Today marks the day of what would have been my 24th wedding anniversary. We’ve been divorced four years now, and I haven’t really even taken notice of that date in those four years, but this year feels different. Perhaps it’s because I’m more in tune with my feelings, due to my writing. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been dating all these guys that are less than desirable. Perhaps it’s because my ex is now remarried to another woman. Whatever the reason, I feel in many ways closer to finding love, but still trying to work through the process of truly letting go. Letting go of twenty years with this person (despite being happier without him) and letting go of the pain that he caused.
My ex-husband has been serving overseas in the military since January. Right before he left he had a quickie wedding without telling anyone. Not me, not our kids, not even his mother. I have to say, I wasn’t shocked…I know that man better than he knows himself and I knew he would marry this woman before he was deployed for a year. My daughter found out through Facebook and came to me worried about my reaction. Like I said to her, “I’m not surprised”. At first it bothered me a little, but we had found out about his engagement a few months prior (on Facebook as well) and I knew I just had to accept it.
I always told myself that when he moved on and found someone new, I wanted us to all get along. I wanted it to be cool between us to avoid any jealousy or awkward moments on the occasions where we had to be together for the kids, like soccer games, or graduations, or weddings. I still want that. I don’t believe in holding on to resentment or being competitive with the new spouse. It only causes you anger and bitterness. I saw it with other couples after divorce and I didn’t want that for me or my kids.
That said, there are two things that have bothered me. One of which is that he kept it from the kids and although they laughed it off and made jokes about how secretive their father is; I knew it was bothering them. My daughter has only met her new “stepmother” twice, very briefly. The boys on the other hand spend a little more time with their father, so they have hung out with her plenty of times. My ex has NEVER mentioned a word about her to me. Not one syllable. That being the case, why the hell would he then have the decency to let me know that he was going to marry her?!
I decided that I had to say something to him, so I wrote a very kind text that started by saying, I wish him the best, but that I felt he should have told the kids because they feel as though they aren’t a part of your life. I told him that they need their father to be close to them and keeping a secret like this from them was hurtful. He apologized profusely and said he didn’t want us to find out that way. He said it was a difficult thing to tell them, because he didn’t want the kids to feel like he had betrayed their mother and he didn’t want to hurt me again. Ain’t that a bitch?! Or bitch move should I say? Listen, I don’t want to bash my ex…. that is not my intention. He really is a good man…but seriously?!
As much as I tell myself I don’t care that he has moved on, I guess I do. How could I not? I was with him for most of my adult life. I find myself resenting the fact that he has found love again and I can’t even find a guy I want to go on a second date with! Why the hell does the person who tore my heart apart, get to fall in love again so quickly and I’m still here licking my wounds four years later? It’s not right! I hate that I found myself upset when I saw pictures of them traveling to places I’ve always wanted to go and resenting the fact that she is young, pretty, and thin and according to her Facebook page…she seems to be a really cool chick. I’ve worked so hard at getting over the hurt and pain of the divorce. I’ve worked so hard at keeping things cordial between us and I still do.
Seeing your ex with someone new hurts, no matter how much you know in your heart you are much better without them. It makes us feel abandoned and alone all over again. It reopens the wounds we thought had healed. The funny thing is that it’s not even about wanting them it’s about them moving on and getting over you. It’s the human condition of feeling replaced and expecting them to long for you until the day they die.
The second thing that really bothers me is seeing pictures of her with my in-laws. Listen to me…”my in-laws” … but they were my family for over 20 years and even though we still keep in touch, and we still love each other very much—she is now a part of their family and it kills me. I know it’s not healthy to feel jealous and competitive, so I’m trying really hard to accept it and let it go, but it still stings a little.
My point to this little rant of mine, is that the journey through getting through your crappy divorce is just that—a journey. It takes time and it doesn’t end after a couple of years. The wounds are there and they always will be. You just have to be aware of your feelings and let them pass. The pain resurfaces every so often, because you will always miss the family you once had. You will reminisce about the good times and lament during the holidays, remembering when you were all together as a family. It doesn’t mean you’re not over them or that you want them back, it is just the process of letting go. I work every day at letting go. Letting go of not having someone by my side telling me everything will be alright, letting go of having someone to hold me at night, letting go of someone to make me feel loved…hell, letting go of someone to mow the lawn!
No one ever tells you how hard it is going to be. No one ever talks about the times when your alone in your room and tears fall down your face because you’re feeling sad and lonely. We mask the feelings with “divorce parties” and the attitude that you’re better off without them, but in all honesty it’s a process of mourning a loss. The loss of your best friend, the loss of your lover, the loss of the dreams you shared together, the loss of feeling loved. It hurts, but it does get easier as time passes. It’s just important to really feel those emotions and work through them. Don’t get stuck in sadness, anger, and bitterness like so many people do. Accept the loss. Accept the pain. Accept that this person served as a great teacher in your life to show you things about yourself you needed to learn. Then let them go. Love will find you and a new person will teach you love like you never thought possible. But first, you have to let go.