Full Circle

  1. Jen Singer says:

    My ex sister-in-law said it best: Marriages always look different from the outside. Who knows what was really going on all that time? All you can do is hope everyone is happier now, or at least, soon.

    Nicely written!

    • suburbanturmoil says:

       My husband and I were talking about this just a few days ago- The older we get, the less we feel qualified to judge others. I don’t know who was at fault in this relationship- I just know that I was surprised at the emotions it stirred up in me, even on the periphery.

      • Kim says:

        That’s the thing, though, as a society, we want someone to be at “fault”. Maybe, sometimes people can actually love and respect each other enough that when the marriage isn’t working ( supporting the highest version of each other) that they can bless each other to move on. I know that this is not likely in the scenario you present, but as a culture we tend to seek a right person and a wrong one..

  2. Hmcvaybfi says:

    This hit home with me Lindsay….but there is one huge difference between you and that girl.  You met your husband after his divorce.  THAT makes all the difference.

    • suburbanturmoil says:

       Well, I have no idea what was going on behind the scenes of that relationship– For all I know, the wife had done some things that brought about the husband’s leaving–  but I was very surprised at the rush of conflicting emotions I felt at seeing the new girlfriend. Having first wife AND second wife feelings at the same time was very, very weird!

  3. Matthew says:

    It hurt to read this. But you’re right.  It won’t be the last.  As I think back on my own childhood, I didn’t have one friend whose parents were still married. 

    • suburbanturmoil says:

      I’ve discovered that once the kids start school, the divorces just start multiplying. My own parents divorced at this time. It’s hard now seeing so many people in obvious pain.

  4. Kimberly says:

    Wow.  But it really doesn’t seem that this situation is the same as yours had been.  It seems that Jim left his wife for a younger woman though I could be wrong.  I think there is a very good reason you felt the way you did.  Bringing her to his kid’s event was in very poor taste and I am guessing he wasn’t even divorced yet.  I don’t think it is the same at all.  I know you can never know what goes on in other people’s marriages and I know one should not judge but the father in this situation really was being very tacky and inappropriate.  Your personal situation just sounds to me like it was very different. 

    • suburbanturmoil says:

      Who knows, though, what goes on behind the scenes? Yes, the way this situation “looked” had a lot to do with the intensity of emotions I felt, but I was less interested in judging and more interested in the fact that I was feeling those emotions at all.

      I do think from an etiquette perspective, the dad could have waited to bring the new girlfriend around until the next season at least, when there would have been new parents and players there, too– It would have been less awkward for everyone. But I can’t judge him for having a girlfriend without really knowing what happened. For all I know, the wife had had an affair and he couldn’t get over it. I’ll never know… In fact, I don’t WANT to know! 😉

  5. Chip Couch says:

    Well done article Lindsay.  Just thinking about all the teams my two kids have played on from Nashville back to Atlanta & the friendships we have made with different parents, it is an uncomfortable situation. Sounds like your making the best of something sad & unnerving.

  6. Lauren Mason says:

    Wow. Written so well…thank you for sharing. 

  7. emmymama says:

    Wow, Lindsay. That was a really poignant story. As one who has seen it from all sides- as a child of divorced parents, as the scorned girlfriend, and now as a wife viewing it from the outside like you- it saddens me to see these types of situations. It is so incredibly painful for a child to have to go through a divorce, especially when the parents don’t get along. It literally causes problems for the children for the rest of their lives. I am 37 years old and my parents still cannot be in the same room. That has reopened old wounds for me during what should be the happiest occasions, such as my wedding and the births of both of my children. It is just a constant problem of them not wanting to see each other so I have to orchestrate everything just so they can both be there but not have to come in contact. I know they are both adults and should work it out but they don’t.

  8. Mom2ahk says:

    Well said.  Interesting perspective.

  9. The part where you said, “As my kids got older, divorces among the parents of their friends and teammates were only going to increase,” really struck me. My husband and I have been married for about 2 years now, and we have a 9-mo-old baby girl. We are fairly young, so our friends are not even thinking about marriage and children yet. But, that line made me think about the future. As Ellen gets older and makes friends, and as our friends get married and have kids, how many divorces will I encounter? It’s a sad thought.

    • suburbanturmoil says:

       It is sad. It really stood out to me when my daughter started soccer years ago at the age of three. Every girl on her team’s roster had married parents. I knew, though, from having stepdaughters that by the time these girls all turned 11 or 12, the parents column on the average team roster looks very, very different.

    • Melissa says:

      It is definitely a sad thought. And for a lot of us, I think we feel like we’re somehow special and it won’t happen in our circle. My husband and I, though, saw two marriages in our circle of friends end last year. It happened to us. And sad is really the only word to describe it. I could go into all the complicated ways we feel about the various parties involved, but at the end of the day…it’s still sad. 

  10. NancyB says:

    Wow – that was moving.

    First you had me at “I was going to go out of my way to be nice to her. Because I knew exactly how she felt.”

    But then you said “And honestly? I wanted nothing to do with her.
    That sounds horrible, doesn’t it? But it’s the truth.”  And I knew exactly what you meant and how you felt.

    You were once on the outside looking in and now you’re the insider seeing these “intruders”.  But how do you reconcile what that might do to your relationship with the other parent when someone (you know they will) tells the parent not there that you were friendly with the boyfriend or girlfriend?

    • suburbanturmoil says:

      Honestly, I wouldn’t even worry about that. When I was a new stepmom, certain women went out of their way to be rude to me- and if they had known all that was going on behind the scenes, they would have been so ashamed of themselves. You just can’t really know what’s going on behind closed doors and with that being the case, I’d rather try hard to be polite to everyone.

  11. Miss Britt says:

    Wow. What an honest piece.

  12. Robyn says:

    Wow, this one hits home for me.  Like you, I am the second wife to a man who had been married before with kids, and in my 20’s at the time, it all seemed so easy in theory.  You love the kids, you love their Dad, bingo.  Except .. it’s not.  You’re right, these women have no idea what they’re getting themselves into.  I love my husband dearly and would never change marrying him but it’s not the piece of cake you assume it will be.  Full circle comes with that experience and maturity.  We’ve been married for almost 10 year and have a 6 year old, and yet it’s STILL complicated 🙂   

    • suburbanturmoil says:

      They say being a mother is the hardest job in the world, but sometimes I wonder if maybe being a stepmother is harder?  *ducks and runs*   😉

    • Judy says:

      My husband and I have been married for 26 years and my stepdaughter is 38, and it’s STILL complicated.  It never goes away, does it?

  13. Mary says:

    Such a great post.

  14. Cindy says:

    I am a divorced mother of an awesome seven year old girl.  My ex husband and I were married for eleven years.  We were the picture of happiness.  The thing is, for the last three years of the marriage, we were anything but happy.  The marriage had fallen apart and, finally, we divorced.  Once we made the decision to do so it moved swiftly.  A month after our divorce was final, I found out my ex husband was now engaged.  Within a year he would be married and have a daughter with his new wife.  I’ll be the first to admit, I went to Bitter Town and set up camp for awhile.  But really, what good did that do?  I wanted out of the marriage so why was I angry?  It stung for him to move on so quickly but now, eighteen months later, I am at peace.  I’m happy he is happy and he and I can be friends.  His wife is still skiddish around me or any public functions.  I think she’s afraid of what people will think.  I hope that, in time, she will learn to be at ease because, honestly, I hold no ill will toward her.  She is good to my daughter when they are together and that’s all that matters. Now that we are all in a good place, my daughter is flourishing.  It took time, but we are all healed and we are all happy.  And I can say without a doubt, you never know what happens in someone else’s relationship.  Never judge.

  15. Gbea2 says:

    This is late, but I have to comment about this post – my sister is an EA at a local elementary school and few days ago, texted me something one of her students said – 
    “Weird compliment for the week or year: you’re so pretty, you look like a stepmom. Nice, a compliment and a social commentary wrapped up in one.”
    Seemed like a timely (maybe unfortunately so?) text.  

    • suburbanturmoil says:

       Wow. That’s actually really sad to me. That’s what I love about kids, though- They always get right to the point!

  16. Karen says:

    I have a hard time with this, honestly. In my opinion, a man who brings his new girlfriend to an event where he and his soon-to-be ex-wife have mutual friends, he is being cruel and self-centered. He’s not only being cruel to his former spouse, but to his new girlfriend.

    I know that there are circumstances under which marriages under strain can’t last, and I have friends in both camps. I’m old enough to have been through round 1 starter marriages, and round 2 messy, post-kids marriages where there is so much collateral damage. I’ve become friends with Wife #2 under several circumstances. Often there was no clear villain or victim. It was just human.

    But in none of those circumstances was the new woman marched about  and shown off in such a fashion. Sometimes decorum should have the trump card.

    • Anonymous says:

      This can be so hard for the kids though. My parents got divorced when I was old enough to understand but my very little niece and nephew who lived with us didn’t. They didn’t understand that grandpa’s new friend couldn’t come to their soccer game or class party or whatever just because grandma would be there and it’d be uncomfortable. And it was difficult to explain to them without letting them in on too much of the fighting. I think in these situations, other parents just need to be there for the family. They should show the kids that everyone can still be friends because everyone’s number one priority is that child and their soccer game. People especially need to avoid pushing cliches onto the family when they don’t know the whole story. 

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