Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Two Exes.....

Why does that sound like the title of a sitcom?

One of my former students commented on a blog post the other day that she wasn't aware I had TWO husbands before Hubby (she calls him Sexy Legs, for good reason). It's no accident that she didn't know that; I kind of keep it low-key. [I only allow FORMER students to read my blog, and then only those I like and respect.]

There is a stigma to having been divorced twice. People will forgive you for one divorce -- even expect it -- but if you've been divorced twice, there is a possibility that something is wrong with YOU. If I tell a story about one of my exes, I don't distinguish between the two. If I'm telling the story, it's probably something stupid one of them did, so the stories are pretty much interchangeable.

I didn't understand that whole stigma idea before my second divorce. Prior to that I routinely made stupid and tasteless remarks about Nurse Jane's marriages, and finally she scolded me for it. I didn't understand why until I was in the same situation. (I'm sorry, Nurse Jane!)

It could be a family curse. Everyone in my family has been married three times. [Four for Katydid if you count the fact that she married the same guy twice, but she doesn't like to count him, so we won't mention it here.] My mother finally found a good man, and he died on their fourth anniversary. My brother married a very young girl the first time, because she was SUPPOSEDLY pregnant with his child. Ummm hmmmm. His second ex-wife is the sister of a man who began one of the most successful chain restaurants around these parts, and she frequently jets off to the Bahamas in her brother's plane. But brother didn't love her anymore, and she was, after all, the one who lost her engagement ring when it was on the other hand the whole time. His third wife is a gem who puts up with him and his sometimes-psycho relatives. Score: Love 1, Money 0. I won't talk about Nurse Jane and Katydid's marriages (other than the part that I already didn't mention), because they read my blog. If I run them off, I will be down to roughly two readers. Maybe three. Hubby has also been married three times. I'm telling you, it's a curse.

Here's my excuse: The first two times, I married projects.

It's an ego thing. I thought I could fix them.

Never mind that one of the mantras I heard all my life was "You can't change people." See, it's an ego thing. I thought I would be the first one.

My first marriage was to my baby daddy, right out of college. He is a completely nice guy. I don't think I've ever heard ANYONE say they didn't like him. That sentence has an error of pronoun agreement, but I'm on vacation this week so I don't care. Back to the exes. I may have heard people say they didn't UNDERSTAND him, or wonder why he NEVER SHUTS UP, but I don't think anyone ever said they didn't like him.

He claims to be 6' 10", but I think he's more like 6' 7". His mother was still adding to his height when we divorced (he was seven feet tall by then, according to her), so by the time she died, he was probably in the Guinness Book of World Records. I am 5' 2". We looked a little ridiculous together.

He was a lot of fun. He could party with the best of them, which was important when I was 21. He would go anywhere, and he was always the life of the party. But he was very childlike. It was cute when we first got married, this giant of a man who would cry at the drop of a hat (still does) and loved to watch the Smurfs on television. [Seriously, we had a HUGE fight once because I wanted to watch the U.S. Open tennis tournament on tv, and he wanted to watch the Smurfs. The only way we could settle it was to leave the house, and we went to my mother's house. Where my brother was watching the tennis tournament. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.] After Sweet Girl came along, however, it wasn't too cute anymore. I needed a partner, not another kid. I needed someone who could buy me a birthday present without first consulting with my mother, his mother, his sister, and me. After we divorced, he first hooked up with a woman who was forced to break off their relationship when her husband got out of prison FOR DEALING COCAINE, and then he set up housekeeping with a woman who told Sweet Girl at the age of nine that she could never come back to that house. He cut off all contact with Sweet Girl, caving in to that woman's wishes [we don't know for sure if they were ever married, and she's dead now], and he lost whatever slivers of respect I had remaining for him. They were slim to start with.

When we divorced, I went from one extreme to the other. In more ways than one. My second ex-husband is 5' 6" on a good day, and he says he's 5' 9". And a jerk. Even the guys he golfs with think he's an a**hole. I married him when Sweet Girl was only 3, and we built a house. I stayed years after I should have left because I thought I owed it to my girl to give her a house to live in. At that time I didn't see any possibilities for ever owning a home on my own. Then we got to a point where I just hoped every day that he....... just wouldn't come home from work or one of his occasional regular frequent daily drunken binges. Ever heard of "little man syndrome"? He's the epitome of it. He was verbally and physically abusive, and he enjoyed getting a laugh at anyone's expense. Hate is a very strong word, and it isn't enough. The only good thing I can say about him is that I have maintained the life insurance policy I took out on him.

I despaired of ever finding a decent man until I met Hubby. I'll save the details of our early relationship, but suffice it to say that I was terrified of getting married again. Sweet Girl was at a difficult age for such a traumatic change in our lives (thirteen), and her well-being was most important. I finally decided that she needed to see that the world does contain some decent men. It was a risky move, but the payoff has been huge.

So that's the story of my exes. It ain't pretty, and I'm not proud of it. I've always lived by the philosophy of having no regrets, but that second marriage stretches that idea to its very outermost limit. I certainly wouldn't take back either of my marriages. Sweet Girl came out of the first one, and if I hadn't been married to that jerk the second time, I wouldn't have met Hubby.

Now if I could go back and orchestrate things so that I would still wind up where I am now..... that's a completely different story.


AmandaSue : ] said...

Thank you for sharing something you aren't proud of. I know it can be hard. You are right though, you should never regret anything! everything happens for a reason... or so I've been told. =]

Maggie said...

Thanks for the revelation. You are a cool woman for telling it like it is, the good and the bad. Go you. Made choices and mistakes, moved on, took responsibility... I admire you more and more!