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Happy Anniver..............what?

la_dulce_vida's picture

Yes, folks, today is the day that 5 years ago, my relationship with the XBF was escalated from friendship to a relationship, but our "anniver-whatever" has been a bone of contention since the beginning.

Year One: we had just reconciled after a breakup that was directly related to his repeated "honoring" of his late wife and checking out/ghosting for days and weeks at a time (she had been gone 4 years at the time). His behavior was so off whenever there was a significant date (birthday, date of death, anniversary) that I felt like I was on a literal roller coaster. After we reconciled, he used to remind me how I abandoned him and how that was the cause of him struggling to trust me. Hmmmm. Welp, I struggled to trust him because he blew so hot and cold with his unprocessed grief in that first year we were together. I honestly think he felt guilty for being happy and having fun because he had some regrets about how he conducted himself in his marriage. That first year, 2020, he said our anniversary didn't count - that we had hit the reset button, so nothing to celebrate.

Year Two: I initiated the idea of us celebrating our anniversary by going on a bikepacking trip. We had fun, but that was mostly about our trip and, for him, not specifically celebrating our anniversary. He did spring for a night in a beautiful bed and breakfast at the last minute, and gifted me a nice mug. That's the closest he ever got to really doing up OUR anniversary.

Year Three: I initiated (see a pattern here?) the idea of us spending 4 days at my airbnb doing some biking on the trail near my house (where I currently live). Just a day or two before this, he got a call his mom was sick, so he had to run down to where she was which put a kink in our plans. I headed down to the airbnb and brought with me the Scottish steak pies that I had learned how to make for him. I also bought MYSELF some flowers and got him a card. He joined me for the evening ON our anniversary and we had a lovely time. He brought up the topic of marriage (something we had discussed the previous year because he moved to his mountain house full time, 2.5 hours away without including me in the decision, thereby putting us in a long distance relationship). I asked to table the topic since I had just started living with him. He said we would talk about marriage again on our next anniversary.

Year Four: I was growing weary of being the only one who seemed to even care about our anniversary, so I didn't plan anything. I waited to see if he'd remember. You see, he explained early on that he just wasn't good with remembering stuff like that and he and his late wife never really did anything but get dinner and get drunk (nice - not). Yet, he would sink into a blue mood every single year around their wedding anniversary. So, he demonstrated he could remember THEIRS, but didn't have much regard for OURS. I ran some errands for the airbnb then took myself to a nice restaurant for a late lunch because I would celebrate even if he couldn't be bothered. When I got home, he was irritated that I was later than expected because we had talked about going to a plant sale. Then we talked about it and he said that he didn't really see this date as our anniversary. It was the day we decided to start a relationship after being friends AND the first time the deed was done. He said he felt like our anniversary should be our first date which happened 4 days later. He said that we should pick a date - one that's easy to remember. He suggested D-Day. Almost prophetic, no? That date fell during our big vacation to Newfoundland.

He had mentioned trying to have dinner at some fancy restaurant on Fogo Island, but not specifically for our anniversary. But, on D-Day 2023, we spent most of the day driving in nasty, windy weather from the top of Newfoundland to the middle. We were both stressed and exhausted, so I had him drop me off to do laundry at the campground thinking we'd just celebrate the next day on Fogo Island. Except when I got back to our campsite, he was in a mood because I'd been gone for 2 hours (the dryer wasn't drying our clothes). We slept it off and went to Fogo Island the next day only to find that the fancy restaurant requires people to make reservations at least 2 weeks in advance. womp womp.

And in year 4, he never did revisit the topic of marriage and claimed he didn't remember saying that the year before.

So, to recap, our 4 anniversaries meant more to me than they ever meant to him. I mean, maybe they meant something to him, but not enough to make an effort to give me a card, give me flowers, initiate a trip or dinner out.

So, today is just one big nothing sandwich, just like it has been, at least for him, the past 5 years.

The one good thing is that I'm not on pins and needles waiting and wondering if he'll actually take the initiative to celebrate us. I don't have to feel second place to a man who fumbled his anniversaries with his late wife and is now "celebrating" them after she's gone. I even had a thought that MAYBE, just maybe, now that I am gone, he'll finally value me and celebrate OUR anniversary. Some men, and I think he's one of them, just cannot appreciate what they have until it's gone. I like to think he finally loves me because I'm gone.

I'm getting closer to acceptance every day and I'm looking forward to days where he doesn't cross my mind.

Meanwhile, I'm nursing some really sore calf muscles from a hike on Saturday (8 miles) and a 20-mile bike ride on Sunday. Need to do some stretches.




Aniki-Moderator's picture

He has always been a big ol' asshat and was never good enough for you. Hell, he's not good enough for a pet goldfish. xo

la_dulce_vida's picture

Me too. I'm still grieving, but inching closer to acceptance. I feel much better than just 2 weeks ago. I think it's because cycling season is gearing up. I've got a lot of wonderful plans on the books.

I've dropped some weight and bought a pair of jeans 2 sizes smaller than when I was with XBF. I'm also getting some attention from guys, but I'm not there yet. I've got some work to do before I could trust myself to date again.


CLove's picture

yep. I am feeling that.

At least its soreness from something pleasurable! Im sore from picking strawberries (its harder than you think)

thinkthrice's picture

Over how he treated his deceased wife.  Of course they never learn from this and treat you just as bad if not worse.

la_dulce_vida's picture

Oddly enough, I suspect I got a slightly improved version of him. He's been wonderful to me on birthdays and holidays, but this anniversary thing has been a bugaboo from the beginning.

I remember him saying all kinds of stuff in the first year about "locking this down" and making a commitment to each other. He even told his daughter that he was going to marry me when they got together to celebrate the LW's birthday, that first year. He's conveniently forgotten he said it. I call BS, of course.

When we started talking about commitment, he said that a commitment from him was as good as being married. Except that logic didn't hold because our anniversaries were not important to him, but he would observe THEIR anniversary because they were MARRIED. I wanted to shout to him that it's too late. He should have celebrated that anniversary better when she was alive, and focusing on the anniversary of a relationship that has ended while in a new one is repeating the same mistake.

Instead of feeling guilty about how he let his wife down and doing better in his next relationship, he repeated the SAME mistake. And I'm pretty sure he will be doomed to repeat it again and again.

Cover1W's picture

Yeah, he just didn't care very much about you did he?  It sucks you went through it but you've learned so much!

la_dulce_vida's picture

I think he did care. I have a lot of evidence of him loving and protecting me, but he was just prone to inconsistency.

It's not an excuse or a free pass, but I understand the mechanism behind his avoidance and inconsistency. He's a person living in fear, but he's also delusional. He will not admit that he's afraid to be lonely AND afraid to lose his independence. He's shown me he craves love and connection, but as soon as I got too close, he would withdraw. He will never admit he's afraid or weak.

He is ruled by his unresolved trauma and grief. He's not an evil person like my XH2.

Yesterdays's picture

My heart hurt reading this. I too well know how this feels to put more effort and energy into a relationship with someone so miserly. I was always the positive one.. The enthusiastic one, the energetic one wanting to do nice things but met with a man who didn't respond in kind back and that is not a very good feeling whatsoever. (that was my first husband....)

We never agreed on anniversary dates either. I always wanted to celebrate dating anniversary and of course he never wanted that because it wasn't marriage. But I didn't see the big deal.  Why not celebrate being in love anyway? Why not make your partner happy and do something fun.. Even just for the heck of it?? Why be such a miserly, sad fool.

It's not that hard to put some effort in. To show your partner you care. I'm so sorry your ex treated you that way. As if you weren't important 

You rock and you should be celebrated! You certainly deserve someone who is all in with you and loves and cherishes you. Not someone that throws you little scraps just enough. I am glad you're free of that man. He didn't see what he had! 

la_dulce_vida's picture

Thank you, friend.

XBF did do a LOT of things to make me feel cared for, but it's important that I remember the times he let me down when I really needed him. Those times were the signs that he wasn't the right partner for me. He could be very romantic and loving, but the topic of the anniversary seemed to trigger him somehow and I think it's directly related to his feelings of guilt over not celebrating his wedding anniversary properly. It was like he couldn't make a fuss for me because he didn't make a fuss for her. He needs counseling.

la_dulce_vida's picture

Sure did. Wish I could send you a picture. We got to walk the grounds of the hotel. But were not allowed access. Very exclusive. 

Merrigan's picture

Last I heard, you couldn't get into the restaurant unless you were staying at the hotel. Which is like 2g a NIGHT. 

la_dulce_vida's picture

Staying the night was totally out of our price range, but I actually called the hotel and they said dinner reservations had to be made 2 or more weeks in advance because it's on an island and it takes time to source all the ingredients.

They may have changed their rules or maybe I misunderstood, but they never said only hotel guests, so I assumed non-guests were allowed to dine there.

Rags's picture

I am so sorry that this asshat invaded your life.  I am of the mind that my give a shit about a mates deceased partner is only that I express sorrow on their loss. If that X keeps rising from the dead to invade my life, nope. Not gonna tollerate that paranormal invasion by my mates dead baggage.  Even in the case of a beloved quality deceased mate, that mate has to remain burried and in the past.  It has no place in the now or the future.  

I barely remember my first marriage anniversary date and only generally know about when the divorce was final.  I would not give my XW the sweat off of my nads if she was dying of thirst.   Now, had she passed before I discovered her energetic extrarelationship sex life and I never found out about it, I might have some occassional twinges of loss and sorrow to deal with but for sure I would not pollute my life and marriage with that.  From the moment I found out about her whoring I would celebrate the date of her demise and feel absolutely zero sorrow. Only relief.

 I know. Bad Rags.



Lillywy00's picture

I would not give my XW the sweat off of my nads if she was dying of thirst

Omg lol...the visuals 

I feel the same way about my exes. If I saw them having a medical emergency I *might* call the ambulance depending on my mood then go about my day like a normal Tuesday as unfazed as possible 

My mom told me one day she couldn't get any sleep and was a nervous wreck after her narcissistic on-of-again boyfriend of 30+ years told her he allegedly had cancer. 

I was like girl you should have slept like a baby because that dude doesn't care about you enough to commit to you after giving 3+ decades of your prime years. And he's only telling you this to try to use you as a "nurse with a purse" ... Eff him!!!

Rags's picture

Sure, I would call an Ambulancefor my XW if I found her unconscious on the road. Then I would cover her with road colored dirt and take bets from pedestrians on whether or not the Ambulance ran over her.

When they did, I would with completely innocent face expound that I helped, I called the ambulance when she was twitching on the road.

But hey, whoring has consequences beyond the three OOWL spawn by two different baby daddys.  Two of her spawn were cheat babies spawned with someone other than her DH of the moment. She spawned with GrandPa/Sugar/Baby daddy while married to me.  She was knocked up while we were in marriage counseling (miscarried after leaving) then was knocked up again at our final divorce hearing. Unbeknownst to me at the time.

He would not marry her until after their second OOWL spawn was whelped. She was knocked up by a cheat buddy when the Geriatric Fortune 500 Sugar/Baby daddy booted her ass.   

I was first.  So, unlike her two subsequent (or maybe more by now) DH's, I have no idea how their's tastes. However, they can't say that about mine.



And yes, I know my DW was a single mom when we married. She never married the dipshitiot Spermidiot.  In my mind, that makes her far different than my cheating XW.

Delusional?  Maybe. But it works for me.

Have I ever shared about how much I care about my XW?


grannyd's picture

Unlike the majority of Steppers, I've seen a photo of you from many moons ago so please, no blushes and denials of the fact that you are fit, slim, blond and uncommonly attractive. Much like Lilly’s ex, your rejected partner failed to appreciate his attachment to ‘a woman of quality.’ 

My dear girl, rest assured that yon widower is far more devastated than you can imagine. Like most narcissists, he expected you to become obsessed with his social media and agonise with jealousy. WhatEVER! His ridiculous, pathetic, self-serving behaviours come far too little and far too late.

As you continue to thrive, I’m reminded of our earlier PMs and am confident that you will ferret out (as did I) the very man worthy of you. My single, 70ish younger brother, a decade widowed and as handsome as they come at that age, would be such a perfect match! He is kind, empathetic, capable, democratic and blessed with a grand sense of humor. If only….

You will recover from your exe’s selfishness and live to hunt another day; trust me. Nines like you, dulce, will always rise to the fore. You are an exceptionally well-grounded and self-aware woman, bound to land on her feet. 

I love your posts and applaud your willingness to share viewpoints, both positive and negative, that lend so much wisdom to our fraught sisters and brothers on StepTalk.

All the best, Hon, and thanx, again, for keeping us posted. 

la_dulce_vida's picture

Dearest, sweet grannyd. ((hugs))

I am fit-ish, but silver-haired and not slender. I've always been pretty thick. XBF's late wife is closer to your description. But, I am not a cave troll (code for I think I'm attractive), and I bring a lot to the table and I'm very loving and generous.

You're one of the best cheerleaders, ever. Thank you. xoxo

Lillywy00's picture

we had just reconciled after a breakup that was directly related to his repeated "honoring" of his late wife

Girl I know the feeling when my ex fiancé would honor his ex wife and when I called him out it was always ... "for those kids sake" 

Not about to argue until infinity about who should be a priority so leaving and letting them figure out is the ultimate way to let them realize they done f-cked up. 

I can't even imagine having to contend with a deceased woman. Well except when my ex Disneyland dad changed our couples picture in his phone to his deceased mother and started trying to spread her artifacts all over our house. 

Hold on to that past baggage if you want to ... as a SINGLE man lol! 

Harry's picture

You where hood winked.  Think he was.  He may never get over his ex. And be happy by himself.  No one will put up with his act.  You got out. That's what maddens .  You are out there wiser looking for Mr. Right 

Rags's picture

Keep the purge, keep the block, keep focus on living well and ..... enjoying that revenge.  His loss. You lost... nothing but toxic baggage.

Beauty is something that morphs.  While aesthetic attractiveness is what it is, beauty, true beauty, beautiy of character and quality, beauty of the soul, beauty of presence, beauty of experience grows with the life experience and life of quality lived by the truly beautiful.

I first recognized this about 10yrs after my divorce and about 6yrs after DW and I married.  My company changed offices and my then new office was in the high end suburb where my XW and XILs had lived when we were dating and had bought our home 7mos before our divorce was final.  A client and my then VP and I went to lunch at was my XILs favorite Mex restaurant.  When we were seated they put us on an elevated section overlooking most of the dining floor.  About 50 feet away was my XW, geriatric Fortune 500 sugar/baby daddy and their two boys.  One about 10 and one about 8.  She looked like hammered dog shit.  Tired, sour faced, and like a former prize race horse who had been rode  hard and put up wet for far too long.  I was shocked.  When we married she had been a stunning lithe, fit, college athelete.  10 years post divorce, her exterior had notably progressed to show her true core which was anything but beautiful.

Even a stunning aesthetic beauty will present as a troll eventually.  While true beauty, grows more stunning, ravishing, and present as it is forged and honed in the crucible of a life lived well.

As grannyd said, yon widdower's loss. Your gain.

Take care of you. Relish in your life.

Block, block, block, block, block and give not a single shit about him and them.