A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

An Open Letter to B

Dear B,

Today will be a crying day. I can’t always tell when I wake up, but when I wake up and burst into tears and cry until snot runs down my face, that’s a sure sign. Last night I fell asleep acknowledging that there’s a part of me still waiting for her baby to come back, and this morning I dreamed that I followed you and your girlfriend around like K did when we were first together, trying to give you gifts and be affectionate while you mostly ignored me.

Waking up my first thought as the tears came was “But I don’t want to.” I’m still trying to work out what that means. Don’t want to be over you? Don’t want to walk away like I did at the end of my dream? None of this makes sense because what I want more than almost anything in the world is to not feel anything where you’re concerned. Anger protected me for a lot of last year but as it subsided—as my brain started forgetting to hate you—I began to remember who you used to be to me: not a villain but the man I loved.

You’ve done a lot of crappy things. First there is the original betrayal—it seems so wrong that I can sum it up in three words like that when a) it went on for so long and piled betrayal upon betrayal and b) it has left me more broken than anything that came before including rapes and beatings I wasn’t sure I’d survive. Telling me over and over again via email about your new love and your bullshit philosophical “types of love” and how I fit into this one box over here, but that one didn’t really count, and your wishes for multiple lovers in the future and your hope that she would accept that, as though that information could possibly help me heal. Then ignoring me on our anniversary after I told you how hard just the days leading up to it were and how I dreaded it. Then promising to leave me alone about the house for six months and then sic’ing your lawyers on me after only three. These are the bigger ones, but once in a while I realize that some part of me still feels that your worst crime was not loving me—not loving us—enough to stay and try to fix it. The absolute worst thing about this for me is that you don’t love me.

For the past 14 months I have been in a state of illness. For several weeks I could barely get off the couch. It was four months before I felt ready to move back to our bedroom and since I did, I’ve barely left it. I am unable to earn a living because depression keeps me from working more than a few hours a day for a few weeks at a time (which means I can get through a book editing project, but a full-time job feels out of the question). I am fighting a constant, uphill battle just to get back to the level of depression I occupied when you were still here. For the past six months I have been largely unable to blog. It’s like I’ve run out of things to say and confidence in my ability to say them.

J told me that you said your actions were hurtful. They weren’t just hurtful—they were harmful. Nothing in my life has ever left me this broken. She said you mourn the loss of your friend. My first thought, and what I said to her, was this:

“He killed his friend. And he killed mine. I will never, ever be the same person I was when I met him. I will never start a relationship with that trust. 8 years ago today I met the man who would murder the person I was that day.”

I know you’ve read things I’ve written before and come away thinking that I hated you. I have tried to, but I don’t. The honest truth—and the most excruciating thing I have to accept on days like this—is that I still love you. And accepting that, it takes everything I have not to hate myself. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned this past year it’s to be gentle with me because I have been on the edge and I know what it feels like to want to slip over and lose myself. I can’t let that happen.

Now you see where I still am 14 months after you left and a year and ten days after we last spoke. I am still crying over you. I am still dreaming about you. I am still waiting for you to come back to me. And I am still agonizing over all of these things and trying not to despise myself. The best thing my anger did was to protect me from that hope and I really wish I still had it. Since I don’t, I’m just trying to get through the time it will take for the hope and love to fade away. I really thought a year would be enough.

I painted this for you back in the early days. For me it expressed what I thought was happening between us: something so big and important that it threatened to burst out of the confines of this mortal existence.

Art by Rosie

Art by Rosie

Now I realize that it was big and important, just not in the way I thought. Now I see the flaws in a painting I once thought beautiful and I look for meaning in them. Where is the line that shows you falling out of love? Where is the one that predicts your betrayal? Which lines represent not love but pain? Which ones are the signs I should have seen that would have allowed me to prevent us from falling apart?

So, this is the state of things. These are some of the things you need to know before you make any attempt at another apology. I wish I could tell you everything. I wish that I could make you experience what I have experienced this past year. I want you to know what it is to be the one left behind instead of the one always leaving and leaving destroyed lives behind you. I wish I could communicate the sadness I’ve felt watching friends and even my family members choose to remain in contact with you even when they know how much it hurts me. I want you to feel what I have felt and know the pain that your choices—and complete lack of empathy for me—have caused. And I want to understand, I think, but maybe I don’t because every time you’ve tried to explain you’ve only caused me more pain. What I really want is for things to be ok, and on days like this it’s hard to believe they ever will be again.

Sincerely,

Me

8 responses

  1. It’s been 30+ years and I still have times I wake up crying for my ex. Even after all the hurt and abuse I still loved him. Until the day I walked in on him and his girlfriend. Don’t give in to the feelings that won’t die when they should. I went back twice because I’d been taught the old adage, “You make your bed, you sleep in it.” I had to prove to my self that it was all him and not me. All I got was more abuse. But I still have those days when I wonder why the brain won’t purge the things that hurt the most.

    You’ll eventually get through this. But do take our advise and keep him at arms length or farther. Treat your depression but also realize that you have earned it. Then use it as the trophy you keep in the back of the closet. The one that says, “I survive” on it.

    February 28, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    • Wow. Well said, Rose. Thank you.

      March 1, 2014 at 8:36 am

  2. I’m with Darling. But what I want to say is how incredibly proud I am of you. You’ve been through hell but you’ve kept going in whatever ways you can. It takes guts to be vulnerable and feel all these things — even more to express them so eloquently. You’re healing, and I know there are better days ahead. You’re on the path. xo

    February 28, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    • Thank you so much, Amy. <3

      February 28, 2014 at 6:21 pm

  3. So if he ever decided to come back to you, would you be receptive? Would you trust him? Would it be more harmful than good?
    That would be the questions I’d ask myself if I were in your position.

    I am sorry you’re going through this. Good luck.

    ~ Darling

    February 28, 2014 at 11:13 am

    • Thank you. Those are the questions I am asking myself as well. If he approached me and wanted to try again, I feel like I’d have to consider it, but I’d also have to consider whether it would ultimately destroy me.

      February 28, 2014 at 11:20 am

      • In my humble opinion (that doesn’t really amount to much), he sounds like a complete narcissistic prick. His excuses to you made my blood boil in defense of you.

        I say good riddance.

        ~ Darling

        February 28, 2014 at 11:26 am

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