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The Missus and the Ex

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"Oh mate, the missus and the ex! Welcome to every man's worst nightmare."
Mickey Smith, Doctor Who, "School Reunion"

Alice and Bob are in a relationship. Carol, who Bob chucked acrimoniously, turns up at a social event that the first two are attending. Either there will be a fight, Bob will get chucked by Alice, or the two ladies will strike up a friendship. If the latter happens, Alice and Carol will usually bond over making fun of Bob. Either way, Bob will be highly uncomfortable. As the title implies, this is usually a guy's missus and ex, but it can go the other way, too.

Often given a Perspective Flip where the focus is on the "ex" character, who has the added awkwardness of being single where their partner has found someone new. Another possible variant is if Bob and Carol are Amicable Exes, in which case the focus is likely to be on the "missus" (Alice).

Made especially difficult if a Psycho Ex-Girlfriend or The Ex's New Jerkass is involved.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Ah! My Goddess, Tyr was once involved with Hild, the Queen of Hell, and had a daughter, Urd, with her before they were forcibly separated by The Gate of Judgement to the dismay of both. Tyr's current wife, Ansuz, gets along well with Hild and the two are Vitriolic Best Buds who fight whenever they meet but genuinely like each other.
  • More or less the dynamic in Maoyu. The Demon Queen is the Hero's Missus (since their contract is pretty much a marriage in all but name) and the Lady Knight is his Ex (though technically they never were in a relationship, he seems to be somewhat aware of her feelings for him). Much to his horror, the two quickly become friends with each other.
  • Godannar: Late in season 1, Go Saruwatari's ex-lover Mira recovers from a coma after being presumed dead for many years. His wife Anna doesn't recognize the amnesiac woman, so she takes Mira into their home and treats her somewhere between a sister and a daughter. Go's situation only gets stickier when Mira starts regaining her memories and the three aren't fully comfortable with each other until near the end of season 2.

    Comic Books 
  • In one The Flash storyline, Wally West's ex Frances Kane — a magnetic powerhouse with a slight sanity problem — encounters his current lover, reporter Linda Park. There's initial tension, but by the time Wally makes the scene, they're having a good laugh over his dreadful taste in food.
  • In Spider-Man there are several occasions, usually involving Mary Jane:
    • During the "Drug issues", Mary Jane very harshly dumped Harry Osborn, which hastened his descent into drug addiction. Although she later became Peter Parker's girlfriend (and later wife), she did reconcile with Harry and she and Peter became the godparents of Harry's son Normie.
    • Mary Jane always got along well with Peter's ex-girlfriend, Betty Brant, and former crush, Liz Allan (later Liz Osborn). Peter also eventually became friends with Betty's fiancé Ned Leeds (though not too close) and he and MJ served as Best Man and Maid of Honor at the Brant-Leeds wedding.
    • Betty Brant Leeds had an affair with Pete shortly after Mary Jane rejected his first wedding proposal, but on MJ's return to New York (ASM #242), Betty set up a date between MJ and Peter in order to bring the two back together. (Another matchmaker for Peter and MJ at the time was Liz).
    • Flash Thompson, the Best Man at the Watson-Parker wedding, had in the past dated Mary Jane.
    • As Mary Jane was re-established as Peter's love interest after his painful break-up with the Black Cat, relations between MJ and Felicia Hardy were very prickly and competitive, especially during the run-up to the Watson-Parker wedding. However, the two eventually became friends during The Clone Saga after MJ asked the Black Cat for help because she had nobody else to turn to. However, things did not always run smoothly because on some occasions, MJ suspected, not without justification, that Felicia still wanted Peter.
    • After MJ and Peter broke up, she got on very well with Carlie Cooper. When Carlie learnt Pete's secret identity, they settled down to a chat about it, leading Peter - who was nowhere nearby - to suddenly realise his "Peter Parker sense" was tingling.
  • In Kyle Rayner's Green Lantern run, his ex-girlfriend, Donna Troy, showed up at his art gallery showing, leading to tensions between Kyle and then-girlfriend Jade. (Donna and Jade, when they both became Kyle's exes, eventually went on to be teammates in the Outsiders and the Justice League... with further ramifications whenever Kyle enters the mix.)
  • In Journey into Mystery (Immonen), Lady Sif comes to Jane Foster for medical advice regarding Lady Gaea. They easily get along and crack a few puns at Thor's expense.
    Sif: [Thor] is bold, but you and I in the same room would scare him half to death. And rightly so.
  • Star Wars: Doctor Aphra: Doctor Aphra has to deal with a situation like this during the Catastrophe Con arc, when her current flame (Imperial inspector Magna Tolvan) and her hostile ex (Rebel associate Sana Starros) both show up to rescue her from Acressker Prison. As Aphra's prison buddy Lopsat points out, it's extremely awkward. Ultimately, the two don't fight at all, instead bonding over how much Aphra sucks.
  • In Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, Rewind and Prowl's rare interactions are rife with this - Rewind being Chromedome's husband and Prowl his implied ex-boyfriend. Rewind also enjoys making fun of Prowl, and gets snippy with Chromedome for mentioning certain romantically-charged things Prowl said to him in the past.
  • Scott Pilgrim is pretty much entirely about this, as Scott gets in a relationship with Ramona and then has to deal with her seven exes, who have formed the League of Evil Exes.

    Fan Works 
  • Much of the tension in 25m Distance Between Us arises from Peach (Mario's current love interest) meeting Pauline (Mario's ex-girlfriend). The story is mainly from Pauline's POV at that. The two end up becoming friends in the end.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton: During his date with Violet, Danny meets her ex-boyfriend, Tony Rydinger. Despite the awkwardness, Danny still treats Violet well enough that she soon opens up to him.
  • One page of Disney High School had this with Zeus, Hera and Alcmene, at a talent show where Hercules is performing. Unlike in the movie, the comic portrays Alcmene as Hercules' biological mother and thus Zeus' ex-wife.
  • Guys Being Dudes: Arlo runs into this situation on Go Fest Day 2, with Spark as the Missus and Candela as the Ex, in a variant in which the Missus and the Ex were already friends and coworkers without his involvement.
  • In Lucky Number Thirteen, Christian's ex-submissive Sharon intentionally seeks out Ana, the woman he's currently trying to seduce, to warn her about what Christian can be like. Sharon says she knows this is a weird situation, but she feels she has to tell Ana about how Christian treated her before she gets hurt. Ana is initially a bit wary and jealous, but agrees to hear Sharon out They end up becoming quite friendly with each other and Sharon agrees to help Ana break up with Christian.

    Films — Animation 
  • Reign of the Supermen: Lois Lane and Wonder Woman meet with each other to discuss about the events of the last few months, although Diana expected that Lois would come to talk about Superman's death. Diana confesses that she never saw Lois as a rival, because she was in love with Kal-El, but Lois is Clark Kent's true love. They become good friends shortly after that.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played for laughs in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues when Veronica, Ron's ex-wife, meets Linda, his new girlfriend.
  • Father of the Bride (2022): There's apparent tension between Hernan's first wife Marcela and his much-younger second wife Julieta. Subverted in that they get along swimmingly at Sofia's bachelorette party. When Ingrid says she thought they hated each other, Marcela and Julieta say they just pretend to hate each other for Hernan's benefit.
  • In the bio movie Frida, Frida is enraged to find that her new husband Diego has his ex-wife residing with him. But despite initial drunken tensions, Frida and the ex eventually befriend each other, with the latter even giving Frida marital advice. This reflects some Truth in Television with the real Frida's amiable relationship with her.
  • The initial dynamic between Erin, Abby and Holtzmann in Ghostbusters (2016) plays like a (mostly) non-romantic example of this trope. Although not (explicitly identified as) girlfriends, Erin and Abby were friends and research partners until Erin 'dumped' Abby to develop her own career, which led to initial awkwardness when Erin later re-entered Abby's life only to discover that she'd found a new, younger, cooler partner in Holtzmann, who she even seemed to get on better with. Played with in that, outside of the initial bad feelings, Erin and Abby rather quickly manage to rekindle their old friendship and, outside of some initial protectiveness and teasing, Holtzmann never seems that hostile to Erin and actually seems much fonder of flirting incessantly with her.
  • High Noon features an interesting dynamic between the hero Will Kane's sweet, proper Quaker bride Amy (played by Grace Kelly), and Helen Ramirez, a saloon owner with whom he has a history. When Kane goes alone to face off against the film's villains, Helen gives Amy a piece of her mind:
    Helen: I don't understand you. No matter what you say. If Kane was my man, I'd never leave him like this. I'd get a gun. I'd fight.
    Amy: Why don't you?
    Helen: He is not my man. He's yours.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man 3, Pepper Potts gets along quite well with Maya Hansen, whom Tony had a one night stand with.
    • In Eternals, when Dane, Sersi, and Sprite are attacked by a Deviant in London, Ikaris arrives to help them out. After the dust settles, Dane (Sersi's current boyfriend) is quick to realize that Ikaris is her ex.
      Dane: I'm guessing that was the pilot.
    • Done platonically (and hilariously) in the Captain America films, with Sam Wilson (the Falcon) as the Missus, and Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier) as the ex.
    • Thor: Love and Thunder gives a hilarious twist in that the missus is Stormbreaker, a massive-battle axe, and the ex is Mjolnir, a war hammer. Stormbreaker is clearly jealous that Thor is trying to get Mjolnir back and even throws tamtrums, forcing Thor to try and comfort his weapon as if it were a jealous lover. In fact, it's implied that the reason Thor can't stop the Bifrost in the climax is because Stormbreaker is refusing to cooperate out of spite.
  • Somebody I Used to Know: It's all rather awkward when Ally reconnects with her ex, only to meet his fiancee the next day. The two women start off trying to undermine each other, but later genuinely connect.
  • Ticket to Paradise: Paul, Georgia's current boyfriend, is the pilot who flies her and her ex-husband David to Bali, leading to awkwardness on the plane. Paul returns to Bali in the third act, leading to even more awkwardness... especially because Paul proposes, to David and eventually Georgia's distate.
  • Venom (2018): They're not friends, but Eddie is on civil terms with his ex-fiancée's new boyfriend Dan, and Dan turns out to be a Nice Guy doctor who tries to take care of Eddie when the Venom symbiote appears to be damaging his health.
  • In The Gravedancers, Allison is uncomfortable around her husband Harris's former girlfriend Kira, whom Harris is still good friends with. The situation becomes even more tense when Allison learns that Harris and Kira kissed during the alcohol-fueled wake in the cemetery.
  • In The Con is On, Peter is married to Harry, but their desperate financial situation forces him to undertake a con on his ex-wife Jackie, which ultimately involves him moving into her mansion. This then puts Jackie in the same situation: living with her ex Peter, and her current husband, egotistical film director Gabriel.
  • In Stepmom, while the title character and her husband's ex-wife initially don't get along, things get better bit by bit. And when the ex-wife learns she's terminally ill, she realizes that she really needs to improve her attitude so as to teach the new wife to be a good mother to her kids.
  • In Disaster on the Coastliner, Stuart tells Paula that the police are after him because he punched out his ex-wife's new man in a fight.
  • In God Told Me To, Pete's girlfriend Casey meets his soon-to-be-ex-wife Martha, who tells her things Pete never did, like the fact that she had three miscarriages due to Pete's reality warping powers and his desire to not be a father.

  • A man is at a party talking to a friend when he happens to see his wife talking to his ex, heading in his direction, and makes a swift retreat behind a plant. The friend asks him what the problem is, and is told that the wife and ex were just spotted. The friend goes to check... and promptly gets behind the plant as well, saying "Small world".

  • in the Apprentice Adept novel Juxtaposition, Lady Blue crosses over into Photon (posing as her Photon self, Bluette), to warn Stile of a new plot against him. With him at the time is his bodyguard and ex-lover Sheen. Stile has just enough to worry about the potential awkwardness of the situation (the two women know all about each other), when Lady Blue tells her how she has nothing but love and admiration for one who'd done so much to keep their beloved safe. They end up weeping in each other arms, while a confused Stile can only look on.
  • In A Brother's Price, one of the heroes accuses the villain of having stolen her girlfriend, and the villain intentionally taunts her with this. The hero had earlier told Jerin that her girlfriend left her because her face was disfigured, so it is not clear whether the accusation is genuine, or just meant to serve as distraction.
  • Star Wars: Tatooine Ghost: Kitser's wife Tamora helps Han and Leia in their quest and is chagrined when she has to meet with Kitser's ex-wife Ulda in the process. Tamora met Kitser while working for Ulda as a waitress, and there's no lost love between them.
  • The Han Solo Trilogy: Han is nervous about Salla, his girlfriend, meeting his ex Xaverri, fearing it will be awkward or worse. However, they are both civil and soon hit it off, to his relief.
  • In High Profile, one of the Jesse Stone novels, Jesse's ex-wife Jenn winds up being guarded by Jesse's current squeeze Sunny Randall after she's assaulted, and much to Jesse's relief they get along quite well. Sunny is also the person to convince Jenn that she needs to get therapy after it's revealed that she wasn't actually assaulted, just threatened with it, and that she's still not over Jesse.
  • In The Lost Fleet, Black Jack Geary has to deal with having his former lover as his political advisor and ally and his present lover as the captain of his flagship - which they all live aboard. Basically he keeps his head down barring the occasional plaintive plea for civility... which is basically what he'd been doing from day one anyway, because the two of them hated each other long before he'd even met either one, much less started any kind of relationship.
  • Another Christie example comes in the Miss Marple short story "The Case of the Caretaker": Harry Laxton introduces his wife Louise to his "old flame" Bella, now married to the village chemist. Also, the friendship between Louise and Clarice Vane may qualify: Harry is in love with Clarice and murders Louise in hopes of marrying Clarice after she's dead.
  • In The Suitcase Kid, Carol and Simon are both forced to interact with each other's new partners, Bill and Carrie respectively, due to them sharing custody of their daughter Andy. None of them get along well. Bill and Simon tend to get into fights, including nearly getting into a fist fight on one occasion, and Simon tells Andy he doesn't know what Carol sees in him. Carrie doesn't directly interact much with Carol, while Carol often mocks her for being a hippie, criticizes her home and lifestyle, and even calls her a "dirty slut" (it's strongly implied that Simon cheated on Carol with Carrie, though she might also have cheated on him with Bill).
  • In The Supervillainy Saga, Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillain without MercyTM is married to Mandy but his ex-girlfriend Cindy is his chief henchwoman. It causes only minor friction until Mandy is killed and resurrected as a vampire, where Gary and Cindy get back together out of grief. They even have a child together. Then Mandy gets her soul back. Oops.
  • The Tamuli: In a Dead Person Conversation, Kurik's spirit is happily surprised to learn that his wife and the prostitute with whom he had a Heroic Bastard son have met, sorted out their differences, and moved in together as a single family.
  • Tortall Universe: Played with in The Immortals: Daine and Numair aren't in a relationship— they aren't even aware of their feelings yet — but when one of Numair's exes, Varice Kingsford, shows up, it starts getting awkward, and Daine gets jealous.
  • In the Colleen McCullough novel The Touch, the male protagonist's wife Elizabeth and mistress Ruby meet at an event and instantly hit it off. Despite initially resenting each other, the two end up feeling sorry for each other—Elizabeth for having left everyone she knows and loves to move halfway around the world to marry a man she's never met and doesn't love, and Ruby for having to watch the man she loves with another woman while their relationship must be conducted in secret because she's a madam.
  • In the Agatha Christie novel Towards Zero, Neville Strange brings his current wife Kay to visit his relatives at the same time his ex-wife Audrey is also visiting them. Neville actually did this on purpose, claiming that life would be so much simpler if Kay and Audrey could be friends. Actually he's doing it in order to murder Audrey in revenge for her leaving him; Kay's presence is entirely superfluous to his plans.
  • In Warrior Cats, during a patrol Crowfeather, his mate by Marriage of Convenience Nightcloud and their son Breezepelt run into some cats from another Clan, who happen to be Leafpool, who he used to be in a Secret Relationship with, and their son Lionblaze. A fight and a lot of drama ensues.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun featured an exaggerated example. After realising Don had had relationships before her, Sally tracked down Don's ex. The ex then mentioned another ex and so Sally tracked her down. Pretty soon Don was innocently walking in to the Solomon's home to find Sally along with every woman he's ever dated all in one place laughing together (about him).
  • Arrow
    • A Running Gag with Helena Bertinelli. First, Oliver Queen is dating Helena, but their relationship breaks down when she sees he still has feelings for his ex-girlfriend, Laurel Lance. In "The Huntress Returns", Oliver is dating Detective McKenna Hall, who ends up getting shot by Helena, now the Psycho Ex-Girlfriend and specifically referred to as such. Then in "Birds of Prey", Helena takes Laurel as a hostage and as a result ends up fighting her sister Sara Lance, aka The Canary. On getting a close look at the black leather-clad Action Girl in a Domino Mask, Helena guesses accurately that she's fighting Oliver's latest girlfriend this time too.
    • In "Heir To The Demon", Sara Lance is in the same position when her Psycho Ex-Girlfriend Nyssa al Ghul turns up to force her back to the League of Assassins. Technically Oliver is also her ex but it's played this way; and she and Oliver renew their old relationship at the end of the episode anyway.
  • Episode 2.4 of Ashes to Ashes (2008) in which Jackie Queen shows up claiming to be pregnant with Gene's baby. Barely hidden hostility ensues between her and Alex ("are you sleeping with my future husband?"), with Alex looking horrified as Gene proposes, until Jackie reveals it isn't his, and they're best buds.
  • Babylon 5: This becomes an issue at the end of the third season when Captain Sheridan's wife (who everyone thought was dead) shows up at his quarters while he's spending the night with Delenn. As it turns out, Anna was changed by the Shadows, and Sheridan knew it, and both of them were dead by the end of the season. Sheridan would get better in the next season, but Anna was gone for good.
    • And in the fifth season, Delenn is unhappy to learn that Sheridan has arranged for his first wife, Elizabeth Lochley, to assume command of the stationnote . Delenn and Lochley have no problem working with each other, but Delenn is upset because Sheridan didn't tell her about the prior relationship.
  • Badger: In "The Price of a Daughter", Steph's ex-husband Ralph shows up out of the blue and attempts to woo her back; much to the annoyance of her current partner Tom. This subplot continues over the next several episodes.
  • Leonard from The Big Bang Theory deals with this trope in the episode "The Engagement Reaction" when Priya, his current girlfriend, and Penny, his ex, become friendly. He doesn't see a problem with it until Raj brings it to his attention.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In "New Moon Rising", Willow is just starting to slide into relationship territory with Tara when her werewolf ex-boyfriend Oz comes back into town. Things simmer for a good chunk of the episode since Oz, having missed Willow's coming out, doesn't realise that he's in one of these situations. When he finally gets wise, he freaks out and kinda tries to eat Tara. It's a thing.
    • It pops up in Willow's dream in "Restless", where Willow is clearly freaked out by Tara and Oz whispering together and giggling at her.
    • In "The Yoko Factor", Riley and Angel meet and come to blows. It really ends up like a dick-waving competition.
    • The situation is reversed in "As You Were", when Riley unexpetedly returns with his new wife Samantha. Even though Buffy is utterly jealous of Sam, she admits that she can't bring herself to hate her because she's nice and sweet. Buffy and Riley depart in better terms at the end.
  • In Castle, Castle makes the mistake of inviting his ex-wife to stay at his place to help tend to his sick daughter while Beckett, now his girlfriend, also happens to be staying there due to her apartment being fumigated. Needless to say, the atmosphere gets quite tense quite quickly. Beckett and Meredith end up becoming quite friendly, however.
    • In an earlier episode, before Castle and Beckett hooked up, Castle's New Old Flame Kyra Blaine briefly interacted with Beckett. Toward the end of the episode, she went off to marry her fiancé, bade Castle a heartfelt farewell, smiled at Beckett and said, "He's all yours."
  • In at least one episode of Cheaters, the girl being cheated on and the other girl became friends, much to the horror of the two-timing boyfriend.
  • Cheers:
    • An episode has Lilith Crane tangling with Frasier's first wife, children's entertainer Nanny Gee (Emma Thompson).
    • Carla and Nick Tortelli's second wife Loretta were the "striking up a friendship" variant.
  • The Cosby Show had a Thanksgiving Special in which Denise invited Martin's ex-wife to join the family for dinner. Everyone in the house (especially Martin) was on edge anticipating a horrible blow-up. However, when the ex arrived, Denise was genuinely glad to meet her and the two quickly became friends with no drama at all. It was especially sweet to see Martin's daughter, Olivia, spending time happily with her birth-mom and step-mom together.
  • The fourth season of The Crown (2016) has an episode where a newly engaged Diana Spencer meets her fiance's former girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles. She's instantly alarmed about how close Camilla still is with Charles, while she herself barely knows him. The episode serves as a bad omen of her failed marriage.
  • Doctor on the Go features a gender-inverted version in the episode "For Your Own Good". Dr. James Gascoigne's father has been admitted to St. Swithin's Hospital with a head injury, and Mrs. Gascoigne turns out to be an old flame of the Professor of Surgery, Sir Geoffrey Loftus. The elder Gascoigne seduced his future wife away from Loftus while the latter was away on holiday several decades earlier; Loftus and Mrs. Gascoigne have a chance encounter in the corridors of the hospital, their first meeting since their relationship ended.
  • Doctor Who sometimes has this dynamic with current and previous companions.
    • Neither one is anything close to a love interest, but a couple of deleted scenes from "Battlefield" provide an example of the companion not warming up to an older one right away: The Brigadier manages to offend Ace by referring to her as "the latest one", and a line about how looking after the Professor is her job reveals that she may feel a bit threatened. By the end of the serial the Brig has managed to prove that he can be trusted to take care of the Doctor and the two bond over a nice big explosion. In the Brig's case, at least, it's less "mutual hostility" on his part and more "old-fashioned stuffy social awkwardness":
      [after Ace has stormed off in a huff]
      The Brigadier: Oh dear. Women, not really my field, Doctor.
      The Doctor: Don't worry, Brigadier; people will be shooting at you soon.
    • "School Reunion" has the trope-naming instance: Rose and Sarah Jane. They have a funny argument, but quickly become friends. As the quote also shows, Mickey is delighted to see it; mainly because Rose was his girlfriend before she unceremoniously ditched him for the Doctor.
    • "The Sontaran Stratagem": Donna and Martha meet. The Doctor worries there will be a repeat of the events of "School Reunion", but since Donna has no romantic attachment to the Doctor and Martha got over hers, the two become pretty friendly and pick at the Doctor a bit, who ends up wishing they would fight.
    • Amy Pond has a similar conversation with River Song in the fifth season, even though it is not entirely clear just what kind of relationship River and the Doctor have (or will have, or have had). And it's pretty clear that Amy isn't in it for the "long-term" like Rose or Martha might have been. Given that Amy's marriage is a long time ago tomorrow morning, it's understandable. Turned out that River was Amy's daughter, and she knew it, so in retrospect, the subtext is subverted.
    • Another occasion where "missus and the ex" is invoked in almost those terms is "The Name of the Doctor" in which the Doctor's current companion, Clara Oswald (who has entered into an unconventional subtle romance with the Doctor) encounters the Doctor's wife, River Song — who is actually dead, but whose consciousness has been retained inside a supercomputer (long story). The Doctor, when asked by Clara if River is his "ex", replies in the affirmative. Other than an awkward moment in which Clara, who has never heard of River before, indicates she thought River was a man, the two get along fine, and River is directly responsible for keeping Clara alive at the climax of the episode.
  • Occurs in the Drake & Josh episode, "The Storm" when Drake's girlfriend of the week and two ex-girlfriends are at the same house party together. They constantly giggle at each other while saying Drake's name, which makes Drake freak out more.
    Drake: I can't have my current girlfriend and my ex-girlfriend in the same house. You want the universe to explode!?
  • This happened in the Dream On episode "Three Coins in the Dryer". Martin imagined all kinds of craziness about them viciously fighting each other. It turned out that they were indeed rather awkward and uncomfortable with each other, but perfectly nice to each other. Martin's ex-wife only reacted with a friendly detached amusement that they had so obviously been having sex.
  • Played with in Eureka. Sheriff Carter enters the diner and sees (or rather the audience sees) Allison Blake (the missus), Tess Fontana (the ex and the missus' best friend), and Nathan Stark (the missus' ex-husband, and bane of Carter's existence) all sitting at a table waiting for him. Amazingly, he doesn't instantly run. In a subversion however, only Carter and Allison are real. Allison can see Tess, and Carter can see Stark, but neither of them can see both.
  • Happens (in a loosest sense) in the Firefly episode Trash. YoSafBridge is currently married to Monty when the pair of them encounter Monty's war buddy Malcolm Reynolds, whom she had previously married. Like most The Missus and the Ex scenarios, this doesn't work out well for her, however in this case it's because her marriage to Mal was part of a scam and all logic suggests she's pulling some sort of con on Monty as well. She's clever enough to realize immediately that her feminine wiles, however considerable, will also be entirely useless against the "War Buddy" brand of loyalty that Mal and Monty have towards each other, and immediately resorts to pulling a gun.
  • There was an episode of Forever Knight in which Nick, the vampire cop, is about to get hot and heavy with Janette, the French vampire who is his sometimes friend/lover, sometimes enemy going back centuries, and Natalie, his human best friend/love interest/something walks in. There's no explosion, instead Natalie is nervous, Janette seems fascinated, and says to Natalie, "We must get together and... talk." We see the look on Nick's face and it's clear that this is not an idea he finds pleasing!
  • Friends:
    • Ross's girlfriend Emily becomes friends with his ex-wife's wife Susan. He assumes that the interest is sexual because it's what happened last time, and is horrified.
    • Emily and Ross broke up because she wanted him to stop seeing Rachel even as a friend.
    • A running gag is that Chandler's obnoxious Janice keeps showing up, even once Chandler happily dates Monica.
    • After Rachel dumped Barry at the altar, he got engaged to Mindy, who was Rachel's best friend. Barry then got back together with Rachel behind Mindy's back, and when they compared notes Rachel learned that Barry's relationship with Mindy went back to during their engagement. They end up both dumping him at once for being a horrible human being, but Mindy goes back on it.
  • The season three finale of Fringe teases this scenario when Olivia (Peter's girlfriend) and Fauxlivia (Olivia's Alternate Universe counterpart who was pretending to be Olivia when she was with Peter) are suddenly brought together. However, that's the least volatile pair who are suddenly brought together at the same time, and then other stuff happened.
  • This is how the first season of Grey's Anatomy ends, the characters in question being Meredith, Derek, and Addison.
  • On Home Improvement, Jill meets Tim's ex-girlfriend Stacey, whom Tim never officially broke up with. Jill is less than pleased by this news, but she and Stacey get along well enough that it makes Tim nervous.
  • It happens all the time on How I Met Your Mother as Robin and Ted broke up but remained close friends, and later the same happened with Barney and Robin. Sometimes it's a Girl of the Week who's either friendly with Robin or frustrated with Ted/Barney, or she may be a steady girl-friend. The most drastic example was Victoria telling Ted that he has to cut off all contact with Robin or she will break up with him. Ted chooses Robin.
  • In Leverage, we have Sophie and Maggie, with the writers/producers referencing the trope by name in at least one audio commentary in the season four episode "The Last Dam Job". Interestingly, they also tease the idea of Maggie and Sophie being involved when Nate isn't around.
  • In Mad Men, Betty can't stand the idea of Don Draper rebuilding his life with another woman(despite being remarried herself), and she is particularly mean and malignant whenever his new wife Megan is involved or crosses her path.
    • Don and Betty's new husband are hostile to each other at first, but become more cordial(or at least put up with each other)as Don and Betty become more amicable again.
  • Manhattan Love Story: Colin, Dana's ex-boyfriend whom she was seeing before Peter, shows up again at the end of the series. He openly admits that he's trying to get Dana back, which naturally makes Peter defensive but she makes it clear she's not going for Colin.
  • Merlin:
    • Gender Flipped as Arthur and Guinevere are about to be married when Lancelot reappears. Arthur ain't happy.
    • Appears in "Another's Sorrow" when Mithian comes to King Arthur (now married to Guinevere) for help. It's handled quite maturely: Gwen never shows any jealousy or suspects that Arthur is acting out of feelings for Mithian and Mithian never tries to seduce Arthur or cause trouble for the marriage.
  • An unusually non-romantic example occurs in the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and Sharona", when Monk's first assistant, Sharona, comes to visit and meets his new assistant, Natalie. Although neither woman has romantic feelings for Monk, they both care about him and very protective of him, which leads to a lot of friction.
  • My Name Is Earl: At the time of Earl's Accidental Marriage to Joy, he had started dating a woman named Jessie. When Jessie (who works as a receptionist at a bail bond clerk's office) hears that Joy has a bounty on her head for failing to appear in court, she volunteers to bring Joy in, and puts herself through Training from Hell to do so. They meet up, and Earl is afraid things will be ugly... he was right.
  • NCIS:
    • In the episode "Ex-File", Gibbs has to deal with the combination of his current girlfriend Lt. Col. Hollis Mann, his third ex-wife and his former lover Jenny Sheppard. All redheads.
    • Gibbs' friendship with FBI Agent Fornell is complicated by the fact that Fornell married and then divorced one of Gibbs's ex-wives. When Fornell and the ex-wife think about getting back together they both seek Gibbs's advice despite him vehemently insisting that they keep him out of it.
    • Gibbs is none too pleased, as usual, when ex-wife Diane shows up at a crime scene, even moreso when another ex-wife joins her, and looks flat-out horrified at the realization that the two are friends.
  • NUMB3RS: Don Eppes' history causes this to happen a few times.
    • The primary example is Robin Brooks and Liz Warner. Though Liz eventually admits that she always knew that her relationship was Don was really a rebound after Robin broke up with him.
    • An earlier episode has a version of this by proxy, when an officer working a case mentions having known Don's (dead) ex-girlfriend, with Liz being the Missus in this situation.
      Don: Hey, what was that look you gave me when Malloy mentioned Nikki Davis?
      Liz: Right, like, "Why is it all your girlfriends are people you've worked with?"
  • In One Tree Hill, Karen (the ex of Dan, who got her pregnant and then left her) becomes friends with Deb (Dan's wife, whom he met after dumping Karen... and got her pregnant three months later).
    Dan: You haven't worn out your welcome [at the café] yet?
    Deb: No, in fact Karen made me her partner.
    Dan: I hope you mean in the business.
  • In the Lifetime Movie of the Week The Other Woman, a woman and her children dislike her ex-husband's new, younger wife. Until the mother realizes that she's terminally ill, and she needs to befriend the other woman and teach her how to be a good mother. It works and they end up bonding so beautifully — with the mother also giving the stepmother sincere advice on making her marriage work — that the stepmother is just as grief-stricken as everyone else when the woman finally passes away.
  • The entire premise of Reba, where Reba's husband cheats on her, gets his mistress pregnant, and marries the mistress. The highly obnoxious Dumb Blonde mistress wants to be friends with Reba, but Reba doesn't want anything to do with her. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Reboot: Reed's ex-girlfriend Bree meets his current girlfriend Nora. Nora has spent the season paranoid that Bree and Reed are rekindling their relationship and is cold upon meeting Bree.
  • On Rush (2014), Dr. William Rush goes to a medical conference where he encounters his ex-girlfriend Dr. Sarah Peterson. Sarah is there with her new boyfriend Dr. Griffin Wagner. Rush still has strong feelings for Sarah but is trying to let her go so he makes a token attempt to befriend Griffin. Griffin is a great guy and a splendid doctor but he is very insecure about his relationship with Sarah because he heard so many things about the wild and exciting William Rush and knows that Sarah is not yet fully over Rush. After a few drinks Griffin tries to show that he can be as spontaneous and unpredictable as Rush and performs a dangerous stunt that almost gets him killed. Rush saves his life but the two men get arrested. Much to Sarah's chagrin, they end up bonding over the experience.
  • In Scrubs, Dr. Cox comes in to find his ex-wife Jordan chatting to his new girlfriend. He greets them with "Well, isn't this horrible." Earlier in the episode, when Cox rebuffed Jordan's advances because of his new relationship, Jordan is able to instantly guess what kind of a woman she is—"Petite? Dark-haired? Doesn't take any of your crap?"—and later, is genuinely horrified when he ends up doing something to ruin things.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "Galaxy's Child", Geordi has a truly unique case as both the Missus and the Ex are the same person; one is the holographic counterpart of Dr. Leah Brahms from the earlier episode "Booby Trap", the other is the actual Leah. Things get very tense when the real Leah finds the holographic Leah repeating the earlier episode's closing lines "Every time you look at this engine, you're looking at me. Every time you touch it, it's me.", and accuses Geordi of being a Stalker with a Crush.
    • Gender Flipped in "Second Chances" between Troi and the two Will Rikers. Similar to "Galaxy's Child", both the Mister and the Ex are technically the same person; one is the Riker we've come to know over 6 seasons on TNG and had given up on his relationship with Troi to further his career. The other is the Riker who was created by a transporter glitch, stranded on Nervala VI for 8 years and still has strong feelings for Troi.
  • Succession:
    • "Honeymoon States": Marcia may have been estranged from her husband Logan, but she is quick to humiliate his current mistress Kerry at Logan's funeral.
    • "Tailgate Party": Tom's fragile headspace by the end of the night is partially due to his wife Shiv insinuating he'll soon be fired from his high position to Nate (her ex) and Lukas (whom she has palpable tension with).
  • Suddenly Susan, when the titular Susan meets her new boyfriend's ex when she comes by the house to pick up their children. They get along fine, but Susan is unnerved when she notices how much they resemble each other. Her fears prove well-founded—a few episodes later, she stops by the house and finds the woman there, the early morning hour and the Sexy Shirt Switch that she's pulling making it obvious that they slept together. Poor Susan realizes that she's nothing more than a Replacement Goldfish and that he clearly is still in love with his ex and ends things.
  • The Suite Life on Deck: "The Spy Who Shoved Me" has Red Finger whose name is derived from the fact that she accidentally slammed a door on her finger which permanently turned it red.
  • In Two and a Half Men Alan's young, hot girlfriend Kandi starts complaining about him to his ex-wife Judith. They go out, get drunk, and Kandi moves in with Judith. In the next episode it gets worse, or at least weirder.
  • In Season 2 of Vikings, Ragnar Lothbrok takes on the princess and mystic Aslaug for his wife, after conceiving a son with her. Ragnar's first wife, Lagertha the shieldmaiden, leaves him with their firstborn son. Lagertha returns a few times in season 2, and now Ragnar gets to enjoy all the awkwardness of sitting between them at the dinner table.
  • A more tragic example comes from Waterloo Road. An ex-girlfriend of Earl Kelly's showed up and Maxine chucked Earl when she discovered what he was doing to the previous girlfriend's baby (selling it). Maxine was shot dead by the end.
  • A Gender Flipped version on The Wire. In the first two seasons, McNulty and Rhonda are Friends with Benefits - well, at least according to McNulty, anyway; Rhonda, not so much, though she does sleep with him - until Rhonda gets tired of it and dumps him. In the third season, Rhonda gets involved with Daniels, and McNulty finds this out when he comes over to Rhonda's place one night, drunk, and she doesn't answer because she's with Daniels. McNulty and Daniels go to a bar later, and when Daniels tries to apologize, McNulty shrugs it off and says he wishes them both the best. It also becomes an interesting inversion, because while the two of them eventually come into conflict later that season, it has nothing to do with Rhonda, but with McNulty's Cowboy Cop mentality.
  • Happened on The X-Files, though it encompassed a season and a half instead of just an episode. And while Mulder and Scully were not a couple at the time, when Mulder's ex-partner and ex-lover shows up and tries to steal him away, Scully does not take kindly to that. It doesn't help that the ex-partner is evil, and in cahoots with Mulder and Scully's arch-nemesis. Mulder ditches Scully several times for Fowley, and ignores all evidence pointing to the fact that she's evil. Seeing Scully's claws come out, though, made it all worth it.
  • In an episode of Without a Trace when a mobster's mistress and son disappear, the agents are surprised that his wife not only knew about her, but that the two of them were friends, with the wife being a second mother to the boy.
  • WandaVision: Agnes (in reality, Agatha Harkness) lampshades it in the finale when Wanda is saved from White Vision's attempt on her life by her Hex recreation of Vision.
  • Young Sheldon: "A Boyfriend's Ex-Wife and a Good Luck Head Rub" has Connie meeting her boyfriend's ex-wife June (played by Reba McEntire). The two actually hit it off very well and neither woman seems to hold any grudges against each other.

  • Carrie Underwood's "Two Black Cadillacs" is a variation on this trope. A man's wife found out he had a mistress, who likewise wasn't aware that he was married. It's implied that they're the reason the song is primarily set at his burial, though that's the first and last time they ever met face to face.
  • In the song "Trubbel" (Trouble) by Swedish songwriter Olle Adolphson, this pattern is combined with class issues. Working-class A and B are happy together, but then B has an affair with middle-class C. A is naturally upset, but then finds out that B has already been dumped by C. A finds this unforgivable and goes to visit C with a hammer hidden in the coat. However, C turns out to be a genuinely nice person, courteous and friendly, and A is just as charmed as B had been. A and B decide to settle for each other and for being lower-class people. The reason for the ABC routine here is that the lyrics are cleverly written to be not only fairly timeless, but also (with very slight changes) applicable to either gender combinationnote . In the original lyrics, A and C are males; in the most well-known cover they are females.
  • Reba McEntire's "And Still" is about a chance meeting with an ex, reconnecting, discovering that she still loves him as they talk... and then his wife walks up and the two head off together, leaving her alone with "this aching in my heart, saying I loved him still."
  • The Paul Heaton + Jacqui Abbott song "New Fella" is about the realisation that your current and ex partner are both jealous idiots.
    Your new fella's checking your messages,
    Your old fella's parked in your drive.
    They're vying for your total attention,
    Like a couple of under-fives.

  • According to Tony Hawks in a round of Uxbridge English Dictionary on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, this is the definition of "extension".

    Video Games 
  • Happens in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves when Nathan and Chloe unexpectedly run into Elena in war torn Nepal, causing the latter to introduce herself to Chloe as 'last year's model'. However, Nathan and Chloe aren't in a relationship per se (they seem to be more "friends with benefits" than anything).
  • Mass Effect 3: If you romanced Ashley in Mass Effect, then romanced Tali in Mass Effect 2 and bring them both along on the Geth Dreadnought mission, things get, um... tense. Alternately, if you commit to Tali beforehand, both women quickly realize it's a fight that neither wants and instead share eager anticipation in fighting Geth. If you romanced Liara then Tali, Liara mentions that Tali's suit has a built-in vibrator if you bring Liara along (Tali being required if she's alive).
  • Gender-Inverted in My Cafe: Mary is not happy about the fact that her fiance Bill ends up becoming good friends with her ex-husband Ben, enough that he wants the latter to serve as his best man for their wedding.

    Web Comics 
  • Kevin & Kell:
    • Martha is initially horrified to learn that she's been asked to be a bridesmaid for Danielle, who's marrying her ex-husband George, and initially says she will never warm up to her. Danielle, however, gets on her good side by making the dress the same as one she already owns, and the two become, in Fiona's words "unlikely friends".
    • Dorothy starts dating Douglas, also known as D.B. Cooper. When he's found out and jailed for the crimes they can prosecute for (many had passed the statute of limitations) his jail cell roommate is none other than Dorothy's criminal ex-husband, Bentley, who strikes up a friendship with Douglas. It's later revealed that Bentley arranged for that to happen so he can make sure Douglas is good enough for Dorothy. Their son Kevin is actually surprised.
      Bentley: That I'm a better ex-husband than a husband? Why?
    • Dorothy's Vitriolic Best Bud Elanor having an online friendship with Bentley, irritates Dorothy to no end. On the flip side, when Bentley learns they talk about him, he decides he's better off in prison.
  • In Roommates Erik's meet here here. Went slightly melancholic but it ended with mutual respect.
  • Girls Next Door (spin-off to Roommates), James' meet as Funny Background Event here... they won't get along well.
  • In Sunstone, Alan's brings Marion to meet his ex Allison and she wrongly assumes they were trying to set up a threesome. They become good friends for a while afterwards.
  • In a flashback in Girl Genius, Lucrezia is well aware of this trope, and deliberately subverts it. After announcing to Klaus that she intends to marry his best friend, who has proposed to her, she drugs him and sends him away to make sure he can't mess up her future marriage. Since Word of God says he ends up in Skifander, which is a lost city, she wanted to be very sure indeed.
    Lucrezia: I'm afraid I simply can't have you around complicating things. If only by being such a temptation... I'm afraid you really will have to go.

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama, in the episode "Fry and Leela's big fling" Leela's often mentioned ex-boyfriend Sean makes an appearance while Leela is on vacation with her current boyfriend Fry and he with his wife Darlene. The catfight ensues with him and Fry after Fry misunderstands about him stealing Leela (not entirely unfounded due to their rather rocky relationship) and Sean after Fry breaks his reed and won't give him the dollar for a new one. His wife, though stated she wouldn't be against fighting with Leela if they had enough time to do so, simply insults her, remembering how Sean had told her that Leela was crazy and he dumped her. Turns out their "vacation spot" was actually a zoo in a planet inhabited by sentient apes and it's revealed later that this altercation was the whole reason Leela had been invited there as she and Sean had been there when they were together. When Sean arrived with a different woman, they decided to invite Leela back, knowing that she was also in a relationship with someone else, and have the results on display in order to make the exhibit more popular. It worked extremely well to the point where they even sold wigs of Fry's hair
  • Vixen (Green Lantern's girlfriend) and Shayera (GL's ex) get put on a team in the Justice League episode "Hunter's Moon". They end up getting along pretty well.
    John: Why did you do that? [...] Sending my girlfriend and my ex on the same mission?
    J'onn: Difficult as it may be for you to believe, I don't take your love life into consideration when I make command decisions.
  • Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures episode "The Robot Spies": Race Bannon's ex-wife Estella, and his ex-girlfriend Jade, both make an appearance. Save for a few tense moments, it's not as bad as one would expect.
  • Kim Possible refused to admit that she was jealous when she first met Yori, a girl Ron made friends with while attending the Yamanouchi Ninja School. This despite Ron being oblivious to Yori's obvious attraction to him. Later, after Ron and Kim became a couple, Ron broke the news to Yori, who seemed to take it in stride. Later, when Kim and Yori were working together to retrieve a mystic monkey artifact from a temple, they bonded.
    Kim: So, Yori, are you really okay with Ron being off the market?
    Yori: Off the market?
    Kim: You know, mine.
    Yori: I believe Stoppable-san is your destiny, Kim Possible. Like change, we must always welcome destiny.
    Kim: Yori, you sorta, kinda rock.
    Yori: Domo.
  • Ginger from As Told by Ginger invokes this trope in the Thanksgiving episode "Ten Chairs" where she invites Jonas (her mother's ex-husband) to the Thanksgiving dinner where Lois's fiancee Dave will also attend.
  • The Legend of Korra has two notable examples:
    • Tenzin, his wife, Pema and ex-girlfriend, Chief Beifong whose past was so hostile that Lin tried to arrest Pema in addition to causing an untold amount of damage and was still proud of it years after the fact though everyone's at peace with each other enough that Lin was entrusted to look after the former's children when things got dire in the present.
    • Mako ends up feeling awkward and (rightfully) guilty in Book 3 considering how epically he failed with both girlfriends in the Love Triangle, who are now closer than ever while he'd been sleeping under his desk and want him to get over it already to join them as a team again. It takes his brother, Bolin guilt-tripping him over family just to get him out of his funk.
  • The Fairly OddParents! had Juandissimo Magnifico, Wanda's ex-boyfriend, as a recurring character. Needless to say, when he and Cosmo were in the same scene, tensions went high.
  • Family Guy: In "You Can't Handle the Booth!", while the Griffins record a DVD commentary for an episode, Lois finds out that Peter had been married to Sarah Paulson before her, and to make things worse, Paulson herself joins them in the booth because she was in a cutaway gag for that very episode.

    Real Life 
  • The much married Henry VIII faced this dilemma after divorcing Anne of Cleves and marrying Catherine Howard. Anne had been given a generous settlement and the official status of "Royal Sister" meaning there was no reason at all why she shouldn't come to court for the holidays. However, contemporary accounts make it clear that Henry stayed away until he heard that the two women were getting along, only then did he join the party. By evening he was feeling comfortable enough to retire early, leaving his Missus and Ex alone together.


Video Example(s):


Poison Ivy and Golden Glider

Poison Ivy meets Golden Glider outside the Villies, not realizing that GG is her ex-fiance Kite Man's new girlfriend.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheMissusAndTheEx

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