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Top Ten Signs You Might Be Dating an Ex-Wife

1. She’s flat-out terrified.

2. She has no game whatsoever. This girl not only fails to remember to wear hot underwear, but she will also strike up a conversation while perched on your toilet (just to PEE, of course—she’s still a lady). She may also discuss her cycles with you, regardless of whether you happen to be trying to eat lunch at the time. Come to think of it, this girl is not really for the faint of heart.

3. She doesn’t want to get married. She doesn’t want to get married. She doesn’t want to get married. Do you hear her? Because she doesn’t. And if you want to, like ever, like even when everyone involved is ninety-eight years old and a marriage would be really beneficial purely for estate distribution purposes, you can just move along, buddy. You may think you don’t want to get married. But deep down, you might. You might. Don’t you go getting all mushy in the eyes, because she’s watching you as one watches that possibly zombie-bitten, expendable character in the mall, waiting for you to turn.

4. Every story she tells involves this one guy who occupies her every mental diorama in a neutral but persistent manner. It’s like that game where you add “in bed” to everything, except you add “with my ex” to everything. “This one time, in Iceland (with my ex) …” “So I was at Baskin Robbins (with my ex) …” “And anyway, so there I was, wearing my wedding dress and standing in front of a pastor, ready to exchange eternal, lifelong vows (with my ex) …” Sorry. It’s not intentional. You’ll probably have to get used to it. If it helps, pretend that [FILL IN EX’S NAME HERE] was a … I don’t know, a golden retriever or something. Doesn’t that make it more fun? “This one time, I was at a bar, making out (with a golden retriever) …” Okay, so it doesn’t work in every context. Or maybe it does, depending on the bar.

5. She loves her cat. Listen, that cat may be a dumb little critter incapable of actual emotion, but that cat was THERE for her. Don’t judge. Bonus points if you feign affection for the cat even when the cat is clearly resentful of your very existence. Oh, man, the divorced ladies love their cats. If you have any idea what you’re messing with, and if you value this relationship at all, you’re a cat person now. Aren’t you. AREN’T YOU. Are you sure? Because if not, she could just shut the cat in the bathroom so he doesn’t bother you … No? Good answer. Goooood answer. Now lie still … very still … shhhhh. The cat doesn’t like it when you interrupt the nap he’s taking on your face.

(She loves her rabbit, too, but he is not the resentful type and he does not nap on faces, so it’s not really an issue.)

6. Did she mention she doesn’t want to get married? She is just checking.

7. She hesitates to admit to you. The next time she and you run into someone out in public that she knows, could you crawl under the dinner table a little faster? And next time make sure the toe of your shoe isn’t sticking out under the edge of the tablecloth, will you? Otherwise, people will think you’re her boyfriend, and then they will ask questions, and honestly, she can barely ask herself those questions right now, much less field them from someone else. How are you at imitating a potted plant when cornered? Fantastic!

8. She’s … a little oversensitive to domestic conflict, and possibly somewhat paranoid. Did you just look at the wet towel she left on the floor in a disparaging manner? Did your nostrils flutter slightly with disdain? What do you mean, you don’t know what she’s talking about? Your eyes definitely shifted toward it a little. More like a twitch, really. Your eyes TWITCHED toward it. And your nostrils, they flared … or at least they opened slightly, oh so very slightly, just one tiny and almost undetectable step in a time-lapse photo collection of a flower blooming. And she saw. SHE SAW.

9. She is highly averse to planning for the future. What do you mean, what does she want for lunch? Are the two of you even going to be dating by lunch? It’s only ten-thirty. You want her to be your date to a wedding in two months? Oh, that’s precious. She could be eating monkey brains out of a bowl in some third-world country in two months for all she knows. Life is unpredictable! You never know! Just trust her on this one!

10. Her expectations can be a little … unreasonable. What, you didn’t know that you’re supposed to bring her a fork with her grilled cheese? You didn’t even MAKE her a grilled cheese? You keep forgetting that she doesn’t watch television? You don’t stick her keys in the fridge next to her lunch so she doesn’t forget her food in the morning? You didn’t realize she can’t sleep under a mere SHEET like some kind of … an animal … in the woods … who has found a sheet and is sleeping under it? You didn’t realize that she vastly prefers Cherry Coke to plain old Coke? Good grief, you are TERRIBLE at this game. What’s your name again? Actually, scratch the “again,” just … what’s your name in the first place? Nevermind–the two of you can talk about this later, once you’ve run to the store for tampons.

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