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Should I send her this letter?

  • Yes, send it

    Votes: 2 8.7%
  • No, don't send it

    Votes: 19 82.6%
  • Yes, but not so soon after she's left; she won't be ready for it yet

    Votes: 2 8.7%
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
All,

I wrote my stbxw a letter a few days ago and I'm struggling with whether I should send it or not. She loves me with all of her heart but I've asked her for a divorce.

I struggle because I want her to move on. To focus on herself and I worry that the following letter will make her want me more or will allow her to cling on to the hope that we will get back together. I don't want that because I truly believe that she needs to focus on herself rather than have a letter from me that she will remember with fondness and will impair her process of healing.

The letter is below; looking for your thoughts.

To my darling wife,

You are flying back to <home country> tomorrow... today... and with it being so close, it's really got me thinking about how much time we've had together that we've wasted, when we could have been talking about things, and we didn't. I'm probably not going to have time to really talk to you tomorrow and there are some things that I really do want to say to you. I would much rather be saying these to your face because that's how I feel that any conversation of any value should be had, so I'm sorry for this.

The last time we talked you said that you were sorry that we weren't able to make it work. I don't think that either one of us are really able to do that right now. I think that there is just too much hurt and that we're both broken. I look back on our marriage and I realize that I've been with you for the majority of my adult life and, as such, I have difficulty seeing where you start and I end. Some memories have faded over the passage of time and I don't trust my own recollection of them for fear that I might have forgotten something or rationalized those memories. Put simply, I don't trust myself or my perceptions of reality. Where once I had the utmost confidence in everything, now I have no confidence at all and it's thrown my entire world upside down.

You also said that you didn't really understand why I asked you to let me go. That's not fair to you. I have always told you that I would tell you the truth, in so far as I understood it on that day; so here it is.

I don't really know why; I'm lost. I don't know what I want, I have no focus, I'm hurting, I don't like myself, I feel like a failure both as a husband and a person.

What I do know is that there are financial issues left over from my own inaction that need to be addressed. I know that I do not want to move back to <home country>; I don't. I know that there are certain aspects of my personality that I want to develop and I haven't done so whilst I was with you (this is not your fault, it's mine). I know that you are unhappy in the <this country> and that you've lost your own direction and that you compensate by buying lots and lots of small gifts for yourself to fill that hole; I went through a similar process. I know that you want to live near your family, that you want our daughter to be near her family. I know that you want help raising her because I'm gone all week. I know that any job that pays me what I'm making now is going to involve travel, lots of it and that it's not going to make you happy. I know that you would decide to stay with me rather than move back to <home country> (where you want to be) if you were given the choice. I know that you making this sacrifice would be unfair. I know that we're both broken right now and that the current marriage that we have is broken; that we've built in patterns that we just naturally fall into and I don't think that they are healthy. I know that I never know what you are thinking; I have to guess, and when I do, I'm not sure if what you are saying is true. I know that when I've asked you if you had thoughts on something that you wanted to share you would say, 'not yet', but you'd never share them. I know that you feel lonely in our marriage; I do too. I know that you were miserable in <another country> (after the novelty wore off) and I think you've fallen into the same pattern in the <this country>.

When I look back at our marriage, I've never really been sure if you've been happy with me, you've never seemed to be. Maybe happy is the wrong word, maybe 'unfulfilled' is better. I have always known that you love me; I've never questioned that and I have seen that love in your face. We've been traveling together for our entire marriage, moving to different countries. I know that you've enjoyed the adventure and that we have been truly happy together. I think you seemed at your best [stress and tears aside] was when you were working at <a specific job>; you seemed to have purpose, your self esteem went up, you dropped some weight, you talked more; you seemed more in tune with life. Today, when I ask you what your goals are in life, you say "To provide a stable home for our daughter". I want that too, but I want more than that, not just for me but for you as well. I wish we'd learned to communicate better, to set goals together and to work together. You and I were always good at 'playing' together but we were never good at 'working' together; that's not who we are. I'm not sure that's who we'll ever be.

So why did I ask you to let me go? I guess because I need to deal with my own hurt, my own self. And I think you need to do the same. I think that you need to be on your own so that you can find yourself. I think that we need to be away from each other to find out who we are. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I've over analyzed this and have come up with the wrong answer; I have so much doubt. But I've committed to this process. In discussions with others [mostly divorcees] I have been told that 'people never really change'. I hope they're wrong, because if they don't then I am going to struggle with myself for the rest of my life, regardless of whether I'm with someone or alone. I probably will.

Please understand that I don't blame you for anything. You are who you are and I am who I am. You are not responsible for us splitting up. We communicate differently and I think that we just never figured out how to talk to each other and work together to create new goals for "us". It took me a long time to figure out that all of those business ideas that I came up with were so that we could have a common project to work on, but they never took off. I suspect that's because neither one of us is really good at keeping with something unless we have to.

But overall, we have had some truly good times together and I want to thank you for them.

Thank you for all of the happy times. Thank you for laughing at my stupid jokes. Thank you for caring for me and thank you for loving me, even when sometimes I really didn't deserve it. Thank you for putting up with me. Thank you for being there for me. Thank you for comforting me when I was hurting and thank you for holding me when I cried. Thank you for sharing your time with me. Thank you for being my travel companion. Thank you for forcing me to grow. Thank you for giving me so much of yourself. Thank you for accepting me. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for giving me a beautiful daughter. Thank you for investing your time in raising her. Thank you for teaching me how to be a father. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you for being a truly beautiful soul...

...and you really do have one. Please don't forget that. It's going to be hard to remember that given where you're going. Please remember it.

I have tried to be a good husband and I think I have [for the majority of our marriage] succeeded; I hope I'm not wrong. I have tried to show you as much caring as you have shown me but I doubt that I have. I have done the best that I could and I'm sorry that I wasn't better. I am sorry for setting expectations for you and not always communicating them effectively. I'm sorry for getting frustrated when you didn't live up to my expectations rather than simply accepting it. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to find a way around those expectations. I'm sorry for putting you through marriage counseling; in looking back, we were both still reeling from events... so much hurt. I am sorry for blaming you in my frustration; that wasn't fair. I am sorry for getting angry at you. I am sorry for not always listening to you. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to communicate with you using your language. I'm sorry that I took you for granted and I'm sorry that I left you alone. I'm sorry that I got tired of asking you what you wanted. I'm sorry that I didn't talk to you about my own hurt and that I let that hurt push me away. I'm sorry that I couldn't do it anymore; I'm sorry that I gave up. I'm sorry for being selfish. I'm sorry that you are going back to <home country> because I know what it's going to be like for you for the first six months that you are there; I'm sorry that I won't be there to help you with those things. I'm sorry that I protected you so much. I'm sorry that I didn't spend more time with you. I'm sorry that I stopped giving you foot rubs without you asking. I'm sorry that I sometimes let my frustrations get the better of me. I'm sorry for, sometimes, expecting more from you than I have from myself. I'm sorry that I lost my focus. I'm sorry that I didn't spend more time with our daughter and give you more breaks. I'm sorry that I won't be around more to help with raising our daughter, I'll do what I can, when I can. I'm sorry that I didn't make more of an effort to understand you better. I'm sorry that I've hurt you. I'm sorry that things are going to be so hard for you, emotionally and operationally in the coming year.

I ask for no forgiveness from you for any of these things; it's not my right to ask. But I do offer you mine, if you need it. I forgive you for all of the things that you might think that you did wrong; real or imagined. I forgive you for the things that you are going to do, or let be done in the future. I don't know if that means anything to you, maybe it doesn't, but it's there if it does.

And, I guess the last thing that I have to say is that I've read that people usually tend toward the following opinions when things go wrong: "I'm not okay", "You're not okay" or "We're not okay". What worries me the most is that I think that you are in the "I'm not okay" camp. I think that's because nearly everyone in your life has told you that you are not good enough. You've been called lazy, stupid, childish and many other names and because you didn't push back people kept on doing it. People have controlled you (myself included) because you really aren't bothered if someone does; you just kind of go with the flow.

You really do have a beautiful soul; you are a beautiful person and I wish that more people on this earth had your kindness, caring and patience because if they did the world would be a better place. But I hope you learn to stand up for yourself and that you stop using the words, "I can't". When I hear you say those words something deep inside me dies. My one wish is that you stop listening to that little voice in your head that tells you that you can't. You can, I've seen you do it. I've seen you go way outside of your comfort zone and flourish. And I've seen how you whither when you "can't".

This probably seems like a really long goodbye. In some ways, I guess it is; I'm saying goodbye to some of my hurt and frustration. I'm saying goodbye to the marriage that we had; good but flawed. I truly hope that you find happiness. I know you'll struggle for a while, but I want you to be happy. You deserve it and I hope you remember that. We'll talk again, of course; we do have a daughter to take care of after all.

Take care.

PS - Please don't feel obligated to respond to this. If there is something that you want to say, please know that you can say it. But if you don't want to or if you're not comfortable doing so then I won't take it badly. You don't owe me anything; you never have.
 

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My perception is that you are splitting up for reasons other than infidelity and cheating. Provided that that is the case and that both of you have literally seen the handwriting on the wall, then it shouldn't really take her by surprise at all.

What area of the world is she relocating to? Do you intend to take time to see your daughter there? Because if you did not go to see her and did not offer up financial and emotional support for her benefit, then you would be most derelict in your true fatherly duties.

I'm sorry to hear that your situation has come to this and that both you and your STBXW can make amends to be the best parents that you both possibly can be. Because, even in your noted absence, your daughter should continue to be your number one priority in your life!

I truly wish you well, my friend!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@arbitrator - thanks. She's relocating across an ocean. Yes, I will take time for my daughter; I'm working to set up a consulting company that will allow me to earn enough money to pay down debts (I have taken all debt and offered her ownership of the foreign property as part of the separation agreement) and save some money so I can go live in our home country for 2-3 months of the year; though that will be impossible for 2013.

re: Financial help, I asked my W to come up with her intended budget for when she gets home. I then ran through it with her, added amounts to it to make it more realistic and that, plus a little extra, is what we settled on [at which she started crying and when I asked her why she said, "because you're being your usual wonderful self"]. I couldn't make the full payment this month because of all of the lawyers fees (hers and mine) and moving expenses though I will endeavour to do so next month. She's staying with family in the short term while she job hunts so she says that she's okay with that.

She and I are both being very emotionally supportive of each other which is at direct odds with her family. Her family wants her to "take him for everything he's worth" because "he's an a$$hole for having an EA and leaving you". Their attitude toward me is so amazingly toxic that I worry that this very positive relationship that we have is going to dissolve once she's immersed in it. And fair enough, she's entitled to some anger and it's a process she'll have to go through. But it makes me sad.

Her sister came across the ocean and stayed with her for a week to help her pack and the amount of tension in the room was insane. My W and I can talk very easily about this stuff. But at one point, her sister (who is the worlds most aggressive control freak) actually stood between us while we were having a conversation, crossed her arms, hunched her shoulders and started reading a book and, at regular intervals interjected or simply took over the conversation. I had to be quite mean to her (and I feel bad about that, I know she's just angry) to get her to back off.

My EA rocked my world. But it was a catalyst for change in my life. It got me asking the right questions. The first answers that I came up with were to blame my W. When the denial, anger and hurt subsided and was replaced by guilt, I blamed myself, solely. When I accepted my own faults, I realized that we both made a lot of mistakes.

I want to learn from mine. I want her to learn from hers... but it's not my place to tell her what's "wrong" with her because what is "wrong" with her is simply my view of how she should be... of how I want her to be... of how I need her to be.

That's not fair to her. Above all else, I want her to be happy so I worry about what effect this letter would have on her. It's the raw, naked truth... it's how I feel. I just worry about what it will do to her and I've hurt her enough.
 

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I agree with the intent of the letter and also agree that she needs to see it and digest it at the appropriate time.

My hope and prayer is that your STBXW won't allow the hostile factions of her family to, in any way, prejudice your daughter at any point in time against you.

Provided that this ends amicably, I hope that the two of you can move on to other loves and spouses and make both of your lives complete, more especially for the welfare of your daughter.

You will all continue to remain in my prayers, my friend!
 

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Did you end your EA and cut all contact with the OW?

Seems to me like you wrote a nice little "absolve yourself" of guilt letter. You do know that the harder thing is to actually work things out, not cut and run. So you spent the majority of your adult lives together, and? Marriage is sanctioned codependency, you don't need to know where she ends and you begin, you just need to learn better communication skills, and how to elevate one another. I think giving her that letter will just fill her mind with doubt, if you really do feel the way you write, work your problems out, and save the relationship.
 

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I couldn't finish the letter either time I tried to read it.

Let me outline it in three sentences.

You are forcing a divorce on her. She is leaving the country with your child. You are okay with these facts.

I think she already got the message loud and clear without the letter.
 

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The letter says nothing about your cheating. I couldn't figure out why you were posting it in the coping with infidelity forum until I saw in your responses that you cheated on her.

It sounds like you're dumping her, but the letter has a bit of an "it's not you, it's me" feel to it, from the old Seinfeld TV show.

It's Not You, It's Me - YouTube

I think this sums it up better than your letter:

My EA rocked my world. But it was a catalyst for change in my life. It got me asking the right questions. The first answers that I came up with were to blame my W. When the denial, anger and hurt subsided and was replaced by guilt, I blamed myself, solely. When I accepted my own faults, I realized that we both made a lot of mistakes.

I want to learn from mine. I want her to learn from hers... but it's not my place to tell her what's "wrong" with her because what is "wrong" with her is simply my view of how she should be... of how I want her to be... of how I need her to be.

That's not fair to her. Above all else, I want her to be happy so I worry about what effect this letter would have on her. It's the raw, naked truth... it's how I feel. I just worry about what it will do to her and I've hurt her enough.​

I guess you took all the time to write the letter, you might as well give it to her. Maybe add in somewhere that you are sorry for cheating on her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Did you end your EA and cut all contact with the OW?
Yes, the EA is over though we still have infrequent contact via email (once every few months) and it's always short and related only to work; nothing personal. Because she's a work colleague I can't go complete NC without quitting my job and I've already said that's not on the cards.

Seems to me like you wrote a nice little "absolve yourself" of guilt letter.
I think that you're mistaking genuine affection and empathy with guilt; it feels like my time for guilt is over. I do love my wife, I think that I always will. I just don't feel like it's still my job to take care of her anymore.

I wonder, what is the right thing to do? What is the right thing to say that would not be selfish? Be dishonest? Say nothing? She and I have a child together and my wife wants me to be there. That means that I am going to be a part of both of their lives and vice versa.

TCsRedHead posted that I shouldn't send it and let her go and start a new life. Well, unless she decides to cut me off from our child then I am a part of that new life, though not as involved as I once was.

I don't subscribe to the idea that you must shut someone out of your life and heart when you go your separate ways. I don't think that I need to hide how I feel about them. She is my friend and I love her very much, but it's time that I let her do her own searching.

You do know that the harder thing is to actually work things out, not cut and run.
Is it? I don't know anymore. At what point do you decide that it's time for someone to take care of themselves? To find themselves and their voice?

When she was packing up, I asked if she wanted the dishes and she said that she didn't want them and that she'd get something that was more her. I was so immensely proud of her!

So you spent the majority of your adult lives together, and?
I look back on the good fondly. I look back on the bad in wonder. What things did I do wrong? Why did I do them? When your spouse doesn't offer opinions on anything you are constantly wondering what they want. When you ask them and they don't give you an honest answer, you have to start digging and digging and second guessing and.. and... and...

I don't want to live that way.

Marriage is sanctioned codependency,
Sanctioned by whom? Codependence is destructive, by nature. I don't want to live that way.

In retrospect, our marriage has been codependent.

... you don't need to know where she ends and you begin, you just need to learn better communication skills, and how to elevate one another.
Maybe. But I know who I am without her and I like that person more than I like the person that I am with her.

I think giving her that letter will just fill her mind with doubt, if you really do feel the way you write, work your problems out, and save the relationship.
I don't want to save our relationship. I want my wife to become a whole person, as per my definition, so that I can respect her and want to be with her. Until she is that person, I will love her and support her. But I will not take take care of her anymore; that's her job now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Absolute self absorbed drivel
Sounds like self satisfaction to be honest.
I had to laugh at these because of their inherent hypocrisy. These comments are meant only to offer your judgement.

They offer no advice. They ask no questions that might help me introspect. They are not even on topic.

Granted, I did say that I was looking for thoughts but I had believed that people would implicitly apply that query against what it was that I was struggling with.

Awesome. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It sounds like you're dumping her, but the letter has a bit of an "it's not you, it's me"
Kind of. But my wife has self esteem issues. I'm leaving her and that is going to have an impact on that as it is. I want to highlight the good things about the marriage; about her contributions.

I guess you took all the time to write the letter, you might as well give it to her. Maybe add in somewhere that you are sorry for cheating on her.
I've already said it, many times. And it's in there, I just don't come out and say it.

I have to be careful what I put down on paper as anything that goes to her is admissible in divorce proceedings. And in our country, an EA does not legally constitute infidelity so admitting to 'cheating' would be untrue and damaging beyond belief.

My wife wants our divorce to be amicable but her family is setting up appointments with lawyers, etc, for her. They want my head so I do have to protect myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I can understand now why he was fervently defending cheating as a "mistake" in some of his earlier post.
I do not defend 'cheating' as a mistake. I state that by your own definition, it must be a mistake. But your denial of this simple truism is not the topic of this thread; let's pick that one up in another thread.
 

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Do NOT send that letter, it serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever except maybe to make you feel better.
You're getting a divorce, your wife is well aware of the reasons why, this letter isn't going to be received the way you think it will be.
Please, if you have any feelings left for your wife, you will not send this to her, she knows the marriage is over already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I agree with the intent of the letter and also agree that she needs to see it and digest it at the appropriate time.
Appropriate time... yeah... been wondering about that. I ask myself, rather rhetorically, "what constitutes the right time?"

In some ways, I wonder if waiting for "the right time" isn't just exercising control over a situation.

"Provided that this ends amicably, I hope that the two of you can move on to other loves and spouses and make both of your lives complete, more especially for the welfare of your daughter.

You will all continue to remain in my prayers, my friend![/QUOTE]

Thanks. Oddly, I am not opposed to my wife and I getting back together if we both figure it out. I'm keeping an open mind. But I think it will be years before either of us are even close to being the people that we'd need to be to get there.

I find it sad that, in my head at least, I have to lose my wife for either her to grow to be someone that I'd want to be with or for me to mellow out enough to want to be with her.

I guess there's a chance for us to meet in the middle in the future. But the reality is that we'll probably have both moved on by then... but you never know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Do NOT send that letter, it serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever except maybe to make you feel better.
You're getting a divorce, your wife is well aware of the reasons why, this letter isn't going to be received the way you think it will be.
Please, if you have any feelings left for your wife, you will not send this to her, she knows the marriage is over already.
How do you think it would be received?

And if she knows that the marriage is over already, what harm can it do? What good can it do?
 

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You do not want to give her false hope? And you tell her this?
The last time we talked you said that you were sorry that we weren't able to make it work. I don't think that either one of us are really able to do that right now.
You want her to "move on?"

Why do people want people to move on? After all, it's hard for people to move on when they have a dagger jammed in their back, wouldn't you say?

Don't send this letter. Not to her. Deliver it to the person you wrote it for. You. You wrote the letter to make yourself feel better about yourself.

Have you stopped to consider that perhaps you do not deserve to feel better about yourself, just yet?:scratchhead:
 

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How do you think it would be received?

And if she knows that the marriage is over already, what harm can it do? What good can it do?
I think it would be received as a way for you to placate yourself.
At the end of the day, when you've been asked for a divorce, you really don't need or want to keep hearing more about why your spouse wants to leave you.
She already knows why & she knows about the EA, this letter is not going to serve a worthy purpose for HER.
Better to put this aside, continue what you each have been doing to move on with your lives & to make a clean break.
 
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