Five Years Later: An Open Letter To My Ex

It’s been five years since we walked into that courthouse. Five years since a ten-year relationship ended and life completely changed.

We were confident we had no regrets. Agreed that we did our best and we still loved.

We’ve been divorced for nearly as long as we were married, and that blows my mind. The reality of the speed of time is stunning. That so much can happen in a few short years, and very little can happen in the same space of time.

Since that day, when we parted ways with sadness, a lot has changed. We’ve started over, lost and gained loved ones, and grown up.

I recently opened up an old computer to clean it up and to save old photos and documents. Upon opening iPhoto, a rush of emotions poured in, because a large part of our history stared back at me. It was as if I was peering through a door into a room full of memories. Family events, our wedding, cross-country moves; a chronological diary of our life together.

In that brief space of time, a swarm of emotions overcame me. I buried my head in my face, fighting back tears, as I looked through each photo that represented the 10 years we spent together, growing up.

I found myself trying to remember. Remember our conversations, our interaction, and the feelings. I closed my eyes to try to relive the past, but the years have made it all so blurry. The photos though, they triggered all kinds of emotions – each one providing a light into the past. Illuminating the memories of a different time, leaving me in a tangled mess of thoughts.

Following our divorce and in the years that have come and gone, I never took the time to grieve. Life got messy, time flew by, and before I knew it I was in my bedroom wiping tears up off of my computer keys. I was conflicted because I’m human (and therefore, incredibly flawed), and despite the fact that I’m happy in the present, looking at the past can cause feelings of loss.

I know that we fell out of sync; lost our connection. We were on parallel tracks that eventually faced a fork in the road. Over time, we grew up and grew apart, moving in different directions and never talking about it. We didn’t stop loving, but we did stop connecting.

You were my best friend. The person I trusted the most. A compassionate soul with a kind and gentle heart. And, no matter where we are geographically or emotionally, I’ll never forget that you were the one who changed the trajectory of my life.

In my darkest moments, you saved me. When we met, I was broken down and extremely conflicted. I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me, and I was fighting for my life. You pushed through, pulled me out of the heavy cloud that covered me, and gave me a reason to live.

When I was completely lost, you showed up. On the very day I thought about giving up, you knocked on the door and I let you in. Into my heart and into my life, and I was so scared. But, in your subtle way, you gave me strength and taught me how to love. And, you loved me.

We floated in and out of that cloud for a long time, and maybe that had something to do with it all. The walls I built were high, and sometimes history is no match for emotional barriers.

In some ways, I feel like our divorce freed you. That maybe I was holding you back, and once we let each other go – you soared. Maybe we both did. Maybe by releasing each other, we both began to discover ourselves. To take flight.

I believe with all of my heart that everything happens for a reason. And when I find myself looking in the rear view, I have to remind myself of what I have today and the choices I made.  I am forever thankful for my past, and equally thankful for what turned out to be my future.

If I never get the chance to speak to you again, please know that not a day goes by that I’m not deeply grateful for how you changed my life fifteen years ago and throughout our time together. Like the song that you shared the day we filed for divorce says, “I’m glad that we said yes, darling no regrets”.

I wish you every happiness.