Even as I type black letters across white page, I’m not sure I want to share this. It feels too private. too personal. like pulling back the fabric to expose my naked soul.
You see, a few evenings ago my ex-husband told me that he had started dating “A” again. They’ve been dating for a month now, and he wanted to tell me in person. I thanked him for letting me know, and told him I am happy for him.
And I am.
Then later when I was prepping for bed, I suddenly felt a rush of emotion. Tears spilling out, panic, helplessness.
What is this? It felt like I was back in that bedroom I still shared with him after he told me he was cheating on me. And the woman he was “dating” at that time was this same “A”.
In my tears I picked up my phone and texted a paragraph to my friend. I needed to tell someone. Then I grabbed a tissue, dabbed at my tears and started identifying what I was feeling. Hopeless. Hurt. Rejected. Fragile. Overwhelmed. And for a few moments I allowed a memory to surface—of me sitting alone on our queen-sized bed in the space we shared as husband and wife while trying to grasp the reality that my own husband was giving himself to a different woman.
Even in the midst of that vivid memory, I began focusing on the details of my right-now reality: my beautiful bedroom, my queen-sized sleigh bed that I have all to myself, my dresser, my rocking chair, my cozy blankets—all pretty things that I’ve chosen to fill my space with. My place of safety, my place to breathe.
And awareness flitted around in short phrases. I now have friends. a supportive community. tested and true. I now have tools for awful moments such as these. I have changed. I’m not the woman who sat bewildered and alone 3 years ago. I’ve made choices, good choices. And I’m pleased with what my life looks like now.
It helped to reach out to my friend—who offered to listen or speak or sit in the silence with me, giving me a verbal hug.
It helped to let the tears flow.
It helped to identify what I was feeling.
It helped to affirm my choices and my own value.
And I realized that the healthy coping rhythms that I intentionally learned these past years have now become my default response. (I’m so proud of myself!)
And something interesting happened that evening as well. The pillow that I have been using over the last few years is the same pillow taken off the bed I shared when I was married. I’ve been hanging onto it, needing it to be the pillow I use every night, not yet ready to replace it. It has become sadly shapeless and small. But as I removed the decorative pillows from my bed and reached for that one, I grabbed it with two hands, looked at it, and suddenly decided, “No. It’s time to let you go. I’m letting you go.” and I set it down on a bag nearby. In its place I chose a soft, white-pillowcased one to become my new pillow.
I’m letting you go.
I’m letting you go.