A Letter To My Ex-Girlfriend
to the girl who taught me love, loss, and heartbreak
I don't think first loves ever truly last. Does that make me a cynic? It's not that I completely reject the idea of love being real. But through my own personal experience and things I have learned or been taught, I believe that first loves are intended to teach you the rights and wrongs of loving someone, and how to cope with any heartbreak that may come your way in the future.
But did I know that when I walked into a room in August of 2019 and laid my eyes on the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen? No. I was so blinded by my love for you that all the red flags simply looked like flags standing there as a declaration of how young and in love I was.
For so many months I lied in bed crying at night, listening to love song after love song-Paper Rings, All Of Me, i wanna be your girlfriend, You Are In Love, and so many more. I thought this was another unrequited lesbian schoolgirl crush. Until in November, you pulled me behind a tree and asked me if I liked you. Was I really that obvious? But that wasn't my focus in the moment-my stomach felt like a washing machine turned on to high speed. I asked you what would happen if I said yes. You said, because I remember exactly, "Then we'll keep being friends, I guess." But you kept staring at me...was it longingly? Was it disappointedly?
In the next few months was when I truly started falling head-over-heels for you. I could be myself around you. You accepted me. I had so many fun times laughing with you and doing embarrassing dares because we felt so happy in the moment. You were the first person I'd ever been truly honest with about my depression. You had flaws, but you were perfect.
Then, one day in early February, I heard our friend say something to you in the hallways. You replied jokingly but then in a more serious tone, "If you tell her I'll kill you." I talked to this friend a few minutes later, asked her if you knew about any of the feelings I had for you. She did nothing but shake her head solemnly. When you walked back over to us, I asked our friend, my voice shaking like a nervous five-year old, "Do the things we just said to you-have any relation?"
A huge grin spread across her face as she said yes. You then whispered, "f*ck" under your breath.
We took a walk together. A lot went down on that walk. A lot of things were said. But I don't regret any of them.
Exactly two weeks later, we were texting at 1 a.m. and you asked me to call you. I was met with a sentence I thought I'd never hear-"Will you be my girlfriend?"
That right there was one of the happiest moments of my life. We stayed up for hours more talking, laughing. We shared so many wonderful memories, and even though for me those are shadowed by a dark cloud, I will still always look back on them fondly. They will be cherished forever.
You saved my life, and for that I am grateful. At least once you stayed on the phone into the early hours of the morning to talk me out of ending my own life, swallowing just one too many pills-not once acting angry, annoyed, or wishful that you could be doing anything else. For the two years that I knew you, and for the six months that I was lucky enough to date you, you were the light at the end of a dark tunnel that I'd been walking through for years already. I still harbor a little regret-well, more like questioning if I really savored every moment enough. But that's not one of those burning questions that keeps me up at night.
Because I enjoyed those moments in the way and for the time that felt right to me. In the end, although like so, so many others I still contemplate the what-ifs of our relationship-if one of us had done something differently, would we still be together?-but I have zero regrets. None whatsoever.
If I'm being honest here, which is my goal since you're probably never going to see this and even if you do there's a chance you may not notice the specific details hinting to our relationship, there are no words to describe how in love with you I was. No matter how much pain, hurt, self-loathing you caused me, I still loved you unconditionally and recklessly.
But although I wouldn't take back that love for anything, I sometimes used to question if you ever truly felt the same. Because you would spend hours on FaceTime telling me that I was the love of your life and your reason to live, and then send me dozens of long texts the next day saying you weren't sure if it was actually love but that you still wanted to be with me. Not quite coincidentally, all the breakups we ever had always came shortly after one of those texts.
But you know what, whether it was a platonic friendship or it really was more, which I've come to recognize that you did love me in your own special, beautiful way. And I'm grateful for that in a way so deep and genuine you could never grasp it. Now I'm literally tearing up writing this because we would constantly tell each other that the other person would never even possibly be able to comprehend the love we felt for them because it was so strong and pure and true.
You broke me, and for that I am grateful.
You taught me love and heartbreak, and for that I am grateful.
You made me feel worthy for the first time ever, and for that I am grateful.
You showed me what it was like to go about life completely carefree and having so much fun because we just didn't care about whatever was coming next, and for that I am grateful.
I'm not one of those people who's going to pretend they don't have the tiniest bit of resentment towards their ex, because you hurt me, and you did admit you could have tried harder. But I don't hate you. I want the best for you, and I wholeheartedly mean that. I want you to find true love, to find someone who you want to continue loving because the good far outweighs the bad in every aspect.
To the girl who walked away, you changed my life even after you left it.