An Open Letter To The ‘Ex’ I Never Dated

You know that feeling when the roller coaster leaves the station, and slowly starts climbing up and up and up? That one moment, just as you reach the apex, where you start to fall? When your insides seem to tumble around themselves, and your stomach flutters like it has a mind of its own? That’s how you made me feel. Like I could do anything, or be anyone.

At first, I didn’t want you. You tried and tried, but you were outside of my normal scene, and I just saw you as that older guy, chasing simply because you liked the game.

But you pulled me in. Your soft touch, your way with words. You made me special. And at first, I thought I was winning the game. You wanted me, but I was just playing along. “I don’t really like him,” I told myself, “Our nights together are just for fun. I’ll quit while I’m ahead.”

But with each passing week, each time I said “OK, enough,” I kept coming back. Your words lit up the screen of my phone, calling me “sexy,” and “beautiful.” You told me how amazing my body was, while somehow, in the same moment, making it seem like my mind mattered too. You were my secret, the addiction that I couldn’t let go of. My drug.

And you used that against me.

I never got to say these words to you. I never got to tell you or to yell at you. I never got to blame you for betraying me. I never got to hate you for taking my innocence, my naiveté, or my trust. I never got to accuse you of playing me, making me care, and throwing my feelings back in my face.

So I’m saying it now. I’m saying it to you, to me, to them; to the girls and boys who play these games, who make these games, who dictate the rules of these games. I am sick of games.

I still think back to that night when you lied. How different would things have been if I had followed my head, instead of my drunken heart? Wondering doesn’t change what you did. It doesn’t change the decisions I made, but neither does it change the tales you weaved and the deceits you told. You pretended you cared. You pretended this was real, that I was real, that we were real. You pretended you would be there in the morning. But in the spinning darkness of that room, in the hazy aftermath of that bar, you lied. And in the morning you pretended you didn’t. You pretended it was a mistake. You pretended you could take back everything you said. And then you pretended you could disappear.

We didn’t date. You weren’t my boyfriend, and you didn’t buy me presents or take me out to dinner. But you are my “ex.” You are the “ex” that ripped my heart out and handed it back to me broken and jaded.

You hurt me. Thank you.

That may sound strange, but you made me stronger. It is because of you that I learned to believe in myself, to trust myself above all others. You taught me to open my heart, but always remember to guard it. You showed me how to give, and how to take. You let me miss you, and kiss you, and take a leap or risk it all. You constantly challenged me, and you let me challenge you.

Finally, you taught me how to be alone. Not lonely. Just alone. I learned how be myself, by myself, with no one else.

You weren’t a mistake. What you did to me was. Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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