Back when I was in the middle of getting divorced, I had a conversation that stuck with me.
I was talking to our very close family friend about my heartbreak and how I was never going to get over it and how I was dying inside and on and on and on. You get me? And then, because my ex had been treating me about as poorly as one spouse can treat another, I started fantasizing out loud about what I hoped would happen to him and the girl he was cheating with. (I’ll spare you the details of those, but they may or may not have involved rotting, infected body parts.)
And as I waxed poetic with my revenge fantasies, my dear friend looked at me with deep compassion, and then very matter of factly stated, “I can’t wait for the day you don’t give a shit about those two or anything they’re doing.”
It stopped me in my tracks, and I remember thinking that day would never come. I mean, I loooooved him. He did me wroooooong. She had been a huge biiiiiitch to me. And so forth and so on.
But guess what, people? That day came. It didn’t come in some blaze of glory or all at once in a life-changing epiphany. It came slowly over the course of several years. It came as I found myself going a few hours without thinking about it and then a few days. It came in the comfort of sleeping alone and feeling relieved at not waking with heart palpitations. It came in the healing I saw in my children’s eyes as they watched their mom dry her own and get back to the business of living. It came in the first forays back into dating. It came in finding a man with a beautiful spirit who really wanted to spend time with me. It came, bit by excruciating bit at first, and then in every beautiful, clear-hearted joy I experienced once the pain lessened.
The point is, I don’t really care what my ex is doing now much past how he affects our children. I don’t feel broken-hearted about him leaving anymore. In fact, I feel relieved that I’m no longer subjected to his lies and indifference. I don’t think he’s a bad person; I think he was a bad person to me.
My friend was right all those years ago to push me to look toward the future even though I thought he was crazy at the time. It was advice phrased as a wish, and I’m happy to report that it finally came true.
* From the writing prompt “Good Advice”