Dear Mr X,
So much has happened the last 15 months. I wish I had written more. The hurts, the disappointments, the hopes, the dreams, and finally the resolve.
I struggled with our break up. After years of hearing how much God hates divorce, I berated myself and beat myself up because I just didn’t have it in me anymore to try. The brokenness. The longing for a dream that will never be a reality. And finally a resolve. A resolve that I am loved by God. That I deserve to be noticed, I deserve to be important, I deserve to be free. Oh it hurts my heart that it could not be us, and the letting go has been a mix of push and pull, of inside knowing we are over but allowing the guilt to wash over me in waves. The days of missing the good that we had, but knowing unless I was doing all the work and the sacrificing there was very little holding us together.
Do I miss you? Sometimes yes. I miss having someone to go out for coffee with. I miss being a ‘family’. I miss planning a holiday and knowing I will have someone by my side. I miss having someone to discuss the kids with.
It’s scary out here alone. I have had to learn to relax and let go and let God. Trusting God has been hard because I sometimes feel he let me down. But it wasn’t him was it. It was me letting me down, or you letting me down.
I have struggled to get it right. And I have done so much wrong throughout our break up. More than anyone knows. I got messed up because a ‘good Christian man’ tried to (didn’t) take advantage of me, and it led me down a massive black hole away from God. I’m still trying to claw my way out of it. To find my freedom. I’m fighting for me all over again and it’s tough. The worst thing was when I told you what happened, when I told you what he had said to me, what he had asked me to be involved in – you blamed me. You blamed me – I was a victim of his desires. But you told me it must have been my fault. I must have done something to lead him on. Yet I had NO idea he had any thoughts of me, and in fact had hardly talked to him. I still can’t believe you said those things. I told you how much it messed me up. Another Christian man letting me down. I got to a point where I didn’t ever want to look at a Christian man again, let alone trust them.
Do I wish I didn’t leave our marriage? Sadly no. There is so much of life ahead, and even though it’s scary and uncertain, I can finally see hope again. I can see sunny days and fun coming.
Recently you told me how much you wanted me back. How much you had changed. But have you? (Not really) And does it even matter? It is too late. I left our marriage utterly broken – mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. The first couple of months after I told you I couldn’t do it anymore I slept. Like four sleeps during the day. Not to escape, but because I was absolutely exhausted.
Years of trying, working, being a wife and Mum, and doing 90% of it alone broke me. Much like the lies and broken promises. I was scared to move away with you. It didn’t feel a safe place. I couldn’t leave our kids behind – they are my world, and I’m so thankful for them. Looking back, with all that happened I’m so pleased I didn’t move away with you. I would have become more broken, more disheartened.
It makes my heart sad that our marriage wasn’t a safe place. It wasn’t a place I could be honest. It wasn’t a place I could have friends. It wasn’t a place of joy and laughter. It wasn’t a place of love.
It was a place of control. I didn’t even realise the extent until I left. Every decision, every message, every time I saw a friend – there were constant questions, constant text messages, phone calls. Everything I did outside of home I always worried I would be late and upset you. I walked on eggshells to keep you ‘happy’. I always did things so not to irritate you, so you wouldn’t sulk, you wouldn’t not talk to me, so you wouldn’t take away from the good time I had because you thought I should be home with you.
That isn’t a marriage. That is control. It isn’t freedom, it’s a prison. You kept me bound to you in unhealthy ways. You manipulated and used me so your life would be how you wanted it. You broke so many of my friendships over the years simply because you didn’t want to share me with anyone, because you were jealous, because you need to control.
Since we broke up – which I remind you – was at a time I had given up work to work for you… Covid hit right at my final decision. For 3 months I looked for work, all the time still doing your business work. I took out my super to pay our bills, and you would yell at me for using ‘your’ money to pay our mortgage and buy groceries for me and your children for the two months I couldn’t support them.
Since July last year when I started working, I have covered everything – the mortgage, the power, food for our kids because one was still at school and the other two had no jobs due to Covid. A year later and the last two months has finally seen all three of them employed. That whole time you never offered any support to me. Not once did you come up and buy groceries, or pay a mortgage payment. Not once did you ask if I needed anything. You just left it to me, even though you were earning about 30-40% more than I do. You even left your dog here from Christmas (without telling me) and never once paid for any food for her unless I asked you to buy her some – which has probably been twice.
You go from saying one minute you want a divorce to saying you desperately want me back. Sometimes you are compelling. Sometimes I want to believe you. But time has shown they are just words. Like I should have expected anything to change.
You tell me you have changed. When I asked you what you had done to get me back over the past 15 months, your answer was ‘I have worked on me’. Say what?? It must be nice to live 1000km away and only have yourself to worry about…. But there has never been anything but words for me to believe you actually want me back.
If I’m honest I don’t think anything you could have done would have worked. But you have done nothing. Not a nicely worded letter, not a bunch of flowers, not an offer to help with anything. So tell me how you’ve changed? How you are willing to work to get me back?
This year I decided it was better to try be friends than hate each other. But it gave you hope. Every time you came up to help finish the house you complained, and then tried to get in my bed. At one stage I let you sleep in my bed because the others were all taken, on the strict rule that there was to be nothing sexual between us. But you always tried to kiss me, and then there was the night I woke to your hands down my pants. That wasn’t ok. I had told you I was off limits. It’s called sexual assault. I felt so dirty and violated. Yes you apologised the next morning, but apologies mean nothing because YOU want what you want and will disrespect anyone’s boundaries to get it. No one else matters. Not only have you been with other women since we broke up, but I explicitly said no. You violated my trust, my good will and my body. So tell me again how you have changed?
You have had two relationships since we broke up. One six weeks later when DD1 was living with you. You brought your new woman into your house and were kissing her in front of DD1 and was sleeping with her. SIX weeks after we parted. DD1 had gone down to be with you because she was afraid you might kill your self after my decision to leave, and this is what she got.
Then at Christmas you again found someone (I don’t even know what you have done in between), and within a month had introduced her to your girls. You were the best dad then because you were trying to prove to your new piece what a good relationship you had with your children. Until your boys didn’t want anything to do with it, and then I came back on the scene and you tried to dump your girlfriend, but DD1 ended up having to set the record straight instead. The thing is – I truly don’t care if you find another woman. But by golly I do mind when you bring my kids into it. There is no respect. Have a relationship and once you know it’s something special and it has lasted for a time, then introduce them… not in the first few weeks. It’s hard to see my kids hurt unnecessarily because of your selfishness.
Recently when you were about to come up I had two friends separately say to me that I change when you are here and it takes at least a week or two before I become my happy bubbly self again. I think that is telling. I hadn’t noticed and I’m so thankful for friends who speak the truth. But it’s true. It’s like a weight is upon me. I still slip into the ‘keep you happy’ mode. But inside I’m dying and counting the days till you go.
All of the above has set my resolve that we are over. The last time you came up I asked you for two things – to buy some dog food, and to put the trailer you brought up down the back of the yard. You were here for 5 days and did neither. Sigh. So tell me how you have changed? And tell me how much you want me back?
Your world is about you and you only. You bought a new jet-ski and had to bring it up to show it off. The last time you came up with a $1500 electric scooter – to show everyone what you have. The truth is, you have a two bedroom granny flat 1000km away and a tethered relationship with your children. I have almost nothing material, but I know my kids love me and would do anything for me. That is all I need.
I’m so looking forward to getting this house sold. There is a great future ahead of me. One of laughter and sunshine and Jesus and freedom. I’m so close I can almost smell it now. I recently found a new job which I love and I’m incredibly settled in already. I’m repairing my relationship with God and I finally have hope for the future. Hope of a new place – one I can honour God in. Hope of a peaceful settled life where I have friends and family around me. Hope that I am now in a true healing phase and that I can walk through it confidently and become whole.
Oh I am so pleased I have gone on this journey. After 25 years of marriage it has been the toughest and hardest thing to do, but I am so pleased the last 15 months are behind me and my future is before me.
I can’t even say I love you any more. I care. You will always be the father of 4/5 of my kids and I care that you are there for them. But that is your relationship to figure out.
There is freedom in resolve. Thought out, observant, truthful resolve. Not based on emotion, but fact. I can thank you for the good times we shared, but am so relieved to be free.