There are so many people that influence our lives and we like to remember those who
had a positive impact, but if we are truthful, the ones that put us down or do not approve
of us have a tremendous effect on us, too. We try hard to ignore those, but when they
are an important person in our lives, they do have a strong influence on us.
My ex-husband had this influence on my life. My parents did a fantastic job of letting
me know I could do anything and I was clever, smart and could figure out a solution to anything,
but living in the Midwest, they had never known anyone who put such a high value on appearance,
so they didn't prepare me for this.
. I met him when I was sixteen, an Airman in the Air Force, 7 years my senior. I had been
overweight until that summer so had never felt I was attractive and had not dated. We married
when I was 18 and had our first child when I was 23. As you probably guessed, I began gaining
weight. Soon I was a size 18 and stayed there. My husband said he felt tricked, that I had just
lost weight to catch a husband. He was embarrassed to be seen with me and if we attended the
same event, would let me off at the door and come in later and sit somewhere else. After a
couple of years of this which included the birth of our second child, I gained another size and was
not allowed to tell anyone I met that I was his wife. Of course, that only lasted a few more years,
and he found someone with more class and was someone he didn't mind having stand next to him.
After the divorce, I moved to Iowa with my girls and lived close to family and I began to heal.
One time I remember telling Dad that I met one of his coworkers and he asked if I had told him
I was his daughter. I said, “Oh, no. I didn't think you would want me to.” It was a good thing
my ex lived in Texas and we were in Iowa. I don't think he would have wanted to meet up with
my Dad after that. I never lost my self-confidence, but it was a long time before I could be
proud of who I was again. It is still very hard for me to realize people want to be my friend
or be with me in public and introduce me as a friend. It is so obvious that my current husband
is proud to introduce me as his wife and it still amazes me.
I have forgiven my ex and we attend functions together when it involves the girls and I
still wonder that I really don't care what he thinks anymore when for so long everything I did
revolved around whether or not he would approve. But in all fairness, he has changed too, and
outward appearance is no longer important to him either.