Dear Ex Husband,
Thank you for setting me free.
While you were prepared to give up on our family and move on, I never was. I was sure that Marriage was supposed to be hard and ugly. I knew for a fact that there would be days I wanted to give up and seek a new life. But I promised you I wouldn’t. I chose to say “Yes” when you proposed to me on the beach. I wore the ring that sometimes felt like it was choking me. But I knew the good would be worth it. The days of laughing and the days of adventure. Those memories would sustain the long nights that felt lonely and desolate.
I remember my mom telling me:
You will know you are in love with someone when you hate them but you still want to love them.
I hated you some days. Your voice. Your face. The way you chewed. The way you left the seat up in the bathroom. How you always ate chicken and rice wraps for dinner. I hated how you always put work before family. I hated that you couldn’t sacrifice something as simple as cable TV to save money. I hated that you never saw me as someone you wanted to help support but someone that you had to as an obligation. I hated that you didn’t like how close I was with my family. I hated that you cherished the savings account more than your family. I hated your stupid TV shows. I hated how you would drink beer on the couch instead of spend time with me. I hated when I noticed you lied to me about even the tiniest things.
I can list more but you get my point.
Despite that. I loved you. Not just because I promised to. But because you were a good man to me. Not all the time. But I saw the good in you. I saw that you worked hard for your family. I understood that you didn’t want to sacrifice certain things because you did work so hard. Your voice sometimes said sweet things to me. Your face was home to me. You were easy to cook for because I knew what you liked. I learned to check the seat before going to the bathroom at night. I never called you out on your lies because they never hurt me.
Eventually they did.
I did try to forgive you for falling for another woman. But you were no longer my hero. With out that image of you. I had no one left to love. I was clinging to an empty shell of a man. A man who CHOSE to jeopardize his future for HER. Being a husband is hard. Being a dad is exhausting. I understand. It is one of the many thankless jobs. I know. Being a wife was just as difficult. A full time job and a full time Mom. I got up with the boy, I fed him, got him ready, played with him. I did those things while you relaxed, slept in, worked. But I never expected a thank you. Because I always felt so blessed.
I moved out because you destroyed me. My son couldn’t be around that anymore. That tiny baby needed to be surrounded by nothing but love. That house was so void of love, I was suffocating. You sir, may be certain you did what was best for our family, but all you did was destroy our family.
But in your wake you left me so broken. So devastated. I lost who I was. Who I wanted to be. I still struggle with my identity today.
But thank you. Thank you for the infidelity. Thank you for your lies. Thank you for showing me that “Forever” is a lie we tell each other so we can feel safe. I learned a lot about me. I learned I don’t need you. I reflect on the good, and it was great. I reflect on my needs and if they were being met. No. I always was wanting more from you. I asked. You couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. Not monetary things. Just your time. Your affection. And I know you wanted more from me. More cleaning, more meals, more money. But the difference is clear to me. Our values were not aligned. Money vs Time.
I am sorry for my part in the break. I am sorry I broke the glass in our picture frames. I am sorry I said terrible things. I am sorry I cannot help but hate you still. I am sorry I spit in your whiskey the day I moved out. I am sorry I peed on your toothbrush when you weren’t home. I am sorry I snooped in your dresser and found women’s underwear. I am sorry I stole your bank statement one month to know where you were going. I am sorry made you disassemble the bar top just because I knew it would hurt you. I am sorry I took the dog. I know you loved him. I am sorry I told my friends you couldn’t satisfy me sexually. Mostly I am sorry I lost my best friend. The person I called everyday on my way home from work to talk about our days. I lost my bathroom snow ball fight partner. I lost my Saturday morning breakfast buddy. I lost my date to Wegmans ice cream runs. I’m sorry I lost 11 years of memories I always recalled as great. I’m sorry I lost our beautiful story. The Cruise ship. The moments I labeled as “fate”.
April 2004 you saved me. December 2014 you destroyed me. December 2015 I was freed.
We were kids when we started this. We thought we knew what we were doing. We had no idea.
Good luck with your new life.