Today would have been our 5 year anniversary. We would have gone to the same restaurant as we did every year, and then we would have been too tired to go see the movie we were planning on seeing. We would have gone to bed too early, you would have been too tired for sex, and I would have snuck into the living room to play video games after you had fallen asleep. It was our routine. It was a routine that I hated.
A year ago this week I found out about the girl you were cheating on me with. My childhood best friend. The girl I had been weary of our entire marriage, knowing that she had always wanted to pursue you. Looking back, I could have done a lot of things differently. I realize now that you were just as unhappy as I was. We didn’t know how to love each other because we wanted different things. You wanted an old fashioned Southern marriage, and I wanted adventure. Your settled down heart couldn’t keep up with my Gypsy soul. I wish we had realized that sooner. I wish we hadn’t put each other through things we did. We were bitter. We were angry. We had fallen out of love years before. I think that’s the most tragic thing of all: loving someone so much, and then waking up one day to find they’re not at all what you want.
You’re happy, and I’m happy for you. She seems to fill the role that I never could. I guess I should thank you. Through the turmoil I found myself. I look at those years with you, and I don’t even recognize that person. Those memories feel like a shell of myself—like someone else was controlling my body. But I’ve learned a lot since then. I’ve come a long way. If we were still together you might even be proud of me. I also came to know what I wanted in a partner. I learned that I had given up parts of myself that I loved, and after I left you I learned how to love myself again. I feel more alive and more like myself than I ever have. If I had missed our time together I would have missed out on a lot of beautiful memories. I would have missed out on a beautiful, smart, funny daughter. I would have missed out on a lot of heartbreak. And all of that has made me stronger.
I’m finally happy now too. I’ve found someone who loves me exactly as I am. He is patient, and he is kind. He’s honest, and I trust him. He’s shown me how beautiful love can be. I don’t think I’ve ever been this comfortable with someone before, and I’m sorry that person couldn’t be you. But if I hadn’t married you, I wouldn’t have met him when I did. I would missed out on loving someone who brings so much joy to my life. Near to him, my heart is full. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted. We live a life of adventure. I found the home I had been searching for all this time. I wish I could say that I’m sorry that our marriage ended, but I’m not. I’m sorry that we broke each other’s hearts the way that we did. But I’m not sorry I married you, and I’m certainly not sorry I left. Everything that’s happened has lead up to the most incredible time of my life. I’m not angry anymore. I’m proud of who I am and who I’m becoming. I’m at peace.
This will be the last memory I’ll have of us. Next year I probably won’t realize what date it is. I’ll skip through it like any other insignificant day of the year. In a few years from now you’ll be nothing but a fleeting memory. I’ve let go. I’ve let you go, and I wish you the best. I wish you happiness even though it never was, and never should have been, with me. I plan on marrying the man I’m with now. And because of you I’ll know how to love him better this time around. I truly believe I needed to experience the love and loss of you or I wouldn’t know how to love him the way that I should. The way he deserves. So thank you. Without you I wouldn’t be where I am now. And I’m exactly where I belong.
“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” -Lao Tzu