My Ex-Husband’s Girlfriend by Conlee Ricketts

Whenever I talk about doing things with “my ex-husband’s girlfriend” I typically get a cautiously spoken, “Oh…how is that?” or a bold “Ugh, I bet that’s awkward.”

There always seems to be the expectation of animosity between me and my ex-husband, or me and his girlfriend, but we all get along great. The truth of the entire situation is “my ex-husband’s girlfriend” is possibly one of my closest friends in the world. Weird right? I think I need to just change my vocabulary and say “my friend.”

When I broke my wrist last year it was “my friend” that I called at 6:30 A.M. because I knew she was already awake. When I had a horrible reaction to my pain medication it was “my friend” that brought me supplies and sat with me all day so I didn’t have to be alone. When I get depressed or down on myself it is always “my friend” who calls to say she has a coupon for a mani/pedi and that we should go have a girl’s day with my daughter. When I didn’t have a car it was “my friend” who drove me and my daughter to all our doctor/orthodontist appointments. When I found out the person I invested my trust in had lied to me for a year it was “my friend” who brought over the bottle of wine and kind words for my shattered faith in mankind.  This list is endless and amazing when I consider all she had done for me and my daughter. She is a wonderful person.

My divorce is simply that—my divorce. I don’t expect it to be a model for anyone else; this is just my story and I consider myself to be lucky. To give you the quick back-story (because I’m not one to mince words) my husband asked me for the divorce. Nothing sinister, no affair, no craziness, nothing—he was simply being honest with himself and with me. He just didn’t “Love” me anymore; I chose to respect his honesty and say good-bye to our marriage. Of course there are a zillion layers to that, but who cares? Was I devastated? Yup. Sad? Yup. Angry? At times. Bruised ego? Majorly—but what I couldn’t tolerate in my splintering world was hurting our daughter. She was six at the time, so I accepted the end of our marriage, helped pack stuff, helped him get organized, and waved good-bye as he drove off.

Most of the time I refer to my “ex” as “Skye’s father” because I don’t really like saying “ex,” and when he entered into a new relationship it didn’t even occur to me that I might not like his girlfriend. She’s a wonderful woman and I see why they work so well together. The big winner in all of this is my daughter because we are all able to hang out together on her birthday and Christmas morning.

The entire experience taught me the value of being honest. As difficult as it was for my husband at the time to sit down and pour his heart out knowing that it would hurt me, he did it anyway and it was by far the most honest thing anyone has ever done for me. Years before I had been on that side of a relationship that wasn’t working for me and the fear of the repercussions, the fallout, and the future alone, kept me paralyzed and denying my truth. Ignoring the small voice in my head telling me I wasn’t happy was a painful mistake learning opportunity for me. So when my husband was being authentically and gently honest with me about his feelings, I found myself unable to stand in the way of his happiness.

As a result my daughter now has three adults in her world she can count on, and I have a great friend who has always been there for me!

  1. 8 Responses to “My Ex-Husband’s Girlfriend by Conlee Ricketts”

  2. This is interesting. My brother’s ex is a great friend to me. My exes , not so much. I do have a question, though. Feel free to not answer it if it is inappropriate. (I generally operate without certain social filters in place, forgive me). Your husband said he no longer loved you. I’d like to know what that means, exactly. Did he merely not understand what love/relationship was all about, or were you two doomed from the start? Was it an attraction issue, or something deeper? Very curious about this. Thanks.

    By Paul Bowersox on Mar 31, 2014

  3. When I read the title my first reaction was “why would you want to be friends with your “ex’s” “girl friend”. I suppose we all come from our own place. Although I cannot say anything against my ex, as far as being a father he’s always been there for our kids and I never stopped that. As far as hanging out with his girl friends, and BTW, I asked him for a divorce because I didn’t want to spend my life in a loveless marriage, but I at that time felt that, you weren’t my friend while we were married, why would I want to be friends with you now?
    Looking back at it all now, I know that was the best decision I made in my life, and in a way I thank him for not loving me the way I needed him to love me, or in the way I loved him because had I stayed married I would never have become ME.
    Conlee great for you and even GREATER for your daughter. So definitely who cares what anyone thinks. I’m with you.

    By Masha on Mar 31, 2014

  4. Thank you Masha and Paul for your comments! I think your comment, Masha, about friendship is important. If my husband and I hadn’t been such good friends during the marriage-and shared a daughter-I am sure this story would have a different ending and my ability to remain friends with him would not exist. Luckily we continue to be friends and the three of us enjoy the time together.

    Paul, I’m an open book :-) I think the situation may have been a romantic love vs a sustainable love. I can’t speak for him, but I can clearly see now that we weren’t a good fit for a long-term supportive relationship that was in a shared proximity :-) Of course the irony is that we do have a long-term supportive relationship based on our daughter’s needs and my bonus is my new girl friend. Funny stuff here is that over the past 5 years I am coming to notice my own patterns and “stuff” and have come to realize that I may just not be the type of person who “couples” well.

    By Conlee on Mar 31, 2014

  5. One thing that I forgot to say is that I really command you for the person that you are. And I know that you will reap a greater benefit this way, as you are already seeing.
    I know women who stopped their kids from having a relationship with their father and I never felt that was good for the kids. I always felt that whatever my ex and I had together had nothing what to do with our children and I know that he loves them as much as i do.
    We also remained friends not as friendly as you, but I don’t hold anything against him, he is a good person and he’s always done the right thing by me after our divorce.

    By masha on Mar 31, 2014

  6. Thank you for that Masha. The reality is that as many different people there are is the magnitude of the different styles, circumstances, and reactions to divorce. It is never easy and no two are the same. I am very lucky and I do think I created quite a bit of my own luck by carefully choosing my actions and reactions to the whole thing. The only thing I could control was myself right? :-) You are such a wonderful person Masha; I appreciate your insights into all of what I share

    By Conlee on Mar 31, 2014

  7. This is a very interesting conversation for me. I have never been one to prolong relationships that are dead. Neither do I attempt a mutation or shift as you both describe. Early on, one of my friends said that “Paul doesn’t collect people.” I suppose that’s true in many ways. My first two wives are very judge mental about me and have very clear opinions regarding the character traits they believe I possess. I’m glad, Conlee, that your daughter has the benefit of so many people who love her and are concerned for her well-being.
    Finally, I must say I’m really enjoying your blogs. It pleases me to read pieces of substance rather than much of what masquerades as relevant. Thank you.

    By Paul Bowersox on Mar 31, 2014

  8. Thanks Paul. It took me a few years to stop trying to morph into what I thought everyone was expecting of me. These days I am very much “this is who I am, this is how I do things, take it or leave it” and it turns out most people don’t expect me to be telling the truth or they hope I will change anyway and I don’t. I do not collect people either. I can count the people I would call at 2 AM with an emergency on half a hand and for some reason that actually makes me comforted in a weird way.

    By Conlee on Mar 31, 2014

  9. We are a lot alike, I think!

    By Paul Bowersox on Mar 31, 2014