Letter to the Other Woman

To the [fortunate/unfortunate] lady that he loves,

I think I figured out your name today. I found a letter that you gave him. Your handwriting, a penned “I love you” written at the end. Your signature. I’m not sure if I’m right, but the picture of you that I found… I can see why he is drawn to you. You are beautiful. You aren’t worn down by childbirth and motherhood and aren’t worn down by marriage to the husband that I had and the husband that you seemingly want. You aren’t worn down by alcoholism, anger and lost dreams.

I can’t stop the loop in my head. This loop that starts at my husband and the life I thought we had. It continues, speeding along a path of destruction. And there you are… a fuzzy face with a vague agenda. I have spent 11 years with a man that you now spend the night with… how long? How long have you known him? Do you think you know him? Do you not wonder how he left a wife and child without looking back?

I wonder what he has told you. What he has shown you. His credit card history shows hotel rooms, expensive restaurants, Broadway shows, social events, concerts. During his last visit, he bought my son and I a frozen family dinner that cost $8.99 and took 27 minutes to heat up. What has he told you? What has he told you about us?

While he was here, he made fun of my weight and got angry with our son. He got bored with us after a few hours and went to watch tv. He criticized the kitchen, the laundry, and the food in the fridge, among other things. But what did he tell you? Is he nice to you? Do you fold clothes the right way?

What do you see in him? The flirtatious man with a daring sense of adventure and humor, with this incredible ability to make you feel like the most special person in a room with a hundred people? Have you seen the man that loves to have fun, but sometimes has a little too much fun? The man that passes out wherever he is, without care or concern where you are or how you’re getting home? Have you found yourself taking care of him every night?

And what is he like behind closed doors with you? He used to sing to me. Sweet lullaby songs while I fell asleep. One of them became our song. We got married to it. We would alternate big spoon and little spoon. He called me during the day about the sweetest things. Does he sing to you? Does he call you before or after he calls me?

Have you seen the man that gets angry if you disagree with him? Angry and bitter if you don’t compliment and admire him when he seeks it? Have you seen the angry drunk that hardly ever thinks he is actually drunk? The man that drives home intoxicated and gets angry at you when you tell him you’re worried?

Have you seen the bigot? The man that uses the “N” word when he talks about a black man? The man that makes fun of both mentally challenged people and people with mental health issues? The man that rolled his eyes when his coworker found out he was dying? The man that makes fun of gay people? Have you cried in front of him? Has he gotten tired of your crying yet? Told you to “man up”?

His hands. They are warm and always searching for your hand, aren’t they? Always there. But have you seen them ball into fists as they punch walls? Have you seen them angrily punch the side of a car when he gets frustrated with you? Has he ever raised his fists at you? He has to me.

Lately I’ve looked at my marriage (what was left of it when he walked out the door) and I wish that he had physically abused me. That he used his fists to punch me and feet to kick me. It would be so much easier. I sit here tonight thinking not about him, but you. I sit here with bruises that no one sees. Broken parts of me that I can’t look at on an x-ray and find validation. The broken pieces are hidden deep in my soul, my heart and my past. He can walk away from this abuse. He can invent a new life and never think of himself as an abuser. But, my dear woman, he is.

His words… they never stopped hurting. He never let up. He always found something, did something, caused something that chipped away at me, bit by bit. After 11 years, I must tell you, there is not much left of myself. I am a broken woman, worn down by years of emotional abuse, alcoholism and selfish anger. And yet I still miss him. And I can’t help but let his mean words into my heart, time and time again. I wasn’t good enough for him, but are you? Are you some magical unicorn that he will treasure, love and be with forever?

I am torn apart by this loop in my head. I continue to be broken by his actions, confused by his mixed messages. My loop begins with him and ends with you. I picture you laughing at my demise. Not knowing my pain or my life, but thinking you know everything. You don’t know what you don’t know. How condescending. How arrogant. How stupid of you. I feel so sorry for you. And I pray for you that the real man is not the man that I know.

Love,

His wife