you & me

Confessions Of A Crazy Ex-Wife.


When I divorced my ex-husband half a decade ago, the backlash was that I must have been crazy to do it.

“Next time you have a nervous breakdown and decide to leave him, let me know. I’ll pack my bags and move right into your life,” said one friend.

“What type of girl leaves her rich husband? A crazy one,” said another.

“Darling, that’s what affairs are for — medication! You don’t actually leave…”

Individual happiness doesn’t come at the expense of a marriage. Sacrifice, surrender, and mouth shut.

I loved him and yet let him go, hoping that this would be the wake-up call he needed. Lost in different directions, we’d come full circle back to each other.

It broke my heart, and I remained tied to him in tatters. After the divorce was finalized, it took another three years of back and forth to finally let him go.

Heartfelt conversations ensued about what we’d do differently this time. Plans for our alternate future together: Did we want children? Where would we live? How we’d break up with our current relationships — when we should do it or if we should wait?

And ultimately, the deciding factor: “Will you leave me again?

This emotional affair was our secret. The repercussions of this suppression were publicly displayed. I couldn’t settle. My relationship distractions were sporadic and many, stories to entertain myself with. Stepping stones across the sadness while I waited.

On the surface we seemed to be moving on separately. My on and off again relationships cushioned the blows from his that seemed more stable.

Her suspicions soon turned me into the other woman, and our texts became emails because of phone checks. Calls were scheduled and deleted from phone records. But he was allowed to have her, because I’d left. I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about us because I’d left.

I had to wait to see him, on his terms, when I was summonsed, because I’d left.

My penalty was punishment; I agreed I deserved it because… I’d left.

“If you mention this to anyone, I will deny it and never speak to you again, do you understand? We will not hurt her like this.” It wasn’t her fault we loved each other, so I agreed. “She’d understand if she met you, but not yet. I’m still confused. You left me.”

His confusion was the blanket excuse, and I soaked it up. This was a mess I’d made, and so I reverted to good wife and did what he told me to. Sometimes I think I gave him more control over me then, than when we were married. Penance I paid.

“I married this chick, and one day she just left.”

Three marriage therapists later, and yet he managed to reduced me to his crazy ex — a far more digestible explanation than the complexity of our deeply intertwined co-dependent relationship, fraught with dual abandonment issues and the power struggle of his rapidly swelling ego.

“People will think I’m crazy if I go back to you again.”

Not caring what these people thought is what makes me the kind of crazy that I’ve learnt to completely embrace. My madness was in loving him.

There are no wrong feelings, only unproductive actions. It’s suppression that does strange things to a person. Not being allowed to express what’s going on inside, locks you in a fear cage — it takes a certain wildness to break free.

When that strength is reduced to crazy, it’s chanted to confuse into conformity. There’s no telling what a free spirit will do, but they will not be haunted… by that which they could become but forever deny. A person of integrity courageously follows their heart.

After a relationship strategy meeting the year before, he finally kept his promise; broke up with his other woman and flew in to see me. “I love you.” It was real. I wasn’t deluded. I wore white like he ordered, and waited at the hotel while he worked late.

I’d built myself up over the years; my substance was strong — not the shell girI who’d escaped. I can handle this, I repeated bravely. And then there he was, as beautiful as I remembered. My scared little boy in man disguise. How I resonated with his fear, his pain.

“Just be kind to me, and I’ll take it all this time. A hug at the end of the day… hold my hand every now and again, and I’ll go anywhere with you. I’ll do anything you say. I’ve waited. I’ve repented. I’m so sorry. I deserve your love now.”

I spent the next two nights holding my pillow and sobbing as he lay next to me — a million miles as far away as he had been while we were married and I remembered why I’d left. Amazed I’d even been able to when I was reduced to a puddle all these years later.

On our final morning, he stared ahead blankly, eyes glazed with childhood trauma, and stated, “I think I’ll go back to her. I’m confused, but she’ll never leave me.”

And I was finally free. Of the guilt and shame of divorcing him, of judging myself for being so crazy because I had done what was right for me. The moment I acknowledged that the power was mine was the moment I had it back.

I looked into the empty brown eyes of the boy I’d loved since I was 13, and unhooked myself from his soul grasp. It felt tragic, but it was at last a resolution. The lying was over. I could move forward in truth. I let him go and the weight lifted.

A few months later, he called to continue his I’m confused; you did this to us tirade, but I couldn’t be judged this time. I chose me over choosing him, accepted the responsibility of my own actualization and not his.

I’m moving to your city – you see, you should have waited! But by now, his lease on my heart was up. I moved cities before his next visit.

When he hired my friends’ husbands, and involved everyone I knew into working for him, I distanced myself from those now under his control. And I was called crazy for leaving behind everything I knew and starting over again.

When a friend demanded Tell me what you’re feeling! about her announcement that he was engaged and she was going to their party, I was deemed crazy again, for finally not feeling anything at all.

In a strange twist of fate, I was hired independently by one of his partners’ companies. “There’s no issue with us, only mutual respect,” I genuinely stated. So it stung when he wanted me banned from entering certain buildings so that he wouldn’t have to see me.

I felt sad, but swallowed my pride and took it in my stride.

And now, two years later, our secret story still safely buried, I was suddenly uninvited to a wedding so as not to cause tension for him on the day. What would I do, what would I say? No one wants a crazy girl ruining the day.

So if I’m crazy, then this is my confession.

What I do, is express myself authentically. What I say, is the truth.

My lifelong process of actualization is done on purpose; on display, because dirty secrets become redeeming stories once shared.

It’s better to seem messy to others on the outside — as your crazy work-in-progress self — than keeping a lid on it only to fester and rot like a volcano, unprepared to erupt.

What makes you genuinely insane is keeping secrets, burying trauma, protecting illusions, pretending things didn’t happen that did. We must acknowledge in order to let go.

Calling me crazy will not diminish who I am, and it will not deny what was.


DeborahKatzDeborah Katz is a writer, discoverer and bedtime philosopher who loves baking, reading and quiet solitude.


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