An Open Letter to My Ex
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An Open Letter to My Ex

To forgive, but not forget.

boyfriend and girlfriend

At one point, I definitely thought that you were the one. The one I was going to marry, the one I was going to have a family with, the one I would spend the rest of my life with. In the beginning, everything was perfect. We would go on hikes together; you would take photos of me in beautiful places and brag on your Snapchat story about me. I felt like I was on top of the world when I was with you.

The warning signs were all there; I was just too naive to see them. I was young and in love. My best friend in the entire world told me that she didn't like you. I thought she was just upset that I was spending less time with her, but when I asked her why she didn't like you she said that she wished she could say it was because you kicked puppies or something, but she just gets a very bad vibe when she's around you. This made me mad. How could she just say something like this about someone that she knows I am head over heels for and actually happy with? The worst part about it - she was right. I lost my best friend because I was too busy thinking that I knew what I was doing and that she was just wrong. Four years later and she still won't talk to me.

I started to slowly see little red flags; but to me they were yellow. You would ask to borrow money and you would tell me it was because you were short for your credit card bill or your student loans. I obliged. I figured that there would never be any reason that you would be lying to me about what it was for and that I would get this money back. Then when you needed a place to live, I let you move in with me. I wasn't ready to live with a significant other yet and we had not been dating that long. I was excited for the future and thought that this would bring us closer together. I would have never thought that it would have been the first step to the very thing that ended up driving us apart.

Things were wonderful for a while. I was so happy to be able to come home to you after a long day. We would go to the movies, cook together, go on adventures. We met each other's families; I met your son. I told you my life story, the trauma I had been through. But you wouldn't tell me about your past. I don't know why I didn't see this as a sign, but I slowly started to notice others and started to lose myself along the way.

It was small things at first. The still asking to borrow money, no longer going on dates, and spending long periods of time in the bathroom. I didn't think much of it, I thought that we were both just busy and that it would get better. I would find small pieces of plastic baggies on the bathroom counter, floor, or in the toilet. When I asked you, you told me that it was never there or that my old roommate must have left it there and that it was nothing. You would be on your phone or in a conversation with me and slowly start closing your eyes and falling asleep. When I asked, you just said you were tired or that you weren't falling asleep. I found needles while looking for a phone charger. You told me they were old and that you weren't using. I had no idea what gaslighting was. I started to actually believe that I was losing my mind like you had said, but I knew what I was seeing. I knew what I was finding. I just did not want to believe what it meant.

I didn't tell anyone about what was happening. Not for almost a year. I suffered in silence, a stranger in my own home. I started becoming more confrontational about what I was finding. This only made things worse. Even when I had a handful of these baggies that I would find and we had moved into a different apartment, you would still tell me that they were old or from something innocent. I wanted to believe you, because I knew what it meant if I was right. This led to screaming matches, you would tell me that I was just accusing you of things without any proof, and more awful things that I will not get into here. I was trapped. On Valentine's Day, you were angry and sick and finally admitted to me that you had relapsed and that you needed money so that you could go pick up so that you wouldn't be sick anymore. This wouldn't be the last time that I spent a holiday locked in a room crying because the drugs were more important to you. My birthday, our anniversary, even Christmas. I still hadn't told anybody. I was completely alone and broken. I didn't know what to do.

I finally told somebody the night that you left me bleeding in the hallway of our apartment while you ran to your car because that was where you kept your stash. You saw what you did, but still decided to walk away. I finally called my mom. Broken and defeated. I didn't know what to do. I called your mom so that someone would check on you because I knew what you were doing. I didn't feel safe anymore. Your mom told me to pack my things and go stay at her lake house. I didn't tell you I was leaving or where I was going; I just went. I packed a small bag, my two cats, and I left my home. I never would have imagined that it would be months before I would be able to live there again. I don't think I will ever be able to thank your mom enough for all she did for me.

I spent months commuting an hour and a half one way to work, crying myself to sleep, and not knowing what way was up. When you finally admitted to your mom that you had relapsed, we were working on a way to get you into treatment. You would find a way to wiggle out of every option that was given to you. When we were finally able to get you in somewhere, I got my things ready to move home. Then I get a call on New Year's Eve when I am out with friends that you are in the hospital and that you had to be given Narcan multiple times. You said that they must have given you something because you didn't use. I still don't know what to believe. I picked you up and brought you back to the apartment. One of you friends and I started working on finding you another treatment place to go to. I did not want to be in that apartment. I knew that you were going to use. I had just spent over a year worrying that I was going to open the bathroom door and find you dead from an overdose, and now I was going to have to do that all over again. I didn't sleep, I didn't eat. I couldn't.

When we finally were able to get you into a place, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. As soon as I knew you were safe somewhere, I was able to sleep. I would visit you every week and bring food. I even recreated our first date for our anniversary. Then things started to take a turn. I found things on your phone while I was looking at photos during a visit and it made you angry. I then found out that you were sexting with a girl you had told me not to worry about, but you insisted that you hadn't cheated. Once again, I was crying myself to sleep. I couldn't figure out what I had done wrong. I had given you everything I had, but I still wasn't enough.

I missed your call one night while I was at work. The next day I got a Facebook message from you telling me that you were breaking up with me. A Facebook message. After over two years, that's all I was worth. I spent the next few weeks in a daze. I felt absolutely worthless. After everything I had given and done for you, you showed me that I was no longer worth it. Sometimes I wonder if you ever did actually care about me or if you ever think about what you put me through.

During this time, I opened up to one of my coworkers about what I had been going through. We would spend eight-hour shifts together while at work and he would lend me his ear and try to keep me in the best spirits possible. A few months later, we would end up in a relationship. He would become my rock. I would have never expected it to happen, but he saved me. I do not know where I would be without him.

I have written this letter so many times, in so many different ways. There has been the angry letter, the sad letter, the short and the long letter. There was even one that I burned after writing. After spending over a year in therapy and getting a PTSD diagnosis, I still sometimes wonder if I will ever be able to fully heal from what you did to me. This isn't meant as a "fuck you" letter. In fact, it is the exact opposite. I want to thank you. In a way, you helped me gain a backbone. I learned how to stand up for myself and I learned what I do and do not deserve in my relationships. Without you, I would have never met the love of my life. I do truly only wish the best for you, and I hope you are able to find happiness. While I will never be able to forget what happened, I forgive you.

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