Lessons from a Love Letter

Cleaning is therapeutic. Inside my ikea bookshelves I found dust, travel journals, old photos, way too many candles, and an old love letter. From the ex. THAT ex. The one who inspired my singleness and this blog five years ago. 

Most of our relationship was long distance (DC to NY), which had its challenges, and treasures - like handwritten letters. This one was dated December 28, 2008. 

The most wonderful thing about finding and reading this letter over a few times was how I felt. Which was nothing. Well, nothing for him, and love for myself. 

I am capable of dating someone for more than two months! Proof right here. 

Sometimes I wake up in the morning with that pit of dread in my stomach and don't want to get out of bed. Loneliness and anxiety holding me captive. This is a reminder that I can positively affect other people. And that I should get out of bed. 

My ex had deep-seated fear/anxiety/neuroses that I completely overlooked that completely blindsided me in the end. I have learned to see these red flags earlier. 

Am I electrifying? Wow. 

This letter is all about how him and how I made him feel. Which, I believe, is one part of love. But the another part that's missing here is what does he bring to me? How does he lift me up? By the end of our relationship he took and took while I gave and gave. 

Looking back on our time together I understand with compassion now that he was depressed. He needed me to bring goodness and light into his life. I lifted him up as long as I could but my arms got really tired.

No human can be happiness for anyone else. We have to believe in ourselves that we are strong enough - alone - to push through the fear and come out on the other side ok.

He never believed that, and I couldn't convince him. He was too afraid to tell me he was afraid. He was scared I'd get angry or leave him. So he left me first. Because that was the only thing he could control. The leaving. 

Five years later I have some clarity on the type of men I date, fall for, and love:  emotionally intense, full of highs and/or lows,  depressed, confused, angry, needy.

Five years later I am fundamentally the same person in this love letter. I'm proud that I've grown but am still me. What I am changing, finally, is the person who I choose to have a relationship with. Better late than never. 

I'm looking for someone who will be the goodness in my life, the same way I am for him. Someone who is strong enough to hold me up when I need it. Someone who will not rely on me for happiness. Someone who is already happy.