I'm convinced he wouldn't have even looked at me if he hadn't married her.
My husband's ex-wife is a gorgeous woman. She has a Masters degree and a high-paying corporate management job. She's traveled the world, spending months at a time in exotic locations like Australia, Italy, and China. When she married my now-husband, they were both young, just out of school.
I'm 15 years younger than her, but when I first met him, I was just out of a marriage that left me damaged.
I was going through a horrible divorce and had two young kids in tow. I was tired and angry — my carefree youth was behind me. I had baggage on top of my baggage.
My husbands still meets with his ex for lunch or coffee when they happen to be in the same city. They connect to talk about management issues; he looks to her for advice on career advancement or contacts in the industry.
He tells me about what a smart lady she is, how well she's doing. He was excited for her last month when she announced early retirement and travel plans.
As he and his ex never had kids, I've never had any reason to meet her. But I have no doubt that the way she's been described to me is precisely the way she is. My husband is an amazing man — and he has incredible taste in women.
Even my father-in-law raves about his former daughter-in-law. She still calls him once a month to talk and they meet for dinner every few months. After a recent trip with us and the kids to the zoo (where he volunteers), my father-in-law took a second trip just with her.
Don't get me wrong; I'm glad that we have another pair of eyes on my father-in-law — someone else who cares for him enough to check up on him once in awhile, especially in view of his declining health.
I'm not threatened by husband's relationship with his ex. I don't worry when he makes plans to meet her for lunch or dinner or coffee. It doesn't bother me when he calls her in the evening to discuss a management issue I have no experience with.
I know my husband doesn't have the slightest notion of rekindling a romantic relationship with his ex. But there is something I'm jealous of ...
She was lucky to have my husband's youth. My time with him is limited. I look forward to growing older with him, but I would've liked to have had more time.
Yet I'm glad that I didn't meet him until after his first marriage. She tamed my husband. Because of her, he's more patient and kind. He's traveled. He's learned. He's established his career. With her help, he became the man that I love today.
Similarly, the time I wish I had with him has shaped who I am today. While I wouldn't wish most of what I experienced in my first marriage on my worst enemy, it's because of it that I'm more confident. It brought me two beautiful children — two children we're raising together, and a third of our own.
It was the passage of time that helped us both clarify, in our own ways, what our perfect partner looked like. Not on the outside, but on the inside.
Because of his ex (and because of mine) we were both able to figure out what we weren't looking for and that brought us closer to what we needed. I'm convinced he wouldn't have even looked at me if he hadn't married her.
So, while I'm a bit envious, I don't want to be her. Because he sees me. He gets me. He wants me, not her. And no matter how little time we have together, I make the most of every moment.
Liv is the pseudonym for a rocking 40-year-old working mother of three who remarried after a terrible divorce, had a terrible car accident and almost lost her leg, and yet continues to have a positive attitude. Her work has been featured on ScaryMommy, HuffPost, MockMom and The Mid — and she's a contributing writer at DivorcedMoms.com. You can find her blog at livebysurprise.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.