Wednesday, February 22, 2017

I Don't Want My Ex To Move Back Into My House

Well, to jump right into it, last week’s post stuck with me more than I was expecting. (If you haven’t read it yet, I’d suggest doing that before you continue on, but for the TL;DR, I've found my feelings of anger towards my ex, reignited as I watch The Guy with my children.)

Anyway, it’s been interesting for me to reflect on last week’s post. Although I stand-by everything I said in terms of not letting my negative emotions consume me, as with any source of anxiety, sometimes it takes a while to figure out where it stems from.

Then sometimes, you figure it out and it just clicks.

I was married to my ex for twice the time that I’ve been divorced, and although I hate to admit it, I still feel more like the wife that was left behind by her first husband, than the wife I am now. 

So much of my life has centered around what my ex did to us, that it’s become who I am; single mother, writer on sexual assault recovery, domestic violence nonprofit founder, public speaker on domestic violence issues, and welfare myths, etc.

I became who I am now, because I was my ex’s abused and abandoned wife first.

But now I’m someone else’s very much loved wife… and I’m not sure what that means for my identity.

I don’t want to be the perpetual victim of a life filled with hardships, but at the same time, I’m struggling in the fact that for a long time my path centered on finding the strength to not let those hardships take me down. Now, suddenly many of my hardships have been lifted, and my battle is a much quieter one that involves rediscovering my identity outside of the pressing need for survival.

Watching The Guy with my children is making me think of my ex, because I’m feeling vulnerable.

In order to make my marriage work, I must constantly allow The Guy to be involved in nearly every aspect of my life, and although living life alone has become routine to me, living life with someone else is something I haven’t yet mastered.

There’s strength in charging through life on your own, but there is vulnerability in relying on someone else to do it with you.

And in that vulnerability, I’m suddenly remembering just how hopeful I was when I entered my first marriage, and how many dreams I had that would one day be crushed. With every promise The Guy makes to me, I’m remembering all the ones that my ex made to me first. And with every memory we build, I can’t help but think of all the ones that I tried to make with someone else first.

The pain in having it all rush back is turning out to be fairly intense, and the guilt that I feel for thinking about it at all is tearing me apart even more. I feel awful that every time I look at my husband, I can’t help but think of my ex.

Marriage comes with expectations, and unmet expectations come with feelings of disappointment and sometimes, at the core, feelings of unworthiness.

The flashback memories I’m having when I look at The Guy with my children, are actually misplaced feelings of anger and sadness towards my ex, that are simply masking my feelings of vulnerability.

From the post When Your Life Burns Down: “Anger is a defensive emotion that we use to make ourselves feel powerful. When we feel hurt, betrayed, and vulnerable, we use anger as a shell to protect us from opening up and allowing ourselves to be hurt again. It is the secondary feeling to a primary emotion.”

The Guy is bringing up memories of my ex, because the emotions I’m feeling right now are reflective of a transition I’m in; If I want to have a successful marriage, I must also allow myself the opportunity to possibly get hurt again.

If I want a future with the man I love, I must allow The Guy to become my children’s dad, and everything my ex should have been to me as a husband; my protector, my confidant, my best friend, etc.

Seeing The Guy bond with my children as a parental figure, is the visual acknowledgement that my life is changing and my identity is shifting to include someone else. Seeing my children love him reminds me of how much they were hurt, and seeing him love them, reminds me of how much I was hurt.

I’m suddenly feeling angry with my ex again, because I’m scared to let The Guy fill the role my ex failed to achieve.

I'm terrified to put myself in a vulnerable place, when all I have ever learned is that my expectations and needs will fail to be met.

I was my ex’s wife, and that will never change. I was his victim, the woman he cheated on, the wife that he left, and I am a survivor. I was a single parent who struggled to provide for children who were traumatized by his abandonment of them. But now, I’m someone else’s wife, learning to co-parent with a man who adores my children, and although I have spent most of my life preparing for battle, now is not the time for that, because now is my time to rest, and allow someone else to begin to fight with me, for us.

These last few days, I haven’t felt angry with my ex anymore, but I will admit that I do feel scared. I love The Guy more than I can even explain, but trauma runs deep, and it’s going to take a while for me to feel secure.

So while I’m here, in a place that has me feeling vulnerable, I’m going to be honest about it; with myself, and The Guy.

If you want to trust the people in your life, sometimes you have to take the scary path and give them the opportunity to prove to you that you can trust them. And yes, you may get hurt, and one day I may get hurt again too, but The Guy has come this far, and I owe it to him, and me, to continue forging ahead.

You can’t find your forever, if you are too busy living in the past, to live in the right now.

This I can promise you, because show me one time where we had a tomorrow, while we were still living in yesterday.

Regardless of yesterday, you can’t have tomorrow, without today.

I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but if I want a future with The Guy, and don't want to continue to live in the past with my ex, then I need to be open to letting The Guy be here for me today.


  1. Trusting again is the hardest thing to do, for sure. But you're also right that sometimes, doing that hard and scary thing is the only way to truly reap the amazing experiences that life has in store for us. Life will suck, things will hurt, but I'd rather take some risk and have a chance to experience amazing things than to stay locked up in myself and never experience them. Often I think humans are far more resilient than we give ourselves credit for being. :)

    1. You are right, I think we are all a little more resilient than we give ourselves credit for!!

      The journey will be interesting :)

  2. You have been at emotional "war" for so long you can't get used to the idea that your peace treaty has been signed... I know , I've been there. Before I met my husband ( 18 years ago) I was engaged for five years to an emotional abusive " man" that stole from me , cheated on me etc. When I met my husband I waited ,and wondered when the same fate I suffered once would happen again. In time, I realized that I had always had an uneasy feeling about my ex ( even when things were " ok") ... That I always had a slight suspicion that something wasn't "right" ( I am getting out of hand with the quotations) ... After much soul searching I realized I never felt those same undercurrents of distrust with my husband . He never once raised my intuition that something wasn't right. It was then I was able to let go and trust that I had come far enough to know myself, my judgement and my ability to demand quality in the people in my life. Your there too .. I guarantee your "flags"(last quotation , I swear) don't go up with the guy , but in hindsight they were probably all over the place with the ex. Either way you made it ... So here is to our battles .. Fought and WON.

    1. YEEEESSSS!!!! I KNEW something was wrong with my ex, but I was an idiot and so emotionally damaged that I didn't run when I should have, and then with the guy after him, I definitely had the quieter uneasy feeling. I did not have that with The Guy.

      But old wounds remain raw for quiet some time (as I'm sure you know), so hopefully I can keep in mind that they were not caused by The Guy.

  3. You are so self-aware it's AWESOME SAUCE. You deserve the happiness that one day you will realize fully and completely you are worthy of. :)

  4. already know how I feel about marriage, so that bears not repeating, but you did share something in this post that strikes me, and helps me to sympathize with what you are feeling.
    You are right! Your identity as a writer, and as an advocate revolved very much around your struggles as a single mom and a scorned and abandoned wife...and how you were to pick up the shattered pieces and form a stronger bond between mind and spirit. We have been on this journey with you. Some who could relate...and others, like me...who just adore your openness and talent.
    And now....with your marriage....the narrative has changed..and I can understand how this can be very confusing for you. Getting married has not only changed your last name, it has completely altered your identity. I bet that you never saw this coming. It's kinda like the writer of sad songs, who can no longer write sad songs...because they are no longer sad.
    But you know what Eden? If you wrote directions to the local doughnut shop, you would have readers. Why? Because you are a wonderfully gifted writer.
    Sure, your narrative has changed....but you are creative...and you will find a way to share from the new place. In fact, you already are. :-)
    Keep your head up girl. You are wonderfully made.:-)

  5. I can see through your writing that you've changed much since meeting, "the guy" and as your story unfolds, it's beautiful. And, you can still be a writer and an advocate to other women who need the help. Some of your struggles as a single mom I can relate to, because I'm a single parent as well. My 13yr old son hasn't seen his father since he was 2. He doesn't remember him. I try to normalize his life as much as possible so he doesn't feel any less loved. I think I may be doing that right, because recently... He spent the night with his friend and was texting me silly pictures while at his friends. Lol - I hope that you continue writing, even if it's things we need to hear to move ahead in life. I'm glad you found happiness!!

  6. well i no longer feel sorry for you and helpless to help. i am happy for you and your family. i feel congrats are in order. Congratulations!

  7. Past traumas don't just magically disappear when life starts getting better. It'd be great if they did, but unfortunately they have a nasty tendency to stick around and grab you when you least expect them.

    You're still you, but a happier you. The core of who you are hasn't changed.


    1. Sounds like a blog I just wrote a couple weeks ago... ;)

      Yes, yes you are right!

      *hugs* back at ya!

  8. I agree with all you wrote above! I just think the problem could be partially that you married in the time of a relationship when you're just learning to trust a person. Second marriages have even less success than the 50% of first do, and couple that with a fairly quick marriage, I'd be worried and have difficulty trusting as well! I of course hope your relationship is one of the ones that make it, but when there are kids involved I just think its sometimes better to wait til AFTER the honeymoon phase when real trust and knowing a person just begins.

  9. If he was a drug user who beat u up and raped u multiple times ...Wouldn't u be glad he's gone instead of making your whole blog about how he lefy and what he did

    1. I agree.. Instead she should have a blog about how to spell an entire word out ( you versus u ) and how to use proper puncuation. Though you did nail the ..... And when that content is exhausted( though if you keep commenting it shouldn't be) she could then do an entire series on people who have no idea what they are talking about.. You could be her first interview! Smooches.

    2. To the OP, She's written like 3 or 4 blogs on exactly that subject, something like she can grieve for what should have been and still be happy that the abuse is no longer going on. I cant disagree with that. My spouse was abusive and Im happy as fuck that he is gone, but it doesnt mean that i like seeing my kids fatherless. im angry about what he did to our family!

  10. I just feel like you need to stop giving your ex head-space... Don't allow yourself to be defined by or get your sense of self from your romantic partner. You've achieved a lot, so don't allow yourself to go back to thinking about yourself with your ex-husband.

  11. I hate to say it, but for a while leading up to and also since the announcement of your marriage your blog posts have left me feeling like you don't seem fully ready for this marriage. I also wish you could expand and write about more than your ex from many years ago and the new dude you hastily married. There is soooo much more than those two topics that make up YOU. #beatingadeadhorsemuch?

    1. I've known eden in real life for years, and although I can't speak for her, she adores her new hubby as he does her. I haven't seen many people together that are as good as they are, and I think this blog space is serving as a reflective space for a pretty common newlywed issue for people that have remarried again.

      ** love you Girl, keep doing you.**