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'I can't stop thinking about my husband's ex-wife and what I would say to her.'

“There are two sides of every story,” you’ve more than likely heard.

What side we choose to believe says a lot about us.

The story I choose to believe is that my husband married his former wife out of convenience instead of love and that she cheated on him with another woman’s husband.

I choose not to believe that my husband married a woman he did love. I choose not to believe that he became a workaholic and didn’t give his spouse the time and attention she likely needed and may or may not have asked for.

Then, starved for intimacy, she sought it in the arms of another married man.

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But just because it’s a story I choose not to believe doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to the morals. I don’t believe in talking wolves, but I do believe they can teach children not to talk to strangers and obey their parents.

That second narrative reminds me to be honest, be kind, take responsibility, and keep my promises. Positive lessons for a successful marriage.

There’s more to that quote I mentioned earlier.

“There are two sides of every story. Understanding is a three-edged sword. Your side, their side and the truth in the middle. Get all the facts before you jump to conclusions.” — J. Michael Straczynski

I’ve never met my husband’s former wife. I’ve just seen her from a distance a handful of times outside the home she shares with her husband, the affair partner that she has now been with for a decade. Both of their marriages ended after their affair came to light, and then they married each other.

In all the times I’ve seen her, she has never looked happy.

I find I’m curious about her. I think my husband’s first wife and I probably aren’t all that different. Maybe we both married men we believed we could change and then whose actions precipitated us leaving them in our own irresponsible fashions. I too cheated on a husband.

But she and I made different decisions following our divorces. I left my affair partner after a couple of months and struck out on my own. She married hers. I would have never married mine.

The reality of my affair partner was also a three-edged sword. He was a composite of whom he actually was, the traits he had that my former husband didn’t have, and whom I wished he would be. I never was able to love him because I also wasn’t able to see him for him. The only thing that could have driven me to marry him was guilt.

I kind of want to sit down across from my husband’s ex-wife and ask her things.

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  1. How was it married to my now-husband? Did you love him?
  2. Why did you cheat? What drove you to it? Are you glad you did?
  3. How do you feel about your current marriage? Was it the right choice for you then? What about now?

I know there’s a middle closer to the truth that I don’t know and likely never will.

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When I think of my husband, I’m grateful his former wife f**ked another man. If she hadn’t, he might still be married to her, or he and I may have never met. I don’t enjoy that she never looks happy when I’ve seen her, but I’m glad that she wasn’t happy with my husband.

There’s something, though, in my desire to want to sit down with her. I’m a touchy person, so maybe I’d put on my hand on her arm and say, “Did you love him? Truly?” I just want to know her a bit, this other woman who once also called my husband, “my husband.”

I have felt something each time I said my wedding vows. A joining of some sorts. I’m not religious enough to believe it, but if God did join me the first time I married, then it makes sense why, when my first marriage ended, it felt like someone ripped me apart without using any anesthesia.

Getting married a second time felt like being made whole.

If God joined me each time I married, then maybe my husband’s former wife and I are bound too because of the vows we both made to the same man.

But, really, I think it’s mostly my desire to possess my husband that feeds my desire to know his former wife. It’s a little cannibalistic, wanting the whole truth of their story, as if I could eat it, pick the skeleton of it clean, to know there’s nothing left of that love because I’ve gobbled it all up. In eating, maybe possessing my husband’s love solely.

I bet the moral lesson for that narrative would be the same as for “The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” – never swallow a horse.

There are things I’m just not meant to know, so I will tend to my own bed.

This article originally appeared on Medium and was republished here with full permission. 

Tara Blair Ball is a freelance writer and author of The Beginning of the End. Check out her website here or find her on Twitter: @taraincognito.

Feature Image: Getty. The feature image used is a stock image.

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