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I vividly remember the first time we met.
The depth of your eyes and chiseled face seemed familiar, like I knew you—like I had always known you. Our first kiss awakened within me a familiar feeling, and since that moment, you’ve been tattooed on my soul.
Our courtship was a series of breakups and makeups, along with all the obstacles and red flags that would cause any sane person to walk away—but we didn’t. Our love was a force that could overcome any obstacle, so instead, we walked down the aisle to what we thought was our forever—but we were wrong.
Our marriage was full of love and beautiful moments, but it was clouded by our insecurities. The unhealed wounds of our inner child unleashed our worst demons, and within three years, we entered our destructive cycle.
The details of the events that transpired are irrelevant, as they were mere reflections of an inner child seeking love. But both of us chipped away at my self-esteem and opened a new wound, yet you were the drug I reached for to relieve my pain. I took comfort in your arms and in your familiar eyes, even if they were the source of my suffering.
I became secluded, depressed, and angry with my own self-betrayal. I owned every label that you gave me, and they became part of my personality wardrobe. Every morning, I would dress in my anger, depression, and resentment. I went through the motions of life, but I was not living. You embraced every label that I gave you, too.
Every self-destructive behavior led to the next. I held tight to my victimhood and righteousness. Through my lens of pain, I could only see you as a narcissist, which only fed the monster in our toxic cycle.
I finally decided to leave. However, that decision didn’t come from a place of strength or self-love—it came from a place of hope. I hoped that the old saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder” would be our saving grace. That leaving would prompt you to put on the glasses of self-awareness, to do the heavy lifting and self-work needed to save us.
The truth was that I needed to put on my self-awareness glasses as well, but my pain blinded me. There was no saving us this time. The separation caused you to spiral, and my reaction to your every action intensified. Third parties were once again introduced under the dark cloth of deceit. I tried one last time to save us, but as the cloth of deceit fell to the ground, I realized that there was nothing left to save. We had finally destroyed each other; we had finally destroyed us. But I was wrong.
The months that followed were full anger and spiteful behavior, as we started the divorce process. I tried to enter a new relationship with all my broken pieces. As it crumbled, I realized that I was still searching for the familiarity of your eyes and the comfort of your arms. I was still searching for your love in all the wrong places.
You see, my love, your love resided inside me. It was not in your actions or behavior, and it definitely wasn’t in someone else’s. Your love was inside me from the moment I saw the depth and familiarity in your eyes. Your love exists as part of the molecular formula of my self-love. To hate you would only result in hating myself. And to love myself, I had to shed my wardrobe. I had to completely undress myself from my personality and unbecome all the labels of anger, depression, and resentment that I so willingly embraced.
I had to learn to love you from a place of detachment, non-judgement, and no expectations.
Through self-love, I was able to remove the lens of pain and put on the glasses of forgiveness. I was finally able to see you and all your inner beauty. I was able to see the amazing father, son, and friend that you are. I was able to see your kindness, loyalty, and dedication. But most of all, I’m finally able to see you from a place where I am safe to exist.
We have found our happily ever after in our divorce. We finally saved our relationship.
We were never meant to live a happy marriage in this lifetime. The experiences we lived before our first encounter did not set the stage for our marriage to survive, and that is okay. But as we heal our wounds, grow, and expand, maybe we are preparing to live our happily ever after in another lifetime.
Until then, I will continue to love you. Because love never dies—it only transforms and transcends.