My ex is getting married and it hurts like hell!! That’s what I wanted to shout several years ago when I found out my ex was engaged. Not because I wanted to get back together with him, but because of many other emotions stirring around in my head.
I don’t care how much time has gone by or how long a person has been divorced, when you find out your ex is getting married, not only does it hurt, but it is a true shocker, and there are many feelings associated with it, including the feeling of injustice–like unfairness. There is also anger, bitterness, and jealousy–why does he get the happy ending and I don’t? And, an evaluation/reflection of your own life and what might not be working.
I’ll never forget where I was when I found out my ex was getting married. I was sitting in the bleachers watching my son’s 5th grade basketball game, happily cheering him on. I happened to glance over at his girlfriend, who was sitting next to my ex-mother-in-law, the two seeming as chummy as ever. Her left ring finger caught my eye (or maybe subconsciously I was looking) and I saw a diamond.
For the first couple seconds I was having trouble breathing. Keep in mind, I had been divorced for about four years at the time, but still, it was shocking for some reason.
I turned to one of my best friends, who was sitting next to me and said, “See So and So’s left ring finger? Does that look like an engagement ring to you?” My friend slowly and casually turned to get a look at the ring, and turned back to me. In an attempt to make me feel better she replied, “Maybe it’s her grandmother’s.” We both knew that wasn’t the case.
My mind started racing. “My ex is getting remarried and it hurts!!”
When did this happen? How long had the ring been on her finger? Did the children know their dad was getting married? Were THEY trying to hide it from me? When was the wedding? When were they moving in together?
My myriad of questions would turn into days and days of trying to absorb something I already knew, but now had concrete evidence of: my ex had MOVED ON. Big time. Not that I ever thought he still had hopes for us. I didn’t either. But this just seemed very permanent, and took the finality of the divorce to a new level.
I bet if someone did a measurable study, the conclusions would reveal that more men get remarried than women. I think that men who have been married before (and therefore enjoy commitment and monogamy) really want to be married again, which is why so many of them get engaged three seconds after they are divorced(and I don’t mean that in a mean way.) I find that most women, on the other hand don’t mind waiting. Although, there are some women who rush into second marriage.
But aside from realizing my ex actually must have liked marriage (just not with me) there were so many emotions that I would experience in the hours and days following.
First off, I felt angry. Where was the justice in all of this? Was he going to end up living happily ever after with someone else, bringing to his new marriage all the lessons he learned from the mistakes we made in our marriage? Would she reap the benefits of the improved divorced guy? If so, that was so unfair!
I went to counseling for this and here’s what I was told:
A. If he ends up happily ever after that’s great for my kids. B. I was still harboring anger from the marriage that I hadn’t really dealt with yet, so I was pissed off that he was experiencing any happiness. In other words, I felt he didn’t deserve it.
Secondly, I suddenly felt very alone. He was now going to expose my kids to the Brady Bunch type atmosphere, while I was still the single mom (and in a not-so-great relationship at the time). He was going to give our kids a sense of family, while I was Ann Romano. I felt left out, sorry for myself, and insecure.
All that said, here is what started to happen in the weeks following my absorbing this monumental change.
Here’s how I started to feel.
1. Time to get over it, Jackie! What he was doing was perfectly acceptable and normal. We are on entirely separate life roads. While the marriage would affect my children and therefore affect me indirectly, for the most part, his new life was for him to experience, and not for me to think about.
2. At least the girl seemed normal. That’s huge. That could have been a big disaster.
3. If my ex was happy in his own life, maybe our relationship would improve. (Later I would learn that that didn’t happen. In fact, the new wife made our relationship worse, but that’s another article.)
4. Maybe I need to think about my current romantic relationship. Maybe if I was this upset about my ex getting remarried, maybe I wasn’t so happy and fulfilled in my own romantic life. I would learn later that that really was the case. I ended that relationship a few months after my ex got engaged.
The most important thing I realized:
Why did I feel so alone, when I’m not?? I have a wonderful family, two children who I adore, and lots of good friends! And, I didn’t even have my dog at the time! That would have made things even easier.
In closing, remember that no matter how long it has been since the split, seeing your ex commit to life with someone else is a strange feeling. It brings out lots of emotions and old wounds. It can really mess with your head.
The best advice I can give is to focus on your own life and make choices that make you happy. Focus on your kids, on your job, your love life, your friends, and enjoying life. Also, remember that even if your ex is getting remarried, things might be blissful right now, because during the time when people are getting married it always is. But just wait. Second marriages are no piece of cake, and believe me, your ex is in store for many problems down the road. Just FYI, my ex ended up getting divorced gain, if that means anything to anyone.
When you focus on yourself and your kids, and you stop thinking about how wonderful and in love your ex is (because you don’t even know that for sure,) it will help you go from “My ex is getting remarried and it hurts” to “I am not getting remarried and it feels great to live the life I’m living.” You deserve that!