Believe it or not, I was upset with my ex-husband for over two years.

He kept referring to me as “his wife,” even though we have been divorced for over three years.  I couldn’t stand it.

But I didn’t say a word.  I didn’t want to make him feel bad or embarrassed, even though I was cringing and exploding inside.  

The resentment grew and I didn’t want to be around him.  Why would you need to be around him you might ask.  You got divorced.

Good point.  But since he had moved in with my mom (that’s a whole other story resembling a sit com entitled “My Ex Husband Lives with my Mother), I would see him regularly when I went to see my mom.  

My mom and I would be in the kitchen having a nice conversation, and I’d overhear him on the phone talking to his friends in the next room.  “My wife this,” “my wife that.”   Or, in public, he would introduce me to people as his wife.   It triggered me into an angry, resentful, bitter person that I was not proud of.  But I didn’t know what to say.  I didn’t want to completely alienate him from my life.  We are family, even though we aren’t married anymore.

But finally I couldn’t take it anymore.  I decided to say something to save myself, even though I didn’t know what the outcome would be.

“Look,” I finally said.  “I want to tell you something, but I don’t know how.  I’m kind of nervous.”
He looked at me closely.  “Go ahead,” he said.  “I’m listening.”

Before the words could come out, I started crying. 

“Go ahead,”  he said.  “It’s ok.”

I took a deep breath.  

“I really hate it when you call me your wife.  I’m NOT your wife.  I didn’t want to embarrass you in front of people, but I really HATE IT!!!  Please don’t call me that.  I’m your EX-WIFE.”

“OK,”  he said.  “I won’t.”

And that was that.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was.  And my anger and heaviness and dislike for him lifted.  My resentment disappeared.  We had a nice conversation and my affinity returned.  

I returned to a freer self, just because I was willing to say what I didn’t think I could say.  And, I can’t believe it took me two years to do it.


  • Hilary Arnow Burns

    Hilary Arnow Burns, Creating Life in the Present Moment

    Graduated from Wharton Business School, Hilary pursued a career in management consulting, ending up on Wall Street during the 1989 crash. "It was certainly exciting," she says about her time at Drexel Burnham Lambert. From there she found her way to many entrepreneurial ventures, ending up as a District Sales Coordinator at AFLAC. She has always loved to entertain, empower and acknowledge people and does so through her writing and speaking. She specializes in memoir and poems which tell a person's unique gifts and story.   She has published her first book, "The Second Piece of French Toast," available on Her website: GettingRealwithHilary connects you to her YouTube channel and blog.