An extra seat at the table

Dear future life partner,

As you well know, you are not the first person to capture my heart. You probably aren’t the second, third or fourth either. After all, I once was a preteen girl completely enamored by many a boy band member. 

You are, however, the second person I have decided to spend my life with. The biggest difference between first and second is that the first person I completely dedicated my life to…and I won’t be doing that again. We will be a team and we will coexist, but I will not live solely for you. So, lucky you, you will get a better version of me than my first husband did. 

But because someone came before you, there are a few things that I need you to understand. 

First, there will always be an empty seat at the table. Whether literally or figuratively, there will always be a space held in my life and in my heart for him. And for his family and friends that became my family. Although in time I may talk about him less, I will always talk about him. I need you to be okay with that. 

Many of my memories and life experiences so far involve him. I look forward to learning and trying new things with you. But please understand my moments of quiet reflection when a memory from a lifetime ago bubbles up to the surface. And if you are curious, I’d love it if you would ask about what I’m remembering. 

Much of what I learned about love, I learned from him. Our relationship was not the healthiest, I often walked on eggshells and bent over backward for him. I ignored my own needs in order to fulfill his. I will make every effort not do this again. But when we have a disagreement, I might shut down initially. I might flinch a little if the tone of your voice changes. I will silently second guess everything. Be patient with me. Encourage me. Build me up when you see me tearing myself down. Help me to be the best version of myself. 

My stepson and his family are still my family. We are a package deal. They will always be a part of my life. And therefore, they will always be a part of our life. There are no compromises. Here, I stand my ground. 

My heart has been completely shattered and I, alone, have picked up the pieces. I have put them back together to become the beautiful, strong and caring person you have grown to love. But I am still fragile. Be kind to me. But don’t baby me. Hold me tightly. But let me be free to keep learning and growing. 

You have come into my life and renewed my hope. You have made me believe in love again. You have brought an indescribable happiness and light back into my days. I am so very grateful for you and I hope to show that to you every single day. I know that being my “next chapter” might not be exactly what you had in mind. I know that it might be a little difficult to accept that my heart will always love him. But I thank you for trying, for being open to being able to do that. Because I loved and lost the first love of my life, I am an even better person for you. I hope that you can see that. My ability to love has only grown. My heart has expanded to fit the two of you inside of it. There is plenty of room. 

I will never compare you to him. You are two different people. I do not expect you to be who he was or do what he did. 

He will always be a very important part of my life and my story, but I have chosen to move forward. I have chosen to seek happiness again and I feel so lucky to have found it in you. 

I look forward to spending our lives together. 

But remember, there will always be an extra seat at our table. 

I love you. 

Love, 

Your future life partner

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