An Open Letter to My Ex: How I Am Moving On Now
It’s a terrible feeling knowing we aren’t together anymore. Every weekend was an adventure around the city. Now, it is unbearable to be in the same room or to chat on the phone. From texting you as soon as I woke up to now being blocked on your phone, completely. To being left utterly alone to deal with this breakup that I never saw coming.
The countless times I’ve pulled out my phone to call you and have to stop myself. Reading back the online chats with had when we were still happy. I toyed with going to our usual restaurants to see if you’re eating there with someone new yet. No matter what I think, I always feel that I am not going to find someone who was as supportive and caring as you.
But then it hits me like a huge wave crashing into my heart.
I remember the good, the bad, and the absolute ugly parts of our relationship. With how supportive you were when I lost my job, when I got my first raise (ever in my adult life) you had put me down, wondering, “if the secretary still made more money than you”. While you were open to a bright future with me, you kept me a secret from your friends, family and coworkers for our entire relationship. So far as to lie if a coworker saw us together, saying we were just friends. As much as you promised to never hurt me, there were multiple physical altercations between us. I still remember your hands around my neck and how I had cried myself to sleep afterwards. I remember when you shook me the night of our breakup. The flashes of my past abusive relationship welling up, burning throughout my body. I react like a caged animal; continuously poked and prodded, lashing out of anger. I hated how much the anger took over me, how I let that situation get to me.
As much as I love you, and still struggle with letting those feelings go, I let the urge to hate you have room to breathe. To hate how you were emotionally unavailable. I waited for you to move on from your past relationships. Waited for you to get off your computer to talk with internet strangers and celebrate my birthday (admittedly saying you did it knowing you could get away with it). Waited for you finally feel comfortable enough to say “I love you” after a year together and stop toying with me about moving in together; blaming people from your past for your inabilities to commit. Waited for you to get past your low self-esteem and to realize how great you were to find a job that made you happy.
I prayed that one day you would stop hating every little thing in your life.
I hated waiting for something that I feared wasn’t going to happen. And I hated myself even more for being right. That I didn’t walk away sooner. Instead, I kept giving you chances. Endless chances. Hoping things would change. That you would land the job of your dreams. You would stop being unhappy. The fighting would stop. And this feeling of you having one foot in the door and one foot out would disappear.
As much as I hate you for suddenly breaking up with me, I’ve had to accept it.
I wouldn’t have stopped the relationship until it was far too down the line in our lives. I would have kept hoping you were going to get your act together. Now, I have realized that you saved me more time and hurt knowing things were not going to change with you. I’ve had to forgive myself for sticking around when I knew things weren’t great for us only months into the relationship. For reacting to your bad behavior with my own. I should have stuck to my threats to leave. To not be swayed by you crying, begging on your knees for me to stay. To not keep spending money, knowing that I was enabling you with the bad debt you created for yourself. How arguments would escalate too far and I would roll up in a ball, crying in my bathtub, begging to be left alone.
It’s mind-blowing it took me so long to realize how I wasn’t in a safe environment. I wasn’t treated the way I should have been treated. And I would react poorly out of anger. Struggling to understand why I wasn’t good enough to be an important person in your life. That you would keep me hidden and ignore me for these internet friends of yours.
I may not be completely over you and the wounds are still fresh. It hurts you felt I wanted to change you, when all I did was support you to be the better man you wanted to be.
But I’m moving on. Slowly.
It’s only been a few weeks since the breakup. I’ve said my apologies for my part in the relationship and how bad the breakup went. I’ve tried to respect your boundaries and your need to not have me in your life anymore. I’ve asked for a future where we can maybe be friends when the time is right. It is sad there was never an apology from you too. But, did I really expect one? No.
The silence does kill. But I’m filling that silence with friends, family, and new adventures that I am learning to love. I am taking on life as a single, strong woman. Free trail running is what make me happy now. Writing is my new focus. And l’ve got my heart set on new people that lift me up.
I am going back to the woman I was before meeting you. I’ve rediscovered the woman that I use to be. She was fearless, independent and gave zero fucks about other people who would bring her down.
I am going back to my first and true love. Traveling. I’m setting sail across the world traveling again…something I know you could never do.
She’s back. I’m back. And I thank you for helping me find myself again.
// Illustration by Alec Lu.