Dear Diary: He's Been Married Before

Dear Diary, 


My boyfriend and I like playing a game. Whenever either of us is experiencing something for the first time, we keep track. Our phrase is “another first?!”He loves to show me new things. I am usually in awe of whatever it is I am discovering. That ignites him. He’s the Aladdin to show me the world. I liked experiencing firsts with him for quite a different reason. It was the only way I know for sure he hadn’t already done it with his ex.

He’s been married before. In the beginning, this didn’t bother me at all. We all have exes. Some of us (like me) have more than a few. But over time, the smallest insecurities weasled their way in. I guess before we started playing our firsts game, I never felt like I was second to his ex-wife. It didn’t cross my mind that some new things were only new for me. But the silly game made me wonder if maybe firsts were a little too important to him. Life made me aware they were definitely important to everyone else. People made sure to remind me that I was second. 

I quickly found out a divorced ex in the picture is not the same as a regular one. That was the person it was supposed to be it with. I am constantly reminded of the life he had with her. One that was never meant to include me. Most people dream of marrying their first, especially when that person is their high school sweetheart. He got to do that. Many men dream of their first child being a boy, one they could raise to be like themselves. He got that. Everyone reminds me of how beautiful she was. How sweet she used to be. How great their relationship once was. It seems like he’s had it all. What could I possibly have to give?

Apparently, it’s socially acceptable to call me out as runner-up in his life. One of the worst times was when I was taking care of his child. It was time for bed and he told me that he would dream of a birthday party thrown by his mom and dad. Only people who were “real family and not strangers” could go, which was his nice way of telling me I wasn’t invited. Another awkward incident occurred when we were on vacation with my boyfriend’s friend. While introducing us, I was called “the girlfriend, but not the mom.” He repeated, “not the mom,” for emphasis. His old friends love to congratulate us by saying “Wow, this is great. You loved *exes name* so much and you all were so happy. Weren’t you married? Anyway, I’m happy for you. This is great.” My boyfriend and I seem to be the only ones who understand that this is rude. No one else bats an eye. 

When we started planning our wedding, I wanted so badly to feel nothing but excitement. So often, I couldn’t. The doubts, the things I’ve heard, and pretty much everything negative hit my heart like the Titanic hit that iceberg. I was worrying that he and all of his loved ones would lack enthusiasm. Some articles I read online said that second weddings are just the “let’s hope it works this time” events where everyone does their gossiping. My thoughts agreed. Do you really think he’s as happy as you are? Boring. Show him something he hasn’t already seen. He’s probably reminiscing about her right now, dummy. Boom. Just like that, I’m deflated. These vicious insecurities attacked me for months. I even stopped planning the wedding.

One day I kind of got sick of being deflated. People’s rude comments and inability to mind their business were literally putting a hold on my life. So, I finally took off my woe-is-me pants. This was well overdue. Weeks had gone by where all I’d done was cry and exude bitterness so strong you could probably taste it. I knew I had to stop feeling sorry for myself and get it together. I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I’m walking down the aisle crying because it’s not his first wedding. It’s still our first wedding. Plus, I definitely won’t be crying because people might talk about me. I plan on getting my makeup done professionally that day. Y’all, that’ll probably never happen again.

There were only two things I could use to pull myself out of this hole: my good friends logic and reasoning. Thank God for those little guys. They were able to remind me that firsts aren’t automatically more valuable experiences and they don’t always have to work. Not only in marriage but any first. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and we fail. What kind of fiancee would I be if I beat him and myself up for simply failing? Why constantly replay that failure when we could move on to new success? The past is gone and there’s only one way to go. 

When I told my fiance’s sister that we were getting married I didn’t know what to expect. I maybe thought I’d get more reminders or rude remarks. Instead, she cried. She cried a lot because she was so happy for us. “This is great! I always wanted this for him, but I didn’t know if he still had it in him. He’s been through a lot, and it’s good to see him happy again.” She even thanked me for being so good to him. I finally knew that there was someone who could see I wasn’t an evil stepmom or the scheming, young new fling. (Media gives us such a bad rep.) By the end of this conversation I was crying too. Perhaps it’s the hopeless romantic in me and just a tad of ego, but it feels good to be the girl who made someone capable of loving again. At that moment, any insecurity I’d ever felt completely vanished. 

Maybe no one dreams of being a second wife and yes, divorce sucks. But now, I don’t see myself as just a second wife. I am a symbol of perserverance and new beginnings. I am a lifelong reminder that no matter how many things fall apart, you can always put them back together again. The woe-is-me pants have been thrown in the garbage because frankly, I have nothing to feel sorry about. Every day I can feel great about what our love has done to a once lifeless situation. In the words of Kaya McLaren, “Miracles were just second chances if you really thought about it—second chances when all hope was lost.”

Love, 
Olyvia

Comments

  1. I get how difficult it must be. I don't think it is really nice from friends and family to always remind the new partner of the ex-wife. But it is great that sad ex-wife was supportive of the wedding! xx corinne

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    1. Thank you for your support! It’s not nice at all, but I’m hoping they’ll stop eventually haha. Thanks for reading. :)

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  2. I really believe it's about how you finish not how you start. Second chances are cool b/c whatever didn't work the first time, he has learned and will be even better for you and the relationship. Awesome writing style :)

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    1. Thank you! I agree, he has so much wisdom to bring to our relationship. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. ❤️

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  3. I don't think people always realise how insensitive they can be, especially as it's a narrative backed up by the media.
    You be you, and you be happy, especially if you're with someone you love.
    Cora ❤ http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

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    1. Thank you! I appreciate the support. It’s easy to miss how the media effects the way we see certain situations. Thanks for the encouragement. :)

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  4. You have plenty to offer. Ignore their comments. Your boyfriend obviously sees something in you or he wouldn't be with you 😉

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    1. Thank you! You are so right. It took me a long time to figure out haha. Thanks so much for the advice. ❤️

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  5. 'a symbol of perseverence and new beginnings' - this is such a beautiful way of looking at things and definitely, definitely the right way to look at things!

    we all have pasts, and we all have futures. i remember when i met my current boyfriend that f scott fitzgerald quote 'i wish i'd done everything on earth with you' was strikingly apparent - i really wished id done all my 'firsts' with him too! but its all just part of life ain't it :) thats what makes it interesting!

    really love postm olyvia. you write so beautifully.

    katie. xx lacoconoire.com

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