Marriage Problems — with my EX Husband

fighting

I’m learning as time goes on that when you have kids, you really never truly get divorced. Having children with someone means that you’re forever connected to this person, like it not. And well, since you’re divorced, chances are you’re heavily in favour of NOT liking it.

And oh, some days, you dislike it a lot more than others. For sure.

There is an ebb and flow in my relationship with my ex husband. We have periods of harmony, where everyone respects everyone else and things go well. Great, even. To the point where I feel lucky to have the relationship with him that I do. Then, eventually, conflict arises. We butt heads. Things get ugly. There is a push-and-pull. More often than not, I give in. To keep the peace. Or because I get tired. Or because past history tells me that no matter what, I am never going to win. There is then a “cooling off” period where we retreat to our corners, lick our wounds, and avoid one another for a bit. Eventually interaction is required and we are both cautious, but eventually we come back around and reach the point once again where everything is harmonious. And on it goes.

Looking at this objectively, I see that this is the exact same pattern we had in our marriage.The issues are different, the boundaries may have changed a bit, but the pattern has remained the same.

It was unhealthy ten years ago, when we were married. But now that we’re divorced? It’s downright insane. And it’s got to stop.

I realized this week that for a very long time, CBG was actually dating my ex’s wife, if that makes any sense. Sure, a lot of it had to do with the fact that he lived so far away and so wasn’t an active part of my everyday life, but a big part of it was me….and inability to draw clear boundaries and to shift the dynamic of my family unit. Sure, my ex will always be a part of my girls’ family, but he’s not a part of MY family anymore. My family unit continued to be me, our two girls, and their dad, with CBG on the periphery of that. And that, my friends, is a recipe for disaster. THAT is how remarriages and blended families fail.

Things have been shifting, slowly, in the last 6-12 months or so. Slowly, my family unit has been changing, to be about me, CBG and our girls. Sure, my ex will always be a part of our girls’ family, he is their dad, after all. But he is no longer a part of *my* family, and it’s high time that I started structuring my life around this fact. And that’s what I’ve been doing. And guess what? My ex has been pushing back against some of these changes, and conflict has been the result. I generally do my best to avoid conflict if possible, but I’m starting to see that conflict is often a part of restructuring the boundaries in a relationship. And there are some major renovations going on in my life right now.

Because even though CBG may have dated my ex husband’s wife. I sure as hell don’t want him married to her.

12 Responses

  1. Doing very much the same thing myself!

  2. THis is such a great, post. I had to pause to evaluate myself as a result. I don’t want Sean to marry my ex’s wife either. I think this has sparked a post in me. Will link back to you as my muse, of course!

  3. I think this may be the exact thing that ruined my relationship. It was as if he had a seperate life that involved him, his daughters, and his ex and there was never any communication or even a little bit of trying, to blend us all together and leave his ex out of it. It was like we were two different families living in the same house. The fact that the two of you are willing to work on it (not just you) and are communicating, means that you will be just fine.

    • CBG and I had an excellent conversation about the whole thing last night, which really helped me to clarify matters. The whole thing is very much a learn-as-we-go process, for sure.

  4. Wow. That’s a really great realization there! And yes, we are (sadly) married to them forever, if we have children together. Wish my ex’s new wife would understand that. But ANYWAY…

    I stand in awe of how you both communicate. I see good things for you two!!

    • Ah, T, here’s the thing, I don’t think we should be still “married” to our exes. They need to be our business partners in raising our children, and that’s it. I don’t think that a relationship any more than that is realistic or healthy.

  5. Wonderful post.I’ve noticed for me , many times the worst relationships I enter into , whether its personal or professional, always exactly mirror the worst relationship in my life. My parents’ relationship.My childhood was very chaotic,for a number of reasons, and as I get older I consciously seek out only certain relationships, foster them, make them grow instead of repeating the same mistakes, expecting different outcomes.Its very liberating to know myself so well.

    • For me, I need to make sure that I don’t keep making the same mistakes with the same people — in this case, my ex. However, despite how much it stinks for me to do this, I’m definitely learning a lot, which is helping me to grow and become a better person.

  6. I completely agree with this. As long as I was still the woman my ex was married to my relationship with my now husband was doomed to fail. I chose to become HIS wife and that was when we were able to get married and enjoy the success and healthiness of our marriage and new life together.

    • It’s all a big learning experience, isn’t it? I’m glad to hear that you made the best choice for your present marriage and create a new life together. It’s tough, but it can be done.

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