That’s how you started text conversations with me after we broke up. As if you were casually greeting an old friend, not the girl you said you wanted to marry two weeks before deciding to rip her heart apart.
Deep down, I always knew that we weren’t right for each other. Being in a long distance relationship during college is hard enough, and that plus all of our differences makes me wonder how we made it as far as we did. But somehow, we managed to start a relationship and it was strangely perfect through all of the imperfections. We loved each other tremendously; sometimes it seemed crazy and stupid and irresponsible and all of those other cliché things that love is “supposed to be”. I think that’s what was so wonderful about it to me – it didn’t matter that you liked Tupac while I was Luke Bryan’s biggest fan, because our love made everything else seem inconsequential.
You made me believe I had a happily ever after without going through the shitty breakups and sadness that most people have to go through to find it. You always told me you wouldn’t know what to do without me, that there was no one that could ever fill my place, no girl who could even come close in comparison. Even when our fighting started, you always ended the arguments by telling me that once we were physically together, once we graduated and could live in the same place again, it would be okay and we just needed to make it to that point.
And then you changed your mind. You said you were still in love with me but just needed space, needed time to figure yourself out, couldn’t handle being so far away from the one you loved more than anything or anyone else in the entire world, and some other bullshit lies that covered up the fact that there was someone else. No hugs from friends, no pieces of advice, no amount of alcohol could lessen the physical and emotional pain I felt. My heart felt like it was ripped out of my chest and cut open, all of our love and secrets and memories constantly bleeding out of it, running down the sidewalk and mixing with my seemingly never-ending tears.
After the initial shock of being broken up, I was still sad, naturally, but what I felt more than anything was just emptiness. I didn’t eat, I faked a smile just enough to avoid questions from everyone, I worked out incessantly to try and feel something again. I was in this weird state of feeling so many emotions all at once but at the same time feeling absolutely nothing. When I found out for sure about the other girl, I felt strange – I was pissed off and even more sad and hurt but it also made our break up easier.
Don’t get me wrong, I still missed you and still wanted you. Badly. I cried every single day, usually multiple times. But in the first month of our break up, while you were busy sleeping with that girl you barely knew, I had been looking back at the past two years and saw all of the flaws, saw all of the things I ignored and didn’t think about because of the cloudy in-love mindset I had where those giddy feelings make you ignore reality. I realized that there are certain things we can’t overlook, certain things that are necessary in relationships that you and I just didn’t have for each other. And I realized that I deserve someone who puts the same effort that I do into the relationship.
That’s what made it easier for me to say no to you when you came back to me, crying over what you said was your mistake. It wasn’t because I had found someone else, but rather because I had started finding myself.
Because you shouldn’t ever tell another girl you’ll never leave her unless she does something unforgivable like cheat on you — funny how that worked out, huh?. Don’t ever say you’re proposing right after graduation, don’t name your future kids and make her think you’re really in it forever. Because as much as she resists it, as much as her head will tell her to be careful, as many times as she says it’s a joke, in her head she still imagines it and there’s a large part of her that wants it to be real. And when all of it is ripped from under her, it’ll almost break her. (I say almost because she’ll come out of it stronger and happier than before. And then you’re screwed because she’ll realize how much better she deserves.) And don’t ever do what you did to me to anyone else. Think about whether the new girl will be worth a month or two after losing someone who truly loves you. Make your next girl a priority, because when you start treating her like an option, she won’t be one anymore.
But I would also like to thank you. I learned a lot about myself, and this whole ordeal solidified my belief that everything happens for a reason and the universe works in ways which we don’t understand sometimes, but it all turns out for the best. My entire life course changed, and it all started when we broke up and I started doing things simply because I wanted to.
Thank you for showing me what it’s like to love someone and be loved, because although in our case it wasn’t right, we both really did love each other and it was a beautiful feeling. And as strange as this sounds, I would also like to thank you for breaking my heart. As much as it sucked, and as hurt as I was, I came out of it a lot stronger than I ever knew I could be. I know how to handle relationships a lot better now, and I enjoy the little things in life a lot more. You taught me to appreciate everything you have in the moment, because you never know what the future will bring. You also showed me the importance of being really selective when it comes to choosing the person who you want to share your life with. Thank you.
And here’s the last thing I want to say to you. My bitterness towards everything you did is gone, replaced by only the memories of the happy parts of our relationship, and I really do wish you the best in everything you do in life. I hope you find happiness with someone and I hope you find that girl that completes you. I hope you two have the effortless kind of love we all want in our lives, with everything you need to make you feel special and happy and secure. And I hope that now you can look back on our relationship with a little smile and remember the good parts also. You were my first love, and I was yours. A part of me will always love you for that and I hope you’ll always love me, too.