Open Letter to My Wife
(insert wife's name here), sooner or later, we're going to have to start talking about what is going to happen. At this point, it seems pretty obvious that the kids and I have become an impediment to whatever it is that you've got going on in your personal life. You're either cheating on me, or in the process of attempting to do so. At this point, that's not my major concern. At this point, we're more or less separated. I wouldn't even consider it infidelity. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and pining for you some time ago. My main concern now is for my children.
You've told me several times that you want what's best for the children. That's clearly not true. What would be best for the children would be for you to make more than one, lame, aborted attempt at counselling to keep them from being from a broken home. What would be best for the children would be for you to put their well being before your own wants and desires. You want to divorce not for their benefit, but to satisfy your own desires. If you were really concerned what would be best for them, you'd ask them what it is that they'd prefer. They would prefer to have a mommy and a daddy at home all the time. They'd prefer not to live a nomadic existance, moving back and forth between two incomplete homes, keeping caches of toys and clothing in two locations. They'd prefer stability. They'd prefer we not risk foreclosure of our home.
I remember when your parents got divorced. I remember the stress and disappointment it caused you as an adult, not even living in their home. Right now, every member of this family is consumed with stress and at least occasional misery but you. You can still muster the enthusiasm to go out and party down with your friends. This is unusual behavior for a mother who is on the verge of initiating one of the most traumatic things in their children's lives.
I would suggest that your behavior is immature and self indulgent. As far as I can tell, you have not properly considered the consequences of your actions to your children. You asked me the other day, "do you think it would be better for the kids to grow up in a house where the mother was unhappy?"
Compared to living in two different places and growing up in a broken family? Yes, I do. Research bears this out. Unless there's abuse, addiction, or similar destructive element, what's best for the kids is both a mother and father in the same house. You know this. The problem is you're so wrapped up in yourself right now that it doesn't matter to you.
For the last three months, I've been the primary parent to our children. I clean up after them. I wash their clothes. I cook their meals. I put them to bed. I read them stories before they go to bed. You're just looking out for number one right now. Your behavior is not parental.
You've told me how hard you've tried to accommodate our problem. I haven't seen it. Neither have your children. You went to a few counselling sessions, one of which you showed up to 45 minutes late. There will come a time when your children will ask you what you did to prevent the dissolution of our family. What will you tell them? Did you read a book? Did you discuss the situation in detail with family and those who might know more about it than you? Did you make a credible effort to resolve the situation with the help of a professional? Did you go on a couple's retreat to attempt to recapture that feeling that you lost? Your answer will be no. You didn't do any of these things. Because of your feelings, or lack of them, you decided to end our children's family as they know it.
Your reasoning for ending our marriage makes no rational sense. At this point, I'm not concerned about what feelings for me you've lost. Anything you think you've lost with respect to me I've lost double for you. You blame me for the timing of you rejecting me two days after my surgery when I was at my weakest emotionally and physically in my life. This was not my choice. I forced the issue due to the total lack of compassion you were showing me and the complete lack of support I was getting in my after surgery care. I didn't force the issue because I wanted to. I forced the issue because you didn't leave me a choice. I needed an adult caregiver. I needed you to follow through with your promise to be there for me when I needed you. A promise you made both to me and my mother, the day before the surgery. I understand you already had something going on personally and didn't care about me as a spouse anymore. That shouldn't have mattered. I didn't have to be your spouse for you to show me compassion or to give me help. You didn't cook for the children or I (except one day). You didn't do any dishes. You didn't put children to bed. You didn't do laundry. You did nothing. You weren't there for me or the children when we needed you. In extreme physical duress, I was the primary caregiver for our children. I even had to change (insert son's name here)'s piss filled bed when you refused to do it. "Let him sleep in it," you said, "he did last night." That's not parental. It's hardly even human.
The most horrifying thing I've heard in a long time was your pledge to never put anybody before yourself ever again, except for "MAYBE the children." I don't want to be with a person like that. Nobody in their right mind would. A life lived for yourself is not worth living. It would be pathetic and pointless. What's worse, you don't seem to be interested in putting your children before yourself either.
I don't want to be married to you anymore. I would love to start looking for somebody to share my life with who is at least as concerned with my happiness as their own. When I think of you, the main emotion I have is disappointment. I am intensely disappointed in how you handled this situation. There is blame enough to go around for what happened, but all the effort to remediate the situation has come from me. Every one of your complaints about my behavior has been addressed. Instead of reciprocating the effort, by your own admission, you've done nothing. It's logical to conclude that your complaints were not the real issue.
The other day, when I stopped kissing your ass, you even said "Maybe you're not giving me what I need."
I felt a huge rush of satisfaction, "At last! She's ready to tell me the actual reason for wanting the divorce. Finally we're getting somewhere." But despite my repeated requests, you didn't tell me what it was you needed that you weren't getting from me. Once again, a I felt huge sense of disappointment.
Despite my feelings, or lack of them, I would still try to forge a new relationship with you. We'll never get back what we had. That's gone. I still think we owe it to our children to do everything we can to keep the family together. I'm willing to sacrifice my personal happiness to do what's best for my kids. I'm willing to put in the hours with a counsellor. I'm willing to go on a retreat. I'm willing to try to find the part of you that I was so madly in love with for so many years. I'm willing to try to love you again until there's nothing else to try. We took an oath in front of each other, everybody we know, and God to make our marriage work no matter what the impediment. I take promises seriously. I thought you did to.
I'm inviting you to put on hold whomever or whatever it is in your personal life that is breaking up our family. I'm inviting you to make good on your commitment to your children's happiness. I'm inviting you to do the hard work, not cop out, and act like a parent and an adult. I don't expect you to love me. I don't expect you to care about me. But I do expect you to try, for the sake of our children.