Is it true what they say that the best revenge you can take on your ex is for the ex to see you happy, looking good, and enjoying a new love? Perhaps. Certainly, most of us would not want to give our ex the satisfaction of knowing that they ruined us for any future joy, catch us with greasy hair and in sweatpants, or believing that no love in our life could ever match the one we shared with them.
What is it about seeing my ex doing well for himself since we were together that pisses me off?
I don’t want a relationship with him anymore. Heck, I can barely tolerate him; but, for some reason seeing him look good and making improvements in his life gets under my skin and makes me sour.
Starting mid-way through our marriage he abandoned good hygiene and grooming. He dressed like a slob and ruined every morning when I got ready for work by invading the bathroom to share all the splendor of his bodily functions with me.
It was hard to find him attractive when he spent countless hours in his favorite recliner stuffing his face and ignoring his beautiful family. He left me to take care of the majority of the household and childrearing duties so he could watch porn or create more dirty dishes and laundry for me. He also left me to be the primary breadwinner. He was always happy to spend the money but possessed little motivation to help improve our situation.
The shock of becoming single and wondering if he would ever find another woman to cook for him and do his laundry most likely inspired the first round of improvements. I recall dropping off the kids to him one morning and noticed that he was clean-shaven, wearing cologne, had a fresh haircut, sported a nice button-up shirt, and had lost a little weight. I remarked to him that he would be wise to continue taking care with his appearance with the new woman he was dating rather than letting himself go again.
My advice probably sounded bitchy, but it was quite sincere.
I knew firsthand that starting out with all charm and effort early on in a relationship, then becoming lazy and disgusting later on was not a wise move!
As the years since our divorce have progressed, I have watched as he has experimented with some interesting fashion and hair expressions. At times, he was obviously dressing to impress, and tried “man jewelry”, various styles of facial hair, and clothing styles (some that fit his personality, and others that made him look ridiculous).
At one point, I think he gave up. He became unemployed a few months after our divorce, lasting over three years. He gained weight, stopped shaving and cutting his hair again, and seemed to live in jeans and a camouflage coat. No doubt he was depressed and feeling pretty low about his life! He counted on his parents to pay his bills, had no prospects for love, and was lacking in purpose for his life.
Now, all the sudden, he is on a roll of good things in his life. He finally has the best job ever, can pay his own bills, and whenever I see him he is polished and looks better than ever. He is always dressed well, has a spring in his step, and his life is on the right track. Still no lady after a long drought in his love life; but, I’m sure that a man who demonstrates some pride in himself, has prospects, and looks and smells good will gain someone’s interest!
He’s not my favorite person, but I’m still happy that things are finally coming together for him. I am glad that my kids will finally have an example of their dad working, being responsible, and exercising good habits. A fear of mine has been that his example would contribute to them developing a poor work ethic or a penchant for scruffy, flabby dudes who expect everyone else to take care of them.
All that said, why do I feel myself getting ticked off when I pull up to pick up my kids from a man wearing pressed pants and a tie?
I’ll tell you why, because I invested ten years of my life and gave my all to a man who didn’t appreciate me or make an effort to keep our marriage alive!
Instead of fresh breath and a contribution to the household expenses, I got to hear all about (and experience) his flatulence issues.
Instead of a briefcase and sharp looking shirt, I got snoring at the volume of a riding lawn mower from his favorite chair and the pleasure of seeing him wear the same ball cap and holy jeans day after day.
Instead of goals, effort, or investing in our marriage, I got to watch him binge watch shows about hunting, burp non-stop, and scratch himself seductively.
Why did the once handsome and charismatic man whom I met take a hiatus and become such a displeasing roommate?
Why did he deny me a partner who could hold a conversation or put some effort into looking his best?
Why did I have to endure Saturdays of watching him walk around in holy underwear and never shutting the bathroom door when he is capable of using manners and using toiletries?
I no longer want this man, but it burns me up that he gave me the worst of himself and made no effort to fulfill the potential that he is clearly capable of!
Was I not a good enough wife to deserve a husband who wanted to please me as much as I tried to please him?
I can only speculate as to the reasons for his re-invention based on my own metamorphosis after our divorce.
While it took him a while to get back to work after he was terminated, I am sure that he is making advances in his career partly to take care of our children. He can’t expect his parents to pay his utilities forever, and he probably desired a reason to feel proud again.
I know that when we were together, I was no longer able to be the best version of myself. I became depressed, frustrated, and found it difficult to care about life anymore.
It’s easier to see the flaws and mistakes of others, so while I feel that I did all that I could for him and for our marriage, I suspect that his behavior was symptomatic of his displeasure for our life. If he found joy in me, our home, or marriage I feel that he would have tried to be present in our relationship and responsive to my needs.
I think he couldn’t be the best version of himself in our marriage, either. Maybe he didn’t know what he had until it was gone, or he is now finally free to grow as a person. In either case, he is now a better person; but, so am I! Whatever his reasons, I will try to be happy for him and the fact that we both got our chance to be happier!