together.

It's hard enough that they have to pay child support and have their entire life cut in two. So, if this is the case, try not to pile on with any lingering insecurities. Imagine how hard it is for your husband to deal with the fact that he’s stuck in the middle. So, try to see their relationship for what it is, a platform to provide a loving environment for their kids.

2. He’s Trying To Minimize Conflict

This is dependent on the kind of relationship your partner had with his former spouse. Were they always at wits end? Was there a whole lot of arguing involved? Even more, did they create a toxic environment for their kids? If this sounds quite familiar then that complicated relationship might be the reason he is treading on eggshells. He may not want to suck you into all the drama he had to deal with.

It sounds like an excuse doesn’t it? The fact is that he lived with this other woman for quite some time. He has probably learned how to deal with her shenanigans over time and placating her may be a way to do that. It's not ideal though, this situation may start to feel like he is choosing to be on her side a lot more. In fact, you’ll join the long list of women who complain saying, ‘my husband defends his ex wife’.

Like I said earlier, this is not ideal at all, he needs to learn how to create a balance. Nevertheless, nagging will not help him reach that conclusion. Here are my two cents, look for a neutral party, someone you both respect that could speak to you two. Sometimes, hearing what the situation is doing to your marriage from a third party helps put things into perspective.

3. He Has Some Lingering Feelings

Nobody wants this to be a reality in their marriage, but it happens every now and then. You see, this is the mother of his kids, they share more than just a few years. They created a life together. As I mentioned earlier, it's a bit more complicated when they are parents.

So, it's not out of the question to look for signs he still loves his ex wife. For all you know, he could still be hung up on her. Before I proceed, I just want to say that this does not necessarily mean he doesn't love you too. Sure, he’s your husband and should have dealt with that before putting a ring on it, what can we say, he’s human.

So, here’s the thing, if he’s still in love with her, she will be involved in everything. This includes things she has no business knowing. Think about it as a ‘Lucius and Cookie’ type situation. If you watch the TV show, Empire, it's so obvious through the love and the hate that those two were still madly in love. They don’t even have to be nice to each other.

4. He May Be Naturally Submissive

Cast your mind back to when you started dating, wasn’t it fun to have all your whims and desires fulfilled before you even thought about them? Wasn’t it equally nice to always get your way? 

Well, if you’re in a ‘my boyfriend lets his ex control him’ situation, his mild manner has come back to bite you in the behind, such is life. There are men out there who (I’m sorry to say) have no backbone. First, note that there are some people in general that find it hard to say no. But this is a slippery slope, it’s all fun and games until your husband or boyfriend runs off to pick his former partner when you also need a ride.

This is one thing you really should not condone because this type of behavior will make it hard for you to set boundaries. If there is one thing you need in a relationship like this, it’s clear cut boundaries. Believe me when I say that issues like this can ruin a solid relationship. So, in this case, it is more than imperative that he learns how to draw a line somewhere. This will make for a better relationship with your blended family.

5. You Were Too Busy Walking On Eggshells

Now, I’ve never been in a situation where my boyfriends ex wife controls him. But, there are a lot of things that I’ve let slide at the beginning because I wanted some peace in my life. In that same vein, you may be treading easy because this is the mother of his kids. Don't get me wrong, it's good to be polite, this is one person you need to have a cordial relationship with. 

But, letting a handshake extend past the elbow is totally uncalled for. All in all, try your best not to go overboard in a bid to maintain peace. Your husband could see this and view it as a go-ahead to let a whole lot slide. 

I know it's not an easy thing to do, blended families are a lot of work. But you have to go right in with your boundaries. If you let too much time lapse, you'll have a very weird relationship with her. Note that you have to do this as politely as possible. Don't go in there ready to pop off anytime she disagrees with you. Best believe that if you do this, your husband will have a better idea of how to deal with both of you. 

6. His Parents Love Her

If you marry into a tight-knit family, then best believe you're marrying the whole family. In the same vein, your spouse's former partner married into the family. If they love her and are still warming up to you it may have a strain on your relationship with just about everyone. It will go quite a distance to influence your husband's behavior. 

This may seem like something out of a sitcom, but believe me when I say that this happens a lot. If your husband is quite involved with his extended family, it's not unusual for him to agree with them a whole lot. He may not even know when he's constantly siding with everyone beside you, so this is one situation you need to handle delicately

Do you know what makes it even worse? 'Being a daughter-in-law can be trickier than a son-in-law', says Ian Kerner in this article. So, imagine being the daughter-in-law his parents dislike openly. Best believe that your man won't even know when they sway his decisions. 

Nevertheless, it only becomes a major problem when you've brought up the topic and he brushes it away. Not only is that suspicious behavior, but it's disrespectful too. In every marriage, it should be both of you against the world, and that includes his parents. 

7. She's Richer Than Him 

It seems like a petty thing to lord over anyone, but you've probably lived in this world for a while and seen worse. Thanks to millions of years of conditioning, it's still a touchy issue when a lady makes more than her man. It simply causes some sort of imbalance in their relationship. Altogether, if his ex-wife was the richer of both of them and likely had the main bank account register in her name, then it could be one of a couple of options. 

First, he could have been emasculated constantly in their marriage and it stuck. This relates to the 'He may be naturally submissive' caption above, except in this case he beat himself into submission. But don't further beat him up about it, the society at large is to blame. 

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center resulted in '40% Americans saying it’s extremely important for a father to provide income for his children, but just 25% saying the same of mothers'. So, he was already semi-doomed going in. On the other hand, his ex-wife could have lorded it over him.

Either way, your man probably thinks he has no choice but to go along with whatever she says. Again, establishing boundaries will help all of you set a tone. 

8. She Might Not Be Over Him 

That pretty much seems like her problem right? Wrong, it's your problem too because she's probably going to insert herself in your lives. Now, don't get me wrong, not all women who have a thing for a former lover will try to disrupt their present lives. Some of us are pretty mature and know when an end is an end. On the other hand, some females out there are ready to stir the pot on cue. 

So, the fact that he's moved on and is now with you is not a hindrance to a person like this. Let me paint a picture here, any woman that is ready to wreck the marriage of the man she was once married to is probably manipulative. She will be increasingly ready to play all sorts of mind games. As such, it could end up looking like your man is putting her first. 

In actuality, he is, but you need to be really observant to realize he's being played. What's the simple solution here? Set those boundaries from the get-go. 

9. You May Be Blowing It Out Of Proportion 

First, let me start but saying there are definitely a lot of situations where an ex-wife or girlfriend is too involved. Likewise, there are some situations where you expect them to be too involved and react every time they even breathe near your home. Don't give me that look, you know we're a crazy breed.

I get it though, this man you love so much, was once in love with someone else. He loved her so much, he probably married her, had a kid, or at least moved in with her. It's scary to think that person will be a permanent fixture in your life. So, it's not out of the ordinary if you get a little protective or paranoid. If this is the case, you need to step back and breathe. 

Getting married again is a big deal for most men, especially if they have kids. So, if he married you, he loves you a whole lot. You should equally be able to discuss your concerns with him as he's the only person who can make you feel secure. 

10. They Share A Whole Lot

Being married practically means you have to share just about everything. Sure you have your own life, but somehow you end up having friends in common, you share money, you share food, heck the kids belong to both of you. This list does not even begin to cover it all. In a nutshell, all this sharing makes for quite a tight bond

So, let's say the divorce wasn't messy and they're still pretty close. It's going to take a while to reset the whole situation. You may be wondering why he did not deal with all that before bringing you into the picture. Well, let me let you in on a not-so-secret secret, men don't think as we do

All in all, if you feel like his former boo is a little too close for comfort, bring it up with him. Point out the ways in which they are being inappropriate because he may not even see it. 

FAQs 

How Do I Deal With My Partners Ex Wife?

As much as you can, try to concentrate on your relationship with your husband and not the one he has with his former partner. Stay out of their drama because it predates you and butting in will never end well. Nevertheless, do not hesitate to create boundaries, she needs to know that there are some things she can’t do.

How Do You Know If He Still Loves His Ex?

This may seem counter-intuitive, but for the most part, he will still be angry at her. It may not be the expected show of emotion, but it's an emotion nonetheless. If he’s truly over her, he will be at peace with their separation. Also, if he talks about her endlessly, that’s a major sign that he’s still hung up on her.

Is An Ex Wife Still Considered Family?

You may not like this answer, but it's yes. Think of it this away, they built a life together and that does not go away overnight. Even more, if they have a child or children together, that makes the bond even stronger. Of course, this does not mean she can overstep, every family member has their limits and roles.

How Do You Tell If He's Not Over His Ex?

Besides the fact that he’s evidently still angry at her, he can’t stop yapping on about her. It may be in annoyance, but if she can still push his buttons, perhaps there’s still a spark somewhere. Despite all this, he is constantly quite protective of her and does not like it when anyone else slanders her.

How Do You Know If He's Over His Ex Wife?

For one, she can no longer rattle him even when she goes overboard. He’s equally quite comfortable confronting his past, you’ll never see him fret from it. She does not randomly come up in conversation and also does not show up at your place uninvited. That’s because he has set firm boundaries.

Altogether...

This is a tricky situation and you can’t exactly ask your partner to cut his ex-wife off. With all the information I’ve provided here, you can really get to the bottom of this. In that vein, I hope you found this information helpful and if you have, do drop a comment below. Even more, share this gem with someone who is also having issues with their partner’s behavior towards the ex-wife.

April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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