Happily Ever After

March 19, 2010

When your spouse runs off with one half of a couple you used to hang out with, you wind up with one new whole and two devastated halves. You know how my part of the story played out (happily recoupled, pregnant, and closing my sweater into silverware drawers on a regular basis).

I’m pleased to report that Doris’s ex is also doing well – we touched base over email this week, and he’s just gotten engaged to a wonderful woman. It’s so nice when things work out for the best.

He is still having some difficulty unloading his marital home, but given that he was able to successfully unload his marital Doris, he’s still coming out way ahead.

Registered Male

January 29, 2009

I’m looking over my ex-husband’s wedding registry on the Crate & Barrel website and feeling awfully strange about it. Why, you may reasonably ask, am I looking at his wedding registry? He got remarried about a month ago and I did a Google search to see if there were any pictures up. Again, this begs the question…why?

I don’t really know. We split up two years ago this month; he left me for the woman whose registry I am now looking at, a registry that includes a god-awful sauce boat and a glass decanter that looks like it accidentally got too close to a blowtorch. I guess I’m hoping to find clues to the man I once knew and loved, the man who once pledged to love me above all others and who now has pledged the exact same thing to someone else.

I’m not bitter, I don’t think. I’m happily recoupled (newly engaged, in fact) and realize now that my marriage to my ex was doomed from the beginning—we’re just very different people. The woman he’s now with (his current wife—yikes) was a friend of mine for a time, which I think adds to the strangeness. You think you know your spouse, and you think you know your friend, but it’s very hard to wrap your head around the remelding of those people into a new marital entity that excludes you entirely.

An entity that has requested a truly impressive array of cookware (reversible griddle; two cooling racks; a $400 ten-piece set of pots and pans; brownie pans; cake pans; muffin tins; all manner of brushes, whisks, and ladles). This astonishes me because I know that neither of them cooks, or used to. They’ve also registered for a fancy coffee/espresso machine even though a) Thomas never once used the similar one he made us register for, and b) he should still have it since I left it when I moved out. They’ve requested enough glassware and place settings to host a state dinner. They want water goblets (goblets?) and champagne flutes. They seem to be stocking up for an aspirational life that bears no resemblance to the one they’re actually living.

Or maybe it does. Maybe this new pairing is more than the sum of the parts I once knew—or, if not more, a different version of those parts. People change. People learn to cook. People decide to make fancy cappuccino drinks at home.

There’s something ostentatious about a wedding registry. It boldly declares both that “We are a committed couple” and that “We, collectively, need stuff.” It’s like my ex and his new wife are flaunting their love in a way that’s always ticked me off about Brad and Angelina.

I know I’m being irrational. Sometimes a water goblet is just a water goblet.

Was-band?

January 16, 2009

My ex-husband has just gotten remarried. It’s a weird feeling because, as of nine months ago, he was still legally my husband.

Some of the timing isn’t his fault. We’ve been separated for almost two years, and our divorce was relatively easy and uncontested. Part of the delay stemmed from lawyers with a penchant for long vacations (his), mysterious yet debilitating stomach maladies (mine), and an indifference to the possibility of our repeat business (both—probably common to all divorce attorneys outside Nevada).

Part of the delay also stemmed from a Puritanical Massachusetts rule that requires an unwaivable 120-day waiting period after the divorce hearing before the divorce can be finalized—a hearing which (again, only in Massachusetts) both parties must attend in person before a judge. My lawyer tells me we got off easy, having had to attest only to our current addresses, the date of our separation, and the fact that our marriage was irretrievably broken. She’s actually seen other unhappy couples grilled about their motives, their sincerity, and even their sobriety levels.

So while I don’t entirely blame my ex-husband for moving on so quickly, it’s still an icky feeling—like the feeling you get when someone pokes you deep in the belly button. He must have proposed to his soon-to-be-bride—the woman he left me for—almost as soon as the ink was dry on our divorce papers, if not before. He will have two spouses in calendar year 2008, leading to possible confusion come tax time. Maybe instead of “joint filing,” there’s a “group filing” box he can check.

While I’m very glad the marriage is behind me, I still have trouble thinking of him as my ex-husband. I’m currently dating a guy I can see myself married to someday, so I’m not one to cast stones, but as of right now I have just one husband on my ledger. And “ex” seems to imply a disrespect for the entire institution. I’ve heard Kristin Armstrong, former wife of Lance, use the term “was-band,” which seems just about right. I also read an interview with Jennifer Aniston referencing her 30th birthday and “the man I was married to at the time.” Classy broads both.

I guess I have trouble with the implications of marrying someone, vowing it’s forever and always and til death us do part, and then turning around and making that promise with someone else. Elizabeth Taylor might beg to differ, but doesn’t it lose some of its clout the second (or third, or eighth) time around? Especially when your first “forever” is still closer in your rear-view mirror than she appears?

It’s different, I suppose, when it’s your second or third or eighth—when you really believe that this time you’ve got the right person, the one, the partner who can make you happy ever after. They say that remarriage is a triumph of hope over experience, and maybe that’s just about the size of it.