Dating After Divorce: Shifting of Primary

In this episode I look at dating after divorce, and how hard it can sometimes be to be the new person coming in when the exes are "besties." 

The new person can often wonder where they fit in, and if the ex is always their go-to, their first call, they can feel left out and as if they don't have a place in their new relationship.

I look at this from the angles of all three parties, and give a prescriptive for how best to make this often difficult shift work.

After our divorce, while we each dated other people, my ex and I still did holidays together, went to the theatre together, and had family dinners together. After all we’d been through we were now close, and as he began to date I took on the awkward yet esteemed role of First Wife.

I’d befriend his girlfriends. Partly because it seemed easier; we could all just be a family, and it would be less complicated for our son. Or at least that's what I told myself. But the truth was that I couldn’t let go. I didn’t want to lose my spot as the primary woman in my ex’s life. We’d spent 10 years together, and I barely had an identity outside of him.

ULTIMATELY IT WAS A POWER-PLAY BASED ON MY OWN INSECURITIES. I WAS PISSING ON MY TERRITORY, AND MY EX WAS MY TERRITORY.

But when my ex started dating the woman he’s now married to, that all changed. We'd all been friends for a while, so knew what I was up to. She immediately set very clear boundaries and firmly (and rightly) pushed me off my perch. Ultimately I knew that this rearrangement of status was perfectly appropriate, but I also had a LOT of feelings about it.

Being moved out of my position as First Wife gave rise to new layers of grief I’d never anticipated...

Kate Anthony

Kate Anthony, CPCC is a certified life coach who specializes in co-parenting, separation and divorce. Kate's expertise lies in the areas of parenting, supporting children through divorce, creating co-parenting plans, and helping couples create a healthy split that keeps children at the center, not in the middle.