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How to: deal with your ex-husband's new girlfriend

02 February 2007

Husbands exOne third of men meet a new mate immediately after divorce. Here's how to handle it if your ex is one of them.

Divorce, it seems, is much easier to recover from if you’re a man – InsideDivorce.com research found that one third of men managed to bag a new mate within the space of a year. In contrast, just 25 per cent of women achieved the same. The stats get more interesting the deeper you dig. Astoundingly, a whopping 17 per cent of men met a new partner within the first month post-divorce, compared to just 14 per cent of women. But, if your ex has pipped you to the post and has an (annoyingly) beautiful new woman hanging off his arm when he comes to collect the kids, remember that it doesn’t make him better than you.

“My own ex took no break whatsoever following our divorce,” said Christina Rowe, author of Seven Secrets to a Successful Divorce. “In fact, his relationship was the cause of our break-up. The other woman moved in with him two months after he left my home. When she left him little more than a year later, I was elated.
“Her departure was satisfying on several levels,” she continued. “My feelings stemmed from my own hurt, and they also came from the disruption and pain she’d brought to my children’s lives. But I admit that revenge was a factor. I liked the feeling that my ex was finally getting his comeuppance and would feel the sting of rejection. I wanted him to suffer this and I had good reason. He had thrown out 13 years of marriage, and I wanted him to pay for it. His girlfriend had been a painful reminder of all that, and I couldn’t help but feel relief that her life no longer intersected with mine or my children’s.”

Three’s a crowd
Even if the “new girlfriend” is now out of the picture, it’s likely that there could well be a steady stream of new women teetering on the periphery of your life.
“My feelings of relief and satisfaction were quickly tempered by the fact that he soon found another girlfriend,” admitted Christina. “I decided that any woman was better than the last, but still I wondered, how could anyone want to date a broke, often-unemployed, overweight, balding man? His new girlfriend was only 24 – 14 years younger than he was! She seemed nice enough, but deep down it still bothered me that he was happy.”
Even if there’s absolutely no attraction anymore between you and your ex, it’s common to feel confused about seeing him with another woman – especially if she will be spending time with your children.
“I found it difficult, as I wasn’t in a relationship myself at the time,” explained Christina. “I asked myself “Why can’t that happen to me? over and over. I felt as though I was a good person and that I deserved love but I decided to stop taking it personally and hope instead that the right person would soon turn up.”
But just because you ex feels ready to start a new relationship, you shouldn’t feel ashamed if you are not. If his new love proves fleeting, don’t rejoice or worry about it. Usually the longer you wait the better chance you have for a truly lasting love.
“That doesn’t mean you should ignore your negative emotions like I did,” said Christina. “Talk to a friend or therapist. Punch a pillow. Wait until you are alone, then call your ex every dirty name in the book. Shout it and scream it. Let all of it go. Let go of all of the pain, hurt, and betrayal. The process may take months, or even years, but you will feel better in time.”

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For more advice on starting a new relationship or divorce recovery read articles in our relationship section.

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