To my husband’s ex wife,
Webster’s dictionary describes the verb Forgiveness, in part as: “To cease to feel resentment against (an offender)” and “To give up resentment of, or claim to requital for (offense)”. This is a tall tall order when it must be granted without the offender’s knowledge. It is difficult to know where to start, my feelings have evolved over the years and lie dormant at the moment because you have NOT, gratefully, been an active part of our lives for about 2 years. However, dormant feelings have a way of crawling out from under the rock, creeping out from the rug under which they have been swept. And boy have I swept and swept and swept… for the sake of my husband, for the sake of the children you have together.
I learned early on the utter futility of trying to engage you in any kind of civilities. I am still flabbergasted at your behavior once you learned of our engagement. I even tried to reassure you that I was not there to take anything that was rightfully yours (Court ordered alimony, relationship with your children, etc…) But you would not, could not, even try to make the least effort. You have never once, in the time we have known each other, tried to have any conversation with me. Yet, you sure had a lot to say about me and mine didn’t you? I was able to laugh at the names you called me, on your WEBSITE no less?! Succubus (yes, I’ve seduced your ex for his dozens of dollars), Mother of Darkness, War Criminal, my personal favorite “Whore of Babylon”. It was much less easy to laugh off when you attacked my character, accusing me of stealing and stalking you… really? Stalking you? seriously? Who in the WORLD has time for that?
And then you went in for my daughter, wanting her to go to jail? What!? she was ten years old? And all for some stupid trick the kids did together. Not to mention the countless rambling, often threatening, messages you would leave on my voice mail. All because I was engaged to your ex.Your No-Longer Husband!
In whatever defense I am entitled to, however, I was told years later that you HAD wanted to “Just get back together with him, because this (separation) is ridiculous”. That was surprising, I was confused because I thought you were the one who didn’t want him. Wait, no, you didn’t want HIM, you wanted what he so selflessly provided to you during and after your marriage. Financial comfort. To be able to do whatever you wanted because he would not say no, because he knew it wasn’t worth the fight. That I understand. To be fair, I did also strongly encourage him to set healthy boundaries with you, i.e. not paying your bills for you that were sent to his address, so I can see some bitterness on your end there. So I get it- things weren’t as easy for you to do whatever you wanted once I came around, even though we continued to bend over backwards for you in many circumstances.
But for the love of GOD, your behavior to me was absolutely abhorrent. And that doesn’t even touch the hell you put him through, and the crap you laid on your daughter because of me.
This whole time (with one notable exception) I kept my mouth shut. My friends and family couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t give you your rightly deserved what-for. What was the point of that? Mainly because it would have made things exponentially more difficult for my husband and your daughter (and son, even though he wrote you off way before I came along).
But also because I understand your disabilities. You have been diagnosed as bi-polar and schizophrenic, a diagnosis which you have not accepted. I know too many people diagnosed with these disorders to hold you completely responsible. However, I know too many people diagnosed with these disorders, who seek help, to be able to give you a complete pass on this. I also see how you have alienated yourself from the people in your life due to your disorders. Countless friends, your mother, both of your sons, you even have 3 beautiful grandchildren that you do not acknowledge because your daughter-in-law is on “Your List”. What a sad lonely existence it must be.
But I must forgive you. For myself. I must work through the resentment and bitterness in my soul for my sake.
OUR beautiful, kind, generous, strong daughter is getting married in a few months. It will be here before we know it. And I am anxious that if I don’t deal with my feelings in a very real and substantial way, I may not be able to give our daughter the love and attention she needs for her special day. I want to be able to be together with you, to celebrate her and her marriage without drama and anxiety. She loves you very much and strives to maintain a relationship with you. I would never want that to change, she deserves to have those she loves around her that day.
I must do my part. Honestly, I think in this case forgiveness is an active verb, in that I mean, it may take a few passes for it to stick. I am as self-righteous as the next guy, and am prone to bouts of “She did ME wrong, why do I have to do all the work?”
What in the world did I do to deserve the treatment you gave me? I am actually a nice person, and get along with pretty much everybody. I am the ultimate diplomat who hates conflict. One of the most heart-wrenching realizations was that you wouldn’t even try to give me a chance. That you couldn’t even try to get to know me, for me, rather than reacting to how my existence effected your life. Truly, heart-wrenching. Because all this drama was SO unnecessary, not to mention, completely avoidable.
This part of Webster’s definition of Forgiveness is probably the most challenging: “To give up resentment of, or claim to requital for (offense)”. How can I give up my “claim to requital”? Can’t I wear that like a badge of offended honor? No, no, I can’t. I have to let that go.
If we could, and I would give my right arm for the chance, sit down and have a rational conversation about us, about real and perceived offenses in the past, I would ask your forgiveness. Believe it or not, I still feel awful about the one tongue lashing I did give you. If you asked for mine, I would give it in a heartbeat. Oh to be able to UNDERSTAND each other!
But I know you would never actually ask for my forgiveness. And so, I ask God’s help. I pray that He give me a spirit of forgiveness for you. I wonder if it comes in time release form? This will be my continual prayer for as long as I need it.
You see, I am no better than you. You are no better than I. In the eyes of God, who am I to deny you what I have been freely given by God and others?
In this moment, I forgive you. In the next moment, I forgive you. I pray for you all that I pray for myself. Love, mercy, joy, and peace in all circumstances.
Yours, when you’re ready,
The next wife.
Here at Never Be Average we created a platform called Forgiveness Letters. These letters have been a powerful testimony of strength, triumph and forgiveness. If you are ready to let go of you past, move on and forgive, we would love to feature your story here!
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