How to deal with your fiancé having an ex

HELP asks: My fiance is divorced with two kids, and we are so much in love with each other. I want to be with him for the rest of my life. But how can I be sure his ex-wife is going to be completely out of the picture? He is 32 years and I am 22 years. Though he has proven to me beyond doubt the love he has for me, I am a bit scared his ex-wife might still be in the picture. He is ready to see my family and marry me. Is this going to work out?



You really ask two questions.  And the second one I can’t possibly answer – I’m only a friendly dog, not a psychic or fortune teller, so I can’t tell you whether this will work out in the long run (any more than I can to anyone else).  Though it sounds pretty good!


But I can answer your concerns about his ex-wife.  Here goes:




Unless this man is a lousy father who’s planning on ignoring his children for the rest of their lives, you are not just looking at marrying one person.  You would marry him, his kids, and her.  As she’s their mother, she’ll be involved in every part of their lives, and because of that, she’ll be involved in his life at least until the kids become adults.  He will have to co-parent with her, work out logistics with her, and very possibly pay money to her, for that whole time.


And you would almost certainly have your own relationship to her as well.  On one hand, there’ll just be the simple stuff where, say, you were supposed to pick the kids up from school and you get a flat tire, so you phone her and ask if she can get them.  On the other, maybe you two could become friendly enough that you can someday ask her advice on how to deal with him when he’s being difficult!

(Or, maybe she’ll always see you as a threat, and say nasty things about you, and try to turn the kids against you, and even try to win her ex-husband back from you!)


Now someone with a sense of humor might want to write in here that there is a solution – what if she disappeared, or died, or in some other way suddenly wasn’t around?  Would you then still have to deal with her?  Absolutely!  You’d still be stepmother to her children – they’d compare you to her, they’d miss her, they’d love and honor her often…  So even then my answer would still be… Yes.


When my human friend Handsome first got me from the pound, I was about three months old.  And he almost didn’t choose me, because he’d wanted a younger puppy than that, someone too young to have any “baggage,” who wouldn’t have any past pains or have learned anything bad.  Well luckily for me, he gave in, and luckily for him, I didn’t have many bad experiences yet.  But you don’t get that chance in a romance.  Anyone you get involved with has decades of life behind them, and many people still in their lives.  And if you get someone with a child, that’s even going to be more so.


So my advice to you is to, sure, introduce this man to your family.  And get to know his kids.  And then, if possible, try to meet his ex-wife too.  You don’t have to become friendly, especially at first.  But see what she’s like.  Because she’s part of the package he offers.  And if she’s unacceptable, then maybe you need to look elsewhere.  But first, give her a chance.

After all, if she didn’t have some great qualities, he wouldn’t have married her, would he?!


All my best,


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