I used to play this mind game with myself.
I started by thinking it would all be okay if he had to face me. I entertained vicious dreams of inflicting bodily harm in order to make him feel at least a piece of the pain I was experiencing.
But really all that would do was temporarily release the rage while reducing me to the level of a petty crook. And the pain could never compare.
So then I thought that it would all be okay if he was required to spend time in prison. I wanted him to suffer the loss of a life like I had and to be reduced to a bare existence.
But really all that would do was give me a brief respite from the possibility of running into him in public. And it would fuel funny jokes about him dropping the soap.
So I concluded that it would all be okay if he was convicted of the bigamy and had to go through life limited by the label of felon. I wanted his future to be restricted as he destroyed mine.
But all that would do was give me a moment of satisfaction that he was caught.
So I resolved that it would all be okay if I shared his name and picture with the world, shaming him and protecting others from his machinations. I wanted him to face the embarrassment I felt.
But that would only make me look vindictive and would cause me to be ashamed of my own behavior.
So I decided that it would all be okay if he paid me back the tens of thousands of dollars that he stole from my past and robbed from my future. I wanted him to face the fear of living so close to nothing.
But really all that would do is sooth the account woes; the heart would still be shattered.
So then I was emphatic that it would all be okay if I received an apology letter. I needed to know that he felt guilt and remorse for his actions and for the impact it had on me and our families.
But all that would be is a paper filled with words carrying no more meaning than an essay typed by monkeys.
And still I kept trying.
I played out certain scenarios in my mind and found that each time, the relief would be temporary and greatly lacking.
I finally had to accept the conclusion that there was nothing that could make it all okay.
Nothing that is, except myself.
Okay wasn’t going to come from the courts. Okay wasn’t going to be linked to a bank transfer or prison sentence. Okay wasn’t even going to come from him.
I had to figure out how to create okay on my own.
For me, okay was found in creating meaning and purpose from the pain. It came from sharing my story, not to shame him, but to help others. It came from encouraging dialog about abandonment and marital fraud, hoping to protect others. It came from using my rock bottom as a foundation for a better life.
Ultimately, my okay comes from helping others find their own okay.
Your okay is not out there.
It’s in you.