Dear Former Husband,
On this day that honors you as a father I want to thank you. Not for the pain and heartache I am gradually releasing from the slow death of our marriage, which now seems like more of muscle ache than the broken limb it was several months ago. Rather I want to thank you for recognizing we were severed beyond restoration, and having the courage to let me go.
I would have continued holding on. I’m fiercely loyal. I wanted so much to have something back that retained an iota what we ‘were’, but no matter where I searched for it I came up empty. You asked me so many times if ‘we’ were what I wanted, and I always answered yes even when I wasn’t sure, because I was convinced at some point that some of the magic we initially found in each other would return. It’s why the wedding ceremony we had two years ago, that we would have celebrated this past week, was so important to me: I felt that maybe the ritual of saying what we hoped would happen as we recommitted to each other would manifest itself as a new beginning. But it’s also why I didn’t want a reception, or a party: I didn’t want to invite people to congratulate us if I wasn’t sure myself that we would survive.
You can’t repair a marriage on wishes. I recognize now I could have put in more time. By that point, I already had one foot out the door but didn’t recognize it. I made excuses for not trying harder, not going to therapy together, for not being more present. I became part ghost in our marriage, and didn’t realize I had already surrendered my heart to its demise. For that, I am truly sorry. We both deserved more, and I certainly hope you find it.
I love you so much as a person. And I love you more, in some quirky way, for deciding for us what I couldn’t bear to finalize. I know you didn’t feel you were a good husband to me, and there were times when you weren’t. Yet, there were many when you were sublime in that role. I thank you for gifting me those memories, and for letting me know what that kind of love can feel like. I as much thank you for showing me what I don’t want, and what things shouldn’t be.
I would hope you would be happy to know how happy I am. Not without a bittersweet pang, because watching anyone we once loved deeply thrive without them is not without its sorrow. The weight of our relationship was so heavy to drag, and I feel a lightness and joy that I haven’t known in so long. And while I couldn’t find it with you, I am so grateful that you pushed me to this place, even if it went against what I thought I wanted. It turns out you knew me so well that you knew I needed something you didn’t have to give. My life has become a radiant sea that I didn’t know I could have, and would have never said I wanted, because the thought of hurting you felt like too much to bare. But in the end, by digging in my heels, I did that just the same. I hope one day you can forgive me for causing you any pain.
Lastly, I want to thank you for being such a damn good father. Whatever deficiencies our relationship carried, you have always been such a commendable human being for our children to look up to. I am in awe of how well you parent, and that you are so protective of their hearts. That we created such amazing people together helps to ease the sadness, helps me remember that ‘we’ were not in vain, but necessary for their creation. That alone makes everything we endured palatable. They are such beautiful, remarkable people.
You deserve every ounce of happiness and love the world can give, and I hope you find it as soon as possible, as soon as your heart feels ready to take it in.
Happy Father’s Day…
Your Former Wife
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