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    Old 02-18-2008, 08:56 AM   #1
    pa43
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    Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    I was in tears all weekend over this. Am I overreacting?

    This is what happened Friday night:
    Me and my fiance are at dinner. We're talking about how his brother got his watch stolen at a bar a few months ago. Fiance (in a very emotional voice) says "I would have filed charges with the police and made such a big deal about it if it were me!" And I said "but it's just a watch." And he replies, "but it's the only thing I have left from my ex wife...." and he trails off and then says quickly "but it doesn't have sentimental value" and then changes the subject.

    Backstory: in my culture, when 2 people get engaged, elaborate gifts are exchanged between families. My mom told me to buy him a suit and or nice watch and she would reimburse me. My fiance kepy saying he doesn't want a new watch... and so I reluctantly bought him a suit (now he has 15 or 20 suits!). And now I know why he didn't want a new watch.

    I am really, really, upset. I have ALWAYS been insecure about the fact that he was once married. She lives in Europe and they have no contact, but it was HER idea to get divorced (they've been divorced for 3 years). I guess I thought his ex-wife was in the past, and I know she's there EVERYDAY when he puts his watch on. I don't know what to do. He nevers makes me feel like he still loves her, he never talks about her. I don't know even know what she looks like. But I am really sad that he keeps something she gave him and got so emotional at just the thought of losing his watch.

    Anyway ever been in this situation before?

     
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    Old 02-18-2008, 09:21 AM   #2
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    Oh pa, I know something like that can really hurt. I was sort of in this situation, and I'm still not sure what the right thing to do is.

    I was in love with a guy who swore he was totally over his ex girlfriend, the first real love he ever had, whom he said he would have married if she hadn't cheated on him and left him and broken his heart. He had many things she gave him, but he was particular about a gold bracelet she had given him. He never, EVER took it off and when it broke, he pitched major hissy until it was fixed. But there were other things. When he found out she had gotten married, he went into a strange, mysterious deep dark depression that lasted two days, but he swore it had nothing at all to do with her. Yeah, right.

    He ende dup leaving me, for a lot of reasons, but I think maybe I could have kept him if I had played it cooler and not insisted that he love me the way I needed and wanted him to. If I'd married him, I wouldn't have a husband who really loved me, but you know, how many women do? My guess is maybe about 20% of all married women are really truly happily married to a man they are crazy in love with and who is crazy in love with them. That's just not reality for most of us. I wouldn't have a husband who loved me, but at least I'd have a husband. At least I wouldn't be an over 40 tragic old maid with no kids, no prospects, no future, nothing real or meaningful in my life, and nothing to look forward to but burying my parents, growing old alone with no family and ending up gumming apple sauce and peeing my depends in some rickety sub standard old folks' home, because that's all I'll be able to afford without the help of a second salary and a husband's pension, with no one on earth giving a darn. Looking ahead to that makes putting up with my SO still harboring some feelings for an ex seem a lot easier to overlook and live with than it did back then.

    I can't say what you should do. I just know I deeply regret losing my ex and not being more secure, and playing it cooler. I know we all want "real" love, we all want to be with someone who makes us feel like he's the only man in the world for us, that he's "the one" and know that he feels the same way about us, that there's no one else in his mind or heart, but I think the reality is that just doesn't really happen. It can happen, but it's so rare that I've come to believe it's kind of foolish to pin hopes on it. Do you want marriage, a family, kids, a home, a standing in the community, the PTA, coffee clatches with the other moms on the block, soccer practice, gymboree and Mommy and Me classes, someone to come home to, someone to hold at night? Also consider, it's not like she's coming back. It's not like you have to worry about her taking him away from you. He may harbor some feelings for her, but as long as he doesn't act on them, how big an issue is that, really? How important is that to you? If you shine this guy on, there may not be another one. There may be, but it's a risk you take when you gamble on finding real love. I personally regret taking that gamble and hoping for the something better than never came, but it may pay off for you.

     
    Old 02-18-2008, 10:34 AM   #3
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    Wow - thanks for being so honest with me. I have way too many people in my life who tell me what I want to hear or sugar coat the truth. That isn't good for anyone. You're right that this may be "it" for me. I'm 31 years old (and no I don't think I'm old) but I know I want children in the next 2-3 years and I know my fiance would make an awesome dad, and an awesome husband. He's never given me doubt about his feelings, but I'm just insecure all on my own. I am not ready for our relationship to be over simply because he won't get rid of a watch she gave him. I guess I need to decide whether I can live with it though because he is NOT going to change. I need to accept that. His past is set in stone. Either I accept it and move on but there's no point on dwelling on the fact that he was married.

    I just never thought I would feel second best in my marriage. But I agree with you in that this husband is better than no husband. And I'm happy with my fiance 90% of the time. Is the 10% something I can live with? I need to figure this out.

    Last edited by pa43; 02-18-2008 at 10:42 AM.

     
    Old 02-18-2008, 10:45 AM   #4
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pa43 View Post
    Wow - thanks for being so honest with me. I have way too many people in my life who tell me what I want to hear or sugar coat the truth. That isn't good for anyone. You're right that this may be "it" for me. I'm 31 years old (and no I don't think I'm old) but I know I want children in the next 2-3 years and I know my fiance would make an awesome dad, and an awesome husband. He's never given me doubt about his feelings, but I'm just insecure all on my own. I am not ready for our relationship to be over simply because he won't get rid of a watch she gave him. I guess I need to decide whether I can live with it though because he is NOT going to change. I need to accept that. His past is set in stone. Either I accept it and move on but there's no point on dwelling on the fact that he was married.

    I just never thought I would feel second best in my marriage.
    LOL No, I don't really pull punches when it comes to this sort of thing.

    But I think as long as he basically treats you well, speaks to you and treats you with respect and this is really the only thing about your relationship that gives you pause, then you're right, you don't want to break up an otherwise good relationship over something like this. We can't predict the future. Is it possible he could run off with his ex if she decides she wants him back 5, 6 years down the road? Well, anything's possible, but you have to go for what you want, what's realistic to have and have a little faith that it will work out, and if it doesn't you'll at least have your kids and things will be fine no matter what happens.

    When I was your age, I really would have hated the idea of "feeling second best" too, but the fact is, once we reach a certain age, people we date are going to have pasts, people they have loved, children they had with them, all kinds of stuff. I've just started dating someone I met off an online dating service and he works around the clock and has a son, and it's pretty plain he still has feelings for his ex wife, so I'll be lucky to be fourth in the relationship. But if I don't want to be alone for the rest of my life, I just have to accept that I just don't get that kind of passionate, all consuming only-have-eyes-for-each-other relationship in this lifetime. It's hardly what I dreamed of for myself or what I really want, but it beats being alone and being the old tragic spinster who can't get a man all to heck. As long as he treats me well and with respect, then I'm going to do my best to accept the fact that he's just got a whole bunch of other stuff that will just come before me.

    It can be hard when reality falls so short of what we dreamed, but we just have to get over it and deal with is as best as we can. Recnetly, there's been a rash of women on these boards who are married but still harboring feelings for an ex or unsatisfied in their marriages, and after seeing them all work things out and all come to the conclusion that they wanted to stay in their marriages and keep their families togetehr no matter what really made me think long and hard about the value of holding out for "real love" as opposed to the value of finding a good man who will provide for you, give you a home, a family, a real life, standing in the community other than the dangerous single potential homewrecker that no married woman wants around or the pathetic neighborhood lonely spinster. I've decided I put way too much importance on the fairy tale "real love." Which is why I've decided to give this new guy a shot. It's still so new, I have no idea if it will go anywhere, but there is a glimmer of potential there I guess. We'll see.

    hang in there. Nothing's ever perfect. all we can do is the best we can do with what is given to us.

    Last edited by Larrylou'smom; 02-18-2008 at 10:54 AM.

     
    Old 02-18-2008, 09:38 PM   #5
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    There are certain momentos from exes that I will never give up, regardless o who my current partner is. and its not because I still have feelings for them, but because they remind me of a really happy time in my past. For instance, I have a scrapbook an ex made me and I have no feelings for him whatsoever, but he was a part of the two best years of my life (we were together for 6 months) and my best friend and I can look back on my momentos and remember those two years. Conversely, from relationships I have not truly had closure on or have not completely gotten over, their momentos I give up or put in hiding if I really can't give it up because they usually bring more pain and sadness to me or negative memories. Sounds like he has emotionally moved on but is just attached to the watch. that watch was with him during painful and happy times, so his emotions got projected to an object. Its really not too much different than if he had written all his feelings in a journal and valued them as very important. It just happens to be an object.

     
    Old 02-18-2008, 11:37 PM   #6
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    i have a guess watch that my boyfriend bought me for my birthday last year. if we broke up, would i keep it? yes i would! why? because i like the watch. my dads ex girlfriend gave me a denim jacket and a really nice necklace for my birthday 3 years ago. she treated us like dirt so dad kicked her out. do i still have the jacket and the necklace? yes! why? because i love those items so much yet i dont think about her all. it has nothing to do with her, i just like them. if i lost those objects, would i be upset? yes i would. i nearly lost my denim jacket once. it would of made me upset, simply because i like wearing it.

     
    Old 02-19-2008, 12:05 AM   #7
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    Buy him a watch and expect him to wear it. Eventually get rid of the ex watch.

     
    Old 02-19-2008, 07:51 AM   #8
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AnnD View Post
    Buy him a watch and expect him to wear it. Eventually get rid of the ex watch.
    Well, I suppose you could force the issue this way if the watch really bothers you. But keep in mind, you might be able to force him to get rid of the watch, you might even get rid of the watch behind his back, knowing how much it means to him, and expect him to get over it, but you can't force him to not feel whatever it is he still feels for his ex wife. The watch may be gone, but the feelings will still be there, only you won't know just how much anymore. In fact, if you get rid of the watch, he might obsess about her even more, since the only thing he had left of her is now gone. It might make him miss her even more.

     
    Old 02-19-2008, 07:52 AM   #9
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    Larrylou - THAT'S my issue! If he has just said that he liked the watch I would've been fine with it. But to say it's the only thing he has left from her made me really sad. And of course me suggesting I buy him a watch for our engagement (not knowing the truth behind his watch) and him opting for ANOTHER boring suit, makes me even more sad!

    Shorti - I don't think it's the same thing as a jacket from a ex boyfriend. He and his ex wife were married for 6 years. MARRIED. I have never met anyone who I love so much that I would want to marry them. And then they dump me after 6 years... very depressing. I'm just scared that the watch represents more than a watch. He got visibly upset just thinking that the watch could've been stolen. It holds sentimental value and I'm upset that I'm finding this out now - at this stage in our relationship.

     
    Old 02-19-2008, 08:03 AM   #10
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pa43 View Post
    Larrylou - THAT'S my issue! If he has just said that he liked the watch I would've been fine with it. But to say it's the only thing he has left from her made me really sad. And of course me suggesting I buy him a watch for our engagement (not knowing the truth behind his watch) and him opting for ANOTHER boring suit, makes me even more sad!

    Shorti - I don't think it's the same thing as a jacket from a ex boyfriend. He and his ex wife were married for 6 years. MARRIED. I have never met anyone who I love so much that I would want to marry them. And then they dump me after 6 years... very depressing. I'm just scared that the watch represents more than a watch. He got visibly upset just thinking that the watch could've been stolen. It holds sentimental value and I'm upset that I'm finding this out now - at this stage in our relationship.
    I know it has shaken you up considerably, that's certainly understandable. I think maybe just give it some time. He might just be the sentimental type that takes a while to get over things. but if you really love him, if he's really the one you've been looking for, and he's good to you, respectful, would be a good husband, provider, father, you're both on the same wavelength, then I still say go for it. I don't recommend marrying him in the HOPES that his feelings for his ex will fade. I don't recommend loving someone or marrying someone for who you hope they'll be someday. But if marrying him would by and large be a blessing and a benefit, and he treats you well and you love him, any lingering feelings for an ex, well, I'm just not sure worrying about that would be worth giving up what you could be giving up. If you really love him and want to marry him someday, or at least be with him, you may have to just accept that his ex wife still being in his heart to a certain degree is just something that comes with the package. Nothing's perfect. And like I said, it's not like she will come back and he'll run off with her.

     
    Old 02-19-2008, 08:06 AM   #11
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    did you expect he'd have no sentimental feelings towards his marriage or ex-wife? You need to get over this watch thing......you will have many more bigger issues in your life........this is petty nonsense.

    and that's all he's got left of her......be glad that's all he's got left of her.....she could have left him with something else.....herpes, STD's etc......then he'd really rememeber her.

    Last edited by rosequartz; 02-19-2008 at 08:07 AM.

     
    Old 02-19-2008, 08:25 AM   #12
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    His comment of of "this is all of have left of my ex" may not have come out the way it was meant to. Maybe he realized how badly it sounded to you and that's why he trailed off like that. The bottom line is, it's just a watch. Yes, it's a watch from his exwife, but it is still just a watch, a material thing. He is not with her, there is no chance of them reuniting or anything like that. He is engaged to you and is in love with you. He has never given you a reason to make you feel second best before, right?

    I have a feeling he regrets making that comment almost as much as you regret having heard it. I mean, can imagine how awful he must have felt realizing what he said to you? I know I would have wanted to crawl under the table and hide if I were him.

     
    Old 02-19-2008, 08:47 AM   #13
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    rosequartz - I don't think it's nonsense, but thanks for your reply.

    happymom - good points. You're right in that he provides all that a loving husband and potential father should provide. I know that is my problem, since he never makes me feel this way. It's just really hard.

     
    Old 02-19-2008, 09:00 AM   #14
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pa43 View Post
    rosequartz - I don't think it's nonsense, but thanks for your reply.

    happymom - good points. You're right in that he provides all that a loving husband and potential father should provide. I know that is my problem, since he never makes me feel this way. It's just really hard.
    I don't really think it's nonsense, either. I know it's kind of hard. I'm sure my ex boyfriend got rid of everything I ever gave him, everything he ever had that reminded him at all of me, I'm sure his wife wouldn't have allowed him to keep anything at all. And I'm sure he didn't want to. I'm sure once he commited to her, I was completely pushed out of his mind, life, everything, as it should be I guess. I know you probably, like me, dreamed of meeting a man like that, a man that would tell us that he never loved like this before, that all the other women he knew before meant nothing compared to us, that he never felt for anyone before what he feels for us, all that stuff. I will always envy my ex's wife that she got to have that, from the only man I ever loved, and I'll never get that from anyone. It's hard to know you're one of the people who just don't get to have that kind of love. But i guess some kind is better than none. Like I said, it's rare, so rare it's hardly worth hoping for, really.

    he sounds like a good guy, a guy worth keeping for sure. Don't mess up your good reality for the sake of a pipedream.

     
    Old 02-19-2008, 09:00 AM   #15
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    Re: Just found out fiance kept a personal memento from ex-wife

    my point is, it's just a watch......I'm sure he has other things that he doesn't even realize. Has he replaced EVERYTHING in his life? furniture? clothes? towels? sheets? mattress? plates? drinking glasses? knick knacks? shoes? socks? underwear? i'm guessing his wife bought him his underwear.....most wives do.....I'm sure the watch isn't the only thing that has a connection to his marriage. If you're that hung up on it, why did you get in a relationship with a divorced guy? My point is, if you're getting this out of joint over a watch.......maybe you should re-consider.......

     
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