I recently had the pleasure of spending an evening with an old friend who is now divorced from the husband who used to boss her around and make her have sex with him three times a week without regard to her own lack of desire. He’s out of her life now, for the most part, but she still hates him.
In fact, she plans to hate him forever, just as I hate my ex-husband. I have forgiven nearly all my grudges, even ones I swore to take to the grave, but I will never stop hating my ex-husband. Looking back at my old journals, I discovered that I hated him even before I married him!
I once read that a large percentage of divorced women admit to having married a man they didn’t love. This was supposed to be shocking news. It probably explains why they ended up divorced. It’s a bad idea to marry someone you actually hate, so make sure you never do it.
I married my ex at 20, after four years of living with him. I didn’t know what to do with my life and I think I hoped he would take care of me. I don’t like taking care of myself, although I am more than happy to take care of others.
Anyway, I hated him. I hated the way he walked and I hated the way he smelled. I hated his repressed personality and I hated his petty criticism of everything I did or thought. I hated the way he’d point to a girl with close-cropped hair and say “You know, you’d look good like that.” Why would a man marry a woman with waist-length hair only to ogle girls with crew-cuts? What a fucking cunt™.
Finally, after 17 years together, we got divorced. By then, I hated the way he breathed and the way he drank his orange juice. I was shattered by the process of divorce, but gradually came to relish my freedom from his oppressive presence.
The only thing we agreed upon was our love for our son. But we always disagreed about what he needed and what was good for him.
After a long struggle in rehab, our son stayed clean for a while but had a relapse and was on a binge. We took him to a treatment center where he was supposed to stay for thirty days. After ten days, they thew him out: We couldn’t meet their demands for $250 per day, even though they were being paid by our insurance company. Meanwhile, Max had called me after the first few days, anxiously reporting that he shared a room with convicts who stayed up all night playing cards. He was cold, but he wasn’t allowed to have an extra blanket. He said it was the scariest place he had ever been.
His father picked him up on the morning they kicked him out. During the long drive to my house, his father screamed at him for being a failure. His tirade was cruel and relentless. He accused Max of ruining everyone’s life, and told him he was “one step from living on the street.”
I didn’t want Max to have his car. He was going to stay in a sober house where he wouldn’t need it. But the ex wouldn’t listen to me and brought the car over.
Max seemed traumatized by the ride home and I tried to comfort him. He was worn out and anxious, still detoxing, even though I didn’t know it. All day, I tired to console him with the fact that it wasn’t a catastrophe, it was only a relapse and everything would be fine. I kissed him goodbye when he left for the sober house. Early the next morning, he drive to a cliff and jumped.
During the first few days at the hospital, I would corner my ex in the hallway and tell him it was all his fault. I showered him with invective, hysterical with rage and worry and grief. Even now, I sometimes wonder what would have happened if my ex had just taken Max out for breakfast instead of berating him so mercilessly.
I wish I could kill my ex. My sister has asked me, Isn’t it enough to know how miserable he is? As if that could mitigate my hatred, which is eternal, steadier than the beat of my heart, and faster than the speeding bullet that belongs in his head.