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I Think I’m Dating My Ex-Husband

Image source: Monica Bielanko
Image source: Monica Bielanko

Let’s say you’ve spent the past year writing earnestly about your separation and eventual divorce from your husband. You chronicled your tumultuous separation that eventually mellowed into a strange period wherein you hung out quite a bit in some kind of confused limbo. You wrote about your confusion: are we doing the right thing by divorcing? We have three kids, after all. But we’re so toxic together and sometimes love just ain’t enough. You shared it all because why not? Divorce is nothing to be ashamed of. It happens to a lot of us. So you keep writing.

You go through phases. Sometimes you feel like the divorce might be a mistake and other times you feel like you’ve never viewed life from a clearer perspective — you’ve never been stronger. So you float away from each other and appear to make drastic improvements to yourselves and your respective lives, which confirms to you that divorce was the right call.

You vacillate between friendship and formality and a few slip-ups wherein you become lovers, but you eventually settle into a nice, friendly relationship with occasional flirting. You learn he’s talking to other women, you talk to other men. You learn he’s seeing other women, you see other men. You try not to pay attention to the details of his new life because you know that a huge divorce hurtle is overcoming the moment you realize your ex-lover has become someone else’s lover — so you do your best to float above it all and keep telling yourself you want him to be happy. You handle it surprisingly well.

But you have this niggling feeling that maybe you’re making the worst mistake of your life. Or maybe you just feel that way because divorce is the scariest thing you’ve ever experienced in your life. You aren’t sure. So you keep on keeping on because it wouldn’t be fair to suck your ex back into the drama you’ve spent the past year working so hard to overcome.

You maintain positive communications, for the most part, and congratulate yourself on a divorce well done. But even while you’re congratulating yourself, you’re second-guessing yourself. When it all gets too confusing, you remind yourself what those last couple years of marriage were like. You both lost yourselves. Adrift on a sea of self-hatred which you direct at each other, self-medicating with food and alcohol and excellent TV series binges.

Your divorce becomes final. You are no longer married. It makes you feel scared and floppy within the world. Like riding in a fast-moving car without a seat belt. But you’re determined to move forward because if you’ve learned one thing in the past year it’s that life is finite and you don’t want to waste another second of it wallowing in an unhealthy relationship that three children are viewing from front row seats.

But he seems different. Maybe he is? He says things to you no man has ever said, he romances you like nobody ever has. Yes, he knows all the buttons to push to flood you with rage but he also knows that you would far prefer wildflowers to roses and Doritos to chocolates on Valentine’s Day.

You’re confused. He’s confused.

You’re supposed to keep writing about all of it but you don’t know what to write because it’s all so confusing. Should you continue to share because, again, this is something a lot of people can relate to and you’ve had such a positive experience with readers thus far in your journey? Or is it time to put up a wall until you are less confused and have a better handle on what’s been happening over these past few weeks?

So here we are.

Us. Together. But divorced. Valentines Day. One year after we decided to split up. Stupid holiday, we can all agree, but still. There we were, eating the Doritos he gifted me with and sipping the red wine I bought him. As I write this tonight at my house he’s 25 miles down the road at his place with the kids because it’s his night.

I don’t know what’s going on.

Hence: this post.

Read more of Serge and Monica’s story here

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