Q: I have been with my husband for 4 years, married 4 months.He moved to this town with his ex-wife. They have been divorced since 1990.They talk on the phone togehter about 4 times a day. They get together for lunch, ect about twic a week. He pays her rent (nothing legally binding in place). He gives her money as needed. She does not work. He takes her to Dr appts and mows her grass, takes care of her house. He pushes me to work all of the time. He complains excessively if he needs to do anything around my house. He defends his ex and their relationship and tells me they are just friends what is the problem? I have put up with this and was assured if we got married it would change, it has not. I guess my question is- what is wrong with me?
A. I don’t know why you thought this would change when you married. The arrangement suits your husband just fine. He probably sees no reason to change it.
One of my best teachers used to say that “two relationships are fewer than one”. He was pointing out that by keeping two relationships, a person waters down the importance of both. He isn’t totally committed to either.
Both you and his ex-wife are accepting half a relationship. Perhaps you are both terrified that you won’t find a soul mate who can love and cherish you and be a real partner. But I would suggest to you both that staying tied up with this guy only prevents you from meeting someone who can make a full commitment to you. Only you know whether your disappointment with this relationship is sufficiently bigger than your fear for you to make the leap.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Oct 2006
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2006). The “Other Wman” is his Ex-Wife. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 10, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/10/09/the-other-wman-is-his-ex-wife/