Hi Oatmeal. Meditating at the stream after horseback riding sounds wonderful! I'm glad you were able to do that.
T regarding my dh and his "ex situation....he was married once before, and I actually knew him and his ex when they were married. She was a lot older than him, very pretty, highly-educated, had travelled around the world. YOu get the idea. So, they divorced and then two years after that I ran into him again and we just clicked -- long story short, we became a couple and moved in together. But I think because I had met his ex and knew a little about her, I felt inferior. I constantly compared myself to her. To make things worse, dh had a habit of living in the past. He still had a picture from their wedding on his mantle when I moved in with him. Would still mention her from time to time. I knew that he had been the one who wanted out of the marriage, and filed for divorce...so it wasn't that he wanted to be with her. But every time he said her name or talked about that time in his life, I took it personally. I assumed that he was comparing us and found me lacking.
To complicate matters even further...his ex-wife wasn't even the "love" of his life. That honor went to a girl he was involved with in high school. They had a very volatile relationship -- up and down, like a roller coaster. And she was the one who finally left him. For some reason, because of all of that, he could not get past her. After we'd lived together for a few months he told me that he still had dreams about her sometimes at night. I found letters from and photos of her in the top of his closet. I felt threatened and asked him to get rid of them. He refused. I took that to mean that he had chosen his fantasy of her over me. We lived together for a few years and from time to time the ex's names would come up, something would be said and I'd feel terrible. It became a very unhappy relationship. So finally I said to him, "Let's just take a break for six months." I moved out, but we had a few ground rules. We weren't ready to completely break up -- we just needed space for him to be sure he really wanted to be with me, and for me to spend time with myself working on building up my self-esteem. (I felt like a lot of the problem wasn't with dh's attachment to the past, but MY REACTION to it.).
Anyway, the rules were that we couldn't see other people during that six month period, we'd have weekly dates, etc....after I moved out, it took some of the pressure off. (The first week was horrible for me. I felt so alone. But it got easier.) We spent the night at each other's apts. sometimes. We went on dates. He stopped talking about his ex's. And we just had a nice time being together. When the six months were almost up, we decided to move in together again. He made the choice to be with me even when he could have ended it. It would have been easy to end it since we were already living apart and had our new routines/lives established. But we both chose to be with each other. A month after I moved back in with him we found out I was pregnant with ds! We've been together ever since (and we married when ds was two).
What helped me the most was taking time for myself to work on the issues that made me feel like I wasn't as good as his ex's. He'd never said that I wasn't as good, or that he didn't love me as much. But I felt that way anyway. I had to fix that myself. It didn't have anything to do with dh, it was my own insecurity. It also helped that we took a break and then chose to be together. The fact that he made an informed and conscious choice to be with me and grow our relationship helped me feel more secure.
As time has gone on, he's cared less and less about the past. He's admitted that he rarely thinks of his ex's anymore and when he does it's just a flash of memory, it's not out of desire to be with them or missing them or anything. As time has gone on we've built our own memories and I feel confident that he loves me and loves the family we've made. And I feel better about myself as a person -- that I'm worthy of being loved. I'm me and I have a lot to offer.
Dh still has photos of his ex's. He still has letters, and his old journal is full of the life he lived during those years with the other women. He wants to hold onto it because it's part of his life. It's part of who he is. But now all of that stuff is boxed up and stored away.
I don't know if any of this relates to your situation. It probably doesn't help you much! But I wanted to share since you asked about it. Sometimes flat out ending a relationship isn't necessary....changing the habits and dynamics of a relationship can make all the difference.
I hope you work things out in a way that is good for you. And keep up the good work with your meditation!