It’s strange how many opportunities there are to stand on your soapbox and broadcast your life, but how equally unacceptable this appears to be in the land of social media. An open letter, to me, is a cathartic release and a way to reach people that normally wouldn’t listen. Get comfy – I have a few things to get through.
With everything that has happened over the past two years it’s been hard to see how I could forgive some people. Don’t get me wrong, the hurt is still there but it doesn’t define who I am and it’s certainly not going to stop me. There is nothing harder than accepting an apology you know that you’ll never receive but I honestly wonder if those people will ever see their actions from the side of the other person.
For all intents and purposes, I was happy. I had the family, albeit not perfect, a good job a nice(ish) house, and a circle of friends I could have a laugh with – it was a good social life. But piece by piece I lost that. That’s not my life now and letting go of that was hard. People talk about heartache and being broken hearted, but I never thought that was a real thing – just words that people used when they were upset.
The morning I woke up to be told that my husband wanted a divorce I felt my heart break, physical pain in my chest knowing that in that instant everything had changed. A million fears rushed in and I went over and over what I could have done differently – why didn’t I work harder to make it work, how would my son grow up with a “broken family”, I couldn’t imagine my life with anyone else – this was the person I planned to be buried next to and then in a flash, that was gone.
Many words were said in the haze that followed, it became obvious that this was something that had been heavily researched and not a whim. This had been coming for some time and I had no clue. I let myself be bamboozled out of so many things. But now those things are insignificant – tables, chairs, pictures, it’s all irrelevant in the end.
Things moved forward in a rush – within 3 weeks I had found a new home, after being told it would be easier for me to leave the “family” home. I think this comes down to laziness on his part, and a touch of selfishness – but ultimately it was the right thing for me. I couldn’t have looked at the walls that should have housed my family knowing it wasn’t my family anymore.
In my naivety, I thought I could trust someone. He let me tell him everything, gave me somewhere I could go when being in the house was too much, made me feel like I was something special at a time when I felt like I wasn’t good enough for anyone – who wouldn’t want that? But it was all for one ultimate aim and now I’m branded as yet another “crazy ex”. The darkness within this person, to know the things I had been through and then to do exactly the same – to use and manipulate someone so fragile, is unimaginable.
At the time I couldn’t think why you were so hard on yourself about who you were – but now I get it. Your darkness is your own creation, and that’s something you need to live with. I forgive myself for doing what I needed to in order to survive. The lure of being someone’s muse, being told I was so attractive and wanted, but wanted as a toy until something better (or simply more available) came along. I don’t blame them – it was my own stupidity that led me to believe it was something it was never going to be. We all play our parts.
Then there is the final chapter to this. The friend. I wouldn’t say we were best friends, we knew each other – I babysat for her and her husband once, we took her and her daughter to Alton Towers and on drunken nights out we complained about our husbands. Things so normal for many. This person asked me how I was holding up, going through her own divorce I thought we had a shared perspective and poured my heart out. Me being me, I painted a picture of someone just getting on with it, even though inside I was dying and still confused by how I ended up in this situation. All that time she was screwing him – had been for a while. I hadn’t questioned why I was removed from her social media – such a childish thing, but a massive sign at the same time. The gift she bought me months earlier because she thought I’d like it – was that guilt? Either way, I set fire to it and watched it burn.
Hindsight is an amazing thing. I could beat myself for hours over things I should have seen, but just didn’t. The van outside her house, the leers, and the inappropriate comments – the list goes on. I’ll always wonder how it happened, but I don’t need to know the answer to that – it would bring me no peace. You never want to think that two people could hurt you in such a way, but when he came to my house to tell me they were together that pain, the anger the hurt and the humiliation were too much.
My son picked me up off the floor and phoned for my parents to come over. There was no coming back from this – we would not be friends or have that relationship where we once were married and are now friends because it’s better for us. That breakdown went on for months and I fell from vulture to vulture like easy prey – each time thinking it was going to be the best relationship and trying to prove I was happy when inside I wanted nothing more than to die. Well, except maybe kick the living crap out of both of them, but what would that achieve?
And this is the bit that no one mentions. The depression and the desperation you feel, alongside the humiliation. I’m not going to lie, all of these things combines took me to the edge. All three of you had a part to play in that. I sought help and worked on getting myself through it all – I made a promise to my son that I wouldn’t leave him and that is a big part of what got me through. As hard as it was, time on my own helped me to find who I was in all this mess. I’m not going to be defined as a victim and I’m certainly not going to wallow in this.
The drama continued for another year – with the announcement that he’d fallen for her lies and she was having some sort of miracle baby. It’s about as miraculous as leaving milk in the sun for a month and finding you’ve got cheese. Now I watch as he’s making up for all his fatherhood mistakes with this new child – who I recognise didn’t ask for any of this either. Me and him have a lot in common.
So here I am. I forgive the friend that used me – it’s his nature and I should’ve been smarter about it. I let my guard down and you pulled the rug from beneath me, I fell hard and I was so hurt already. It all hurt my trust and my ability to accept words of advice coming from others. Looking at who I was being cheated on with made me seriously question my self-worth. We may never speak again – I know you are good at cutting people off, but I wanted you to know I made my peace with it.
I forgive myself for not seeing it coming – no one did, but at the same time I think it was always going to happen. If not her, then someone else. I’d already been cheated on once before we were married, but I asked him not to give up and work at it. When someone lacks the ability to be faithful, I don’t think it’s a trait that comes and goes. Once, maybe, but twice its becoming a pattern of behaviour.
I don’t forgive the lies – the insults to my intelligence. The sneakiness – the deception. Your family accepts your actions as blood is thicker than water, but you have to look in their eyes knowing they know what you did. I will never forgive you for what you did – but I accept that this is the situation. I will carry the hate I have for you and for her for the rest of my life, and this is my choice. I can’t forgive you for causing so much pain, not only to me but to my son too.
For anyone going through the same, just know you can do this. You will get through and don’t be ashamed to survive. While there will always be people that pick holes in your flaws and push you down, there will also be those that love those flaws cause they make you how you are. I overthink thinks, I’m overly organised and prepared, but I’m also determined and I don’t give up. Failure has only made me more determined to shine as brightly as I always should have shone – he was just afraid of being blinded by the light.
To the friend who got caught in the crossfire – I’m sorry you are in this situation. When the kids are all friends it’s difficult to draw lines in the sand. But here’s the thing – acceptance of them and what they did is a line. It’s a line you drew and it’s there. I remain as civil as I can be, but don’t expect anything from me when you socialise with people that destroyed my entire world. Just be thankful it wasn’t your family in the middle of this – goodness knows surviving it hasn’t been easy.
I have so much to be thankful for and in a strange way I am thankful for this. My circle is small but it’s worth way more than it ever was. I am closer to my family now no one is driving a wedge between us, I have so much more self-belief. I have a partner who supports my decisions, discusses things with me, and is an equal in every way, and I have had to fight for all it.
I know who I am.