My Ex-Husband Has a Girlfriend
My friend used to ask me how I would feel when my ex-husband started dating. Would I care? Would I be sad? Would I feel a tinge of remorse? Maybe even a bit of jealousy.
I would always tell her the same thing.
“Jesus Christ himself could come down and tell me my husband had changed. And I would say, ‘I believe you, thank you very much. But I’m not interested.’”
But now it’s the moment of truth.
The once fictional question has become real. My ex-husband has a girlfriend. This person exists. She’s now with a man who I once believed I could never live without.
I know this because he texted me a picture of her. Like I was his new-found buddy. I’m not sure if this illustrates forward movement or reinforces I made the right decision to divorce him.
Or if it simply falls under the category of ‘you can’t make this sh*t up.”
I chose to leave my marriage.
However, when you end a relationship there is still a true sense of loss.
With any grief, you tend to romanticize someone. Especially with the passage of time. I did this for many years even as my marriage was failing.
But my ex-husband did terrible things during an excruciatingly long and unnecessary five-year divorce.
This, in turn, beat any of the lingering feelings out of me.
Therefore, there would be no romanticizing.
No fleeting ‘what if’s.’
But there was something more.
I would have no need to dislike the woman he gravitated towards. Because she would be me.
Let me explain.
One day I was at lunch with several friends. They were exasperated by pre and post-divorce men behaving badly. Let alone who they were moving on to date. They asked me, “Why does this always happen to some of the most caring and kind wives?”
I explained to them it wasn’t just kindness that lands women in my position. There are plenty of kind women who are happily married. It is kindness with an extreme lack of boundaries. A person who lacks any self-protective mechanisms and rarely sets limits and puts themselves first.
But I also told them this.
I will probably like the woman my ex-husband ends up with. I am certain she will be caring and compassionate.
A selfish man (person) will once again gravitate towards the only thing which balances his need to take. A woman (person) with a compulsion to give.
History often repeats itself in post-divorce dating.
In my case, the man who plays the role of the golden boy and who came and went as he wished, will meet another fixer and pleaser. An individual who will continue to allow the world to revolve around him.
This isn’t always the case. Relationship mistakes don’t have to repeat themselves. Some are interested in learning and growth. Some are not. In my case, I had a spouse who resisted self-reflection.
I embraced it, but believe me, I still fear I will attract myself to the same similar personality.
Technically this is my ex-husband’s second girlfriend but the only ‘public’ one. His first relationship was kept a secret. You can figure out why. He was divorced while another may not have been that readily available. Once my kids heard through the grapevine it was unsettling, to say the least. If my kids are upset then I am going to be upset.
My ex-husband interpreted this as me caring. Somehow thinking I still have some unresolved feelings for him. I do not. I am a mother. If he is going to date, my kids shouldn’t hear rumors through town gossip. They are smart enough to understand why it was a ‘secret.’
So this would be the first ‘official’ relationship.
I thought I would care but I don’t.
I mean, I didn’t think I would be over the top upset, or sad, or jealous, or anything like that.
But I thought I would feel something.
But nada, zippo, zero.
Perhaps it’s because I stayed too long in an unhappy marriage, perhaps it’s the way he hurt our children, perhaps it’s because I fully accept who he is, or perhaps it’s because I’ve had enough counseling to genuinely heal.
Either way, I am grateful.
Girlfriend number two looks lovely.
I have no reason to dislike her.
If anything, I wonder if she will understand what she’s getting herself into.
Kind and caring people are typically too busy giving, to understand what is being taken from them.
Especially when the taker is hidden within a charming and pretty package. Compassionate people are filled with too much empathy to see anything but the good in others. An ageless naivete that makes them far more susceptible to one they never saw coming.
Do I wonder if she will figure it out on her own?
It’s hard to imagine that as we age, even the most innocent don’t become more wide-eyed. But she may not ever become the wiser. This is her journey to take. Not mine.
I’m no longer interested.