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An Apology to My Husband’s Ex-Wife, in 13 Parts
- I had an affair with your husband, to whom I am now married, and I am so, so sorry. If there is one decision in my life I could undo, it would be this. Because of what it did to you, because of what it’s done to me, and because it was just plain wrong.
- I won’t take full responsibility for the breakdown of your marriage. The myth of the homewrecker is just that — a myth. No one can wreck someone’s home against his will. You two wrecked your home on your own, before I ever came on the scene. And anyway, you had an affair too, so I know you understand.
- However, I still owe you several apologies beyond the apology for my original sin.
- I am sorry I believed the things he said about you.
- He told me that you were dumb. He said it without malice or animosity — just presented it as a fact; you weren’t that smart and therefore he was bored with you.
- Now I’m the stupid one; he tells me regularly. But I know I’m not stupid, and now I know that you aren’t, either. I’m sorry I didn’t challenge him when he said that you were.
- He told me that you were too lazy to work, too much of a prima donna. I admit this caused me to look down on you since I’m such a worker myself, since I’ve always been self-sufficient. But I find myself calling in sick more and more these days, asking my boss if I can work from home on others. Not because I want to spend time with him, but because I’m afraid to leave him in charge of our two children during the day (he works from home, and you know how he can snap when he’s angry, when someone irritates him or argues with him about nearly anything). Now, finally, it occurs to me that you may have wanted very much to work — especially since it could have been your ticket away from him — but you had three young children you probably (wisely) did not want to leave in his care. I’m sorry that you were in that situation. You must have felt so trapped.
- He told me that you were selfish, that you didn’t “get” him, that you didn’t care about what he needed from you. I now understand that there is no caring in the world that is great enough to accommodate his needs. They are endless, and they are very, very important. I’m sorry that your needs were probably never met, and I sincerely hope you are now with someone who meets them.
- I am sorry I ever believed any of these things. I am sorry I was even there to hear the words. I am sorry that I didn’t shut them down the second I did.
- I am sorry if you ever still miss him. I hope you don’t find it patronizing for me to assure you that you are too good for him, that you were always too good for him, and that you are better off without him.
- For what it’s worth, and I’ve never met you so I don’t know where you stand on karma or schadenfreude or revenge, I can assure you that I am paying dearly for my betrayal of you, for my own moral weakness and my selfishness.
- Also for what it’s worth, I can tell you that he now compares me unfavorably to you, the way he used to compare you unfavorably to me; this is what men like him do — I understand that now.
- I am sorry for myself, for what I’ve let him do to my life. I know I have no right to be, but I am. I don’t know how I’m going to weather him, and in some ways I know I deserve all this. He told me recently that you have found someone new, that you are getting married. He scoffed at this, of course, muttered something about “the poor guy.” I turned away from him before I smiled, for you. Ironically, it’s now you — the one over whom I’ve felt guilt-ridden and regretful and maybe even pitied— it’s you who’s become my hero and my hope.