To True Friends with Ex-Husbands

To True Friends with Ex-Husbands

by Andrea Tam

"Hey, Kathy." Bill leaned in to hug her.

Kathy stood up, hugged Bill, and said, "When was the last time we were here?

Bill whispered into Kathy's ear. "Eons. I missed you, Kathy."

"I missed you, too," said Kathy.

Bill scanned the diner and slid into the booth. "This place never seems to change. It looks like it did when we were in college. It still smells the same, too. Not a compliment."

"Yes, and that is why I like it so much," said Kathy.

A waitress approached their table. Kathy and Bill quickly gave her their orders.

Kathy and Bill looked at each other. There was a pregnant pause.

"So, have you heard that Keith and I are getting a divorce?" said Bill.

"I did. I was sorry to hear about it," replied Kathy.

"You were right! Keith and I were not a good match. Let me rephrase that. We were the perfect match. He was an alcoholic, and I was codependent. We were a match made in addiction heaven." said Bill.

Kathy replied, "I invited you here as a friend. I went through a divorce, so I would like to be your friend by supporting you while you are going through yours."

"I appreciate your invitation. I could use a friend and maybe a drink or two," said Bill

They laughed out loud and were then interrupted by their waitress bringing their order to the table.

"Bon appetit!" said the young waitress. "I'll be back in a few minutes to check on you."

Kathy and Bill smiled at the waitress. Bill looked at the waitress and said, "I think we're good here."  

"Let's dig in," said Bill to Kathy.

Bill told Kathy the story of how his marriage to Keith ended. He said the divorce had been in the making for several years and that he tried everything he could to make the relationship work. He attended Al-Anon meetings, and eventually, his sponsor suggested he see a therapist, so he did that. And his therapist helped him see that the only way to make the marriage work was to ignore his feelings and cater to Keith, exclusively.

"Oh, I bet Keith would have loved that!" said Kathy

Bill laughed, "Oh yeah, he loved it! Our marriage stopped working when I started caring about myself. Imagine that!?!"

"Imagine that!" replied Kathy.

She laughed, leaned in, took Bill's hand, and said, "I never liked how Keith treated you. He was abusive on many levels. I am happy you're making yourself a priority and letting go of him. After my divorce, I learned that when a marriage ends, there is a severing of the consciousness of that relationship, and that experience can be more difficult to process than a death." Kathy swallowed her food and continued, "For example, if your ex dies, you no longer have to interact with them, right? They're gone. No more bumping into them in public with their date and whatnot. You know what I mean? When Adam and I divorced, I had to interact with him regularly because of the kids, and that brought up more emotional stuff for me to uncover, look at, and process over time. I still process stuff, sometimes, and our divorce ended mutually."

Bill replied, "I fall apart whenever I see Keith. I feel like a part of me is missing. Maybe that consciousness thing is happening. I mean, that makes sense to me. My hopes and dreams for Keith and I are dying. I can feel that."

"It is natural and normal to feel that way. Look, I want you to know that you are whole. You're not missing anything - except maybe Keith's emotional abuse and daily humiliations." said Kathy.

"I thought you said you would not say: I told you so," replied Bill.

"I didn't say that exactly, but you have to give credit where credit is due," said Kathy sarcastically, and they laughed. "As I was saying, I invite you to take some time to process this loss in your life. It's a biggie! When you see Keith again, things are going to get stirred up. It's one of the secrets divorced people never tell you. They will complain about their ex, but they don't tell you their feelings of loss continue. They can be especially intense when you hit a milestone like a former wedding anniversary or your kids graduating from high school. I still get triggered. It makes me crazy, and I divorced over a decade ago."

"How's your food?" asked Kathy.

"It's ok. I'm not the best food critic right now. I have big stress and little appetite." replied Bill. "How's yours?"

"It's pretty good." said Kathy, "You know, on some level, I wish I had been wrong about Keith, but what can I say..."

Bill and Kathy looked at each other, and together they said, "I told you so!" and laughed aloud again.

Bill said, "I knew you were going to say that tonight. I knew it! Look. You were right about Keith. There, I said it. You can have that, but I learned a lot about myself during our marriage, and that's a positive thing."

"It sounds like someone's been seeing a therapist," said Kathy.

'Every Wednesday at noon." said Bill.

"I'm proud of you for doing that. You deserve to be happy, Billy. Really. I mean it." said Kathy.  

Bill lifted his water glass and said, "To true friends."

Kathy said, "To true friends with ex-husbands!"

Bill laughed and replied, "To true friends with ex-husbands!"

They toasted each other, smiled, and continued with their dinner conversation.

There are many ways to process loss like Bill and Kathy discussing the loss of a relationship. If you or someone you know is processing loss, consider a gift box filled with positive rituals, care, and love. Sometimes, the simple act of giving one of our gift boxes helps someone find a way of processing loss.

Thank you for reading,
Andrea Tam
Founder @ Robiins
Processing loss. One gift box at a time.™

Andrea Tam
Andrea Tam



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