I guess it's not what it set out to be, you and me, is it? I've changed, at first not because I wanted to but because I had to. I was in a really bad place, lost, alone, confused. I didn't know how to do it anymore, any of it. Perhaps I should have told you, should have shared, my concerns, my worries, my inner fears, but I couldn't. I couldn't admit my hopelessness, my failure, my inability to cope. I couldn't put all that at your door. I was supposed to be the strong one, the one who did the managing, there for you to lean on, for you to depend on, to be your rock in the storm. How could I let you down? I thought we'd been through the rough, the storms, tested our relationship, found our strength together. What little did I know.
Our marriage started on the back foot, coming home with a honeymoon pregnancy that knocked me out completely, sleeping for hours if not days. My need for control disabling you, not trusting that you could support, could help. Parenthood hit us hard, the sleepless nights, the constant feeding. I had such high expectations of what sort of mother I would be, the father that you would be. It was never going to be achievable but at what cost. What followed completely knocked us off our stride. My parents moving away, your mother having a stroke, buying our first home, my dad's cancer and then, after months of weekly visits, losing your wonderful mum just as our son turned one. I'm not sure we ever recovered from that. I tried to do the right things but was always so focused on the goals, the material elements that would measure success. Maybe with one child we could have bounced back but one was not enough for me so we had another. And this one was different, the daughter I thought I would never have. She blew me away. I had no idea what to do, to be honest I still don't.
We used to solve all our problems over a beer, or two. Over dinner in the pub, we would come together with a bottle of wine. Then, with two children, no time nor money for dinners in the pub, we lost our way. I stopped telling you how it was for me, stopped asking how it was for you. I made judgments, decisions, imposed solutions to what I thought were our problems, but were only mine. I took our lives down a very difficult path and then when we got lost, tried to find the way out on my own. I'm not sure if my drinking got worse, I've never asked you. It's not as if it was great to start with, we had arguments over it for sure. You would come and pick me up, probably because you knew I wouldn't make it home left to my own devices. I would be a mess, if I was there at all. Like many of my friends, you seemed to accept it, just as I did until the day it changed. You didn't think I was an alcoholic either. At first. And that, I did on my own too. Going off to meetings, spending time with new people. Disappearing into an evening, off for a day. Leaving you alone, again.
There are many who would have left by now, who would have upped sticks and gone to a better place. Many who would have left while I was still drinking, while I was shouting abuse, while I was belittling you, undermining you. Maybe you wish you had. I'm glad you didn't.
But what now? We are two ships that pass in the night, parenting in parallel. We share a house but not a home. We disagree over most things, butting up against each other. I know that you do not feel you can let go of the past, the times we've spent in counselling have made that clear to me. It may not be obvious to you but I am trying to be better. I want to change, to improve, to become a better person, to be someone worth loving. I need to know if you want that too. I need to talk to you, to know what you want for your future, for our future. This time, I want to do the right thing, the loving thing. But, as I have learnt, I can't do that on my own and it now depends on whether you want to come too. I'm standing in the ring, no gloves, no fists, I'm waving a white flag, call a truce and see if there's peace to be made. I wonder what the terms of the agreement will be.
Sent with love.