A letter to my ex-husband.

Dear D,

I realize you probably will never read this letter but I feel compelled to write it.  I have learned after four years of writing “divorce journals” that just the writing is cathartic.  Our four-year “anniversary” is coming up on December 29.  That date will mark four years since the day you told me you wanted a divorce–“a day that will live in infamy” as FDR said about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  At least it is for me.  Time is working its miracle of healing and I’m getting emotionally healthy again.  In fact, I think I can honestly say that I am reasonably healthy these days.  Most family and friends are noticing a marked change for the better in my overall well-being.  But as the date approaches I start to relive, on some level, the “bomb” you dropped on our marriage.  Forgive the metaphor, but it felt like a bomb to me then and it still does.  I don’t think I want to forget how it felt that night and the many long nights that followed.  I need to remember in order to remind myself how much better off I am without you.  And I don’t mean any malice when I say that.  I think it’s a truth I have come to understand after much soul-searching.  Should I thank you for dumping me?  Maybe.  But I wish someone had given you lessons on an appropriate way to go about divorcing someone after 30 years of marriage.  No one did, obviously.  And that’s a rather dramatic understatement.

I remember a sermon Rob preached once about forgiveness.  He said it would be so much easier to forgive those who have hurt us if they would only apologize and own up to what they’ve done.  He says that almost never happens.  And in this case it certainly hasn’t.  I have stopped trying to figure out why you treated me the way you did.  But I can’t forget the pain of being your wife one day and the next (literally) having no connection to you at all.  As if I didn’t exist all of a sudden.  I won’t dwell on this because it still makes me cry and I’m sick of crying.  You’re no longer worth it to me.  (Again, no malice.)  Still, though, I want you to know that I forgive you.  And I don’t hate you.

I wish you all the good that you desire from your new life.  And good health and wealth (so you can pay me what you owe me).  After such a long history as ours, how could I wish you any less.

Always, Pat


29 thoughts on “A letter to my ex-husband.

  1. Dear backonmyown and other posters:

    I have been through the same things as all of you. I am a 46 year old professional woman. I was married for 22 years (together a total of 24), have two children (at the time they were 9 and 12), and I found out my husband was having an affair. He lied and cheated for about 6 weeks before I found out that he had met her on Match.com. I confronted her first – she originally thought he was divorced and wanted nothing to do with him and then she suddenly shows up again the day after our divorce – yeah right! Then he put me through hell for about a month after I discovered the affair because he acted like he still loved me one minute and wanted a divorce the next. After a month of not being able to make up his mind, I made it up for him and divorced his sorry ass!

    It is now two years since the divorce. The first 6 months were pure hell. I couldn’t eat, sleep, think and I lost my job because I couldn’t stop crying. I drank too much, and thought about doing much worse but the knowledge that I had two children to take care of kept me getting out of bed each day. Most days I feel pretty good now, my heart is mostly healed but divorce is like a million little deaths. I will hear a song that reminds me of him, or see a movie that we enjoyed, or eat at a restaurant that we liked. For many months, I had to mourn the future I was never going to have. Like I said, a million little deaths. And having to share custody with him meant I had to still see him all the time – trust me when I say widows are lucky because they at least have finality when their relationship ends!

    I learned early on to avoid anything that reminded me of him. I gave him EVERY memento, trinket, picture, song, movie, etc. including our wedding album and wedding memorabilia and dropped it off on his doorstep on what would have been our wedding anniversary shortly after our divorce was final. I got rid of EVERYTHING in my house that had any kind of memory attached to him. I bought all new furniture, linens, etc. My theory is I got the best of him and that is his children – he killed the rest and I want no physical reminders of it.

    Having no physical reminders was very helpful in getting over him. I starting exercising again. I went out to dinner with friends, and did everything I wanted to do. It has been extremely liberating! I even went sky diving on my first birthday after our divorce to prove to myself I am invincible! And it was incredibly exhilirating.

    I am not totally over him but I am about 95% there. BTW, he married that other woman – they announced their engagement 2 weeks after our divorce was final.. They are both 7 years older than me, and they both look it. I look better now that I have in years and I catch both of them looking at me like “Damn, she looks good!” My ex even told me that I look great in my new skinny jeans! I have also been dating a guy 6 years younger than me and let me tell you, it has worked WONDERS for my ego! He is cute, smart, funny and there is a HUGE difference in a 52 year old man and a 39 year old man, let me tell you!

    And even though the ex says he is jealous of my new boyfriend, I am finally realizing I don’t care anymore. I am living for me now. I am creating a whole new life, separate and apart from my ex and I am filling it with everything that is me and that I love. I don’t have to ask for permission to do anything, go anywhere, spend on anything. I am having the time of my life!

    So if I can give anyone any advice, go through your mourning process but there needs to come a day when you say, enough, its time to live my life. My new motto comes from the Bon Jovi song: “Its’ my life, my heart is like an open highway, like Frankie said “I did it my way”, I just wanna live while I’m alive – IT’S MY LIFE”


  2. Thanks Angel. But, there is no happiness here where I live. I compare more now that I’m here in this dive I live in, remembering the things I used to have, the places I used to live. This guy seems to think it’s like his haven and I should be thankful to live here. I had it better on my own when I thought I didn’t. Now, I’m stuck, I KNOW the difference between the two.. and I’m far from impressed.


  3. My problem is, I built my entire world around my husband. ;( I put him high on a pedestal, he was my everything, we were married for 17 years.. a long time to look at someone I love as part of me. When we split up, he took part of me with him that I can never gain back. I have never been the same since, I’m not who I used to be, I’d forgotten how to do most things without him in my world anymore. I believe it’s supposed to get better as time goes by, but all I learned is that it only gets worse for me… Especially since I’ve learned how to forgive him, I did that for myself.. so I had thought! When I forgave him.. I missed him more… it was so much easier to not forgive him and carry hate for him than it is now that I remember our good times together. It’s been a long time now that we have been apart, I should be over all this, I should of moved on like he suggested I do “I’ve Moved on and I think you should too” Yeah right, easy for him! He’s remarried now, and seems to be happy with making me feel like shit.. the times when he and his new wife take family pictures with our kids, and Grand-kids… She trying to make my Grand-kids call her Grandma, she didn’t earn that!!! she didn’t earn the strips for ‘Grandma’ she is NOT the Grand-Mother.. never has been, never will be! .. it tears me up, and they know it!…I’m sure he knows that the ‘family pictures’ he takes together with her as my replacement.. kills me inside, he knows I see them.. reason he does it! . I feel like an outcast, on the outside looking in to his wonderful world.. all the plans that we made for the future he’s now living for real in this world with her as I sit in limbo.. no life, no family world anymore.. he has it all. He has all the things now that we had made plans for our future, and here’s me sitting here in an un-happy relationship,wanting out, and not knowing how. It’s been awhile now, and he still will not talk to me, look at me, or even acknowledge me in public, even when one of our kids are with me, shopping or something.. he’ll walk right past our kids like they’re strangers if they’re with me.
    I’m just a shell of a person, left. I’m no longer me.. I feel like I’ve lost it, I can’t remember a lot of things. And it hurts inside when our kids get to talk to him…I know it’s not right, but I feel jealous that they get his attention at all, when it was me that knew him longer than they did… Yes I love our kids.. but sometimes it feels like they’d rather him and I not be together.. they get more attention this way.
    Lesson learned, never look at ones husband as a God, never put a man up on a pedestal because it will come tumbling down in a huge hurry, suddenly one day.. and you will be left to pick up the crumbs but to tired to go on.


    • Dear Jolly. It is really hard getting back on your feet. But you have to try and just focus on you. It is ok to be selfish at this time.
      Just do things for you and stop thinking about him and the life you had. You have to forget the future you were trying to build with him. Look at the future you have now and work with that.
      Some things will still hurt, like the family time etc. . But do not dwell on it too long , for you to get depressed. Just focus on your happiness and you will get by one step at a time.


  4. Thanks for your kind words. I am not bitter, just sad. But I’m moving on, and I will be stronger. I was blessed with a wonderful sense of humor and will soon be on my path to healing all my wounds.
    P.S. Now writing a piece on “JERKS” – Here’s an excerpt – Assholes with no exterior opening. !!! …


  5. Angel, I’m so sorry to hear your sad story. I wish you all the best as you try to move on. I guess we will never understand how one human can treat another this way. It did serious damage to my ability to trust anyone. It takes time. I saw a counselor for several sessions and she helped me to express how I was feeling. And she assured me that it wasn’t me, it was my husband. The same is true for you. Good luck, Dear Angel.


  6. This is my experience:- Married 8/19/11. Husband moved in girlfriend ( I thought was his Ex all along…) from another state down South on 11/17/12, into our rented matrimonial home, with 1 hour’s notice. She only found out then that we were married ( a whole other story!)
    I can’t express the pain and humiliation I felt. I have finally just moved out and will move on with my life. I dont know when this pain of betrayal and being blindsided will heal for me to trust another man. I can honestly say I will be living my life without another man. Good Riddance to them and their cheating, lying, waste of time selves!!!


  7. Thanks for your comment, wanderlust. I have heard “the shorter the relationship, the faster the healing.” I don’t know if it’s true, but in your case, I truly hope it is. I hope today finds you in a good place.


    • Thank you for your kind words and I do hope that what you have heard is true. Though I am still healing, taking much longer than the period of the marriage itself but I am determined to let go of every anger and bitterness associated with it and move on in the truest sense.


  8. It is a beautiful letter that you have written to your ex-husband. It is an understatement to say that it is sad he will never read it. The courage and poise you have shown is extremely inspiring. I am still healing from my short marriage and sudden break-up and hope that soon I will reach a point where I can look back like you without any bitterness just as lessons learnt quite well.


  9. I was married (happily so I thought) for 21 years. We came home from a family birthday dinner and my husband tells me the night before our 21st wedding anniversary that he had been cheating on me with a friend of the familys for the past 8 months and he wanted a divorce. Talk about blind sided. I dont ever think I will forgive him. We were together over half of my life. We just had our first child together a beautiful baby boy . After many years of fertility treatments . After that I took my baby and left the state and he has seen his son a total of 3 weeks in 2 years His choice. The woman he was seeing for those 8 months left him as she was also cheating on her husband and didnt think they would get caught. needless to say she still has her family and left mine a shambles. I cry alot seeing that gorgeous baby knowing he will most likely never really know his father. Not what I ever wanted for him or for me. How do you move past all the pain and lonliness?


    • Lisa, I’m so sorry for your pain. I’m five years down the road and still don’t really have any answers. It’s a cruel fate to have to deal with at any age. Time helps but it isn’t the healer that people would lead us to believe. I think it has to be time plus a lot of other things. Staying busy helps. I’m sure you are very busy with a two-year-old to care for. Having a job, having a child will help you to meet other people, I think. As your child grows and participates in more and more activities, you will find yourself interacting with other adults. I look for the humor in everything around me. A sense of humor helps. You’ve probably heard all of this before.

      One thing I tell myself over and over: It’s not about me; it’s all about him and his problems, shortcomings, etc. He is the one who cheated. The same is true in your situation. There is nothing wrong with you! In the final analysis, he is the loser and you are the winner. One day that will sink into your being and soul and you’ll know you’re complete and whole. I hope that day comes soon for you. In the meantime, enjoy that precious baby boy. In that, you are blessed.

      Are you writing a blog? I would love to read what you have to say.


  10. Mine never came back either. What he’s doing now is he’s remarried.. and our daughters seem to want to spend more time with him and his wife then with me. Our Grand son will be haveing a 4th birthday soon, and looks like I’m not going. He’s brainwashing our daughters against me, and looks like with my Grand Son too. I’m beside myself.. I don’t know what to do about it, and so tired of fighting.


  11. Thanks. I keep wondering do they ever come back…..mine said he left due to a lot of arguing……but I mean nothing that couldn’t be resolved……I have forgiven him and neither of us were angels….we both played a part………I am tired of waiting and hoping……my kids as well……I cannot believe all he will lose ……do they ever have regrets? Mine is very selfish and has a massive image complex……no one knows yet and it is 3 1/2 months…….only my 2 close girlfriends and they have kept it shush…….what kind of epiphany is he waiting for? He is dragging his feet……..he keeps telling me he loves me……..I feel he is stringing me along


    • Mine never came back and now we’re divorced. Of course he told me from the beginning that he wanted a divorce. I think it must be especially hard for you to be keeping this secret. I remember thinking that if I didn’t talk about it then maybe it wouldn’t be real. I feel deeply for you. The uncertainty is torturing you. I hope you get resolution soon.


  12. My bomb date was SEPT.29TH, 2010……..he said he would come back in a month…..he now says my 17 and 13 year old are self – sufficient and we don’t need him anymore……22 years of marriage and 29 years together………it is like he dropped off the face of the earth..we never hear from him…….I find it amazing how they can emotionally detach form their lives……..I am still crying daily…….talk about being blindsided:(


  13. I can remember the day and date of the bomb drop with great clarity. I remember waking up thinking how lucky I was and how special our marriage was, and went to bed knowing my marriage was over. He was sending me loving smses and we were taking romantic baths just two weeks before. Words cannot describe what this does to you. I’m healing but reading your post made me cry.


  14. Dear Pat,

    Maybe D didn’t read your letter but I did. And although I wasn’t married for 30 years I think I know how you feel. Its hard sharing your life with someone, your deepest feelings and thoughts, your good moments and your bad….and then one day that person is no longer there for you to share it with. It feels empty.

    But you’re right, you shouldn’t forget the past, because its part of who you are. And because if you forget you wont be able to learn.
    But you should forgive (as you say you’ve done). But I don’t think its your ex who you should be forgiving. The person you should really forgive is yourself – for having made a wrong choice, for having let someone hurt you so deeply. Once you forgive yourself, you will truly be able to move forward.

    I hope for you (as for myself and all others in a similar situation) that time will heal. And somewhere inside me, I also hope that Karma does really exist…


    • I totally agree. You have to learn to forgive yourself for being fooled by your ex.. I know I have to. I trusted him with everything. We had 6 children together, only to find out that he had never been faithful to me. When he found another woman that he had feeling for, he decided to torture me. Emotionally, physical and pychological abuse. Then he plotted and planned, took all his things out of the house slowly and claimed he was making more room. Left me with nothing in the bank and that was it.


    • Thanks for your comment. I’m hoping for karma, too. I have a daughter who calls it “when the universe balances itself” and that would work for me. Good luck with your blog. It’s very attractive.


      • Oh, Jen, I’m sorry you’re going through this pain. As time passes it does get better. I know that doesn’t help you now but hang in there. And karma does prevail. Sometimes it takes a while.


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