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Dealing with a crazy ex

Posted on Monday, November 22, 2010 in dating, Divorce, Happiness, love, Relationships

Sara and I were soaking in the views from the West Point Inn on Sunday, when we heard a woman’s laugh, a loud woman’s laugh. Suddenly, Sara froze.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I know that voice.”

“Who is it?”                        

“It’s Heidi, Jeff’s ex-wife,” she said turning toward the laugher to confirm what she already knew.

“Oh, I remember Jeff. You really liked him.”

“I more than liked him; I was in love with him. ”

“I can’t remember; why did you break up? He was so nice and cute.”

“He was nice and cute, and fantastic in bed, too. But, I couldn’t imagine having any sort of happy life with him if it included her. It’s her fault we’re not together.”


“Really. She made my life hell.

I understand what Sara’s saying; some ex-wives can make life pretty insane for the new girlfriend (although I imagine some new girlfriends can wreak as much havoc). But, can you really blame a psycho ex for destroying a love affair? Sure, maybe she’s manipulative, passive-aggressive, irrational, controlling, bitter, confrontational — feel free to add your own adjectives if you have experience. If they have kids together, you’ll forever be an odd chess game — him and you and her, with the kids as pawns. It’s a situation custom-made for a Lifetime TV drama. But could Sara have made it work if she were a “better” woman? Could Sara have sucked it up a little more?

If the man you love comes with a horrible ex-wife, isn’t he worth that extra pain?

Honestly, I have no idea, mostly because I’ve never dated a man whose former wife made my live hell. I’ve dated men whose former wives were pieces of work, that’s for sure, who made his life stressful, which of course impacted us.

Maybe I haven’t been drawn into that kind of relationship drama because I didn’t move in with any of those guys or — God forbid! — marry them; we’ve all heard of nightmare stepmom experiences. Becoming the new Missus is a lot more threatening than being “just” a girlfriend.

And the poor guys, they have to manage it all — put the new relationship first (along with his kids, obviously) while trying to keep it civil with his ex, no matter how “psycho” she may be.

It works both ways, of course. One girlfriend has had to have a restraining order against her ex — he’s stalked her and even broken into her home. She’s a total hottie and sweet as can be, but barely dates — and I can understand why. If I were a guy would I want to walk into that mess? Hmmm …

Am I happy I’ve never had to have my love tested that way? You bet! Still, I’m not sure I would say a crazy ex-wife is a deal-breaker.

What about you?

Photo © Tadija Savic –

Bring on the comments

  1. Wombat
    Twitter: kissnblog

    You give me an idea with this post, Kat.

    Being a single man at the moment, I plan to marshal an army of likewise available men to date all the psycho exes out there, thereby doing our recently single brothers a solid. Consider us the Salvation Army for newly divorced dudes.

    Wait…this sounds no different from my current dating life, which is studded with weirdos and nutters.

    Yeah, forget it. Life’s too short. First into the lifeboat wins.

  2. Chopper Papa
    Twitter: chopperpapa

    While my ex is a tee-total pain in my arse, she has been cool with any girlfriends that she has met of mine, (which are few). Her own marriage, I’m sure, helped with some of that. The Queen gets an earful on some of the odd ball things the ex does with the kids, etc however.

    Her last relationship included an crazy ex wife who keyed her car and the Queen put a restraining order against her. It was a major reason she ended the 4 year relationship.

  3. T
    Twitter: tsquest

    Exes… *sigh*… well, they ARE called exes for a reason, no?

    Would I end a relationship because of a crazy ex? I wouldn’t think so but it definitely does create even more challenges than a subsequent relationship already has.

  4. Steve says:

    Exes? What if a disease wiped most of the people out and you are the run from zombies?

    What can you do about the zombies? 🙂

  5. Jenni
    Twitter: msjennixo

    One of the reasons I moved 3k miles away from my ex, was because he was too crazy when it came to me dating. He would get obsessive with me, ask very personal questions. I couldn’t breath if I even considered starting a relationship with anyone. It was unbearable and unfair.

  6. Kat Wilder says:

    Wombat — Oh, c’mon! what a selfless thing to do for your fellow man; take on the crazies!

    Chopper Papa — holy crap; restraining orders?! I’d have to agree that once the ex is married (and hopefully happily!), I imagine the pressure is off. Why can’t an ex be happy for his/her ex? Weren’t they once in love?

    T — yes it does create challenges. Because dating at midlife with kids and an ex isn’t hard enough … 😉

    Steve — Well, if the zombie is cute …

    Jenni — That’s a tough situation. And, scary. I hope it’s better now.

  7. dadshouse
    Twitter: dadshouseblog

    Most of the single moms I dated were still in love with their ex-husbands, even though he’d moved on. Does that put the women I dated into the category of crazy-ex? Their ex-husbands certainly weren’t crazy.

    I do know there are crazy ex-husbands and ex-wives out there. I try to steer clear.

  8. Kat Wilder says:

    Dads — really? I thought the majority of divorces were initiated by women, meaning they’d been divorcing him for a long time before the papers were signed. Hmm …

  9. Steve says:

    Dodged a bullet, never had a crazy ex situation 🙂

  10. Exes… *sigh*… well, they ARE called exes for a reason, no? Would I end a relationship because of a crazy ex? I wouldn’t think so but it definitely does create even more challenges than a subsequent relationship already has.