This year would have been our 20-year wedding anniversary. And so, in honor of that, I want to write you a letter.
You couldn’t possibly have known 5 years ago how things would go once we divorced. Neither did I. From the moment I heard you tell me you thought you loved someone else until now, things have been a bit of a calamity. And yet, as I sit here writing this, I couldn’t be happier. But there are things I need to tell you.
First, I don’t blame you for what happened. Every marriage has its ups and downs and I’m not naive enough to blame everything that happened on you. We both had a part in the demise of our marriage – and for my part in that…I am sincerely sorry. All I can say is that…I did my very best to love you the best way I knew how. I have no regrets on how vehemently I tried to save our marriage. And I’m lucky that I can sleep well knowing that I tried everything in my power to save us.
Second, there is never “one thing” that causes a marriage to fail. And so, I understand that you falling in love with someone else was a symptom, not the sole reason that our marriage didn’t survive. Believe it or not, I’m so glad you have found someone you love; that makes you happy and can treat you well. I wish the two of you all the happiness in the world, and it makes me happy to know that you might have found someone who can be there for you.
Third, I’m happy being single. I’ve heard you describe my life to the kids as an “endless parade” of Match.com dates. It’s really not, but here’s the deal. I don’t introduce my dates to the kids because they’re not good enough. When I meet someone amazing? Someone worthy of our children and my life? I’ll finally introduce them. It took me a long time to find my balance after we split. And for now, I’m so happy being happy that I don’t have room in my life for anyone else. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I’m “less” because I haven’t found “the one” right after we split. I may never find someone to settle down with…and for me, that’s okay. I’m happy conquering the world alone. You know that. You were once okay with that.
Last? I’m okay finding a balance as a divorced “couple”. Yeah, I know, it’s that word again, but – hard as it is to admit – we will always be joined by these two amazing people we created. Graduation, marriage, birth and change…they are ours forever, and I’m okay sharing all those moments with you because – – -I chose you once to share these moments with me when I thought the moments we had together would be endless. Now that I know the time we had together was finite, it doesn’t make it any less precious.
Twenty years have passed since the day I stood in front of our pastor and said my wedding vows. And even though we’re divorced…and May 17th will come and go WITHOUT a 20th wedding anniversary…I will still celebrate it. Because our marriage taught me how to love. It taught me how to live and create new life. But our divorce taught me how to survive. And so now, on May 17th, I will celebrate the happiness we had and the life we created while we were happy together. Because…there were a lot of good times. So today, I thank you for the good times, and the bad times. Because they made me who I am. I thank you for giving me our children, who are incredible people that we both love endlessly. I thank you for the freedom to go spread my wings when our story had come to and end. Happy anniversary regardless of what it means. Because love never really ends…it just becomes something else.
It really isn’t ok that he described your social life at all to your kids. Frankly, I think you are giving him far more grace than he deserves. He shouldn’t do that, it makes you look flakey at best and something much worse and darker at its worse. And he cheated on you. Do your kids know that?
Alice, regardless of what he “should” do…there is little I can do when he makes comments about my social life. Of course he “shouldn’t”. But rather than spend hours trying to “get back at him” or reprimand him (which is a waste of spirit, time and energy), I choose to simply dismiss it as I’ve done here. It’s not true, so why should I need to sit and contradict it? Also, the letter was to address our ongoing relationship, not the details of why we split.
Thanks for your comment!
You are amazing woman and writer, you mention things that kept me focus how important your marriage was for you. It was so uplifting, I’m going to use some of your words in sharing
a letter to my ex-husband on our wedding anniversary May 25th. February, 2018 when things began it process in selling our home and the divorce was final. It wasn’t much time for closure or have the last word(s) expressing how his decision to leave left the unknown. Yet, reading your letter was perfect this was my second marriage and no children together. So, now I feel it’s time to speak from the heart and continue to move forward thanks to your letter. Keep writing many blessings to you and your family. JHM
Michela Montgomery says
Thank you, Joyce!! I’m so glad you’ve made that difficult decision to move forward. It’s challenging, but so brave of you. Every wish for happiness to you!! Best, M
Huguette Alexy Jean-Ndongo says
Today would have been my 20th anniversary with my first husband. He cheated on me 8 out of the 10 years we were together and I was so in love and naiive I did not know he was cheating. Finally one evening, while watching TV, he lowered the volume, and asked me how stupid could I be not to notice he has been cheating? The question took me for a loop and totally devastated me. He proceeded to tell me that he is in love with his latest affair and was leaving me to be with her. He ultimately married her. In the interim, I married again myself. I married a wonderful man who has done nothing but love me and I am really happy with my new 2 year marriage. So I ask myself why does this day, the 8th of October, hurt so much? I can’t help but to keep thinking that instead of being married for 2 years I should be celebrating 20 years. We did not have children together because the cheating started about 6 months into the marriage, and he did not want to procreate with someone he had no real intentions of staying with. I guess that is a good thing when divorce happens. We have absolutely no connections with each other. It is like it never happened. But, it DID!!! I stood in front of all my family and friends, and about 500 guests on the 8th of October, 2000 and took vows with who I considered the love of my life, at that time. I am feeling very bad for feeling very bad today. The tears are flowing and the last thing I need is to have to explain to my new husband why I am crying over the past. I googled the subject to try to make sense of my feelings and found your letter. God bless you Michela. You are a beautiful writer and your letter made total sense to me. You need to acknowledge the good and the bad in the past, because ultimately that is what makes you, your story, this journey called life, unique. Your letter comforted me and made things a bit more clear. Thank you again and I share your pain and your joys and success in moving forward with your beautiful children and your life. May God continue to keep you.
Alexy, I’m so proud of you for moving forward, for being strong and for finding love again. None of that is easy!! Your question on why it hurts so much is an easy one to answer; it hurts because society makes us feel as though we have “failed” if we get divorced – that we are somehow broken or “less” because the other half of our partnership didn’t keep their word. We hurt because we miss what COULD have been but never was. Dry your eyes, sweet lady. I’m here to tell you that not only did you NOT fail…you succeeded. Acknowledge the pain, the loss…grieve it, it’s a death. But one day, I promise…this day will be just that – another day – and you can go about your life without carrying the pain from that experience with you…only the knowledge and experience you gained from it!! Go do something for yourself today and repeat after me: I am a SURVIVOR. Then smile and continue on your way. All my best to you. – Michela
Huguette J. Ndongo says
Michele, I thank you for taking the time to respond to my message. I can’t remember why I did not respond that day, 10-8-2020. Perhaps, after I wrote it I felt empowered and decided to live my life. Of course, it’s never too late to do what is good, so almost 2 years later I am taking a minute to sincerely thank you for your original letter of extreme courage and love of Christ and for responding to my pain. My husband and I , with all the ups and downs, the biggest down being our fertility struggles, are doing ok. He is a light at the end of the tunnel in my life and I pray to keep walking in that light. Please pray for us to have the joy of at least 1 child in our marriage. I will continue to pray for you and yours. Alexy