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Letter to Husband
4 months ago · · Love, · Explicit
I always assumed we would be married, have a life partner in each other and deal with all the shit that would come and go. I think what I failed to fully appreciate was that said life partner also needed to have that mentality right along with me. We needed to see the change in each other and accept and grow with it. To have enough care and respect for each other to acknowledge needs, wants and dreams even if one or both of us wasn’t in 'happy love mode'. That isn't what happened.
I never wanted to be divorced, never wanted that for my life, or for the kids. Never wanted to be that couple that "gave up" simply because things were difficult or we were "not in love" anymore. Well, we haven’t been "in love" for a long time and things have been increasingly difficult for years. I gave all I had to trying to fix it. But I gave it alone and it fell on deaf ears, was brushed aside by uncaring hands and eventually, there was nothing left to offer.
I never wanted it, but at this point...I do. It's so hard for me to say that to you. I love you and I think that adds to the pain now far more than it gives me hope. I view love differently than you do. There are endless kinds of love with countless manifestations of said love in the world. I told you I could love you as a friend who has been in my life a long time, as the father of my amazing children, as a good man I want good things for. You don’t want those though. You asked why I couldn’t be “that girl” you saw for a few minutes on our date night instead. To be your wife “like [I] used to be” and just embrace that from here on out. I explained it to you, but I don’t think you truly understood. For you, that scenario is all positive again, you get the benefits without any of the strife. For me, that scenario is a nightmare of accepting, embracing and forgiving all of the damaging emotions and actions associated with me being your wife again. To you, what you are asking is simple and all to the good. To me, what you are asking is complex and contrary to what every fiber of my being tells me is needed right now.
I'm so afraid, of so many things. I’m afraid this will continue, that the boys will suffer, that I will lose myself entirely or that you will revert back to that mode of utter hatred you settled in for those few days. Mom always forced me to face the things I was afraid of. Much like heights and cockroaches and acting in the school play, I have to face these fears and not allow them to define my choices.
I wish we could be strangers again, that line plays through my mind on a loop with all the other things that have been said and done on both sides. Maybe if we were we could do better. I wish I could change my heart, that I could purge it of all the sadness, anger and hurt as though it had never touched me. I wish you had listened, cared or even just tried a little bit. I wish I had drawn my lines and not wavered. I wish I had demanded the treatment I needed/wanted/deserved instead of begging for it and letting its absence be forgiven time and again. I wish I had never “let it go” just to keep the peace. I wish I had known myself better and stayed true to myself. I wish I had always maintained the requirement for honesty between us. Honesty in both word and action. I wish I hadn’t hurt you, I wish I wasn’t going to hurt you now. I wish many things, but wishes are not reality.
I'm so tired, so hurt. Your sudden motivation to make everything work just confuses and hurts me more. What do I do with that? I hide it well, and maybe that is a flaw. I hide it so well I hid it from myself. I tried and tried but really what was I trying for? You made it clear to me so many times, every time you spoke the words I wanted to hear but showed the truth in your actions should have been all I needed to know. You told me you loved me, that things were good, that you had nothing I needed to work on to make you happy or improve what felt so wrong in our relationship. You showed me all of those things were untrue.
I asked you if I had been unclear, if I had failed to communicate what I needed from you. You said I hadn’t. That you simply didn’t take it seriously, didn’t recognize the damage it was causing. I asked if I had failed to meet your needs, failed to pay attention and work at giving you the things that were important to you. You said no. That you being happy with our life and set in the comfort/routine was part of why you thought I surely couldn’t actually mean the things I talked to you about. If all that is actually true, and you say it is, how could you not see it? When did you stop looking at my face and seeing the sorrow, exhaustion and need there? When did my words become a meaningless exhalation to be forgotten as soon as they were spoken? Why? I may never understand, I know that, but that is just another layer added to the hurt.
I think the memory of sweetness, of love and interest and desire kept me going for as long as I did. All those things I should never have let stop were the important things. I needed you to care about my life, my heart, my mind. I needed you to show me I was as important to you as you were to me. That being a wife still existed even when being a mother came to be. I needed to feel love, intimacy, support, respect, and appreciation. I needed to feel like we were a partnership even when we were not feeling much love for each other. Desire. Desire for pleasure, for fun, for romance and sex. Desire to know me; to be an active participant in our personal life together. It didn’t need to be a grand gesture with flowers, candles, wine and a violin serenading in the background. A real kiss each day, a morning of sleeping in while you took care of some of the morning tasks, a date night you actually focused on me for rather than the plan, a movie snuggled up on the couch with take out after the kids were asleep, a note in my car or my laptop bag (like you’ve done the last week). Simple things. Little things. Perhaps it was asking too much, but in truth I really don’t think so.
You want me to simply reset. Humans don't have rewind unfortunately. Easy. It would be easy to just give up and walk away. That is such a lie. I think in truth these past few weeks have been some of the hardest of my life emotionally. I worry about what will happen. I worry for the boys and for you and for myself. But I also know in my heart, we will all be ok. Our children will grow up, our lives will continuously change. We will evolve as people over and over and over. I thought we would embrace it all together as spouses, but I think a new type of partnership is our reality. We will hurt, wonder, rage, adapt, overcome, and continue on. What that will look like and entail will be entirely up to us. I told you I hoped we could do better, especially for the boys, than we’ve managed thus far. You said you certainly hoped so as well. That may be put to the test repeatedly over the years.
I want the boys to grow up seeing their parents happy, and being the best versions of ourselves we can get to. Seeing us be the same example of hard working, caring, supportive parents we have always intended to be. For them to always feel and know we love them and are a family, regardless of how “unconventional” that family might look in the end. I want them to see and know that they will be as strong, as loving and as “good” as they choose to be. Exactly as we will be.
I want you to discover who you want to be, and to become that person. You say you will change and be the better man you want to be in your mind. Will you get there? I don't know. I hope you do. I see so much good in you. I can see that man you describe and want to strive to be. I’ve never questioned if I thought you were a good person, you are. You are a wonderful father to our boys and I hope the person you decide you want to be can take every lesson, every ounce of hurt, sadness, love, light, laughter and hope and turn it into something amazing.
I want to own my life again. I want to find my beauty, confidence, and humor…dust them off and shine with that inner light. I want to explore myself and life. I want to resurrect all the passion I had (that you found so attractive and then hated) and to live it. I want to find simplicity, unfiltered truth, and contentment in myself and my life. To find balance, and choose when to fall out of balance for the right reasons. I want to nurture a vein of joy and beauty in my world that encompasses all the harder, darker, aspects of life and accepts them as part of what makes up the wondrous whole. I want to be me. As I am. Without fear, shame or guilt. Without worrying that I will upset or harm you in the process. I want to forgive you, and even more so, I want to forgive myself.
None of this is the “fault” of either of us alone. I participated in, accepted and perpetuated my own hurts and disappointments equally with you. This process is not about blame, not about who was right or wrong. It’s about taking the good, letting go of the bad, and embracing a better life for all of us. I’m no longer going to linger on looking back, on fixing what has been broken too many times. I’m looking forward, to what can be whole. A new path, a new journey and a lot to learn along the way. I’m ready.