Thanks for everything. Well, mostly everything. Thanks for being my boyfriends when I wanted you to be, for the glasses of wine and free dinners and laughs and shit like that. The further removed I am from you now, the more grateful I am for everything. I try really hard not to dwell on all the bad stuff – and believe me, with some of you, the bad stuff was pretty bad. But focusing on positive things makes you a better person, which is what I’m aiming for with these thank-you notes. I’ll never actually send them in the mail, but it’s the thought that counts, right? (And if they do appear in your mailbox, please arrange to have me committed.)
#1: Thanks for all the wine, and the French fries at that little dimly-lit restaurant we loved so much. Thank you for understanding that I didn’t want to make you a part of my social media life, but that you were incredibly important nonetheless. It’s just that I like to keep my boyfriends away from that. I don’t want my relationships played out over Instagram. Thank you for leaving me when I needed you most, for making me grieve in a very real way and learn how to wrap my mind around that grief. Thank you for never really cutting the cord that ties us together, for sleeping with me in Minnesota and New York City, kissing me exactly the same way you did when we fell in love. Thank you for breaking my heart not once but twice. I learned. I grew. I stood up on my own. Thank you for coming back.
#2: Thank you for being the first, the sweet, tenderhearted farm boy I cut my teeth on. Thank you for teaching me how all this worked, for the phone calls that lasted for hours on our mid-2000s cell phones til the data ran out, for the countless kisses in a tractor cab and a beet truck. Thank you for squiring me to all those high school touchstones: homecoming dances, proms, football games. Thank you for being just the right guy for my teenage self and for being a dear friend now, regardless of our different lives.
#3: Thank you for being the man I needed when I needed you, for being around to fill a void and for letting me go when you knew I was on my way out. Neither of us were right for the other, but it was fun while it lasted. I learned that “nice” isn’t really what I’m looking for in a relationship, that “fine” isn’t the right way to describe your boyfriend to your friends. You were kind and gentle and thoughtful, but you weren’t the One.
#4: I guess I still don’t have a lot to thank you for. I’m still kind of smarting over this one, two years later. You can’t have it all, you know. Some things are just tougher to move on from than others, and our hot-and-cold relationship is one of them. Was one of them. Thank you for giving me a whole novel full of stories to write about it. Thank you for that. Thank you for pushing me out of my comfort zone once we broke up; I had to leave a bunch of our friends behind and isolate myself for awhile, which turned out to be a good thing. Thanks for making me feel so horrible and heartbroken that all I could do was just write it out. Thanks for making me entertain the idea of moving to a completely different state just to get away from you, save up the money for it and ultimately decide against it. Thanks for dating a girl who is so pretty, nice and perfect that she gives me full-throttle panic attacks until I realize that she’s totally normal too, and that you 100% were not the One for me, even though I wanted you to be so badly. So thanks – thanks for making me grow the fuck up and learn how to get over things. Thanks for making me trip and fall really hard and get back up on my own.