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.

A Thanksgiving Letter to My Ex

Dear Ex-Boyfriend of 3 Years,

I am thankful for you breaking up with me in September 2009 in the most awful way possible. If you didn't, we'd be married by now, and I would likely be filing for divorce due to 'irreconcilable differences' in a much less glamorous way than Kim Kardashian.

You leaving me physically and emotionally that rainy, autumn night actually set me free. You allowed me to be happier than I was with you, and happier, well, than I've ever been in my life.

I am thankful for the ability to blog this on my Mac book - a Christmas gift from you. I am thankful for my bike that I use to travel around Brooklyn and Queens - a birthday gift from you. I am thankful for this freedom that has allowed me to explore life and take on new challenges - without you.

Thank you for helping me to realize that someone like you is NOT compatible with
someone like me. Thank you for making me understand that listening to my gut is the healthiest thing I can ever do.

Like that time we were discussing moving to a new city together and just to piss me off you said, "What if I get a job in Iowa? Would you go?" (no offense to Iowa or the people who live there), and I said I don't want to live somewhere far away from my friends and my life, and you said, "You know, at some point the two of us have to be enough. I have to be enough."

Thank you for saying that, because I felt something off in my gut and didn't understand until later what it was. The truth is you would never have been enough, not just because we were incompatible, but because one person will never be "enough" for me to be happy.

I need friends (who are more or less my family), real family, separate interests, and a stimulating city/town to have a fulfilling life. I am thankful that you helped me discover this, and now I can look for a partner who understands that.

Happy Thanksgiving! Don't choke on a turkey bone. Or do.




I am truly thankful for ALL of you who read this blog and remind me that I'm single but not alone.