An Open “Dear John” Letter (on behalf of jilted ex-spouses everywhere…)

Mikalee in bed...typing...drinking

Yip, looks about right: In bed, wearing jammies, wine in one hand, typing with the other...

You’ve all heard of a “Dear John” letter, right? Well, while doing research for this blog post, I was fascinated alarmed intrigued disgusted to discover that the iconic letter in which a woman unceremoniously dumps a man probably originated in World War II. I can only imagine it went something like this:


Dear John:

Sorry ’bout your luck and all, but I’ve found a less duty-bound, totally hot boy with a fiercely rockin’ body to distract me from how much I miss you as you’re off eradicating evil and saving the free world.

Bye now.

P.S. Please watch out for that stray bullet, as a broken heart is a much better way to die. Or so I’ve heard.


Your Heartless Future Ex


So this is a small, itty-bitty, teensy-weensy variation of a Dear John letter, with the following differences:

  1. This isn’t between a wife and her husband. It’s between me and my ex (and all of you. How intimate!).
  2. I’m not leaving him; instead, John left me a few years ago … and sent his message with a brick, not a letter.
  3. I’m not heartless.
  4. He’s not a war hero.
  5. OK, you got me: The only similarity between a typical “Dear John” letter and this letter is that his name is John. Well, kinda — at least for the purposes of this blog, it is. And stop looking that up on Google, people…I see you out there, doing your sly little Google searches for “John Byerman.” Well guess what: Byerman is my maiden name, and his name SO isn’t John!
  6. So really, there aren’t any similarities between this and a “Dear John” letter. Except that it starts with the words “Dear John.” But isn’t that enough?

And now, here it is: My Open Dear John letter, which I’m writing on behalf of all jilted ex-spouses out there…even and perhaps especially for the most recent ex-spouses making headlines, those of the now-infamous John Partilla and Carol Anne Riddell (…and you can check out my most popular blog post to date about this quaint little topic here).

There seems to be a common societal consensus prescribing that we ex-spouses must go away, disappearing into our assumed but frequently absent self-pity and bitterness, repressing all the feelings that we actually have every right to express. So let’s uncork these bottled emotions and find closure that was never given to us. Let’s take it upon ourselves to speed healing, to give voice to the voiceless, to end a chapter in a manner befitting the situation.

Plus, my therapist told me to do this. So there. (And there I go with that silly hyperbole again…)


Dear John:

I am over you.

I’d like to say it yet again, just in case you didn’t catch that über-
powerful, uncharacteristically succinct, 4-monosyllabic-word sentence:

I’m so clearly, totally, completely, amazingly, thoroughly, whole-heartedly, alarmingly, utterly over you.

There, 13 words (one for each year we were together), lots with multiple syllables — is that better?

I’m so over you, that in fact I am grateful to you. Remember that day when you nobly told me that someday, I’d look back and realize that what you did was the “right thing”? Well, I’m there. Mission accomplished. Thank you for leaving me.

And I mean that.

I am happier now, and I am much more engaged in life. Of course, I was happy and engaged with you — but this is a different level of happiness and engagement… a deeper level. A more fulfilling level. I do the things I want without fear of judgment. I am the person I want to be without fear of judgment.

I have found my voice, my true character, my inherent me-ness that had been obscured by assimilating myself into the person I thought you wanted me to be from the moment we met (at the ripe old age of 20) forward.

In short, my me-ness is thriving without your you-ness in my life. And I have to thank you for that. In my 1.0 version, I was nowhere near as fun, or edgy, or totally awesome, or — and here’s the most important improvement — even close to as good a mom.

But while I thank you for introducing me to Me 2.0, I don’t thank you for the way you chose to do it — I deserved better. I deserved closure, a chance to fully appreciate and understand the nuances of your pain, guilt, remorse, sadness, unhappiness. I deserved a man who would respect me, acknowledge that I never saw this coming, be grateful for the 1/3 of my life that I happily devoted to him and give me an appropriate ending.

Not a brick. And not the poison and disrespect you are spewing, post-brick.

Yes, your betrayal instantly shattered me, but I have largely recovered from that (save a few trust issues that will probably never heal, but that’s my baggage, and I totally own that). But after the initial devastation, I had no idea that the worst was yet to come. In short, I hadn’t seen nuthin’ yet.

When you first left, I kept encountering people who recoiled in disbelief as I told them we were on the path to divorce. I’ve never in my life heard us described so frequently and vehemently and boisterously and urgently as “that couple.”


John and Mik

There's "that couple" in John's favorite wedding pic. Clearly, he's miserable here...

Which, loosely translated, meant: “Shut the fuck up…he so did not leave you!”

But leave me you did, and when I’d explain that (and after dismissing rumors of, said in your best Ah-nold impersonation, “the tu-mah” — which many still believe you have, given the 180-degree shift in your personality, likes, priorities, etc.), I found comfort in knowing we’d be “that couple,” post divorce — which loosely translated to “You = good dad. I = good mom. We = good healthy co-parenting uncoupled couple focused on our children, who = AMAZING in every way.”

Guess what? I = way wrong about that.

In our days post-divorce, I have met two different people, which, in the spirit of Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat (a personal favorite of our kids), we’ll hereinafter refer to as “John 1” and “John 2.”

John 1 looks much like the old John, the John I spent 13 years with: funny, witty, focused on the kids, engaged, respectful of me as a parent, etc. He makes frequent appearances during workdays and when out of earshot of certain extraneous influences who shall remain nameless.

John 2, however, is nervous — even suspicious. He avoids me, cuts short conversations about the kids, throws around silly justifications for crazy behaviors (“We are a we?” I mean…really????).

John 1, sadly, seems a victim of a most horrific fate: The watchful, scary, crazy, vengeful gaze of a certain watchful, scary, crazy, vengeful rock-star doppelganger. Clearly in her presence, John 1 repeatedly meets his demise, and John 2 cheerfully, dutifully assumes the role.

Now, please don’t get me wrong: I can only imagine the pressure you are under every day in your new marriage. You destroyed your first marriage for another woman, and she destroyed her first marriage for you, and these are the kinds of actions that leave an indelible question mark in even the most secure of new/old/new/old lovers (did I get that number of transitions right? Even I’ve lost track…).

Really, though, you’re a match made in heaven — if your version of heaven happens to be characterized by suspicion, mistrust, duplicity, treachery and doubt.

Oh, and betrayal. Can’t leave that one out.

And in addition to the swirling question marks in your head, I’m quite sure you’re also now in the midst of a far different kind of relationship. Whereas you and I were fairly equally matched intellectually, well…let’s just say I can appreciate your new “challenge” in that regard. But I can also see where that disparity is attractive to you as a manly man, needing to be worshiped, needing to recapture your glory years with your supposedly once-hot cheerleader girlfriend.

So I get it now: You needed to escape to your past, you needed to assert your superiority over your wife, you needed to have someone bend over — ahem — backwards to accommodate your career, passions and hobbies.

It’s like a classic Goldilocks tale, only instead of porridge, you have wives: I was too hot (metaphorically speaking, of course). She is just right. And I’m happy for your happy ending.

If you needed the luke-warm lover, though, you should have known better that wasn’t who I was. You had enough time — we dated for three years before marriage, after all. You should have known by then — and really, from the beginning — that I was a force, that I had passion and fire, that I dream big and have giant ambitions and won’t settle for a life of playing the dutiful wife who is subservient to her masterful man.

Um. Yeah. That’s SO not me.

But I get it now. So please, enjoy your life. Run back to your old home, run in your same small circles, run for the rest of your life away from the suspicion in her eyes as she runs from the doubt in yours.

But before you get too carried away with all that running, understand something about my character: I was so desperately sad as I drafted my legal documents after you served me with yours, as mine clearly, undeniably illustrated the many questionable parental judgments you have exhibited over the years. But despite the fact that much of this content used your own words to illustrate your cavalier disregard for my concerns, I was still sad to be hurting a man who is the father of my children, and I recognized during the writing of these documents that our relationship would never, ever be the same. I was closing a door forever, and that broke my heart. Again.

Why didn’t your heart ever break out of sadness for what you did to a woman who trusted you implicitly? And why didn’t decency take over before you decided to take me to court to take my children away for longer periods of time, to second-guess my judgments when it comes to our children, to stop me from being able to express myself using the very means I’ve always used as a professional writer (and that are inherently available to every U.S. citizen)?

Where is the man who feared our son was forever broken the day he fell head-first into your office chair in the loft? Where is the man who took turns with me nightly reading Hop on Pop and Green Eggs and Ham to our growing, crazy-smart children? Where is the man who craved our illicit dressing room trysts, told me I had Disneyland Electrical Parade princess eyes, who declared nightly that his heart beat for me?

Where is the man who, moments before he left me forever, wrote these words:

Note from John before he left

John, I forgive you, and I am over you. But you have broken my heart yet again. While I forgive you for leaving me, I will never forgive you for trying to drive a wedge between me and our children.

With(out) love…sincerely, but still respectfully,



Dear readers: Now it’s your turn. What did you always want to say to your ex that you never had the chance to say? Leave highlights from your own Dear John/Marilyn messages below, if you’re brave enough…

75 thoughts on “An Open “Dear John” Letter (on behalf of jilted ex-spouses everywhere…)

  1. mynakedbokkie says:

    Shoo wee- that could leave a lump in your throat…. well done!
    Honestly, i dont think i would have anything to say to an ex. I think i burn the bridges so badly, that i loose all the memories too. Perhaps i would ask one or two of them if in fact they ever loved me?

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I think I’m a big fan of burned bridges and faded memories…must be a whole lot easier than a continuing connection!

      As for love … well, I’m beginning to believe that’s a relative term. I’m quite sure people always think they love the people with whom they share an intimate relationship, I’m just not sure that we all experience love in the same way.

      Thanks so much for the comment! 🙂

  2. Celeste says:

    I think I write my “Dear John” letter in my head almost every day! But it always ends, similar to yours, with a “thank you for showing me your true colors so I can move on with my life.” Followed promptly with a “Go F*** yourself.” lol!

    Love your blog, btw. It’s vindicating for me to live vicariously through you.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I’m so glad you’re reading and enjoying the vicarious connection, Celeste! I think those of us who’ve “been there, done that” need to stick together.

      And I’m totally with you: I couldn’t be more grateful for the fact that my ex left … and I have to be grateful for the relationship as well, because without him, I wouldn’t have my two amazing children.

      But the ability to say “Go eff yourself” is a good thing…and often, a necessary thing!


  3. The Maniac says:

    Good night, my friend.
    I came here to absorb the knowledge that you provide on this blog. I’m so glad to find this blog and read interesting articles.
    Nice to visit here. Next time I will come back.

    My greetings.
    Good luck!

  4. KC says:

    Thanks for sharing. My divorce was huge turning point for me in my life in terms of personal growth. I wonder how I could have become the person I am today without having gone through that experience. It makes me sad for what might have been, and happy for the opportunity for all the growth. If we never divorced how could this growth have happened?

    I wish you luck in your journey, especially in regard to raising your children. It’s hard enough to parent when you’re working as a team with your partner, infinitely harder when your partner and his questionable influence are completely at odds with you. I do believe the passion, intelligence and wit that you share with us will serve you in good stead. Thanks again…

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Thank you, KC…your comment truly shows how much you “get it.”

      I am FAR better off for having gone through what I’ve gone through. We are ALL far better off for having gone through what we’ve gone through. But that doesn’t make it any easier, or the pain any more tolerable. It just gives us perspective that ultimately, we’re fortunate for having successfully navigated the hardest roads in our lives.

  5. Heidi says:

    Well, just so happens an ex-boyfriend of mine from 14+ years ago has recently been in touch via Facebook and then a phone call. Below is the letter (with names and places changed to protect everyone’s privacy) I sent to him via Facebook last week, after he called me and we chatted for the first time in more than 14 years. I guess I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to say what I wanted and needed to say to my exes…even if it took more than a decade in some cases.
    “Dear ‘John’, Just taking a few minutes from ‘my workday’ to trip out on talking to you today. 14 years since you left ‘Los Angeles’ for ‘Portland’…it was not a happy parting of ways, at least on my end, and in my bruised condition I think I said something embarrassingly forgettable, like “Have a nice life.” In spite of the anger and hurt behind those words, I am thinking you have been having a nice life and I am very happy for you in that…really and truly. Mine has been good, too…ups and downs, but the ups are winning. I did in fact grow up (except I am still a total dork that laughs and smiles too much at dumb stuff), which is something I really needed to do last time I saw you. I can’t believe what a baby I was when we were together…21 years old and painlessly clueless. I wasn’t so clueless as to not realize what a kind and gentle soul you are and to appreciate your presence in my life. I still have all of the letters and notes you wrote me and have pulled them out once in a while over the years to remind me. I am grateful to be able to look back on our time together without any bitterness and such that many people have about their previous relationships. If you do make it to ‘Chicago’ in the spring, you are welcome to look through them, if you would like…no keeping though, as they go back into my file of good memories.
    Love to you!
    With all that said, I was certainly much more bitter 14-15 years ago, when he finally left town after a year plus of breaking up. He was the person I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with, in spite of all of our differences and some suspected infidelity on his part. Both of us are better off today than I think either of us would have guessed back them. I feel so fortunate to mostly have good exes that I love and appreciate still, perhaps because of who we both are and the lack of children in the mix. I can’t even imagine all the possibilities for negative outcomes.
    This post was painful for me to read and think about the kind of hurt your John caused you and continues to inflict upon you. I wish you the continued ability to embrace all the goodness in your life, in spite of the Johns and other influences.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Heidi … what an amazing opportunity to reconnect with someone meaningful to you! This is one of the many reasons I heart Facebook. But (and let me know if you disagree here), it’s also one of the reasons Facebook can be a little dangerous. Never before as a society have we had such direct access to formerly meaningful people. I have many friends who’ve reconnected with long-lost loves (some while in relationships with others…ick).

      Not to say this is in any way reflective of your experience, as it sounds like your situation was all very above-board, genuine and most importantly, cathartic.

      So what was his response? He was the one who reached out to you, right…what precipitated that? Did he feel guilty for how things were left? Just curious…

      Thank you for sharing!

      • Heidi says:

        Mikalee, Here is John’s response:

        “you’ll always be a presence in my life. i had so much fun and growth with you. ill never forget the christmas eve i spent alone in ‘that mountain cabin’ until you and abby (whos great big rotweiler was that anyway?) came to stay with me that xmas day. actually, one of the best holidays looking back now. thanks to you. no worries hun, i was soo stubborn and our relationship ended too abruptly in relation to the time and experiences we shared.
        enough on our past, im proud of you now. i enjoy looking at your pictures. thank you..’

        He did make the initial contact on FB and made the effort to call me. His motivation is certainly feeling bad for walking away from someone that was so important to him (me). He is married with two kids in another state. His wife is a woman he met in ‘Portland’ after leaving me in ‘LA’…they have been together for almost 15 years and seem to be very happy together. As you know, I am recently married and very happy with my partner. Both of our partners are totally aware of the contact we are having with one another and I would not hesitate to let my partner read any of the FB messages John and I have used to communicate.

        I agree, that this situation has the potential to lead to the slippery slope of adultery, but that is so not me and I will back off, hold back, do whatever is necessary to protect my family. If my partner was uncomfortable with my contact with John, I would stop communicating with him. It is that simple…my current partner is the one I am committed to.

        • Mikalee Byerman says:

          Heidi … good for you for doing things the “right” way. Seriously … the steps you’ve taken and would be willing to take definitely show your commitment to your partner as well as your eyes-wide-open awareness of what could happen … if you were a different kind of person.

          I don’t know, I’m really beginning to think there may be a cheating gene, and you clearly don’t seem to have it. And nor do I. But many — many do… 😦

  6. Indie Mom says:

    Great letter. It so mirrors my own experience. One thing I’ve learned through my husband’s infidelity, and in trying to come to an understanding as to why he will not reach out to me to co-parent at all (and is estranged from two of his children) is that he simply doesn’t know how to have a relationship with his lover and with me at the same time. He has to choose because of his own guilt. And he chooses her .. the one who gives him all the kudos in the world every day and all day instead of me .. the one who gives him giant doses of reality about parenting our children, finances, divorce, etc. He can’t even look at me in the eyes.

    Anyway .. I’ve written a handful of ‘Dear John’ letters this past year while my soon-to-be ex has completely ignored me. They have been my attempts to heal. I’ve learned that his lack of response have been his continued attempts to control and hurt me. Here are a few tidbits:

    “Of all that has gone on the one thing that hurts me the most, and deeply saddens me, is that you supposedly have found love with another woman. You claim she listens to you and accepts you for who you are. You tell her your woes and how you haven’t felt loved for 20+ years, and she tells you her woes about being beat up by an ex husband. And God knows what you have shared regarding our children and me and our life. I shudder to think about what this woman knows. It causes me to be physically ill and violated on so many levels — spiritually, emotionally, and sexually.

    I think about my attempts to speak to her and how discreet I tried to be. She was so disrespectful and mean to me, mocking what I do for a living, calling me delusional and telling me that she’s the only woman you’ve ever truly loved, and then immediately thereafter you chose to take her call over mine where she told you I verbally abused her. I will never forget that, yet I’ve come to realize how foolish and stupid I was to even give her 1 minute of my time. One breath of my day. One word from my brilliant mind. It now disgusts me that I stooped to her level. That a woman of my education, my caliber and quality, inner and outer beauty, actually reached out to speak with someone like her in an attempt to save my marriage and family from public embarrassment.

    Your relationship with her destroyed our marriage. It destroyed the respect and admiration your children had for you. Yet you chose to keep it going after being ‘discovered’. You chose not to co-parent. You forfeited building a new relationship with me — your best friend of 30 years — to stay with someone else you barely know.

    I wonder if I will ever know what it feels like to not have a lump in my throat, an ache in my heart, tears in my eyes, blotchy skin, to be haunted in my dreams at night by you and her laughing at me, or what it feels like in the morning when I first wake up in initial peace and then the heaviness of a reality you forced upon me invades my mind and heart. Yet every day I have risen out of bed, gone to work, taken care of our children, taken care of the home, put forth huge efforts to say kind things to you about our children while inside I wanted to puke.”

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Wow, Indie Mom…mirrored experiences indeed. Your letter sounds like one of the handful I also exchanged with my future ex as we were in the process of finalizing the divorce.

      The thing that resonated most strongly with me was your feelings of betrayal at the “shared experience” between your future ex and the other woman. It used to haunt me knowing the “other woman” in my reality knew anything at all about me, my family, my former life with the ex … and especially that she knew only what my future ex at the time was saying, which of course was 180 degrees from reality. In my experience, because my ex and the other woman were high school sweethearts from 13 years previous, he had to justify the lapse in their own relationship by creating this bizarre alternate reality that we were miserable and I was this horrible, heavy-handed, manipulative person. Only I (well, and all of our friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, etc.) knew how close we were — that we were the best of friends and “that couple” that would never divorce. Or so we all thought.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here. And yes, his lack of response is a way to exert control, and most likely somewhat of a reflection of his deep-seated guilt as well. I know it brings little comfort, but one day you may reflect and realize that he “got it” more than you thought … that he understood the depth of your pain and knew his role in inspiring it. Until then, keep healing…one day at a time.

  7. haroldwoodcrafting says:

    The road to forgiveness can be long and hard but getting there is good. Forgiveness is a choice we all have to make for any hurt that comes our way. Being human we don’t forget the hurt, but the forgiving part, helps us to move on. It seems you are on that road and it may still be a long one with its tough times.
    Great post though!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I think I’ve mentioned it before on this blog, but there is an old Irish proverb that reads, “A grudge is a beautiful thing.” There’s a part of me that believes that — and then a part of me that knows forgiveness is the higher, healthier road.

      However, I truly believe there are simply some things in life that are unforgivable. I forgive him for leaving me, I really do — how can I not when I know I’m better off for it? But the ongoing game playing through my children, the inherent disrespect for me, the loyal and honest woman who brought two amazing souls into the world on his behalf — I don’t know if forgiveness exists for that. But I’m trying…every single day, I try…

  8. BrokenPicker says:

    Indie, your last paragraph just broke my heart all over again. Especially the part about waking up. At least you have your children with you tot take care of, and I know that can be overwhelming on your own, but in the end, it is the better blessing for you and them both. As a step-parent, I do not have much recourse in this area…..

    “So I’ll take what I can get, and then, and then, she’ll look at me w/those big brown eyes and say….. you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.”

    My divorce is still too fresh to comment much on this entry. I’m just not there yet. Thank you for sharing it though, Mikalee.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      BrokenPicker, I can certainly understand that you’re not there yet…just keep this in mind as a “someday” exercise to exorcise those final demons.

      It really does help to put words on paper (or on monitor) and see them in all of their black-and-white glory: Your healing, in front of you, in real life. This is one of the reasons I heart my blog, and also a reason I heart the writing process as a means of reaching greater understanding of all that is going on internally.

      I wish you continued healing, my friend…

  9. jiltedjenny says:

    Wow. This is powerful and I love it.

    My (almost X) and I broke up almost 2 years ago. He had the torrid affair at work (everyone found out about it) and I was the last to know. I took him back and begged him to work on our marriage and stay with the family — and he did for awhile…only to go back to her. I caught him and told him it was over after nearly 20 years of marriage (plus 4 dating prior to that). Very painful, yet I am glad we called it off. His girlfriend wanted him full time and I am happy to say that he realized what a psycho she was and kept her away from our family. Today we are successful separated parents doing everything we can for our son and trying like hell to be friends and support each other. I’m proud of what we are trying to become in our post-marriage era and happy the new women in his life have not (yet) taken over. Wish me more of that and trying to get back in the saddle in 2011. I am no where near ready to date, although I may get there, who knows.

    Your blog is awesome and am really enjoying your attitude toward taking back. I too believe its important to live life without others judging and inching you into a corner. I find a lot of freedom in your thoughts and what you are doing here. F**k that guy — he knew the moment he left you his life would never be the same and I’m glad you are no longer silent.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Oh how I wish my ex and I could find your successful path: to be honest co-parents, to focus on the important thing (children), to be respectful of one another. Any tips you’d like to share in that regard?

      Sadly, ultimately, it comes down to a solid effort on both parts. And whereas I’ve done EVERYTHING in my power to try (and have all the emails to prove it, which was a significant portion of my 277-page counter motion that I filed in response to my ex attempting to change custody and stop my blog), it’s clear he’s not interested in dedicating the necessary effort.

      Good luck moving forward, jiltedjenny. In terms of getting back in the saddle, you’ll get there when you get there — or you won’t, and you’ll be ok with that too. I recently read an article on the Huffington Post divorce site about how “Are you dating yet?” is one of the most annoying post-divorce questions, because it implies that you’re not healthy or normal if you’re not. It’s just an assumption that, of course, you’ll be dating again! But in reality, some women (and men) simply choose not to go down that path for a long, long time. And that’s ok.

      I hope you keep us posted on your journey!

  10. Young dad says:

    *laughs* I won’t go into great detail.

    But I wish I’d told her to go jump off a rather large building.

    Of course I’d say that then. But now? I’d thank her. I’d write her a letter telling her how much better off I am. How much happier. I’d also laugh a little that she is alone and most likely sleeping with half of our old romping grounds.

    So I’d just say thank you.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Ah, the high road indeed, Young dad…


      Clearly you know how better off you are now. But that swan-dive-from-a-large-building directive is awfully tempting in those early days, isn’t it?

  11. Gvanguard says:

    First off BRAVO! Now ahem, my cordial thank you for the opportunity of voicing my own self.
    Dear Jane,
    I would like to start this off by saying thank you for such a wonderful little boy that we created together. He’s smart, going to be a handsome little devil, and will make his family proud in all that he does.
    I regret to inform you that I’m done and over you, have been since before my last deployment to Iraq, although you still had a piece of me. Read that again as saying “he’s over me.” Right then, beginning with my first and probably more formative deployment, you chose to do things the wrong way, especially when I definitely needed your support, it hurt to hear the words, “I’m busy,” so often. It hurt to come home to a broken home and my son tells me that he’s been very scared since I left, and it broke my heart to hear from my parents how you left him their for the summer as we agreed with no more than 6 phone calls for a whole summer.
    That was not the person I knew to be my wife or mother. I calmly accepted the legion of liquor bottles you had displayed, the lack of money in our bank account, and the fact that you had new friends.
    I tell you Jane, you could have just said no! I don’t want a Marine as a husband, I don’t want to worry, to not see you, to have you be away from me for long periods of time. But you said you were up to it. You said you would use the services that the Marine
    Corps provides, the counseling, the free phone cards. But you finished that off come the end of my second deployment.
    I came home, you weren’t even there. I had to call and remind you to come pick me up. So after your DWI, I had resolved to give you something called love, and you dumped it on to the trash and left it there.
    I thank you for making me the person I am today. I’m happy. I don’t live in a chaotic world of your design, I’m no longer mentally abused by you, and dammit I feel GREAT.
    I wish you the best of luck in your world.
    Thanks so much for letting me have this moment.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I am so glad you’ve taken this moment, Gvanguard. Your letter is beyond moving and breaks my heart…but I can’t tell you how happy I am that you have found peace and a renewed sense of self. And that you can find it in your heart to begin the letter by thanking her for the most important contribution made through your union: your amazing child!

      I wish you continued healing throughout 2011. Here’s to a new year filled with new opportunities for all of us!

  12. Richard Allen says:

    I didn’t leave my ex a letter. I just packed up and walked out. Not surprisingly, she’s annoyed that I am going to school and getting grants and scholarships now that I am free of her tyranny. I can’t really compare it to people with children cause luckily we never had any in almost 9 years of marriage. She was physically abusive…that’s right, I said “she”. Sorry, but not gonna stick around and allow myself to have my blocked knocked off whenever she comes home pissed about something. Regardless, I’ve moved on and I hope the rest of us can too.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Wow, Richard — congratulations, and good for you — truly.

      Physical abuse happens ALL THE TIME to both men and women … it is a social stigma that only women are victims of this pervasive social problem. But I’m glad you found the guts and courage to get out and redefine yourself in a healthy way.

      Best of luck in your continuing education and in the healing. I’m sure it will take a long time, but you sound well on your way!

  13. live4joy says:

    You seem like a very strong person. I was very impressed by your eloquence in such a gritty situation – I’m sure I could never have stated things so nicely.

  14. John says:

    That looks like it was extremely cathartic. There are typically one of two things I’d like to say to most of my ex-girlfriends. There’s Group A: “Good God, you’re nuttier than squirrel shit. How can you not see why this didn’t work out?”

    and Group B: “I’m sorry I’m not whatever it is that you were looking for”.

    I’m not as shallow as all of this, but I’ve also learned to not dwell on things like defunct relationships. Because those ghosts will haunt the hell out of me if I let them.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      LOL, John … “nuttier than squirrel shit”?!?! I may have to steal that one. 😉

      And your responses don’t sound shallow at all. We all process through situations and heal differently, and for you, completely letting go inherently works. I’m jealous, because whereas I can and have completely let go of the ex and our past relationship, it is the current non-co-parenting-co-parenting relationship that is so troublesome in the present.

      Thanks so much for the comment!

  15. tanner24 says:

    I have no letter to an ‘ex’ although I do have an ‘ex’. I just have to ask, is that last note obviously scribbled on a legal note pad, “Please forgive me someday. I love you all.”, an actual artifact that he left behind? If so, wow.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Yip…actual artifact, scribbled on a piece of paper that he left the day he came and retrieved all of his belongings from our home.

      I posted this in a hopeful attempt to remind him that he once took responsibility for all of this — that one day, long ago, he knew he was inherently wrong in how he treated me and how this all unfolded.

      And I do forgive him for all of that. I just can’t believe that the man who asked forgiveness then has become so inherently disrespectful of me in the aftermath: the aftermath of a situation he inspired and created based on his choices.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  16. BYTO says:

    Dear “John,”

    I can’t believe that it’s been 13 years since the day you walked out on me. Each year, as that day rolls around (and again on the date of our wedding), I think about sending you a thank you card. Of course, I haven’t, because that would be rude and hurtful. (It would almost as hurtful you calling me and telling me to tell me excitedly about your new girlfriend and how “you’ve never been in love like this before.” It must have been a kick in the pants when she walked out on you…but I digress.)

    When you walked out, I never imagined I would ever thank you for leaving me. Of course, it was hard to imagine the future since I was too busy worrying about the fact that you had run up the credit cards (in my name), cleaned out the bank accounts and left me without enough money to pay the rent (in my name).

    I also never imagined I could ever again trust another person, much less myself. How did I not figure out what was going on when you were setting up your sudden departure, even going so far as to meet with a lawyer and have our divorce agreement drafted? Why did I believe you when you told me things were fine, even though I knew in my gut they weren’t? Why didn’t I notice as you planned your exit strategy, down to the last cruel detail. In the end, I guess you were just a better liar than I was a detective.

    The year after you left was hell. On the outside, things looked great. I was dating. I snagged a fantastic promotion at work. I got my first book published. I also lost a scary amount of weight, stopped sleeping more than four hours a night and wound up with panic attacks so bad I had to take sedatives. I hated myself for having failed at marriage. I hated being a “divorcee.”

    But things got better. One day, a friend told me, “it’s nice to see you smile again.” I started to realize some truths. I realized that with you, I was only a fraction of myself. I realized that I wanted to keep being an honest, trusting person, and I wasn’t going to let you take that away from me. I realized I was strong enough to deal with everything you had done to me. I realized that I, unlike you, hadn’t done anything to be ashamed of.

    Most importantly, I realized how sad and alone I had been when you were together. I was still sad, and I was still alone, but with you gone I had hope that it wasn’t going to stay that way. And thank God it didn’t. As I type this, I hear my children playing downstairs. My baby is snuggling on my lap. In a few short minutes, the door will open, and my honest, loving, caring, handsome, amazing husband will walk in.

    So, I thank you for leaving me and making room in my life for light and for joy.


    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Wow, BYTO…your letter gives hope to all jilted ex-spouses everywhere!

      It sounds as though you have reclaimed your life and put it all in perspective. I wish all who’ve been through similar situations the same amount of peace, love and healing you’ve obviously embraced in your 2.0 version.

      Congratulations. And yeah, a thank you letter to the ex may be hurtful…but it sounds totally justified! 😉

  17. monicastangledweb says:

    Here’s what I’d say to my ex:
    I have a blog now and sometimes I write about you, but only in a good way. I write about how your self-absorbed, callous, mean spirited ways helped me get over you. How your hurtful tirades, made me a better person. And how, contrary to what you thought then and probably still do now, YOU WERE NOT THE VICTIM. I WAS. You left me for another woman, got it? And that’s why I refused to move out of our house. You were the bad guy, you wanted out, so you needed to move out! Not me!

    Finally, I would tell my ex to read my post on how Rocky Balboa helped me climb out of the dark hole he left me in, that I did not deserve. Here it is:

    Thank you, Mikalee, for posting this and for giving all of us who’ve been jilted, a venue to speak out. Feels good. Happy New Year, my friend.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Awesome, Monica. Simply awesome.

      (…and you KNOW I’m a huge fan of my Rocky-Balboa-esque rockin’ blogger friend!).

      Happy New Year to you as well — may 2011 bring happiness, success, fun and all things wonderful!

  18. MC says:

    Dear “John”:

    Our marriage wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t based on ‘true love’, but I did respect and like you. It was hard when you were constantly living elsewhere because of your job, but I think we managed to make it work. It was hard hearing about how I didn’t do all the things you wanted, even though I did a lot.

    And it was heartbreaking to know that you didn’t understand what my doctor meant when she said I couldn’t get pregnant or carry a baby to term. But it was even worse when you asked how many miscarriages I thought I could handle before we should consider having children to be a lost cause.

    That said, I would like to thank you for divorcing me because I couldn’t “make your babies.” I am happier on my own and I like myself again. I finished school (after years of following you around the country), I have a wonderful career, and I have people in my life that encourage me to be myself. I hope you can be as happy as I am now.

    PS – I also hope that your new wife is fertile, because I’d hate to think of you doing this to someone else.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      You’ve clearly been through so much … I’m so sorry for your pain and the “bad parts” of this experience.

      But the good parts — yes, the good parts! It sounds like you are healthy, happy and enjoying life surrounded by wonderful people. And ultimately, perhaps some of that newfound happiness is inherently tied to those bad parts, right?

      Congrats on the obvious healing you’ve already accomplished. And here’s to continued healing throughout 2011 and beyond.

  19. Catherine says:

    Wow, this is very moving and it must have felt good to get it out. You’ve got me thinking what I would say… I imagine my letter would take days, hours, to write just right. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      It absolutely was cathartic to get this out — and I do have to admit, the inspiration for this post happened many weeks ago. It took a shitload of notes, time, support, encouragement, editing, drafting, re-editing, re-drafting, etc. to feel the confidence to hit “publish.”

      But what I hoped for was exactly what happened: people have taken time to post their own thoughts — or have been inspired to simply think about what their versions would look like. Giving life to the suppressed words in your head, in my opinion, is inherently healthy.

      Thank you again for visiting! Happy 2011 to you, Catherine! 🙂

  20. Newzealandbakerdreamer says:

    Wow what an F-ed up beginning for the “Dear John” letters! but yours was awesome! im glad you are finally able to move on..its pretty awesome to think that you basically get to start your life over but hes stuck in the same old rut…

    🙂 I hope you have a great New Year!!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Indeed, there is much happiness in knowing my new life is limitless…whereas his choices were inherently about reliving some effed up version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days.” 😉

      Happy New Year to you, too!

  21. Elizabeth says:

    This was the first blog that made me really sad. There was not much sarcasim, just a lot of broken heart. That’s real world though. I’m a firm believer in speaking your mind and heart, and you have.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      You were a big part of the inspiration for this post — when you talked me through why I was so desperately sad right after filing that original motion, you’re the one who told me, “You’re just not stitched together that way — you’re not a person who easily hurts another.” You were absolutely right, and I needed to make sure he understood that … if only through my silly little blog. Even assuming he’s not my biggest fan, I needed to say it — for me.

      And the next post — the most recent post with me in the pecker tiara: that one was just for you. Hope it made you smile! 🙂

  22. gus3 says:

    I did that “final letter” pouring out all the remaining, weak emotion after the waking nightmares were long past. I printed out only one copy, deleted the file, then made an origami boat of the printout and held a ceremony to “let it go” down the river, with two close friends in attendance. It is quite possibly the most symbolic, expressive act I have ever done, and it was incredibly cathartic. As we walked away from the river, I knew the healing had begun.

  23. Jay says:

    I was with someone for close to 3 years. I loved her very much, but she eventually left me for a “friend” of hers, whose company I was forced to endure for years as one of her ever present “guy friends.” Our relationship ended much like you and your husband’s did, Mikalee. It ended with utter confusion, hurt and betrayal.

    I can honestly say that the first 6-8 months after the “breakup” was the worst period of my life. The emotional anguish and exhaustion is something that I would not wish on anyone.

    I suppose the two worst things about it were the sense of disbelief on my part, at first, and the anguish of guilty hope that she’d come back if only…..if only you have one more conversation,…if only you could sit down with them one more time…..If only you get them to remember the years together…all the important moments and milestones you thought would bond you forever.

    You push and you push and you get that conversation or that meeting and its like your talking to a stranger. You hear their grudgingly given rationalizations and their annoyed and peevish tone as they act like this was all a foregone conclusion and how its kind of your fault for not seeing it coming and making it easier on everyone.

    They say….Of course they didn’t plan their “affair” or arrange things so that they could start the “affair” …you know it “just happened” as “true love” often does. So its not THEIR fault..”it just happened”….and how dare you ask them to explain themselves. Who are you to ask for an explanation…don’t you realize their trying to start this new relationship and your getting in the way with your need for “answers and closure”……

    Just get on with your life and stop acting so pathetic… Don’t you know you’re just suppose to fade away so they don’t have to think about you, or the time they spent with you or…. the things they may have don’t wrong to you. .. You’re making them think about all those things with these questions. Just get over it and deal.

    Either way it doesn’t matter to them. They’ve got the REAL love they’ve wanted…and if they had to hurt you and throw away your heart to get it, then they’d do it a thousand time again. They’re “in love” and now you don’t matter…not at all.

    That’s what they say. In words, in tones, in actions.

    And this makes you feel even worse thinking about how they’ve treated you by betraying your love and the trust and all the moments that you though meant everything. And you think to yourself “how could I love someone that could do something that cruel to me?”

    Why would I ever want someone back who treated me and my feelings like they were nothing? How could a person kiss me to sleep every night and wake beside me every morning for years and then do something so uncaring, so hurtful and not even seem to mind? “Why would I want someone like that back” you say to yourself……

    …..but you do….and that just adds shame to the hurt of having your heart broken.

    That’s an interesting term “heartbroken”…as if the hurt and damage are just a singular onetime occurrence that you have to overcome. The worst thing about being “heartbroken” is that your heart doesn’t just break with the first ‘revelation”…but it breaks again and again..a hundred times…a thousand times with every memory recalled, every familiar song on the radio, every place you pass that the two of you had been before, the sight of every piece of furniture in your home, every special day that passes that meant so much then but becomes just another day now.

    Your heart breaks just to break again and there’s nothing you can do about it. Its a exhausting, humiliating, emotionally draining cycle.

    It took me a long time to get over the brunt of that hurt. This happened five years ago this month when I was 25. I’ve had two significant relationships since, both ended amicably and on good terms. I like to think I’m older and wiser now, more time will tell.

    You always feel the pain but it lessens over time. You still think about them and there is still a reaction, but it becomes more and more muted. There may be a little flash of bitterness, but you actually start to wish them fair. They become like an old faded apparition of a dream in the back of your memory. From time to time you even think of a sweet moment spent with them and smile.

    You can even listen to those songs that you’ll always identify with them without wanting to switch them off . For me that song is “Lights” by Journey. *don’t laugh.* We’d always sing it together when it came on the radio when we’d be driving somewhere. Now whenever those moments catch me and I get bitter, I try to think about those times in the car singing “lights” and its enough to make me smile and send all those emotions back into the “distant fog” of memory.

    This is probably the most I’ve ever expressed about this. But your blog reminded me so much of all the things I had felt and gone through. (of course it was the NYT’s article on those two selfish people that brought me here).

    I read “Farewell to Arms” in high school as a teenager. Then I did not understand or take note of the wisdom and sagacity of when Hemingway wrote: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”

    After the last five years I know exactly what he meant. Its trite and its cliche but its true “life goes on” and in the truth of it is found our hope and our healing.

    I wish you and everyone who reads your blog luck and happiness, Mikalee. We all deserve it.


    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Jay — as I read your response, I was struck yet again at how similar all of our experiences really are. And when I refer to “all of” us, I mean those who have cared to share pieces of themselves on this blog.

      That shared experience is enlightening — and liberating — and fulfilling. At least for me. Because I now have a greater sense that I am, indeed, “normal,” and that the way I handled (and am handling) my situation is inherently “right.”

      I have acted as gracefully as could be expected. I’m sure you did, too. Healing truly is a relative thing for all of us — relative to the time in the relationship, the stage of our lives, the level of commitment we felt, etc.

      And btw, I will not laugh at “Lights” by Journey … because that song was one of “our” songs too, on a Mix tape he made for me when we first started dating (I just really revealed how old I am by the term “mix tape,” I realize…)

      I wish you continued healing as well, though it sounds like you’ve got it handled. Congrats on that. And it’s so nice to see that there are guys out there who truly “get it” as well — what it means to love with all of your heart. Thank you for revealing that! 🙂

  24. Mari says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while and have to sheepishly admit to being one of the Googlers (but I was successful, as if that makes it any better or seem any less stalker-ish. By the way, your doppelganger theory is so perfect). ;)).

    Over the last 5 years, I have written so many different versions of the Dear John letter that I considered replacing the identifying information with fill-in-the-blank lines and selling them, Mad-Lib fashion, to less verbose women scorned. Themes ranged from “your mid-life crisis destroyed our family. If you apologize nicely I’d probably take you back” and “good luck finding someone as great as I am. I’m lucky to be rid of you” to “you lying bastard, I curse the ground you walk on” and “you’ll come crawling back someday and I can’t wait to shut the door in your face.”

    Of course, what I actually sent to him were letters about upcoming parent-teacher conferences and planning visitation exchanges on Thanksgiving and Easter. Okay, maybe one or two pathetic emails slipped in about how he’s ruined every single CD I own by injecting them with memories or about how I wish things could have been different.

    I used to fantasize that he’d call me up someday to tell me how very sorry he was and that he’d made the stupidest mistake of his life. I thought it would never really happen, but knew that if it did, I’d relish the moment. Funny thing is, that day actually did come and I shocked myself by really, truly not wanting to hear it. I found it pathetically sad and irritating to have that final confirmation that he threw away a perfectly fine wife and family for some transient grass-is-greener kind of faux happiness.

    The insult of him leaving was almost minor compared to the insult of discovering he *really* expected I’d just be sitting around waiting for him to come to his senses and believing that I would ever actually want him again or give him the chance to hurt the kids all over again if he found another Ms. Perfect a week later. How could he think I’d ever let him move back into *my* house and turn me back MY version 1.0?!

    And you know what else? I was really pissed that he stole my fantasy moment. I had mentally rehearsed the pointing and laughing I was going to do. I had the “We are *so* much better off without you” speech memorized down to the pregnant pauses. I didn’t use them, and I can’t re-do the moment.

    Oh wow. I didn’t mean to write this much. Mostly, I just wanted to say that I enjoy your blog. I hope they stop messing with you and that you find a peace so great you can’t even imagine it yet.

    Oh yeah. And may you marry a smoking hot neurosurgeon who worked his way through med school doing print ads for cologne and underwear. Or at least, someone a million times less slimy than the ex.


    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      You, Mari, are good. Very, very good…


      And I believe you are totally onto something: Dear John MadLibs! I’ll be your first customer. In fact, maybe we could sell them on my blog. It would be totally wicked!

      So yeah, it sounds like that effed up situation with your ex sucked. I can understand how disheartening it would be — to feel that what happened really didn’t need to happen in the first place. And yet, it did…in order to get you from 1.0 to 2.0 and beyond.

      I think I would feel the same way: sad at the revelation, pissed at the pain caused to my children, yet totally ambivalent because I’m SO much better off. I’m glad you feel the same way.

      And btw, did you see the first (the only good) Sex and the City movie? Your fantasy moment totally reminded me of Charlotte’s “I curse the day you were born” speech. Loved that part of the movie, and I do wish you could have realized yorus. But alas, as with Charlotte, the best laid plans tend to fail. Miserably.

      Continued healing to you, Mari. And if you happen to find that smoking-hot-former-skivvies-model-turned-neurosurgeon, please send him my way, will ya? (And if Boyfriend Brett is reading this: Hi hon! Love ya! Kisses!)


  25. Julie says:

    In the past year, I have found comfort by writing letters that will never be read. I think sometimes we are left without closure. We think that if we could just get things off our chest, let the one who hurt us know what we really feel, it will be better. But the other person won’t listen, and if they did, they’d probably try to counter, which would only make things worse. Unlike you, I chose to leave my husband. But I left because of betrayal and lies which I had discovered, on more than one occasion. He would have liked nothing more than to stay with me and keep trying to fool me. So, one week after we split up in February, I wrote a letter to him, and started my own blogging journey. (To be clear, I never sent him the letter.)

    I love your blog, and I can identify with many of your posts. With my own life an blog, I chose to be more open with myself, and let the past lie where it is. I try to find the up side, and let his negativity show my strength.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I love your premise — “find the up side, and let his negativity show my strength.” Simply awesome.

      I look forward to reading your letter as well. I agree it is cathartic, and it does provide some semblance of closure when none was afforded.

      And once again, it’s just damn good to know I’m not alone in those feelings!

      Thank you for sharing, Julie!

  26. thisissultryred says:

    Your dear john letter is better than anything i could write to my ‘soon to be’ ex husband who also decided to ruin our marriage by wanting two woman in his life. He never did understand i dont share well.

    The only things Id like to say to my ex are;
    1) you’re c**p in bed
    2) your d*** is strange and freaky
    3) my new guy is a million billion times better than you at your best
    4) please f*** off and die

    Your dearly disgusted ex.

  27. misterking23 says:

    What I would say to my ex is:

    Dear Rachel,

    I can’t believe I let myself fall so hard for you. I should never have allowed our relationship to spiral out of control the way it did, and the best thing I could ever have done was leave town. I am so much better off without you in my life after the shit you did to me….someone you cared about…sure.

    I thought you were someone I wanted to spend my life with, but for some reason I never seemed to be able to accept that I was just a puppet in your play of life. You just liked having me around because you knew I would always be there for you. Not anymore…and I know I lost a lot of great friends because of you, but it was worth it because I am finally myself again.

    Peacefully yours…King

  28. joaquinbarroso says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now and I think that only now I understand why: I need closure myself.
    You see, I also in some way, was that John. I had a long distance relationship with my girlfriend (I live in mexico, she lives in an undisclosed location of Europe) and after a couple of years of visits and trips and endless sessions of skype, I went to live with her and we stayed together for over a year. My gf was reluctant to move abroad and our earingn potential was low at her hometown; we didnt see eye to eye on many -most- things, we had only a few things in common and we came from very different backgrounds but I know she loved me a lot and I did too. During that year I reconnected electronically with my childhood love (if there is such a thing) and discovered I would be better suited with her. We emailed and at some point we even met in Europe. I went on a rather long fishing trip, if you catch my drift. Not much happened during that trip but enough to get me hooked. Long story short I came back to mx (because of a good job offer) and ended our relationship over the internet (she wouldnt come with me because she still had second thoughts about moving out). I know I hurt her deeply, a year has gone by and I’m still worried she hates me, which I know she does. I made her cry. I made a person cry. That haunts me still. I am very happy with my current gf and I love her deeply, what i feel for her im sure i’ve never felt for anybody else. Still i hope the ex is fine and happy. I wish i had done things better, but i think the outcome would have been the same.
    At one point or another we have all dumped or been dumped by someone; we have cried or made someone cried. I believe, although I may only be deluding myself, that one way to make things right -kharmawise- is to be true with the current gf, straight and honest, loving her deeply until I don’t and then be gentle about it, hopefully that day will never come, i hope.
    Anyway, sorry for the rant. I hope in the near future you close this blog for that will mean you are completely through with your divorce and past. I wish you to be happy. I love your style, honest!


    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Thank you so much for bravely sharing your story — and yes, I have to admit that it hurts a little to read, because there are similarities to my situation.

      But the primary difference: You feel regret for your former love. And you’re looking at the lessons from that previous relationship to help you with your current. That’s admirable, to say the least.

      I only wish there’s a lesson here that we can all learn from — that people, men and women, need to understand the inherent problem to ending a relationship through betrayal. It has effects for years to come for those involved, it inspires trust issues for the ex and the current, and it is at its core a disrespectful behavior. This is not a condemnation of you, but a reminder to all.

      Again, thanks so much for your story. I wish you peace and healing!

      • joaquinbarroso says:

        Thank you for your reply and kind words. Sharing this story was definitely cathartic. I’m trying to learn from my mistakes. If I ever have any kids I will teach them how valuable are other people’s feelings and although we cannot tip-toe around all of them we should be more conscientious about them, and as you say the keyword here is RESPECT. I was disrespectful and I regret it deeply. I can honestly say I feel a huge difference in living an honest life and one where lies and deception are present in every day. My conscience is getting better, but it takes time.
        As I said a year has gone by since we broke up and I have to get in touch with her by email in a few days -work related stuff- and I’ve been thinking about letting her know (yet one more time) how much I’m sorry things got out of my hands and how sorry I feel for that. Do you think thats a good idea or should I just stick to business?
        She was an important part of my life at one time, and I even thought she might be “the one”; but then I realized she wasn’t; I should have probably let her know that at an earlier point so I didn’t have to go to a guilt-filled-instantly-remorseful fishing trip.

        Thanks. If your blog helped me get some catharsis then I guess it has extended its usefulness!

        All the best!

  29. notesfromrumbleycottage says:

    What a wonderful post, so cathartic. You really have a good therapist. I understand where you are at and with my ex, I always wondered if we would get to that working-well-together-as parents stage. Never happened. He never wanted it, likes the drama. Now our son lives with him and thinks he’s got it so good. Wait, young man, just wait till you are the reason he did nothing with his life.

  30. Wednesday says:

    I am really young (only 17!), but I think there is something to be said for teenage “love” and infatuation. I had just started high school and was only 13 when I met “John”, who was 16 going on 17. I became infatuated with him and was so excited when I heard a rumor going around that he thought I was cute. He asked me out shortly after and I felt like I was on top of the world. I had never really felt wanted before (at least not from any boy I had wanted to feel wanted by :P).
    We started dating and I thought I was in love. We talked and hung out all the time and I was having a blast. I used to always imagine us growing up, getting married, and growing old together (yeah I know that’s stupid, but, gimme a break, I was only 13!). But I ignored all the signs that we were wrong for each other. First of all, we had practically nothing in common except for music taste, and outright disagreed on important issues. For example, I’ve been raised in the Lutheran Church—and I’m not passive about it, I’m practically an amateur theologian. So, I should have been just a teensy bit worried (read: it should have been a dealbreaker) when he told me that he was Satanist and into the occult. But I was so blinded by my “love” (aka obsession) for him that I told myself it wasn’t a big deal.
    We held on for about 2 months before he decided to break my heart. One day, he told me that he didn’t know if he loved me anymore, and about a week later he broke up with me. 2 weeks later, he started going out with another girl, and I found out that they had actually gone on a date when I was in Arizona a week before we broke up.
    I was so brokenhearted—I thought that he was the love of my life and that I would never meet someone like him again. Looking back now, I was so stupid! We were together for such a short amount of time…but he was the first boy who had kissed me and told me that he loved me, and it was so hard to realize that he just didn’t feel that way anymore. It took me almost a year to be fully and completely over him and fine with the fact that he dated other girls.
    Last summer I got a Facebook and we are “friends” now. We’ve had a little bit of contact, and I’ve found that I don’t care about him anymore. I found out that he started dating a girl and they were together for 2 years, and then he broke up with her for another girl. It’s sad to know that he hasn’t changed since when we were together 3 and a half years ago and that he’s just as willing to cheat on a girl now as he was then. I sincerely hope that he will learn that that’s not okay and will find a nice girl and be able to settle down with her.
    If there’s one thing that I learned from my brief relationship with “John”, it’s that jumping into a relationship with a person you know absolutely nothing about isn’t a good thing. I haven’t mad e that mistake since; my next two boyfriends were all my friends first. And so was the guy I am with now (whose name, ironically, is Jon). We will have been together for 2 years next month, and I’ve never been happier. We not only have a lot in common, but we also have great communication skills. We are completely open and honest with each other, which is very important in a relationship. From reading this blog, I know that no matter how long you’ve been with a person it can always change, but right now, I’m with the right person for me. 🙂
    P.S. I love your blog! You have been handling your situation so admirably, and I hope that you and boyfriend Brett spend many happy days together 😉

  31. Betsy Lyn says:

    Your blog is great. Finally, someone who can put into words, the rants I have made in my own head for two years. Mine ran off with the prison psychologist-go figure. What would I say to my cheating, lying, pathetic ex?

    Why did you do it? You knew how much it would hurt me and you did it anyway. What gave you the right to destroy the life we had with some “piece of ass”? How many times did you say that you would never cheat because you had so much to lose? Yet that was exactly what you did. Why didn’t I see it? Why did I let you verbally abuse me and make me think I was the crazy one. Why did I let you take my soul and rip my dignity and my spirit from me, so you could piss on it? Are you happy now with your GF and new baby. The kids tell me you complain about your GF, your Ex-wife and your now three kids. You turned your back on me, threatened me and ignore our kids. Where did you go? I have prayed countless times for the hurt that you have inflicted on me would come back on you ten fold. I hope it is does and I hope it destroys both of you. I don’t forgive you-after two years, I’m still mad. Before you left to go live with her I asked if you were going to file for divorce. You said you would leave that to me. Of course, I did everything and you got the free pass to “get out of jail”. I hope God does not have mercy on you. I hope that you pay and pay and pay for the hurt you have caused me and our children. I hope she pays. I will laugh my ass off when you leave her and her child for another woman-because we all know that’s exactly what will happen. She can walk in my shoes. And for every person who has told me to “let go” or “move on”? Fuck you.

    • Phil says:

      What a damn bastard. But believe me that man is dealing with hell on earth. He sold his soul for a couple of minutes of “getting off”. He will never let you know but he is in torment for what he did.
      The thing is, Betsy. Your kids need you. They need a mom who is not suffering from this one careless idiot. I hope you can find some peace soon. You want to get back at him. Then find a way to forgive him or else he won. He will continue to assault your mind.
      I was like you for a long time. My wife became pregnant by some some sex freak. Then he took everything that me and my wife worked for to feather their new nest. Then he molested my young daughters and two of their friends. I ended up in jail because of my bad ass unforgiving bitter attitude. I had a friend who could not deal with this and killed himself. What you are dealing with is deadly stuff. Never underestimate the damage a bitter heart can cause for yourself or your kids. Those people who say move on might not be able to reach into the depth of your pain, but they may care about you. My heart breaks for families that have been hit like you have.

  32. Lea a.k.a. Fatty says:

    Wow… This post was super deep! I love how you ended the letter “With(out) love”, the friggin irony in that! I just want to commend you on a wonderful blog. I found your commentary on a post that appeared in “Freshly Pressed” and before I knew it, I was reading Me 2.0 from the “brick”ginning. I started reading today at work, every post and every comment and now It’s midnight and almost time to go to work again! I’m not a divorcee, not even married but your experiences and stories you’ve share really shed light on human behavior and the fact that ANYONE can be subject to this kind of cruelty and betrayal.

    I am sooooo onboard with your healing process and the medium you chose to “get you thru”. I think your writing is witty, brilliant, intelligible and more importantly you’re saying something!! You’re experiences are real and so many of your readers can relate and are walking with you on this post-divorce journey. Just wanted to say I wish you all the best and I’ll continue reading…

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this comment … thank you from the bottom of my heart! It’s especially fulfilling knowing that even though you can’t relate to my situation, you’re able to relate on an entirely different level. Every once in a while, I get the sneaking suspicion that my words ring hollow unless you’ve “been there, done that.” Thanks for showing me otherwise — at least for you.

      I’m glad you’re here…welcome, and thank you again for the incredible, thoughtful comment!

  33. Dating Melyssa says:

    One day I hope to be able to express myself with words as you and most of the people on do. I just decided this very day, after finding out my ex is now in a relationship, that I need to blog about my relationships and dating experiences. I call it dating Melyssa.. My trust is about blown though I find I am not falling for the same type of dingo!.. If I wrote a Dear Dingo letter to my ex it would be a novel. He did so much to me in the time we were togeather it’s unforgivable…

    Thank you for sharing, now to write for my healing and poking fun of my dates, and believe me they were some doozies..

    Cheers dear heart.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Can’t wait to read your posts, Melyssa. Congrats on making the decision to heal through writing — I’ve loved the chance to share stories, commiserate and heal in a big embracing community. I hope you find the same.

      …and you definitely must write a “Dear Dingo” letter…AWESOME!!!

  34. Carol says:

    Hi, beautiful!
    I´m out of words to say how much I appreciate such a sensitive writer like you.
    A few months ago, I had a boyfriend everyone else thought was perfect: nice, polite, with a good income, apparently in love with me. (note: in Brazilian society, to have a guy is what really put girls on top, not owing a house or having a sucessful and intelectially challenger carrer)
    But, just a sec – who better to know if the guy really liked me or not than myself?
    I did not like the lack of words, the emotional blackmail he sometimes would make me, his pathological greedy behaviour, and some other things I´d rather not mention, not to protect him, but to avoid self-pity feelings in my wounded heart).
    After putting up all I could, and almost losing my job because of his far-from-elegant “love” demonstrations in public, I ‘ve decided ending our relationship. Then I just found out, he never really liked me, also, he had the courage (or cowardness) to say with all letters, he was only physically attracted by me, and thought it was fine to treat me that way, like a piece of meat! Because (his words), “The physical aspect is the most important one”.
    But the worst was still to come: all “kind” people who used to say he was a nice guy, stared to look at me reproachfully for ending the relationship, and two of them even invited me for lunch in order to try to convince me he was a golden match and I should stop pushing him away, for he obviously “loved me so much”! Of course, I am the wicked witch, or bitch, of the story!
    Above all judgements of know-it-all-people-worried-about-my-wellfare, I´d like to send this John of mine a letter:
    “Just because I am a little over weighted, and you were my first serious boyfriend, this not gives you the right to treat me like crap, you selfish bastard!”
    Instead, I did send him this letter:
    “You must be a real damn awesome man to have the guts to say to a girl like me, intelligent, tender-hearted, master´s degree, that you only want her body – or very stupid, because the way you treated me made your chance to get to your only goal close to ZERO!”
    Cheers from a sunny place,

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Wow. What a story. So I do have to ask: Are you American, or also Brazilian? I’m just wondering if the cultural expectation (as you mentioned about simply having a guy) dictates that you put up with this kind of treatment…which, of course, is unconscionable!

      I love your letter, though the other one rocks as well. It’s amazing how you truly discover your friends’ true character through divorce and separation. Or rather, the people who called themselves friends…

      Take care, and congrats on reflecting such a confident, amazing spirit. Never lose sight of your worth!

  35. Stelios says:

    Arrived here through a random selection. Thought that I would leave my mark, in appreciation.

    If you love someone, set them free.
    If they come back to you, they are yours!
    (If they don’t, they never were.)
    If they don’t, hunt them done and kill them.

  36. The Laughing Duck says:

    Ah, to my Dear John ,

    Who showed me a new culture, language, religion/beliefs, and social costumes. Who also did not fail to (indirectly) show me my lack of qualification to be at your side. And who’s mother had the balls in the family and also wore the pants because she kicked her husband out years ago – came to my house and very sophisticatedly insinuated I’m a whore to my mother; and thank the faeries my mother’s english sucks so she didn’t get half the story. Also thanks to my grandma who sat me down later and told me I could do so much better. It sucked that I got depressed over you. Sucked that I wasted kind of a year on you.. from the period when we broke up to the time when you went out with my ex best friend .. and came back.. hm. Sucks that you took my first time and I can’t even defend myself well cause who’ll believe someone who succumbed to sexual peer pressure since grade 8 ?

    But one thing was that, it felt amazing in those brief period of times when I was on top of the world and on par with all the family members around me who could sustain a trustworthy and worthwhile relationship. But ultimately, it’s my cat that’s the love of my life.

    This was a beautiful post, sorry in advance if you took the time to read this dreadfully long comment, but I gotta say, it’s people like you that makes me feel less of a fool for still believing in Cinderella and my not so Prince Charming cause he’d possibly suffer a door slammed in his face for being so ridiculous and cheesy. Cheers !

Leave a Reply to Phil Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s