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I remember nervously standing in line at the courthouse together, waiting for our turn and unsure what to expect. We’d Googled how to file for divorce and had filled the paperwork out as best as we could... It’s not like we could afford to hire a lawyer for help. We couldn’t really ask any of our friends or family for help either because none of them have ever had to file for divorce. They’re all still happily married.
We had a good run, I think. We tried our best. And we truly loved each other. That’s the crazy thing, I realize now. I truly loved you! (Just not in the way you needed me to...) And you truly loved me too... but you got tired. And I understand. Everyone gets to that point eventually.
I think we both got tired.
We both tried so hard to meet in the middle. What you wanted, what I wanted—we tried to compromise. We tried to put each other first. We tried sacrificing our own dreams for the sake of the other person for so long. And maybe we should’ve kept going, kept trying. But we got so tired.
The same fights. The same dilemmas. The same heartaches. It gets really old after a while, and it gets harder and harder to keep giving up those pieces of yourself to make your partner happy. I know it was happening to you just like it was happening to me.
There are so many things I should’ve done differently, looking back. But if I’m honest, there are a lot of things you could’ve done differently too.
Sometimes I’m angry with you and sometimes I’m angry with myself. Sometimes I’m just tired. Sometimes I feel helpless—stuck with ten years’ worth of memories I don’t know what to do with.
Do I delete our Facebook pictures? What about the group texts we had with our friends? Is it ok to send you memes when I find one that reminds me of you? Or write you a note just to say, “Hey, I’m just thinking of you. Hope you’re doing ok”? Probably not. We can’t be friends after this, can we?
But there’s so much I want to tell you. So many things have happened since we parted ways that I wish I could talk to you about. Not in a wife-to-husband type of way... but just a friend-to-friend way. We said we’d still be friends once this was over, but that was before I started dating someone new and you blocked me on Facebook so you wouldn’t have to see pictures of me with a new guy. Now I’m not so sure if we’ll ever speak again. And I don’t blame you for that at all.
There’s no rule book for this... there aren’t guidelines. Divorce is messy and hard and it hurts. It really freaking hurts.
There are things I’m realizing now that I didn’t when we first signed those papers. Things like: We’ll never hang out with our friends together again like we did in the old days. Some of those friends—I’ll probably never even see again. Or the fact that I don’t know what to do with that couch we bought on Craigslist and found a knife and pink hair-ties in the cracks of, and then ended up duct-taping together because we couldn’t afford another one. Or the fact that I have both our dogs but it’s obvious how much they miss you, and I can’t explain any of this to them to help them understand why you never come through the back door after work anymore.
There are so many things I miss about you. So many things I appreciated (and still appreciate!) about you. Just because we called it quits doesn’t mean I don’t like you anymore. I still think of you. I still want what’s best for you. I still want to see you accomplish all the things you always talked about.
I wish there was a better way to wrap things up. Filing for divorce, paying $400 to a courthouse, and then getting a letter six months later in the mail saying “It’s official” just doesn’t seem sufficient. How do I tell you how much you mean to me, how many wonderful memories of us I will always cherish? How do I thank you for everything you did for me and all the love you showed me throughout the years? How do we move forward? How do I deal with the fact that our relationship isn’t the same? Even though this is what I wanted for so long—freedom from marriage (AKA divorce)—I still don’t know how to handle all the repercussions of it. I feel so much guilt I don’t know what to do with. I feel relief. I feel sorrow and emptiness, but also hope. I feel regret, but I also feel like we’re both truly better off now.
I guess what I’m trying to say is: I never, ever meant to hurt you and I’m so sorry things ended the way they did. You will always have a special place in my heart, and even though life will move forward and we’ll meet other people and be happier with them than we were together, I will still always have those secret moments, when everyone else is asleep and I’m alone with myself, when I think of you and the good times we had and pray you’re doing great.