I was feeling a bit nostalgic and went out to check the Facebook pages of friends and acquaintances. I am “friends” with my former sister-in-law and am happy to see her sons and second family thriving. I coasted over to my ex-husband’s page which was light on content and heavily pro-gun and conservative. His views: black and white, not nuanced.
We divorced in 2003 and I believe he remarried soon after. At the time, I was still antagonistic. I put in 20 years supporting his career and moving around the country, changing jobs and managing alone while he was on unaccompanied postings. I managed our finances and our activities. I expected a three income retirement and a chance to be supported while I pursued my own interests. Of course, that didn’t happen and we reached a reasonable settlement giving me just 20% of his retirement benefits (when I could’ve claimed 48.5% instead). He married a childhood friend whose family history of early pregnancy and marrying young scared him off when they were young. When we moved home in 1999, they reconnected while she was divorcing, eventually crossing the friendship line and contributing to our divorce.
We had drifted apart. We wanted different things. We had developed different political/world views. I’m sure he believes I’m the one who changed and I agree that I changed the most. What continues to bother me is he’s living the life he claimed not to want. He has stepchildren; he’s on a farm which includes horses, duck, cats, dogs and who knows what else; and he is part of a demanding extended family. I wanted some of that, but I wanted him to be equally responsible for it. I get the feeling that his second wife picked up where I abdicated by organizing and managing their life together. I’m sure he works hard at his career and physically and financially supports their lifestyle. I am equally sure that she rarely questions his choices or criticizes his opinions. He wasn’t happy when I did that, especially when he didn’t have a good explanation to offer. We all have learned bias. I am highly conscious of that now.
So, I was photo surfing and came across some recent ones that included his parents and extended family. His nephews and steps (his and his sisters) are marrying and having their own kids. My family is shrinking instead. Neither my sister nor I had children. My cousins grew up while I was away moving across the country. My aunts and uncles gravitate to their spouses’ families. If the men that I dated had children, they were adults. The current man in my life has very loose connections to his daughters and former stepchildren. He has grandchildren that we haven’t seen much over the last few years. When I look at that current photo below (they are the couple on the right), I have two instinctive reactions: my ex looks more and more like is dad and I feel absolutely no connection to that person.