The Ex-Factor

That moment in time where I entertained the notion of online dating, there was one thing I looked at first.  Well, second.  Cause let’s face it, with online dating, you look at the pictures first.  Key for me, was how successful they were at keeping a relationship.  2-3 years?  NEXT.  If it was less than 6? NEXT.  I was looking for someone who knew how to be in a relationship.  It’s important.

40 year-olds are bound to have more than one “ex” and if they don’t have at least one…NEXT.

But when they do, lurking in the corners of conversations, they sometimes pop up unexpectedly.  Sometimes this can be a problem.  But most of the time it is really necessary to have that conversation…eventually…that begins with, “So, why did you guys break up?   I’ll tell you, it’s a revealing conversation.  Run the other direction if they tell you it was all the ex’s fault.

I should have known this of course.  But with Martin he painted his “ex” out to be a truly heartless, robotic, mean-spirited, controlling creature (note how I said creature and not woman) who made no attempts to be a loving wife.  I now know this was very far from the truth.

I have two significant ex’s.  One of them,  I ran into at Michael’s tonight buying art supplies.  He had our daughter and I had my son.  We were both doing the parent thing.  And it’s not ideal to run into him like that but it also doesn’t make me nervous or upset.  I’m over him emotionally.  We work out how to parent our children, their schedules, and for us, it has worked out fairly well.  We are both reasonable people who have determined to put our children’s needs (for the most part) above our own.  It has gotten tricky at times.  But mostly, it has been easy and he is a very good person to have as an “ex.”

My other ex no longer needs to be in the picture at all.  We were never married and we have no kids.  But stories come up and it’s good to share a bit about them.  If you don’t than you really aren’t sharing huge parts of WHO YOU ARE with your new partner.  If a guy said, “I don’t care what happened before me and I don’t want to hear or know anything about it.”  I’d have to say, NEXT.

My Harry has two ex’s.  Well, three…  Well, more if you count girls he just dated and didn’t have long-term relationships with.  Sometimes the thought of it makes me feel uncomfortable.  I hate the idea of being compared.  Yet, it is human nature.  Yet I hate it.  Yet, I’m curious.  Super curious.  Not crazy about the idea of bumping into any of them, but I’m not afraid of it either.

I’ve done the whole scour the internet trolling for pictures to see if they were prettier than me.  Trying to read or find whatever I could to get a sense of who they are.  I don’t know why.  Maybe I shouldn’t care at all.  And I sort of don’t…but part of me does.

Sometimes in the midst of our long conversations, I sometimes cringe as I listen to him explain how “things were.”  Thank God we are both sensitive about the issue and mature in  how we discuss such things.  And I have to say I’ve learned a lot about him.  And I’m happy to say he is very fair-minded when it comes to discussing those relationships.

I told him the other day that Martin and I had a book we were working through preparing us for a second marriage.  It was filled with practical topics for discussion and he was eager to hear about it and wanted to be quizzed.  I think that is a very good sign!

There are just so many things to discuss.  So many things and gosh, I’ve learned how important it is to be honest at this stage.  Not only to the other person but TO YOURSELF.

Harry wants to know all about who I was, who I am, and what makes me tick.  The feeling is mutual.  Learning through experience is always best.  But if you trust your partner to be honest, then discussing things ahead of time is also very, very important for a healthy relationship.  Think of how many things can not match up?

      • Household roles with chores?
      • How clean is clean?
      • Decisions about children?
      • Decisions about faith?
      • How do you and will you handle money?
      • Do we both work?
      • In-laws?
      • Holidays?
      • Is it important to go to bed together every night?
      • Vacation expectations?
      • What makes you lose your temper?  How bad does it get?
      • How do you deal with lesser conflicts?
      • Friend-time vs couple-time?
      • How public vs private are you…Facebook?
      • How important is exercise and eating healthy?
      • Is it important that I cook?  How often?
      • How hot or cold do you like it?  In a room and in bed 😉
      • Decorating styles?
      • Ideas about retirement?
      • Where do you want to live?
      • How do you unwind at the end of the day?
      • How important are pets?
      • What’s your idea of a perfect weekend?
      • DYI or hire out?
      • Paper vs plastic? (I’m kidding…sort of)
      • How do you want to be treated if you have a life-threatening illness?
      • Death?
      • What if something else catastrophic happens?
      • Politics?
      • Disney vs Pixar? (kidding again…sort of)
      • Mac or PC? (really…there is only one right answer here)

I could go on…

But I’m sitting in a messy house that is about 95 degrees cause I’m too cheap to run the air conditioner that my mother chided me for using last month after revealing my $650 bill on Facebook.  So, partially to prove it to her that I can do it…and to all the other liberal environmentalists and neo-conservative economists, I’m choosing to unwind while I sweat, sitting cross-legged on my all-too-expensive-pottery-barn floor rug that I just had to have (12 years ago) pretending to do a yoga move and calling that my exercise for the month because I feel guilty for eating some of my son’s french fries at dinner that I did not cook.   Yes, typing away on my beloved Mac and divulging most of my heart and many of my secrets and dreams to complete strangers with my sweet little doggie beside me.

Well that covers some of them anyway 😉

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