Well, my darling readers, I’ve come to a decision. As many of you know, I’ve been somewhat on the fence about whether or not I want to try to foster a friendship with my cheating ex-wife. After seeing her last Saturday I started to think that a friendship between us was possible because our interaction was friendly and reminiscent of the closeness we had while we were married. She even invited me to go to her mom’s with her for Thanksgiving, which I eventually decided to do after some serious thought.
Some of the things she’d been doing or saying had led me to believe that perhaps she was missing me more than she expected, that perhaps the week away from one another had reminded her just how much our companionship meant to her and that she might be having second thoughts. The adage goes that you never really know what you have until it’s gone, and I was thinking that perhaps she was realizing what she had now that it was gone. Her inviting me to thanksgiving only furthered this belief. Why would she want me to come with her to this holiday like I had so many times before if she wasn’t pining for my companionship? I even probed more than once to make sure she actually wanted me to come with her, and every time I asked she asserted that she wanted me to.
I spent the week actually looking forward to it. There was a voice inside of me that was like, “This is a bad fucking idea, Emma,” but that voice was drowned out by so many other voices saying, “we’ve gotten along so well lately, maybe it will be fun!” “It will be nice to spend time with her again, we miss her so much!” and the loudest voice cried out, “Maybe she really misses us the way we miss her and if this goes well she will remember why she enjoyed being with us. Maybe she’s having second thoughts and we can salvage things after all.”
One of those voices was right, and I’ll give you two guesses which one it was…. Nope, it wasn’t the last one…. That’s right, it was the first one. Going to thanksgiving with my ex was a bad fucking idea, although some “good” has come out of it.
Basically this is how it went down. I went and picked her up at her apartment. It was immediately apparent that she wasn’t excited for this event and wasn’t really all that eager to see me. Great, she insisted she wanted me to come and now that I’m here, out on a fucking limb, risking getting hurt by her again… she doesn’t even want to see me? This is off to a great start already.
We grab the dish she made for the dinner, and we head to the car. Once we are in the car the awkwardness only gets more palpable and I’m really starting to regret agreeing to this. I try to break the tension by starting a conversation, which only ends up making things worse. I ask her what’s new in her life and pretty much the first thing she tells me is that she went on a date two days earlier. I can almost see all of you cringing right now, and you are right to do so. Seriously? That’s the first thing she tells me about, her date? I’m over here, listening to the very goddamn misguided voice suggesting that maybe she actually misses us and maybe we could find a way out of this tangled mess she’s made of our lives, and she opens with telling me a dating story???
I swallow the lump in my throat and inquire further because, dear god, I cannot stand going back to the awkward fucking silence. She starts telling me about the guy and it’s immediately obvious that he was the absolute worst match for her. Everything she tells me about him is like a strike against him being compatible with her (and there were a lot of strikes). I do know her better than anyone else alive, after all. This actually makes me feel a bit better. If she’s having struggles in the dating world then maybe that loud voice isn’t so misguided after all. Oh, wait… never mind, she then proceeds to tell me that she basically has another 3 dates lined up over the next two weeks and says that she has 600 likes on OkCupid (I have like 20, as an FYI).
There’s that lump again, except this time it’s made its home in the pit of my stomach. We struggle through the car drive up and I tell her a bit about my dating (or lack thereof) adventures, which she only seems half interested in. We finally get to her mom’s house and things only get worse. Everyone stares in that “I’m thinking a lot of things but am trying really hard not to look like I’m thinking those things” way. Again, I’m thinking, “fuck, why did we sign up for this?”
Her family is very nice and I take a seat next to her grandfather. He makes small talk with me like he always has and I start to feel a bit better. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all. She comes over to the table and sits on the other side of it instead of in one of the three empty chairs near me. SIGH. Eventually I shift over one chair to the end of the table and a moment or two later she says she’s going to sit in the chair I was just in (right next to me). My heart leaps a bit. She wants to sit by us. Maybe things will get better.
GUESS AGAIN!! She sits down next to me and almost immediately begins texting one of the guys she met on OKCupid (I’m assuming that’s how they met, although I could be wrong). I know this because I see the unfamiliar name on the phone screen while she’s too busy smiling about whatever he wrote her to realize that I can see their conversation. Yep, there’s that fucking lump in my stomach again, except this time it’s gained about 45 pounds. I’m just floored. First she opens up our conversations by telling me about her dates and now is ignoring me while I’m two feet away so she can text some guy she might start seeing?
Why the fuck am I even here? Is the only question I can come up with. She gets up and goes into the kitchen while I just sit there in shock, unsure of what to do. We drove together so I can’t exactly leave, not without leaving her stranded and conflating an already tense situation. She eventually comes back and has a glass of water in her hand. Normally, she would have asked me if I wanted something to drink when she knew she was going to the kitchen or at the very least when she comes back with one of her own. Not this time though, she sits down again and starts reading her texts with that same stupid grin on her face. I know this grin well, not because I’ve seen it on her too often, but because it’s the same grin I get every time I get a message from either butterflies or another person I’ve really hit it off with (we’ll talk about her later).
I’ve had enough at this point. I’m thirsty, she’s being unbelievably coldhearted and selfish, and I cannot stand the sight of her smiling like a fool, so I decide to go find a drink of my own. I pour myself a root beer and head back to the table. On my way in the room I see her, yet again, smiling down at her phone, texting someone. I just feel sick to my stomach. Just utterly sick to my stomach. I don’t even want the drink I poured myself anymore. I don’t even want to eat the food that’s almost ready to be dished up.
I sit down next to her and she hardly notices my arrival. Her grandfather starts chatting with me again and a few moments later her mom comes out of the kitchen and announces that the food is ready for us to dish up. The ex and I get up and head into the kitchen. I decide to head to the end of the line while she heads for the front. I don’t want to be near her at all. Her aunt, a person I’ve always liked, notices that I’m not doing so great and comes over to me to ask how I am and hugs me. It took everything I had to not break down into tears right there. I had to blink away the tears as I told her that I was hanging in there. The ex’s mother also notices my downcast demeanor and probably even noticed me blink away the tears. They both want to comfort me but I can’t handle that right now so I try to disengage and grab a plate to start dishing up. They drop it and let me gather my food.
I get my plate ready with entirely too much delicious food and I start heading back to the table where I’ve left my root beer in the hopes that it would save my spot at the end. GUESS AGAIN! Not only has my spot not been saved, but my fucking ex is sitting in it without a goddamn care in the world. She didn’t save me a seat next to her either. She’s just sitting there, eating her food right in front of my root beer without a care in the world. She even looks up at me but doesn’t try to explain or gesticulate that she’s sorry she took my seat.
Luckily there was an empty seat at the opposite end of the table and I was able to sit to eat. By this point I was done. I hardly enjoyed the food I was eating because I just felt so disgusted by my ex’s actions and her complete lack of fucks about me having any sort of pleasant experience in such a difficult place. We are at her mom’s with the family that isn’t my family anymore because my cheating ex decided she wanted a divorce. I’m sitting with these people who are all wondering, just like I am, why the fuck I’m even there, and the only person who could make this situation better or more pleasant is too busy texting some new boyfriend to notice I’m miserable.
I finish my plate, take it to the kitchen, and move over to the couch. I’m done. No more trying to chat, no more pretending like this is anything besides a fucking travesty, no more hoping that it might get better. Her uncle comes to sit by me and we start chatting. I never particularly cared for this guy but he is nice enough to me. Eventually the ex leaves the table to put her plate away and then returns to sit in a chair on the opposite side of the room. There really weren’t many options for seating near me, but I can’t help but be painfully aware of the physical, mental, and emotional distance that’s separating us.
She is pretty much in direct line of sight of me and what does she do? She starts fucking texting again with that stupid grin on her face. I was so pissed. I decided that since she was clearly fucking paying attention to her phone that I would give her the message that I wanted to GTFO as soon as possible via text. She reads it, replies that she wants to wait until after dessert is served but that we can leave after that. She asks if I’m okay, to which I simply reply, no.
The night goes on for another hour or so of us sitting on opposite sides of the room and her smiling down at her phone while she texts somebody. Was it all with the same person? Hell if I know, but I certainly assumed that it was based on that stupid smile she kept getting. Every so often she would look over at me with this, “What’s wrong?” expression but I’d had it with her. I was fucking done. There was no way I was going to engage with her, not after how disrespectful and cold she’d been. If anything, that look of confused concern just solidified that she was completely unaware of the way her actions were being perceived, which also means she was thinking only about herself.
I’d never do this to her. Never. Never, never, never to do anything like this to her. I could never be so selfish or cold. I could never be so unaware of how my actions were ruining someone else’s evening, especially not someone who’d been my best friend for the better part of 7 years, someone I’d loved and claimed to still love and care about.
Eventually dessert was served and we got ready to leave. I basically refused to speak with her, even when she came up to me to ask me what was wrong. I was far too angry and hurt to give her the satisfaction of seeing me be vulnerable. She didn’t deserve that, not anymore. She could not be trusted to not stomp all over my pride or my heart if I let her in again. She’d say she was sorry but her words would be half-hearted, at best.
I went out to the car without really saying goodbye to anyone besides my former mother in law (I just couldn’t bear the thought of pretending to make nice and happy with a bunch of people I was unlikely to see again any time soon), and pulled it into the driveway to allow it to warm up (it snowed today). I went back to find my ex saying goodbye to her mother and minute later we were in the car driving home.
She said she was sorry I’d had a bad time and I told her that the food was good and her family was nice, but that I just couldn’t be around her. She kept probing to see if I’d unpack my feelings further for her benefit but I just couldn’t and wouldn’t. I was done. The chorus of voices that had prompted us to go to this dinner were completely silent and the only voice left was the one that had urged us not to do it. The only thing that voice had to say now was, “There is no possible way for us to be friends, not anymore.”
And so, we drove then entire way back to her apartment without really having any significant conversation. She kept looking at me hoping she could unlock the door to my feelings/thoughts like she always used to. She kept giving me that soft expression that has melted my heart countless times before but it would not work, not this time. I couldn’t and wouldn’t let her inside. I wouldn’t tell her how hurt I felt that she’d ignored me all night in favor of texting with some guy. I wouldn’t tell her how disappointed I was that my belief that she might be having second thoughts about the dissolution of our marriage was incorrect. I wouldn’t let her see me brokenhearted, not again.
I dropped her off at the curb without really saying any substantial kind of goodbye. She’d suggested that we hang out just the two of us in a couple weeks but I had no intention of allowing that to happen. I would not put myself at risk of disappointment or heartache on her account again. I drove away and that’s when the walls came crashing down. She was no longer there to see me so I could finally let it out.
I cried the entire way home. I cried for the better part of 20 minutes in the car after pulling into the garage. I went inside and cried for another half hour. I was so mad at myself. How could I ever allow myself to think that she might be having second thoughts? How could I ever allow myself to believe she’d be anything besides selfish and unaware of her effect on me? How could I have let her back inside and trusted her with my heart after she’d already done so much damage to it? We’d had such a lovely day on Saturday that I thought it was possible to be her friend, to be close to her and yet separated. I trusted her with my heart by believing she would put in the effort necessary to make friendship a true possibility, but she broke that trust once again.
I’d had enough. I had had enough… she’d asked me to tell her what was on my mind in the car and I was ready to finally do that. I sent her a message that explained that I’d thought she’d missed me the way I’d missed her but that it was clear she didn’t. I asked her why she’d invited me to the dinner when all she was going to do was tell me about her date and then text some guy all night. I asked her if she was unaware that I still loved her, that I still wanted to be with her, and that I wanted nothing more than for her to come back home. I told her that she must either be oblivious or just didn’t care, but regardless, I didn’t want to see or talk to her anymore. I told her to go live her happy new life without me because I wanted no part of it. Not now, and maybe not ever.
She replied a few times but I will not answer those messages. I went and unfriended her on Facebook as well. There is nothing left inside of me for her. She is no friend of mine. Friends don’t treat each other the way she treats me. Friendship is about respect and companionship. Friendship is about anticipating the needs of another and being there for them when things get hard. It’s about placing the needs of another before your own because you know they would do the same for you. She is incapable of being there for me or placing my needs ahead of her own, either because she’s too wrapped up in her own little selfish world to see how to be there for me or because she just doesn’t care enough to place my needs before hers. I have bent over backwards to try to make this post-marriage friendship work. I helped her move, I drove her to the store multiple times because she doesn’t have a car, I made the divorce as painless as possible and even helped pay for the fucking thing, I tried to give her space and respected her privacy, I let her sleep in the bed with me when I should have kicked her ass to the curb and despite all of that and more, she has done nothing but think of herself the entire time. Everything she’s done has been for her own benefit, regardless if it breaks my heart or not. Fuck that and fuck her.
I have plenty of true friends who care about me, who treat me with kindness and respect, and who have stepped up when I needed them to. They know what friendship is about, and they would never treat me the way she does. They know that even if I put on a good show of being okay that I’m completely not okay. They know that even though I’m making efforts to move on with my life and meet new people, that I’m still grieving the loss of my wife and best friend. They understand that just because I don’t go around crying all day every day that it doesn’t mean I’m not still completely broken up about this. They understand that I need kindness and affection to help the healing process, even if it’s not convenient or easy for them. They do that because they know I’d do the exact same for them. That’s what real friends do.
So, I’ve made my decision. There will be no friendship with my ex, not now, and probably not ever. She doesn’t deserve my friendship. She doesn’t deserve to be rewarded for her appalling and selfish behavior by me being nice, doing things for her, and placing her needs before my own. I won’t put her guilty fucking heart at ease by pretending everything is okay when it isn’t. She has done awful, horrible, selfish, destructive, and cruel things to the person who loved her more than anyone else and she will have to live with the consequences of knowing that she may never be able to fix this friendship she’s broken so utterly.
If she ever hopes to make a friendship possible between us, she will have to prove to me that she is worth my time, and in not sure she is even willing to try.
If she ever hopes to make a friendship possible between us, she will have to prove to me that she is worth my time, and in not sure she is even willing to try.