In The Two Years Since You Left
Feb 11th, 2014
Dear ex husband,
Its been two years since I watched you walk out of my house, never once looking back at the faces pressed against the window. It’s been two years since you left me as an only parent, with no job, no support, no help, and no hope. It’s been two years since I first explained to your daughter that you weren’t coming back. It’s been two years since I first sat staring at the face of my son, wondering how I would ever raise a boy alone. Its been two years. Two amazing years.
So let me fill you in a little bit on what has gone on since you have last seen your family. As you remember, two years ago I was a stay at home mom. When you were gracious enough to not take my car keys to work, I spent my days running our three year old to ballet and music class, and our seven month old to Gymboree. When you decided that we were not allowed to leave the house and you took my car keys with you, we spent the days snuggling on the couch, reading books, and dreading your arrival home.
As you also remember, when you would come home from work, the horrors would begin. I tried my hardest to learn all the lessons that you thought I needed to learn, but as you remember, I was never a good student. The harder I tried, the more I seemed to fail. I know you wanted me to be a better housekeeper and a better cook, I know I never lived up to the standards you had set for me, and as you remember, I felt awful. I know that I never folded the laundry right or vacuumed enough, but I tried. I know that I didn’t do a great job of making you feel like a man in bed, but you scared me. I wasn’t all that grateful when you allowed me to eat, and I know that made you livid. I know you wanted me to understand how lucky I was to have you, and that I should be thankful that you let me live. I know that you got frustrated when I didn’t understand how blessed I was that you put up with me, and as much as you tried to beat those lessons into me, I still never got it right the next time around. I tried to listen to what you were telling me, but it was all so much to comprehend.
Some of what you taught me did sink in though. By the time you left, there were quite a few lessons that I had learned. I knew I was worthless. I knew that no one saw any good in me and that I probably had no potential. I knew that I was ugly, unattractive, and bad in bed. I knew that I had no right to be happy. I knew that I would probably fail our children, just as I had failed you. I knew, that just as you promised me when you walked out the door, that my life was over.
But two years is a long time. Two years gave me time to learn some new lessons, things that you never taught me. So just as I tried so hard to learn what you were teaching me, I want to return the favor and share some of what I have learned with you.
First of all, you could have utilized me a little more than you did. There was a lot of potential in me that you left under utilized. Example? I could have made you happy. If you had even contained one ounce of humanity in you, you could have seen how hard I tried to please you. You would have looked at the face of your wife, seen how hard she was working to make you happy, and maybe you could have learned a lesson or two.
I learned that I wasn’t worthless. I am smart, driven, and determined. I could have taken our family somewhere. I may have failed you, but my track record since you have left has been pretty damn good. When I set my mind to something, it gets done. If you had trusted me a little more, or even at all, we probably would have gone a lot further in life than where we were at. All those years where you barely supported us and wouldn’t allow me to have any say in our finances, were a waste on your part. You left me with nothing, not even a dollar, and I built a business, founded a not-for-profit, and started a blog. All those years that you trashed my credit, didn’t pay our bills, and racked up $12,000 on my credit cards the week you left, you were the one who didn’t know what he was doing. With no job, and no family support, it only took me 18 months to pay off the debt, refinance the house, and bring my credit score up to 850. What was your excuse?
Another thing I learned? I am a good mother. Our kids are not only growing, but they are thriving. They are smart, they are funny, and they show compassion that is well beyond their years. You know who taught them that? Me. I did. I am not the failure of a mother that you thought I was. All the times that you told me you felt sorry that they were stuck with a mother like me, you weren’t giving me enough credit. I don’t care that I had no example’s to learn from, they are turning out to be amazing children, and that in itself just goes to show that I was meant to be a mother. I was meant to be their mother and you were wrong.
Did you know I teach a strip dance class now? I’m not as ugly as you constantly told me I was, and let me tell you, I’m not as bad in bed as you would have liked me to believe. In fact, I can tell you from experience, you were the one that had no idea what they were doing. Is that why you had to force me all those years? To exert your power over me? I think you were just trying to make up for what you lacked. Just because you were bigger and stronger than me, and could make my body do things it didn’t want to do, did not make you a man. It made you pathetic and disgusting.
You know what else I learned? I learned that I am a good person and that people do see that. You told me that the only person who would ever love me, was you. I hate to break it to you baby, but I don’t think you knew what love was. Being loved is when people do things for you just because they want too, just because they know you need it. Love is when someone cares about how you feel and when they want you to feel good. Love is when someone has your best interest in mind. I think you may have confused the meaning of love, with selfishness.
In these two years, I have also come to realize that I am a worthy human being. I am worth something. I have feelings, desires, hopes, dreams, and I’m allowed to have those. You were not allowed to tell me how I should feel, but you were right, sometimes I was stupid. I was stupid to ever have allowed you to tell me how to feel.
You were wrong about a lot baby. You thought I was weak and helpless, but I’m not. I am strong. I am stronger than a lot of people, and most importantly, I am stronger than you. I am not helpless, you were. You had everything and you built nothing. I had nothing and I’ve built everything.
The kids and I? We are a family now, a real family. Our home is filled, for the first time, with real laughter. It is a home filled with love, real love. The kind of love that makes your heart swell with happiness. Its been two years since you threw away your kids, and in those two years, I have realized how much better they are going to turn out without you. I will raise our boy into a man, and it will be the kind of man he should be, not the kind of “man” you would have broken him into, destroying all of his potential, and effectively ruining his life. I will raise our daughter to understand how the world should treat her, and I will base everything I teach her off of the lessons that I failed to learn from you.
I’m sorry, but even now I continue to fail the lessons that you tried to teach me. You didn’t want me to be happy and you reminded me every chance you got that I didn’t deserve to be happy, but somehow, happiness snuck up on me. I realized the other day that I am happy. I think this is the happiest I have ever been. As I sat there pondering this thought, I realized that even though life is about the journey and not about the destination, that I am there. I am where I always thought the goal would be. I am happy, really, truly, happy. Sure, you left me with a lot of baggage to sort out, but while I’m working on it, I’m smiling.
I know how hard you tried to get me to understand who I was, what qualities I possessed, and how I should be treated. I know that I was a slow learner, but I hope you are happy to hear, I have finally figured it out. I know who I am now. I know what qualities I possess and I know how I should be treated. I finally learned baby!
It’s been two years since you threw us away, and it has been 1 year, three hundred and sixty four days since my life began.
During the course of our marriage, I may have failed every lesson that you ever tried to teach me, but in the one year, three hundred and sixty four days that came after you left, I have learned so much more.
I am strong, I am smart, I am not a failure, and I never failed you. Your expectations of me, were unrealistic. I am a worthy human being, and I’m sorry that you never saw that, because I am amazing. I could have been your best friend. I could have made you happy. I could have given you a great life, but you chose to break me instead.
I will say though, there is one thing you were always right about.
I didn’t deserve you.
Happy two years baby. It’s been a blast.
The Wife You Left Behind