The other day I caught myself reminiscing my old life. When I was married. When I was part of a team.
As my mind wandered from memory to memory, I realized the theme of disappointment. We ate dinner together every night while watching our favorite TV shows, but I would do the cooking and cleaning without feeling appreciated. We danced together at my cousin’s wedding, but I had to drag him off the couch to go. We watched the ultrasound of our son at the doctor’s office, but I didn’t know at the time he was having an affair with a co-worker. My mental trip down memory lane made me feel sad, then disappointed all over again, then relieved. Thank Baby Jesus I’m not in that relationship anymore!
As I approach two years from my separation, there’s one thing that keeps frustrating me: How can I be sad about someone I no longer want? It doesn’t make sense. I miss him AND loathe him at the same time. When I brought this up to my therapist, she assured me that it’s okay to feel both. People are rarely able to compartmentalize emotions after a breakup. Going through the healing process means letting myself feel both the relief of not being mistreated anymore and the heartache of losing my partner.
I’ve learned that I can’t simply switch off the feelings I had for my ex. Despite the awful way he treated me the last six months we were married, I still miss the love and friendship we once had. I remember when we couldn’t keep our hands off each other, and we were the only two people in this world who understood our love. Hell, I remember having someone to call when my car broke down on the way to work. It’s hard to admit it, but there it is. I’m still mourning the man I thought I’d be married to the rest of my life. Even though the man he ended up being is not deserving of my love, I miss him.
And I hate him. I hate that he took my loyalty, my love, and my innocence for granted. Eventually throwing them, and essentially me, away like last week’s trash. I hate that instead of talking to me about his unhappiness, he chose to discuss our issues with co-workers behind my back. And I hate that he opted to have an affair with the 24-year old receptionist in his office, often leaving me (his 9-month pregnant wife) home alone and scared. Don’t I deserve to despise him? Does feeling these things mean I’m not healing? I think it’s the opposite. I believe this means that I am still disgusted with the decisions he made and the selfish person he became. That acknowledging I have these feelings are important for me to eventually let them go.
Wow, my therapist would be proud!
I know I look back on my married life with a bit of cynicism now. Okay, a LOT of cynicism. But the truth is I did experience happiness and tenderness during the 12 years we spent together. I suppose it’s only natural for me to miss those moments. It doesn’t make me want the relationship back. It doesn’t minimize the pain and betrayal he eventually caused me. But being honest with myself means I have to remember that we did laugh and enjoy each other for a long time.
So, when I find myself torn between the sadness of loss and the gratitude of my freedom, I can remember that both are my truth. As confusing as it is sometimes, I have to let myself feel it all. I honestly believe it’s the only way for me to move on and never look back.