It finally happened…I saw my exhusband for the first time in over six years. The last day I saw him was when we walked out of the courthouse together after signing divorce papers. I remember standing in parking lot and hugging him one last time, still in disbelief that it was really over. I remember feeling so much relief but also overpowering sadness- I still loved him then, but knew our marriage was over.
I knew he still lived in the area- a few towns away. For the first year or two I kept waiting to run into him. I had a couple close calls when I saw his brother. I knew he got remarried (after annulling our marriage which is another story…but even that required no communication between us). It was like I spent almost eight years of my life with this person and then- poof!- he just disappeared. We did not keep in touch with each other’s families, we had no children or even mutual friends. It was truly a clean break, which was a blessing because it made it much easier for me to move forward.
On Sunday, my boyfriend and I ran into our local food store and as I casually glanced down an aisle, I saw him. He never looked up and did not see me. I told my boyfriend and we left the store quickly after- I desperately did not want him to see me. As far as running into an ex goes, I was pretty lucky. He looked the same. I saw him leave the store with a woman I assume is his wife. To be honest, he rarely crosses my mind and as years passed I could no longer close my eyes and picture his face anymore.
Afterwards, I felt a little shaken up by the sighting. I thought a lot about it throughout the night and could not put my finger on what I really felt. Luckily, my boyfriend was understanding about my reaction- he was previously engaged and said he wouldn’t want to run into his ex either. I kept thinking it was a “sign”- my boyfriend and I had a pretty big argument over the weekend and had just made up right before going to the store. I guess I was wondering if seeing my ex was a sign that my current relationship was failing. I’m not a huge believer in the idea of signs, but I also felt like the timing was very ironic. I have been feeling a bit insecure in my relationship and a little unsure about if my boyfriend and I are moving in the right direction…and then I run into my exhusband?
But then it struck me- I remembered that Sunday was also my parents’ 45th wedding anniversary. My parents have been very unhappily married for years and years due to my father being extremely verbally and emotionally abusive. I realized that I was interpreting the situation incorrectly- seeing my exhusband wasn’t a sign relating to my boyfriend (who is a great guy…we have issues but I know we will work things out), but it was a sign that I did the right thing by leaving him six years ago. My exhusband was cruel to me for a long time, but ultimately I was able to do what my mother has never done: leave him. Seeing him was a reminder that I made the decisions in my past and went through such a traumatic experience for a reason. After so many years, the pain from my divorce has ceased and the bad (and good) memories from our marriage have faded, but I never want to truly forget the lessons I learned from my marriage and divorce. Going through it taught me to be strong and independent and to not let someone treat me poorly. Seeing him was a good reminder of how far I have come…but I’m more than happy to go another six years before I see him again!