As most of you know, my ex-wife (Jess) and I are still really good friends. In fact I’m also friends with her boyfriend John who is pure awesome and absolutely perfect for Jess. I am, in fact, friends or at least friendly acquaintances with a large portion of my exes. The few that I’m not aren’t because of any bad blood, I just don’t know where they are or they lead insanely busy lives and even their families don’t hear from them much, or other such circumstances.
I find it sad that so many people seem taken aback that I such good friends with my ex(es). I can understand why in a way but that’s a whole other subject. Most relationships end up being somewhat dysfunctional, end badly, or at least end unevenly with one person hurt by the other. Last October when I would tell people “I’m going to visit my ex and her boyfriend” many times I’d get that look, that kind of polite vacant smile that says “Oh, okay…interesting…whatever works for you”.
At least the three people involved (Me, Jess and John) are all cool with it. I not only feel lucky to have such a great friendship with someone who obviously meant (and means) a lot to me, but feel very lucky that she’s with someone who I love and who has no discomfort (at least as far as I know) with me or my friendship with Jess.
One of the things that has been hardest about my divorce is when I realize things like the fact that I’ll probably never see many of Jess’s family members ever again (her family is all in England). Or many of the mutual friends in England that I met through her. It’s not that couldn’t if I wanted to, it’s just that it probably won’t ever happen. I love all those people. It’s sad. The mummos and daddos, the grandmas and grandpas, the Flons and Helens, the mUrts and Delles, the Scotts and Caths, the fun friends and co-workers of these people who we met, cavorted around Liverpool with, went to bachelor/bachlorette parties with, the Clares, Richards, Maxs, Nells, of the world and so many more.
I was talking to my friend Staci about this last night. About how, sure I could and hopefully will go back to England someday but even then, I just don’t think I could go back to Leek by myself just for a visit. London is one thing. I mean it’s London and there’s so much more there to be had than just my old memories. But Leek or Stoke are so small that it would just be weird to be there on my own, visiting Jess’s family without Jess and John there.
This led me to a simultaneously awesome and kind of sad thought. I thought “Oh my god! Visiting England with Jess and John would be AWESOME!” It reminded me of when my cousin Casey came to England with me and Jess. Only this time, it would be me visiting with Jess and John. It would be more cool people and fun than the universe could probably tolerate and very well might cause some kind of tear in the space/time continuum. For me, it would be just like going on a cool trip with Casey, or Greg or any of my amazing friends. However then reality hit me that this would far too weird for the rest of the world. Not that I really care about what the rest of the world thinks but I would be really self-conscious about being a “third wheel” or some lingering ghost from the past that won’t go away. I’m sure John would like his own future with Jess and vice versa. And again, it came back around to the same initial point. It’s sad to me that there’s these extenuating circumstances all because of a shared history. Circumstances that would not apply to any other friend. They didn’t apply to Casey when he came with us. They wouldn’t apply to any other friends but in our world, there has to be some “weirdness” about it because I’m an ex. It’s a shame that Jess and I are the “weird” ones because we remain close. Because people find it too hard to believe that’s possible without some hidden drama or something not being at face value.
More than anything, it’s a shame that I at least in part, put these shackles on myself. Not just with Jess and John. Several times, my friend Greg has invited me along on trips with him and Becky and I think “I can’t go on a trip with you and your girlfriend!” Total third wheel syndrome! Huh. It also only just occurred to me that none of this would be an issue if it was me and a girlfriend in the equation instead of just me. Interesting.