When Dating Comes With A Crazy Ex

You have two choices: believe your new guy and suck it up, or exit the relationship.

Not Listening is Not an AnswerWhen you’re dating someone who comes with a crazy ex, or more kindly and perhaps more accurately phrased, an ex-spouse who is acting out and interfering, what do you do?

Here you are, finally dating after divorce, and you’ve met a great guy!

He treats you like a queen, he’s fun to be around, and the sex is fantastic. Best you can tell, he’s responsible and loving with his children, and you have no reason to believe otherwise.

But his ex starts leaving ugly updates on your Facebook account. She’s trashing you in her blog. She’s taken to Twitter.

It was bad enough when she was stalking him through social media, and yes, he tells you. But what about your friends who see this? Your kids? Your boss?

The Angry Ex

The angry ex? We get it. Many of us have been there, but we don’t act out in manipulative and bizarre ways. We don’t stalk on social media. We don’t play mind games.

But the angry ex may act out inappropriately. Maybe she got a hold of your cell number and she texts you nasty-grams. Maybe she Googles you, stalks your moves around the Internet, trashes your reputation anywhere she can. As much as you’d like to… pretending the problem doesn’t exist isn’t an answer.

Some may consider this one of several potential dating red flags – likely to arise if his divorce is not yet final, if he hasn’t been divorced for long, or if there’s a legal action still brewing.

Others may find this challenge sneaking up on them, when the date in question has been divorced for what seems like a reasonable enough time… two years, three years, five years… even longer.

So how do you handle it? What do you do? Isn’t this a little more than we bargain for, even with that irritating term “baggage?”

Ask Yourself Hard Questions

Shouldn’t we pose a few questions, like –

  • Do we sense we’re in harm’s way?
  • Might our children be at risk, or at the very least, confused or embarrassed?
  • Does the “crazy ex” seem less crazy as we get to know the person we’re dating?
  • How does he talk about her? Any inconsistencies in words and actions?
  • Are we sure he’s told us everything we need to know?

There are no easy answers in these scenarios and as many variations as there are people, couples, and divorcing dramas.

But we’ve all read the stories and heard plenty – the enraged former spouse who takes their frustration out on whomever their ex is dating, at least for awhile. And to some degree, I can understand.

If the divorce came as a shock, if the spouse found out about a long term affair or a series of affairs, if the ex is constantly playing games with child support or visitation – and would you know – really – if this were the case? – I can well imagine that a certain amount of “irrational” behavior may take hold.

Dating After Divorce: How Good is Your Judgment?

If you’re anything like me, you’re wary of your judgment when you’re first dating after divorce. After all, you thought your spouse was terrific at first, too, right?

If there’s no basis in fact and you’re certain of it – you’ve found ways to “check out” your new heart throb, and beyond what you can find on the Internet – perhaps you can ignore it and hopefully, it will fade with time.

But what if the accusations are true? What if your new guy is a serial cheater or has an abuse problem? What if he is lax about paying child support despite what he’s telling you?

What if the accusations are even partially true? Does this change your sympathies? Does it encourage you to question how long and how well you know your potential new flame?

My suggestions, from personal experience:

  • Listen to your gut, use common sense, be sure to stay safe.
  • Consider what you’ve heard, what you know, and how comfortable you feel with the situation – for yourself and your kids.

And remember my starting premise – those two options when your date comes with a crazy ex?

If you do decide to stick around rather than calling it quits, be sure you know what you’re doing, or get out while the getting is good. If you’re “meant to be” together, you’ll find your way back… when the situation calms down.


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2 Responses to When Dating Comes With A Crazy Ex

  1. Nancy Kay says:

    I found myself in this situation a few years ago- I fell hard for a guy whose ex had been cheating and she had huge anger issues. It certainly put a lot of strain on things for the
    6 months we were together. I spent many ‘date nights’ listening to him as he strategized about his next move. I began to feel more like his therapist than his girlfriend. ( if only I had been paid the going rate per session!) When things continued to heat up further, he fired his attorney and then abruptly stopped seeing me altogether.

    • D. A. Wolf says:

      Ugh, Nancy. No fun being put in that position… Also one of the hazards of dating someone who’s not been divorced long and is still talking and processing, talking and processing…

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