An Anti-Celebratory Letter to my Ex.

Dear You,

To begin, I want you to know that to me you will always be “Henry”, “Howard”, “Mayonnaise Monster”, and any other name I jokingly called you.

I’m not sure I’m ready to put this into words but I know if I don’t try I’ll continue regretting not putting into words what needs to be said. So, at least at the end of this, no matter how it ends, I can at least say I tried.

In this past year with you, I’ve learned a lot. About myself, about relationships, being an adult, about love. I’ve learned that I’m the type of person who loves with her entire being. When I love or care about someone, I let my entire world revolve around them. That’s what I did with you. You came into my life at a time when I wasn’t ready for my metaphorical umbilical cord to be cut from my parents and myself. You came into my life and you weren’t a person–you were this entity that I became enraptured with. Your infectious personality, your once-confusing tattoo, your charm–it all seemed too good to be true. I think what it comes down to is I became involved with you before I was ever ready. I didn’t take the time to figure out what I wanted and what I needed from someone–from you, from our relationship. When we started all of this, you made it very clear you didn’t want a relationship. It was for good reason, but the rest of the world doesn’t need to know said reasons.

This is something I’ve been dealing with for a long time and it’s gone on long enough because honestly, it hurt too much.  I can’t change you, and I can’t change your situation. I can only change myself and the situations I choose to be a part of.  I know you well enough by now to know that when you want someone out of your life, that’s it—they’re out. Sometimes I hope that you’ll push me out. But either way, I’m proud of you for taking action and making adult decisions that saved us both from even more fallout.

I just want you to realize what you meant to me back then. I invited you into my life, my head, my heart, my family. That is all very special, and not everyone I meet is entitled to those things. Now that months have gone by, you’ve been watching me struggle to let other people into those things. They are special places to me.

You are not mine.

You are not.

You will not be.

Yet, I care. On the most basic human level that I can care for someone I know so much about, I care. There has not and will not be a time when I will not help you if my help is needed.

And I know you will read this and not realize where I’m coming from but I do hope you try. You are an important piece of my story now. But, I only have one life, so of course I’ll go on my own adventures and figure out who God has planned for me.

Whether it’s just one day or the coming months, or the coming years, I am going to miss you. You are the most aggravating person to deal with at times, but other times my conversations with you are just like they used to be- innocent and funny enough to remember at 3 in the morning.

You are a fantastic human being with a light about you that draws people into you—but I’m glad that you aren’t my light anymore. You helped me grow in faith and in maturity, and you’ve changed my world. But I am glad that our time is done.

And I hope you understand that when I’m laughing at your stories or I’m standing near you while I come down from an anxiety attack, and I say “I love you”, that I don’t mean I want the rest of my life with you. It’s not like that anymore. I love you for what you gave me, what you taught me, and because throughout the last few months you have been my safe spot when anxiety becomes a battle. When I hug you, it’s not because I’m “that” ex. It’s because one day I won’t see you anymore, and I would like to appreciate your existence while I can. When I come back three minutes after a heated argument and I apologize to you, it’s not because I’m weak. It’s because I want you to know that even when I get mad over little verbal triggers, I appreciate you and how you can call me out on the things I do.

I don’t think you meant to ever hurt me—you couldn’t have predicted things being the way they were in the end.

But most of all, I just want you to know that today is a good day for an anti-celebratory celebration of the last year, because we both came out alive.

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