Editor’s Note: This is hypothetical satire intended to normalize the range of thoughts and emotions that occur after a break-up/divorce/separation.
Dear Ex-wife: For months, all I could focus on was how ready I was to get this over with.
Every conversation with you was like the Battle of Little Big Horn. I didn’t know if I was going to get divorced or buy the Yankees. The negotiations felt the same.
Now that I’ve put pen to paper and the courts have finalized the deal, I feel like I was promised the Yankees but was given the forever cursed Red Sox. The funny thing is you think I don’t care. You thought the affair was about you. You thought the nights I actually worked late, so I could earn vacation time for our second honeymoon, was a selfish act. I can’t even begin to talk about the kids with you. As it turns out, I felt ready to get this over with, but I wasn’t prepared.
Time keeps folding over on itself. It is difficult to decipher how eight years of marriage feels like it lasted forever and three years of divorce proceedings feels like it went by in a flash now that it’s over. It seemed like it took forever for the house to sell. I found a nice apartment to move into. Although, I don’t have much to move into it.
My place is almost ready for the kids to be able to come over and to stay the night. Fuck, I hate you so much. Actually, I hate…I don’t know what I hate.
People know about the divorce. But, I don’t really talk about it because I get one of two reactions. They change the subject or offer up, “That sucks man. She was a bitch anyway.” The only thing that makes sense is waking up, going to work, working long hours, keeping busy and spending time with my sons.
You know what? You are such a c*nt. We figured out how to shuttle the kids back and forth between visitations. But, what you haven’t figured out is that we are not married anymore. In case you have forgotten, I’m the father to our two sons—my two boys. I don’t need a tutorial every time you drop them off. I don’t need you to tell me their school schedule, what they eat, and if I need to wipe their asses! I don’t need you to tell me how to live my life anymore.
I would never say this to the boys because I love them so much, but it is totally f*cked up that you are their mother. They have no clue what a b*tch you are. And good for them because I want them to grow up and think that women are beautiful.
Of the few possessions I have left, I still have one wedding picture. You were beautiful. You were the most beautiful woman I had ever met. Remember that time at the fraternity party when I spilled beer on your dress and instead of getting upset, you just took off the dress and spent the rest of the night in one of my t-shirts and your panties? What happened to that girl? I remember her. I remember who I was when I was around her. No matter how busy I make myself, I still remember.
Sometimes, it gets deadly quiet at my place around two or three in the morning. Even the sh*tty television infomercials don’t drown out the quiet. I now understand the irony of feeling numb. I lay awake at night and hear the rise and fall of my lungs inhale and exhale. It feels as if something inside me collapsed. I can’t really attest to what. All I know is that having a woman touch me makes me feels as if I can breathe again. I never imagined I would be in this place or feel these things.
I never imagined saying “I do” would result in this. But, the reality is, it wasn’t working for a long time. Now here we both are. The jacked-up thing is that I still love you and you think I am the Anti-Christ.
I can’t believe you are dating someone else already! Whatever. I’ve had sex with three women since the divorce was final and four if you count the one during our separation. Damn it, why did I tell you that? I’m going to say something to you that I said to a friend. It shocked me when I heard the words come out of my mouth. “I can’t differentiate between my feelings of failure and how love feels.” I can tell you this— I’m never getting married again.
Why would you invite me to your wedding?! Did you need a babysitter for the kids? You are a crazy…there are not enough words to describe how infuriating it is to deal with this. With you.
I bought a sports car today and I won’t be coming to your wedding. But, thanks for relieving me of alimony payments. Thanks for getting all the clutter out of my life including all the things I slaved to pay for and you now own. Thanks for pointing out that I was too inept to even “have an affair correctly” because I came clean after the first and only time it happened. Thanks for dragging the divorce out three years. But, mostly, thank you for teaching me to avoid women like you. I’m in a new relationship now. She is fun, spontaneous, and most of all, nothing like you.
In closing, will you please f*ck off.
Author’s Note: First off, let me say I’m sorry. I’m sorry if this letter is a poor depiction of what you have been through and I am sorry if it isn’t exactly what you have endured. Secondly, I’d like to say good for you for being brave enough to fall in love, negotiate the terms of life with your wife, and for doing your best. Don’t misunderstand me when I say “best”. I don’t mean you got everything perfect. Rather, I mean you were a human fraught with mistakes and yet you woke-up every day and took care of the task at hand. I’m also sorry if this doesn’t describe you because the fact of the matter is you may have failed miserably. You may still be failing even though you are not married any longer.
I’d also like to welcome you to life—to the full spectrum of emotion, failings and all. I know that under the pain, betrayal and your mind engrossed in what if’s there is a knowing that you will come back from this.
You may have thought you would get dealt a different deal. You may have thought, “That only happens to other people.” Welcome to realization. Sometimes we need to be slapped awake. Suffice to say, you have been b*tch-slapped. But, it doesn’t end with a red mark on your face and your balls chopped off. You can choose to fully return to life by rising to the challenge, by getting to know your unique strengths, cultivating them, and like a true warrior does, make each moment matter because the warrior knows at any minute he could die. Divorce is like a death. Take the good with the bad. It is easier said than done. Do it anyway and know this—you die like you live. All of it counts!
Rebekah McClaskey is the creator of Break-up Rehab and the founder of Transform Now Counseling. She graduated with her Master’s in Counseling from Naropa University in the spring of 2011. Rebekah has four years experience in the field of psychology and she specializes in transforming suffering into victory. In other words, she is skilled at assisting you in answering the question, “Now what do I do?” You can learn more about Rebekah and about Break-up Rehab at transformnowcounseling.com. And you can find Rebekah on her FB page, Love Improv. You can follow her on twitter at TNC_Lovenow.
Editor: Lori Lothian
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July’s Full Moon in Capricorn: The Heart wants what it Wants. The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce. A Letter to my Children: You do not come from a Broken Home. Our Soulmates are Rarely Who We Expect. Men, Let’s Stop Fooling Ourselves: Size Matters. To the One Who Tried to Break Me. Mom, can I Call her Mom, Too? An Open Letter to the Fixers. How your Stored Memories in the Amygdala can lead to PTSD. Jon Stewart makes first appearance since retiring—”it’s not your country.”