The recent phenomenon of writing open letters to exes has opened the door for many people like me to speak their minds on relationship highs and lows and to give some personal thoughts on our most influential heartbreaks. In theory, it’s a great idea, but if we are honest the internet is not always the best place for our personal diary.
I am a firm believer that writing is a great way to express emotions and sometimes it’s the only way to make sense of what is going on in our lives. But when we write in such a public space, it’s easy to feel as though we are expected to offer some sort of wisdom to those reading it. In a way, this has taken away from how we truly feel and forced us to write in the way we think we are supposed to feel.
We expect that when a guy breaks our heart, that the only way to heal is to be “the bigger person”. Move on, act like you don’t care, be thankful for what he did to you and let it go. We don’t allow ourselves to feel the way we want to. When we write, especially about heartbreak, we tend to think we need to tell our readers that we need to appreciate those who hurt us because they helped us grow, and without them we wouldn’t be as strong as we are now. That we should thank them for all the tears, self-doubt, and disappointments.
I am here to say no to that idea, that idea that I have preached in my writing, to my friends, and even to myself, because you see without a guy treating you poorly, you wouldn’t have been knocked down and then forced to build yourself back up in the first place.
As a woman, I feel there is this stigma that in order to be strong you have to keep calm and carry on this bogus facade that you are better off without this guy, that you are thankful he left, that you are thankful that he didn’t treat you the way you deserved to be treated. By burying your emotion and saying you are doing just fine, you’re on the right path; by thanking him, you will leave the better person. But the truth is you’re not thankful, not even one bit, but you feel like you need to be because someone told you that you should.
By thanking a guy who treated you poorly for “making you stronger” or for “helping you realize what you deserve”, what you are really telling him is that how he treated you was okay, and even worse, that you are thankful for it. Thanking a guy that didn’t treat you with the same respect, honesty, or love you gave to him, doesn’t make you the better person. It doesn’t show maturity. It doesn’t prove that you are over him. It does nothing but say that you accept everything he did to you.
That’s why I will never thank a guy for treating me poorly. I will never thank a guy for making me feel bad about myself. I will never thank a guy for letting my sister find me a mess crying on my bathroom floor at 2 am. I will never thank a guy for manipulating me so much that I can no longer trust my own judgement.
I will never thank a guy for causing me to lose hours of sleep trying to figure out where I went wrong, when it wasn’t my fault in the first place. I will never thank a guy for making me spend my time wondering why I wasn’t good enough. Because I don’t accept being treated like that.
Now that is not to say that you can’t thank a guy for all the good things he did. Maybe he was there for you when you just needed someone to listen, or maybe he always made you laugh, or maybe he was your best friend. But thanking him for making you cry, thanking him for leaving you to be with another girl, thanking him for mentally and emotionally playing with your feelings, that is not something to be thankful for.
You see if he would have treated you right from the beginning you would have never had to get stronger because you would have had someone else to lean on when you felt weak. You would have never had to figure out what you deserved because he showed you every day. If he had treated you right, you would have never felt the need to thank him for anything but simply loving you, which to the right guy, will be the easiest thing in the world to do.
I will thank a guy for listening to me. I will thank a guy for holding the door. I will thank a guy for making sure I get home safe. I will thank a guy for a fun date, or for buying me a drink at the bar. But I will never thank a guy treating me poorly, thanks but no thanks.