Friday, March 18, 2011


i've been afraid of changing
'cause i built my life around you
but time makes you bolder
children get older
i'm getting older, too.
 - "landslide," fleetwood mac (or about six million other people)

i always thought i owed it to the past, to what's happened in my life, to try to maintain a positive relationship with my ex-husband. we grew up together. kind of, anyway. at any rate, we lived together, shared so much for so long. i felt it proper and right to make the effort to normalize relations. and honestly, the marriage didn't end because he sucked as a companion; he sucked as a partner, which is completely different. but i realized something yesterday: what i thought was good-faith progress towards detente, and possibly even enjoying one another's company again, was a lie, an elaborate ruse designed to manipulate me. i'm fond of using the line someday, you will ache like i ache when i'm angry, stung. he has apparently decided to use it to bring me to his level. he hurts. he's mad. i broke his dream. so because i did these things, i should suffer the way he did. it's only fair.

yeah, funny thing. i'm sorry for his pain, legitimately. i did not set out to injure him in saving myself from mediocrity and discomfort. but that's how this works.  you're happy, aren't you? his words stung. he informed me, in no uncertain terms, that if i won't take him back, he doesn't want to be friends. oh, and then he hands me three envelopes with goodbye notes. one for my dad. one for my stepmom.

one for the man.

yeah, that happened. so i brought the envelope to him, and he read the contents. as i poured out the hurt and the heartache, then demanded to read the parting shot my ex-husband threw at his (unbeknownst to him) replacement, the tears flowed. again. one. more. time. the man dealt with it. again. one. more. time. we talked, and as we did, it finally hit me, the knives that have been twisted into my side, the pain that's been wielded like so many bludgeons. i parroted his words to me in my talk with the man: you're happy, aren't you? the man responded, so what if you are?

it was the quintessential saul-on-the-road-to-damascus moment. just like that, the scales fell from my eyes, and i saw exactly what he'd done to me. i owe him NOTHING, not after he treated me like this. i did everything right, and my reward was twisted manipulation. so guess what? you get what you wished for. if we can't be lovers, and we MOST ASSUREDLY cannot, we can't be friends.

i was afraid of changing, of thoroughly abandoning that relationship, because my adulthood had been completely confected around that relationship. he was all i knew of grown-up life. but time has passed, and lo and behold, i got the nerve to let it go. i'm better than a cheap manipulation thrust into my most tender places. i've gotten older, aged a lifetime in the space of a night, and i've gotten bolder. so i'll take the machete to my past, because i owe it to my present. more vitally, i owe it to my future. i owe it to that gloriously loyal, reasonable man who's been left far too many times to rebuild what my wounded, rage-crazed ex husband has sought to destroy.

for you, my love, i let it all go. wash it all away. never, ever again. i promise.


  1. I've often thought that my husband pays for the wrongs of other men. The fact that he's willing to deal with and help me get through it is one of many reasons why we're married.

  2. I'm really happy that you're able to move on, and very proud of you, because I know it's hard. He's been an ass to you, for sure, but you're strong and beautiful and so much better than he is (and that shows in the way you've behaved through this whole thing, trying to be kind and all) and you will move on. Now, you ARE happy. You have wonderful things in your life, including a new companion/lover/partner/friend/etc. who is much more suited to your brilliance and complexity.

    You win, as far as I can see it.

  3. Your ex hasn't gotten to the point where he loves himself enough to walk away. Plain and simple. So he will take his parting shots when he can, and one day he will just wake up and realize it isn't worth it. That's pretty much a fact at this point. I know, cause I was in his position what seemed like an eternity ago.

    Now, I have not seen nor heard from my ex-wife in almost 2 years, and I have made no attempts to contact her in that time. To me, it isn't worth rehashing all the bullshit that made me an emotional train wreck.

    I hated what I was. And now, I love me some me.

  4. I am proud of you too. And I agree with DD, he will get his parting shots in because he may still be hurting. That's no longer your fault. he needs to find his way to heal, just as we all do, from pain.

  5. Over the past few years, I've been trying to train myself check myself whenever I find myself doing things because I feel like I owe someone. Doing things because I owe someone has gotten me into situations that I don't care to be in... and I've found that objectively, I rarely owe people what I feel like I owe them.

    I some ways I think this has been more of a problem for me because I like to help people, don't mind doing it... but there are people who have tried to take advantage of that.

    I try to do things because I feel they're the right things to do, and then not expect anyone to owe me anything in exchange. This was a big awkward with friends - since we do so much for each other - until I realized that with real friends, it balances out over the long run, so trying to balance the ledger isn't worth the effort.

  6. Heartache is awful. I was in a relationship once that was very much the same. I wised up and moved on at a much faster rate than my counterpart. He did not react well when he realized this.

    At the urging of my parents, I completely cut him off. Refused his calls. Ignored the several hundreds of dollars of flower arrangements, emails, etc. I'm still not sure that was the best thing to do for him, but it was the best thing to do FOR ME.

    I still very much care for this person and hope that he's found happiness, but I'm unregrettably thrilled that my happiness is no longer hinged on his.

    ps- I heart Hole.


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