October 26, 2016

What Happened when I posted an Open Letter to my Ex’s new Partner.


Mike Licht/Flickr


I won’t lie to you. I occasionally feel disdain toward the internet.

Sometimes, I am overwhelmed by it—the information superhighway can be a double-edged sword. For instance, I will never again have to wonder about the lyrics to a favourite song (and mistakenly sing the wrong words, really loud at a party). But, by the same token, I am now privy to information that I wish I wasn’t privy to (i.e. which of my Facebook friends think Donald Trump is a fantastic presidential nominee).

Just over a year ago, I decided to use the power of the internet for good, rather than evil (take notes Mr. Trump).

Like many people today, I have children with someone that I didn’t end up staying with. Initially, my decision to end that relationship felt like it was the best thing for all of us. What I failed to consider was that someday, another woman might actually like my ex and become part of my children’s lives. So, when that day came, I wasn’t wholly prepared.

As with most things that cause me anxiety, I decided to blog about it in the form of an open letter to this woman.

It went something like this:

In the spirit of welcoming you into the proverbial village that it will take to raise my children, I thought it would be helpful for you if I jotted down a few thoughts and shared them. Don’t think of the following as rules, but rather guidelines, intended to ease my anxiety.

Don’t try to buy my kids’ affection. They can’t be bought. Believe me. I’ve tried.

My kids think I walk on water. Don’t try to convince them otherwise, or it won’t be water that I’m walking on. (I don’t really know what I meant by that, but it sounded kinda tough…right?)

Don’t believe everything my ex tells you about me. It’s all lies—unless it’s good stuff, in which case, it’s all completely true.

Comments? Questions? Concerns? I am open to your feedback at all times. Just be sure to present your feedback along with a 1.5 litre bottle of Pinot Grigio.

Don’t be afraid to discipline my kids—somebody has to. Better you than me. (No ulterior motive here. I swear!)

Honestly and most importantly, feel free to treat them as if they are your own. I don’t fear the thought of you genuinely caring about my children. I fear the opposite.

For what it’s worth, you seem like a pretty cool person, based solely on your Facebook profile. It’s my hope that we can find a way to make this work for everybody. Is that too idealistic? I mean, we don’t have to be all Bruce/Demi/Ashton about this. That didn’t seem to work out so well for them anyways. I just want my children’s village to comprise the very best of all of us.

They’ve seen their family fall apart. And now they need to see it come together. Better. Stronger. And evidently, with several more people in the mix.

Now, this could have gone a few ways. There was a chance she would never see it. There was a chance my ex would be furious with me. There was also the chance that she would see it, and she would send me a long message about how much she loved the blog and wanted us to work together in harmony and happiness. But I considered that to be the absolute best, most amazing and highly unlikely outcome.

In this case, because I had the ability to put my feelings out there in a semi-anonymous, indirect, non-intrusive fashion, I felt empowered to say things I might not have otherwise said. And she did see the blog, and she felt empowered to reach out in a way that she might not have otherwise done.

And I got the absolute best, most amazing and highly unlikely outcome.

It’s been just over a year now. The lines of communication have remained open and honest. I consider her a valuable part of my life. She introduced me to elephant journal. She re-introduced me to yoga. She has repaired minor fissures in my relationship with my ex. She shares my love of Pinot Grigio. And most importantly, she loves my children with her whole heart.

Am I sometimes jealous that they love her right back? Sometimes. But I just have to keep telling myself—sometimes through clenched teeth—that it’s the love that is important.

Maybe this situation isn’t the norm. It certainly doesn’t happen all the time. But I think it comes down to karma, even on the internet. What you put out into cyber-space is what you get back.


Author: Heather Romito

Image: Mike Licht/Flickr

Editor: Nicole Cameron

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Heather Romito