I have been thinking a little bit about my first marriage lately because on Friday, I will attend a wedding of a friend from those days and will see a bunch of people that I have not seen since before the divorce. I'm a little nervous because my ex-husband spread a lot of lies about me (For example, that I had an emotional affair with a co-worker, that I was a bitch in various ways including how I talked about people behind their back and how I demanded total control over decorating the house, etcetera) and I don't know how many of these lies have since been debunked for the folks attending the wedding. Even if they are no longer friends with him, unless misstated facts have been specifically retracted, they might still passively believe them. Because of these types of lies and the lies that he told me daily about himself and other people, a huge part of the healing process for me has been about letting go of my desire for control over how other people think about me. This has not been easy because I have always felt a strong desire to have people think the best of me, even if that meant emphasizing the "weird" part of my personality so that even if I could never successfully come across as polished and successful, like everyone else, at least I'd come across as interesting. However, I think I have made progress in letting go of that which I cannot control and have found a reasonable balance in my life to be comfortable with who I actually am. Still, when confronted with socializing with a bunch of people who may believe terrible things about me, I have found myself trying on a lot of different outfits to try to communicate that I am someone different than who I was.
Today, I was having lunch with a friend and she asked me how my relationship with my in-laws has changed now that the wedding has passed. I described for her the slackened pressure but also a couple of ways that Jacob has really stepped up and been an advocate for me, without my prompting. She said, "Well, you have told me before that you thought he was the kind of guy who, once he made a commitment, lived into it completely. This just shows that you were a good judge of character."
I broke out into tears there in the restaurant.
I was such a bad judge of character the first time around. It doesn't matter that everyone else made the same mistake about my ex-husband that I did. I paid for a bill of goods that was never delivered.
I am so grateful not to have made the same mistake twice and Jacob just keeps showing me that I haven't. A couple of days ago, I told him how much I loved his new business cards because although he uses his new married name on top, his URL and email address are still based on his bachelor name. Giving up the privilege of keeping his name for the sake of gender equality in our society makes his story (of being a newlywed) that much more transparent to folks and, as he looks for a job, makes him vulnerable to the same misgivings that women in the workforce have faced for 50 years. Will he want to start a family soon? If he's so progressive to change his name, will he want paternity leave? What if his partner makes more money than he does and gets transferred? Will our investment in him pay us back in the long-run? As I talked about this with him, he shrugged his shoulders and told me I was being silly. Once he made the decision, he was all about moving forward.
Further confirmation that what my friend said at lunch today was true.
I have chosen well and this good choice will affect my life so much more than my bad choice ten years ago ever will.
With that in mind, I think I can attend Friday's wedding in peace and with absolute joy for a couple that are making the same kind of good choice. (Of course, having a killer black dress doesn't hurt, either.)
Makers Market today in Portland! - Today at the Taproot Market in Portland! So many lovely treasures for gifting! Join us from 9-3 on Cove Street!