We were young. We were naïve. We didn’t understand commitment.
We didn’t understand ourselves.
At 18, our lives were beginning in a new way. We were old enough to make our own choices—to study, travel, work, move—to explore our individualities, and to discover the important part we play in this world.
But we chose each other instead of ourselves. We loved one another, but only as deeply as we loved ourselves.
But how can you love yourself if you don’t even know who you are?
I could not see his greatness, because I did not see it within myself. I could not appreciate him, because I did not appreciate myself. I could not love him unconditionally, because I did not know how to truly love myself.
As a result, our relationship became rocky, unhealthy.
We were fighting each other because we were fighting for ourselves. We wanted to be free, but we were both too afraid to leave. We didn’t have the confidence or the courage to start over—because when you don’t know the greatness within you, you don’t think you can.
I don’t know when or how he met you, but I am grateful that he did.
You saw his worth. You reminded him of it, and allowed him to choose himself. He chose to align his life with people that celebrated him.
And that life was not with me. It was with you.
At times it has been messy, lonely and challenging, but being stripped of the identities that we created together has been the single thing that I am most thankful for.
My confusion forced me to ask questions and challenge everything that I knew. My sorrow encouraged me to seek out what fills my soul. It has introduced me to people, places and experiences that have begun to dig up the person I buried years ago.
I’ve been able to make my own choices. I’ve studied, traveled, worked and moved. I’ve explored my individuality, and I’ve discovered the part I want to play in this world.
I was finally able to do the things I didn’t do when I was 18.
So to the woman my ex-husband chose instead of me:
Author: Brianna Miller
Editor: Callie Rushton