Adam Avitable's wedding ceremony

I Wish That I Had Never Met You

“I’ll be honest, I can’t tell you how much I wish that I had never met you, you narcissistic asshole.”

Her email ended as abruptly as it had appeared in my inbox – the first communication in over a year. We finalized our divorce a little over four years ago, but there was still the occasional conversation, through email, text, or even the phone. I wasn’t surprised by the radio silence over the last year, though – while I am happy to be there as a friend, I knew that her resentment hadn’t dissipated.

I know that getting her to listen to anything I have to say would require nigh-Herculean efforts. She’s made up her mind. So, this isn’t for her. This is for me.

I’m sorry that I let you down.
I’m sorry that we ended our life together.
I’m sorry that I betrayed your trust and love.
I’m sorry that things turned out how they did.

I’ll never be sorry that we met.

We are the sum of our experiences. We are our past. I am who I am, in large part, because of our time with each other.  And I like who I am. It’s taken years of work. It took a failed marriage. It cost friendships. It resulted in indulgences of every appetite.

By reflecting on negative experiences  and focusing on eliminating my own negative attitudes and actions, I’ve become a better person. Yeah, I’m still a narcissist and an exhibitionist and a boundary-pushing twisted attention-mongerer. But it’s what I do with that and how I use that to apply to the world that matters.

Our lives traveled an amazing path when we were together, and if it hadn’t been for that, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I hope someday that you’re able to like who you are enough to feel the same way.


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25 Replies to “I Wish That I Had Never Met You”

  1. Elizabeth@Table4Five

    It’s too bad that she’s using up her time and energy on nasty emails to you instead of moving forward with her life. I spent years doing really stupid things before settling down with Chris, and while I regret them, I wouldn’t email the people involved now and remind them of how bad things were. Maybe you should just filter her emails into a ‘don’t read’ folder 🙂

    • Avitable

      It’s the first email conversation we’ve had in over a year, and I don’t anticipate she’ll send them frequently enough to need to hide them. Plus, I’m the type of person who doesn’t filter out anything that enters my life. I’d rather experience it and then decide what to do after.

  2. Missie

    While I agree it’s never good to waste energy and time on negative stuff, maybe she just had a bad day. Maybe something reminded her that she missed you and then she felt horrible for having a good thought and had to find a way to make it up to herself and hastily sent off that email. I don’t know but I’m impressed with how you deal and with the responsibility you take in the whole thing. We all need to do a little more of this.

    • Avitable

      She may have had a bad day, and I hope that’s true. Regardless, emailing me doesn’t seem to be the best use of energy or the most productive way to get some closure on the situation.

  3. Robin

    I hope she can move on, I know I’ve been known to struggle a lot with the end of a relationship. One of my relationships (only lasted like 13 months) took me MANY years to get over. Carrying it around its exhausting and miserable. It’s tough though, good for you for not lashing out at her.

  4. suzysoro

    I wish I had written a similar letter to one of my exes, a 7 year mistake. Instead, I remained civil, even when he claimed he dumped me, when the opposite was true. Then he died in 2010 and I suddenly wished I’d told him what a spectacular nightmare he had been and how stupid I’d been to stay with him. It’s a regret I’ll always have. Better to get it out while you can. Lest it fester.

  5. Dadcation

    I’ve never really bought into the “I have no regrets, as my past mistakes made me who I am today” mantra. In fact, I think it’s bullshit. I don’t think we would have the emotion of regret if it didn’t serve a purpose. I realize that’s not entirely your message above, as you’re apologizing for mistakes, which indicates you regret making them. I haven’t been divorced or even had a relationship end that I didn’t want to end, but I have met people I wish I hadn’t, and I’ve seen others get dragged down in a huge way by other people, so I wish they’d never met the assholes who dragged them down. Would that change who they are today? Sure it would — for the better. You may have benefited from your years with the former Mrs Avitable now that you look back on them, but it’s certainly possible that she did not (from her current perspective). It’s okay to feel that way; it might even be true. Like Suzy said above, maybe this will help her feel better and move on.

    All that said, I’m glad you’re doing well and are happy and are living out one (if not several) of your dreams right now, and I’m glad we’ve been friends for 6 years.

    • Avitable

      It’s not bullshit. You can have regrets about mistakes you’ve made, sure. But how you react to the assholes who drag you down is up to you. If you let them continue to drag you down, that’s a mistake to regret, as well. If you learn from them and avoid situations like that in the past, plus learn ways to deal with it if or when it happens again, it had value. Every asshole and bad situation teaches you how to approach the next one. Learning from mistakes doesn’t mean that you can’t regret what you did in the first place, but if you like the person you are, and you like the strength, experience, and breadth of knowledge that you have, you’ll be glad you took the path you did.

      I’m glad we’ve been friends, too. I wish we got to see each other more.

  6. mamikaze

    Speaking from experience, just when you think you have overcome the hurt, it pops up. Healing is a different process for everyone. It infuriates me when I realize that I am interested in the same type of manipulator that I kicked to the curb. I have wanted to take out my anger on him or his precious car. I choose not to because my ex hasn’t truly come to terms with his own personality issues yet. It would be as fulfilling as yelling at a housecat.

    She’s human, we all have bad days. A moment of insecurity doesn’t explain her life. I would consider it the equivalent of a drunk dial. You’ve grown up a little and it’s good to see that you’re not trying to be someone you are not. Carry on.

    • Avitable

      A larger context would show that unfortunately, this isn’t a healing process and it’s very different from a drunk dial. It’s part of a pattern of behavior, but I know what you mean.

  7. hello haha narf

    i have to agree with the “not regretting meeting someone” thing. i may wish i had handled things better, but i certainly don’t regret meeting them.

    so sorry to read that she is still hurting. she is a good woman. i wish her all the best in the future.

    i also wish you all the best, too.

  8. Ed

    I have regrets, even though they made me who I am today. I guess they’re sort of wishes that I could have learned the same lessons without the other people involved being hurt. (Not, in may cases, that I have any idea how that could have happened. I can’t think of alternate ways to have learned some of my hardest lessons.)

    I have one ex with whom I was probably the worst sex she ever had (never mind the details). I’m willing to own up to that embarrassing fact, but I’m not sure how I’d take an email out of the blue from her, telling me that. My reply would be something like “I know, and after all these intervening years and experiences, I know why,” but it’d probably still feel like a punch in the gut.

    [There might be a PostSecret card in here somewhere.]

  9. itinerantchaos

    This post is the exact reason I don’t tear up (or modern equivalent; delete) photos, etc. I just put them away until the time comes when the anger or sadness is gone.

    I think when you do stuff like that, you shoot yourself in the foot; a past you shared is still a part of your own history. In time, you can look back and remember the good. AND! There comes a point where you have to *own* your past, and that means looking back and accepting your own part in the responsibility of failure.

    I am divorced. I don’t hate my ex, I don’t regret him… I am grateful for him, for what he was and the influence he had on who I am now (and I fully understand and take responsibility for my part in our demise). Perhaps that is why I like this post so much and it is resonating so loudly with me; I can *get* where you are coming from.

    Even if she did just have a bad day, as others have (fairly) stated, you are not her punching bag – the nature of the e-mail was uncalled for. YES, we all get upset and angry, but part of growing better (some may say older…) is learning to let go and find productive uses of our feelings, not ones designed to malign or hurt

    Anyway, I did enjoy reading this. Thanks for the thoughts.

  10. kate

    I’ve been divorced a little longer than you, and though there’s probably resentment on both sides, I’d like to think that he’d never be sorry he met me. It may sound cliche and corny but we’re a result of our choices, our decisions, and our experiences, and I have no idea where I’d be if it wasn’t for him – in both good and bad ways. I hope your ex finds some peace, and that she doesn’t carry that feeling with her forever, it can’t be a pleasant weight for her to carry. I’m glad you have the perspective to hear what she has to say without it affecting you too much.

  11. happyhippierose

    i think this is actually beautiful. we all face negativity and criticism in our daily lives, and when it comes from those with whom we have deep bonds, it can be very difficult. i like that you’ve taken criticism and the perception of negative attributes and turned them into wonderful things and embraced the life change that fresh POV offers. so what if you’re a narcissist? it takes confidence and balls to get on stage and risk shitting the bed. but you do it. the marriage didn’t last, and that is so devastating, but like a big furry phoenix you just keep on keepin’ on and soar out of those ashes.

  12. martymankins

    I don’t have that many regrets. As for my ex-wife, I don’t regret ever having met her. We had a wonderful daughter together and enjoyed the first 8 years of our marriage. I do regret that she still has a phone number that can reach me and my daughter (she’s gone off the rails a bit this last year, turning into an amateur extortionist). It’s good that you only get those emails on a rare instance.

  13. Jessica

    I regret my first husband and the 11 years I spent with him. But that regret is really valuable – I’ve done a much better job with the rest of my life putting together a world that I really do want to live in. But god, sometimes I think about that 24 year old girl who was so lost that when a really damaged, violent young man found her and wanted her it made her think she had found her answer and it makes me so sad. I was beautiful, smart, strong but lost. I am trying to raise my daughters differently so that they never find themselves in that spot.

  14. Robin

    It’s so unhealthy to live with that kind of anger. I did for a LONG time towards a once close friend and one day I was thinking about my anger and how much time it had taken up in my life and suddenly I just decided “I’m done with it.” This took me a long time but I immediately felt a weight lifted. I reached out to my once very close friend and told them I was dropping the whole thing and if they wanted to do the same we could move on from this thing that neither of us remembered how it began. That person did and we did and now we get coffee sometimes and text again and it’s really nice.

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