Over 5 years ago now, I moved into the house my husband lived in during his first marriage. To be honest, moving into a house full of reminders of his past wasn’t my first choice.
Or my second, or my third, or my fourth.
In fact, it made my stomach turn.
For the longest time, I hated our house.
I hated the paint colours. I hated the cupboards. I hated the door knobs. I hated the landscape. I hated the way the driveway curved. I hated the bathroom mirror. I hated everything – for no good reason other than the fact that THEY picked that house, not US.
There was something about being my husband’s second wife that brought out this crazy insecure side of me.
The constant reminders that I didn’t get his “firsts” evoked emotions that I never knew were possible.
The night I moved in, as I unpacked, I found a drawer full of stuff that his first wife left behind. What started out as a very exciting day, ended with me sitting on the bathroom floor bawling my eyes out, wondering what the heck I was thinking hooking up with a man with three kids.
When we were pregnant, one afternoon I sat on our stairs in tears because he knew what to expect with a newborn baby and I had absolutely no idea.
One day, after I finding a receipt from a romantic getaway in the junk drawer, I almost threw in the towel on the whole stepmom thing.
I don’t blame you for thinking this sounds crazy! You’ll only truly understand these crazy irrational moments if you have also been the stepmom living in “their” house.
Even now, five years in, I second guess whether I should share my ridiculous meltdowns with the world.
But I figure at this point, I’ve got nothing to hide!
FAST FORWARD TO PRESENT DAY
Last week, I decided that it would be a great idea to organize the storage room in our basement.
As I piled and re-arranged totes full of our past, I came across a big photo album. When I opened it up, I quickly realized it was the album from my husband’s first wedding.
I’m sure you’re wondering what I did with it.
Did I chuck it in the garbage?
Did I bag it up and send it to her house (like I did with the wedding dress I found in the upstairs closet)
Did I throw it in the burn barrel?
No, I didn’t do any of those things.
I calmly packed it in the box with all the other photo albums.
You see, the album didn’t evoke any emotions. The only thing it reminded me of is how far I’ve come.
5 years later, the insecurities that came with being the second wife are gone.
It’s one of those situations where time really does heal.
We’ve made our own memories, we’ve taken our own pictures, we’ve created our own life.
The photo album doesn’t bother me at all. I have no problem with it sitting in my basement amongst our other memorabilia.
The reality is, my husband did have a first wife. They spent 9 years together, and brought three amazing little people into this world.
We all have a story that has led us to where we are today.
Even though their marriage didn’t work out, those 9 years are still a part of his story. They’re still a part of my stepchildren’s story.
When I really think about it, the trials and tribulations of that part of his story, have shaped him into a better husband and a better father.
He learned lessons about love and relationships that I think can only be learned from the demise of a marriage.
For that, I am thankful that I get to be his second.
Now, if he wants do something with that album, that’s his choice. But until then, that album will remain in his memory tote, with all the other history that has made him into the man that he is today!
Way to go! I also moved into "their" place and prior to moving in, I started working on the "going through" everything – but was basically all of "her stuff" as she hadn’t ever properly moved out and by then had moved states so we had 8 giant boxes with 300+ lbs of her stuff that I eventually boxed up and got a service to move to her across the country because I couldn’t stand them being there anymore. It was one of the hardest times of our relationship – he didn’t understand why it was so hard/why I couldn’t stand her stuff around/finding her stuff in every drawer, closet, bookshelf, etc and why it would make me so emotional. When I’d think we’d be done – I’d find a belt, or a purse or a pair of jeans or a letter and I’d go right back into the dark hole!
6 years into our relationship (2 years living together now) and I can finally find something (still happens, most recently the wedding photo DISK – the albums were long gone back to her), and simply say "shall I put in your "past" box , garbage, or ship to her" without the emotions attacking. Also a complete re-design of the entire house didn’t hurt – including painting the ceilings…and inside the closets…it felt so necessary!
Omg thanks so much for sharing. I’ve only been married for two months, but I do sometimes find myself getting super insecure that my husband shared a life and brought a child into this world with someone else. This post gave me hope, that with time, I can overcome these low-vibe insecurities too. I keep having to remind myself that we all have a past, and what truly matters is that we get to share our present and future together. I may not be his first, but I’m pretty happy that I get to be his last. ❤️
Thanks for sharing your stories with us.
A wise friend was with my now husband as he was clearing out the attic to make way for me to move into our house when he came upon photos from his first wedding. He went to throw them away and the friend stopped him and said "I never saw a single photo of my parents happy together. Save them for your daughter." He did.