I remember the day Raylan's Ex Wife (one of them) said I feel like Lisa has totally REPLACED me - Raylan and I were not married, nor living together. It had come on the heels of Raylan telling Greta how happy we were to be taking the next step - living together.
With one brush Greta had tagged me as Raylan's Replacement Wife. A woman stepping into her shoes; the ones she no longer wanted to wear, but didn't want anyone else to wear either. Only to me, I didn't feel like I had replaced her, nor Raylan's other Ex Wife - I had brought my own pair of shoes to wear to my own party. People from her life were apart of the new life Raylan and I had created - I was not apart of the life she had chosen to leave behind.
As an Ex Wife myself - divorced from my Ex Husband 17 years now - I don't recall feeling like Dick's Wife had replaced me. It didn't mean I wasn't innocent in discounting her role. Dick never really seemed over the top happy in his new life which seemed to create a referendum on the demise of our marriage- it wasn't all me - it was all him. Not true of course, but with a paint brush of my own I had diminished his wife's role. Something I wouldn't realize until four years later when I was on the other end of Greta's replacement comment.
What I've learned from being on both sides of this issue is painting our Ex 'Husband's wife as our "replacement" when they are happy in their new life or as the scapegoat for our failed marriage when they're not is a coping mechanism to deal with our bruised egos. Why didn't he love me the way he loves her? Why did he stop feeling that way about me? I couldn't change him - no one can change him.
We attempt to make the Ex Husband's next chapter about us. Only it isn't about us, you. Your story with him ended when you left - he left - signed the divorce papers. The life as you had known it ended and a new one started for both of you.
In a lot of ways it may feel like the life you had - the man you were married to once upon a time - your children, but that's were the similarities end. She is different from you and therefore everything about the life your Ex has chosen to lead with her is different.
Even activities you may have done together as a couple - as a family are totally different for your Ex and your kids. This isn't a story that you were erased from and someone simply filled your shoes - your shoes went with you and a new pair came with the new wife.
Respecting the relationship your Ex leads after you, will free you and your children to move on. If your Ex does things with his wife that you wish he would've done for you - be happy he's not making the same mistakes he made with you . If your Ex behaved in a way that hurt you terribly and you see him repeating it with his current wife - don't rejoice in his failings as confirmation he really was a bastard. Be sad for your kids - that they will have to be apart of another story of unhappiness.
As for the wife who came next, if the Ex Wife had been a perfect match for your Hubby, you wouldn't be married to this man now. Everyone has a journey to travel to reach their destination - she was apart of his to reach you. Whether they were madly in love at one point, never really in love or somewhere in-between - there is a loss for the life they couldn't make together from them and their children.
If both Ex Wives and Wives we can respect each other's story - the past and the future - that mutual respect can propel into other areas. Otherwise without it, we are simply putting band aids on a wounds caused by a mutual lack of respect. No band aid can ever heal that.
No one ever replaces the Ex as a person, a wife or a Mom. Those roles as she has defined them will always belong to her. Just as the role of a new wife, Step Mom will never be the less than role of the EX simply due to timing. Different people mean different relationships - not better or worse.
I am not Wife Number 3 - not the Replacement Wife - I am simply Raylan's Wife.