Question: Dear Luise: I am having a real problem with the man I am engaged to; he has a very close friendship with his ex-wife. They have been divorced over fifteen years and their children are adults. She comes to his family functions and it’s always a surprise to me, and I would like to know that she will be attending, but each time it’s been a surprise. After another episode, I asked him why they divorced. He tells me it is none of my business. I’ve tried to approach this subject before, and he has only given me a vague answer: ‘they grew apart’ I don’t believe that is a good enough reason for leaving a wife and three small kids, especially a wife that he is always talking very highly of and their times together. He says that he will not betray their confidence by telling me why the marriage ended. I feel that I have a right to know before we get married. I have even suggested going to a counselor to get they opinion, and if I don’t deserve to know, the reason why. He is threatening to leave me over this. What should I do? Thanks in advance-V
Answer: Dear V: I know you are going to hate me for this but he is right. It is none of your business.
This man comes with a history but so do you. We all have a history and it’s strictly our own business how much of it we divulge to anyone…ANYONE. What is happening here, to my way of thinking, is you are missing the fact that he loves you in the present and wants to marry you, now. His “ex” may be a friend and a permanent part of the family but it’s you he wants to be with. If you don’t get with the program, all of that may change in the near future. You are showing him a side of your self that is pretty small and unappealing.
Go to him and tell him you have no idea what came over you or why you fixated on it. Admit that it has obviously made you uncomfortable but you know you can rise above it. Then, do it. Step one…stop being surprised to find her at family gatherings.
Families function in all kinds of ways that embrace the unconventional. We all make it up as we go along. Your guy is showing that he is not hate-driven…be glad. There is probably no way you would simply adore all of your new clan. A tough-to-love sister-in law or nephew was bound to show up. So it’s an ex-wife. Go figure! Be “more”. Be “bigger”. Expand to love whoever he loves or did love. Do the impossible and I guarantee that you will be the better for it. Make this about you, not them. Make it about your short suites, you insecurities, your worst fears…and then work on the problem, you.
Yes, you have evidence that all of the above isn’t true but/and you are going suffer mightily for being right about that. Move on. Blessings, Luise