To The One Who Broke Her Heart

Hey.

How are you?

Actually, forget that. Let’s not waste our time with meaningless pleasantries. Our acquaintanceship was as much out of necessity and courtesy as any could ever be. I loved her, and you moved yourself into her life practically overnight and settled your belongings, like a neighbor the co-op board barely approved of. I respected your place in her life as much as was required of me, but we shouldn’t pretend we were ever friends. No, from the moment I met you, from the moment I saw the detached, bored look in your eyes next to the admiring sparkle in hers, I knew. I knew that you were no good. Perhaps as a friend, or even as a lover for someone else, you are a fine person. But with her, you were everything she should have stayed away from.

And don’t get me wrong, I know that no one is perfect. We have all hurt each other, sometimes intentionally, sometimes carelessly–and I may never quite know which case was yours–but we rarely have to watch the knife as we stick it in. We rarely feel the squish as we turn it through soft tissue, wedging the hot blade between vital organs. Her pain was a gunshot wound from a sniper rifle; you were able to pull the trigger and walk away, only sure that you hit the target, not concerned about the exit wound it would leave.

But I, I who rushed to her side to pick up the pieces when she was left dangling a cellphone from the tips of her fingers, tears in her eyes–I saw it all. I saw the waves of disbelief and crushing pain wash, back and forth, over her shaking body. I watched her pupils widen with every heave of her chest. I watched her unfold into the kind of understanding that brings with it a mountain of retroactive embarrassment–How long have I been the fool?

My words of encouragement and my casual dismissal of every flaw of yours she was only so happy to ignore settled over her like a fine dust. She nodded in solemn, distracted agreement as she choked at every swallow and wiped the errant tears from the corner of her eyes. There were a lot of, “You’re right”s and “I know”s, but my words couldn’t have meant less if I had been speaking them in tongues. She only knew that this was the part of the end that she would have to endure, that I was obligated to say these things to her and she was obligated to pretend to listen. A daytime talk show set on mute–lots of hugging, lots of compassionate nods, no substance.

I rifled through my own experiences with heartache to offer a grain of advice or perspective, desperately searching for that right combination of realistic and hopeful that never really exists. I turned out the white fabric of my pockets, realizing that no two separations are ever the same. My pain cannot, no matter how much Girl Power we try to muster, translate itself into hers. No, like all of us, she had to go it alone.

But you, you remained on the detached cloud of complacent ambivalence that you floated upon throughout your year with her. The relationship had been a matter of convenience for you, and you fluttered in and out of it emotionally as it suited your needs. Do you know how many times she would read your romantic texts aloud? You know, the bare-minimum “miss u sweetie” messages you would sparingly dole out like crusts of bread to a hungry child? Do you know how she agonized when you wouldn’t call her for a week at a time, when you would lie about where you were, when you would break your promises and then deny having ever made them?

And she, that rare kind of soul that longs to give and asks almost never to receive, was all too happy to forgive the transgressions that were so clearly egregious to everyone else. She would defend you, make excuses for you, describe the way your brow furrowed in laughter and expect us all to fall in love with you the way she did. The open, hopeful way in which she’d look at me when she’d talk about the afterthought of a date you took her on after a week of alternating lies and silence, was torturous in a way you cannot understand. Searching for a nice thing to say about you was a task I resented but knew, on some level, I needed to perform. She was a big girl, she loved you, it wasn’t my place to tell her not to.

Sure, I had gently explained to her once or twice that I thought you were a bad idea. But one needed only to see once the doe-eyed admiration with which she regarded you to know that any discussion of your faults was an exercise in futility. She had made up her mind; we all were waiting for the inevitable.

And you didn’t disappoint. True to form, the way you left her was at once thoughtlessly flippant and cruelly poignant. You left her in an email, ensuring the least amount of contact possible, but you waited all of thirty minutes to begin openly dating the girl she had long suspected you were more interested in. A true 10 out of 10 on all counts.

It would be easy to say that she was a fool who let herself be taken advantage of–I’m sure her difficulty in standing up for herself aligns itself nicely with your complete lack of respect for her as a person. But the truth is that, in life, there are nice people with giving, naive, loving souls who put themselves last and want to see the best in those they love–even if it is nearly impossible in practice. These people, the “Nice Guys” of the world who are, as the saying goes, so destined to finish last, are rare. They are fragile and beautiful and represent a greater innocence that we could all do well to appreciate. The childlike openness with which they see the world and the unintentional willingness to be walked all over are two qualities that are crushed between the cold, often uncaring cogs of human interaction. We break their spirit, we tell them they are wrong, we make them cry.

She may not be able to tell you how it hurt, she may still be blaming herself for a million things that aren’t her fault, but know that it’s true. Know that you took someone who was willing to put their faith in others and taught them to be wary and cold. Know that one day, she will find someone who loves her the way she deserves to be loved, and she will have the kind of happiness she deserves. But please know, most of all, that when she has those wonderful things–it will be in spite of you.

Goodbye. TC mark

image – Helga Weber

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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  • Anonymous

    nicely done

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=675677124 Caitlin Elizabeth Collins

    Wow. This was incredible.

  • PerspicuousJ

    Gurlz rool boyz drool AM I RITE LADIEZ?

    Barf. Relationships hurt people.

  • Laurel

    This was so awesome, the most eloquently written hate letter I have ever read. Amazing, I loved every word.

  • Bookworm

    Very well written. I tried reading this as if it was written from both a female and male friends perspective. This reaches an all too familiar emotional disgust where I was the fool.

  • Dee

    this is so beautiful.

  • http://stephgeorge.tumblr.com Stephanie Georgopulos

    Damn. Get it. 

    • Anonymous

      Mmmmhmmmmm gurI know that’s right.

  • Andrea

    Wow. I rarely comment on Thought Catalog pieces but this really hit home. Your words mirror my current situation so perfectly. Thanks for this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25301618 Carolina Carvajal

    ugh

  • http://goldenday.tumblr.com Kia Etienne

    Shit, Chels. That was beautiful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25301618 Carolina Carvajal

    Too close to home for me. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Erik-Lorenz/692447714 Erik Lorenz

    wow, I’ve been taken aghast to this. I’ve never seen the phase “Fuck You!” articulated so well

  • douchegirl

    Very nice. I was in this situation not too long ago and I feel like my friend (one with whom I’m not friends with anymore) could have written this. My mother could have done it too, but I feel like it would be a way shorter letter full of expletives and death threats. 

  • S.H

    “But the truth is that, in life, there are nice people with giving, naive, loving souls who put themselves last and want to see the best in those they love–even if it is nearly impossible in practice.”
    Yes. Yes. Yes. What I appreciate the most about this piece is the fact that it is so relatable. I cannot commend you nearly enough.

  • S.H

    “But the truth is that, in life, there are nice people with giving, naive, loving souls who put themselves last and want to see the best in those they love–even if it is nearly impossible in practice.”
    Yes. Yes. Yes. What I appreciate the most about this piece is the fact that it is so relatable. I cannot commend you nearly enough.

  • S.H

    “But the truth is that, in life, there are nice people with giving, naive, loving souls who put themselves last and want to see the best in those they love–even if it is nearly impossible in practice.”
    Yes. Yes. Yes. What I appreciate the most about this piece is the fact that it is so relatable. I cannot commend you nearly enough.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hannaraddness Hanna Nichole Mullins

    This made me cry. 

    I feel like my friend could have wrote this about me not that long ago. :/

  • http://maxwellchance.wordpress.com Duke Holland of Gishmale

    Fuck yeah; girl power. 

  • http://profiles.google.com/mopeyprincess mopey P

    I’ve been in the role of the guy in this narrative before, and I didn’t realize what a selfish asshole I was acting like until some guy recently did it to me. I mean, I let him do it. But that’s what this sort of hoping-against-hope-no-self-respect situation breeds. Karma maybe? My friends must be so sick of me whining.

    The upside is that, when you’re in asshole-mode like that you don’t really care or think about the other person that much, especially if they stop contacting you.  So she doesn’t have to feel that embarrassed. (Maybe shame her a little on it to keep her from doing it again!) But you’re a good friend, she owes you drinks or candy for sure.

    • Hmmm

      This is going to sound corny but reading the pieces on baggagereclaim by Natalie Lue have really helped me identify common behavior patterns and motivations behind all this sort of emotionally unavailable behavior. I was so naive before, but I guess my low self-esteem made me and my doe eyes an easy target for a dbag like the one in this post.

  • guest

    Oh my god, ouch

  • Jenny

    Wow.
    You are such a good friend.

  • Katgeorge

    Fuck Chelsea this is amazing.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks!

  • izzy

     “The open, hopeful way in which she’d look at me when she’d talk about the afterthought of a date you took her on after a week of alternating lies and silence, was torturous in a way you cannot understand.”Ugh. All too poignant.

  • Best Guest

    maybe you should “help” her get over the break up by sexing her up

  • London

    I failed to share my relationship ending pain with anyone yet since it’s so fresh that I’m wallowing in early bedtimes induced by pills and early wakeups to work with only a short time in between for crying to myself but I feel like this is written just for me.

    I’m sure everyone does but this is what I wish a friend would be feeling for me at this instant if I shared myself.

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