Being your ex-wife is pretty wonderful. It’s better than being a wife ever was… except for the part where I realize the amazing adventurous, kind, patient and infinitely generous version of you that I see now -the one someone else has brought out in you- is the one that I wanted to be married to. It’s not that I am giving her the credit for your metamorphosis, not entirely anyway, but I do truly believe that in a healthy and successful couple-ship, partners bring out the best in each other, you inspire one another to be more of who you really are, underneath all the neurosis and insecurities and the whateveries. And most importantly you encourage each other to keep growing.
So I am happy for you that you’ve found that, that you have that kind of relationship in your life because you deserve to be happy, to be loved like that.
But I guess despite the passage of time, I still don’t really understand why we couldn’t do that for each other. I only know that we didn’t.
I only know that the variable that changed in the you + me = not-very-happily-ever-after is replacing me, and now the equation is much more successful. I feel sad and confused and –as is such a common sensation for me- like I fucked it all up.
Also I never really realized how much you liked me, like as a human being not just as a romantic partner, or how much you paid attention to me and the things that I value and care about. I didn’t know. You never told me before, but I also didn’t ask.
When we divorced I seriously questioned whether or not I ever loved you, whether or not I had ever loved anyone, but what I have come to realize is that I was asking myself the wrong question. It is so obvious to me that I loved you, I have loved many many people. In fact, loving is something that comes very easily to me. It’s my super human power. The question I really needed to be asking myself was whether I’ve let those people love me back, whether I was able to accept their love. I didn’t trust you to love me. I kept waiting for you to break my heart, and ultimately I ended up breaking my own.
So now we hang out together as a family and tell stories about “Remember when…” and it’s cute and easy, and I wonder why it ever seemed so damn hard. The conclusion that I keep circling back to is it’s got to be me, not that I am unlovable, but rather I don’t know how to be loved. I know I am loved. That is not the same thing as letting someone love you.
I know you are never going to go salsa dancing with me, we likely wont ever carry a full conversation in Spanish, my taste in movies will forever provoke protest, etc. Ultimately, I see what has always been true: that we make such great friends, that is what we were always meant to be, and I am so grateful that we get to keep being friends. And seeing you be amazing in your new relationship gives me hope, that I didn’t ruin you, that I am not ruined, and that someday when I fall in love with someone new, someone who will dance with me, I will learn to let them love me back. That maybe I will learn to love myself as much as they do, as much as you did.