I am so jealous of my husband’s ex-wife

Written by Lynette Hoy NCC, LCPC

jealousI am so jealous of my husband’s ex-wife. When they met, she was 27, he was 46. She was sexy in every way. I on the other hand have endured an abusive marriage for 18 years. I do not feel attractive. My husband and I are 52 and 50. His ex-wife is now 34. How can a 50 year old woman look better than a 34 year old? I just love my sweet, wonderful, husband , but I am so intimidated by his very young ex. I have to believe in myself, and I can’t.

Advice: The comment you made was very insightful: “but I have to believe in myself, and I can’t”.

You will never feel good in this marriage or any other marriage, for that matter, until you feel good about yourself. That is the issue. The insecurity you feel about yourself will haunt you and destroy you in any relationship whether you have an ‘ex’ to worry about or an old girlfriend. Or whether you have a friend you are trying to measure your worth against. So, what can you do about this? I believe it starts with a change in your mind and heart about your value and worth as a person and your value and worth in the relationship.

What is it that you are telling yourself?

It’s obvious that you are telling yourself “I can’t believe in myself”. Where is that coming from? Is it something your parents told you or indirectly expressed to you? Was there bullying from friends in the past? Some past failure which you can’t forget? No matter where it comes from, the fact is that you are a person of worth and have a purpose in this world.

If you met someone with low self-esteem, wouldn’t you tell them just that? How come you can’t believe the same thing about yourself?

You are a unique person made in God’s image. God doesn’t make junk. Read the book: The Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren. It’s sold more than 10 million copies. Why? Because people are looking for purpose and meaning in life. You are looking for purpose and meaning in life. Knowing your purpose will change you and give you a zest and a reason for living. You won’t just be living and longing for the approval of your spouse – thinking that will satisfy you completely and give you purpose. You won’t be trapped in the mire of coveting his ex’s body.

Secondly, you need to believe something different about this relationship. What is the purpose of a marriage? Is it just to have good sex and be the ultimate in the bedroom for your mate? Relationships are much more than sex. A good marriage is made of two people who are committed to one another, are good companions, friends, and lovers. A good marriage is made of a man and woman who are growing together spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.

How are you growing together in the other ways of marriage that I mentioned? Companions and friends have fun together, take hikes, bike together, take trips and explore the world together. Companions and friends share burdens with each other, forgive and encourage each other. Friends support each other’s goals for learning and progressing in career and educational goals. Sex is only one part of the marriage. When the other aspects are growing – sexual intimacy will grow. Go to church together and grow spiritually. God can give you wisdom to make your marriage strong.

What about boundaries? You need to make boundaries with the ex. You don’t need to know what your husband says to her or she says to him unless it concerns a decision you need to make. He should have strong boundaries with her – for example never being alone in the house with her when he picks up their child for a visit. Read the book together Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It by Jerry Jenkins.

Finally, determine to grow on your own spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. God bless you as you face the future with confidence and begin to take your eyes off the ‘ex’ and onto your purpose in life and what is really important in your relationship.

Are you looking for love and acceptance today? There is someone who loves you so much that He gave His most prized possession for you. The Bible tells us that God has loved us “with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). God doesn’t love us because we love Him, He loved us first. If you would like to know this kind of love today, you can.

Living with hope

No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.

Is this the life for you?

If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.

“He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.” Song of Solomon 2:4, NIV

© copyright 2003 Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC

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8 Responses to “I am so jealous of my husband’s ex-wife”

  • Tia Glenn-Cooke T. Glenn-Cooke says:

    Hi Sandi,
    Since none of us really know the situation that man and his first wife were in when they divorced, let’s not throw stones. I hope you’ll join me in praying that this woman feels better about herself and her marriage after reading Lynette’s advice!

  • Sandi says:

    You’re living in adultery with this man. Divorce and remarriage is adultery. He needs to go back to her.

  • marissa says:

    Thanks to all who give their advice.
    I am perfectly fine now,all the doubt,jealousy had gone through the help
    Of my husband.he showed me and i felt that he never loved his first wife
    The way that he loves me,and i have no reason to feel insecure bcoz first is
    He did not marry her for love,they just living together and thought that they love each other
    When my husband realised she just a user she used him so she live as easy as she is lazy
    And irresponsible mother.she has 1 daughter from different man,son from different man and 1 daughter from from my husband
    So my husband told me that she was lying that she loved him bcoz she just want my husband to feed her family.
    We’ll for now i have no insecurity, 1. I am only 26 yr and i am pregnant first pregnancy in my life and my husband cares a lot about me 2.she is 40 yr old have no job cant even buy xmas gift to her daughter 3. She gad different world from my world.
    And im know god..but she does not know that there is god!

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    Linda,
    There are a couple of things that come to my mind after reading your comment.

    First of all, your husband chose you, and as you said in your first sentence, he is a wonderful, Godly man and God is in your marriage.

    Secondly, they had three children together so that means that your lives will intersect many times in the years ahead as they get married and have children of your own. It’s important that you learn to have a good relationship with her for the sake of your own marriage and the sake of the children.

    Be secure in your own marriage and don’t allow her actions to threaten you. Choose to always believe the best of your husband. It sounds like he didn’t realize that she was even doing anything wrong by giving him the clutch. At the time you were only dating so she was probably testing out the waters a bit in terms of the relationships that the two of you had. Perhaps she was threatened by the fact that he was moving on from the heartache that she had caused him and now has a wife that not only loves him but is faithful to him.

    Thirdly, you have no reason to be jealous of her or threatened by her behavior. She is now in a marriage of her own and your husband loves you. Don’t give in to jealousy as it is destructive and as Claire Colvin mentioned in a comment earlier, it can be an emotion that will burn you up. Jealousy doesn’t hurt the person you are jealous of, but hurts you instead.

    I have been the bystander in more than one blended family and when the new wife is jealous of the exwife, there are always difficult situations. Instead, work on your own marriage and be secure in your husband’s love for you. If in fact she is doing these things on purpose, don’t give her the satisfaction of letting it get a rise out of you. Instead be the loving second wife who is amazing in her love for others. When something like this happens, thank God that this amazing man is your husband and tell him that you love him. You will be involved in the lives of his children so don’t make the situation more difficult by overreacting.

    If in act she is doing these things to get a reaction out of you, don’t give her the satisfaction of allowing her to control you in that way.

  • Linda says:

    I recently married a wonderful, Godly man, a union I know God had in His plan for neither he nor I was looking any longer for a mate until we met. My husband had been divorced for 13yrs and myself, 12yrs.
    Well, his ex-wife had numerous affairs (four he is aware of) during their 23yr marriage and he finally divorced her after the discovery of the last affair, of which they ended up marrying each other. My husband and his ex have three children, now grown (26yrs, 27yrs & 30yrs.) It is obvious to me, she has run the show involving the children and him for the past 13 yrs.
    My situation is this: At an event, while we were dating, she walked up to him (staring at me the whole time)and handed him her coat & clutch to hold while she and her husband had a photo taken, even though their table was closer than where we were standing. After I acknowledged it to him later, he said it would never happen again. This weekend at one of the children’s engagement party, she walked up to him while he was in a conversation with a mutual acquaintance and touched his arm and kept her hand on him and told him the person had just become a grandfather. I do not think she had any business to be involved in the conversation let alone holding on to my husband’s arm. When I mentioned it to him later, he did not even realize she did that to him. Is it wrong for me to notice this and mention her actions to my husband or do is this my right to protect our marriage?
    Thank you

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Marissa,

    Jealousy can be a hard emotion to deal with. It’s one that we have to keep a close hold on because otherwise it can become like a fire that burns us up. Your husband choose YOU. He is with you, not her. If looking at the pictures makes you hurt, why are you looking at them? Are they photos in an album or does your husband have photos of his ex on display? If it’s pictures in an album it’s easy. Stop opening the album. Agree with your heart that looking at those pictures is not healthy for you or for your marriage and put the album down. By looking at them you are driving a knife into your own heart and you don’t need to do that.

    If your husband has pictures of his ex wife on display in your house then you need to talk to him about that. Does he know that the photos are hurtful for you? Is there another reason that the images are up – i.e. are there children in the photos as well? If so, suggest that perhaps the photos of the children with their mother stay in the child’s room rather than in the common areas of the house where you are forced to see them every day. Be honest with your husband. Tell him how the pictures make you feel and ask him to take them down. How would he feel if you had photographs of you and an ex-boyfriend put up around the house?

    As much as you can, try not to compare your situation with the ex-wife’s. No two loves are going to be identical. Love is always a unique experience that exists between the two lovers. What do you gain by focussing on this past love? Instead, turn your heart toward making your own marriage the very best it can be. Focus on your family and not the family that came before you. Marriage is always work – it’s supposed to be work. So spend that effort on things that will strengthen your marriage and leave the past alone.

  • marissa thomas says:

    I always feel hurt and jealous to my husband ex wife everytime i am looking to her photos.i feel she was loved so much and can not be same as he loves me

  • pixie says:

    Try reading this book – I Hate His/Her Ex by Alex Cooper. Its all about issues with your partner’s ex! :) Highly recommended. xx

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