Today I found out my ex got married last month.
So what? You broke up with him. You weren’t happy. You’ve gone off and explored the world, met new people and are living an entirely different life. It’s over. The end.
Nothing’s that simple.
I think of my ex occasionally. Our six-year relationship had a great impact on me. Our breakup which took only a few minutes, stretched out for about a year and a half. That had a huge impact on me. The ‘business’ of breaking up was the biggest mess. Separating our lives which had become so intertwined was hard. It was draining, exhausting, and at times, a bit soul sucking.
It’s now been almost two and a half years since we broke up and while I know that our break up was right for both of us, I shed tears at the news of his wedding.
The Past Can Be Painful
It doesn’t matter who broke up with who, or if it was an amicable split or not. I’ve spoken to very few people who are able to say they’ve had a long-term past relationship that didn’t leave them a bit scarred.
I wanted to call a friend in the ‘States or my mom or brother, just someone who knew him and me and the complicatedness of my feelings about that relationship, but the time difference (six to seven hours) kept me from doing so. A part of me is grateful for that. Liz Garment at Mail Online wrote a good article on what to do when an ex gets married… isn’t the Internet great?
The article mentions many things about past relationships and the power they have in our lives because of the significance these relationships once held to us. Most importantly though, I learned that while completely irrational, my reaction was also completely NORMAL. Even though it’s been a long time since our break up, I haven’t had a relationship since. I’ve gone on dates here and there, I’ve had sexual partners, but I haven’t dated someone long enough to get comfortable, not like I was with Henry. That was intentional. I didn’t want to put myself in a place where I could potentially feel such a loss ever again. However, recently, this has changed a bit.
I’m Dating Someone
I’m dating someone for the first time in over two years since my breakup. The other day we were joking around, acting like nerds, and generally enjoying ourselves when all of a sudden I was overwhelmed with complete discomfort… because I was comfortable. After my breakup I remember thinking that I never wanted to get that comfortable with someone ever again. When one becomes comfortable, they also become vulnerable. My mind went to Henry during this moment of comfort/discomfort because it reminded me of the good parts of our relationship, the connection we once shared. Although admittedly, my current relationship is very different from what I had with Henry.
The last time I saw Henry was late Spring last year when he finally returned my bicycle. He hugged me goodbye and I remember thinking it was the last time we’d hug. I think I was right. We haven’t had any contact since. It’s funny, everything about the hug felt wrong. You know that type of hug. When someone you don’t know that well leans in for a hug and holds you for a second or two too long. It was that type of hug. It made me realize I didn’t know him anymore and it made me realize that we were no longer a part of each other’s lives; we were a part of each other’s past.
The article I mentioned earlier about what to do when an ex get’s married, says to ‘rise to the occasion’ and recommends congratulating an ex UNLESS it’s been a while since you’ve spoken, or the relationship ended on bad terms. During my time in therapy post break up, my therapist suggested writing letters to people I lost in the break up, whether I wanted to send them or not was up to me. So what follows is a combination: a congratulatory note and the letter I will never send.
A Letter To My Recently Married Ex Fiance
I think of you more often than I thought I would, this far after having parted ways. Today I cried when I found out you got married. Maybe it was just the shock. I’m not sure. I didn’t cry for long though. I picked myself up.
We spent six years together and often talked about our future. Despite how ready you were to move forward and plan our future, this is something I was never able to do. I needed the long engagement, a partner rather than a husband, and time… time to explore, time to figure out what I wanted in life. You never gave me enough time. I loved you so much, and because I loved you so much I tried really hard to be what you wanted and what you desperately needed. Unfortunately, timing has never been on our side and I think you knew as well as I, that I could never be your wife, the mother of your children, or anything other than what I am.
Last week I found a zip file of photos for you. Months ago when cleaning my computer I compiled a folder of photos you had taken of the barn when you started working on it, our medicine garden, and photos of you and the guys. I didn’t include any photos of us though. I didn’t think it would be appropriate since we’re not together. Today I realized I probably wouldn’t be sending those photos anymore, even though none of them included me.
I wish you had tried harder. I worked so hard to make our relationship work and eventually I was just tired. You told me afterwards that you thought I’d never leave; don’t ever take anyone for granted again.
We’ll always have memories. Remember those road trips to state and national parks, warm weekends out on the ‘lake’ in the canoe fishing with cold beers, and our dumb songs and dances? Good times.
I’m happy you found someone to spend your life with. Although I cried at the news, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy for you. Admittedly, I also felt an extreme sense of relief from some of the guilt I’ve carried since we broke up. We spent several years together and you always knew that you wanted to get married, buy a home, have a farm, and kids… I felt bad for not wanting those things and for staying with you for so long even though I knew I couldn’t give you those things. I felt like I held you back. I’m happy you’ve found someone to have those things with. I wish you the best, wherever you are.
Where Do I Go From Here?
It’s weird, people ask me if I keep in contact with my ex, if he’s started dating, where he lives now… I can never answer their questions. It’s strange to hear out of the blue that he’s gotten married. He’s moved on. I knew he had, I knew he must have, but it’s so much easier when one just doesn’t know.
I remember thinking it would hit me hard when he did get married, because I knew it would happen, likely sooner rather than later. I don’t know how it’s hitting me, or why it’s hitting me though.
In an attempt to end this on a positive note, I will say that I’m doing very well and have no regrets. This news has just thrown me off balance slightly and I wish I could pinpoint why exactly. I live a good life and because of my breakup I’m now able to travel the world, wandering about without the guilt I had before, for constantly leaving him and our life behind. I’m just shocked by how shocking this news was to me.
Henry, wherever you are, I hope you’re doing well.