Tuesday, January 5, 2016

When your long-time ex-husband's new girlfriend banishes you to the outer rim

"What you remember about a relationship often depends on how it ends," Marcia Reynolds, Psychology Today.

BY JULIA ANDERSON
First some background. My ex- and I married in 1968. We were from different cultural backgrounds and from opposite sides of the country. For both of us, the grass was definitely greener. After 13 years, three kids, eight moves and a business failure, we divorced in late 1982. It was my idea. I went on to have other relationships and a full-time journalism career. There was sorrow on both our parts, and anger about the divorce. But for the kids and because we cared about each other, we never stopped speaking. Until now.

Over the years, we’ve seen each other at numerous events for our children (two sons and one grandson). My ex- has been to my house, I to his for the holidays, for visits. Last year we spent several days together when he hosted a ski weekend for all of us at his timeshare condo. The expedition included my husband.

In the past year, we’ve spoken weekly about our kids. Last spring I bought a house from him so that he would be financially free to relocate closer to our older son and our grandson. All his stuff is still in the house. So far, so good. He’s 73. I’m 69 and married.

In the past few months he’s apparently fallen in love with someone who appears threatened by former relationships including his ex-wife from his second marriage that lasted 20 years.

Through a couple of abrupt text messages and a short written note, my ex- is telling me that we now are done. No more touching base, no more conversations, The real shock was at Christmas when he and his new girlfriend (who I’ve met…she’s been married twice) returned a Christmas present along with a note saying, “the past does not belong in our relationship.”

And further, he would “prefer to not talk about the lives of our children on a regular basis” unless there’s something urgent. “I would prefer to talk directly to the boys when necessary,” he said. “Thank you for your understanding.”
Ouch!! This is from a man who has a generous loving heart, who has always included me in his thinking about the kids and who has been collaborative when it comes to helping them get ahead.

This is a 48-year relationship. He is the father of my children and someone who I have always thought of as a friend, if not part of my family. The best ex-husband that someone could have. And at this point, a close friend.
This banishment feels mean-spirited, hurtful and controlling. Please, we’ve been divorced since 1983. Why should she make an enemy when she doesn’t have to?

My friends also wonder about my ex-. Why would he go along with this edict if he were in full control of his faculties? Maybe his recent angioplasty procedure did something to his brain, they wonder.

I see no option but to suck it up. If that’s the way it’s going to be, then so be it. But will we no longer celebrate our children’s birthdays together. How about the grandson…two parties….one with us, one with them?  Who’s going to write his obit or settle his estate when he dies? His kids, or her? We live in a community property state. Has he thought about how a late-in-life relationship works when it comes to assets? (He's a medical professional). Is she going to have him spending more money than he should? Hey it’s his life but this does have implications for our children.

Darn it. This came out of the blue and actually really hurts. I've had friends drift away and felt sad. There have been other losses in my life that have caused heartache. But at this stage after all these years there's also comfort in the relationships that have endured. I’ve always told my friends that I loved the guy, I just couldn’t live with him. OK, I suppose the girlfriend has smelled that out. Who knows what he’s told her.

 Hey, even though I'm almost 70 and married, I'm being dumped. Don't we all have ex-spouses? Don't we still care? I do.

It isn’t just me…he’s not supposed to speak to his second wife, either. We’ve been banished to the waste land of the outer solar system never to be spoken of or spoken to, again.

According to the experts, what you may remember most about a relationship depends on how it ends. After 48 years, this one is ending badly. Frankly, I was happy when I heard that he’d found someone to share his life with. It never occurred to me that she would need to put at stake through the heart of past relationships, those that has lasted a lifetime, until now.

Maybe I am not the one to question this new relationship but maybe he should be.

For more:
When ex objects to your new girlfriend, split the difference. click here.
8 Expert Reasons to Finally (and Permanently!) Lt Go of Your Ex, click here.
3 Keys to Ending a Relationship with Dignity, click here.
Ending a relationship, click here.
Better Endings, click here.
14 things to remember after you've been dumped, click here.
How to get over being dumped, click here.

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