In yesterday’s post on having children after divorce, Mama J said she couldn’t regret her divorce because otherwise she wouldn’t have physically had children. And while she doesn’t regret her first marriage, it is a void in her life. Here’s Mama J.
Because I had no children from my first marriage, it feels like I lost seven years. I feel like from the time I met him, right through college, until the time we divorced, I have nothing to show for that. It wasn’t wasted time. I did learn things. But I was forbidden from contacting his family as part of the divorce agreement so I’ve never had any contact with them. So it’s this void in my life. I have nothing to show for it.
My children do know about my first marriage but I’ve wondered if I told them the right way. I have a picture of me in my wedding dress and they’ve said,
“That’s not the dress you wore when you married daddy! You look really young.”
Well, I was really young. I was 20! I just say,
“It’s a different part of my life. It didn’t work out and we both wanted different things. I wanted children and he couldn’t have children.”
I never mention that he cheated on me. But the fact is, I was married before. It’s part of who I am and I never wanted to hide it from them.
As I’m writing this, I’m feeling the knot in my neck get tighter and I know that means this is a part of my marriage/divorce I haven’t been able to reconcile. I’ve been married once and I have two wonderful children from that marriage. I can’t even begin to think what my life would be like if they didn’t exist. So no, I do not regret getting married.
However, I was married for almost 17 years and was unhappy for so many of them. As I look back on that time, I do feel a void – the times spent with my ex were so marred by bad moods, angry outbursts, depression and narcissistic behavior. I’d like to erase them but that’s a huge chunk of my life. I don’t want to remember my life with negative events and milestones. That just makes me angry at myself for setting such low expectations.
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking maybe my focus is wrong. I used to ski (haven’t been in three+ years but that’s another story) and I’ve had lessons about skiing in the woods. The instructors would say don’t look at the trees or the bushes because that’s where you’ll end up guiding your skis. Focus on the gaps.
This has literally just come to me – maybe what would help me is to reconstruct the other elements of those 17 years – the times spent with the children, the times spent with friends, the times spent with work colleagues, the times spent with family. Maybe then I wouldn’t feel such a void. Wow! That knot is loosening and I’m actually feeling excited. I’m off to look through old photos!
PS: Writing about what’s bothering you really does help!