Are we so naïve as to think that our ex-husbands won’t ever find love again? No. Do we secretly pray that they won’t? No. Do we hope that we can keep our version of happy forever? Yes.
I love my ex-husband. Even though it makes perfect sense to me, that fact seems to startle others. “If you love him, why aren’t you still married?” I get the logic. Here’s the thing, though. I am gay. I am a woman who is physically attracted to other women. My ex-husband is a man. It’s as simple as that. I’ve had a few people question why it took so long to come to this realization. That is a valid question and one that is worthy of its own blog. Some friends have offered that he and I seemed extremely happy together. That’s the truth. We were happy. He’s my best friend. So, life with him was pretty easy. Once I realized I was gay (thanks, wife!!), I had a choice to make: a) try to turn that part of me off and continue down the path I had committed to or, b) change course.
I’ve been so fortunate to have a couple of really close friends to process this decision with. You know who you are, but you probably cannot fathom the depth of my gratitude for the support you’ve provided me in the last 15 months. I’ll spare the rest of our readers from the wretched soul-searching that goes along with making this kind of decision. Obviously, I chose option b.
I want to wander here for a moment. Stay with me, won’t you? Let’s say I had chosen option a. It wouldn’t have been the worst thing for me. I was comfortable there. I was happy there. I had an amazing life with a beautiful home, fun hobbies, financial comfort, a fantastic group of friends, a vision for the future, etc. So, that’s all great for me. But, what about him? I’d love to meet a man who would hope that his wife would do him the “favor” of sticking with him once she realized she was a lesbian. How does that conversation go? Him: “Well, dear, I know the package I come in isn’t what you’re into, but gee thanks for talking yourself into it each day! Am I a lucky guy or what?” Her: “Right…”
So, here I am. On a new path. Many parts of my life have been completely tossed upside down. Some days have been enormously difficult and painful- like it’s hard to breathe- kind of days. Others have been exhilarating. My change has ripples, too. Waves, really, when you consider what my choice has meant for my ex-husband.
He has treated me with kindness, respect, and love throughout. If you know him, you aren’t the least bit surprised. I am lucky. Trust me, that is not lost on me. He and I share a vision for how we can parent our son even though we are divorced. Both of us come from divorce. We’ve experienced, first-hand, how children can be affected (good and bad) by the decisions made by adults responsible for their care. If
you know us, this won’t surprise you: we had our first conversation about parenting goals before we were married. We continued to discuss this topic in the eight years leading up to the birth of our beautiful baby boy. The evening I told him that I’d made my decision to leave, we talked again about our son and the life we hoped to provide him. We’ve continued a conversation we started more than a decade ago. Many of the details have changed, but the end goal is the same: surround our child with unconditional love, support, and opportunity. It’s that simple.
When (not if, because the guy is a serious catch) he falls in love, I can predict some of emotions I’ll experience: jealousy, gratefulness, and joy. How’s that for honesty? Of course I’ll be jealous. This man was THE main actor in my vision of the future. I’ve let that go. It will be difficult to watch someone else take the spot I vacated. At the end of the day, that’s what he deserves and what I hope for him. I’ll be grateful. Grateful that I haven’t completely ruined his life. She’ll be the evidence that I made the right choice for both of us. And, I’ll be full of joy. I want this man to be happy. He is the one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. I could never wish for anything bad for him.
Now, here’s the part where I go out on a limb. If you are standing, you might want to sit down. Apparently, this is pretty shocking stuff. My loftiest hope is that this woman and I could be friends.
Is it possible? I believe so, although I don’t have many real-world examples. My mom and step-mother were not friends. My dad and step-dad were not friends. They barely spoke to one another. That seems to be the most common arrangement. Is this the only possible outcome? I sure hope not. If so, it’s pretty depressing, really. Won’t this future-love-of-his-life and I share a few things in common? Won’t we both want only good stuff for my ex-husband? Won’t we both respect the relationship that he has with his son? I mean, how could we NOT be on the same page? And, the best part is that she doesn’t have to worry about me. The jealousy factor has been taken off the table, so to speak. In terms of ex-wife-stress, it’s kind of the best scenario.
And, I happen to know, first-hand, that it isn’t IMPOSSIBLE. I see my wife’s ex-husband (my EHIL) on a near daily basis. He lives around the corner. He shares his kids with me. We do family things together. We spend birthdays and holidays and important childhood events together. This fall, I crashed parent teacher conferences. (It was entertaining to watch some of the teachers try to figure out who the hell I was.) We share meals and laughs and household chores.
I won’t lie, it was a little difficult at first. I moved into the house he bought with her. Many of the things in our home were accumulated during their marriage. He has known her for 20 years and they share all of this history and these inside jokes. His sense of humor is closer to hers than mine is and sometimes they laugh at things that don’t seem all that funny. I used to get frustrated by it all. Then, I realized about 9 months ago that I was getting in my own way over the whole thing. She’s with me. We are REALLY GREAT together. We were meant for one another. I trust that. And, you know what? Once I got past my own insecurities, I realized that I love the guy. He has only added value to my life.
Besides my own experience, I do have one other really great real-world example. My wife has become close friends with my ex-husband. She’s blogged a little bit about it. Their schedules allow them to spend a good deal of time together. And, if you’ve seen them together, their friendship is not forced. It is
genuine. They enjoy each others company. They care about one another. It’s pretty amazing to see. And, there is no jealousy. They both love me and the children and want only good things for our family. And, that, it seems, is enough to overcome the bullshit most adults interject into interpersonal relationships.
I am excited for the two days in our future when each of these amazing men tell us that they’ve found that someone. I look forward to meeting these women and sharing as much of this loud life that they want and are comfortable with.