An Open Letter to My Ex-Husband

To My First Love and First Heartbreak, 

Do you remember the day we met? Like magnets, we were drawn to each other and our bond was a difficult one to break. But we eventually found our weak spot and hit our breaking point 15 years later. As preteens, we were so young and hopefully optimistic about life and the outcome of us. For miles, we explored each other’s hearts along the path to our spot. I still find myself giggling out loud when I think about the time we crossed the “river” at our favorite park, and you gracefully fell off the rock into the murky water. Your sense of humor could turn anyone’s darkest days around. Your strength and determination are things I’ve always admired.

Before having children, it was like having a sleepover with my best friend every night. Dancing around the house, listening to our favorite songs on our balcony, leaving a trail of messes all over our tiny apartment, and laughing until morning were some of my fondest memories. Then we had babies, and I saw a tender and soft side of you that made my heart grow ten sizes. The demands of parenthood put a strain on our relationship, but I’m pretty sure our mutual love of sarcasm, appreciation for a good ole craft beer, and ordering pizza in the middle of the night right after swearing that we are starting a health kick are probably what kept us going for 15 years. You were always the best at giving thoughtful and generous surprises and words of encouragement over the years to make me feel appreciated. When I worked as a nursing assistant in college and was having a rough week, you left roses and a massage gift card in my car. When I was in the hospital after having an emergency c-section with Steven, you drove to pick me up my favorite Mexican food. When I was motivated to workout after having our second baby, you bought me the comfiest yoga pants ever. When I was on my own taking care of the kids in Texas for four months while you started your job in Vegas, you ordered Hello Fresh to our door to make cooking meals easier on me. Then you showed up in the middle of the night our first weekend apart to surprise us with a stay-cation at an amazing resort in the town where I still lived.

It was quite the emotional investment being your number one fan, but especially rewarding when you were always winning! You accomplished more by 29 years young than some people do in their entire life. From graduating from UNLV with your Bachelor’s degree before you turned 21 to graduating with your master’s degree while we had a newborn at age 22. You were so valued and successful in your career, that you managed to become a Director of Strategic Planning by age 26. Although the demands of your job took a toll on both of us, you always made sure we had everything we needed. You always made sure to make the most of each moment with our kids when you did have a chance to spend time with them. Thank you for all the memorable family trips, allowing me to always steal the good side of the bed, and putting up with my messy tubes of toothpaste. I’ll always remember our joy rides around the city, just so we could have 30 minutes of sanity and adult conversation while our kids slept soundly in the backseat. Which reminds me, thanks for also putting up with my moments of insanity and allowing me the opportunity to explore yours.

After all I’ve put you through over the years, I deserved hatred. Instead, you chose to put me first above yourself at the time. You continued to pray for me, listened to me when I needed to figure out life, and you held me when I was hurting, even though deep down you were hurting more. Even in your broken moments, you were the closest example of God’s unconditional love that I had experienced. It inspired me to be kinder, more patient, and quick to forgive in other areas of my life. It would’ve been so easy for you to walk away during the difficult times. For you to leave me alone to deal with my broken self. But you didn’t. You stayed to make sure I became stronger and healthier. You sought advice from our childhood pastor and paid a ton of money to get us professional help. You went above and beyond to help strengthen our marriage, and for a few moments, it did grow stronger than it ever had; until one day the conditions of life and the hurt in our hearts got the best of us, that honeymoon phase feeling wore off, and we realized the irreparable destruction of what was left of our relationship. I desired nothing more than to make you the happiest, most loved, respected, and appreciated man that ever lived, and it breaks my heart that after how hard I tried, I still feel like I failed you so miserably.

Before all of this chaos, I was never afraid of growing old; because I always thought we would be growing old together. We’ll look back one day and remember the seasons of life we went through together, and I hope we smile at the lessons it taught us. Some things are near impossible to overcome, but we tried so hard. Because of our stubbornness, we each became shatterproof individuals on our own, yet unintentionally and passionately destructive when we were together. Each time life tried to knock us down, we got back up and fought harder than before. In my darkest moments, you saw the light in me, even when I couldn’t see it in myself. I’m sorry that we both got to a point where we hurt each other so deeply. Walking away was the scariest, yet most comforting decision I have made to date. It will take time to adjust to our new normal, but I want you to know that today I am choosing to let go of the wounds of our past. I am choosing to forgive you. I am choosing to cleanse the wounds from hatred and resentment, so that my heart and soul may heal. I will choose to use the scars as reminders of everything we have been through that has made me resilient and all the more stronger. Although our circumstances have changed, I will always be believing in you as you chase your dreams and crush any goal that you set. I’m confident that when our children are with you, they are in good hands. Although we didn’t get our “happily ever after” together, I want you to know that because of our past, I promise to be better in the present to shape a better future for our precious children. I’m hoping we may peacefully reach compromises as we navigate co-parenting over the next decade or two. You will make someone so incredibly happy one day, but more importantly I hope you find the courage to discover confidence within yourself; and I want you to know that when the time comes, I will honestly be overjoyed for you. You deserve unconditional love, respect, and unending happiness. I cannot fathom what life was like before you, and it’s hard to imagine what each of our futures will hold. But through everything we’ve endured, I’m forever changed for the better. There will be beauty from these ashes. Through this next season, and every moment that follows, I hope you bloom.

Your Former Wife & Forever Fan,

Tiffani

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