A Thank You Letter To My Ex-Boyfriends

I’ve only just begun entertaining the idea of dating again and recently I’ve spent a good bit of time reminiscing on relationships past. Like most people I’ve spent most of that time thinking what it was exactly that I’ve done wrong, and trust me I’ve done some pretty fucked up things; but I’d like that to think that relationships are partially a lesson in self-improvement, if not in any other way beneficial to life. The problem with me is that I spent years thinking that I was solely responsible for demise of my relationships. In hindsight I was mostly contributing to the bullshit that was being fed to me. Now I’d like to think that mostly my exes did me a favor and that when all is said and done, I’d like to say thank you.

Thank you for shaming me for getting my swirl on. The amount of white men I’ve dated significantly outnumbers the amount of black men I’ve date. It’s not a conscious choice, it just turns out that majority of the men I fall for happen to be a bit more ivory than ebony. For some reason, as an African American female, that poses a problem for many. One of my exes pointed out that the problem with my fondness for interracial dating lies within me being a black female, because it seems that I am widely sought after as a conquest to white males. Apparently, I should stick it to the white man by denying him privilege to my tasty goodness, as to get back at them for generations of misfortune. Only men of color are worthy of all this jelly.

Meanwhile, he’s got his baby momma who produced his half-white baby (conceived while we were living together) and his white girlfriend who’s helping raise said baby. Why is it okay for him you ask? Well, it’s because he is single-handedly exacting revenge on white men on behalf of the entire black race. I’ve still never been fed that much bullshit in my entire life from a single person, but thanks for the entertainment, and a heartfelt fuck you to you, sir.

Thank you for teaching me what a proper first date does not consist of. First dates usually consist of some kind of wining and dining, one-on-one alone time, and more or less meaningless conversation. It does not however, involve smoking an enormous amount of pot with all your friends. Who am I even really getting to know? While I’m all for smoking cross joints and watching The Dark Knight Rises on a broken television, it’s not necessarily a good first date. Admittedly I didn’t see anything wrong with it at the time, but that’s what happens when you’re 17 and a cute 21-year-old asks you go out with him.

Thank you for proving my mother right. I think there’s some point in every girl’s life where the idea that her mother may be right is a completely foreign concept. The resistance occurred more often in my youth, but parental guidance has becomes much easier to swallow in my 20s. Who would’ve thought she would have any idea what she was talking about? Anyway, I’d like to think the best advice my mother has ever given me (that I can remember) has been that you can’t make a man want you, and when he tells you something, he means it.

I used to think if I hung around long enough, you wouldn’t want other girls. I hoped at some point you’d finally figure out that I was the one for you. Or if I let you do anything you wanted, you’d love me more. It took me a while to figure out that that’s not how relationships work and that’s now how anyone should be treated. When he tells you he wants to sleep with other people, he means it. When he tells you it just isn’t working, he means it. It doesn’t mean you have to change yourself, it just means he’s just not that into you, and anyone who’s not that into you, is simply not worth your time.

Thank you for reminding me to trust my instincts. There was something about you spending so much time with a girl what wasn’t me, a girl that wasn’t your girlfriend that made me uncomfortable. Although using words like ‘muse’ to describe a female friend should be enough cause for alarm, I let you convince me it was nothing. I thought maybe all my control and trust issues were a smaller part of my large-scale daddy issues (they probably are). Despite this it always proved to easy to calm me down, when I wouldn’t let something go. I didn’t even realize it when she turned up pregnant. I had no idea your ‘babysitting’ was anything more than a good deed done by a friend, as opposed to a father taking care of his daughter. I should’ve always gone with my first instincts when something didn’t seem quite right.

I suppose this letter could sound pretty bitter, but in all honesty, when I think back on my relationships now, it’s more so in fondness than resentment. If it weren’t for you guys I’d have nothing to go on how a girl should be treated. Nor would I have any idea about what a healthy relationship looks like. Granted, the next guy I meet probably won’t be the love of my life, but I’ll definitely have a better gauge on whether or not it’ll work out, and sooner rather than later. Most importantly I know the world won’t end if it doesn’t and for that, most of all, I thank you. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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