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Mess of emotions

Newimprvmodel's picture

I got divorced over 20 years ago. My ex finally got remarried last weekend. And I feel off, sad, I can't shake the feelings. I feel like I got divorced expecting to be at a better place now 20 years later. That didn't happen. My ex is very wealthy. I almost feel like his new wife is living the life I could have been living. Jealous?  Of course. Did I love my ex?  No.  But in hindsight I think I coming from a family like mine made me avoid intimacy with everyone. My mother verbally abusive and put down central. My father totally disengaged. 
So I'm in my 60's. It seems that before the pandemic I felt middle aged and now. I feel old as hell and frantic to make many more memories. Like traveling. 

JRI's picture

I think you've earned the right to do what you want and travel will help you shake off the family-related icks.  Will your DH go with you? Where do you want to go?

ESMOD's picture

I'm close to your age.. and getting old isn't for the faint of heart.. haha.

It's human nature to see others have things and wonder.. why, if it were not for XYZ.. would I have that too?  Both good and bad ways.. At our age.. many more deaths.. of classmates.. Exes.. parents.. relatives.. and it really sinks in that at some point it can and will happen to us.  So.. it's not unusal to go back and say.. "If I only had finished college instead of dropping out to have kids I could have done X"... "If I had only worked harder at that relationship.. we would have been Y"... etc....

And.. it also sinks in that to some extent.. that the possibility of some choices.. are no longer choices.. we are childless? wish we had one of our own bios? if you are in your late 50's or older.. that isn't an option (despite what you might see on the national enquirer!).  Educational choices were made.. relationships were what they were.. career choices.. are almost certainly not something we are going to change.. at this late date.

It's also easier to maybe see the past with a bit of amnesia... was it THAT bad? could we have weathered that storm? dealt with whatever the flaws were? 2nd guessing the decisions we made.

But.. we have to accept we made the decisions we made at the time.. that we thought were the best for us.. given the knowledge we  had THEN.  were they all great ones? no.. but they made us what we are today.. are part of the fabric of our history now.. and with the exception of learning from past mistakes.. no sense on overly dwelling on them.

We need to be able to figure out how to (and it's hard).. to look forward.. to see what our possibilities and life can be like. with the set of cards we hold at the moment. My dad is 93.. and he has that mindset.. I find it difficult at my own age to think about my own mortality.. and he seems to be handling his journey with more grace than I am now..I guess maybe he can still teach me about life!


CLove's picture

At that time.

At newly arrived 55, I am content. But know that there is more ahead, and am open to it, am doing the theraputic work to get there.

The ex - well what kind of life would you have lived there? Was it unbearable? 20 years and people change pretty drastically.

la_dulce_vida's picture

Remember the issues you had with your ex? I don't know if you initiated the divorce or he did, but the new wife is NOT necessarily going to get a better version of the man. Many men just do NOT learn from their past mistakes. I know my first husband has not learned a blessed thing since we divorced nearly 9 years ago. And he's wealthy. Not stinking rich, but he is wealthy in his own right and stands to inherit a lot when his mother passes.

I'm in my 3rd serious relationship, and at age 56, I know that ALL humans come with baggage and "issues". My current partner of 4 years can be moody and stubborn. He's not a great communicator and can be a right turd during an argument (sarcastic, gaslighting, defensive, projection). But, he's faithful, doesn't have any addictions, is financially secure, handsome, funny and wicked intelligent.

If this relationship doesn't go the distance, I will be HAPPY all on my own. The best time of my life was right after my 2nd divorce (short, unfortunate marriage). I was happily enjoying my life (biking, kayaking, hiking, etc) and had no plans to date for a couple of years, if never, when my current partner bicycled into my life.

Figure out what would bring you joy and don't hesitate to do it even if you have to do it alone. I took a trip to Europe in my 40s by myself and it was a life changing experience.

Newimprvmodel's picture

I need to accept the past. Move on and live in the moment. I worry and over think too much. Crazily I feel guilty that my kids will take a huge hit financially as my ex is totally smitten with his step kids.  I'm sure this thought is born out of being disinherited by my parents. We can say money is not important but my kids have blue collar jobs no fancy careers. My own career never got off the ground so they won't get much from me. 

Aniki-Moderator's picture

I'm so sorry you're a mess. {{{hugs}}}

It could be a combination of things making you feel that way. Age, new wife living the life, worry about the feelings of your kids... Doesn't have to be that you want the ex back in your life, but more that life didn't turn out the way you hoped or expected. Just throwing word salad out there... *give_rose*

Rags's picture

That has to be dificult.

I have not had the struggles that you are fighting right now.  Probably because I have not maintained any interest or knowledge of my XW.  I just do not care.

I heard little to nothing about her except intermittently for the first 8yrs after our divorce.  I did run into my ILs a couple of times in that time frame.   12yrs after the divorce and 8yrs after my incredible bride and I married I got the last update when I found a news paper article about my XMIL going to Federal prison for embezzlement and the $Multi-Million pay back the whole family was court ordered to make to the business owner.

They still kept a ton of moneythey stole, but... they are the scum that they are.

Do not let regrets of your past ruin your now and your future.  That your XH is well off does not aleviate the rest of what he is and what made that marriage end.

Get some therapy, and get him and that past out of your head.

BobbyDazzler's picture

I'm 63 and have NEVER regretted divorcing my 1st husband.  When he called me to tell me he was getting remarried (I remarried first) I said 'ok, tell new wife I said good luck!".  She divorced him, too. I choose to leave that marriage and while I don't regret divorcing him, there are times (at this age) I get melancholy and think things such as 'I wish the 1st marriage had worked out. We'd have 7 grandkids to share and spoil together". Then I snap out of it and realize that is a fantasy. 

If you can afford it, take a trip or two. Do you have friends/family that would go along with you? Take baby steps.  Join some sort of local civic group. Maybe get a part-time job just to get out and talk to people.  Take baby steps but keep moving forward. Allow yourself to feel a 'bit' sad but please don't wallow in it. You deserve better than that. Live your life and let him live his. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

You can't compare your day-to-day life with someone else's highlight reel. The highlight reel is what people put on social media or the life they portray to other people to make them seem happier, richer, and all-around more fabulous than they are. That life your ex's new wife has may not be as great as you think it is. 

AgedOut's picture

I think sometimes we mourn the what could have beens. As long as it's just a passing twinge and you don't make it a hobby there's nothing wrong with it. I married at 20 and divorced at 22. I on rare occasion mourn the 20 year old me's dream of happy ever after. Then I shake my head like an etch-a-sketch and get back to my regularly schedule today's activities. 

Newimprvmodel's picture

Don't make it a hobby. That resinates with me. I obsess over things and time is short. Thanks!

2Tired4Drama's picture

Simplistic, certainly. But there is so much wisdom in these two small words. 

I feel your disappointment in where you are right now, especially in light of your ex's situation. It is hard to look at others' apparently successful lives and reflect unnecessarily on our own failures and losses. Remember that others' lives are an illusion. One we need to drop off our shoulders and leave behind. Go on. 

At this stage of life, be open to anything but expect nothing.  It is expectation that can bring us down and mire us in a quagmire of "what ifs."  What if I hadn't divorced? What if I had chosen a different career? What if I had raised my children differently?  Leave this behind, too. Go on.

The future is an open book. Start small. Take a few hours and go do something you've never done before but always wanted to. Take a small trip. Go alone, enjoy your own company - the person who you (should) love most and first. 

I don't know if you care for poety as it's so personal. I was going through a rough time for a bit when I was in the midst of my divorce and other disappointments.  I found this poem which helped me with my "dissatisfaction" in life at the time and feeling like I missed out. It helped me frame my focus.

Expecting nothing IMO is not a negative, it is an open space where disappointment OR fulfillment might exist. Too often when we have an expectation it is dashed.  I think we are too conditioned culturally that we need to be winners, especially in material ways. "Your Dreams Can Come True!"  The truth is they often don't.  So. Go on. Find a new dream.  

Steplife has been that way for me because I sometimes forgot my own advice. I expected SD would grow out of things. I expected to be in a better place with her than I am now, after almost 20 years. I expected wrongly. I disengaged and expected nothing. And I have nothing. But I am also not disappointed anymore. I expected nothing from her and that's what I got.  If I had received even a small kindness or interest from her, it would have been a wonderful surprise. 


"Expect Nothing."  -- Alice Walker


Expect nothing. Live frugally

On surprise.

become a stranger

To need of pity

Or, if compassion be freely

Given out

Take only enough

Stop short of urge to plead

Then purge away the need.


Wish for nothing larger

Than your own small heart

Or greater than a star;

Tame wild disappointment

With caress unmoved and cold

Make of it a parka

For your soul.


Discover the reason why

So tiny human midget

Exists at all

So scared unwise

But expect nothing. Live frugally

On surprise.