To The Guy Who Never Told Me We Were Over,
I remember driving to meet you for the very first time and I distinctly recall having the powerful feeling that you were going to dramatically affect my life. I knew it then as surely as I know it now. Looking back, I know I was just another girl to you, and you meant so much more to me. But I learned about myself – and what I think about love and life – from casually dating you. Thank you, firstly, for that.
By the time I met you that you had already completely charmed me through your flirty texts and quick wit. Our banter flew back and forth like wildfire. But even then, I knew you weren’t like the other nice guys I had dated before. I will be the first to admit there were a million signs that I didn’t mean much to you – and never would – even from the very beginning. Those little things should have stopped me from falling for you. But of course, they didn’t. I would have been the first to say you just weren’t that into me, but in classic douche form, you always gave me just enough to keep holding on.
You were careless with me; you were selfish, cavalier, and indifferent. You disappeared for weeks at a time and put in so little effort, but then there were stretches when you would text me every day and make plans to see me. What hurts the most is that when you were with me, I know you really liked me. When you were with me, you mentioned things I said in passing, or held out your arm to me so I could hold the crook of your elbow just the way I liked. You talked to me like you’d been bursting to tell me things about your life for the whole time that we were apart (I mean, during those weeks you ignored me). You took pictures of us together, and pulled me in for the sweetest, most innocent kisses on the street corner and in the booth at the back of the bar. Every time I was with you I couldn’t help but fall harder. You were everything I adored: boyish, yet trying to be manly; incredibly smart; driven; and overtly masculine. Those times we were together were magic for me. But when we were apart, I almost lost my mind because of your indifference, and how loudly your silence screamed that you just didn’t care.
So here I am, two months after that first date, and I am not the same because of you. And I know, oh I know, I deserve to be treated better. I know I deserve to be with someone who treats me as a priority instead of an option. I know I deserve someone who is clear about where I stand with him. I know I deserve someone who doesn’t blow me off on a Saturday night, but then texts me at 1 AM to ask me where I am. I know because I’ve been lucky in love before you, my Michigan douche. I’ve never been treated this way before, even by the guys I have dated casually. I’ve never had a fling with a jerk, so thank you for being the first. Thank you giving me a new appreciation for the exceptional men I have dated before you.
Thank you for helping me realize how much more I am worth and that I cannot let my singular experience with you make me insecure. Thank you for prompting me to recognize how truly optimistic I am. Even after dating you, I will not be cynical about men and love, and I still refuse to believe that you are a purposefully manipulative and misleading person at your core. No, I think you have been hurt and have built iron-clad walls that guard your heart from all emotion, especially love (or, maybe I am still romanticizing you and you actually are shallow and cold. But I don’t like to think of people that way).
Thank you for helping me realize what I truly want in love. I want a guy to look at me like Leonardo DiCaprio’s Gatsby looks at Carey Mulligan’s Daisy Buchanan; like Brad still looks at Angelina; like my papa looks at my mom. I need devotion and adoration, love and affection. But I think you love yourself too much to ever look at anyone that way, let alone me.
Thank you for compelling me to explore the depth and complexity of my humanity. I still want you – and I know I could still love you – regardless of how you have treated me, and regardless of the fact that I know a prolonged relationship with you would have ultimately left me unhappy and unfulfilled. Ask me how this can be, and I will tell you I have asked myself the same perplexing questions a million times. I have reflected and looked deep into myself because of you.
And even though I willingly indulged and enabled your douche behavior, thank you for encouraging me to just accept that I am human, and that I cannot always protect or prevent myself from falling for people who are bad for me. Thank you for helping me forgive myself for letting you have my heart, against every rational thought in my being.
Thank you for being the ultimate test of how much I truly live up to the standards of decency and gentility that I claim to uphold. Thanks to you, I have found so much inner strength by always being mannerly and kind to you, and showing you that I care – not only because I fell for you, but because you were a human being in my life. And I still have it in me to wish you all the happiness in the world, even though you couldn’t even give me the time of day to tell me it was over.
I thank you for helping me realize that I cannot really be angry at you because I think above all, you should be pitied. Pitied because you’ve been hurt and now, you’re incredibly guarded. Pitied because you didn’t recognize a great girl like me waiting to love you. Pitied because you will never truly be able to love someone the way I can. In one of your few vulnerable moments, you told me you had been cheated on multiple times. I know now that girls who thrive on drama and betrayal are the only kind of girls who will settle for the way you treat them, and those are the only girls you will ever know.
So I feel sorry for you because here I stood. I would have loved you to the ends of the earth and back. I would have protected your heart, and offered you mine. I would have been the girl who didn’t break you into a million little pieces, the girl who cared about every mundane detail of your ordinary life. I would have been your girl. And I pity you for letting me slip away.
As I walk away from you, I will just keep reminding myself that douches like you are the ones who are truly losing out. I know I never “officially” had you, but you should have been begging for me to be yours all along. Despite all of the uncertainty I associate with you, one thing I am sure of is this: one day, you will realize that you made a huge mistake by letting a girl like me get away.
And you’ll be back. Or at least, that is what I’ve heard about guys like you.
The Girl Who Would Have Loved You