I am writing this letter to let you know that I am leaving. Although I have been thinking about this for quite some time, the new year has inspired me to act on my unhappiness. I don’t know that this letter will really mean anything to you, but I think I am writing for selfish reasons. I want to believe that I tried to communicate with you one last time. The last 20 years have been incredibly difficult. The sad part is that I don’t believe you will understand what I am about to say, even after having been my partner for more than two decades.
I am leaving because I am weary of not being happy – of settling for just existing. I am leaving because in 20 years I don’t believe we have ever had an honest two-way conversation. You have always been quick to tell me what I should be doing or thinking, but never wanted to hear what was really happening with me. In all of this time that we have been married, you don’t know anything about me. For that alone I am leaving. The maid has quit. The cook is gone. The bedroom companion has left the room.
Relationship experts constantly offer the advice of communicating with your partner. What they don’t tell you is that your partner has to be willing to listen. I don’t mean hearing someone talk, I mean really listen. It is painful to bare your soul to someone, only to have them dismiss your feelings as being wrong, or emotional, or insincere. Communication has to go both ways for real connection to occur. Unfortunately for our marriage, I don’t think you have ever been honest and open with me. I’m not even sure that you know how.
Whether you have the ability to really connect with another person is no longer my problem. That is a path for you to walk without me. I have my own issues that need resolution – the first of which is learning to love and care for me. What I have learned from being with you is this … I can’t expect anyone else to truly love me if I don’t truly love me. In essence, folks will follow my lead with regard to how to treat me. (“You teach people how to treat you”, my mother used to say.) I am leaving to learn how to teach.
I wish you all the best, John. I hope that you find happiness. I am leaving to find my own happiness, wherever that may be. Happy New Year!