Exhale



I heard the news that my ex-husband has re-married. I had heard about the emotions you feel when this happens, that even if you ended the marriage and you feel you have processed it, you might be surprised to find your self feeling emotional.

I am surprised by the fact that I do not, I search around inside my heart to find nothing but indifference.


Wait, hold on, yes here way at the back I can feel this little thread, I tug on it, and out it comes, yes, there is is a little bit of sadness. There is sadness....that I don't feel sad. That in the end that marriage was meaningless to me.

I

s there sadness that the man I had spent the majority of my life with, the father of my children, now calls another woman is wife?


Nope, not even a little bit. Being his wife was a chain, not a bond. His marriage gives me a sense that I have attained complete freedom, the last connection broken. I am not his wife. Reading those words brings a smile to me. I am not his wife. Beautiful.

My sadness that is I spent so many years in a marriage that was truly empty. What I was up against was insurmountable. That marriage was never going to work, there was no chance. It was build on an uneven foundation that had nothing to do with growth or happiness. We were not a team. I honestly didn't even really know him. I only saw what he wanted me to see, he was never open. I was nothing but a tool to him, a means to his end. So many years chasing a phantom.


I am sad that I kept my children in a home that was tense and on edge. That I was not able to be fully present for them. They often heard their mother being berated, screaming was normal. I can feel my body tense at remembering the stress. I am grateful that at least my daughter was extricated before it had an irreversible effect on her personality and her life. But I am also sad that he has turned his back on her, to the point he didn't tell her he was getting married today, or invite her to the wedding leaving her to find out from Facebook.

I am sad that I wasted precious years being manipulated and verbally abused. Living in a world of frustration and anguish. Disappointed in myself that I submitted to the control of someone who in the end proved to be weak and ineffective.


The ability to succeed on my own was always inside of me. I am sad for the woman that was trapped for so long not seeing or believing that reality.


With perspective, I can see who he is, realizing I was living in a delusion, thinking I could fix things. Living with that constant stress of one completely unnecessary emergency or another. My efforts were completely in vain.


I am sad for that girl that kept trying.


I am sad to know that my emotions were being manufactured in order to achieve his desired result. "I managed your feelings" he told me proudly.


Our relationship was not based on open honest communication or mutual respect, nor a desire for shared progress towards our goals. ("I have feelings! but I am not going to share them with YOU!" ) It was a marriage of him telling me what ever he needed to tell me in order to get what he wanted. What I wanted didn't matter, unless it happened to coincide with his purpose. I was told my dream of traveling the world was what losers did, I should be working and building a home. (He later totally denied saying this) My sacrifices and efforts in the end were meaningless to him.


I am sad for the years of lost opportunity, years of not following my own path.


I didn't like myself during my marriage. I was often short-tempered, I was withdrawn, moody, frequently on edge. I would easily fly off the handle. I was often withdrawn, and I thought I was shy. I was very isolated. Its only now I am realizing that wasn't who I really was, I was in survival mode.


The truth is, it wasn't about me, but what was going on around me. I was living in a world where the ground was unstable beneath my feet, I was constantly trying to move us forward, with him destabilizing me every step of the way. Now I know, that made me easier to control. Manufactured chaos.


I feel sad that after so many years, so many struggles and four children together, that I don't actually care.


After so much investment, we are not even friends, we cannot be amicable.

Why? I don't know, but I suspect its because he was no longer able to get anything from me. He had lost control.


The hard truth is maybe I never cared, I was not there because I loved him. There were different forces at work, it was the combination of not valuing myself, of being completely co-dependent and afraid. I thought I needed him, that I couldn't do it alone. I definitely was not in love with him, ours was not a union of love, it was a union of desperation, fear, power, control and avoidance. I felt trapped, envious of his past girlfriends that got out.

Our union was about presenting an image, pretending we were something we were not. I didn't want to admit to anyone that I was actually miserable. I remember looking at the back of his head as he slept, wishing he would die. Not seeing any other way to freedom.


When I first met him I thought he was a safe haven that would look after me. My protection from the world. That was a sad, and life wasting delusion. The result, a young woman full of promise and on the verge of realizing her dreams of travel, independence and financial liberty, derailed for almost 30 years.


I am sad that she didn't know just how capable she truly was, and the world was her oyster.

Sad for that girl not knowing that she deserved better, and it was entirely within her grasp. That if only she would wait and be patient good things would come to her. She deserved to be loved, and cared for.


When he told her he loved her, it wasn't real, it was manipulation. I remember him saying "if we split up I will never marry again, your the only woman in the world for me" Even then I knew that was bullshit.


If he truly loved her, he would have supported her to achieve her dreams, he would have dreamed them with her. If that meant letting go, than he would have let her go.

Finally sad for both of them, that they didn't part earlier and perhaps found happiness in new relationships far sooner with people who shared their vision and values.


The truth is, we never belonged together, we were two fundamentally different people, with nothing really in common except survival.



Now I can I exhale, allow myself to savour the relief, my life is completely mine now. I can do what I want with it, he has no say, and no influence. It not about showing him, or proving anything. He doesn't matter in my life anymore. It doesn't matter what he thinks or what he does, it's over forever. I am free.


I can allow him to disappear into the abyss. Slowly over time I have eliminated all the barriers and hardships he put in my way. Fixing the little reminders, like the pipes that constantly freeze, erasing his legacy of pain.


I am building a life that I truly love. As a family we are healing, he is just an unpleasant memory. We are truly better off without him. Today there is calm and joy in my home. We laugh easily, there is no screaming.


Each day it drifts further in the past. I can exhale....let me pause and feel that for a moment....yes..I can exhale. I am safe.


Right at the end of our marriage he screamed me, "I want the girl I married, you have changed."


What that really meant is, I want that sweet young innocent girl I could control. What had changed is I had grown, I had realized my own agency. I wasn't accepting his lies anymore.

I have discovered, he was a liar and a cheater. I will never know the degree, but there is no doubt he was unfaithful, and often. During my marriage I had no idea I was completely trusting. Even though he accused me of being jealous, the fact is I never even looked or wondered. Cheating on me was easy to accomplish, I had no suspicions at all.

I spent years dreaming of being where I am now, never believing it would happen. I thought my life was etched in stone.


Now, the future is laid out in front of me ready to be explored, I can go anywhere and do anything. There is no albatross around my neck.


The limitations that had been so deeply entrenched in my mind are dissolving.

I wish I could go back and tell my past self that this day would come. Give her hope, let her know she would escape and that was not her fate forever. Oh, how that girl suffered.

If only she had believed that all she had to do was walk out the door. She didn't know that then, but thankfully, she eventually learned. Leaving was not as hard as she thought.

I am ready and excited for what comes next. Once again the world is my oyster. I know in 10 years I will look back and say to the me of today "you have no idea of all the good things coming your way, you won't believe it girl"


In closing, good luck and congratulations to the newlyweds. I wish you the best. Ted, I hope you learned from the failure of our marriage and you treat Crystal differently than you treated me. I hope you are considerate and kind to her. Ted, the misery that was our marriage, that's now all in the past, my wish for you is you find happiness one day, and you learn to be a better partner. Don't steal her future like you stole mine.


I know you are not a happy man, I doubt that has magically changed. In your life, you have gone through a lot of trauma you have never dealt with, and no doubt you are continuing the façade that you lived with me.


But I truly hope for the both of you, that you find a way to make it work, and you do what you need to do to change your life. But what ultimately happens to you, doesn't matter to me.

I do hope you never subject her to the emotional and verbal abuse your rained upon me I hope her children are never forced to live the dysfunction ours have lived. No human being should have to live with that.


Everyone deserves love and happiness, and another chance, even you.


But I will tell you, I am sure glad that now when you refer to your wife it is not me.

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