Tag Archives: Ex and stuff

Remnants of My Failed Marriage

I’ve been divorced for a month. After waiting so long for all the paperwork and red tape, it all was over amazingly quickly.

Now I need to figure out what to do with the things that remain.

My name: I am changing my last name back to my maiden original name. But I’m going on a trip this month and don’t want to change my passport or driver’s license, so that’s on hold for a bit.

My e-mail address: I changed my e-mail address when I got married to one with my married last name. I still have access to my old one with my original name, of course, but everyone uses the newer address. I suppose it’s nothing harder than setting up forwarding and just starting to respond from the new (old) e-mail address, but I’m sort of comfortable where I am.

My wedding dress: It’s in a plastic bag in storage. I never even got it cleaned and steamed and put into one of those fancy storage boxes. I did wear it a second time, for a Halloween skit at work, but it’s been in a bag ever since. I would love to donate it to Brides Against Breast Cancer, but I need to have it cleaned first and I’d have to actually go to the Post Office, and I haven’t been motivated to take the steps. But I know I should do it.

The wedding albums: So many beautiful pictures, so many memories. I actually had a blast at my wedding. Let’s not talk about how my groom got trashed that night–and the night before–and was totally hung over. The wedding itself was so much fun. But I don’t really see myself sitting down and looking through the photos any time soon. I guess I will hold on to them so Smiley can look at them when he gets curious (if he ever gets curious), but I probably should go through them and put them in archive-quality boxes. I do have a DVD of the images, so I guess I don’t need to keep the prints, but it is so hard for me to throw away photographs.

My ring: This one is really tricky. My ex proposed to me with my mother’s engagement ring. Which was custom designed for my mom by my dad. It has amazing sentimental value because of my parents’ marriage. But now it also has a bit of a tarnished value because of my own marriage. Any suggestions for this one? It really looks like an engagement ring, so I’m not sure about wearing it on my right hand. And I don’t want to re-set the stones because they were custom set for my mom. Hmm.

I also have other pieces of jewelry from the ex that I haven’t worn in ages. They are pretty pieces, but they just remind me of the ex. I had a stone from a previous boyfriend set into a ring, but I don’t need that much new stuff.

I would like to hold a cleansing ritual, of a sort, where I burn a wedding photo and a few other mementos, for closure. I think that would help me feel that it’s all pretty final.

What did you do with your engagement ring or other jewelry from your ex?

The Outlaw, Part 2

(I’d cue “Western standoff music,” but I still have that blasted song in my head.)

As I said previously, my ex-husband’s friends and social circle closed ranks around him after I “abandoned” him.

It was devastating, but I built my own social network by reconnecting with old friends and fostering new friendships, and I got past it.

But a few months later, people started reaching out.

I remained friends on FB with many of the ex’s friends (I still do, even though I’m starting to weed them out), and when one of his college buddies posted about his mother’s illness, I sent him a note wishing her health and luck. He wrote back filling me in and added that he liked me and we shouldn’t split up the friends without checking with those friends. I was flabbergasted. And flattered.

I went to dinner with him and his girlfriend and although they are still close with the ex, we’ve maintained a nice friendship, albeit a bit distant–they are kid-free and partiers, and it’s hard to coordinate. They like the ex, but they also see him without the rose-colored glasses with which his family sees him.

But even some family members see through him.

The ex and I split one of the holidays last year, and there was a lot of drama beforehand over how the handoff would go. He didn’t want me coming into the house and saying hi, but I refused to hand off our son in the driveway like a delivery person. (I did offer to meet him at a coffee shop.) Eventually I was “allowed” to come inside. I was completely ignored by XBIL, XSIL, and XGIL, although I said hi to each of them in turn. But something strange happened: people were happy to see me and chat with me. I like his family. I miss a lot of the extended family and it was nice to see them.

(Funny aside: One cousin’s wife had no idea we’d split up, even though it had been almost a year, and apparently she kept asking where I was. Oops!)

I was getting ready to leave and realized that one of the uncles hadn’t come over to say hi. I wasn’t surprised. He has a reputation of someone you do not want to cross–and he holds grudges like…umm…a champion grudge-holder.

As I started to leave, he came up to me and pulled me aside. I went cold. He talks very softly (which makes him more intimidating), and he motioned for me to come close. He leaned his head next to mine and said, “If you need anything, you just let us know. We love you and you’re family, no matter what.”

I just about fainted on the spot. I am getting chills right now replaying it. This man whom my ex-husband revered was embracing me. I left the house with a great smile and a warm feeling in my heart (puke, I know).

That uncle’s daughter, DC, has stayed in touch with me. She has come over to visit with me, and we’ve gone out for drinks. In fact, we went out again this week. I worried a little about trusting her, since she is on “his” side, but she is smart and cynical and she knows the score. She saw how he treated me and has seen how he treats his parents for years. (But I’m not insane–she doesn’t know the full story of The Writer and me.)

DC may be cynical and a little bitchy (god, I love her), but she is thoughtful. She sends texts on meaningful days and she sends cards to her family. She pointed out that on Father’s Day, XFIL had two cards: one from her and one from his wife. Ouch. She’s the one who gave me the idea for celebrating Grandparents’ Day for the XILs.

She goes out of her way to help her grandmother (same one mentioned in the previous post), taking a week off work to stay with the grandmother when her husband died, and is rewarded by being accused of trying to kick the grandmother out of the house, but the ex and his brother are lauded as angels when they stop by for an hour. The boys have been the grandmother’s favorites for years while DC and her sister are ignored, so it looks like XMIL comes by her attitude from her own mother.

(In fact, during drinks this week, she said that XGIL “thinks the sun shines out of his ass, and it enrages me!”)

Learning more about the ex’s family history has helped me understand who he is and how he became the man he is. I know he’ll never spend the time to examine himself, but I’m better positioned knowing this.

And knowing that other people–who have known him for a lot longer than I have–see him for who he really is and don’t think he walks on water makes me hopeful. Not that his family will turn against him or anything like that, but that my social circle will expand further to include some of them, and Smiley’s life will be better for it.

I’m an Outlaw…

…on steel horse I ride…

Actually, I do ride a motorcycle, but that’s not the point. However, I now have that song in my head, and I thought it only fair to share.

Anyway.

I read a post a few weeks ago at the Post Divorce Chronicles about “in-laws vs. outlaws.” I have most definitely become an outlaw.

My ex-MIL has two boys. Her other DIL lives a few hours away and her family is large and close. XMIL always wanted a daughter and my mom is gone (stupid euphemism, but “she’s dead” sounds so harsh), so it was a good opportunity for both of us. The relationship was never truly comfortable–my ex-in-laws are very different than my parents–but it was nice to have a figure like that in my life. My ex-husband is very close to his family, so we’d go there for dinner often, and we traveled with them. She even asked to take me shopping for and bought me some maternity clothes. I was pretty lucky, as far as mothers-in-law go.

And then I walked out on their precious little boy. My ex-husband used the words “abandoned” and “deserted” in counseling with me, so no doubt he used those words with them. He was the one who translated the situation to his family, and it was apparent.

I wouldn’t ever have asked for his parents to hear my side of the story. I just wouldn’t expect that. And as I mentioned before, he had a very tight family and a close social circle. They closed ranks around him as soon as I left.

That I should have expected, but I was a bit taken aback. Only one person made any sort of effort to keep in touch.

My ex and I committed to coparenting our son, and we worked on a relationship that would allow that, but his family stayed silent to me.

His parents came to the hospital when Smiley was born and completely overwhelmed me when we finally got to our room. It was terrible. His mother did bring dinner to the house once and she took over care of Smiley one day when I was too sick to even take care of myself. But that was the only contact we had for months.

I have reached out, when I thought to. I sent flowers for Christmas. I sent them a Grandparents’ Day card this year. I even invited them to dinner, but they had other plans. (And I tried very hard to believe that, rather than take it personally.)

When Smiley was sick a few weeks ago, XMIL called to offer an extra set of hands, which was refreshing, even if I didn’t need to take her up on it.

The relationship is slowly building. I hope they realize that the better we get along, the better it is for Smiley, but I also understand they only hear one side of things.

My ex is their baby and seemingly can do no wrong. They did not have to be his partner, if I can even call it that. He doesn’t treat them with any sort of respect, but that doesn’t seem to bother them. His mother waits on him hand and foot, and that is what he expected from me, and they didn’t seem to understand why that would have been a problem for me.

And they are products of their backgrounds. Ex-grandmother-in-law (XMIL’s mom) told my BFF’s mom–at Smiley’s first birthday party–that “No one should ever go through what ‘ex’ went through.” Umm…yeah, because what I went through was easy peasy. <deep breath>

But there’s always another side to the story.

To be continued…