Why Am I Upset That My Ex-Husband Remarried?
I Was Solid with the Decision to Divorce Until My Ex Remarried
Mary wrote and said: “ My husband and I divorced, two years ago, after thirty years of marriage. He spent half of those years cheating on me. By the time I asked him to leave, he had notched up about ten women with whom he had sexual affairs and those were the ones I knew about. Who knows how many more affairs he had? I was solid with my decision to end my marriage and never looked back. That was until last week when I found out that he remarried. Since then, I have been very depressed and shocked that my husband is now someone else’s husband. Why do I feel this way?”
Before I jump into the answer I gave to Mary, I want to be clear that I am not a <<psychologist>>, marriage counselor or social worker. Any information I gave her was based on the numerous conversations I have had with women, just like her, whose husbands remarried leaving them to feel as Mary did. I began my response with commending Mary on knowing when to leave the marriage; a marriage that was full of infidelities. She took the matter into her own hands, determined that her husband had contaminated the marriage by being unfaithful so many times to the point of no return. I agreed with Mary that ten known bed buddies, during their marriage, was a complete disrespect of their vows. Mary was very proud of her decision and has never looked back with any regret.
Why did she have that reaction to her ex-husband’s recent nuptials?
So, the question is why did she react the way she did to her ex-husband’s recent nuptials? Again, my answer is rooted in what I have learned from many others who have been given the same news. How could someone not have a reaction, similar to Mary’s, at the news that their ex-husband of thirty years, has remarried? Thirty years is a long time to spend with one person. In fact, Mary’s marriage took up the space of her entire adult life.
Although Mary’s ex-husband cheated during their marriage, it wasn’t all bad. They shared a lot of good times in the span of thirty years. They have a daughter whom they raised together. They bought a house together, took many vacations, had family dogs they raised from puppyhood until they got old and traveled over the Rainbow Bridge. Mary took care of her ex-husband’s mother when she recovered from heart surgery. (Mary attested that her ex-mother-in-law recovered nicely and is a spry woman who no one can keep up with!) With tears in her eyes, Mary spoke of the six miscarriages she had suffered before they were blessed to have their daughter. Mary said that outside of her husband’s basket of affairs, they got along well and had many things in common.
Divorce is about more than just dissolving assets
As Mary spoke, I could think of one word and that was history. Broken marriages are not just about dissolving assets, custody agreements or deciding who lives in the marital home until it is sold. Broken marriages are about leaving history behind; a history that was supposed to be until Death Do You Part. When we marry, we envision ourselves living our lives with our spouses through decades to finally land together as an elderly couple who looks back on a life well-lived, full of joys and tears; one that was shared together in one book.
Divorce changes the ending of the book we write, by cutting it short of many chapters. When one of the parties remarry, the story of the book not only changes, but as Mary said she felt “Cut out of her ex-husband’s life forever as though she never existed.” Then Mary said what I have heard divorced people, whose former spouses remarry, say many times before and that was that she had been replaced.
I thought about Mary’s comment and why she felt the way she did.
There is no way her ex-husband could ever cut Mary out of his life. Every time he looks at their daughter, a reminder waves that Mary exists. As for replacing Mary, her ex-husband did that in small increments, during their marriage, every time he bedded down another woman who was not his wife. There is no replacing Mary now. He was a divorced man who met someone whom he has chosen to marry. Mary’s response to the news of his recent nuptials has to more to do with Mary’s feelings about her marriage and her future rather than whether or not her ex-husband is remarried.
I couldn’t help but share with Mary something we private investigators say all the time and that is “The best prediction of future behavior is past performance.” I think Mary’s ex-husband’s new wife has a long road ahead of her wondering where her husband is and who he is with. Mary’s future has a bright light.
When an Ex-Spouse Remarries, It Can Feel Like You Never Existed
I cover more about moving on after divorce in The Divorce Recovery Ladder Guide.