open letter .

To the girls who hate me…

If someone were to ask you, “why do you hate her so much?” what would be your response. I can only imagine the hateful, hurtful things that may come out of your mouths, but if that same person asked you to explain in detail what the actual reason is, I don’t think you’d have one. I feel as though I can better answer for you.

I am a woman who married a man when I was 21 years old. I barely knew him, I barely knew myself. I married a man that neither of you would meet until later on in your lives. I don’t feel it necessary to share the explicit details of my relationship with him, as I’m sure its a sordid, mixed up story that you know. What I will share is that we met when we were 21 and 23, we were married, we had a very difficult marriage. We deployed, we separated and eventually divorced. We attempted a friendship over the better part of 12 years. These interactions always ended badly, as neither of us took responsibility for the demise of our marriage or for ourselves and our choices.

What I know about you two, is minimal. You are ex girlfriends, from my understanding not “serious” relationships and it seems you were both hurt by this man. Whatever the circumstances that ended your relationships were, I don’t know. I know for the majority of your time spent with him, you’ve harbored resentment toward me. You have assumed all this time that I was somehow involved in your relationships. You’ve assumed that I somehow had a part or dictated how he may have treated you in your relationships. Your assumptions are false. He initiated contact with me the majority of the time throughout our time apart. I can count maybe a handful of times that I myself initiated an email or message. I was in several healthy relationships and never allowed him to become meddlesome in my life. However he may have treated you, is his responsibility, his burden to bear. If he made excuses, if he used me as THE excuse, the problems you faced were not my fault, the problems between you were not my doing. He made the choice to be with you and what he did to you or during your relationships is completely apart from me and our relationship with one another. I did not have a hand in your relationships being troubled or in ending. I didn’t know either of you, didn’t care to know either of you and never bore any resentment, hatred, jealousy or feelings whatsoever toward either you. You were a chapter in his life, not mine.

I understand the complexities of love. Unbeknownst to you, you chose to love a man who had given his heart to someone a long time before he met you. Someone who didnt treat it with care, who took it for granted and who also, had a damaged heart. I will always take responsibility for the actions that ended my marriage, but I will never take responsibility for the fault of one man who chose to enter into relationships with you both, harboring negative feelings, harboring insecurity and perhaps using that as a way to manipulate the acceptance or attention he needed. It took him years to become the man he is today. The man he chooses to be with me. It may have happened more quickly for me, I was able to have good relationships and did not use our marriage or our divorce as a crutch to treat people badly or harshly. There is a difference between the person he made me out to be to you both and the person I actually am. You have placed a judgement on my character unfairly, you have referred to me as less than a woman and I’m sure you’ve insulted and ridiculed me in the worst ways with one another or with other people. I can’t say its understandable, because again, your relationships were your own and what happened between you and him did not involve me directly. It wasn’t until July of 2016 that I reached out to reconcile with my ex-husband. And thats the kicker in all of this.

He and I were married. We took vows, although we did not uphold them. We felt the excitement, the loss and the relief from a loss of a pregnancy neither of us were ready for. We dealt with infidelity. We dealt with each others broken and severely damaged hearts and we did not make it through. Regardless, I was his wife. He was my husband, and neither of you reached that level of comittment with him so you have no idea the turmoil either of us went through. You have no idea emotionally how we felt about each other and about our marriage. You have no idea the scars, the pain, the doubt or the hurt that would last for over a decade. The inability to move on, to see each other move on. You don’t know what it feels like. Maybe there were conversations, maybe promises made, maybe wishes expressed, but at the end of all of that those relationships were futile for him. The thing that really confuses me is that one of you inserted yourself into the others relationship. You had an intimate and emotional affair over email. You attempted to befriend someone that you were disrespecting the entire time and now you two have formed a friendship. One that seems to thrive off of negativity toward two people in the world that you don’t really know. Whatever he chose to share or not share with you, again, is not my responsibility. I am here to tell you that I never asked for a relationship wth him while you were in relationships with him.  Regardless of my feelings over all of those years, I had moments, years in my life that I was able to find happiness. The only reason I knew either of your names is because one of you used to constantly “stalk” my Facebook and the other started stalking my LinkedIn account. I made the mistake of letting my curiosity get the best of me and started to keep tabs on you both. Either way, I respected your relationships with him because there was surely a time in my life, regardless of feelings, that I did not want to ever reconcile with him. He and I communicating was to try to repair scars in both of our hearts that kept us from  fully loving or giving ourselves to other people. Was it wrong? By all accounts it probably was. Was it always innocent? I tried my hardest to keep it that way and if it went south, I stopped communication, but I am human. I was married to this man, I still loved him and for whatever reason I didn’t always make the best choices. None of us do.

Perhaps neither of you know the details of his life. His childhood, his teen years, his family dynamic. I do. I know the very deep, dark skeletons that he keeps way back in his closet. He knows mine. I know the reasons behind the choices the he made in his life, I accept them. He knows and accepts mine. It’s extremely easy to sit up on a high horse and pass judgment on someone or something you don’t know. And sadly to say, you don’t know him. And you really don’t know me. It’s not any surprise that people will often lie or bend the truth, make promises they know they can’t keep and do whatever it takes to manipulate a situation or someone’s feelings to their benefit. It’s human nature. Being honest and open and having integrity is a choice, everyday. A hard one sometimes because we all want love and acceptance from someone. I understand that. And I can understand if you thought that you were more important to him than you actually were. If you thought you were going to be the one to change his heart or his mind. You weren’t. And its a harsh reality to face because I have also been in that position with him. Thats what you don’t know. You dont know my side of the story and you’ve never attempted to ask. You’ve created a reality in your mind, no fault to you, based on what he said to you and the connections you’ve made for yourself. I understand that its easier to blame someone else for your shortcomings, again, the human nature piece of things, but I am not the problem. I am not the sole problem or destroyer of your relationships with this man. As hard as it may be for each of us to swallow, we are all probably more alike than we’d like to accept which is why he pursued relationships with each of us.

I have attempted to live my life as a person who gives others a chance. To understand that people deal with pain, trauma and heartbreak in many different ways. I do. I chose to suffer silently for years, to hold out hope, to doubt, to wish but more, to deny. I get it. I would be open to, as I have always been, to hear your stories. I have never uttered a negative word about either of you as women, because thats just not the way I operate. I respect that you loved the man I love. That he may or may not have loved you, or told you that, that he may not have expressed it, that he kissed, slept with, made memories and shared experiences with the both of you as difficult as the reality may feel, but I do not fault him for that. We each lived our lives separately, never expecting to reunite. We each had relationships, both successful and unsuccessful. And perhaps, he used our marriage and divorce as an excuse to not commit, but it’s not my fault. I did not break your hearts, I did not use up or take advantage of your love or your time and I don’t think it’s fair to hold a grudge or hate or discontent toward a person you won’t know or a relationship that didn’t pan out the way you expected. I don’t think its fair to do that, to yourselves, to me or even to him.

What I do ask, is that you stop. The negativity you hold and you verbalize into the universe will not affect he or I, but it will affect you. It will affect you in ways that you probably don’t realize. Speaking ill of someone you don’t know or someone you think you know, is not a reflection of our character. It is a reflection of yours. Hate is a very strong word, a word that takes a lot of effort and energy to manifest. It is a very intense emotional feeling that does a huge disservice to your life. To your mind, your soul and heart. I don’t live that way and although there may be moments where I feel negativity toward you both, I try to turn that feeling into one of misunderstanding of who you both are. I don’t believe that either of you are hateful, destructive people. I could be wrong,  but when it comes to people and situations like this, I rarely ever am. It’s easy to hold onto resentment, to be mad at me or at him for the way your lives have been affected, but it is only your choice to live apart from that. What you felt or currently feel, I felt. For a large part of my life. Sometimes it was debilitating and I didn’t think I would ever bounce back. Sometimes it was easy to ignore and deny. The differences between the way I have chosen to behave and the way you have, is that I never disrespected either of you, by posting hateful things, by meddling in your lives, by reaching out directly or indirectly to either of you. I don’t post personal things on social media. I post in an effort to create dialogue, to allow you to change my mind about you. To allow you an opportunity for me to get to know who you really are, to know what you think and why you think it. I post and share and write to allow moments of self-reflection, not just for me, but for you or anyone who needs it.

I have encountered a situation similar to this in my life in another relationship, actually the individual and I weren’t in a relationship at the time. The young woman reached out to me upset because the person with whom I was in a relationship with previously, started to treat her differently and her only rational excuse, was me. The ex. She sent me a Facebook message accusing me of all kinds of things. I had never met the girl. He had been lying to the both of us, keeping communication open to me daily, telling me he loved me etc; and had been telling her he wasn’t ready for a relationship, but leading her on. Sound familiar? I read her message and explained to her that she was mistaken. I let her know the reality of what I knew and I gave her my number. She called me. She’s significantly younger than me. Either way, as women, we had a conversation. I explained my side of what I knew to be true about the situation and she explained hers. She apologized, as did I and she told me she had been fooled into thinking I was not a good person. Fooled into thinking he was an “angel”, that his family despised me, that I wanted all of these things I didn’t and never asked for. We came to an understanding with one another. We validated our realities and wished each other well. We apologized to one another that we allowed someone to put us at arms without even knowing why. We never spoke again. Secure women can have conversations like this. Insecure girls can’t.

That to me is an example of female empowerment. I have yet to see that from either of you. What I do see is a dynamic of grade school girl-on-girl drama. Drama that is unwarranted, unsolicited, unresearched and unnecessary. If you choose to hate me, hate me. I cannot convince someone to understand or know me if they don’t want to. What I ask for, is respect. As one woman to 2 others, I have no ill feelings, ill will or negativity towards one of you. If I am being honest though, I do feel negativity toward one of you, at this time because you launched many personal attacks on me and it was completely uncalled for and extremely destructive to my psyche and my relationship. I find it odd, that you’ve formed a friendship with someone who had an intimate non-physical relationship with a man you were in a relationship with. I find it odd that as a woman who tried to break up a relationship, you’ve managed to snake your way into appearing as a friend..but, it is not my life or my choice who either of you choose to have in your circle-my opinion does not matter. What I ask is, that as women we have it hard enough as it is, so either let’s hash it out or let’s move on with our lives. Let’s stop with the hashtags, the insults and the digs.  I don’t make enemies with invisible people, with invisible drama or with anyone that I don’t know personally. If you feel somehow wronged by me, all I can say is that I am sorry you feel that way. I don’t know the circumstances of your lives or your relationships, specifically the one with him. I don’t know what was the end all-be all of that time in your lives. I cannot say I’m sorry for finding my happiness. I cannot apologize for the second chance I was given at my first, real love. I cannot apologize for him or undo his wrongs to you. I will not live my life in hiding because 2 girls want to live in animosity toward a stranger and hide behind a keyboard hurling insults that no ones sees. Let’s be better than that. Understand that we all loved the same man at different times and he was a different man at each of those points in our lives and in his. He is not a bad person. He is not a “douchebag” or a “bad guy” or whatever names you feel the need to label him as because if he was, you wouldn’t have loved him. He is a great man, albeit it took him a very long time to get there. He is a son and a brother and his character is his own. He has lived, he has loved, he has made mistakes and he has been resilient. He’s human, just like us. He’s been hurt too and he’s still growing from that. He made choices, selfish or unselfish, that have left you wounded, but wounds heal with time when you don’t keep ripping the scab off and bleeding out again. Bleeding it out to people who don’t deserve it.

Perhaps you filled a void in his life and perhaps he shouldn’t have let you do that, but it happened and now its over. You will never find true peace as long as you hold anger in your heart. You will never have a true, deep meaningful relationship if you are constantly harboring negativity about an old one. You will never reach your full potential as women if you don’t learn how to be good to other women.

To the girls who hate me, I don’t hate you.

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