To my controlling ex-boyfriend:

I'm beyond happy with the guy that I am utterly and completely in love with, and I must thank you for that. Without the time that we were together, I wouldn't have learned this valuable lesson: I deserve better. I deserve someone who cares about me and my future. I deserve someone who cares about where I'm going in life. I deserve someone who looks at me like I'm the most beautiful person they've ever met. I deserve so much better than you.

You were controlling. I wasn't allowed to wear leggings or sweatpants anywhere because you told me that they draw too much attention from boys. You weren't comfortable with me wearing them. I wasn't allowed to go to Young Life, a Christian-based youth group that middle schools, high schools, and colleges across the country offer to students. You told me that you didn't like Young Life. I'll spare why you thought I shouldn't go, but you told me if I did, that you would leave me. I wasn't allowed to be friends with my two closest friends because they were guys. One of those is my cousin!

You told me that because we were long distance, you wanted to FaceTime a lot. I wasn't allowed to do anything without having my phone by me, being on FaceTime with you, or texting you. That included dinner with my family, out with my friends, doing homework, watching Netflix, sleeping, doing my hair and makeup in the morning. We always had to be on the phone because "we're long distance and you had to talk to me all the time."

The worst thing that you did was teach my brother how to be like you. You told him that if he was ever talking to a girl on the phone and wanted to get his way, he should hang up and ignore her until she gave in. You always did that. I remember on Valentine's Day, you came into town to stay with your mom and because you were in, I had to see you. We couldn't wait until the next day when the roads were cleared. I had to have my mom drive me in a snow storm and dangerous driving conditions because "you came in for this." If you didn't get your way, you weren't happy. I tried to leave many times because I wasn't happy with you or how I was being treated. You told me you would kill yourself.

When we broke up, it was because I caught you in a dozen lies. You said you had a driver's license. You hadn't even taken the test yet. You said you had a truck. You didn't have a driver's license, let alone a vehicle. You said you had a job. I don't know where you were going all those days you had to "work," but it wasn't to work. You said you played guitar, and my dad let you borrow his electric guitar. Your mom told my parents that you had never even picked up a guitar in your life. You said you were playing guitar for a class at school or at some talent show for your school, and when I asked you to play for me you never would. Now I know why.

You went on Twitter the day after we broke up and tweeted slurs about me and about how you were happy to have left me. You tweeted me and told me that you had been cheating on me for weeks. You put me down and said horrible things about me that day. You told me how much you hated me and how you shouldn't have stayed with me for the ten months that you did. You told me how horrible of a person I was.

All I ever did was care for you unconditionally and want to stand by you no matter what you put me through. I tried to make excuses for you. I made excuses for how you treated me. I did everything in my power to make you happy and give you everything that you needed.

But, still, I must thank you.

Because if I hadn't gone through the ten months of our relationship, I never would have realized exactly how I should and deserve to be treated.

I'm free to love and be loved.