Last night I had an interesting conversation with my ex’s new wife. I’ve jokingly referred to her in the past as my Sister Wife, as when I was still legally married she was the one who ended up taking me to the ER when I broke my foot. We both had to listen to the nurse say to me “Oh, your husband will have to treat you well this Christmas” when, of course, my husband was my ex and living with her. It was awkward and horrible and now, frankly, it’s very funny.
My ex and his wife had asked me to switch the holiday schedule in the custody agreement and, well, I’m not proud to say this, but I lost it. I Big Time lost it. You could blame it on just returning from a pretty emotional trip to New York, or blame the intense pain I was under because I needed a root canal. Blame the stress of realizing my bank account was really, really low; blame that my boyfriend is having job troubles and that freaks me out. Blame my hormones; blame the moon; blame the stars. Blame Glenn Beck just because. Mostly, I just blame myself. I felt like they’d asked me to (yet again) change my life to fit their needs, and because I didn’t matter and wasn’t important I should just do it.
And I got angry. Really angry. Angry enough to call my ex and yell at him and cry and tell him all the horrible things he’d done to me over the year. It went something like this: “Do you know what it felt like to have to take a picture of you and your new family on Halloween when we’d only be separated for a few months?” and “How could you bring the kids over on the day you got married when you were all still dressed up? Why couldn’t you at least have the decency to change your clothes so I didn’t have to see you in your wedding outfits?” Pointless stuff really. He didn’t say anything. He just listened. And then he said he was sorry.
Then that evening I wrote a long email. I pointed out all the ways they’d hurt me again. I threatened attorneys getting involved and possibly sending Mothra over to their house to get them. Did the venting, evil email make me feel better? Not really.
What did make me feel better was talking to my ex’s new wife. Boy, that’s a clunky way to refer to her. Let’s just call her Abby. My ex stayed home. Abby and I have decided to do the scheduling because my ex and I just can’t seem to communicate, part of the reason we’re divorced. So Abby and I went through the email and she asked me to be specific about what they had asked me to change over the year. I gave her details. Some she knew and disagreed with, some she didn’t know. What became clear as I talked to her is that I’m still angry at my ex for our years of miscommunication. I’m also angry about this year of divorce since he remarried so quickly with 4 new stepchildren, it feels as if again he’s more important than me. When we were married, his work and life were more important than me and anything I wanted or needed and I felt invisible. In our divorce, his new family is more important because there are more people. I’m just a single mom with Louis and Simone; he has a wife and (now) six kids. So, again, I feel invisible.
Abby said I should work on forgiveness. Now, if she’d said this to me earlier, I would have told her to go, er, have intimate relations with herself, but I didn’t. Why? Because she’s right. I have spent so much time and energy and emotion feeling hateful that’s it turning me bitter. You know those crazy dried-up apple faces they sell at arts and crafts shows? I feel like that’s who I’m turning into. It takes a lot of energy to be hateful.
The question is…how do you forgive? I’m not religious so I can’t turn it over to a higher power. I can only turn it over to myself. That’s tough when you’re neurotic because when you turn something over, you re-turn it and then analyze it and then get mad and then….it’s exhausting. But can I forgive? Can I let go? Can I move forward? Can I?
At what point do you stop feeling angry about the life that you don’t have and just focus on making the life you do have better?