I wrote this letter so many times in my head, over and over again, but now that it’s time to put it all down on paper (figuratively), I’m drawing a blank. There’s so much history between us. All the triumphs and tribulations, the intimate moments we shared, the emotions we portrayed. I have no idea where to start but I’ll give it my best shot.
I would first like to thank the Academy Awards for… sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.
I want to thank you for everything. If I could go back, I wouldn’t change a thing. If you would have asked me that question two years ago, maybe even last year, my answer would have been the complete opposite. I would have changed everything just to feel the way you made me feel one more time. For the longest time, I didn’t understand, nor did I want to understand, what happened and why it happened. For all I knew, I just wanted to start over, a clean slate, a new and hopeful future. But there was one problem. You were in love, and it wasn’t with me…
The last year and a half in our relationship was by far our toughest year. With respect to you and what was once us, I won’t go into extreme detail but the best way I can describe it was that we were living two separate lives while together. During this time, I tried to pretend that everything was fine. I convinced myself that our love and our experience together would keep us strong through this rough patch. I refused to look beneath the surface at what was really going on. In the end, my approach killed me. It turned my world upside down. I had no idea that any human being could feel the emotional toll that my heart and my mind took on. I was numb, speechless, and in disbelief.
The day we officially ended things for the first time was a day I will never forget. Everything I remember is so vivid and in detail. I remember we had “the talk” and agreed that it was a “mutual” decision to end things. As you probably know, it wasn’t mutual from my end, not even close. While you spoke, I sat there and held my tears in to the best of my ability. I held in my urge to stand up and fight for what I wanted because in the end, we didn’t want the same things. I listened and accepted what you wanted because I truly cared for you and I just wanted you to be happy. I also remember saying goodbye to our fami… I mean, your family. I remember walking into your mom’s room and I just stood there with tears in my eyes. Without any words being said, her motherly instincts knew what had happened. She embraced me and we cried together. She told me that everything was going to work out and that she’ll see me again (as she tried to force a smile on her face). I always wondered how hard it was for her to see me in such pain but also to have to support your decision and your feelings… must have been tough. Anyways, after a long 15 minute embrace, I headed up stairs to see your brother. He was in his room laying on his bed, watching tennis. I didn’t really know what to say. I was half crying when I forced the words “hey man, I don’t know if I’ll see you again but have a great Freshman year at Michigan State, if you need anything, I’m here for you, always. I love you”. In all honesty, I think it threw him off. From his point of view, all he heard was a knock, his sister’s boyfriend, well ex-boyfriend, walk in with puffy red eyes and mumble these words to him. After a minute or so, I think it hit him what had happened. We still talk to this day. I love that kid like a brother. The final and hardest goodbye I have ever had to say, was to your father, Tom. He was cutting grass. Sweating while he wore his red bandanna. I walked out to the backyard, we made eye contact and he could tell something wasn’t right. I tried my hardest not to show him that I was crying. I just wanted to go up to him, say how much I respected and looked up to him and that he had a beautiful family. I wanted to keep it short and sweet. He stopped the lawn mower, walked up to me and asked what was going on. I broke down. I balled my eyes out. I told him that you and I broke up and that I really hope to be half the man he was when I grew up and that he was the biggest role model I ever had. As soon as he heard those words, tears rushed down his face. I went in for a “manly” handshake but he brushed it aside and give me the biggest and warmest hug as he whispered “I’ve been here before, you’ll get through this”. I’ve only seen your dad cry once in four years, that time being when we had to put Bella down because of her cancer. Your dad wasn’t one to get all sappy and show emotion like that. I was shocked, but it meant the world to me that he was that upset with me leaving. In retrospect, those specific goodbyes taught me that it all comes with taking the chance on love. That nothing is guaranteed. It made me stronger but it was also very difficult.
After that incident, a month or two passed and I was still heartbroken. I couldn’t eat, I didn’t want to be social, I wanted you back. I can’t count the hours I sat in my room, replaying every incident, analyzing every detail of our relationship as if it would change anything. You were my soulmate. I was absolutely convinced.
Meanwhile, while I was in agony, you were enjoying your senior year in Ann Arbor. You had five awesome roommates, classes with a full workload, and Michigan Football Saturdays to help distract the pain of what had happened. You learned to move on much quicker than I did. It was depressing to see how quick you had moved on.
Five months passed. I entered a rebound relationship with a girl. She was the perfect distraction for me at that time. Honestly speaking, she was truly a great girl. She was sweet, funny, and knew what it took to be in a relationship. Unfortunately for her, I was in no state to provide her with what she needed at that time. I always had one foot in the present and one in the past. I knew it wasn’t fair to her so I had to end it. Coincidentally, at that same time, you re-entered my life.
The time we spent together after the break up was fun but different. Things didn’t quite feel the same because we were growing, but growing apart. I was still in the “I want you back” phase but you still needed time so I was just merely your “friend”. During this time, I tore down all my guards that I spent five months to build after we broke up. I was vulnerable but it all seemed necessary in order to win you back.
The following week, I remember I was getting ready to go out to Sharky’s with a couple of my friends. You texted me late at night and told me to come over. I obliged. We laid on the couch, watching a movie as you dozed in and out of sleep. After much convincing, we went up stairs so I could tuck you in. I remember pulling the covers up so you stayed warm and as I went to leave, you grabbed my hand and told me to lay down with you until you fell asleep. I couldn’t say no, so I took my jacket off and laid by your side. As you fell asleep, I had this feeling in my stomach, a feeling that this would be the last time I would see you for good. After you fell asleep, I got up from your bed, walked towards the door, and looked back. I couldn’t shake this feeling. I tried to deny it over and over again but it wasn’t going anywhere. I walked back to you. I bent over and kissed your forehead for what seemed like an eternity. I left the room and what soon proved to be, your life for good.
Present day, you’re engaged. I haven’t witnessed myself but my friends and your mom told me when it happened. I was speechless, again. But I was happy even though I envisioned that scene so much during our fours years together. I thought I would be the one kneeling, asking you to spend the rest of your life with me. Obviously it didn’t happen that way, but it was for the better. I am happy for you. I really am. When you really love someone, I know how well you can treat them and how good of a partner you really are. I know you’ll be a great partner to him. You’ll be an amazing mother too. I’ve always admired that quality in you the most.
Clearly, we didn’t have a fairy tale ending, and that’s okay. I learned so much more because of it. You taught me how to love myself. You taught me how to recognize what I deserve and that was something I struggled with while I was with you and shortly after. I let you destroy my self confidence only for me to have to learn how to rebuild it into something bigger and stronger. I think the most important thing you taught me was how to be happy with myself so then I can be happy with someone else. That I think, took the longest to learn. It’s a continual process..even to this day. As time continued to pass, I’m not going to lie, the last two years was a constant wave of emotion. Some days I hated you, others I missed you and had to hold off urges to contact you. I always wondered how you were doing but knew that you were happy because if I learned anything, you would never settle for something that didn’t make you happy. I respected that. As much as I hated it, I couldn’t deny that it was the right way to live. I often questioned if I would find someone that would make me feel the way you did. For the longest time, I never thought it was possible. I shied away at the possibility of a relationship with someone. I was distant, closed, fists tight and guards up. I accepted the fact of being alone forever. With time being the cure for most things, I started releasing that tension. I went on dates, even got into a small relationship with someone. I wasn’t completely happy with her. I settled and I knew it. I think the old me would have tried to stay in it and work it out but I learned to let go and move on. You taught me that.
About a month ago, when I least expected it, as they always say happens, I met a girl. She is beautiful, funny, intelligent, and caring. I know you don’t care but it’s exciting to me. I’m not going to sit here and tell you she’s the one or that it’s going to work out, but for the first time, she’s given me hope. To be honest, I don’t know if she feels the same way about me. I would like to think so but if she doesn’t, so be it. But for this specific purpose, she’s shown me that you weren’t my soulmate. That you and I were meant to be together for the sole purpose of improving each other for the next important person in our lives. If it doesn’t work out, that’s okay. It’s a part of life. I’ll learn and move on. Only time will tell but I’m excited at the prospect.
In the end, I’m happy. I know we are complete strangers now, which is a bit ironic since we use to be inseparable, but I thought you should know. I’ve learned to come to terms with everything and it’s refreshing. It’s the first time I am living without you… it’s new but necessary. I wish the best for you, I really do.