Dear Ex,

I know I am not perfect. I am aware of many of my flaws. Sometimes I wonder if I was using achievements to cover up some of my flaws with accomplishments. I know I had many faults in our marriage. The message at church this weekend reminded me of the power of kind words and I’m not sure when was the last time I offered kind words to you.

I think back to when we first met. We were so in love. I couldn’t believe anyone loved me as much as you did at the time. You still make fun of me for the time early in our relationship when I wanted to make mac & cheese for you and I somehow managed to overcook the noodles. I was so infatuated with you I forgot to set a timer. We consumed each others lives. For the first time in my life, when I was with you I pictured myself as a wife and mother. Before you, I had never wanted to get married and never thought I would have kids. I thought we had it all together. The year you went to Iraq was very hard for me. How could I possibly figure out how to be a wife when you were halfway around the world? Instead of being supportive while you were in a war zone, I imagined our life together when you got back. I finally felt whole again after you came home. What I loved about you was your undying commitment to family. I knew if I ever had a family that is the kind of man I would want as the father to my children. You were different though, after you came home. Maybe I was different too. But we were ready to buy a house and start our life together and I learned to accept who you became. For a couple years after we bought out house, we were pretty much house poor, but we somehow always made it work. Then we adopted our dog Peanut. Adopting her was the start of bringing us together as a family and not just a married couple. After a couple years, we had Ruby and Billy. They are the most perfect thing we ever did together. We continued to struggle and I kept waiting to get to the part of life where things somehow got easier. At some point the love we had was replaced with anger, bitterness, and resentment. This was never what I wanted, and I can’t imagine you wanted that either. I dreamed of a marriage that was mutually supportive, loving, and caring. At some point I no longer felt loved at all. Instead I felt like someone who was always under a microscope being scrutinized for my every move or word. I felt like I was constantly judged. I felt like I could no longer talk to you or express myself. At some point I realized if I didn’t tell you about my day, you couldn’t criticize me about it. This led to me cutting off all of my communication with you, which isn’t healthy in any relationship, especially a marriage. For at least the last 2-3 years of our marriage I didn’t express myself to you at all. I felt like you didn’t even notice. I was suffering silently. Unhappy with our communication, I stopped loving you. For that, I am sorry. I will always love you as the father of my children. I will always wish the best for you and pray for you. I am sorry I gave up and had to leave. I am sorry for taking the kids and leaving you to feel alone, empty, and broken. I am mostly sorry that you lost me as your best friend and person you confided in with your deepest and darkest feelings. I never planned for our marriage to end. When I left, I kept hoping that you would get counseling and try to fix the pieces of our broken marriage. But it seems clear now, especially since you’re planning on getting remarried already, that you felt the same way I did when I left. I’m sorry I had to be the bad guy. I’m sorry I lost faith in the man that I originally fell in love with and started a family with. Now that we’re divorced, I’ve done a lot of reflecting. I never wanted to take the kids from you. I want you and them to have a good relationship. If there is anything I can do to help let me know. I will try to continue to be flexible with your schedule, but keep in mind that I do need to be able to make plans too. We only get one shot at raising our children right and developing our relationships with them. Through our children, you will always be family to me, even now after our divorce. Please let me know if there is ever anything I can do to help you, I will be there for you. I will not, however, babysit your girlfriends children. Our divorce will not change all that we’ve been through and accomplished together. We’ve both grown a lot as people through our marriage and through our divorce. I will continue to pray for your happiness. I know you’re capable of being a good man. I know you’re a good father. I hope you can forgive me for my part in our marriage ending, and that you can also recognize why I did what I did.

Sincerely,

Struggling Bonnie