Ok so one of the super-duper things about dating in "mid-life" is figuring out how to deal with the residue of a past marriage or relationship. Yours AND that of your partner.
I've been divorced a long time. I haven't ever wished I'd put more effort into bailing to try to save that sinking ship. I gave it my all for 10 years, and figured that was long enough to spend on something that was never going to change. I couldn't afford to stay in the home my ex and I built, so my boys and I started in a crappy rental, and as my financial situation changed, we've moved up a few times to get to where we are, so we didn't get super attached to our houses. Moving makes it easy to jettison a lot of residue.
CG has been through a similar situation, but has been in his home for many years. His kids were very small when he and his wife chose that home to raise their family in. There is sentiment attached to many things there.
I haven't asked CG to change. Really. He is perfect for me just the way he is. I have really appreciated the fact he's made some changes to his home and his life in order to accomodate me, but it's not because I've insisted.
It's funny how women seem to attach sentimental feelings to things more than a man will. CG sized his wedding ring down to fit his pinky and has worn it since his divorce. He didn't attach any meaning to it other than the fact he liked the ring.
I liked my wedding ring too. It was a gorgeous gold band hand made by my ex-husband, so rather than selling the gold, I sent it to my beautiful step-daughter for a right hand ring. I just thought she might like the fact that her father made it, I had worn it, and it was made with gold from several of my dad's tie pins... I would never have put it on to wear again, because it signified a negative time in my life.
Anyhow, rather than magpie-ing the way women will, some time ago I asked CG if there was any significance to his wearing the ring. He assured me there wasn't but I guess my asking got him thinking. Last night he asked me if I noticed how much he's growing and changing... I said I had noticed a lot of things he'd done recently... Then he said, "Did you notice my hand?". I hadn't noticed he wasn't wearing his ring....
His removing that ring meant a great deal to me. He did it of his own accord, not at my insistance or suggestion, so it means so much more.
That's the difference between the me I am now, and the me I was at 27. When he told me there was no longer significance to the ring for him, I'd taken him at his word, and moved on. Back then, I'd have shredded myself into a ball worrying about what wearing that ring meant, or why he had photos of his ex in his yearly albums or whatever else. How do I know? Because that's how old I was when I became a second wife... tough gig being second wife during my first marriage...
The me I am now, realizes when he reminisces about his first significant girlfriend, or smiles at an old memory, it's ok. I do the same thing from time to time. It doesn't mean I'd go back to that person if they showed up on my doorstep, and more significantly, I don't feel threatened that HE would either. I love my life now. I love this man now, and I like myself way better than I did at 27. CG and I are who we are now, because of the experiences we had in our life up until this moment.
So... I'd like to acknowledge all the other women he's had relationships with. That doesn't mean I want to meet them and become BFF's. It also doesn't mean I won't feel a twinge if I meet them and they're prettier or skinnier than me.
I don't have to like it when I know he's reminiscing about his time with another woman, but I appreciate the man he's become because of his relationships with them. Most significantly his ex wife... She, more than any other ex, helped to shape him into the man I love.
Like my ex, she left some permanent and very positive residue... beautiful kids. Our children are living proof that we both lived and loved before. Don't get me wrong..there are days I'd like MY 21 and 19 year old "residue" to get school finished, move out and start their adult lives, but they're the sort of residue I hope keeps coming back... To VISIT....