My ex and I have been separated for 4.5 years. After post break up dating he found himself in a long term relationship and yet, no other woman has or will ever be with my husband. How? We’ll get to that. But first here’s a little back story for you.
My husband was a gentle man. He was courteous, shy, a little uncertain, painfully adorable, and sported the most gorgeous smile I had ever laid eyes on. My husband would go above and beyond for his friends and family, he was a yes man in all the right ways. He opened up a new world for me. He took me places I had never been, and showed me a lighter side of existing. We found ourselves living-loving-laughing through life. I could have sworn we were moving a million miles a minute and still couldn’t get enough– it was truly a love story you only read in books. He was humble, respectful, never crude, and was almost old-fashion romantic. The man I married never spoke of other women, always opened doors, held my hand, walked with me on the inside of the street, never left without an “I love you”, and looked at me as though he could see right through me. We spent our days texting, talking, or seeing one another–we spent our nights cuddled on a twin bed or under the stars, and we still missed each other every minute apart. Love simply doesn’t describe it accurately.
But as with most love stories, it doesn’t come with calm seas, and some, like us, don’t survive the storm.
The man that had stolen my heart, was taking it with him across the world– he joined the armed forces and left just 5 months after meeting me. I couldn’t understand how one day I could have everything I had ever wanted and lose it all in just one moment. He left when I was 18 years old and him 19. I vividly remember the day he walked out that gated door. It hurt so bad that his father took me to the hotel he was sent to that same night for one last kiss. That Kiss. The last pure kiss we’d ever share. The separation forced us to transition out of our adolescents absent of one another. We grew into adults from afar, and this I believe is what caused so much of the trouble. He was across the world, surrounded by hundreds of people yet still feeling alone. I was in the “free” world experiencing what young adults normally do. We had no choice but to fill the voids with those around us. As time passed, each meeting felt less and less as we remembered. We had new stories, people, and experiences to share with each other, but none of them we could relate. We were living separate lives. The years passed and in it was filled with heartbreak, deceit, betrayal, passion, and the clinging of the love we once owned. When he was out of the military and we were finally free to live as equal civillians, things had already shifted. He was haunted by memories of time served, and reminded of the hurt we caused one another during the hardest times of his life. This is where he began to die. The depression, PTSD, and heartbreak had been slowly crushing him, and I never even noticed it happening. Then there was me, fighting my hardest to serve and love this man I vowed the rest of my life to, and it was as though I wasn’t even in the room. I learned that there are many ways to feel lonely, but the hardest was being in bed next to a husband I considered a stranger. Here is when our love began to spill out like a fatal knife wound–there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.
The relationship ended the moment our souls officially detached– withered, weak, and drained — separating us into individuals–tearing apart our collapsed intertwined hearts– forcing them to beat on their own. And here began the rebirth–the transformation from what was to what will be. We were altered into strangers we hardly recognized outside glimpses of the ugly days. This man… this man I had not met before. His eyes went on for miles of empty space, could he even see past all that fog? Was the fog filled with flashes of terrible memories of our doing? Had the good been pushed that far away? I was saddened by what had become of him, become of me… Our past selves had died, I knew those versions of us were far gone, and it was the most painful of all. We broke one another and now the man I married has been forever lost. It hurt to know I’d never see him, feel the touch that once soothed me to sleep, his lips on my forehead as he whispered he loved me. I mourned the man that once skateboarded hours to my house and sat outside my bedroom window with flowers and a bear, who wrote me letters every day for 8 months straight filled with words of love, pain, and poetry, the man who gave me my first child, was a person I would never get to experience again.
I’ll love the husband I lost til I take my last breath, regretting our failures, but encouraged to do better with my future loves. Inspired to experience a love I’ve been lucky enough to witness exists. My loss didn’t destroy me, rather it is something I get to hold dear forever as a beautiful and painful lesson. I think I agree with the cliche, that it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. I hold the most cherished moments of my life with that man, and I wouldn’t hit the reset button if given the chance 100 times. I’m glad to have known him, loved him, and married him– and that man was mine and mine alone, and that’s a beautiful something to the tragic everything that came after.
The man today that claims his name, is nothing more to me than a distant cousin on an emotional level. When I look at him I see an entirely different human being. It feels like I knew him in a past life decades ago. It’s perplexing to absorb that it began only 10 years ago. As strange as it sounds, I don’t think of my husband when I see him, I don’t have flashes of memories, or fleeting moments of nostalgia. I feel as though I met this aquaintence 4 years ago, and we never kept great contact. And now I’m in a position to interact with someone I hardly know and frankly, hardly like ( I believe the feeling is mutual). Our relationship as coparents has been difficult to say the least, but a work in progress none-the-less. It blows my mind. Funny how life can change so quickly–throwing cruel twists and turns. I wish this man the best, I try my hardest to support his decisions, and keep our daughter as fulfilled as possible. If it weren’t for our child, I’m not sure we would have even kept contact. If someone told me 6 years ago that emotionally I could walk away without turning back, I wouldn’t have believed it. I probably would have become emotional over the idea alone. And now, I find it difficult as I face another 11 years of forced contact. I care for him as the father of my child, and will forever be someone he can turn to, and I hope to develop a genuine relationship with this man of familiar qualities.
My ex is alive and well but my husband has been gone for 4.5 years. You can tell me he’s the same person, but I would never believe you. Not for a minute. Not for a second.
SONG: “Burning house” by Cam