I empathize with my husbands ex wife’s apparent confusion. In a letter she had written to my husband shortly after she moved out, late spring of 2002, she wrote she didn't know why she had the affair, which ended their marriage, she just wanted some attention. She was jealous of the relationship he shared with his own mother, since he felt the need to confide in her rather than his ex wife.
His mother was helping him through a very difficult time in his life, his wife was having an affair which she had confessed to him Fathers day 2001. If he couldn't reach out for the support from his family, then whom could he turn to? The letter was all about her. There was very little written to indicate that she was trying to think of my husbands feelings too, although she had suggested to him that perhaps they have another child. Maybe the marriage would work then! She had been having an affair, and after having her back twice, my husband felt he had flogged the relationship to death, and his ex wife still continued to be deceitful. How on earth was having another child going to save their marriage?
She wanted for them to stay friends and wished him all the luck in the future. Most of all she wanted him to be happy but in my opinion what she forgot to mention was, yes she wanted him to be happy, as long as he was on his own and he didn't find someone else who could make him happier than she could.. Another indication giving an insight into this woman's ability to exclude my husband from his daughter’s life was, in the said letter, she had written and I quote.
" I am concerned about mine and my daughters future, and the best thing that I can do for her is to not only provide her with love and stability, but also give her the best home, environment and education that I can. Which is why I wanted a fair settlement between us."
So there it was, everything was "I". Not we, or our daughter. The only time my husband got a mention in his daughters future was the mention of money, or settlement, as she so delicately put it. Not that I understand it from my husbands version of their marriage. Even though he accepts he must have contributed in some way for the marriage breakdown, he gives me all the attention I need. His ex wife came back to him two or three times, just couldn't decide or couldn't make the break.
Not long after she moved out, his ex wife arrived on my husbands doorstep sharing a cigarette and slightly intoxicated. Now this was something completely out of character for her. My husband enjoyed a drink and was a smoker too, a habit that his ex wife hated and she had commented that it had been an addiction that was a constant source of hurt towards her. She felt, he was smoking to deliberately hurt her and she believed he didn't care enough about her to stop so he actually got to the point of smoking in secret. So to be intoxicated and then to share a cigarette with him, was she trying to be something she thought, he wanted her to be?
This appeared to be an indication of a woman who felt she had made a terrible mistake in having an affair or was feeling incredibly guilty.
When she eventually left, my husband said he breathed a sigh of relief, even though she only moved around the corner. On a positive note he was close to his daughter as
he and his ex wife shared responsibility. His ex wife had their daughter Tuesday evening till Saturday evening and my husband had his daughter the rest of the week, so living around the corner from daddy left their daughter in familiar territory. Shortly after, my husband received a letter.
I want to write to explain how I feel and to hopefully get you to understand where I am coming from. It is so difficult to talk to you these days without it turning into a row, so if I write, at least this will not happen.
The last twelve months have been, without doubt, the worst time of my life. We have shared our lives for the past ten years and it has become extremely painful to watch this come to an end. I know that I have hurt you and I will be forever sorry for what I have put you through.
I think becoming parents changed us both and it was hard for both of us to get used to our new roles as a mum and dad. Instead of parenthood bringing us together, we both retreated to our own worlds. We were leading separate lives, both stressed and tired. We should have been able to sort out our problems together but instead it tore us apart.
From my point of view, becoming a mum has been the hardest but most wonderful experience of my life and the fact we have a beautiful, happy, contented child is proof our relationship has been worthwhile, although there have been difficulties adjusting to parenthood.
I am totally devastated that our relationship has deteriorated to the extent, everyday is hard to get through. It is hard making this normal for our daughter and it is impossible to concentrate at work. I never wanted us to get to this situation, but I think we have been making each other extremely unhappy. I don't know where our relationship went wrong and I know I did not show you the affection you needed so we stopped being as physically close as we used to be.
I felt increasingly distant from you and although I couldn't talk to you about my own feelings, I always felt you talked to your mum about your problems and you listened to her and ignored me. This probably sounds childish, but I was hurt by how close you were to her.
I feel your smoking has been a problem between us. It may seem trivial, but the way you lied to me constantly and the way you kept starting and stopping made me feel I wasn't an important enough reason for you to stop. Your addiction was a constant source of hurt and anger for me but you didn't care to do anything about it, and I felt you were doing it deliberately to hurt me. I felt increasingly distant from you and often went to bed feeling very lonely and upset.
I accept that all relationships go through phases and that you cannot be happy all of the time, but we did not seem to be able to rectify our problems so we drifted further apart. I don't know why I got involved in another relationship and I bitterly regret the way I hurt you although at the time, felt invisible. Maybe I was looking for affection or maybe I just wanted you to notice me, but all I know is it would not have happened if we had been happy. I wish things had been different and despite everything, I love you and care about you which is why it hurts so much. I feel terribly guilty about the pain I have caused you and hope you believe me when I say I want you to be happy.
I have been very hurt by how our relationship has resorted to arguments over money and assets and I understand why you don't trust me but I have never wanted to ruin you or take anything from you. You have always worked so hard to provide for us but I am concerned about mine and my daughters future, and the best thing I can do is not only to provide her with love and stability, but also give her the best home, environment and education that I can, which is why I wanted a fair settlement between us. Despite what has happened we have a child together who we both love and want to do the best for. This is why it is so important that we stay friends and both participate equally in her life. She loves and needs us both and I don't want her growing up in the environment you did where your parents hated each other. We must do all we can to make sure that never happens.
I miss you terribly and it will be hard not to be with you anymore. I want you to be happy and wish I could have been that person to make you happy and fulfilled but I want the pain to stop and the only way this can happen is if we are apart. There is a constant pain inside me that I don't think I will ever get over but hope it will eventually get easier. At the moment I just feel very empty and close to tears most of the time. I am very sorry about everything and I know the future is scary and uncertain but if you ever need someone to talk to, I hope you will feel able to talk to me. You mean the world to me and I care about you very much.
Love your wife.
So whether his ex wife saw my Husband as a safety net, or she may not actually have wanted the reality of being with him, he was still heavily in her life, until that is, he met me.
On first meeting my husband in the summer of 2002, she found a photograph that had been taken of me, whilst rummaging through a drawer in an upstairs bedroom, so say, looking for a pen. She still obviously treated what was now my husband's home, still as theirs, so her first fear of him moving on with his life was maybe of some concern and unsettling. Perhaps she was in denial but nevertheless found the need to question my husband about the said photograph. At this time, I did not appear to be a threat; after all, it was just a photo. However, as she had been the one to end their marriage, I don't think that she had emotionally separated from him, the letter has confirmed this.
The next was after one of my visits. I had left some of my personal things in the bedroom, my dressing gown, a razor blade and these she noticed. Again he was quizzed. I don't think it was any of her business who he had to stay, but his ex wife had requested he put their divorce on hold, and apart from this neither myself or my husband really knew ourselves where our relationship was heading.
Then came the actual meeting. I was visiting for the weekend and my husbands ex wife made a surprise visit. It was certainly a surprise for me as I'm not sure how she knew I would be there as my visits were infrequent and erratic. Perhaps an evening out the night before with friends of my husband and his former wife led to another loyal liaison between girlfriends no doubt.
The meeting didn't make me nervous but it did give us the opportunity to look each other over. I have no inhibitions and it was nice to see her in the flesh, after all, the only information I had about this woman, was given to me by my husband. She had hurt " my man" and my protective womanly instincts were taking hold.
I was pleasant and invited her in, much to my husbands shock and horror, at which she accepted and proceeded to introduce me to their child, alongside inviting my husband and I to her house that evening for drinks. I accepted being the polite naive silly cow that I am, after all our relationship was in its early stages and we certainly had nothing to hide.
After making her exit, my husband quite firmly suggested that under no circumstances were we accepting the invitation to his ex wife's house where I could potentially be subjected to the ceremonial marking of the ex wife territory dance. He would feel so awkward if she were to show any sort of affection or uncomfortable questioning towards him. The games we play!
By the beginning of June 2003, my daughter and I relocated to live with my husband, in addition to his ex was living around the corner. I actually think that after I moved in, the reality of reconciliation with my husband, or the safety net she thought she had cast, was in fact, never going to happen. My husband discovered the relationship with the boyfriend she had ended, was in fact well and truly back on, so much so, she invited him to move in. So rather than be left alone, was she forced into a situation? Probably my assumption, but from what my husband has told me regarding the break up of his marriage, her new partner, or work college as it transpired, also had a wife and three daughters he was prepared to leave, to begin a new life with my husbands ex.
Due to her returning to my husband undecided whether she should stay and make a go of their marriage or leave because she was confused, left her new partner without his home, wife and family in a rented house supposedly for himself and my husbands ex wife. Evidently he called her a few choice names and he had every reason too! His marriage was in tatters and his bit on the side couldn't make up her mind who it was she actually wanted to be with or whether she had in fact, made a terrible mistake. She certainly got the attention she craved!