Hello friends, One year ago today I decided to start writing the Dear Sugar column again and now here I am, pondering which letter I should answer for the October Dear Sugar Letter, my twelfth in this new iteration of the column. As usual, it’ll be emailed to those of you who’ve subscribed (thank you!) on the last day of the month. This month, that day is Halloween.
I've had to make this decision a few times in my life. Even though it was always hard, and I always worried I'd regret it, coming out the other side I always realized it was the right decision. I'd rather be happy alone that unhappy and partnered.
Oh yes indeed, the ghost inside is right! I was left after 16 years and I'm so grateful to him for splitting us up because I never would have. I was lonely and unhappy and living behind such a thick mask that it took me about 5 years to rub it all off. That was 10 years ago. Now I'm in such a different marriage. I feel together and happy. And he does too. Naked, happy ghosts. :)
“ And I wasn’t the only one whose life is better for it. He deserved the love of a woman who didn’t have the word go whispering like a deranged ghost in her ear.” So much this. I left because my first husband deserved someone who could love him just as he was, and that would never be me. It wasn’t a quick fix, it hurt terribly, but in time we are all so much happier.
Once again Sugar, you have blown my mind. I consider myself to be very lucky that I left my first wife. We were too young to fully understand the complexities of marriage. I think we did it just to get away from her parents. But if I had stayed, I would have missed the woman of my dreams. We first met in 1978 and have been together ever since. How have we managed to stay together? First, we have never wanted the other to be anything but who they are. Second, it's a 50/50 partnership of service to each other. Third, we have never both wanted to split at the same time.
I feel very fortunate and grateful for the life we have found. It never would have happened if I had stayed in the first marriage, which was not all bad! We have a super soon to be 45 year old son who is one of the most loving people you will ever meet.
These life choices are so hard and complicated sometimes but to deny one's true instincts just breeds resentment and a sour taste in the mouth. My opinion of course...
Relationships don’t have to be that hard. Sure, they are work, but in a back and forth, there’s mutual support and love and appreciation. Not bending yourself to fit into someone else’s mold. There’s something better out there for you. My partner loves me, weird bits and all. A relationship built on mutual respect and trust. Bridget Jones diary may have some issues, but love just the way you are is a real thing. And before I met him, I almost wrote to Dear Sugar. I felt too weird, too this and that to be lovable. Turns out that wasn’t true. I’ll say it again. There’s something better out there for you.
This column still gets me. I read it over and over and over again when I knew I needed to leave my husband, because we were making each other so miserable, and I was tired of being miserable and making someone else miserable. He was a good man, and he didn't abuse me, and I couldn't think of any other reason that would justify leaving. But I read this and started weeping because I knew it was right, and I was so afraid to listen to my own heart. I read it over and over again, and then eventually I left, now four years ago. It was so hard, but this helped me to stay honest and kind, even as I knew I had to be the asshole in this situation. And the moment I was in that hotel room, away from my house for the first time, I realized I was so sad but also felt light inside for the first time in 10 years. I knew it was right, even through all of the sadness and guilt. Thank you for this. I've been happier in the past four years than ever before.
Once again, these observations seem to come when I most need them - I'm struck by the ghostly 'voice' being scary in the sense of listening to ourselves and our reaction to the world around us. Living a haunted life versus an aware one is a striking proposition.
This one still makes me cry even though it's been years since you first published it and years since it was the advice that I needed. Thanks for bringing it back. <3
This letter was the one that got me out of an eight-year relationship with someone I thought I'd spend my life with. I read it and re-read it until a final crying session and re-read in the bathroom at work spurred me to go home and say I couldn't stay any more.
I went, and it was the hardest thing I've ever done, but I've never been happier than I have been since then. Thank you so much, Cheryl, for encouraging me to listen to my ghost.
I have found the most growth after embracing my darkness, listening to it and honoring the role it has played in my life. Sometimes I needed it to survive. Other times it almost killed me. Once I started diving deep and finding all the things I buried in the dark I become freer than ever. The phrase "Go to where the darkness can't hide" came to me one day and resonates deeply, so much so that I had it tattooed on my forearm as a daily reminder of my growth and strength. Somedays you have to dive deep, drag the darkness to the street and beat it with a baseball bat, but it's worth it. Strength and blessings to you
This letter response touches my soul in such a deep way. “Because wanting to leave is enough.” “He deserved the love of a woman who didn’t have the word ‘go’ whispering like a deranged ghost in her ear.” We truly can’t fake our core, and it’s a certain kind of hell when you force yourself to ignore it for so many years. It can feel like a sense of self-betrayal when we spend so much time trying to manipulate our inner-selves into trying to believe something else. Thank you for this letter. It will always stay with me.
Thank you for your beautiful insights. 💜
Oh, thank you again. Beautifully, and truthfully said.
Oh, I so love your thinking and writing!
I’ve never felt this way about a partner (I’ve been single almost my entire life) but every time I read this there is one part that always makes me cry.
Go, even though there is nowhere to go.
Go, even though you don’t know exactly why you can’t stay.
Go, because you want to.
Because wanting to leave is enough.
I have lived through many mediocre things because I convinced myself I had it ok or others had it worse. Ok friendships. Ok jobs. An Ok city. Times when I couldn’t say why I was sad or unsatisfied but I just knew in my heart that I was.
These lines always remind me that you can go because wanting to go is THE reason. That even if my brain doesn’t understand why, my heart does. It whispers to me, you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone, even you. And I love that.