Friday, January 22, 2010

I'm Living Another Woman's Dream

Though I sometimes feel like my life is a nightmare that I have created, I realized that I am living another woman's dream. That woman is my husband's ex-wife.

He dated his ex for nine years, meeting within months of starting college. It sounds to me like they were happy together in those early years, but I find it odd that he never asked her to marry him in all those years. When they were in their late-20s, she issued an ultimatum of sorts and that resulted in their wedding. Hindsight being 20/20, he knows now that being forced into a marriage is never a good idea. But he was relatively young and he didn't want to lose her, so he married her. They were married for eleven years. Curiously, they never had a child in the entire 20-years that they were together.

My husband's ex-wife wanted children very much. She wanted to quit working and concentrate on getting pregnant and then stay home to raise their little ones. My husband kept putting it off, saying that he just didn't want kids. Well, that's not quite the full story. He indicates that he was afraid that they would end up divorced and that's the main reason why he refused to enter parenthood with her. They did end up divorced, so I think his reasoning was sound.

They had what might be the only truly amicable divorce in history. They didn't hate each other. They didn't fight all the time. Neither of them was unfaithful. But she walked out one day and they began divorce proceedings.

They are friendly to this day. They call each other on their birthdays and a couple of times throughout the year. He occasionally visits with his former mother-in-law, who still calls my husband her favorite son-in-law. I have met his ex-wife and, while I didn't think she was particularly friendly, she seems to be a decent woman. I've met her mother several times and she's a charming lady. We even introduced her to our son and she was smitten with my husband's little lookalike.

His ex remarried not long after the divorce. Though in her 40s, she tried desperately to have a child. They spent untold thousands on several rounds of IVF. When it became clear that she would not have a biological child, she focused on adoption. Sadly, that path to parenthood was also blocked. About a year after my husband and I married, she indicated that they were just going to give up all attempts to get a baby. In a passive-aggressive fashion, she blamed him for her fertility problems. And, it's true, she spent her most fruitful years with him. But I hardly think blame needs to be cast in his direction because she could have left much earlier if she was so determined to have a baby.

She called my husband at some point just before I delivered and mentioned that his mother must have given up hope of ever seeing a grandchild from him. She was stunned silent when he replied that I was weeks away from delivery. They haven't spoke much since then and I think I can understand why. But he was talking with her the other day and casually mentioned that he'd been working six and seven days a week for months. She indicated that I must be exhausted without him around because I have to work and care for the baby. The conversation ended shortly after he revealed that I do not work because I care for the baby.

I don't have any ill-feelings toward my husband's ex-wife. She made terrible choices that robbed her of her dream. I am living her dream with the husband who claimed he didn't want this life. I feel sorry for her.

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