What's in a Name? | Mistress Maeve | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
Pin It

What's in a Name? 

Mistress Maeve

Dear Mistress Maeve,

I recently started hanging out with a guy who's going through divorce. I'm smart enough to know that I shouldn't get too close until the divorce is final and he's passed the "rebound" stage. I'm doing a good job of keeping it casual, but there's one thing that's bothering me. On occasions when he refers to his ex, he still calls her "my wife." I realize that, technically, they're still married, but it makes me feel awkward when he says it. I've jokingly brought it up to him, and he said that saying "my soon-to-be ex-wife" is too long and personal, and that "ex-wife" is inaccurate.

Am I overreacting? I consider myself a pretty cool cucumber, but this is getting under my skin.


Reluctant Mistress


Dear Reluctant,

Before your cucumber gets pickled, it's time to have a chat with your "husband."

His use of the word "wife" could mean nothing at all - it could just be an off-the-cuff, conditioned way of referring to the person he married. (Plus, he's right: "Soon-to-be ex-wife" is just too much.) However, continuing to use the phrase "my wife" may also indicate that he's not ready to let her go. In which case, what is he doing with you?

Regardless of his reasons for using "wife," his language is bothering you; therefore, it's time for you to stop "jokingly" bringing it up and let him know how it makes you feel. If he likes and respects you, he'll change his vocabulary or share more with you about his emotional state. Either way, his response will give you more insight into where you stand.

Hey, here's an idea: Why doesn't he try calling her by her name? Because, honestly, if he's saying "my wife" while on a date with you - whatever his reasons - that's just plain tacky. Reluctant, follow your gut on this one. Dating a guy who's going through divorce is difficult enough - one who won't give up the ghost of the old relationship is worse.

Good luck,


Did you appreciate this story?

Show us your ❤️ by becoming a Seven Days Super Reader.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

More by Mistress Maeve

About The Author

Mistress Maeve

Mistress Maeve

Mistress Maeve wrote a weekly advice column on love and lust from September 2007 until January 2014.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Latest in Category

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2018 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation