"You can't seem to separate the past from the future"

My ex-husband recently texted those words to me. Even without the context (because quite frankly it doesn't matter), a rise of hot, flushed anger hit immediately when I read them. Women in similar situations to mine may also hear these words from time to time from an ex-spouse -- or even those who are working on their relationship and getting through the challenges of prior infidelity. 

I'm going to take a moment to break down why these words are irritating; they only serve the person who says them.

I almost think his statement implies that it's a question. Like, "can't you just forget about the past, so we can all conveniently and easily move ahead into new lives?" Or kind of like, "can we just please forget about all those awful, horrible choices I made so that I can feel good about myself on a go-forward?"

I mean, I suppose I could try really hard to do that. But it's kind of like asking me to forget I had a wedding, or got pregnant and vomited for 9 months straight, went through labor, or raised a child by myself for the first 6 months. I mean, technically, I suppose I COULD forget it all, but it would be really freaking hard. 

So let me just say ex-spouse, you are correct.  I cannot separate the past from the future. The past you reference is the one in which I thought we were in a safe, respectful, committed relationship and family.  Only later to learn that most all of your choices in the past were to the contrary. The five years of dishonesty and two years of recovering from it has been a challenge, the hardest of my life.

But, the good news phone is ringing, and it's a journey that I'm getting to the other side of! 

The past you'd like me to separate is the same one that shaped who I am, today. It's a piece of the fabric that makes ME, and in a weird and small way, I'm proud as hell of that. 

Regarding my future you seemed concerned about, it's important that I focus on ensuring it's safe, healthy, and what I hope to be bright. Therefore, I keep the history of what I experienced with you in a place where I can learn from it.

  • Some days, I'll muscle up over and feel beyond it.
  • Some days, I'll wrestle with it until I'm tired and fall asleep. 
  • Some days, I'll revisit it and cry.
  • Some days, I'll appreciate the joy it naively brought when I didn't know.
  • Some days, I'll let it float far behind me and live in a present moment of joy or love. 

But each and every damn day, that past reminds me to have eyes wide open and try and keep my heart open wider. It reminds me to appreciate the love and support that is real and true in my present, and I know will be in my future. 

"You can't seem to separate the past from the future."  I don't want to, because it's a raw and real part of who I am and the lessons I've learned. 

And, I suppose, the most bothersome part is the fact that you so easily can.