Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Waltzing off into the Sunset

I have three close friends, all of whom are divorced, two female and one male. My guy friend's ex-wife initiated a divorce from him in the fall of 2007. Their divorce was finalized in March, 2008. She started dating at that time and remarried March, 2009! She is moving out of state at the start of August and taking my friend's 11-year-old son with her. It was extremely fortunate that the company she works for in Chicago just so happened to have an opening in their office in the state her new husband resides. So she relocated without having to look for a new job. She and her new husband also just bought a house together.

This situation irks the heck out of me for a number of reasons. It so reeks of unfairness that I want to scream! For one thing, ex-wife isn't a knock-out or anything special in the looks department. She once weighed 240 pounds and has acne scarring on her face. She did not go to college. Apparently she has lost some of the pounds but isn't thin. I suppose that isn't what gets me upset. And these factors shouldn't matter (but somehow they do).

What really gets me is that since her son has been an infant, her mom resided with them and provided the childcare she and my guy friend needed to be working. Grandma also bought them the lovely four bedroom home they lived in. Needless to say, grandma also cooked, cleaned and shopped. "Not that pretty ex-wife" never had to parent on her own, manage a home on her own or even shop or clean by herself. She never had to arrange carpooling or to take her son to the emergency room or doctor's appointments on her own. AND SHE ONLY SLEPT ALONE FOR A YEAR!!! Excuse me Universe - but there are a heck of a lot of women out there handling it ALL on their own and sleeping in their own beds. And they're tired and want to be loved again by someone.

"Not that pretty ex-wife" took away all the spots ahead of her - she didn't pay her dues - she cut in front of the line! Maybe it is harsh and unfair for me to think of all of this (and I've never even met her) but she doesn't seem to deserve another shot at happiness so soon after her divorce without having really suffered much, if at all. This woman hasn't been much of an active parent, with my guy friend and grandma handling far more of the hands-on parenting. So not only does she get to waltz off into the sunset to her new life, but she gets the kid too!

The one aspect of all of this that is the most glaring is that she never really had to sleep alone. Just a year. It is going on six years for me (seven if you count the year my husband was in the hospital most of that time). In terms of all I've had to live and survive through, my number should be the one called for some happiness right now. Not some woman who selfishly is tearing her only child away from his dad and kicking out her mom so she can do her own thing.

Maybe I need to take her lead and be more selfish myself - when I had that chance I ended up losing my second husband because I chose to care for my dying Mom and concentrate on my sons. Why doesn't that count for anything? I'm living at a low economic level, no one is sharing my bed and we're faced with moving into an apartment (so I'll have to get rid of over half of our current possessions). This woman's new house has a hot tub and six acres of land. Just doesn't seem balanced, right or fair in the grand scheme of things. But what, if any of the past years since my husband's death have been?

Maybe what I am trying to uncover in all of these words is that "Not so pretty ex-wife" doesn't seem as deserving as me or the other widows out there who have been pulling more than their weight. It is hard not to compare oneself to someone who hasn't had to endure as much struggle and hardship and seemingly has an easier life.

Today I am grateful:

1. For the opportunity to see one of my son's pitch and the other catch together in tonight's baseball game, which they won.
2. For the compliment one of the moms said to me tonight, about how handsome and nice my boys are. I replied that I thought they'd turned out pretty well and she told me I'd done a good job (ON MY OWN!).
3. That we did receive an offer on the house today (and the house has only been listed a week).
4. For my youngest son telling me that living in an apartment will be better for us because we don't need all the room in our current home.
5. For having a good girlfriend to call and talk about the house with - and hearing her tell me that everything I've done in the last year has been accomplished on my own without the assistance of anyone. And that I should be proud of myself.


  1. i am so glad to see someone else vent on what my daughter and called "The Blessed" of this world. i don't know how many times i've privately railed and screamed at the fates that gave all to some and nothing to others except maybe an interview on what i affectionately think of as the Book of Job talk show.

    they tell you "life isn't fair" but they don't tell you how to cope with it when you have everything taken away, or your one shot at happiness and peace lasts for as metaphorically long as flash paper in your hand, and then devastation. loneliness. longing. sadness.

    venting is good because it's pure poison sitting inside you. get it out. let it out however you can in any positive way you can.

    i used to get those form letters at Christmas from my cousin. "Yes, we've all had a wonderful, rambunctious year with little Timmy and Bobby. Our house is paid for. The boys made straight A's except for that one C in gym because Timmy fell in the river and Lassie didn't get to him before he broke his arm. My husband loves me so much and men just whistle when I walk by. I guess it's those new $300 highlights I just put in and the fact that I lost so much weight. Because I've got this attractive new body (thanks to that $200 an hour life/training coach I had) my wonderful husband is taking me to Paris for Fashion Week to buy all new clothes."

    or something like that.

    I wrote her back. "Hi, lovely to hear from you by way of a form letter you sent to 10,000 people you barely know so you can rub your good fortune in their faces. I'm finally leaving a heinous marriage where my husband didn't sleep with me for 16 years and blamed it on my lack of skill. But he did touch me to break a few bones like fingers, a tibia so i can't say he didn't EVER touch me. i'm living in a motel with the kids because he took everything - the bank accounts, the 401K, stocks, my car, and the house. But i finally found a lawyer who didn't think i was completely stupid to walk away from a 20 year marriage to an abusive man simply because he cleared 6 figures a year so i guess i'm finally going to get screwed."

    i haven't heard from her since. btw, she's married to who is now a state senator so i'm guessing she might be just as miserable in one way as i am in another.

    no one gets through life unscathed. it's just folks like us get a little more opportunities to prove our mettle than others.

    please hang in there. have a drink. i overindulge in Shirley Temples but i can't handle liquor. just remember that once we had everything. for a one brief shining moment we were truly loved and some people live their whole lives without ever seeing that in someone's eyes.

    i wish for you to have everything good come back to you.

  2. It might look as though some people are "blessed" but the reality is something we can never truly know without walking in their shoes.

    When I remarried, I got a lot that "you haven't paid your widow dues" stuff and frankly, it irritated because these were people who had no idea of where I had been in life. Suffering isn't dues. It's simply life. Some of us will suffer a lot and some not much or at all. But whether we find the life we can be happy/content with is probably more in our hands than most of us realize.

    It's good to get your feelings down in words sometimes. There is clarity in it.

  3. It is not easy seeing others move on more easily and quickly. All of us want to be as happy as possible with minimal suffering. My point in my observations was the difficulty in seeing a non-widowed, divorcee having an easier time of life. This woman has not had to go through the trials a widowed mom faces. I'm happy for anyone lucky enough to find love again. It would be nice if some of the pie was cut a little bigger for those of us still waiting for that.

    It is very tough to get through life on one's own with little support and under tremendous financial hardship - we don't even have a working t.v. set. Those of us facing these issues need to shown sympathy and support. Just getting through the day and trying to parent my boys in a positive manner is an achievement for me right now. I'll deal with "feeling happy/content" with my life later.

  4. I have seen this happen over and over--while I, a fairly nice person sat alone---the bitches of the world seemed to get the best men. I have continued to wonder, why do men seem interested in women they can never make happy?

  5. Well, realistically, happiness or good fortune or whatever we call it isn't like a pie, where one person's extra helping takes away from someone else. The amount of available happiness in the world for you and me is the same whether Ms. Not-That-Pretty stays single or gets married or wins $100 million at Powerball.

    All that said, I can definitely identify with being jealous at how easy some people appear to have it. For me it's not about remarriage (I don't want to get remarried) but financial stuff -- I worked my way through college while friends were supported by their parents, raised my daughter in apartments while friends bought houses, and now I'm approaching 40 and can't afford to get my air conditioning fixed while friends are remodeling their homes and taking vacations. I know I should be grateful for everything I do have, and I am, but it still irks me that I've had to scratch and struggle while other people have had the path smoothed for them from the beginning.