I probably shouldn’t even be writing this. Pop culture stresses that people are supposed to “move on” after a relationship is over and not dwell on it. But the painful truth is that even now – almost 2 years after our relationship ended – you are still on my mind. You pop up the most inconvenient and annoying times, frustrating me and yet also bringing a small bit of comfort and familiarity. So I decided to write this letter to you, in order to express the feelings that have otherwise been kept inside me in my futile attempt to “move on”. You’ll never read this letter and you won’t even be sure if it’s about you if you do, but this is more for me anyway.
To start with, let me be clear: I don’t want you back. I ended things intentionally, for a very specific purpose. It’s not that I think that we’re incompatible in life, but we were certainly incompatible at that moment. Since life is made up of moments, you have to act on what is right at that moment instead of trying to predict what will happen next…so I did. I don’t regret it. My life since then has been turbulent, exciting, confusing and valuable. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Because of that, I really need you to stop showing up in my thoughts so often. See, I’m trying to build a life of my own – something that I couldn’t do in the 6 years that I was with you. During those years, I became subsumed into you, losing all sense of myself in favor of the greater “us”. I had trusted that you would be responsible with that power and that you’d make that journey along with me, but as should be obvious by now, that didn’t happen. It’s not entirely your fault, mind you; my instincts always tell me to sacrifice myself for the benefit of others. It’s something I’m working on. But I also recognize that I need someone in my life who is strong enough in their sense of self to require me to stand up, too. You were simply too happy to be taken care of, to float along seemingly aimlessly. That was never going to work and I let it go on too long.
But back to those thoughts – you need to get out of them. I’m living on my own for the first time in years: making my own routines, discovering new interests and activities, establishing new friend groups. It would be really great if I could do those things if I didn’t also have this small voice in the back of my head that wondered what you would think or say. Or even that timid voice that I’m quick to shut up, the one who tries to theorize how life could be different if we were still together. I need to resist the urge to compare others to you. I want to be able to rediscover the guy that I was in the midst of becoming when I first met you. I got distracted and now I want to get back on track.
I don’t want to forget the memories. As I’ve said before, memories have a way of sustaining me just as much as they have a way of harming me. I want to hold on to the parts of me that formed as a result of us being together. But I need to be able to remove the filter of you that I look through in new circumstances. Or maybe it’s more appropriate to go with the more cliché “shadow of you” – after all, a bit of illumination should chase it off, right?
Regardless of what metaphor I use, it’s been almost 2 years now. I know that 6 years was a long time, but I’m ready to shake you loose. Dreams with you in them should just be weird – they shouldn’t wake me up in a cold sweat. I shouldn’t be in bad moods when I see or hear something about you through a friend of a friend. I need this disconnect. I don’t know that I truly believe in “moving on”, but I need much more distance than I have now.
That’s why I wrote this letter. I hope that getting this out helps. And if it doesn’t, I’ll write another one. I know that the resonance of your presence (ooh, I like that!…ahem, sorry) is a difficult thing to get rid of because I did care about you so much and I did devote so much of myself to you during those years. But it’s time for me to get those parts of myself back now; you don’t have to give them back, I’m taking them. They are mine, after all.
Alright, time to wrap this rambling mess up: I do miss you. But not enough to lose myself all over again. Time for you to get out of my head and for me to reassert myself. It’s time.