When you experience a breakup, a rush of emotions floods your body. Everything from anger, betrayal, resentment, and confusion seeps into your bloodstream. It can cause even the most rational person to lose their sensibility.
After a few too many breakups, I found that putting words to those feelings, and all the realizations I made after, helped me make sense of what otherwise didn’t make sense. This is a letter, not to one ex, but to all my exes. Because a lot was left unsaid, and while I don’t want to revisit any old conversations with them, I now see the value of putting my words into existence.
This is a letter to all my exes:
Where do I begin something that tries to scratch the surface of our love? Because yes, I loved you, but now things are different. We fell out of love and time has passed. I want to write a letter to you simply in the hopes of tying up loose ends and for my heart, and yours, to truly move on.
You were everything. My first love. My epic love. The love that rattled me to the core.
You echo inside me to this day, from my passion for Frank Sinatra while I cook to the fact I have my phone’s clock forever set to military time.
This letter isn’t to rehash the pain we tried to figure out for so long. There’s no more room for tearing each other down as a means to be understood. The fact is, you hurt me and I hurt you. Our love was passionate yet young. It was wild flames that burned if you dared to get too close.
We had great times in our relationship. I’ll never forget my first couple weeks in China, when we danced under the tea lights of that tiny village as the sun set, the butterflies in my stomach as you kissed me for the first time. I’ll never forget watching the passing green hills through the train window as we rode to your hometown, meeting your parents even though they barely spoke English and my French was even worse. I’ll always remember how we explored the world together; to this day, it brings a smile to my face. Even the moments back in Los Angeles were epic, like when you took me in your arms after the Phantogram concert and kissed me like we were the only two people in existence.
But I also remember the tears we both shed that could fill seas. I remember that we didn’t see eye to eye, and instead of learning how to communicate in a way that we could, we spoke in ways that tore each other down. I still remember that, no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t figure out how to fix our broken love into the beautiful kind it once was. We couldn’t turn back time, so we had to move forward into a world where we parted ways.
The pain I felt after our breakup lived inside me far longer than I thought it would. I always imagined an ending for us, but in a very different way than things played out. I didn’t know how to live with that sadness, so I tried to cover it up. I sought anything that could fill the void of missing you. On occasion, that included you: messages, phone calls, one more time in each other’s presence. We both knew these were impermanent fixes—they couldn’t last forever.
The truth of it all is our stories crossed paths at the exact moment they were always meant to, but they parted ways in the same manner. You were destined to come into my life, and I yours, even though you hurt me more than I ever thought someone would.
I don’t regret our time together, neither the good times nor the tears. Our relationship taught me things about myself I wouldn’t have learned elsewhere. You challenged and forced me to make a tough decision: grow or stay in a place of repeating the same mistakes.
You helped me realize what I don’t want in a relationship. I thank you for teaching me everything I deserve from love through the ways you gave me less than that. This included the particular parts of your personality that clashed with mine, making our relationship spin out of control. I projected my insecurities onto you and, in turn, made you feel the pain I did. And I thank you for showing me I lacked the love I needed in myself to walk away, for helping me realize I needed to love myself more than I loved you.
I could’ve held onto the pain you caused me. I could’ve lived in that resentment for a lifetime. But I see now that I can make the choice to allow our love story to affect me long beyond its ending or thank it for the lessons it taught me and move on. I’m choosing the latter. For the sake of myself, you, and both of us finding richer love in the future.
Every relationship is an opportunity to learn something—I hope you can find the same truths when reflecting on what we had. The fact is, both of us are imperfect people. We loved one another. We hurt each other. And we both have an opportunity to grow from each other. Holding a grudge over anything from the past would be a poison I’d slowly drink alone. I’m letting go of my animosity.
I now realize that not everyone stays in our lives forever, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Impermanence allows us to cherish what’s in our present, and moving forward, I will make sure to love in such a way. Though our paths are better off divided, I wish you nothing but the best in life. You deserve a love that feels like everything ours wasn’t, just like I now see I do, too.