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.
Letter 70: Be Louder
4 weeks ago