A letter to Michelle:

Dear Michelle,

It’s been 3 weeks since we broke up. I hope you’re doing well. From the conversations we’ve had via text, over the phone, and in person I’m gathering you are. In fact, it sounds like you’re better than well…you’re thriving and happier than you’ve been in almost 3 ½ years. A sense of freedom is important. I’m sorry I didn’t foster that for you.

I know the reason you broke things off was predicated on that disaster in Arizona. I can’t tell you how much sorrow and shame I feel about not supporting you when you needed it most. I let you down. I will regret that for the rest of my life. Not matter what happens between us in the future, I will never stop trying to make it up to you. What I mean is, working on my anxiety, my insecurities to make myself a better person. Dennis and Brad deserve a father who is the best version of himself. I know I’m a great father but I can be better and I will.

I had no idea how truly awful Patrick, Rae, and my father were to you. It’s only after talking to Thomas, Jon, Jason/Criss, Janice, and others did I find out. In hind sight, I can see all the stress I felt whenever we were with those three. I can’t imagine how much stress you carried. I’m so sorry. I don’t know if I will ever forgive them.

I can’t help but think about what’s happened and wonder what could we have done differently? I was not aware my controlling behavior was as bad as it was. Now that we’ve talked about it at length, I have been able to take a step back and reflect. Clearly it was. The same can be said about my jealousy or how I would sometimes just dismiss your opinion. The question(s) I would put to you are: when you brought those two things (jealousy and dismissing) to my attention and I had a moment to reflect, what happened? Is my jealous behavior a problem for us anymore? Do I dismiss your opinions out of hand or am I more respectful of them now?

No one is a mind reader. I constantly asked if we were doing well as a couple and if this was the life you wanted for yourself. You never said anything but the most emphatically convincing “yes”. I asked because I wanted you to be happy. I always have. I can’t read your mind (or anyone’s mind for that matter). I just took your declarations of happiness at face value. If you want to be happy in any relationship, you need to tell your partner what you need from them.

So knowing I have a history of wanting to make you happy and working on myself begs another question. Is there more behind you breaking up with me? I feel there is. You talk about your new found freedom. How good it feels to be free of me. I don’t think you’re being honest with yourself. The freedom you’re talking about is from the responsibilities of a family: not raising children, not being a spouse/partner, not having a dog to take care of, not having a home to maintain, not having bills, not having to worry about anything but yourself. My controlling behavior had a simple solution, reflection and counseling. Up till now I am batting 1000 when it comes to listening to your needs (when they’re expressed) and making them a priority.

As things are now, you don’t want to be a (step) mother and you don’t want to be a spouse/partner. You don’t want to be saddled with the limitations that come with having a family. I’m not assigning a value to that decision. We aren’t married. I don’t think you’re a bad person for making it. I do wish you made it before we built this family together. My greatest regret out of all of this (and there are several) is that 3 years ago I brought an amazing woman into Dennis and Brad’s lives who they fell in love with. Only to have her decide…instead of life with a family, she wanted one unburdened by the requisite obligations and responsibilities. I’ll never tell them that. When they ask what happened, I tell them it was my fault (which is mostly true). I don’t tell them you never told me what you were thinking or what you needed. I certainly don’t tell them you decided you don’t want to be their (step) mother.

I understand all the reasons you left. I understand what I did that lead to your decision. I miss you so much it hurts. I miss your smile, your laugh, how you feel when we’re in bed. I miss watching you love Dennis and Brad. I miss talking to you. I miss how excited I was every time you came home. I miss the best friend I ever had. It felt good knowing I had you to love. No one has ever loved me the way you did. I’m sorry I fucked up the things I fucked up. I love you.

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