An Open Letter To The Next One Who Claims To Love Me

Brooke Winters

Mean it. 

I’ve never been great at relationships. This is mostly because I blindly expect everyone to have good intentions and always see the best in people, admittedly. Every relationship that I have ever been in was a toxic, one-sided situation of give but never receive. But I always saw their potential. I always thought “one day, he’s going to be a great guy.” “one day, he will make such a good husband, a good dad, etc.” The problem with this thinking is that I never got to that “one day”. I would pour everything I had into the guy, thinking of it as an investment for my future. I thought that if I gave him all I could and really showed him that I cared, then when that “one day” came, he would give me the same.

This, however, is the dumbest thing you can possibly do in a relationship.

Giving and giving everything you have to someone, and receiving nothing in return is draining, especially when you barely have anything to give in the first place. Relationships are about give and take, they are about compromise, support, and communication. My problem is, I am always on the giving end of these things, and never the receiving. Even in my platonic and family relationships, I always seem to care more about others than they do about me. People get bored with me, and then once I have nothing left to give, they see no use for me anymore, and they leave. Things have always been this way. And while I can’t help who my family is, I can help who I am friends with and who I choose to be involved with.

Time and time again, I have been used, lied to, manipulated, and put on the back burner. But not anymore. Almost a year ago, (when my last boyfriend decided that he “didn’t have time to care about my issues” and moved halfway across the country) I decided to take a hiatus from relationships. I decided that I was no longer going to invest my time and energy in any relationship where the effort was not reciprocated, whether it be platonic or romantic. I cut off a lot of “friends” who only associated with me when it benefited them, and I completely stopped seeking any kind of romantic advances from anyone.

And wow.

In the past 10 months, I have reached a point where I don’t even entertain the thought of letting anyone use me again. I have become better at spotting the signs of a manipulative person, and I have even become greatly disinterested in even dating. I look at those around me, and sometimes I do wish that I could find someone who would love me unconditionally, but I have decided not to actively seek out attention from anyone. So this time, I will let someone else put in a little bit of effort. And until that someone comes along, I think I will just focus on bettering myself.

But, when that person does come along that thinks they might want to be involved with me, I have to say this:

1. I am a very independent woman. I make my own money, pay my own bills, and I was just fine before you. I am dependent on no one and that may be intimidating but if you knew where I came from you would understand why.

2. I think a little differently than most. I’ve been hurt in different ways than most. So I have trust issues, but if you just tell me the truth, I will be okay with almost anything.

3. The fact that you are lying will always hurt a million times worse than the reason.

4. Don’t expect too much from me. I am still a giving person, but I refuse to lose myself completely and be taken for granted again.

5. I have reservations about a lot of things. I have been hurt mentally, emotionally, and physically. So when I hold back, please bear with me.

6. Know that I always appreciate the small things. Bringing me a drink, doing the dishes, any small act that shows that you were thinking of me.

7. I do not show affection the same way as most. I probably won’t be all over you in public, I probably won’t say cheesy cute little things. But just know, when I call you an idiot or smile at you silently, that I am admiring you and that is my way of showing affection.

8. You need to realize, that while I am aware that you are not all those guys that hurt me before, I have no way of knowing who you will be. And you will have a lot of walls to tear down. You will have to work hard to prove yourself to me. But, if I am worth it to you, then you will.

9. If you do prove yourself, and if I do tear down those walls for you, please don’t ever jeopardize that. I’m not sure I could handle another hurt like that.

10. Lastly… I love to be told how much you care. I want to hear how much I mean to you, the things you admire about me. I also want you to tell me if I am doing something wrong so that we can talk about it and fix it. I want to know what frustrates you, and how I make you crazy.

Overall, if you tell me anything, ever, you have to mean it.

REALLY mean it. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

23 year old vintage enthusiast with pretty bad FOMO

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