Driving to pick up my dog from my ex-mother-in-law’s home, in the first snow storm of the season, after a long weekend in NYC with my best friend and the amazing Betty Dodson, it hit me like a rock, dropping right into my lap. I needed to see “her” and be OK. “Her” being my ex-husband’s girlfriend. My relationship with my ex-husband improved greatly once he moved out after asking for a divorce. But for a few months it was still extremely hard to see “her”, his girlfriend. Now, to be clear, there wasn’t cheating involved. But she was a very close friend of our’s. I felt betrayed by both of them, but it was different with her. I can only really explain it by saying that I always knew she was his friend, and I was more like “her friend’s wife”.
I don’t let these things sit. When I decide I need to do something, I go do it. That day I went to her house and we had coffee. We didn’t discuss forgiveness. We didn’t discuss anything but my son’s reading, which she was helping with. I hugged her goodbye and told her to take care. I knew I would be seeing her again and regularly. It was what was best for everyone, including me. Most important, it was good for our children.
We don’t avoid each other now. She stops by the house with my ex. She is welcome in my home. I see her regularly to go over my son’s reading. We drink coffee. I tell her about whatever is happening in my life. We talk about my ex and can relate about many of his quirks. We have had the forgiveness talk. I have done my best to show nothing but compassion.
Here’s the thing, this wasn’t easy for any of us. Breaking up families isn’t easy. I know it wasn’t an easy choice for my ex. I know it must have been hard for both of them. I can have compassion for that choice. I wanted to make that choice many times over the course of my marriage but I wasn’t strong enough to do it. My ex is a wonderful father. He is a good man. She is a kind person and she cares for our children. I wish them all the best. Most of all, I wish for happy homes for my children. We, all of us, are setting an amazing example for them, on being mature and moving on.
Does it still hurt? Only in the ways of letting go of dreams hurt. I have new dreams now. But I still mourn the old ones.
Why did I do it? Why did I make the choice to forgive? So I could move on.
Leo says it best:
I didn’t need that part of my story any more. I didn’t want to be the victim anymore. And it feels good. I don’t carry that burden anymore. And hopefully they don’t either. I just want everyone to live their best life. This is mine.