This post is both me getting something out of my system, and a lesson I think everybody should learn about the true meaning of love.
When my wife left me, and when she did a whole list of things that I perceived as evil, my perception of her flipped. I no longer saw her as the person I married. I thought the person I married, and the person she really was, were 2 different people. In the past month, I’ve realized how wrong I was to change my mind about her so quickly. I love her again. I love her like she is still my wife.
Her perception of me flipped as well. Divorce always brings out the worst in people. It’s one of the reasons people should stay married and find a way to make it work, especially if children are involved. My ex-wife’s perception of me flipped, just like mine did with her. And she still sees me in that same light. She still sees me as something I’m not. She remembers many things incorrectly, she interpreted many things incorrectly.
If she and I ever sat down and talked – just talked – I would be able to explain everything she misinterpreted, and she would come to understand. At the very least, that would bring peace between us for sure. But I don’t see any hope she will ever reconsider her view of me. She’ll never give me a chance to help her understand what happened. I certainly, certainly made mistakes, and I look back at my mistakes desiring to teach my past self several important lessons. But it seems my ex-wife will keep her perception of me where it is, forever. That breaks my heart.
So, when I say I love her, I mean it. I failed as a husband and I’ll never have a chance to make things right. Still, I chose to marry her, and just because a legal document says we’re divorced, that doesn’t mean I’m free of my vows. I will remain loyal to her, I just can’t be loyal in the same way anymore. Will I be for the rest of my life? Well, who knows? All I know is that I will for now, and for a long time. I will love her from afar.
Part of loving someone is wanting what is best for them. Even though my ex-wife believes many, many things incorrectly about me, that doesn’t change the fact she is hurting. And if I’m not able to comfort her, and if I’m not able to tell her the things that would make her understand and put her mind at rest … then I want another man to be there for her. Note I didn’t say I’m okay with someone else being with her, I said I want someone else to be with her. That’s the important lesson here. It’s about whatever makes her happy, and whatever gets her through the night.
She never understood when I asked about the guy she’s dating. I have only wanted to know things about the guy because he’s frequently around our daughter. It’s cruel that she still hasn’t told me so much as his name, let alone let me meet him and learn about him firsthand. As a father, that would really put me at ease. But anyway, regardless, it was never about being jealous of who she’s with now. Not for a moment. During the days I hated my ex-wife, I didn’t care at all if she was with someone or not, personally. I only cared as a father. But now that I came to my senses and remembered who she is properly, I care both as a father and as a man who still loves the woman he committed his life to.
I made vows. I still have a commitment to uphold. Marriage, to me, was never something I wanted to do just to say I’ve done it. I’ve always taken it seriously. You can only give away your heart once; any more times after that, and it’s not much of a gift. But loving that woman, and wanting her to be safe and happy, does not end just because it ended legally. If she is with someone else, I say good, because that means she’s that much happier.
That is love.
Loving her is not about having her to myself, it’s about wanting her to be okay. So, I will say this publicly:
I want him to keep her warm, because I no longer can.