You made me your wife, then forced this cliché on me. The weight of your freedom has lifted a burden I didn’t feel. I used to sleep in your arms, rocked to sleep and startled awake by the rhythm of your snores. You are gone now, and our children shuffle between homes like cattle being forced by the pressure of all of this freedom you needed. When they are gone, the silence is a solid pressure, breaking the peace of the night with the desolation of being alone. Moment to moment, there is joy and bliss and sorrow. When they are with me, the regressing child we once thought too independent needs comfort and snuggles. When he is gone, my vibrator sleeps next to me. I’ve awakened a desire I had nearly forgotten in the busy bustle of being a single mom while being your wife. I didn’t feel the depression that made me tired. I didn’t see the lack of energy as a wallowing in sorrow. It wasn’t until you left that I was able to breathe and the tasks of motherhood that felt like oppression began to feel like peace and presence.
I wore my wedding band for most of the 11 months since you told me you were done with the shell of a marriage that was the world to me. Taking it off on Valentine’s Day was no longer about making you hurt, but allowing myself to heal. It came off of my finger and settled in my jewelry box sometime after I bought myself flowers. I wore that ring through nearly half of my life. I wore it through the life that was ushered into our family and as we mourned the loss of those that left us. It was part of the dishes and laundry and gardening barefoot as I ripped weeds out in frustration and tears while you left me to sob under the sun – not knowing and not caring. I took off your ring and began gnawing at my nails and the skin around my fingers. My mouth worried about the loss of its protection. I was once someone’s wife. I was once someone’s love. Now rejected and abandoned, I am my own person and that person scares me.
Without my ring on, I feel the eyes of other men with a weight. It is never just a look anymore but an assessment. Rejecting the men who can not quite see that I am out of their league is easy. The looks and admiration of a man I might want to get to know are what terrify me. When we met, I was running through men, trying to find something I would only see in myself after our first child. I was searching for more than anyone could offer – even you. I went from bed to bed in search of a feeling that I only felt when I was alone, but was too insecure to realize I could be enough. You were the only person outside of myself to give me an orgasm and now that I know what those gifts can feel like, my impulse control is in trouble. It was easier to wear your beaten up band of gold as a weapon or excuse against advances. It was easier to hide behind the covenant vows you broke. Taking the ring off of my finger means I am no longer spoken for but required to speak for myself. I had to decide that I am not ready to date. It’s not just that I’m still married to you and would like to continue knowing I was always a faithful wife. It’s that the carnal knowledge we grew to learn about each other calls to me from other men. I would love to feel passion take control of my body and leave me with only sensation. I miss controlling how far I could push you before you lost yourself to my power over your sex. I’m not the girl you met. I’m not the person you accepted. I’ve changed and would like to take things slow, but I know right now I’m not capable of that. So right now I’m not dating, and for the first time in almost a year, it has nothing to do with you. My ring is staying off and maybe one day I’ll be ready to divorce you, or you’ll finally release me.
Loving you less,