I have been struggling with whether to share a very personal story here, and after about a year of laboring over whether and how to broach the subject, I feel the need to share this story publicly. I think it is in part, a reconciling for me of the past as I try to unburden myself of pieces of my history which I no longer need to carry as I enter the journey into motherhood.
This time about a year ago, just before my wedding, I received an email from an old boyfriend with a link to a google document titled “Growth Curve Data.” Unsure what it was, I opened the link to find several pages of his writing about the ways he had grown and changed in the three years since we had parted ways. It reflected on whether true love was something we each find only once, and asked whether I too, felt a “cold wind blow” through my soul since we ended our relationship.
My stomach dropped when I read the words. He had cut me out of his life, and then his new significant other had barraged me with messages full of accusations and lies that I could only assume originated from him. I was warned never to contact him, and here he was sharing with me this slice of his heart that I can only assume he had been forced to hide away for years. I felt terrible for him and sad. Then I felt angry that he had the nerve to throw this mess of feelings at me just a few days before my wedding. I considered whether to reach out to him in response to share my reactions. And, finally, I called him.
It had been a long time since we’d last communicated by phone and it was hard to come up with words to span the years and dramas that had intervened. Despite the strangeness of the context it was still clear that we connected deeply and both had felt a sense of uneasiness with the way our story ended. Our talk was cut short when my husband walked into the room. He asked who I was talking to, but it was clear he knew. And it hurt him. And seeing the flash of anger and hurt in his eyes I knew that the unresolved issues of my previous relationship were not going to be resolved on the phone, or in person, or ever. I reminded the ex that having any kind of relationship with him was too hard on our significant others and reminded him that I had never reached out to disturb him when he married his girlfriend – and that while it was good to hear from him, I wished he’d have done the same.
Though the conversation was intense, it was relatively benign at the same time. Subsequently, I have heard several stories from other women who have had exes reach out to them right before their wedding. So, I know it wasn’t even unique. It was a commonplace situation.
My husband emailed the ex, asking that he not contact me and not share these types of feelings. He responded and apologized. It was awkward but resolved. But, then, my ex’s significant other responded with a final email where she accused me of several indiscretions that were entirely untrue – including telling my husband that I had plotted to leave him in Australia.
Obviously we saw the accusations for what they were – a lashing out of someone who was very hurt. I felt so much empathy for this woman at the time that it was almost hard to be mad at her. In some ways I still feel a strong sense of sadness for the way it must have hurt her heart to read what he wrote. But, unfortunately, for me – over the last year occasionally, and against my better wishes, an anger has come up within me against this woman and my ex for their callousness.
I wonder often if they would have felt a sense of satisfaction if their actions had ended my relationship or created a rift that could not be healed. It makes me wonder how they would have felt had their behavior truly and significantly impacted two other souls who love each other. And, it sometimes really bothers me that they can go on with their lives merrily after attempting to cause such a disturbance in mine. Moreover, it bothers me that a year later the lies and immaturity of that situation still get under my skin.
I’m not an angel and I have done things I am not proud of. But, the way I see it, when two people have committed their lives to one another then it isn’t my place to attempt to intervene in their relationship. Before there are rings and commitments, perhaps it is open season, but afterwards no.
I often wonder why my anger over this lingers. I guess perhaps it is simply that the event made me question people. My husband is a rock – my rock. He is the most stable and calming influence in my life. He lights fires for me in constructive places in my life, and helps quell those other flames in me that burn without purpose. I loved my ex dearly, but he was exactly the opposite type of influence in my life – sowing unease and rebellion in me. I think of the little man I am bringing into the world, and more than anything I want him to be a force for good. When I reflect on the situation that happened a year ago, it reminds me of the tenuous nature of our fleeting lives and how in an instant the course of our lives could change dramatically. It threatens my sense of peace.
I hope that voicing these thoughts allows me to get them off my chest and helps me to let go of them before I move into the next phase of my life. As I read about and explore the steps ahead of me, through labor, delivery, and the early stages of motherhood I know I want to enter into this phase of my life without lingering stressors from my past. I also know that clearing my soul of these things may not only make me more present in my life, but may allow me to open up to the process of delivering a new soul into the world more gracefully. I hope this small step will help me to look this new challenge in the face and approach it with an open heart.