Dear ExP

It was good to talk to you yesterday and I glad that we did not end up shouting at one another too much. I’m pleased you have some plans and some possibilities of work in the future. I hope things do start to ‘come good for you’.

The experience did however cement in my mind that however much I might miss you, I cannot go backward. We clearly can’t live together whilst my kids are at home. Your rules and expectations are so very different from mine, and what I regard as a normal and relaxed family atmosphere – something which is desperately important to me, makes you recoil in horror.

My Children – anyone’s children – are not objects to be shunted out of the way because they are annoying. They are young adults who I am responsible for and that means interacting with them, talking to them, watching TV with them, cooking with them, spending time mooching with them. To me that’s normal. Everyone has some private space – its called a bedroom. Adults have a TV and a private bathroom in that bedroom. children do not.

Its clear that even after 6 weeks living apart , and knowing what the consequences  are, you still can’t be even vaguely civil to B. You are angry that you are living in unfavorable circumstances, but can make no compromises that might mean things could be different. You are quite certain that B is a ‘bad ‘un’ and will fuck up my life but you don’t seem to see that I have responsibilities as his parent, that do not stop just because he behaves in a way I do not like, and those responsibilities are certainly not void because you ‘think/ know’ that he will behave badly in the future.

What you seem to miss in all that is that I could not live comfortably with myself if I behaved other than the way I believe to be right, with respect to my children. I would never know peace of mind again if I treat them in a way I believe to be wrong. Literally. (I don’t believe you could be easy in yourself if you knowingly treated your children in a way you believed or KNEW would be bad for them. Luckily you haven’t had to make those choices) . …I could never, ever truly know peace again, because I would know I had done a great wrong. Like if I killed someone. How would I ever have contentment again. My life would be wrecked. so it is not a  CHOICE between you and B. It’s between right and wrong. And I cannot knowingly chose to do wrong.

So by your persistent, unrepentant and completely rigid view of how it is appropriate to treat B / all the children, you have put me in an impossible situation. I either treat my children in a way that I believe in my heart to be wrong (actively wrong) , or I lose my partner (sad, and painful and difficult) . And nothing has changed has it ? nor will it change

You don’t see your role in it. You don’t / won’t (not sure which) see the totally impossible situation you put me into.

I think I was Hoping, almost expecting that you WOULD see that, would be willing to change, and that there would somehow be a way back, but it has not really happened has it ?!

I know you ExP. I’ve lived with you for almost 6 years, I know your insecurities, your anxieties, your scars. I know that you are damaged by things that have happened in the past, and where you are hurt.  That where you find yourself is not where you want to be. I know trust is hard for you. I know you don’t always mean to come over as harsh and critical as you do.  I know you are embarrassed and ashamed of having no income. I tried to help. I really,really did. But I cannot be the only adult. I cannot carry the whole weight of knowing this, making allowances for it, not being allowed to discuss it, knowing you will see our relationship finish before you will demean yourself to get a paying job, knowing you will insult abuse and frighten me before you will discuss these things.  I’m carrying all that. I’m seeing all the unfinished jobs, I’m seeing how much Netflix you watch. I’m seeing that you do not have – or did not have the fire, the motivation to DO anything; that it was too easy, too comfortable to digest for an hour after lunch every day. And after almost 6 years I just cannot do it anymore.

and yes I do have my lazy days. And days when I do fuck all. But I pay my bills first

NOW you will do a decorating job for someone, NOW you will do stuff that will earn money to support you. But whilst you were living with me it was ‘I cost nothing’ and ‘shut up you stupid bitch’ . That’s just NOT ok. You sound regretful now, as though you didn’t realise I felt ‘that bad’  but I can’t think what wake up call would it have Taken FOR YOU TO do SOMETHING DIFFERENT ?  in the last year you have been told so many times. In words, in texts, in emails. You left the house for two weeks; and against my better judgement I changed my mind about that…But still you change nothing, do nothing different, earn nothing. , just get meaner and meaner to B.  and get more and more vociferous to me about what a waster and a loser he is. Whilst I am trying to get me and the kids out of the door in the morning. you are lying in bed berating me about how shit my eldest child is!  I mean, really ? I have to put up with this REALLY ? why ?

I actually wonder if you behaved that badly to see how far you could push me? to see if I have ANY self respect left. Maybe you wanted it finished but didn’t have the balls to do it yourself so you just treated me worse and worse  – knowing that surely one day she will break. Because truly ExP, your behavior has been appalling. In so many different ways. Just appalling. I loved you anyway. You know I did, and you know that I still do. But I can’t live with you and my children. I did and do appreciate the support you gave me, especially during my divorce – taking me to and from mediation sessions and helping me stay calm and focused. I have tried to also be supportive of your plans and needs.

That girl you talked about who sells paintings. Who is at her studio from 8am -12 midnight. That’s commitment and dedication. Yes, she will make it, because she puts her soul into it and works bloody hard. That’s what it takes to make it as a self employed artist. Not 26 series of Dexter and a set of vague plans for maybe one day.

so. We cant go back. we have to go forward. It seems to me there are three options. 1, we cut all contact except that related to our mutually owned dog and work out some schedule in relation to her 2. We cut the relationship and continue with sporadic contact as ‘friends’ – 3. we try to make a relationship work living in separate places.

I don’t have an answer. Do you?


  1. Good job! And you do have the answer somewhere within you. Wouldn’t it be something if part of eldest child’s undesirable behaviors are a result of living with a lazy toxic man in the house? That would be a kick in his starving artist pants.

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  2. Good for you, Lily! I know I stayed in my first marriage too long. My need for emotional security is so much stronger than my need for financial security. Because I felt loved, pretty and safe, I ignored the bigger picture. Sounds like your need for that might be big too. When the emotional security is in place it’s so hard to see letting go of it, even if it’s ultimately healthier. You will find that security again someday, but not until/unless you let go of this one. And if you stay with exP afterall, just keep your self-respect as a part of the deal. He would have to change. “Stupid Bitch” just doesn’t fly. I admire your strength to separate yourself from this. I remember my therapist saying “you can always get remarried but the two of you must go through divorce or nothing will change”. Then, I opened myself up to new things, found someone much healthier for me and never went back. Hugs.

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