It's long so I get it if you see this and keep moving, but I share it in hopes something here will resonate with someone in the same way many of your posts have with me. (((SI)))
Though the audience is her, this is far, far more for me. No words, realizations, or lessons I’ve learned change anything regarding this divorce. Were she to read this, what does it change? Nothing. It’s just a grouping of words and phrases that may left to be interpreted as “hey – you still have power over me.” Ultimately, my intent here is to show myself how far I’ve come in letting go. There is much work ahead, but I will take it on, and I will heal. April 17th (my D finalization) just puts an official expiration date on things. This was written as if I were sending it to her after leaving the courthouse, but like I said, she will never get this from me.
Well, this is it. 9 years of marriage and nearly 12 years of love and dedication are now officially over. This wasn't supposed to be us. We were the gold standard. I still remember my best friend’s bachelor party where at one point in the night, he mentioned he hoped to have half the love and happiness we had. We toasted you, toasted us. We were the ones who loved each other unconditionally through any and everything, and did we have some bad hands dealt our way. I know in the end, when I signed those final documents, I was 100% dedicated to my vows until the moment that ink started to dry. My vows and promises to you were always honored, though you wouldn't do the same for me. My life is now mine and mine alone. You started down that path much earlier. There's been a ton of anger, hurt, and confusion I've had to process. I have felt at many times that I essentially gave away 12 years of my life for nothing. Through the advice and support of others, I've learned that it was not a waste. There is so much I have and will learn from it all.
I was so proud to be your husband. So much of my self-worth and identity revolved around us. This mess has taught me to learn to love and respect myself again. It is possible to love someone and not tie your self-worth to them. There's a difference between being happy with someone, and being happy because of someone. As the Dalai Lama said, "The best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other." I don’t know that it’s quite that simple. In being honest with myself, I do know I loved you far more than I needed you, but that said, this whole experience has brought to light some codependency issues in me, and I will address them. I am left to wonder if your need exceeded your love, or if you really ever loved me. I’d like to think what we had was true, but then again, it’s difficult for me to understand how love just…ends. I guess that’s what comes with always being the betrayed and never the betrayer.
I know there are things I could have done differently that I will be aware of moving forward. I know I tend to be a creature of habit, and I don't like when my routines get changed. I know that this can be a detriment to a relationship, and it's one thing I will work on. I also know I tend to say hurtful things to those closest that I wouldn't say to people who actually bother me. It’s as if I take that relationship for granted and use it as an outlet, and that’s not fair to others. It is something I worked on with us, and if you're honest, You'd admit I was getting much better.
I know there were intimacy issues, especially after our son. I know a lot of that is on me. That said, when I'd try to work on it, I felt kind of shut down many times. Still, I could have said more. We both could have openly communicated much better. We were so good together for so long, and it’s like we both forgot how to talk to each other in this regard. Another lesson learned for me.
I know I worry too much, but hell, when the kind of shit that keeps happening to me, how can I not? Well, I need to figure it out somehow. You've taught me that I cannot take anything for granted, but I also can't always worry about the worst case scenario either. Life happens as it happens, and all I can do is focus on what I can control and trust the rest to work out as it is supposed to.
I've learned a marriage is the responsibility of both partners. I was responsible for 50%, you the other 50%. Again, that “50/50” analogy may be a bit too simple. There were times you shouldered more, and times I shouldered more. It’s difficult to take something as complex as a relationship and break it down statistically. Regardless of any of my faults though, infidelity and your choice to leave me so cruelly is 100% on you. I cannot, will not, and should not shoulder any of that blame. There have been many times recently that I’ve tried to take on that blame. Had I not said that. Had I done this more. Had I done this less. I’ve come to learn that people are flawed. Everything I’ve listed above as a fault, and many others I didn’t list, well, they are part of me. I could have done everything differently and we still end up here. What’s the one constant here? You. This is not my fault, period.
I have learned that trust is something to be earned and maintained. I've learned to not let misplaced trust cloud my eyes and cause me to ignore my gut. I knew you were pulling away well before January 20, 2014. I could see it, feel it. The signs were everywhere, but my love for you made me look the other way and/or rationalize what I was seeing. I will never ignore my gut again.
I've learned people can change. It sounds kind of cheesy or cliché, but it's true when I say that the woman who walked out of the home we once shared was not the one I fell in love with. She was not the one I married and dedicated my life too. You disappeared little by little until you were a stranger. I cannot blame you in some ways. What happened to our son coupled with POV was about the cruelest one-two punch anyone could take. It is a wound that time alone will not heal. There is no running from it. However, it appears that's exactly what you're doing - running from it all. Life is now about instant gratification and superficial endeavors.
You know what, I know I just said people change, but at your core, you are who you are. People evolve, grow, learn from experiences, learn from scars, but you are always you. I’ve thought a lot about scars recently, specifically emotional ones. Much like physical scars, emotional scars are reminders. They tell a story. They teach lessons. In the song “I am made of scars” by Stone Sour, the singer reflects on the scars he’s made of. There’s one line that sticks out –
This one had me scared to death,
But I guess I should be glad I'm not dead!!
That scar, for me, was from you. You tried to kill me, but you failed. There is no offense I committed that was so egregious, so heinous, that we skip the judge and jury and head straight to execution. You may be thinking “hyperbole much?” Not really. You ended my life as I knew it. You put that knife so deep in my heart, and then you twisted it. Everything from that point forward would change forever. It was cold, premeditated, and carried out with brutal efficiency. The biggest, ugliest scar is from you, and it too will teach me profound lessons. Like every scar I carry, I will learn from them. I will embrace them, I will accept them, and I will gain knowledge and strength from them. I will not attempt to cover them up. I will not try to run from them. They are a part of me. I read a profound quote a few weeks back from my online support group – “No matter where you go, there you are.” I could enter into a string of doomed-to-fail relationships. I could drown in a bottle. I could quit my job, pack only my bare essentials, and just disappear and start a new life. Guess who will always follow me though? You guessed it – me.
I have quite a bit of time to think. I’ve had quite a bit of time to listen to my scars. I’ve had time to listen those thoughts and worries I always try to push to the back of my mind. On many occasions, I’ve turned off the TV, left the beer in the fridge, and just listened. I’ve felt. I’ve cried. I’ve yelled. I’ve begged and pleaded to no one in particular. I’m learning to face me, face this situation, and gain every ounce of positive I can muster from it. What other choice do I have? I’m learning to face me, to love me, and to accept me. We often here the terms “rebirth” and “redemption.” We champion those stories of people who did wrong, but saw “the light” or turned everything around. I think that is far too easy of a way to absolve yourself of who you are. People can choose to be better, but they still are who they are. Only once you learn to accept this can you truly make the positive changes you want. I’m not looking for rebirth. I’m looking simply for me.
This all takes me to another lesson I've learned - when you truly, deeply love someone, you never fully stop. I still worry deeply for you. I want you to really, truly find you again. You need to, and not for me or us, but for you. I know you, I know who you once were at least, and I know that person is very lost now. That person was once very lovable, kind, and genuine. She was creative, intuitive, caring, and nurturing. She was confident in who she was. She was someone I not only loved deeply, but looked up to in many ways. She saved me, showed me I was someone special, and she believed in me. I still thank that person very much for being a part of my life, and I also very much worry that she may be slipping away forever from this world, not just from me. I very much worry for her, and I hope you find her again. I really do. Not to sound cold, but that search is yours and yours alone now.
I need to wrap this up, but before I do, I’ll share a few lines from a show we both used to watch together. I think it fits:
“I'm thankful for my years spent with this family, for everything we shared, every chance we had to grow. I'll take the best of them with me and lead by their example wherever I go. A friend told me to be honest with you, so here it goes. This isn't what I want, but I'll take the high road. Maybe it's because I look at everything as a lesson, or because I don't want to walk around angry, or maybe it's because I finally understand. There are things we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.”
I must close this now with the last word I ever expected to say to you. That word is simply this - goodbye.
And I am SOoooo glad you did NOT send it to the XWW. Look at it this way, she doesn't deserve this window into your heart & soul. Post your musings here instead. Here, you will get validation and support.
Congratulations on your new life & freedom. ((((MadeOfScars)))
Don't send it, it is too beautiful for someone that has no compassion or remorse. It would be wasted.
I would now like to be known as Can!
dday October 21,2012
dday December 20, 2013
attempted R, it was all a lie
I suggest you write another one when you're ready - this time to yourself.
[This message edited by Merlin at 6:44 PM, April 15th (Tuesday)]
Her: WW/57 Me: BS/63 24yrs M
3 great kids, now 22, 20, 17 b,b,g
D-Day 8/14/08, D 1/13/11
Be thankful you are such a man MadeOfScars.
Thanks for this.
Look at it this way, she doesn't deserve this window into your heart & soul. Post your musings here instead. Here, you will get validation and support.
I agree, and thank you.
Yes, changed in such a fundamental way but maybe for the better? Not because of what we have learned but in spite of it. We get to choose who we are.
Very well put. We face reality because that's who we are, and we make our future better for it.
I suggest you write another one when you're ready - this time to yourself.
Thats a great idea. This letter was intended to essentially close the chapter in which she means anything to me still, and allows me to say goodbye on my terms. It's not that she won't ever cross my mind again, but this is the last letter I will ever write "to" her, at least I hope so.
A man with heart, especially after having it practically yanked from his body is rare.
Be thankful you are such a man MadeOfScars.
Thank you. I don't think you know what reading these words meant to me. Seriously.
It would have been wasted on her. And she doesn't deserve such beautiful and heartfelt sentiments.
I kept a journal as I went through the D process. They were my letters to him. I convinced myself that I was going to give him these letters on the day our divorce was finalized. When that day came, I read over those letters and decided he didn't get to see that part of me anymore. I have never regretted that decision.
Beautifully written. I hope it gave you as much healing to write it as it did for me to read it.
Sooo wishing I had mastered the art of posting photos here. Just yesterday I saved one from fb. Close up black and white shot of a lion's face. Beautiful, strong, proud... but scarred. The quote says, "Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you."
The scars we all bear here are invisible, because they reside in our souls. But it takes even more strength to overcome them and heal. As always I am amazed at your strength, and your clearness of thinking. You are definitely a lion in my book.
[This message edited by gypsybird87 at 8:26 PM, April 15th (Tuesday)]
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. ~ Anais Nin
That is so beautfully written.. It shows such a kind heart, and caring nature.
You should google kintsuri (I think that is how you spell it) it's a Japanese way of mending cracks with gold to make the flawed object more beautiful. It's the image that came to mind while reading your story.
I am a sucker for profound quotes. I love when such an impact can be delivered in but a few words.
Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.
Love it gyspybird. Thank you again for your very kind words. You, like many others, have been an inspiration for me at many turns.
Scars speak more loudly than the sword that caused them.
Simply powerful. Thank you for sharing coldshot.
sadmumma - I looked it up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi
...and I learned of something new and beautiful today. Thank you.
tesla, sunsetslost, yestopants and caretaker1 - Thank you also for your kind words and thoughts. I am so glad I have this group to share these thoughts with, and no, I don't understand how the wayward don't get it. It's their loss.
Speaking of quotes, I'll leave one here with an explanation. I can understand how some may read it as insulting, but I don't mean it that way at all:
"Pain is just weakness leaving the body."
This quote is used more in physical training circles, but I feel it applies to us betrayed. Not in that we were weak and deserved what we got...absolutely not. Rather, what replaces weakness? Strength. Every tear we shed, every night of sleep we lose, every hurt we feel, every emotional gut-punch we take, and all the immense pain we feel, it's all so painful, and we feel so weak. From it, we gain immeasurable strength. If you don't believe me, look at the examples on this very site of inspiring folks who went through years of false R, custody issues, gaslighting, blame, repeated d-days, etc. You see those very people being the ones lifting the rest of us up, sharing their experiences and building strength in this community. Thats the result of pain leaving the body..and soul. Pain never fully leaves, but it does give up space in the heart, mind and soul for something else - strength beyond any strength you've ever known. I believe it because I see it here every day.
All that pain so many of us feel now - know this. That pain will vacate little by little. You will look into your soul and see muscle and power you never knew. Imagine waking up one morning with the "perfect" body. That physical manifestation is great and all, but that same strength and power in your character, born of pain you never deserved but powered through - that's what makes a strong and beautiful human being. No magazine cover or mirror can handle that beauty.
Pain is weakness leaving the body. Your pain will be repaid in strength and love. Believe it.
[This message edited by MadeOfScars at 10:39 PM, April 15th (Tuesday)]
It is so clear in your letter that you will go on to be a much improved version of yourself, with a fulfilled life centered on a deeper understanding of your own nature.
That parting line...it is tragic, to have to say goodbye. And you are facing it head on. It's not easy and it is a testament to you that you are able to do so.
I had a funny thought to day at work and my first though was "she'd find that hilarious." It still hasn't fully left me. That thought was just another gut-punch. It was another reminder that "goodbye" doesn't suddenly wipe my slate clean, put a smile on my face, and allow me to move on as if the worst of it all never happened. That will never be. I just look at it as I HAVE to find the strength to pick myself back up and move on in a positive direction. Many here such as yourself have given me that strength.
So, to anyone who finds inspiration in anything from this thread, be proud - you helped make this happen. I simply would not be able to write these words were it not for all of your support.