by Sheila Brennan~Recently I had a drink with my ex-husband. I was on vacation with friends and he’s in between jobs. I was visiting near his transitional home. If someone had looked into a crystal ball and predicted this, I would have suggested that they look again because it wasn’t me in the picture, for sure!
Back in the early years, I had no desire to meet him for anything, breakfast, tea, snacks, coffee, wine, cheese, or after dinner drinks. Our marriage didn’t end amicably and the process of divorce shredded any sense of camaraderie that we felt towards one another.
When I told my friend I might see him, she suggested that he pick me up at the airport and return to the ocean side pool for the afternoon of stories and laughs. Not what I had in mind. I didn’t want to spend the day with my ex-husband. I was only reporting that I may be meeting him for a drink.
So we went to a really great spot and had margaritas on a Tuesday! We forgot about the bad weather we left in the northeast and we forgot about the bad times we’ve had. It was just us sitting at the table like back when we were dating at 21.
Our kids are grown and living with other people. We are at a great stage of life. We are both still single. He told me about his older sister and brother and the surgeries they’ve had, on hips, knees, eyes, etc. and that he was concerned that this may be in his future. I pointed out unusual moles on his neck and suggested he see a doctor, after he lost his “I’m not working and living in south Florida” tan. We laughed and I’m sure I shed a few tears. We are old friends. Actually, I am the oldest friend he has. He doesn’t have any childhood or even high school friends as his job took him far from home base. Besides his siblings, it’s me who has known him the longest.
When I returned home, I shared the experience with a old friend who replied, “It’s taken a long time to get to that point.” I thought her response was interesting. I didn’t think it had taken us long at all. It was never on my “to-do” list to become his friend. I felt strongly that he gave up that right when he hurt me. I didn’t need or want to include him in my circle of friends. And I felt it was a huge accomplishment in my life that I had moved to a place of forgiveness and acceptance and caring. He shared that he had been told that I would soften with time. He grieved the loss of my support. I never knew that.
We get so wrapped up in what we’re feeling in our divorce that it’s tough to put ourselves in our spouse’s position. I’m now a believer that it’s hard to be left but it’s also tough to leave. Ending a relationship, short or long, friendships, partnerships, marriage is hard on everyone. We think about the pain we’re experiencing and not the impact to others.
I don’t regret being angry at my ex-husband! I needed to do that to break the ties that kept us together. He wasn’t my oldest friend but he was certainly one of them. We made public promises to one another, we had two children, we built two houses, we adopted a dog and then he walked out. It wasn’t ok. I’ve come to terms with it. I’m glad to have him in my camp and out of enemy territory. We have nothing to argue about any more. It’s a good place. And I’m happy to be there.