An Open Letter to My Ex-husband
15 years later, I sit here watching Sam Smith’s video, “I know I’m not the only one”, and it evokes such emotion in me. Disgust, sadness, broken dreams, inferiority, anger.
But not love. Never love.
I just want to ask you why? Why did you do those terrible things to me? Why did you use me the way that you did? Why did you lie to me? Why did you make me think that I was the crazy one? All of these years later, now that I’m with a man who really loves me, I can’t even let him love me in the way that I should as his wife. Because you damaged me. You took the heart of this young girl who loved you, who would’ve done anything for you, and you smushed it. You threw it on the ground and jumped up and down on it. And it still hurts.
As far as I know, you weren’t having an affair with an actual woman, but I think that I actually felt more degraded after finding out what kind of filth you were sneaking off to watch. Why wasn’t I enough? I was beautiful, and I loved you. I tried so hard to please you, and it was never enough.
You frequent me in my dreams, leaving me to awaken and know that no length of shower will cleanse me from the dirty that you make me feel. I want you out of my head! Just go away already! I deserved better! You taught me things that no wife should ever learn to fear from her husband, her protector. You didn’t protect me.
You hurt me.
We would sit there on that church pew, playing our part. Playing the good son and daughter-in-law of the deacon. And we could’ve won an Oscar for that performance.
I learned what it feels like to be hated.
But why did you hate me? I never understood. If you hated me so much, then why did you marry me? I know that my self-worth isn’t wrapped up in you. My mind knows that. But my heart–it’s a stubborn thing.
I have contacted you twice to get some closure, and you don’t want to talk about it. I’m sure you don’t. It’s hard to face the terrible person that you were to me. It’s difficult for me, too. I would like to think that you have changed, but when I see recent pictures of you, I still see that smirk on your lips and the darkness in your eyes.
Even now, I catch myself saying the victim’s part: I deserved it. I provoked him. I wasn’t a good person.
But none of that is ever enough to justify being put in constant choke holds by your husband. None of that is ever enough to justify having your body used by your husband.
But not loved. Never loved.
I am 37 years old and that broken girl is still just a blink away. It doesn’t take much. A song. A word. A rogue memory. I know that those things helped make me the woman that I am today, but how I wish that I didn’t have to be this woman.
I wish that I could let my now-husband, my husband of 13 years, look over my shoulder without feeling that he is criticizing me. I wish that I didn’t have to tell him, “Not tonight” because I feel so dirty and used, even now 15 years later.
But I don’t wish anything on you. This letter isn’t about revenge. I’m just trying to find the closure that I have been seeking for so long.
I’m just so tired of still fighting you, shadow-boxing memories of you.
Punch punch jab.