An Open Letter to My Ex-Husband


Dear Ex-Husband,

When I saw you in your driveway yesterday, at our routinely scheduled pickup time, it occurred to me suddenly that I have not seen you naked in almost two years.  I know that my face must have conveyed the relief I was feeling at this revelation, and I’m sorry I lied and said I was distracted by the dog.

I was actually distracted by your penis.

I am just trying to be honest.  I figure this is important now, since it’s something neither of us could manage to do while we were married. So in keeping with this new philosophy, there are a few things I things I think it’s important for me to say to you.

First, I am sorry.  I am sorry that we promised ‘forever’ to each other when we had no concept of what ‘forever’ meant. If there is fault in that promise, it lies in the stars—how can we blame each other for what we could never have possibly understood then?  We were young, we were clueless, we were still growing when we made our vows.  We did not know that we would grow apart.

But thank you, anyway.  Thank you for giving me a ring and lending me your last name. Thank you for teaching me about resiliency and patience.  Thank you for these little creatures that often look and laugh like you. They are the best gift anyone has ever given me.

Thank you for being brave enough to fight for me.  And for being tired enough to let me go, when I told you I needed to go.

While I know our Divorce Agreement spells out the visitation schedule and parenting times and who pays for the kids braces, there are a few areas left undefined. Every time I see you, there are questions lingering in the air, questions far too awkward and inappropriate even for me to ask.

Some of them will only make us both sad. They will take us back to the softer places, the times when we woke up in bed beside each other, smiling.  Like, do you remember those first few nights at home with our daughter, when we just sat there and marveled over her tiny hands, the miniature fingernails that somehow, magically we created together?

Do you hear our wedding song on your ipod now and skip ahead hurriedly, or do you sit for just a minute and remember that weekend at the beach and my hair falling in my face?  Or did you delete that song once and for all–afraid that hearing it would only take you back to a page in a book you closed forever?

And sometimes I wonder about what your life is like now. Do you love someone?  Does someone love you?

Is she good in bed? Is your sex life better now? Does she do that thing you always wanted to do, but I had told you that the thought alone made me want to vomit?

Has your new love made you question whether you loved me at all, whether you even knew what love was when you gave it to me?

Then, there are questions about how we exist in our new space.  When is it okay to hug you?  At band concerts or when our daughter has scored the winning goal, when our son graduates from high school?  When your aunt has died and I see you at the funeral, with your new wife at your side? Should I touch your hand and say kind words?  Or should I just wave and turn away?

Everything has changed and that is the way it has to be. I get that. We aren’t Facebook friends, we don’t even talk on the telephone. Instead we text in short hand. l type ‘TY’ and you send back a ‘np’, like teenagers who have never handwritten a note or a Christmas card.

Like strangers in the driveway.

Finally, I want to tell you I am not angry anymore.   I went to therapy, I read all the books about moving on. I learned how to tie it to a balloon and to let it go. But I know you are angry still. I can see it in the way you twist up your mouth when you see me.

Which makes me think of one more question.

Do you think you’ll forgive me soon?

With Fondest Regards,

Your Ex-Wife


The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn't add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don't be a dick, please.

    • says

      I think it sounds like she’s moved on, but genuinely wishes the best for her ex and hopes he can be happy. People who haven’t moved on are usually angry…and also not married to other people, as the author is.

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    • says

      I can totally understand feeling uncomfortable in reading what I wrote above–I felt uncomfortable while I was writing it! It does feel like a journal entry. But they are all true feelings–ones I know others share– and writing them (and other things in the last few years) has helped me move forward in a way that I can’t fully articulate. I had a professor I love very much once tell me that my writing was the best when I was completely honest with the world, and myself. So since then, that’s what I try to be. Thanks for reading, regardless and for taking the time to comment.

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      • Allison says

        I think it was bare bones truthful. It made me cry and usually I think these types of letter have malice thinly disguised in the careful wording. That is also normal. The sense of failure and unworthiness one naturally feels after going through one of the most devastating things a person can go through in life without a death being involved makes the mind race for words that might elicit some sort of forgiveness or validation from the other. It is normal to worry about the next love. You wouldn’t be able to say you ever loved him if that didn’t make you a little nervous. The thing is, this letter made me cry. I think it’s because it was the truth and it was so wonderfully humanly faulty which made it perfect. The only thing that may have been out of line would be if you actually sent it to him. That is chucking in a potentially damaging object if he does indeed have a new love interest whose integrity deserves better. It is, however wonderful for the rest of us to read it as being what was on your mind after your mind went through an admiral amount of re-writes until it was authentic in your mind. It takes strength to dare to expose the lies we tell ourselves… like, “I have a right to impose on him with a letter that might hurt him to get.” But the high risk of interfering with others whose lives were disrupted painfully too while they are delicately trying to overcome the toll it took on them makes it a bad idea to actually send it. You know what your shared together and so does he. Also, when you promise to love honor and cherish till death do you part, it doesn’t have to mean staying married to do it. Often times it turns out that you love honor and cherish them enough to realize that you are keeping each other from being happy if you stay in a failing marriage. You can’t lose love for someone if you really love them. You didn’t fail your vows. Just remember what it means to truly show love for someone. In this case, it would be to remember him in your mind and don’t interfere unless he asks, and even then I would think about it first. I did love your letter. Kudos for leaving the penis comment in. More women probably related to that even if they would never say so. Ha! I wish you much love in your life. (Tears again.)

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        • Iris says

          wow you have the concept of marriage all wrong. when you promise to love, honor and cherish someone, YES that means staying together in order to do it. I’d say her husband would agree. Please refer to the bible.

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  1. Mandy says

    SOME PEOPLE ^^ are an ass. I think the purpose of articles like this are to help other people along who might be in similar situations. It also helps those of us who are still in their marriages to remember to be tender, forgiving… loving. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Jenni says

    I think this is just beautiful. It has to be a weird feeling being so close to someone and then to be strangers. You can know that you aren’t supposed to be with a person but still feel sad. Creating a new “normal” for yourself has many stages. I love the honesty. Amazing post!:)

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  3. says

    This is beautiful – so raw. so sad.

    so many things that I KNOW others feel – my sister is going through a divorce now and I know the ugliness, the pain, the awkwardness from the inside. It is the strangest thing to become one and then break away.

    Thank you for giving me pause. And thank you for NOT leaving it in your journal!

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  4. Rachel says

    IDK, this is weird to me too. Not saying it’s bad or wrong, but definitely weird. Distracted by his penis? Why? It does kind of sound like you haven’t moved on, or maybe wonder if you made the right choice. I honestly don’t care at all what my ex-husband’s new girl is like in bed. Nor do I have any desires whatsoever to hug him. But then again, my ex-husband is a douche. I’m sure it’s different for people whose exes are actually decent men.

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  5. Patti says

    I feel the same way about my ex. We have been divorced for 16 years, but co-parented our now 20- and 22-year olds fairly well together. He remarried relatively quickly, which didn’t surprise me, but I still see him occasionally, and he looks ridiculously good. I’ve known him since I was 12 years old, and the biggest thing I regretted about our divorce was the loss of his friendship, which meant a great deal to me. Even after all these years, it makes me feel sad to have shared something so deeply with him, and to know that it’s gone forever.

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    • says

      Patti, your experience and mine are very similar. I got married when I was 20 and was married for 13 years. Even though I know the divorce was best for me (and him) and I am so happily married now—it was terrible to lose that friendship. Especially when you grow up together. And unlike a regular breakup, when you have children together, you have to see each other and work together for the rest of your lives. It’s hard to confront and accept the new definitions of who “we” are together, when “we” were so close for such a long time, isn’t it? Anyway…Thanks for reading and for commenting, Patti and best wishes to you!

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      • Question from a guy says

        I’m guessing that you cheated on your first husband and eventually married your affair partner, right? I ask because the majority of your post smacks of cake-eating.

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        • MrsL says

          Honest question but really,not your business or relevant to the post dude. This isn’t about why the marriage didn’t work. It’s about how things are after it’s over.

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  6. Mari says

    There seems to be a sadness, like she is reflecting back on their failed relationship. If my husbands’s ex was half this normal, I would take it! BM is generally unpleasant, does things for show and still turns into a fire breathing dragon on occasion.

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