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“I am still terrified of the future, but I am a strong woman and I'll figure it out as I always do.”

By MJ Ricaurte

I wrote this open letter to my ex-husband to explain how I feel, but also to let the world know what I've been hiding the last couple of months.

01/07/2019

To my dear ex-husband:

It has taken me some time to put my scattered thoughts together. You left eight months ago and life has been quite a mess since then. I have been through all the phases of grief, through hell and back, and sometimes little things tried to open the wounds again. In our 10-year relationship, distance was always a key factor. Every time you left me, it always felt like you were coming back, but the last time was different. I still do not know if it was the things you said or the way you acted that caused the pain in my stomach and had me feeling as though it was the end.

Unfortunately, I was not able to have the type of closure that “normal” couples have when going through separation and divorce. You just left and barely talked to me. But Allah! What has been traditional about our relationship?

During my denial phase, I wondered what was going on. I thought maybe it was just a difficult moment and we would get through it. I was deeply hurt by the events that transpired during those months, but the truth is that there was more; I was hurt by the accumulation of events over the last 10 years. I won't spend time addressing them here, but you know how disrespected, betrayed, and hurt you made me feel in the past. Yet, part of me still wanted us to make it work, as I did not get married to give up on us.

I just wanted to have a real conversation and for you to be honest about the things I discovered.

When I moved into the anger phase, I know I bombarded your phone with text messages. What I want you to understand is that I just wanted to have a real conversation and for you to be honest about the things I discovered. I do not blame you for this behavior, though. I have come to realize that men might pretend to be honest and blunt, but when they are faced with a difficult situation, they are likely to run and hide.

As I was trying to save our relationship, over and over again I tried to negotiate who I was and commit to changing myself. I was wrong; change should only come if you are changing for the better. Most importantly, change should only come if you are changing for yourself, not to try to please someone else. As you know now, I did change; I chose me. I know you think I chose California, but that is not the case. Now I can say that California was just the excuse we were using for our underlying issues.

I have always been brave about sharing my feelings, my scars, and my experiences, because those are what make me human.

Later in this journey, I hit rock bottom. I was depressed. I didn't sleep or eat for days, I was a zombie at work, and I cried day and night. I was ashamed of people looking at me like I was pathetic. However, unlike you, I have always been brave about sharing my feelings, my scars, and my experiences, because those are what make me human. Those are what make me who I am. I couldn't wear my engagement ring and wedding band anymore, as the vows you made were broken. At that point, everyone was aware that I was hurt.

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After eight years of marriage, I finally was able to accept that it was over. I accepted that the love was gone. The hardest part was realizing that it was over longer than the last eight months, and that perhaps for you it didn't even exist and was confused with something else.

Part of my healing process involved going back and analyzing you, our relationship, and myself. I can name all of the moments where you hurt me, you broke my trust, you questioned my worth, and you undervalued me—but it's okay; I share responsibility for them, too. We both had wounds that needed to heal before we entered this relationship, yet we got into it thinking that we could figure it out. And we failed.

For a long time, I believed that your words and actions were my truth. You hurt me deeply and you broke my heart. It was hard to understand how easy it was for you to walk away when you said you loved me. But I think the reason is that you never truly loved me. I was just the nice girl that loved you unconditionally, did everything for you, and helped you build yourself—and when you reached that ultimate goal, I was not convenient anymore. That's why you kept me around for so long.

It has been a process of therapy, spiritual guidance, support from friends and family, reading books, and writing to get me to this point. But I know that I will get better.

I, on the other hand, had a misguided idea of what love is. I thought love was giving myself to you unconditionally, putting you first, and making you the center of my life. I gave up on myself, my family, my friends, my life, my beliefs, and, most importantly, my faith in God. It was a hard pill to swallow, to understand that I thought if I did all those things, one day you'd be able to love me the way I imagined in my mind. But now I know that's not healthy or real. It has been a process of therapy, spiritual guidance, support from friends and family, reading books, and writing to get me to this point. But I know that I will get better. That way, one day I can find someone to love the right way. I realized that even though we shared many hobbies, we had different core beliefs and values. I believe in God, you don’t. We didn't even get His blessing in our court wedding. You didn't want to have children, and you knew I always wanted a family. I only said I didn't because I didn't want to lose you. Ironic!

Part of maturing and moving forward is acknowledging that I was responsible for what happened, too.

Please do not take this as me blaming you for everything. I know I had wounds that I needed to heal, and I contributed to the failure of our relationship. As they say, "It takes two to tango." Part of maturing and moving forward is acknowledging that I was responsible for what happened, too. So, I'm sorry for distancing myself from you and all the issues that it brought. I firmly believe they were a reaction to the pain and the fact that we were both broken. For what it’s worth, I did try. I tried loving you the best way I knew how, but I know I hurt you, too. I lost myself in the process and forgot to love myself first.

Our relationship was not completely bad. I would be a liar if I said there were not good times. We traveled, we had adventures, we goofed around, we debated about politics, and so much more—for that, I thank you. I know you tried to love me the best way you knew how. But the truth is, you need some healing yourself. You need to learn how to love, to be loyal, and to communicate.

From the bottom of my heart, I hope you find your inner peace and that you look for help to heal the demons and wounds you carry from your past. I can't wish you ill, because I will always care for you since I shared 10 years of my life with you. I hope you find someone that fills your heart the way I didn't, and I hope I can find someone that accepts me for who I am, with my wounds and scars, and that God allows me to grow old with him. 

I am still terrified of the future, but I am a strong woman and I'll figure it out as I always do.

I have forgiven you. God bless you and good luck.

With love,

MJ

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