This marriage isn’t fair to either of us. It never was. I married you for selfish reasons and now I am staying married to you for selfish reasons. And I think you’re doing the same thing.
I don’t think that I ever loved you like a wife should love her husband. I think I’ve always loved you like I would love a wounded animal at the side of the road. I saw your brokenness and wanted to rescue you and help you fix it. (Sadly, wounded animals try harder!)
So, I selfishly married you because I needed your incompetence to help me substantiate myself. In short, I needed you to need me. Co-dependence drove me back to you over and over again, but recently I began to realize that I don’t need your need to validate myself.
The first year we were together, you broke up with me three times, but I couldn’t live without you (or so I thought) so I kept begging you to take me back. Each one of those times you let me back into your life.
I wish you hadn’t. I wish you had left me to learn about myself on my own. I wish you had left me to have my heart broken by others. I wish that I had enough courage then to stop going back to you, enough self-esteem to tell myself that I didn’t need a “plus one” to be whole.
I chose to let your needs consume me and it caused my whole life to stagnate. Watching you neglect your body over and over again to the point of terminal illness finally opened my eyes. I don’t want us to be miserable any more. We have tried to “make it work” before only to end up right back at Square One every single time. Change with you seems to only be temporary. Once normalcy appears to have been restored, you go right back to your “old ways” because the problem is “solved”. I am not going through that cycle with you again.
By staying with you all this time, attempting to take care of you, I forgot to give myself (or discover for myself) the things that made/make me happy. All of my likes and dislikes were dependent on your likes and dislikes. I gave up my own self because I thought that if I was more like you, if we had more in common, our marriage would be better, that you would love me more. I had no inner strength and tried to find happiness in destructive things: food, drugs, etc… But, those were empty things that only made me feel worse about myself and I started to resent you for introducing me to such self-destructive behavior.
I failed all of us. As a result of my own personal insecurity I forced myself into your life, forced you to want me, forced you to marry me and then have children with me. Now I am unfairly forcing our marriage to stay together because I am too scared to ask for a divorce. Too scared of your reaction. Too scared of the guilt I will feel for forcing you to waste so much of your life with me. Too scared that you will not let me go, now that I finally want to. Too scared of your complete inability to take care of yourself. Too scared that you will continue to neglect your body and that my daughters will be the ones that have to start taking responsibility for your incompetence.
And even after all of that forcing (and all of those reminders that you have two teenage daughters AND all of the reminders that your daughters will end up marrying someone just like you!) I still can’t force you to take care of yourself. Now I am able to see that. Now I am able to see that for the entire time I have known you, you have never really loved yourself. And if you can’t care about you, how can I possibly expect you to care about me or worse, our children? How can you possibly take care of my needs (or anyone else’s) if you go out of your way to ignore your own?
I am done “forcing”… If you want your body to slowly rot from the inside out, you just go ahead and let it. No amount of caring on my part will change how you feel about yourself, obviously. And, please keep telling your two lovely daughters that you won’t live to see them graduate or live to see your grandbabies, you just go right ahead – that is your choice.
The entire time we have been together, I haven’t been able to give you the “best me”. I haven’t been able to give myself the “best me”. With you, I didn’t even know that I had a better me than what I was. So I stayed.
Three years ago I finally met my “best me”. I like her. She is happy and uplifting. People want to hang out with my “best me”. While I’ve been hanging out with my “best me” I have seen that forcing myself to be around you brings out the “worst me”. I am constantly frustrated with you and your total incapacity to follow instructions, to listen, to care… In fact, each day I am absolutely appalled at your seeming refusal to give a shit about anyone but yourself. It takes all of my emotional strength to communicate with you – especially when you are putting in the same lack of effort as always.
I didn’t meet my “best me” until someone else introduced her to me – someone who showed me that he can need me, but that I can also need him. Someone who showed me that I am sexy, smart, and that I am a fun person. He helped my spirit blossom. He helped me learn what “makes me tick”. He helped me learn that I don’t need his flaws to make me feel vital. I don’t think that you ever helped me learn anything good about myself. In fact, I don’t think that you ever even encouraged me to be a better person…
Every night I go to bed wishing that another man was there to keep me warm, to love me, to satisfy my needs. That is not fair to either one of us.
I dread weekday mornings when you come home from work. I dread Saturday mornings when I have to get up early to drive you around on your errands because you are too irresponsible to get a driver’s license. That is not fair to either one of us.
Are you happy with our marriage?
Is this how you want to spend the rest of your life?
Is this marriage everything you ever hoped for?
Did you ever imagine that your wife would be happier sleeping on the couch instead of with you?
I never did…
I want to come home one day and find that you have packed up everything and left me.
I want to stop sitting down in your shit
I want to stop slipping in your pee on the bathroom floor
I want to stop reminding you to turn off the lights and the TV every single day
I want to sleep in a bed
I want to be able to trust my partner
I want to be able to depend on my partner
I want to know that my partner cares about me and is concerned about my happiness (or unhappiness)
I want to WANT to go home at the end of a long day
When I think that I have to go home to you every single night, it makes me cry because you don’t (or won’t? or can’t?) do any of those things for me.
That is most definitely not fair. Not fair to you. Not fair to me. And definitely not fair to our daughters.
I have asked you to “step up” countless times before. I have also told you that “stepping up” doesn’t mean just this one time, it means forever!
I have given you enough “do-overs”.
I want to have enough strength to hand you this letter…