It’s been three years since I told my husband that I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t feel alone in our relationship. I didn’t want our family home to be treated like a resort – the place he came when he wanted to get away from his life. We should have been his life. I couldn’t live with the resentment.
But I also didn’t want to live without him. I’ve lived with anger and resentment from that day on.
When I gave J an ultimatum, most me really thought he would change. How could he not? I was his wife. F was his son. We were a family. We had been trying to get pregnant. When he let our relationship end that day sitting in my car, a heaviness crept in.
I lost more than thirty pounds in the two months that followed, and another fifteen after that. I’ve kept it off for three years.
But my biggest weight loss success came last week.
After months of phone calls, emails and meetings with my lawyer the day had come: an interim hearing, the fruit of my efforts when I finally filed an interim motion requesting relief and a parenting plan. I didn’t want to make J’s life difficult, I just wanted to protect myself as F’s mom. I wanted to protect F.
I sat in the waiting room at the family courthouse trying to hide my nervous shake from my father, who sat quietly next to me in the way that only Dads can do. And then I saw him. J walked in, and I was bombarded by emotions I don’t even have words to begin to describe. I looked away, took a deep breath, and willed the tears in my eyes to go away. I looked back at him.
“Can I give you a hug?” I asked, almost without realizing I was speaking. It was the first time I’d seen him in almost two and a half years. I just didn’t know what else to say.
I handed him my phone and welcomed him to look at the photos of F. His son. Our son. I babbled about F’s likes and dislikes as our lawyers looked on uncomfortably. My lawyer would later tell me she’d never seen parents sit together before a court appearance. She told me she typically called a sheriff if she saw the petitioner and respondent communicating.
But I didn’t want to fight. We never fought – why would we start now?
We planned to get a drink that evening to talk. We did. We chatted and laughed and reminisced and apologized and talked about the future, whatever it may hold.
And then I forgave him. It was like having 100 pounds lifted off my shoulders.
Forgiveness is a powerful thing. In the moment I decided I didn’t want to be angry any more, I lost one hundred pounds – instantly. I lost the anger and the resentment and the sadness and the disappointment.
I’m planning to keep that weight off, too.