Once my first husband falls in love with someone else, it will be easier for me -- or so they say.
Wife #2: I was never a huge Valentine's Day person. It always felt like a greeting-card holiday to me, more cheesy than romantic. So I'm a bit surprised at myself these days, as I ponder lingerie and candlelit dinners with Husband #2. He's made my otherwise practical-girl persona go soft. And I couldn't be happier.
So this year, since my affairs of the heart are all permanently wrapped up, my Valentine's Day hopes are for my ex. If that chubby little guy with the arrow could just point and shoot in my ex's direction, I'd be eternally grateful.
People keep telling me that once my ex is in love -- or even happily in like -- things will get better. Maybe he'll stop calling me names, maybe he'll let our kids talk to me on his weekends, maybe he'll even be able to have a conversation with me about things like report cards.
Right now, all of that is impossible. There isn't an e-mail from him that doesn't call me a slut -- or worse. My children say they can't phone me when they're with him, because he either doesn't allow it or he makes them feel so guilty they just don't try.
I know I hurt my ex immeasurably by leaving our marriage for another man. But how many years will it be before we can just reasonably co-parent?
Husband #2 is much more Zen about this, though his ex behaves much the same way mine does. As he sees it, anger and bitterness just can't weather the test of time. He tells me over and over that eventually our former spouses will ease up, as they fall in love and move on.
But I'm not so sure. And that's what scares me.
Divorce agreements can dictate how much time we get with the kids, how much child support is paid and who gets what vacation. But no piece of paper can mandate good parenting. It can't possibly be healthy for my children to feel guilty for talking to their mom, but there's almost nothing I can do about it. At the same time, my ex would say it's not healthy for our kids to have divorced parents. And there's nothing he can do about that, either.
I've thought about going back to the lawyers to force some of these issues. And in my most frustrated moments, I still consider it. But legal wrangling isn't the fix. What I really need from my ex is a little bit of goodwill and acceptance. That may never happen if he's always defined by the pain of our broken marriage. And the real tragedy is for our children, who'll grow up watching the father they love actively hate the mother they love.
I want my ex to be happy. I hope he falls head-over-heels with someone who's more what he needs than I was (an amazing cook who's obsessively punctual and not too chatty would work for him). I hope he has bed-rocking sex and belly laughs before and after. I want that for his sake and for our kids'. Still, I can't help but wonder: If love and anger are in the ring together, who's left standing?
|Wife #2 is a writer, mom and expert on what happens when you scorch the earth and leave your husband. She and the love of her life (the guy she left FOR) spend most of their time raising their blended family of five kids and trying to avoid grenades lobbed by their ex-spouses. Her hobbies include reading, working out and occasionally blowing off steam with faithful girlfriends who understand life is too damn short to be miserable!|