It’s bound to happen. Some day, your ex will remarry, and when that day happens, you may feel a surge of random emotions. That day for me was last Monday. While scrolling through my Instagram, I saw a series of pictures my daughter had posted of my ex-husband and his current girlfriend at City Hall exchanging rings. It was weird. And weird is still the only appropriate word I can come up with. It was shocking, of course, because it was sudden, they had been together only a short time, and he had told my daughter he would never get married again. Weird.
Trying to figure out how I feel about it is actually more difficult than I thought it would be. A few things I know to be true:
- I’m totally over him, so I didn’t feel sad in any way
- My first concern was for my daughter now that she has a stepmother
- I’m not in any rush to marry myself, but I feel like I’ve lost a competition I didn’t know I was a part of
- It’s over, it’s been over, and I’m glad it’s over
- Why do I even care?
As I have been pondering his surprise nuptials, here are seven things I’ve realized.
1. It’s Okay To Feel Weird About It
Yes, it’s weird. It’s been 4.5 years since I walked out, never looking back and not one second of regret in my decision. But seeing your ex putting a ring on someone else’s finger comes with a feeling that’s difficult to put into words. I don’t have feelings for him (other than negative ones, I suppose), but I do have a feeling of loss. It’s a loss similar to the loss you feel right after the divorce, when you are sad that the ideal is completely gone. As a child, you have a picture in your head of what marriage and love should look like. When that fairy tale-esque picture is shattered, you feel like you’ve lost your innocence. The weirdness comes when your ex remarries and you realize that the ideal you held when you got married to your ex, really is gone forever.
2. Remember That It’s Not A Competition
I’m an extremely competitive person. I like to win, and when I found out my ex got remarried, I felt like I lost, like we were competing against each other for something. As mentioned above, I am not in any hurry to get married and still am not. But it feels like, with him getting to the alter first, he ultimately won in the divorce. (Which is as ridiculous as it sounds, but nonetheless the feeling is there). I had to remind myself that it isn’t a competition, and the “prize” isn’t anything I want.
3. Avoid Feelings of Resentment
A feeling that I had to immediately squash was feeling resentful that I worked hard to make our marriage work and worked hard to “get him” to be faithful, and now some other woman is going to reap those benefits. (I didn’t say all these feelings made any sense, mind you). Resentment just leads to bitterness which all just holds you back from moving onto much better things in your life!
4. Avoid Negative Thoughts
This one I have much more of a struggle with. I tend to think negatively so my first reactions when I found out were, “good luck and good riddance.” I think part of me wants to hold on to whatever dignity I have left after the marriage and after his actions destroyed my self-esteem. A part of me feels like me letting go of the negative thoughts towards him and his new marriage is me absolving him of his wrongs against me.
I’ve recognized this as part of the forgiveness process, which I blogged about here.
5. Be Happy For Him
In the photos, my ex looked really happy. Good for him. While typically, I am happy when people are happy, the resentful part of me that hasn’t fully forgiven him wants to shout, “He doesn’t deserve to be happy!” That is ridiculous and selfish of me to think of anyone, but nonetheless, the sentiment is there and something I’m trying to work on.
6. Discussing The Subject With Your Kids
This was the number one important thing to me. I wanted to know what my 11-year-old thought. This woman is her new stepmother, and so I wanted to be sure that my daughter was okay with that. Immediately I texted my daughter and asked how she felt about it and asked if she was happy with the new marriage (she was). When I picked her up after the weekend, we spoke about it at length, and I am assured that she is happy and content. That helped me be okay with it, too.
7. Discussing the Subject With Your Ex…or Not
Depending on your and your ex’s relationship, you could discuss the new marriage with your ex and offer up your congratulations. If your break up is amicable, let them know you are happy for him and wish him the best. My ex and I only communicate if it concerns my daughter. I am happy with that dynamic and, therefore, unless it involves my daughter, we won’t ever have a need to discuss him and his new wife.
Having your ex remarry can still only be described as weird. It’s an influx of feelings that caught me a bit by surprise and as I process through them, I’m sure I’ll discover more things about myself (and most likely that I still have a lot to forgive). But onward in this divorce journey. I know that I am not alone and know that you, my dear reader, are also not alone. For those that have been there, comment below with your experience. Was it weird for you, too?