Should I buy him a present on his big day, or is my lack of presence the gift he really wants?
I am not invited.
This is not surprising since our breakup was my idea. I remember very clearly rehearsing my short speech for months, and then on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend in 2004 I spit it out:
“I think you know what I’m about to say. We should get a divorce.”
During my months of rehearsing, I imagined that my husband would agree. “Let’s stay friends,” he would say. We would celebrate birthdays together, occasionally go out to a family dinner, and continue to raise our two young daughters as a team.
It didn’t happen that way.
Apparently as absolutely certain I was that he would also want the split, he was just as absolutely shocked that I wanted to leave him. It blindsided him. And he was angry.
To make matters worse, I remarried only 18 short months later. “Tom’s such a nice guy,” I used to say. “It’s too bad he can’t find a nice girl to go out with him.” It never in a million years occurred to me that I might end up being that nice girl. He wasn’t my type, even if I didn’t know what my type was.
It was a scandalously short courtship. And if I was my ex, I would have been angry too, even though Tom and I didn’t have our first date until 6 months after the break up. Our son Jake was born three weeks before our one-year anniversary. We’ve trudged on, building a busy life together with our kids.
My ex went on to have three different long-term relationships. Emily & Mary Belle liked them all. But he really hit the jackpot with his bride today.
She is beautiful. Smart. She has a great job. And she is really sweet. She never had kids of her own, but she loves our girls. This is the most important thing to me, so I am not just pleased – I feel like I won the lottery.
This is her first (and hopefully only) wedding so it’s a very big deal. And this is (again – hopefully) my ex’s last wedding. They’ve been planning the big event for some time, and from what I can gather that the girls have told me, it’s going to be very special. I truly want it to be beautiful and memorable and something far far from freezing.
My ex doesn’t read my blogs. He’s not my Facebook friend. He doesn’t recommend me on Linkedin or follow me on Twitter. Although I see his Christmas card hanging on the walls of our few mutual friends, I’m not one of his recipients. The only connection we have is through our two beautiful daughters. If we didn’t have them, I wouldn’t even have a clue that he was remarrying today.
Maybe by the time our girls have kids of their own, my ex will become more comfortable and want to share birthdays and occasionally go out to a family dinner. I hope by now he realizes that I radically changed from the quiet little insecure mouse who married him into the gal you can’t shut up, and that we were no longer a good fit. He should have already been convinced that I’m a difficult person to live with, and his life must be much more peaceful not having to pick up the pieces of my daily over-commitments. I was merely a 13-year pit stop on the way to true happiness.
My wedding gift for ex husband is this wish: Let this girl be your soul mate, the one you were destined to be with for the rest of your lives. Please be happy, find the best in each other, grow together, and be a shining example to our daughters of the kind of marriage they would aspire to have one day.
What’s the nice thing about my gift? It’s something that you can keep – and re-gift over and over to every bride and groom.