29 answers

Husband Receives Texts/personal Calls from Ex Wife

My husband was married for 24 years and they had 3 kids. The youngest is now 20. They have been apart for 5 years. We have been married now for 3 months. I have never met or spoken with the ex because she would not be open to it. She did not want the divorce.
She texts my husband on the average, once a month, with things like Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, or "Today was the 4th anniversary of our divorce." She will call with the reason of wanting to discuss something about the 20 yr old but it always ends in something along the lines of "I don't understand why we don't talk anymore" or last time it was "you know yesterday was our wedding anniversary. I just don't understand.." He either becomes silent at these times because it's awkward, or tells her he has moved on and is married now. He doesn't return her texts anymore. (he used to say thank u or merry christmas, out of politeness, thinking she would stop eventually.) He is trying to keep her calm and half way "sane" so she won't trash talk him to death to the kids. He says She is an unhappy woman and doesn't censor her words in front of them.
I think he should tell her that her calls & texts are inappropriate and they need to stop unless they are about the kids. He is a married man now.It's obvious she can't move on for some reason but I think her actions are inappropriate. He does feel he owes her somewhat because of the long marriage. He doesn't hate her, nor do I, but how else does it stop but to just tell her? I know I wouldn't sit and listen to my ex say personal things to me on the phone. I wouldn't be mean, but I would tell him I'm sorry, that I have moved on, and he needs to too, and the contact needs to be less personal and more business, or about the kids and family. I would feel it was disregarding or disrespecting my husband. There would have to be a closure and a line. That's what the divorce means.
What are your all's thoughts?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

My husband and I went to our counselor today and he received advice on how to handle his ex. He said he believed boundaries should be drawn with her and when she crosses them, he should hang up or set the phone down and tell her he will only conversate about the kids because he divorced her, it's over, and it's disrespectful and inappropriate for her to be allowed to behave this way. Even listening and not saying anything is in a way allowing her to behave this way. He said her problems are her problems and it's up to her to fix them. He can't keep walking on egg shells around her so that she won't talk bad about him to the kids. He said he needs to talk to his kids and tell them what he's doing with the ex and he's quite sure, given their 20, 21 and 26 yr old ages, that they are well aware of their mom's behavior. After the session my husband and I went for a walk by the river and he told me about how he used to go there after his divorce and spend time thinking and would collect drift wood and make things out of it. Each piece of artwork represented a certain thought he had thought through but he never told anyone that when they saw the pieces. He said while he was coming down there and doing all that thinking he never once thought he would meet anyone like me and he told me how much he loved me and how good I am for him. Thank you to everyone, even the ones that were negative. It made the sweet people even more special

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It sounds as if you AND he each brought a lot of baggage to this marriage. (I hope his marriage didn't end because he met you . . . )

Anyway, since you evidently didn't already have counseling, I'd suggest that you and he go for counseling to firmly decide what you realistically can and should expect of and be willing to do for each other. If you start 'nagging' and making 'rules' about his connection with his 'ex', you'll only succeed in making her look better to him. I know that's not fun for you, but it's just a fact.

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Your husband may be done with the relationship, and common sense may dictate that his ex-wife's thoughts and behaviors are inappropriate at best, but even for someone who recognizes the obvious with her head, it can be harder to grasp it with the heart. When you've already said that they have 3 kids together, were married 24 years, and that she didn't want the divorce, it should be clear even to someone who has never been married before that this is going to take a long time for her to understand and heal from. I don't think it is appropriate for your husband to attend counseling with her and the kids as a "family"; I think that would send her the message that he wants to work things out as a "family". However, I think he should strongly encourage her to attend counseling and that he should probably even attend some with his kids if they need that kind of closure with him. From your end, try to show some compassion for her, which doesn't mean you have to be buddies or anything like that, but recognize that she sees your gain as her loss and try to minimize her hurt by not doing and saying things to/about her that may be perceived as feeling competitive about your husband's attention and affection.

2 moms found this helpful

Check you husbands phone for a reject list and put the ex on it. No more calls from her then. But ask him first if you can put her on the reject list.

1 mom found this helpful

I have to say, if hes not responding to her, dont worry about it. she may still be obsessed but he clearly isnt. and the way she sounds (a bit loony) your hubby wouldnt want that back. let this woman have what control she can its very hard being the divorced parent and watching you ex be with someone else. but as long as her hands stay to her self dont sweat it

1 mom found this helpful

Sounds as if he is handling it. Your best way to deal, is not deal. Don't get involved, be supportive and loving. Now you have brought a down syndrome brother into a new marriage? The man must be a saint- LOVE HIM! Counseling is not your business, too bad he even looks at the emails, but stay out of all that.

1 mom found this helpful


It has appeared that your husband has moved on but that his ex has not. Maybe she didn't want the divorce, but as you said they have been apart for 5 years now, she needs to move on. He is doing what he needs to do to keep his kids life easier and that is to be commended. He is discreetly trying to let his ex realize that he has moved on and it seems like a good tactic to me. It isn't as if he is giving her his encouragement. I would just support him in this effort until you see if more needs to be done. I don't understand the counseling. Yes she needs it, but they don't need it. He has moved on with his life and married someone else, she needs to find her some happiness on her own. I wish you the best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful

to be in a marriage for so long and have kids they may have fallen out of love, but they do have a long past...it may seem unreasonable and a little intrusive, not to mention awkward, but maybe some of it should be understandable. how would you feel if you were in her shoes? just because your husband is moving on doesn't mean that she is. some of it may even be to make him feel bad for ending it, but could it be that she wants to try and keep up appearances for their kids and her friends and family? I would suggest you let it play out. you have only been married to this man a short time. I was in a similar situation except the marriage was short and they had no kids. his ex would call on a regular basis because she could't make decisions without his input. after the first year it died down. we may hear from her every year, but its more on friendly terms as she accepted the situation.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.,
my name is W.. My situation was a little different from yours i did meet the ex. She is a control freek. The phone calls hy husband received was maintence calls to come over and fix the heat,the plumbing,her car,etc. She even had the balls to tell my husband that he had no business getting married again. Well we've been happily married now almost 18 years. I realized that she was unhappy and everybody else was supposed to be too. And it took me awhile to learn that people do what you a-l-l-o-w them to do.
Dont get frustrated, because thats what the ex wants.
Hes happy she is not. And she mabe having a tough time getting over the divorce (it happens) you have something she wants back. Just pray for her.
She will get tired when she sees her efforts are not working (sooner or later). Oh and about the kids they are grown and they know when a parent is bad mouthing the other. And guess what they will deal with that in their own way, hopefully they will talk to somebody if the bad mouthing gets to be too much.
Hang in there!

I def want to comment on this bc I am going through the same thing. My boyfriends ex-girlfriend hates me. They have a little girl together but she just doesn't want to accept the fact that he was moved on but she would call him and be like the baby needs diapers when she knows she doesn't just to get him over there. Everytime he mentions my name she goes crazy on him wanting to fight but reality needs to slap her in the face. He also feels(to me anyways) that he owes her something and I don't know why. The only thing he owes her is a promise that he will always be there for his daughter and that's IT. We have a son together who he doesn't want around any of his family and it's all because of her. She stays with his mother but why not let your sone meets his grandmother and aunt and uncle just to keep her quite. I also feels that he just about does anything just to keep her happy and to keep her quite. That counseling thing is a wonderful idea. We are not married yet but really are considering it later down the road. But I refuse to marry into commotion because I don't deserve to be treated like that at all. Sometimes it makes me feel like the other girl(you know what I mean)? But in our situations I believe that they do feel like they owe the ex's something but they need to let go. Sorry had to rant for a minute.

Sounds like he's trying to be a nice guy about it and she is bound by a spirit of rejection. Some prayer and spiritual warfare might be in order. You didn't mention whether you were the reason he left her or not since you have been married only 3 months. How long have you known him? 4 months or 4 years? Didn't you notice these things while you were dating? Just curious.

Congratulations on your new marriage, it sounds like you have a lot on your plate. I'm a stepmother, have been for about four years. It's not easy at any point when your husband is dealing with his ex. But as long as you two have come to an agreement about what important and stick to that, relax into the situation a little. Since they have children together, eventhought they are fairly grown, there will be some kind of relationship, but as a couple you need to define the relationship from that end. The kids are grown, but still will want to see their parents cooperating on their behalf, it's not eary, take my word for it, but the more she sees an united front the better and it will get better, particularly when she finds someone new to share her life with.

Well I would think that maybe there is more going on than meets the eye.. Umm you have 3 children and this is your first marriage? shakes head in confusion here. I would find out why they got divorced after that long there's usually a reason.. unless you are the reason? but their kids are adult so they should be able to make own judgments on parents. sorry not much of a help here but i'm not really a believer in divorce either

Congratulations on your recent marriage. From what you have said your husband really is not interested in a relationship with his ex other than to be cordial and make life a little easier for his children. Try not to let her get to you emotionally. Let him deal with her - at some point I'm sure you will meet her and need to have a cordial relationship for their children's sake. You'll probably have to tolerate her should their children graduate from college, get married, have a baby or other special occasions in which the children will want both parents present. You said that you have asked your husband about counseling and he does not want to go - you could go by yourself and the counselor could help you to deal with how you feel about the situation so that it does not cause a problem in your marriage.

Who knows you may end up being friends. I have a friend who ended up becoming good friends with her husbands ex-wife. When they first got married I would have never have thought this to be possible. Over the years it just sort of happened. My friend told me that it actually bothers her husband that she gets along so well with his ex.

It doesn't matter how old the kids are now, parents don't stop being parents. It sounds like your husband is handling things quite well. Don't make things harder for the kids. I'm 32 and my parents are divorced ... have been for 26 years. My mom won't be at the same place as my dad. My dad is fine with it; she's the one that comes out looking bad and missing out on special events in her children's & grandchildren's lives.

Same here. If she is being stubborn, she'll look bad. If you just go with the flow (and be an adult) and feel confident that he's committed to you, things will be fine.

Try taking text messaging off of your cell phones. It is easier to ignore a telephone call than a text message.

simple solution...change the phone number and the texts and calls will stop.

Hi R.,

I feel that there's a lot being left out here, BUT I would get to know the kids and be as nice as possible to the ex. If she doesn't have any reason to back up the way she's treating you, then your husband will be more than willing to cut ties with her all the more sooner. It seems like she's hanging on the the "idea" that if he left her, than he might be willing to leave your for her if she's nice enough and keeps her in his thoughts. Don't despair live your life without letting her make you crazy. Be what your husband needs and confident in you and your marriage. Best of luck and BREATHE.

Your husband sounds like a compassionate, good man. He's handling the situation well. Throw yourself into the marriage and make him glad that he's married to you, and don't sweat the small stuff.


My husband and I share 7 children and 2 ex-spouses. We probably encountered more than you'll ever face, hopefully. Maybe I can make suggestions from our last 20 years that may or may not help. Either way, know you're not alone and someone cares enough to write.

You have several choices. You must walk in the light and ability that you feel comfortable with. I will start with what I believe to be the best recourse, but you must decide which to access.

1. "Love Never fails". It sounds like the ex-wife is lonely, bitter and emotionally wounded from experiences prior to her failed marriage. IF possible, invite her to a womens' week-end retreat where she may be able to find spiritual help. Who knows, you two may become friends in the process, and she can turn the need for attention from your husband to you.
(My ex-husband was invited to every Christmas/birthday, etc. and stayed in our home until all the children left on their own. It was uncomfortable at times for me, but the children appreciated the effort.) (We tried with the other ex several years in a row, but there was more there and it eventually ended on its won.)

2. PRAY for her every day to find help, make new relationships and discover who she is; pray for freedom from the traps the enemy laid for her and emotional healing.

3. Ignore the situation, and decide not to let it affect you or your relationship with your husband. Understand that we all make mistakes, and pay a price for the mistakes. Unfortunately, when children are involved, those mistakes last a life-time.

If you'd like prayer, our information is at ICServants.org
Blessings, R.

R., Please don't let others opinions bother you....first of all, we all have crazy families! Mine especially! My mom was married for 16 years, raised 3 kids, only one was her's, so 2 step sons...then remarried and has been married for 14 years with 2 new step children. we are all adults now, but she had her hands full before. The ex-wife was alot for her...she had never taken care of herself, didn't know how and so my step-dad was still called when anything was wrong with her house! She basically had a "husband" that didn't sleep with her! It was a strange relationship but my mother finally had to tell both of them, "your marriage is over and now it's time for our marriage. We want you a part of your children's lives so you are welcome in our home anytime, but you have to start being your own person and live your own life." A counselor would probably be the best choice, but I disagree with him and her going, alone. You are part of this relationship now, whether they like it or not...it affects you too. Yes, the counselor may want to speak to them alone, but you need to be involved. It is Your marriage now! It took awhile for Nanny, the ex-wife, to deal with things, but she started depending on her kids instead of their dad.

I think you both have alot going on....dealing with family and a new relationship is tough and I wish you the very best. Hang in there and try to be patient. Take care.

I agree with you. I would have a serious conversation with your husband asking him to imagine if the sitatuion was reversed and your ex was texting you these things. ask him honestly what he would want you to do. I would tell him that out of respect for you that he needs to tell her that her texts are inappropriate and that they can only speak about the children. The children who, by the way, are 20 and older. Those "children" cannot be persuaded to hate their dad anymore by anything she says. They are adults now and have their own opinion. Anything she says now may just make her look bad in the "children's" eyes. Truly, your husband does not want to mean to her and that is understandable but he can do this w/out being mean. He probably cannot, however, do this w/out hurting her feelings but didn't he divorce her? Can't hurt her much more than that. Your husband needs to either understand your point of view or explain to you his point of view. You have to communicate on this and you have to agree. That is what keeps a marriage strong. Especially a new marriage. Talk to him in a non-invasive way. Hopefully he will see your side of it when you do this. If he does not want to hurt her, maybe you need to give her a call.....Good luck.

To your husband's credit, he has stopped responding and from what you say agrees that this is inappropriate. If he won't do counseling, perhaps he could just be firmer with her or stop answeribg altogether. Their youngest is 20 and kids are smart. If the child needs something, they will call dad.

Hello R.,

I agree with you that the ex-wife/children need to go for some form of counseling also. So that some decisions can be made. What woman would want there ex calling the former husband so much if not really related to the kids. But sometimes men feel torn between the exes/children with the new wife/children. Dr. Phil has a book on this matter go to his website for more information.

Well, just my two cents, but it very well may just be her way or making sure there isn't "bad blood" between them for their kids sake. I have been married prior to my current marriage (twice). My first divorce we didn't really talk at all unles sit was necessary, and to date if we have anythign to do with each other it turns ugly. With my younbger son's dad we chatted on the phone etc and got along great. As a matter of fact when he got deathly ill and had to have a double transplant, my HUSBAND sent me across country to take care of him after his surgery for two weeks! My son from the first divorce he SERIOUS issues with relating to us both, verses my younger one does great. I know in your case the kids are older, but it is still REALLY hard on the kids if they feel like they are "unallowed" to talk casually to the "other" parent. etc...

Just my thoughts on it.


It will never be all "over and done with". In my opinion you are acting insecure. What more do you want, he married you. Coorespondence with her is inevitable as they are parents to three children and spent the last quarter century together. I think it is you who is being disrespectful to their past. You need to put yourself in your husbands shoes...don't put so much pressure on him to cut ties to his life. His past, like it or not, is now your past. His past is a part of who he is. It sound to me that he is doing nothing inappropriate. Can you possibly imagine how hard it is for her? To see him move on? Of course he doesn't want to introduce you two. He is being respectful to her AND you. Perhaps someday ifyou get secure in your new marriage he will introduce you. Let the texts and call roll off your back. As, really, you have no other choice. The alternative is what you are currently doing: making his life stressful because you can't handle a couple text messages... are you kidding me, once or twice a month after 24 years of marriage is NOTHING. ANd to ask him to drag his kids into his mess is another act of a lack of compassion for all the pain that you don't realize they are going through. I can't type anymore.

They were married for 24 years! You try being in the closest relationship 2 people can have for 24 years and then give it up. Not very easy. Have some patience. Also, their relationship now (because they still have one of some kind) is really up to them. So, suck it up and try to not let it get to you.

Someone once told me that it takes half the length of the relationship for it to truly be over. For example, if you were with someone for 4 years and you break up, then it will take 2 years to really get over it. I've found this to be pretty accurate.

And I guess I might be getting a little personal here, but why won't she talk to you? She's going to be around for pretty much the rest of your life (or marriage, as the case may be). Sorry to be so blunt.

Wow, sounds to me like you are asking too much from this marriage to exactly go YOUR way. YOU say YOUR brother has come to live with YOU, uh..you are married. Do only you feelings and matters count? YOU married a man with children. It doesn't matter who old those children are, YOU have to accept that he will be attached to his ex-wife in some shape or form FOREVER! If you didn't want that baggage you should have married someone without kids. Your expectations are ridiculous and selfish. If he totally ditched his ex-wife, would that make him a better man, husband or father? If you think so than man, you are more self-centered than your post sounded.

Hi R.. There is no reason that your husband should have relations or further/regular conversation with his ex wife, regardless of the situation. It is inappropriate. The youngest child is a 20 year old adult! The only reason she wants to converse with him is that she's still hanging on and wants some control. There are no custody meetings, etc. All ties should be severed for the good of ALL involved, even her! The reason I have this opinion is that my mom and dad separated when I was 15 and my brother was 18. I'm 41 now. After 26 years (!), neither has remarried. They have toyed with the idea on a couple of occasions but since they never got each other fully out of their lives, there always was a sense of responsibility of 'hanging on' and not fully letting go. I only wish they had left each other alone long ago so they could have moved on and been happy with someone else! They still to this day talk and have strained relations, and I am still living as a child of divorce after 26 years, same pain. Moving on is the best policy. If it takes one to be the stronger one and completely sever ties, so be it. Your husband would be doing her, you and himself a favor. And THE KIDS a favor. Take it from me. They do not want to watch this kind of relationship and will be happier if everyone separates after a divorce. Good luck, it's hard especially from your position, I know.

Hey R., my name is B. i have been divorced for for at least fourteen years, i recently got married two years ago. I can identify with your problem because i ysed to call my ex-husband and wish him a happy annivversary,but i realized it was a sign of not wanting to let go or to try and rekindle feelings he did not have for me. I also realized this was totally wrong we are both married and it was not an innocent jesture all parties involved could be hurt letting go is letting go.i dont know if it is doable but i would let her know this is not healthy she is not his wife and it is not their anniversary.the ball is in your court if your husband will not stand up to her, my ex did not want to hurt my feelings,but i realized i was hurting his new wife by doing this the past is just what it is past we are now future,today and you may have to confront her via text or phone or any communication tool.it will destroy the two of you if you dont stop it now.i am no expert i am a christian girl who somewhat had the same problem let me know how it works out. Remember he is your husband and if he gets mad there maybe bigger problems than her bothering you.i will pray for all of you your friend B.

It sounds as if you AND he each brought a lot of baggage to this marriage. (I hope his marriage didn't end because he met you . . . )

Anyway, since you evidently didn't already have counseling, I'd suggest that you and he go for counseling to firmly decide what you realistically can and should expect of and be willing to do for each other. If you start 'nagging' and making 'rules' about his connection with his 'ex', you'll only succeed in making her look better to him. I know that's not fun for you, but it's just a fact.

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