Husband #2 crashed into my life like a bolt of lighting.
I’d been without Husband #1 for three years by this time and had just made the decision to become the neighborhood’s cat lady. I always wanted to live in the scary looking, slightly run down, somewhat overgrown house on the block. Woe to the child who’s baseball landed in my yard. I aspired to be the spooky lady who lived alone and would die alone.
OK, so Halloween is my second favorite holiday. But I think you get the picture. I was on my own and I was good with that lifestyle.
I wasn’t looking for Husband #2 but he was looking for me…
Actually, Husband #2 was looking for anyone who would help him feel better about himself. My cue to enter Stage Left. Unlike me, he had only been divorced for a little less than 9 months before our paths crossed. I didn’t know that I was going to be a rebound relationship until he walked out 10 years later.
We actually had a lot in common when we met for the first time:
- We’d both been left by spouses who were going through a mid-life crisis (this is actually like soldiers sharing war stories. It makes you a member of a huge, invisible club)
- We shared the same religion
- We loved photography
- We were fixing up our respective houses to get them ready for sale
- We loved new technology
- We loved country settings
- We were into self-improvement and self-discovery
- We were open and sharing
- We both loved to create
I thought he was strong, sensitive, and incredibly handsome. He thought I was vivacious, funny, and just a little bit daring. I was the self-starter to his procrastinator. He was outgoing where I was the wall flower. I was flirty where he was more reserved. We hit it off in a big way and after three months of non-stop talking, we were engaged.
Looking back, he hadn’t really worked through his own rejection from his divorce. His wife left him after 17 years of marriage and that kind of rejection can really wreak havoc with a person’s sense of self. I almost wonder if he would have hooked up with anyone who gave him a kind word and a flirty glance. As he shared in a recent email:
I have discovered that in the past I was afraid to be alone and so I would find anyone who would accept me without regard for how well suited we might be as a couple. That goes all the way back to high school dating.
Of course, enlightened statements like these don’t do much for my own self esteem today. Instead of internalizing, I’m trying my best not to take his rejection personally. In one way, it makes me feel very insignificant since he’s implying he would have married anyone and didn’t really see me as the one-in-a-million individual that I am. In another way, I think that his leaving was completely out of my control and it didn’t matter how good or bad of a partner I was, he would have left any way.
I just have to console myself with the knowledge that I took a chance and put myself out there. I was, and always will be, open for love.