still jealous of DH's XW and feeling terrible about it - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Am I the only one living with this excruciating jealousy? Most of the stories I read about step-mamas dealing with their hubby's ex-wives involve how difficult it is to deal with her regarding the sharing of children.

The XW in our situation is a bit nutty, not the best parent, not very kind, and not always real consistent, but for the most part she doesn't make trouble around kid-sharing.

Despite her nutty unkindness, I jealous of her to the point where seeing her or any remnants of her in the house make my stomach turn. In the early parts of my relationship with DH, he was pretty conflicted about the end of his first marriage and he and I even broke up for few months while he was trying to sort out whether or not he wanted to "try again" with XW.

And of course it doesn't help that my kids and I moved into the house that DH and XW shared together and she's a gorgeous little red-head and her son (my DSS) looks exactly like her.

In my toughest moments, I'm just blindly jealous that she's the one who got all the free-wheeling days before children, she's the one who got to be the mother of his children, she's the one who got to have the first house and the grandmother's ring.

I'll be just going about my day, no thought of her at all in my mind when all of a sudden, WHAM! I'm thinking "oh god, I think I'm sleeping in the same bed they slept in together" and it makes me want to vomit.

I know it's all in my head; DH has been a perfect gentleman, but it still stings. Does anyone else deal with this?

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#2 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 10:44 AM
 
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It can be really hard dealing with the "ghosts" of the past. Honestly, if I was sleeping in a bed my DP shared with his ex, I'd likely vomit too.

If you can afford it, I would highly suggest getting some new items in the house... especially the bed. It may just be an item... but let's face it, memories can get attached to items, and the bed is a pretty intimate place.

It sounds like you have a lot of sound basis for jealousy. I am sorry. I know I battle bouts of it myself sometimes, even though I likely shouldn't have it, as my situation is tons different, and I know where I rank in my DP's heart. But I think it hits all of us... esepcially the "she got to make him a Daddy first." For some reason that seems to be a big cornerstone in a lot of women's hearts. It's the biggest thing we can give. One thing I have come to terms with, is she may have been first, but we are just as special, and he CHOSE to have a child with me.

You have to come to a peaceful place in your heart and mind. I think getting rid of some of the past items would help a lot. You need to make the home YOUR home with DH, not their old home.

Good Luck!

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#3 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 10:52 AM
 
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My DP's XH makes me jealous.(BTW, I'm new to the abbreviations- DP is dear partner, right? Can someone point me to a list of these abbreviations?)
Anyway, I had a nickname for her XH when my DP and I got together. "TD&H" Tall dark and handsome. He's a very good looking guy. And even tougher to handle, he's a really good guy. A great dad to my DSD, couldn't be friendlier (he and I have gone out for beers together), and my DP and he are still VERY good friends.

It drives me completely nuts. He's involved in my DSD life in a big way, which is good, right? But LORD, do I have to see him every day?

Sometimes I wish there was this terrible annimosity between everyone, because this kindness and respect always leaves me suspicious: He's way better looking than me, everyone's cozy and friendly, do I have anything to be worried about?

It's just paranoia, but honestly, I relate to the jelousy thing.

But everytime I start to feel sorry for myself, I remember: I signed on for this. I knew the relationship they had. I willingly got involved in this. I had no idea back then how really difficult it was going to be, but hey, it's my bed now. And unfortunately, we all gotta sleep in it.
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#4 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 01:56 PM
 
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The feelings you have are totally normal, especially considering the situation you describe. I don't know if I could have stayed with my DH is he had needed time to decide if he wanted to get back with his ex after we were already together.

When I first started dating DH and met his mom, she got me alone in a room and literally told me that DH had loved his ex so much she worried that he would kill himself when they spilt up. She made a big point to tell me how much he had wanted to get back together. Nice way to welcome the new girlfriend onto the scene.

Anyway, maybe I am just totally conceited, but I never felt particularly jealous. If he had wanted to be with her, he could have made that choice. Ultimately he must have known it wasn't the relationship he wanted, or he would be with her today. Try and remind yourself of that when you start feeling jealousy.

Sure they have a past together. DH's ex's home is furnished with all the furniture they bought during their marriage, plus some heirlooms from DH's family. I think she was driving the "marital car" when I met DH. But I'm sure you have a past too. How much time do you spend wishing you were with a previous partner rather than your DH? Probably not a lot.

I would buy a new bed though.
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#5 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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Once in a whlie something will bring it on, be it working on a scrapbook with dsd and looking at pictures from her childhood, or XW's comment (THANK GOD, I never been in the house they lived in together). I've moved on from these feelings, DP and I have been together for a while now, and I'm starting to notice that what we have is much more magical than what was there before.

Either way, if I feel a wave of jealousy, I come to DP for a cuddle and confess: "Hi... I'm feeling jealous again, and need some cuddles". He knows just the right things to say and to do to fix it. I strongly suggest you discuss it with your partner and talk through it: what makes you jealous, what can he do to help you get over it, etc.

It will be ok *hugs*

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#6 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 02:16 PM
 
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how long has it been? were you his first relationship post-breakup? you said you moved in with your children? so you had a previous husband too? i would agree that it would be tons better emotionally for probably everyone if you and your husband got your own house, a fresh start. likewise the bedroom furniture, etc. if you just wanted to vent, i get your frustration. if however you want to do something purifying for the whole situation you might want to read a book about fung shiu (sp?).

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#7 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 02:32 PM
 
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Either way, if I feel a wave of jealousy, I come to DP for a cuddle and confess: "Hi... I'm feeling jealous again, and need some cuddles". He knows just the right things to say and to do to fix it. I strongly suggest you discuss it with your partner and talk through it: what makes you jealous, what can he do to help you get over it, etc.
That is such good advice too! I have done that before with DP too, and it really helps a ton and he is sooo sweet and understanding about it.

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#8 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 03:59 PM
 
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First, I'm sorry you're feeling this way.

I think that a little bit of jealously is normal in the situation you are in but I think you can and should do some things to minimize it. Get a new bed and new bedroom furniture, redecorate, rearrange, get rid of the things that are bothering you and talk to your dp about it.
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#9 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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how long has it been? were you his first relationship post-breakup? you said you moved in with your children? so you had a previous husband too? i would agree that it would be tons better emotionally for probably everyone if you and your husband got your own house, a fresh start. likewise the bedroom furniture, etc. if you just wanted to vent, i get your frustration. if however you want to do something purifying for the whole situation you might want to read a book about fung shiu (sp?).
I was not his first post-marriage relationship, and in fact, they had been divorced for over 3 years when the issue of "should they or should they not get back together" came up. She instigated it and then never followed through, but in the meantime, he and I broke up and I was pretty wary about giving him another chance after that.

I would have loved for us to get a new house that all 6 of us could start over again in, but finances really kept us from doing that. Several of you suggested getting a new bed and I think that's a wonderful idea. I tend to be pretty frugal and it rarely crosses my mind to purchase something when I don't need it (i.e., we have a perfectly good bed; why should we buy another?).

And yes, I was venting. But your suggestion about getting a book on Feng Shui is well-taken. There's probably some other cleansing we could do in other parts of the house to make it homier for my girls and I, too.

And to GoodStepDad: I laughed when I read that you had a nickname for your DP's XH. I'm glad I'm not the only one! I call the XW "The Sacred Uterus." Catty, I know. But it makes me feel better.

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#10 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 04:43 PM
 
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Anyway, maybe I am just totally conceited, but I never felt particularly jealous.
Here's wishing conceit for everyone.

Seriously, I think that if you're jealous you're probably shadowboxing. It may never even occur to the ex that you might be jealous. An ex-bf told me a few weeks ago that his gf of two years suddenly turned on him and accused him of wanting to be back with me. We broke up...eight years ago, I have a child (and he wants nothing to do with kids), neither of us wants a relationship again, afaik. It never occurred to me that she might be jealous. Yes, we're friends, we like each other, we go running and have coffee a few times a month. I've been out with him and prior gfs, no problem there. As a couple, we just sucked after the first few years, and we wanted different things. 7 years was a pretty good try. So I hope she's not wandering around his apartment despairing about the robot I gave him for his birthday one year. Cause it's a really cool robot, but it's just a robot.
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#11 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 04:45 PM
 
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Um... a robot and the marital bed are QUITE different things, in my humble opinion.

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#12 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 07:47 PM
 
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Can't say I've ever been "jealous" of DH's ex...I could really care less about the experiences they had together...it's the ones he and I are having now that matter.

I can say I'm a little envious that she gets to stay at home with the amount of CS that is paid out to her, but that's the extent of my feelings on her (ok, ok, I'll own up to some animosity too!) LOL

That being said, you are fully within your right to feel uncomfortable living in the same house AND having to use the same bed...THAT would make a lot of women in your situation really uncomfortable....buy a new bed at the very least...and break it in properly with new memories!
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#13 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 09:20 PM
 
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I think divorce is just an awful reality and something that has longterm consequences. But I also believe in the sanctity of marriage and you are married now. Your marriage need be protected. GET RID OF THAT BED!

I have never been in your shoes. I know my step-mother was jealous of my mother at times and didn't like baggage from my father's first wife, i.e., my brother and I. It was awful for me as I lived with my father and her. I don't think she wanted to be jealous or petty but at times she was and it really confused me.
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#14 of 29 Old 06-05-2008, 11:16 PM
 
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Um... a robot and the marital bed are QUITE different things, in my humble opinion.
Hey, you never know what's going to set someone off.
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#15 of 29 Old 06-06-2008, 12:15 AM
 
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I understand the jealousy factor. I've felt it even though if a neutral observer were watching, they would think that I was crazy. DF loves me, the thought of being with her gives him the same gross feeling that the thought of being with his sister would bring. I'm eleven years younger than she is. I'm more attractive. I have more education, and am currently furthering that education. In a few years, I'll be making big money. I don't have any delinquent children (yet ). I have a job. I have my life together.

But I still understand the jealousy. It's another woman who demands time and attention from your DH.

I was once in the position of possibly having to move into the house that DF and DSD's mom shared (He owned it). He was (stupidly) nice and let her live in it after the break-up. She paid him and he paid the mortgage. She promised that she would never screw him over. She did. She moved out and stuck us with the mortgage. The real estate market was just turning at that point, and he had trouble selling. We thought we might have to move in to that house. We wound up spending a couple nights in it (long story).

The whole idea squicked me out. I got such a bad vibe from that house. I could have never lived there.

I certainly could not sleep in the bed that they used to sleep in. An the same room? No way. Just could not do it.

If you can't move, redecorate. Repaint. Everything.

Even though we have a tiny apartment, DF and I have said time and again that we both finally feel home. It's little, but it is ours. And that is important. If she had lived here, I would never feel like it was ours.

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#16 of 29 Old 06-06-2008, 02:20 PM
 
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If you can't move, redecorate. Repaint. Everything.
I can understand OP desire to do this - but it's also the home where the children lived with their mom and dad. Their feelings and needs to be considered, too. I think some change in the environment will help. But all the jealous feelings aren't going to go away with a coat of paint.

It's really about your feelings - address those with your partner and figure out how to manage it all.

good luck.
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#17 of 29 Old 06-06-2008, 04:09 PM
 
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In my toughest moments, I'm just blindly jealous that she's the one who got all the free-wheeling days before children, she's the one who got to be the mother of his children, she's the one who got to have the first house and the grandmother's ring.
yup. and on the other hand, she's the one he made all the mistakes with, that led them to such irreconcilable differences that there was an irretrievable damage to the marriage such that led them to divorce, despite all of the above "advantages." fortunately (most of us) learn as we go. now *you've* got the man who already made a few mistakes and is (i hope) a better man for you, because of his earlier mistakes.

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#18 of 29 Old 06-07-2008, 07:11 PM
 
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yup. and on the other hand, she's the one he made all the mistakes with, that led them to such irreconcilable differences that there was an irretrievable damage to the marriage such that led them to divorce, despite all of the above "advantages." fortunately (most of us) learn as we go. now *you've* got the man who already made a few mistakes and is (i hope) a better man for you, because of his earlier mistakes.
EXACTLY.

I am the XW in your story. My Ex DH's wife is jealous of me and because of it we have gotten into some arguments in the past. If I could talk to her I would tell her: Don't be jealous. I am the one who ended the marriage, I did it for a reason. I do not want to steal your husband, we are not compatible - hence me ending the marriage.

I'm sure she envisions us blindly in love and having a blast. Reality check: things weren't like that or we'd still be married. It was not bliss. Even in our pre-kid days. He was barely around for us during pregnancy and after DS was born. All we had was love, no compatibility. We were poorly matched and had lots of fights because of it. At the end, it was pure hell. HELL! So much so, that I cannot even look back and smile about the good days anymore.

But I know that we both learned from the marriage and our failures (because we were equally responsible). So now we are both able to go on and live better lives. So I wish she would be happy that he made his mistakes with me and is likely a little better as a husband to her.

They do still have the bed that ex and I had while we were married and that kind of weirds me out. DS was conceived in that bed and that was the bed I used post partum and sweated and dripped milk on. That would seriously gross me out to be sleeping on that bed if I were her. So you should splurge and get a new bed!!

Wishing you peace mama! Try journaling all of your angry and jealous feelings and then setting the paper on fire or tearing it up to pieces and letting it all go. Your jealousy is only hurting you.

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#19 of 29 Old 06-07-2008, 08:03 PM
 
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EXACTLY.
They do still have the bed that ex and I had while we were married and that kind of weirds me out. DS was conceived in that bed and that was the bed I used post partum and sweated and dripped milk on. That would seriously gross me out to be sleeping on that bed if I were her. So you should splurge and get a new bed!!
I have come to a conclusion after reading this thread - sleeping on a used mattress is like wearing used underwear. My dad bought DF and I a new bed just a few days before DS was born. I get more and more appreciative of that as time goes on.

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#20 of 29 Old 06-07-2008, 08:59 PM
 
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It's really about your feelings - address those with your partner and figure out how to manage it all.

good luck.
I agree, except that I'd recommend addressing them on your own, maybe with a counselor's help. (The "I'm feeling jealous again" thing may work for a pp, but I know many people who'd be, or who have been, increasingly weirded out by it from a spouse or so and ultimately they distanced themselves.) As another pp pointed out, the fantasies about what the xw had may have absolutely no basis in reality, and ultimately they speak more to the op's needs, insecurities, and wishes than anything else. So that's really the kind of thing you have to work out yourself.

If the problem is jealousy that the dh _ever_ had a good life with anyone else, then again, that's something to be addressed individually, I think.

Occurs to me too that you have to question that sense of rivalry with other women, and what it stems from. If you don't feel the rivalry, I think the odds of jealousy probably drop way down. I was just thinking about my various exes and lovers...and man, their other girlfriends and wives were an accomplished crowd. A socialite, a high-profile academic, a Broadway star, a symphony flautist, a ballet dancer. But I never felt I was in competition, and of course there was some former life in which they'd known the men better. I think if you view your goal in life as landing a man, or have a sense that you must get a man -- or view them as a sort of territory or property -- this feeling of rivalry and jealousy is probably more likely to get you.
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#21 of 29 Old 06-07-2008, 11:06 PM
 
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I think if you view your goal in life as landing a man, or have a sense that you must get a man -- or view them as a sort of territory or property -- this feeling of rivalry and jealousy is probably more likely to get you.
I agree with many things you said in this post, but this last bit is extremely judgemental and very unfair, imho. I do not see my goal in life as "landing a man", nor do I view him as a property.

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#22 of 29 Old 06-07-2008, 11:32 PM
 
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I agree with many things you said in this post, but this last bit is extremely judgemental and very unfair, imho. I do not see my goal in life as "landing a man", nor do I view him as a property.

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#23 of 29 Old 06-08-2008, 12:22 AM
 
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Guys, i did not say, "Jealousy means your goal in life is landing a man, and/or you see him as your property." PRMC.
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#24 of 29 Old 06-08-2008, 03:01 AM
 
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I'm sure she envisions us blindly in love and having a blast. Reality check: things weren't like that or we'd still be married. It was not bliss.

Another "ex" here and I agree with Jilian. My ex and I don't talk, nor does he have any part in DS's life, so I doubt (and hope) this will never be an issue for me. BUT, if there was a woman out there feeling the least bit jealous of *me*, I'd have to sort of laugh. Sure, there were fun times, but DP is a totally different person now, mainly because of everything we went through. We SUCKED as a couple, hence the reason we split up.

That being said, I'd definitely get a new bed. DP and I got one when we moved in together, despite having two perfectly good beds at the time. It was worth it, imo. I like knowing that he and I are the only ones who have ever made love in it.
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#25 of 29 Old 06-08-2008, 11:35 AM
 
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But I never felt I was in competition, and of course there was some former life in which they'd known the men better. I think if you view your goal in life as landing a man, or have a sense that you must get a man -- or view them as a sort of territory or property -- this feeling of rivalry and jealousy is probably more likely to get you.
We have to remember that in the case of the OP, the EW was not only the former life, but part of the current life that she experienced with her DH. He took a time out from their relationship to contemplate whether he wanted to return to the ex. I'd assume that wasn't wholly based on his wishful thinking, but a sense that the ex was desiring, or at least open, to renew the relationship.

So I wonder who was feeling more territorial--the OP or the EW?
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#26 of 29 Old 06-08-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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We have to remember that in the case of the OP, the EW was not only the former life, but part of the current life that she experienced with her DH. He took a time out from their relationship to contemplate whether he wanted to return to the ex. I'd assume that wasn't wholly based on his wishful thinking, but a sense that the ex was desiring, or at least open, to renew the relationship.

So I wonder who was feeling more territorial--the OP or the EW?
kkj, in that case, it's even clearer. He chose.

I was with one guy for 7 years, and his Heartthrob Ex was still around and part of our social circle. She was very goodlooking, bright, accomplished. Even if she'd changed her mind, though, forget it. Once someone leaves him, he's done. (Which is part of why his current gf's jealousy surprised me.) I didn't care for her at first because his story made her out to be heartless, but eventually I realized that was "dumped" talking, and that she's very likeable. She's moved an hour or so away now with her husband, but works in town, so I still have coffee with her occasionally.

If the op's husband's xw is some desperate schemer...well, that'd be kind of sad. But jealousy, I think, would be warranted only if he was the kind of guy to vacillate and cheat, and if that's the case, the main problem isn't jealousy.

About the bed -- you know, I never thought about beds when it came to bfs or my husband. I never heard a guy complain about my bed, either. I mean don't get me wrong, I can see it, just saying it's never come up for me. The only time I ever made that kind of association was with a friend who's been almost daughter-close to our old teacher, a Famous Person with a very dominant kind of personality. My friend's involved with our teacher's son, hopes to marry him (yeah, I know, don't ask) and the other day was helping to set up some kind of heirloom bed at his house. The mattress was original and had belonged to our teacher and her ex. Apart from the fact that the mattress had to be disgusting after 20 years in the basement, if there's one person I wouldn't want looming over my sex life, it'd be this teacher, esp. if she was going to be my MIL. I mean it'd be beyond incestuous. They're getting a new mattress.
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#27 of 29 Old 06-09-2008, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm the OP, and it's been very helpful for me to read this thread.

The funny thing is, I'm an XW too. My former hubby is remarried and his new wife and I get along famously. I truly don't think she suffers from any jealousy (although I could be wrong; it's been known to happen!), and the three of us have a very successful co-parenting relationship.

I have sat down and wondered what about me and me XH is different from DH and his XW. First of all, we were married only 4 years to their 10. DH and I have talked about it, and we agree on some important differences. I didn't marry the love of my life the first time around. I knew it just as clearly on the day I said "I do" as I do now. I got married for other reasons: to quench lonliness, for financial stability, etc. I'm not proud of it, but there it is. My XH and I were best pals before we got married and in retrospect, we should have just stayed good pals and left the wedding rings to the love birds. DH readily admits that he married the love of his life the first time around, but that she changed. Hey, people change, I get it. I don't pretend that my jealousy is logical or fair, but my honey gave his whole entire heart to this beautiful woman and wanted, more than anything, for her to handle it with care and give him hers in return.

I know it sounds weird and maybe even cliche coming from a 30-something once-divorced mother of two, but DH is the love of my life. He's who I've been looking for all this time. My heart was shattered when he wanted to "take a break" to explore the possibilities with his XW and to be honest, even though it was a long time ago, and I've forgiven him 10-fold, my heart is still healing and fragile.

What I feel I need now are strategies for getting through my day without the XW (and their long history together) haunting me. You've all made some helpful suggestions. I broached the subject of a new bed over the weekend and I think we're going to do that soon. It's about time for a fresh coat of paint in the house anyway, so my being able to control that will be helpful, too.

I didn't anticipate this part of a second marriage. I was ready for difficulties step-parenting, and joint-custody and financial considerations, and a gazillion different schedules. I didn't know I'd be forced to so closely examine my own demons and the demons of his past.

+ = (4/97) & (1/99) & (8/99) & (2/01), with , the prettiest pup this side of the Mississippi.
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#28 of 29 Old 06-09-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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My heart goes out to you. I don't have the same issues in our case (I don't think DH ever really loved his ex, and both she and he have told me as much), though I still hate being reminded of her and sometimes feel bad for her.

I think your instincts can tell you what you need to get rid of to reclaim your own space. If you must stay in the house, obviously you'd need to get rid of the bed, mattress, sheets, pillows, etc. A new coat of paint is a cheap remodel, and may help a lot too. For little things, I've heard of women having parties where their friends come over and swap things, so, for example, there is an old table that is nice but reminds you of her, so your friend likes the table and swaps out a table to you. Or tiny things, like tablewear or vases or plants. If you're in a whole memory-laden house that was hers, then it may help to purge a lot of it.

Also, another trick we have for not being constantly reminded of her is to limit her presence in time and space. As in, we don't mention her after 8pm, and we never ever mention her while in the bedroom. Little things like that can help emotionally a lot too.

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#29 of 29 Old 06-19-2008, 02:22 AM
 
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Nope, I am very jealous of her. My DH gave her everything he had to keep that relationship going. The only thing that makes me feel better is that my husband never hid the fact that he wanted a daughter and she wanted to give him a daughter so bad but they had a son. Fortunetely our first child was a girl. So I was able to give him what he wanted most out of the world, a daughter. Than she rubbed it in my face that she has his ONLY son and guess what our next child was a boy.

I am very jealous of her still though. I just feel she got the "best" of my husband. Everyone tells me the things he used to do for her and how he felt about her and I think "why doesn't he do that for me?" or "I wonder if he feels that way about me?" It's very hard for me and I thought I was just overreacting.

It has gotten a little better for me overtime but I still get jealous of some of the stuff he keeps around from their marriage (like our kitchen table, sometime's I'd like to "accidentally" saw it in half just so we'd have to get a new one).
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