I don’t know if you ever truly understood the depth of the feelings I had for you. I don’t think any of my closest friends at the time did either. That made me feel like it was all abnormal. Like it was my fault. Me, who never even contemplated relationships for the first four odd years of college. Me, with the super cynical ‘relationships are bullshit’ attitude had fallen deeply in (as much as I don’t like to say it) love with you.
I thought you would never knowingly hurt me because of the foundation of friendship we had. I thought you would do everything in your power to shield me from pain because of that friendship.
But I guess that was just me projecting on to you what I was ready to do for you.
You see, in my head your status as a friend was always higher than anything you could ever be to me. I was never much for relationships but I always thought that feelings built on a solid friendship could weather all – even a breakup. So there I was jilted and hurt while you moved on. It took me over two years to get over it all. I guess me writing to you now shows that I am still piecing together some of the wreckage.
I was desperate for closure in the aftermath of our breakup. I was desperately trying to understand what happened. But all through it I felt like a burden. A burden that I must not inflict on you. So I was too afraid to talk to you about any of this. To express what I was going through. Too afraid because in my head, even though the love was gone, I wanted the friendship to stay. And I thought you did too. Even then I tried to understand your reasons for letting go while belittling my reasons for not wanting to let you go. Very unhealthy behavior in retrospect. I accepted your decision with as little drama as I could.
I thought that maybe someday when enough time had passed my friend would reach out to me (with more than a text). That, of course, never happened.
The bruise you had left me with, mixed with ego, began to harden and I built you up in my head as the world’s biggest asshole.
I was angry. The only way I felt I could communicate with you was anger. I called you names. I wished that you would fuck everything up in your life. I wanted to watch you burn the way I was burning. Instead of channelling energy into healing myself I channelled it into wanting you to destroy yourself.
And I felt horrible wishing these things for someone who I once counted among my closest friends. Surely, I thought, I’m a monster. The more I hated you the more I hated myself. I tried, in my own ways, to reach out to you. To tell you that I was sorry for being sad. I wanted you to know that I would get over these feelings. That it was my fault for having these feelings. I thought that having these feelings somehow made me small. That loving someone was a sign of weakness. Like somehow you had no part to play in any of it. I thought that once I had figured out how to get over the emotional trauma we could be friends again. Without any inconvenience to you.
As much as I told myself the contrary, this wasn’t me moving on. I was subconsciously trying to be ‘worthy’ of being your friend again. I felt like it was my fault that you were being so cold to me. All I ever wanted was for you to say that despite not wanting to date me anymore you still valued me as a friend.
I wanted validation from you so badly that I stopped valuing myself.
But life has to go on and it did. My idea of ‘love’ was destroyed. Before you I thought relationships were bullshit and men only want to cage you unless they’re good friends of yours. After you, I lost faith in my ability to differentiate between those who truly cared for me and those who were only building me up just to let me down. And I thought I would be let down for sure every time. Men became something to be used and discarded before they could hurt me. I stopped trying to find an emotional connect with any man and interpreted even genuine acts of love as selfish acts to trap me. I internalized the great wall of ice you had put between us.
Over time I began to want genuine love. But I was still too afraid to go after it for fear of being hurt.
After you weather a hurricane, even the flutter of a leaf in the wind is enough to set alarm bells ringing. This led to flings which could have been more had I not been so afraid to let them be more. I wanted everything without having to give anything in return. With every man I dated and dumped in an effort to fill that hole without being vulnerable, I felt more and more disconnected from myself. Each ‘relationship’, if they can even be called that, left me feeling emptier than before. Still I do not want to discount the role they played in helping me move on.
But today, with the help of friends and therapy, I feel I have reached a place where I am able to love myself again. A place where I am able to view what happened for how it affected me rather than indulging in the futile practice of pointing fingers. A place where I am able to deal with the damage without being ashamed of it or blaming myself for it. A place where I am able to focus on finding solutions to better myself rather than harboring grudges.
I am learning to not use ‘us’ as a template for every relationship. I am learning to focus on me. I am learning that having feelings is nothing to be afraid of or ashamed of. I am learning to trust again. I am learning to be kind to myself. I am learning to be emotionally vulnerable.
Most importantly I am learning to accept love and know that I deserve it. In the process of losing one of my closest friends I failed to count the ones who stuck by me without any judgement towards my seemingly never ending sadness. I only saw the love that I had lost and I failed to see the love that was being showered on me from other sources. For once I am contacting you not for a reaction but because it is something I must do for me. I feel like we never had a real conversation when things between us ended. This is everything I have ever held back from you for fear of I don’t know what. I heard you’re getting married in February. I would like to say that I wish you all the happiness in that but I’m not going to lie. Part of me would be happy to see you fail in that, but I know that as I progress in therapy there will come a day when I will genuinely wish you long lasting love and happiness.