Dear Jackie: a letter to my husband’s ex-girlfriend


Dear Jackie,

We’ve never met and, if it weren’t for my new last name, we probably would have completed our time on this side of eternity without crossing paths.  Though you may be completely unaware of my existence, I am poignantly aware of yours.

You see, we have a special man in common.  His name is Tim Gardner, your boyfriend from college.  He got married recently and I’m the lucky gal.  If you were so inclined to offer congratulations, let me stop you.  I cannot in good conscience accept any type of well-wishes from you without apologizing.

I developed a deep resentment towards you from the moment I heard about you.  Though our relationships with Tim turned out differently, I have let bitterness grow in my heart because of the mere fact that you shared a relationship at all.

Since I am now intimately acquainted with what it’s like to date Tim, my mind focuses on the elements of that relationship we must’ve had in common.  You had two years to kiss, to say “I love you”, and to talk about marriage.

Everything in me wants to begrudge you those kisses, those sweet nothings, those dreams, but I cannot knowingly resent you for acting on natural instinct.  God designed us for relationship.  My resentment is unwarranted albeit still powerful.

Tim was my first boyfriend and I was selfishly irritated that God didn’t allow me to have the same gift.  I laid the blame from what I thought was unfair mostly on you.  Not only did was I being unfair with my blame, I was also exhibiting a deeply off-base view of how God operates.

Hence, my need to apologize.  Jesus’ words about coming before God with a clean heart continue to nag my mind.

You’ve heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder,” and whoever murders will be in danger of judgement.  But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgement…Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.  {Matthew 5:21-24}

I want to hang on tight to my envy and distaste.  I’ve used you as a scapegoat for my insecurities and fears.  I let my bitterness overshadow reality, blaming you for my own baggage.  None of this is useful or productive.  You don’t deserve my resentment.

I am sorry for disliking you for 16 months.  What precious time I have wasted in pursuit of nothing.  My heart aches for what could have been accomplished in both our marriages had I been praying for you instead of holding you in contempt.

Please forgive me my foolishness.



      You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.

6 thoughts on “Dear Jackie: a letter to my husband’s ex-girlfriend

  1. I wrote a similar (undelivered) letter to my fiance’s ex a couple of years ago. It took longer than just putting those words down for me to realize what was at the heart of the issue, but what a wonderful step towards freedom. Great series.

    1. Hi Melissa! I wish I could let go as easily as putting pen to paper. Healing is certainly a process and I still struggle with the fleshy resentment and dislike that wells up in me more often than I’d like. I become more and more aware of how desperately I need Jesus to renew my mind and my spirit towards Jackie. Prayers for you and congrats on your upcoming marriage!

    1. Challenging to say the least :) Unfortunately, I let it stew in my mind and heart for awhile before getting serious about dealing with my anger and resentment towards the situation and the people involved. God is faithful to heal, though, and I rely on that promise when I feel the bitterness start seeping in again.

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