Monday, June 14, 2010

Consolation prize

There is a very dark force in my life. It has been shadowing me, my marriage, and my children for many years. I have never laid eyes upon this force. Yet, it hovers, and chips away at my happiness. It brings me to tears, and makes me feel hate, and anger and rage. Sometimes those feelings overwhelm me. I did not know I was capable of the depth of hate that I could feel. I dream about making this force disappear. I hate this force. I hate what it is doing to my family. It is like a cancer. I wish I could cut it out. I fear that it would just re-appear, in a far worse illness. At times, I want to surrender to this darkness, but for the sake of my children, I cannot.
I hate to sound so mysterious, and "Harry Potterish", but some days, that is the only think I can liken it to. My husband David, was briefly married in the 90's. He was in his early twenties. He met someone, and within a few short months, she was pregnant, and they got married. The marriage was brief, and unhappy. She had a problem with fidelity, and being a mother. They should never have married, and it was a youthful error. Unfortunately, there was a child involved. They were to be linked for life.
David and I met in 2000. We fell in love. I knew my fate was sealed the moment I saw his dimples. We have been together since we met. We made a home together, and have 3 beautiful little girls. Aside from our temporary financial woes, (I always feel compelled to say temporary) we are a beautiful family.
But a few years ago, my husband's ex-wife, who I have never met, decided that she wanted to have some "me" time. She wanted to be single, and free from responsibility. She was sending her son to live with us. My husband was very happy. He always wanted to have his boy with him. I, however, was not. I had, at the time, two girls. Charlotte was 1, and Olivia was 3 at the time. I really felt like my plate was quite full. I protested. I said that I didn't think I could take on caring for a pre-pubescent boy, along with my girls. I was told by my husband, that it would be a trial, and if I became so unhappy, I did not have to do it.
This would not be the case. His mother refused to have him back with her. My husband broke his promise. I was left with no choice but to care for a child not my own, and there was nothing I could do to change this. I know what you are thinking. That I married a person with a child. This is true. But normally, a child lives with the mother. Let's be fair about that. Unless the mother is incapable of caring for her child, it is very rare to have the father assume care. Very rare. I didn't start dating David, and he and his son lived together in a little house, and I joined them to complete their family. That is not how it was. Yet suddenly, I now had a newborn teenage son. Wether I liked it, or not.
I cannot tell you how out of control your life feels, when your husband, and his ex-wife tell you how your life is going to go. You suddenly go from being the captain of your ship, to just being a deck hand. To add insult to injury, my husband's ex-wife has never been kind to me. Forget kind. She has never been civil. She has been rude, and critical of me, and the girls. She has treated me, all of these years, like David's mistress. As if I broke up her marriage. "The other woman". That is not the case. I met David many years after he was divorced. Yet, she continually refers to me and the girls, as David's "little family", or his "new family". She refuses to acknowledge us. The day Olivia was born, David called to tell his son that he had a new baby sister, and his ex-wife answered the phone. He told her his happy news, and her response was, "Remember, we were here first".
That has been a running theme. I feel sometimes like I live in the shadow of this first family. I feel sometimes that emotionally, I mean just a little bit less, and maybe I am taken just a little less seriously because I am "a second wife". Every joyous event in my life, has always been bittersweet for me. The "firsts" were "seconds" for my husband. When I first said "I do", it was magic for me. But in the back of my mind, I knew this was a do-over for David. When I first felt Olivia squirm in my belly, I knew David had placed his hand on someone elses's belly and felt a new life for the first time before. Even their birth's were not like the first time. He had done it before, with someone else.
I am not feeling sorry for myself. I feel that when David's ex-wife said that to David on the phone that morning, that they were "here first", there might be some truth to that. I never realized how my husband is still a little bit married to someone else. How his love for another woman, although replaced with hate and anger,is still an emotion that makes him involved mentally with her. I see it in his far away eyes, I feel it in his mental absence from our girls, and our marriage, and our home.  I endure his mis-directed anger, and frustration. Maybe, I am "the other woman". I will always be number two. I used to call myself his consolation prize, jokingly. Sometimes, I fear that this may be true.
I wish I had a wand, like Potter, and could shout out a spell, and rid my life of this dark force.

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