My ex had a birthday recently. His 39th.
I wonder if he’s still alive. At the end of it all, he seemed to be on a collision course with an early death.
I wonder if any wrinkles or grey hairs have started to appear. I used to look forward to growing old with him.
I wonder if he still lives in the area. I hope not. In fact, I would like it if he took a job at the research station in Greenland. Or maybe started growing potatoes on the moon.
I wonder if he’s lonely. Or scared. Or still addicted.
I wonder what he thinks about our past. His actions. My reactions.
I wonder if he’s living an honest life now. Or if he’s still playing hide and go seek. Only without the seeking.
I wonder if he’s happy. I hope he is. I had years of wishing him ill. I’m past that now.
It’s such a strange feeling having somebody go from being your every-thing and your constant to suddenly being a no-thing and a gaping absence. I don’t love him. I don’t hate him. I don’t even miss him. But after so many years, it’s hard not to wonder about him.
And I wonder if he ever wonders about me too.
And here’s what I really, really, really wish I could tell him.
For the entire story, see Lessons From the End of a Marriage.
21 thoughts on “I Wonder”
Thought provoking that is! I can’t wait to get to the point where I can wonder and all it is is wonder. I’m still at the love and hate stage, I wish her ill but at that same time hope she’s happy. But, as I’ve heard from someone wise wondering about someone else’s monkeys is just ignoring my own.
I totally relate to the comment about someone being your ‘constant’ to suddenly becoming your no-thing. I’m not at the wondering stage, still a little raw but I do finally realize I will get there.
I think that is the hardest thing to understand…how someone who was a major part of my life could vanish after 36 years. I’ll never understand it, because I could never have done that to him. However, I’m not tempted to look him up or find out what he’s doing. He’s dead to me, although I know he’s still walking around because my kids do things with him from time to time. For a long time I was so angry at the pain he inflicted on my life that wish I’d never met him, but lately I feel something like forgiveness. Not that I’ll ever forget, just that I don’t want to live in the country of bitterness any more. Sometimes I think if I ever saw him, and he tried to explain, I’d just tell him that it doesn’t matter. What’s done is done. I don’t intend to dredge up anything with him that would cause myself or anyone else in our family more pain. Personally, I’ve experienced enough pain to last a lifetime. I just want to be free from it, I want to be happy.
Every once in a blue moon I ask about my first ex-husband, if I’m talking to his mother (we were always on friendly terms and I talk to her from time to time). My children from that first marriage have no relationship with their father (he was/is an addict and alcoholic and after one too many broken promises, they cut ties) — so usually they get their information from me. My current ex is still around — quite a bit. Although I was devastated and angry when he left after 26-years of marriage, I made it a point to always interact with him in a kind and calm manner. We have a fairly friendly relationship most of the time because of that, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love an explanation and apology (but I also realize I’m going to probably have to live without knowing, as he has never been able to have conversations about difficult issues). If I moved away from the area and he was totally out of the picture — I’m sure I’d still wonder what he was doing, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find out.
That is so awesome that you’re still in touch with his mom. Sad how divorce can damage other relationships as well.
No matter how painful it is, the facts are the facts..your spouse is gone. If you have children and are actively co-parenting you are forced to have contact with them. There is no getting around that and It’s a good thing for your kids sake. Every situation is unique but if I didn’t have kids i truly wouldn’t care if I ever saw or heard from my ex ever again. That might sound cold to some, but hanging on “wondering” about your ex is toxic. You go through a divorce, deal with the consequences and grieve. After all of that you have two choices; move forward with your life and enjoy it to the fullest or live in the murky past and be doomed to keep living it. Good luck to everybody out there no matter what stage you are in.
Kind of like having kids is something you don’t understand unless you’ve been there, sudden spousal abandonment has to be experienced to be fully understood. I don’t agree that it’s toxic to wonder about somebody who was your companion for so long. It’s not a sign of not accepting that they’re gone. It’s an acknowledgement that they were once important to you. I have moved on, but that doesn’t mean that my ex has ceased to exist in any of my thoughts. In fact, anger being replaced by occasional wondering is moving on.
I guess i’m a very black/white person. I try to stay out of the grey. I see divorce like a death. It’s ok to remember the person and the good and bad times, but realize that they are gone forever. I know people who live in the past and are very wrapped up in wondering what is going on with their ex. They dig up all kinds of emotions; love, hate, jealousy and a host of other feelings. THAT is toxic! Living in the past blocks your future. I’m apologize if I was presumptive with you. I love your blog! Keep up the good work and thought provoking blogs.
No worries. It’s just a very different situation. I heard, “I love you so much. I can’t wait until you’re home” hours before a text that he was leaving. He had already left. I never had contact again. There’s a lot of grey there. Questions forever unanswered. I’m no longer emotionally tied to it, but it leaves a mark for sure like an unexpected death.
Yes that was very different than mine. My marriage was terminal for years. It was coming for a long time. I’m glad you are ok now.
That’s one thing I’m grateful for- I never spent time in a bad marriage.
Its been a little over 3 years since my ex kidnapped the kids and ran off. I’ve had all of them back for 3 years now. I don’t really feel anything towards my ex except maybe apathy. I do wonder sometimes how she is doing, but then I think of all of the positive changes in my life that have happened since then and I am a lot better for it.
I don’t have to wonder. People fill me in on what they see on Facebook. I also get an occasional hate email. I can tell by what I’m hearing, and seeing, that my ex-wife is still an angry and bitter person. Too bad she is wasting her cancer remission in this way. Other women who diagnosed at the same time have died. Bottom line is we are in a better place.
So true about the better place. I would hate to get the updates from people- part of the reason I let go of some shared friends.
Ah, the shared friends dilemma. The feedback has dropped off. The conversation usually started with “what they were hearing about me that did not sound like me”, if that make any sense.
Your post totally makes sense. My ex and I coparent so we are in each other’s lives somewhat, but 25 years and then divorce is a death. The grieving goes through stages and takes time; it is different for everyone.
My ex father in law recently passed away. I loved him like my own dad. I hadn’t seen him in over 3 years. It’s a shame divorce destroys so many relationships but it’s the nature of the beast I guess? I didn’t go to the funeral. I wish I could have. He was a good man.
It is a shame.