I’ve been working on a story for a different site. It takes place while I was married. As with most events during my relationship, my now-ex husband plays a role, and I would be remiss to leave him out of the story. At the same time, it doesn’t feel right to refer to him as my husband (since he isn’t anymore), nor my ex (since he wasn’t then).
Oh, semantics, I love you. Really, I do. Every word matters.
For the stories I want to tell about our shared past, I’ve decided to adopt the term “then-husband.” It doesn’t define our relationship as it was then by the way it is now; it doesn’t compromise either side of our relationship. He was my husband at the time, and in the story I want to tell, he was doing a particularly good job at it, though the story isn’t really about that.
[Something about dead horses…I have other things to write about, but I try to share those in more public venues. This is my little corner for the stuff I still don’t know how to navigate in full public view.]
I’d like to have a less contentious term than ex for the present tense. (Former husband might work for those.) (Not that the subject comes up very often.) But for those stories I want to honor from the present, separate perspective, I think then-husband is fair from both sides.