To My First Love, And The Toxic Relationship We Left Behind

An Open Letter To My First Love, And The Toxic Love We Left Behind
Ana Pavlyuk

Dear Ex,

It’s sad that it’s come to me addressing you as “ex” when you were once so much more in my life. You started off as my middle school crush, you quickly took the role as my best friend, then you became my home. It’s weird to think that we were once so important in each other’s lives, and now we are strangers.

I wrote this letter because sometimes you just wanna get everything on your mind out because it’s taking up too much room in your brain. This is what this letter is. Proceeding this paragraph is everything in my brain that has to do with you. And I thought it was healthy to let it all out. Here we go.

As soon as I saw you, I had a crush on you. You were the chubbiest boy in our class and you acted like you were the coolest guy in the room. I thought so as well. Even in 5th grade. You would invite me to the movies and you would show up wearing some Hollister shirt with Toms and a snapback. I was giddy for the days when I could see you outside of school even if you constantly tried to get me to buy you scarves or sunglasses. Moving forward, you asked me to be your girlfriend on March 23rd, 2012. If I revised the last sentence, it would say “I forced you to ask me to be your girlfriend.” The first few years of our relationship were a blur. We were so young and we were each other first for everything. We didn’t know how a healthy relationship was supposed to be.

Even as children, I’m so impressed with our efforts to fight for the broken relationship that we had created. It was because I had experienced a feeling that I had never experienced before that I wanted to keep you close. At the age of 10, I fell in love with the idea of you. At the age of 17, I fell in love with you. You were there for me through everything life threw at me. You made me feel loved and you made me feel like I was never alone. You became my home away from home and I started to fantasize telling our love story to our children because I couldn’t imagine my life with anyone else (you know this).

Since we became attached to the hip at such a young age, I never got to figure out who I was. There were times that you and I would fight and I would be alone, and I would realize how much I hated myself. I was too fat, I was too loud, I did not like the girl whose body I was trapped in. This became another factor in why I continued to fight for us. I had found someone who loved me when I couldn’t love myself. I was scared that if I ever lost you, I would never find someone who would be attracted to me or love me. Horrible thoughts went through my head. I would question if you were a “chubby chaser.” How could someone love someone like me? Who looked the way I did? In school, I was severely bullied for being fat and I thought you were insane or stupid to want to be with me.

In 2014, other boys started to give me attention. I say started because it was not until that time that I was approached by other guys. It was one here, and one there. They would sneak me compliments or just want to chat. This flushed me with a wave of emotion because I did not think that I was worthy of any compliments. We had been together for two years at this point and “you’re so cute” or “I love you no matter what” had started to sound like a script you had to recite to me every day.

I wanted to feel validated by more than one person and this is a lesson I have learned from. After a few years of back and forth, we became adults. We had to figure out how to grow our immature childish relationship into a relationship we, as adults, could thrive off of. We had an idea of what we both wanted in a relationship. We started to realize that what we needed, the other wasn’t giving, but we had been fighting for us for so long that we refused to let go. Routine was something we didn’t want to end. At the end of the day, it wasn’t you and I fighting with each other, it was you and I constantly fighting away the toxicity of our relationship that we were unable to mature as we matured. Eventually, our destructive relationship destroyed us both. It caused you and me severe depression and anxiety. It would leave a scar on our hearts forever.

When the relationship was gone, it was just you and I left. I didn’t know you as well as I thought I did, and I think you could say the same for me. Although, after we went our separate ways, I realized that I would always love you and you would always be someone important in my life. I still mention you casually in conversation without hesitation. My friends mention you as well and it’s like we are talking about an old friend. Everyone knows that you were a big part in my life and even though things didn’t end cordially, there’s no point in denying your existence in my life because you helped shaped me to be who I am.

I have had such adequate time to myself. I had a turning point in my life shortly after you left for the last time. My depressing, grey life came to color. I started to focus more on myself and I grew to slowly start hating myself less and less. I would pray daily, and I would reserve a spot for you in those prayers. I prayed that life would become as clear for you soon as it did for me. I prayed that you would have a moment of “realization” such as I had. I prayed that you would meet someone that could give you everything you ever would want and need. I prayed for your safety. I felt at peace with myself and I felt myself starting to move on slowly.

This was put to the test when I saw you had posted another girl on your social media. You had not done this before. As soon as I saw it I became hysterical. I broke down and cried. This mental breakdown went on for about 60 seconds. Then I started to tell myself “you’re okay” “you’re okay” “you can’t be affected by this anymore.” I sat up. I started to cry again. This time, happy tears. For the first time in my life, I was truly beginning to love myself, and I didn’t need anyone but myself to validate this.

The reason I’m telling you this is because you had me at my worst. As much as I can’t change that, I am sorry for it. I know now what I deserve and I intend to make sure that I don’t settle for less. This is what I thank you for. I want and deserve someone that gives me a home. That makes me feel like I’m gorgeous in a large tee shirt, no makeup, and pajama shorts and that reassures me of this every day. I deserve someone that makes me want to go out of my way to put a smile on their face. I deserve someone that would drop everything for me if I was sick. Thank you for being those things for me. I know the feeling that I had when I was with you. It differs from anyone else in the sense that I only felt at home with you. It felt right. Effortless. All your annoying tendencies or “flaws” were never visible to me because I had loved you so much. I told myself I would not settle for anything less than that feeling again. This promise to myself has already helped me so much in cutting off people that don’t deserve to be in my life.

I mentioned before that I prayed for you. I prayed you would find someone who gives you what you deserve. I know sometimes you doubt what exactly that is, but let me remind you. You deserve someone that tells you the truth, no matter how much it hurts. You deserve someone that will gas you up and tell you that you are the sexiest thing to ever walk on this earth and remind you about it daily. You deserve someone who will grab you lemon sticks or peanut butter chocolate covered pretzels as they are doing their routine grocery shopping just because they know it will make you happy. You deserve someone who makes it easy to be yourself. You deserve someone that will be your biggest cheerleader even through your worst times and will celebrate with you in your best times. You deserve someone whose flaws you look past because you love them that much.

I know God won’t let me down in putting someone in your path who loves you unconditionally and doesn’t just say it, they act on it. I promise myself right now to never settle for less than I deserve, please promise me that you will do the same. Regardless of sharp words, tears shed, walls punched, counseling sessions, everything we’ve been through, I love you. I will always love you and care about you. I’ll always be your biggest cheerleader, even from a distance.

Maybe this was an exception to the myth: Right person, wrong time. Maybe we were meant to cross each other’s paths as a lesson. I hope you can learn from me. Whether it be good or bad, I hope I taught you something in the 11 years you were in my life.

Take care. TC mark

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