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You packed up your things and left last night. There are details to work out and lawyers to call, but the first step in a new journey has started. I feel equal parts sad, angry, scared, and relieved. There’s nothing left to fix. There’s no reconciliation to pursue. And I’m left thinking about the fights we never had.

I came down the stairs today and adjusted the thermostat to a comfortable temperature for me. It’s a fight I didn’t consider worth having before even though I was the one living in the home 24 hours a day while you were barely there to eat dinner and sleep.

I sorted out the dishes you can take with you to your apartment. They were a gift you gave me, but I didn’t need them or want them. I never said a negative thing about the gifts you picked because it didn’t seem to matter if I liked them or not, and I wanted to appreciate the effort.

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I thought about how nice it will be to eat dinner when it’s ready instead of trying to wait for you, feeling hurt that you were never home on time and choosing not to address it because no amount of teasing or begging or discussion or nagging or incentivizing ever made you care.

I tiptoed around youme, the woman who slays dragons everywhere else she goesbecause I didn’t want you to feel pressured or hurt. I wanted to be a good wife. I wanted you to feel honored and loved and I wanted you to pursue connection with me. But none of that mattered. I made myself so small, contorting around you, and in the end, you still prioritized yourself at my expense. You were miserable. I couldn’t fix it no matter how I tried. And in the end, all I did was make sure I was miserable too.

If I could go back, I would have those fights. I don’t think it would have changed the ultimate outcome, but maybe then I would have had a life that felt like my own. The house would have been a comfortable temperature for methe person who exists in it. I could have fought to matter, even if in the end, I only mattered to myself. If that pushed you to leave, then it would have saved me the time and pain of watching you leave a version of me I’m not proud to claim.

I’m so sad and scared to be on my own, but the relief of not having to ask for permission anymore is palpable. I am free to exist without being worried that something I do will set you off. I don’t have to time out my conversations or needs. I don’t need to worry that if I push you too hard or too far you’ll cause me pain. I can just take care of myself the way you always took care of yourself. It turns out that while I was looking out for you and you were looking out for you, nobody was looking out for me.

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I wish I could have understood earlierif someone doesn’t want to engage with you in the hard conversations, if it doesn’t matter to them what you think or how you feel, you can never get small enough to fix that. You will never be so peaceful they decide to prioritize you. If they aren’t willing to fight with you and for you, if they aren’t willing to do the hard work together, you aren’t doing them any favors to let their selfishness grow.

So today I’m setting the thermostat temperature where I like it. I’m digging out those bushes you planted in the middle of my flower bed without talking to me. I’m buying the hazelnut coffee I liked, but you hated. I’ll cut my hair as short as I want it. I’m going to live this next chapter of my life in a way that I can be proud of, even if that means having a few fights. And I don’t need your permission to do it.

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